The seasonal autumn slump in the Japanese games market was staved off once again this week by the launch of a number of major titles, with Bandai's PS2 title Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow debuting at number one in the charts.
The action game is the latest in a series of titles based on Gundam SEED, itself the most recent animated property to be based on the long-running Gundam franchise, which has been enormously popular in Japan for over 20 years.
Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow sold some 150,000 units this week, placing it narrowly ahead of Nintendo's GBA role-playing strategy title Fire Emblem: Seima no Kouseki, which debuts at number two with a similar number of unit sales.
These two titles helped to keep the market overall performing strongly, with sales actually up by around 8 per cent over last week's total, and running at significantly higher than last October's figures.
Two further anime-based games also enjoyed relatively strong debuts this week, with Sammy's Berserk: Millenium Falcon (based on the Berserk anime and manga, rather than being anything to do with Star Wars as the subtitle might suggest) in third place with 51,000 sales and Bandai's Space Battleship Yamato: Remembrance to Iskandar in seventh place with 22,000 sales.
Last week's number one, another Bandai anime property, Naruto: Narutimate Hero 2, is down to number for this week, while Nintendo's Pokemon Emerald on GBA slips to number five and Namco's PS2 version of Tales of Symphonia is down to number six.
In hardware terms, the Game Boy Advance enjoys dominance of the market once more, with sales driven up by the launch of the new Fire Emblem title while PS2 hardware sales remain depressed as consumers await the arrival of redesigned hardware in early November.
The GBA had market share of 54 per cent this week, compared with just shy of 38 per cent for the PlayStation 2, while the GameCube remained around the eight per cent mark - sales of the platform having remained steady at that point for much of the past six months.