Monday, August 30, 2021

Salaryman Kintaro: Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangst... I Mean "Real Man"

*This review is in memory of the legendary Masami Suda, who was character designer for this anime, as he passed away earlier this same month.*

In the annals of manga history, Hiroshi Motomiya is definitely a perfect example of an understated legend. Born in 1947, his debut serialization, 1968's Otoko Ippiki Gaki Daisho, would become the first true "hit manga" in Shonen Jump (without needing to be infamous, ala Go Nagai's Harenchi Gakuen), inspiring the likes of Masami Kurumada & Tetsuo Hara to become mangaka themselves, & each would create their own direct homages to Gaki Daisho, at some point in their respective careers. Meanwhile, the likes of Buronson (Fist of the North Star), Yoshihiro Takahashi (Ginga -Nagareboshi Gin-), Tetsuya Saruwatari (Tough), Tatsuya Egawa (Golden Boy), & Akira Miyashita (Sakigake!! Otokojuku) all worked as assistants for Motomiya at one point or another, giving all of them early starts to their own respective iconic careers. As for video game fans, Motomiya also has some relevancy there, as his studio Moto Kikaku is best known as the co-creator & co-owner of Capcom's Strider franchise, while Motomiya's Tenchi wo Kurau manga is the basis for numerous games Capcom made, most notably 1992 arcade beat-em-up Warriors of Fate. Finally, even at the age of 74, Motomiya is still making new manga to this very day, usually focused around the ideal of being a "real man", i.e. being an inspiration to others by being a respectable, honest, & earnest person who doesn't allow being taken advantage of.

In short, while he may no longer be your favorite mangaka's favorite mangaka, he still might just be your favorite mangaka's favorite mangaka's favorite mangaka!

"Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'office power politics'!" -

After leaving Shonen Jump in 1987, following a ~19-year run with the magazine, Motomiya moved 100% into making manga for adults, and would strike gold when he debuted Salaryman Kintaro in the pages of Young Jump in 1994, becoming one of Motomiya's "masterpieces", alongside Gaki Daisho & the multi-part Ore no Sora series. While the series ended in 2002 after 30 volumes (his longest single series), Motomiya would occasionally return with new stories in Young Jump, namely 2005's Salaryman Kintaro: Money Wars Chapter (4 volumes), 2009's New Salaryman Kintaro (7 volumes), & 2015's Salaryman Kintaro at 50 (4 volumes). If you are curious about reading the manga, it is actually currently available in English officially via Manga Planet, which is putting out three new chapters every week; as of this review, it's just shy of halfway through the first series. Salaryman Kintaro would receive two different J-Drama adaptations, one in 1999 starring Katsunori Takahashi (who would later also portray legendary office worker manga character Kosaku Shima) & the other in 2008 starring Masaru Nagai, as well as a 1999 live-action movie based on the first J-Drama directed by Takashi Miike, which amazingly enough actually saw official English release in 2004 by Pathfinder Home Entertainment under the name "White-Collar Worker Kintaro"! However, this blog is primarily focused on anime, and luckily Salaryman Kintaro did indeed receive one of those, as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Obscusion B-List: Games Ported Over to the Same System... Multiple Times... By Different People

Game development & publishing has, more or less, long become a rather standardized thing over the decades. If you see a game released on a piece of hardware, especially a home console (i.e. "Not a PC"), then you know that it was likely developed by a single team of people, likely for multiple consoles. Prior to the new millennium, however, that wasn't quite as standardized, so you'd see the same game being released on different hardware, and there was a chance that each version was developed by a different team, ideally due to one team knowing one piece of hardware, while another was better with different hardware; this still exists today (see: Panic Button's Switch ports), but is nowhere near as common as before. On very rare occasions, though, one console would see multiple versions of the same game. Usually this was because of major updates that the developer & publisher felt were needed to be done, and usually would be done if the first version sold well; remember, this was before the days of downloading patches. The Lost World: Jurassic Park for PS1 is a perfect example, as the "Greatest Hits" version is actually an updated release & pretty much considered superior to the original version; Saturn owners got screwed over, though. However, even rarer are the cases where one game got ported over to the same hardware more than once... and by completely different developers. This was pretty much exclusively due to differing regions, namely Japan vs. North America/Europe, so let's take a look at six(-ish) such examples.

Myst on PS1
Alfa System vs. Visual Sciences
Generally considered the game that made the CD-ROM drive an essential part of any home computer setup, and was literally the best-selling PC game of all time until The Sims in 2002, Cyan Studios' Myst from 1993 is an all-time adventure classic. Therefore, when CD-based consoles started becoming a thing, you'd better believe that almost all of them had a port of Myst in the works. The Saturn, 3DO, CD-i, & even Jaguar CD all saw ports, with even a Sega CD port being in the works but never released, but the console we'll be focusing on here is the PlayStation. While the Saturn port by Sunsoft was a 1994 launch title in Japan, Soft Bank made sure that a PS1 port wouldn't be far behind, coming out January of 1995. This PS1 port was handled by Alfa System, which at the time was still just known as a for-hire studio & porting house, and it's a solid enough port of the game, complete with fully dubbed over Japanese dialogue in place of the original English voice work by the Miller Brothers, who co-founded Cyan. However, for whatever reason, Myst wouldn't see international release on the PS1 for a long time, September of 1996 to be exact (November 1996, for Europe!). When it finally did, by way of Psygnosis, what came out wasn't even the same exact port!