Kotaku

Is This the Most Daring Pokémon Rip-Off Japan Has Seen?In years past, whenever Pokémon knock-offs appeared in other countries, Japanese netizens would post them online to laugh and point. This time, it's not a foreign rip-off. It's homegrown.



Dubbed Pokedan Monsters (yes, really), the social game features over 1,000 monsters, monster rearing, and monster battles. Sound familiar?



If the title was not enough, the art style and monsters resemble Pokémon.



Pocket Monsters has inspired many games, anime, and manga, but Pokedan is so blunt about where it's drawing from, leading many online in Japan to wonder if this mobile phone game wasn't crossing the line?



Starting this week, Pokedan Monsters is available via Gree in Japan. And next week? Well, I guess that's up to the Pokémon attorneys.



こんなに似すぎで大丈夫? [Livedoor]


Kotaku

The Difference Between SoulCalibur V and SCIV in Two NSFW PhotosNot yet four years has passed, but check out how the latest SoulCalibur compares to SoulCalibur IV. Can you spot the difference? Hint: it's not just the graphics.



Namco launched SoulCalibur V with an aggressively sexual advertising campaign that featured T&A.



If you haven't already, be sure to read the Kotaku review. The game is capable of both beautiful and terrible things.



よくわかる 『ソウルキャリバー』 4 → 5 への進化 [オレ的ゲーム速報]



The Difference Between SoulCalibur V and SCIV in Two NSFW Photos


Kotaku

How the One Piece Manga Heist Went WrongThere are 64 volumes of popular Japanese manga One Piece. Each copy is about half an inch thick and weighs 5.30 ounces. All 64 volumes stacked are over three feet high and weigh nearly 22 pounds. You'd be insane to try to steal all 64 volumes at once.



But that's exactly what one man did.



One evening on Dec. 23 last year, a 26-year-old man entered a Shizuoka Prefecture bookstore, carrying a large travel bag over his shoulder, reported the Yomiuri Shimbun. The two clerks working at the time thought he seemed suspicious, but, being a national holiday, the store was busy and packed with shoppers.



It was until the next morning that the staff noticed the damage: One Piece vol. 1 to vol. 64 were systematically swiped from the shelves. The staff checked the security camera, discovering the 26-year-old man filling his bag with the One Piece manga ten volumes at a time. The footage then showed him leaving the shop in a hurry, comics in tow.



The police were able to track the man down. On Jan. 17, he was arrested for shoplifting.



"I was planning to re-sell them", the young man apparently told the police. According to authorities, the value of all 64 volumes is the equivalent of ¥26,000 (US$340) retail. Used book stores would pay around ¥23,000 (US$300) for them.



"Even at a used bookstore, these could be sold quickly," explained a book retailer in Shizuoka City. "They're good as new, and even if the used book shop paid nearly full price, it would still turn a profit." Moreover, One Piece is the biggest manga in Japan at the moment, which not only makes it an easy sell, but an easy target.



At this same bookshop, copies of Hunter x Hunter as well as other comics were stolen during mid-December. Police are investigating whether this 26-year-old is behind those incidents.



While many items at "recycle shops" are sold by individuals who purchased them legally, it's not uncommon for stolen comic books an video games often end up on shelves—much like stolen items end up at pawn shops in the West. But here, the heist wasn't diamonds or stereo equipment, but comic books.





Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

(Top photo: Not acutal crime scene photo | やらおん)
Kotaku

PlayStation Man Kaz Hirai Will Officially be Sony's Next BossAs has been expected for a while now, Sir Howard Stringer's replacement as President and CEO of Sony Corporation when he steps down in June will be Kaz Hirai, a long-time champion of the company's PlayStation brand.



Sony officially announced the move tonight, with Hirai's promotion to come in April (Stringer will remain as executive chairman until his departure in June) .



The former head of Sony's PlayStation division, Hirai has been credited with running one of Sony's few profitable operations, the PlayStation brand having clawed its way back into the console market (both in terms of market share and profitability) following a disastrous launch.



Stringer, and Sony's shareholders, will be hoping he can do the same for the company at large, which has struggled in recent years thanks to a lack of innovation and the punishing strength of the Yen relative to the US Dollar.



Sony Promotes Hirai to President [Wall Street Journal]



(Top photo by David McNew | Getty)
Kotaku

Mario Meets Godzilla in These Awesome Monster Movie PostersOlly Moss does it again with these great posters for a very different, though still very Japanese take on the Mushroom Kingdom.



If you're wondering what the text says, it's "Super Mario".



スーパーマリオ [Olly Moss]


Kotaku





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Remember Pokémon: Type Wild, the fan-made fighting game that took Pocket Monsters and made a 2D fighter for them? Here's some more gameplay footage.



This looks...well, it looks amazing. I would not expect an actual Nintendo product to look this slick.



The game isn't quite finished, but it is playable, so if you want to give it a try, check out the instructions here.


Kotaku

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter KönigPeter König is a concept art legend. Over the past quarter of a century his creature designs, sculptures and animation work have been featured in blockbuster hits like Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers and Cloverfield.



Which is all well and good, but he's also spent the last four years working as a concept artist, modeller and texture artist at Valve, where he's lent his talents to the Left 4 Dead series, Portal 2 and DOTA 2.



While there sadly aren't any images from Portal, and only one from DOTA 2, König's Left 4 Dead stuff is a treasure trove of the walking dead, rotting flesh and rejected designs for special infected that involved shooting rats out of a zombie's stomach.



You can see a nice collection of König's body of work, both in games and cinema, at his personal site.



Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König

The Half-Eaten Valve Art of Peter König


Kotaku

GameStop's Used Accessories are Delivered in 30 Minutes or They're FreeWhich is good news, because $15 for three slices would be a rip-off if they were new.



GameStop selling used... WHAT? [Reddit]











Kotaku

a) Enhanced with bonus features

b) Remastered from the ground up to take advantage of the platform's strengths

c) Delayed until July 24



—-



ANSWER: C


Kotaku

Skyrim's Surprising Conan O'Brien ConnectionYou may not know this, but Conan O'Brien's sidekick Andy Richter played several characters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Here they are in action.








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