Mourning Mutsumi Inomata – This Week in Games

Welcome back, everyone! As you read this, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is already out and folks are likely going nuts making and sharing pawns. I still haven’t had a chance to play the first title, but it sounds like CAPCOM finally got to make the game they intended to make with the first Dragon’s Dogma. Goes to show, that sometimes all a game needs is a second chance. Not bad for a game that got so thoroughly overlooked back in 2012.

This is…

Art by Catfish

We’re still mourning the loss of the beloved Akira Toriyama, but another landmark artist has been taken from us; this time, it’s Mutsumi Inomata, who died on March 10th at the age of 63. The name Mutsumi Inomata might not be as well-known as Toriyama’s, but she too was an incredibly influential artist from the 1980s. While her work includes anime like Windaria (which was adapted into a Japan-exclusive Rogue-like on the Nintendo DS) or animation work on beloved classics like The Weathering Continent, City Hunter, Brain Powerd and Sacred Seven, Inomata was also very important in the world of video games in a lot of ways.


American fans might recognize Inomata’s work from the Tales series. Kohsuke Fujishima received a lot of love for his work on series progenitor Tales of Phantasia or fan-favorite Tales of Symphonia, Inomata worked on a lot of Tales games both recent and old like Tales of Graces, Tales of Destiny and Tales of Zestiria. Inomata’s designs could be seen as recently as Tales of Berseria, with the raven-haired beauty Velvet Crowe. Inomata’s range is on full display with these games: tragically beautiful men and women with flowing locks and lovely pastels evoking dream-like fantastical realms.


Inomata was also quite involved with the Dragon Quest games. While Akira Toriyama always handled the art of the games, Inomata was brought aboard to handle the art for the novelized adaptations. Where Toriyama’s art had shifted some as the games went along, starting from the cute and round designs from the first two Dragon Quests to the more muscular and defined proportions of the third game onwards, Inomata leaned into the fantastical with her designs. The Descendant of Erdrick went from Toriyama’s pudgy hero in garish armor to a tall, elegant hero clad in blue. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen‘s Solo, already a hero whose face speaks of great melancholy, was turned into a tragically handsome young man. And where Psaro The Manslayer was later reimagined as an elf, Inomata portrayed him as a treacherously handsome sorcerer (who resembles David Bowie circa The Labyrinth, which was likely a sign of the times). Inomata was also involved with a Dragon Quest prequel-novel titled The Legend of the Spirit Rubiss, whose canonical status shouldn’t be cast into too much doubt given she collaborated with Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii in its creation.


Inomata has plenty of other fun credits to her name, like her work on Fighting Vipers or Virtua Fighter. But Inomata’s biggest contribution to gaming and anime alike would be Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yoko. It’s fairly passé in today’s day and age, but the 1980s were the era of anime bombshells in metal bikinis—having adventures and slaying monsters while looking like Taarna from Heavy Metal. Yoko Asagiri’s adventure of hopping between her home world and the magical world inspired countless subsequent heroines, like Outlanders‘s Princess Kahm or Mink from Dragon Half. But Yoko was also massively influential in the world of video games with plenty of gaming heroines following in her footsteps! SNK‘s Athena is a great example; while she’s better known as SNK‘s “Psycho Soldier who’s made numerous King of Fighters appearances, her debut in her eponymous 1986 arcade game was much more fantastical and kept her in just a red bikini with a sword. She too was a girl whisked away to a fantasy realm through a magic gate. Then there was the Valis games, which also starred a teenage girl sent to a fantasy world to fight evil in a metal bikini. And then as the 90s rolled around we got heroines like Devil Hunter Yohko (who swapped the bikini out for a cheongsam) and Popful Mail. There’s a long lineage of heroines traveling to far-off worlds, the legacy of which can be placed at Inomata’s feet—and that’s years before she ever put pen to paper and designed a single Tales character. And the gaming industry could tell there was money to be had with the concept; pre-Final Fantasy/Enix-merger Squaresoft even brought Inomata aboard to design the protagonist of their adventure game, Alpha, resulting in… Yoko, by way of Time Gal.


It’s a tragedy to hear an artist of such skill and renown has been taken from us so soon. The best we can do is do right by her memory. Remember to support the artists you know and love—and to send them well-wishes often. And if you’re interested in checking out more of Inomata’s work, well, you’ve got a ton of Tales games to choose from. Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yoko was licensed by Right Stuf for release in the US in 1997—but it was never released on DVD. And with Right Stuf not existing anymore, it doesn’t seem likely it’ll get another re-release. We can hope Discotek gives the red-haired heroine a shot in the future. For now, wherever a beautiful heroine with luxurious hair and a magic sword walks (in a bikini), they’re treading a path Inomata and Yoko set down for them.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves Formally Announced, Voice Cast Is Revealed

It can be easy to forget that The King of Fighters is a sequel/spin-off of SNK‘s former fighting games The Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury, the same way that it can be easy to forget that SNK is majority-owned by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman who is responsible for a tremendous number of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia—including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s been a long time since SNK has released a Fatal Fury game in earnest, especially since so much of its cast has now been absorbed into King of Fighters… but it looks like SNK wants to make that throwback! So this past weekend, SNK formally revealed the new fighting game they’re working on: what we once thought was a follow-up to Garou: Mark of the Wolves is now Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves!

Man, it’s nice to see Terry and Rock again. SNK has been good to them and their models. Terry doesn’t have his trucker hat anymore (he’ll probably wear it in an alternate skin), but Rock still has his weird energy wings when he does his attacks. The trailer also emphasizes several mechanics that’ll feature in the game which center around the “Rev” meter. Y’know, like revving a motor. These include Rev Guard, Rev Blow, Rev Arts, and Rev Accel. Further details on how these will mesh with each other will come in the future. There also doesn’t seem to be any word on whether or not Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves will bring back the classic Fatal Fury‘s tiered backgrounds.

(An explanation: while Fatal Fury was an exclusively 2D game, characters could jump into the foreground or background of an arena during fights, forcing opponents to follow them into that “plane” to continue the fight. Even though we have proper 3D fighting games now that feature side-stepping, I’d like to see the tiered stages come back. Though I understand if City of Wolves is meant to be more along the lines of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, which abandoned the tiers.)

We also have a trailer introducing the English cast for Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves. So unlike The King of Fighters, which keeps the dialogue in Japanese, SNK is springing for English dubbing. I want to be careful with my thoughts on this because I do not under any circumstances want to encourage the odious “dubs are inherently crimes against humanity”-crowd—I don’t have time for those kinds of folks. It’s just that Terry’s reputation is of being the most American a Japanese person can be (think Ness from Earthbound in his Super Smash Bros appearances). So hearing Terry say his trademark “Are you okay?” in perfect English is just… weird.

Past that, the performances are fine. A number of these VAs seem to be newcomers to Fatal Fury (Pokémon Horizon‘s Michael Schneider is picking up the cap as Terry Bogard) with much of the Japanese voice cast has been doing these characters for ages—so it’s unfair to compare them. Schneider does an okay job with Terry, I just wish that Burst Wolf had the proper “Are you okay?” instead of “You ready?!”. Also: the voice actor trailer reveals that Rock Howard finally inherited some more of Terry’s attacks. While he has some of his father Geese’s moves like Geese’s Moonslash, he finally has more attacks from his daddy, Terry—specifically, Terry’s Power Geyser. A good bit of writing/design there. Also, the music promises to bring back the jazzy saxophones that were iconic to Terry back in the old Fatal Fury games. We also have a look at some of the other starting characters in City of Wolves‘s lineup: Hotaru Futaba, returning from Garou: Mark of the Wolves (featuring Suzie Yeung as her VA, whom you might be currently hearing as Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth); Mexican luchador Tizoc, who’s friends of This Week in Games favorite Ángel—and who you might recall being King of Dinosaurs; and the Muay Thai-practicing newcomer Preecha, who appears to be a student of longtime Fatal Fury character (and buddy of Terry’s) Joe Higashi.


We don’t yet know about any of the other classic Fatal Fury characters making comeback appearances; given Preecha’s presence (whose origins lie with some old design documents for an old, proposed sequel to Garou: Mark of the Wolves), we can assume City of the Wolves will feature a mix of both old characters and new characters. Right off the bat, Preecha might mean Joe Higashi won’t be around—a major loss, since Joe was right up there with Terry and Andy Bogard as one of the protagonists of the original Fatal Fury. Speaking of: Andy’s inclusion is also up in the air. Did he finally marry Mai Shiranui? Did Mai finally have his kid like she’d been hoping after years and years?

More importantly: will we see the return of SNK bombshell Mai Shiranui? Arguably, she’s way more popular than Andy (maybe even more than Terry himself) and she’s in The King of Fighters XV. Hopefully, she’s a shoo-in. If she’s not, I’m hoping Andy and Mai’s kid gets in. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a younger version of Mai with a mix of her parents’ movesets. What folks would definitely go crazy for, however, is a MILF-ed up Mai Shiranui. But is the world ready for Mommy Mai…?

There is no date secured for Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves beyond a vague “early 2025” window. We’ll keep an eye out for this one—as well as whether or not Masami Ōbari decides to animate another feature film for this new Fatal Fury. Here’s hoping. The old Fatal Fury motion picture was pretty boss.

Rainbow Cotton Gets US Release

Man, Success has been hitting the Cotton pedal but hard! Cotton Reboot! and Cotton Fantasy: Superlative Night Dreams have both done well enough among its little circle of fans for Inin games to test the waters with another go at the series. This time, they’re looking to Superlative Night Dreams‘s direct predecessor, the Japan-exclusive Dreamcast title Rainbow Cotton! And Inin had a lot to say about the game, posting a trailer explaining the differences between emulation, a remaster, and a remake.

So, with this video, Inin is trying to set folks’ expectations. They also might be trying to clear the room of any confusion; Cotton Reboot!, despite the title, is a visual remaster of 1993’s X68000 port of the original Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams. The 2021 release of Panorama Cotton was emulation—just the original game ported to run on modern hardware. For the record: this is why that whole case with Tropical Haze and Nintendo over Yuzu was so scary. Nintendo going after emulation the way it did could mean that attempts to port older games could legitimately get caught in the crossfire. But I digress. Cotton: Superlative Night Dreams, meanwhile, was a new game proper, but should not be confused with Fantastic Night Dreams, which was the basis for Cotton Reboot!. Get all that? Good, because I had to go back and check it a few times to make sure I didn’t mix up my Cottons.

So! Rainbow Cotton! This is what Inin is referring to as a remake, a top-to-bottom reconstruction of the original title to ensure that both the gameplay and visuals are improved. Inin is also adding a ton of support features to bring Rainbow Cotton to the new generation. This includes a lot of obvious features—HD resolution, subtitles for cutscenes, an English localization (since this game never left Japan before now), rumble, and speaker support (an underrated addition, since PS5 controllers have that nifty speaker in them). But it’s the new modes that I’ve got my eye on—specifically the “Sibling Mode”, a local co-op mode where Player 2 can play as Silk. I like this idea! I grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with my sister, and we liked taking advantage of Tails essentially being immortal to cheese our way through certain boss fights. It’s a pity more games haven’t taken advantage of this feature.

Rainbow Cotton is slated for release later this Spring on “all major consoles”; this means PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, and Steam. We’ll keep an eye out for it.

IntiCreates Teases New Card-Based RPG, Card-en-Ciel

IntiCreates is no stranger to mixing game genres—and they’ve gone and revealed a new one on us. Let’s check out that trailer!

So right away, Card-en-Ciel is inviting comparisons to Mega Man Battle Network: The premise of delving into a digital world to fight enemies in a grid-based real-time battle system using themed cards lines up perfectly. But I think this is a good idea; we haven’t had a new Battle Network game since the Mega Man Star Force titles way back on the Nintendo DS—and last year’s Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection showed that there’s still a ton of interest in the concept. IntiCreates’ other franchises already line up some with CAPCOM‘s own—with Azure Striker Gunvolt serving as a spiritual successor to Mega Man Zero (which IntiCreates themselves created) and the Mighty Gunvolt titles capturing the aesthetics of the classic Mega Man titles. While plenty of games try to capture the retro aesthetics of Mega Man, very few try to approach the Battle Network series’ fun mix of card-based action battling with pumping techno jams. (Off the top of my head, the only games that come to mind are Lunar Lux, Hero.EXE and One Step From Eden.)

But here’s the surprising angle: first off, Muses factor into Card-en-Ciel: songstresses who empower the protagonist through music. This will be handled in the game with about 50 insert songs. That’s neat… but it’s also along the lines of what Muses do in the Azure Striker Gunvolt and Luminous Avenger iX games (where Muses also exist). And yet, while Card-en-Ciel promises to be a universe-hopping adventure that explores the history of the gaming industry (through ersatz versions of known games from particular genres, no doubt), there’s no word yet on any cards featuring crossover characters from IntiCreates other games. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t change; featuring Muses but not featuring the muses from the Gunvolt universe is too much of a missed opportunity.

The entire world-hopping idea seems to beg for IntiCreates to toss in references to their other titles. They’re not strapped for options! Besides the aforementioned Gunvolt titles, they’ve got ample opportunity to include cameos from Gal Gun, Dragon Marked For Death, or Blaster Master Zero. They could even stretch for some goodies from Bloodstained since they worked on the Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon titles. There’s also the soon-to-be-released Umbraclaw.

Of course, it’s still extremely early in Card-en-Ciel‘s development—there’s plenty of time for IntiCreates to surprise us. Card-en-Ciel doesn’t even have a release date yet. So I’m not bugging. Card-en-Ciel is projected for release on PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S and Steam.

Let’s wrap up with some quick tidbits

  • It’s Katamari Damacy‘s 20th anniversary! The PS2 original has come a long way since being a fan-favorite widget of the early 00s. Japan is reeling in the anniversary with a series of LINE stickers while also offering the original Katamari Damacy for sale. Seems like it’s crickets for fans in the US… the King of All Cosmos won’t like this…
  • Have you picked up Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons yet? Whether you have or haven’t, some new free DLC is coming out to sweeten the pot: the Sacred Reunion DLC will add a new Survival Mode and online co-op—as well as the return of Ranzou from Double Dragon IV. More characters and modes are expected to be announced before the DLC drops this April 4th…
  • If you’re going to PAX East, keep an eye out for Shadows of the Damned: Hella Remastered—it’ll be playable at Grasshopper’s stall! Also, visitors will be able to play Blackjack against Suda 51 for signed merch!
  • Guilty Gear Strive brings back another highly-demanded fan favorite! A.B.A. and her giant key, Paracelsus, are finally back! And she’ll be ready for showtime soon, she launches this March 26th! Lots of folks seem to miss her red hair, don’t they…
  • Atlus is quite aware that late June is going to be very busy for folks (possibly because of the Elden Ring DLC dropping roundabouts them). Which is probably why Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance will now be launching a week earlier. Look forward to it on June 14th!
  • That’ll do it for this week. With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, I’m hoping folks are remembering to take a moment and appreciate the flowers. Just because I got hit by a car doesn’t mean folks should be afraid of the outdoors. Get some sun, enjoy the breeze, and maybe grab an ice cream while you’re at it. We’re under a slew of phenomenal RPGs, but you don’t wanna burn out on good games. As a side note, I’d like to take a moment to give the recently departed BrolyLegs his due. By all accounts, he was a real one: a hero to the fighting game community and a sterling person—acing fighting games by literally mussing his face on a controller. He was an inspiration to all of us: never let your perceived skill keep you from trying stuff. There’s always the chance to learn and grow. The fighting game community is lesser with BrolyLegs taken from us. I hope he rests easy knowing how much the community will miss him. Be good to each other, I’ll see you in seven.

    This Week In Games! is written from idyllic Portland by Jean-Karlo Lemus. When not collaborating with Anime News Network, Jean-Karlo can be found playing JRPGs, eating popcorn, watching v-tubers, and tokusatsu. You can keep up with him at @mouse_inhouse or

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