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Japan Charts: Strong debut for second Samurai outing

Spike's Way of the Samurai 2 lifted the Japanese software sales chart this week, debuting with over 110,000 sales in its first week, but otherwise the market was stagnant, with few new releases.

Spike's Way of the Samurai 2 lifted the Japanese software sales chart this week, debuting with over 110,000 sales in its first week, but otherwise the market was stagnant, with few new releases.

The second title in the Way of the Samurai series outdid its predecessor, which managed only 88,000 units in its first week on sale but developed a relatively strong fan-base both in Japan and abroad, which would account for the stronger performance of the sequel.

A couple of other new entries made it into the top ten this week, but both of them were hovering around the 10,000 sales mark - with Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (PS2) at number seven being very much one for the hardcore fans only, and D3's Kimagure Strawberry Cafî (also PS2) at number eight being - well, being worthy of a little side discussion, in fact.

Kimagure Strawberry Cafî is a strong contender for the award for "PS2 Game Least Likely To Be Released Outside Japan, Ever". Not only is the title a dating ("renai") game - a genre almost exclusively reserved for the Japanese market, although Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is arguably a poor example of renai gameplay in places - it's a renai game in which you're chasing around a cast of boys, not girls.

We'd hesitate to label it as a gay dating game, however, since the target audience is almost exclusively young females. This unusual sub-genre of games has grown significantly in popularity in Japan in recent years, mostly in terms of PC titles which range from fairly innocent "boys love" romance titles to very pornographic "yaoi" titles - with the factor linking them all being that the market for them is almost exclusively female. Even Konami has made a stab at this new and growing market sector, releasing a special version of its popular renai game series Tokimeki Memorial which featured male characters, called Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side.

That rather unusual entry to the charts aside, the rest of this week's top ten is made up of games released in the last few weeks, with Koei's Dynasty Warriors 4 clocking up roughly 30,000 sales at number two and Hudson's Far East of Eden II coming in at number three with just over 10,000 sales. Capcom's Japanese release of Grand Theft Auto 3 is at number four this week, and is also hovering around the 10,000 sales mark.

In hardware terms, overall unit sales are down fairly significantly this week, allowing both the Xbox and the PSone to break past the one per cent barrier for market share for the first time in several months. The Xbox this week has 1.55 per cent of the market, while the PSone manages 1.01 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, the GBA retains its crown with some 46.72 per cent of the market, trailed by the PS2 with 38.89 per cent. The GameCube is down once again this week, with 11.28 per cent of the market, and is proving to be a console whose sales are driven almost entirely by the release of key new titles.

Pos. Platform Title Publisher Released
1. PS2 Way of the Samurai II Spike 09/10/2003
2. PS2 Dynasty Warriors 4: Mosho Den Koei 25/09/2003
3. PS2 Far East of Eden II: Manji Maru Hudson 02/10/2003
4. PS2 Grand Theft Auto 3 Capcom 25/09/2003
5. PS2 Pachinko Slot! King Camel Sammy 02/10/2003
6. GBA Legendary Stafy 2 Nintendo 05/09/2003
7. PS2 Dance Dance Revolution Extreme Konami 09/10/2003
8. PS2 Kimagure Strawberry Cafe D3 Publisher 09/10/2003
9. PS2 Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space Bandai 04/09/2003
10. PS2 Drag-on Dragoon Square Enix 11/09/2003

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.