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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Song of the Week! 27 April 2013

Finally, our Anime month is coming to an end with another double feature! The first one was requested by a random otaku (no seriously, it's the requester's nickname), while the 2nd one is here to fill our monthly Ura slot.

 Sha la la - Ayakashi NIGHT - (Sha la la -アヤカシNIGHT-) Kekkaishi
Allx3 (92)x5 (121)x6 (241)x6 (383)
 Taiko 10

Besides the usual mainstream anime songs, Taiko no Tatsujin has seen niche anime themes and themes from very old shows. One other area of anime songs that are included in Taiko is direct licensing by Namco Bandai to make a game based on the anime, leading to the promotion of the anime via Taiko (i.e. Fukou no Mori no Ohime-sama) It also applies to 'one-off' specific anime shows as well! This leads to the introduction of the anime series in question: Kekkaishi (結界師, lit. "Barrier Master"), based on the supernatural shonen manga written and illustrated by Yellow Tanabe (田辺イエロウ).

Kekkaishi's story is mainly focused around a bit of land named Karasumori (烏森); according to legends, this land used to draw a massive presence of ayakashi (妖), supernatural creatures who gain strength by draining the sacred land's energy. One day, a demon exterminator called Tokimori Hazama came to Karasumori in order to protect the local lord from those sinister entities, resulting in the founding of the Hazama clan, which harbors knowledge and power to banish spirits, passed down for many generations. In the present day, the protection of the Kekkai school built on Karasumori is up to Yoshimori Sumimura and Tokine Yukimura, two young kids from rival families of the Kekkai clan.

The manga series started in 2003 and ran for eight yearsm and has been both serialized in Shonen Sunday and grouped in 35 individual tankobon, receiving generally positive critiques for both. The peak of Kekkaishi's popularity was in 2007, when the series won the 52nd Shogakukan Manga Award for best shonen manga, resulting in sharp increases in sales of the tankobon (volumes 19 to 21 hit 3rd-4th place on the Tohan best-seller list). The related anime series aired in Japan between 2006-2008, roughly covering Kekkaishi's first story arc. All the episodes of the Kekkaishi anime series start with the song Sha la la -Ayakashi NIGHT-; the song is sung by Saeka Uura (宇浦冴香), the artistwho also sings two of the four ending themes of the same anime.

One of the reasons which led to this opening theme being featured in Taiko (if not the main one!) are the licensed games that Namco Bandai published based on Yellow Tanabe's manga series: the first Nintendo DS game on May 2007 and a Wii videogame on December of the same year! The Oni notechart for the song is slow and tricky. Mindless bashing won't get you through this one; you're going to have to learn to handswitch to safely FC this.

 Switch On! Kamen Rider Fourze
Allx1 (52)x1 (81)x3 (187)x3 (246)
 Taiko 0 to 0 K, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko 3DS 1, 2, Taiko +

Ok, where do I start with this one... Kamen Rider songs have always played quite a big role on Taiko as an evergreen franchise. Like Precure and Doraemon and Naruto, among others, Kamen Rider periodically has its songs included in Taiko's songlist. However, like many other long-running anime series, there aren't many noteworthy points when they are actually played in Taiko, therefore the lack of a space in Song Series for them. However, they will be covered in Song of the Week, and our Kamen Rider features begins with this one.

The Kamen Rider legacy in Japan began as a weekly live-action series of the same name, based on a story written by Shotaro Ishinomori (石ノ森章太郎). In this 1971-1973 series, the world is plagued by a threatening terrorist organization named Shocker, whose army is mainly mutant cyborgs. To expand their army, Shocker captures and brainwashes people to turn them into even more mutant cyborgs, by using their bodies as vessels. One of their victims, named Takeshi Hongo, escaped right before the final brainwashing process and decided to fight off Shocker's minions as the altered human (改造人間 kaizō ningen) superhero Kamen Rider, whose body is based on a grasshopper.

The huge popularity of the live-action Kamen Rider series lead to a near-infinite barrage of sequels and TV serializations which are still in progress today, with a truckload of movie/TV specials supporting each series. In every Kamen Rider series, the main character usually follows the same superhero formula: the Kamen Rider has its own motorcycle, its costume is related to the insect world and it's (almost) always triggered by a special belt, much like the transformation devices used in the Power Rangers series.

Composed and sung by Anna Tsuchiya (土屋アンナ), Switch On! is the opening theme of Kamen Rider Forze, the 23rd TV series in the franchise (despite the obvious 'Four' in the title). Compared to the average trend of the Kamen Rider songs on Taiko, this one is the most inconsistent; it has the highest basic BPM of all (so far) but yet it's the easiest of the lot, thanks to a very loose chart with no clusters. Its capitalization also changed, from the allcaps title on Taiko 0 and 3DS (SWITCH ON!) to the actual one, after an arcade firmware update, and on PSP DX as a downloadable song.

  Switch On! Kamen Rider Fourze

x9 (454)
 Taiko 0.5 to 0 K, Taiko 3DS 2, Taiko +

During the Katsu-Don generation, Switch On! received a large upgrade via this Ura Oni. After Mori no Kuma-san's ridiculously high rating gap between Oni and its Ura, this modern song gains six more stars with more aggressive cluster sequences befitting its high BPM, and is a milder version of even harder songs on Taiko (eg. Venomous). Sure, it's one of the 9* challenges with the lowest note count ever, but its speed and note density still makes it worthy of the rating.

1 comment:

  1. =D I'm so happy that my request was used for the SOTW!