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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Song of the Week! 16 February 2013

It's Saturday again, and it's time for another double-song pick! Both of them are focused around a fictional, small bug which really likes people's backs, simply known as...

 Oshiri Kajiri Mushi (おしりかじり虫)
Allx1 (76)x1 (97)x3 (260/196/132)x3 (368)
 Taiko 11 to 14, Taiko DS 2, Taiko PSP DX

Taiko games have been a vessel for songs coming from viral hit videos (Like caramelldansen, Yawaraka Sensha and Vocaloid songs in general); today's first pick is no exception (though technically speaking it comes from a TV show). But before talking about the song itself, let's talk about the decidedly strange-looking bug itself.

As the name's literal English translation suggests ("Bum-Biting Bug"), Oshiri Kajiri Mushi is from Osaka, and 8 years of age. It is 25 cm high, weights 2 kg and is a fan of Quincy Jones. Its favorite hobby consists of -you guessed it- biting the butts of the people to make everyone happy and open to interact with positive energy.

In a nutshell, that's also what its theme song is all about! Premiered in 2007 in the NHK TV show 'Minna no Uta' (みんなのうた, "Everyone's Songs"), the Oshiri Kajiri Mushi song was popular, not just with kids but with grown-ups as well, as shown by the big sales of the single on that year (over 300.000 units sold in the week ending June 27) and the high placing in the Oricon charts (hitting 6th on Fall 2007). The song and its video are made by a husband-wife duo known as UrumaDelvi (うるまでるび) by using common Flash software, with the music composed by Suguru Yamaguchi (山口優).

The secret behind the success of this song for children? In an interview, UrumaDelvi owe the song's popularity to its setting, perfectly portraying the social condition of the city life in Japan. In a scenario where people are often stresses and tired, without any excitement and interaction, the lively bug's bites give people energy, making them stand up from their seated positions and help them to create physical interaction among people who are usually silent and shy, an aspect often criticized of the modern Japanese society by Japanese people themselves.

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi made its jump to Taiko on both arcade and console at the same time. For both Taiko 11 and DS2 and all subsequent arcades, characters from the hit video are seen dancing on the bottom of the screen: Oshiri Kajiri Mushi XVIII, his parents and the four Kajiri Gals, its backup singers. According to Wikipedia, the Kajiri Gals were apparently born in Los Angeles to Shizuoka-born parents and take their cue from the Candies, a Japanese idol group from the 1970s.

Unlike most 3* Oni songs (and most easy songs in general), there is zero drumrolls in Oshiri Kajiri Mushi aside from two balloon notes, and the rest is standard fare with very few clusters.

 Oshiri no Yama wa Everest (おしりの山はエベレスト) NHK Minna no Uta
Allx1 (112)x2 (183)x4 (274)x5 (442)
 Taiko 0.5 to 0 K, Taiko Wii 5, Taiko 3DS
 Anime -> Variety

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi is categorized as an Anime tune in Taiko, however it was not part of any animated series. But this one is.

After the success of the Bum-Biting Bug, the husband-wife couple stormed NHK once again in 2012 with a proper Oshiri Kajiri Mushi anime. The show, which started in October 2012 and consisted of 20 short episodes (5 minutes each), tell the everyday life of Oshiri Kajiri Mushi XVIII (now age 10) in the Biting Academy in order to inherit his family's Biting shop. The producers of the music and theme song remain the same. The name of the theme is Oshiri no Yama wa Everest (lit. 'The Butt's Mountain is the Everest').

Predictably enough, this song's theme is the yellow bug looking for someone's bottom half on the world's highest mountain. Surprisingly enough this theme song was released several months before the anime began, giving Namco Bandai the opportunity to feature it on July 2012's Taiko game releases, 0.5 and 3DS. It was then shifted to Variety.

For this song's Oni mode, the low speed of the song has been exploited for a harder challenge, featuring several cluster sections, with some unusual hand-switching for Oni 5*. Once again, the main characters from the Oshiri Kajiri Mushi make their cameo appearance during the arcade gameplay, this time wearing mountaineer clothing.

  Oshiri no Yama wa Everest (おしりの山はエベレスト) NHK Minna no Uta
All arcade

x9 (784)
Taiko Wii 5

x9 (788)
 Taiko 0.5 to 0 K, Taiko Wii 5
 Anime -> Variety

Following the same road taken by Yawaraka Sensha Ura and Sanpo Ura, the Ura Oni chart for this song is largely based on extremely long streams, though not all continuous like in the previous two songs. At its low BPM with 1/16 spacing, Oshiri no Yama wa Everest Ura also find the opportunity to throw in some variety not seen in any other stream song; there is some really troublesome handswitching in some of the streams and at the end, immediate switching to 1/24 and 1/32 note spacing and back again.

There are some differences between the arcade Ura Oni and the one later seen on Taiko Wii 5, with the latter adding four more notes to the beginning and has more speedup sections than on the arcade.

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