Japan Unleashes “Ambassadors of Cute” to the World

According to the Japan Times, Japan’s Foreign Ministry has appointed three female “ambassadors of cute” to promote Japanese pop culture to the world (and I’m not talking about Haruhi, Mikuru and Yuki; although one can dream!) Shizuka Fujioka, one of the cute liaisons visited Thailand this past March, to talk about Japanese school girl uniforms. One young Thai dude commented how pretty the ambassador looked in a uniform and he wants to visit Japan. (Editor’s note: sounds kinda creepy to me!)

Note: These are NOT Japan's cute ambassadors.
Note: These are NOT Japan's cute ambassadors.

Though it seems to be an innocent way to promote Japan, some politicians doesn’t feel the same way. New Komeito politician and Diet member, Kaori Maruya warned the Foreign Ministry to be careful not to draw “unwarranted criticism” from other countries of their ambassadors in skimpy skirts.

You have to give the Japanese government some credit for trying to keep Japan in the limelight, appointing cute girls isn’t going to help Japan’s image in the long run. Especially now that other countries think of Japan as some kind of pervert haven. Instead, Japan should promote its culinary robots and gunpla prowess to the world!

Source

The Japan Times

Japanese Robot Chefs… from Space!

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To save you the trouble from clicking the video link, here's the picture of the robot chef.

Note: Reuters doesn’t allow video embedding, so poo poo on them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt5q9PkhGH0

Japanese robotics is progressing at an alarmingly scary rate. Just yesterday they revealed the life-sized Gundam mecha, which is scary (and cool) enough. But now, they’ve gone too far! They’ve now created Rosie the Robot Maid. Okay not really, but we’re getting there, and I’m scurred for my life! If it ever teams up with Microsoft’s HAL 9000, I’d be very weary of the meals it prepares for me.

Source

Danny Choo

Plague or Strange?: It’s Raining Tadpoles

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If a frog invasion does occur, I better prepare my Gundam models.

If you think climate change is screwing up our world and our ecosystem, then maybe you should talk to the people of Ishikawa Prefecture. According to the Mainichi Daily News, tens, if not hundreds of tadpoles rained on the prefecture in the past week. No one knows why. Locals speculated it could be waterspouts sucking the tadpoles from an estuary and rained on parts of the prefecture. Scientists argue that it has been cloudy in the past week, which is not ideal for waterspouts to occur. Either way, this is a perfect opportunity for me to welcome our new frog overlord, Keroro Gunsou. Gerogerogero!

Source

Mainichi Daily News

Four Days of E3: Nintendo Press Con

Day 2 of E3 has wrapped up and from it came Nintendo’s press conference. Nintendo had been lambasted by more of the hardcore fans for last year’s E3 press conference. With Nintendo’s major announcements being Wii Sports Resort and Wii Music, it was hard for many of those hardcore fans to be excited about the upcoming year. Did Nintendo learn their lesson from last year’s press conference and actually provide exciting news for these same gamers?

While I won’t go into detail about every point they talked about, I will touch upon what I think were their highs and lows.

Real Games for Real Gamers!

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Finally! I hope the next iteration is a console version.

On the high point of their press conference, they finally announced a few games that hardcore gamers would care and be genuinely excited about. Mario returned in two flavors, 2D and 3D. On the 2D front you have New Super Mario Brothers. Old school Mario platforming gameplay, but now you can play with up to 4 players. Mario Galaxy 2 looks to have the exact same gameplay as Mario Galaxy but with a couple of new items. So it feels a bit like an expansion pack, but it does have Yoshi so I can forgive it for that.

They actually focused a bit of their new releases segment on RPG’s which is great since the Wii is really lacking in a top name RPG. Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers hopes to be this game and it looks fairly impressive. I just hope it’s a full fledged RPG and not a Diablo-ish dungeon crawler like the Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles series. They chose to revitalize another series that hasn’t been seen since the days of GBA, Golden Sun DS. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away with it, and I was a big fan of the first two. I guess it’s been so long it just looks a bit generic for my tastes, but hopefully it’ll prove me wrong.

Samus Bounces Onto the Wii Again

The biggest announcement for me was Metroid: Other M, which is being developed by Nintendo and Team Ninja. The game looks to be a mix of 3D action, a la Ninja Gaiden, with 1st person shooting a la Metroid Prime. (No word if Samus was “enhanced” to Dead or Alive size) It looks like the next gen Metroid I always wanted since I never was too fond of the Prime series. The trailer showed fast paced action, what looks like quick time events and many familiar faces including everyone’s favorite villain Ridley. So kudos for Nintendo for actually showing off games most hardcore gamers would care about.

Trailers are the NEW Gameplay!

However Nintendo’s press conference was not without their share of lows. For all these great games they showed off, they were all trailers and we all know trailers are never true indicators to what the game actually plays like. So even though I am excited about all those games, I will have to reserve judgment until I see some actual in-game footage.

Nintendo Loves their Peripherals

Even lower than that however was Nintendo’s biggest push of the conference, the Wii Motion Plus. Already announced last year during the conference, they showed off the Wii Motion Plus in action. Frankly, I was not impressed. They were using Wii Sports Resort and Grand Slam Tennis to show off the range of motions the Wii Motion Plus could do, but it was hard to translate that to people not actually using it. When all is said and done too, these were all just mini-games that really took advantage of the Wii Motion Plus. When will a developer really come up with more innovative uses for the Wiimote?

This is a Joke… Right?

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You can now play "pull my finger" on the Wii. How forward-thinking!

Lastly, not quite a low point, but more like a “uhh….what?” moment. Sataru Iwata came out and did his best impression of a lullaby by talking way too long about bridging the gap between casual and core gamers. Now with that long speech you’d think something totally spectacular was going to come next, something that would steal all the thunder away from Microsoft’s Natal. What he delivered was this. Leaving the audience and myself completely baffled, you’d also think he’d show off something amazing to go along with it. Nope! He left the stage shortly thereafter. I felt like I had been rickrolled by Iwata.

Sorry No Ravi Drums This Year

To sum it all up, Nintendo’s press conference definitely had it’s share of exciting games to look forward to on the Wii and DS, but ultimately their press conference felt very lackluster. I mean really, what was up with them showing pictures of casual people enjoying the Wii and DS every 10 seconds? I felt like I was in a Nintendo infomercial. I’m sick of peripherals at this point and that new Vitality Sensor is quite possibly the last straw. Stick to good games Nintendo and you’ll get back the audience that has long since deserted you.