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Showing posts with label anime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anime. Show all posts

This upcoming Shenmue anime looks pretty good

The first teaser trailer for Crunchyroll and Adult Swim's Shenmue: The Animation has dropped...and it looks pretty damn good. First announced back in 2020, the animated version of Ryo's revenge saga will be 13 episodes long and is being produced by Telecom Animation Film. Have a look for yourself:

What's not to like? Gravel voiced narration; Ryo kicking ass; Lan Di looking like every bit the evil barsteward that he is...even though I'm hardly the most fervent Shenmue fan, I can appreciate how cool this looks. Still, a part of me wishes they'd have simply recreated Steamed Hams with Ryo and Lan Di, but you can't have it all.

All this talk of Dreamcast-related cartoons makes wonder when that Spirit of Speed 1937 anime is coming out...? Sigh.

Sakura Wars Returns with Flying Colours (PS4 Review)

The Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) series is possibly Sega's worst-kept secret, at least for us in the West. Most Dreamcast fans have probably encountered it at some point, but without the ability to understand the Japanese language, most have not proceeded further. This Japanese steampunk-themed tactical RPG series was a massive hit in its country of origin, spawning sequels and spin-offs, as well as crossing into other forms of media. As I'm writing this, the Sakura Wars multi-media franchise has surpassed over 4 million units shipped in Japan.

Despite the series' massive success, Sakura Wars was probably deemed too culturally-different for Western gamers, probably due to its heavy use of unfamilar (at least, back in the late '90s and early 00's), visual novel/dating simulation-style gameplay. The only Sakura Wars game from the original batch to be localised into English was the fifth game in the franchise, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love (released on the Wii and PS2). Most would probably agree that it wasn't the best entry the series had to offer, but hey, at least it was something. The series would then remain untouched for many years.
This was no small franchise. A big thanks to our very own Mike for the pics.
But Sakura Wars has stepped back onto the stage and into the limelight once again. Sega have blessed us with a worldwide (albeit, staggered) release of a flashy modern-gen reboot of Sakura Wars, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Developed by Sega's CS2 R&D department, Sakura Wars saw involvement from new and returning staff; including veteran Sega producer Tetsu Katano, director Tetsuya Otsubo and music composer Kohei Tanaka. Tite Kubo, the creator of manga ultra-hit Bleach was responsible for the designs of the main cast of characters. There was also guest artists like BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Ken Sugimori (Pokémon) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona), who contributed their talents towards the designs of various supporting characters. It's clear from such star studded pedigree that Sega really pulled out all the stops for this one, and as an owner of a pre-order copy that turned up three days too early, I'm happy to confirm that it resulted in a big success. If you're a fan of Sakura Wars, you'll be happy to know Sega have done the franchise the justice it deserves. If you're new to Sakura Wars, this is the perfect entry point.

So What Exactly Are Those Weird Anime Games In Your Dreamcast Collection?

Avid fans of the Dreamcast are most likely already aware that the console enjoyed a much longer life in its home country of Japan (the last officially licensed Dreamcast game, Karous, was released in 2007). For this reason, as well as the fact 90s console developers had a track record of thinking Western gamers were frightened of anything even slightly unconventional, there is an extensive list of Japan-only Dreamcast games just waiting for fans to import. The best part is that so many are playable without knowledge of the Japanese language. All you need is a boot disc or a modded Dreamcast and voilà! you've unlocked another section of the Dreamcast library. Check out our A to Z of Dreamcast Games if you want to know the best Japan-exclusives to get your mitts on.

However, for every playable game, there are just as many that are unplayable for anyone who isn't fluent in Japanese. Anyone who is insane enough to try and collect a full Japanese set will soon realise that there is plenty of "filler" - the kind of stuff you only buy for the sake of checking another game off the list and not because you are actually going to be able to play it. You know, those games with the anime girls on the front. Crap like this:
 
Some might mistakenly call these things "dating simulators", but that's a different kettle of fish entirely. No, these are "visual novels", and they do exactly what they say on the tin, they are novels with visual elements. Boot any of these up and you'll be greeted with nothing more than walls of Japanese text and images of anime characters making various expressions. They are a very niché style of game that have never had a big following outside of Japan, especially back in the early 2000s (hence their Japanese exclusivity). Some may debate whether or not they are actually games at all, but they're still something I'd recommend to keen readers and anime fans alike. 

Their "gameplay" more or less consists of reading text and occasionally answering a multiple choice question on how the main character should react or respond in a certain situation. That might not sound all that interesting to some, but I like to look at visual novels as a more visual version of a choose your own adventure book, and being a fan of anime, the artwork contained within is something I'm familiar with. A lot of the stories are enjoyable, and believe it or not, the plots aren't always romantic; there are visual novels that focus on genres like sci-fi and mystery, for example. I'm such an advocate for these anime-centric pieces of flashy reading material that I even wrote a whole article on my website Alt:Mag defending their case.

Who Dat? Dreamcast: Not the Console - the Anime Lady!



Did anyone here watch the anime SEGA Hard Girls last year? It was a short lived 13-episode series of only 11 minutes a pop, and starred the Mega Drive, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast as school girls attending a Sega high school where they are warped into games like Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio and Virtua Fighter to earn medals. It's a very odd premise, and I'm really surprised that in this day and age, and so long after Sega stopped making consoles that they would make something like this. That said, it is so full of in-jokes for hardcore Sega fans it's hard not to like.

This video by friend of mine DiGi Valentine is a review/analysis of sorts of the character that represents the Dreamcast, detailing her design, personality and importance to the anime series. DiGi does a particularly good job of explaining her ditzy, zany attidtude attributed to the fact that she has a built in modem like the console. If you liked the video, go to DiGi's channel to see more character reviews including plenty of other Dreamcast icons such as Ryo from Shenmue, several Street Fighters and even Big the Cat.