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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Song of the Week! 18 February 2012

Ura week today, and story mode is the theme this time! Which songs are we featuring today?

Hikari no Kanata e (ヒカリノカナタヘ)
All arcadex5 (167)x5 (202) x7 (565)x10 (797)
Taiko Wii 2, 4x5 (177)x5 (207) x7 (565)x10 (797)
Taiko 3DS 2x4 (177)x5 (207) x8 (565)x9 (797)
Taiko 14, Taiko Wii 2, 4, Taiko 3DS 2

Over the past one and a half years we have covered most of the boss battle songs in story modes of the different console Taiko games, so complete was our coverage you may think we were all done with those.

Except for one.

The story mode for Taiko Wii 2, which involves boss battles against a typical villain who wants to rule the world. Hikari no Kanata e is the first of the two final boss songs introduced specifically for this game, and is used in the battle against a corrupted Arumi-chan, who was supposed to be your partner in the story mode (for further details on the plot go to Taiko Wii 2's Boss Battle page). The title is in full katakana, unusual for a Namco Original, and means 'Towards the Light' in English.

The powerful male vocal in the song belongs to Takayoshi Tanimoto (谷本貴義), who we've mentioned before quite a number of times and has done several other Namco Originals (Don-chan Sekai Ryoko, Happy & Peace, Dajare de Oshare), as well as an impressive number of anime opening themes. Some of these were featured on Taiko games too (like Dragon Soul, Dragon Ball Kai's first OP). The gentler female vocal in the background near the end of the song is Ayano Yasuda (安田彩乃), the vocalist for Namco Original songs Kimi no Akari and Classic remix Pavane for a Dead Princess. The composer? Yoshito Yano, who is no stranger to creating story boss songs (Yami no Tamashii, Jigoku no Daiou)! The lyrics of the song are about a struggle to bring back a loved one out of the pits of darkness towards the light, which fits the boss battle perfectly.

The notechart was a mid-tier 10* Oni with many 3 and 2 note clusters and feels very packed and dense, with a middle rest area and the highlight of the chart being two long streams at the end, the first being a repeating stream of dkkdkkdk which calls for a lot of handswitching and mental coordination, because despite the repeating nature of this stream it is very easy to go blank for a second and miss a few notes here.

Taiko 3DS2 is the first time this song steps into the new difficulty standard (as a downloadable song packed with an Arumi-chan extra story chapter, no less), and as expected, it loses one star. The long stream at the end is comparable to newer 9* threats like Kero (9) destiny, which also has long, repetitive handswitch streams.

Hikari no Kanata e (ヒカリノカナタヘ)
Allx5 (254)x7 (314) x8 (661)x10 (961)
Taiko 14, Taiko Wii 2 (boss fight), 4, Taiko 3DS 2, CD Full Combo
 w2ds2f (Boss battle ver.) / exw2b2 (Taiko 3DS 2)

The normal version above is in Taiko Wii 2's tracklist, but this extended version was used for the boss battle itself, which features a new part of the song in the middle and conversation between Don-chan and Arumi-chan. It mainly repeats the patterns already seen on the regular version's Oni mode, but with new tricky streams in the middle portion, very difficult to clear Yam notes, which get worse as you progress through the song (Fight notes in Wii 2), and the dkkdkkdk stream along with the ending notes are sped up to x2. Bomb notes and screen blockage made things worse in Wii 2.

It took two years to port the song to arcade, and only stayed there for one version before being removed again in Taiko 0. In terms of selectable songs on the tracklist, this was actually put on the arcade first as a Ura version. The song ID was changed from w2bs2f to exw2b2, like most Ura songs 'ex' was tacked on the front.

Taiko Wii 4 features the song with Don-chan and Arumi-chan's dialogue in the background, while the one on Taiko 14 and Taiko 3DS2 are silent during those long pauses. Hikari Ura maintains its 10* rating in the new standard when it went to 3DS, partly due to the speedup at the end.

Waruru-sama no Uta o Ki ke! (ワルルーさまの歌を聴けぇ!)
All arcadex4 (125)x5 (173) x8 (380)x9 (516)
Taiko Wii 2x4 (126)x5 (173) x8 (380)x9 (516)
Taiko 3DS 2x3 (125)x5 (173) x8 (380)x9 (516)
Taiko 14, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko 3DS 2

What self-respecting villain doesn't want a theme song of his own? Used in the penultimate battle with the evil scientist Dr. Waruru, Waruru-sama no Uta o Ki ke (literally, "Hear Waruru-sama's song!") is sung by Takashi Nagasako (長嶝 高士), who is also the voice of the good scientist Otowa, the one who created Mekadon way back in the PS2 era. As we've mentioned multiple times, Takashi Nagasako is also known among Nintendo fans as the voice of Ganondorf (Legend of Zelda games) and Donkey Kong (on Wii).

As the game's main antagonist, Waruru's theme song revolves around him stroking his own ego as a mad scientist and his plan to rule the world and turn it into a fun-less place. As ominous as the song sounds, there's a mistake in the vocals at the beginning of the final chorus where Nagasako accidentally started singing four beats earlier than he was supposed to, then paused for a moment before continuing at the correct moment. No one knows if this was intentional or an accident. It's more likely to be the latter, but then another question arises; why wasn't it corrected before the final print? 'Sama' is written on Taiko 14 in kanji as '様' instead of the hiragana 'さま' on Taiko Wii 2.

This song's 9* Oni features a low BPM and plain 1/16 note stacking which are easy to read and to hit, the gauntlet being a 1/24 nightmare deathstream at the end of the song, resembling the one used in Tank! (both Regular and Ura Oni) except slightly longer. Waruru-sama no Uta o Ki ke is also the only song which has a slightly harder notechart in the Wii 2 boss battle, with more notes than the usual Oni difficulty, but not different enough to warrant a Ura of its own.

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