Yes, I've got it. Yes, it's in my DS right now. Yes, the game is incredibly genre-savvy. I'll have to wait a bit to say more, since I only just started it, and I'm getting charged in 10 minute blocks for internet at this hotel >_<. More tomorrow, maybe.
---morning of March 26th
So I'm about 2 hours in, and it's been odd. I met the final boss within the first few minutes of actual gameplay, and after looking me over he just said "Go get some legendary equipment and level a bit. I need more of a challenge."
Later, when treasure codes are introduced, an NPC says "You never know where you'll find them. In fact, there might even be one in that little book that you should have read before starting this game. Did you?" And in fact, the game's first treasure code is on page 46 of the manual.
Even the Narrator gets in on the act when he starts directly addressing cast members and informing me of things that he probably shouldn't know about how the game world works.
Battles have been a hoot and a holler so far, though.
--Afternoon of March 26th
There's a surprising amount of voice-acting in this game. Every time character portraits show up in an important scene, all dialogue is voiced.
The cosplay-based job system is also fun to work with. I only have the Warrior set of costumes, though.
--Afternoon of March 29th
Well, I'm a heck of a lot farther into the game, and it's obvious that some knowledge of the series and its characters is necessary for understanding things. Most character interaction makes sense in the context of the manga series, but by itself would just leave people confused.
The battle system is still fun, though. As I mentioned in a post below, it's very similar to Tales of Phantasia, for the most part. The biggest difference would be the action-charge system, or CC points, which function a bit like FF13's ATB bar. A single attack takes one point off the CC. A special attack or spell takes 2 bars. No MP are involved at any time. The lead character is player-controlled, and the other two active characters work off AI, but it's possible to switch control whenever one wants. Player-controlled characters can only use whatever is mapped to the button combo menu (again changeable mid-battle), but AI-controlled characters can pull out anything they've already learned.
It's also possible to switch combat between full-manual (for the P-controlled character, meaning you have to move him around completely on your own), semi-auto (p-controlled character rushes the enemy when you tell him to attack, auto-targetting, but you decide on the attack), and full auto (useful when you're in a hurry). Oddly, I've had one boss encounter that was much easier on full-auto than on semi.
--Afternoon of March 31st
Well, got past the halfway point last night. The narrator kept refering to it as the Final Battle, and Keroro kept yelling at him about that. Of course it wasn't the final showdown, but it was a decent one, with a pretty good plot twist thrown in. The game's plot would be massively cliched if it weren't so tongue-in-cheek, though.
Anyway, to equipment. Each of my froggies has a different weapon type that suits their style, but for armor we have something called Guardians. At least, that's what the locals call them. Keroro calls them Gundam models, because that's what they are. Plastic models from the Gundam series, mint condition in the packaging. And they boost your stats, esp. defense. Bizarre.
I also have a bunch of non-storyline summons attacks now, but I can't say I recognize all the games. Dig-Dug and Tower of Druaga both make contributions, though.
--Morning of April 5th
Oh my... The fake CCG Pokemon-ripoff side-game is more of a parody than I'd realized. They actually have an ELITE FOUR hiding in one of the towns, made up of B-list characters from the Keroro series.
All this after blazing my way through levels that ripped off FF, DQ, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade....
Oh, and a list of all games that have summoning magic cameos:
Tower of Druaga
(something or other in Japanese, need to look up the words)
Mappy the Mouse
And I know there are items to let me summon characters from Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, and Xevious, if I can just find them...