In today’s update: bushels of anime site updates, a rather boring Higurashi preview video, Strawberry Panic character profiles, April’s Megami Magazine contents, more details on Valis Cross and some ruminations on the future of eroge distribution models, a roundup of the week’s modest crop of eroge, a new brand from the artist behind the Kakyuusei series, updates at Key’s Little Busters site, a pair of hot new Queen’s Blade game books are scooped and Hobby Stock represents with the “queen of tsundere”.

Media Side

  • Animate is currently streaming a promo video for the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni TV anime; after viewing it a better name for the hosting site would probably be inanimate. Try again when you have something other than pans over rough sketches that have been on the official site for months, please. >:(
  • The second season of the Aria anime will hit TV Tokyo on April 2nd, and will be called “ARIA The NATURAL”. The refurbished official site also notes several new items available from Cospa.com, as well as its plans for the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 26th.
  • Still lacking an official web presence, word comes fom Mag Garden today that the Nishi no Yoki Majo TV anime will hit the airwaves on April 7th. Cast information is also available at the above link.
  • A company called “Spray” is part of the production team for the Gakuen Heaven TV anime, subtitled “Boys Love Hyper”. I don’t think much more needs to be said. In other BL news, the Jyu-oh-sei official site is now open, with the tagline “boku wa kemono ni naru” (“I will become a beast”). Again, no comment.
  • Kadokawa updates their official The Third site with information on the broadcast of its anime incarnation: WOWOW, April 13th.
  • The second season of Tsubasa Chronicle will air starting April 29th, according to the show’s official site.
  • The remake of Youkai Ningen Bemu (“Humanoid Monster Bem”) will air on Animax starting April 1st, and there’s a pilot movie of it up for grabs right now. Tagline: “hayaku ningen ni naritai” (I want to become a human soon”). Bem should hook up with the protagonist of Jyu-oh-sei, I’m sure they could work something out that would be mutually beneficial…
  • The second season of School Rumble will start April 2nd. Fans of girls with glasses, do not scroll down; that picture of the OP singer is threatening to turn me off to them for ever.
  • Bakegyamon starts on TV Tokyo April 3rd, in a coveted prime-time evening slot. Merchandise-pumping monster-hunting anime never gets old, apparently.
  • The first episode of the Black Lagoon TV anime will be pre-screened at the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 26th. Cast info for the show is online today as well.
  • More news from Media Works’ Strawberry Panic TV anime website today, featuring character introductions of all twelve girls (four from each of the three all-girls schools clustered on one hill, sharing a joint student council between them… I think we all know where this is going).
  • Web radio offerings today from Gun x Sword, Gakuen Alice, To Heart 2, and Aria.
  • Ray the Animation has updated its characters section. …crickets…
  • A new chapter of Toranoana’s Shiawase no Momoringo webcomic is online today.
  • April’s Megami went on sale a couple of days ago, and its contents are now listed at the magazine’s official site.
  • SNK Beach Volley ~GAL’S ATTACK~ for DoCoMo cell phones is going to have to try harder if it wants to attract the demographic that enjoys scantily-clad fighting game girls jumping around.
  • The recent wave of PC > PS2 bishoujo game conversions wouldn’t be complete without at least one token bishounen offering, now would it?

Ero Side

  • More details today on the Valis Cross eroge scoop from Wednesday’s update: According to web download shop D-Dream, April 21st will see the release (sale via download only, apparently) of the first in a series of five monthly installments of the ADV. Production will be by Eants, with art by Kawai Masaki; the download site for the first installment of the game is online here.

    A little speculation as to the release format, which I’m guessing may become an increasing trend over the coming year: while a price isn’t listed yet, 2,000 yen tends to be the sweet spot for this sort of thing. Multiplied by five it’ll bring in a clean 10,000 yen for every player hooked by the game’s serial nature into buying it through the end; even at the lower price of 1,500 yen per installment that would still be 7,500 yen for the lot. Compare this to a standard “full price” eroge with an MSRP of 8,800 yen (before tax) with the knowledge that such games are routinely marked down by 1,000 to 2,500 yen when they hit store shelves, add the cost of packaging, shipping, stocking, and staffing a B&M, and the net-based distribution model seems a lot more attractive. Breaking it down serially presents the illusion of lower cost to the consumer, making it palatable as an impulse buy (where one might be unenthusiastic about paying for a digital copy of a “full price” game up front).

    This is a trend that has been exploited by the profusion of what I’ve been calling “simple 2000” eroge makers over the past year or so, but never serially – I could see an effective business model here in which a game is produced in monthly chunks and then the whole thing is put out in a package version shortly after the final installment is released. The opposite of the “expansion pack” mentality that’s worked so well in Stateside PC games… now to find an illustrator and a programmer and we’ll be in business. :3

  • Galge.com scoops the seven eroge titles on sale today, March 3rd. The only one worth mentioning is Xuse’s Supitan, a rather complex RPG offering set in the same world as their earlier Eien no Aselia. Oh, and Muv Luv Alternative‘s CD edition is out as well for the three PC users left in the world without DVD-ROM drives.
  • A new eroge brand launches almost every week, and it usually happens without much fanfare; when the Kakyuusei series character designer (Kadoi Aya) is at the helm, though, people sit up and take notice. BANANA shu-shu is the name, and moe is the game. You can listen to a rather long and rambling self-introduction of their as-yet-unnamed flagship title’s main character by clicking on the word bubble at the bottom of the main page.
  • Eroge makers ALcot, Carriere, feng, Lass, and RusK team up to bring you Siren Recipe web radio, the first episode of which is now available for download.
  • The Character page is open over at Key’s Little Busters site, along with a promo wallpaper available for download. Mentioned mostly because it’s Key.
  • Dengeki Hime‘s official site is updated today with the contents of its April edition, along with a pair of wallpapers courtesy of Ivory’s Wanko to Kurasou and Artel’s Horizont.
  • New Site Launches / Release Announcements
  • We’ve Got Movie Sign!!
  • Demo Downloads
  • Sample CG
  • Wallpapers

Hobby Side

  • When the initial two sets of Queen’s Blade books (based on Flying Buffalo’s Lost Worlds game book system) came out last fall I speculated as to whether the series would continue, and today brings confirmation that it will. June 2006 will see the release of two more playable character books, a miko priestess and a very buxom and scantily-armored elven knight, the latter of which I’ll be anticipating right up until it hits bookstore shelves. Tanoshimi~
  • Hobby Stock presents a new store-exclusive eroero Tsuyokisu PVC figure now available for preorder, this one of Yashi Nagomi, the so-called “tsundere queen”. If this figure had a sequel it would probably involve her punching you in the gut, sending you flying a la Keitaro. No news yet on a release date.