kannazuki no misoka
Hyakkin Kaijin

It's that time of year again! The time of year when I can dress even more ridiculously for class and not get in trouble for it. The time of year when I can wear a black cape with red trim to my part-time side gig and not have to remove it immediately. The time of year I can legitimately show Ghostbusters in class and claim it's educational, sort of. I mean, these kids know all these visual references from Luigi's Mansion and Yo-Kai Watch Busters, but have never seen the real deal? Sounds like time for some education to me!

Oh, and I also got to walk and ride my bike all over town dressed like this.

This was my main Halloween costume this year, for the school party I had last weekend as well as for this weekend's side gig. It's not the only one I wore this week, though. For some of my classes in the middle, I went the cheap route. For them, I was the Hyakkin Kaijin (Phantom of the Dollar Store), using only what I could get for a hundred yen (plus tax) per item.

It's a hard job, keeping up with all those trick-or-treaters, but at least I have my trusty sidekick, Hyakkin Kaijin Jr. to rely on.

Now enough with the funny business! It's time for a column!

Wow, I let this one go too long without updating. Maybe I should have put it in my indie column when I had the chance? In any case, I'll be splitting this in half, with the last week of August and most of September up here, and then continue through October a couple articles farther down.

9/14 ~ 9/20 9/7 ~ 9/13 8/31 ~ 9/6 8/24 ~ 8/30 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 * * * New Arrival! Pokémon Super-Mysterious Dungeon Nintendo
3 3 3 1 New Arrival! Dragon Quest VIII: Voyage of the Cursed King Square Enix
7 7 5 4 Last seen at 3 Yo-Kai Watch Busters - White Dog Squad Level-5
16 9 7 8 Last seen at 7 Yo-Kai Watch Busters - Red Cat Gang Level-5
25 34 31 27 Last seen at 18 Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Edition Gung-Ho Entertainment
29 16 20 19 Last seen at 15 Monster Hunter 4 Unlimited (Best Price!) Capcom
30 14 13 3 New Arrival! Dragon's Dogma Online Limited Edition Capcom
34 25 32 30 Last seen at 20 Pokémon Alpha Sapphire The Pokémon Co.
37 38 50 56 Last seen at 45 Yo-Kai Watch 2: Shin'Uchi Level-5
38 20 15 9 Last seen at 1 Super Robot Wars BX Bandai-Namco
44 28 34 33 Last seen at 28 Pokémon Omega Ruby The Pokémon Co.
48 33 45 40 Last seen at 29 God Eater 2: Rage Burst Bandai-Namco
49 98 Why... does this... keep coming back? Bravely Second Square Enix
50 36 35 31 Last seen at 17 Fire Emblem Fates: White Night Kingdom Nintendo
Off 31 27 13 New Arrival! Dragon's Dogma Online Limited Edition Capcom
Off 37 36 36 Last seen at 25 Fire Emblem Fates - Dark Night Kingdom Nintendo
Off 41 48 42 Last seen at 36 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Spike/Chunsoft
Off 42 41 46 Last seen at 37 Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
Off 47 43 32 Last seen at 12 Luminous Arc Infinity Marvelous
Off Off Off 50 Last seen at 33 Trillion: God of Destruction Compile Heart

Here's one I've been saving up for a while. In fact, it's the very last bit of Tokyo Game Show news to be had this year. I promise.

So I've played almost every single game in the Metal Max/Saga series, one way or another. There was no way I was going to pass up playing the most recent, not to mention most surprising, addition to the list. I still have no idea how Success is getting away with this, seeing as Kadokawa owns the main series now.

Metal Saga - Ark of the Waste is an iOS game that takes a lot of its base material from the PS2-era RPG Metal Saga. I could recognize all the monsters as coming from that older game, though it's telling that none of them appeared in the later DS games. This one appears to be 100% a case of Success mining what parts of the series actually still belong to it.

The touch controls worked well enough, though I was thankful for the extra displays mounted at head level. I know they were hooked up to the iPhones so that other people could see what I was doing, but as it turns out, I found the iPhone easier to use when I wasn't even looking at it. With that larger screen already there, I could treat the phone as a controller. That still didn't make the game much fun to play. Still, props to the developers for making the series' signature drum can into the touch-control cursor button.

The main point of the game seems to be that, using the titular Ark as a base, the player's party must go forth in their tanks and fulfill standard smartphone RPG quests. Locations are occasionally added to the main map, but otherwise there is no way to explore — and for a series so thoroughly steeped in the thrill of discovery, this can only be seen as a disappointment. They didn't even have a dog in the party! Pochi the battle dog (or a close cousin) is featured in the game's main art, but they couldn't even put an intrepid canine killing machine in the party?

OK, so I am more than a little disappointed with how this turned out, though I cannot say that I didn't have my worries from the get-go. At least I got something to take home with me.

I just wish we'd hear something about a Metal Max 5 some time soon.

Source: 4Gamer Online

It's said that things come in threes. Good things, bad things, Pokémon games, and now Yo-Kai Watch games all seem to follow this pattern. Yo-Kai Watch 2 was released in two versions, with a later third that managed to stay on the sales rankings until late September, and now Level-5 is adding a third to its spin-off game, Yo-Kai Watch Busters.

The original pair of Busters games, White Dog Squad and Red Cat Gang, took their titles from Koma-san and Jibanyan, the white canine and red feline youkai who stand as the regular mascots for the series. The newly announced third version of Busters is dedicated to the mascot of Yo-Kai Watch 3 (soon to be released overseas): USApyon, the space rabbit.

Yo-Kai Watch Busters: Getto-gumi (or, as I'd translate it, Moon Rabbit Regiment) is different from most third-version games, though. It is in fact a massive, free DLC update to the existing games, timed for release alongside the new Yo-Kai Watch movie next December. Included are a new protagonist, Buster USApyon, several major plot characters from the movie, new monsters to fight, and a new big boss, all of which amounts to a new campaign appended to the game.

I doubt most people reading this would have a copy of the Japanese game, but if you do, the DLC is available from Dec. 12, 2015.

And if anyone else cares for spinoffs of this series, there's a Yo-Kai Watch version of Just Dance coming out for Wii U one week before that.

Source: Famitsu Online
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Nights of Azure Gust/Koei-Tecmo 10.1.15
Shin Megami Tensei IV (Atlus Best) Atlus 10.8.15
Uber-Dimensional Tag - Blanc and Neptunia vs. the Zombie Horde Compile Heart 10.15.15
7th Dragon III: Code VFD Sega 10.15.15
The Legend of Zelda - Triforce Heroes Nintendo 10.22.15
God Eater Resurrection Bandai-Namco 10.29.15
Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Compile Heart 11.5.15
Yakuza Ishin (new price) Sega 11.5.15
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (Atlus Best) Atlus 11.5.15
Project X Zone: Brave New World Bandai-Namco 11.12.15
Atelier Sophie - Alchemist of the Magic Book Gust/Koei-Tecmo 11.19.15
Airship Q Cygames 11.19.15
GranKingdom Spike/Chunsoft 11.19.15
Omega Labyrinth D3 Publisher 11.19.15
Tokyo Twilight Ghosthunters: Daybreak Special Gigs Arc System Works 11.26.15
Criminal Girls 2 Nippon Ichi 11.26.15
Monster Hunter Cross Capcom 11.28.15
Source: Dengeki Online

Back in 2014, I had the opportunity to play a certain Vita game at the Tokyo Game Show indie games area. Airship Q was this fun mashup of action RPG, metroidvania, and Minecraft, and it was a wonderful surprise to see it advertised prominently in every issue of Famitsu for the past month.

Airship Q is the story of a girl and her brother who, driven by the dream of scientific inquiry, build their own airship to explore the mysterious floating islands in the skies above their homeland. Unfortunately, a resident of those isles takes umbrage at this, shooting their ship, the Question, and marooning them. When the heroine wakes up, she finds that she's been morphed into a humanoid kitty-person, and her brother Lemuel is nowhere to be seen.

It's up to the heroine to figure out what's up with the witch of the skies, as well as the mysteries behind the islands themselves. Who created them? Why are they falling apart? What can be done about it? In the meantime, she has to make do with the items at her disposal to create everything she needs to survive the ordeal and maybe return safely to good old terra firma.

Airship Q is due out on PS Vita November 19th, while the Playstation 4 release date is still TBA.

Source: Airship Q HP

Up until about a year ago, all my students were playing Puzzle & Dragons endlessly on their smartphones. Around that time, they all shifted to playing a new one, Monster Strike. I know the game was around for a while before this, but that was when it first came to my attention. There's one big sign that the game is popular in Japan, though:

Yes, they're making a 3DS adaptation, similar to the handheld's version of Puzzle & Dragons. There's an actual story, wherein an average Japanese eighth-grader™ is contacted by a weird little mascot critter from another world™ in the hopes that he (and his various new friends and acquaintances) can prevent the takeover of two worlds by the nebulous forces of darkness™. No, this isn't the most original plot in the world, but what can you expect? It's just there to justify the gameplay.

If you want an explanation of how the game plays... I'd say just google some videos of the smartphone version. There are plenty of them out there. The thing always reminded me of games a much younger myself would make up in lieu of not actually knowing how to play billiards. There will be plenty of ricochets and collisions, though; the trailer tells that much.

OK, so maybe the graphics outside of battle are pretty impressive as well, for a game based on a smartphone title. It's giving me a strong Digimon vibe, to be honest. In any case, Monster Strike will be arriving in a store near me on Dec. 17. I'm sure I know plenty of children who are getting this one for Christmas.

Source: Famitsu Online

And now, the continuation...

10/19 ~ 10/25 10/12 ~ 10/18 10/5 ~ 10/11 9/28 ~ 10/4 9/21 ~ 9/27 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 * * * * New Arrival! Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes Nintendo
4 1 * * * New Arrival! 7th Dragon III: Code VFD Sega
6 4 9 9 5 Last seen at 7 Yo-Kai Watch Busters: White Dog Squad Level-5
8 8 15 13 11 Last seen at 16 Yo-Kai Watch Busters: Red Cat Gang Level-5
11 9 12 8 2 Last seen at 1 Pokémon Super-Mystery Dungeon Nintendo
14 12 7 1 * New Arrival! Tokyo Xanadu Falcom
16 17 18 17 7 Last seen at 3 Dragon Quest VIII: Voyage of the Cursed King Square Enix
18 2 * * * New Arrival! Uber-Dimensional Tag - Blanc & Neptunia vs. the Zombie Horde Compile Heart
22 26 36 29 3 New Arrival! Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen Aquaplus
27 23 20 5 * New Arrival! Nights of Azure Gust
30 27 22 4 * New Arrival! Nights of Azure Gust
35 49 57 38 14 New Arrival! Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen Aquaplus
37 37 37 30 9 New Arrival! Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen Aquaplus
41 39 43 44 33 Last seen at 29 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Best Price!) Capcom
44 47 53 Off 44 Last seen at 34 Pokémon Alpha Sapphire The Pokémon Co.
47 34 27 14 * New Arrival! Nights of Azure Gust
48 32 29 23 6 New Arrival! Genkai Tokki Moero Crystal Compile Heart
50 55 Off Off 47 Last seen at 44 Pokémon Omega Ruby The Pokeémon Co.
Off-list Off 46 53 29 Last seen at 25 Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Edition Gung-Ho Entertainment
Off-list Off Off 33 18 New Arrival! Witch and the Hundred Knight Revival Nippon Ichi
Off-list Off Off Off 39 Last seen at 37 Yo-Kai Watch 2: Shin'Uchi Level-5
Off-list Off Off Off 45 Last seen at 49 Bravely Second Square Enix
Off-list Off Off Off 48 Last seen at 30 Dragon's Dogma: Limited Edition Capcom
Off-list Off Off Off 50 Last seen at 38 Super Robot Wars BX Bandai-Namco
Source: Famitsu Online

Let's finish this right with some trailers, shall we? First up is one for Nippon Ichi's newest, Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain

In the mysterious city of Refrain, there is a dungeon. No one is sure what lies in its depths, because most people are soon overcome by the dark energies within and die of strange illnesses. One day, however, a witch named Doronia comes to town. (It should be noted that in the space above her name, "Baba Yaga" is given as an alternate pronunciation). In her possession is a magic grimoire which holds the vital force/information for a large number of warrior puppets. These puppets have the appearance of real people, but not the will, and more importantly they are not affected by the labyrinth's miasma.

What will Doronia discover in the depths? And, as quoted in the video above, who shall have the last laugh? Who, for that matter, will do the laughing? That remains to be seen, but so far this one is looking nicely gothic.

And now, on to...

... a new smartphone title from Bandai-Namco and CyberConnect2. It is the first installment of the so-called "Project N.U.", titled New World - Ginrui no Otome, or "Girl of the Silver Tears" (though I have to note that I've never seen that particular kanji for tears before).

Anyway, the trailer says, "Another world unfolds in the palm of your hand. A world that should be destroyed, but is not. A new world, revived. A place that awaits your promised return." After that, we get snippets like "The Ancient City", "The girl awakens", and "The flames of Megiddo." And finally, "Gather in the city (of Maku Anu) and the legend shall begin." Some poking around on Google Japan tells me that Maku Anu is the name of a city in the .hack games.

Any fans of that series in the house and willing to comment?

Source: 4Gamer Online

OK, if I ever get this far behind on sales rankings again, someone message my wife and tell her to whack me upside the head, okay?

This update was brought to you by the newest seasonal soda to come from the deranged minds at Pepsico: Pepsi Ghost.

If anyone's curious, it tastes a lot like Dr. Pepper. I'm the #1 buyer of this stuff from my local Family Mart. While supplies last.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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