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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Song of the Week! 17 March 2018


Today's Idolm@ster feature will be a doozy for someone who is looking for a challenge, as the two featured picks can provide some of the hardest rhythm gaming trials in Bandai Namco grounds!

 Next Life
Version
Allx3 (151)x4 (182)x7 (374)x10 (876)
 im@s MS Red
 147
 none
 imsnex


Today's first pick features a couple of people we've already mentioned in the song features from two weeks ago: the idol Hibiki Ganaha (我那覇響) -voiced by Manami Numakura (沼倉愛美)- and Akitaka 'AJURIKA' Tohyama (遠山明孝). Next Life, in fact, is another of Hibiki's image songs, created by the seasoned Seafood Namco Original songs composer.

Making its overall debut on April 1st, 2009 with the release of the THE IDOLM@STER MASTER SPECIAL 03 album from the Master soundtrack series, Next Life made its first playable debut in games of the series as a playable solo song in the franchise's first music game spinoff: the Funky Note version of the PSP music game THE iDOLM@STER SHINY FESTA. Other credited appearances of the song in general Idolm@ster media include the PS3 title THE iDOLM@STER Shiny TV and a musical cameo in one of the Idolm@ster Anime series.

Its rhythms may sound familiar to Taiko fans to something like the KARMA(Tatsujin Mix) track coming from Tekken grounds; surprisingly enough, that's actually closer to what inspired this Idolm@ster track's musical direction! In an interview with AJURIKA that was released for Famitsu (link), the composer recalled the suggestion made to him by another Namco-affiliated artist: Koji Nakagawa (中川浩二), who took a listen to the Karma(Electric Fountain) track that AJURIKA made for Tekken 6 and and simply asked "I want you to make something like this one".

The resemblance with KARMA (Tatsujin Mix) can also be felt into its aggressive Oni notechart, the only 10-star challenge in its debut Taiko videogame. Aside from some early scrolling visual trickery with multiple layers of timing bars waving up and down at the player, the song maintains a stable BPM value all throughout the play, dictated in Taiko form by an aggressive barrage of note clusters of every kind and shape. Several 1/24 density spikes are enough to go up and beyond the call of duty on the difficulty scale for Full Combo attempts, so an additional layer of care has to be put in order to achieve the Ban-Nam goroawase notecount on this track!

 TOKIMEKI Escalate (TOKIMEKIエスカレート) THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
Version
Allx2 (100)x3 (113)x5 (324)x6 (437)
 Taiko 0 R
 140
 none
 ???


Our second pick of the day takes us to the image song of another of the Cinderella Girls idols, and as we've already done features in the past about both a Cute-attribute idol and a Cool-attribute one, let's finish off this impromptu trilogy with a representative from the Passion class, the last one.

TOKIMEKI (lit. 'Excitement') Escalate is the second image song of Mika Jougasaki (城ヶ崎美嘉), voiced by Haruka Yoshimura (佳村はるか), composed by Tetsuya Uchida (内田哲也) and lyricized by the nick-named marhy. Premiered on August 8th, 2012 with the Cinderella Master album THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA MASTER 009 Jougasaki Mika, this song made a cameo in the Cinderella Girls anime's 3rd episode, with its first credited appearance in a game of the series with the gacha/music game THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage. While not shining that much among other challenge contemporaries on Taiko grounds, TOKIMEKI Escalate on Starlight Stage is often regarded as one of the game's hardest songs, thanks to a really aggressive MASTER mode notechart!

Speaking of Mika herself, she's a pink-haired idol whose bonds with her younger sister Rika have made her really capable of handle and getting along with younger kids. In Taiko fields, this idol has had quite the share of the spotlight, being involved in several Taiko x Idolm@ster CG collaborations as the performer of different tracks (Tulip; the Idolm@ster cover of Angel Dream) and one of the members of the fictional LiPPS unit, providing special event dialogue with the other members. She also got quite the Taiko fanservice-y card variant for the first Cinderella Girls mobage!

Between the Call charting portions, the repeating note patterns and some unusual KDK/DKD note cluster formations, TOKIMEKI Escalate's Oni mode is quite the exotic blend of charting features for your average modern 6-star trial! Together with Anzu no Uta, this is also one of the few CG tracks that can be played both on Taiko and on Synchronica (link).

  TOKIMEKI Escalate (TOKIMEKIエスカレート) THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
Version
All---x9 (667)
 Taiko 0 R
 140
 none
 ???


A lot of the Cinderella Girls songs in Taiko are used to come out together with an Ura Oni mode tacked in, and TOKIMEKI Escalate is no exception to this rule! The name of the game is handswitch shenanigans for clusters of varying kinds and shapes, up until a killer deathstream which is very reminiscent to the final portion of the song's MASTER mode on Starlight Stage. Thread lightly!

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