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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Namco Original Showcase: Rose Songs

Zeami, the alias used by Bemani composer Tatsuya Shimizu in his Taiko no Tatsujin works, sure gets around in Taiko, having done the no Mai series and made something entirely different immediately after. The Rose songs all have English titles and each rose is colored differently in each song. As revealed in a Taiko Blog interview with Zeami, the colors in the titles of each song refers to a different ethnic community, whose energy and attitude can be compared with the challenging tunes of the song.

The Rose series is currently the fastest growing Namco Original series in Taiko, with Black, White, Red and Blue all being made in the span of just one year over three different platforms, attributed to the immensely popular reception towards the first in the series. It is the same attention-grabbing formula as the no Mai series; make one epic, super difficult song, then follow up with everything else.


-Rose series-


 Black Rose Apostle
Taiko 14+, PSP DX,
Wii 3
x5 (150)x7 (207)x8 (370)x10 (876)
Taiko 0, Wii 5, iOSx5 (150)x6 (207)x8 (370)x10 (876)
 Taiko 14 +, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 3, 5, Taiko 3DS 2, Taiko +, CD Full Combo

Black Rose Apostle is a new 10* song introduced in the 3rd Wii Taiko game. It was first shown on a test build screenshot of the then nearly complete game in the source code of an official blog post, showing the high scores of staff members achieved on songs in the game,where a "tle" shows up among the other songs which were not revealed. Zeami, the creator of the song,  pictured it to have very high difficulty, seen in his comment on the official Taiko Team blog:

"Dance like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee!" (蝶のように舞い、蜂のように刺すが如く)

The sheer difficulty of Black Rose Apostle truly embodies the spirit of the famous boxing quote. Black Rose Apostle's fast BPM provides a frenzied play of relentless 3 and 5-hit clusters from beginning to the end, making for a great stamina challenge, in addition to quite a few changes in scrolling speed. Beware the final two notes, there is almost no indication when they are to be hit unless you count the beats yourself. Many note patterns resemble the notes in the Go-Go Time of Punishment (whose notes are also made by Eto...see the connection there?), the only 10* Oni J-Pop song so far for Taiko.

Black Rose and its Ura remain at 10* Oni after being shifted over to Taiko 0 arcade.

 Black Rose Apostle
Taiko PSP DX, Wii 3x5 (209)x7 (314)x8 (563)x10 (915)
All arcades, Wii 5

x10 (915)
 Taiko 14+, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 3, 5, Taiko 3DS 2, Taiko +

While the regular version's note patterns belong to Etou, the composer - Zeami - made the even more insane Ura notechart. It is a more jam-packed version of the regular notechart with many more long streams and longer clusters put back to back, and at the same high BPM, this is a much more exhausting endeavor. Although the patterns are basic, the sheer speed and unrelenting continuity wears even the most skilled player out.

At the beginning, people have tried to push Black Rose Apostle Ura into the level of the four Taiko god songs, but ultimately it fell short because it was just a bit easy for that, though it is still a huge challenge in its own right. However, later as the god tier expanded beyond a meagre four songs, this extremely difficult Ura found its home there, and surprisingly went up the rankings after its appearance in Taiko 14, where many players found the song too tiring for its own good.

 White Rose Insanity
Taiko PSP DXx5 (148)x5 (203)x6 (305)x8 (494)
Taiko 0, Wii 5, iOSx5 (148)x5 (203)x6 (305)x7 (494)
 Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko +, CD Full Combo

Compared to its color antagonist, White Rose Insanity sounds more like a J-pop song, and like the no Mai series, is the equivalent of Senpuu no Mai in the sense that it's easier than the first in the series and has vocals in it. This song is performed by a rock band named Insanity, and sung by someone nicknamed Kyo (狂), which also means 'crazy' in English. The band Insanity wanted to have their musical debut in the Taiko series of games, due to its high popularity, and so Zeami composed the music for them to perform. White Rose is very visual kei in style.

White Rose is, as mentioned above, much easier than Black Rose at 8* on Oni, with predictable notes that are easily read by average players, however the scroll starts to speed up halfway through, resembling another Namco Original made sometime back, Yuugao no Kimi, using the scroll speed to its advantage to up the difficulty somewhat. There is a 4x empty scrolling stanza right before the 2nd Go-Go time, and this vestigial space is utilized in the Ura difficulty.

White Rose Insanity is also the used in the boss fight with Devil Don-chan, the evil side of Don who was created from the many dark souls captured by Don in the Omikoshi story of Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX.

 White Rose Insanity
Taiko PSP DXx5 (111)x6 (222)x7 (444)x9 (666)
Taiko 0, Wii 5
x8 (666)
 Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko +

This is where the similarities between White Rose and Senpuu no Mai end, as even though both of them have a Ura mode, White Rose doesn't have alternate lyrics, but instead has different notes using the same song. The entire song scrolls at double speed without any modifiers and with different notes as well! Speed apart, the various clusters and streams of this Ura Oni mode are actually pretty easy to hit once you've got them memorized or at adept at sightreading notes at a high speed, as the song's basic BPM remains the same. Plus, the empty 4x speed stanza from before is now a balloon note.

Both White Rose Insanity's Ura and regular Oni modes have had an instantaneous star rating decrease with the jump to the latest Taiko arcade.

 Red Rose Evangel
Allx5 (250)x7 (308)x7 (466)x9 (765)
 Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko +, CD Full Combo, CD Cry Out (full version)

One side of a pair of Rose songs made for the Taiko 10th anniversary, Red Rose split with its other half by going to the arcade, while Blue went to a console. Officially revealed at Tokyo Game Show 2011 as a collaboration song (together with Blue Rose, Miku no Shoushitsu and Danba Danba Din Dan), Red Rose Evangel marks the return of a Taiko composing couple: the composer Zeami has once again called upon Ayane (彩音), who provides the vocals for the song, focused on the force of prayer in a world being surrounded by darkness, day after day. The duo were previously involved in both versions of Senpuu no Mai. Red Rose was premiered early to the joy of Taiko fans, through the Taiko Team's second UStream, even the video above is taken from that stream!

A large part of this song is covered with Go-Go Time, where merciless cluster successions of every size and shape slowly chip away at players' stamina, together with long balloon notes as well. Red Rose is not an easy 9* to perfect, especially at that speed it would give Tenyou no Mai a good run for its money.

On June 2012, Ayane's album 'Cry Out' featured a long version of Red Rose Evangel, but who knows if it will be used for Taiko later on.

 Blue Rose Ruin
Taiko Wii 4x5 (246)x7 (337)x8 (466)x9 (765)
Taiko 0, Wii 5, iOSx5 (246) x7 (337)x8 (466) x8 (765)
 Taiko 0+, Taiko Wii 4, 5, Taiko +, CD Full Combo

The other half of the 10th anniversary Rose duo. After two Rose songs with vocals, Blue Rose returns to being a melody. News of this song was spread through Tokyo Game Show together with Red, but was not shown officially on stage at the time. Attendees got to try the song out on Taiko Wii 4 on the showfloor however. Namco's first words on this song was during late October on the special Friday blog; by that time Japanese gaming websites have long since caught wind of the news!

The name may be known, but this is still an unlockable on Taiko Wii 4, and Blue Rose is slightly quicker than Red with the same brand of relentless clusters accompanying a beautiful medieval trance tune. The two of them share similarities in their max combos and even their music; the chorus melody in Red Rose is also the melody of Blue Rose towards the end of the song, except without vocals. If you enjoyed Zeami's instrumental compositions, this is a new way to listen to Red.

Both Red and Blue have natural disasters and salvation as their themes, and Zeami/Ayane had this in mind when they made both songs, dedicating them to the victims of the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Blue Rose Ruin crossed over into the arcade with a difficulty reduction, while Red Rose maintained its 9* rating as it was ported to Wii. Neither of the two have Ura difficulties yet.

Purple Rose Fusion
Allx5 (344)x7 (494)x8 (616)x10 (876)
 Taiko 0.5, Taiko Wii U, Taiko PS Vita, Taiko +

What do you get when you put Red Rose Evangel and Blue Rose Ruin into a blender? Red and blue give purple, obviously! Purple Rose Fusion, to be exact. This song is the fifth and final song in the Rose series.

As the title and concept might suggest, this song is essentially a mash-up of Red and Blue Rose, resulting in a 'mini-medley' with some different parts, although there is less integration of the two songs unlike the case of Yozakura Shanikusai, another two song mashup. Purple Rose Fusion starts first with a slower instrumental section of BRR, followed by an extract from RRE. Shortly after that, Red Rose's lyrics interlace with the instrumental style of Blue Rose, and then the song ends with a sped-up version of BRR's final sections.

The first 3/4 of the song might be mistaken for a high-tier 9* with lots of clusters and not enough challenge, like a slower version of Ao no Senritsu. At least that's until the final part of the song, the sped up section of Blue Rose, which is at an insane BPM of 250, and still has the same clusters you'd see from a song of much lower BPM! Much as it is easy to pass Purple Rose Fusion, FCing it is far more challenging as the final streams are very easy to mess up on.

Back to song series


  1. "Same BPM" is kind of vague; the dancers are clearly having seizures, so it must mean they actually altered the BPM to be double; pretty sure the empty HS4 scroll from the non-Ura has been effectively seen to be faster in Ura due to the doubled BPM instead of actually changing the HS (you can't even see the ballon note coming at you, unlike Rotter, so that must mean it's effectively X8 of WRI's actual BPM)

    So it should be I think "Total number of notes is 666. BPM is 276"

  2. Koibumi's dancers also spaz at the x4 and although it's the increased BPM, the base BPM of the song doesn't actually increase.

  3. True; I'm however viewing it from how it was implemented in the engine. It doesn't really make much of a difference though so yeah.

    I also found out that White Rose Insanity Ura actually still has 4/4 signature... I sense laziness everywhere; leaving the blank 4x section in the non-ura and forgetting to change the signature of the Ura? What?