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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Song of the Week! 23 March 2013

After last year's 9mm Parabellum Bullet double feature, today we'll feature two famous songs from Sid, another Japanese rock band whose debut on Taiko arcade is pretty recent as well.

 Uso (嘘)
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Taiko 0x3 (150)x5 (220)x5 (334)x6 (419)
 Taiko 13, 14, Taiko 0

The arcade version after Punishment's debut saw the Taiko debut of the 2003 Visual Kei rock band named Sid (despite the name it is a band and not an individual person). It was a surprise to see it on Taiko 13, not because of the song itself, but for the fact that Uso was a rare case of a licensed song that was not featured in any promotional material before Taiko 13's release, unlike (almost) every other licensed song before that! But let's proceed with order, by starting with a short description of the band itself.

Like 9mm, Sid is a rock band, though of a different genre of rock. Visual Kei messages and jazz-fusion vibes become its main distinctions from the other contemporary bands. Sid's musical journey officially began in 2003, when vocalist Mao (マオ) and bassist Aki (アキ) came together; however, the band members consider January 14, 2004 as Sid's "official birth" date, as the last two members - guitarist Shinji (シンジ) and drummer Yuuya (雄也) joined Mao and Aki during a concert at the Meguro Rock May Kan.

After several singles and concerts all over Japan, Sid released Uso (lit. 'Lie') on April 2009. Uso is the band's 15th single, as well as one of the most popular songs in their repertoire, hitting second place in the Oricon charts on its debut week. Almost on the same time as its release, Uso was also used as the ending theme of anime series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood's first 14 episodes. Other songs from this band have been used for several other Japanese animated series; on Taiko, there's Rain (also for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) and the very recent V.I.P, for the anime Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic.

But what makes Uso so unique on Taiko is -as already hinted in the introduction- its troublesome debut. Even though the song was announced through a Taiko Team official blog post as usual, it was somehow never mentioned in any brochure, advertisement or any other Taiko 13-related merchandise! Only when the arcade was shown for the first time did the song title appear on the top banner (the red lantern).

The song is mid-fast, and on Taiko, Uso is known as the longest cover of a licensed song in a rhythm game, against all the other main competitors which featured the TV-sized cut from the Fullmetal Alchemist anime. Despite the song's speed, its Oni mode is made up of simple 1/8 patterns with occasional clusters, and therefore was cut to 6* on Taiko 0. Uso was planned for its console Taiko debut as a DLC song for Taiko PSP DX, however it is still missing, and four years on, Uso is still a staunch arcade exclusive.

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 Taiko 0.5 to 0 R, Taiko Wii 5

Fast forward to three years after Uso's release, Sid released this song in March 2012, and was promptly used in Taiko later in the year, first on Wii, and then ported to Taiko 0.5 via a firmware update. S is the band's 24th single, which stood in the Oricon charts with a shining 4th as its best ranking. This song is also the main theme of the 2012 Japanese horror movie Sadako 3D (貞子3D), also known as The Ring 3: Sadako in the Philippines. Curiously enough, the film is based on a 2012 horror novel by Koji Suzuki (光司鈴木), which also is named S, like Sid's song. Coincidence?

Unlike Sid's past songs on Taiko arcades, S stands out from the crowd as a really fast song; it's one of the fastest J-Pop songs in Taiko, tied with Punishment and only behind Egao ni Kanpai (BPM 218) and Mikan no Uta (BPM 276), both of which are far easier songs. There's no joking around with the note patterns either; aggressive repeated clusters and terrifying long streams (which, though simple in pattern, are pure torture at BPM 212), ready to overwhelm players after the initial slow start. S's Oni notecount also matches the one of Kill Me no Baby!, another 9* Oni challenge introduced on KATSU-DON, which also has intense speed as its selling point.

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