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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Song of the Week! 24 December 2011

Hi there! It's Christmas week, and because of that we're doing a special this year. Since we've run out of good Christmas songs (geez there really should be more of them), we're doing three songs for this week's feature! One by pikaby, one by me, and one by the readers. Have fun!

Allx4 (120)x6 (223) x7 (424)x9 (684/650)
Taiko 9, Medal 2, Taiko PSP DX

For those of you who own the game, PSP DX brought in a trio of game music tracks from Sega as part of their collaboration. Two of them were brand-new but the third comes from way back, 20 years ago.

The year was 1986, when the Sega AM2 developement team began to distribute OutRun (アウトラン), an arcade game that involves cars but whose mechanics steer away from common racing games. As its designer Yu Suzuki quoted, it's more correct to talk about a 'driving' game: controlling a Ferrari Testarossa from a third-person rear retrospective, players must race to the end of a 5-stage set as fast as possible against a time limit, while avoiding traffic (and the time is replenished after every checkpoint in the track, I'm sure everyone's played a similar game at some point). This rival-less gaming formula and the peculiar cockpits that have hosted players contribute to an immersive experience.

As an additional factor of driving with a "sense of freedom", OutRun offers a selection of music to listen to while driving, represented as three radio stations. Like the other two BGM tunes Splash Wave and Passing Breeze, one of Ferrari Testarossa's FM frequencies - 69.2 - allows players to listen to MAGICAL SOUND SHOWER, composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi (川口 博史), one of the oldest Sega sound team members involved in OutRun's soundtrack.

Apart from sequels to the OutRun series, MSS was featured in the 2000 Dreamcast rhythm game Samba de Amigo as a DLC-exclusive song. Ten years later, in 2010, the songlist of Project Diva Arcade features an alternative version of this BGM with Hatsune Miku's voice (composed by Kusutama-P some time back); the Taiko debut of this song preceded the Project Diva counterpart by four years, being featured both in the 9th arcade and in the 2nd Medal no Tatsujin game. All three rhythm games have different cuts of the original track.

MSS's 9-star Oni has two different pattern routes - Master and Normal - instead of three, referencing OutRun's original stage selection: after clearing a stage, the player is presented with a fork in the road where the player must choose one of two stages; the left route presents an easier stage, while the right offers a greater challenge. Normal Route's notes may fit a modern 7-8* song with fluent note clusters of every size and Master Route's revolutionary 1/24 streams have set one of the hardest 9* FC standards to date, with crazy switches and out-of-time beats. The song is a favorite of Taiko fans despite its limited release; MSS gained a nickname 'Magical 2000' (マジカル2000), and got 2nd place in the Taiko Memories poll at the Game Music category, second only to KAGEKIYO!

Master and Normal Routes have 684 and 650 notes respectively. BPM is 125.

Mori no Kuma-San (もりのくまさん)
All arcade, Taiko PS2 3, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko Wii U 2x1 (97)x1 (107) x1 (197)x1 (197)
Taiko DS 1x1 (94)x1 (102) x1 (192)x1 (192)
All (2P)x1 (97)x1 (107) x1 (197)x1 (197/197) (video)
Taiko 5 to 14, 0, Taiko PS2 3, Taiko DS1, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko iOs
Children/Folk -> Variety -> Children

New to Taiko? Expert at Taiko? Wherever your skill level may be this is one song that can't be missed every time you play, for the simple fact that you won't find a song that's easier than this! It's every kid's beloved song, and the memories of every Taiko expert when they look back at how they started playing. It's one of the three only songs ever to have 1* throughout all difficulties (the other being Mura Matsuri and Kidaruma 2000) and the only surviving 1* in Oni difficulty, though it's being joined by Anpanman no March on Taiko 0 after the 2* song got cut down.

The song was translated into Japanese by Baba Yoshihiro (馬場祥弘), and its origins stretch even further back into American tradition, as the song has been used for god knows how long as a campfire song for boy scouts and the like and was called 'The Other Day I Met a Bear' or 'The Bear in the Forest'. You can find the original lyrics here, though Mori no Kuma-san's is completely different from the American variant, which has lyrics about a girl who meets a talking bear in the woods who tries to return an item she dropped. She ran away at first, but realizing her mistake, she thanks the bear and sing for him as a gift.

Being the easiest song in Taiko, its Oni chart is also very simple, much easier than even a 2* Muzukashii song...and that's because the chart is exactly the same as its Muzukashii chart! This is seen on some older Donderful maps when Namco didn't make harder charts for every song. All difficulties feature 2P charts because this was a song meant to be played together isn't it? There isn't a good video of that though. It's one of the only surviving members in the miniscule Children/Folk genre of today. 5 notes were taken out of DS1's Muzukashii chart to accomodate a Denden note, the main gimmick for Taiko DS.

Mori no Kuma-San (もりのくまさん)

x9 (341)
All arcade, Wii U2 (2P)

x9 (341/333) (video)
Taiko 12.5 to 14, 0, Wii U2, iOS
 Children/Folk -> Variety -> Children

This Ura difficulty is the very definition of super-troll. From being the easiest song in Taiko history, Namco offers experts a way to experience it in a completely different way, and when it first came out on Taiko 12.5 you can bet there was at least more than one surprised player face when they saw it.

Not because of any abnormal clusters, not because of increased BPM or anything you'd associate with a 9* challenge, the gimmick for Mori no Kumasan's Ura is unlike any other, a gradual increase in scrolling speed from a manageable 0.5, to 0.6, to 0.7, to 0.8....and steadily rises every stanza to slowly torture the player all the way up to 8 times the original speed at the very end! The notechart itself isn't anything to write home about, being the standard 8-9* fare, but the scrolling speed makes it so unreasonably hard no one would ever play it without a decent memory of the chart! Fun as it was, Kumasan Ura has not yet been on any console Taiko.

Like its regular chart, Kumasan Ura also has a duet chart, but with none of the mischievous play with scrolling speeds on the 1P chart, the fastest the song goes is at x3.

 Wanya World (わんにゃーワールド) feat. Kagamine Rin ・Kagamine Len starring Shimoda Asami
Allx4 (152)x6 (271) x7 (380)x9 (765)
Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 4, Taiko Wii U 3, CD Donderful
Namco Original -> Vocaloid

The final song of the trio comes from an old song request made by our users! Premiering on the 3rd PSP videogame, Wanya World is composed by Sato Takafumi (佐藤たかふみ). Prior to PSP DX, a short clip of this song was made available for cellphone users as a ringtone, and then the same clip used again for a trailer of PSP DX's gameplay.

Following the trail of successes with Vocaloid songs on Taiko, this is the first song to feature a different Vocaloid: the mirror twins Kagamine Rin and Len (鏡音リン/レン), whose voices were provided by Shimoda Asami (下田麻美). The brother/sister combo released for the Vocaloid2 Software on December 27th, 2007, four months after Hatsune Miku. As the leek is the symbol fruit for the blue-haired cyber idol, Rin and Len use a mandarin orange and a banana. That stuff is derived from old songs and fan input actually. Wanya World uses the entire trio in its vocals, Rin/Len together with Shimoda Asami herself. Surprisingly this isn't the first Taiko song Asami was involved in, she was also the vocalist for Taiko DS3 theme song Dororon Girl.

Wanya World's lyrics revolve around Asami interacting with Rin and Len, after buying the Vocaloid software in order to create a song. The twins' liveliness and the piano BGM contribute to a song with wacky, playful rhythms, supported by a fast notechart resembling the Angel Dream songs, except a lot more unpredictable and with tons of crazy streams.


  1. A little info, Mori no Kuma-San is available for Taiko No Tatsujin Plus

  2. You know, the first ever song I played on Taiko was Sakuranbo XDDD (I remember finding it frustrating to FC the muzukashii level that time haha)

    And when it comes to the arcade, F***ING anpanman no march comes to mind. Urgh, those bashing kids...

  3. Well here in Malaysia, most people play Hug Shichao at the arcades. I swear that I heard it so many times to the point that my ear is gonna bleed.

  4. Not Hug Shichao for me though, most of the kids play Anpanman no March + Anpanman Taisou because they don't even know how to select songs orz

  5. Well weird thing is that they don't pick Pokemon songs lol

  6. because no one in Malaysia knows the japanese OPs

  7. "Wanya World is composed by Sato Takafumi (佐藤たかふみ)"

    Wait seriously?

  8. wait what *checks profile*

    Yep, it's correct.