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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Song of the Week! 3 March 2012

Many of you have asked in our song series pages why we never made an IdolM@ster series even though there are at least ten songs from that game in Taiko no Tatsujin. Simple reason actually; there's very little variation between each song so we didn't see it fit to write up about it as there would be quite little writing material to go around. The vocals are usually the same, and the notecharts, with a few exceptions, are around the 6* to 8* ballpark with little variation too.

But! Not talking about one of the largest and most consistent game music series in Taiko would be a crime, as the game itself is also a popular one in Japan. So we have designated March 2012 as IdolM@ster month, where all the featured songs will be from IdolM@ster! *cue fanfare*

Now, we begin with two songs.

Taiko 7, Taiko Anime 2x4 (158)x5 (225) x5 (395)x7 (498)
Taiko 8, 9, Taiko PSP 2x4 (158)x5 (225) x5 (395)x7 (555/528/498)

Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko PS Vita
im@s Must Songs Red

x7 (555/528/498)
Taiko 7 to 9, Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko Anime 2, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko PS Vita, im@s MS Red
Namco Original -> Game Music

Old version (Normal route) notechart

We can't start our Idolm@ster marathon without the series' flagship song, can we? THE IDOLM@STER is created by two of the original game's creators: Megumi Nakamura (中村恩恵) made the lyrics and Hiroto Sasaki (佐々木宏人) is the composer. Sasaki also composed another couple of niche Namco Originals for Taiko games: Mirai e no Kagi and Sweet Lay.

The Idolm@ster series of games started in arcades on July 26 in 2005, three years after the release of a test version in selected centers (known only as 'Idol Game'). The game is basically an idol-raising simulation/rhythm game hybrid. It follows the career of a producer who works for the fictional 765 Production studio and has to work with a group of prospective pop idols. Using the arcade's touch screen, players may train their idols and chat with them, then take part with them in auctions and concerts. Up to 50 idol's profiles can be saved in the player's "Producer Card", while their singers' progression and auction photos are saved on a "Idol Card". Players may also receive some messages from their idols on their mobile e-mail addresses!

THE IDOLM@STER was one of the first arcade's 10 songs, and it's the only one in the series to be featured in all the game's sequels and spin-offs. Like every subsequent song in Taiko games, it is accompanied by the chibi avatars of five among the nine idols in the arcade's original roster, which change from song to song (and the rest of them appear as jumping characters when you max out the Tamashii gauge).

Its 7-star Oni notechart was one of the first ones to feature color alternation clusters (dkd / kdk) and also filled with 2 and 4 note clusters. Taiko 7 and Anime 2's notecharts were updated in the subsequent games with forked paths, where the old Oni became the song's Normal Route. The song's success on Taiko games was overwhelming: Taiko 8's popularity polls saw this song being voted as the most popular among Taiko 7's new Namco Originals (it would be a Game Music after the transition. Game Music as a genre didn't exist below Taiko 8).

Allx3 (156)x4 (186) x4 (366)x8 (765/567/489)
Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko PS Vita, im@s MS Red
 imsims / imsiml (im@s MS Red Live Festival only)

In conjunction with the huge IdolM@ster collaboration with Taiko in 2015 (involving steady releases of one IM@S song every week for two months for the Taiko HD arcade, and costume accessories in the form of mini-IM@S figurines!), several classic songs from the series were revived. This is no ordinary revival either; every single one of those old songs received completely brand-new sets of charts and difficulty shifts on the way to the new format!

In THE IDOLM@STER's case, its Kantan, Futsuu and Muzukashii charts have all been dropped by one star each and have less notes than the old charts. The Oni chart on the other hand received a huge boost in difficulty, turning it up to a very cluster-heavy 8* Oni and featuring something we fondly term 'Call Notechart' features; ninja large notes scrolling at high speed every time the background singers shout out in unison. These ninja notes are present in almost every single revived IM@S song at around this period.

For the popular song's release on the Idolm@ster-centric Must Songs Red Album game, THE IDOLM@ASTER got a slightly-longer playable version that can only be played in one of the game's Live Festival courses that feature the track.

GO MY WAY!! ---Old---
Taiko 9, 10, Taiko iOSx4 (154)x5 (245) x6 (387)x7 (519)
Taiko DS 1, Taiko Wii 4x4 (134)x5 (243) x6 (387)x7 (568/519/453)
Taiko 0 K, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii U 2x3 (134)x5 (243) x5 (387)x7 (568/519/453)

im@s Must Songs Red

x7 (568/519/453) 
Taiko 9, 10, 0 K, Taiko DS 1, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 4, Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko iOS, im@s MS Red

Old version (Advanced route) notechart

One year after the arcade's debut, the Idolm@ster arcade game has joined the console gaming scene. Its console history has also been expansive, with ports to PS3, PSP and DS, but the mainstay of the game for the past 4 to 5 years have been XBox 360, ironically the least popular home console in Japan. GO MY WAY!! comes from the first console IdolM@ster, which is on Microsoft's home console.

The game contains a larger tracklist and an extra idol to train, plus downloadable content (mainly costumes and Idol Dramas) and multiplayer features. The game has been credited with making Japan's ratio of consoles sold to number of XBox Live signups one of the highest in the world, and the sales of Microsoft Points quadrupled after The IdolM@ster was released. It seemed that XBox 360, unpopular as it may be in Japan, was the perfect home for girl-interaction games like this (and many others too!). That alone supported the series' succession on XBox 360 with sequels and spin-offs (like the 2008 game The Idolm@ster: Live for You!)

GO MY WAY!! is one of the songs which made its debut on the XBox 360 original, starring Yayoi Takatsuki and the Futami twins -Ami and Mami- as the main idol performers. Satoru Kousaki (神前暁) is the composer, while the song's lyrics are written by yura (ユラ), probably the series's most active lyricist. The Taiko games had for the longest time an 'All Idols' version of the song as the only playable one for all its releases until its appearance on Must Songs Red Album, which also added the original Yayoi-Futami version as an unlockable alternative version.

The song's Oni notechart is very typical of Idolm@ster songs, with 3 and 5 note clusters and single notes (mostly d k d k d k sequences). Save for the iPhone version, both console Taiko games with GO MY WAY!! upgraded its notechart with forked paths, with Advanced Route being the arcade Oni mode. The arcade never received the paths, as the song was cut out after Taiko 10.

Though both Taiko Wii: Ketteiban and Taiko PSP DX mention the song's origin as being from Idolm@ster 2, this song originates from the original game and not the sequel. Its SongID is miki, named after the tenth idol added to the game, not available on the arcades (Miki Hoshii).

GO MY WAY!! ---New---
Allx3 (155)x3 (186) x4 (310)x8 (555)
Taiko 3DS 2, im@s MS Red

GO MY WAY!! has been one of the first songs whose revamped notechart made its debut in a console game, shortly before Kirame Kirari. Revealed on April 2015 as DLC for Taiko 3DS2, it was not directly involved in the major festivities going on in Murasaki, and thus it was a little unexpected when it landed on the handheld with a brand new set of charts as well.

Like the others, GO MY WAY!!'s easier difficulties are all bumped down with the note total and patterns adjusted. Its Oni, though containing less notes than the Master Route of the old chart, is slightly tougher, warranting the 8* rating due to more varied patterns and, of course, ninja notes at the appropriate points in the song. The song's ID was a sticking point as it wasn't following the rest of the IdolM@ster songs, but it's been since changed in this new chart to the more appropriate imsgmw.

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