June 30, 2007
by: James Jursudakul
AX 2007: The complete transcript of JAST USA's first ever official panel.
a summary of the panel can be read here.
The following is a transcript of the JAST USA panel from Day One of Anime Expo 2007. The panel was held on June 29, 2007 from 7:30 - 8:30 pm. Along with this time period being JAST USA’s 10th anniversary, this is also the first official panel from JAST USA.
Editor's Note: Please note that there are omissions of the transcription of parts of the panel where demo movies are playing, as well as "um, ah" and various other pauses. One or two Q & A questions have also been omitted for lack of clarity on the recorder.
Peter Payne: Thank you for coming to our panel. As you know this is the JAST USA bishoujo game information panel. Who knows what bishoujo games are? It has nothing to do with Bleach, as somebody had asked. Bishoujo means “pretty girl.” So bishoujo games are the very fascinating, interactive type of games that’s very popular in Japan. We’ve been involved in bringing over (bishoujo games) in the English-language for the past ten years, I’m happy to announce.
*Claps from the audience*
Shingo: As part of our tenth anniversary celebration we’ve created a series of collectible cards that are going to be given away right now.
*Cheers from the audience*
(Lamuness proceeds to start handing out card packets to each member of the audience).
Shingo: Our entire game lineup - well, the majority of our games from the last ten years as well as several new games that people have yet seen (are on the cards.) There are a set 55 cards and you can open it up and check it out. Although, we’d like you to keep both the card and package until the end of the presentation (for prize purposes). So that’s part of what we have planned for this year as our 10th anniversary as a company. And, I bet you’re wondering who I am. So let’s start with the introduction of our boss.
Peter Payne: My name is Peter Payne. I run a real tiny website called J-List, you’ve probably never heard of it. *Audience laughter* Basically, ten-years-ago, I mean it was 1996 -- though it was in 1997 when we started releasing the games -- the internet was a fantastic place. And we were just full of ideas. It was just an energetic time and we were looking for something that would really be interesting and unique. And we knew, -- because I had lived in Japan since 1991 -- we knew that everyone in the world was just caught up in the mystery of Japan: in animation, in manga, and any kind of the digital culture from Japan, and that it was certainly going to continue to be a trend. And we decided that the Japanese bishoujo game was something that was really cool -- it was valuable -- but no one was doing. And I don’t believe anyone believed,I mean there was a couple of attempts, but it wasn’t something that was going to become a mainsteam thing in America unless we tried to do something at a different take. So that’s me. Now onto Dave.
There was an almost full house at the panel.
Shingo: My name is Dave, alias “Shingo.” I’m a new hire with JAST-USA. I’m working with Peter in Japan on the games and…that’s about it. I also run a blog called Heisei Democracy, some of you might know about it, but it has nothing to do with this. *audience claps* And I’m here, and I’m really excited about some of the stuff we have to talk about later, in addition to all the games we have and whatnot. Finally, there is one third staff member, who we didn’t know was going to show up until recently and is handing out the cards there. This is Lamuness from the BBS. Those of you that have been around for awhile probably know about the Peach Princess BBS. Lamuness can you step up please?
(Lamuness steps up and the audience claps. Some people whistle.)
Peter Payne: First we’re going to talk about the history of our efforts to bring the English bishoujo games -- make it a reality. We started out, I believe our first title is in 1997. Anyone know what it was? The first English release? Yes. Three Sisters’ Story This was back in the DOS days. This was back in the days when you had an installer that you type into the DOS page and it would install the game. So we’ve come a long way since then. We’ve had an incredible, and looking back, an incredible number of titles that been able to bring to you. Three Sisters’ Story, which is still one of my favorites, Runaway City, the initial games we did were by May Club and Isoft, and on and on. We’ve gone bringing more and more games every year, and we’ve really been happy with the response that we’ve gotten from people because I think our fans really know that this is a niche product within a niche product, within a niche product and they’re quick to show their support and we really appreciate that. PC Gaming anyways is a shrinking niche product when compared to the console. And so we’re inside a little tiny bubble. And then to be an adult game maker…obviously we’re not going to get any kind of distribution in Best Buy or Software etc. (which is now known as Game Stop). Thanks to the internet we’ve really been able to reach out and form a relationship with the customers in a way that wouldn’t have been possible at any other time. And without that, what we’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible. So just to talk about the future, we’ve obviously worked with a variety of companies in the past. The main goal of JAST USA has been, when we first started this, was that . . .one of the big differences between U.S. and Japan is that for the adult PC titles there is no distribution system in the U.S.; there’s no company where we can say, “we’ve got this title. Please distribute it for us.” Where they’ll take it and it get it sent to the shop and make it a vital product. So that has been one of the biggest problems for us and that’s why we created JAST USA. JAST USA’s main goal is to be the facilitator of the actual distribution so that G-Collections’ (and other labels’) titles can make it to the shops and the people here at the convention who are playing out games. So that’s really been our main goal -- imitating the Japanese models where you’ve got five or six distribution companies that handles these games. So we’re trying to do that for ourselves so that each game can successfully get to the hand of the customer and be a purchasable product.
So anyways, we’ve gone on kind of a blitz of licensing new games. Who has been checking our website to see the new titles we’ve been talking about? There’s one, thank you! So, yeah, we’ve been on a rampage of licensing new games. We’ve been talking about this since last year so the people that have been paying attention know that new titles are coming in. We’ve slowly been adding, as they’ve advanced past, the translation page that as we’ve moved foward -- we’ve been talking about them. So we’ve gotten several pre-order tittles that are available. You can go online and pre-order them and we’ll hold the product for you (upon release). You’ll get your game out of the first batch when the games start shipping.
Shingo: Back around the early part of this year I brought on work on some of the new titles that we’ve got in the pipeline. So I’m going to talk about what we’ve recently announced, what we’ve recently released, and what we have coming up.
*Yume Miru Kusuri :: A Drug that Makes You Dream comes on-screen*
We recently released Yume Miru Kusuri :: A Drug that Makes You Dream, which is a game that we’ve subtitled A Drug that Makes You Dream, which in Japanese means “yume miru kusuri.” It’s a game that we wanted to treat with a lot of respect to the Japanese original because it’s one of those games with a really great story / plot in addition to the other elements that make up a really good bishoujo game. Those of you have played know a bit about these scenes, I would think. We just came out with this in April (2007). It’s a game that originally came out in Japan in 2005 -- late 2005. However, Yume Miru Kusuri is not part of our big licensing blitz.
Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048 will be the first new G-Colections title released.
The first that is part of the newest wave of G-Collections games that have been licensed and are in the process of being announced is Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048. This is a game that we have coming out. And I can guarantee that this will be the first G-Collections game to be out . . .because I have the golden master of the game right here. *Shingo holds up the Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048 golden master disc and the crowd goes wild* THIS is what we’ve been doing until a couple minutes before getting on the plane. This is why the presentation is like this* and we’ve got this here.
*In this part Shingo is referring to the fact that the on-screen images were not displaying / displayed incorrectly at first. It’s a joke where you had to be there.
This will be out at Comic-Con. So if you’re coming to Comic-Con you can pick up your copy there. Right? OK, Awesome. And of course after that it will be available online and at regular outlets (that sell bishoujo games). So that’s our fist announcement for the evening. Golden Master (status) on Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048. Which is as you can see, not a standard dating sim. And if you’re not aware, we’ve lowered the price to $24.95 (from $29.95) MSRP. The bulk of the game is this tactical strategic style combat in which you go through missions using the various abilities of your squad members to defeat the mutants that. . .do bad things to people. *tentacle rape scene pops up on screen* *crowd roars* The game is available for pre-order right now. And of course If you pre-order it online now you get free shipping (from JAST and JAST affiliate sites). Once it gets to Comic-Con you can buy it there or buy it and pay for shipping online. Just a little plug for pre-ordering.
Next up in the pipeline is Bazooka Café. . .which doesn’t need much explanation. The original Japanese title is Pururun Café. . .and that means basically the same thing. This is a game that’s about a café. . .You’re in a café and a bunch of girls, for some reason, want to help you at the café.. .. And stuff happens. . .This title is currently in production and is one of the games that we will have out later on this year.
Next up, we recently announced Snow Sakura -- or Yuki Zakura in Japanese. This is a really nice story based renai game. And when you say “renai” it means stuff like Kanon and Air and all that stuff. It’s going to be a really nice really sweet game for people who don’t like bazookas or tentacles or stuff like that. It has really beautiful art, a really nice story, and occasionally some other stuff. Some interesting parts of this game include a Mah-Jong game that you can do within the context of the game, but it helps if you know something about Mah-Jong. There’s also, one of the characters is, a real history buff, and the more you know about Japanese history the better; however, you can clear this without knowing any of that.
Next up, another game we’ve recently announced, is Lightning Warrior Raidy (Ikazuchi no Senshi Raidy). This game is a remake of a game that was originally released in 1994. The remake has all new graphics, all new sound, and a new game engine. It’s a 3-D RPG type game. It’s a little bit like the early Might and Magic games, if you recall those. You control a character of Raidy and she has come to this tower where she has to kidnap the bad guys who’ve been kidnapping lots of girls and ,again, doing things that shouldn’t be done. So, she’s there to stop it. And if by chance you should not have success with that, then there are other scenarios that I probably shouldn’t bring up.
The game we have most recently announced, -- again I was busy doing this instead of preparing for this panel -- is Amorous Professor Cherry. This is the newest game that we’ve announced just two-days-ago; we haven’t even written about it on the official sites yet, although there are pre-order up, and you can see where our priorities lie. . . You portray one of Chieri-sensei’s students, who is infatuated with her. This is by the same artist as all of G-Collections’ previously released ZyX titles, so if you like that it’s a good thing. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it works really well in this game. It’s actually the last ZyX game that this artist illustrated. And this was written by the author of Crescendo, so those of you who’ve played that might find something to like here as well. So there’s probably more story than any of the other ZyX game we’ve brought out.
And that brings us up-to-date with what we’ve announced thus far. From now on, we’d like to go on to some new things that some of you have guesses about, but I’m pretty confident nobody knows about exactly -- and we’re really excited to present these two games that I’ve been hyping and hyping and hyping forever -- and hopefully you will feel the same way about them. So without further ado I have the following to present to you:
*Family Project (Kazoku Keikaku) trailer plays*
This is probably going to leave some people a bit puzzles; some people a bit happy; and other people a bit, hopefully not disgusted. This game is called Kazoku Keikaku in Japanese. It is one of the most famous bishoujo games ever created. And this is not a hyperbole. If you go to the Japanese game review site Eroscape and look up the list of the best games out of all the games on their site -- this is the top game. It’s higher than Fate / Stay Night, it’s higher than Air and Kanon, it’s higher than To-Heart, it’s higher than everything. And this is by the way the review site in which everyone who plays their (bishoujo) games in Japan writes their reviews on. Why is this a good game? For one thing, the game was written by the same guy who wrote Kana and Yume Miru Kusuri :: A Drug that Makes You Dream. The credit name is different (between Kana ~Little Sister~ and Yume Miru Kusuri :: A Drug that Makes You Dream), and it’s a long story, but it’s the same guy. If you didn’t like either of those games you may not like this. However, as you can hear, the sound -- very iconic -- I’ve Sound featuring KOTOKO, the vocalist on the OP Theme. She also composed the ending theme. Also, this has a voice cast the likes of which you will not see anywhere else. The father is voiced by Wakamoto Norio. Those of you who don’t know who he is: he’s the emperor in Code: Geass; he’s onsokumaru in Shinobuden; he’s been around since like the 60s and he’s done everything! He’s the coach in Gunbuster, I mean you name it. He has a very distinctive voice. And for anyone who has ever wanted this particular person as their father, this is your chance. Also, several other famous anime voice actors make appearances in this game. It’s really exceptional. The story is really good. I’ve played through a good part of it thus far and it’s one that if you talk to Japanese people they’ll say: “In the history of bishoujo gaming this is one of the foremost games, along with Kanon and other games that came out that era. And so we’re really really excited to be able to get this. It took a lot of arm-ringing for G-Collections and for CD-Bros. too. We’re really happy to have it and we’re really happy to be able to bring it to you. It’s currently in production; the translation’s coming along and we’ll be giving more updates on this as it progresses.
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