impressions

Is the New Nintendo 3DS worth the purchase? Early adopters in Japan share their thoughts

As its super-cutesy ad foretold, Nintendo launched its new and improved version of the 3DS here in Japan on October 11. Boasting features like a bigger, improved 3-D screen and extra buttons, yet retaining much its predecessor’s form factor, the portable appears to be more of an evolution than a revolution, but that didn’t mean people weren’t excited and looking forward to getting their hands on the new hardware.

As owners of the existing models of 3DS and 3DSLL, we aren’t really in the market for the new system quite yet, but were curious to hear what new adopters thought of the upgraded portable. Join us after the jump to find out whether the New Nintendo 3DS will be worth picking up when it launches in your country.

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YouTuber becomes internet sensation with gibberish impressions of world languages

Meet YouTuber Smoukahontas, the girl who became an internet star in a matter of days with her video “What Language Sound Like To Foreigners”. In it, the bespectacled brunette runs through a long list of languages from Arabic to Japanese, blabbering nonsense word combinations in genuinely impressive accents, resulting in something that sounds to the untrained ear just like the real thing.

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Kaguya Hime no Monogatari: The other side of Studio Ghibli 【Review】

Kaguya Hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) is quite unlike any Studio Ghibli offering that has gone before it. There are no benevolent forest spirits or spritely young witches to be found here; no soft, familiar faces or bright-eyed heroes with a passion for adventure; no piles of mouth-watering street food or freshly baked bread to drool over. This is a tale set in far simpler times, and although – with its thick, bold brushstrokes, muted colours and incomplete lines – it is quite the departure from the Ghibli releases many of us know and love, it still manages to be one of the studio’s most visually striking and emotive creations to date.

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Impressions from Ghibli’s ‘The Wind Rises’ Preview Screening — Miyazaki soars

“The wind is rising! … We must attempt to live! (Le vent se lève ! … Il faut tenter de vivre!” — Paul Valéry, Le Cimetière marin

Fans of Japanese anime will know by now that the release of a new Studio Ghibli movie is surrounded by a fair amount of hype. Their newest film, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), scheduled for release in Japan on July 20, is certainly no exception, especially since it’s the first Ghibli movie in five years to be directed by the studio’s co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki. Now that preview screenings of the movie have started, we were anxious to get our hands on a ticket. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we were able to do, so we thought we’d share our experience with you.

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‘An experience unlike any other’ – Japanese gamers heap praise on The Last of Us

Even in the age of worldwide launches, the Japanese releases of Western video games and movies are notoriously late, with some titles taking months longer to appear on shop shelves or movie theatre marquees than in other countries. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is no exception, although mercifully this time Japanese gamers only had to wait six days longer than the rest of the world to begin their digital adventure, which arrived with the addition of a Japanese voice track for those who abhor subtitles.

One of this year’s most anticipated titles, video game fans the world over have followed The Last of Us‘s development closely, falling on teaser trailers and screen shots like the ravenous mutated humans that populate the game’s devastated urban environments. Finally, some 18 months after its unveiling at 2011’s Spike Video Game Awards, The Last of Us is in gamers’ hands. And, despite its design being Western in almost every respect, Naughty Dog’s tale of survival and emotional turmoil is wowing gamers all over Japan.

The following does not contain spoilers, but those who wish to experience the game with no prior knowledge whatsoever may want to ask a friend to check it out first.

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Life in Mini: Our Reporter Mr. Sato Turns Himself into a Tiny Plastic Figure

Just a few weeks ago, this writer excitedly introduced you to Omote 3D Shashin Kan, the new 3D photography and modelling studio in Tokyo that immortalizes customers as tiny, intricately detailed figurines for just a couple of hundred dollars apiece.

Despite wanting to head down to the fancy new studio myself and decorate my apartment with a collection of mini mes, after much discussion in the office and comments being made like “too handsome” and “they might not have enough plastic to model your nose,” the RocketNews24 crew decided it best to send reporting legend Mr. Sato to do the honours instead.

This is no ordinary photoshoot.

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Nintendo Wii U: Our Impressions of the New Console’s Biggest Launch Titles

We’ve had a Wii U in the RocketNews24 office, not to mention out on the shinkansen bullet train, for about a week now. Despite being made by a Japanese company, the console isn’t available in Japan for another 10 days, and many Japanese and foreigners alike are clamouring to know how the new machine works and, most importantly, whether games on the platform are really the magical experience Nintendo would like us to believe.

We picked up New Super Mario Bros U, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, ZombiU and Nintendo Land along with our import machine, and are happy to say from the outset that these are all genuinely good titles. This isn’t a review as such, but since we have a number of lifelong gamers on the RocketNews24 team, especially our main man Kuzo, we were keen to share our impressions with you regarding how the four biggest titles launching alongside the Wii U show off the new console, not to mention which of the games are most likely to satisfy once they arrive in your sweaty little hands come December 8.

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Our Team Sample a New Strawberry Rice-Cake Flavoured Milk Drink: “Tastes Like Green Peppers…”

Japan is no stranger to exciting, original or downright odd beverages. Just 20 feet from this writer’s apartment, in fact, there’s a vending machine that sells cans of grape jelly or caramel pudding flavoured “drinks”, and convenience stores stock an enormous array of beverages from green tea or chilled coffee to butterscotch milk and melon soda.

Still, it’s better than row after row of tremor-inducing caffeine-packed cola and the illegitimate offspring of child’s cough syrup and lemonade that is Dr Pepper, I suppose…

On the 15th of this month, however, dairy experts Meito brought Japanese consumers something altogether more challenging- a milk-based drink that’s designed to taste not just like strawberries, but classic Japanese favourite strawberry daifuku mochi rice cakes!

But no sooner had the delicious-sounding beverage found its way into stores than internet users starting leaving rather odd comments on message boards about the drink’s taste…

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