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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Song of the Week! 17 October 2015

Today's feature is about another Taiko staple of the J-Pop genre, who managed to achieve musical feats in many different ways along the years.

 Kiseki (キセキ) GReeeeN
Taiko 12 to 14, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko DS 3, Taiko +x3 (72)x3 (93)x4 (168)x3 (203)
Taiko Wii 1x3 (72)x3 (94)x4 (168)x3 (203)
Taiko 0, Taiko Wii U 1x3 (72)x2 (93)x3 (168)x2 (203)
 Taiko 12 to 14, Taiko 0, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko DS 3, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko Wii U 1, Taiko +

Being introduced in Taiko grounds during the latter half of the 2nd arcade generation, Kiseki has become a popular staple for the J-Pop genre as one of the easiest tracks for beginners to exercise with (or for more advanced players to try sadistic achievements in the later console titles). This is the 2nd song on Taiko games coming from the Japanese pop rock/hip hop/breakbeat vocal group GReeeeN, following the release of Ai no Uta on Taiko 11.

Founded in 2007 in the Fukushima Prefecture's Ohu University, the band holds as many members as the lower-case 'e's in their band's title: Hide, Navi, 92 ("Kuni" wrote in numbers) and Soh. All four members met while studying in their university's dentistry department, from which they graduated and made out a career while still working together in the GReeeeN band. This dual-side of the members' professional lives is also the main reason behind the fact of the band constantly hiding their identities and profiles in every medium, in order not to intertwine their jobs.

Kiseki is the main piece of GReeeeN's namesake 7th single, released on May 28th in 2008. Much like its title, the song itself's lyrics play around a rhetorical device in Japanese poetry known as the 'pivot word', or Kakekotoba (掛詞). Common in traditional waka (和歌) poetry, this literary trope uses the phonetic reading of a grouping of kanji to suggest several interpretations on both the literal and subsidiary homo-phonic levels; in the case of Kiseki, the word in the song can be seen both as "Miracle" (奇跡) and as "Track" (軌跡), as also the Taiko Wii/Wii U lyric brackets illustrate.

While we already spotlighted many J-Pop successes in this corner, this is the first time we have to deal a national 1st-place in multiple fields! In the single's first two weeks, Kiseki managed to be the best-selling track on 2 of Oricon's weekly charts in a row, scoring over 500.000 physical copes sold. As its debut year wrapped up, Kiseki managed to rise to the top of 2008's Billboard Japan Hot 100 Singles Yearly Charts, and a few months later -on July 29th, 2009- it was also awarded the "Best Selling Download Single in Japan" certificate by the Guinness World Records, scoring over 2.3 downloads for Kiseki's ringtone version. Following these overwhelming results, the song has been used as the opening theme for the TV Drama adaptation of the manga series ROOKIES, which Taiko games give credit in Kiseki's songlist subtitle over the band who made the song.

Kiseki's journey on Taiko titles is also noteworthy in many selected aspects, being one of the easiest and most recent songs in the J-Pop genre who manage to come back in many subsequent console games. With Taiko 0's re-rating craze and the song's Oni mode becoming a 2-star track, it's also the lowest-notecount song in Taiko 0 arcades and the only drumroll-less 2-starred notechart for the genre in activity in current games still today, being made 9 years after Don-chan Ekaki Uta. To give further credit to its Taiko low-difficulty pedigree, it was one of the few songs in the first Taiko no Tatsujin mobile game to have its Oni mode playable, being rated for the occasion as a 1-star Oni. Talk about a beginner's best friend!

Notechart-wise, Kiseki manages to be so accessible in difficulty terms thanks to the fusion of two aspects who aren't seen together that much in recent times: a low BPM and a short play time, making the approach to the song's small clusters as comfortable to newcomers as possible.

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