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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Namco Taiko Blog (22 December 2016) - Want to hear more? Notecharter Interview 9

One last notecharter feature to wrap up the year! This time around, we're greeted with the working portfolio of Yamaguchi (ヤマグチ), who was first heard of for the announcement of the Notecharter Sentai Collaboration back in September (link).

Joined Taiko Team: August 2012
Number of charts made: about 40
Skill level: Able to clear roughly 80% of the existing 10* Oni songs

Just like what we've already seen about notecharter Shika@ni~San last month, Yamaguchi joined the Taiko Team for different roles to fill in, only to then begin working on the notechart creation aspect later on. For this notecharter's case, Yamaguchi has been one of the main figures behind the creation of Taiko no Tatsujin-themed smartphone games, while still being able to carve out some time to hone chart-creation skills of his own.

Notechart Speciality
-Most efficient on charting songs in the 6-to-10 stars Oni tier
-Highly likely for him to pick songs for their music to build Taiko notecharts for
-Long/mixed compound cluster sections fixation?

Notechart Production Mottos
As many other Notecharter Sentai members, Yamaguchi cares about creating notecharts that are fun to play (in this case, first for himself before anyone else's judgement) while still weighting the base song's composition and the research for a musical harmony between it and the notecharts. The one aspect that is weighted the most by him, however, is the 'step-up' progression mentality which is the mindset of making a notechart with elements that can gear up the player to the immediately-upper difficulty tier (eg. elements of a 7* Oni that are more commonplace to 8* Oni modes).

To give a more clear example of that, he used a trio of 3-note cluster common couples under the 1/24 timing signature:


These three kinds of pattern are common to find in Oni notecharts in general, but according to the difficulty -as explained by Yamaguchi- these might be integrated in different ways or even be hard to repeat a lot of times, much like for the pattern No.1 for 9 to 10-star Oni modes.

Sample Notecharts Created
Unless otherwise mentioned, all of these comments will be about the songs's Oni mode.

-) Kessen!! (決戦!!)
Yamaguchi's first notecharting job was also his first double-sided foray into collaboration content double-dipping, as he was involved in both the Puzzle&Dragons collaboration project planning schedule and the new song charting aspect of it.

At the time, he was still new in the team and more focused on the mobile-related projects, but after some aggressive solicitations from KuboKen, he got to work on the Puzzle & Dragons X theme, which already has been an hint to Yamaguchi's long cluster compound charting trait.

-) Love x Love Whistle (愛×愛ホイッスル)
A Vocaloid track where the scrolling speed changes are one of the many elements into a brutal 9* Oni recipe. With the tempo increasing changes from the beginning and the really busy middle part, it's a hard wall to pass for those attempting the feat!

-) Getta Banban (ゲッタバンバン)
This song's charting was made with arcade gaming in mind, as it's more focused on the energy of the arms' movement while playing it. With the charge that might be perceived during Go-Go Time section's solo notes, Yamaguchi himself advises even the single-hand big note hitters to try hit those notes with both arms for a more refreshing experience!

-) Kimi ga Kureta Natsu (君がくれた夏)
It's a slow moist ballad, so the efforts for an engaging notechart's creation are even higher! By admission of Yamaguchi himself, he's used to re-check his charts a few days after he has finished them for a final check before submitting them, but upon doing this for this Leo Ieiri song while singing it, the charter has made some massive notechart modifications at the 11th hour in order to emphasize duplicate cluster triplets the most with the increasing rhythms.

-) Hikaru Nara (光るなら)
With this J-Pop track, the approach taken for its charts has lead to the creation of a personal charting feel dubbed as 'Song and Brass Band Fusion' by Yamaguchi, with the will of making a chart that makes the players feel like if they're playing the song as part of a brass band themselves.

-) Heaven's Rider
On to the charter's Namco Original side of works, Phantom Rider's sequel was a song that gave Yamaguchi more than a few of problems for its score's creation. Every time he went on to make the charts for the song, while the beginning part was already clear in mind for him to translate in Taiko patterns, the repeated synthesized voiceover phrase near the beginning made his mind's ideas for the later portions blank, which eventually also lead to the creation of its signature difficulty spike repetition for its Oni mode.

-) Crazy Beauty (クレイジービューティー)
Supposedly the first 10-star Oni song charted by Yamaguchi, one of Dokodon! Mystery Adventure's boss theme has the violence of Taiko hitting as a trend for its Taiko patterns, so for that song he opted for a repetition-based, stamina-draining challenge as opposed to former songs with morse codes inside of them where the chart tries to replicate the drum accompaniment/main melody of the song (including said morse codes!)

-) Shonin YokkQ (承認欲Q)
This means that yes, Yamaguchi has charted songs for the Nintendo 3DS game before the CreoFUGA-related songs for the contest that happened years before the latest 3DS game's release! For this song, the 'step-up' approach with 1/24 repeated clusters was almost written by itself for the charter, as the high speed tempo and the feel of the player chasing the mysterious Q while playing was already prime material for an hard-feeling chart that leads towards harder trials!

As Yamaguchi was still trying to hone his 10* Oni Taiko skills, he managed to make the Max Combo value of this song to be the same one for Ghost Mask (also from the CreoFUGA Hall of Fame selection), despite the very same Yamaguchi being unaware of its Max Combo value due to him not being able to Full Combo that song during the pre-submission phase!

-) Reitouko CJ ~Amen Taiko Brothers~ (冷凍庫CJ ~嗚呼面太鼓ブラザーズ~)
Another really brutal song for the past World Championships 2016, Yamaguchi went into a 'trial-and-error' process in order to get the final result, which ultimately turned out to be really good to its creator. So good, in fact, that the Go-Go Time zone patterns he made for the song became his favorite one of all time in anything Taiko, together with the iconic one from Kita Saitama 2000!

Plus, charting a song while hearing random audio cues from Linda AI-CUE made him feel weird more than once...

-) Love You☆Don-Chan (ラブユー☆どんちゃん)
The last of his works to be talked about is the ancient Namco Original who got a notechart revival for its return in one of Dokodon! Mystery Adventure's DLC song packs. Like many other ancient songs of the time, there wasn't a fully-charted set and the difficulty degree among all modes went all over the place, so Yamaguchi stepped in to build a modern notechart set from scratch with the nostalgic mindset to the older charts.

Curiously enough, there wasn't originally an Ura Oni plan for the song revival! With the 'Nostalgia Made New' plan by Yamaguchi, his first project for a new Oni mode was felt by the other Sentai notecharters a lot different from the already-made KFM set, so he had to return on the drawing boards to make a more canon 1/24 cluster challenge, with the original idea being left in the DLC plan as the song's Ura Oni.

Coming up down there is a selection of songs for which Yamaguchi has made charts for:

Brand-new World
Umi no Mieru Machi
Start Line!
Ikenai Borderline (Ura Oni only)
Setsuna Trip (Ura Oni only)
Alien Alien
Fight the Fanatics
Unite The Force
Dragon Ball Heroes - God Series Mission Theme Song
Kirby's Dream Land Medley
Kimi to Boku no Mirai
Chain Chronicle Total War Medley (Oni and Ura Oni)
Osakana Mainichi! Sakana-kun
Yomi no Izanami
Eastern District (from Chinese Taiko V Version DLC)

Closing up this notecharter feature is a new re-enactment of working scenarios inside the Taiko Team, this time supported by animated GIFs! The title of this extra segment is "Until the Person in Charge of the Score is Decided", as a wink to a similar episode we've seen weeks ago:


Sasa*kaP: "Let's make a chart for Sugar Song to Bitter Step!"


Yamaguchi: "That's nice~ I like that song, too."


Sa*OkaP: "All right!"

And so, the song's cover recording was handled by Sasao*P, until he met Yamaguchi and the unnamed Music Score Leader to discuss one final detail about its creation:


*SaokaP: "Sugar Song to Bitter Step's recording went OK!"


Sasaoka*: "Music Score Leader, please proceed with the music production decision! The musical score will be made by either me or Yamaguchi!!"


Yamaguchi: "What!?"


Music Score Leader: "Oh, is that so? Well then, Yamaguchi-kun please."


Yamaguchi: "What!?"


Music Score Leader: "Yamaguchi-kun, thank you."


Yamaguchi: "Oh, I'm glad...!"

And that's the story of how Yamaguchi got to chart Sugar Song to Bitter Step.

Come back later today for one final blog entry from the Taiko Team for this year!

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