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[GAME MASTER]Mitama Shinobi

Mar 09,2006
Mitama Shinobi is an adult adventure game from Japan that only recently received the go-ahead from Korea’s censors for sale here. Set in 12th century Japan, you can select one of two missions, each of which has a different storyline but a common ending.
The game is somewhat puzzling, though, in several respects. First, it is not really an animated game, and it allows for only very limited interaction between the on-screen story and the observer/player. The bulk of the game is manga illustrations by a famous Japanese illustrator, Tony. (Think Madonna, or Bono.)
I opted for the quest of Yahiro, a ninja and the second son of a prominent family. His parents were killed and he has to prove himself to his snotty older brother (who inherited everything) to move up the ranks. What starts out as a boring task, however, develops into high adventure as supernatural things start happening and Yahiro finds out that someone is planning to assassinate the emperor. On his quest to foil the plot, he meets several companions, and they travel together to do ultimate battle with the bad guy, who is trying to open up the gate to the afterworld so that ghosts can emerge.
The game follows a fairly traditional role-playing style, and is mainly composed of two elements ― story-telling and actual combat. About 90 percent of the game is following the story and watching the characters talk. You are able to make some choices in selecting the next destination, for instance, whether you want to take the wide road or the mountain path to reach the next city. The range of choices is extremely limited. In many cases, if you make a “wrong” choice, you are turned back to make the right one.
Some online discussion with gamers here suggests that the attraction is more the still illustrations by Tony than the game itself. There is some limited combat; you can select one of the travelers to make a limited number of combat moves, performed on-screen by cute cartoon-like characters.
You choose your moves in advance, and the rest is luck. It’s a good idea to save the game before you go into combat (which you can predict because the music takes on a darker note); if your character is killed, the game is over.
Given the limited action, simple story line and lack of animation, this game, limited for sale to 18-year-olds and up, would probably appeal only to Tony fans and to those who are willing to put up with the long narration sequences to get to the few ― also still illustrations only ― sex scenes, which have strong elements of non-consensual coupling.
The two points worthy of praise were the sound and the graphics. The voice-overs were excellent, but likely to infuriate feminists in the sex scenes where plaintive “no...no...nos” eventually turn into “yes...yes...yes.” That sexual stereotype is reinforced by the portrayal of the women as heavy-breasted, small-waisted gamins with high-pitched voices. Restricted sales or not, the soft-core porn is an adolescent fantasy.
The background music, a mix of Japanese and Western, was excellent and worth listening to. The dialogue is Japanese with Korean subtitles.
An adventure game it’s not, and those waiting for the sex scenes will have a long wait between them. Tony’s illustrations may indeed by the best part of the game.


by Wohn Dong-hee


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