The magazine coverage has been constant for a few weeks now, and it is about time we caught up on some character reveals for the March 2014 Jump-franchise crossover fighting game extravaganza, J-Stars Victory Vs, on the PlayStation 3 and Vita.
Since our last check-in, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya and Allen Walker from D. Grayman were announced as playable and support characters, respectively, in the double-sized 2014 #6/7 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan. Seiya will have his signature Ryūsei-ken (Shooting Star Fist) technique as a finishing move, while Allen supports the battle by slashing an opponent with his giant claws, giving them no opening to attack.
Additional rival characters have been revealed for the game, as well, in the 2014 #8 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan. Dragon Ball‘s own Freeza makes his entrance alongside Madara Uchiha (Naruto), Makoto Shishio (Rurouni Kenshin), and Fleet Admiral “Akainu” (“Red Dog”) Sakazuki (One Piece). Of these, Madara has his “Susano’o” as a finishing move.
Yet another batch of characters were revealed in the March 2014 issue of V-Jump which hit Japanese shelves 21 January 2014. These include Aizen Sōsuke from Bleach and Toguro the Younger from Yū Yū Hakusho as playable characters, as well as Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter in a support role.
This issue of V-Jump issue also promotes the game’s opening sequence, which will feature a new song entitled “Fighting☆Stars” performed by Hironobu Kageyama (Dragon Ball Z), Hiroshi Kitadani (One Piece), and Akira Kushida (Kinnikuman/Toriko). The opening, composed by Toshiyuki Kishi with lyrics by Yuriko Mori, is very much in the shōnen vein, with lines about rivals, training, fighting, and victory, all over a hard-rock beat.
J-Stars Victory Vs is due out exclusively in Japan on the PlayStation 3 and Vita 19 March 2014 in both regular and “Limited Edition / Anison” versions. Pre-orders are available on sites such as CDJapan and Play-Asia, though some retailers are already sold out of their “Limited Edition” allocations.
While Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is just now hitting North American shelves and digital platforms, it has been out in Japan for the last week, and its sales data is trickling in.
According to the Media Create sales list for the reporting period of 20 January 2014 to 26 January 2014, the game (released 23 January 2014) pushed 30,192 copies on the PlayStation 3 and another 22,901 copies on the Vita (with an unknown amount sold on the Xbox 360, not uncommon at all for Japan), for at least a combined 53,093 total copies.
While it is tough to draw exact parallels with prior games due to the console generation shift in-progress and the fact that Battle of Z is available on both consoles and a portable system, our buddy Super Saiyan Prime saved us a little bit of leg-work and put together a list of previous games and their first-week sales alongside their last-known total sales figures:
Ultimate Blast / Ultimate Tenkaichi (2011)
- PS3: 44,593 (first week) / 81,181 (last-known total)
- 360: less than 3,529 (last-known) total
Dragon Ball Kai: Ultimate Butōden (2011)
- NDS: 31,108 (first week)
Tag VS / Tenkaichi Tag Team (2010)
- PSP: 19,080 (first week) / 68,733 (last-known total)
Raging Blast 2 (2010)
- PS3: 47,610 (first week) / 96,210 (last-known total)
- 360: 3,000 (first-week) / less than 4,046 (last-known total)
- Combined First Week Total: 50,610
Raging Blast (2009)
- PS3: 57,972 (first week) / 118,821 (last-known total)
- 360: 6,561 (first-week) / 9,745 (last-known total)
- Combined First Week Total: 64,533
Burst Limit (2008)
- PS3: 92,298 (first week) / 152,582 (last-known total)
- 360: less than 20,933 (last-known total)
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z officially launches today in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Vita (and is already available in both Europe and Japan!). Below you will find a quick overview of some of the most frequently asked questions we have seen. Stay tuned for our full review of the game both in written and podcast form!
Who developed the game?
Battle of Z was developed by Artdink for Namco-Bandai. The developer is most recently well-known for their work on various games in the Macross and Gundam franchises.
Which systems is/are this game available on?
Battle of Z is available on the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the Vita worldwide. In North America in particular, the Vita version is download-only, and only contains the English language audio track.
Is there any connection between the game Battle of Z and the film Battle of Gods?
Goku’s new Super Saiyan God form is playable in the game, along with the God of Destruction, Beerus, and his attendant, Whis. There is also a section of the story mode dedicated to the film. The movie is not contained on the game disc in any way, however.
Is there an opening video? New theme song?
Yes and no. There is indeed a newly-animated 2D opening sequence. The first half features Son Goku and friends battling some of the usual villains, while the second half focuses on Super Saiyan God Son Goku versus the God of Destruction, Beerus. The song played — yes, even in the North American release — is FLOW’s (original Japanese language) cover of “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA” from the film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (where Super Saiyan God and Beerus themselves come from).
Which languages are included?
There is a default English language track and a selectable Japanese language track on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. Certain international releases of the Vita version (including the North American release) only contain the English language track.
What is the background music in the game?
Similar to the Raging Blast games, the Japanese version of the game features newly-synthesized versions of tunes from Shunsuke Kikuchi’s original score to the Dragon Ball Z TV series and movies, while the international releases of the game feature a combination of new and recycled tunes (this time from the Blast games).
Is Battle of Z a fighting game or not?
Yes and no. You are absolutely “fighting” against opponents, but the game is heavily structured on a team-based formula with characters having very specific roles. There are melee-focused characters, support-focused characters, etc. Think of it as a mix between the previous 3D fighting games for the franchise with Monster Hunter and a little dash of MMORPG goodness.
Is there a local multiplayer mode?
On the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, no. Multiplayer is available, but only via online matches. There is no full- or split-screen local multiplayer. On the Playstation Vita, local ad-hoc as well as online matches are available.
Is there a 1P versus CPU mode?
No. You can only fight against preset opponents in missions (solo or online) or against other players. There is no way to fight your own selection of computer-controlled opponents.
How many players can fight at once?
There is a maximum of four-versus-four matches (eight total players), both against the computer-controlled opponent in the story mode and then with freely-selectable characters online against human opponents.
Which characters are available to play as?
There are 69 selectable characters, three characters available as various types of downloadable content (first-pressing inclusions, pre-order bonuses, etc.), and five giant boss characters (who themselves are not selectable to play as). The entire roster is available for viewing on the game’s official Japanese website.
Does Battle of Z include “in-game transformations”?
No. Each stage of a character represents a different selection, and may play differently from an earlier/later form of the character.
How do I get Son Goku in his Naruto Sage outfit?
All first-pressings of the physical release of the game come with a code for the character/outfit in the box. While it is likely that first-pressing copies of the game will remain available for quite some time, there will eventually be no way to guarantee you will get the character/outfit unless you purchase(d) the game at launch.
How do I get Super Vegetto as a playable character?
In North America, Super Vegetto is a bonus made available as downloadable content for those pre-ordering at Best Buy or Future Shop. In Europe, most pre-orders should come with both Super Vegetto and Super Saiyan Bardock, regardless of where you purchase the game. In Japan, Super Vegetto will be available for purchase at ¥300 starting February 6th.
How do I get Super Saiyan Bardock as a playable character?
In North America, Super Saiyan Bardock is a bonus made available as downloadable content for those pre-ordering at GameStop / EB Games. In Europe, most pre-orders should come with both Super Vegetto and Super Saiyan Bardock, regardless of where you purchase the game. In Japan, Super Saiyan Bardock will be available for purchase at ¥300 starting February 6th.
Will the downloadable content be available for purchase later?
The North American branch of Namco-Bandai has confirmed to Kanzenshuu that there are currently no plans to offer the pre-order bonus characters as paid downloadable content. So far, it seems they will only be available for purchase in Japan. Downloadable content is generally not cross-compatible between different regions.
How do I get the special “Goku Edition” with all the extras?
Like with many of the recent games, the special edition is only available for purchase in Europe. It comes packed with a figure and an art book.
Is there a demo available?
Yes – a demo is available worldwide for all systems that it is available on (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Vita).
What can be carried over from the demo to the full retail game?
Your accumulated Dragon Points and Premium Points, player rank and level of computer-controlled partners, as well as progress in Story Mode will carry over to the full game. This includes unlocked characters and stages.
Is the game “cross-buy” / “cross-save” / “cross-play” on the Sony platforms?
A separate purchase is required for both the PlayStation 3 and Vita versions, and the console/portable players cannot play with each other. On the flip side, save files from either version can indeed be uploaded, downloaded, and then continued on the other platform.
I need more. I want to listen to super fans talk about it. Make this happen for me.
We have you covered! Check out Episode #0351 of our podcast here at Kanzenshuu to hear Mike (VegettoEX) and special guest Kirran (LordMoonstone) discuss the demo and hopes for the final game.
Remember that this is just a quick look at the game and some of the most frequently asked questions leading up to its launch — it is not a full review. A review is indeed coming, though, both in written form and on the podcast. Stay tuned for more!
Shueisha’s various “Vomic” series include manga scans with the occasional motion graphics that are fully voiced. The Jaco “Vomic” is currently running on the TV program “Saikyomi JanBANG!” but will be added online starting 06 February 2014 with four installments in all. The cast will include:
- Jaco – Tsubasa Yonaga
- Omori – Issei Futamata
- An Azuki – Sachie Hirai
- Newscaster – Takashi Ōhara
- Katayude – Takuya Satō
- Policewoman – Aya Saitō
All but Futamata belong to the Ken Production agency.
Jaco the Galactic Patrolman was an 11-chapter manga series by Akira Toriyama that ran from the 2013 #33-44 issues of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan, and also saw a simultaneous digital release in English by Viz. Originally teased by Shueisha as the “shocking revival of Dragon Ball!!”, by the series’ completion it became clear that it was indeed a true prequel to Dragon Ball.
A collected release of the manga was originally due out in Japan this past January, but has completely slipped from any upcoming release calendar and may be held back for an April release. There is currently no word from Viz on a collected English release either in print or digital form.
The February 2014 issue of Saikyō Jump, released earlier this month in Japan, contains a few teases of new Bardock-related material as well as more teases that will begin to surface in next month’s issue of the magazine, officially due out 04 February 2014.
Within this month’s magazine are a few details about the upcoming “JM2″ (“Ja’aku Ryū Mission 2″ or “Evil Dragon Mission 2″) coming to the latest chapter of the arcade version of Dragon Ball Heroes in Japan. The card set is slated to feature two secret cards, one of which is Kuriza (Freeza’s son from Akira Toriyama’s spin-off/gag/parody manga Neko Majin). The other character is a “warrior of rage” who is getting a “further super evolution” in the face of Freeza’s clan.
Is this Bardock receiving yet another new power-up? Will it be a further stage of Super Saiyan, or perhaps we are being led down the path of establishing Bardock as the “original” Super Saiyan God…?!
Well, it turns out that Bardock is actually receiving — at least for now, anyway? — a Super Saiyan 2 transformation, courtesy of a new “Secret Ultimate Rare” card. The design itself appears to just be a bit of red energy sparks surrounding him. Is this a hint toward a “God” transformation later on, though…? We have no idea! This newly Super Saiyan 2 Bardock has an attack named “Final Heat Phalanx”.
Next month’s issue of Saikyō Jump will come packed with a “Super Kanzenban” version of Naho Ooishi’s Episode of Bardock, originally a three-chapter “sequel” to the character’s original TV special printed in the August, September, and October 2011 issues of V-Jump. The manga also received a complete reprint in the April 2012 issue of V-Jump packed with two new pages that themselves adapted material from the animated version of the special — the animated Episode of Bardock special debuted at Jump Festa ’12 and was included internationally on the Xbox 360 video game Dragon Ball Z for Kinect. This version of the manga will come in a format mimicking the tankōbon release of the Dragon Ball manga, with the cover using the format adopted in May 2009.
In addition to the manga itself, next month’s Saikyō Jump will also come with a special Dragon Ball Heroes card featuring Bardock, albeit one where he is depicted in his base form.
In addition to / as a part of the “Super Kanzenban” included in the issue (and shown off in today’s 2014 #9 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan), the magazine will also come packed with a brand-new Q&A with original manga author Akira Toriyama about the character of Bardock.
Toriyama’s most recent commentary on the character came packed with a bonus original illustration with the “Special Selection DVD” in 2011 containing the major Dragon Ball Z TV specials. Toriyama’s comments on the character are always interesting due to the fact that Bardock was a Toei Animation (primarily Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru) creation, and at one point, Toriyama himself could not remember if Bardock had appeared in the manga.
Next month’s March 2014 issue – the one coming with the “Super Kanzenban” version of Episode of Bardock – is available for pre-order at CDJapan.
We at Kanzenshuu never enjoy having to write one of these news posts, but earlier today in Japan, we lost yet another member of the Dragon Ball acting pool: Ichirō Nagai, who had played Tsuru-Sen’nin and Karin-sama in all incarnations of the series up to the present.
According to the linked news article, Nagai had been in Hiroshima recording narration for a TV program, but failed to check out of his hotel this morning. When a hotel employee went to investigate, he was found in the bathtub, unresponsive. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of his death is not currently known; he was 82 years old.
In addition to his roles in Dragon Ball, he was also known for his roles as the Narrator and the Zeon dictator Degwin Sodo Zabi in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, as well as Sazae’s father Namihei Isono on Sazae-san, a role he had played since the show’s start in 1969.
Rest in peace, Mr. Nagai.
While not entirely surprising, when you consider the younger version of the character achieved the transformation back in the original manga, the older GT-styled Gotenks introduced in the new “Ja’aku Ryū Mission” (or “JM”) updates to the card-based arcade game Dragon Ball Heroes is about to reach another level. Though shown off previously, a Super Saiyan 3 “Gotenks: Adult” card was formally released as a part of the latest “JM2″ update:
The card is part of an ultimate unit attack team, the “Shinigami [God(s) of Death] of Justice Battle Unit”, along with Super Saiyan 4 Son Goku and Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta. In addition to that, an individual promotional card of Super Saiyan 3 “Gotenks: Adult” was included in this month’s issue of V-Jump.
The March 2014 issue of V-Jump also includes the 17th chapter of Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission by “Toyotarō” and is available for purchase from CDJapan, Play-Asia, and Amazon Japan for an MSRP of ¥530.
The March 2014 issue of V-Jump in Japan, released this week on 21 January 2014, contains the latest (and longest-ever!) monthly chapter of Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission by “Toyotarō“.
In the 16-page Mission 17: “Disciples of Evil” (邪悪の使徒 Ja’aku no Shito), Beat and Note lay waste to General Blue and the guard robot from the pirate base, but it is quickly revealed to be a simulation observed by the others. Yoshito-kun and Momo-chan are impressed by how accustomed they have become to the system, while Beat feels like he is very close to getting a handle on something. Unfortunately, as Kagyu observes, all they can do is run simulations and wait until the Dragon Orb reacts.
As though on cue, the Dragon Orb suddenly goes off. Tsubasa raises it to the view screen, which reveals five points across the globe. Yoshito-kun wonders if the three kidnapped competitors are somewhere among these locations. Tsubasa thinks so. Yoshito-kun recommends that they all go around to each spot as a group, even though it will take time, but Froze refuses: they do not have that kind of time. Tsubasa nervously confirms that this may indeed be the case. Note then suggests that the five of them split up and go to each location individually. Yoshito-kun does not think that is a good idea, but Froze points out that it is their only choice.
Kagyu says to leave it to him; with the Hero Badges given to them by Yoshito-kun, they will be able to communicate from the other Battlefields, and with the Network Matching system, they will be able to rush to one another’s location if need be. Note says not to worry, since the five of them have never known defeat in their simulations, and–… Beat points out that one of them has not come back from his simulation yet. Kabra has lost, again, to the Pilaf Machine. He suddenly notices everyone watching him, and reacts cluelessly to their less-than-pleased expressions.
With that, Tsubasa prepares to send them each off to a different Age, where an Evil Dragon may be waiting for them! Defeating the Evil Dragons would be the ideal, but their mission’s priority for now is to rescue Nym, Nico, and Genom! Yoshito-kun gives them extra Badges if they should find one of the three, since they are fellow Heroes. With that, the Time-Space Transfer Apparatus is activated, and the five of them are off. Just as Beat is about to teleport off, however, a Capsule is now ready, so Tsubasa quickly tosses it to Beat. Yoshito-kun and Momo-chan are puzzled.
Beat arrives at the Battlefield, and is caught off-guard at it being over the ocean, barely avoiding plunging into the water below. He is immediately greeted by Nym, who appears behind him. Beat explains that he has come to rescue him, and that they should come back, but Nym does not understand why he should need rescuing. That wasn’t an Evil Dragon; it was Shenlong! The one who gave him his power was the Six-Star Shenlong! At this, the cracked Dragon Ball in his forehead reflects an image of Liu Xing Long. As Beat recoils in shock, Nym sends out his cards, and demands that Beat take out his deck, as well. He will lose if he goes it alone!
Elsewhere, Kabra and Abra arrive at a desolate Battlefield, scarred as though it has already seen a great battle. As Kabra wonders to himself where he is, a Berserker Majin-type Hero Avatar appears and tells him it’s the Kaiōshin Realm of long ago. The Avatar introduces himself as Salaga [presumably a reference to "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" from Disney's Cinderella], and says that he must be… No-Bra, was it? Kabra angrily corrects him. Salaga asks him if he likes the place, but Kabra just wants to know why it is so beat-up if it is really the Kaiōshin Realm. Salaga is surprised he, a Majin user, does not know: this was the place where, long ago, the Kaiōshin fought with Majin Buu — and lost. In other words, it is like the place where Majin began. The perfect Age for two Majin Avatars to fight it out….
Kabra (and Abra) has no interest in fighting, since this is not really the time with everything that is going on. Abra recommends that Salaga go home, but he has no intention of doing so. As Abra chastises Kabra for slipping into an “I-want-to-go-home” rant, Salaga bring out his cards: three incarnations of Majin Buu, and Piccolo. His headpiece then breaks to reveal the cracked Three-Star Ball, as it dawns on both Abra and Kabra that he is evil. Abra’s banter from inside Kabra’s headpiece has not escaped Salaga’s notice, and he correctly identifies the “cat” as a Neko Majin. Abra retreats inside, as Salaga laughs maniacally.
As the battle between Beat and Nym unfolds, Beat is trying to convince Nym that they should not fight, while Nym is annoyed at Beat’s unwillingness and decides to bring out No. 13 to finish him off. Just then, Momo-chan contacts Beat to let him know that the same ki as the Evil Dragons is overflowing from Nym. He might be under the Dragon’s control! Yoshito-kun says that the badge he gave Beat will allow him to speak directly to Nym’s mind, so he needs to get the badge on Nym to drive out the Dragon! But that is easier said than done… Tsubasa thinks they will have to aim for the instant after he is defeated, when he has depleted his ki.
Seeing he has no choice, Beat resigns himself to fighting and holds out the capsule Tsubasa gave to him before, just as Nym activates Card Action Ability: Double to attack in tandem with No. 13. At Tsubasa’s signal, Beat activates the capsule just as Nym and No. 13 reach their target. There is a powerful explosion, and when the smoke clears, No. 13 has punched through Beat! Momo-chan screams, and Nym seems amused at Beat’s quick death. However, Tsubasa urges them to look closer: it is only Beat’s clothes!
Just then, a huge column of water erupts from the sea, with Beat silhouetted inside. Beat has made his decision: if Nym wants to fight that badly, then a fight is what he will get! GT Gohan, Adult Gotenks, Super Saiyan 4 Goku, and Super Saiyan 2 Bardock emerge from the water in front of Beat. Nym is pleased that Beat is now ready to fight, while Beat tells him not to understand: he is here to save him. But as the column of water recedes, Nym is shocked at Beat’s (unseen) new appearance. If that is what it takes in order to wake him up, then Beat is going to defeat him!
As the digital version wraps up the Saiyan arc in Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump, the company is getting ready to unleash their print version of the Dragon Ball “Full Color” comics onto the English-speaking world.
What we can tell so far from the company’s previews online is that the Japanese sound effects will be kept as-is (unlike their original releases of the manga with re-typed English-language sound effects), and the typeset has been rekajiggered from the Shueisha-imposed Optima Nova Condensed to what we see in pretty much every other release.
And yes, we are all reading this tweet as another jab at cropped home video releases.
Viz’s 248-page first “Full Color” print edition is due out 04 February 2014.
Back on 07 November 2013, the Sankei Shimbun published an article in its entertainment section examining the popularity of Japanese animation, not only within Japan, but abroad. The article, written by Toshiko Yuhara, provides a few quotes from the Vice President of Toei Animation, Kōzō Morishita, someone who is very familiar with the Dragon Ball franchise. Morishita was involved in the planning process of every animated Dragon Ball property, including the most recent series, Dragon Ball Kai.
While the article, entitled “The Deep-Rooted Popularity of ‘Rising-Sun Animation’ — One Reason is ‘Adult-Oriented’ [Genres], which Do Not Exist Overseas”, does discuss the numerous problems the animation industry has encountered in entering foreign markets (mainly adjusting to foreign business models and rampant piracy issues), it also notes some of their successes with pitching high profile franchises and utilizing new technologies (internet streaming, simulcasting episodes, etc.). Two such recent high profile ventures undertaken by Toei Animation were detailed by Yuhara: the CG animated film “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” and, of course, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods”.
The article, presumably based on additional dialogue with Kōzō Morishita, goes on to specify the film’s success so far and Toei Animation’s plans for it internationally:
“Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” has grossed 3 billion yen domestically, and is set to be released in 26 countries overseas. It has already been released in Latin America, where it achieved 850 million yen at the box office in the first weekend.
We have known for some time now that “Battle of Gods” was created with an international release in mind, but this detail provides a glimpse into what exactly they are shooting for. Unfortunately, not all of the countries have been unveiled thus far, but we are starting to get a better idea lately. Numerous countries and regions have already announced licensing of the film, or have even screened it, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Spain, and so on. Next up, North America…?
Yuhara closes the article with an inspiring and profound quote from Kōzō Morishita, who is more than likely just talking about Toei Animation’s ambitions to become a global giant within the industry.
Japanese animation is a product we can take pride in around the world. It is possible to break out of the shell of Japan, and to go out into the world.
Thanks to our buddy kei17 for the heads-up, back when the article was first released.