Cosmo Engineering Series: Role Playing Games & Related Items

The Dragoonic Trooper. Does the art look familiar?

Cosmo-E's RPG Series:
The Dragonic Trooper
Dragoon Explorer (Online Version)

Role Playing Games or RPGs are a genre that transcends all age and media. Originating from the US in the 1970's role-playing has spread worldwide, but never really able to break into the acceptable mainstream. While computer RPGs appear to be the rage these days, one fine example being Squaresoft's Final Fantasy series, the 'real' role-playing game is indeed very intriguing and allow players the control over their characters and imagination uninhibited by the limitations of its digital equivalent. In Japan, role-playing has a significant fan-base and although it exists in various themes- Sci-fi, romance, detective, sports etc.- fantasy is still by far the most popular genre. While the influence from popular Western titles such as Dungeons and Dragons and Sword World is obvious, the Japanese version of RPGs has evolved into its own distinct, unique style. A good example would be The Record of Lodoss War, which has its roots in RPG and is now everywhere in the Japan anime/manga/game scene.

How it works. The thrill in role-playing is all about interaction and imagination. There are no set storylines- everything is in the hands of the role-players. In Japan, the 'traditional' role-playing genre has evolved into several forms. The common types are TableTalk, MailTalk, and most recently NRPGs (Network RPGs). They basically play on more or less the same basic principles and follow some pre-determines set of rules or systems. Generally, a book with the instructions, play system, background setting, characters and most of the time some extra accessories such as cards or dice are required. And of course, mangas and novels of RPG 'replays' are often tied in to the gaming sessions.

TableTalk (TTRPG) - Armed with the basics, the players 'sit down' together in a group for a game session. Indeed the 'original' and oldest form of role-playing, where players interact directly with each other. Players will need to have the necessary guide books and accessories to play the game.

MailTalk (MTRPG) - As the name suggests, this form of RPG works through player correspondance by mail. There would typically be some kind of periodic publication such as magazines or scripts, compiling and detailing the events undertaken by the players. Often players will need to register with some moderator who is responsible for 'keeping the game together'.

Network (NRPG) - The most recent evolution of RPG taking advantage of the convenient communication methods offered by the internet. (Shirow-related, refer to the Orion NRPG page) Basically an extension of the MailTalk system, but an online bbs and archive is used instead which allows the game to progress at a faster rate and allows some form of media (pictures, midi etc.) to be included. Otherwise, other aspects of the game remains the same.

Haruhiko Mikimoto cover
Cosmo-E's MailTalk RPG Magazine

The commercial angle. Inevitably, as with any kind of game, RPGs present an opportunity for marketing and the likes. Most role-playing games and systems are owned and trademarked by companies, who are responsible in generating the necessary elements for a complete game. Of course, players have to pay- for the general guide books/mooks (mooks are derived form 'magazine books' i.e. just simply books with lots of pictures), accessories etc. and often registration fees for participation in certain sessions. In some sense, it's a good thing as investment means there is a need to achieve some kind of standard, quality products which would satisfy role-players' needs and demands from the game. One important marketing aspect of RPGs, apart from the game system and the general gameplay, is the use of attractive graphics and art. Which brings us back in line with the main purpose and content of this page- Sensei Shirow Masamune's involvement in RPG 'box' and promo illustrations. Sensei Shirow has been constantly doing work comissions for a RPG Publishing house called Cosmo Engineering to the extent of illustrating some of their novels.

Cosmo Engineering Series: Shirow Masamune Commissions

*NOTE: I did my best at doing the translations, but it is inevitable that I might get some important points wrong. So, if there are any mistakes, please let me know and don't take my words on this. I've never been SO confused in me life!

TableTalk RPG - Asura Fantasy Series

'Asura Fantasy' is the name of an RPG system, i.e. a set of instructions and rules which form the basics of how the game is to be played. Asura literally means 'Fighting Demon' and each of the individual series listed is an adventure by itself, although some might span several 'parts'. Only titles involving Sensei Shirow are featured here.

Demon's War Chronicle
Master Screen
Crusader's Expedition
Demon's War Chronicle
Master Screen
Crusader's Expedition

Asura Fantasy (AsuraSystemV2) . Demon's War Chronicle (? Taima Senki)
All purpose AsuraSystem RPG, Demon's war Chronicle - Part 2 of the Asura Fantasy series. Set in the 10th to 12th century. Involves, a sword and witchcraft/sorcery, with a character called King Arthur(?)... Extra Info: N/A

Asura Fantasy . Masutaa Sukuriina (Master Screen?)
Supplement to the Asura Fantasy series. Includes tour and world guides, and introduction of transportation facilities. Also introducing supplements of spells and witchcrafts, with the ability to summon various spirits and the required data. Extra Info - Price: 2400 Yen

Asura Fantasy (Ekisupaato Setuo (Expert set?)) . Crusader's Expedition
A new adventure set in the deserts of the "Middle Eastern" regions, the uncivilized land of "America" and spanning across to the origin world "Australia". Also involving Arabian Knights, Aruteka(?) Warriors from South America- all waging war against each other. Possibly a game involving war strategy and combat manouvers. Extra Info - Price: 4480 Yen.

MailTalk RPG

Dragonic Trooper Dragoon
Shin Taimasenki
Yamato Takeru
Dragonic Trooper
Yamato Takeru
Shin Taimasenki
Dragonic Trooper 'Blade'
D. Trooper Blade

MT3 Dragonic Trooper Dragoon
The stage of the adventure is set at the Spirit Kingdom of Atlantis, where heavenly beings, elves and other fantasy creatures dwell. Half-dragon beings, fairies and various characters all on the quest for the power of the Dragon, which could change the world... Extra Info: This MailTalk RPG session was conducted by a group of administrators in the 1995 - 1996 period, and has now ended. However, a new online Internet version of the MTRPG, Dragoon Explorer is currently in session (April 2000).

Play Novel 1 - Shin Taimasenki . Ginkuro F no SuiSiYou (? The Silver Skull F Crystal)
A different type of MailTalk RPG, a 'Play Novel' based on the Shin Taimasenki series. Extra Info: Gaming session for this series was from the 1997 - 1998 period and has now ended.

MT 7 Yamato Takerunomikoto Vocational High School
This MTRPG is the second of the 'Taima Senki' (Demon Chronicle) series. Yamato Takeru is about human beings confronting their old eniemies- 'ghosts'. The game takes place in the Campus of a high school where the students are specially trained in prayers and other methods of battling off evil spirits. The demons have arrived at the outskirts of the school campus, and its time to get rid of the evil spirits. Extra Info: This game session was held in the 1997 - 1998 period and has now ended.

MT 9 Shin Taimasenki - Denshiyou Youma Kourin (? Legend of Demon's Descent)
Cosmo Engineering's 5th and newest title in the Shin Taimasenki series, starting in 1998. Legendary, powerful evil spirits from the past have awaken in the present day. The players are half human and half spirits, who must venture into the realms of the spirits to rid off the evil demons. Extra Info: This MTRPG is still taking registrations from new players as of today (April 2000), and is played online. The starting CD-Rom costs 10 000 Yen and requires either Mac OS7 (or better), Windows 3.1/95/98/NT4.0 or OS/2 WARP3.0.0 (or better).

MT 11 The Dragonic Trooper Dragoon Blade
The latest Dragonc Trooper Dragoon series from Cosmo Engineering. A world of swords, sorcery, and creatures - sky demons, giants descended from the Dragon bone and other mysterious creatures... Blade is an adventure not to be missed. Extra Info: Blade is played online and is accepting registration of players at the present moment (April 2000). There are different rates of registration fees, depending on the type of adventure chosen by the player, and the 'world' to be explored. Fees range from 5 500 Yen for the most basic game to 18 500 Yen for a 'complete' adventure.

Publications ( books / magazines / mooks / novels )

Cosmo Complete
Taimakan AkagamiKyouya
Cosmo Complete
Taimakan AkagamiKyouya

Cosmo Complete Package!! Vol.1 - AsuraSystem Scenario Compilation
A compilation of Cosmo Engineering's RPG series scenarios. Includes: [Romance-horror RPG Yamato Takeru], [Asura Fantasy], [Pro-wrestling Card RPG FATMAN], [Detective Story], [Milky Way Drama], [ESP & Cyber RPG Psycho Masters Golf 2065]. In all a 260 page volume including the introduction. Price: 2800 Yen

Novel - Shin Taimasenki . Taimakan Akagamikyouya
A novel version based on the Shin Taimasenki series. Authored by [Kotoda Koutarou], with illlustrations by the world-famous illustrator (oh yeah! - Lucas) Shirow Masamune. A newbie on the Taimakan (Uhmm... evil spirit buster?) team Akagami Kyouya met his childhood friend Izumi by chance while investigating a ghost-crime. Together, they were manipulated into a trap set by the evil demons... 268 pages, published in 1998, and price is 700 Yen.

Yamato Takeru T-Shirt design ETC. (Other Related Items)

There are various other merchandise and tie-ins featuring Shirow's illustrations comissioned by Cosmo Engineering. They include Yamato Takeru creature stickers, SMAP and Yamato Takeru coat of arms, SMAP and Yamato Takeru logo pins, Shirow Masamune Illustrations T-Shirts- Taimakan Akagamikyouya (8 choices) Yamato Takeru (5 choices) Shin Taimasenki Silver Skull (1 choice) (14 versions, M & L sizes, 1000 Yen each).

Sources and Copyrights: Cosmo Engineering, Manga Max (Vol 1), Mizuno/Group SNE/Kadokawa Shoten - Record of Lodoss War. Page created on 20th April 2000. Some infos will get outdated as time progresses. End. ~ Lucas L.

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