Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan 17-23 October 2011

on October 16, 2011 5:30 PM

Welcome to the second “episode” of Akihabara Shopping, the weekly column that will give you a small glimpse on the coolest games that will be released next week in Japan. Some of them may sooner or later see a western localization, while many will remain an exclusive luxury for importers and Japanophiles (even because games in Japan cost more or less twice as much as in the US). If you missed the first episode, you can check it here.

Of course this column doesn’t cover all the games, consoles and accessories that will be released in Japan next week, as there’s a metric ton, like every week, but I’ll try to select the most interesting and/or qurky.

But without further ado, let’s move to the first game of this week, that incidentally is not just a game. I’m talking about Macross Frontier the Movie: The Wings of Goodbye (マクロスF 恋離飛翼~サヨナラノツバサ~), that will be released on BluRay on October the 20th. You’re very possibly wondering If I drank too much at some open bar at New York Comic Con yesterday night, since I’m talking about an anime movie in a column dedicated to games, and no, I didn’t.

First of all, I stayed home to hold the fort. No Comic Con for me this year. Secondly, this BluRay release isn’t just a movie, but an hybrid disk, that includes a PS3 game titled Macross Last Frontier. 

Last Frontier is a flight game/third person shooter hybrid that follows the events of the movie, allowing the player to fly nine different aircrafts (VF-25F, VF-25S VF-25G, RVF-25, YF-29, VF-27y, VF-27β, VB-6 Koenig Monster and even a Vajira) in intense space battles featuring myriads of enemies and the usual metric ton of missiles from the anime.

The hybrid pack will come in two versions: a limited edition including the game and the movie, an artbook and a piece of original film of the movie (only for the first batch), and the Super Dimension special edition that adds two PS3 themes (one featuring Sheryl and one featuring Ranka, surprise surprise), a poster, a brochure, the script of the movie, and two sets of cards. If you want to splurge and import this one, you better hurry because it will be available only until the end of the month.

Unfortunately it’s very unlikely that anything of this will ever see a localization in the West, due to the usual licensing issues of all things Macross. Honestly it’s a pity, because Macross Frontier is one of the best Macross series and the movies are even better.

You can see a trailer of the hybrid pack (game included) below. Incidentally, if you prefer Ranka to Sheryl, I question your taste.

The second game for today will charm those that love quirky little pieces of software: Ikou yo! Kominato Tetsudo de (行こうよ!小湊鐵道で, that can be translated as “Let’s Go! To the Kominato Line”).

Many Japanese are absolutely in love with trains, so much that there are entire lines of products dedicated to locomotives and the like. There even are sanctioned “classes” of train otakus. The Nori-Tetsu enjoy traveling on trains, the Tori-Tetsu prefer taking pictures, Oto-Tetsu dedicate themselves to recording the sounds of locomotives, while Ekiben-Tetsu have a passion for the packed lunches (Bento) sold at the stations. Finally the most adorable of them all are the Tetsuko, the train-loving ladies. There’s even a rather adorable manga and anime series dedicated to them: Tetsuko no Tabi, but I digress.

Kominato Tetsudo de is basically a railway diorama simulator, dedicated to the famous and scenic Kominato Line in Chiba prefecture. The game is charmingly simple: you get a virtual railway diorama and a bunch of the peculiar red and cream trains of the Kominato Line, and you can play with them. A screensaver mode and a cockpit view are also included.

The game will be released on the 17th for the PC. No frills or special editions this time. As usual, you can see a little cute trailer below.

The third game we’ll look at today is Umineko no Naku Koro ni Portable 1 (うみねこのなく頃にPortable 1, that can be translated as “When The Seagulls Cry”), and it’s the PSP remake of the first two chapters of a massively popular series (part of an even bigger saga) of PC visual novels originally published between 2007 and 2010.

The series is so popular that it spawned a PS3 remake, four manga, a novel, a series of drama CDs, an anime TV series, a radio show and even a spin-off fighting game on Xbox 360 and PC.

The game is a murder mystery visual novel with heavy supernatural events and an extremely complex multi-layered plot. The protagonist, Battler Ushiromiya, visits the island of Rokkenjima to attend the annual conference of his wealthy family. The head of the family is near death, so the theme of the conference is the division of his riches. Classic setting for a lot of murders and violence, isn’t it?

Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan 17-23 October 2011

Things aren’t that simple, as the legendary Golden Witch Beatrice is rumored to live on the island. The legend says that whoever solves the riddle of her her epitaph written under her portrait in the family mansion, will become the legitimate heir. Things get hairy as people start (obviously) to get killed in mysterious ways and Battler and Beatrice start a duel of wits, with Battler representing logic and scientific reasoning and Beatrice vouching for a supernatural explanation of the events. I know, it sounds complicated, because it is.

Portable 1 will be released on the 20th and will include the first two chapters of the saga: Legend of the Golden Witch and Turn of the Golden Witch. Portable 2 (that will be released on November the 17th) will include the third and the fourth chapters. Chapters from five to eight that form the Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru arc will be bundled in Portable 3 and 4, with no release date announced yet. You can see the opening movie below.

Last item for today is not a game, but one of the things that Western gamers envy their Japanese cousins for the most. We all know that they get a variety in console colors that we never get access to or that we get much later, and this week Japanese ladies (but not only ladies, I’m sure) are going to get a treat from Nintendo.

The Misty Pink 3DS will be released in Japan on the 20th. It’s definitely massively cute. For some reason I always had an insane fascination for pink consoles, which is weird, because I don’t like anything else in pink.

Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan 17-23 October 2011 Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan 17-23 October 2011 Akihabara Shopping: Cool Releases In Japan 17-23 October 2011

I wonder if and when this one will get released in the west, but anyway, this was the last one for this week. Do come back next week to see what your resident Japanophile will dig up. Tanoshimi ni!

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.