A number of key new software releases surged to the top of the Japanese charts this week, almost doubling the overall software sales over the previous week and ending a seasonal slump which had lasted for almost a month.
Sega's football title Let's Make J-League Pro Soccer Club '04 went top, with around 215,000 units sold in its opening weekend, while the second instalment in Namco's epic RPG series came in second place, with Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose selling some 186,000 units.
Square Enix' GBA RPG title Dragon Quest Characters: Torneko's Great Adventure 3 came in in third place, while there were also new entries for Chun Soft's Mr Kinpachi in Class 3B (PS2) at number five, and Kid's Memories Off Sorekara at number seven.
Konami's Silent Hill 4: The Room slipped nine places to number ten, following only one week at number one; like Metal Gear Solid, however, Silent Hill is one of Konami's more western-focused properties, and is likely to make up for a slightly disappointing performance in Japan with strong sales in North America and Europe.
In hardware terms, the PlayStation 2 took the lead from the GBA once again, grabbing around 48 per cent market share compared to 44 per cent for the Nintendo handheld thanks to the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Let's Make J-League... and Xenosaga Ep.2 titles. GameCube held its share of the market steady at just over seven per cent.