Planetarian is going to be released in Steam!

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And this is totally uncalled for!

Apparently, a certain visual novel publisher in the West named Sekai Project is going to release Visual Art’s/Key’s kinetic novel Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume.

Wow! Nobody saw that coming (except the guys at the Sekai Project, I suppose)! I’ve written a little something about planetarian before and it’s a must read!

In any case, it’s nice to see some recent VNs coming to the West. Here’s to hoping Little Busters! or Clannad makes the cut as well. 🙂

Source: Siliconera

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Picking up Go/Baduk/Weiqi and Eventually, ヒカルの碁 [Hikaru no Go]

Several months ago, I was thinking of some board game apps to pass the time just to get them gears running in all cylinders again. I downloaded some common and not-so common ones to try them out – Reversi, Mastermind, and finally, Go. I am already acquainted with Mastermind beforehand so I enjoyed playing it again. Then, I initially wanted to practice Reversi (otherwise known as Othello) and although there are some strategies required, I didn’t quite enjoy the game as much as I had expected it to be.

Then comes Go, also known as Weiqi in China and Baduk in Korea. As a quick background, this game originated in China some 2,500 years ago and the rules have basically remained ever since. What got me to playing are the descriptions I have read online, such as “The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules”, “Its simple rules and deep strategies have intrigued everyone from emperors to peasants for hundreds of generations”, and especially this one as well, “Go is a hugely engrossing game of great elegance and astonishing depth and richness. It will handsomely reward your efforts in learning the game.”

As I read along some basics, I remembered there was one anime/manga that tackled this game and that is Hikaru no Go. So I watched the anime while I try to learn the game in parallel and it was indeed very rewarding. So let me try to put up here just a very quick review on the anime/manga and the game as well.

Needless to say, Hikaru no Go is about a young boy named Hikaru who stumbled upon a Go board from his grandfather’s dojo. This is the event that changed Hikaru from being a boy who had zero interest in the board game to a professional. The manga and anime actually contains a sizable content of Go games and problems which made it all the more interesting.

Even though Hikaru no Go first aired on 2001, the animation itself wasn’t bad at all, though they did leave out some small details like lip movement, environment, etc. The background music though are top-notch! It matches up really well during the critical moments of the series to the point that I can hear them even though I’m just reading the manga! 🙂

The series also did well to touch on the development of the not only the main protagonist, but the other supporting characters as well. It makes following the series that much more fun! 🙂

On the other side, the game of Go has an extremely easy set of rules to understand but mastering it is another thing altogether. I’ve been reading and learning in for about two weeks now and I’m still probably considered an absolute newb to this. However, studying it is very enjoyable for me as I want to understand and fully grasp the commentaries of some games I’ve replayed.

All in all, this game and anime package is definitely a treat! Hopefully, more people would learn Go so we can all learn together and play this beautiful game. 🙂

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky gets anime adaptation

Sentai Filmworks (Tokyo Magnitude, Eureka Seven) will be airing the PSP hit Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (XSEED/Falcom) as an anime. I have no details on the release date as of yet, but what you can see below is the trailer of the series containing UNBELIEVABLY MASSIVE spoilers (even the damned still-picture on the video is a spoiler). =,=

In any case, the animation looks stunning – but the voice-overs – hmm, I don’t know… Sounds mediocre at best to me. Also, they could have retained the magnificent OST “The Whereabouts of Light”, but I guess that’s not possible eh? But at least, here’s something to look forward to! 🙂

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Main Theme: The Case of A Filipino Singer

Looking at my friend’s post about having finished the newly released Final Fantasy XIII-2, I remembered I had to listen to the full version of the game’s main theme – both in English and Japanese. To all the Filipinos out there, in case you don’t know, Charice is the one who performed the English theme (while Mai Fukui for the Japanese theme). It was a proud day to be a Filipino and to be a gamer – I mean, finally, a Filipino in the gaming map! And it’s not just a game, it’s Final Fantasy!

Anyway, it’s not until I listened to both of them earlier that I realized that the English version is just the translated version of the Japanese one! I thought they are two completely different songs – guess not.

Here is Charice’s version:

Here is Mai’s version:

So while listening to both of these videos, I read the comments for both videos and immediately noticed a rift among the fans – is the English version better? Or the Japanese version?

Having listened to Filipino female artists ever since and having listened to a considerable amount of JPop songs – I must say that each of the pieces above reflected the music culture for each country they represent. Filipino female singers are known to have excellent power and control over high pitches and this is demonstrated perfectly by Charice. I noticed that there are only a few artists who can do this in the West, thus her popularity there. If you will listen to other Filipino artists (e.g. Sarah Geronimo, Rachelle Ann Go, etc.), the same characteristics can be said.

Moving over to the Japanese version – I must say it remained true to the characteristics of most of anime/game themes – delicate, gentle notes, and emphasis on the musical accompaniment. This type of music is more relaxing than the former, but coupled with a fast-paced game like this one, I’m not quite sure if it fits well.

In my honest opinion, I can’t really choose between the two as of the moment. My tendency is that I will choose the Japanese version any day, but there’s something in the English version that’s just too good to pass up. In the end, it’s just a matter of preference. Both pieces are great and all but a distinction in style and execution separates the two uniquely.

Let me know what you think! Do you prefer the English or the Japanese one? Why?

Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in the west last January 31. Here is the official trailer:

Suikoden: The Woven Web of a Century Extended Trailer

This is absolutely stunning! What a return for the Suikoden title. Too bad the original series has been long dead. I guess I’ll never know the story between Pesmerga and Yuber *sigh*.

From the previous clips, Konami said that this one will involve more “wars and political factions”, so that’s a good sign! Also, the characters per party returned to 6! The gameplay footage in the video shows great 3D animation, so there’s really a lot of hype in this game. Now all we need to do is to pray to the gaming gods that this be localized or else… Well, I can’t really think of an alternative choice. 😦

The game will be released in Japan on February 9, 2012 for the PSP platform.

A Fate-ful Holidays to All!

It might be a bit late, but hey, better late than never!

I wish you all had a cracking, festive season of holidays! Enjoy what little remains of the year and keep your head up for a 2012 that’s full of promises and hope!

On another note, Fate/Zero Season 1 has just ended in a supposedly-bang-but-instead-a-ufotable-expected-cliffhanger. ufotable did the Fate series a justice. Though I am hugely favorable of F/Z, I guess F/SN has its own charms as well. F/SN started as a visual novel, so it was quite easier to convert it to anime, unlike F/Z which started as a light novel (please correct me on this one). Again, Baka-Tsuki has fully translated the novel in English, so if you want to read it, follow this link.

F/Z has a great cast which are very likable. The story is engrossing and I can’t wait to read the novel myself. The animation is simply stunning, with favorable music here and there. The OP and ED however are stand-outs! To those followers, I am a huge critic of the OPs and EDs being used in a series, and I felt that Memoria and oath sign are just perfect.

Being a novel originally, I understand where all the dialogue are coming from, instead of the most awaited duel scenes among the servants. If you are still new to the Fate series, again, it’s never too late. You might want to watch F/SN first before F/Z so that things won’t be.. uhm.. how should I say this — anticlimactic?

Anyway, Season 2 starts on April 2012. Mark that on your calendars, folks!

As for other news, Carnival Phantasm will have a 12-minute special – Fate/Prototype which is somewhat a spin-off of F/SN. For more details, you may read here.

I would like to have a full-blown series of Fate with a male Saber class! May it be, Fate/Extra, Fate/Apocrypha, Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, every Saber is a female. We need a male swordie!

Anyway, that’s enough ranting. Happy new year to all! 🙂

Final Fantasy Type-0 to be released in the West

Original post from Siliconera.

It’s official, Final Fantasy Type-0 will be released outside of Japan. The news comes from the Final Fantasy Type-0 Ultimania, which comes out in Japan tomorrow.

Snippets from the book’s interview leaked onto the Internet, including a tidbit about an international release. Square Enix is already working on one.

Final Fantasy Type-0 was released for PSP on October 27 in Japan. Square Enix has been pretty fast with localized versions. Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy was released the same month and Final Fantasy XIII-2 has a one month delay. Tabata’s last title, The 3rd Birthday, had a three month gap between Japan and the West.