Mobile gaming has been quite the chit-chatted topic in the last few weeks due to the rise of a certain mobile app in particular, so we decided to reflect this tidal wave with a 2-week feature about Taiko and mobile gaming!
For Part 1, today we're taking a look at a couple of mobile games whose most iconic themes have made their way into Bandai Namco's drumming franchise.
Kimi to Boku no Mirai (キミとボクのミライ) Granblue Fantasy
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Starting off big, we have a song coming from one of the most popular gacha games in the land of the Rising Sun, where it currently lies as an exclusive to the Japanese servers.
Developed by Cygames and published by Mobage for both iOS and Android platforms, Granblue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー) is a free-to-play RPG where the talent of seasoned Final Fantasy contributors are brought together for the creation of a turn-based role-playing adventure with the character-enhancing and acquiring methods that are familiar to many other mobile hits on the trail of Puzzle & Dragons and similar. Originally planned for a December 17th release in 2013, the launch was pushed back to March 10th of the next year. While the game itself is still exclusive to the Japanese servers, an announced localization at the Tokyo Game Show of 2015 has made aware the will of a localization in 2016, which ultimately consisted of an in-game toggle-able English patch to the pre-existing title on Japanese servers.
Kimi to Boku no Mirai has had quite the odd spawning in the Granblue Fantasy lore, as it was part of an April Fools prank in 2015, where female characters from the game decided to form an idol unit. The song's title in itself is part of the joke, with many topics and tropes appearing in idol songs like 'staying together' and 'running to the future' being part of the song's lyrics! Despite its prank-y nature, Kimi to Boku no Mirai still managed to become a concrete part of the games' story through a special event and an actual CD release on June 24th, featuring an extended version of the song together with solo-singer long versions and a full-instrumental rendition as well.
Together with Sora no Michishirube -the other Granblue Fantasy launch song on Taiko White-, this track actually made its premiere in a playable Taiko build as part of a Christmas Niconico broadcast on the Granblue Channel in 2015, falling under the name of 'Granblue Fantasy! Live Handyman Show ～Ruria is Not Shown as an Adult on Christmas!～ Version' (ぐらぶるちゃんねるっ！生放送 よろず屋シェロ ～ルリアさんには見せられない大人のクリスマス～編)'. During the broadcast, the two most popular songs from the game (as elected by previous official fan polls) have become actual playable Taiko songs for the livestream's hosts and guests, with the two winners also becoming permanent playable additions to public Taiko White arcades with an update later in 2016.
Even for an April Fools track, Granblue Fantasy's contributors didn't cheap off their way by employing an all-star cast of popular composers and voice actresses! Kimi to Boku no Mirai is composed by RPG music composer Tsutomu Narita (成田勤) and recurrent Final Fantasy series contributor Nobuo Uematsu (植松伸夫), collaborating with Konami composer Hidenori Maezawa (前澤ヒデノリ). With maimie of Cygames writing the song's lyrics, this track is sung by a quartet of girls from Granblue Fantasy: Ruria, Jita, Vira and Mary. The four girls are dubbed respectively by Kimi to Hibiku Harmony singer Nao Toyama (東山奈央), Hisako Kanemoto (金元寿子), Asami Imai (今井麻美) (of Nanairo Harmony and Tenyou no Mai fame) and Akiko Hasegawa (長谷川明子). As mentioned before, there's a full version of the song for each of the four singers in her solo version, while the Taiko cut is the regular one featuring the full quartet.
The fastest of White Version's couple of GF songs, Kimi to Boku no Mirai falls on the easy side of the 6* ballpark due to mostly sparse cluster formations that lead to rhythms that are easier to track properly with the player's hits.
Yubisaki Kara Hajimaru Monogatari (指先からはじまる物語) Shingun Destroy!
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After all the many different companies that have taken a shot at the mobile market, it's time to hear something about a gacha game... that is coming from Bandai Namco itself!
Released on September 10th, 2014 under the English subtitle of Girl's Tank Battalion, Shingun Destroy! (しんぐんデストロ～イ！) is a Japan-exclusive turn-based strategy title for Apple's family of devices, with an Android version being distributed the year later on March 18th. Much like Taiko no Tatsujin RPG Da-Don!, this title's support has been discontinued for good, as its servers were shut down on March 7th, 2016.
The game is set on the planet Orius, where ferocious beasts run rampant and cause havoc among the planet's other inhabitants. The only hope for the planet's balance is the witch Lati, who can summon tanks and combat maidens to repel the menace, but the newly-assembled battalion is lost without the guide of a tenacious leader. The player, summoned by Lati, is put in charge of leading the girl-based tank squadrons in order to nullify planet Orius's biggest threats in formations of up to 12 tanks at a time, while also summoning other tank-maiden combos to join the ranks with the game's gacha functionalities.
Before its timely closure, Shingun Destroy has had a number of collaboration events concerning other intellectual properties of Bandai Namco, such as God Eater and Idolm@ster. The Taiko no Tatsujin franchise was no exception to the rule, leading the crowd after the successful Taiko+ score attack for the Tokyo Game Show 2015. The Taiko no Tatsujin event for Shingun Destroy has brought up a set of special missions where the player's girls were forced to ride on special tanks with Don and Katsu shapes on them in order to win event-exclusive awards that are related both to Japanese festivals and Taiko no Tatsujin as a whole (click here for a full report on a Japanese news outlet). In return, the Taiko gaming scene has received Shingun Destroy's image song as a playable track, also appearing on arcade and portable console grounds in-between the promised score attack release on Taiko+.
Bringer of the 'mobile game-friendly' title of Yubisaki Kara Hajimaru Monogatari (lit. 'Story Starting from the Fingertip'), this track is sung by in-game combat maiden Saki Oyama (大山咲), whose voice is provided by Chiba prefecture singer Yu Kahara (郁原ゆう), already the dubber of Idolm@ster character Emily Stewart. The song's title is also given to Shingun Destroy's first album (released on May 27th, 2015 by filin-label), which also holds Yubisaki Kara Hajimaru Monogatari's long version, alongside a no-vocals edition.
While Shingun Destroy has already met the end of the line, its image song has risen to Taiko fame as a 'way-higher-Oni-rating-than-the-KFM-set' track, as well as yet another addition to the popular Nam-Combo notecount family. Being a relatively-short song for its averagely-high pace, its high cluster ratio under the 190 base BPM speed makes it a suitable candidate to 9* Oni level-wise stamina training, courtesy of Kuboken's notechart. The ending portion is also able to deny Full Combo attempts at the very end, thanks to its incredibly-dense 1/16 Kat cluster triplette!