The most famous dancer/journalist in the universe is coming to your house, what have you done to get the place (and yourself) ready? Anything? Because it sure doesn’t look like it. Where are you supposed to dance? Where is the sewing station for repairing and buffing the gloss on your vinyl miniskirt? Do you even have a single can of Surge in your fridge? Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! comes to PlayStation VR on February 25, which is two weeks from tomorrow, and if you think Ulala is going to spend more than one minute in a house that doesn’t meet even the most basic requirements of her appearance contract, well, she won’t.
I’m sorry if I sound combative about this, I’m mostly just bitter that I don’t have enough room in my actual tiny house for PSVR games that require the PlayStation Move controllers, as Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! does. Unlike the Space Channel 5 games of yore, which required but a simple controller and sense of rhythm, Kinda Funky News Flash! has players fully dance along with Ulala as her new intern reporter, which happens to be my lifelong dream and the sole reason why I wanted to become a journalist in the first place, but it’s fine that I won’t get to experience this joy and you will. It’s fine. You go ahead.
Players follow Ulala as either Roo or Kie, pictured above. The official English website genders Roo and Kie with he/him pronouns, but I fear this may be the result of a clerical and/or translation error, rather than some ultra-progressiveness on the part of Sega and developer Grounding Inc., judging by general incoherence of their biography. Maybe I’m wrong though! It’d be pretty cool if I was wrong.
Grounding was unable to track down the original voice of Ulala, 90s pop singer Apollo Smile. Filling her platform shoes is Cherami Leigh, an accomplished actress whose voice work includes the contemporary English version of Sailor Mars, A2 from Nier: Automata, Makoto Niijima from Persona 5, and most importantly to me personally and no one else reading this, Natsumi from the Funimation dub of Sgt. Frog.
Along with Ulala, series bishounen bad boy (and space pirate television station operator) Jaguar also returns, as voiced by Tom Clarke Hill. Hill portrayed Jaguar in 2002’s Space Channel 5: Part 2, taking over the role from its originator, Jeff Kramer, who you might remember better as the voice of FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan.
Ulala’s perennial green-dreaded rival, Pudding, can be seen dancing along in the above trailer, but Sega’s voice actor announcement fails to mention who’s providing the pipes this time around. Pudding’s original actress, Sumalee Montano, is still out there doing it, and since Space Channel 5 she’s been in an incredible number of AAA games, including Gears 5 and Destiny 2 (she’s Hawthorne!). Fingers crossed that Grounding was able to get her back for Kinda Funky News Flash!, though I expect her rate has gone up considerably since 1999.
Originally announced as an HTC Vive title in 2016, Kinda Funky News Flash! is still slated to arrive on PC at some point in the future, with planned support for HTC Vive, Steam, and Oculus Quest headsets.