As long-time readers might recall, this is not a normal time of year for Japandemonium updates. Usually I am in the middle of a self-imposed internet blackout. But this year, I'm visiting family! I would have had an update last week, but frankly there was not enough time in my schedule. Between four days of Christmas-themed lessons to prep for, a few private lessons, packing, and one awesome Santa Claus gig, there just wasn't enough time. Nor was there a lot to talk about. In fact, before last Saturday it looked like there was only one item of note that met the JP criteria. It was a big item, but I wouldn't have had the time to research it properly.
Thankfully, someone else on staff knew the material better than I. Staff member Varie is joining us this week with her write-up on an odd Japanese genre mash-up, and hopefully not for the last time. So, in the spirit of cooperation, let's read on!
Two weeks ago at Jump Festa, Nintendo and Tecmo Koei announced that they have
collaborated to create a new game titled Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's
Ambition. The game features Nintendo's Pokémon RPG series and
Tecmo KOEI's Sengoku Period-based war simulator, Nobunaga's
Ambition. It was announced that Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's
Ambition would be a turn-based strategy RPG that takes place in an
alternate world based on Japan's Sengoku Period, the Ranse region.
In the game, the player will be able to choose a female or male
protagonist whose goal is to take over seventeen castles. Although the
castles may seem like the gym battles from the Pokémon series, based
on the information provided on the official website it seems that the
characters are limited to one pokémon. As there is little information
released about the battle system, perhaps it will be the battles where we
will see the influence of Nobunaga's Ambition in this game.
The pokémon the characters are paired with on the official site may be
seen as strategic to the game play. The female and male protagonists are
both given an Eevee as their pokémon partners. In the Pokémon
series, the Eevee is known to be a flexible pokémon as it can evolve to
almost any element the trainer exposes it to.
If you are familiar with the listed Nobunaga's Ambition characters
that are on the official site, it is not surprising that they are
strategically paired with those particular pokémon. For instance, Oda
Nobunaga's pokémon is Zekrom and Akechi Mitsuhide's pokémon is a Articuno.
Based on their type of pokémon, Zekrom being a dragon and electric pokémon
and Articuno being a ice and flying pokémon, they both have a double damage
weakness towards each other. Additionally, Zekrom receives half damage for
all flying attacks. Perhaps this is the game's reference to an event
during the Sengoku Period of Japan where Mitsuhide revolted and defeated
Nobunaga in what is called the Incident at Honnouji. Shortly after the
incident, Mitsuhide is later subdued by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of
Yamazaki. These events are also referenced in Pokémon Plus Nobunaga's
Ambition through their partnered pokémon. Hideyoshi's pokémon is an
Infernape which is a fire and fighting pokémon. The Infernape can cause
double fire damage against Mitsuhide's Articuno. However it receives a
double damage weakness against Articuno's flying attacks.
Another example would include Takeda Shingen's Goudon and Uesugi Kenshin's
Mewtwo. The Groudon is ground based and Mewtwo is psychic based.
Additionally, neither pokémon has a weakness against the other. One of the
reasons why Kenshin was assigned Mewtwo may be because he was believed to
be Bishamonten, a Japanese god of war. Also, Kenshin had several bouts
of psychological warfare with Shingen. As both pokémon stand on equal
ground, this may be a suggestion of the five Battles of Kawanakajima which
neither Kenshin nor Shingen won.
Something to note is that the Nobunaga's Ambition character cameos
are based on designs from Tecmo Koei's Samurai Warriors 3, a Sengoku
Period based hack-and-slash game. In other words, future character
announcements may be limited to the characters available on the Samurai
Warriors 3 roster.
If you thought that Nintendo teaming up with Tecmo Koei was an odd match
for the next Pokémon game. It could have been much stranger. Had
Nintendo collaborated with Capcom's Sengoku BASARA series, a Sengoku
Period based hack-and-slash game, we might have had a chance of seeing
cannon toting Jesuits in Pokémon.
Let's all give Varie a hand here. That's quite a bit of background and subtext behind those pokémon choices, and I know I sure would have missed them. From those Jump Festa shots, it looks like this game will definitely follow the tactical RPG model, which should be interesting to see. This game is scheduled for a Spring 2012 release, and I'll definitely be checking it out.
Last week, Nihon Falcom announced a sixth entry in the Kiseki branch of the Legend of Heroes series. Now introducing Nayuta no Kiseki.
So, the big question is, "What does the name mean?" Sora no Kiseki means "trails in the sky." Zero no Kiseki might be "trails of/towards zero. Ao no Kiseki is "trails of blue," using an incredibly rare kanji for the color. Nayuta no Kiseki is a bit harder. A Google search for "nayuta" will get you links to a J-pop singer, an old anime from the 90s, and this game. Most dictionaries I consulted did not have this word in them, and the one that did, translated it as simply "nayuta." One result made more sense than anything else, and that was actually a number. A really, really big number. As in 1072. I would try and type that all out here, but it'd be about as long as the entire column. It also listed a Buddhist dictionary as its source, but when I checked a Buddhist glossary I came up with the much more manageable 100,000, 1,000,000 or 10,000,000. In any case, it can apparently also be used as a stand-in for any really big number. Hopefully this does not refer to the amount of text in this game.
No firm details have been given on the story, except that it follows directly from Ao no Kiseki. There isn't a release date yet, either.
It's been a while since we've seen anything about Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos, mainly because that game was released back in July. Starting on the 21st of December, however, select characters from the Queen's Blade series have found their way into Arc Sign, an online RPG from Hanbit.
Airi and Menas are the first two characters to appear, though Tomoe and Aldra are scheduled to appear in January. More are likely to follow. Each costs 30 Hanbit coins in-game, and apparently they include the Armor Break system as well, for all that may imply.
Movie time! Behold, the opening sequence for Amatsuma's sword-and-sorcery Amazon slashfest, Code of Princess.
We saw four of the major characters last time, but four more are new. Let's introduce them quickly.
From left to right, we have Marneko Polo, Helga Hermina, Doraken T. Kiba, and Tsukikage Shooting-Starnosuke (Starsky?). There's no real explanation given for their presence in the plot, and I cannot even be sure about some of the name games employed, but from the newest screens they definitely seem to have some time in battle.
Yes this has taken forever to send in, I know. I'm terrible at actually
sending these things in instead of responding to them apparently. You may
now commence mocking me.
Tsk, tsk, shame on you!
Anyway, I decided to go completely bizarre with my idea for an East/West
cross over RPG and go with one series that doesn't have an RPG, and one
where the RPGs are a side series. Yes, you guessed correctly, I am
a Mario and Rayman crossover RPG.
Honestly, I have never played Rayman. Spin me a scenario.
Obviously this will be in the style of Mario's RPG outings, with a bit of
platforming to the gameplay and timed button presses and such in battles.
They could have a lot of fun with such a story, making fun of the two mute
heroes, all the interactions between the secondary characters, and just
inject all kinds of silliness. As for a title? I'll go with Mario and
Rayman: Bowser's Raving Rabbid Caper.
Nice title, but what's the plot?
On to other things, I have to ask, the new SaGa game is a phone game?
Really? What's going with the series? I like the remakes and all, but did
Unlimited Saga just kill any momentum for new SaGa games?
Yes, it is. I need to check it out again to see if it'll be possible to get it on my phone. I owe it to the series to at least give it a shot. Unlimited Saga didn't do the series any favors, that's for sure. Hopefully the three full-contact remakes since then have raised the series' profile more. There have also been those villain cameos in the Lord of Vermilion games. For that matter, the remakes have been so much of an improvement on the original games that they might as well count as new, considering the amount of work that had to have gone into them. Time will tell, and I do hope that Romancing SaGa II will be announced for a remake this next year.
Finally, I've heard rumors that
Valkyria Chronicles 4
will show up on the
Vita and PS3, which would give it the best chance to succeed in all markets
in my opinion. Do you think the series has any future outside of Japan?
That's all, talk to you soon!
Any future? That's a tough call, because a series can only have a future if the publishers are willing to let it have a chance of a future. Even then, it's hard to imagine an RPG series, any series, getting enough publicity in the US. Word of mouth just isn't enough to get the sales necessary to count as "success" in the US these days.
p.s. How's 7th Dragon 2020 doing?
We're looking at about 150,000 copies sold going into the Christmas season, so I suppose it's doing pretty well.
Thanks for (finally) writing in! For our next challenge, I say we put some more Christmas in our RPGs. Any way, any means, but I want a plot synopsis this time!
I have a Pokemon question and a Pokemon comment. You asked at the bottom of a recent column about odd translations. I can't think of anything for errors off the top of my head but I will say that playing Pokemon in Japanese and then English can be odd for me. I don't think there is anything wrong with the translation (from what I can tell with my definitely not professional level Japanese skills). It's just weird for me to learn two sets of Pokemon names. The English names for the new Black and White Pokemon seem strange because I played that in Japanese first, but everything else is the opposite because I learned those in English. It was especially hard for me when you finally get to the point where you meet trainers who use the older Pokemon. It would say "[trainer] is about to use [Pokemon]. Will you switch your Pokemon?" Normally this would be a good way to get an advantage by switching in the right type Pokemon, but it doesn't work so well when you have no idea what Pokemon that corresponds to in English! So I would have to keep asking my Japanese friends to describe the Pokemon so I could try to guess what it was.
One of the examples I can come up with off the top of my head has to do with Pokémon, actually. Specifically the attack skill Astonish. The name of this skill always seemed off to me, as the attack animation never seemed that astonishing. Then I played through Pokémon Pearl in Japanese and realized that the original name for it, odorokasu, can actually translate as "surprise" or "startle." It's not as obvious a translation issue as some, but it's annoyed me for a while. Another one that surprised me was Atelier Totori's item translations, specifically the chestnut-like "uni." That's actually the word for sea urchin, which the spiky nuts resemble. I'd really expected them to be called tree urchins or something similar.
Incidentally, my Japanese friends had an N64 with Super Smash Brothers. I was surprised to discover that much of the voices that we have in the English version are exactly the same in the original. Even the stuff that's in English! I guess that's just one more instance of "English is cool so let's throw it in everything!" in Japan.
Sounds like a good example of "English is Cool" to me!
Okay, now for my Pokemon question. Did you see the news about the Nobunaga's Ambition/Pokemon game? I've never heard of Nobunaga's Ambition. I was really surprised that they're doing a crossover with another series. So my question is, what do you suppose the language level is going to be for this new game? It looks like it would be a fun game and I have no idea if it will come out in English. So I thought I might try it in Japanese. Do you think it will be released in English?
Nobunaga's Ambition has been with us for a while. The original game in the series was released stateside in 1988 for the Amiga, and 1989 for the NES. I was never a follower of the series, but apparently the source material is compelling enough to keep the games going for almost 25 years at this point, across practically every platform available. That the big guys at Koei decided to allow the 3DS iteration to be paired with the Nintendo series was certainly a big surprise. I think Varie did a good job talking about it up there, though.