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[ERO] Game News: new games roundup, dark side edition

In addition to the recently announced Mahou Shoujo Ai 3, news from Tech Gian and other sources over the past few days has revealed several other titles sure to engage the prurient interest of fans of darker material. Read on for the latest scoop on new offerings from TinkerBell, Dual Mage, Anim, Black Package Try, and Guilty, as well as a quick list of other activity from the murkier depths of erogamedom. Note: it’s probably not a good idea to browse this one at work.

[ERO] Game News: Fate / stay night, Saber displaced in Tech Gian popularity rankings

Tech Gian is the most widely circulated eroge magazine in Japan, and while its monthly popularity rankings are hardly a definitive measurement of product stature in the overall marketplace they can serve as a rough weather vane to determine sentiment among Japanese fans. From the past couple months of rankings it seems clear that times, they are a changing; the unshakable hold that Type-Moon’s Fate / stay night has had on the #1 position on the “most recommended games” chart has been broken, and as of the July ’07 issue just released, Saber has lost her throne as the most popular heroine. To what? None other than Sengoku Rance and Uesugi Kenshin respectively. While I’m personally happy with this development for a couple of reasons (I’ve actually played the latter title, for one), I think it’s more indicative of the aging of the Fate franchise than the inherent superiority of Rance. Type Moon should see this as a signal to get off their collective ass and make a new game, and Alice Soft should see this as a signal to… make Rance 8 as soon as possible. :3 Pictures of this month’s rankings (and bonus 2006 second half best game voting results) below:

Figure News: Kaiyodo presents Yatake Yoshinori’s original character el. in PVC

A master painter who in recent years has emerged as a budding sculptor in his own right, Yatake Yoshinori of circle Accel is responsible for some of the most evocative kits to appear at recent figure events such as Wonder Festival and WHF. News comes today from a Getchu listing that for the first time one of his kits will be reproduced in PVC: his el. kit will be reduced in scale from 1/6 (28 cm) to 21 cm in height, reduced in price by 75%, and hopefully the result will be nearly as awesome as the original when it debuts in July. Fans of retro sci-fi and steampunk designs will definitely want to check this out. Pictures below:

Figure News: Max Factory announces Haruhi’s Asakura Ryouko for September release

An entry went up at Goodsmile HQ today for the latest PVC figure to be announced in Max Factory’s Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu series, Asakura Ryouko. While it’s looking like a quality figure on par with other offerings from sculptor Koshinuma Shinji (Amiami page), I think I speak for many when I say: where’s the Tsuruya?! After the main trio she’s definitely the most popular character from the show, and she’s got a Nendoroid option built in. The only reason I could see for a delay is that they may be negotiating such an option even now…

At least Asakura comes with a knife. (no more)

[ERO] Game News: bishoujo games online, eroge get interactive

While various forms of adult play have been happening online since the murky beginnings of the internet, Japan’s eroge industry is only beginning to awaken to the possibilities of interactive media. Today we take a look at two examples of the first tentative steps into the online eroge arena that have come to light recently: Bishoujo Game Online Partners and Ero-Cha.

[ERO] Game News: G.J?s newest title unveiled

And that title is Anata no Shiranai Kangofu ~Seiteki Byoutou 24-Ji~ (the nurses you don’t know ~midnight sexual ward~). Looks like we’re in for a standard hospital game; not a genre that particularly excites me, but the amazing quality of Sano Toshihide‘s designs never fails to work its magic (lots of sample CG teasers on the index page, official CG page here). With a scenario by Koko it seems we can’t expect anything special from the story, but playing G.J? games for the story is like reading Higurashi novels for the art. :3

In related news, G.J? is running a promotional gimmick for the game until May 28th where you fill out responses to a survey regarding how you’d like to be treated in their fictional hospital, and you have the chance of becoming one of its patients when the game comes out this summer. I wonder if they take gaijin… (no more)

Figure News: Toys Works announces Vispo-sculpted “Gaku-ran” Haruhi PVC

This one has me pretty excited: Getchu posted a listing last night for what Toys Works is calling a Gaku-ran version Haruhi PVC figure (from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, of course). Running down the specs it seems she’s 1/8 scale, 19 cm tall and comes with removable jacket (and skirt?). While by and large I haven’t bought into Haruhi figure mania I was immediately attracted by this kit due to the great dynamic balance of the sculpt and original take on Itou Noiji‘s design; the reason for this was revealed when I noticed sculpting duty is being handled by Katagiri Katsuhiro of Vispo, one of my all time favorite sculptors. This will be a definite purchase for me when she comes out in September, though I’m sure opinions will differ; definition of “gaku-ran” and kit pictures follow:

Figure News: Yamato’s Amy PVC from Bakuretsu Tenshi up for preorder

Various online hobby outlets represented today with listings for this August-release Bakuretsu Tenshi Amy PVC figure, the latest installment in Yamato’s SIF EX line. I’d normally pass up discussion of a figure like this, except for one thing (image cropped from Amiami’s gallery below):

Doujin News: Yaminabe Party 2, yandere only doujin event scheduled for November

Dubbed Yaminabe Party, the first ever yandere only doujin sales convention occured on March 21st of this year. It apparently met with success, as the official site has already announced the second iteration of the event which will occur on November 11th, 2007 in Asakusa, Tokyo. More interesting than the event itself is the premise behind it, as those of us watching the moe scene have been wondering for awhile what would follow tsundere boom. The answer increasingly appears to be, in part at least, yandere:

For those not hip to the latest moetic jargon (as I wasn’t until a few weeks ago), yandere is like tsundere only instead of alternating between lovey-dovey and callous, the heroine switches between intense affection and INSANE HOMICIDAL RAGE. This can be directed toward the protagonist (should he spurn her) and/or her rivals (should they get in the way); examples include Katsura Kotonoha from School Days and Fuyou Kaede from Shuffle!.

If the stars align correctly (probably meaning another event in the same building that I’d be attending anyway) I may stop by Yaminabe Party 2 this fall… I do hope they check cleavers at the door. (no more)

[ERO] Game News: Mahou Shoujo Ai returns

Word in from the July 2007 issue of Tech Gian (on sale today) that storied eroge franchise Mahou Shoujo Ai is at long last returning to game form. According to the article Mahou Shoujo Ai 3 is being produced by the same staff that brought us its two earlier game incarnations and their various spinoffs, and illustrated by Kuroki Masahiro; readers will recall however that as of last month the IP for the franchise was transfered to MS Pictures, so some staff changes are probably inevitable. The game doesn’t have a release date or a scenario credit yet; we’ll keep you posted as things develop. Crappy low-res photos of the TG scoop below:

Doujin News: Comic Market 72 event catalog available for preorder, sale dates set

Online book shop Mangaoh has put up a preorder listing for the Comiket 72 event catalogs. The book version will go on sale July 21st, with the CD-ROM following a week later on the 28th; the event itself takes place August 17th, 18th, and 19th. Cover illustration duty will be handled by Amemiya Yuki and Ichihara Yukino of circle Yukimachiya.

It’s never too early for the Comiket hype to begin! HD will be there as usual, and we’re thinking of organizing some sort of shindig following the first day of the event to make merry and gird our loins for two more days of battle in the trenches – more info on this “HD meet” as it develops, but feel free to mark your calendars now if you’ll be in Tokyo in mid-August. (no more)

Protoculture News: Toranoana empire expands to Sendai

Sendai is already pretty well-equipped for otaku needs as the biggest city in Tohoku, the northern-most area of Honshu (Japan’s largest island). Joining the existing Gamers, Volks, Melon Books & Animate will soon be a Toranoana on Clis Road in the city center – a pretty decent-sized one too, by the looks of it. The Japanese blogosphere has already begun to latch onto the news and on 2ch the response is good. Photos after the jump.

Figure News: Legit Bubba Haruhi kit finally ships

Bubba made a blog post yesterday (thanks rq) to the effect that his Bunny Haruhi garage kit, the object of much fanboy zeal last fall, has finally shipped to those who mailordered it from the few Dengeki publications in which it was then available. Meanwhile various other, less official dealers have been selling the kit for nearly half a year now… I wish something could be done about this where we (the artists, IP holders, and fans) all win, but until Kadokawa realizes there’s money to be made we’re likely to be stuck in this crappy no-win situation. [07/05/19 13:16 – edited for unnecessarily incendiary tone] (no more)

Figure News: Bandai to release Otome Damashii “nano” Code Geass trading figure set in late August

Spotted this as part of Amiami‘s evening update last night: they’ve listed the item with no more than the sparsest details at this point (8,820 yen list price for a box of 12), but it promises to be the second official (non-chibi) entry into the Code Geass bishoujo figure world (after Otomedama Karen) and at that price point we should be able to expect a decent quality set of figures. No comparable set has been thus far released in the Otomedama line, though its official Bandai page can be found here. We’ll be keeping an eye out for photographic evidence… (no more)

Figure Review: Toranoana’s Amaha Masane (charging ver.) PVC from Witchblade

When this kit first appeared at Wonder Festival 2006 Summer it was one of the highlights of the show; the aggressive, dynamic pose totally blew the other Witchblade figures out of the water that had appeared to that point. I was pleasantly surprised to later learn that Toranoana would be releasing her in PVC form, though somewhat apprehensive – would the roulette wheel that has been Tora’s past production quality rake in the chips, or deposit a metal slug to the brain? The former was overwhelmingly the case, though the kit is not without a few flaws; read on for the nitty-gritty, and a comparison with Masanes gone before.

Figure News: Wave announces Chokotto Sister Choko and To Heart 2 Tama-nee PVCs

Wave announced today the addition of two PVC figures to their recently formed Dreamtech lineup: a 1/8 scale “neko-nyan dance” version Choko from Chokotto Sister and a 1/6 scale bikini version Tama-nee from To Heart 2, both due out in September. The Tama-nee sculpt is by Maeda Toshiki of Works Sapporo, with Choko sculpting duty by Arakawa Hiroshi (Amiami search). Not the most exceptional sculpting talent, though not the worst either; the seemingly removable dress on Choko and the hair sculpt and recumbent pose on Tama-nee seem to be the charm points of the respective kits, certainly enough for fans of the characters to justify purchase but perhaps not for the casual consumer. Here’s hoping that Dreamtech moves more toward the example of their July release Lucy Maria Misora in the future. (no more)

Figure News: Konami announces the production of a 1/8 scale Bemani Iroha PVC… maybe

Fans of Beatmania II DX will be happy to hear that Konami today tentatively launched a series of 1/8 scale PVC figures based on the Bemani characters. I say “tentatively” because the production of the first in the series (Iroha Umegiri) is contingent on Konami receiving 2,500 preorders for the item by June 17th; certainly a safe way to do business, but one bound to frustrate those of us unable to preorder via Konami’s exclusive site; the lack of a production model or resin sample of the kit does little to inspire confidence either, though the lone design illustration does have some promise. Something tells me Konami won’t reach 2,500 orders without throwing a bit more in the fans’ direction first… (no more)

Figure News: Kotobukiya presents a full frontal (?) Blanc Neige from Shining Tears

The 46th Shizuoka Hobby Show opened to industry and members of the press yesterday, and while as usual the dealers participating were mostly from the more rarefied hobby industries, according to Hobby Channel’s coverage Kotobukiya was there as well. It seems they brought with them the only bishoujo figure news of the event, and what a scoop it is: a Blanc Neige PVC kit from Shining Tears that seems to be rather distinctly nekkid. This is doubly odd not only due to its all-ages source but to Kotobukiya’s lack of precedent in the cast off department… We’ll be keeping an eye on this one to see if it develops into a full-blown free love flower child PVC revolution of harmony, peace, understanding, and removable plastic clothing. (no more)

Figure Review: Orchid Seed’s Amaha Masane (Witchblade ver.) PVC from Witchblade

We return to the world of figure reviews today with a look at Orchid Seed’s entry into the battle of the Witchblades, a series I’m tempted to dub “which blade is Witchblade” but I won’t because that would be silly and nothing silly ever happens on this blog. Orchid Seed has emphasized the blade over the witch anyway, producing what is certainly the most impressive phallic implement to grace a Masane figure yet. How does she stack up against Alter’s recent offering, and can you make Julienne fries with that thing? Read on:

Figure News: Goodsmile announces their September linup (Iroha at last!), Max Factory’s Shining Wind Kureha

Goodsmile has just uploaded pages for three figures in their September PVC release lineup: Tekkoryuu‘s exquisite 1/5 scale Iroha from Samurai Spirits, a 1/8 scale Suzumiya Haruka from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and an Amazon.co.jp exclusive 1/8 scale Kusanagi Motoko from Ghost in the Shell. Max Factory repesents as well with this very sweet-looking Kureha PVC from Shining Wind, also set for September release… the fall is getting crowded in a very good way. :3 I anticipate that the Iroha will be the most in demand of this lot, so those interested should man their preorder buttons. (no more)

Figure News: Daiki Kougyou announces the PVC conversion of Cobra-Kai’s 1/4 scale Samurai Spirits Mina

Daiki Kougyou has a page up today detailing their release plans for a PVC version Cobra-Kai‘s 1/4 scale Samurai Spirits Mina at the end of July. The version of the kit pictured on Daiki’s page is still the original resin, so we can expect some alteration in its final PVC cast; regardless, when equipped with her bow she apparently tops 50 centimeters in height. An impressive item indeed, even if the paint job on her face is somewhat ganguro… at 23,100 yen retail she won’t come cheap, but given Daiki’s incremental quality improvement over the past year and the kit’s eminent castoffability this might be worth the investment to some. Source: Midareuchi (no more)

Mid-May Eroge Newswire

A compendious eroge news update today, featuring details on a bunch of new games that have been announced over the past few weeks and updates of some others we’ve been following for awhile now. We’ve got a site renewal for Ole’s Oppai Baka for starters (the source of tonight’s thumbnail), news on the next title in Lilith’s release docket, a new trapfest from Cage, more bouncing from H+, an update on Hadashi Shoujo’s upcoming princess-o-rama spectacular, this week’s release lineup from Galge.com, the transfer of Mahou Shoujo Ai’s intellectual property rights, and news on new upcoming projects from Westvision, Black Rainbow, Noesis, and Frill. That’s a lot of eroge news all right!

Book News: Queen’s Blade Nix and Merfa get street dates, teaser images

The two latest entries in Hobby Japan’s line of Queen’s Blade fighting game books based on Flying Buffalo’s Lost Worlds game mechanic were given a street date of June 29th yesterday, and today Hobby Channel represents with the first teaser images from their gorgeously illustrated inner pages. While recent doujin events have been all Cattleya all the time, I’m guessing Nix is going to be the new hot item gracing doujin covers in late summer and early fall. I tried drawing her myself and it’s not exactly easy, but I know there are plenty of Kuroki Masahiro fans out there ready and willing to carry the torch… (no more)

Figure News: Konami’s Gurren Lagann Yoko PVC in color (HD exclusive?)

HD has just obtained what we believe to be the first ever photograph of the first ever Gurren Lagann Yoko PVC figure to be announced for production, coming from Konami in September. While the pose is basic it looks like a very nice sculpt indeed, and I’m thinking my preorder gamble was well worth it… good luck to all planning to pursue this kit, as she’s virtually guaranteed to be a hot item. Picture below:

Figure News: Gurren Lagann Yoko “statue” coming from Konami in September

Japanese online shop Amiami put a listing up last night for a 1/8 scale (20 cm tall) Yoko figure with removable rifle due out from Konami on September 27th. It’s being called a “statue” at this point and there’s no mention of PVC in the listing, but I assume it will be PVC; that price point (5,775 yen retail) is too low for all but the most shoddily painted cold casts. I put in a preorder despite the lack of visual evidence or sculptor information; while it may very well end up being a lumpy misshapen paperweight like Konami’s ventures into the forbidden terrain of Rumble Roses figuredom at least it will be a historical one, and if the sculpt turns out to be remotely good I can guarantee that it’s only the preorders that will have a chance in hell of paying retail for this. Yoko fans with loose wallets should look to snipe her when she shows up elsewhere soon. (no more)

Doujin News: Touhou gets a multimedia blitz from Ichijinsha

Via Moon Phase: publishing house Ichijinsha has put up a special Touhou feature page today with details on three new media projects in the works, all produced with the cooperation of the multi-talented Zun. The first is a manga that will appear in Comic Rex, the second is a (light?) novel that will appear in Chara Mel, and the third is a four-panel manga that will appear in Manga 4-Koma Kings Palette. All three will debut in June, and according to Zepy’s coverage are part of the same story, dubbed Touhou Bougetsushou. Given these new items in addition to the manga already running in Comp Ace an eventual Touhou anime is seeming even more inevitable, though given Zun’s (rumored) quixotic temperament it may be that he’s the one holding things up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to produce, direct, score, draw keyframes, and voice act the whole thing… (no more)

Figure News: Alter’s September lineup revisited, Yamato represents in August

PVC makers and online shops are finally shaking off the post-Golden Week blues, and the figure updates are coming in fast and furious. First up is official confirmation of the earlier reported Persona 3 Aegis and Zegapain Kaminagi Ryouko PVCs coming from Alter in September. Next, news from Yamato that this Yamashita Shunya original Non-Non PVC kit will be out in August, along with this original kaoru-sculpted Nonoko -moon- figure. Together with yesterday’s Felicia news from Organic I have the feeling we may be sitting on the crest of a wave of hot (if slightly bizarre, in the case of Nonoko) figure announcements… (no more)

Figure News: limited edition Vampire Savior Felicia PVC announced from Organic

And what an item she is! Sculpted by Melting Neuron, this Felicia resin kit from Vampire Savior has to be one of the most photographed convention items over the past few years that hasn’t seen a PVC release to date. Catgirl fans, fighting game fans, and fans of ridiculously awesome-looking sculptures in general will be drooling (wipe, wipe) at the news from Getchu that Organic will be releasing her in a limited batch of 2,000 at the end of July. Pictures of the original resin kit below:

[ERO] Game News: G-Collections licenses D.O.’s Yukizakura, ZyX’s Ikazuchi no Senshi Raidy

News in today that JAST USA affiliate brand G-Collections has announced the acquisition of two new titles from the CD Bros. back catalog: D.O.’s Yukizakura and ZyX’s Ikazuchi no Senshi Raidy (referred to in earlier HD coverage as Kaminari no Senshi Raidi). The former is a “moderately happy girls in snow” renai story from the pen of Kitagawa Samui (Erogamescape, Wikipedia), while the latter is G-Collections’ first foray into the RPG world. Baby steps… They’re being released as Snow Sakura and Lightning Warrior Raidy respectively, and they’re expected to hit the e-shelves within the year.

In related news, some kook has started an official JAST USA bishoujo game industry blog to talk, apparently, about the English bishoujo game industry (there is such a thing?). Madness, I tell you… if there’s something you’d like to see in such a blog, feel free to comment over yonder. (no more)

HDTV Episode 03: the wonder of Moe Soundrops

Shipon represents today with the third installment of HDTV, in which he acquires some of the most curious items to come out of Japan’s moe boom: audio gashapon “soundrops”, prerecorded audio clips of moe stereotypes, anime characters, and other things in handy portable form, ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice. I’m not sure whether these are a force for good or purest evil, but form your own opinion – view on: