Friday, September 29, 2006

General Bemani Update

The Konamistyle limited edition of Pop 'n Music 13 is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday of next week and an initial shipment of the PS2 Guitar Freaks Arcade Style Controller should arrive on Monday. The remainder of the ASC controllers are expected to trickle in over the course of the next week since orders and shipments had to be staggered from the Konamistyle website.

As mentioned before, NCS recommends only shipping the Guitar Freaks ASC by UPS Ground within the U.S.A due to the dimensional weight and size of the item.
Emails will be sent out to customers when their Guitar ASC ships and we expect to be able to fulfill everyone's order by the end of next week. That is, barring any import shipping and procedural delays. Thanks.

.hack//G.U. Vol. 2 Memory Card

A kicked up version of Haseo appears on the face of the .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 Memory Card where the Player Killer hefts a barbed and gnarly looking sickle. In addition to the 8M card, a metal .hack//G.U. memory card case imprinted with a silhouette figure of Haseo and a set of character stickers are included in the cardboard-backed blister pack.

Japanese memory cards work with USA, European, and Japanese PS2 consoles and USA/JPN/EUR save data may be mixed on the same card. Preorders have shipped as of yesterday and new orders are welcome to ship today. Pricing is set at US$35 per card.

Quartett! The Stage of Love

Originally released on the PC as an eroge game for mature audiences, Quartett has sold over 40,000 copies since 2004 and groomed itself as a contender for eventual PS2 conversion. That happens today with an updated Quartett game which adds voice actor and actress vocals to the interaction where there was once none. Players adopt the role of a high school student named Phill Junhers who is a naturally gifted violinist. Despite his lack of formal training, Phill plays like a virtuoso and is recruited by a professor at the Magnolia Music Institute into a string quartet. The game follows the drama and events in the 84 days leading up to a classical string competition where 24 quartets play and one team wins. From there, the members of the winning quartet may go on to enjoy fulfilling lives as musicians in traveling troupes, backyard barbecues, or grand orchestras.

Phill's collaborators in the quartet are Charlotte Francia - first string, Juni Argiano on the viola, and cellist Li Shuhua. As the story develops, Phill may find love as well as adversity among members of his group. Quartett! is a beautifully rendered visual novel which uses a stunning art style powered by Floating Frame Director. The game is viewed like a manga with spot animations and speech bubbles that appear as the characters speak.

Quartett! The Stage of Love LE

The Magnolia Music Institute is a prestigious school which attracts the brightest musicians from across the country. To ensure that the students are able to concentrate on their music, the school offers amenities such as dormitories and personal guidance for exceptionally gifted students. As the game begins, a gifted violinist named Phill Junhers is recruited into a string quartet at the school. Phill's team consists of three attractive girls:

» Charlotte Francia plays first string and is reticent about romance
» Juni Argiano plays the viola and has bubbly personality
» Li Shuhua is a cellist who is quiet and reserved

The game follows the events in the 84 days leading up to an important music competition where 24 quartets play and only one wins. The quartet that wins top prize is essentially guaranteed a ticket to fame and success as musicians. The limited edition of Quartett! includes a bonus art booklet which features artwork of the main characters, Phill's sister Lina, and the players on the main rival quartet: Mai Argiano, Gizelle Stolzenberg, Signina Vinothek, and Hans Crowbar.

School Heaven Okawari!

Keita Ito is a recent transfer student at the Bell Liberty Academy and has survived the shenanigans in the first School Heaven game. His good fortune has held up... until Keita finds a cursed ring that robs him of his luck. The ring also can't be removed from his finger. With uncertainty suddenly surrounding him like a vise, Keita rallies his classmates to help rid himself of the impending misfortune that waits right around the corner...

The boys from the first School Heaven game return in Okawari! including Kazuki Endo, Koji Shinomiya, the broad-shouldered Niwa Tetsuya, and others. Keita may choose one boy from the group to concentrate on which affects the outcome of the story. Multiple endings are possible depending on the boy chosen and the actions that are taken during the course of the adventure. Similar to the first game, the scenario plays out in bouts of interaction and multiple choice selections which determine the next sequence of events. Special activities also pop up from time to time where mini-games are played to help move the story along to the climactic conclusion. NEC adds atmosphere to the game by using a somewhat sedate soundtrack and full voice acting for all of the boys in the game.

Eiyuu Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki FC

Eiyuu Densetsu VI was originally released for the Japanese PC in the summer of 2004 where it went on to sell over 200,000 copies. Falcom expands the audience for the game a little wider this week with a PSP conversion which adds voice acting to the battle sequences, a bestiary for monsters that have been defeated, and other features.

As the story goes, the Bright family is made up of father Cassius and his children Estelle and Joshua. The three are members of a guild of hired hands known as "Bracers" who take on odd jobs and assignments for dosh. One day, Cassius receives a letter and heads out to a nearby town to do some work. While he's gone, Estelle and Joshua resolve to handle any of Cassius' Bracer assignments and their first mission is a trek to Perzel Farm which is to the southwest of their town, Rolent. Once the business at the farm is taken care of, more missions are handed out by Scherazard at the guild which eventually lead the pair to a land spanning adventure steeped in intrigue and a pernicious conspiracy. Along with missions from the guild, many unique and interesting side quests are available in the game which allow Estelle and Joshua to level up their Bracer rankings and their hoard of gold. Unlike the early Legend of Heroes games, EDVI features a 3D world with a friendly camera that may be manipulated freely. The battle system allows the use of weapon-based attacks as well as special techniques for magic use and special attacks.

Bruce Lee: Game of Death

Nearly three decades after the Game of Death splashed across movie screens, Japanese manufacturer Enterbay has started preorders for a "Real Masterpiece" figure based on Bruce Lee in the film. Measuring 30cm or 11.81" tall, the figure features an articulated body which may be posed and modeled in various kung-fu stances and attack postures. Bruce's body is also ripped and chiseled for an authentic look.

Pricing is set at JPY35000 or US$335 from NCS. The high cost appears to indicate that products with the words "real masterpiece" in the title have to command a sweet premium. Preorders are expected to ship in late November 2006.

Macross Plus YF-19

In the Macross Plus storyline, the YF-19 Advanced Variable Fighter was an entrant in the Project Super Nova contest administered by the UN Spacy group. After a few mishaps, accidental deaths, and an unauthorized trip, the YF-19 was eventually chosen as the fighter model to replace the VF-11 Thunderbolt as regulation issue fighter for the UN Spacy.

Yamato has opened preorders for a reproduction of the 1/60 scale YF-19 transformable toy where the mech changes from battroid to gerwalk to fighter mode. At 1/60 scale, the YF-19 measures 30cm or 11.81 tall and weighs 2500g or 5.51 lbs. The mech features an off-white patina with red trim and is constructed of die-cast metal and ABS plastic. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late December 2006 at JPY18800 or US$179.

Nanase Koi PVC Figure

Koi Nanase hails from the Yakin Byoutou (Night Hospital) OVAs where she was experimented upon by a crazed doctor to create the perfect sex slave.
Earlier this year, Toys Planning shipped Koi Nanase pillows and pillow cases which sold very well and all stock is gone. For their encore, the company has announced a PVC figure where the nurse lies prone as her hands seemingly frame her bosom. For an added bonus, Koi's nurse uniform may be "opened" to reveal her bressessess (self-sic) below. Ms Nanase measures 20cm or 7.87" long and preorders are welcome to ship on or around November 23, 2006.

Culdcept Saga Preorder

After a hiatus of four years without a new Culdept game, Bandai has started preorders for Culdcept Saga which is an original release for the Xbox 360. The visuals don't look much improved over the Dreamcast or PS2 versions of Culdcept and the game play won't differ radically from the earlier games. In Culdcept, players throw a sort of "die" to determine range of movement and then traverse a play board while picking up and using cards. New to Culdcept Saga is an online mode where 4 players may challenge each other in card battling action. Preorders are welcome to ship on or around November 22, 2006.

Super Robot Wars XO Preorder

The original Xbox never reached the critical installed base for Banpresto to consider producing an exclusive Super Robot Wars game for the console. The PS2 currently holds the honor of platform of choice for new SRW development and has been the recipient of the last few games. The Xbox 360 still hasn't reached the critical installed base either... but that won't stop Banpresto from rehashing the Gamecube version of SRW on the console. Although it's not a first run release, the appearance of a Super Robot Wars game on the X360 is something of a coup. It's not on the scale of a Dragon Quest game appearing on the X360 however...

The GC and soon X360 version of Super Robot Wars features mechs from six Gundam series' including Zeta Gundam and Char's Counterattack. Other franchises represented are Mazinkaiser, Shin Getter Robo, Metal Armor Dragonar, Zettai Muteki Raijinoh, and others. New mechs in the X360 version include Saikyo Robo Daioja models and a few new robots from the Gundam realm. Improvements in the X360 version of the game consist of updated attack animations, new combination sequences, and an Xbox Live online component. In our opinion, SRW/XO won't goad many Japanese buyers into finally picking up an X360 console but the game's sales will determine if more SRW releases reach the X360. Preorders are welcome to ship on Nov. 30, 2006 at JPY6980 or US$65 from NCS.

Sale of the Day

PC-Engine Multi-tap: New and boxed official NEC multi-taps in crisp and clean factory boxes. Some of the boxes may have slight imperfections from decades of storage but are in excellent condition. Each multi-tap is also wrapped in the original blue factory bag and includes a sheet of decals and user instructions.

Pricing is set at US$26.50 per multi-tap which includes USPS Priority Mail shipping anywhere in the contiguous USA. Priority Mail normally delivers in 2-3 days. Please note that our shop does not process transactions in real time and orders will be charged US$26.50 only.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Japan Kanji Test DS

In 2005, over 2.4 million people took the Japan Kanji Aptitude Test which is the only kanji test authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Since the learning of kanji can be a life-long endeavor, Nintendo helps learners along with Japan Kanji Test DS. Based on the structure of the tests administered by The Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, the software includes 6,000 kanji characters to learn which covers all 8 levels of the official test. For example, if you're somewhat familiar with roughly 600 kanji characters, you're at the beginning level of 7. If you're a wizened kanji comprehending master who grasps the complete dictionary of 6,000 characters (JIS Level II), you're a level 1 professional and would «more»


When the Book of Happiness is torn asunder, a sullen pall of despair descends upon the land. Without happiness to goad the masses along, industry and commerce falter. To bring everyone's spirits back up, a hero or heroine must venture forth and reassemble the Book of Happiness and bring joy back into the world.
Remindelight is a conventional RPG which makes full use of the stylus for attacks, defense, and spell casting. For example, to attack a crab creature, simply poke at it and damaged is impacted. To defend, push left on the d-pad and then move the shield around to block attacks. When casting a spell, flames encircle a rock-like sphere on the touch screen. By deftly swishing the stylus and dragging all of the flames into the sphere, it «more»

Joushiki Nanmon no Shou

Targeted at the junior high school demographic, Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru: DS Joushiki Nanmon no Shou gathers together 8000 questions where arithmetic and numeric calculation are in play. The Study Mode throws a series of questions at the math practitioner to wade through and be judged. To answer a problem, the touch pen is used to scribble answers to the equations and questions on screen. An "adventure mode" features mathematics challenges while the player wanders around Japan and is presented with adversity in the form of math problems. Two competitive games are available where two players link up and solve math problems to determine who's the quickest draw.

Kanji no Shou

To help children and child-like adults hone their kanji reading and application skills, IE Institute releases a kanji learning program which features roughly 6,000 questions and tests at the elementary school level (Japanese grades 1 through 6). Tests require reading comprehension skills where a passage is read and a question asked. Three choices are then listed for answer tapping. To practice kanji writing skills, test takers may neglect the multiple choice selections and actually write out the kanji answer on the touch screen slate provided. A quiz mode in the game features a trip to planet Mars where aliens (who are apparently kanji experts) test the player with kanji characters quizzes.

Keisan no Shou

Less focused than the other two Shikakui Atama releases for this week, Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru: DS Keisan no Shou tests gamers on an assortment of subjects including the Japanese language, arithmetic, modern Japanese society, and science tidbits. Two levels are testing are available on the card which caters to junior high school students and a higher level which tests adults with more difficult questions. Test takers may also tackle light or intensive exercises. In addition to the test taking study mode, an adventure mode features space themes where planets provide the backdrop. A versus mode is also available for two wireless gamers tackle each other by calculating problems as simple as 1 x 1 = 1 to 19 x 19.

Pokemon Diamond

Pokemon games have sold over 100 million copies in the 10 years that Game Freak and Nintendo have collaborated on the franchise. Starting with Pokemon Green and Red on the original Game Boy, Pokemon went on to become a multi-billion dollar brand with movies, television, a theme park, merchandise, and even food stuffs.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl continue the winning tradition with a new crop of Pokemon led by Naetoru, Hikozaru, and Pochama. Also in tow are new trainers, a new world, and a multi-player feature where up to 16 participants may engage. What's not new are the familiar fighting sequences where Pokemon face off on screen... «NCS Game Notes»

Pokemon Pearl

Pokemon games have sold over 100 million copies in the 10 years that Game Freak and Nintendo have collaborated on the franchise. Starting with Pokemon Green and Red on the original Game Boy, Pokemon went on to become a multi-billion dollar brand with movies, television, a theme park, merchandise, and even food stuffs.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl continue the winning tradition with a new crop of Pokemon led by Naetoru, Hikozaru, and Pochama. Also in tow are new trainers, a new world, and a multi-player feature where up to 16 participants may engage. What's not new are the familiar fighting sequences where Pokemon face off on screen... «NCS Game Notes»

.hack//G.U. Vol. 2 + Bonus Storage Box

The Player Killer Killer named Haseo was able to survive the trouble with the rampaging Player Killers in .hack//G.U. Vol. 1. Early in the first game, Haseo was completed dominated by the PK known as Tri-Edge but over the course of the adventure, Haseo rose up and eventually gained enough moxie and power to destroy his oppressor. As the story in .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 begins, two members of the Azure Knights named Balmung and Orca conspire to resurrect Tri-Edge.

Haseo returns to "The World R: 2" in another "online" romp where the battle system has improved and new powers are available to Haseo and crew. At the outset of the game, a cinematic sequence plays where a blonde moppet name Atori wakes up @HOME but she's unable to log out of the game world. Haseo and friends then bear witness to a dramatic sequence of events... Battles run similar to the first .hack G.U. where the player has full control of the hero as he hacks and slashes along with dash attacks where swords light up with trailing effects. The camera keeps a tight cover over the action as Haseo runs and motorbikes around the world. The motorbike can be summoned simply by pressing the "SQUARE" button. One moment, hero is standing around and the next moment, he's on a hog. «NCS G-Notes»

Pop 'n Music 13

Nyami and Mimi get into a carnival kind of mood by donning jester costumes and hamming it up for the thirteenth Pop 'n Music game. Three new mini-games which reflect the circus atmosphere are included which feature flapping/parachuting, the flying Hamanov, and the Synchronized Hamanov. Performing well in the mini-games will unlock songs to flesh out the music library. The CS version of Pop 'n Music 13 features 15 new tunes (9 available at the outset) in the expansive library of 114 tracks. A fair number of songs from Pop 'n Music 12 make the transition to 13 but there's enough variety in the music to keep even the most demanding Bemaniacs happy and perhaps even jolly.

Songs include "Butterfly (Delaction Mix)" by Hime Trance 1, "Jewelry Girl" from Jun, "Infinity Blue" by Reiji Sakurai, and many more. Music from animation, J-pop, and games are included for a diverse jam. Standard modes include Arcade Mode, Enjoyment Mode for beginners, Battle Mode, Expert Mode, and a Super Challenge Mode. Similar to earlier Pop 'n Music games, players may view portraits and animations of the characters featured in the rhythm action and learn a little more about them in a more sedate setting. An internet ranking mode keeps track of the Pop 'n elite.

Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 28: Tetris Collection

The phenomenally successful Tetris brand has endured for over 2 decades and has appeared on nearly ever gaming console from the Famicom to the Xbox 360. When the Wii and PS3 are entrenched in the market, Tetris will conquer two more consoles. The game was conceived by Alexei Pajitnov in Russia way back in 1985 and NCS recalls an early licensed version on the C=64 and shareware on the PC. The rest is history.

Sega Ages 2500 includes three Tetris games and variants which were originally produced between 1988 and 1990. A new version of the game designed for the SA2500 release called Tetris New Century which is based on the System-16 version of the game. On the main menu, players may select from the following Tetris variants:

» Tetris - Classic version from the System-16, System-E, and Megadrive.
» Flashpoint - System-16 arcade version from Sega
» Bloxeed - System-18 arcade version from Sega
» Tetris New Century - New techniques to learn and master «more»

Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan: Airport Hero Naha

The Airport Hero line of games on the PC, Gameboy, Playstation, and PSP have sold a total of over 300,000 copies since 1998 while the cellphone version has been downloaded 150,000 times. It's been a successful series for Sonic Powered.

As exemplified by the games, the life of an air traffic controller is a stressful one. Sitting at the control tower and holding the lives of thousands of passengers in his hands, the controller makes critical decisions which affect the direction, heading, and passage of planes. One mistake ruins lives and destroys entire families. Take on the role of a air traffic handler who manages the comings and goings for Naha airport in Okinawa, Japan. When a plane enters your airspace, your job is to direct it to a landing strip and make sure that it won't bump into an outbound plane. As more planes request landing instructions, the stress level rises as one has to figure out where to put all of the big metal birds.

New to the Naha version of Airport Hero is the introduction of U.S. military aircraft and Japan Air Self Defense Force vehicles in addition to passenger airliners that dot the skies. With so much air traffic in play, directives and assignments must be carefully thought out and planned to avoid collisions or dangerous situations. For new players to the series, a training mode teaches the basics of the game along with proper procedures.

Boxer's Road 2: The Real

In 1995, Boxer's Road was released on the Playstation and NCS was stuck with roughly 500 copies of the game. DOA. Although the boxing simulator was very detailed, the pace of the boxing action itself moved like molasses and buyers went on strike. After a couple of drastic discounts, we shifted all of our stock over the course of 6 months. Despite our experience, Boxer's Road sold nearly 400,000 copies in Japan.

Eleven years later, Ertain has apparently learned a thing or two about boxing as the sequel is magnificently detailed and moves faster than the original. After the ding of the bell, two boxers saunter to the center of the ring and knock gloves before the feinting and dancing begins. The action is viewed from the side as a default instead of the "behind the boxer" perspective of the original and boxers may duck, sway, bob, weave, and punch - all controlled through rudimentary tugs on the d-pad or analog nub and the face buttons. If the player so desires, the action may also be viewed from a behind the boxer view where the body of the fighter is semi-transparent to allow for viewing the opponent. The action runs fast and vicious as the boxers knock each other around with a flurry of punches.

The routine of a boxer in training may be managed through Meals, Training, Calendar, and Staff. There's also an Easy Set Up for scheduling the meals and training. When selecting meals, choices include a slice of cake, French fries, a burger, and other things that a boxer in training probably shouldn't be eating.

Chronicle of Dungeon Maker 2

Most adventure games send players into pre-built dungeons where monsters are battled and treasure chests are jostled open. Taito's Chronicle of Dungeon Maker 2 twists it all around and presents a game that's somewhat reminiscent of Game Arts' Chaos Seed (Sega Saturn, 1997) where the player builds dungeons from scratch instead of spelunking within them. As a master architect and builder, the player erects the labyrinthine corridors of an underground dungeon and subsequently waits at least a night for it to be populated with monsters. Since beastly creatures are naturally attracted to dank and well designed dungeons, luring them doesn't take much effort. Once they're in and roaming through the halls, attack and destroy the monsters to abscond their treasures.

Personal dungeons may be traded with other players through ad hoc mode and the game features a simple attack scheme to send a sword swinging and magic blazing. When visiting a dungeon, players may choose the type of equipment and weapons to bring which affects the performance in battle. Traps may also be set to even out the odds against groups of monsters. As the fame of a builder grows, town folk will visit him and request certain items where the task is to design a dungeon that will attract the type of monster that would likely carry such an item. Creatures that venture into the dungeons range from feral wolves to massive dragons. The game features over 400 items that may be used and equipped such as suits of armor, gauntlets, leggings, and helms.

Project Sylpheed

Sylpheed has been around since 1985 where it first saw life on the PC with a little game called "Silpheed: The Super Dogfighter." From those humble beginnings, a sequel for the MegaCD was released in 1993 followed by "Silpheed the Lost Planet" on the PS2 nearly a decade later. The latest edition of the Silpheed saga arrives in shorter time and provides an exhilarating 3D space shooting experience where the 16 missions are viewed from a "behind the starship" perspective.

When an aggressive alien force attacks, the Delta Saber is scrambled to meet the threat. The cinemas of the game mesh seamlessly with the in-game action with stunning visuals and floaty fast action. The ship may be viewed in the camera at all times and targeting cursors are shifted around to shoot at enemies. As the enemy ships flit through the cosmos and become movable targets, the canopy of stars rotate and twirl time with the movement of the ship. Enemies counterattack with missiles and laser fire which blaze through the ether. A red -Missile Alert- warning flashes whenever you're locked on with enemy projectiles. Mission objectives are presented before each game and the feeling of flight and motion are well done thanks to the beautifully rendered visuals in the game.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Catch the Dots: Twinbee

Just when we thought Tomy would never show love for the Twinbee game, the company announces miniature Dot-Pin toys based on the classic shooter from Taito. Two kits are on offer: one which features the blue warrior known as Twinbee and another which shows off 'bee's female counterpart, Winbee.

Each kit includes a single 7.5cm pegboard and roughly 100 pegs to construct the Twinbee characters. Pricing is set at US$9.00 per kit and preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007.

Ghost in the Shell: Motoko Kusanagi 1/8 Scale Figure

Japanese manufacturer Vice has started preorders for a new 1/8 scale Motoko Kusanagi PVC figure where the Major reveals her girlish side. Normally dressed in grungy combat fatigues or a regulation issue uniform, Motoko shows off her taut belly muscles while wearing a frilly blue number.

The top consists of a baby-blue ribbed vest with navy trim which shows off Motoko's ample assets while the bottom is an overly agitated dress which swirls around with a life of its own. Mo's gloved hands are perched on her hips in a stance of defiance and perhaps dominance. A white disc serves as the foundation upon which the Major stands.

Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007 at JPY5800 or US$55 from NCS.

Samurai Spirits Mina Majikina 1/5 Scale Figure

After showing her off at the Wonder Festival 2006 last month, Japanese manufacturer Good Smile Company has started preorders for a new 1/5 scale Mina Majikina PVC figure.

Mina measures 30cm or 11.81"
tall and is dressed in her trademark white with blue trim ensemble which consists of a bikini, a skirt of sorts, and a pair of tabi socks. A white-haired demon-destroyer extraordinaire, Mina bends her knees and grips the Chinsei Hachijou in her left hand in an apparent attack stance. In the background, the impish Champuru clings to her skirt and appears happy to be near its mistress. Mina's skirt isn't really a skirt but rather more like a piece of cloth that has been tethered to the woman warrior's waist.

Retail pricing is set at JPY7500 or US$75 from NCS. Preorders are scheduled to ship in mid-late January 2007. Due to dimensional weight sizing for this product, NCS recommends only shipping with UPS Ground within the United States. Any air service will incur hefty shipping charges.

General Updates

Melty Blood Act Cadenza ver. B - Naomi GD-ROM
Preorders are welcome for the ver. B upgrade of Melty Blood AC where 22 fighters bout it out in fast-paced 2D battles. The GD-Rom kit includes an operating manual, a cabinet marquee, panel decals, and a Naomi GD-Rom. Pricing is set at US$1380 which includes EMS shipping directly from Japan. Delivery is expected in early December 2006. To submit a preorder, feel free to email NCS with your request.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl
The latest Pokemon games arrive tomorrow but the first batches are now pre-sold out. Additional supplies of Diamond and Pearl are expected on Monday of next week for new orders that are placed now.

Valkyrie Profile Silmeria Wall Scroll
A supplier in Hong Kong has offered about 100 Valkyrie Profile Silmeria wall scrolls to us for a nominal cost. We're fairly certain that they were a promotional item that was given away by Square Enix but the shipping cost will be onerous. We'll update again if we decide to bring them in.

Sale of the Day

New and boxed official Dreamcast joypads in transparent red shells. The condition of the inventory is excellent with clean and shiny boxes that have been stored in their original shipping cartons for the past few years.

Pricing is set at US$20.50 per controller which includes USPS Priority Mail shipping anywhere in the contiguous USA. Priority Mail normally delivers in 2-3 days. Please note that our shop does not process transactions in real time and orders will be charged US$20.50 only. Please disregard the shipping quotation on the order form. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Calendars 2007

It's that time of year again when Japanese publishers start preorders for next year's crop of calendars. Roughly 100 styles are on offer in today's initial salvo and miniature snapshots of each calendar may be viewed here. NCS expects another 300 calendars to be posted up for preorder before November.

To place a reservation, please email NCS with the "CL-###" designation of the calendar you're interested in. Pricing per calendar is set at US$19 which includes shipping within the United States.
If you reside outside of the USA, pricing is set at US$26.70 per calendar which includes international airmail shipping.

Dekirukana Hats Redesigned by Devilrobots

Before Domokun was even a twinkle in its creator's eye, there was a monster named Gonta-kun. Appearing in the Japanese children's television show "Dekirukana," Gonta was colored brown, had beady eyes, and a big frame... just like you know who. The big galoot's partner in crime was Noppo who was played by the legendary Ei Takami. The players in Dekirukana wore funky hats and soon, anyone can be like Gonta or Noppo. Banpresto has started preorders for Dekirukana hats as designed by Devilrobots, an edgy Japanese design house based in Tokyo. The hats measure 32cm tall and the Gonta hat consists of an entire Gonta head with yellow cap. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007 at US$29 per hat.

Doraemon 12 Stars Plush

The irascible yet lovable hellion known as Doraemon is depicted as all 12 signs of the zodiac in Sega's "Doraemon 12 Stars" plush collection. We're partial to the Leo version of Ding-Dong (The Chinese interpretation of the Doraemon name) but Cancer and Pisces are also endearing. For his Aquarius turn, Doraemon creeps out of a water jug.
The plushes measure 12cm or 4.72" tall and pricing is set at US$8.50 each. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007.

He is my Master Maid's Uniform

In the anime, "He is my Master," two runaway sisters named Mitsumi and Izumi became maids for an adolescent pervert with a hefty inheritance. To cater to master Yoshitaka's whims, the two girls were required to wear sexy maid's outfits which provided gratuitous views. To give cosplayers replicas of the maid's uniforms from the anime, Sega has started preorders for an outfit which measures 60cm from the bottom hem to the top of the bustier. To complete the ensemble, a maid's tiara and necktie are included. Preorders ship in mid-late January 2007 at US$35.

Kinnikuman Mask

A few months ago, the Kinnikuman muscle suits gave fans a way to pump themselves up with an impressive looking "body replacement" without crunches, push-ups, or sit-ups. In other words, a sixpack and pecs without the sweat. Sales have been healthy which has prompted Banpresto to announce an invaluable accessory to the Kinnikuman Muscle Suit - the Kinnikuman Mask. Each cloth mask measures 35cm or tall and features a flexible porthole through which your head enters. Once donned, two eyeholes and a thick-lipped mouth hole allow the wearer to see and speak. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007 at US$25.

Nyoro-Nyoro Figure

Hailing from the Moomins books by Tove Jannson, the ivory-colored Hattifatteners are a group of worm-like creatures that travel en masse towards the horizon. The Moomins originally made their appearance in Europe in the 1950s but as the 90s rolled around, Japan caught the fever and a television series and a feature length movie were produced. In Japan, the Hattifatteners became the Nyoro-Nyoro which translates to "Slither-Slither." The Nyoro² slither again in January 2007 with a toy figure which features fins and measures 15cm tall. The photo of the hand about to grasp Nyoro-Nyoro in a kung-fu grip may give the wrong impression but NCS' advice is to get your minds out of the gutter.

SD Gundam Board Game

SD Gundam interaction is generally relegated to the video gaming realm where a Playstation console or portable provides the power and operating environment. All that changes next year when Banpresto releases the SD Gundam board game. Instead of thrilling animation sequences when robots erupt onto the battlefield and fire rattling rounds of artillery, the board game features... your imagination to conjure up images of attacks when two tribes go to war. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late January 2007 at US$19 per board game set.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Touch Pen Lite Black

Japanese manufacturer UGame borrows a stylus design from Moritoy and releases their own telescoping touch pen which extends like a old school television antenna. Each retail package contains two touch pens and a strap which may be used to tether the Touch Pen Lite to the user's finger or to a belt loop.

The stylus stretches from its compact length of 9cm (3.54") to an elongated 12cm (4.72") and features a metal barrel for durability. The stylus point and the end of the pen are made of plastic however. A longer stylus allows for less "cramped" game input where you're free to doodle on the NDS screen from a few more inches away than the standard DS stylus.

Economical Shipping Option
If the Touch Pen Lite is ordered by itself, we will ship with the lowest cost method which is first class mail within the United States. The shipping cost will be US$1.84 for an order total of $8.34. If you reside outside of the USA, we will also ship with the lowest cost method.

Super Mario Bros Touch Pen Knock

The recently merged Takara and Tomy conglomerate taps into the Nintendo DS stylus market with a pair of banana colored New Super Mario Bros touch pens that click. Similar in dimension to the Rakuna Touch Pen from Hori, the Touch Pen Knock is sized like an actual ballpoint pen for users who have big and beefy hands.
A clicker on the top of the pen may be plunged to eject the tip of the stylus from the plastic housing that it calls home. Once you're done playing your daily session of Brain Age or Sudoku, plunge the clicker again to recede the tip of the stylus back into the barrel. Like a turtle.

Unfortunately, there's no mounting bracket to attach the pen to a hole on the NDS or NDS Lite but then again, a pen this big is almost as lengthy as the NDS hardware. There is a little clip on the side of the pen however to attach it to your shirt pocket. Failing that, the pen may be slipped into a man-purse or tucked between one's right ear and noggin.

Economical Shipping Option
If the New Super Mario Bros. Touch Pen Knock is ordered by itself, NCS will ship with the lowest cost method which is first class mail within the United States. The shipping cost will be US$1.84 for an order total of $11.84.

Kingdom Hearts 2 Play Arts

Square Enix releases a set of non-scale PVC figures based on the characters of Kingdom Hearts II. The characters are:

» Kairi with a handbag and three extra hands
» Sora with Keyblade
» Roxas with Keyblade and an aqua-colored ice popsicle
» Axel with a pair of chakram and an extra pair of hands

The figures measure between 17cm and 22 cm with Axel towering over the others. Each figure features over 20 points of articulation and may be posed in various postures and stances.

Super Black Jack Rio Figure

Desired by pachislot playing salarymen throughout Japan, Rio is a pink or orange-haired, long-legged, full bodied matron of pachinko/pachislot parlors. Licensed to death into various merchandise such as cellphone straps and life-size inflatable "pillows," Rio has experienced full saturation in the franchising space.

To saturate the market a little more, manufacturer Toys Planning releases a PVC rendition of Rio as a leather-clad blackjack dealer. Rio measures 26cm or 10.23" tall from heels to orange-tinted hair. To accentuate her figure, Rio raises her arms over her head and clasps hands. A plastic model of a deck of cards accompanies Rio and is packed inside the retail container with her. All preorders ship today and new orders are welcome. This item is also known as Wa-fu-doh Gan-gu Ten Rio.

Chocobo Magical Book Plush

Whenever Chocobo's out in the wild, the feathered beast generally runs, pecks, and squawks up a storm. Add one more activity to Chocobo's to-do list: reading.

With Square Enix's new Chocobo plush, the big bird apparently enjoys reading from a magic book of spells. Measuring 18cm tall, Chocobo kicks out its legs and uses them as a book holder to prop up the thick tome. By using its wingtips, Chocobo flips through the pages of the volume to find the spell that it needs to cast... Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late November 2006 at US$23 per plush.

Virtual On Marz: Fei-Yen Model Kit

Masculine Virtuaroids populate the ranks of Virtual On and its sequels. The male-laden theme continued in PS2 Virtual On Marz but one fighter has always stood out from the rest - Fei-Yen. Fem-bot. Decked out in frilly armor and fitted with pink fronds atop her helm, Fei-Yen looks the part of a fainting lassie until one realizes that she weighs a few tons and would decimate a city block in the space of a few minutes. Regardless of her power however, she still sports a pair of red shoes and is naturally pretty in pink.

Hasegawa starts preorders for a Fei-Yen kit which features ABS and PVC pieces to assemble together and paint in order to create the mighty Virtuaroid. The figure is set to 1/100 scale and based on the detail of the promotional image from Hassy, appears to be an arduous task to construct and complete. Pricing is set at JPY3000 or US$29 from NCS and preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late November 2006.

Voltron Diecast Figure

In the early 80s, Voltron was the $#!T. Gullible kids rushed home every day to nosh on toaster pizza and watch five component lions mesh together to form a massive robot which struck down foes with a massive sword. Phrases such as "Activate interlock" and "Form blazing sword" became mantras. Or something like that.

Over two decades after the Voltron heyday, Yamato announces a limited edition diecast Voltron figure priced at JPY398,000 or approximately US$365 from NCS. The robot is fully posable and includes a "blazing" sword which may be clenched betwixt the maw of a hand-lion. Details were sparse as of last night with regards to Voltron's dimensions and scale but we'll add more information once we receive further details. Preorders are welcome today to ship in mid-late November 2006.

Tokyo Game Show 2006

What NCS learned from this weekend's Tokyo Game Show:

» The PS3 launches in Japan on November 11 . We're likely going to import the 20gig model. Pricing from distributors is still up in the air but we're anticipating a 1.25X multiplier on the retail price of JPY49,980. The USA version of the PS3 with 20gig HDD ships on November 17 at US$499. All iterations of the PS3 will include an HDMI port.

» Pink and Silver Japanese PSPs are scheduled to ship sometime in the fourth quarter. Preorders will be opened soon.

» Kojima's stock market trading game for the Nintendo DS will use historical price data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. No word yet on whether traders will be able to write covered calls on positions that are underwater or purchase TOPIX 150 puts to protect a net long portfolio.

» D3 Publisher proved that Oanechan Bara cosplay is possible.

Sale of the Day

After a two year hiatus, NCS resumes our scrap heap scramble sales from early 2004 this week. MOTD will resume next week.

The slimmer Saturn pads were impossible to find in new condition for the past year or so... until NCS found them in Japan. Today's inventory of original USA Saturn controllers were exported to a vendor in Tokyo sometime in the late 90s. Nearly 10 years later, NCS imports them back into the USA for our sales. Perhaps it's an indication of how the trade winds blow in our business.

The inventory is new but note that the cardboard boxes are somewhat aged and may feature surface features such as dimples, slight creases, and some weathering. The controllers inside are however fresh, new, and free of cosmetic defects in their respective plastic baggies. Their cords are still wound and wrapped from the factory in that special way. Pricing is set at US$40.50 shipped with USPS Priority Mail anywhere in the contiguous United States in a sturdy cardboard box with adequate packaging material inside.

Please note that our shop does not process transactions in real time and orders will be charged US$40.50 only. Please disregard the shipping quotation on the order form. Thank you.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kamisama Kazoku: Ouen Ganbou

To ensure that the male heir to the throne experiences life as a normal human to better himself, the family of God and his godlings go slumming on Earth. Samatarou Kamiyama is the eldest son of the Almighty and attends high school like an average teenager but is accompanied by an angel named Tenko. Samatarou's every whim is granted by his father Osamu, which Tenko tries to prevent since Sam must experience human life as a mortal. Joining the cast are goddess sisters Meme and Misa along with an overly flirtatious mom named Venus.

One day, a new transfer student named Kumiko Komori catches Sam's eye and he resolves to win her hand on his own and without intervention from poppy
. God tries to interfere initially but his omnipotent hand is soon slapped out of the scene and things progress at their natural pace. Since Tenko has an attraction to Samatarou, a bizarre love triangle plays out with hilarity and hi jinx. The PS2 game follows the storyline of the animation series closely where players take control of Samatarou and interact with Tenko and Kumiko. To add another love interest to the story, a third girl named Akane Himura is introduced. «NCS Game Notes»

Harukanaru Jikuu no Ichi de Mai Ichi Yoru

Akane Motomiya returns to the world of Ryo in another Harukanaru Jikuu game where the teenager interacts with a group of male handlers and assists them in another conflict against the Oni. At the outset of the adventure, a half-breed member of the Oni named Sefuru appears and challenges the Seiryuu. The boys dispatch his quickly and send him on his way but he'll be back... with reinforcements. The Harukanaru series diverges from conventional romance games by mixing a fairly substantial battle system with the interaction scenarios where attacks and techniques are used to beat back evil hordes of creatures.

In the first battle scene of the game, Minamoto no Yorihisa (aka Seiryuu of Heaven) with his leopard print shawl and Morimura Tenma in his muscle shirt battle a spider with the face of a demon. Yorihisa attacks with trademark volleys such as the Koufuuranjin which is a wind blast and Tenma ignites Shouraigeki where lightning strikes attack the target. The other Seiryuu such as Inori, Suzaku of Heaven and Nagareyama Shimon, Suzaku of Earth appear early in the game but they're eventually joined by all of the other familiar faces such as Takamichi, Tomomasa, Eisen, and Yasuaki who all have their own special attacks to beat back adversity. «NCS Game Notes»

Harukanaru Jikuu no Ichi de Mai Ichi Yoru LE

The limited edition of Harukanaru Jikuu no Ichi de Mai Ichi Yoru includes two bonus items as follows:

1) A hardcover book which contains artwork of the main characters in the game, hero and heroine sketches, and images of the characters in various interaction scenes.

A 4-page fold-out artwork scene which depicts a number of the heroes in action sequences.

Akane Motomiya returns to the world of Ryo in another Harukanaru Jikuu game where the teenager interacts with a group of male handlers and assists them in another conflict against the Oni. At the outset of the adventure, a half-breed member of the Oni named Sefuru appears and challenges the Seiryuu. The boys dispatch his quickly and send him on his way but he'll be back... with reinforcements. The Harukanaru series diverges from conventional romance games by mixing a fairly substantial battle system with the interaction scenarios where attacks and techniques are used to beat back evil hordes of creatures.