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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Song of the Week! 25 May 2013

This week is just brimming with adventure, with two songs from a single console Taiko game, one of the few that we have yet to talk about!

Kimi to Hibiku Harmony (キミと響くハーモニー)
Allx3 (156)x4 (239)x5 (364)x6 (466)
 Taiko 3DS, Taiko 0.5, Taiko Wii U 3, CD CC-1

The winds blow, the song echoes. Hand in hand we walk, where do we go next?

Kimi to Hibiku Harmony (lit. Our Echoing Harmony) is the theme of Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi na Orb, the first Taiko game for the Nintendo 3DS. I'll leave the story details to the song list page, however the main theme of this game is on adventure into new lands, much like Taiko DS 2 before it. This uplifting, cheerful tune places more emphasis on the 'adventure' bit, with its lyrics being all about sticking together and going to new places.

Takafumi Sato, the man behind many recent Namco Originals, is the artist for this piece, and the energetic female vocal is provided by Nao Touyama (東山奈央), a Japanese singer and voice actress who also did the voice of Levaa, a boss character, the titular little dragon Raruko and the princess he protects, Soprano. In fact, it is implied within the story mode of Taiko 3DS that Soprano is the voice of this song, in the final battle of the game. Kimi to Hibiku Harmony is one of the few console Taiko theme songs not sung by Don-chan voice actress Narahashi Miki.

The video above is what the song looks like after being ported to the Katsu-Don arcade firmware. Notice all those symbols next to it? Banapassport players, once they have this song unlocked on the arcade, will be able to use that sequence of pictures on their 3DS to obtain goodies. More information can be found on Taiko 3DS' pages so have a look there!

The chart is your average 6* with quite a few dead spots, most noticeably the beginning, and the remainder is made up of repetitive 1/8 patterns with a few clusters here and there. Nothing too taxing; you'll be enjoying the song as you go along in the unstressful Oni chart.

Kimi to Hibiku Harmony (キミと響くハーモニー)
Taiko 3DS 1x4 (172)x5 (263)x5 (496)x8 (681)
Taiko 0 S, Taiko Wii U 3

x8 (681)
 Taiko 0 S, Taiko 3DS 1, Taiko Wii U 3

It is extremely rare that we get to see an Ura mode being made for a console Taiko theme song. Kimi to Hibiku Harmony is the 3rd theme to have this extra mode added after Hibike! Taiko no Tatsujin's long version chart and Saturday Taiko Fever. Unlike those two, this Ura is available for play right from the debut of the song, instead of having to wait a few years. It was not instantly playable in the arcade however; it was missing from Katsu-Don and added to Taiko Sorairo due to high player demand.

The chart is a more frantic 8* Oni, a big step up in difficulty from the regular chart and one of the toughest console theme songs in recent years, with a large total note count to match. Many blank areas had notes added and the number of clusters is significantly increased for a more high-energy play, especially during the chorus with the large notes.

Maou no Showtime (マオウのショウタイム)
Allx4 (252)x6 (384)x7 (546)x9 (888)
 Taiko 0 S, Taiko 3DS 1, Taiko Wii U 3, CD CC-1
 120 ~ 220

Along with Kimi no Hibiku Harmony today is the antagonist theme song of the same game; Maou no Showtime is the song of the villain clown Maou, who makes no effort to keep himself hidden even as the final boss of the game; all early promotional materials and trailers feature him and his plot of stealing Princess Soprano's voice, and he displays himself prominently in the opening scenes of the story mode as well, unlike other final bosses like Gigadon (DS2) and Armagedon (PSP DX). Obviously, Maou no Showtime is played during the boss battle with Maou himself.

Once again Takafumi Sato's name shows up; he is responsible for both hero and villain songs of Taiko 3DS and sung this one himself! Though dark in nature, there is a certain bouncy, enjoyable beat to the song. The lyrics, while still unconfirmed, is Maou singing praises about his magic powers and he breaks the 4th wall a bit during the middle by talking about increasing the speed of the song, which is exactly what happens.

The speed increase is no picnic either; not only does the BPM increase, the scrolling speed of the notes also go up in tandem, making for a blazing fast chart that's quite difficult to master despite the fact that no unusual cluster patterns are used in the song, relying on basic stuff to create a very intuitive yet challenging Oni chart. The progressively increasing tempo in the ending reaches a speed barely matching Kita Saitama 2000 at the end and overall, Maou no Showtime rivals several low-tier 10* Oni charts in terms of difficulty.

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