Archive for ‘Japan’

09/26/2012

Tabula rasa*

by wfgodbold

First, XCOM: Enemy Unknown news:

It hits Oct. 9, which was probably old news to you if you cared.

The PC “demo” is up on Steam. It’s actually the tutorial, and is on rails for the first mission and part of the second.

You do get to experience enough of the game for it to give off that X-COM vibe, though, and I’ll definitely cash in gift certificates and various reward points to get it at launch.

Firaxis gave Game Trailers a new gameplay video, this time of a downed UFO mission. Unlike the other videos they’ve shown, this one is not in an urban environment.

Monolith Soft released the opening movie to Project X-Zone, their Super Robot Wars-esque mashup of SEGA, Capcom, and Namco characters. I would be all over this game if (1) I had a 3DS, and (2) Nintendo hadn’t made the 3DS region free. The licensing problems a game like this would cause pretty much nixes any chance of its release in the US.

Falcom is porting Trails in the Sky to PS3. I’m sure it will look great (since the original game was on the PC and supported high monitor resolutions), but I don’t know how many people in Japan are going to be willing to pay again for a game they’ve already bought once or twice before (PC, PSP, and now PS3). The Square-Enix business model focused on rereleasing your good old games to fund your crap new games will only get you so far.

Ufotable’s animation for Tales of Xillia 2 is just as good as everything else I’ve seen them animate. This preview video also has portions of Ayumi Hamasaki’s theme for the game.

Using his own logic, I could have the UN Secretary General shut up for “[humiliating] my values and beliefs” (i.e., free speech). The answer to bad speech is more speech. The idea that people or groups do not have any agency and are forced to dance to the whim of the speaker is reprehensible.

In the same vein, Posner** is a big fan of the heckler’s veto.

*No, not that SF MMO Lord British tried to make. It’s close enough to “tab clearing” for government work.

**No, not that Posner (though it is his son).

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08/05/2012

In no particular order:

by wfgodbold

Growlanser IV is out for the PSP in the US (if you’ve a PS3, you can download it there and transfer it to the PS Vita without issue; if you’re PS3-less, you’ll have to wait until it’s up in the PS Vita PSN store). It’s pretty good so far; the sprites are nice, and the gameplay is classic Growlanser (JRPG-like with a heavy dose of strategy).

As far as the Chick-fil-a brouhaha goes, I didn’t eat there on Wednesday. Not because I disagree with their position (which I do (disagree, I mean)), and not out of support for the attempt to crack down on speech Boston/Chicago politicians disagree with, but because the local CFA had cops out directing traffic, a drive-thru line that looked to be at least 50 cars long, and an in-store line that stretched around the building at least once. Their chicken is good, and I support their rights to hold positions I don’t agree with and be free from government harassment because of that speech, but it’s not stand-in-line-for-more-than-an-hour good. Linoge disagreed, and went on – in his characteristic way – to say in ~400 words what a normal man would say in 50 (I would have posted on this on the 1st, but when I got home, Linoge had already said basically everything I was going to. Even if he did say it in 4x the space).

Want to eat sushi at the Olympics? Hope you don’t like soy sauce, cause mini packets are banned on account of not sponsoring the Olympics (beware; Sankaku Complex is about as unsafe for work as it gets). Between that and the lack of business the Olympics was supposed to bring in, I don’t know why anyone would voluntarily pay for the games. Other than as an opportunity to fleece the taxpayer and enrich politicians and their cronies, I mean.

The latest live-action Rurouni Kenshin trailer is out, and it’s got English subtitles. My only complaint is that they translate Kenshin’s reference to his reverse-bladed-sword as merely “sword;” in Japanese, it’s literally written 逆刃刀; the first character means “backwards,” the second “blade,” and the third “sword.” Instead of being sharpened along the front edge and dull along the back, Kenshin’s is dull along the front and sharp along the back (reverse-bladed). It’s kind of a big part of the character, and just calling it a sword doesn’t really cut it (heh).

In my less copious than normal free time (when not playing Growlanser (and sometimes while playing Growlanser), I’ve been rewatching The Good Guys on Netflix streaming. It takes me back to a more innocent time, when I hadn’t had a class on pre-trial criminal procedure, and was ignorant of how much of a free hand the courts have given police. I’ve mentioned it before; every episode is essentially an 80s/90s style buddy cop movie (in 45 min.).

I’m also working my way through Simon R. Green‘s books. Again. Sure, they’re pulp, but they’re entertaining. And isn’t that what really matters?

The law review has handed down the first cite check for this year; it’s due a week from Wednesday. Between that and the Legal Editing & Scholarship class I’m taking before fall classes start up, I’m being kept off the streets pretty efficiently.

07/02/2012

I heard you like tabs

by wfgodbold

So here’s several weeks’ worth all at once. Now that I’m getting back in the habit of blogging regularly, I doubt this will happen again. Until I get back out of the habit, anyway.

Releasing this in the US would convince me to jump ship from iOS to Android. Everyone likes Neon Genesis Evangelion!

Falcom has released some more screens from their Ys IV remake/reimagining, Ys: Woodland of Celceta. It looks far more polished than it did when it was first announced. Hopefully XSEED will bring this out over here (and since they’ve got a good thing going with Falcom, I think it’s pretty likely). Oh, Ys: Woodland of Celceta’s official homepage is up as well.

Weer’d posted about TGSCOM’s shutdown. Apparently they’d been threatened with frivolous lawsuits and hadn’t been shipping their orders or something. I bought my P226 from them in 2010, and didn’t have any problems. I’m sorry to see them go (unless they were actually stiffing their customers; I only dealt with them the one time, and can’t speak to how they were operating since).

And to counterbalance yesterday’s Japan news, some good news: the last Aum Shinrikyo member involved in the Tokyo subway sarin gas bombing from the 90s has been arrested.

Growlanser IV hits the PSP and PSN at the end of this month. It’s unrelated to the 3 earlier games, so you don’t have to worry about not understanding references or terminology, or recognizing repeat characters. The only downside is that ATLUS couldn’t justify the cost for licensing the Japanese voices (or dubbing it in English, for that matter), since it’s even more of a niche title than their usual.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown comes out at the start of October, and the preorder bonuses are tempting. Especially classic X-COM flattop soldier.

Taken 2 looks awesome. I, for one, can’t wait to see the Most Interesting Man in the World try to get his revenge on Liam Neeson.

And the full theatrical trailer for the live-action Rurouni Kenshin movie has been released. Japan handles these anime-to-live-action conversions so much better than Hollywood does.

I had a couple more links, but they’ve been lost in the æther.

07/01/2012

Tactical pens verboten in Japan

by wfgodbold

Not surprising, since Japan’s government considers all weapons anathema. Guns, swords, and anything you could actually use to defend yourself are banned (for the law abiding, anyway).

Of course, kitchen knives and trucks are still legal, and they’re far more deadly than Smith & Wesson or Benchmade tactical pens are.

So, if you’re going to Japan and you own a tactical pen, leave it at home (and your pocketknives and guns and everything else that they might think is primarily a weapon).

H/T Sankaku Complex (NSFW. Very NSFW.)

06/27/2012

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing*: Science fiction, or science fact?

by wfgodbold

In the light of the recent news regarding the LDP’s plans to build an actual working Gundam**, I started thinking about our own mecha warfare capabilities.

Sadly, we’re heading down the mobile doll route instead.***

Of course, more level heads think this is just a blatant ploy by Japan’s Liberal Democrats to gin up support from the youth.

Which as such doesn’t actually bother me; it’s far more appealing a ploy than nonsense like “We are the change we seek.”

*For those of you who had better things to do than watch mecha anime on the Cartoon Network in the 90s/early 00s, or better things to spend your money on than the DVDs, a big part of Gundam W focused on using human-piloted mecha as opposed to autonomous robot mecha. Also, angst and teenagers and lots of impressively animated mecha fights (which is generally enough by itself to justify watching Gundam). As far as I’m concerned, pretty much anything can be made better by judiciously applying mecha (and you do get bonus points if those mecha transform).

**Which I saw last night, and instead of posting, I put it off, and now it’s olde news. This summer has really done a number on my already lackluster blogging skills.

***I say sadly, but that’s my romantic streak coming out, I think. Sure, it’s disturbing, by Treize Khushrenada makes some compelling points about the use of robots in battle. Practically, though, robots in battle are great. Less danger**** for our side is always a good thing.

****Assuming we come up with some way to stymie the inevitable robot revolution.

*****Odaiba Gundam image from Wired. Yes, it’s an actual, life-size Gundam. No, this one isn’t functional, but IIRC the arms and head could move, and it obviously lit up.

******I don’t actually have anything to say, I just wanted to add another string of asterisks. I’ve got a few weeks worth of links coming in a tab clearing post, and hopefully I’ll be able to return to a more normal update schedule. I’ve slacked off enough.

04/14/2012

I really should stop doing these tab clearing posts

by wfgodbold

But they’re great for when I don’t really want to devote a whole post to any one thing (and for when I can’t come up with a substantial post on a real topic!).

Thinkgeek is selling an Aperture Science 1970s era coffee mug. Right down to the retro form factor!

Bill Amend has put together a few Foxtrot collections formatted for the iPad.

The Japanese have gone and made an anime series about a moe anthropomorphization of Nyarlathotep. Because nothing says eldritch horror like taking the Crawling Chaos and turning it into this.

Nihon Falcom has added more details to the Nayuta no Kiseki official site. They’re marketing it as an action story RPG (whatever that is), and have posted character profiles and some battle screenshots.

Sega, Capcom, and Namco are collaborating on a Super Robot Wars style crossover mashup SRPG, Project X Zone. It’ll have Ryu and Ken (Street Fighter), Shinguji Sakura and Ohgami Ichiro (Sakura Wars), Kurt and Riela (Valkyria Chronicles 3), Jin and Xiaoyu (Tekken), KOS-MOS and T-elos (Xenosaga), and Yuri and Estelle (Tales of Vesperia). And that’s not even an exhaustive list!

And finally, Looper comes out this fall, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in an action-packed SF time travel flick. The trailer looks pretty good:

01/30/2012

What is this I don’t even

by wfgodbold

Because I don’t have real content, here’s Marty Friedman and Sayuri Ishikawa performing the enka classic “Over Amagi Mountain Pass.”

Lyrics translation here.

01/03/2012

While I’m normally leery of anime-to-live-action adaptations…

by wfgodbold

The short trailer for the Rurouni Kenshin movie looks pretty sweet. (translation under the video, so scroll down if you can’t see it)

The comic that has sold more than 50 million copies is being adapted to a live-action film

In the upheaval of the Shogunate’s final days…

The people feared the strongest of assassins…

A man called Battousai* the Manslayer…

Original work: Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin ~A Romance** in Meiji Era Tokyo~

Director: Keishi Ootomo (Ryoumaden, The Vulture)

Cast: Kenshin Himura – Takeru Satou, Kaoru Kamiya – Emi Takei, Sanosuke Sagara – Munetaka Aoki, Megumi Takani – Yuu Aoi, Aritomo Yamagata – Eiji Okuda, Jin’ei Oda – Kouji Kikkawa, Hajime Saitou – Yousuke Eguchi, Kanryuu Takeda – Teruyuki Kagawa

Opens 8-25.

*Battousai is a tough word to translate; the licensed English translations of the anime just leave it in Japanese. It essentially indicates that he is an unparalleled master of battoujutsu.

**Romance, here, is the traditional romance (historic adventure, etc.), not the bodice-ripping modern variant (besides, mid/late 19th century Japanese women didn’t wear bodices).

09/11/2011

Ten years ago today…

by wfgodbold

I was ignorant of the attacks (bear with me for a minute).

On September 11, 2001, I had been in Japan to study abroad for about 3 weeks, and was just getting used to my host family. The attacks occurred between ~10 PM and midnight (local to me, anyway), and I didn’t have an internet connection at my host family’s house yet.

The first I knew anything had happened was the next morning, when I saw that a friend had texted me, telling me to turn on the TV. He didn’t say what had happened, though.

I got to campus, and my friends all asked if I was all right; I said yes, and didn’t think twice about it, until my parents called and told me what had happened.

My family and friends were safe; none of us lived near the attacks. The closest anyone I know came to being involved (and I didn’t find out about this until afterwards) was another of my college friends (who was en route to study abroad in Scotland); he flew out of New Jersey a few scant hours before the attacks (IIRC, anyway).

The Japanese were very sympathetic; I read online about certain other foreigners claiming that it was nothing less than the US deserved, but the Japanese (at least those I talked to) didn’t.

I essentially got two culture shocks for the price of one; the first was when I arrived in Japan and had to get used to how it was different from the US.

The second was when I returned home to the post 9-11 US (in June of 2002), and had to get used to how things had drastically changed since I left. The world changed that day; it just took a bit longer for me to experience it.

My condolences to everyone who had loved ones taken from them by murderous terrorists in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, and the loved ones of the passengers of Flight 93, who fought back, saving who knows how many lives at the cost of their own.

08/22/2011

Who needs Tornado Guard when you can have built-in iOS Earthquake warnings?

by wfgodbold

xkcd has been one-upped by real life! iOS 5 has the capability to link directly to the Japanese early earthquake warning system; with quakes like the one this past March, the epicenter was located such that many Japanese were warned a minute in advance by the early warning system.

This functionality would warn you even if you didn’t happen to be watching TV or listening to the radio.

Assuming it works…

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