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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Song of the Week! 15 March 2014

One big chunk of the J-Pop and Anime songlist will be leaving the arcade next month. All of them have been there since the Taiko franchise turned HD, and with licensed songs being swapped out regularly, it should come as no surprise. Nineteen of the twenty songs to get the axe are still playable on consoles. The remaining one is a regrettable case, and is our feature for today.

 Hacking to the Gate Steins;Gate
Allx2 (96)x2 (125)x3 (224)x6 (362)
 Taiko 0 to 0 M

Original opening video

Hacking to the Gate was one of the first new anime licenses to be bought for the then brand-new Taiko HD arcade, and like Connect, it comes from a different brand of anime than the usual kiddy fare Taiko is accustomed to, and it's a pretty recent series as well.

This song is the opening theme for the 2011 anime Steins;Gate, a series inspired by the 2009 visual novel of the same name released for XBox 360, PC and PS3, much like the Uta no Prince-Sama anime series. The game, described by its creators 5pb. and Nitroplus as an 'Hypothetical Science Adventure' (想定科学ADV), is the sequel to Chaos;Head, also one of their projects.

The story revolves around the self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe and his group of friends in the district of Akihabara, one year after the events of Chaos;Head. After some strange phenomena, Okabe realizes that the "Mobile Microwave" prototype he was developing with his friends can send text messages into the past, allowing him to interact with many alternate realities. While experimenting, another organization involved in time travel studies named SERN (a depicted name from the real-life European research organization CERN) plots to get possession of Rintaro's prototype in order to create a dystopian future where SERN members rule the world. SERN directly interferes with Rintaro's studies and it's up to the 'mad scientist' to prevent the SERN threat and to keep his friends safe by activating a specific chain of events which would lead to a new main time line, which he dubs the 'Steins;Gate'.

Both the game and the anime series have received high praise from both critics and public, leading to a couple of game sequels and a whole range of new media products, ranging from movies, Internet radio broadcasts, radio CDs, a board game (named Rainet Access Battlers) to an 8-day Live Action Play aired last year in Tokyo's Zepp Diver City! Selling over 300k units across the various platforms in roughly 2 years, Steins;Gate has been mostly appreciated for the intricate story, which is also the main reason Square Enix hired the series' storywriter -Naotaka Hayashi, from 5pb.- as the plot/character writer for the recent 3DS RPG game Bravely Default.

Hacking to the Gate involved three people: Chiyomaru Shikura (志倉千代丸) for the main composition, Isoe Toshimichi (磯江俊道) for the arrangement and Kanako Ito (いとう かなこ) as the singer. Before being announced for the Taiko arcade, the discovery of a certain songID -shtage- in one of Taiko PSP DX's first DLC packs led fans to speculate than this song was originally planned as a downloadable song for it. While the ID was (somehow) proven to belong to this song some months later, the song never made it to the PSP, and after being playable for  a very brief period on Taiko Tori Houdai (like all other licensed songs on it), the song seems doomed to a deep slumber on Taiko, as it will not be playable in any official Taiko game after its removal from Momoiro. A pity; anime songs of this caliber are hard to come by in this rhythm game.

It's a pretty plain 6* Oni chart with long sequences of 1/8 beats mixed with some clusters and large notes. It gets slightly tougher entering the Go-Go Time but players used to triple don clusters being in the middle of other notes should not have much trouble passing it.

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