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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Song of the Week! 30 May 2015

Once again, today's feature is about the latest downloadable song on the second Taiko 3DS videogame. Enjoy!

 Happy Material (ハッピー★マテリアル) Mahou Sensei Negima!
Taiko 8, Taiko Anime 2x4 (161)x5 (226)x5 (336)x8 (544/481/435)
Taiko 3DS 2x4 (161)x6 (226)x6 (336)x8 (544/481/435)
 Taiko 8, Taiko Anime 2, Taiko 3DS 2

May 2015's last extra track for the latest of the Nintendo-friendly Taiko titles is a quite elusive track from the past generation that has originated from the first Anime adaptation of the shonen manga series Mahou Sensei Negima! (魔法先生ネギま!, lit. 'Magical Teacher Negima!'), which is known as Negima! Magister Negi Magi outside of Japan.

Written by Love Hina mangaka Ken Akamatsu (赤松健) from 2003 to 2012, the manga is about the young wizard Negi Springfield, who aspires to become a "Magister Magi" in order to help normal people with his magic powers while being under the guise of working under a non-governative organization. After his graduation from Wales's Merdiana Magic Academy, Negi is being assigned to the Mahora Academy middle school as the English teacher for the class 2-A, entirely made of female students. While the manga's premise seems to heavily gravitate around the a comedy/romance-based story, Negi's experience in the school is bound to concern both the relations between her students and several magical threats coming both inside and outside the Japanese school.

The manga's success lead to the creation of an introductory trio ofOVAs, anticipating the later, 26-episodes Anime series. Said anime series have followed two different directions in order to tell Negi's story, as the eponymous first one (from which the opening theme Happy Material comes from) narrates is as the manga does, while the later Negima!? slightly differs from the original paper-spread transposition. Aside from the two Anime series and the manga's 38 tanbokons, the Mahou Sensei Negima! series spauned four more series of Original Video Animations, a movie in 2011 and a live-action version of the first Anime series, with Ken Akamatsu continuing the story with side/spin-off series Negiho (2010) and UQ Holder! (2013; still in progress as of today)

One of the main features of the Mahou Sensei Negima! animated series is that the opening theme is bound to be rotated after about 3-4 episodes, mainly featuring the same opening theme but in multiple versions, featuring five or six girls from the class 2-A as the singer. For the first Anime series, Happy Material has 7 different versions which cycle on each episode (save for the 24th one); in order of appearance, we have the 'Original Version' (ep. 1-4), 'More Rock Version' (ep. 5-8), 'More Happy Version' (ep. 9-13), 'Beloved Version' (ep. 14-17), 'Electric Version' (ep. 18-21), 'Early Summer Version' (ep. 22, 23, 25) and the '31 Girls Version' for the last episode, featuring all of the class's 31 girls. The version ofthe song we can play on Taiko games is the 'More Happy' one, which features voice actresses Hazuki Tanaka (Ku Fei), Ai Nonaka (Konoka Konoe), Sawa Ishige (Haruna Saotome), Yu Kobayashi (Setsuna Sakurazaki) and Yui Horie (Makie Sasaki). All of Happy Material's versions are composed by Shigenobu Okama (大川茂伸), arranged by Kaoru Okubo (大久保薫) and lyricized by the nick-named uranium (うらん).

Happy Material made its debut on the second Playstaton 2 compilation of Anime songs as one of the two new tracks featuring forked paths on Oni mode (the other one was Namco Original Wonder Momoi), with its Master Route supplying the same amount of notes as Kaisei Joushou Hallelujah, Taiko Anime 2's exclusive boss song. While there is a single route-changing point for the entire song, its Master route requirement for its debut game demanded all Gold notes in order to be played, with any percentage of accuracy between 99% and 80% locking the player to the Advanced route; being considered to difficult for an 8* Oni to fullfil, the branching conditions were changed for the subsequent games, now allowing an accuracy of 80% and above to play the Master route notechart (with the Advanced reachable with accuracy between 79 and 50%).

No matter the route you choose for Happy Material's Oni mode, the song is devoid of drumrolls and jam-packed with 1/16 note clusters on each way, with the Master route being highly generous with the 2 and 3-note clusters.

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