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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Song of the Week! 21 February 2015

Since this week's beginning, the fabled Tenkaichi Otogesai songs have become available for everyone to play, after the giant collaboration event's conclusion!

Today's song on the spotlight is one of these recently-shared tunes, coming from a well-known, bemani-related artist.

 Scars of FAUNA Nekomata Master / jubeat
Allx4 (188)x5 (293)x7 (573)x9 (780)
 Taiko 0 K

Dreamed by many rhythm game players since ages, a Taiko collaboration concerning one of the many rhythm game franchises by bemani was completely unheard of (altogether with the concept of rhythm games collaborations in general), but the latest arcade lifecycle proved us more than once that foreign franchise cross-overs could be a concrete reality. And so, after Taito and Sega's series, it's time from a song spawning from a Konami series, coming from the hands of one of the most known artists, no less!

The rhythm series in question is called jubeat (read 'you-beat'), started as a Japanese arcade title on July 2008. The game is played on a squared LCD monitor divided in 16 squares, where the players have to hit the notes as soon as they reach a 'hot spot' mark in tune with the played song's rhythm (much like the Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents games), mainly consisting of simple touches and, starting from the recently-released jubeat prop, holding notes as well. Much like for the Taiko franchise, the jubeat series tried to be released in the Western countries since the very first release, with the help of several location tests (under the name of' 'UBeat') that ultimately resulted to be fruitless. However, the franchise isn't completely dead in the West, as the game is playable on i-devices as jukebeat, retaining the same play style of the arcade originals and localizing most of the songs' names and Japanese-worded artists.

The artist behind Scars of FAUNA is Naoyuki Sato (佐藤直之), currently one of the most known in-house bemani composers in recent memory. Originally a freelance musician, he began working for Konami in 1999 for the soundtrack of Japan-only titles, such as the long-running baseball series Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu. His first works on bemani rhythm games can be found since the 10th console ports of the beatmania IIDX and pop'n music series for Playstation 2 (including the 'Contemporary Nation' line of songs) as exclusive tracks, mostly signed under the alias of Nekomata Master (猫叉Master). Year after year, Naoyuki Sato's works began to become popular enough to have some of his future songs be included in the main arcade releases of almost every bemani franchise to date, up to become the current sound director of the beatmania IIDX seires and one of the "First Generation" members of the Beatnation Records/Beatnation RHYZE in-house label. For more informations Naoyuki Sato himself and his works on bemani games, his Twitter account and his artist profile page on bemani-related wiki RemyWiki are good starting points.

As many of the songs under the Nekomata Master alias, Scars of FAUNA is an instrumental track based around nostalgia-sounding musical vibes, with the main theme being the power of the Earth. In fact, the Italian word in the title, 'Fauna' can be read both as the generic term for a group of animals living in the same place and as the namesake goddess from the ancient Rome's mythology, calling back to distant times in the past. The interview for the song's cover art with artist T-Da (T田) mentions that the song was originally going to have a different title, but it was settled down to FAUNA due to the closer relation to the "Four Element" theme of the event's Final Block songs.

In a strange way, Scars of FAUNA is part of a weird cycle of Nekomata Master songs featuring a constant capital wording ('Xxxx of XXXXX') on the song's title, being the second tune between the beatmania IIDX songs Elements of SPADA (IIDX 21 SPADA) and Despair of ELFERIA (IIDX 22 PENDUAL). Like for the other two songs, Scars of FAUNA got a long version in follow slowly, Naoyuki Sato's fifth album and his fourth one under the Nekomata Master alias. After the Tenkaichi Otogesai event's end, Scars of FAUNA also appeared on the Androis/iOS jubeat app and in the latest entries of bemani's Reflec Beat (groovin' Upper) and Beatmania IIDX (again, 22 PENDUAL) series, as part of an in-house collaboration event.

Together with Namco Originals Takara no Oka, Yokuderu 2000 and Total Eclipse 2035, Scars of FAUNA is one of the very few songs on Taiko games to be fully charted under the triple time signature (1-2-3, 1-2-3 instead of the usual 1-2-3-4), making for the only Tenkaichi Otogesai Oni notechart devoid of any drumrolls/hit-balloons. Like for Konami's goroawase mention to Bandai Namco on Ignis Danse's notecount, the Taiko Muzukashii of this song returns the favor with Konami's own goroawase (573) as Max Combo value. It's also worth mentioning that the Oni notechart is very close on having the same number of Don and Kat notes, as there only are 2 more Don notes overall!

1 comment:

  1. About today's SotW,I think both T-ta's comments on the cover art and the FC title suggest that FAUNA refers to the goddess.

    Nekomata's debut song should be Beyond the Earth,btw