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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Song of the Week! 21 October 2017

It's time for another mono-themed Anime double feature on the Song of the Week shores, as we take a closer look at a series that doesn't shy away from giving more than a wink to nerd/geek pop culture...

 Kakushinteki☆Metamarupho~se! (かくしん的☆めたまるふぉ~ぜっ! ) Himouto! Umaru-chan
Allx2 (99)x4 (164)x6 (297)x8 (410)
 Taiko 0 W, Taiko Ps Vita

Written by the nick-named Sankaku Head (サンカクヘッド) from the Yamanashi prefecture, Himouto! Umaru-chan (干物妹!うまるちゃん) is one of the slice-of-life manga series that is oriented on the comedic side of said story genre. The manga began its serialization on March 14th, 2013, as part of Weekly Young Jump's featured series and -later on- its spin-off Miracle Jump as a 2-chapter story. Since then, the series has been continuing to this day, with 9 tankōbon volumes being released/planned up to date.

The himouto portmanteau name in the title better describes the defining traits of Umaru Doma, the series's protagonist; she's the younger sister in her household (hence the 妹 -imouto- part) and she acts as an himono (干物, lit. 'dried fish'): highly active in public while being lazy at home. In Umaru's case, she's a top-performing high school girl that, once at home, reverts into a total layabout that spends her time playing video games and being overly dependent on her older brother Taihei for any sort of means. On 2015, the series was picked up by the ex-Toei affiliated animation studio Doga Kobo for a 13-episode anime adaptation, which was broadcast from July to September of that year.

With over 2.2 million tankōbon volumes being sold overall as of today, the series has sprung out with many different side projects, including a side-story manga about one of Umaru's friends (秋田妹!えびなちゃん, Akita Ibokko! Ebina-chan), collaboration projects with many Japan-oriented parties and two videogames by FURYU: the Ps Vita's "sister-raising" sim game Himouto! Umaru-chan Himouto! Ikusei Keikaku~ (干物妹!うまるちゃん ~干物妹!育成計画~) of December 2015 and March 2017's Nintendo 3DS puzzle game Himouto! Umaru-chan Daratto Puzzle (干物妹!うまるちゃん だらっとパズル). As mentioned in the intro, the Umaru-chan series' popularity can be attributed -among other factors- to the many references to nerd/geek culture with a keener attention to the gaming grounds. Sure enough, even Taiko no Tatsujin isn't spared from said network of references...

The Umaru-chan anime's relation to music games, however, doesn't stop with these kinds of winks, as its OP theme has made quite the rounds in the music game universe! Before its Taiko venture, in fact, said song also appeared in many of bemani's music series (jubeat, the defunct BeatStream, REFLEC BEAT and pop'n music), as well as Sega's maimai and CHUNITHM, where its 1st ending theme was ported as well. The opening theme (bearing a title literally translatable as 'Pretentious☆MetaMaruPhose!') stars Umaru's JP voice actress -Aimi Tanaka (田中あいみ)- as the sole singer, with a lyrics set penned by Asuka Ogura (おぐらあすか). The song's composer, on the other hand, is Masatoshi 'manzo' Sakashita (坂下正俊), who was already seen on this corner as the composer of GM track Wonder Momoi and in general Taiko gaming for other Anime-aimed songs of his making, such as Clover♣Kakumation and Su・Ma・I・Ru.

Just like Akeboshi Rocket, one of this year's earliest SotW features (link), this opening theme's inclusion into Taiko gaming has been determined by the high degree of appreciation shown by lots of Taiko players, as it was one of the most voted songs for V Version's DLC poll that wasn't previously featured in the games, subsequently decreeing its inclusion as part of one of the latter-half DLC pack period. Just like Akeboshi Rocket, its arcade public debut was also operated during White Version's lifespan!

Charted by Kirakira☆Sakamoto (きらきら☆さかもと), here's another anime theme in Taiko whose short length is the main hindrance to its amount of notes and general difficulty degree on the highest mode setting, with a stark prevalence of small 1/16 note clusters guiding the player towards a nasty-ish finisher made of some 1/24 spikes and some last-minute hand-switching cluster action.

 Nimensei☆Ura-omote Life! (にめんせい☆ウラオモテライフ!) Himouto! Umaru-chan R
Allx3 (113)x5 (169)x6 (301)x8 (416)
 Taiko 0 Y to 0 G

Two years after the original Umaru-chan anime's ending, Doga Kobo grabbed the series' rights, once again, to make an additional 13-episodes season for Sankaku Head's fortunate manga series, simply titled Himouto! Umaru-chan R (干物妹!うまるちゃん R). Said series began its broadcasting on October 3rd this year, marking the adoption of new OP and ED themes.

In the case of the former we have Nimensei☆Ura-omote Life! (roughly translatable as 'Two-Faced☆Ura-mote Life!'), starring once again Aimi Tanaka (田中あいみ) as the singer. The song's composers/arrangers/lyricists, on the other hand, are Ayato 'JAVELIN' Shinozaki (篠崎あやと) and Ryo Tachibana (橘亮祐)... in other words, the duo best known in music gaming for the Massive New Krew unit!

Roughly one week after the 2nd Umaru-chan season's premiere, the song made its music game debut with Taiko no Tatsujin arcade gaming, in a chart that shares some of the difficulty degree hindrances (namely, the short length) of the first Umaru-related OP while instead offering a different approach to the modern 8* formula, here more focused on handswitch-heavy small clusters all along the way. Just like in Kakushinteki☆Metamarupho~se!, the sped-up portion before the chorus had its scrolling speed adjusted to feel more in tone with the rest of the scrolling pace in the track in general.


  1. Actually, the correct translation for Umaru R OP is "Two-Faced ☆ Ura-omote Life!". Trust me, I've checked my translation. Also, it's Su・Ma・I・Ru.

    1. It's nice being the not-JP-knowledgeable guy of the team... Thanks again for the remarks; fixing those.