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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Song of the Week! 19 May 2018

With news-related posts about the upcoming Taiko game for the Nintendo Switch stealing the show for (most of) this closing week, it's only fitting to have one of its flagship songs for today's feature!

 Jump Up, Super Star! Short Version Super Mario Odyssey
Allx3 (75)x4 (97)x5 (140)x8 (410)
 Taiko 0 Y, Taiko Switch

Together with the Splatoon 2 Medley, this Game Music piece comes from the newborn Nintendo Switch console's library of games, making its debut in the arcade rooms. When it comes to contemporary system-sellers to have songs being ported to Taiko, the source game's success story has hardly met other competitors to rival its magnitude!

Released on October 27th, 2017, Super Mario Odyssey is the latest action-adventure platform title in the long-running Mario series, being thought out as an ideological continuation to the Nintendo 64's Super Mario 64 and the Nintendo GameCube's Super Mario Sunshine for the tri-dimentional world exploration aspect's gameplay focus. In his quest to save princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, Nintendo's iconic plumber crash-lands into the Cap Kingdom, where he teams up with one of his inhabitants -the hat spirit Cappy- to save both Peach and Cappy's sister from the king of Koopas. After Mario and Cappy's first encounter, the globe-trotting journey of the duo begins in order to chase down Bowser, with the aid of an hat-shaped spaceship that has to be powered up with the Power Moons that are scattered all across the world's many kingdoms. With 2 million coipes (500k from Japan) being sold within the game's first 3 days from release and counting over 10 million coipes sold at the end of the Nintendo Switch's first fiscal year (March 2018), Super Mario Odyssey is currently the best-selling game of Nintendo's hybrid home/portable console.

One of the primate-setting feats of Super Mario Odyssey in the overall series' progression is its theme song, the first one in over 30 years to be a vocals-led piece. The swing-styled Jump Up, Super Star! is composed by Nintendo Sound Team newcomer Naoto Kubo (久保直人), available in both a Japanese version -lyricized by Nobuyoshi Suzuki (鈴木伸嘉)- and an English one, the latter of which being the main version in all of the game's regional area releases. Both versions of the song are sung by Kate Higgins, the voice actress of Pauline in the game as well as a plethora of Anime-related English localization projects, including Sakura Haruno from the Naruto series and characters from Type-Moon visual novels' Anime transpositions (Hisui from Tsukihime and Saber from Studio Deen's Fate/stay night).

The song's localization process by the American division of the Nintendo Treehouse team is what ultimately lead to the English version being the main variant of the song, with employee Rob Tunstall and the SMO English writer Rob Heiret opting for a lyrics set with less Mario-related references that was made to be easier to sing along, even by non-native speakers. The same Rob Tunstall chronicled the thought process behind Jump Up, Super Star!'s localization in a post for the Nintendo Treehouse Tumblr account (link). Even before the actual launch of Super Mario Odyssey, both the JP and EN versions of the song proved to be really popular on iTunes, ranking in the Top 40 in the United States (English) and peaking the No.1 spot in Japan (JP)!

The song's playable version in the Taiko no Tatsujin games is the English one, in form of a shorter version. As expected from a swing piece, the 1/12 tempo is the main one for its Oni mode's blend of small clusters, with fragments of 1/16 charting towards the end. Difficulty-wise, its Oni mode is seen as an easier take on Katamari on the Swing's Oni mode, due to its average/low note count.

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