Anime can be based on many things: popular manga series (Maken-ki!, Cardcaptor Sakura), light novels (Oreimo, Sword Art Online), visual novels – both ecchi (Fate/stay night) or all-ages (Clannad) – plus original stories. Now we can add mobage (mobile games) to this list, thanks to the new anime Girlfriend (BETA), which is running in Japan right now. Based on a dating-sim game for iPhone and Android in which you play a male main character surrounded by 100 female characters, each with her own voice actress, it’s a cute slice-of-life show about uber-moe girls and how they interact with each other. As with any new show, it’s fun to observe what new moe innovations the staff will bring to the cast, and in this series there’s a French girl named Chloe who’s always making adorable mistakes while speaking Japanese. Incidentally, if you want to play the free-to-play Girlfriend (BETA) game or its boy-centered otome game version Boyfriend (BETA), alas in Japanese, you’ll need to create a Japan iTunes account, which you can get easily by buying one of our iTunes Japan prepaid cards. There’s lots of other free stuff to be found on the Japan iTunes store, too, including promotional anime games, so it’s good to have an account made.
Over the weekend I went to Tokyo with Mrs. J-List, because I needed to go to the U.S. embassy to renew my passport. Whenever we have an excuse to go to Tokyo we pick some nice hotel we haven’t stayed at yet, which lets us enjoy parts of the city we’ve not experienced before. This time we stayed at a hotel in the newly opened Toranomon Hills building, located in a bustling area where many national embassies are located, as well as Japan’s National Diet (e.g. legislature) Building. Ever since the successful launch of the towering Roppongi Hills high-rise a decade ago – it instantly became the most fashionable address in Tokyo, home to extravagant shopping and restaurants as well as the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs, Ferrari and Google Japan – Tokyo has been embracing a higher level of urban life. The new Toranomon Hills building was amazing to visit, with a living bamboo forest inside the lobby and a cute official mascot character called Toraemon. Yes, the “Hills” in both these building names is a reference to Beverly Hills, reminding us that there’s no aspect of life in Europe or the U.S. the Japanese won’t emulate, if it strikes their fancy.
We’ve got some great news for fans of visual novels and eroge in English: the upcoming Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque has gone ‘golden master’ and is heading for the duplicators now! A fabulous game illustrated by famed artist Oyari, this is not only one of the most beautiful games to come along in years, it’s also one of the most fun. The goal of Littlewitch is to teach two witches-in-training to use magic, helping them learn spells and sending them on quests. This is the “Editio Perfecta” (perfect edition) of the game, which includes all additional scenarios from the game’s fandiscs plus one all-new game route created for this edition. The game is fully translated to English and 100% uncensored, with no content altered in any way. Preorder the limited Deluxe Edition, which will come in a large box with three laminated illustration boards and a beautiful full color game manual, and you’ll get the download version free, sent to you on shipping day, so you can start playing right away. (You can also preorder the download edition now, if you don’t want the package and printed manual.)