Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Cryptic Notes in Fukuhara-san's Room

It is clear upon entering Fuku-san's room that he is a video games fan, from the two game posters he has stuck up on his wall.

Virtua Fighter posters in Fuku-san's room
Left: In Fuku-san's room, a promotional poster for the original Virtua Fighter
Right: Fuku-san is apparently a fan of Pai Chan
The first poster shows a promotional image for Virtua Fighter, which looks to be the Sega Saturn version - Akira's hands are rendered in a chunky block style (as compared to the arcade version where he has individual moving fingers).

Akira (Sega console version)
Left: The arcade Akira has individual fingers...
Right: but not so for Akira in the Saturn version, who has blocky hands.
Image credit: gamemaster14neo
The poster next to that on the wall is a CG image of Pai Chan, one of the characters that appears in the game.
Pai Chan
Pai Chan
Image credit: crazyasianfan4
Turning our attention to the far wall, a couple of smaller notes or notices on the wall can be seen above his desk.

They contain some sort of hand-writing in Japanese with arrows and the letters "P+G". The notes are obviously important to him, as there is not just one but two which are identical. Furthermore, they are positioned right at eye-height for easy review when he sits down to study.

Fuku-san's study desk
The two cryptic notes on the wall in front of Fuku-san.
(Is he really studying at that desk?)
But the meaning of these notes had me stumped for a while. I wasn't able to find out much information about the Japanese words written there, and assumed these might be related to his studies - perhaps his own martial arts training.

After some more time spent pondering and investigating further I finally tracked down what they are. I eventually realized they simply represent notes Fuku-san has written to to help himself memorize how to perform three fighting moves (specifically, throws) for the character of Akira in Virtua Fighter.

No doubt the "P+G" annotations - coupled with the Virtua Fighter posters - are plain-enough hints as to the meaning for experts at Virtua Fighter, but I was still happy to resolve it.

For completeness, here are the contents of the notes. Arrows show the joystick direction; P=Punch button; G=Guard button:

The two cryptic notes on the wall
A closer look.
  • 鷂子穿林 ⇐⇘ P+G ["Youshi Senrin" throw]
  • 心意把 ⇙⇒ P+G ["Shin’i ha" throw] 
  • 倒身捜腿 P+G ["Toushin Soutai" throw]
Once I understood the meaning of the notes, I couldn't help smiling as it seems so typical of Fuku-san's somewhat goofy character - he has even put up the note twice, side-by-side, as if this will help it stick in his mind better.

It also serves to further emphasize the contrasting worlds of Fuku-san and Ryo: while the happy-go-lucky Fuku-san works on polishing his gaming skills, Ryo is searching for the man who has murdered his father.

For any blog readers here who may be Virtua Fighter players -- I wonder if these three moves been selected because they are particularly effective compared to others? Or perhaps they are just the ones whose commands Fuku-san has the most trouble committing to memory...
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  1. Replies
    1. I've now tagged it with the Shenmue 1 category. :-) For people who haven't experienced the first two games yet, hopefully Sega will be putting out HD remasters - currently they are "investigating" it.

  2. I really love Shenmue but I think you love it even more...

  3. Hahaha that revelation! I believe they kept two identical copies side-by-side for aesthetic purpose. Considering the screen resolution were not so big at that time, it makes the document more catchy to the eye. It may have had other fight moves as well if they had enough place to add a second texture.

    1. That's a good theory. (I hope Fuku-san has mastered the moves by now, after all these years...)