Hi all! This week we dive back into licensed songs for a bit and check out one which could easily fit into both the J-Pop and Anime genres.
Himawari no Yakusoku (ひまわりの約束)
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Hands up if you've never heard of Doraemon before! Nope, I don't expect to see many; the rotund, blue robot cat from the future is as much of a beloved icon around the world as characters like Pikachu and Mickey Mouse. Like a few other evergreen animation series hailing from Japan, Doraemon is blessed with a feature film release every single year since 1980, without fail (except for in 2005 when the anime series transitioned to a newer generation but that's a story for a later date). As of 2016, there are a whopping thirty-eight Doraemon films, and this song is from the odd one out; the only Doraemon film that is 3D CG animation instead of the usual 2D.
Released in August 2014, Stand By Me (no, not the song by Ben E. King) is not a replacement to the annual 2D offerings, but a completely different project; another 2D film was released in the same year. This movie followed a digest version of the entire timeline of Doraemon's time with Nobita. The big hook of the movie was that, since Doraemon was sent from the future to help Nobita through his studies and life in general, what would happen if Nobita no longer needed that help? Doraemon, having fulfilled his mission, would have to go back to the future. And with literally decades of friendship forged throughout the anime and manga, you can guess how emotional a moment this would be. How does it end? You can probably guess it, but no spoilers from us!
Being a special Doraemon film with genuine heart-rending moments, Stand By Me: Doraemon was a huge, huge commercial success, releasing officially in 59 countries across the globe and took box office records in both the US and in Japan. It won an admirable number of film awards too. Motohiro Hata sang Himawari no Yakusoku (lit. Sunflower's Promise) as the ending theme; its single also posted incredibly high on the billboards chart thanks to the success of Stand By Me.
It's a lovely song, but one look at the super-low BPM is enough to make some players groan, as this means notes will be scrolling at really low speed. To rub it in even more, on the Oni chart, the first half of the song scrolls at x0.5, making it only second to Donkama 2000's final note in terms of slowest scroll ever. But don't go selecting Baizoku just yet; the scroll speed of Himawari no Yakusoku gradually increases to 1.0, then 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and finally to x3, so players will have to contend not just with patiently reading low speed notes, but also reacting to high speed ones. The speed pattern is similar to another old song in the J-Pop genre, 366日which also pulls the same gimmick.
Get past the scroll shenanigans and it's actually a pretty enjoyable 7* Oni with simple note patterns, and has the lowest notecount among 7* Oni in the new difficulty, below Do You Want To Build A Snowman's 247 notes.