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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Song of the Week! 18 October 2014

By popular demand, today's feature is about a staple of Japan animation; Real Robot animated series! Join us as we take a look at the very first and the very last Gundam songs on Taiko.

 Tobe! Gundam (翔べ!ガンダム)
Version / 
Taiko 1
x4 (182)

Taiko 2
x4 (182)x6 (365)x8 (365)
Taiko 3
x5 (182)x6 (365)x8 (365)
Taiko PS2 2x5 (111)x5 (182)x5 (365)x6 (365)
 Taiko 1 to 3, Taiko PS2 2

Together with Uchuu Senkan Yamato, the very first opening theme to a popular Japanese science fiction series is included in the songlist of the very first Taiko arcade. It stayed there for a few iterations and even had a console showing on PS2, with extra charts added to finish the difficulty set.

Tobe! Gundam (lit. 'Fly! Gundam') is the opening theme for the 1979 anime Mobile Suit Gundam (機動戦士ガンダム), the Nippon Sunrise TV series that propogated the whole Gundam franchise, despite being not warmly received in irs early years. The series is set in the fictional Universal Century, year 0079 (2079), as a fierce year-long war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon saw the Earth population halved by the hostile alien forces. The story follows the events after said war, as the Federation puts all hopes left into the young mechanic Amuro Ray and the secret weapon that he has proved to efficiently control after a Zeon surprise attack at the Federation's White Base: the RX-78-2 Gundam, a giant robot built to counter the mobile suits built by the invading forces. A staple of the Real Robot series, Gundam's plot followed the story of what in actuality is an ordinary soldier fighting in an advanced robot, more involved in psychological and often mature themes (think Evangelion) rather than fighting the 'monster of the week' like in the 'Super Robots' series like Power Rangers. The series was created by Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野 由悠季), while Tobe! Gundam is made and performed by Kou Ikeda (池田鴻).

As stated before, Mobile Suit Gundam was not successful in its early years. It was so bad that the proposed 52 episodes of the first season was cut to 39 and then the final 43, after some negotiations with the sponsoring company (Clover). However, once Bandai acquired the rights to produce a line of Gundam plastic models of the show's featured mechas, the series' popularity started to soar. Now, the franchise is worth over 50 billion Yen to Bandai Namco, thanks to the many branching paths followed in media and merchandise territories: 12 Anime series, 25 videogames, over 20 animated movies, dozens of manga/novel stories and countless homages to monuments and institutions all across Japan! The series became quite hot overseas as well, starting with Italy (first broadcast of the series on February 1980) and then the rest of the world as a 'revival' popularity, after the success of later series that came in the USA first, like Gundam Wing.

The uplifting rhythm of the song makes for a surprisingly difficult 6* Muzukashii/Oni mode for the old rating standards, as mono-colored clusters come in numbers and between single notes very often.

 DAYBREAK'S BELL Mobile Suit Gundam 00
Allx3 (91)x3 (115)x7 (340)x8 (462)
Taiko 11, 12A, Taiko DS2


The last Gundam opening song to be featured on Taiko, DAYBREAK'S BELL was only present for a single generation of Taiko games (and a brief reappearance on the Asian firmware). It is the opening to Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (pronounced 'double-o'), which itself comprises of two seasons, and is the 11th incarnation of the humongous Gundam series.

Without going into too much gory detail, each different Gundam anime is a different setting; 00 is vastly different from the anime described above, almost as if it were in a different universe, with the only thing in common is that giant mechanized robots called Gundams are involved. In this case, a paramilitary organization called Celestial Being uses the Gundams to get rid of all war and conflict in the world. Setsuna F. Seiei, the main character, is one of the pilots and the main character of 00.

Comparisons were drawn between 00 and its more successful predecessors, Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny; though 00 received high praise in reviews, it was not as popular among Gundam fans in terms of viewership, though still enough to have a movie of its own as a sequel after the events of the second season. DAYBREAK'S BELL is sung by the very popular all-male rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel (meaning 'The Rainbows' in French) but we'll cover their discography in a separate feature!

It's a pretty short song, and not too taxing for an 8* Oni chart, with most of its continuous clusters being around the chorus of the song. Once you get past all of that, passing or getting a Full Combo on DAYBREAK'S BELL should be pretty easy.

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