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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sympho-Neighbours - When Two Worlds Collide / Pop Culture Version

Collaboration events are not a brand new concept for the currently-active rhythm game franchises in Japan, with the Taiko series' main focus being put on popular media phenomenons of many kinds along its years of activity.

While the outsider series prize more the interactions with other rhythm games (especially if coming by the same creators/parent companies), there still are a few other interesting efforts to link its players to a non-sectorial portion of public but rather on popular culture in Japan.

Here are some of the most curious events that have tied in rhythm gaming with other kinds of media!

With the introductory paragraphs above, you might be asking the reasons of why the first pick for this "not-RG Collaboration" feature is, in fact, resident Bemani composer Akhuta's Ludus In Tenebris, an original boss track that is clearly not coming from any external media... The reason of that is actually quite surprising, as it was the final unlock for a Coca-Cola x BEMANI campaign that tied in the latest (at the time) entries for the beatmania IIDX and REFLEC BEAT (IIDX 22 Pendual/RB groovin'!!).

From November 2014 to January 2015, selected 'location stores' would have promotional Coke kiosks that sold different kinds of the popular sugary drink brand with the inclusion of a D-Ticket, redeemable by eAmusement players in both games for collaboration-related customization parts and song crossovers between the series. Ludus In Tenebris, however, was the event's never-heard-before track in anything Bemani, available after registering 14 D-Ticket codes. After the event's end, the involved song unlocks were made later available in both rhythm games through different unlocking means.

Click here to have a taste of the song in action in the REFLEC BEAT series!

Stumbling upon the always-popular DanceDanceRevolution series, the 2014 arcade has featured quite an extensive collaboration event with Horipro's yearly U.M.U. contest (short name for 'Under Major Unitidol'). All 25 winning songs from the 2014 contest's singular area divisions have made it to the arcade series between March and May 2014, in addition with two promotional Konami Original songs from Mito Gotouchi Idol (水戸ご当地アイドル), 2013's U.M.U. winning unit.

The song above is CAPTIVE by Fruity♡ (フルーティー♡), one of the new contest entries from the Hokkaido/Tohoku area. As part of this Bemani event, all of the U.M.U. collab songs also made it to the REFLEC BEAT and jubeat series! If you want to try them out, however, you're out of luck; all 27 tracks were removed between October and November last year in all three rhythm games series.

Click here for a gameplay video of CAPTIVE in the jubeat series (no videos of the song in RB are found on the Internet as of now).

If we're looking for a collaboration event with a brand that also got heavy support from Taiko gaming, here's a little something about the Puzzle & Dragons lore from Taito's Groove Coaster series!

Much like with Taiko, Groove Coaster and GungHo's mobile hit game have had the inclusion of promotional elements from both sides in different time spans. While P&D has got a Groove Coaster-themed dungeon and an exclusive Monster Shop card years later, Taito musicians had a good time featuring some of the series' songs in both the arcade and mobile versions of Groove Coaster, complete with special King Metal Dragon/Tamadra avatars, score attack events (mobile only) and song remixes of the original app's tracks by the hands of famed ZUNTATA composers.

Up above, for example, we have Hirokazu 'COSIO' Koshio's remix of Departure, the main theme for P&D's Normal dungeons. With this and the other P&D songs being Japan-exclusive picks in the arcade version, mobile users from all regions had them for a while as song pack features, save for the once-limited track above which later managed to become an unlockable song.

For this next pick I'm going to cheat a little bit, as this and many other songs were ported to Sega's maimai series thanks to a in-house collaboration with a rhythm game spin-off. But hey, this song was originally featured in the main series, so it may still count for the pop culture count! ...right?

Starting from June last year, Sega's first not-Vocaloid-focused arcade rhythm game series has received a group of songs coming from Atlus's renowned Persona videogame series as a way to celebrate the launch of the Ps Vita spin-off music title Persona 4: Dancing All Night, featuring some of the series' most iconic tracks to be choreographed by touch control means. Above is Pursuing My True Self, Persona 4's opening theme by Shoji Meguro (目黒将司).

Almost at the same time, the CHUNITHM series also got the P4 spinoff's songs as well, with the addition of some of the series' characters as playable avatars. Click here for a video of the song on said series!

Speaking of CHUNITHM, Sega's other currently-active arcade music series is also proving to be quite fond of brand-themed event, especially when it comes to Japanese animation!

In occasion of the 2015 Steins;Gate movie's release, a couple of popular songs from the original Anime series were ported to the game last September as part of a promo event, complete with custom backgrounds and a set of playable characters! One of the songs involved is the once-playable Taiko acquaintance Hacking to the Gate, opening theme of the Steins;Gate Anime.

This, however, proved to be only the third of those peculiar Anime additions for last year, since another couple of series were featured in CHUNITHM with a couple of songs and a set of characters from the anime, with Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Bakemonogakari having a rhythm game renaissance on July last year.

Once again, we have a Capcom series last in line for an event that has tied the crossbeats REV. arcade with TV Asashi's musicRu TV (musicるTV) music program.

Currently hosted by Hyadain (of Momoiro Clover fame), the show hosts musical recommendations for the week, while also starring new special guests from the musical world on each episode, with occasional special shows being broadcast on Nicovideo. In a September episode, it was announced that selected songs from the show's "7th Music Writer School" (音楽作家塾 第7弾) portion would be included to the crossbeats series thanks to the viewers' votes!

The final song shipment for this event has occurred on March this year, with CLONE's All You Need Is Beat(s) being one of the two final tracks. Try to follow the song's rhythm with its Ultimate chart showcased in the video above... if you can keep up with the visual chaos!

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