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Always never not timely

So I played a bit of Taisen! Bomberman back in 2016, recorded some footage and made the barest of notes, but I wasn’t desperate to cover it. I figured, hey, it’s an Android game! You don’t need access to a Japan-exclusive phone service just to play these games, so what’s the rush? It’s not like the game’s gonna disappear anytime soon and I’ll have to rely on the dodgiest of second-hand accounts to even learn what the game was about. Perish the thought!

Well, guess who’s frantically researching the game after hearing it’s getting delisted on August 26th. The 2014 game and 100 Man Bomberman Battle have already been delisted when I wasn’t looking! Both games can no longer connect to their networks and thus won’t progress past the title screen. I’ll let you know how that crow tastes.
Until then, please read the Taisen! Bomberman coverage, where Bomberman trades his shoes made of bubblegum for some corporate-branded running shoes.

“If I don’t play soon, I’ll die of boredom.”

Updated Scans & Bits with what you’d usually expect. More obscure Mario guff, rarities like some F-Zero and Landstalker manga, dumping raws on MEGA for the likes of Rockman ZX Advent, Ninja Turtles and Kirby, plus two new pages for game manuals and guidebooks.
Oh, and the officially licensed Shrek manga. Yeah, I had a double-take when I saw it existed too.

I had a case of the unwellies a few weeks ago which left me nigh-incapacitated… and it says a lot about my priorities that my first thought was, “now’s probably a good time to play Donkey Kong 64.” A debilitating flu really takes the guilt out of playing a nine thousand hour-long game! (Continued)

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad (Bomberman) World

The Bomberman Shrine Place updated with coverage on Bomberman World, featuring a look at its quirky regional changes and smorgasbord of unused stuff, and also a translation of an interview from the Bomberman Maniax book. This game has been long, long overdue some coverage on the site, and it came about because I wanted to get into the ol’ map-making lark again. Nobody had made any for it yet!


Some games I played in 2018

eyyy nothing better than updating your web browser only to find the newest version of my plugins stink and it now displays foreign language text in a needlessly bulky font, ruining my otherwise lovingly-spaced page designs. I dread to see what it’s done to the Bomberman shrine!

What’s new this month?
Scans & Bits has a bunch of stuff because I wanna see people translate this stuff already (I’LL COMMISSION), including all of the Super Princess Peach and Sonic Generations manga, plus the rest of the Sly Cooper in my possession because it got a lot of buzz for some reason.
Metal Slug: Missing in Action updated with some reader submitted bits and bobs, including hopefully more user-friendly methods of accessing Metal Slug Advance’s unused stages and debug dipswitches.
The Bomberman Shrine is just some junk I had lying around, though the Pocket Bomberman page is worth a goosey if just for its unused material, complete with .IPS patch so you can sample some of it yourself!

It’s that time again: writing thoughts about the media I gorged over the past 12 months. At this point this routine is just a formality for my ailing memory – I keep needing to remind myself, yes, I’ve beaten Star Fox Command and gotten all the endings, I can’t just keep making excuses to play it again! (Continued)

“Have a 腐れ day!”

You’ll have to forgive me for still being on my manga research kick. It’s just such a novelty, y’know? I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I felt so starved for video game ephemera as a youngster it was a blessing to see any video game franchise as merchandise, as a comic, whatever. I’m not sure if we even had Nintendo comics published in the UK, Nintendo Power and Valiant being such American staples; the closest we got were the two Sonic the Hedgehog comics and the occasional surprise in other magazines such as Max Overload, but it was slim pickings.

And then you turn to Japan and it seemed like it was coming down in video game media – more than I can count in the ’80s alone! Whether or not they were good is a whole other matter, but seeing obtuse one-and-done games like Star Force or Pirate Ship Higemaru getting a manga treatment just seems wild… and they’re darn near undocumented online. I could argue they’re interesting little nuggets of history, but I think that’s just me trying to sugar-coat my big dumb obsessions.

Just on a lark, I figured I’d make a somewhat chronological list of serialised Mario manga from 1985 to the mid-2000; I’d already been keeping tabs on these in my notes for Scans & Bits, but there was no point making proper sections for them until I had actual material of my own to share. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s more out there; if working on the Bomberman media section has taught me anything, the moment you think you’re 100% comprehensive, three more obscure manga appear out of the woodwork!

Famicom Hissho Technique-Kan
various artists, Wanpaku Comic (わんぱっくコミック), 1985 ~ 1989

Wanpaku Comic was a magazine similar to CoroCoro Comic that featured video game manga, including a variety of Mario and Mario-adjacent games like Wrecking Crew. Not a Mario series so much as walkthrough-esque one-offs from a variety of artists, but it’s a nifty look at lovingly illustrated versions of the wonky early-days character designs.

Super Mario-kun
Hiroshi Takase (嵩瀬ひろし), Shogaku Ichinensei (小学一年生), 1986 ~ 1998

(image source: retromag1970)
Is this the earliest dedicated Mario manga?? I can’t speak for the earliest stories since I don’t think they’ve ever been rereleased (and any issue of the Shogakukan learning magazines from 1985 to 1999 tends to sell for funny money), but what I’ve seen looks like extremely simple stories for little kids with the occasional puzzle thrown into the mix.

Super Mario-kun
Daisuke Shigoto (しごと大介), Shogaku Ninensei (小学二年生), 1986 ~ 1987

No relation! The childish “-kun” suffix is just an easy go-to title, it seems. Short and kid-friendly capers between Mario, Peach and Bowser, who all act like petty dopes. Of the stories I’ve seen, those three are the only defined characters, with Toads and other baddies serving just as page filler – Luigi doesn’t even get a look in!

Ganbare Mario

Tatsuhiko Matsuda (松田辰彦), TV-kun (てれびくん), 1986 ~ 2001

(image source: saibookssapporo2)
A light-hearted comedy adventure series, looking almost like a prototype Super Mario-kun – the CoroCoro Comic one! As far as I can tell the serialised stories appear to be straightforward adventures sometimes recapping the games (including Super Mario Bros. 3), while what I’ve seen of the books from Super Mario World onward look to have the occasional puzzle page chucked in for spice.

Super Mario
Kazuki Motoyama (本山一城), Comic Bom Bom (コミックボンボン), 1988 ~ 1998

An especially irreverent take on Mario starting from Super Mario Bros. 3, with new takes on existing characters, oodles of bizarre pop culture references, and even allusions to western Mario media. It’s somewhat well-known if just because almost every volume is on Imgur. I have to commend it for daring to have a story arc about Wario’s Woods, of all games! It’s about the NES version, sadly, so no manga appearance for my boy Lizardon.

Super Mario-kun

Yukio Sawada (沢田ユキオ), CoroCoro Comic (コロコロコミック), 1990 ~ still ongoing!

The one everyone thinks of when they hear about Mario manga. To be fair, it has been running non-stop since 1990, sprouted a bunch of spin-offs and even got immortalised as a costume in Super Mario Maker, so it’s nothing if not prolific. It’s full of craziness and juvenile humour, particularly gags about bums and willies, which companies and shareholders in Japan seem a lot more okay with than over here.

Tobidase! Mario

Goro Yamada (山田ゴロ), TV Magazine (テレビマガジン), 1991 ~ 2006

(image source)
For a series that ran for 15 years, there’s shockingly little imagery of it online! It’s likely yet another comedy adventure series for tykes, one with a particularly loose art style that definitely covered Super Mario 64 and Yoshi’s Story during its run.

Michi Ueda (うえだ未知), Shogaku Ichinensei (小学一年生), 1991 ~ 1997

(image source: noomanossi)
Mario’s new pal Yoshi gets his own starring series! Initially a Super Mario World tie-in until 1994, then reformatted to shill Yoshi’s Island in 1995 with Baby Mario along for the ride. What little I’ve seen appears to be another puzzle page comic for tiny little readers. The same author also did a short-lived Mario spin-off “Totsugeki! Super Mario-kun” in 1994, and two episodes of “Super Donkey Kong-kun” in 1995, likely in much the same style.

Otenba ♥ Peach-Hime

Sayuri Jiyou (じようさゆり), Shogaku Sannensei (小学三年生), 1992 ~ 1994

(image source)
4-koma starring a squat tomboy Princess Peach who’s either playing pranks on her pals or succumbing to some comic pratfall. Apparently more than one of the comics has her dousing her friends in animal piss. That’s charming, that is.

Super Mario: Makai Teikoku no Megami
(スーパマリオ 魔界帝国の女神)

Kazuyoshi Kawai (河合一慶), CoroCoro Comic (コロコロコミック), 1993
A one-off manga published in an extremely rare 1993 Spring special of CoroCoro Comic, apparently based on Super Mario Bros.: The Movie, or “Goddess of the Demon World Empire” as it’s subtitled over there. The only proof I’ve got of its existence is a record on a CoroCoro manga index (under “93年夏休み増刊”) I sincerely doubt it’ll live up to expectations, but my life force has drained every day ever since I learnt of it and no one’s shared it.

Mario & Donkey Daibouken
Ritsuko Kawai (河井リツ子), Shogaku Ichinensei (小学一年生), 1995 ~ 1999

This focuses on Mario and Donkey Kong partnering up to save the day, until Mario went solo after its change of format in 1998 to “Mario no Bouken Land“. It’s yet another puzzle page comic, wrapping tiny nuggets of story around two-page spreads of maze games, spot the differences and other activities. It’s notable for exploring the whole gamut of Mario canon, including jaunts into Wario Land 2 and even Diddy Kong Racing, and featuring incredibly adorable art by the creator of Hamtaro.

Super Donkey Kong
Kouya Anna (公弥杏捺), Monthly Manga Boys (月刊マンガボーイズ), 1995

A five-episode adventure based on Donkey Kong Country, from DK’s first meeting with little pal Diddy to the whole Kong clan clobbering K.Rool’s crew. Its collected edition proposes “to be continued?” on its back cover with an image of Dixie Kong, who otherwise never appears in the series – as far as I know the author never did get to follow up on the Kongs. A pity, since it’s wonderfully illustrated.

Super Mario Gaiden: Hige to Boin to Hige
(スーパーマリオ外伝 ひげとボインとひげ)
Tamikichi Sakura (桜玉吉), Shogaku Rokunensei (小学六年生), 1995

(image source)
A particularly offbeat take on Mario where everyone is drawn as the closest thing to stick figures. Features some bizarre mundane humour (seemingly in the vein of the author’s 4-koma work) and a penchant for unexpected appearances, like Peach dressing up as Samus Aran and Kirby using Koopa’s bath. Only ran for two episodes as far as I know, but later collected in a Yoshi’s Island anthology.

Uho Uho Donkey-kun
Yumiko Sudo (須藤ゆみこ), CoroCoro Comic (コロコロコミック), 1995 ~ 1998

A Donkey Kong manga spanning the three Donkey Kong Country games. Your typical light-hearted adventure japes starring chimps that look nothing like chimps.

GOGO! Mario World

Atsuko Katomoto (兼本あつこ), Monthly Shonen Gag OH! (月刊少年ギャグ王), 1997 ~ 1999

(image source)
A 4-koma series with a strange twist on the formula, depicting Mario as a violent and oppressive figure who bullies his friends and foes alike, even spraying Luigi and Yoshi with sulphuric acid according to a Japanese review! Bowser, meanwhile, is a comparatively warm-hearted sort who has feelings for Peach. You’d hardly believe it based on the cutesy book covers. The series seems pretty rare and I can’t find any images of the manga itself, so I’ve just got to take this fellow’s word for it.

Donkey Kong: Uho Uho Dai Shizen Gag
(ドンキーコング ウホウホ大自然ギャグ)

Makoto Hijioka (ひじおか誠), CoroCoro Comic (コロコロコミック), 1999 ~ 2001

More goofball antics with the DK crew and Kremling clan. This series is partially based on the French CGI animated series which had just begun broadcast in Japan at the time, featuring its designs for the likes of Funky Kong and Candy Kong, as well as otherwise cartoon-exclusive characters such as Bluster Kong and Kaptain Skurvy. It also introduces the cast of Donkey Kong 64; this is the one ya’ll probably know where Lanky Kong dies. (no he doesn’t die he just fell in a hedge sorry to spoil the joke)

Dr. Mario-kun

Kei Aoki (あおきけい) and Maru Mika (みかまる), Comic Bom Bom (コミックボンボン), 2003 ~ 2007

Dr. Mario and Nurse Peach use super-powered pharmaceuticals to resolve crises in the Mushroom Kingdom, usually villainous schemes from Bowser or Wario, or sometimes bizarre transformative influenzas courtesy of the Viruses. No, really, it’s mad about transforming people – turning people into bugs, turning people into inanimate objects, making people buff, making people fat… it’s too cheap a gag to say “someone’s got a fetish for this,” but you could argue the Mario series is all about transforming, innit? The Super Mushrooms, the costume-changing power-ups, the entirety of Wario Land 2 and Yoshi’s Island…! The authors later found success with a long-running Kirby manga in Dengeki Nintendo DS, so the transformative stuff probably found a home in a series where the hero eats people to get new threads.
I’m currently on a foolish endeavour to try and collect the series in full, and I’m a little over halfway there. I’ll keep you posted!

Himemaru no Game Tenkomori!
Kagemaru Himeno (姫野かげまる), Famitsu Cube + Advance (ファミ通キューブ+アドバンス), 2005
Not a Mario series, but a comic strip about author stand-in Himemaru recapping her experiences while playing the latest games. Apparently two Mario Tennis and two Mario Party games were covered as part of the series. It’s probably the most on-model the characters have ever looked in manga form, so that’s a novelty.

Go!! Go!! Mario Kart
(ゴー!!ゴー!! マリオカート)

Shin Ogino (おぎの しん), Famitsu Cube + Advance (ファミ通キューブ+アドバンス), 2006

An unexpectedly anime-looking approach to Mario, serving up shonen-style racing drama on the mean streets of Mario Kart DS. Characters tune their cars, rivalries and alliances form on the track, and half the racers are colluding to stop Mario from winning. Mario and Peach might not look much like themselves, but it’s nothing if not dynamic.

Peach no Daiboken!?
Kazumi Sugiyama (すぎやまかずみ), Famitsu Cube + Advance (ファミ通キューブ+アドバンス), 2006 ~ 2007

A particularly light-hearted and silly series based on Super Princess Peach, who giddily glides her way through the game’s locales and challenges. The art’s a bit wobbly, but it’s charming enough.

GOketsu Wario
Akira Yamanaka (山中あきら), Dengeki Nintendo DS (デンゲキニンテンドーDS), 2007 ~ 2011

The author of Spider-Man J brings you slapstick-heavy adventures with Wario and the cast of Master of Disguise! A bit of episodic treasure-of-the-day nonsense with some terrific comic illustrations, and putting the spotlight on characters that were never acknowledged again. It reformatted in 2008 for Wario Land: The Shake Dimension with Wario schmoozing aboard the ship of a redesigned Captain Syrup. It maintains the same slapstick nonsense all the way through, though I confess the Master of Disguise stories have an even greater comic edge compared to the later stuff in my opinion; its human characters make funnier targets for physical comedy than the bumbling Bandinero. Not that I’d turn my nose up at any Wario content, mind.

Oshiete! Kinipio

Udon Tanaka (たなかうどん), Dengeki Nintendo DS (デンゲキニンテンドーDS), 2008 ~ 2009

A two-page comic feature alongside an explanatory section of the magazine outlining features on Nintendo hardware, how they’re used and what you can use them for, such as the Mii Channel, the DSi camera and more. The comic pages feature allegedly-comical misinterpretations courtesy of Toadsworth and crew.

As far as I can tell, although CoroCoro’s Super Mario-kun is still going strong, new series appear to have dried up in the 2010s. And this isn’t even getting into 4-koma anthologies, prose stories, comics that were only released as books or part of strategy guides…!

I won’t lie that I’d love to see more of these scanned and archived in some way. Although trivia blogs like Supper Mario Broth and Forest of Illusion have helped raise awareness for obscure Japanese media we’d otherwise be oblivious to, efforts to archive or translate them have been a bit scattershot, at least in regards to manga… and naturally, considering that’s a legal landmine (especially with Nintendo on the warpath over ROM sites lately). It’d be nice for folks to experience Super Mario-kun – one of them, any of them! – with more knowledge than just speculating off pictures or individual chapters.
Hell, half the series here have never been reprinted in book form, and those that have often aren’t even comprehensively or are growing rarer and more expensive as the years go on! A good chunk of TV Magazine issues are available for cheap on Mandarake, it’s mighty temping to stockpile on it and start archiving Tobidase! Mario… but I think I’ve taken on enough foolhardy projects for one lifetime. If someone wanted to chip in on the costs, maybe…!

Anyway, this was one way to fill a couple of evenings! I could go out more instead… or I could make a start on my list of top 5 most handsome Bowsers. Hmm!

193rd DUNK: Infringement?! Slam Courtroom!!

As part of research and documentation for Scans & Bits, I bought what could be scientifically described as a shit-ton of Comic Bom Bom. I definitely had to document Dr. Mario-kun, I wanted to get the full run of Ganbare Goemon, and I was curious about all those Ninja Turtles manga. But these 700+ page magazines are always full of funky curiosities, be it bizarre toy phenomena of the early 90s, coverage of video games long forgotten, or just its strange bevy of manga I’d otherwise never heard of.

The series that really got me guffawing with shock and awe in every instalment I saw was Katsuyuki Toda’s DANDAN Dunk! (DANDANだんく!), a sports manga following the pint-sized Makishima Dunk (or Danku, but where’s the fun in that) who makes up for his lack of height with some bomb-ass basketball skills. What sets it apart from other dry sports dramas is its joyous disregard for any attachment to reality – every episode I’ve seen goes some real crazy places! (Continued)

A Correction 65 Million Years in the Making

I’m a lazy bum and didn’t write blog posts for the last few updates, so let’s get it all in one go!

MS:MIA has a few bits and pieces here and there: some unused graphics, remnants of a debug dipswitch in Advance, translated bits from the Metal Slug Official Guidebook, and a bit of general maintenance, that sort of thing.
The Bomberman shrine sprayed a bunch of stuff  all over the place, mostly unfinished pages, but there’s some notable content like a translated interview!
I’m afraid Scans & Bits is my new jam for content-light research-heavy updates! There’s new pages for Comic Bom Bom (with Ganbare Goemon, Sly Cooper and Dr. Mario scans), CoroCoro Comic (Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Sonic the Hedgehog and assorted 4-koma), Shogakukan Learning Magazine (Super Mario Kun and Famicom Manga for Mario, Zelda 2 and The Goonies), Fami2Comic (Rockman ZX Advent and the rest of Go! Go! Mario Kart), and Dengeki Nintendo DS (Animal Crossing, Sonic the Hedgehog #6, #24 and #38), and English translations for the Star Fox Super Capture Guide, Wai Wai Wario and Klonoa manga courtesy of MiloScat, ReasonablePerson and Moonpie!).
Phew! (Continued)

The box of words

The Bomberman Shrine Place updated recently with a big pile of merchandise coverage and a neato cameos article aided by pal Steamy Jimmy, and Scans & Bits has some new manga: Go! Go! Mario Kart #3 and #4, Kaze no Klonoa, Oshiete! Kinipio, and Hichako no Game Taiken-ki.

I keep thinking of the most inane possible subjects to ramble on at length about, like the fragile nature of internet history or the secret merits of Sonic Labyrinth, yet when it comes to padding out a blog post my mind’s a total blank. Maybe sometime I’ll have it in me!

Wild Guns: Live & Reloaded

Metal Slug: Missing in Action updated recently with some debug menu gubbins for 7 and XX. Still holding out for that debug menu in Metal Slug Advance! Anything to close the book on that game!

I’ve been playing a heck of a lot of Wild Guns lately, both the SNES original and the fancy-pants Reloaded edition. For some reason it’s simply pushing all my buttons, it’s the exact type of game I want to play at this point in time! It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s intense, and it pushes me to play better with every attempt. I’ve finished the game on the hardest difficulty with all characters in one credit on both versions now, and I’m still playing it… partly because I don’t know what to move on to next! Bot Vice, maybe?
I’m still kicking myself for short-changing the game’s new content in my last “Some games I played in 2017” post, though I’m shocked there still isn’t a good list laying out all the changes and differences yet. The game’s been out for over a year! Not that it’s a huge deal, the preview trailers do a decent job of showing the highlights, but I’ve been playing both versions so much I want to get it down just for posterity. (Continued)

Some games I played in 2017

Sneaking in a quick Bomberman update with Bomberman 2001, a game that barely existed as a game. Any chance of finding new information it via search engines had already been squandered when at least three forum threads sprung up about it, so I might as well chuck this up. If someone happened to have raided that E3 booth seventeen years ago and done a runner with its contents, maybe we’ll learn something!
Despite no intentions of another yearly review article, I still keep track of the media I consume. I played nearly sixty games this year and watched eighty-something movies… and I’ve, like, barely anything to say about any of them. I’ll try and squeeze out some thoughts on the noteworthy ones under the cut! (Continued)

Some comics I read in 2017

Another year’s about to wrap up, so you know what that means – I write dumb opinions about media I barely remember! I know, I’m sorry too. I’d no intention of doing a full article, and even the abbreviated list for last year was just too boring to go through again… but I still had a whole bunch of dumb opinions on media I barely remembered that needed an outlet. So, hey, let’s talk about some comics I read! If the thought of writing more doesn’t lull me and the audience into a never-ending sleep, expect another post for games and movies too, maybe.

Star Fox (Nintendo Power)

I’d been keen to read this since my big Star Fox kick last year. My early years online drifting around tiny fansites suggested people found it more compelling than the games, portraying a darker and deeper take on Star Fox lore that, most importantly for fanfic writers, gave Fox a girlfriend, Fara Phoenix. (he can’t fuck Wolf and Falco all the time!)

It’s a breezy light-hearted space romp that paints a fun picture of the Star Fox world. I guess to a young audience it might seem slightly mature, what with Fox grieving over his lost parents and hating Andross so much he’s willing to go on a kamikaze mission, forcing Falco to pummel him senseless… but it’s just so breezy it’s hard to see it that way. The dialogue is jokey and full of dreadful puns, and Andross’ goofy schemes undermine any attempt at seriousness, including his Gundam-shaped living-battery android pig assistant, and his brilliant plan to work alongside a clone of himself is foiled when his clone gushes his love for Fox’s gal. It’s a 80-20 skew of cornball and melodrama, and I love it. (Continued)

Update #4 of 2017

Metal Slug: Missing in Action has some bits and bobs, most notably more early footage and some weird discoveries in Metal Slug 7‘s missing areas.  The Bomberman site has a pile of guff I just wanted out of the way, though Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bakuretsu Bomberman is worth spotlighting for its sheer strangeness (also hello i’m still looking for issues of dengeki nintendo ds please hook me up), and Super Bomberman 2’s media section because we all need a bit of GamesMaster in our lives.

2017’s been a bit of a blur – so much has happened in the world and so little has happened in my life! It’s weeks away, but I’ll probably tune out for the rest of the month, so I hope everyone has a good December and wish you all have a decent new year.

Have I any plans for Random Hoo Haas next year? Pffft. I barely accomplished my plans for this year! I’d like an excuse to write more guff, be it reviews or blog content or just spewing nonsense out of my mouth that’s hopefully amusing or interesting (though no promise on both counts). As always, the best I can say is I’ll see what happens!

The Justice Pals of Komorebi

Just uploading stuff that should’ve been uploaded months ago!
Metal Slug: Missing in Action has more concept art courtesy of Division 六‘s lovely scans from Neo Geo Freak. You’re best just browsing the directories to see what’s new, those thumbnails are a nightmare to navigate (and even worse to update!).
Scans & Bits also has some new content, including the City Connection manga, some Animal Crossing, plus more Peach’s Great Adventure, Go-Ketsu Wario and Sonic the Hedgehog.

I’m still writing bits and bobs on the side, though whether it’ll find a home on the site is up in the air. All this documentative gumbo scratches an itch, but I do miss a good all-purpose waffle. Sometime, hopefully!

The fifty-billionth Random Hoo Haas revamp

All that waffling about gaming manga wasn’t for naught – there’s a page for scans now, starting off with some Mario, Sonic and Kirby manga as well as a big pile of research on Dengeki Nintendo DS and Fami2Comic! More cleaned-up stuff will appear in future, but until then you can browse my MEGA for the raw scans.
The Random Hoo Haas main page has also been overhauled a bit, cramming in a new logo, another sidebar and a new page to shuffle all the miscellaneous crap (or Additional Impedimenta if I’m going to stick to my branding) into instead of dumping it all under General Writings. Do people still use site maps? I’ve been real tempted to make one, if only because I’ve no idea how to navigate this site without just browsing the directories. Let me know how you cope and I’ll see if I just turn the front page into a phonebook instead.

Metal Slug: Missing in Action has some odds and sods, including lovely concept art scanned by a site reader (hats off to Division 六!), and the Bomberman Shrine Place also got a makeover for its front page (with some light coverage on media, merch and the Jetters anime – more to come when I’m not stressing myself to death under self-imposed deadlines!), and now has a full banner on the hub. Now it won’t be taking over Random Hoo Haas’ updates log! (i’ll probably change that hub banner sometime – it was an “it’ll do” job, not one of my best collages)

There’s stuff I had to leave out of these updates that’ll probably come out soon-ish, but we’ll see what happens! Maybe I’ll finally take a break and enjoy some other pursuits instead. One of the two!

Big Guff Power Hour

Thanks to a reader submission, we now know there was a level select and sound test hidden inside the first Metal Slug! Now if only we could find a way of loading different objects – looking at those test stages shows some curious object behaviours I didn’t notice before. I’m also testing the waters to see if SNK really do poach my updates for Metal Slug Attack fodder. I’m not crazy, I swear.

The Bomberman site got a lot more stuff, but I couldn’t tell you if any of it is worth looking at; I just got tired of sitting on them until I had a bigger, fancier update to bundle them with.

More talkin’ ’bout manga peeps won’t care about

I don’t want to make this a routine, but you might have guessed (because I’ve become incredibly predictable ever since I exchanged my personality for nerd-ass obsessions) I bought another Japanese gaming magazine for the sole Bomberman comic in it: the August 2007 issue of Fami2Comic.

It’s kind of interesting comparing this to the Dengeki Nintendo I also acquired for the same silly reason; despite being an offshoot of Famitsu, the hot shot magazine whose reviews were taken as gospel for years until people realised, huh, they sure do like bribes, don’t they, Fami2Comic feels like the definition of “second-stringer”. You look at that other blog post and the games its manga were based off, and there wasn’t a game there that wasn’t some manner of international success. Fossil Fighters probably ranked higher than Bomberman during that period in terms of awareness and popularity! (during that comic’s run there was only ONE Bomberman game on shelves… in Japan, Europe and Australia only. welp!) There are four years between the two issues, mind – Dengeki’s lineup might’ve been trash when this one came out for all I know.
I thought it’d be amusing to do another quick looksie at the manga Fami2Comic has to offer, and it’s probably the only spotlight they’ll be getting on the English internet anytime soon, so why the heck not. (Continued)

Talkin’ ’bout manga peeps don’t know about

I’ve been buying an obscene amount of crap from Japan the past few months. Most of it is “research material” (Bomberman books, natch), but I also pick up toys, manga, magazines and other doodads; whatever I can get away with saying “it’s for the website, honest!”
Some of the most interesting buys are magazines, if just for the sheer variety of content in them. I may have bought four issues of Gamest just for the prototype Metal Slug coverage in them, but they’re full of great arcade games I’ve never even seen before. Likewise, I picked up an 1986 edition of CoroCoro Comic just for the rare City Connection manga in it, but there’s stacks of bizarre crap in it like old toy ads, Famicom Rocky, and an short-lived manga that’s never been collected anywhere else, Solar Dog Zero (太陽犬ゼロ). I’ve been sliiiightly tempted to track down the rest of it, but I’m juggling enough foolish endeavours as it is. (a Bomberman website, really?!?)

One of my current focuses is trying to track down all the Bomberman manga, seven of which have never been collected into volumes of any sort, so I have to track them down in the original anthologies or magazines. I picked up an issue of Dengeki Nintendo DS recently (which you’ll probably know the name of if you’re in the Pokémon scene, it’s usually plundered for screens and reveals when a new game is announced) just for the Bomberman story in it, but I was surprised by the number of game-related mangas inside, most of them I’d never even known of before! Full-page A4-sized manga, too!
I thought I’d look them up and see how many are catalogued or even recognised on English fansites. Doing so only made me angry. There’s nada! Not a blip of information on most of ’em! It’s like they don’t even exist! (which is a bit understandable when only one of them got a collected edition) So just for a larf, I want to spotlight the manga in Dengeki Nintendo DS’ March 2011 issue and take note of what coverage they have online.

Hoshi no Kirby: Pupupu Hero

A cheery bit of light-hearted Kirby fluff; in this story, Kirby teams up with Mr. Frosty against Dedede in a downhill bobsleigh race, though Lololo and Lalala block their path with an icecube maze. Kirby also makes these horrible kissy lips whenever he sucks stuff up and I hate it.
This ran from January 2008 to May 2013 [src], before reviving in Dengeki Bazooka!! as Hoshi no Kirby: Ultra Star Deluxe (星のカービィ ウルトラスーパーデラックス) for a run lasting October 2014 to April 2016. [src] It was also lucky enough to get its complete Dengeki Nintendo run collected in two volumes, though good luck finding them!

Kirby fansites have barely acknowledged this – Kirbytraum has a button for it but no link or info yet – though given how there’s eleventy-billion manga out there I can’t blame them. However, @hitotsunoneko‘s fansite Masked Knight steals the show – not only has it got scans of ten of the stories, it even has fan-translations for the first seven! This is a really good start for online recognition, but it’s gonna go downhill from here. (Continued)

ONM Remembered is OVER!!!

Over five hundred entries over the course of nearly five years. I, uh, honestly wasn’t expecting this silly little column to run for that long! Somebody should probably have intervened.

Like I said all the way at the beginning, the idea to scan these came about as a first step to finally chucking the old things out… and all this time later, even after moving house, they’re still lying around. I think this column only made me more attached to the stupid things! They’re funny little relics, game magazines; a more tangible step into the past than the Wayback Machine can ever amount to, when people were hyped as hell over totally forgotten games or had no better ways of expressing their ill-conceived anger than writing it on paper and putting it in a letterbox. I could wax nonsense about “simpler times” but I’ve been putting off this epilogue for weeks – months, even! – and the last thing I need is more beating about the bush.
Official Nintendo Magazine and its ilk were a lot of fun to look back on, and I think it’s given me a complex about archiving old magazines now, so thanks for that. ONM Remembered was also a fun exercise in writing scheduled content and admittedly getting blood from a stone at times, but I tried to keep it a breezy mish-mash of content that hopefully didn’t get too by-the-numbers. Feel free to tell me how wrong I was.
On the subject of speaking your mind, what’s the verdict? Is scheduled blog content something you want to see more of, or do you prefer Random Hoo Haas when crap just shows up whenever? Not that I’m in a rush to go starting even more projects, but let’s throw the suggestion into the void, why not.

Hey! Metal Slug: Missing in Action updated! The crux of its new content is scans from old game magazines; how’s that for thematic relevance! I also finally finished off Some Games I Played in 2015 so you can read about how dismal Brilliant Bob is. I still have placeholder images in there, but I’m tired. I’ll replace them later.

ONM Remembered – #478

“Ed’s a loopy alien who, while cleaning up his spaceship, accidentally chucked a can of cosmic tonic down to earth. Oops!”

from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 86 (November 1999) (Continued)

ONM Remembered – #477

“What made you decide now was the right time to bring Speedball II to GB Advance?”

from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 119 (August 2002) (Continued)