Coro Coro Comic turned 40-years-old this year. The premiere monthly manga magazine kicked off in spring of 1977. For four decades Coro Coro has entertained Japanese children with manga from Doraemon and Pokémon to Beyblade and Yo-Kai Watch. For many of us in the West, though, we came to know Coro Coro as the defining source for Mega Man Battle Network coverage.
To commemorate the magazine that helped define Mega Man Battle Network for both East and West, let's dig up some old Coro Coro pages – let's go back to where it all began.
Coro Coro briefly covered Mega Man games in the past but it was here, in its 269th issue (September 2000), they made their stake Battle Network. This issue was published in August of that year, a week or so before the Game Boy Advance made its debut at Spaceworld 2000. The right page shows a mock-up of the GBA based on preliminary information. And on the left, well, there it is: the world's first look at Rockman EXE.
I was 12-years-old when I saw that image on Mega Man Outpost. And I distinctly remember being none to pleased with it. That's Mega Man? Why is he so skinny? What's hiding behind that mask? It grew on me over time, but I wasn't too sure what to make of it.
A single, bite-sized screenshot and concept art was only the beginning. Coro Coro promised a blow-out of information for the following issue...
The October 2000 issue featured a two-page spread of information. Holy cow, look at those graphics! The colors! Who's that other guy? Yeah, this is where I started warming up to things. I was sold on the GBA through Mario Kart but this really motivated me to start saving up allowance. At first I didn't realize the game was an RPG. I saw these screenshots and assumed it was a 2D sidescroller with isometric exploration. Or something. Is it weird I remember all this?
Anyway, you've probably seen some of these beta screenshots before. On the left page you can just make out a very early Custom Screen window. I don't recognize that chip, either. The right page feature's Enzan's early mughsot.
Rockman EXE was absent from the November and December 2000 issues. However, the game broke into the ranks of reader's most anticipated games. It placed 9th in November and 8th in December.
Rockman EXE resurfaced in the January 2001 Coro Coro. The game was two months away from release in Japan. To keep appetites whet, a demo event was declared for the 2001 World Hobby Fair. This issue also announced the serialization of Ryo Takamisaki's manga adaptation.
The February 2001 issue brought another two-page info blowout, a huge jump in reader rankings, and the very first chapter of Takamasaki's manga. The hype was in full-swing.
By now, we knew a whole lot about the game. Those of us who could import it to the West waited by mailboxes with baited breath. I, meanwhile, was toiling away on medial chores for that sweet $$$. June 11th, 2001 couldn't arrive sooner.
March, April and May 2001 issues brought tips & tricks, a look at the upcoming card game and – this is super cute – a personality chart to determine which Net Navi is better suited for you.
By July 2001, I'd beaten Mega Man Battle Network and completed my Library. I loved it, guys. I was totally smitten. I wanted more...
The August 2001 Coro Coro brought word of Rockman EXE 2. Style Change! New viruses! New chips! Yep; this was the news that really solidified Rockman EXE as an actual series. This wasn't going to be a one off, single game deal. EXE 2 was coming – I needed it bad.
Oh, this was also the issue that introduced the world to Masakazu Eguchi's alter ego Meiji Eguchi (Mr. Famous in the West). Look at how young and spry he is. At the time these pictures were taken, he was knee deep in his duty as EXE 2's scenario planner. He would hold that title for the next several games.
And the rest is history. Coro Coro maintained a longstanding relationship with Capcom in the years that followed. From 2000 to 2009 the magazine continued to act as the premiere source of Rockman EXE and Shooting Star Rockman news. In the end, coverage concluded with Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star.
Looking at these pages today is all too nostalgic. I remember hanging out at Planet Mega Man waiting for the latest scans to drop. The summer months were the most exciting. From May to August, Coro Coro brought word of *new* Battle Network games. It was awesome. A far cry from the Mega Man news climate we face today.
I have a big folder on my drive full of old Coro Coro scans. I've been collecting them for years, mostly through the magic of the Way Back Machine. When I'm satisfied with it I'll be happy to put it up for download. In the meantime, you gotta check out this site. It's an excellent source.
Well, that about does it for this nostalgia trip. So here's to you, Coro Coro. Thanks for the memories. Damn good times.