The Grim Future of PS3 Exclusives

It comes to no surprise, but I guess I never wanted to admit it. Nevertheless the reality of dying exclusives for the PS3 is becoming more and more evident. While exclusive first-party games on the PS3 like "Uncharted" and "Rachet & Clank" will turn over profits, exclusive third-party efforts are becoming a rare breed indeed. An article by Reuters, dubs the highly anticipated "Metal Gear Solid 4" the "last of the great exclusives."

Cost hindrance is the main cause of publishers reluctance to give a high-profile game exclusively to one platform, unless the platform holder provides the publisher with profitable incentives. Be that as it may, Konami doesn't feel like it's being limited by releasing MGS4 exclusively on PS3. "We're telling our fans that if you want to play Metal Gear Solid 4, you have to buy a PS3," said Payton. "The PlayStation brand has always been good to us, and we're pretty bullish on the PS3."

Several former PlayStation exclusives, including "Grand Theft Auto," "Virtua Fighter" and "Devil May Cry," are now appearing on rival consoles, making the benefits of purchasing a PS3 questionable to some hard-core game buyers. For its part, Sony doesn't feel bad about its lack of third-party exclusives. "We understand publishers are needing to recoup their investment," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing for Sony. "From our perspective, as long as the games aren't going exclusive to other platforms, PS3 gamers are not actually losing anything." Read this carefully: "As long as the games aren't going exclusive to other platforms, PS3 gamers are not actually losing anything."

Excuse me while I stare off in silence..."MGS4...the last of the great exclusives."


Life-Size Figure Exhibit

The Tokyo Anime Center in the otaku district of Akihabara has announced that it will hold a "Life-Size Figure Party" from December 2 to December 14. The event will have 20 to 30 1/1-scale figures from the dollmaker Paper Moon. Among those on display will be the life-size figures of Rei and Asuka from "Evangelion," Saber from "Fate/stay night," Sakura from "Sakura Wars," Al from "Demonbane," Lain from "Serial Experiments Lain," and "Akari Kanzaki from "Battle Athl Paper Moon has displayed its figures at convention and events, but not in a regular gallery and in these numbers.

The anime center also notes that visitors can purchase a figure right at the center's official shop. Paper Moon dolls range in price from 200,000 to 480,000 (about US$1,800 to US$4,500). [Source: ANN]


Guild Wars Merchandise

We've asked for it for ages, and finally it has arrived. The first wave (hopefully there will be more later?) of merchandise may not include any figures, but at least there are plenty of other items to choose from. From Charr T-shirts, an exclusive Guild Wars 2GB Nano and corresponding skin, a jam-packed pin collection, a GW mouse, and a plethora of print and poster designs, ArenaNet and NCsoft provide a nice selection of goodies.

Click here to check out what's in store waiting for you.



The debut U.S. tour of session punk band ANTI FEMINISM and bright visual band Hagakure is right around the corner! Mark your calendars and get your tickets here.

12/09: Brooklyn, NY @ Studio B
12/11: Dallas, TX @ Lakewood Theater
12/13: Los Angeles, CA @ Knitting Factory
12/15: San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge

And as a special treat, fans will have a rare opportunity following the one hour sets of each band to attend an exclusive autograph session (on a first-come, first-serve basis).

ANTI FEMINISM is led by KENZI, the lead vocal who is one of the most charismatic artists in the world of Visual Kei. The concept of ANTI FEMINISM is based on "The Ideology of Danger" and has captured a large audience with many outrageous stunts often performed on stage. The singer is known to set his hand on fire, break neon lights with his head, cut himself with the shards on his stomach and arms, fling vegetables with a baseball bat, and tumble around on a pile of thumbtacks.

The band has made the Japanese Visual Kei scene shiver with their unique, out of control style. They went as far as burning the head of a dead pig on stage. There are no permanent band members (aka "anti shockers") besides KENZI. Up to this day, more than 800 Visual Kei musicians have taken part in the ANTI FEMINISM adventure throughout Japan. In 2007, this extreme band will begin its conquest of the world!

HAGAKURE is a Visual Kei band created by Kaya that skillfully expresses the essense of Japanese tradition and style. Its theme, based on "Happiness" and a blend of Japanese theater and poetry, charms and mesmerizes the audience. Even those who belong to the darkest side of the Visual Kei world would be receptive to the universal message of Hagakure's songs.

The band is composed of Kaya, the lead vocalist, along with other support members: thus the band keeps evolving. Kaya is definitely the foundation of Hagakure but he believes the support members, fans, audience, and staff are an integral part of Hagakure because of their genuine support. They have started touring outside Japan in 2006 and Hagakure's adventure has just begun.


Haruhi Madness Prevails

Whether or not you're a stark raving "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" fan, you are definitely aware of the infamous and catchy ending theme song of the anime and its corresponding dance. If, for some unbeknownst miracle, having been immersed in anime life for x years, that you aren't fully versed in every movement by now, here's the original anime ED:

This "Haruhi" dance has become so popular that it's common sight at anime conventions, anywhere cosplayers gather, and of course, on the streets of Akihabara, as shown in this example:

But never have I seen or even imagined that a "Haruhi" performance would take place in a prison. Being part filipino myself, I was left in a state beyond words. So without further ado, I bring you the inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. One wonders if this isn't some form of cruel punishment. (Note to self: don't get imprisoned in the Phillipines).


Thanksgiving 2007

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The food was extra delicious this year -- my hors’dourves disappeared just as quickly as I made them. Among other things, my day was full of video gaming and catching up on some good old anime -- "Shinigami no Ballad" and "Ghost Hound" this time. Could I have asked for a more perfect day? I'm sure many of my readers had a similar day so I want to take this quick moment to give a thankful shout out to the industries that continuously provide my source of entertainment and define my life. Arigato!!!



Among the many great anime series and movies I watched during Anime USA, "Claymore" definitely sits on top of that list. First aired in Japan a couple of months ago, "Claymore" is set in a world of co-existence. On one end you have your "run of the mill" humans, and on the other lies creatures called Yoma. The Yoma are sentient monsters that feed on humans. They are capable of shapeshifting to the human form and by consuming a human's brain, are also able to absorb their memories within it. This power gives Yoma a great advantage of blending in the crowd under their human disguise.

In the middle stands an unknown organization made of warrior hybrids called Claymores, who are created by implanting Yoma flesh and blood into humans. But with great power, comes great risk. A claymore has super enhanced abilities, but when pushed to a certain limit and their Yoma-half allowed to grow, a Claymore can become an Awakened Being, growing all the more powerful, and intelligent, yet losing all humanity and transforming into the very monsters they hunt and destroy.

The story of "Claymore" focuses on the Claymore warrior Clare. A deep and intertwined story develop as Clare grows stronger and struggles to hold on to her humanity, while the mysteries of her past is gradually unraveled. "Claymore" brings an intense experience throughout the entire series. With its awesome fighting sequences, unique allies and enemies, beautiful animation, and all around balance, "Claymore" no doubt brings something new to the table. It's been a while since an anime series of this much caliber has surfaced.


Silent Hill: 0rigins

"Silent Hill 0rigins" takes us back a notch to the beginning of it all and attempts to explain what made the town of Silent Hill the eerie, twisted place that SH fans have come to know very well. Making a handheld gaming debut, SH 0rigins takes full advantage of the PSP's capabilities and brings us once more into that foggy world of pain, insanity, and horror.

You play as Travis Grady, a lone truck driver with a mysterious childhood. While making a delivery one dark and storm
y night, Travis encounters a young girl on his path. Before he knows it, he wakes up to find himself in a town we all know as Silent Hill. Little does he know that his fate is intertwined with the Order and Alessa and Dahlia Gillespie.

Gameplay is very fluid and delivers the right elements that paint a world of isolation and fear of the unknown. As always, SH focuses more on the underlying story and less on combat, and "0rigins" lives up to that creed, even more so. This may lower the degree of constant anxiety throughout the game, but luckily not enough to destroy the game. In fact, "0rigins" does an excellent job retaining SH's long time integrity and story, and has definitely done justice to the franchise. With the exceptions of some combative elements, its in-depth story, spectacular visuals, extreme detailing, and of course, the perfect soundtrack to match, make "0rigins" a stellar success. Akira Yamaoka never disappoints, so grab those headphones and uncover the secrets of Silent Hill.


Anime USA 2007 Recap

40,000 exhuberant anime fans flooded the halls and rooms at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City, VA these past 3 days. By the end of it all, wallets were emptied as fans' gluttony and lust for possession of that one or two or twenty special goodies and rarities are fulfilled; about 3 dozen video game consoles and equipment are burnt out from 3 days of continuous gameplay; the stocked up mangas in the manga cafe find their ways back home; the DVDs played over a span of 4 video rooms over a period of about 60 hours equaling to about 240 hours worth of anime in 3 days are put back in their respective cases; the main stages are cleared; the artist alley is packed up; and cosplayers, guests, and fans head back home . All in all, Anime USA provided a nice slew of entertainment, in all respects.

There was a nice selection of artists and a fair number of high quality work present. The Manga Cafe was a nice new addition to the convention. It's nice to see the frequency of manga cafes increasing in the U.S. Since they've been more or less restricted on the west coast, it's about time they started showing up more often in conventions all over the U.S. The panels covered a wide array of topics and the wide selection resulted in a great "something for everyone" mantra. I spent a good chunk of my time in the video game room, so right way you can tell my experience was good. Most every console was represented and DDR makes its usual appearance. And you guessed it..."Guitar Hero III" and "Rock Band" were the highlight of the game room. After so many conventions, the frequency of outstandingly amazing cosplay shrinks significantly. But nevertheless, there were a few memorable costumes among the regulars. You will never go to a convention without seeing of course characters from the following titles/series: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Inu Yasha and Naruto. Almost giving Naruto a run for its money, Death Note's L, Misa, and Kira make multiple appearances.

If a list is made consisting of the biggest and most important parts of anime conventions, the dealer room should undoubtedly always sit up at the top section of the list. It brings together anime vendors from all over under one roof and in some cases, is the only source of the hard-to-find imported goods only available in Japan. The dealer room ambiance was no different than other similar conventions. I was glad that the Sasuga Japanese Bookstore was able to make it - they never disappoint. But speaking of disappointments, my only critique would be the sad selection of mangas available. Hoping to save on some shipping costs and several trips to the store, I sought to purchase a number of mangas in one sitting. But to my dismay, no manga on my list was available! Even the number of different manga series available was laughably small. Minus Sasuga books, which deals with original, imported non-translated mangas, as far as I could see light novels made no appearance. Seeking the newest volume of the "Vampire Hunter D" novel just very recently released, I was let down one vendor after another. The titles available seemed consistent across all vendors with nothing new to present. Setting aside the lack of real mangas, the dealer room was more than sufficient.

I'll leave discussion of the 2 awesome musical guests, BACK-ON and Kristine Sa for another post, so let's move on to the main event. After all, this is what brought us all here in the first place -- the anime! I'll have to applaud Anime USA for whipping out a bunch of premieres and very new stuff, some in high-def even!! An applause is about all I can do because as it turns out I've seen them all already. The Blu-ray anime titles featured include: Jin-Roh, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, Paprika, SOS! Tokyo Metro, and Tekkon Kinkreet...all great quality. In addition to live-action movies including "Prince of Tennis," the anime shown showed, again, a wide variety of titles and genres, from very classic to very new and everything in between. Among the many series, I was able to catch Baccano, Clannad, Claymore, Denno Coil, Genshiken 2, Hidamari Sketch, Kekkaishi, Rozen Maiden, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Shakugan no Shana.

With that all said, next year promises great potential.


BACK-ON at Anime USA 2007 Night 2

BACK-ON gave an energy-pumping performance at Anime USA 2007. Their song selection presented a nice variety of sounds and surely served as a nice introduction to those new to the j-rock/pop phenomenon. I only feel I should state this because of the panel audience the day before. From what I could gather, there were only a handful of hard-core j-rock fans in the room.

Nevertheless, whether just starting up or looking to see your j-music collection grow, BACK-ON delivered a rocking performance!


Kristine Sa at Anime USA Night 1

Kristine Sa gave a spectacular performance at Anime USA. She has an adorable personality which allowed the audience to connect with her immediately, making the event all the more enjoyable. The song selection was great varying from English to Japanese to Vietnamese songs. Singing some anime songs from the famous Anime Tunes CD, a selection of songs from her CD "Hopeless Romantic" including "Redemption," "Consequence," and "Forbidden Fruit," and ending with a heart-warming song sung in Vietnamese inspired by scenes from "Final Fantasy X-2." Before we knew it, encore songs were performed and the night was over too soon.

While performing a cover of one of my favorite songs "Every Heart" as made famous by the one and only BoA, Kristine steps off the stage and I ended up right in front of her...definitely a highlight of the event.

Check out Kristine Sa's Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/kristinesa for more information and great music tracks and PVs.


Assassin's Creed

I've got quite a bit of back logging to do especially with the conclusion of Anime USA this past weekend. So I'll start with my review of "Assassin's Creed" for the PS3.

After a long initial lo
ading screen, we are greeted by stunningly beautiful graphics and fluid animation. Set in Middle East 1191 AD, you play as Altair, an assassin, bent on stopping the hostilities between two conflicting groups. Slick movement, unique stealth tactics, and one-of-a-kind character and menu interaction are just some of the innovative elements brought to the table. The developing storyline is multi-layered and significant, and AC's references to actual historical facts is stellar. However, an important part of story-telling is how you order the sequence of events. This, unfortunatley, turns out to be one of its major downfalls. As you may have heard or read by now, the major twist of the story is revealed within the first 5 minutes of gameplay!

"Assassin's Creed" could easily have been a game for the ages, joining the ranks of untouchable games such as "Final Fantasy" and "Metal Gear Solid." No doubt we're in desperate need of one. And boy was "Assassin's Creed" filled to the brim with uber potential. As you may have guessed by now, AC falls a bit short on the "game for the ages" realm, but nevertheless, it proves itself to be a fine game and definitely should not be allowed to slide below your radar.

The reviews I've read thus far are nothing if not wavering. AC has received exceptional reviews as well as its share of less-than-mediocre reviews. The ultimate thought will have to rest with each individual at this point. Depending on your gaming preferences, "Assassin's Creed" can deliver a wide array of different experiences. All in all, "Assassin's Creed" is a great game that could have used some tweaking in all departments. I have no doubt that AC, then, could have been an even more spectacular game than it is already.

The rare Limited Edition package features a number of bonus materials all packaged inside a special tin box. Its contents includes a figurine of lead hero Altair, a set of Penny Arcade comics, a Mini-strategy guide, Assassin-themed short films, and additional Assassin's Creed videos (including: making-of, trailers, developer diaries, interviews, etc.).

here to download Jesper Kyd's "Jerusalem Horse Ride" compliments of IGN.


Naruto Manga Box Set

Viz has officially announced the release of the Naruto Shadow Box Limited Collector Set. The set will consist of the first 27 volumes of the manga protected by a wooden display case. The last three volumes in the box is currently only available through this venue. Their general release will be on December 4th. There are only 5,000 of these limited edition cases, which also includes a Volume 28 sneak peak, an exclusive double-sided poster, stickers and an exclusive trading card. The box retails at $189.95 and is available at select major book retailers and the Viz Media online store now.


"Heroes" Ando = Yamcha?

You know him as Ando from "Heroes," James Kyson Lee is trying out for a part in the upcoming Dragon Ball Z live action movie. As stated at the Pacific Media Expo in Los Angeles, Lee, a childhood fan of both Dragon Ball and Slam Dunk, is aiming to play another sidekick role, this time via Yamcha, sidekick to Goku. Lee reveals that the film is planned for a 2010 release.

UPDATE 11/14/2007: Fox has officially announced that it signed director James Wong (Final Destination, X-Files television series, The One) and casted twenty-five-year-old Justin Chatwin (War of the Worlds, The Invisible, Lost television series) in the lead role of Goku for the movie adaptation of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball action manga. According to the Variety newspaper, filming is set to begin this month, and the film is slated to open worldwide on August 15, 2008. James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Spike, Smallville's Brainiac) will play the antagonist Piccolo, and Stephen Chow, of Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer fame, is producing the project. [Source: ANN]


Miyazaki 7-Disc Boxset

Borders is selling an exclusive Hayao Miyazaki Boxset which includes seven re-releases of the Ghibli movies repackaged within an artbox. This amazing boxset is currently only available at your local Borders store. Check out their site for more information and its availability here. The collection includes:

- Princess Mononoke
- Spirited Away

- Howl's Moving Castle
- Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Kiki's Delivery Service
- Laputa: Castle in the Sky

The boxset is retailed at $202.99 and according to several sources, the current sale price cuts the price tag 20% off, and with this
coupon (valid 11/06/07 - 11/12/07), you can get 30% off the list price.


30-year-old Video Game Collection

A video gamer has listed his entire video game collection gathered over thirty years. The collection is focused more on classic systems, so it's not surprising to see a generous number of rare titles. The following systems are represented in this gigantic auction: Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari Jaguar, Atari Lynx, Coleco ColecoVision, Coleco Gemini, Coleco Telstar, Commodore 64/128, GCE Vectrex, Mattel Aquarius, Mattel Intellivision, Mattel Odyssey 2, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Xbox 360, APF TV Fun, Miscellaneous Handheld Games, Miscellaneous PC Games, SC Eight Thousand, Sega Pods, Miscellaneous TV Games, NEC Turbo Duo, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo NES, Nintendo Nintendo 64, Nintendo Super NES, Nintendo Virtual Boy, Nintendo Wii, Sega Dreamcast, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Sega Saturn, SNK Neo Geo, SNK Neo Geo Pocket, Sony Playstation, Sony Playstation 2, Texas Instruments TI 99/4A, VM Labs Nuon. You can find the complete list of every item here, as well as several photos of said collection.

The estimated value of this collection sets at about $14,000.00. As I write, 18 people have bid garnishing a total of 47 bids. Current bid sits at $9,100.00 and shipping will cost $1,533.00. Personally, I would never part with a collection such as this, or even my own collection as it stands for that matter. I'd rather see it in a museum. Nevertheless, it'll be interesting to see what the final bid is. Since the auction ends very soon, we won't have to wait much longer for results.


Another Zelda Game

I always enjoy these videos and what better time to post than with the new release of yet another installment of Zelda, this time for the Nintendo DS. Yahtzee does a great job of explaining everything, so I really don't think any introduction is needed. Don't get me wrong though, I love the original Zelda, but if you are going to resurface classics, bring some new innovation to the table. Thanks for the link, Gendo!


Persona 3 Anime

The Playstation 2 RPG "Persona 3" will be adapted into an anime series under the name "Persona -trinity soul-" and will premiere January 2008. The anime is set a decade after the game and will center around three brothers in a future city where the dead have risen. The "Persona" games themselves are spinoffs from the long-running "Shin Megami Tensei" series.

The team behind the anime adaptation represents a nice blend of individuals. "Blood+" episode director and animator on "Digimon" sits on the director's seat. And perhaps most importantly, the actual "Persona" games' character designer, Shigenori Soejima, will create the original character designs. According to ANN, Yasuyuki Muto (Le Chevalier D'Eon) is leading a team of writers including Shinsuke Onishi (Darker than BLACK, The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye) and Shogo Yasukawa. Nobuhiko Genma (Trouble Chocolate's contributing designer) is designing the Persona, the franchise's signature supernatural entities within humans. Taku Iwasaki (Lunar Silver Star Story Lunatic Festa Vol. 3 game, Read or Die anime) is composing the music.


Yotsuba&! Revoltech Figure

Ahhh, my "Yotsuba&!" Revoltech Action Figure has finally arrived and it is cuter than I expected. From the creator of "Azumanga Daioh," this is the first and only Yotsuba character figure that has been released -- the only other figure of the series is Revoltech's Miura, as described back in October.

This figure definitely captures the energetic personality of Yotsuba with her bright lime green pigtails. Yotsuba is depicted with extreme detailing and has multiple articulation points allowing for quite a bit of posing freedom. If you're a fan of the series, this particular figure will definitely be hard to resist, especially with its numerous accessories and perfect "angry" face.


Japan's Cultural Figures

In honor of Japan's Culture Day on November 3, a survey made by Oricon reveals their findings on which cultural figure represents Japan. The gentlemen that make up the top 2 slots are definitely no strangers to anime/manga fans all over the world. Coming in at number two, is none other than Studio Ghibli's co-founder and anime director Hayao Miyazaki. With more than 6 times the number of votes that Miyazaki landed, famous director and actor, Takeshi Kitano sits at number one. I'm not sure who else made the list, but I can't think of any other 2 people that deserve the title.


DMC 4 Collector's Edition Announced

Capcom has just revealed the contents of the February 2008 release of "Devil May Cry 4" Collector's edition for both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

This special edition, retailed at $79.99 will feature: (1)
Volume 1 of ADV Film's "Devil May Cry" anime series, including four complete episodes (a retail value of $29.99); (2) Unique Steelbook™ metal case; and (3) Bonus DVD, including the Making of DMC 4, Music from the OST, Digital artbook, and PC content.

Dante has never looked so sweet. I can't wait for the immersive gothic supernatural experience. Take control of both Nero and Date with their wicked movements of guns and swordplay in high-def visuals.


Guitar Hero III

"Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" in layman terms, rocks!!! With over 70 big time songs that span over 5 decades, featuring artists such as Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Weezer, The Killers, AFI, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Weezer, White Zombie, Slipknot, Alice Cooper, and Rage Against the Machine. Believe me, the list goes on and on. It was especially exciting that while there were a few cover songs, most of the music were in its original dub version.

"Guitar Hero III" has a lot going for it, so I'll start with accessories. The Les Paul guitar wireless controller is an awesome addition. The guitar has great response times with the 5 fret buttons and the strum bar the whammy bar is a nice feature, and the actual construction is done well as far as comfort, style, and accessibility goes. The tilt sensor also responds quite well, giving much freedom to the player to rock in their own style. As for personalization, the GHIII bundle pack comes with 2 sheets of stickers and let's not forget the removable face plate. The Xbox 360 and PS3 faceplates are
interchangeable. However, the Wii version will, unsurprisingly, not fit with on the Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers. There have been some complaints over the performance of the Xbox Les Paul controller. It has been confirmed that Red Octane purposely made some minor changes for a more comfortable and realistic experience. And just for the record, I had no problems with the PS3 wireless controller.

Gameplay is easy enough to jump right in. There are 4 difficulty settings: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. In career mode and co-op mode, you create your band name, choose a character, and start rocking. Sound quality, no doubt, is done well, but I wish I could say the same for the graphics. The cinematic animation sequences were appealing enough, but gameplay character movement fell a little short. Graphics were by far not horrible, but for a next-gen game, it really doesn't win awards in that area. The storyline behind career mode was a nice treat and sort of reminded me of Daft Punk's japanese animated musical film, "Interstella 5555."

GHIII represents the first game of the franchise to feature online gaming. Unlike the other, more high quailty, online games such as "Resistance," GHIII's online system seems to be in "tweak mode" right now. The "Quick Match" feature did not work, and after probably my 15th attempt, I finally connected with someone. We may have to wait until all the kinks are taken care of. Nevertheless, "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" is a great game with lasting appeal.