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Touhou photo

Here's a nice extra helping of the Memories of Phantasm doujin anime series

The new year is off to an amazing start!
Jan 03
// Salvador GRodiles
As the old year goes away, the gang at Manpukujinja have uploaded the sixth episode of their Touhou doujin anime, Fantasy Kaleidoscope ~The Memories of Phantasm~, on their YouTube page. Just like the previous episode, t...
Steam Comiket Sale photo
Steam Comiket Sale

Go nuts for doujin games with Steam's Summer Comiket Sale

Indie-credible Deals
Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
If there's one thing otaku like more than otaku things, it's otaku things bought for cheap, which makes Steam's latest excuse to have a sale especially relevant. Y'see, Summer Comiket is happening right about now, and the ota...
VA-11 HALL-A photo

Drown away your sorrows with a new VA-11 HALL-A trailer

Just what the bartender ordered
Jun 26
// Salvador GRodiles
Back when Japanator Managing Editor Josh Tolentino wrote about VA-11 HALL-A, the bartending game that's set in a cyberpunk setting, my interest for the title was at a normal level. While I didn't get to play the project's pr...
Costco Manga photo
Costco Manga

Shopping at Costco becomes a manga

Costco meets Manga
Jun 17
// Anthony Redgrave
There's still so much going on at E3 it's hard to escape the gravitational pull towards writing about video games. But outside of the hot Los Angeles convention centre news is still happening, specifically doujin news regardi...

Touhou photo

Memories of Phantasm's fifth episode blasts its way to YouTube

Watch out for Mandragoras
Jun 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Summer is around the corner and Manpuku Jinja has uploaded Fantasy Kaleidoscope ~The Memories of Phantasm~'s fifth episode on YouTube. Compare to the project's previous segments, this one decides to focus on the co...
Touhou x PS photo
Touhou x PS

Touhou games may come to PlayStation this year

But not the games you might want
Jan 27
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Touhou Project. The hyper-popular series of bullet-hell shooters has long been a Holy Grail of sorts for non-PC-owning otaku, and the efforts to get games with the Touhou brand on various consoles have bee...
Steam sale photo
Steam sale

PSA: Anime is the name of Steam's weekend game sale

Now with more amorous avians!
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
Of all the geeky trends people took note of in 2014, one of the least appreciated is the Japanese gaming industry's growing embrace of indie development and global digital distribution. Sure, it's been happening for the last ...
Touhou photo

Memories of Phantasm's third and fourth episodes are streaming on YouTube

In which Manpuku Jinja's animation dominates the screen
Jan 02
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be fashionably late to the festivities, but Fantasy Kaleidoscope ~The Memories of Phantasm~'s third and fourth episode have blasted their way into YouTube before we transitioned into the new year. Just like the previous...
VA-11 HALL-A photo

Get robots drunk in VA-11 HALL-A's cyberpunk bar

Future boozefest
Aug 20
// Josh Tolentino
OK, I'll admit it right now: The main reason I'm posting about VA-11 HALL-A, a indie bartending game, is because of its website, located at a domain called (and I'm not kidding) These people know wh...
Comiket games photo
Comiket games

Behold the glory of Comiket 86's doujin games

Brought to you by Edelweiss
Aug 15
// Josh Tolentino
It's time for this year's Summer Comiket, and besides immense lines, hordes of otaku, and treasure troves of the greatest and latest in Japan's indie creation scene, there are also...videogames. Of course, in keeping with Co...
Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Report: Power Rangers co. Saban sues indie Sentai game

Teens with too much attitude
Jul 19
// Josh Tolentino
I love the story of Chroma Squad, a little indie game from Brazilian outfit Behold Studios. They took something they loved - tokusatsu and Super Sentai - and made it into a unique game concept - putting players in the shoes o...
Hatoful Boyfriend photo
Hatoful Boyfriend

Pigeon-date sim Hatoful Boyfriend getting English remake

This is the world we live in now
Jun 10
// Josh Tolentino
Forget Danganronpa. Ignore Hakuoki. Trash Katawa Shoujo. If there was ever any proof that visual novels and their ilk are real, actual things that might just matter outside Japan, this is it. Hatoful Boyfriend, the Japan...
Doujinshi photo

The doujinshi fanzine industry is worth a lot of money

Fans arise!
Feb 04
// Josh Tolentino
I suppose it should go without saying for some more savvy otaku, but the fan-comic industry (aka doujinshi) is pretty big in Japan. That said, not everyone knows just how big it is. Until now. A representative from Comitia, a...
Kickstarter photo

Help fund a Moe-themed guide for headphone enthusiasts

Doujin circle Lunatic Joker turns kickstarter for help
Dec 16
// Tim Sheehy
Audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts may be interested in helping kick-start this interesting project we've stumbled across -- Lunatic Joker's Moe Headphone Guidebook 2013. The doujinshi guide will reportedly featu...


Nov 08 // Elliot Gay
ARMED SEVEN Developer: ASTRO PORTPublisher: Nyu MediaReleased: October 4, 2013MSRP: $4.99 (PC) Surprising absolutely nobody, ARMED SEVEN doesn't have a complex narrative with twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. ASTRO PORT keeps things brief: you're a soldier fighting against an underground militant organization that has stolen the Earth Federation's technology. The fate of the world rests in the hands of your mech, which means it's time to blow things up as effectively as possible. As most shoot-em-up fans are aware of, if you're looking for a complex narrative in this genre, you're doing it wrong. Oddly enough, the moment I booted up ARMED SEVEN, something felt off the mark. The main menu is navigated by using the Z key instead of the standard directional keys. This struck me as a strange design choice, but fortunately it doesn't hurt the experience in any significant fashion. Your mech unit is controlled using either the WASD or directional keys, with Z and X serving as your primary and special attacks respectively. I died many a time in the game's opening moments while trying to get used to the control layout, but it didn't take more than ten minutes to get used to it.  Otherwise, ARMED SEVEN plays like the horizontal shooters that folks have been playing for years. Your mech suit has a shield that permits it to take multiple shots before plummeting to the ground. Before entering the campaign proper, you can choose a main, sub, and charge weapon. There are four possible choices for each one, so a lot of the fun comes from mixing and matching and finding what load-out works best for you. Given the awkward angle that some of the guns fire at, it's important to test stuff out in the first few minutes to get a grasp on what sort of strategy your choice of weapon requires. Despite its low-budget origins ARMED SEVEN has a strong visual aesthetic. While the limited frames of animation left me a bit wanting, the actual sprites are big and clean, making it easy to see what you're supposed to be shooting at. Much to my surprise, I was being pitted against huge enemy mechs and ships within minutes of starting my first run. It felt good to have the first boss be something grand right off the bat. Like any shooter worth its salt, ARMED SEVEN's levels are all differently themed, meaning you won't be seeing the same set of enemies repeated over and over again. Given the brevity of the game (about 30 minutes for skilled players), variety is more than welcome. Unfortunately, I did have some problems with the color of enemy gunfire being a bit too similar to that of the level. I found myself straining my eyes a few times trying to see the bullets against the scrolling background. Musically ARMED SEVEN manages to impress with a series of beats that reminded me of the stuff I used to hear on the SNES' sound chip. I don't know if that's a deliberate play on nostalgia for that era, but it certainly managed to win me over. The game has its own built-in achievement system using emblems. As far as I could tell, there are a total of 16 unlockable emblems ranging from beating the game on easy, to clearing the campaign on insane mode taking less than six hits. Another cool little feature is the ability to save and watch replays of your run. It's useful for going back and trying to figure out what you did wrong against a certain boss or wave of enemies. ARMED SEVEN does a lot of things competently, creating a brief but fun shooter experience that's more than worth the $4.99 asking price. If you're looking for a solid shooter for the PC, don't hesitate to jump on this one. 7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
Review photo
Pew pew pew
Fans of Japanese indie games are no strangers to shooters. To be honest, the market is probably a bit oversaturated by these kinds of games, but the reality is that they don't require massive budgets to make. That being said,...

Vanguard Princess Steam photo
Vanguard Princess Steam

Doujin fighter Vanguard Princess coming to Steam

All the princesses, all the vanguards
Nov 01
// Elliot Gay
Publisher eigoMANGA has announced that Vanguard Princess, a doujin fighting game, will be hitting Steam this winter. After appearing on Steam Greenlight, it took nine days for the game to get voted in by a fairly whopping 39,...
Doujin photo

Get ready for Nyu Media's third wave of Doujin games

A Doujin Tsunami is heading our way!
Oct 14
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a good while since Nyu Media unleashed for their second wave of doujin titles, and the company's next cataclysmic attack is even greater than before. Speaking of which, the first game to enter the tsunami is Yataga...
Analogue: A Hate Story photo
Analogue: A Hate Story

Analogue: A Hate Story coming to iOS, Japan

*Mute and *Hyun-ae await!
Sep 16
// Josh Tolentino
Visual novels are cool games, but if there's a pet peeve I've developed with the genre lately, it's that most of them are PC-based. Visual Novels, dating sims, and the like are the perfect type of game to play on mobile and t...
Watashi Wa photo
Watashi Wa

Watashi Wa is not a Japanese game

But it is a super-interesting one
Aug 26
// Josh Tolentino
English-speaking folks might read the title for the new indie game Watashi wa Hijo ni Yoku Nihongo Hanasenai, and think it sounds sounds foreign and exotic. But, since you're reading this on Japanator, I'd be willi...

Import Review: Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient Chapter 01

Jul 29 // Elliot Gay
Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient Chapter 01 (PC)Developer: Team GrindhousePublisher: Team GrindhouseRelease Date: May 29, 2013Price: 1,800 yen Ayame Itou wakes up on an operating table in a dimly lit hospital room, unsure of how she got there. As it turns out, she's also missing most of her memories too. Alone and afraid, Ayame ventures out into the dark labyrinth of hospital corridors in the hopes of finding out who she is. What awaits her is something worse than she could have ever imagined. Let's get this out of the way: Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient is every bit the Corpse Party sequel that fans are hoping for. Much like the PSP game (a port of a PC remake), players control a super deformed character onscreen and walk them through dark, creepy environments. Unlike the original game however, Dead Patient's locales and characters are all rendered in 3D. Dead Patient isn't going to turn any heads, but it has a very sharp look to it that, while simple, effectively conveys fear. There's something inherently horrifying about watching a cute looking character model have its head eaten clean off. Team Grindhouse also does some fun stuff with lighting, including a brief bit that requires the use of a flashlight. After the visually disappointing Book of Shadows, it feels great coming back to this style. Ayame has a much wider range of movement than the characters in the last game; you're not restricted to only moving in four directions. It seems like a minor change, but being able to direct Ayame without any kind of handicap makes playing the game much less frustrating. She can also run, though she awkwardly pants nonstop while doing so. I recommend playing with headphones on for those of you concerned with that kind of thing. Dead Patient's UI is a step up from the first game, featuring a lot of clean pixel art. Picking up items dumps them in your inventory; a circular menu that shows you everything in your possession. In the original Corpse Party, players could collect name tags off of bodies. In Dead Patient, you now collect patient ID cards which reveal the cause of death, among other bits of information. These cards are viewable at anytime from the main menu in-game.  The Corpse Party series has always had fantastic music, and Dead Patient makes sure to continue that tradition. Nothing here is as blood pumpingly awesome as some of the faster tunes in the original game, but there's a wide variety of spooky themes despite the relatively short length of chapter one. Unfortunately, Dead Patient is not fully voiced. Characters all speak a few lines of dialogue, but for the most part they stay quiet throughout the game. Had this been a console title, I probably would have been more disappointed, but given Dead Patient's status as an indie release, I can certainly see why things turned out this way. Hopefully we see a port somewhere down the line. I sadly can't speak about the quality of the story in too much depth. As the first chapter of an ongoing game, this two hour chunk of Dead Patient introduces a few key members of the cast, throws the player into a big mystery, and then promptly ends just as you think you're starting to figure things out. This is a creepy game, but it's a very different story when compared to the previous Corpse Party narratives. It's bigger in scope, and as the credits to chapter one rolled, I couldn't help but find myself wondering where the hell Dead Patient could possibly go next.  That being said, Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient's first chapter is a great reintroduction to this hellish world. Team Grindhouse might not have made too many big changes to the formula, but the things they have added make the experience that much more enjoyable. Now that they've gotten the introductions out of the way, I have high hopes for chapter two. Either way, it's bound to be one helluva party. 7 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
Review: Corpse Party 2 photo
Hospitals are scary.
Corpse Party has been on something of a roll lately. With an anime OVA in the works, multiple successful manga series, and a new Vita game scheduled to hit later this year, there looks to be no end in sight for the horror fra...

Dojinshi photo

Gut-punch fetish comics set to release soon

It's a thing now that shouldn't be
Jul 09
// Josh Totman
Let's file this one under "WTF Japan?!" A doujinshi circle group called Atemism is releasing a violent doujinshi about tieing up girls and giving them a "Belly punch" or other violence. This type of sick and twisted fant...
Touhou doujin anime  photo
Touhou doujin anime

Memories of Phantasm's 2nd episode gets streamed silently

Silent doujin Touhou anime for everyone!
Jun 10
// Salvador GRodiles
I think I need to get myself checked up, because I haven't played any of the Touhou games yet. As for the reasoning behind my latest sin, the answer is unknown. For now, I will blame time, which is a factor that affects many...
Which indie game photo
Which indie game

Here's an indie game 'Which' should be on a kids' show

Coming soon to your local Sesame Street analogue
Mar 12
// Josh Tolentino
You normally associate the Japanese indie gaming scene with the likes of shmups, visual novels and other game types nominally paired with an anime-style aesthetic, but every so often fun little productions like Yoshio Ishii's...

Incoming bullets: ZUN to appear at Anime Weekend Atlanta

Touhou fans are going to have a blast.
Feb 05
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not have played any of the Touhou games, but I find it impressive that the whole series is still being developed by only ZUN himself. And speaking of dedicated creators, the courageous and daring mastermind behind the T...

Get iced up: Rosenkreuzstilette's sequel has arrived

Another great title that feels like Megaman.
Nov 13
// Salvador GRodiles
Looking for a new game that plays like the classic titles of the Blue Bomber? Well look no further, because the sequel to [erka:es]'s Rosenkreuzstilette has been available since October 20th, 2012 -- just in time for th...

Pizza-ne Miku: Domino's Pizza to make a Vocaloid song

That I used C.C., a Pizza Hut shill, for this header tells you who's winning this war
Oct 24
// Josh Tolentino
Pizza chains are to Japan's nerd sector what Mountain Dew is to America's gamers: brands willing to tie in with just about anything that the kids are into. And what are the kids into into? Vocaloids. Domino's Pizza has just a...

Get ready to kick gelatinous goo in Nyu Media's new game

Time to take down some slimes!
Oct 15
// Salvador GRodiles
When things are about to get slimy, sometimes the best solution is to get your feet dirty. And speaking of dirty feet, Nyu Media's new game known as Fairy Bloom Freesia has you play as a fairy called Freesia that uses her fa...

Semper Fi: Strike Witches creator makes Marine Corps Yumi

A Few Good Moe Moe
Sep 19
// Josh Tolentino
Boy, otaku sure do love their moe moe military manga! Maybe it's the juxtaposition of hyper-cute girls on the hyper-masculine world of the armed services. Or maybe they like girls in many uniforms. Either way, it's a thing, a...

Japanator Recommends: The eXceed Collection

Aug 19 // Salvador GRodiles
The eXceed Collection (PC)Developer: Tennen-sozaiPublisher: Nyu MediaRelease Date: March 29, 2012MSRP: $9.99 [You can buy The eXceed Collection at the game's Website, GamersGate, the Capcom Store, Mangagamer, or Steam.]  The eXceed Collection contains three bullet hell shooters that overlap in regards to the designs and themes that each game holds. If you have played any type of arcade shoot em' up, then you can expect a simple story that will unfold throughout each stage.  EXceed - Gun Bullet Children involves a war between human and vampires where you end up playing as three girls that were enhanced to fight toe to toe with the immortal beings. Each of the girls come with their own playing style that should be familiar with any fan of shoot em' up games. For example: Chinatsu Kagaya can three shots at once that cover the left, center, and right part of the screen, Sowel Devosiana fires normal shots with the help of a familiar that shoots in various direction, and Miyabi Housen shoots rapid shots in the direction in front of her.  As you collect items and points, you can increase the firepower of the bullets that each girl fires. If enemies are ganging up on you, then you can unleash a super move that will clean up any hellish moment. However, this sort of maneuver does not work on the bosses that you encounter. You also are given bombs that help clear the screen, except that they are useless against bosses as well.  Despite how fun it is to dodge bullets and shoot things, Gun Bullet Children contains a few design issues. This one is a bit minor, but the enemy projectiles look rather harmless in the game. In other words, every projectile looks like a basic shape, which kind of feels like the developers did not put any effort on the effects of the enemy bullets. And that is not the end of it, since the game's interface contains text that is almost illegible. With that out of the way, we can head straight into eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX. Playing the part of role reversal, Vampire REX has you play as a half human, half vampire girl that goes by the name of Ria File. Compare to the gameplay in Gun Bullet Children, Vampire REX plays exactly like Ikaruga. If you are familar with the controls from Ikaruga, then you will feel right at home as you utilize the polarity system by having Ria switch between Human and Vampire Mode.  Other differences include better sprites, enemy that bullets look more flashier and presentable, the text is easier to read, and the entire game looks cleaner than Gun Bullet Children. In case you have never played Ikaruga, the gameplay has you switch between two colors on your character's force field (White for Human and Purple for Vampire). Depending on the color change, you can absorb bullets of the same color, along with dealing more damage to enemies of the opposite color. If you absorb a certain number of bullets, then you can unleash a super beam that will obliterate everything. And unlike Gun Bullet Children, the super moves can damage bosses.  If there is one thing that Gun Bullet Children has over Vampire REX is that you could play as more characters. However, I think that the polarity system and the other improvements give the second game the upper hand. Since the eXceed games have only gotten better at this point, eXceed 3rd - Jade Penetrate Black Package offers another big improvement. Abandoning the premise of the first two games, Jade Penetrate has to do with a dragon chick known as Rayne Lindwurm that is fighting to become a Cardinal Lord aka the highest title in her realm. Overall, the game is the prettiest of the trilogy, and the bombs from the Gun Bullet Children make a comeback as well. The only negative aspect of the game is that the polarity system from the second game is not present anymore. However, you do have a shield in the game, except that it is used to fill up your special meter by touching the bullets outside of your Rayne's hit box. As you continue to kill things in each stage, you also have the chance of obtaining small dragons that will aid you in your firepower.  If you think that you can rush into any of the three games, then you will be in a huge mess of trouble. If having limited continues wasn't bad enough, having to worry about enemies firing massage barrage of one-KO bullets is great way to test your precise movement skills. Before you stray away from the lack of continues, the game is beatable, since it all depends on the player's skills. With each game running at five to eight stages, the experience is not that long to begin with. Depending on your skills and patience, you can pick between multiple difficulties that will either lessen or worsen the intensity.  As for the artwork in the game, all three eXceed games are filled with cute girls that exhibit huge adorable eyes. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that you might not have guessed how hard each of these games were if you judged the game on its artwork alone. With the exception of the first game, the other two do a great job in assigning colorful pallets to the adorable bosses that you encounter in each stage.  Music wise, the soundtrack for each of the games feel like a blend of fast pace techno-like music with segments that feel like a remix of orchestrated songs, which suits the situation quite perfectly. It is hard to think of any other kind of song when you are trying to avoid over hundreds of colorful bullets that are doing a great job at overwhelming the player. To all of you anime fans out there, the eXceed games also feature a few voice actresses such as Chiwa Saito (Homura from Madoka Magica and Hitagi from Bakemonogatari), Yukari Tamura (Navi from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Nanoha from Nanoha), and Nana Mizuki (Fate from Nanoha and Nanami from Dog Days).  With the content that the eXceed Collection has to offer, you are getting a good deal with three fun shoot em' ups that offer their own mechanics that take notes from other great shoot em' up titles. As long as you are up to the challenge, the eXceed Collection is a fun way to test your luck in dodging bullets.  8.0 - Great. 8s are impressive efforts within their genre with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but it's worth your time and cash.

Most of you remember that time when I lost against Michelle when I attempted to grab Cherry Tree High Comedy Club. Little did she know, I manage to come across another game that fell out of her purse when she knocked me out. ...


Incoming! Nyu Media reveals its new wave of Doujin games

Aug 09
// Salvador GRodiles
Many of you got to hear about Nyu Media's previous wave of titles when Michelle and Elliot reviewed Cherry Tree High Comedy Club and Ether Vapor Remaster. As the tides begin to build up, Nyu Media is planning t...

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