?[Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, Ksa Otaku won a TR contest. He politely declined the shirt, since he lives in Saudi Arabia, and a shirt with a robot firing her tits on it would get him in trouble with his parents if nothing else. He had one request: to write a Daily List. This is that list. –Rob]
Nerds love videogames. Nerds still love anime, although anime’s halcyon days in America seem to be over. And yet, even in the days where anime flooded Cartoon Network, there were never many anime videogames that made it over to the U.S. Localizing a videogame is obviously a costly and time consuming process, not to mention licensing issues, which can be an even bigger problem. Most companies just don’t see it as being worth it, especially nowadays, when there’s NO anime on Cartoon Network. So, unless it’s Naruto or Dragonball, we probably ain’t seeing it stateside. Which is a shame, because there are so many incredibly awesome anime games in Japan that most of us will never get to play — games that are so fantastic they’d have a decent chance of being hits purely on the basis of being games. Here are 10 particular entries that everyone should regret have never made the jump overseas.
Brace yourselves, folks. This is going to sting.
10) Fist of the North Star (PS2)
If ever there was an anime that lent itself well to fighting games, it would be Fist of the North Star, and who better to do it than the guys who brought us the excellent Guilty Gear series? This PS2 game is old school 2-D sprite fighting at its best. The chance of us getting it is, unfortunately, practically zero, especially now that Koei actually released that mediocre FotNS Dynasty Warriors-style fighting game and no one liked it. Though considering this is a fighting game, the import barrier is relatively low. So if you like what you see, and are willing to grab move lists from the internet, I say go for it!
(Please don’t bitch in the comments about how Souther shouldn’t have beat Kenshiro, it happened in the manga. So it’s canon, dammit !)
9) Keroro RPG: The Knight, Warrior, and Legendary Pirate (DS)
Sgt. Frog — a.k.a. Keroro Gunso — is a sitcom about a bunch of frog aliens trying to take over the world and fail miserably each time. The anime is sorta infamous for its licensing problems, seeing as it took it four years and two licensing companies to bring it stateside, plus it’s one of those Japanese kids shows that’s far too naughty for American kids. Thought to be honest, the only thing that’s really stopping the game from coming out is demand. DS games are unbelievably cheap to localize. So if you want this charming and fun, Tales-style RPG to come here, all you gotta do is make is make a big enough racket.
8) Neon Genesis Evangelion: Battle Orchestra (PS2 & PSP)
This is porn for Evangelion fans (besides the actual Evangelion porn, I mean), plain and simple. I mean, just look at it. I’d imagine looking at that video must have been torture for Eva fans (although I prefer RahXephon, myself). It’s a simple Smash Bros.-style fighter that’s easy to pick up and play. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for the PS2 version. You’d be much easier off getting the importing the PSP version, since there’s no region code to contend with and you’d be able to figure out what to do just by fiddling with the buttons a bit. There’s a lot of Eva fans crying into their Rei hug pillows that this game never made it over.
7) Death Note: Kira Game (DS)
Death Note is one of the most successful anime/manga to come out of Japan In a loooong time, which makes this one a no-brainer to bring over. Yet, three years later, there it remains, bafflingly. The gameplay style is reminiscent to the Phoenix Wright text-based adventure/investigation-style games; it’s a perfect fit for the show’s intense psychological thrills. This is easily the hardest game on the list to actually play, since it’s entirely text based and dialogue heavy. That’s too bad, I’d personally love to play as a mascara wearing detective with SERIOUS eating disorders. C’est la vie, I guess.
6) Macross Ace Frontier (PSP)
Ah, Macross… anime’s first divisive issue. Love it or hate it, the late Carl Macek’s Robotech is one of the main reasons the Japanese are so “protective” over Macross and needless to say that extends to videogames as well. Though if you’ve read previous lists about Macross, you’d think fewer games are a good thing. For the most part, most Macross games are indeed awful, but this one is really fun! It’s almost a carbon copy of the Macross PS2/GC games released here under Robotech‘s name, a while back, except nearly better in every way, as the video can attest.
5) Gundam Mobile Ops: The One Year War (Xbox 360)
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is IN FACT an Xbox 360 GUNDAM FPS.
I’m gonna let that sink in for a second.
As hard it is to believe, this is a pretty fun game. It’s like those Steel Battalion games meets Counterstrike. And it somehow works. Though this is pretty brutal for non-Gundam fans, as you will have no idea what the fuck is going on with the story, even with the translation. It’s like Star Trek; you gotta do your homework to even make sense of it. Nonetheless this is a pretty decent time waster. Better than those Dynasty Warrior-style Gundam games, that’s for sure.
4) One Piece Gigant Battle (DS)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You guys are probably sick of One Piece on this site. But goddammit, One Piece is fucking awesome. And so is this game. This is pure side scrolling beat-’em-up goodness all the way through. I can’t say anything you can’t get from watching the video.
Man, beat-’em-ups can’t get any better than this.
3) Super Robot Taisen Series
I think I can sum up these series, succinctly, in a few words.
IT’S ADVANCE WARS WITH GIANT ROBOT ANIME.
Frankly, if the concept of a videogame series featuring THIS MANY giant robot anime, fighting each other, is boring to you… then you have no soul.
In all seriousness, this is a fantastic series of strategy RPGs that’s both fun and accessible. The good news, you don’t need to know any of the series to fully enjoy these series of games. The bad news, we’re not going to see any of the games featuring the licensed robots, in English, which is a major bummer!
On the bright side, though, the games featuring the original characters are available stateside. Though that’s kinda publishing fan fiction, except without the actual source of said fan fiction, leaving only the original characters. So make of it what you will.
2) Jump Ultimate Stars (DS)
Remember when I said beat-’em-ups couldn’t get better than one piece? I lied. It’s called foreshadowing, fuckers. When it comes to cross overs, this is the shit. Looking at the trailer you can use characters from dozens upon dozens of Shonen Jump series and beat the pixilated shit out of each other. And the fact that it’s immensely customizable from the get-go is just the icing on the cake. We’ll never see this stateside in any shape or form. I can guarantee that. Though you might be able to find some fan0translated roms… but you didn’t hear it from me!
1) Urusei Yatsura Endless Summer (DS)
If you’re wondering if I included this entry for the express purposes of spurning our beloved Rob, then, you’re 100% correct.
I DIDN’T WANT TO READ STREET FIGHTER SCAT PORN GODDAMMIT!!! AND NOW I’M A WORSE PERSON BECAUSE OF IT!!! SO AT LEAST LET ME GET SOME FUCKING PAYBACK!!!