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Japanator

The best toys and anime of 2013

Jan 04 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Best toys/anime photo
As voted by Tomopop and Japanator
Our sister sites Tomopop and Japanator had their own respective end of the year awards, just like we did! On Tomopop, they named the gorgeous Poison Ivy figure from Sideshow as the best static figure of 2013. A little more ga...

Contest: Win Tickets to Japan Expo!

Aug 16 // Tim Sheehy
To enter, just like the Japan Expo Facebook page, and write on the wall "Japanator rules the moon!" Yup, the moon -- those guys rule it. Over the next couple days we'll choose a few random posts to give tickets to. One lucky winner may even have a chance to punch me or Japanator's Josh Totman on the convention floor -- probably Josh, not me. He'll never see it coming. In fact, Santa Clara is pretty close to the Destructoid office, so I wouldn't be even surprised if our robot decided to show. Who knows, it could happen. Japan Expo will also be hosting some amazing guests this year, including Gainax's Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, BONES president Masahiko Minami, and from the Ace Attorney series, Tasuro Iwamoto and Noriyuki Iwadare. Bringing the music will be You Kikkawa, J☆Dee’Z, Dempagumi.inc, and 1000say. We hope to see you guys there.  
Contest photo
Anime, games, and more!
Next week, Japan Expo launches its first convention on US soil! Japanator's Hiroko Yamamura had the pleasure of attending their expo in Paris last year, and was totally blown away by all the exciting event...

P4 Arena photo
P4 Arena

Persona 4 Arena follow-up starts location test in Japan


Two new characters added to the roster
Aug 16
// Tim Sheehy
[Update: It's unclear as to whether this is a full blown sequel or just a big update, but the Japanese used to describe it is "zokuhen," a word reserved for sequels and continuations. As of this writing only two new charac...
Japan Expo photo
Japan Expo

Japan Expo to host Ace Attorney art director


Tatsuro Iwamoto announced as Guest of Honor
Aug 06
// Tim Sheehy
[As originally posted on Japanator] With the first North American event set to take place later this month, Japan Expo has announced their Video Game Guest of Honor for the show -- freelance illustrator Tatsuro Iwamoto, perha...

Wii Fit Trainer photo
Wii Fit Trainer

Japanese artists think Wii Fit Trainer is smokin'


Gotta love that bleached Michael Jackson skin
Jun 19
// Tony Ponce
The fourth Smash Bros. was only announced last week, but fans the world over have already contributed a wealth of art based on the three new characters. However, Japanese art community pixiv has taken a particularly big shine...
Final Fantasy IX photo
Final Fantasy IX

A new Final Fantasy IX side quest was discovered


The game still delivers 13 years later
May 27
// Tony Ponce
Our Lord of Lords Jim Sterling considers Final Fantasy IX to be his favorite game in the series. I wish I could share in his exuberance -- though I own a physical copy of FFIX, I've yet to actually play it. This newest disco...
Ace Attorney photo
Ace Attorney

Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies gets a Japanese web demo


A Flash demo? How quaint!
May 15
// Tony Ponce
Capcom has finally slapped a proper localized title onto Ace Attorney 5, hereby known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, and will be bringing it out West this fall. Unfortunately, it will be an eShop-only relea...
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Ghost in the Shell gets new anime movies, online game


Four prequels and a First-Person Shooter
Feb 12
// Josh Tolentino
Big news for fans of Ghost in the Shell! Barely hours ago a live event was held announcing a bevy of new projects related to the franchise, and Japanator's own Elliot Gay was there to catch new reveals like malware at a cybe...
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Finally, a new Dynasty Warriors-style Kamen Rider game


Took 'em long enough
Jan 16
// Josh Tolentino
Well, it's about time! Toei's Kamen Rider was a Dynasty Warriors before Dynasty Warriors of a sort, defined as it was by a lone hero in a ridiculous costume effortlessly plowing through hordes of weak mini...

Review: Corpse Party

Dec 20 // Chris Walden
Corpse Party (PlayStation Network)Developer: Team GrisGrisPublisher: XSEED GamesRelease date: November 22, 2011MSRP: $19.99 The game opens to a group of kids at their school, late at night. They are telling ghost stories and having a good time, commemorating the last day one of the girls will be spending at this school. After a short while they are discovered by their assistant teacher, who supervises them rather than sending them home. At the conclusion of the nights events, one of the girls proposes they create a charm to remember the night by. After the creation of the charm, the school is hit by an earthquake, separating the group. They each begin to realise that they are in the long since demolished Heavenly Host Elementary School, which used to exist in place of their current school. They can't seem to escape, and something in the school wants them dead.  While the game is certainly a visual novel, there is much more to the game than the dialogue. You will control either a single person or a small group at a time, where you will search the school for friends and a method of escape. However, things will never be as simple as that, so you will have to actively deal with the situations that Heavenly Host is throwing at you. Items can be found to aid progression, but the inventory system isn't as complex as you might imagine. This isn't a bad thing, however, as Corpse Party is most definitely an exploration-type game at heart. It's the terrifying situations and lonesome walks down quiet corridors that really put you on edge. That isn't an exaggeration either. One of the most intriguing features of Corpse Party is that the actions of one person can affect the surroundings of the others. While everyone is trapped in the same school, they are trapped in 'closed space' variants. This means that while two people could be standing in the same area, if they are in different closed spaces, they won't be able to see each other. This does mean that something you see while exploring the school will later actually occur while you are controlling another student or group. An example of this is seen with a boarded up toilet. In one story it's open and accessible, but in another, set before the time you visited it previously, you have to remove a barricade. Changes to the school itself are reflected in all the closed spaces, so when you notice something different, it always leaves you guessing as to what has caused it, as well as the safety of your friends.  The visual style features a very sleek use of pixel art, not dissimilar to titles like Disgaea. Scenery looks great and fits the tone of the game, with the level layout helping create a barren and utterly terrifying school. The characters themselves look a little strange to begin with, as they are rendered a little lighter and somewhat rougher. Over time, it becomes obvious that this is to make the characters stand out, and with various character sprite animations to help drive home the dialogue, it's a pretty effective combination. Of course, you wont always be looking at sprite art. As with most visual novels, key scenes will be displayed with some stunning anime-style artwork. It really helps with characterisation, as the emotional attachments you gain while playing the game and learning all about the characters make the 'bad endings' all the more brutal.  Those of you who watch a lot of subbed anime might recognise some of the voice actors in this game, as they've managed to bring in a lot of big name seiyūs. Hiro Shimono (Keima from The World God Only Knows), Rina Satō (Misaka from Toaru Kagaku no Railgun), Satomi Arai (Kuroko from Toaru Kagaku no Railgun) and Tomokazu Sugita (Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) are less than half of the top-notch actors behind the voices. They really haven't skimped on quality, which shows in the plentiful scenes that will be tugging on your heart strings. To put it simply, they do an absolutely fantastic job. There are many, many scenes in which something is going terribly wrong. Something so severe in which you simply respond by mashing the 'x' button, as you frantically read through the text and hope that everything is going to be all right. While the dialogue and scenery are key players in putting you into such a rabid state, it's the music that seals the deal. Most of the music will start with a retro sound, slowly building up to a frantic and atmospheric piece that really keeps the anxiety flowing. There's no way I can speak justice for it, so listen to the following track and make sure your jaw doesn't hit anything on its way down: [embed]218252:42176[/embed] Don't expect to be simply breezing through the in-game text. At certain points in the game you'll have to pick between two different options, with the subsequent scenario often changing based on your answer. While there is a 'true' story that must be followed to see the game to its end, wrong turns and actions can lead to the infamous 'bad end'. As the name of the game subtly suggests, they don't end well for the characters involved. A 'bad end' can be met by doing an obviously bad move such as touching a hostile enemy, but sometimes decisions such as leaving a room can trigger them. The game does keep track of the unique endings you've seen, so you'll feel like going out of your way to trigger them in order to learn what might happen, however gruesome it ends up to be. I'm not usually one to shy away from gore in video games, and I'm a pretty big fan of both the Higurashi and Umineko visual novels, but some of the 'bad end' scenes in this game really got to me. Not in a bad sense, far from it in fact, but it's damn rare to have a game literally slap you round the face with an event you knew was going to be bad.  This leads me on to one of the very few issues I have with the game. While you have to go out of your way in order to achieve some of the 'bad ends', there are a few points in the game where it is hard not to get them. There's a particular section in chapter two in which you have to avoid contact with someone that is chasing you, and until you can figure out the best places to route around the guy, you'll hit him and trigger the bad ending. This isn't the issue though, as the problem lies with not being able to skip the bad ends after seeing them through before. The bad end that this particular scene in chapter two offers, while it is fantastic, is far from short. When you mess up a few times at this part, it's hard not to get frustrated over it. That said, this is the only time that I ever really encountered getting the same ending more than twice, so it's not a persistent downer on the game.  A straight playthrough of the game won't take you too long, and judging by my play time it should take around four to five hours. However, there is plenty of bonus content that will push your play time further. Besides the aforementioned multiple endings (of which there are staggering thirty-seven), there are also ten 'extra' chapters to unlock and play through. All of this considered, the game will probably eat in excess of ten hours of your time, should you play it to completion, and it's most certainly a game worth replaying. Subsequent playthroughs are going to be shorter once you know what to do, but playing again after knowing the events of Corpse Party offers its own experience. It's kind of like watching a film a second time and spotting all of the subtle details that hint at later events.  Perhaps the reason why Corpse Party leaves you stunned at every turn is because the game creates such distinct and seemingly deep characters. In a game where death is a recurring feature, it needs to work fast at building an emotional connection between you and those involved, so that you actually feel like you care when something bad happens. We've all seen games where death is shrugged off or even laughed at, but the small drops of information that are given about each character are sufficient enough to avoid this problem. For example, we can learn that a girl is an acting-mother to her young brother, that even though she's worried sick about him she can put on a brave face when there are skeletons and gore strewn across a school that shouldn't exist. You start to feel sorry for her, and when you really start to enjoy the character and want to learn more, the game picks the prime moment to snatch her away. You are left stunned and want to carry on, to learn of the backlash it will cause and how people will cope. Then the game drops in a tiny, minute long scene about this brother being all alone. I haven't cared so much for a set of fictional characters in a long time, and it's something that both the writers and the translators need to be commended for.  To summarise, if you fancy embarking on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs in the emotion department, this is certainly worth the asking price. It's a definite purchase for fans of horror games and/or visual novels, but I think that should you have a PSP and aren't against buying one of the top games I've had the pleasure of playing this year, you really should try it out. I sincerely hope that the sequel will soon find it's way into the English language.
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It's a shame that the humble visual novel so rarely sees a release outside of Japan. Games like those in the Ace Attorney series have helped generate interest out here in the west, but they are still far from commonplace. How...

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Disaster: MotorStorm Apocalypse canceled in Japan forever


Jun 09
// Josh Tolentino
In a turn of events that feels rather sad, Sony Japan has officially cancelled a Japanese release of the PS3 racing game Motorstorm: Apocalypse, which had earlier been placed on indefinite suspension. Sony gave no specific re...
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L.A. Noire week kicks off across the network


May 09
// Matthew Razak
I think it's pretty safe to say that everyone on Destructoid is excited for the release of L.A. Noire, but it isn't the only site on the network excited for the game. That's why the sites of the Modern Method network have joi...
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PSA: Tweet Japanator and win Ys I & II Chronicles for PSP


Feb 25
// Josh Tolentino
Destructoid isn't the only site that runs awesome game-related contests! Our sister site Japanator - the happening place when it comes to Japanese cartoons, comics and other such things, is running a cool contest alongside XS...
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Win passes to NYAF/NYCC in Japanator voice acting contest


Sep 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Our tentacle-obsessed sister site, Japanator, is giving away passes to New York Anime Fest and New York Comic Con, taking place on October 8-10. All you have to do to enter is watch the provided anime videos over on Japanator...
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Otakon '10: Videogame cosplay and more


Jul 31
// Dale North
If you're out to see good cosplay, Baltimore's Otakon is one of the best events to attend. Anime Expo in LA is pretty good too, but Otakon is even better that Comic-Con. People love videogames here, and I always encourage gam...
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Videogame cosplay at Anime Expo 2010


Jul 06
// Dale North
The internet gives cosplayers a hard time, but there are a few key events each year in America that have good cosplay. Los Angeles' Anime Expo is definitely one of them. We make it a point to go out every year and cover the e...
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Xenoblade ad encourages you to use a woman's body


Jun 05
// Jonathan Holmes
Here's another example of Nintendo's new push to appeal to the "traditional" gamer, this time from Nintendo of Japan. This quick ad for Xenoblade features one of the forty eight members of the the overpopulated Japanese pop ...
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J-rock hinted at for Rock Band, Japan version mostly dead


May 18
// Ben Perlee
You know, it has been almost two years since Harmonix made the announcement of a Japanese version of Rock Band. Co-developed with Q-Entertainment, Rock Band: Japan was going to be the grand cash-in to the land of moonspeak. S...
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DRM we can back: Humiliating pirates for fun and profit


Mar 30
// Jim Sterling
Japanese game studio 0verflow is populated by geniuses. Rather than combat piracy with oppressive DRM, the developers of erotic title Cross Days is tackling the thieves in a more direct way -- wielding abject humiliation...
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Best of the Network this week


Oct 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Optimus Prime as a train? Sounds crazy, but it works! Now lets see Megatron as a blimp. On Destructoid, we brought you an inside look at the new Microsoft retail store. On Japanator, Idol of the Week is the best series ever. ...
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Best of the Network this week


Oct 11
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Tomopop continues to allow me to promote my love for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Pedro Cortes reviewed Uplark's Viral figure and the figure looks great. On Destructoid, we elaborated on ridiculousness of the Metroid Prime vs ...
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TGS 09: PSN getting manga love come December


Sep 26
// Matthew Razak
Despite having troops on the ground at TGS and the hardest working staff this side of a Chinese sweat shop, we've been scooped on some TGS news by the nefarious ne're-do-wells at Japanator. Don't think I don't know what you'r...
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Best of the Network this week


Sep 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
So on Japanator, that happened. Yup.On Destructoid, find out how we blew the $200 greed check from Dante's Inferno. On Japanator, see what Gunslinger Girl means to Brad Rice. And on Tomopop, are Taco Bell's Bellhedz vinyls re...
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AX 09: The West Coast knows how to do videogame cosplay


Jul 07
// 8BitBrian
The real highlight of our time at Anime Expo was the cosplay. We covered panels here and there, but what all the readers on Japanator really reacted to, and what you guys did when we put up our first round of photos, was the ...
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Solid Snake remembered in cardboard box memorial


Jul 06
// Dale North
It has been a tough month for the world as several celebrities have passed away all at once. Apparently Solid Snake, hero of the Metal Gear series of videogames, has also passed. We came across this memorial for the raspy-voi...
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For the last time: rape games are banned in Japan


Jun 03
// 8BitBrian
[As originally posted on Japanator]So, this seems like the final update in the whole rape game saga: The EOCS has met, with about 100 representatives total gathering, and reached the nearly unanimous decision that rape games ...
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First changes from EOCS underway in ero-ge genre


Jun 02
// 8BitBrian
[As originally posted on Japanator]We've got new word from Canned Dogs on the changes coming from EOCS talks -- first up is Syrup Soft. Their title has been delayed a week, presumably to change the packaging and the discs tha...
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TBS misrepresents their report, rape games not banned


May 29
// 8BitBrian
[As originally posted on Japanator] Well, now I've learned my lesson: Never take TBS news at its word, their report is likely a misrepresentation or even made up. Canned Dogs has an update from their story yesterday, with an ...
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Japan bans rape games. All of them


May 28
// 8BitBrian
Japan, of all places, is putting a halt to rape games. The country known for its free and open sexuality in media has taken the ban-hammer to PC games that feature rape in it. Now, I'm not on the "rape is great and fanta...
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Gerard Way co-produced ending theme to Final Fantasy: Advent Children Complete


Mar 27
// 8BitBrian
[As originally posted on Japanator]This is going to get some flak from you guys, I'm sure.Gerard Way, the frontman for the band My Chemical Romance, is co-producing Kyosuke Himuro's song that will be the ending theme for the ...

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