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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Song of the Week! 6 May 2017

With this year's Golden Week ending up on the latest edition of the Reitasai convention, we've decided to make up the space for a Touhou Project double feature!

It's time to meet Gensokyo's most known girls...

 Sai wa Nageraneta (賽は投げられた) Touhou Project Arrange - IOSYS
Allx4 (???)x6 (???)x6 (???)x7 (???)
 Taiko 0 M (promo only)

While the public arcade scene is the main place to experience with Taiko drums all of the song arrangements devoted to ZUN's danmaku-oriented game series, there have been selected instances in which a handful of songs were made playable only for the attenders of the yearly Hakurei Shrine Reitasai during specific editions. The year which has seen the first coming of promotional Taiko arcades, for example, has seen the early inclusion of 3 songs that later on became publicly-available on arcades, together with other 4 tracks that haven't ever been made playable again since that limited outing.

One of this four songs from the 2014 Reitasai edition was Sai wa Nageraneta (lit. 'A Sai Was Thrown'), based on one of the boss themes that is played when fighting the human shrine maiden Hakurei Reimu (博麗霊夢). As part of the Hakurei blood lineage, she can use the blood-thirsty Yin-Yang orb as ammunition together with sharp needles that are concealed behind paper talismans, in her drive to fulfill the Hakurei Shrine itself's vocation: youkai extermination. Being a playable character in almost all games among the official Touhou Project releases to date, Reimu manages to appear in every single title ever made in the series, counting some cameo appearances.

While it's always possible to play as Reimu in all of the main-numbered Touhou Project entries, it may happen in selected titles that some of the unselected playable characters might come up as boss characters to fight; for Reimu's case, the most prominent examples are the third game (Lotus Land Story) and the eighth one (Immaterial and Missing Power). For such occasions, the boss tracks being used are respectively an original composition and a remix of it for the later-released Windows game, whose titles are Shoujo Kiso-kyoku ~ Capriccio [=Italian for 'whim'] (少女綺想曲 ~ Capriccio, more commonly known as "Maiden's Capriccio") and Shoujo Kiso-kyoku ~ Dream Battle (少女綺想曲 ~ Dream Battle).

With the PC-98 games leaving the torch to the modern PC platforms for the series' continuation, the many creators of custom song arrangements for this and other tracks that are ZUN remixes of songs coming from the earliest games are usually used to make the claim of their arrangement being based on the more recent remix instead of the original. This is also the case of this rock arrangement, which is the first song featuring arranger Void (ぼいど) and lyricist/singer Ryoko '96' Kuroda (黒田椋子) from IOSYS to become a playable track in Taiko gaming, albeit for a very selective occasion. The song made its debut on the rock-based collaboration album ROCKIN'ON TOUHOU VOL.3, which made its debut on the very same 2014 edition of the Hakurei Shrine Reitasai that has seen Sai wa Nageraneta as one of the four exclusive tracks of that year for the promo Taiko arcades.

Aside from the star ratings, however, nothing else is known about the song's Taiko charts...

 Ladystar Wandering Touhou Project x NAMCO SOUNDS - Junichi Nakatsuru
Allx4 (113)x6 (183)x7 (375)x8 (521)
 Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko Ps Vita, Taiko +

For a track that can be more easily spotted in public Taiko gaming, however, we get to talk about the other human character that it's second only to Reimu when it comes to Touhou Project playable roles and other cameo shenanigans!

That person is the black-hatted Marisa Kirisame (霧雨魔理沙) a self-proclaimed 'ordinary magician' who is looking for the most powerful danmaku attacks through her studies of light magic. Her house is located inside Gensokyo's Forest of Magic, where she spends most of the time gathering all sorts of things (including some cat burglar-y stunts), chatting with Reimu at the Hakurei Shrine and getting involved in the many incidents narrated in the many titles. While in the PC-98 canon she was a loyal servant of the vengeful spirit Mima, the Windows-based lore seems to glide over most of the events/relations of that period for up-to-date hierarchic updates.

Much like for Reimu, Marisa also had some boss character-y action alongside the main-numbered games, being the Stage 4 boss in the first danmaku game in the series (Story of Eastern Wonderland) and one of the possible Stage 4 boss challengers in both Lotus Land Story and  Immaterial and Missing Power. However, the jazz/fusion track made by NAMCO SOUNDS composer Junichi Nakatsuru (中鶴潤一) for the first Taiko x Touhou Project event is actually based on a later instance of the blonde human becoming a boss to fight!

In the events of series spin-off Yousei Daisensou (more commonly known as 'Fairy Wars'), the ice fairy Cirno aims to wage war against the humans in order to generate an incident, after having its revenge against the Three Faeries of Light. What Cirno encountered, however, was an heavily-drunk Marisa Kirisame who, despite not taking Cirno's aspirations seriously, accepts to challenge her in the game's Extra stage. The song being played here is Magus Night (メイガスナイト), which is the track that served as a basis for the composition of Ladystar Wandering.

Bearing the lowest BPM value among all the currently-playable Touhou arranges on Taiko (tied with Bad Apple!! feat. nomico and Iro wa Nioedo Chirinuru o), this chart offers an easier blend of cluster trickiness when compared to other playable fusion tracks in the series like junction or Sports Digesdon (the Ura Oni), courtesy of notecharter sentai Arihotto (アリーホット)'s charting direction. Watch out for the occasional 1/24 density cluster spikes, though!

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