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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sympho-Neighbours - One-Butapunch Man

To round off our last Taiko Time-styled set of features before our blog overhaul in our trilogy, it's time to fall further down the rabbit hole for other glimpses of rhythm gaming glory that Tsugumi Kataoka managed to build up along all these years! This is about to become a tale for the ages...

Starting off, not every composer in the ongoing rhythm gaming scene can claim to have their own kickass theme song... let alone one that happens to be a prequel to another of his own songs!

That is the tale of the pop'n music 9 song Butapunch no Uta (ブタパンチのテーマ), the second track to be delivered under the always-popular Butapunch alias whose ending is actually a reworked version of beginning portion in Kanashiine (悲しいね) from pop'n 6, which is featured on the top of this article. The tendency of Butapunch songs becoming early boss tracks still shines through these humble beginnings, as Butapunch no Uta has still the highest ratings for Hyper Battle charts to date!

Since the early years, the Tsug's talents were better appreciated as the composer of many songs who would be either lyricised/vocalized by other artists or just left as playable instrumental pieces, such as pop'n 10's "Princess Piccolo", showcased above.

The resounding popularity of the track led to the creation of not one but 2 long versions, the most recent of which featured in the freelance artist's first EP featuring a series of other instrumental tracks that are linked to this one as part of the soundtrack of a fictional Princess Piccolo movie.

Even great minds take inspiration from akin spirits' ideas, often resulting with diverging results! For the creation of a commissioned solo track in pop'n 13, recurring composer/series supervisor Jun 'wac' Wakita (脇田潤) has suggested to make a song about vikings and food; however, the final result ended up being about the marine ruling of a cruel pirate captain and thus, KING of the SEA was born. Later on the viking song also got made, but that's another story...

This song is also peculiar for the fact that it received a couple of brother long versions, one in Japanese and one in English! Both are available in the EP Ore no Hashimoto ni Hizamazukuga ii (which is also one of KING of the SEA's lyrics lines).

While this will be the topic of its own future feature, let's not forget how a huge load of Kataoka-enhanced songs that have been made available in music gaming came to be thanks to the 2-people act Parquets (パーキッツ)!

While the duo was more professionally active for the making of Anime OP themes and/or related covers, the pop'n music games have received a huge load of original tracks composed and performed by the duo, including the above-embeded Tsubomi (つぼみ) from pop'n 15 and 3·2·1→Smile! from pop'n 16. With over 20 playable tracks made playable along the years, the act sure has left its mark in the whole series, hasn't it?

Of course, the boundless efforts of the Oofuna musician couldn't be confined in one single music game series and thus, in 2013, one of the seasonal outlets of REFLEC BEAT colette received the Butapunch-tastic Perry Desu! (ペリーでぇす!) from pop'n 18, commemorating USA commodore Matthew C. Perry's first coming to Japan harbors in his own style. This is another song which got multiple alternate long versions but, most unexpectedly, it also gained two spin-off tracks in the SPIN-OUTS solo album featuring the full cuts of the fragmented song bits that can be heard in one of the aforementioned Perry Desu! long versions!

If you want a dispassionate tip, though, you might want to step into a video of the song being played on pop'n music games like this one... I mean, how can you say no to a ship captain with a miniature ship worn as a hat who shoots hamburgers with a bazooka?

The Italian prideful soul that's inside me can't be pleased if I didn't spend a few words about the pop'n music 19 song Pizza Italiano (ピッツァ・イタリアーノ), so... there you go!

Once again, this was originally supposed to be about a radically-different topic, as Jun Wakita suggested to be about a taxi cab driver singing; however, something happened in-between and it instead become about a random Italian singing about the joys and wonders of eating pizza. If the playable track along with its two pizza-surfing gondola drivers from Venezia aren't enough for your tastes, let it be known that the track got its long version some years later, also in the Ore no Hashimoto ni Hizamazukuga ii album.


Always from the 19th pop'n music title comes the full-instrumental track BabeL ~Grand Story~, one of the three tracks in the game's final Story mode ark and -again- my absolute favorite song in the entire series to date. For the realization of such an epic feat, however, the Tsug was aided in his quest by a couple of recurring bemani internal composers for its execution: Daichi 'PON' Watanabe (渡辺大地) and Daisuke '96' Kurosawa (黒沢大佑).

Multiple are the ways to enjoy this masterpiece under many forms and shapes, from the alternate instrumental arrangement Downward Spiral Stairs included in the aforementioned Princess Piccolo-related album to a BabeL song medley titled BabeL ~Stairway to Heaven~ in the pop'n music 19 soundtrack to even a lyricised version of the song titled Rasenkaidan (ラセンカイダン), which is also the name-giver of the 2015 EP album that features it. Hell, if you don't even like pop'n music-related media, the song got ported in the ever-lasting beatmania IIDX series just a few months ago!! (link)

Whether is the version you're going with, the message is always the same: find it, hear it, LOVE IT.

(You can thank me later ;D )

Before I'm finding this in the comments: no, I'm not a positive buyist towards bemani music series alone... and so isn't the Tsug himself, as he got a task to fulfill for one of Sega's music game sagas!

Added to maimai ORANGE as a early-year treat on January 1st, Piiman Tabetara (ピーマンたべたら) is here to sing (and show with visuals!) to its unsuspicting players what it may happen to your bowls if you eat too much green peppers. The song also got an EDM-based longer cut in the aforementioned Rasenkaidan EP, if you have an iron stomach!

The last piece for this introductory introspective for the Tsug is its latest work made for the pop'n music series, in one of his most daunting tasks yet!

In a feat that only high-caliber composers such as Tatsh and REDALiCE were able to accomplish, the song known as Gekisou!! Young☆Dump! (激走!!ヤング☆ダンプ!) was first revealed during one of the pop'n music official arcade tournaments (the 5th KONAMI Arcade Championship in 2015-2016), with the track being served to the finalists of the male division of the pop'n music event. Rest assured that the song has hit the public scene a few months later, so that even you can turn your teen hero of choice in a young dump a-la Mazinger by punching in the Konami code!

...right when I was almost done writing this last passage, I've received a letter from the other staff members... I bet there's something serious to tell me on paper if they din't want to use digital means as usual, but eeeeeeeeeeh I'm sure they're as excited as me to take action on our upcoming blog renewal. See you later for more bombastic goodness!


...We haven't gone mad (yet), as this feature was actually part of a bigger April Fools prank we pulled off in the past! The remainders of our joke lie in the links below:

Lyrics Feature
Song of the Week

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