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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Song of the Week! 5 July 2014

Time for an old J-Pop feature! Anyone familiar with other commercial rhythm games and Japanese music should recognize this song and this band; they're literally everywhere.

Karma (カルマ) Bump of Chicken
Taiko 8, PSP2x4 (141)x5 (211)x6 (450)x8 (701)
Taiko iOSx4 (141)x5 (211)x5 (450)x7 (701)
Taiko 8, Taiko PSP 2, Taiko +

Not to be confused with Karma (Tatsujin Mix), this is one song of three in Bump of Chicken's eleventh single, titled Supernova. The band has enjoyed constant success (they are responsible for one of Taiko's J-Pop staples, Tentai Kansoku), and Supernova was no exception; it peaked at number 2 in the Oricon weekly charts and was number 9 in the top 100 singles of 2006. Karma is the second song in the single, and used as the opening theme song for the Japanese version of Namco's RPG game Tales of the Abyss.

The game was released in late 2005 for the PlayStation 2 (and re-released six years later for the Nintendo 3DS), and its plot revolves around the theme of knowing the meaning behind self-existence and fulfilling one's own purpose. This is exactly what happens to the protagonist Luke, who becomes the target of a military organization known as the Order of Lorelei, who believes Luke to be the key to unlocking an ancient prophecy. The game takes place on a world named Auldrant, which revolves around seven elemental powers called Fonons. Each Tales game is vastly different in setting, and are bounded together only by name.

Tales of the Abyss is one of the more well-known Tales RPG games and highlighted due to its creative battle system, praised almost universally by critics both inside and outside Japan. It sold pretty well too, and hit the 700,000 mark worldwide in late 2007.

At 2 minutes and 29 seconds, Karma is one of the longer songs in the J-Pop genre of Taiko no Tatsujin, and filled with many basic patterns and unremarkable 1/16 clusters, which only gets slightly more difficult to deal with at the end of the song. Considered too easy for an 8*, it was downed to 7* on its way to iOS, and seems like a better fit there. Karma is not an easily-accessible song in Taiko, but the song can be found on several other commercial rhythm games including pop'n music and Maimai GreeN.

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