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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Song of the Week! 21 September 2013


Autumn has just begun here at Taiko Time! While we are waiting for more details about the future Taiko console game, here's another Anime pick for you to enjoy. 

 Motteke! Sailor Fuku (もってけ!セーラーふく) Lucky☆Star
Version
Taiko 10 to 14, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko PSPDXx3 (114)x6 (185)x7 (307)x9 (490)
Taiko 0 to Sx3 (114)x6 (185)x7 (307)x8 (490)
 Taiko 10 to 14, Taiko 0 to S, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko PSPDX
 150
 none
 rakisu


Several years before Kill Me no Baby's release, there was another similarly squeaky opening theme of an anime originating from a yonkoma comic; a series that became a huge cultural phenomenon like the earlier Haruhi Suzumiya series, even though its creator Kagami Yoshimizu (美水かがみ) thought it wasn't really that special before the anime's release...

I'm talking about Lucky☆Star (らき☆すた), a 2004 manga series which set a high standard for the "slice of life" anime genre by referencing tons of things in Japanese pop culture. As its genre may suggest, the story revolves around the daily life of four girls living in the Saitama Prefecture: Konata Izumi, a talented girl who is lazy in school, and her friends, Miyuki Takara and the sisters Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi. The four girls met each other at the beginning of their first year of high school, and the manga revolves around their daily life, paying homage many times to other anime, manga and videogames which were the 'in' thing at the time of publishing.

Lucky Star's popularity extended well beyond the end of its anime run, and has tons of merchandise, from regular household items like food and utensils to several videogames (mostly life-simulators and visual novels), as well as books, audio CDs and a spin-off series called Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku. Not to mention that the series was used in a live concert in 2009 and a musical in 2012!

As already stated before, the reaction was surprisingly big for the Lucky Star series; so big that it really put the Saitama prefecture as a hotspot on the map, with magazines and tour guides showing places in Saitama where the anime scenes took place (like Tsukasa and Kagami's home in Washimiya and the school in Kasukabe), as a sort of pilgrimage for all the series' fans to see (perhaps trying to re-enact the scenes from Lucky Star)! The real Hiiragi family also became official residents of the aforementioned Washimiya town due to popular demand, becoming the third anime-related character group to achieve such a result in the Saitama prefecture, after Astroboy (Niza) and Shin-Chan's family (Kasukabe). Surprisingly enough, the income from all the edible Lucky Star merchandise helped Washimiya's economy flourish by 42 million yen, after a huge financial slump.

The anime series's opening theme, Motteke! Sailor Fuku (lit. Take it! Sailor Uniform), is unique as well; the lyrics are total gibberish, but the song's creators are actually former Namco affiliates, including MONACA no Okabedesu member Satoru Kousaki (神前暁) (also composer of some Idolm@ster and Taiko songs) and lyricist Aki Hata (畑亜貴). The song, which was sung by Aya Hirano, Emiri Katou, Kaori Fukuhara, and Aya Endou, spread another viral dance choreography with its video, and won the Radio Kansai Award in 2007, a subset of the Animation Kobe Theme Song Award. The Taiko version of this song is the original one, rather than a cover.

But why do we have this song on Taiko? You can thank the anime's many videogame references for that! During the anime's third episode, Konata and the Hiiragi sisters visit an arcade, where they played the song Hare Hare Yukai on a Taiko no Tatsujin 9 cabinet. Takahashi, the past Taiko Team leader, really liked the reference to the rhythm franchise and immediately responded by putting Motteke! Sailor Fuku into the following arcade version onwards (and there it stayed until now). He also made the notecharts for the song!

The BPM changes are slight and nothing too troubling, but the challenge to Motteke! Sailor Fuku and also why it was a contender even for expert players, were its wide variety of tricky clusters and beat signature differences. Many of the notes are also located on backbeats, making it difficult to hit everything accurately. It's still quite a feat even after going down by one star in Taiko 0.

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