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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Song of the Week! 13 May 2017

At long last, Dokodon! Mystery Adventure's DLC legacy ended with this week's additional content delivery. In order to give one last salute to the latest portable entry in the series, here are a couple of songs that have been featured in the game, chiming both old and new vibes...

 Odoru Pompokorin (おどるポンポコリン) Chibi Maruko-chan ---Old---
Version / 
Taiko 2x3 (189)x3 (293)
x2 (293)
Taiko 5x4 (189)x4 (258)x2 (374/???/???)x2 (362)
Taiko PS2 2x4 (189)x4 (258)x2 (374/???/???)x2 (362)
Taiko 5, Taiko PS2 2 (2P)
x4 (258/258)
x2 (362/362)
 Taiko 2, 5, Taiko PS2 2, CD Red

Taiko 2 Oni video
2P Oni video

 Odoru Pompokorin (おどるポンポコリン) Chibi Maruko-chan ---New---
Taiko 12 to 14x2 (65)x3 (110)x4 (248/207/147)x4 (288)
Taiko Wii 1, 4x2 (71)x3 (110)x4 (248/207/147)x4 (288)
Taiko 0, Taiko 3DS 3x1 (65)x2 (110)x3 (248/207/147)x4 (288)
 Taiko 12 to 14, 5, Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 1, 4, Taiko 3DS 3

Odoru Pompokorin has been one of the earliest Taiko licenses from the most ancient titles in the series to get a port into the third Nintendo 3DS Taiko videogame, through a post-launch later release via DLC means.It's also one of the ending themes for one of the most known Anime series which is based of a shoujo manga bearing the same name!

Penned by Miki Miura (三浦美紀) for ten years between 1986 and 1996, Chibi Maruko-chan (ちびまる子ちゃん) is a girl-oriented entry for the 'slice of life' genre, narrating the everyday life of Momoko Sakura and her family, in the former city of Shizuku (now a part of Shizukuoka City) of 1976. The 'Maruko' name in the title is the nickname with which is most known the manga's 7-years-old protagonist, whose name is also the pseudonym used by the manga's author to sign her stories. With the author's intent to write "essays in manga form", Chibi Maruko-chan is full of characters and events that have inspired by Miki Miura's real-life experiences and acquaintances, ultimately leading her 15-tanbokon series to become the winner of the 1989 Kodansha Awards for the shoujo category as well as the 5th best-selling publication in the genre of all time, with over 31 million copies sold!

Chibi Maruko-chan's success has been mirrored, as for many other manga success stories, in different media transpositions of the series, including two live action TV dramas, four fully-animated movies, over a dozen videogames spanning from Sony to Nintendo platforms and -most importantly- a long-seasoned animated series. Originally aired from January 1990 to September 1992, the series by Nippon Animation was broadcast on Fuji Television for a total of 142 episodes, getting ported in other nations of Asia as well as Germany. The success of this run made it so for the same animation studio to created a second season, which started on January 1995 and is being continued to this very day! The manga's author has wrote the first 219 episodes by herself, while taking major episode supervision roles after said threshold.

The first Chibi Maruko-chan season's ending theme for the first 66 episode has been the popular Odoru Pompokolin (lit. 'Dance the Pompokolin'), for which Momoko Sakura herself wrote the lyrics. Composed/arranged by Japanese songwriter Tetsuro Oda (織田哲郎), the song became the very first single of B.B.Queens, the pop rock group that performed it for the show. Making its marked debut on April 4th, 1990, the single managed to hit the Oricon weekly charts' peak twice on its debut year, while remaining a relevant set piece on those charts for 54 weeks in a row and ultimately resulting into over 1.9 million copies sold. The huge popularity of Odoru Pompokolin led the song to return as the ending theme of the ongoing 2nd Anime season, being performed by different artists along the years, including ManaKana & Shigeru Izumiya and Golden Bomber! The original version also managed to win the 1991 JASRAC award and the 'record of the year' award for the pop/rock category at the 32nd Japan Record Awards.

Chibi Maruko-chan's story in Taiko lore is one of version-exclusive features, as in for every song that manages to be featured in both the eldest and most current times of the series. Starting as a song with the same notechart for Futsuu and Donderful, its later releases on Taiko 5 and PS2 console fronts gifted it a full-difficulty set that is inspired by the version of the song that was featured in its Taiko 2 debut, including forked-paths play on Muzukashii some 2-player charts for Futsuu and Oni/Donderful. Since its return to the arcade/console scene with Taiko 12 and the first Wii title, a shorter re-mastered cut of Odoru Pompokolin was used in place of the old recording, featuring a new notechart set that shares the same distinctive flair of a mono-colored cluster challenge for beginners.

  Odoru Pompokorin (おどるポンポコリン) Chibi Maruko-chan

x9 (504)
 Taiko 3DS 3

The song's most recent console outing, however, also brought up an extra difficulty layer to the table with the introduction of a brand new Ura Oni, in the same DLC revival vein which netted the iconic Lupin the 3rd '78 theme in the previous 3DS Taiko game. Being a short song to play, lots of 1/16 clusters are here to put some stamina pressure to the players, with the Go-Go Time clusters giving a wink or two to the cluster formations of Game Music track No Way Back's Oni and Ura Oni sequences.

 Shotoku Taiko no「Hi Izuru Made Asuka」(聖徳たいこの「日いずるまで飛鳥」)  Yuuya Kobayashi (IOSYS) feat. miko
All x4 (171)x6 (356)x7 (565)x9 (814/803/785)
 Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko 3DS 3

Advanced Route
Normal Route

Always in the vein of song porting, here's instead one track whose console debut was made with Dokodon! Mystery Adventure since said game's release day! This is also one of the 2 songs that is part of a musical song series idea pitch about "historical greats" in Japanese history, but only time will tell if that project will come to fruition in the future...

Following up the radio song vibe of Namco Original Yamatai★Night Party, this is a track that is themed after the late hour 'all-night-long' radio broadcasts, starring the semi-legendary Prince Shotoku (聖徳太子) as the supposed singer of some of his tales. With a more prominent topic focus on the politician while hearing lots of inquires from different people at the same time, the radio broadcast vibes are felt really strong, with references in the song's very own title (with the portion inside the「」brackets translatable as 'Until Sunrise', so before the sun sets=all the night) and in its short beginning portion, as it was inspired by the jazz song Bitter Sweet Samba by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. This last track is used as the opening theme for the Nippon Broadcasting System's All Night Nippon (オールナイトニッポン), an all-night-long radio block that airs every day (except Sundays) from 1 AM to 5 AM, from October 1967 to this very day!

Here's now a brief history lesson on the real surroundings around the fictional author and performer of the song, Prince Shotoku. Born on February 7th, 574, he has been a Japanese regent of the Asuka period, son of Emperor Yomei and Princess Anahobe no Hashihito, whose lineage also shares a Korean-based genealogical branch. Later generations started to revere Prince Shotoku as a key figure for the protection of Japan, the Imperial family and Buddhism, due to the many tales surrounding the politician that have been gathered in the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀), the 2nd oldest document in classical Japanese literature. Prince Shotoku is also the figure that is portrayed in 10.000 Yen banknotes!

Coming to the song itself, this Donchare-introduced Namco Original shines of familiar artists coming from doujin circle IOSYS, including Yuuya Kobayashi (コバヤシユウヤ) as the composer and Shichijou Lettuce (七条レタス) as the lyricist. The song itself is sung by the nick-named miko, already popular for her singing role as Cirno in the now-9-years-old Touhou arrangement song Cirno's Perfect Math Class.

Roughly 5 years since the debut of both the last Taiko song with Oni exclusive forked paths play (Hyakki Yakou) and the last arcade debut song holding this trait (Taiko Time), this is the next song to apply for both conditions, courtesy of notecharter sentai Arihotto (アリーホット). While the average difficulty standard that is set in the song is already enough to make up for some generous commentary on its slow and fast 1/16 cluster formations a-la Love x Love Whistle Oni, the peculiar branching path calculation is truly one of its kind, as its route-changing condition is being dictated by how many hits are landed on the three short drumrolls that are featured in the beginning part. To better illustrate the branching conditions, refer to the instructions being reported below:

Branch 1
  • If 4 or less hits are landed -> Normal Route
  • If 5 hits are landed -> refer to Branch 2-A
  • If 6 or more hits are landed -> refer to Branch 2-B
Branch 2-A
  • If 6 or less hits are landed -> Normal Route
  • If 7 hits are landed -> refer to Branch 3-A
  • If 8 or more hits are landed -> refer to Branch 3-B
Branch 2-B
  • If 7 or less hits are landed -> Normal Route
  • If 8 or more hits are landed -> refer to Branch 3-B
Branch 3-A
  • If 3 or less hits are landed -> Normal Route
  • If 4 hits are landed -> Advanced Route
  • If 5 or more hits are landed -> Master Route
Branch 3-B
  • If 4 or less hits are landed -> Normal Route
  • If 5 or more hits are landed -> Master Route
In short, there's only one way to get across the song's Advanced route, which is by exactly hitting specific note thresholds on each drumroll (5-7-4 hits respectively) whose digits put in that order make up a reference on their own about Prince Shotoku's birth year, 574 AD.

In the context of the Namco Original song, this bit of trivia bears a more in-context meaning with the lyrics and an anecdote related to the real Prince Shotoku, as the 'branching stanzas' portion of the song references the popular anecdote of the semi-legendary regnant being able to listen to eight people at once pleading with him simultaneously and understood every word! This episode warranted Prince Shotoku the celebratory naming of Yatsumimi no Miko (豊聡耳, 'Prince of Eight Ears'), which for Taiko gameplay is translated in the reaching of an hard-to-reach note stanza segment, where all the note-scrolling nightmares from Donkama 2000 will come at the player in a really brutal manner!

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