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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Song of the Week! 12 April 2015

Next week is about to be a big one for Bandai Namco's most popular, music-centered franchises, as the Taiko no Tatsujin and Idolm@aster game series are doing a special collaboration event in occasion of their respective foundation milestones, with the former's 15th anniversary and the latter turning 10 years old.

This looks like the job for a feature which links the best of both worlds in one song!

 Honey Heartbeat ~10 Stars Mix~ Idolm@ster 2
Allx3 (188)x4 (293)x7 (573)x9 (765)
 Taiko 0 M, Taiko 3DS2, Taiko Wii U 2

Being the in-house franchise with the highest number of songs in Taiko games' Game Music genre, it's quite natural to assume that the Idolm@ster series has paid homage to Taiko no Tatsujin in some fashion or another between the main games and the related media, such as the girls playing with Taiko arcades in their anime series and special outfits/stage sets being shared in both game series. However, it took quite a long time to have a Taiko-inspired song in Bandai Namco's idol manager series... and almost double the time to see it on actual Taiko games!

The original Honey Heartbeat made its debut on Idolm@ster 2 as one of the downloadable songs, meaning that this is not the signature theme of any of the game's girls.It's the second track in the series being lyricized by the nick-named NC TC, as well as the fourth composed and arranged by Akihiko 'LindaAI-CUE' Ishikawa (石川哲彦), already behind the creation of the infamous 2000 songs on Taiko games. LindaAI-CUE also made the custom cut that can be played on Taiko titles: the '10 Stars Mix', so named after a line of lyrics in the original song. If you think that this is the only nod to Taiko, keep reading...

Featuring both English and Japanese lyrics, the song narates the positive feelings of an happy couple during a date, featuring an intense Taiko no Tatsujin battle in a game center (yup, that's true; look at the lyrics!), some pleasuring rides at a Ferris wheel and a sunset highway car ride ending at the seaside. Many remarks to our drumming series can be heard in Honey Heartbeat as a whole, featuring particular lyric choices (with the hearts' beating like drums), sectorial Taiko lingo (full combo, 2000, Oni mode, 10 stars, ...) and custom settings in the song's execution on Im@s games, featuring up to 5 girls in conjunction to Taiko games' usual maximum number of dancers. Being a LindaAI-CUE song, we can also assume that the track being played in the date is a 200 song, because of a direct mention and the sound effect that is also being featured in many 2000 songs, from Saitama to Kita Saitama and X-DAY 2000. In the '10 Stars Mix', all these Taiko references are easier to spot, since it's an hybrid cut between a cropped in-game portion of the original Honey Heartbeat and its long version.

Taiko games' Oni notechart take on this song brought up one of the highest notecounts for the Im@s-related songs and many scrolling gimmicks, supplying the very first Nam-Combo challenge for the franchise. Notechart Sentai Ranger lead Kuboken (くぼけん) used the base BPM value of the song for different scrolling bar and notechart purposes, featuring the regular speed on not-Go Go Time stanzas and doubling the BPM elsewhere, while also halving the scrolling speed. By doing so, the unusual 1/24 clusters and note streams are easier to read, even if this doesn't instantly translate into easy to perform, for a challenge degree that tops Kirame Kirari's Oni mode with no sweat.

  Honey Heartbeat ~10 Stars Mix~ IdolM@ster 2

x10 (765)
 Taiko 0 M, Taiko 3DS2, Taiko Wii U 2

What kind of '10 Stars Mix' can be felt as complete on Taiko games without an actual 10-Star Oni? Surely the Taiko Team have made this qhestion to themselves at least once, as one of Taiko Momoiro's first software updates added an extra layer of challenge to the already-difficult Honey Heartbeat's Oni mode, proving that Venomous Ura's 'harder patterns with the regular Oni's amount of notes' stunt can be performed more than once with even more frightening results!

This Ura mode features semi-repeated set of patterns during Go-Go Time fragments with both 1/16, 1/24 and 1/32 clusters, where random errors can happen anytime due to the scrolling+BPM changes; even the scrolling becomes more aggressive towards the end, rising up to normal (at 286 BPM) for the song's solo part and a final x7.65 multiplier scrolling boost for the very last note. It's the first 10* Oni challenge for Idolm@ster songs, and it's surely one hard trial standing the test of time!

Much like the Pokémon X/Y Battle Medley, this Ura mode was affected by Day 1 bugs on Taiko Momoiro arcades, preventing to be selected after one of the first software updates. This has been fixed in a matter of days, however.


Sorry for the 1-day delay for this week's feature; despite having it made earlier this week, I couldn't publish it in time due to being out for all day. Next week I'll be away for publishing it on Saturday, so I'll ask the other blog contributors if they can do that for me.

Maybe some severe ear-pinching action will do the trick... *devilishly laugh*

1 comment:

  1. Ah I thought you were waiting to give final touches or something. Next time I'm gonna publish it when I see it sitting there.