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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Song of the Week! 16 June 2012

Another major Taiko no Tatsujin J-Pop song! What's the most common J-Pop song besides Natsu Matsuri TRAIN TRAIN and Rinda Rinda?

Tentai Kansoku (天体観測) Bump of Chicken --- Old ---
Allx4 (132)x5 (189) x5 (262)x8 (405)
Taiko 6 to 7, Taiko PS2 4

Tentai Kansoku (天体観測) Bump of Chicken --- New ---
Taiko 8x4 (127)x5 (173) x5 (268)x7 (406)
Taiko Wii 2x4 (127)x5 (173) x5 (267)x6 (406)
Taiko 9 onwards, Taiko DS 2,
Taiko PSP DX, Taiko +
x4 (127)x5 (173) x5 (268)x6 (406)
Taiko 0, Taiko Wii U 2x3 (127)x5 (173) x4 (268)x6 (406)
Taiko 8 to 14, 0, Taiko DS 2, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko Wii U 2, Taiko +

Like Natsu Matsuri, this song also marks a turning point in popularity for the band which made the song. The band would win so many awards just for having the weirdest name ever; it is called Bump of Chicken (バンプ・オブ・チキン), officially founded in 1994 in the Chiba prefecture and it's still in activity. It consists of composer / lyricist / main vocalist Motoo Fujiwara (藤原基央), guitarist Hiroaki Masukawa (増川弘明), bassist Yoshifumi Naoi (直井由文) and Hideo Masu (升秀夫) on the drums.

The four Bump of Chicken members first met in kindergarten and were classmates throughout their primary and secondary education, just like what happened to the Whiteberry girls. Their debut as a real band was during their ninth grade cultural festival in which they performed cover versions of Beatles songs, their first musical success. The subsequent tour allowed them to explore the vibes of alternative rock which is characteristic of the band, evident from their first two singles, Lamp and Diamond.

Released on March 2001, Tentai Kansoku (literally, Astronomical Observation) is Bump of Chicken's third single and possibly the band's most important one: every single release after it has charted in the top ten on the Oricon Weekly Charts! Tentai Kansoku itself was featured as the theme song of several succesful Japanese TV shows, such as a 2002 TV drama of the same name and the 2007 anime Darker than Black. No surprise, the song itself is actually very nice to listen to.

Of course, rhythm game franchises have ridden the wave of success by making it one of their main staples, with Namco making the first move. After the Taiko version(s) of Tentai Kansoku, the song was also featured on both Taito's Music GunGun and BEMANI's rhythm games (Guitarfeaks, Drummania, Reflec Beat, pop'n music among others), with different cuts and versions for all the games.

As said before, Namco's Taiko games featured two versions of this song, and both of them share the same song cut and note patterns. Simple clusters and 1/16 note stacking at an average BPM value is Tentai Kansoku's recipe for an average stamina-drainer, with a generally intuitive chart similar to Natsu Matsuri. The cover used and the Kantan, Futsuu and Muzukashii notecharts are much revamped since Taiko 8, while Oni course is almost untouched with only a single extra kat note in the song's 36th stanza. A one-off change in Wii 2 is a don is removed to make way for a giant note in Muzukashii. Its songID, 10tai, is simply pronounced as is with the number in English, just like Tenjiku 2000's ID, 10jiku.

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