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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Notechart Analysis: Dokadoka

The Classic genre may not have many songs, nor does it get updated with new ones very often, but difficulty-wise it's gone from strength to strength, featuring such stream-filled nightmares as Fantasie Impromptu, Flight of the Bumblebee, Etude Op.10-4, and the latest in devilish streamy challenges in the genre, Dokadoka.

Dokadoka takes stream challenges in Classic to a whole new level, putting even Bumblebee to shame, and it's so much faster and longer than its predecessor that it becomes a real test of endurance and note-reading ability. Unfortunately I can't help you guys out with stamina training, but I can give a guide on how to tackle each of Dokadoka's fiendish streams!

The first 20 seconds of the song should not be of much trouble if you're used to short and medium streams, and the first real killer comes immediately after the big notes.

Start with your dominant hand. The first eleven notes are fine, and then you'll be forced to suddenly cope with handswitch. Remember the rule: even number of red notes, switch hands. Odd number of notes, don't switch hands. In this case, in between all the do-ka-do-ka-do-ka-do-ka notes, there are four, three, three and two red notes between one blue one (switch, don't switch, don't switch, switch). If you started from your dominant hand (assuming you're right handed), this diagram shows which hand you should use to hit the blue notes.

A short break paves the way for another of Dokadoka's headaches:

Shorter than the first stream but arguably tougher to not miss on. Starting from your dominant hand here would mean your non-dominant hand would hit the first blue note in the stream, which is a very awkward position since very, very few streams in Taiko no Tatsujin are 5 red and 1 blue (the only examples I can think of with that sort of pattern are Classic Medley (Rock ver.) and Nightmare Survivor (Ura)). Then, follow the same principle as the first stream: count the red notes and act accordingly.

Five, four, three, five. Honestly the stream would have been a lot easier if it wasn't for the sole switch on four.

The stream that directly follows is not too hard (no handswitch) but it does take some time to get used to due to the speed and clusters of three red notes.

And now, presenting.....the second-longest stream of the song.

Yes, this is just the second-longest. It looks simple, like a non-handswitch stream straight out of Kurenai, but count the red notes closely!

Nine-eleven-nine-five...then a simple portion which if you did everything correctly, should land on your dominant hand comfortably, then nine, ten, eleven, then land the rest of the stream starting with your dominant hand.

If you can do Hataraku 2000, you'll be right at home with this stream once you learn the number of dons, because it uses the same 'wave technique' of handswitching. Try doing it slowly with your fingers and you'll see what I mean; the way your hands move up to the rim and back down again feels like a wave moving from left to right, and then back again! Follow the wave for the entire stream except for the group of ten red notes in the second half of the stream. This odd part is noted below.

Be patient and keep practicing this one; it takes some time to get right even after you know the switches.

Then comes a calm, relatively easier part of the song, with easier, non-handswitch, medium length streams which lasts for a good half-minute, allowing you to regain your momentum and stamina. Rest up, you're really, really going to need it!

This monstrosity is the longest in the song, and while still not as long as the likes of Hatsune Miku no Gekishou and Yawaraka Sensha (Ura), this is far more complex and requires a lot of quick note counting skill.

Again, start from your dominant hand. Instantly you'll be forced to switch like mad, though in the repetitive patterns of the first two rows of notes, each handswitch is quickly followed by another one to bring the momentum back to your dominant hand.

The third row onwards until the balloon note? It's more a stamina test than anything else; once you know how many Dons exactly there are, you realize there's absolutely no handswitch all the way to the balloon note. Hit all stray blue notes with your dominant hand.

After the balloon note, it's your choice whether to hit the first blue note with your right or left hand, but I recommend you do it from your non-dominant (which is more accustomed to the rim, depending on your play style). Again, no handswitch until one odd part at stanza 114 (above). You can either

-take it as a handswitch, or;
-break off the red note adjacent to it and read it as dkkk dkkk dkkk

It's your call, but regardless of what happens, your dominant hand hits the first blue note (red circle in stanza 114).

Phew...that was crazy. It's entirely possible to completely run out of breath without finishing the stream even if you know the entire thing by heart.

Finished it? Got all the notes right? Feeling completely exhausted? Good. Here, have one more stream to destroy what little life you have left.

Alright so it's not that hard. But watch the speed; while the rest of the song is at BPM 190, this last part scrolls at BPM 222, which can and will catch you off guard and deprive you of a well-earned Full Combo. Just be careful all the way to the end and good luck!

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