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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
shiwasu no touka
Koyomi
Konnichiwa

Every year it seems that the days pass by just a little bit faster. That's why we need calendars, I suppose. I certainly have enough of them. There are six of the things hanging on the walls in my apartment. Only one of them actually serves a purpose — keeping track of the garbage details — and the rest are there for decoration. Four of them haven't been current in years.

There's also a calendar in my classroom, mainly because I need to mark my days off clearly and obviously or else I forget about them, too. Calendars have had various other uses for me as well. One year, I had an English vocabulary calendar that pretty much defined my lesson plans for the entire year. "What's today's topic? I'll check the calendar..." Eventually I converted the entire thing into flashcards and laminated posters, so I'm actually still using it to this day.

While my "Cute Kittens of the Year" 2013 calendar has gone over well with the students, especially the little kindergarten girls, I decided I wanted something bright and colorful going into the new school year. I found just the thing in the oddest of places — McDonald's.





It even came with a sticker sheet, so I am well prepared for the upcoming year.

11/25 ~ 12/1 11/18 ~ 11/24 11/11 ~ 11/17 11/3 ~ 11/10 10/27 ~ 11/2 Title Publisher Platform
2 5 5 2 1 Pokémon X/Y Pokémon Company
3 1 New Arrival! * * Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix
9 9 7 3 5 Monster Hunter 4 Capcom
13 7 1 New Arrival! * God Eater 2 Bandai-Namco
15 New Arrival! * * * Criminal Girls: Invitation Nippon Ichi
20 12 4 New Arrival! * God Eater 2 Bandai-Namco
Off-list 14 New Arrival! * * New Atelier Rorona Gust
Off-list 17 New Arrival! * * New Atelier Rorona Gust
Off-list 26 10 New Arrival! * Medabots Dual: Kabuto/Kuwagata Rocket Co.
Off-list - 22 New Arrival! * Starfrost Amazons Arc System Works
Off-list - 24 15 4 Cardboard Senki Wars Level-5
Off-list - 25 8 New Arrival! Metal Max 4: The Diva of Moonlight Kadokawa Games

On a stormy day in November, the students of Gekkoukan High School's Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad sit in their dorm as the school's Culture Day festival is washed out. In another part of Japan, the Investigation Team, students from Yaso-Inaba City's Yasogami High, are coming to the end of their own Culture Day festivities. Then the bell tolls.

They do not ask for whom the bell tolls, for it obviously tolls for them. These students know the terror of the Shadows and the power of the Persona, and nothing could be too surprising for them at this point. The heroes of Persona 3 are pulled into a slightly different version of their familiar Velvet Room, while the heroes of Persona 4 watch as their alma mater twists and warps into a Shadow-infested dungeon. Then 3 meets 4, and things get crazy.




No one's sure why or how these two groups of crazy kids have been drawn together, but there they are. Like any good story, this one has more than one side to it, and depending on the player's choice of hero the game's scenarios take different paths.

A few mysteries remain constant. Why is there now a clock tower outside of Yasogami High? Why have the Gekkoukan kids been pulled in? And who the heck are these two?


Rei and Zen are apparently first-year students at Yasogami High, except that no one really remembers them being there before now. Rei is sunny and happy, and able to summon corndogs and sweets seemingly out of nowhere. The kanji for her name traslates as "the sound of jewels," for what it's worth. Her best friend, Zen, takes his name from the kanji for "good," not the one for "contemplation." Either way, it doesn't suit him well.




We know this game's by the Etrian devs, but beyond that it's hard to say just how it'll play out. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has a sales date of June 5th, 2014, so there is plenty of time to find out.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

It's a sad fact that Japan won't get the PlayStation 4 until late February, but at least we've got lots of time to check out the upcoming releases. While the one RPG I tried for that system back in September left me with a lackluster impression, there are more impressive items on the horizon. The first one to mention is NAtURAL DOCtRINE (Kadokawa Games insists on that spelling).



According to the Famitsu article, the devs are striving to break new ground and set a new standard for strategy RPGs, which are big hopes to pin on a young IP and an untested console.

The title might in some way refer to the normal balance between human and non-human races in many fantasy games. The devs are quick to point out that in this game the humans are not necessarily good, nor are the non-humans necessarily bad. An example given is how humans might raid a non-human mine in order to steal a motherlode of the precious radiant ore that serves as the plot's main macguffin. While neither side is right or wrong, they are definitely at each other's throats.



Nevertheless, the main cast seems to be limited to humans. Zekelinde, Jeff, Anca, and Vasilisa are all members of the military guard of Veste City, though each has his or her own reasons and aspirations. They're assigned to protect the interests of the human-run mining operations. Mel, on the other hand, is a Golem-using brat who doesn't trust anyone, human or non. Whether there will be any explicitly non-human races represented as protagonists is yet to be seen.



I'm not sure how best to describe the action here, though it certainly looks different. Parallels to Valkyria Chronicles may be relevant here. In any case, the battles seem to include zones of maneuvering, formation-based combo attacks, and the ability to demolish parts of the scenery in order to progress in unexpected ways.

NAtURAL DOCtRINE won't be out till February 22nd due to its multi-platform release for the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. I might pick up the PS3 version sometime next year. It does look awfully tempting.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

In the past, Hyperdimension Neptune has taken us to various visions of the game industry as an actual universe. Now, in Cho-Megami Shinkou Noir: Gekigami Black Heart (Hyper Goddess Belief System Noir: Super Divine Black Heart), Compile Heart takes us to the world of Gemushijou (Gamarket), an allegorical representation of Japan's video game market. How the Black Heart Goddess Noir arrived at a mirror version of Gamindustri is unknown, but this technicolor realm needs her help. And, in a first for this series, she'll get loads of tactical assistance.


Which is to say, this game is a tactical RPG. All the usual console and company avatars make an appearance, but what characters remain to be introduced, well, there lies the mystery.

Hyper Goddess ... Noir (etc. etc.) is due out on the PS Vita at the end of May, 2014.

Source: Famitsu Weekly
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Yakuza 5 (PS3 The Best) Sega 12.5.13
Dragon Quest X (v. 2.0) Square Enix 12.5.13
Gaist Crusher Capcom 12.5.13
Bravely Default: For the Sequel Square Enix 12.5.13
Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy: Big Bang / Supernova Level-5 12.5.13
Puzzle & Dragon Z Gung-Ho Online Entertainment 12.12.13
Hometown Story Toybox 12.12.13
Drakengaard 3 Square Enix 12.19.13
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Square Enix 12.26.13
Final Fantasy X HD Square Enix 12.26.13
Final Fantasy X-2 HD Square Enix 12.26.13
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Nintendo 12.26.13
Source: Dengeki Online

If I don't see you all before the new year, have a Merry Christmas, Solstice, or Kwanzaa. I'd say Hanukkah as well, but it seems I missed that holiday this year. And if anyone is having a merry Saturnalia, let me know. That sounds like it might be a rocking good party.

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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