Archive for March, 2012


News

March 28th, 2012

Not too many new games this month:

The seiyuu for Confidential Money were announced:
Kirishima Shun (CV: Toriumi Kousuke) – A genius with a 190 IQ who leads the group. He’s Japanese.
Daniel Johnson (CV: Miki Shinichirou) – A natural athlete who’s good with guns and joins the group to pay his friend’s medical bills, who protected him and got hurt instead
Allan Morris (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru) – The quiet and serious treasurer, he’s a former air force member and can pilot anything.
Michael Watson (CV: Nojima Kenji) – a genius programmer and hacker
Raymond Davis (CV: Kawada Shinji) – a perceptive conman with a poisonous tongue
Luke (CV: Tokumoto Yukitoshi) – The coldhearted, do-S sniper who’s trying to get money to escape his criminal group, he’s also the resident pervy guy.

Other than that, there was some more info on Koi Sentai Love & Peace The P.S.P., which I’m really looking forward to, and lots of pages on drama CDs, which are great, but I want more games! Also several pages on Ai wa Kat-tun, which I’m pretending not to have seen.

I also heard a rumour that Kazuki Yone (Hakuouki’s artist) is being hired by someone for another game! That would be awesome.

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Hana Awase

March 27th, 2012

B’s Log came with a huge book for Hana Awase!
It has lots of gorgeous art by Yura.

The heroine, Mikoto, transfers to Kasen Campus where the students (mostly the male ones) are trying to become ‘kaei’ – people who control hanafuda (flower seals) and can use them to play ‘Hana Awase’, a game in which they can bring forth power (to do things? it’s kinda vague). Mikoto likes card games, sewing and cooking, and easily gets involved in things. She gets interested in Hana Awase. The five boys in each year who win’ are called the Five Lights.
Vocab time:
華詠 (Kaei): The few (usually) boys who can use the power of hanafuda.
華アワセ (hanaawase): the competition level of kasen, which is so dangerous it can be fatal. It is only done by kaei and minamo. What the public knows is the ‘hanautsushi’ version only.
水妹 (minamo): The girls who support the kaei with all their body and soul. Always pure young maidens, one kaei will need many minamo to get strong, but a minamo can only dedicate themselves to one kaei.
泉姫 (senki): A minamo who is so strong that she can support a kaei all by herself and has enough power to move heaven and earth. There are no minamo at present who rise to that level, so right now the senki is like a legend.
華遷 (kasen): the game which uses hanafuda. It’s done at ceremonies, contests, and even required for national relations (international? not sure).

Characters:

Iroha (CV: Terashima Takuma) – the top of the top, the top of the Five Lights, and the object of the student’s admiration. He’s perfect and cool, and never shows emotion. He also has the ‘eyes of the moon’, which means that people can’t help but be attracted to him and there’s rumoured to be a test to get into his Chisengumi(地仙組). The heroine also has this, but ‘the moon’ hasn’t appeared yet in her. Iroha acts the same way to everyone and is totally uninterested in love, but for some reason always shows up to help the heroine in a pinch.


Mizuchi (CV: Fukuyama Jun) – Brought up in a very strict household, Mizuchi believes in following the rules, and hates anyone who breaks them or betrays him. He’s used to discipline and became a Kaei as soon as he came to Kasen. He values the Minamo highly and treats them very well, grateful that they give him power, and so there are always lots of girls in his (鴻鵠組) who want to be his Minamo. He admires Iroha and wants to be like him more than anything else. Because he’s so used to controlling himself, he has no experience with love, and has never looked at any of the Minamo in a more-than-innocent way.


Himeutsugi (CV: Tachibana Shinnosuke) – He got into Kasen by special selection, and like Mizuchi, quickly became a Kaei. He’s strong but modest, and always stays back a step from groups, but somehow has an open personality that makes people love him. He doesn’t like conflict, so doesn’t start Kasen contests on his own, but once he starts, he gives it his all. The people in his Gekkougumi (月光組) are mostly kind like him, and he takes very good care of his Minamo. He’s never had a serious relationship since he couldn’t stand to hurt someone’s feelings and he’s never let himself fall for someone…until he meets the heroine.


Karekurenagi (CV: Hino Satoshi) – He transferred in second year and quickly became a Kaei to everyone’s surprise. He is equally admired and feared, and often skips school to find trouble outside. He only plays Kasen when he wants. He always is with Minamo from his Oukagumi(桜花組), and treats everyone in his group as his possessions. He seems to switch them all the time, but the girls appear to enjoy being played with by him.


Utsutsu (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki) – He became a Kaei in his second year, but disappeared shortly after. There are rumours as to what happened, but no one knows for sure. Right now his ‘Houougumi’ (鳳凰組) is led by a deputy, but without the charisma of a Kaei, it’s very small and there aren’t many Minamo. He knows the heroine, although it’s unclear how they meet, and he feels positively towards her. The quote on his page says, “Mikoto is my special one. I only need Mikoto by my side”.

Just talking about Hana Awase took a long time, so I’m going to do the rest of the news on Wednesday!

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Mobile games and Pirates in Love

March 24th, 2012

Many fans know that there are tons of mobile otome games available, but most are only for users on Japanese cell phone networks. However, there are some that seem to be available in other ways and I’m trying to track down how. So far I’ve gotten a Yahoo Japan ID, which allows me to start playing some f2p games, but I haven’t actually paid for any yet (I’m not sure if it will work).

But even better than sneaking my way into getting Japanese mobile otoge, there are a few available in English! Pirates in Love was the first I knew of, and though it started out as iphone/ipad only, it’s now available for Android phones as well.

I’ve been playing it and it’s a lot of fun, although the translation is AWFUL. It’s so bad it’s actually hilarious, so, in a way, it makes the game even more entertaining. It’s a comedy already, so it doesn’t ruin the game.

The character designs are really nice, but the backgrounds are inconsistent, either barebones CG, nicely drawn, or some that look like altered photographs. There a few CGs for each character which are just as nice as the tachi-e – whoever the artist is, I really like their style. There are no voices at all, and though the music is alright, there are really only three tracks (maybe four?)

Overall, I’d recommend Pirates in Love, although it’s expensive for what it is – $4 for each route, where you can’t save more than once (per character) and there’s no scene replay. I don’t know whether there’s more than one ending per character.

The same company, Voltage, also makes A Forged Wedding, which I’ve downloaded but not tried yet. And there are several games called Shall We Date? that explore various settings like Heian, the Warring States period, and a Medieval Europe/princes setting. Unfortunately, they’re blocked on my phone because I’m in Canada – boo! I’m working on getting around that as well, because honestly if I want to buy the game, why can’t I?

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Tokyo Demons

March 20th, 2012

If you follow me on Twitter, you might’ve noticed my retweets about Tokyo Demons. It’s an online serialized novel (I’d call it sci-fi/drama/action) that my friends Lianne Sentar and Rebecca Scoble are writing, and not only is it REALLY good, it’s free to read online. Once you get into Chapters 2-3 (Chapter 1 is setting the story up and establishing characters, it’s not as fast paced) you’ll probably be sucked in for hours. AND. There is an audio version, with character voices, which is also free to download and listen to! (This may or may not include moi somewhere). Not to mention the totally gorgeous illustrations by rem (see that new banner ad on the right?)

Tokyo Demons is only the first volume of a trilogy, and it’s almost done – I believe Chapter 8 is the final chapter, and it’s mostly up. There is actually a Kickstarter online to fund Book 2 – more money means the novel and audio drama are done faster because they can take time off from work to write, plus giving some breathing room for art, sound effects, and lots of other fun stuff (including getting started on Book 3!).

I thought I’d do a little interview with Lianne and Rebecca to provide some teaser info and background on the characters and story.

===

ED: What is Tokyo Demons?
Lianne Sentar (LS): It’s a serialized prose and dramatized audio book, in the Japanese light novel format, with manga style illustrations. It’s about supernatural teenagers in underground gang war in Tokyo. And the heroine turns into bees.

ED: Describe the main characters – Ayase (the main heroine), Jo (the main hero), Sachi and Kiyoshi (two kinda-main male characters)?
Rebecca Scoble (RS): Ayase is a very quiet introvert who turns into bees.
LS: She’s your standard mild-mannered shoujo heroine, but with tremendous battle capability.
RS: And Jo is a likeable asshole and a vain pickpocket with street smarts.
LS: He’s a slick street kid who’s self-centred and cowardly. Sachi is basically the third wheel love interest from a shoujo manga for 12-year-old girls – the “genki” upbeat guy with his own secret power. And Kiyoshi is the damsel in distress. (laughs)

ED: What’s the basic story?
LS: The characters live parallel but separate lives, but are brought together through crazy circumstance. Both Ayase and Jo are loners for different reasons, and Tokyo Demons, the first book especially, is about them learning to work with other people and each other. It’s basically a coming of age story.

ED: Describe the current situation in Tokyo at the start of TD.
LS: There’s a web of different organizations, some driven by supernatural powers or superhuman drugs, and Ayase and Jo get pulled into things as a power struggle comes to a head.

ED: Okay, tell us about some of the different groups.
RS and LS:
Byakko: one of the street gangs, mostly high school kids. They’re into petty theft.
Seiryuu: Byakko’s rival gang, also mostly high school kids.
Core: A mysterious crime syndicate that controls its members with a certain steroid-like drug.
The Church: A multifaith organization that uses its knowledge of supernatural phenomena to deal with threats. Some operatives have been sent to Tokyo to deal with the rise of Core.

Kiri: We can’t tell you anything about them without spoiling everything.

ED: Describe the relationships. (Note: there’s a pretty cool relationship chart on the website for all of us who like diagrams :D)
LS: Ayase gets trapped between lots of men, and there is lots of romantic tension. It’s complicated.
RS: Jo is in love with himself. (lots of laughter)

LS: Ayase and Jo are based on shoujo leads and shounen leads. Shoujo (Ayase) is full of tangled romantic relationships, and shounen (Jo) is mostly goal-oriented. The first half of Tokyo Demons: Book 1 is more about Ayase developing, while the second half has more development for Jo. Jo and Ayase work together – we were trying to combine the best of shoujo and shounen, and improve on their weaknesses (eg. having a more cynical, self-aware and powerful heroine than most shoujo, and a smarter hero than most shounen).

ED: Where did the idea for TD come from?

LS: We first designed it ten years ago. It was a combined effort with Rebecca and our friend Adam Ford. Rebecca designed Ayase, Adam designed Jo, and I designed the world. We created the story together.

===

I hardly ever (once a year maybe?) read fiction online (nowadays most of my reading is done on the PSP ;P) but I strongly recommend trying out Tokyo Demons. It has a strong plot – there are some things I only know because I get insider knowledge :D but I can’t wait for the fans to figure them out from the foreshadowing. The characters are also well-written – Ayase is awesome, and I can’t help but like Jo even though he is totally a cocky teenage boy. I read most of the book before first listening to the audio drama, but now I can’t wait for the next chapter to come out – it’s excellent, and it just keeps getting better.

So check the website out! If you want to know more before jumping in, there are teasers, trailers, extras, – and then the novel and drama will pull you in and never let you go (mwahahaha!).


Kickstarter vid and general awesome rundown of Tokyo Demons

And I’d love to hear what you think about it – so to encourage you, I’m going to give away three of the bookmarks available with rem’s lovely art on them to commenters on this post – if there are lots then I’ll take the first three who correctly answer the following:

  1. What is the name of Ayase and Jo’s high school?
  2. Who does Kiyoshi like?
  3. (Advanced) Who is the leader of Byakko?

And you can pick whichever bookmark you like and I’ll send it to you, postage included.

[Edit: I realized after seeing the first comment that I can’t approve any till all three winners are there, because otherwise someone could copy answers! So I’ll wait a day or two before approving the current comments, but I do see them!]

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Hana Awase

March 20th, 2012

There’ll be a big post tomorrow, but for now the cast for Yura’s new game, Hana Awase, has been announced: Terajima Takuma, Fukuyama Jun, Tachibana Shinnosuke, Hino Satoshi, and Sugiyama Kishou. I think the B’s Log I’m getting this week will have details.

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Weekend videos

March 17th, 2012

Some new vids out:


Vampire Sweetie, the R18 game from Sugar Beans that looks really sweet (I’m hoping it actually is)
 

Arabian’s Lost – it’s all showing CGs. I wonder if they removed the gameplay T.T


Kami-sama to Koigokoro – the new game from Takuyo where you’re a novice and fall for priests-in-training (and one actual priest I believe)


Bakudan Handan, coming in June about the niece of Inspector Layton(IIRC) and a bomb scare in an amusement park.


Jyuzaengi! Cat people in ancient China! And look, the PV has some animation. I think I’m pre-ordering this.


The new R18 game PersonA based on Phantom of the Opera.


Hitofuta Kihyou coming from Profitrolle March 28 for the PC.


Brothers Conflict Passion Pink, for the first half of the new stepbrother romance.

And finally, one adaptation, I want to get this but I have the PS2 versions…

Scarred Rider Xechs + fandisk portable

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AmiAmi – good prices for games!

March 16th, 2012

I finally checked out AmiAmi, and though their shipping isn’t free like YesAsia, the prices are cheaper, especially if you want to get limited editions. And since YesAsia seems to take longer and longer these days, I’m trying out AmiAmi for Ouma ga Toki. I’ll see how long it takes to get here, I’m choosing the relatively cheap SAL option.

Also, they have lots of drama CDs and other stuff – they had Alice x Cross but it’s almost all sold out :(

And my favourite part is that their otome games are in a whole separate section called “Games -> Bishonen“! LOL And you can even get (if you want) the tokuten version – some games come with special store exclusives. AmiAmi’s seem to be mostly library cards (cards you can use to buy stuff at bookstores I think), so I wouldn’t get them, although I have some from my shoujo manga days and they can be addictive to collect (they’re usually pretty and small, so they’re easy to store! but they’re functionally useless). I see that the Aoiza re-release comes with a drama CD…damn you Otomate! \(*`∧´)/ ムッキー!!  Although really, charging more for the store-exclusive ones is a bit…I mean, I thought that point of it was to make you pre-order/buy the game new as opposed to waiting and buying it used somewhere. Oh well. Now I’m off to fill in my wishlist!

 

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Arcana Famiglia Redux

March 15th, 2012

As Ebi pointed out, I have had the wrong idea about Arcana Famiglia since the beginning – I thought the game came from a series of novels, but it seems like the only thing that came out before the game were some drama CDs, and those were specifically leading up to the game. Time for some geeky detective work(my favourite kind)!

Arcana Famiglia Twitter icons

Twitter icons - cute!

Looking back at the magazines, the first time I saw anything was way back in the July 2010 Girl’s Style (released in June 2010!). It just had teaser pics of the guys (no Dante, guess he came after lol), with quotes – for some it seems a little different from their final personalities. It’s interesting because B’s Log doesn’t cover it at all until a year later, in their August 2011 (sold in June) issue! Although, they had it in their calendar for a few months before that. Maybe Girls’ Style had an exclusive deal or something.

Comfort was the actual creator although HuneX published it. Its vision was to be a combo of shounen manga (thus all the comic style speech bubbles and action) and otome game (with everything else). And it definitely succeeded – it will be an anime during the Summer 2012 season. It seems like the plot of the show is the same as the game, which I’m a little disappointed in – I thought they could have started it earlier and shown some history before getting into the tournament.

Just for funsies, here’s the first drama CD on Amazon.jp – Volume 1 Arcana Famiglia Piachure! La Primavera.

I haven’t finished Nova, who might be the last character I finish in Arcana for a while. Dante and Jory don’t interest me too much (although if I didn’t have such a backlog I’d totally finish it), but I’ve done everyone else. I find The Lovers ability pretty fun to use, I thought it was well done, and if you know where to look, I don’t find the fighting to be very difficult.

And after poring through magazines for an hour looking for it, I always forget how much is in them. Though I do the news monthly when I get them, it’s mostly just highlights – new games and ports/adaptations. There’s so much other stuff, including some fun little gag comics – I should put them on tumblr or something.

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Random

March 10th, 2012

Sorry, work has been kicking my ass lately and I haven’t had much time to game or write. I did start Strobe Mania, which has some interesting gameplay but is kind of boring so far.
Also been looking at fanart on pixiv, which is gorgeous and a great way to spend several hours when you have no energy :P So far I’ve really only checked out the Sangoku Renseki stuff, much of which is totally adorable.
And that’s it – pretty pathetic! Oh, the website for Confidential Money is open. Thank god it’s the weekend!

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Review – Arcana Famiglia

March 2nd, 2012

[EDIT] Hah, I totally meant to have more in this review but it posted without me realizing. I’ll do a part two tomorrow.

I wasn’t that interested in Arcana Famiglia for whatever reason, but Rita recommended it to me and I’m glad I got it on her rec. It’s enjoyable, has some innovative narrative tricks, and some neat (although mostly unnecessary) gameplay.

Arcana Famiglia the game is based on a series of novels of the same name. I’m not sure if the stories are totally the same (apart from the character endings which I’m pretty sure had to be created fresh), but you can tell that the worldbuilding is solid.

First, if you’re not familiar with the Tarot, it’s a set of cards that has 22 special cards called the Major Arcana. In the story, the Major Arcana can choose someone as their bearer, marking them with a stigmata, and that person gains powers depending on which card it is. There are also some heavy penalties to pay; these factor heavily into most of the storylines.

The heroine, Felicita, is the daughter of a mob boss, Il Mondo, who takes care of a Mediterranean island called Legalo. He has several teams of workers, each headed up by a captain who is a Major Arcana. On his 59th birthday (he’s looking good I must say!), Il Mondo announces that in two months, there will be a duel between all the existing Major Arcana holders, and the winner will 1) take over the boss role of the Arcana Famiglia, and 2) get to marry his daughter. In addition, she will be confined to the family mansion for the rest of her life.

Well, as you might guess, Felicita (along with some of the Arcana) don’t think too highly of this, so she determines to win the competition herself. Unfortunately she’s not that strong yet, so she needs to train.

Once you get through the introduction nad meeting all the characters, you start moving through days, choosing who to visit each day. Depending on the day, each guy might have just a chance encounter (short), a character event, or a love event. The game is nice and indicates this with symbols on the map selection screen. During most events, your choices affect the affection level of the guys. Also, you can use your Arcana power of The Lovers to peer inside the guy’s hearts and get a glimpse of their thoughts, also raising their affection a bit each time.

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