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industry affairs

Deep Silver x Atlus photo
Deep Silver x Atlus

Deep Silver to publish Atlus and Sega games (and Persona 5) in Europe

Took 'em long enough
Jul 06
// Josh Tolentino
Time for some relief, European otaku: You'll get Persona 5 - and more - in your neck of the woods. Atlus and Sega have found a new partner for European publishing. The agreement comes in the wake of NIS America cutting i...
Lynn  photo

Yikes: Lynn and the Spirits of Inao gets canceled in the midst of payment-related allegations

Justice has been served?
May 20
// Salvador G Rodiles
It felt like it was only yesterday that I was looking forward to the 2D platformer game known as Lynn and the Spirits of Inao. As of now, my hopes for seeing this game get made are shattered as the title's Kickstarter campaig...
Yuko Mizutani photo
Yuko Mizutani

Veteran voice actress Yuko Mizutani passes away

Gone too soon
May 20
// Josh Tolentino
Deaths may be a fact of life, but it's always sad when someone is taken too soon. That's the case for Japanese voice actress Yuko Mizutani, a veteran of Japan's voice acting scene who was best known for playing Sakiko Sakura,...
Anime Expo photo
Anime Expo

Uh-oh: Anime Expo could be harmed by sudden regulations

Why now?
May 16
// Josh Tolentino
I think we can all agree that youths need protection from creeps and other predators, but what's happening at this year's Anime Expo in the name of protecting the children seems to be a bit...undesirable. Last week, the ...

Anime Industry :( photo
Anime Industry :(

Want to make anime in Japan? Don't expect to get rich doing it

Not unless you're a celebrity, at least
May 12
// Josh Tolentino
One of the more common pieces of fan mail we get comes in the form of inquiries from fans looking to break into anime creation. It's not an uncommon impulse, to want to try your hand at making what you love to watch, but impu...

Uh-oh: NIS America cuts ties with Atlus in Europe, Oceania

Apr 26
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a long time since it has truly sucked to be a European gamer, but this latest development certainly qualifies, particularly for Europeans and residents of Australia and Oceania that are fans of Atlus' games. NIS Ame...
PlayStation 4 photo
PlayStation 4

Sony may sell an upgraded PlayStation 4 model codenamed 'NEO' soon

A half generation update?
Apr 19
// Josh Tolentino
It looks like it's almost officially A Thing now: After weeks of rumblings and rumors regarding its existence swirled, more concrete (though still unconfirmed) information has emerged around supposed plans by Sony to produce ...
RIP photo

Rest in Peace: Digimon Song Performer Kouji Wada passes away

A great singer has left our side
Apr 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's time for a moment of silence, as Kouji Wada, the guy who sang most of the themes from the Digimon franchise, has left our world on April 3 at the age of 42. The cause of his passing was due to cancer in his upper pharynx...
GDC 2016 photo
GDC 2016

GDC pays touching tribute to the late Satoru Iwata

Not a dry eye in the house
Mar 17
// Josh Tolentino
One of the sadder events in recent memory for gamers was the passing of former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. Aged 55, he played a key role at Nintendo for many years, contributing to the development of games like Balloon ...

Reflecting on Women in Anime and Manga

Mar 15 // Yussif Osman
Like everywhere else in the world, pressures surrounding gender roles in Japan are great and these pressures are disproportionately great on women. Women in Japan are expected to stop working after they get married and are then expected to perform the typical duties of a wife and a mother. But like most places in the world, I argue it is getting better, at least in the way people see and treat one another, if not structurally. Hayao Miyazaki, who is notable for creating great, leading female characters, remarked facetiously that he has so many strong female animators, that he may need to make more films with male protagonists to encourage men. He's joking and life is still very difficult for women around the world, but in certain spheres we see strides being made, whether that's a female presidential candidate in the US or increasingly inspiring and strong female protagonists in anime and manga. With regards to Studio Ghibli, we can point to the powerful and driven San from Princess Mononoke or the resourceful and resilient Chihiro from Spirited Away, but I would like to in particular flag up the lesser known Only Yesterday which though released in Japan in 1991, would not be released in North America until over two decades later in 2016. This is a mature and therapeutic film which deals with memory and growing up from the perspective of the twenty-seven-year-old Taeko. The positive outcome of the film being released so late is that we millennials were able to see it as we become Taeko's age and wrestle with the same issues she does, like love, career and working out where we belong. Taeko recalls her childhood whilst seeking to escape her life in the city by doing seasonal work in the countryside. Taeko leads viewers in the same stage of life as her by example, encouraging us to reflect and discover what truly makes us happy as she decides to ultimate to stay in the countryside. Taeko might not be Hokage or a pirate captain, but she is still a leader, in a very meaningful and important sense. Another character who strikes me personally is Mari from Tokyo Magnitude 8. Mirai and Yuki are separated from their from their family when a devastating earthquake hits Tokyo and Mari, a complete stranger takes it upon herself to make sure they reach home. What strikes me here, in particular, is how their coming together was written. Often, something binds characters, meaning they have to come together, often by chance or fate, but this isn't the case here. Mari simply chooses to take responsibility for the children, it's a choice she freely makes to undertake this heavy mission and that says a great deal about her character. Through the course of the story, she becomes more than the typical older sister often found in older young women in anime. She is a protector and a guardian, a teacher, a guide and a parent. She helps them hope and in doing so becomes pivotal for their survival. Not just that, but through her they learn about each other and grow as brother and sister. Another reason this character is so compelling is that it's easy to present a heroine who is strong because she is just written as fighting strong enemies like Ryuko from Kill la Kill, instead, the enemy here is an earthquake and cannot simply be fought and must instead be navigated through, not with strength or attacks, but with character, with optimism and audacity, will and hope, human characteristics which inspire us and should. That said, I believe there are still 'fighting' female protagonists who bring a-lot to anime and manga, more so than their male counterparts. I would like to use the example of the two Nonos from Gunbuster and Diebuster. Both characters are dreamers who discover themselves in their dreams of becoming space pilots and grow as people. But even as shounen-like characters, their fights are spectacular and outshine the battles found in One Piece, Naruto and Dragonball Z. Why do I say this? Whereas in most shounen anime and manga, the protagonist fights by showing off attacks, skills or new techniques, with the Nonos instead what we get is a display of sheer willpower and fury. Where Naruto relied on ascending to his various fox and frog forms to fight progressively stronger foes and Goku has to go super saiyan, the Nonos had to learn, grow and display impossible willpower, resulting in an awesome displays of human perseverance. In short, it's awesome. There remain issues, it is assumed that shounen anime and manga in the mainstream require male protagonists, depriving young boys of strong female role models which I believe are necessary to foster a healthy and fair society. Instead, for most shounen anime and manga, the female characters either need protecting or are a love interest, feeding into existing stereotypes and perpetuating them. As I have described here, strides are being made, but there is still a long way to go. There's one series in particular that I would like to place emphasis on which turns this issue on its head. Revolutionary Girl Utena is about a young woman who seeks to become a prince; i.e. someone who is brave, proud and strong, rather than a princess. The result is a protagonist who plays much of the roles taken by male protagonists in shounen anime, including combat, but with a feminine perspective that brings something new to the table. Rather than simply defeating her foes, Utena empathises with them, understands where they're coming from and in doing so, brings the conflict to resolution, rather than simply beating them into submission. The result is far more compelling and interesting episodes than the average anime. The way the show explored gender and sexuality would also go on to inspire the American cartoon Steven Universe where female alien gems fight, protect and fall in love. Utena empathising with her enemies is akin to Allen Walker liberating the spirits of his akuma foes in D. Gray-man and this brings us to Katsura Hoshino. Hoshino has fought waves of illness and continued to bring D. Gray-man to the world, a story filled with mystery, stunning art and a complex, detailed world with even more complex characters. Hoshino brought us a world of very troubled and traumatised characters, who deal and work through their trauma throughout the story, creating vibrant journeys of self-discovery and startling revelations. D. Gray-man is one of the few shounen manga to have truly empathetic villains, who suffer and have complex lives behind their actions. This is in contrast to even Naruto, which though seeks to portray some of its villains such as Pain and Obito as having reasons for the terrible thing they've done, they're not 'alive' or 'real' in the same way that D. Gray-man villains are who are complicated in virtue of more than just motivations, but quirks and behaviour, personalities that are more than just bitter, rather they are filled with humour and bonds of their own. This may be a trait that female authors and creators bring to their work in a more effective way than their male counterparts, that their characters are simply more complex, multi-layered and interesting. The Millenium Earl and the Noah family are more than just evil, they are a family and genuinely likeable. Likewise, Hoshino's heroes are more than just good, they're odd and bizarre with a billion flaws and detailed likes and dislikes and personalities. Compare multiple Naruto side characters like Tenten or Shino who are given special abilities, but who are basically two dimensional, compared to a single D. Gray-man side character like Lavi, who has a complex personality and backstory of his own. Whereas Lavi is a reluctant Bookman, seeking to record the history of the world, we never learnt a thing about Tenten or Shino which could make us care more about them. I don't know, it might be unfair of me to say that female authors create more compelling characters and stories, but I know that these female authors most certainly did, and so did Hiromu Arakawa, who is responsible for arguably the perfect anime and manga in Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Arakawa built an incredible world and went as far as to create a science from scratch for the sake of the story in the form of Armestrisian alchemy. The hero-villain axis is fluid as people's motivations bring them dynamically in and out of line with one another, Scar and Greed being primary examples. The story covers issues such as race relations and military occupation, family and international relations, the ethics of science, religion and humanism. The sheer originality of the series is amazing as entire ontologies, countries and philosophies flow into existence before our eyes. Not just that, but the series itself becomes incredibly complex with a range of characters doing multiple things across multiple locations, whilst events still coalesce and work together seamlessly regardless. The story is enjoyable, interesting and moving and I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope we all see more of Arakawa's original work in the future. Having lived and work in East Asia and in Japan in particular, I can say that gender is an issue that still has a long way to go. Stereotypes, societal pressures and expectations make life incredibly difficult for girls and women, but I believe that through the medium of storytelling, we have opportunities to make strides in gender equality and the perception of women. Japan is blessed with a massive storytelling industry in anime, manga, light novels and video games and so, I believe ample opportunity to make a difference.
International photo
Celebrating women characters and authors
This article comes a week late, but I think better late than never and better a little late than very late. I wanted to do something for International Women's day and thought why not reflect on a couple of female characters and creators who have made the world of anime and manga a better, more compelling place.

RIP photo

Rest in Peace: Creature Artist Yasushi Nirasawa passes away

An amazing monster designer has left us
Feb 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Sad news, everyone; it turns out that the great creature illustrator Yasushi Nirasawa passed away at the age of 52 on Feb. 2. According to his Twitter page, his passing was caused by kidney failure. In case this is your first...
RIP photo

Rest in Peace: Masayuki Izumi passes away

A great antihero has left our world
Aug 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ladies and gentlemen; it pains me to tell you all that Masayuki Izumi passed away on July 28. Sadly, the guy left to the other side at 35, which was too soon for someone at that age. The cause of his death was an undisclosed ...

Studio Ghibli shutting down...sort of

Aug 03 // Josh Tolentino
Though this may come as a surprise to the average fan, especially considering Ghibli's latest film, When Marnie Was There is still in theaters in Japan, rumors that Ghibli was to close its doors have been moving through the channels among industry watchers. And even then, this isn't a death entire for the studio. According to Suzuki (and let's emphasize that none of this has actually happened yet), Ghibli will continue on, mainly to manage the studio's existing properties and trademarks. It'll also keep a small crew on hand to support founder Hayao Miyazaki's projects, as well as continue to support its "Momonoma" division. Momonoma is a special freelance group run by Yoshiyuki Momose to create music videos, commercials, and other small projects. What could be getting the axe is its Animation Production department, which is both the root of the problem and the core of Ghibli as it existed for many folks today. The issue is that without a big luminary like Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takehata to keep big movie projects flowing - and unlike most animation studios, Ghibli's output is almost entirely exclusive to feature films - its staff of long-term employees is too expensive to just keep around doing nothing. As such, Ghibli would restructure, reverting to a more freelance-centric system, not unlike it did things prior to producing Porco Rosso. Thus it's best to think of the move as more of a reboot for the studio, as it opts to wait for new projects to come in rather than scramble for work just to keep the lights on. Perhaps it's best to think of the restructuring as a short break rather than a true closure. Suzuki himself said: "On what to do with Studio Ghibli's future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a pause to consider where to go from here." In the meantime, the optimist could look forward to a possible new flood of talented animators and producers formerly exclusive to Ghibli entering the more traditional anime industry (despite its mainstream recognition, Ghibli was always the exception rather than the rule) and lending their own creativity to other studios.  At this point it's really wait-and-see, though there's no doubt that if or when these changes take place it'd be the end of an era...for this particular iteration of Studio Ghibli. [Via Catsuka, IGN, ANN and others]
RIP Studio Ghibli photo
More of a reboot, really
It looks like a number of rumors swirling around the internet have just been confirmed: The legendary production house Studio Ghibli - they of a large proportion of anime films worth watching - might shutting down. The announ...

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...
Sony haet Square photo
Sony haet Square

Signs of Doom! Sony sells off its Square Enix stock

Apr 16
// Josh Tolentino
Fanboys and girls rejoice, for the corporations you've pledged your loyalty to have given you some extra ammo to use in your eternal conflict. It seems consumer electronics giant and PlayStation maker Sony has decided to offl...
TokyoPop photo

TokyoPop founder Stu Levy does AMA on Reddit

Read about how a former industry titan toppled
Apr 05
// Brad Rice
Buried in the midst of Reddit's Ask Me Anything section, TokyoPop founder Stu Levy popped in for two hours to answer questions from fans about the company, the industry, and manga in general. One of the more interesting quest...

Square Enix and Yen Press announce worldwide digital partnership

Mar 24 // Brad Rice
NEW YORK, NY (March 24, 2014) – Yen Press, the graphic novel imprint of Hachette Book Group, and leading Japanese gaming and manga publisher Square Enix in conjunction with the Tuttle-Mori Agency announced today that their highly anticipated inter-corporate initiative for the global distribution of Square Enix's English language manga will commence on April 8th. By virtue of this groundbreaking agreement, fans of Square Enix’s manga in over 200 countries will have access to the authorized, English-language ebook editions of 175 titles through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo with new volumes available concurrently with future print releases. Launching first with internationally best selling series like Atsushi Ohkubo’s Soul Eater, Yana Toboso's Black Butler, and Yoshiki Tonogai's Doubt, Yen Press will roll out additional series weekly throughout the month of April with a blockbuster assortment that includes Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist, Jun Mochizuki's PandoraHearts, Ryukishi07's Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY, and Until Death Do Us Part by Hiroshi Takashige and DOUBLE-S. As an added bonus for fans, these ebook editions will include color pages not reproduced in the titles' print counterparts. In addition to this ambitious launch of their cooperative digital publishing endeavor, Yen Press and Square Enix have also unveiled a program for the digital English language serialization of new chapters of two ongoing series – Atsushi Ohkubo's riotous successor to Soul Eater, Soul Eater NOT!, and Yoshiki Tonogai's latest mind-bending mystery thriller, Secret. Chapters not already contained in the collected volumes of these series will be released as digital comics in advance of the latest chapters slated for publication April 14th. Kurt Hassler, VP and Publishing Director of Yen Press, said of the agreement, "In much the same way that video streaming technologies transformed the way fans consume anime, the digital availability of manga content stands to revolutionize readers’ access to the material they love. Particularly exciting to us is the opportunity Square Enix has provided international audiences to enjoy and support the latest installments of continuing series at the same time as Japanese fans. Manga has a truly global community of enthusiasts, and Yen Press could not be prouder to help connect these brilliant creators with the worldwide readership clamoring for their work." Katsuyoshi Matsuura, Division Executive of Publication Business Division and General Manager of Digital Publishing of Square Enix Co., Ltd., commented regarding the commencement of the service, "I am extremely pleased to know that our work will be available to manga fans to whom it was previously inaccessible. At the same time, I am very encouraged and excited to be able to implement this service in cooperation with Hachette Book Group and to work with them to address the ever expanding needs of enthusiasts while providing them with the most exciting experience possible." About the authors of the serialized chapter publications: Atsushi Ohkubo’s debut manga series, B.Ichi, originally appeared in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine. Upon completion of the work, his concept for Soul Eater began as a series of shorts appearing in the same magazine and later became the long-running work that has earned him international renown. The final chapter of Soul Eater recently ran in the September issue of Monthly Shonen Gangan. Ohkubo is still at work on his spin-off series, Soul Eater NOT!, the animation for which is slated to begin airing this spring. Yoshiki Tonogai leapt onto the manga scene as the artist on the Time Killing Arc of Ryukishi07's epic Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY. He then went on to create his first solo work, Doubt, which was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shonen Gangan, the success of which inspired its sequel, Judge. Tonogai's latest murder masterpiece, Secret, kicked off its serialization in Monthly Shonen Gangan in October 2013, and he has been a recurring presence on the New York Times manga bestseller list.
Yen Press photo
175 English-language titles to appear in over 200 countries
Yen Press and Square Enix just announced a partnership to put eBook versions of 175 manga titles online, giving the English-language versions of Square Enix's manga worldwide reach. Starting April 8, you'll be able to access ...

Gunpla photo

Gunpla Banzai: Barnes & Noble selling Gunpla kits

Build Fighters to follow?
Mar 15
// Josh Tolentino
It's actually funny: For as much access as North American anime fans have to Japan's pop culture output these days, there really are some things that are still difficult to find over there. For example, it's easy to get your ...
PS4 photo

Yay Consumer Electronics: PS4 sells 322,083 in Japan

A good start
Feb 26
// Josh Tolentino
In case you didn't know, the PS4 has just launched in Glorious Nippon, three months after its North American and European debuts, and the numbers are in for the new platform's first two days of Japanese sales: The console ha...
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...
BitSummit photo

BitSummit's Japanese indie-fest returns!

In lovely Kyoto
Jan 15
// Josh Tolentino
I'd hardly be the first guy to say that Japan's gaming industry isn't having the best time right now. In fact, the gaming industry in general is suffering creatively. But whereas western gamers have been increasingly looking...
Cool Japan photo
Cool Japan

Cooler Japan: Japanese gov't opening new anime channel

Coming to an Asia near you
Jan 04
// Josh Tolentino
I'm hardly in a position to say whether Japan's culture export-focused "soft power" initiative, dubbed "Cool Japan" is successful, but whatever you think of it, it's good news to see that they're still rolling along with it. ...
Crunchyroll photo

Crunchyroll issues statement on Chernin investment

Everything's going to stay the same, business as usual
Dec 10
// Brad Rice
Back at the end of October, we heard that The Chernin Group bought a stake in Crunchyroll, boosting its valuation somewhere short of $100 million. Crunchyroll finally came out with a statement to assuage fans' concerns, and i...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons is now crazy popular in the West

They did the monster...match-three
Nov 10
// Josh Tolentino
Whenever folks talk about the supposed decline of the Japanese game industry, there's always one bright light shining in the gloom and doom. Strangely enough, it's not Monster Hunter, but rather Puzzle & Dragons, the mons...
RIP photo

Rest in peace: Tomoyuki Dan passes away

The man behind the Weather Dopant is now gone
Oct 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
Another great person departs from the world of the living, and it happens to be someone from Kamen Rider W. Unfortunately, it was too soon for him to leave our side. On October 10th at 11:49 pm, Tomoyuki Dan passed away at th...
Gaming photo

Will gamers decide the fate of the Neo Geo X?

"To be or not to be, that is the question."
Oct 08
// Tim Sheehy
For those of you who haven't kept up with the drama, there's been an on-going dispute between SNK Playmore USA, and publisher Tommo Inc., who manufacture the Neo Geo X Gold portable gaming device. Earlier this month, SNK Play...
Crunchyroll photo

Crunchyroll bringing simulcasts to France

Expands service to include French language support
Oct 03
// Tim Sheehy
Crunchyroll has announced today that they'll be expanding their Simulcast service to France, complete with subtitled French language support. The service will only be launching with a select number of series to start, which i...
RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi photo
RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi

RIP, Hiroshi Yamauchi: Nintendo ex-prez passes at 85

A pioneer of the gaming industry
Sep 19
// Josh Tolentino
When you think of Nintendo, chances are you'll think of a name like Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and all that good stuff the Big N is known for. But there's another name you should know, one without whom good ol' S...

And the new owner of Atlus is...

Sep 17 // Salvador G Rodiles
Atlus photo
Let's pray that Atlus' great localization streak remains unaffected.
[Update #2: Sega Sammy have confirmed their acquisition of Atlus. Sega Dreams, a new division formed by Sega, will be the ones to handle Index Holdings.] [Update #1: Sega Sammy have initially denied report...

Hayao Mizayaki retires photo
Hayao Mizayaki retires

Watch Hayao Miyazaki on the internet!

The legend says goodbye
Sep 05
// Josh Tolentino
In case you hadn't heard, legendary animator and all-time anime great Hayao Miyazaki is retiring. Best shed a tear, and perhaps consider opening your wallet to pick up any of his films you haven't seen yet. "But wait!" you sa...
Comic Book Legal Defense photo
Comic Book Legal Defense

Comic Book Defense Fund gives an epic speech at Comiket

Telling it like it is on Manga Freedom
Aug 19
// Josh Tolentino
In case you weren't keeping up, the 84th Comic Market ("Comiket") happened in Japan a few days ago. And on the off chance you don't know what that is, it's pretty much Japan's - and possibly the world's - largest comic c...
Atlus auction  photo
Atlus auction

Pray for the best: 20 companies are now bidding on Atlus

Sega's one of the 20 bidders.
Aug 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
Thing are boiling down to the important moment right now, since the auction that will determine the fate of Atlus is now receiving its bids. At the moment, there are 20 companies fighting for control of Atlus, and the bids ha...
Kick-Heart photo

Kick-Heart gets an award kicked its way

Definitely not a kick-back
Jul 30
// Josh Tolentino
Who says good things don't get recognized in today's society, eh? A definite Good Thing, Kick-Heart, the Kickstarter-funded pro-wrestling anime affair from Masaaki Yuasa and Production I.G., has just gotten the nod from New ...
Ryutaro Nakamura photo
Ryutaro Nakamura

Rest in Peace: Serial Experiments Lain director passes

He belongs to the ages
Jul 25
// Josh Tolentino
Well this is sobering news. Ryutaro Nakamura, who directed the anime adaptations of the classics Serial Experiments Lain and Kino's Journey (as well as Sakura Wars, a series close to my heart), lost his battle with ...
Initial D finale photo
Initial D finale

Initial D drifting to the finale, gets new series, movie

Driving sideways since 1995
Jul 22
// Josh Tolentino
Wow, talk about the end of an era. Seems like Initial D, the world's premier manga about never driving in a straight line, is approaching its finale, after eighteen years. 46 volumes, several anime and live-action series, vid...
Atlus sale photo
Atlus sale

For Sale: Index ready to take bids for Atlus

But who will pick up the house of MegaTen?
Jul 19
// Josh Tolentino
It has begun. Atlus' troubled parent company Index has just announced that it's just about ready to start selling off aspects of its operations as part of its "Civil Rehabilitation" proceedings (effectively the Japanese equiv...
Bleach ending soon photo
Bleach ending soon

Bleach manga taking a break as it heads into the finale

Wait, it's ending?!
Jul 17
// Josh Tolentino
Oh my. It looks like all the epic happenings in Bleach over the last few months really are leading up to something: the end. According to a special message from author Tite Kubo in the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump ...
Atlus USA not broke photo
Atlus USA not broke

Don't worry, folks, Atlus USA is doing fine

'Business as usual', says President and CEO
Jun 27
// Josh Tolentino
Well, the news coming out of Atlus Japan, or rather its parent company, Index Corporation, is rather dire, but according to a statement from President and CEO Naoto Hiraoka, Atlus USA is hunky-dory: Currently, Index Digital ...
Atlus goes broke photo
Atlus goes broke

Memento Mori: Atlus parent company files for bankruptcy

But what does it mean for Atlus?
Jun 27
// Josh Tolentino
[Update 2: According to their official press release (and NeoGAF mod duckroll's translation), Index realizes that the games division is the most desirable and profitable part of their business. They plan on seeking out and ch...

Japanator Discusses: The Xbox One

May 23 // Josh Tolentino
Hiroko Yamamura: I'll be honest, I'm probably going to end up buying both consoles. Gone are the days where you would buy a system based on the kind of games that would be released, as much AAA titles find their way to most systems. What this next generation seems to be about is lifestyle, and HOW you play these titles. I'm a Sony fan-girl through and through. From cameras to TVs, their gear usually hits the right points for me. However, this last generation's Microsoft offering really elevated online play for me, and offered up a level of "non hardcore" gaming I've come to enjoy as well. A few hours here or there blasting my friends heads off, while I spend my marathon gaming on the PS3. I've largely shifted to handheld gaming due to my hectic travel schedule, but still really relish some time in front of my television with a gaming power house. Around the interwebs people still mention how PCs are still top dog as far as power is concerned. This generation may change at that. It boils down to how you want to play. Just because a system can do something doesn't mean it needs to. Heck, I use different computers for different tasks. I can do all my email on my iphone, but I won't be changing my sit down on my desktop to answer long emails anytime soon. I'm excited for this next gen, I love video games, any way I can get em. Keep em coming, there's a lot of room for competition. I'm not buying everyone's prediction of the death of console gaming. If one thing can be sure, I'm going to be very poor this year. Jeff Chuang: Microsoft's Xbox One gets mad props, in my mind, for doing that hypervisor-emulated, triple-OS-swap doohicky, with voice commands. Sony, on the other hand, is riding on a better device ecosystem (ie., handhelds) and is open to gaming on Android, something I'm mildly invested in. I didn't buy both the 360 and PS3 because only one had the games I want to play. Furthermore, the Playstation online systems may be region-segregated, it is still accessible from any PS3 you buy. Not so much with the Xbox ecosystem. And if that's going to be the trend, I think import gamers will have no choice between the two. We might suck it up and import a Japanese Xbox One when the right games hit that market, and long before that pick up a PS4, since that will likely hit Japan first anyway, and much more likely to have quality Japanese games available, ie., that killer app, during the launch window. It's just a replay of the PS3/360 era, except with more social sharing nonsense. I already have a powerful "Microsoft" console in the form of my desktop computer. How is the Xbox One a value-added proposition to someone with a PC is a tad dubious in terms of what we can already do in the living room, no thanks to the countless companies selling us smart TVs and set-top boxes that leverages a PC or laptop and enhance that experience. Unless Microsoft pulls out all the stops on SmartGlass I don't think it can match, say, AirPlay to an Apple TV or something like that. It's a bit like the 360 is a handy entertainment center companion in that if you have one, you can do all kinds of stuff with it. It's just if you didn't have one, there were a million other, arguably better, entertainment center companions. And unlike the PS3 back in the day when it was the best Blu-ray player at the time, I'm not sure how much value it adds for gamers outside of bringing us games. With that we're back to square one: games; and to a lesser extent, pricing. But I guess another way to look at it is that all the TV and Sports business of the Xbox One is merely leveling the playing field with everything else on the market. It had to have those capabilities to some degree. I also have a lot of concern about the whole used game situation--Japan's second-hand market is much larger than the west. If the people can't pawn off expensive Xbox One games, how will they cater to the otaku market over in Japan? I can't see how "no used games" can at all fly with Japan's retail climate if the Xbox One is to even make a dent the size of the 360 over there. In other words, whichever gets [email protected] 3 first wins. And if I had my way, it'll come out on both and the world can be all one, suffering at expensive DLC packs every month or two. Looking forward to E3 and all those announcements! Elliot Gay: Their conference was a complete and total train wreck.  Speaking from a Japanese perspective, Xbox One is as good as dead over here. Japan's second-hand market is a huge deal, and in some ways selling and buying used games functions as a sort of rental system to gamers here. Buy back prices have always been pretty fantastic within the first two weeks of a game's release. The functions that Microsoft has detailed essentially cut out this system. One look at Japanese blogs paints a grim picture; nobody here in Japan is happy with this. The TV functions mean nothing to folks here because like the 360, none of those apps actually work in Japan. This system might as well be called 'Merica Box for how little it considers the wider international audience. That being said, I think it even fails at that, seeing as a large portion (more than you'd expect) of American citizens actually lack consistent internet connections. Phil Harrison has noted that you must connect the system to the internet once every 24 hours. They haven't elaborated on what happens if you don't, but it's not hard to draw the conclusion that you won't be able to use 99% of your system's functions. The indie scene is looking grim too, especially now that we know there will be no self publishing on the Xbox One. This lines up nicely with what we've heard from indies too. There's also the fear that Xbox One games will become unplayable in 5-10 years once the system is dead. If it requires an online check-in and working servers, what happens when those shut down for good? Do the games stop working forever? Microsoft had a great opportunity here to dispel some of the bad rumors floating around over the past half year. Instead, they confirmed all of those rumors, and even added more fuel to the fire. I can't think of a way they could have screwed this up more. I can only imagine Shuhei Yoshida laughing hysterically in his office, and Iwata plotting Nintendo's comeback plan. I should also note that the fact that the Kinect is always on and listening is creepy as hell. It's listening to what you're saying at all times, and that kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. Eric Koziol: Do not really have much to add on top of what Elliot said other than I really hope we all can start calling it the P'Xone. I had a strong hunch I would not be buying one and this only reconfirmed it. If they do dare to sell it in Japan it will make the Wii U look like a super success. Josh Tolentino: While I'm not inclined to be as grim as Elliot when it comes to the Xbox One, I will agree that it's not looking great to me, and to be frank, right now it's hard to see how an Xbox One would look good to anyone who lives outside the United States.  Perhaps it's a side effect of the greater context of Microsoft's announcement. Given that it was broadcast on a cable TV channel, it's not surprising that Microsoft would push its TV integration hard, and as a result much of the thrust was simply irrelevant to people who don't (or can't) care about getting American TV. And if they intend to keep pushing that angle, rather than broadening their pitch over the coming weeks, then I seriously doubt the Xbox One's international prospects. Well, at least until it gets cracked for piracy, at any rate. However from the perspective that this is Microsoft's next move not just in the console war, but in its war against Apple and Google, everything makes a little more sense. At that point all the hoo-hah about instant switching and multitasking and Skype feels like it matters a little more. And to be frank, if I were faced with a choice between buying an Xbox One, an Apple TV and a Google TV, I'd choose Microsoft's box, no contest.  But at that point I realize that I personally don't really want any "TV" devices, from Apple, Google, Microsoft, or whomever, because I do all my TV-watching on my PC, a device that does everything the Xbox One can do and more. It comes back to the fact that much of Microsoft's pitch only seems relevant to Americans with big-screen TVs and enough living room space to make a Kinect matter. Simply put, I'm out of that target audience, and without a bunch of cool exclusives, ideally revealed soon, I'll have no reason not to skip an Xbox One and simply upgrade my PC.  In a way, with international viewers it's looking like the PS4 holds the upper hand. Its emphasis on quick and easy video sharing and Sony's friendlier history with import gamers (Vita account shenanigans notwithstanding) have a much more global appeal that "Yay fantasy football!", and Sony was vague enough at its own announcement that it's been coy about just what kind of DRM-style measures its taking, and have wisely let Microsoft absorb the first volley of hate. If we're lucky, come E3 any theoretical plans they have to implement something similar will be scuttled or neutered. Salvador G-Rodiles When it comes to console and handheld gaming, the important factor for me is the software. While a good number of AAA are going to appear on every major console, I'm mostly into the games by small companies and indie developers. That said, the PS4 has ensured me that I will get my fix of next gen Atlus, NIS, and Falcom titles. At the moment, Microsoft hasn't revealed their whole roster of third party companies that will be making games for the Xbox One, so I will wait and see how things unfold during this year's E3. Hopefully, they can increase their number of exclusive titles, since the 360 ended up going through a situation where most of their exclusive titles ended up on the PS3 and/or PC. Otherwise, you might as well stick with a PC, PS4, and/or Wii U for the new generation. In regards to the titles unveiled for the Xbox One, I'm not really into FPS or sports games, so it's going to take a wider software variety to sell me on the system. Then again, the deciding factor for me will be the console that gets the major Super Robot Wars games (e.g., OG, Z, and/or a new installment). Josh Totman: This year marks the 30th year that I have owned and enjoyed home video games. It all started out with the Coleco Gemini that I got for Christmas in 1983. Since then I have enjoyed ever major console that has been release until now including some hand held systems. To say that I have 'grown up' with video game is a small understatement. They have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Now with the Xbox One just announced, I'm pretty sure that this might be my first skipped console that I won't buy. My decision is 75% based on what I know of the system and 25% on that I have no real time for games anymore. First off, they are really pushing the idea that this is the new cable box of your house. I don't watch much TV these days if at all. I don't even have a cable subscription that could be used with this. Why would I want it? It sounds neat that you can basically not have to move at all from your couch ever again to do anything that deals with the TV, but isn't that what we are trying not to do nowadays? I don't need something that helps me stay on my couch longer. Most of what the Xbox One has in it doesn't intrigue me at all. No switchable hard drive, installed games, coded games that you have to active online to play, Kinect always on to listen for you, can't take physical games to friends houses to try out, and no backward compatibility equals a big no thanks from me. These aren't selling points for most people out there. I'm not sure which market or demographic Microsoft is trying to target with all of these new features. I'm trying to wrap my brain around who would want this that doesn't either play sports titles or Call of Duty. I think Microsoft just looked at some of their best selling titles and said "What can we do to make 'them' happy?" This is not where all your money is coming from guys. They have made an all in one box for only a few people. If E3 doesn't produce something spectacular for them, you can rest assured that this system is going to flop very hard. Sorry Microsoft. Your Xbox ONE is all for ONE, only for certain ONES, and not for this ONE. I'll be using my saved money on more board games that I play with real people that are in front of me, thanks. [embed]28726:2425:0[/embed] Chris Walden: I've just woken up the morning after the One launch, and Twitter still has plenty to say on the subject. I should clarify right now that without a massive reason not to, I'll be getting a PS4 and a One. For better or worse, I already have a Wii U sat next to me, gathering dust until I get hold of Pikmin 3. I own both a PS3 and a 360, and while the latter console probably edges it for me this generation, they've both been great consoles in their own way. First of all, I quite enjoyed the announcement. This may seem like something of a shock considering how many people I'm seeing complain about it, but honestly, there was some exciting stuff. Snaptiles and multi-app loading look really neat, for starters. What if you get stuck in a game and you're the kind of guy or gal that wants an FAQ to read. Boom, you have one. Skype can load up while you're playing. Guaranteed online chat for any game, if you have the friends to do it with. I think Microsoft did themselves a disservice by not selling these features on their specific gaming uses. The biggest complaint I've seen is that we just haven't seen a lot of games. True, we haven't, but then we didn't see much of the PS4 library either. What we did see didn't mention anything of release dates. Microsoft have been pretty good for games on the 360 (with exception to perhaps RPGs) so I'm not exactly sure where the worry is coming from. Publishers will put games on this system until it dies, you don't have to worry about that. E3 will be where they get their chance to show them off, so complain after that if you're still not satisfied with either console. I don't have much of an issue with the required Kinect either, as there are some pretty nifty features built into that little box. I think there's genuine worry that developers will now make all menus motion-operated  or voice-operated, but really, do you honestly think that'll happen? Even if it did, the controller certainly isn't going anywhere, and you can see on one of the new buttons on the pad that you'll be able to swap what program you have active. Actually, I lied. It's probably the whole always-on/second hand games/related stuff that have received the most controversy. I'm right there with you guys, a lot of it seems like a really bad idea. However, we still have no idea whatsoever about what the PS4 does in this regard. EA did do away with ALL of their online pass stuff, so don't be too surprised if this is a PS4 thing as well. I think it was quite easy for Microsoft to gloss over any negatives and ride out of the whole event on a similar level to the PS4, but at least we've been offered transparency. PS4 still hasn't let any of the negatives come through, but at this point, it may very well have been a smart strategy. In summary, I enjoyed what we saw yesterday. The One and the PS4 are going to get games, there should be no concern over that, so while E3 will be used to cater to that, it was nice to get deep down into the unit and its features. However, there are a few more things that need to be confirmed before people should be choosing a console to back. The first is the price, of course. These consoles have a lot of similar features, but if it's a good £100/$150 difference in launch price between the two, more people will jump to the cheaper option, at least at first. Games are obviously the most important thing, and E3 will be the decider for that. I'm glad that Microsoft got a lot of the Fifa/CoD stuff out of the way now, as it means they *should* have the time to focus on new things at E3. Also, I agree with pretty much everyone else, the name is really dumb. It seems they put wordplay above all else in the decision to do it, and that just doesn't sit right with me. "It's all-in-One" "It's the One" "Only One" Blah. It was going to be harder to find a good name after naming the 360, we know that. I wouldn't have been surprised if this was called the Xbox Three, though the three and the 360 would only have confused people. I know it's not all about names, and we'll get used to it, but this is a feeling I've not had since everyone was laughing about the Wii's name.    TL;DR: Both consoles look neat, but we need prices and games before we can properly judge.
Jtor Discusses Xbox One photo
How does Microsoft's new hotness fare?
How about that new Xbox, eh? In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past three days, Microsoft announced its next home console, dubbed the "Xbox One". Equipped with a brand-new Kinect, a new controller, and a heavy l...

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