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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Song of the Week! 14 January 2011


A J-Pop song on the weekly feature? Save us from this travesty!

...Well, it's not very often the genre is significant enough to feature here, and since we've already done Kurenai, the other band which is popular with the expert players of Taiko is...

Punishment 9mm Parabellum Bullet
Taiko 12.5 to 14, PSP DXx5 (156)x5 (257) x8 (674)x10 (999)
Taiko 0 onwardsx4 (156)x4 (257) x8 (674)x9 (999)
Taiko 12.5 to 0, Taiko PSP DX

Yep, I know many of you have been waiting for this review for a long time; not surprising since it is (well, was) the only J-Pop song to have a 10* difficulty on Oni. Punishment is the signature track of a male Japanese band called 9mm Parabellum Bullet. The band is named after a weapon which can kill werewolves.

Since their formation in 2004, the band has been complete with its four members: vocalist and lead guitarist Takuro Sugawara (菅原卓郎), guitarist and backup vocalist Yoshimitsu Taki (滝善充), bassist Kazuhiko Nakamura (中村和彦) and drummer Chihiro Kamijo (かみじょうちひろ), who came up with the band's name. After publishing a few small albums with Reverb Records, the band started to hold live performances in Yokohama and Tokyo, together with the release of their first full album, Termination, in 2007.

Punishment is the final track of this album. The song itself sounds like your regular average rock song, but its lyrics follow a subtle but specific order; the first letter of every line in the lyrics when laid out (あ→か→さ→た→な→は→ま→や→ら→わ), are the different consonant lines of the Japanese alphabet, in perfect order (a-ka-sa-ta-na-ha-ma-ya-ra-wa). The shout at the end of the song belongs to Kazuhiko Nakamura.

It's not hard to understand why this song reached 10*; Punishment's absurd speed, combined with Etou's characteristic devilish note patterns can only mean disaster, and the chart, while consisting of simple clusters, are extremely stamina draining because of the speed. The song's BPM is also incredibly hard to follow, having over 90 shifts throughout the cover version used in Taiko, rivaling other songs with many changes like Symphonic Motos. However the changes are so minute and the speed so fast that it'll be the last thing on your mind when you play the song.

Like Kurenai's Oni mode did five arcades earlier, Punishment's Oni bears many plays of the number 9: performed by 9mm Parabellum Bullet, it has 999 notes on Oni distributed in 129 different beat stanzas (1029 notes also counting the two drumrolls); 16 of those beat stanzas have exactly 9 notes inside, while 9 beat stanzas are blank! So, there's eight nines, but unfortunately there is a 9th number play, introduced on the latest arcade: Punishment was cut down to 9* on Taiko 0 leaving the J-Pop song without a 10* once again. It wasn't without controversy though.

Atarashii Hikari (新しい光) 9mm Parabellum Bullet
Allx5 (268)x6 (311) x8 (666)x9 (999)
Taiko 0 to 0 K

The success of the album Termination was followed by many world tours for the Yokohama rock band and it followed with three more full-length albums. Atarashii Hikari is the 7th song in their latest album, named Revolutionary, released on May 18, 2011. Watch out not to confuse this one with the Ultraman Zero tune in the Taiko + tracklist (exact same name with exact same usage of kanji)!

Atarashii Hikari (literally, "A New Light") was a surprise on Taiko 0 which most pros would pick up on because of positive feedback from Punishment before. If it were released one version earlier it would have been a 10* as well, however it's pretty obvious this 2nd offering from the rock band isn't as exasperating as Punishment. The lower BPM speed of the song is compensated by modern 'miss strategies' from the latest songs, including increasing length of clusters and long streams consisting of only Don notes.

There aren't particular orders or other subtle messages for the lyrics this time, but number plays of 9 are featured once again: the second 9mm song has 999 notes on its 9* Oni mode, through 99 beat stanzas (same length as Kurenai); 29 Big notes and 729 Don notes (both big and small ones, which is also 9 cubed). Has anyone noticed that I mentioned the number 9 nine times, both for this song and for Punishment?


  1. Atarashii Hikari's HQ video was removed from Youtube by its owner right when I've published this week's picks.

    I'm tempted to see this fact as the quintessence of being jerk. FFFFF

  2. I think Punishfuckingment is no more now that it actually has a console release lol

  3. @pikaby But I enjoy playing this on the arcade... (not to mention I played this song before I played BRA ura... and passed :D) Punishment's not that hard for me even before this came on PSP cos I handswitch for ddk d part. If I didn't my right hand would've gone numb :P

  4. BPM shifted in Punishment? I never noticed.

    And are you sure it's a cover? Cause it sounds pretty much identical to what 9mm made.

  5. Another thing to note on Atarashii Hikari: 729 is 9 cubed.