Friday, March 30, 2007

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+

Square Enix takes the USA version of Kingdom Hearts II and localizes it for the Japanese market. Two DVDs are included as follows:

Disc 1: Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
The North American version of KHII is retrofitted for the Japanese market. The spoken dialogue in the game is in English with Japanese subtitles. Note that the game menus and unspoken dialogue are entirely in Japanese. Highlights include new event scenes, an updated secret movie, new costumes, new reaction commands to use, and an actual playable battle between Sora and Roxas.

Disc 2: Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
Originally released on the Gameboy Advance, Square remakes the game for the Playstation 2 and upgrades it with 3D worlds and Japanese voice acting during cinematic interludes. Take control of Sora and attack, explore, and uses up cards in a lively adventure where Goofy and Donald Duck provide backup muscle. Updated features include the addition of a reaction system, new game cards, and interactive objects such as barrels. «more»

D.Gray-Man: Kami no Shitotachi

The Black Order is a English organization of exorcists who operate under the auspices of the Vatican. Around the turn of the last century, a malcontent known as The Millenium Earl rose to power and set a plan in motion that called for the extermination of humanity. The Earl's fearsome agents of death are known as Akumas which are loosed upon the world to do their master's bidding. To combat the Millenium Earl's minions, the Black Order marshals its forces and marches to war. One member of the Black Order is a silver-haired exorcist named Allen Walker who possesses an evil eye that's capable of seeing the destruction wrought by the Akumas. The exorcists use a substance known as "Innocence" which change into weapons capable of destroying the Akuma... «more»

Puzzle Series Vol. 13: Kanji Puzzle

At first glom, Kanji Puzzle looks like a variation of crossword and in a sense, it is, but the key to solving each puzzle is inference and adept kanji interpretation. The top NDS screen shows the complete play board which measures 8 x 8 squares in area. An aqua-colored outline reticule which measures 4 x 4 is used to move around the board to show the active play area on the touch screen.
The aim of the game is to examine the play board and the kanji characters already arranged therein. Next to the kanji characters are numbers. By using your kanji comprehension skills, replace the numbers with the appropriate kanji characters that link sensibly to the kanji characters already on the board. «more»

Zoids Infinity Fuzors [Best] + Bonus

Originally debuting in 2004 as a System 246 coin-op, Taito's analog-stick controlled fighting game joins the PS2 library courtesy of Tomy. Whereas the arcade originaly featured 29 Zoids to control, the PS2 version includes over 100 mechanical monsters.

Seven modes are playable including a VERSUS mode, HUNTING mode, and STORY mode. In the Story Mode, characters and mechs from Zoids Fuzors appear along with animated cut-scenes where 40 missions are played in succession. Hunting Mode is where players track down Zoids and bag them for the garage. Collecting more Zoids will make new arms and parts available to the player. As one progresses through the game, weapon power ups and parts customization may bolted onto a Zoids mech to enhance its arsenal and performance in battle. In 2-Player mode, the screen is split horizontally where each player views the action from a personal vantage point - just like the arcade original.
The Tomy Best re-issue of Zoids Infinity Fuzors contains the same game as the original release in 2005. The only difference is the variant game cover with the "Tomy Best Collection" imprint. «more»

Zoids Tactics [Best] + Bonus

It's the Empire vs the Republic once again with Zoids battling it out in tactical theaters of conflict. Unlike the action based Zoids games, Zoids Tactics is all about strategy and the movement of units followed by attack options. Similar to the game play found in S-RPGs, players select a unit and a red grid appears around it to show movement range. Choose a space to move onto and then attack a contiguous enemy unit which is then shown in a short animated sequence.

Along with ground-based Zoids, flying Zoids and submariner Zoids are also available for battling across the world. Pilots from the animation source material appear in the game and players go on missions of destruction which require satisfactory completion before heading on to the next assignment. Zoids base models may be upgraded with weapons and assorted parts to enhance performance on the battlefield.

The Tomy Best re-issue of Zoids Tactics contains the same game as the original release in 2005. The only difference is the variant game cover with the "Tomy Best Collection" imprint. «more»

Zoids Struggle [Best] + Bonus

Mechanical beasts shaped like recognizable animals called Zoids clash and battle in fast-paced 3-D fighting action. A little too fast perhaps. There is a learning curve here due to the speed of the game but once that's down pat, Zoids Struggle is fairly enjoyable as a 3-D fighter. Tomy touts the Armor Break system which has been borrowed from Sega's old Fighting Vipers where the armor of a Zoid breaks if blows are heaped upon a certain point. It's an interesting use of a protection system but ultimately moot in Story Mode because of how powerful some Zoids become.
As a Zoids combatant racks up wins, additional weapons may be bolted onto the beast. After a certain point, a Zoid simply becomes too powerful in the firepower department and one-on-one matches stop becoming reasonably balanced and turn into a shooting game where projectile attacks take precedence over close combat. Perhaps Tomy should have staggered out the weapon upgrades somewhat but as it is, superior firepower decides the outcome of every battle, every time. This isn't a problem in Versus matches between two players however and only affects the Story mode of the game which leads gamers through the events and key battles from the Zoids television series . «more»

Thursday, March 29, 2007

DJ Max Portable 2

The sequel to DJ Max Portable is being released tonight and our shipments are expected to arrive on Monday of next week. A small supply of the Orpheus Packages (Night Black and Silver White) is also expected next week but we'll post an update once we receive them. The Orpheus Packs include a 3-CD soundtrack in gatefold binder, a 64-page Visual Art Book, a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, and a collection of Visual Post Cards. The goodies are then packaged in a long cardboard box that's suitable for collecting...

Preorders for the regular edition of DJ Max Portable 2 are welcome. Please wait for news on the Orpheus editions since the supplies are apparently miniscule.

Super Mario Bros Sound Nuigurumi Series 2

The first series of Banpresto's SMB Sound Nuigurumi toys were very well received and the two plushes (Goomba and Block) that we keep in our office still get smacked every once in a while to evoke their respective sound effects. To keep the Sound Nuigurumi success rolling, Banpresto has announced the Super Mario Bros Sound Nuigurumi Series 2 toys which are scheduled to ship in mid-late August 2007.

The first Series 2 plush is a golden-colored Question Block which measures 20cm square or 7.87 x 7.87 x 7.87" in dimension. Similar to the Series 1 Question Block, a sound module is inserted inside a flap on the plush which makes a jingling sound when pounded. Punch it with your fist or hammer it with your head and the familiar Mario game jingle plays sweetly. The second series 2 plush features the familiar shell of a Koopa Trooper. The beast within appears to be in hiding as we don't see its head nor any of its appendages. A sound module is also inserted inside the Koopa shell which makes noise when attacked.
Preorders are welcome today to ship in mid-late August at the price of US$25 + shipping.

Disney Chibizu Lght

Flashlights are fine for poking around pipes and plumbing but there's nothing like a lantern when enjoying a summer stroll under a darkening sky. A flashlight only shoots out a tight beam of light whereas a lantern effuses a glow that illuminates the local area. To promote the use of lanterns, Sega has started preorders for a trio of 12cm (4.72") diameter character lights which feature Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, and Stitch. Perfect for use during summer strolls or when trick or treating. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007 at US$10 per lantern.

Mickey & Friends Chibizu Fan

When exploring the ramshackle shops on Canal Street in lower Manhattan this summer, tourists will be able to purchase a battery-powered fan for about US$1. If you haggle with the vendor, you might be able to get two for a dollar. Powered by a pair of "AA" batteries, hand fans provide a little relief during a hazy and humid day.
Sega's High Street hand fans won't be selling for $1. No, you'll have to cough up nearly US$10 for a Sega Mickey & Friend fan which features a lighted rotor. As the rotor spins, the light creates mesmerizing patterns which may dazzle onlookers while providing a bit of a breeze. Three styles are on offer and preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007 at US$9.00 per fan.

Mickey & Minnie Projector Clock

Ever fumble around in the dark in a futile attempt to locate your bedside clock? The one that's next to your bed (thus the bedside clock label)? That time you were in a drunken stupor?


Feast your eyes on the Mickey Projector Clock which blazes out the time via laser-sharp light and plasters it on the ceiling. Simply tap the top of the clock and the light shines out like a beacon of hope. After a few seconds it'll blink off but if you need the time again, tap the clock again and the time appears once again. It's magic like that. Preorders ship in mid-late July.

Monsieur Bome Vol. 21: Honey Bunny

Preorders for the Japanese toy import Monsieur Bome Vol. 21 Honey Bunny featuring Maria and Rio will ship in mid-late May 2007. The set includes the two figures as shown in the photo and a display base. To answer some emails we've received about the figures, please note that they are separate and not connected. Each figure also measures ~10 cm in length.

Sarugechu Hand Puppets

Sony has chronicled many stories of the Peak-Point-helmeted Apes but there are many more that have not been told. That's where you come in. Pop the two Taito Sarugechu (aka Ape Escape) puppets on both hands and make up some outlandish dialogue or script a story. Capture it all for the Youtube generation and you're an instant laughing stock celebrity.

The Sarugechu puppets measure 35cm (13.77") tall and two types are on offer: (A) An Ape who hefts blue maracas and stares off into space and (B) another Ape who lifts two bananas. By twiddling the arms of the puppets with your fingers, they'll make gestures and gesticulate while you perform some squeaky-voiced ventriloquism to breath life into the Apes. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July at US$15 per puppet.

Winnie the Pooh Honey Popcorn Kit

Pooh loves the honey but little did we know that the golden bear also enjoys the popcorn. Sega has started preorders for a Pooh Popcorn kit which contains the following items:

» Foil bag which contains 4 oz of ready to eat honey popcorn
» A 4 oz bag of unpopped corn
» A 1 oz serving of honey to drizzle over the popcorn
» A Winnie the Pooh kitchen mitt

Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007 at $15 per kit.

Shipment Tomorrow

The shipment containing the second portion of PS2 Hokuto no Ken and the full allocation of PS2 Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ was exported out of Japan last night. We haven't received a satisfactory explanation of why it was on "export gateway hold" for an entire day but we'll look into it to avoid future occurrences. The shipment is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and all remaining orders will ship on Friday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Digimon Story: Moonlight

The Digital World beckons once more with a new adventure where the player takes on the role of an agent who works at an organization known as Night Claw. The crew's adversaries across town are called Light Fang. When an attack by a skull-like apparition wrecks their respective headquarters, both Night Claw and Light Fang groups are devastated. The protagonist and Digimon cadre must venture forth and ferret out the motives behind the attack. The new Digimon games feature over 400 Digimon and the Moonlight version stars an exclusive Digimon known as Lunamon which is the floppy-eared creature seen on the left side of the game cover. Gamers may link up to Digimon Story Sunburst players and trade Digimon between the two versions. «more»

Digimon Story: Sunburst

The Digital World beckons once more with a new adventure where the player takes on the role of an agent who works at an organization known as Light Fang. The crew's adversaries across town are called Night Claw. When an attack by a skull-like apparition wrecks their respective headquarters, both Night Claw and Light Fang groups are devastated. The protagonist and Digimon cadre must venture forth and ferret out the motives behind the attack. The new Digimon games feature over 400 Digimon and the Moonlight version stars an exclusive Digimon known as Lunamon which is the floppy-eared creature seen on the left side of the game cover. Gamers may link up to Digimon Story Sunburst players and trade Digimon between the two versions. «more»

Hokuto no Ken

Originally released for the Atomiswave arcade hardware in 2005, Sega by way of Arc System Works finally unleashes Hokuto no Ken for the home console market. The coin-op version of the game was originally priced at JPY188,000 but this week's conversion clocks in at a humble and manageable US$65.
Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, the fighters in Hokuto no Ken live and die by the fist. Kenshiro Kasumi is one such fighter who struts around in leather duds with chest bared and pectorals rippling. Sharing the doomed world with him are gangs of roaming biker gangs and bandits who prey upon an unprotected populace. To get a little law and order back into the mix, Kenshiro battles thugs with his mighty Hokuto Shinken martial arts skills. Ken's encounters in the wastelands of the future invariably end in tears and gore. Lots of chunky red gore as in exploding bodies, projectile blood ejection, and organs literally leaping out of their crannies and cavities. Despite the fighting nature of the Hokuto no Ken manga and animation, there's been more video games based on the purely Japanese phenomenon of pachi-slot than fighting. To balance the scales a little bit, Arc System Works of Guilty Gear fame creates a fast-paced 2D fighting game which features 10 brusque and bulging bruisers from Hokuto no Ken.

Taito Memories II Vol. 2 + Book

Taito's historical archive is peppered with important games such as Space Invaders in 1978 and hundreds of releases hence which have ably gobbled tons of credits, quarters, and yen. Taito Memories II vol. 2 collects another 25 games from the company's vault as follows:
01) Field Goal 1979
02) Phoenix 1980
03) Polaris 1980
04) Great Swordsman 1984
05) Sea Fighter Poseidon 1984
06) Gyrodine 1984
07) Buggy Challenge 1984
08) Onna Sanshirou 1985
09) Metal Soldier Isaac 1985
10) Halley's Comet 1986
11) Land Sea Air Squad 1986
12) Operation Wolf 1987
13) Full Throttle 1988
14) Chase H.Q. 1988
15) Plump Pop 1988
16) Rainbow Islands Extra 1988
17) Volfied 1989
18) Night Striker 1989
19) Battle Shark 1989
20) Final Blow 1989
21) Master of Weapon 1989
22) Megablast 1989
23) ThunderFox 1990
24) Warrior Blade: Rastan III 1992
25) Bubble Symphony 1994

Imports Rescheduled for Friday

Due to an exception with the remainder of our shipments last night, please note that the rest of our PS2 Hokuto no Ken shipments are now scheduled to arrive on Friday of this week instead of tomorrow. The PS2 Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ game is also inside the delayed shipments.
We've never seen an "Export Gateway Hold" before but our shipper should be able to clear it tonight.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Import Preorder Updates

The main import schedule has been updated with the following new releases which are shipping in the coming months.
Nintendo DS
5/03 Duke Saraie no Kenkou Walking Navi Dorart
5/24 Osawari Tantei: Osawa Rina - Season 2 1/2 Success

Hoshigami AS Net

Puchi Puchi Virus Keys
5/31 New Zealand Story DS CyberFront

Simple DS Vol.14: The Jidoushakyoushuujo DS D3
Playstation 2
5/17 Odin Sphere Atlus
5/31 River Ride Adventure featuring Salomon Red

Sumomomomomo: Chijou Saikyou no Yome Marvelous

The Ochimusya - Dokakubu Samurai Toujou D3P
6/28 Juujimoto Ripputai Sypher: Game of Survival Abel

Shinseiki Evangelion: Battle Orchestra Broccoli

Shinseiki Evangelion: Battle Orchestra DX Pack Broccoli
5/17 Meitantei Conan: Tsuioku no Gensou Marvelous
6/21 Hajime no Ippo Revolution AQ Int.
Xbox 360
4/05 Culdcept Saga Updated Version Namco
6/14 Trusty Bell: Chopin no Yume Namco

Raiden IV Type X Kit

Preorders are welcome for the fourth Raiden game which ships this summer. The operator kit consists of a hard drive containing the Raiden IV program code and a USB protection dongle. Both items are to be plugged into a Taito Type X hardware + cab. Next, throw up the snazzy header marquee and slap the side panel decals and you're ready to rock. Raiden IV's location test in Japan was nearly half a year ago but we're guessing fans of the series will nevertheless flock to the game. NCS will probably skip this one for our private collection - we can wait for the inevitable PS2/PS3 port. Preorders are welcome by email request to ship in mid June.

Star Wars: The Jumbo Darth Vader

NCS has always suspected that Darth Vader had a bit of a paunch and the upcoming Jumbo Darth Vader toy from Japanese manufacturer Hot Toys confirms our suspicions. The Dark Lord of the Sith appears to be enjoying extra servings of space chow at the Imperial cafeteria and maybe sneaking an extra dessert after every meal.
Measuring 25cm or 9.87" tall from helmet to toe, the chubby Darth Vader is shaped like a squat bowling pin and wields a red light saber. Since the design of the toy doesn't allow for arms, the light saber sort of juts out of a receptacle on the right side of Darth's belly. A plastic cape drapes realistically over Darth's back and the electronics on his chest plate are drawn in.

Preorders are welcome today to ship in mid-late June 2007. Please note that manufacturer shipping delays may cause delivery to be pushed back to July. Any shipment delays will be updated on our shop listing for this product. Pricing is set at JPY9500 or US$100 from NCS.

Super Mario Bros 150cm Figure

Nintendo is currently accepting orders for a large and very heavy Mario figure which measures 150cm or 59.05" tall. We've sold similar Mario statues in the past to stores and shops but never to normal retail customers. We're of the opinion that a retail store which places one of the most successful video game characters near its front doors can only invite fortune into the establishment. Mario will also attract curiosity seekers who'll enter the shop to marvel at its girth. Think of it as feng-shui for the gaming industry.
As an aside, all of the stores that we've sold these types of Mario figures to are still in business and successful. That's not to say that Mario will save a flagging business or a shop that's competing against a newly opened Gamestop or EBGames next door...

Preorders are welcome to ship in early April. The Mario statues are currently in stock from distributors in Japan but shipments will generally take 2 weeks to arrive. Retail pricing is set at JPY300,000 or US$3000 + shipping from NCS.

Super Mario Bros 50cm Figure

If a massive Mario isn't your cup of tea, Nintendo also peddles a smaller 50cm model where the world's most famous plumber smiles and welcomes visitors into an establishment. Measuring a smaller 50cm or 19.68" tall, the Mario standee is still very heavy and may be mounted on a stand or pedestal of some sort.

In Japan and Asia, many households and businesses place a Maneki Neko or Fortune Cat near the window or door to bring good luck and prosperity. The fortune cat lifts up a paw in salutation while the other paw holds a koban or gold coin close to its belly. We look at the Mario standee as the video game equivalent of Maneki Neko and it'll potentially bring good fortune into local arcades, video game shops, and amusement centers.

Preorders are welcome to ship in early April. The Mario figures are currently in stock from distributors in Japan but shipments will generally take 2 weeks to arrive. Retail pricing is set at JPY19,000 or US$200 + shipping from NCS.

Persona 3: Mitsuru Kirijo 1/7 scale Figure

In the Persona 3 video game, a brunette named Yukari Takeba and a redhead named Mitsuru Kirijo are the first two characters that the protagonist encounters. Yukari's an attractive girl but Mitsuru is in a whole other league by herself.

Kotobukiya apparently agrees and announces a 1/7 scale Mitsuru Kirijo fixed-pose figure where the fiery-maned demon slayer wields a sword while a white holster is wrapped below her waist. Inside the holster is a gun which may be swapped with the sword. The Mitsuru figure measures 21cm (8.26") tall and a circular base is included for mounting and display purposes. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007.

Hello Kitty Ice Shaver

Winter's in the rear view mirror and soon it'll be summer. To combat the impending heat and humidity, Japanese manufacturer Eikoh has announced a Hello Kitty Ice Shaver which is powered by hand crank. Once you've shaved off some ice, douse it with a fruity flavor of some sort and a cold and delicious treat is created. Just like that.
While you won't be able to compete against the likes of Lemon Ice King of Corona, enterprising entrepreneurs may be able to make a few bucks with the HK Ice Shaver. Scenario: Set up a stand on a street corner and throw up a sign which reads, "HELLO KITTY FLAVORED ICE - 50 Cents" and have two ice shavers at the ready along with a helper. As the patrons line up, whirl the hand cranks to deposit freshly shaved ice onto paper bowls. Squirt lemon, cola, and cherry flavors (per the customer's request) on top of the ice and you're on your way to a building a little refreshment empire with tiny start up costs. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late June 2007.

Import Outlook

PS2 Hokuto no Ken leads preorders by a wide margin this week but there are strong bids for PS2 Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ as well. PS2 Taito Memories 2 Vol. 2 rounds out the top three.
NDS D.Gray-Man: Kami no Shitotachi Konami

Digimon Story Moonlight Namco

Digimon Story Sunburst Namco

My Melody Angel Book: Denshi Techou & Enjoy TDK

Puzzle Series: Odenkun 2 Hudson

Puzzle Series Vol. 13: Kanji Puzzle Hudson

Shakugan no Shana DS MWorks

Tamagotchi no Appare! Niji-Venture Namco
PS2 Gakuen Utopia - Manabi Straight! Marvelous

Gakuen Utopia - Manabi Straight! Limited Edition Marvelous

Hokuto no Ken Sega

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix + Square

Shin Bokujou Monogatari: Pure Innocent Life Marvelous

Taito Memories 2 Vol. 2 Taito

Vitamin X D3

Vitamin X Limited Edition D3

Zoids Infinity Fuzors [The Best] Tomy

Zoids Struggle [The Best] Tomy

Zoids Tactics [The Best] Tomy
PS3 Winning Post 7 Maximum 2007 Koei
X360 Absolute Blazing Infinity IFactory
Wii Mezase!! Tsuri Master Hudson