Could it be said that I'm getting ahead of myself here? Yes, it could. The fact is, though, that the possibility (slim as it may be) that I may someday learn enough Japanese to play any of the following PC Engine games is what's driving my studies at the moment, so I'm OK with this "getting ahead of myself" business.
So, which previously inaccessible (well, except for in the case of one of the games below) am I itching to stumble my way through, Japanese-to-English dictionary in hand, at some point in the future? Read on to find out.
1. Laplace no Ma--I'm including this Human-developed Super CD-ROM title here for one reason and one reason only: it's one of the few horror-themed dungeon-crawlers I've come across. Considering it's a CD-based game, I'm guessing it's stuffed full of kanji (the most difficult of Japan's alphabets), which would make things quite a bit trickier, but I don't care. That said, let's see if I'm still this cavalier if and when I find myself staring at its title screen.
2. Madou Monogatari--To be completely honest, I'd already own this Arcade CD-ROM title--lack of Japanese knowledge be damned--if it weren't for one little thing: it's sky-high price. It's supposed to be a pretty great game, though, and it's surely an adorable one, so maybe I'll reward myself for reaching a particularly daunting educational milestone by picking up a copy (assuming I can find one).
3. Necromancer--I've heard that this HuCard-based RPG is a bit rough around the edges and features far too many random battles, but I've long wanted to give it a go anyway because of its dark theme and because of its H.R. Giger-inspired box art (which can be seen here).
4. Pro Tennis World Court--A weird choice, no? Especially since I could play the English version of this game (known as World Court Tennis) whenever I want. The thing is, that iteration's localization is absolutely atrocious, while its Japanese counterpart is supposed to feature lots of "loony, in-jokey dialogue," so I'd really like to experience the game as it was originally intended.
5. Tengai Makyo II: Manji Maru--True story: I bought a copy of this game all the way back when I was in high school, when I still owned a TurboGrafx-16 system (along with the bulky CD-ROM attachment, thank you very much) and obsessed about grand Japanese RPGs such as this one. Sadly, GameFAQs was but a twinkle on someone's eye at the time, so I barely put a dent in it before raising the proverbial white flag. Like the other CD-based games mentioned here, this one is chock-full of kanji, so it's likely to continue to stump me for some time to come, but I'll give it my best all the same.
Honorable mentions: Dragon Knight II and III, Record of Lodoss War, Seiya Monogatari: Anearth Fantasy Stories and War of the Dead.
Note: the Laplace no Ma, Madou Monogatari and Necromancer screenshots above were taken from shinjuforest.blogspot.com and thebrothersduomazov.com.