It always sucks to be second banana. Tokyo’s immediate neighbor, Saitama, hardly ever gets a break in the Japanese psyche, seemingly condemned to be a punchline – sometimes literally, as in the case of One Punch Man’s comically bland protagonist. Some of our more informed readers may already be familiar with the slang term “DaSaitama,” a riff on the word dasai, meaning “lame.”
Fed up with being Japan’s Florida (paradoxically dull yet full of bizarre crime stories), cities in the prefecture have done what they can to break the dasai stereotype. Anime fans may be familiar with the touristic coups attempted by Shin-chan’s house in Kasukabe; Washimiya’s Lucky Star shrine; or the Chichibu countryside quietly featured in Anohana.
Yet, to this day, Saitama just can’t get a break – especially Saitama City. It serves the dubious distinction of being seen as the suckiest and lamest part of an already sucky and lame prefecture. So, if the people won’t come to the city, why not send the city to the people?
Enter Localdia Chronicles. Perhaps inspired by the success of other satirical love letters such as metro-crawler Shinjuku Dungeon, a group of Saitamans have decided to show their home in a retro JRPG adventure for your smartphone.
“Localdia Chronicles isn’t just a game. It’s a ‘Regional Production RPG,’” boasts the developer’s website, going on to explain its ambition to create a game that showcases the charms of Saitama City while shying away from too many potentially alienating inside jokes.
The actual game itself seems pretty standard fare to anyone who has ever played Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest – run around, slay baddies, gain experience, repeat.
Separating it is of course the theme. The world of the game is divided into 10 different countries, representing each ward of Saitama City. The game also offers coupons to real-world businesses that players can encounter in-game.
So will this be the saving grace Saitama needs to regain its dignity? A cursory look at the game’s homepage showcasing the story of a priestess, with the unlikely name Rouche Primevere, running around trying to find what caused all these monsters to show up doesn’t exactly scream innovation, nor do the characters’ sleek but trope-driven designs.
It would have been fun to wreck havoc at a Omiya Train Museum or heal up at the Hikawa Shrine with these blocky sprites. Alas, that would seem to conflict with the “no in-jokes” policies the developers have going.
Either way, Android users both in and out of Saitama can discover for themselves, when Localdia Chronicles is released in April, whether Saitama is a treasure or just dasai.
Source: IT Media