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Kino's Journey photo
Kino's Journey

The new Kino's Journey features its star riding off into the sunset

The title speaks for itself
Aug 11
// Salvador G Rodiles
You know a title is gonna look good when it features the name "Beautiful World." In this case, we get to see the first trailer for the new Kino's Journey anime, Kino's Journey - The Beautiful World- The Animation, shows off i...
Arslan photo

Commercials for The Heroic Legend of Arslan are here

Looks different...
Feb 16
// Hiroko Yamamura
It's been quite a long time since I've heard the title, The Heroic Legend of Arslan. I remember there was a pretty sweet OVA series a while back, as well as a very popular series of novels and manga. It looks as though the s...
Yamato photo

A Hollywood remake of Space Battleship Yamato is prepping for launch

Anything would be better than the Japanese remake
Sep 09
// Hiroko Yamamura
Fans of classic Japanese space opera have a reason to celebrate of be concerned, depending on your predisposition. US based Skydance Productions has acquired the rights to produce the remake of the seminal Leiji Matsumoto 197...
Godzilla photo

New Godzilla poster is retro-awesome

Also some director featurette or whatever.
Apr 19
// Ben Huber
I think I'll take a few more excuses to write about Godzilla before the film comes out! Yes, this new Godzilla poster is just about perfect. I wish it was a tad more detailed, but other than that, it's pretty spot-on. I'd lik...

Movie photo

The Grudge gets a Hollywood reboot

'The Grudge' producers return to make another 'The Grudge'!
Mar 24
// Dae Lee
The Grudge was part of the Japanese horror wave in the early 2000s that hit the West and gave millions the irrational fear of long, messy bed-hair and gutteral throat sounds. To my surprise, a reboot of The Grudge was sa...
Sega 3D Classics photo
Sega 3D Classics

Sega's 3D Classics finally heading west

Rise from your grave.
Oct 30
// Chris Walden
Did you know that there are quite a few games in the 3D Classics range for Nintendo 3DS that haven't been released outside of Japan? There are a couple of games that were released only in Japan, which is kind of understandabl...
Space Battleship Yamato photo
Space Battleship Yamato

Enjoy 10 minutes Space Battleship Yamato 2199 movie

Wow, this looks pretty good
Aug 19
// Hiroko Yamamura
With all the fun anime that's been on TV in Japan lately, somehow I've totally forgotten to watch the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 show. The gorgeous looking show has also been compiled into theatrical releases, with the las...
Old Boy Trailer photo
Old Boy Trailer

Can the Old Boy remake bring anything new?

Why a remake?
Jul 11
// Hiroko Yamamura
When the film adaptation of Garon Tsuchiya's Old Boy manga was released in Korea, it sent shockwave across the film industry. The grittiness, plot, and twists still have people talking today, and its place in histo...
Gatchaman Crowds photo
Gatchaman Crowds

Do you want to still be part of this Gatchaman Crowd?

What do you think?
Jul 09
// Hiroko Yamamura
I just don't know what to think here. The official Gatchaman Crowds website has finally taken off the veil on Gatchaman information we've all been waiting for. Yeah... it's um, different. The original Gatchaman theme song is ...
Gatchaman trailer photo
Gatchaman trailer

Oh man, the new Gatchaman trailer is sick

Can you tell I love Gatchaman?
Jun 21
// Hiroko Yamamura
Oh man, it's finally here. The full Gatchaman trailer displays its loveliness in of its 1:33 minutes of glory! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely stoked about this! Super Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is one of my old...
Captain Harlock trailer photo
Captain Harlock trailer

New Captain Harlock trailer in all its Space Opera glory

Arcadia Hasshin!
Jun 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
If you've been on the fence about the upcoming Captain Harlock movie, I'm betting that this hot new trailer is going to sell you on it. The upcoming remake of the Leiji Matsumoto classic from 1970 sports a record breaking 30...
Gatchaman Crowds photo
Gatchaman Crowds

There's a familiar face in this Gatchaman Crowd

My favorite villain!
Jun 12
// Hiroko Yamamura
Some more art work has been released from the upcoming Super Science Ninja Team Gatchaman remake. Just when I said I was happy to see little evidence of the previous shows in the new Gatchaman Crowds, a very familiar face... ...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Asian Kung-Fu Generation

Sound familiar?
Jun 12
// Hiroko Yamamura
Thy've been jamming this tune live for quite a few years now, but it's finally a single. The fellas from my beloved Asian Kung-Fu Generation have released a new video of their cover of the seminal 90's Alternative classic, L...
Gatchaman Crowds photo
Gatchaman Crowds

Gatchaman Crowds looks... different

I call that a reboot
Jun 05
// Hiroko Yamamura
If you were thinking the upcoming Gatchaman Crowds would look even remotely similar to the original Super Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, you're in for a bit of a surprise. Personally, I'm delighted to see the concept...
Old Boy poster photo
Old Boy poster

Spike Lee's Old Boy remake gets a poster

What's the lines mean?
Apr 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
I never picked up the original Old Boy manga, but I was a really big fan of the Chan Woo Park film. Ever since I heard Spike Lee had decided to remake the film for Western audiences, I've been quite wary of the concept. Howev...
Gatchaman anime photo
Gatchaman anime

A new Gatchaman anime is slated to air this summer

An interesting looking reboot
Apr 08
// Hiroko Yamamura
In some surprising news, it looks as though the 1972 classic anime, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, is getting a heavy facelift and reboot. A few tantalizing images have surfaces on Kenji Nakamura's take on the series...

Captain Harlock returns to battle this Fall

Non-stop remakes!
Feb 02
// Hiroko Yamamura
Oh man, it's finally here. I am so excited for the upcoming Captain Harlok remake! Toei have unleashed a new 48 second nostalgia inducing roller coaster of pleasure, with the English dubber internati...

Is Mamoru Oshii working on a live-action Patlabor?

That's all I want for Christmas!
Sep 18
// Hiroko Yamamura
Patlabor fans pay attention! That fabled live-action film might just become a reality. During a recent stream of Nico Nico Namahousou, Mamoru Oshii and Toshio Suzuki were talking about a few things when the questioned about t...

Robotech fan film begins to take shape

Jun 26
// Hiroko Yamamura
Still waiting in dread for the potential of a Hollywood Robotech remake? Well, some talented Spanish speaking "fans" have gotten together on a project that they are calling Robotech: Valkyrie Project, and you might want to m...

EXILE's Akira to star in Great Teacher Onizuka remake

May 24
// Bob Muir
For a long time, people have loved GTO, a.k.a. Great Teacher Onizuka, the story of a gang-member-turned-awesome-teacher. The original manga ran from 1997 to 2002, which spawned a live-action TV drama, a movie, and an ani...

Shonen Jump Alpha serializes Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration

May 23
// Bob Muir
The first time I heard of Rurouni Kenshin wasn't from some Samurai X OVA, it was from an extremely early issue of the US Shonen Jump, highlighting popular series from Weekly Shonen Jump. After the anime started airing on Toon...

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 almost out, gets manga

Feb 15
// Bob Muir
If you weren't aware, there's a new Space Battleship Yamato project that's just about finished. Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a 26-episode remake of the original series made by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto in 197...

This Akira synopsis made me shed a single tear

Nov 30
// Elliot Gay
If actor employment site Acting Auditions is to be believed, we have found our first real synopsis of the live action train wreck in the making, Akira. I say train wreck because from what I can tell, the actual point of the f...

The Ranma 1/2 live drama trailer is here

Nov 27
// Hiroko Yamamura
Your nervous wait is finally over. The trailer for the Ranma 1/2 live drama trailer is finally ready to be viewed! I have to say, this look better than I expected. I guess the use of the word drama had me worried. It looks ev...

Space Battleship Yamato returns

Nov 13
// Hiroko Yamamura
There is not really anything that is more iconic in anime than the sight of the Space Battleship Yamato. The story will be returning to the big screen and TV in April, this time under the helm of Yutaka Izubuchi (RahXephon). ...

TGS 2011: Falcom surprises with a remake of Ys IV

Sep 16
// Elliot Gay
I've been pretty excited about the PS Vita since its initial announcement, but this latest bit of news was enough to send me into an insane fervor. Japanese developer Falcom announced at the Tokyo Game Show that they would be...

Ys I & II Chronicles is out today!

Feb 22
// Bob Muir
So what if Sony's PSP2 or NGP or whatever the hell they decide to call it has been unveiled to the public? JRPG fans know that the much more affordable original PSP has become an amazing system for their favorite genre. Today...

Japanator Recommends: Ys: The Oath in Felghana

Nov 29 // Bob Muir
Ys: The Oath in FelghanaCreated by: Nihon Falcom CorporationPublished by: XSEED GamesRelease Date: November 2, 2010MSRP: $29.99Adol and his friend Dogi are out looking for another adventure and, after hearing of disrest in the country of Felghana, decide to go visit Dogi's hometown of Redmont. Naturally, things aren't going so well: the town is being sucked dry by a money-hungry count and monsters have appeared across the land. After saving Dogi's childhood friend Elena, Adol sets out to start saving the country using the business end of his sword. Along the way, he'll discover ancient magic, face giant beasts, and come to grips with a hidden conspiracy. The story in Ys: The Oath in Felghana is typical save-the-world stuff you'll find in most JRPGs, but rather than being tired and cliched, it comes across as classic and timeless, even to someone who is usually cynical towards these things. It's not going to change your perspective on the story an RPG can tell, but it's easy to buy into it and enjoy the ride. The characters are also surprisingly enjoyable, despite the age of the game. While Adol is the typical mute hero, characters like tomboy Elena and dark knight Chester play their roles in the story well, adding just enough personality to keep the plot interesting.The amount of voice work included is impressive in its own right, as nearly every NPC in the game has a voice actor. And beyond minor, incidental dialogue that doesn't lead anywhere, every cutscene or significant interaction is fully voiced. It's not anime-level dubbing, but the characters gain much more personality than they normally would, and only one voice is truly grating. If the voices are too modern for your tastes, there's always the option to turn them off. (As an aside, fans of Vic Mignogna will have fun noticing all the characters he voiced.)The game's structure is also what you'd expect from a game of its time. After chatting up people in Redmont, you head off to a dungeon, hack your way through monsters, find some treasure, and fight a boss. This isn't a bad thing: why fix what isn't broken? It does what it does well. Most of the time you're actually going through two dungeons in a row, which may seem intimidating due to the scarcity of save points -- they're generally only found outside of a dungeon or right before the boss. And without a little extra monster killing and equipment upgrading, death is certainly a possibility.But as old-school as the game is, death is never a harsh punishment. Most of the time, you'll spawn back at the start of the room, exactly as you were when you entered it. Monsters often drop items which restore your health and grant you combat bonuses. If you keep killing enemies fast enough, you can build up a very nice combo that will grant experience bonuses to all those beasts you're slaying. And if you find that you somehow forgot to save before taking on a boss, you are given the option to retry the fight immediately upon death, even skipping all the prefight talking and cinematics. If it's still too hard and you don't want to consider a little grinding at your last save point, it even offers the option to drop the difficulty down after a few deaths. I found it more rewarding to level up a little and discover the bosses' weaknesses myself, but it's a good option to have. Considering the old-school trappings, the difficulty is pleasantly conscious of modern game design.The combat itself is basic hack-and-slash. You can mash the X button for a simple combo, use an upward slash, and stun enemies with a downward strike. The majority of your combat will be this basic physical system. Call me unsophisticated, but I like this kind of system; despite its simplicity, you'll find yourself adapting your strategies to the various monsters you encounter, even if some of them are just late-game palette swaps. My only issue (that might be chalked up to personal skill) could be that hitting the flying enemies sometimes took guesswork. Similar to whiffing enemies in a side-scrolling beat-em-up, it's easy to think you are lined up with them and miss once you've made the attack. There is also a boost system in place that will give you various bonuses if you've filled up the bar and activated it, but I only found myself needing it in rare occasions.More interesting are three magical rings you can find corresponding to fire, wind, and earth. With these, you gain a projectile, a spin attack, and an invincible dash. For the most part they're only necessary to access hidden secrets in the dungeons, but they become useful support moves when fighting bosses. On more than one occasion, I was saved by being able to hover briefly with the spin attack or block a tricky attack with the dash. They add just enough to keep combat interesting.Beyond these rings, which can be upgraded with gems, the RPG elements are fairly light. Leveling up raises your stats, obviously, and there are a small handful of items to equip. Most items can be slightly enhanced if you've collected enough ravel ore for its upgrade, but finding the next piece of equipment is usually the better option. Again, call me a simpleton, but I liked not having to fret about min-maxing my equipment as much as a typical RPG. It kept the emphasis on gameplay instead of menu hunting.I'm not familiar with how the original game looks, but Ys: The Oath in Felghana has received a fine new coat of paint. Environments are done in 3D, with characters depicted as prerendered sprites. Outside of the occasional screen, you couldn't tell the game was originally a side-scroller. Even as a staunch pixel-art enthusiast for these type of games, I found myself really enjoying the game's art. Each area is well varied in terms of visual style. The character designs shown in the character portraits during dialogue are very appealing and well-polished. The only thing that really bothered me was the small size of some of the monsters, which hindered the clarity of their design, even in the game's bestiary.What impressed me even more was the game's audio. From the moment Adol and Dogi got off their boat, I could tell I was going to like Felghana's soundtrack. The lush music draws from classical, rock, and techno influences to create engaging melodies for each area. It's worth putting on a pair of headphones just to listen to it (or picking up the limited edition of the game, which includes a soundtrack CD). And if the arrangements are too modern for you, you can switch the soundtrack to the original PC-8801 and X68000 versions at any time. The PC-8801 arrangement was slightly grating on the ears due to the sounds produced by the system's sound chips, but I found myself liking the X68000 version so much that I switched back and forth between it and the new soundtrack in every area.Ys: The Oath in Felghana is a classic game gifted with a surprisingly amount of modern polish and a smooth localization courtesy of XSEED. Though it isn't long, it doesn't wear out its welcome and provides simple fun wrapped up in an excellent presentation. It stands as an excellent example of how to remake a retro game without feeling trapped by outdated design choices. I liked it well enough to want to check out some other games in the Ys series, whether they be original versions or the updated remakes of Ys Book I & II coming soon to PSP. I just feel bad for missing out on such a great, comforting experience.Score: 9 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

The Ys series has always been in my peripheral vision whenever I look at the RPG genre. I've heard whispers from old-school gamers about it, but I've honestly never took the time to track down a copy. Maybe it's the relative ...


Editor tells all about the 'Shounen Jump' relaunch

Nov 11
// Lauren Rae Orsini
What you know so far: Shounen Jump is getting relaunched.What Senior Editor Joel Enos just revealed in an interview with ICv2: it's going to be a lot bigger than you thought.

OHH MY LOVEEEEEE: 'Ghost" gets a j-remake

May 12
// Colette Bennett
Why popular 90s flick "Ghost" wasn't a j-drama in the first place I can't even imagine, because the story is perfectly cheesy enough to fit the bill, but it looks like that oversight is about to be remedied. We spot...

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