Music of the Month; Knights Errant

We’re getting there lads

At this point, I should just give up on planning what to do, when or how. While not intentional, ever since my career shift my plans have been thrown out of the window. Just this week I was thinking how I should do whatever I had planned, but then noticed how the month was at its end. Might as well stop planning.

However, I do have two things I want to do this month, despite my current track record; typing out a comparison between Muv-Luv Alternative Integral Works and the Codex. This wouldn’t be a review, not exactly, but rather a somewhat throughout view how the two books are different from each other and why. There are large differences, but I’ll cover those when we get to the post itself.

The second planned stuff is Switch related, Hori’s portable USB hub stand. The standard Switch dock is one of the worst designs Nintendo had done to date. Not only it seems to scratch the screen of the main unit, but it’s also absolute waste of plastic. It’s an interesting brick that looks like a two-minute hack job. Nintendo fucked this one up badly, but again, we’re get back to it in the review. I’ll most likely ditch the original shell and purchase one of those DIY kits that require you to salvage the original PCB from the official dock.

There’s been a lot of post materials in the recent weeks that I never got around. These would’ve made good posts unto themselves, but might as well discuss about them here in short.

The first is Langrisser I&II getting remade once again. While I intended to cover a lot of materials about Langrisser in past few recent years, Re:Incarnation did me in. The game’s trash and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. There is also the mobage, which both looks and plays better than the 3DS bastardisation. Whether or not Extreme was right to go back to basics and remake the first two games once more is up the question, but at least they’re not fucking up from the get-go like they did with Re:Incarnation. The first two games in the series are the most revered, and after Dramatic Edition, bundling them together seems to be par-for the course. While the new designs by Ryo Nagi aren’t bad, they’re terribly generic. Extreme probably realised that Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork is part of Langrissers charm and will include DLC code for his illustrations to replace the modern ones. It’s a great touch for the longtime fans and an option for newcomers. I admit that I have a bias for Urushihara in general, but what’d you expect from me? Of course, modernisation brings out changed UI and such, but that’s again expected. You’re remaking the games, after all, might as well improve all little things that were little cumbersome the best you can.

I’m just hoping the music will keep its synth-rock roots more or less intact. We’ll just have to sit back, wait and see.

Of course, when talking about Langrisser, somebody will mention boobs. This is a nice way to discuss the new physics engine in Dead or Alive 6 and how PR can function. Whether or not Yohei Shimbori, the director of the game, just sucks at PR or intentionally wanted to cause an uproar by discontinuing the Soft Engine only to come out much later to say that they’re going for more realistic physics engine is up in the air. It reeks of being planned so DoA6 wouldn’t fall off the discussion chart against Soul Calibur 6 and the like. While he states that he thought there’d be misunderstandings, nobody really should believe this. Either they had the new physics engine in mind from the get go and never stated this to cause controversy, or they had to go back and plan how to mend the situation for their favour. DoA used to have characters the flowed nicely, but with this new engine, everyone and everything looks extremely rigid and unnatural. Hopefully they’ll be able to achieve the natural flowing effect Soft Engine had to it down the line. Fat chance, I know.

Whether or not Shimbori stating that reducing the bust size was to make the characters appear more human was calculated shot or not doesn’t really matter, as all this ends up being him trying to cover his bases. Furthermore, it’s ignoring that bug busted woman exist in abundant numbers and flatties should stop being jealous of them. Dead or Alive Extreme 3 raised some hell and was never released in the West, but ended up being Play-Asia’s most selling title because of this. It’s pathetic that a game series that had fan service as its most prominent selling feature for years now suddenly tries to become visually more serious. Will they make the fighting more realistic and cooler to go with the graphics? Of course not, even when they should have put the effort into the gameplay and remove it from being a weaker version of Virtua Fighter. They’re lowering the standards for the game’s play with retarding the countering and adding Fatal Rush, which is essentially one-button super alá Soul Calibur V‘s Critical Edge.

We’ll see how all this translates into sales.



Music of the Month; Dolby headphone edition

As the title says, use headphones or earphones to listen to these. This piece has been mixed to be listened with those on

Ah, free falling post time again.
The next few months, or rather the rest of the year, will be an interesting time for me that will decide few things how my personal future will shape up. Not to say much more about it, but as usual personal things can have an impact on the blog, even thou I will aim to minimise that.

Anyways, there’s already some plans for this month. It’ll be Langrisser Re:Incarnation. I’m dropping Tensei from the name, because Tensei (転生) would mean Reincarnation when translated. I understand that it’s there to explain to the Japanese the English in the title, but essentially for whoever understands both languages, you now have a title that says reincarnation twice. That’s just silly.  To shorten it down even more, I’ll most likely start using Re:Langisser moniker for it. The review will be out whenever I manage to be comfortable with the progression of the game and write it as I play through it. It’s not my thing to blow strategy games open and play them through in just a few days, especially with a slow burn games like Langrisser. I have other things to do as well, I can’t just sit on my ass all day all day long. The music’s absolutely awesome thou, and a favourite track of mine, Neo Holy War, found its place as the Battle Results music. Langrisser has always been a place for rather energetic music, ever since the first game. No, let’s not talk about the Elthlead series, those should be a post of their own. A series that pioneered the fantasy strategy simulation genre should have a post of its own, thou first I would need to actually go through the games before saying much more about it. Much like a lot of  80’s Japanese strategy games, the first Elthlead is a bit hard to get into.

Metal Gear Solid V got released yesterday, and it’s a game series I’ve given a pass mostly because I have a same thing with it as with Mega Man. I’ve been with the series since the NES games, and while revisionist fans will cry out both the NES version and Snake’s Revenge, coming from those two I remember snickering at the first Solid game for doing the whole long lost brother, psychic Russian and you’re a clone twist. The more entries the series has seen, the more laughable has the stories gone, and now we’re at a point we’re at a point that story is largely irrelevant. The series had always relatively strong gameplay, and that’s something I’ve always been more interested than what pseudo-intellectual bullshit the writers are pushing. I have to say, if I would have to choose a game from the series that I would replay for the plot, it’d be GameBoy Colour’s Solid/Ghost Babel. It also has IdeaSpy 2.5, which is a fun little romp to read through.

I don’t have any plans to go through the rest of the Metal Gears designs this month, mostly because I haven’t pushed out any Tactical Surface Fighter comparisons out as of late. Then again, the podcast did keep me busy on Muv-Luv front.

Speaking of Muv-Luv, the Kickstarter is coming and we’re going to have to see how it’ll go. I’ll most likely going to have a live stream on Youtube or something with some of the Alternative Projects people when the Kickstarter goes online just to chat about it. I’ll most likely announce when it will go live on Twitter. If not that, then at least a celebratory extra podcast that won’t be edited at all.

The test podcast was fun to make, but it added quite a lot of workload. We need to discuss how we’re going to continue with it, and if we make it just simply about Muv-Luv, you won’t see any of it in this blog anymore.

Don’t like character designs? Vote with your wallet

Whether it be literature or electronic games, they are fiction. Realism is a genre for sure, and yet even in that it is make belief unless it is a documentary piece or similar. As such, any character we may meet within any entertainment media has very little to do with real life. Television, movies, radio and other industries with live people doing performances are of course another thing, but even then the characters these people act are simple fiction. Documentaries and such of course are exceptions.

Let’s cut the chase. Theme for some of the posts in near future is Video game characters are not real people.

When fictional characters are designed, majority of the time they have encompass some level of ideal physique in them. In comics most of our superhero characters are nearly perfect in physique and have almost flawless appearance. Those with rugged appearance on the other hand then to have skills and abilities far exceeding normal people. The same applies to game characters as well, where we have Shepard, Lara Croft and various others sharing the same idea myths of old had.

Some would argue that these ideal appearances give the wrong image of reality. That would apply, if the products would be about reality. If one would come up to me and tell that Duke Nukem is how an ideal man should be, I would laugh at his face. While they are indeed ideal archetypes, nothing actually says that this is how we should be. More often than not, it is almost impossible to be something that is unreal in physical terms when it comes to humans. Cosplay as much as you want, but you will never be a cute little girl wearing skimpy black outfit with gold rims.

Appearances have always been a thorn in certain groups’ eyes. While we are bombarded with people calling women being sexualised in comics because of their perfect physique, often the physique of men is completely pushed aside. Next to this, these characters are not women or men, they are merely presentations of ideas of characters. With fiction you have no reason to stick with reality unless that is your aim and goal. While Grant Morrison is a dividing personality, his quote on how children have the ability to see fiction as it really is hits the spot with this one; adults ask stupid questions. The children I have worked with don’t question how or why something is in cartoons or games they play because they know it’s just la-la land. However, they have always been extremely interested in how the real world functions, the hows and whys of sciences. These discussions are something I always look forwards when working with kids, because this shows how they make that clear cut separation between reality and fiction. Hell, once I drew a princess character as a birthday gift to a girl (she asked for one) and when she presented it to her mother, she commented how the character’s shapes were a bit too curved. The girl commented to this that it was just fairytale and in fairytales that’s OK.

It would be nice if we all could make that distinction as well.

Nevertheless, it must also be argued that certain degree character designs need to respect the overall accepted norms a society has. This of course translates regionally very differently as we have seen throughout the years. In addition to that, character designs more often than not represent the idea of a character or certain groups’ idea of a character, not the rest of the population. Archetypes are a thing of their own and most of the time characters are mostly transformations of these archetypes into the setting. Whether or not they are successful is dependant largely on how well they are realized by the producers and accepted by the consumers.

With the 3DS Langrisser we see certain archetypes represented for better or worse in a strong sub-cultural flavour. Langrisser has always been a series with a strong tone for fanservice, that can’t be denied. I’m not sure whether or not it is my own bias taking lead here, but I can’t shake the view that Urushihara’s character designs were less fanservice and more sexier. The two are of course dependant completely on opinion, so we’ll give a look at the updated 3DS Langrisser site.

One of the most revamped sections of the site is Characters, and now we actually have information and official English names for the characters. This is good, because now I can correct what I have been calling them otherwise, Ares being one of them. The two added characters are, without circling around it too much, two female characters that more or less look underdeveloped and underage. A loli archetype, to be straight about the issue.

One on hand the dress has a nice design, but on other hand we can argue whether or not the dress is fitting for this character
One on hand the dress has a nice design, but on other hand we can argue whether or not the dress is fitting for this character

First of the two new ones is Jessica, a character that has appeared in every mainline Langrisser game as the Priestess of Light. As an avatar of the Goddess Lushiris, Jessica has the power to reincarnate herself and thus her soul is old as hell. Her appearance across the games doesn’t change much, a thing that still applies to the 3DS Langrisser. Granted, now she looks like a small girl, but all the elements Jessica has carried before are there, including some elements from past Urushihara designs. While I personally may think this is more or less tasteless design for the bodybuild, within fiction it has its own merits to argue that it exists. On the other hand, there is no dress and there is no Jessica to wear a dress like this. There’s no reason to treat Jessica has a human being. It’s only a cartoon, after all.

I do like the costume. It's simple, has a royal flavour to it and lines are clearly defined. It may be bit too sexy, but you're reading a post from a guy who usually defends porn
I do like the costume. It’s simple, has a royal flavour to it with clear linework. It may be bit too sexy, but you’re reading a post from a guy who usually defends porn

Licorice is a new character on herself, being the sister of Ares rather than Elma. With the whole dark motif she has going on for her, we can wager this has something to do with her kidnapping. Then again her name is Licorice and licorice is often dark but tasty. However, we can argue the same points with her design as it was with Jessica’s design, but then again this isn’t porn or remotely anything similar.

Whether or not either Jessica’s or Licorice’s designs are of good taste or something else is up to you. One on hand it can be argued that both have good design that serve their purposes and represent the ideas well enough, but some would argue that these designs are inappropriate. I would try to choose the golden middle path, arguing that both characters do have good design, but could use some tweaking in order to meet certain global threshold of accepted matters. The last part of that argument is bullshit thou, as there never can be one.

Mankind is not one nation with shared ideals. We barely can share same ideals within the same country, not to mention with our neighbours and friends. Thus, it should be more applicable to say that designs like this are not made to attract everybody. The 3DS Langrisser from its visual standpoint is clearly making a stance to stand separate from the older series, both Langrisser and Langrisser Millennium. The developers are aiming the core gamer market with this game. In Japan this often crosses over with people who have the anime sub-culture as their largest hobby. The same can’t be said of the rest of the world, as anime has never been truly mainstream. There has been mainstream anime, but that’s another thing. Anime doesn’t sell in the West because of that, but also because the visual style largely puts some people off. The sub-culture doesn’t do much favours to positively promote itself either, and there recently there has been an idiotic movement that tried to give certain game a better image by a very limited group of people, but we’ll get back to that soon enough. Langrisser has always been anime, and with the 3DS Langrisser representing the modern accepted image of the characters that the sub-culture in that part of the world accepts, who are we to say anything to it?

Fictional designs, whatever they may be, can be attractive or off putting. They most likely will offend some people while others applaud them for whatever reason. That does not mean that we have any rights to say what should be allowed and would should not, unless laws are broken. If one doesn’t agree with the presented product, this person has all the rights to vote with his wallet. That is true power a customer has. However, they have no rights to say that this won’t do because of one’s own feelings or worldviews. As long as we live in the realms of legality, limiting someone’s freedom to express his ideas in any form is extremely stupid, borderline illegal in some cases. Often than not it’s better to shut up than complain and be on your way to do something more pleasant, a notion I should most likely put into action more often.

Of course, designs change with time and some will argue how things are or were better
Of course, designs change with time and some will argue how things are or were better

Music of the Month; Futashika Tashika

Have I ever told you how difficult it is to choose a song every month? Despite these being more or less rants without any solid theme or anything similar, the music I introduce tends to have some sort of relevance and isn’t just a random selection. Most of the time. Still, any and all songs are absolutely something I personally enjoy. I don’t know whether or not this selfish approach tells anything outside that I really don’t stick with one type of music too much.

Anyway, to the music!

Give other Go!Go!7188 songs a try too. They have an excellent cover of Cutie Honey

 I want to give a shoutout to a RadioDrome special, where Josh Hadley has a very interesting and quite in-depth interview with none other than Buzz Dixon. Dixon worked on multiple cartoon and comics throughout the years, the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian, Transformers, Jem and G.I. Joe, plus whole lot more I’m not even properly aware of. It’s an excellent piece to listen for numerous pop-culture trivias that pop-up, but also just to hear the passion Hadley and Dixon share, but also how the industry has been run. Other than that, I recommend giving both RadioDrome and Lost in the Static a try, as they’re both pretty damn swell radioshows to listen while going to work or otherwise. A fair warning is in place thou, as Hadley has very, very strong opinions on certain matters, to say the least.

I’ve started to work fully on certain projects, so I apologise beforehand if the quality of the blog has dropped recently or will have posts with lesser content. I need to prioritise other things first, as blogging isn’t my job. If it would be, you’d see one or two posts per day. Possibly more.

I’m not satisfied how the last month’s review on the Shiranui Second Phase 3 turned out. It will be revised further when I have enough free time to sit down properly and work with it, as I simply forgot certain important tidbits in my hurry and didn’t even write a proper closure. As it stands now, it’s not even a mediocre review in my eyes. I’d estimate that I’ll revise it sometimes by the end of the month or so, but knowing me that estimation is off by six months. It may be better for me to revise it little by little.

Despite my own busy schedule (aren’t I always?), I have plans to return on TSF posts. If you hate when I talk about fictional giant robots, sorry. I intend to use pre-existing graphs of some of the more popular TSFs and their real world fighter plane sources to point out how the plane elements have been introduced to the design. It’s sort of old thing, but it has been on my to-do list for… few years now. Better later than never, right? My aim really is to write somewhat comprehensive design comparison, which requires some time, so it’ll be done unit by unit, and we’ll start with the more popular or easier ones. I’ll most likely be completely selfish and start with Su-47 Berkut.

Speaking of Muv-Luv, a mobage was released based on the franchise recently. It being your run of the mill browser based game on your smartphone, it’s not very good. Nevertheless, I keep tapping the screen on my almost broken HTC while doing something else. Hell, I’m tapping the screen while writing all of this in order to advance in the Missions/Quests, so there’s most likely more typos and language errors than usual. Then again, I already got the Common Hayase card, so I’m sort of content.

Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that
Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that

Another post that was actually requested from me was to make a comparison between Kimi ga Nozomu Eien characters and their BETAverse counterparts. It’s something that I’d like to do, but as always time is of the essence. I really need to start writing these bit by bit rather than in one go, like I usually do.

From matters to other, we live an era where childhood heroes and icon are dying. This is something certain generations have to face, and at the same time we have to realize that we need to allow the younger ones to have their own things. Even Leonard Nimoy wanted Zachary Quinto his own room to embrace Spock as his role and character he could work with. We, the older generations, will always have the past stories and products. Those can’t be ever taken away. However, at the same time we need to allow the younger generation to have their own heroes and icons. As much as we may hate certain people producing entertainment or other products, what we love has been opposed by the older generations.

Personally I will not hold the 3DS Langrisser reboot in any negative light because it’s not any of the older games. It has been long time enough since the last proper Langrisser game, and the new generation that are introduced to the world of Langrisser do not have to know anything that has been. They can research that later on and experience the past games if they so choose, but it is not demand or expected of them. I would say that it would be good to know about the past of the franchise if you’re going to discuss about Langrisser as a whole with a fan of the series, but that’s sort of beside the point. The point is, we can’t be stuck on the past, and we as the older generations need to embrace new things as well, rather than stifle the change.

 Dammit, I should’ve put some Jem songs up this month. Oh well, there’s always the next one, unless I go and die.

Remakes and Reboots

Two things have been recolouring these early 2000’s have been remakes and reboots. Much like many things like them, the two divide audiences. Some enjoy remakes of old things they never saw, or how something is updated for the modern day while some see these nothing but blight on the creative industries. Reboots on the other hand may have a different take on familiar characters, but in story terms replace everything that has been in the canon previously. Sometimes.

Langrisser Reboot on the 3DS is the reason this post is made, to be honest. When you think about it, it’s been more than a decade since the last console based Langrisser, less so when we take Schwarz and Tri-Swords into notice. Seeing how Tri-Swords was killed in 2012 and Schwarz never got out, Langrisser hasn’t seen a true title since Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century, which is actually pretty good all things considered. It shows that whatever team made it wanted to step away from the Dreamcast Millennium game and stay true to the name Langrisser.

The 3DS reboot game can be good, if the execute the reboot properly, that is take the concepts Langrisser had and reintroduces them either with drastically different take, or with slight variation to fit into the otherwise revamped world. For example, the sword Langrisser does not need to be a holy sword, embed with a king’s soul and blessed by a goddess in the reboot, but it does need to stay true to the idea of a magical sword, able to cut down magical bullshit to defeat gods. In the reboot, Langrisser could just be Excalibur with further magical forging. While I don’t like the idea of forcing Excalibur into Langrisser due to the series already having its own number of magical and technological things, forcing Arthur’s sword into the series, reboot or not, just feels off. Then again, Japan loves to use Excalibur pretty much everywhere to different degree so it just might be a cultural difference doing its deed here.

One of the biggest successes in reboot history has to be the Silver Age of comics reboot. Granted, at that point no DC heroes had not been in a magazine for some years, but the reboot defined numerous concepts that modern reboots don’t even dare to touch. For example, the Green Lantern was changed from a man gaining his magical powers from a green lantern into a space police who got his cosmic power from a green lantern. The concept, at its core with a hero striving for justice with a green lantern giving him powers, stays the same. Everything else was shuffled around.  Similarly, the Flash stayed the same at the core with the high speed hero. Jay Garrick and Barry Allen share similar power acquisition of chemicals doing their stuff to their body, Garrick inhaling fumes and Allen getting struck by a lighting and smashing into a shelf filled with chemicals. Allen also took his name from a comic character, namely Jay Garrick’s Flash.

A well done reboot, and actually do a proper reboot rather than what DC did with New52, can be as big success as it is a chance. All it takes careful planning and design. Design here being not just how the magazines are layed out, but the actual character design from the start to finish. The concepts for a reboot character needs to stand on its own rather than lean unto the old and busted. Otherwise you’ll end up with a remake.

Remakes on the other hand have lean unto the past version. That is their weakness in many regards, one being that remakes just end up being nothing but rehashes. Still, even rehashes have their audience, so it’s not filled with negativity to the brim.

Remakes more often than not should use the same concepts and the same characters. Unlike with reboots, they are retellings of the same story, sometimes with very similar outlook, sometimes less so. The New52 reboot DC did was far more a remake of  their previous characters than a full blown reboot, as the characters stayed pretty much exactly same with minor variations here and there. The reboot wasn’t badly designed just from that one perspective; 52 magazines were launched with this to keep the whole 52 numbering, which now has subsided and DC has dropped the whole New52 naming.

However, it can be argued that remakes are not for people wanting to get into something. A remake can simply be for the fans, an alterantive retelling or similar. Maleficent from Disney is a good example how to remake the same movie with a perspective change, thou we can argue on the movie’s storytelling, consistency and quality otherwise.

The most prevailing remake type is nevertheless the direct retelling or remaster of a product. Nightmare on Elm’s Street and other horror flicks have seen a loads of remakes, keeping the concepts similar while updating the visuals and some elements of the mythos. We can argue on the same aspects as with Maleficent, but it should be asked whether or not a direct remake is better than the ones with things changed to somewhat larger extent.

With games people seem to want remakes of old games. Super Mario All-Stars is essentially just a direct port with upgraded graphics, so wen can’t really call it a remake as such. However, Metal Gear Solid; Twin Snakes is a remake through and through. Then again, the first three sequels to the first mainline Metal Gear game are more or less remakes of the previous one. Opinions are widely different between parties whether or not Twin Snakes is a good remake, but in a direct and objective comparison between the PlayStation original and the GameCube remake, the original does draw the shorter stick. Granted, the argument that the added MGS2 gameplay elements does make an already easy game even easier, even making a certain boss battle a run-through deal. Nevertheless, some people welcomed these changes, and some simply choose to ignore the additions. The same applies to the Resident Evil remake, that has now seen a HD port, where gameplay and visuals were upgraded to some extent with some elements shuffled around. Both Twin Snakes and REmake are essentially the same game as their original versions, but upgraded. I can understand people not liking the cinematography of Twin Snakes, but it’s nothing different from what Metal Gear Solid as a series would become. I’d rather have the action packed choreography over man covered in bees or cosmonaut in constant fire, but all the previous have nothing bad in them. As said, opinions vary.

There is a middle ground where reboots and remakes cross over. As they both share similar elements already, it’s not too uncommon to see a remake of something with reboot qualities.

Nevertheless, remakes or reboots, the products that once was will never go away and we can read, play and watch them over and over again and disregard the new products if we so choose.

Masaya site updated

Well shit. Not only there’s gonna be a Langrisser game for 3DS, but there’s going to be an Assault Suit Leynos remake for the PS4. I guess this has been out for some time now, but hell if I’m following PS4 news. The original game was known as Target Earth in the West for the MegaDrive/Genesis, and the series is better known for its Super NES sequel Assault Suit Valken, or Cybernator. You know what Valken has in common with Langrisser outside the developers? The illustrator.

Awww yeah
Awww yeah, that’s the stuff

The one thing that bothers me with the Leynos gameplay is that it looks a bit too similar to the original, and Leynos’ gameplay isn’t the best. Most of it has to do with the stage designs, but in proper hands this remake should be able to get around such problems. Promising is that the developer of Gunhound, Dracue, has their hands on it. Well, it’s not the fame that counts, but the end result.

If you check all games’ title section, you can see that they’ve released pretty much every Masaya game out there for the Wii VC and PSN. The Japanese PC games ever are listed under Project Egg.

But what we want to do now is to turn our eyes on the Langrisser site.

Nothing special is there, a generic background music and basic info proudly stating the past games of Langrisser, including Millennium, and how the series has sold 100 million copies as a whole, a thing that is not really to celebrate. We could call this New Langrisser based on the splash info, and it is more than clear that they want to have faith in this game and resurrect Langrisser for the new generation and further its place as one of games everyone knows.

If you want to make Langrisser more mainstream, the fanscervice designs would need to be made into something more practical.

Nothing too different from the previous systems is revealed at this point. Generals’ range of influence over troops, turn based fights and drama events depending on situations. Character Class system seems to return and player is able to influence the final result of the characters’ classes, as per Langrisser standard. I guess it’s needless to separately say that each class has advantages and disadvantages.

All in all, sounds like a standard Langrisser game. I honestly expected a lot more. Sure, we get the same three factions Langrisser Schwarz played around with; Light, here translated as Brightness for whatever reason, Imperial and Darkness. What we’re going to get is a three-way battle with the Church of Lushiris, which has built an army to rebel against the Imperial forces.

Imperials are naturally have a powerful military and have conquered most of the continent with their flying fortress, the Ark, which is a relic from an ancient civilization. The Imperials seems to have set railways too and govern many nations with their artillery trains. Sounds a bit generic, and I can’t say Langrisser hasn’t dabbled with ancient super technology before, but this all sounds a bit steampunk.

The Darkness are outcasts, people who do not stand with the Light or the Empire. They are persecuted people carry their own special powers. Prince of Darkness Bözel leads their way.

Well, it seems we’re either going to get Langrisser, the sword itself, back at some point and Alhazard could be carried by Bözel.

OUR HEROES; Erim, Aris (or is it Alice?), Toku and Rozaria

The four heroes we’ve seen. Or will get. There’s nothing much we can actually say about them outside that Toku’s katana looks really out of place. Erim looks like your generic everyday chemist/alchemic, or some sort of warrior-priest-in-training. Let me guess; she’s Aris’ little sister, and he finds the holy sword Excalibur and goes against the Imperial forces. Rozaria joins Toku with some fanservice design, but whatever reason only Aris has a look of slight overdesign. I’m sorry, I keep comparing the designs to Urushihara, which should not be done. Anyways, both Toku and Rozaria follwo the true and tested fanaservice route of armours, but I’d wish they had something else than low-cut panties, thou I fully embrace the thigh highs. Technically not too shabby at all, and as this is a reboot for Langrisser these characters and designs need to be taken as their own.

And because this is a reboot it is also completely applicable to make comparisons to the original Langrisser.

Whenever we get a gameplay trailer out, we’ll get some more coherent and information on how the game will look in motion. Few still pictures amount of absolutely nothing, thou I do have to say that it looks somewhat loyal to the general view of classic Langrisser. I expected to see some sort of trailer today, but alas, they didn’t want to make my yearly day any more special.

Langrisser makes a return. Again.

The strategy-RPG game series Langrisser is one of those interesting franchises that has a certain profile in the video game history, but not large enough to actually be famous. Developed by Masaya, Langrisser is without a doubt one of their most recognized brand and that’s not saying much. As a section of NCS, Masaya has produced more or less steady range of decent but rarely stellar titles throughout the years. There have been few next to Langrisser, e.g. Assault Suit Valken and Assault Suit Leynos 2 and Gleylancer. I’m not sure if Cho Aniki could be counted as a high grade game, but it certainly has its own cult following.

After Leynos 2, NCS pretty much dropped from the serious console game development and concentrated on producing various mahjong, shogi and go games with the occasional license game or two. It is rather safe to say that the 1990’s was the golden age for Masaya as a game producer and publisher. In the mid-2000’s a company called Extreme acquired Masaya’s library.

As such, it make sense to apply the Langrisser brand to a new game for the marginal recognition the series has, but that alone won’t carry the upcoming reboot.

Langrisser has been a combination of three distinct elements that has made it a fan favourite. First is the epic scale of the gameplay, and I do not use the term epic lightly here. The player will find themselves controlling numerous generals, which have power over hundreds of individual units on the field. Granted, these units are combined into squads of ten, but that doesn’t make it any less grand in scale when you have humongous amounts of units on stages that can span screens. There’s a huge amount of depth to the gameplay while still allowing leeway on how the game is being played, unlike other similar franchises, e.g. Fire Emblem. That said, it is more about the strategic thinking than just powering up than Nippon Ichi’s grindfests and while the games are slow paced overall, they don’t enforce stupid repetiton like the aforementioned.

Secondly, the games’ settings have always been simple at core, but can get highly complex. The traditional idea Light and Darkness fighting each other via their avatars is a recurring element in Langrisser, and the title itself refers to the holy sword within the game world. The Darkness has its own sword as well, the Alhazard, which could be said to be the original as Langrisser was created to oppose the Alhazard while being based on its core.

Thirdly, Satoshi Urushihara. More often than not people have found about Langrisser via Urushihara’s works, and that’s not a bad thing. As a fan of his production, Urushihara is a long time veteran in the animation and comic industry in Japan, especially in the adult markets. While his style divides people, it can’t be denied that what he does is extremely skilfully made and is unique. However, his style has been synonymous with the core Langrisser series since its beginning and lasted through the whole series. I admit that I have a bias for Urushihara’s works.



The music has been pretty good for the whole series, too. It is distinctly Japanese in flavour, but that goes to the whole damn series.


This is not the first time Langrisser gets a reboot. Langrisser Millennium and Millennium WS; The Last Century tried to create a new ongoing series, but seeing how Millennium is pretty awful and The Last Century was on WonderSwan, it’s no wonder the series slowly died. Now, granted nobody knew how to treat Langrisser at this point. The original staff had moved unto Growlanser series, which is essentially a spiritual successor to Langrisser in many ways. Not only it has most of the same staff, but it continued to have Urushihara as its main illustrator.

Langrisser in itself is a sequel to Japanese only PC games Elthlead, Crest of Gaia and Gaiframe. Technically speaking, Crest of Gaia is a remake of Elthlead, but that’s beside the point. These three games introduce the world where Langrisser takes place and introduced elements that would later appear in Langrisser, like the recurring enemy Böser. It should also be noted that Elthlead was published in 1987, year before Master of Monsters as can be traced to be one of the first games of its genre in its relatively modern form. It also precedes Fire Emblem, released in 1990.

The upcoming Langrisser remake worries me because of what it could be. The initial scans have leaked somewhat ambiguous information. We know very little about the game. However, the following thins are true; a company called Extreme owns the rights to the series now after acquiring Masaya under its wing with the rest of the Masaya library. Well, to be accurate, their website states that they have an agreement with NCS to use trademarks and copyrighted materials related to Masaya’s library. It looks like that Extreme is in joint cooperation with NCS, as Masaya’s website shows copyright information of both NSC and Extreme. Looking at their offering we can see that they have an emphasize on moefied mahjong games both on PC and on mobile phones.

Whether or not Langrisser is in good hands will remain to be seen. However, the information we’ve gained thus far is not too promising; while 10 unit squads return as per standard, but both the initial beginning and sword mentioned doesn’t seem fitting. The story seems to about a boy who finds Excalibur and goes find a girl who was taken from his side. Now, granted, that shouldn’t tell much, but when they’re explicitly going Excalibur, there seems to be only little hope.

There are reasons why this sort of approach to include that damn overused Arthurian piece into Langrisser as the first prominent sword for the hero is because they want to do something new. The CEO of Extreme, Soshi Saito, mentioned that they want to make this Langrisser be something different from the past games and the reason they opted not to include Urushihara as the illustrator is because… they felt they needed something new.

Then what’s the point of using the name Langrisser if you’re not making a full blown Langrisser game after all this time? The name has little to no recognition, only the very first title was releases outside Japan and I doubt they would have been successful either way thanks to Langrisser being extremely Japanese series and the sort of strategy RPG it is and that despite its cult following Langrisser never top sales.

However, at the same time I have to understand why they’re using the name. Brand recognition, the little it has. That, and Extreme themselves have practically nil brand recognition. They have been the ones distributing Masaya’s games via Wii’s Virtual Console, so I can thank them for Gleylancer. However, their own brand names have no carrying weight as they are mostly mobages.

Langrisser Millennium was an awful Langrisser game. It had no reason to carry the name, but at the same time it was shown to branch off from the main series with the Millennium title. I’m afraid that the 3DS Reboot will fail not because they want to deviate from the formula, but that they decide to deviate from the formula like Millennium. Langrisser Millennium had all the possibilities of being decent, but it had no strategic depth to it, or massive scale battles. I can’t remember how bad it really is as I haven’t played in some seven years. I’ll give it a go at some point. Same goes for the WonderSwan game, Langrisser Millennium WS; The Last Century, which in all honesty is adhered closely to the original games. At least one thing Millennium series has in common with the previous series of games was that it had an established porn comic maker as the illustrator, thou whether or not the designs are better up to personal taste. They aren’t for me.

Langrisser was essentially rebooted the twice before the 3DS Reboot. I talked Schwarz before, and it seems the game is essentially vaporware. If Extreme has the sole rights to the franchise, the Free-to-Play MMO won’t be released as Gamania was its developer, unless written documents say otherwise. Or seeing how Extreme had been controlling Masaya’s assets for about ten years now, it’s more applicable that Gamania has the legal rights for the name and has licensed Langrisser title from Extreme or something similar. In all honesty, Schwarz was a bad idea with good intentions, but if had been named something like Langrisser; Elthlead Saga or something like that would have told that the games took place in the same world, similarly as with the games preceding Langrisser. I like how the official Schwarz site proudly tells its past and doesn’t try to keep itself down. Even the characters have the fanservice and overdesigned clothing Urushihara’s illustrations had for Langrisser.


Yet, that something different from the 3DS Reboot looks uninspired, generic even. I just keep asking from myself; it they wanted to something different than Langrisser, then why the hell they had to call it Langrisser? We can live in good hope, we’ll have to see what will come. Tomorrow, perhaps. At least it looks promising at the moment, outside the damn bobblehead soldiers in battle sequences.

CAPCOM’s doing something


Oh look! It’s Breath of Fire 6! We’ve been expecting this series to return in a highlight. Now even CAPCOM can’t butcher this that badly.


It’s an online multiplayer you can play on your phone. It’s like Langrisser Schwartz all over again, but with more recognizable franchise. On top of that, they’re making goddamn card games for iOS.

They’ve dropped the ball pretty hard this time.

Two down, Two to go

Rather than just rewriting a post that was mysteriously deleted for reasons unknown (someone got my password? Glitch in the system? Something else?) I decided not to rewrite that lost post but rather combine it with a new one, making it a double post. The first part has some new stuff added in, so if you managed to read the Langrisser IV post beforehand, you might want to skip most of it until game n. 498 a bit lower.

So, once more, the game number 497 is Langrisser IV.

Limited edition package just has a large red L behind the logo, but it also came with pins, a small booklet and other extras. Naturally, I purchased the Limited Edition package.

Langrisser III was something of a black sheep of the series amongst fans, so Masaya decided to return to basics to please the fans with great results. Seriously, after Langrisser Millenuim and Schwartz Langrisser III suddenly looks a lot better. Just trust me. However, Langrisser IV’s system did have a new Judgement System that determines which character moves first. Basically, characters with high speed stat moves first, so this system is highly questionable as it is. It changes the players’ strategy a bit, as the soldiers tend to move faster than their Generals.
Langrisser IV has two versions; the ‘original’ Sega Saturn version and the PlayStation that was bundled with Langrisser V in Final Edition double pack. The PlayStation version changes Langrisser IV’s system to that of Langrisser V’s, making the game a bit easier in theory. I have no idea why they changed the system, but this might warrant me a reason to track it down for completions sake.

Langrisser IV’s presentation is top notch, as with every 32-bit era games with Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork. The man might draw shitloads of porn, but that doesn’t make him a great artist in his own field. Urushihara’s work was one of the reasons I got into Langrisser in the first place, as his sleek and shiny lines just grab my view and I have to look at every crevice these lines create.

Mmmmm, crevice…

Honestly, I’m a big Urushihara fan and only lately I’ve been able to get my hands on artbooks and comics he has made. While he has had worked on some adult material (as in bulk of his life work) I’m slowly tracking down his earlier works in some form to see the evolution his career gone through. Urushihara’s colouring is one reason I want to stay with Black and White images, but at the same time I’d really love to learn to colour my images with those same plastic and metal tones. Trust me, if you don’t know how to reproduce Urushihara’s method, it’s a bitch to make.

Other than that, Langrisser was a long time a contender for reasons yours truly started to study Japanese. The language barrier in the story is pretty high, but luckily most of it is spoken, and this man can at least understand the language. The story, as always in Langrisser, is great if I failed to mention it before. It starts with a small rebellion, until events stack unto each other until a nation basically is under war. Friends and foes are made, swords clash against each other as does emotions and views. It’s a great story, well told and presented. While it really doesn’t tie to Langrisser I & II, and III’s a prequel to those, IV and V do tie to each other quite tightly.
If you’re wondering why I wanted to learn Japanese, it was a song named Makenai Ai ga Kitto Aru by Yukie Nakama. Cue for Youtube search.

Now this is gameplay, unlike in some visual novels I love so much

Now, with Langrisser IV, I’ve completed the main series collection for the Sega Saturn. I might track down Warsong for the MegaDrive / Genesis, as it is the first Langrisser game and thus far really the only ever released in the West, even if it got that name change. The reason for this is that Langrisser got a few remakes under the name Der Langrisser that is by all means a different game, and all games that came after that basically disregard Warsong’s points. There’s no reason to complain though, Warsong hasn’t really aged that well in the end, but as a curiosity and for completions sake…

The game number 498 is… Ys IV; The Dawn of Ys.

I love this kind of game covers

But hey, don’t you already have this, asks a keen reader. Yes, I do have Ys IV in my Super Nintendo/Super Famicom collection. However, that game is called Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. Ys IV had two different iterations; one for the SNES/SFC and one for the NEC PC-Engine, also known as TurboGrafx-16 in the West. These two games are two completely different beasts from each other, as the SNES/SFC version was developed by Tonkin House, and the PC-E version was developed by Hudson/Alfa Systems. Also, Falcom was developing a third version for the MegaDrive with SEGA, but that never came into fruition for some reasons.
There was also a PS2 remake that was pretty bad in every regards.

In the Ys canon, Mask of the Sun is seen as the sequel to Ys II and as a prequel to Oath in Felghana (which is a remake of Ys III.) Objectively, Dawn of Ys is a superior game with better sound quality, faster music and better controls, as Dawn of Ys was the first game where Adol could move diagonally, whereas Mask of the Sun sticks to the original PC Ys game’s anally accurate hit boxes with restricted movement. Actually, Dawn of Ys comes on top in every regard compared to Mask of the Sun with better level design, better boss battles and all. Dawn of Ys is also quite a long game, ranking at the same length as Ys Books I & II on the PC-Engine.
Fans generally regard Dawn of Ys the best game in the earlier Ys era before Ark of Naphistim and it’s not hard to see why. While the music is good as per Falcom standards, it still doesn’t hold up to Ys III.

Don’t worry, Oath in Felghana tops any video game soundtrack anyway and I’m not even speaking as a fan here!

Dawn of Ys also almost had an anime made out of it, with trailers and all out, but ultimately it fell through as no animation studio was interested taking the job. Well, this was after the economy crashed in Japan, so it’s no wonder nobody wanted to animate an OVA about a game series that would soon be forgotten for years.

While I don’t have any real personal memories regarding the Dawn of Ys, it’s a game that I’ve always seen as something “I need to get to.” Ys IV and V are something I never really got into. Ys I&II are classics on their own regard, Ys III was a curiosity with an awesome soundtrack, The Ark of Naphistim was a good game, Oath in Felghana made everything and anything better and then some, and Ys 7 is just damn good. Ys Origin was decent, thou I’m not really unto dungeon crawlers in my Ys. Perhaps it’s just that Ys IV and V aren’t that good when compared to the rest of the series, especially V. I never really gave them an opportunity thou, and this is why Ys IV; The Dawn of Ys deserves my attention. At some point in the unforseen future I’ll promise to sit down with all three of you and play you properly to the end.

The Dawn of Ys also got a translation by Deuce, which seems to be reasonably good and all. Dawn of Ys has a lot more plot and talking heads than it’s predecessors, so when fans do something like this its always a welcome plus. The fantasy world Ys represents isn’t really uncommon, but there isn’t really anything that compares to Ys these days. They’re like remains of the days of old, but still alive and well in our time, ever changing so slightly to walk towards the future. Whatever Falcom is doing for Ys in the future, it can’t that bad, can it?

Well, remember that Ys game for the PS Vita I spoke of earlier? Well, Ys; Celceta no Jukai, or The Great Forests of Celceta seems to be remake of Ys IV. Like Oath in Felghana used a refined engine from The Ark of Naphistim, The Great Forests of Celceta will be using a refined engine of Ys 7. I’m getting the feeling that the staff at Falcom are slowly but surely retracing their past and making the Ys series into one of the most finest and grandiose game series still alive. I’m all for it. We need more good games like this.
Ys IV has a track named “The Great Forests of Celceta,” which I see more appropriate name for the remake than Woodlands of Celceta, which most news sources seem to use to an extent. There’s also names like “Celceta’s sea of Trees” and so on. They even use the song in the trailer! In all essence, this is Falcom’s first real take on Ys IV. Adol’s adventure in Celceta’s forests has always eluded proper treatment for a long time, but perhaps now Falcom will give some justice to this chapter of Ys.

I don’t usually want to go into a game console without those seven games or so before I want to purchase it, but for Ys, I’ll make an exception. I paid 150€ for MuvLuv, I can pay ~500€ for a new Ys game, right?

“How to ruin a series twice” Chapter Langrisser

I’ve been an avid Langrisser fan since I played Warsong on a Sega MegaDrive emulator back in the 1999 or so. I’ve tried to get into the series time and time again, until some years ago I just decided to jump in unprepared with my very little Japanese language. I was decently surprised that it served me rather well and the system of gameplay is rather easy to use and intuitive overall.
Langrisser is one of the few turn-based-strategy games with huge scale of battles. Only in the beginning of each game you control few units, as before the mid-game you’ll have dozens upon dozens of troops in your command. There is no other series that has such calibre in overall design and execution. It seeps through the game, even if it’s in a language most people can’t understand, and yet despite the language barrier it hits like a meteor.
Naturally, Langrisser is an acquired taste and won’t hit everybody who want flash and bloom over proper content. While TBS veterans will tear these games a new one on normal difficulty, Langrisser games do offer nice challenge, even more so due to language barrier.

To those who haven’t read upon Langrisser most likely know the series due to Satoshi Urushihara’s art in almost every game. The rockin’ tunes the games have should also be mentioned.

Above; Why do I love these fantasy rock themes so much?

Langrisser hasn’t been relevant since the millena changed. Langrisser had an awful Dreamcast game named Langrisser Millenium, which was void of Urushihara, good soundtrack and Langrisser game in general.
It was a Langrisser game in name only. Just like the upcoming Langrisser Schwarz.

This, my readers, is a horrible, horrible, horrible way to slay a game series into the ground. Langrisser Millenium was an outright bad game, but it tried to bring something good and it kinda had good character designs in spirit of the series. But this black sheep that’s ramming at us not only disregards everything but abandons everything that Langrisser is known about. Even the sword itself (Langrisser is the name of a weapon in the series) has been redesigned into some kind of homosexual fantasy toothpick so that 15-year old anime convention girls could start making a project during woodshop hours when their teacher didn’t let them do Magic Knight Rayearth armour. The world design is awful from ground up. It looks bland.

While I sound like a raving fanboy here, I assure you that this game will fail even if it has the Langrisser name, a name that has been tacked on to make more sales. Turning a game series that is well known as a classical strategy game into a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. It seems that they’re trying to make a some sort of anime version of World of Warcraft. Whoever these Gamania people are, they’re doing a bad job. The list of games they’ve developer is filled of… well, lacklustre games that nobody heard of. The content of Langrisser Schwarz is nothing new. The music is from your stock fantasy tunes. The art direction is generic animu moebullshit you see in every corner these days.

I can’t see any redeeming values in here. If you compare what Langrisser Schwarz looks like to any previous Langrisser game (except Millenium) you will see that only the name is common between the main series and this game. I could do a comparison to the upcoming Persona fighting game, but the difference here is that Persona 4 The Fighting Game will most likely be pretty damn good, even if the series fans won’t like it. On the other hand, Persona games themselves are bastard children of Shin Megami Tensei games, so there’s no losses to any direction here any more. Oh I will get to Megami Tensei series some day, you just wait.
Langrisser Schwarz could’ve been good. Just like any modern game designer, they choose to ignore the audience and make a game that they wanted. They could’ve made a Langrisser game that would’ve used the best system from the games and refine it completely for a polished gameplay. The story is harder to tackle, as Langrissers’ stories (even if they are just walls of text) is rather well executed, and I believe that Schwarz will have your standard fantasy 3v3 plot with a twist or two at some point. I do believe a multiplayer Langrisser would be possible if done right. However, this isn’t the way to do it. First and foremost Langrisser game should be a Langrisser game, just like a Mario game should be a Mario game and nothing else. This isn’t Langrisser VI by any means, this is the second coming of Langrisser Millenium, if not something worse.

Now excuse me, I think I’ll boot my Sega Saturn and pop in Langrisser Dramatic Edition.