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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Song of the Week! 13 October 2012

Last week I covered a very old song, so today it's time to pick a new popular song! This is a request from jylee. (Remember to post your requests in the comments so we can check them faster!)

Connect (コネクト) Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Allx3 (101)x3 (136) x3 (213)x5 (344)
Taiko 0 to Taiko 0 R, Taiko PS Vita

Original Opening theme

...Contract? /人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕人\

If you've been around the Internet for the past year or so you would have probably come across a white catlike thing with the never-changing face; it's been a meme for quite some time for reasons we'll explain soon. The anime in question is Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ), or Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Like Angel Beats, Madoka Magica is another short anime aired between January and April 2011, written by Gen Urobuchi (玄虚淵) and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (昭之新房). Madoka Magica is one of the many 'magical girl' themed animation series Japan is famous for, but the darker tones set this apart as a fresh and innovative take on the genre. Now, let's see a bit of the plot.

In the city of Mitakihara, a 14-year old girl named Madoka Kaname and her best friend Sayaka Miki are approached by a strange creature named Kyubey (or 'QB'; it's the ASCII face on the top of the page). In exchange for being granted any one wish, that girl must become a magical girl tasked with fighting against Witches, manifestations of despair that are responsible for unexplained murders and suicides. The series revolves around Madoka's perplexities towards the proposal, as she finds out more about the dark secrets of a magical girl's life and learns from the experiences of other magical girls as well. The final few episodes twist and turn the story in ways like no other; it's up to you to watch it! Kyubey became a love-hate symbol on the Internet because of her face and demeanor, showing complete apathy to every tragic and horrific event that unfolds.

For breathing new life into a dying, saturated genre of anime, Madoka Magica was a phenomenal hit; after the initial airing ended, the show's Blu-Ray discs all sold over 50,000 copies, and the June 2011 streaming of the anime on Nicovideo gathered around 1 million viewers, surpassing the previous record of 570,000 held by Lucky Star, another monster hit. Acclaimed both by critics and by the public, Madoka Magica won an avalanche of awards: 16th Kobe Awards Television award, Japan Media Prize 2011 Grand Prize for animation, 12 NewType Anime awards, the Selection Committee Special Prize award at the 2012 Licensing of the Year awards and a Seiun Award for "Best Media" at the 2012 Japan Science Fiction Convention. Not bad for a 12-episode anime, isn't it?

The huge impact of the show spawned two parallel manga series (Puella Magi Kazumi Magica and Puella Magi Oriko Magica), as well as a novel and a 3-part movie (Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie). The movie's first two parts (named 'Beginnings' and 'Eternal') are a retelling of the original story being shown on October this year in Japan (for the record, Part 2 is airing today!), while the third one - Rebellion - is a brand new story which takes place after the ending. In the gaming world, Bandai Namco published a PSP dungeon crawler game for the anime, and some of the heroines' costumes were added as DLC for other games of theirs (God Eater Burst and the upcoming Tales of Xilia 2).

'Connect', the opening theme of the anime, is the second single of budding group ClariS, made up of a duo of high school girls Clara and Alice (the name of the group is both names combined). They started out by singing covers of anime songs and Vocaloid songs and eventually branched out into making their own singles, all of which have been fairly popular and featured in other highly-acclaimed animes. Their style of music has a distinct 'hopeful and positive' style.

Then it comes to rhythm games. Barely a year after the inception of the anime, Connect has been spread across both Namco and Konami's rhythm games; for our case, the Taiko cover is sung by 'Mihou' (美萌) and the notechart is made by Taiko Team member Kudo (工藤). Being mainly one of the 'casual audience' songs, Connect's debut on Taiko 0 is not very high on the difficulty scale, but the fast BPM and clusters make this a high-tier 5* Oni.

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