Game Center CX Season 9 – Back to Contents
The Kacho’s Overseas Business Trip at the Cannes Film Festival
With Game Center CX’s immediate future in semi-jeopardy at the time due to Arino’s hospital stay, this episode is only half-new. But it is a fun one! Like the special South Korea visit last year, this episode documents Arino’s trip to Cannes, France, for the Cannes Film Festival. As was reported here earlier, GCCX is going international as "Retro Game Master," and it debuted in Cannes.
We begin in April, where Arino is first informed of the festival happening in May. "oh, we’re making a movie?!" he says. No! He’s going to go there to try and help push Retro Game Master at the Cannes film marketplace.
But before any of that, Arino must make a travel choice. Plan A: take his manager Noda along with him on the plane, but in Economy class; or go without him in Business class. Noda then walks into frame, staring blankly at Arino. He can’t think straight, so Noda walks out of frame. Arino quickly and emphatically chooses B. Off we go!
After the opening, we’re greeted by Arino, loudly cheering his arrival in Cannes. He shows us the Cannes daily magazine, Screen, with a full-page Retro Game Master ad in the middle of it. It won’t put him on the red carpet, though, which is too bad. Arino figures that will have to wait for the real "Game Center CX The Movie."
After that, Arino walks down the lane, and then spots a Japanese man in a kimono! Arino makes fun of the man’s hair, but the guy is oblivious. That’s because Arino knows who it is: Tojima! He’s here to assist Arino on the trip. First things first: time to visit the Cannes Film Market and check out Retro Game Master’s presence there.
Tojima takes Arino to the Riviera building, where the Market is set up. Soon after entering, Arino easily gets through the security check, but Tojima gets a full scan-down! So the guy in the kimono could be suspicious, but not the one in a tacky green uniform? Companies and films from all over the world can get their own spots in the Market, but it’s not nearly as glitzy as the Film Festival. For one thing, it’s on green carpet rather than a red one.
After a short walk, Tojima leads Arino to the "Japan" booth, where the main Japanese distributors — including Retro Game Master’s distributor, Stylejam — are set up. That RGM ad is even set up outside!
While they stand outside the booth, Arino notices a man looking at the stuff in the booth. He says "hello!" and shakes hands with the man: Adam, from England. He knows a little Japanese, so when Arino makes fun of Adam’s ears, he gets a playful punch. Arino doesn’t stop, going on to equate the man’s sideburns with nori (seaweed) strips.
Arino (through Tojima) asks if Adam is going to buy the show. "When I see the whole episode," he says. To encourage him, Arino gives Adam a bag of Japanese snacks. At least he’s still interested after Arino’s joking.
Then it’s time for Arino to do his part and really get to promoting Retro Game Master… by handing out fliers. He and Tojima stand outside the Japan booth and pass out the RGM ads to passersby. It doesn’t exactly work out, though it didn’t help that the first thing he said to two women walking by was je táime ("I love you"). Cut to Adam watching Arino in the Atlantis no Nazo episode: "Not very good, is he?"
Arino joins Adam in the viewing. "You need to learn how to play better," Adam says. Mutual laughter from that one. Arino then talks to some other potential buyers. One woman just questions Arino directly: "So you’re a professional game player?" "YES!" "You’re a genius!" "YES!") Another potential buyer has a moment to realize the man behind her is the guy on the TV, too.
It looks like the Japan booth can take care of itself, so Arino heads back outside in the next segment, and checks out a small game shop on Cannes’ main street called Ready Toys Games. He walks in, spits out some basic French at the man at the counter ("Au revoir! Wait, that’s ‘goodbye.’"), then browses the games that are hanging from the walls. The only Japanese game he sees and picks up is Dynasty Warriors 6.
But then, on the other wall, he spots Dragon Quest VIII (or rather, Dragon Quest: L’odyssée du roi maudit). He asks to try it out, and the clerk puts the game on the TV. Arino tries his best to read the French menus, but his gamer instinct lets him correctly select the "new game" option.
Next, Arino tries Bujingai, the action game starring Gackt. A boy then comes up behind Arino, who kindly lets the boy play. He does pretty good! Arino’s so impressed, he says je táime. The boy says nothing.
Arino continues browsing the store, looking for a gift for Kibe-kun. He checks the store’s glass case, which has a bunch of French anime and manga inside of it. Arino finds a pink DS case with Mario on it. He asks if it’s made in Japan. The clerk checks… "no, California!" Oh well! Arino decides to buy a volume of Bleach manga, but the clerk lets Arino have it on the house as a gift.
Arino reciprocates by giving the clerk an RGM poster and the Arino figure. Seems that the man was more confused than anything that Game Center CX showed up — once he sees who Arino really is, he’s genuinely flabbergasted. "Me," Arino says, "Japanese famous game master!" Arino then leaves, with the poster and figure prominently displayed in the store’s front window.
In the next part, Arino visits "rue Meynadier," a market street on the French Riviera. Seems pretty run-of-the-mill until Arino walks by a skull-and-crossbones flag outside a pirate-themed candy store. Barrels of bulk candy are all around the floor, and you can fill up a bag with whatever you want, since they charge by weight. Arino seems to get a bit of everything: gummi worms, gumballs, marshmallow snakes… he takes his bounty to be weighed at the register, and ends up paying almost 30 Euros for all of it. He can’t help but laugh at the absurdity.
Back out on the street, Arino walks up to a produce stand. Fresh, bright fruits and vegetables are neatly stacked all around, including some nearly-symmetrical tomato vines, which Arino likens to a musical instrument. The lady at the stand even recommends some cherries. Arino’s quite thankful: " je táime!" She laughs. "Oh, no!" Arino notices her husband glanced over.
Time for a lunch break with Tojima, out on a bench by the market. Arino samples a still-hot crepe, and a couple of those tomatoes. Everybody gets a taste, and it’s agreed they’re delicious.
Arino and Tojima head back to the Film Market to check out what the rest of the world is trying to drum up interest in. They find a booth for an especially lame movie called Thunder Captain. Tojima grabs the sword in front of the booth, and Arino has him hold it all serious-like while saying "I AM TOJIMA." Arino then poses with it himself.
They then find a booth for a company that doesn’t sell films, but theater seats! Arino samples the wares. Not bad, indeed. Maybe they could use one on GCCX, hm? They’re only 140 dollars each!
Back out on the street, it’s getting a little rainy. Arino walks out near the Main Stage Red Carpet, where it’s possible to catch a glimpse of some big stars. From far away, Arino sees Woody Allen and Penelope Cruz walking the carpet into the theater. And then, just up ahead is Tojima, in line to see the show! Arino wishes him well.
Back to the Japan booth again. Arino checks in with Stylejam to see how things are going. A decent amount of interest from France, Canada and others. Later, he rejoins Tojima and takes some time out on the beach. Too bad it’s cloudy.
In the next segment, it’s time for the real good stuff: the arcades! Arino and crew head into a large arcade called Salle de Jeux. Heck, Arino’s already amazed by the coin-change machine.
The first game he plays is a Whac-A-Mole variation called Hammerhead, which seems to actually feature… the Street Sharks? Unfortunately, the sharks barely poke their heads out, making it hard to keep track of what’s going on. Next up is some odd two-player racing game. Arino gets Tojima to sit with him.
Arino realizes too late that there’s no steering wheel — this is an attraction, not really a game! The screen shows the viewer’s car zipping through a tightly-packed street race. Arino yells like he’s on a roller coaster throughout the whole thing, getting the attention of the French patrons.
Next, he tries a good old-fashioned hammer game. He slams on the target a few times, and almost hits the high score! He puts in another credit, tries to perfect his technique, but still doesn’t quite break 800 points. After that is a machine just called "Rodeo." Arino grabs the horns of the giant bull head on the thing, but he doesn’t get it. After a minute, he figures out it’s another strength machine, and you’re supposed to push the horns together as hard as you can. He doesn’t even touch the high score that time.
Arino finds a Japanese game after that: Sega’s After Burner Climax! Once again, he yells like crazy the entire time. Across from that is a multi-player OutRun 2 SP setup, with a big screen above the row that shows the players. Arino gets in and begins. He does OK, but ends up timing out. He then waits for his mug to appear on the big screen.
After racing, Arino finds a trio of young women and tries to communicate with them. He gets one of them to join him in a game: one of those floor-sensor games where you have to step on the enemies. After the game, he thanks the girl, who yells back "domo arigatou!"
That ends the arcade visit, and also closes out the Cannes trip. Arino and Tojima have a late-day meal, where Arino wonders here he can go next. Asia’s been done, Europe’s been done… guess America’s next!
Famicom Manga Café
In this new season 9 segment, Arino sits in a small cafe and is brought a drink and a stack of video game comics. In this case, it’s a collection of Famicom Rocky, a series that ran from 1985 to ’87. Like the old series Game Center Arashi, Famicom Rocky is filled with hyper-dramatic scenes of button-pressing and sinister rivals intent on showing Rocky up.
Arino flips through the volumes, reading them and of course, poking fun. There are quite a few little shots of Rocky’s friend’s panties, for one thing.
Game Collections: 1988: Early December