Weekly Japanese software charts: Classic anime launches assault on chart

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The Independent Tech

North Star Warriors, a spin-off from the comics, films, and TV series Fist of the North Star, is top of the Japanese best-selling video games chart for March 22-28, landing a heavy blow on last week's number one, the critically acclaimed Yakuza 4.

The video game is actually part of the well-established Dynasty Warriors series which started life on the PlayStation One back in 1997, and of which there are now six core titles, five handheld versions, and an astonishing 15 further spin-offs.

That's quite something, considering that Dynasty Warriors itself was once an offshoot of the older Romance of the Three Kingdoms series.

Most Dynasty Warriors games focus on the political and military characters and conflicts of China and Japan, similar in scope to the Total War, Age of Empires, or Civilization series that are more widely available to European or North American readers.

The difference is that Dynasty Warriors games often take a more hands-on, action-oriented approach whereby the player is concerned with the fortunes of one battlefield hero and how they fare, both in commanding and engaging troops, rather than with the strategy and tactics of orchestrating an entire offense and watching events unfold.

Fist of the North Star takes place in a survivalist future where a post-apocalyptic world has been overrun with brutal thugs and gangs battling for control and generally making life miserable (or non-existent) for everyone else. So it is that the story's hero rises up as protector of the common people.

First released as a print comic in 1983, and then soon becoming a sensation with TV and film versions to follow in quick succession, Fist of the North Star was incredibly influential and is often cited as essential material for those interested in the anime and manga scene.

Given the franchise's huge following, it's no surprise that this latest video game tie-in - one of over 20 - has shot straight to number one, despite the deposed Yakuza 4 being considered the better game by reviewers.

Both North Star Warriors and Yakuza 4 are expected to cross the seas to European and North American regions, with North Star Warrior slated for Summer 2010 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Europe, and the PS3's Yakuza 4 expected in Spring 2011, given that 2009's Yakuza 3 has only just been released in the West.

01) North Star Warriors (PS3): 385,000 sales (385,000 total sales)
02) Yakuza 4 (PS3): 83,000 (467,000)
03) Pokémon Ranger: Path of Light (DS): 51,000 (327,000)
04) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii): 51,000 (3,575,000)
05) Friend Collection (DS): 44,000 (3,032,000)
06) God of War III (PS3): 43,000 (43,000)
07) North Star Warriors (360): 30,000 (30,000)
08) Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce 2 (PSP): 27,000 (118,000)
09) Wii Fit Plus (Wii): 21,000 (1,782,000)
10) Saki Portable (PSP): 20,000 (20,000)

Unit sales are rounded to the nearest 1,000.
Source: Media Create.

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