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Review: Okami Garyou Tensei (fanbook + DVD)

First of all, some photos I took.



And this is what it looks like inside, with not-so random pages:



As you can see in the first images, the book is large and hardcover, which I didn't expect at all. I put a cellphone and an iPod Nano next to it for size reference. The DVD is inside the back cover's cardboard (see last photo), which is thicker. The page number isn't high. The illustrations are nothing new, of course; the cover behind the jacket is a nice collage of every single character -but the ones already in the jacket, that is- in queue, but it's still nothing strictly new.

Now to the content. As some of you might've heard about, it's mostly text about the Japanese (and Ainu) mythology and myths that inspired Okami. I can't help you that much with the meaning because I don't speak Japanese, but I can make a list of what made it to the fanbook.

Part I: gods (appears to be mostly Kojiki stuff)
- Izanagi and Izanami (Nagi and Nami)
- Amaterasu Omikami
- Yamata no Orochi, Susanoo no Mikoto, Kushinada-hime, and Okuninushi no Mikoto
- Konohana no Sakuya-hime
- Wadatsumi no kami (king Wada)
- Extra page: Family tree of the main gods
- Extra page: No idea, but the juunichi (zodiac signs) are mentioned

Part II: legends
- Issun Boushi
- The cut tongue sparrow (Sasa Sanctuary sparrows)
- Satomi Hakkenden (Canine Warriors)
- The white rabbit of Inaba
- Momotarou
- Sakuragawa Monogatari (I've tried to look for this legend with no result; it explains Blossom's father's sidequest in Sei-an)
- Hanasaka (Mr. Flower)
- Orders of many restaurants (?) (another one I have no idea; this explains chef Yama)
- The bamboo cutter (Kaguya and Mr. Bamboo)
- Urashima Tarou
- Extra page: I have no idea

Part III: historical characters (more like very loosely based) and randomness
- Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Waka) and Musashibou Benkei (Benkei)
- Himiko
- Nasu no Yoichi (Yoichi)
- Onmyouji (tao troopers): Abe no Seimei (Abe) and Kamo no Yasunori (Kamo)
- Hiraga Gennai (Gen)
- Idaten (Ida)
- Izumo no Okuni (Okuni, the aristocratic singing girl)
- Tamaya Ichibee (Tama. And okay, I couldn't find this person at all on google, but I did find out that Tamaya -now Tamaya Kitahara Fireworks Co. Ltd.- has been a popular firework brand for centuries in Japan, so this guy was probably the founder)
- Naguri (explaining the carpenter boss; Naguri isn't a person, but a town famous for its woodwork)
- Otsuchi Kotsuchi (the moles; and honestly, not sure what's up with that. After much google-fu, I think it's a word play that sounds like "big hammer + little hammer", and this is most probably a silly whack-a-mole pun. Not sure about the person/place/thing that inspired the name, however)

Special Extra:
Oh, this one I wasn't expecting at all! It's a list of the English names that were used on the Western localization, with the Japanese equivalent next to it. It's quite fun: we have places, characters, weapons, bosses, and even common terms (including, believe it or not, furball)

Part IV: Ainu mythology and legends
(I wish I could read this part so badly, since it's almost impossible to find good written info about the Ainu)
- The Ainus and kamui
- Kamui Yukar*
- Okikurmi* (Oki) and Samaykur* (Samickle)
- Kaipoku (Kai)
- Pirika (Lika)
- Kemushiri (Kemu)
- Tousukuru (Tuskle)
- Wariunekuru (Wali)
- Korpokkur* (Poncles)
- Extra page: list of Ainu terms
* Note: That's the actual romanization of the Ainu name, not the Japanese katakana. No damn clue about the other ones.

The DVD
What you were waiting for, right? It's actually a 95-minute summary of the whole game on video. It's pretty neat and lovely. Maybe too summarized, however, and lots of things were cut off and worked around it. And I don't only mean sidequests or boss fights or dialogs with minor characters, but even important things like some conversations with pivotal characters. As a Waka fan, for example, I mourned the lack of dorky prophesies and dances. But you know, it IS a video summary. And it's still cute. As soon as I get a new computer, which I don't know when it's going to be, I'm definitely ripping this DVD on .avi and screencapping the brown rage out of it. Right now I can't because I'd kill my laptop on the process, woe. Bad timing is bad.



Okay, in conclusion. As a collectible for a hardcore Okami fan, it's awesome. For someone who's that, and also can read Japanese and likes mythology, must be even more awesome. For a casual fan who can't read Japanese, it's probably not something to buy. But hell, it's quite pretty and I love it. I'm disappointed on the DVD because I expected actual full-length cutscenes in high quality instead of a butchered summary, but it's better than nothing.
Tags: fanbook, merchandising, review
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