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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Song of the Week! 12 March 2011


This week is special, as I've chosen to give it a space theme! Which two galactic songs have I chosen to feature today?

Total Eclipse 2035 (トータル・エクリプス 2035) ~Total Solar Eclipse of Space/Time Girl~ ~少女の時空皆既日食~ 
Allx4 (182)x5 (276) x6 (385)x8 (588)
Taiko 13, 14, Taiko 0 K (promo only), 0 Mu, Taiko DS 3, CD Full Combo

(the only high-quality recording of this song on Oni has been deleted because the uploader got banned. Looking for our readers to help us look for a replacement~!)

Namco's recent obsession with space-themed songs, as evidenced in the SORA series, led us to this. Total Eclipse 2035 was put together by several talented people: the song is composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto (崎元 仁), composer of most of the songs for the latest Final Fantasy games and founder of an independent music company, Basiscape, which is famous for BGMs of acclaimed games like Trauma Center, Soul Calibur IV and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. The lyrics were made by M. Sekiya of StudioGIW, which makes various things like online games, music, and e-comics. The singer is Kaori Aihara (愛原圭織), who would later go on to sing SORA-IV Bunpasong and many other Namco Originals, as her distinct 'little girl' voice captured the attention of many Taiko fans.

The full title of the song is actually 'トータル・エクリプス 2035 ~少女の時空皆既日食~' or 'Total Eclipse 2035 ~Shoujo no Jikuu Kaiki Nisshoku~', usually truncated to just 'Total Eclipse 2035' for easy reference. It is based on the occurrence of a total solar eclipse in the future, which can be seen in China and Japan on September 2, in 2035. This page from the NASA Eclipse website offers the exact places where it can be watched.

The lyrics of the song refer to astronomical phenomena involved during the eclipse: as noted by the song's composer, albeit given more personification. There are some lines talking about human alpha waves, photons and the space/time continuum, made up of fractals, from the studies of the French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot. The first line also tell us that the eclipse will happen in the afternoon. The chorus is abstract and talk of visitors (masters of space-time) coming to assess humanity during this eclipse.

On Taiko, Total Eclipse 2035 is one of the few Taiko songs which uses a simple triple time signature (1-2-3, 1-2-3, instead of the usual beats 1-2-3-4), some of the others being Yokuderu 2000, Ra Moreena Kumonai and Nocturne Op.9-2. Starts off as really, really easy, then suddenly runs riot after the Go-Go Time begins with many 3 and 5 note clusters.

Curiously, Total Eclipse 2035 was included in the Taiko 14 tracklist, when it has actually dropped out of the Namco Popularity Polls (43rd place), held by the Taiko Team itself in order to find out the 40 most popular songs on Taiko 13 which will be revived for Taiko 14, while other more popular songs like Yuugao no Kimi, Kaze no Fantasy and The Carnivorous Carnival got the boot.

 Uchuu Samurai (宇宙SAMURAI)
Taiko 14 +, all consolex4 (125)x6 (159)x7 (341)x8 (765)
Taiko 0 onwardsx3 (125)x6 (159)x7 (341)x8 (765)
 Taiko 14 +, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 3, Taiko +, CD Donderful

Uchuu SAMURAI is one of the new 8* songs introduced on the 3rd Wii game, composed by the violinist hiyama, and the notes made by Etou. Less obvious and predictable is its sudden revelation in the 14th arcade's tracklist, updated on July 7th for the 2011 Taiko tournament. The song has no lyrics, but the theme behind this song is a unique one in Taiko, being a fusion of traditional Japanese music and space music.

'hiyama' (his website here) is a freelance Japanese musician who plays the electric and acoustic violin and uploads videos of him playing onto video sharing websites, and also allows downloads of his music. His real name is not known, and details of his history playing music are very scarce. Hiyama himself has pointed this out in an interview on the official Taiko blog, by creating this tune both using his acoustic violin and sounds from a synthesizer.

It's one of the easiest songs with the Nam-combo to FC, although the presence of a few hand-switching streams may frustrate players. It's one of the songs affected by the Go-Go bug on Taiko Wii 3, starting a bit late and ending late as well.

Together with Angel Dream and Saitama 2000, Uchuu SAMURAI is one of the first Taiko no Tatsujin songs to be featured in Bandai Namco's second arcade rhythm game franchise, Synchronica, thanks to a collaboration event starting during September 2015.

The following song has been added after the removal of the hiyama series, due to the lack of the minimum song quota for a song series to be treated as such on this blog. If a third song from hiyama gets released on Taiko games, the song series will be brought back online, with the song feature below ported to the returning page.

 Tsukikage SASURAI (月影SASURAI)
Allx5 (153)x6 (201)x7 (388)x8 (580)
 Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 4, Taiko Wii U 2, CD Donderful

Tsukikage SASURAI is the first downloadable Namco Original song that has to be bought instead of downloaded for free, and whether that's a good or bad thing depends on how you see it. Tsukikage is the Japanese name of the moon; Sasurai, although on first sight could just be a intentionally corrupted spelling of 'samurai', but it actually means 'drifting' or 'wandering' (流離 is how the word is written in Kanji).

In a Taiko Team blog entry being made shortly before the song's debut on Taiko PSP DX, hiyama labels the song as a 'Latin Progressive Jazz-Rock' track where the player is actively part of the song's performans; the composer, in fact, arranged the song with violin, piano, bass and drums in a manner that makes it feeling missing a 5th member, being the player himself performing the song on Taiko toy drums at any difficulty.

Tsukikage SASURAI takes a step forward from its predecessor thanks to a more vibrant rhythm, and has the same confusing beat signatures like 5/8 and 6/8. There are shorter and fewer note clusters in here than Uchuu SAMURAI, but the confusing layout of the 2 and 4 note cluster is still hard enough for an 8* Oni.

  Tsukikage SASURAI (月影SASURAI)

x9 (765)
 Taiko 0

Although SASURAI was included in all Taiko games released in the 10th anniversary period, its 9* Ura Oni is only seen in one of them: the HD arcade. Thanks to a lot of new note clusters and challenging streams, the full difficulty of the song is brought out and they actually fit very well with the violin in the music and all the other instruments used. The intermediate speed still makes the chart decently manageable, focusing instead on the players hand-switching skill.


  1. Ah, Total Eclipse 2035... I liked the song, but it frustrated me to no end how the Go Go time near the end of the song always broke my FC... (I can FC it consistently now though.)

    What's the Go Go bug and what songs are affected by it? (I looked at the auto video the go go time started & ended just fine...)

  2. "Meguri Hara (愛原圭織)"

    http://fancy.freespace.jp/kaorin/ , http://tinyurl.com/6hc6c5z .

    Kaori Aihara, not Meguri Hara. She does vocals on a lot of variable songs; she's mostly known for some of her vocal works in the TH remixes. Simply searching "愛原圭織" would yield a lot of results that point to her name being Kaori Aihara.