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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Song of the Week! 8 September 2012

Time for another double-pick week, and we are going to discover a pair of songs which share some little details, like the fact they are both user requests!

 Itoshi no Mille-sama (いとしのミルさま)
Allx3 (160)x4 (242)x5 (469)x7 (613)
 Taiko Wii 4, Taiko 3DS 3, CD Donderful

Alright I cheated a bit this time, as this song was actually requested by aquabluu/pikaby. Thought that Taiko Wii 4 has not introduced any other Wii-exclusive Namco Originals besides the theme song, the 'twin-Ura songs' (Lightning Passion/dance storm) and Chata's Dadakko Monster? I don't blame you; new Namco Originals are in scarce quantity in that game, and so far, none of them have left Kettei-ban. Itoshi no Mille-sama is one of them.

The song's lyrics, arranged by an alias 'Haruri' (はるり), tell about someone who describes something lovely and sweet, which the person wants to meet everyday. It sounds completely like your regular love song where the singer is talking about a little girl (Itoshi no Mille-sama is translated in English as 'Beloved Mille-sama, where 'sama' is' an honorary suffix used for addressing superiors). As the song progresses, the descriptions become sweeter and sweeter....literally, moving from relationships to flavors and something delicious. Chocolate and strawberries and green tea? What kind of girl is this?

The final line takes the entire lyrics completely out of focus from the 'girl' theme. Cue lots of surprise and head-smacking if you are paying attention to the lyrics line by line. The song is actually referring to a Mille crêpe, a French cake made of many crêpe layers separated by flavored cream and toppings (crepes are very thin pancakes).The French word 'mille' means "a thousand", referring to the many layers of crêpe (there are actually 20 layers). In retrospect, the ambiguous lyrics were referring to the singer's love for this specific variety of cake, and totally changes the meaning! Mille crepe is very popular in its country of origin and also in Japan.

The other members of the music team who made this song have all been involved before in other rhythm games or videogame music. Itoshi no Mille-sama's composer and arranger is Mitsuhiro Kaneda (金田充弘), composer of a large number of VG soundtrack CDs and renditions such as the Metal Slug games, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Akumajo Dracula and Tekken 6. The singer is Haruko Aori (青木春子), the singer of moffing, from pop'n music 19 TUNE STREET, a very recent addition to the Bemani franchise of rhythm games. Itoshi no Mille-sama is her first time contributing vocals to Taiko no Tatsujin. Further information about Aori's works are also available on her blog.

On to the song now! Itoshi no Mille-sama may be a medium-length song, but the slow BPM gives it the illusion of greater length. The song's Oni difficulty chart is made easy in part to the slow tempo and also because the patterns are simple and unremarkable, and more resembles a 6* than a 7*. There are many drumrolls, allowing for much score extension even after the maximum has been reached; with a perfect play, it is theoretically possible to reach 1.1 million points, a rare occurrence on a 7* Oni.

 Kibun Joujou ↑↑ (気分上々↑↑)
All arcade, Taiko PS2 7, PSP DX, iOS x4 (130)x4 (173)x6 (368)x7 (620)
Taiko DS 1x4 (130)x4 (173)x5 (368)x7 (619)
 Taiko 9 to 14, Taiko 0 to Taiko 0 R, Taiko PS2 7, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko DS 1, Taiko iOS

Now we get to the actual user request of the week! Kibun Joujou ↑↑ (literally, 'Positive Feelings ↑↑') is the 9th and flagship single of the Japanese urban/pop duo known as Mihimaru GT, made up of male lyricist Miyake and female singer Hiroko. The name of the band is formed by the first letters of both their names, 'mi' and 'hi', and the 'maru' suffix ('perfection' in Japanese); the GT part pays homage to Miyake's favourite videogame: Gran Turismo.

Mihimaru GT was formed in 2003 because of a collaboration of the two members during their solo careers, whose individual 'musical curriculum' were not marked by any major hits. Unlike many other groups, the couple often recorded songs featuring only one of their members, though because of their background, they are both involved with every song in some way. Hiroko is usually responsible for the main melody of the song, whereas Miyake does a rap component for a song if available. This 'melodic hip-hop' formula is in line with today's music trends, though it's definitely of a tamer, softer variety.

Released on March 3rd, 2006, Kibun Joujou perfectly fits the 'cheer up' theme with a balanced mix of both male rap and female singing. The song hit the 7th place on the Oricon charts, and used very frequently in Japanese rhythm games as well, such as Happy Dance Collection (a 2008 Namco dancing game) and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2. For the latter game, the story-line for Kibun Joujou revolves around a teenage werewolf (...nope, not this one, or its Twilight cousin for whatever it matters) who is looking for some rhythmical support in order to date a schoolmate without transforming into his monstrous counterpart (yes, apparently werewolves turn into wolves during the day too). Which happens to be very hard, as the couple sees various types of sphere-shaped objects during the date resembling the Moon!

But let's move back to Taiko, shall we? Kibun Joujou is an even slower song than Itoshi no Mille-sama, but unlike the more recent Namco Original song, Kibun Joujou's Oni mode offers clever and original cluster patterns with handswitch, creating a fresh chart that's fun to master. On the first DS Taiko, one note from Oni is removed in order to make room for a Denden note, like other songs on that game (Mori no Kuma-san and Fuun! Bachi o Sensei).

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