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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Namco Original Showcase: ~ de ~ Songs

The 'de' series is a small corner of the Namco Original genre, and rarely got any attention though it was good enough to spawn four different songs. Part of why it is is so small despite being one of the oldest song series is due to its nature- each of them is heavily reliant on wordplay and Japanese puns, which definitely are not easy to think of.

The song lyrics of each of them are also full of wordplay (except Desert de Yakiniku, which has no lyrics). The one common feature of all the songs in this series is the word 'de' in between two other words, and 'de' is spelt out in English letters instead of で. Difficulty varies widely between songs.


~ de ~ series-


 Dajare de Oshare (ダジャレdeオシャレ)
Taiko PS2 4x5 (184)x4 (244)x2 (250)x3 (326)
Taiko Wii 3x5 (184)x5 (244) x3 (250)x2 (326)
Taiko PS2 4 (2P)

x2 (250/250)x3 (326/326)
Taiko Wii 3 (2P)

x3 (250/250)x2 (326/326) (video)
 Taiko PS2 4, Taiko Wii 3, CD Anime

The first de series song which sets the pattern for the rest of the series to follow. Translated it means 'talk about puns' or something similar. The song lyrics is full of Japanese puns and jokes not obvious to non-Japanese speakers. The vocals are done by Takayoshi Tanimoto and the song composed by Yoshito Yano. He made the lyrics too; he talks about how difficult it was to think of good puns for the song lyrics on the Taiko blog. The main aim was to promote a different culture of the Japanese language through the game.

While Kantan and Futsuu are your normal notecharts (and rather taxing ones, reaching the maximum 5* limit in Kantan), the Muzukashii and Oni courses are apparently made with 2-player play in mind, and the 1-player notechart is only a complete lift off 1P's half. This can make the 1-player chart feel incomplete in rhythm, and definitely a cause for being one of the very rare sets to have a overall decreasing difficulty rating from Kantan to Oni instead of the other way around.

  Dajare de Oshare (ダジャレdeオシャレ)
Allx4 (182)x6 (285)x5 (484)x8 (715)
 Taiko Wii 3

Dajare de Oshare's extremely simple Oni difficulty on Taiko PS2 4 was a missed opportunity, and its recent revival in Taiko Wii 3 gave it a chance to redeem itself. Instead of simply revamping the regular Oni notes, it was instead given a Ura Oni and intensely ramped up to 8*. At the moderate BPM, it's a standard 8* challenge with loads of notes, following the rhythm of the punny song better than its old Oni ever could.

The Kantan chart is easier than its regular Oni for some reason, with 2 less notes.

 Takkyu de Dakkyu (卓球de脱臼)
Taiko 9, Taiko PS2 7x5 (165)x7 (259)x7 (461)x8 (621,577,536)
Taiko Wii 3x5 (165)x7 (259)  x8 (461)x8 (621,577,536)
Taiko 3DS 2x4 (165)x7 (259)x8 (461)x8 (621,577,536)
Taiko 9, Taiko PS2 7 (2P)x5 (148 / 148)x7 (237 / 237)x7 (461)x8 (621,577,536)
Taiko Wii 3 (2P)x5 (148 / 148)x7 (238 / 238)x8 (461)x8 (621,577,536)
 Taiko 9, Taiko PS2 7, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko 3DS 2, CD 2008

Released on Taiko PS2 7 with a very different vibe from Dajare. The song is based around a guy called John getting a shoulder dislocation while playing table tennis, hence the title 'Dislocation of Table Tennis' (both words sound similar to one another). The rest of the song is then sung by John's friends, DJ Brown, Michael and Elizabeth. This is an extremely weird-sounding pub music song.

Takkyu de Dakkyu forks into three paths, and is the most unstable path-changing song in Taiko history. Like a game of table tennis, if you don't stay alert and hit most of the notes accurately, you'll rebound back and forth between the three levels, which are set to change at every beat stanza throughout the song, before and after John finishes talking. All three paths feature complex streams, with the 2 note clusters being troublesome.

An easier version of Takkyu de Dakkyu's Normal course is featured in one of the earlier Taiko towers in the last PS2 game.

 Desert de Yakiniku (Sahara-hen) (デザートde焼肉 (サハラ編))
Allx4 (157)x6 (228)x7 (480)x9 (759)
 Taiko 10, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko 3DS 2, CD 2008

The third 'de' song was introduced in Taiko 10 and ported to Taiko Wii 1. The wordplay is on the word デザート, the same romaji used for the words 'desert' and 'dessert', although the general vibe of the song and the word 'Sahara' in the title raises the question of whether this is supposed to be a pun, and Yakiniku means roast meat. No vocals too, unlike the first two songs in the series. Desert de Yakiniku is the first song created by the band YMY. For more details on them check the Song of the Week feature of Don Engasu no Fuefuki.

This 9* Oni chart features long streams and mixed streams, and is the hardest in the series.

 All Night de Indenai (オールナイト de インデナイ)
Taiko PSP DXx3 (141)x4 (230)x6 (327)x8 (555)
Taiko 0, Wii4x3 (141)x4 (230)x6 (327)x7 (555)
 Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 4, CD Donderful

The success of the revival of the entire 'de' series on the various Wii versions of Taiko plus the brand new Ura difficulty for Dajare de Oshare finally spurned the creation of another sequel to the series, on Taiko PSP DX, thanks to the composing efforts of Yano Yoshito (矢野義人).

After the lyric-less Desert de Yakiniku, the 'de' songs returns to form, this time focusing on an after-party in which food and alcohol is freely served. True to its theme, the song lyrics are disordered, make almost no sense, and they sound like they were sung by drunk people. Suuplying the drunk singing are four NAMCO SOUNDS vocalists, being credited under the aliases of Yoshi (ヨッシー), Fusshi (フッシー), Funadi (フナディ) and Ryo (リョウ).

All Night de Indenai has quite a low BPM with mild note clusters of different lengths. This low BPM ensured its stay in the 8* difficulty tier to be very short-lived.

Ramen de Yo-Men!! (ラーメン de Yo-Men!!)
Allx4 (151)x4 (253)x5 (347)x7 (487)
 Taiko Wii 5, CD Sorairo

'Ramen de tabetai!' (I want to eat ramen!) was the last line of lyrics in Allnight de Indenai, and through that link, this song is a direct continuation. It even has the same drunken DJ voice from before!

Ramen de Yo-Men!!, introduced on Taiko Wii 5, is a funky disco track filled with noodle-related lyrics and the wordplay this time also obviously revolves around the use of the word 'men' (noodles in Japanese) to good effect. As the song is a continuation of All Night de Indenai, the song's creators directly come from the same song, starring Yano Yoshito (矢野義人) as the composer and Fusshi (フッシー) as the singer (presumably the only one awake after All Night de Indenai's drunk party!)

The chart is another slow song with very complex rhythm akin to Allnight de Indenai, although the number of handswitch clusters is less, making it an easier song to clear overall.

 Audio de Ka! (オーディオ de カッ!) From audio suspense drama Audio Deka (音響サスペンスドラマ「オーディオ刑事」より)
Allx4 (117)x4 (134)x6 (267)x9 (576)
 Taiko 0 W, Taiko 3DS 3

Over three years after the 5th de song's release, the cycle continues with a track that decidedly moves on from the story being told with All Night and Ramen, in order to focus on another prominent inside joke scenario from the Taiko Team...

During the Halloween 2014 official Taiko livestream, said event's breaks have featured a couple of episodes from the fictional drama Audio Deka (オーディオ刑事), starring Namco audio programmer Hiroto Fushimi (伏見洋人) and composer/Taiko Team personality Yuuji Masubuchi as the two musical detectives Audie (オーディー) and Professor Marvy (マーヴィー教授). The episodes are mostly shot by still/slightly moving pictures like a television-shot radio drama and feature the two private eyes searching for missing songs, with other NAMCO SOUNDS members often having cameo roles. This livestream-spawn side-show has premiered with two episodes on the Oct '14 livestream, with a third one being broadcast a year later in a NAMCO SOUNDS UStream (and later on during the Taiko Team's Feb '16 broadcast). Click here to have a watch at this audio drama's first 3 episodes!

White Version has further developed this bizarre series' lore by making a sort-of new episode of the show as a playable track in Taiko no Tatsujin, with its title slightly modified to make a pun of itself that is worthy enough of the de song series nomenclature. Most of the music featured in both the original series and Audio de Ka! is made by Yano Yoshito (矢野義人), although all of the audio drama's musical references to Critical Velocity have been omitted for the Namco Original tune. Among the Audio Deka portions' many sound effects, there's also the level-clear 'shocking' BGM from the Reach for the Helicopter! (ヘリまで届け!) minigame from Ps2's Taiko Yondaime.

A PV version of the song with visuals -dubbed as the 'SEASON 0'- was made for the song and aired during a March '16 NAMCO SOUNDS livestream, highly resembling the original audio drama episodes' style.

Being the second 9* Oni track of the series after Desert de Yakiniku, Audio de Ka! loves to exploit many visual/audio gimmicks to make for an unpredictable but still doable 1/16-based notechart, such as abrupt audio cuts a-la Kidaruma 2000 and general visual scroll bar madness, from speed bursts to trippy barlines (TM)! The song also ends like no other one before it, as a small Go-Go Time burst is triggered after the end of the song's notechart, for Audie yelling his episode-ending catchphrase "Audiòs!".

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  1. I think the "Pokemon" series should get a mention ^^;;

  2. Lokamp's working on it as we speak :)

  3. デザート can mean "dessert" and "desert" in Japanese :)