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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Song of the Week! 31 December 2016

In the past, we've already seen how Taiko siblings Don and Katsu have had some personal character songs, just like for other members of the Wada family... however, the lion's share for the highest name-giver songs belongs to the red-faced Don-Chan!

By popular demand, we're ending 2016 with a couple of ancient songs for the drumming sibling that Taiko players grew to love as the default 1P avatar along the years.

 Hello! Don-Chan (ハロー!どんちゃん) --- Old ---
Version / 
Taiko 1
x2 (189)

Taiko 2, 3

x3 (189)
Taiko PS2 1x2 (101)x3 (189)x4 (325)x7 (325)
 Taiko 1 to 3, Taiko PS2 1, CD Red
 Pop -> Original

Taiko PS2 1 Oni video

 Hello! Don-Chan (ハロー!どんちゃん) --- New ---
Allx3 (107)x3 (187)x4 (309)x7 (349)
 Taiko Wii 4
 Original -> Namco Original

Few prized songs have had the honor to be treated as the opening/ending theme for an arcade model, let alone and arcade AND console game, too! Such is the case for the Taiko no Tatsujin series's very first theme song, an early Namco Original staple for the very first Taiko titles. Composed, lyricised and sung by recurrent NAMCO SOUNDS affiliate Yuri Misumi (みすみゆり), Hello! Don-Chan is a song that is less inclined to talk about the Taiko drum buddy himself in order to describe the suggestive scenarios and the many different people of all kinds and age that can be met during a traditional Japanese festival, one of the most recurring themes in the Taiko series overall.

Being one of the very first Namco Originals of the series, its arcade life between the first three models only consisted of a single playable mode, whose labeling was changed from Taiko 1's Futsuu mode to the two subsequent models's Donderful setting. Later on, it was featured in the very first console title with a full difficulty set, starring the old Futsuu/Donderful in its definitive Futsuu placement and two new charts for Kantan and Muzukashii/Oni. Flash-forward to the Wii era of games, Hello! Don-Chan became the trailblazer of the theme song revival trend that is still up and running on both Nintendo Taiko titles and the later-released Taiko 0 family of arcade models/firmware versions.

All the incarnations of this song's charts were made by Taiko series visual art director and longtime Taiko Team contributor Sasaoka (ササオカ), whose earliest playable Futsuu mode sported one of the very first 1/16 notecharts with only Kat note clusters, together with strayed and easy-to-hit single note series. His re-worked charts for Tatacon de Dodon ga Don featured a more cohesive playing experience with less random note portions and more single note/clusters consecutive portions, now being more oriented at note color alterations of many kinds in the pre-Taiko 0 7* tier. When going back to this song for the Wii port, the changes made to the original notecharts were integrated to each of the modes in different ways, with the old Kantan and Oni modes returning as the same charts but with the opening 4 beat stanzas being repeated at the very beginning, the old Futsuu/Donderful being re-worked in order not to feature note clusters and a Muzukashii mode built from scratch. For these modifies and a slightly cleaner audio rip, Hello! Don-Chan in Kettei-Ban also came with a different SongID from its former appearences (hello2).

 Love You☆Don-Chan (ラブユー☆どんちゃん)--- Old ---
Version / 
Taiko 1
x5 (358)

Taiko 2

x4 (358)
Taiko PS2 2

x3 (358)x3 (358)
Taiko PS2 2 (2P)

x3 (358/358)x3 (358/358) (video)
 Taiko 1, 2, Taiko PS2 2, CD Blue
 Dance -> Original

 Love You☆Don-Chan (ラブユー☆どんちゃん) --- New ---
Allx4 (186)x6 (246)x6 (407)x7 (509)
 Taiko 3DS 3
 Original -> Namco Original

From one of the eldest Namco-fueled original creations ever made to the most recent song revival to date, Don-Chan is managing to keep its name-giver songs in a state of relevance for the longest continued period of time! Once again, we're also witnessing the transition of an ancient track from its arcade beginnings to new console life in two different places in time...

Coming from the very first Taiko no Tatsujin arcade game together with Hello! Don-Chan, this is one of those earlier Namco Original tracks whose inspiration was one of the many music genres whose popularity was booming in Western countries the most, with Love You☆Don-chan itself being a made-in-Japan mellow dance piece with Engrish-sounding lyrics. While we can find Yuri Misumi (みすみゆり) once again today as this song's arranger and lyrics writer, this song's other creation-related roles belong to a couple more different figures, with Kaori Kurosawa (黒澤かおり) as the singer and Keiichi Okabe (岡部啓一) from MONACA no Okabedesu as the composer.

Love You☆Don-chan's fragmented notechart history from the very first Taiko generations draws some parallels with Hello! Don-Chan's history, together with some relevant changes. While the old arcades-to-PS2-to-Nintendo progression scheme is overall the same for both tracks, the latter was not featured in Taiko 3 and only had one 1P notechart set in all of its earliest outings, being de-ranked from its passage to Taiko 1 Futsuu/Taiko 2 Donderfull and its console debut with twinned notecharts for Muzukashii and Oni, both of which also featured 2P gameplay of the same max notecount value.

Thanks to Dokodon! Mystery Adventure's Namco Original 2001 song pack, the song has returned as a piece of DLC with a full difficulty set for the first time, featuring what is currently the widest time gap for a Kantan mode's inclusion to a song since its actual debut, with almost 16 years of difference since the Taiko 1 days! The revival also has an extra dose of meat to it as Yamaguchi (ヤマグチ), the rookie notecharter who was in charge of the revamped notechart set, originally had a radically-different plan for the song's new Oni mode, which was scrapped in favor of a more traditional, 1/16 pattern-friendly challenge.

Speaking of the song's notecharts themselves, the original mode's main feature was the mixture of single Kat notes with Don-centrice clusters of 3 and 5 notes, a recipe that was later reworked as a more modern color-alternation chart with both even and odd-note clusters of increasing length as the song goes to is ending.

  Love You☆Don-Chan (ラブユー☆どんちゃん)

x8 (448)
 Taiko 3DS 3

Yamaguchi's original plans of Love You☆Don-Chan's revamped Oni mode were not lost forever, however, as they were deemed by the Music Score Leader worthy enough to be appearing as the song's Ura Oni mode, making it the very first song to be having both the revival and Ura Oni treatments... at the same time, no less! It's also the current holder of the longest-time-span feat from the original track's release and the publishing of its Ura Oni, whose merit was formerly held by Game Music track Lovely-X.

Coming to the notecharts, the main gimmick here is the inclusion of 1/24 quick note couples being peppered all the way through the song's running time, in the same vein of many other Namco Original songs that started adopting this charting technique since the Taiko PSP DX days with SORA-V Cosmic Bird's Oni chart.

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