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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Song of the Week! 28 May 2016

For May 2016's Ura Feature, here's a little something directly from Taiko Team leader Etou's favorite Anime series!

 Lion (ライオン) Macross Frontier
Allx3 (104)x5 (179)x6 (239)x6 (370)
 Taiko 0 to Taiko 0 R, Taiko PSP DX

Being one of the bridged links between the 2nd and 3rd Taiko gaming generation, Lion is the second opening theme for the 2008 Anime transposition of the Macross Frontier (マクロスFrontier) series.

Often abbreviated in Japanese as 'Macross F', this is the third installment in the space opera Macross series, which was originated from the 1982-1983 Anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross (超時空要塞マクロス, lit. 'Super Spacetime Fortress Macross') and its 1994-1995 TV Show continuation Macross 7 (マクロス7). Onlike the aforementioned installments, Frontier was originated from the namesake 2007 manga series, illustrated by Aoki Hayato and published on Shonen Ace.

Macross Frontier is a story continuation of the previous series' settings, with the main background-moving plot being the struggles of a 21st Century human space colony in search of a new inhabitable planet near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. In Frontier, the eponymous Macross Frontier ship is leading the charge with many soldiers equipped with the VF-25 Messiah (メサイア) variable fighter model in order to repel the attacks of the alien mecha threat dubbed as "Vajra" (バジュラ). Like the previous series, Frontier ties the colonization mission motif with the stories of three humans -pilot Aito Saotome, singer Sheryl Nome and rising idol Ranka Lee- often intertwining space battles with musical numbers.

Satellite Studio's Macross F anime series was anticipated in early April 2008 with airings of a 'special episode' related to the original series, known as Macross Special Edition (マクロスSP版), often dubbed as the Macross Frontier Deculture Edition due to it being a prototype version of Frontier's pilot. After the actual Anime/manga's inception, the popularity rebound the series got due to the original Macross series' 25th anniversary had lead to a high number of miscellaneous media, counting 2 spin-off manga stories, a light novel, two Frontier-related movies and two PS3 videogames by Bandai Namco. The gaming/Anime Japanese giant has also seen a new sales rise milestone, as the DVD/Blu-Ray Macross Frontier franchise has registered the highest number of Blu-Ray shipment of the company (over 45.000 copies for the 1st volume), with the DVD format closely rallying with over 55k units.

With the musical side being a relevant aspect to the Macross series' lore, Frontier's production has also seen a popularity spike, with the radio broadcast Radio Macross and the Anime's main themes reaching highly positive reception, with each of the Frontier-related singles having debuted at 5# or higher at Oricon's weekly charts. Just to give a pointer, the opening theme Lion has debuted as the third-place single with roughly 56.000 physical copies sold in the first week!

Speaking of Lion, the song is performed by Mei "May'n" Nakabayashi (中林芽依) and Vocaloid GUMI's voice provider Meguri Nakajima (中島愛), with famed Anime/GM musician Yoko Kanno (菅野よう子) as the composer. This is the latest song on Taiko by Kanno after other space-related Anime opening themes such as Sousei no Aquarion, Triangler (also from Macross F) and Cowboy Bebop's Tank!

With a slightly-fluctuating BPM value being one of its main features, the song on Taiko mostly sports notecharts based on an almost-uninterrupted barrage of single notes and small note clusters, with its Oni mode (of course) being the most noteworthy example of the single-note-flowing' trend of Lion's notechart set.

  Lion (ライオン) Macross Frontier

x7 (487)
 Taiko 0 to Taiko 0 R

Currently an exclusive to arcade gaming, Lion's Ura Oni mode has been charted (along with the easier modes) by the nick-named Kudo (工藤), which is currently speculated to be the continuation of an inside-joke among the Taiko Team's notecharters. While in past times the Hisahata (久方) pen name was an alias used by former Taiko Team leader Takahashi in order to create notecharts of Anime songs, Kudo seems to be Etou's very own pen name for those means, with the mysterious name being spread on Etou's Twitter between 2011/2012 and his name cards reporting his name as 'Kudo-Don' (くどうどん) during some of the livestream broadcasts in the past.

Whoever the mysterious Kudo will turn out to be, his/hers recipe for Lion's Ura Oni was to fill the song with an almost un-interrupted succession of longer, easy-to-hit 1/16 clusters and single notes, in a blend that can easily be compared to a shorter version of Kimi no Akari's Ura Oni. At this point in time, this is the lowest-rated 1-Player Ura Oni mode of all time as well as the first 7-star regular Ura Oni mode in Taiko gaming, with all the other being either alternate/long versions (Hibike! Taiko no Tatsujin) and 2P Ura notecharts like LISTEN TO THE STEREO!! and Soul Calibur II.

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