Thursday, May 11, 2017

Namco Taiko Blog (11 May 2017) - Want to Hear More? Notecharter Interview 13

Taiko Team memeber Yamaguchi is back on the official blog spot, not only for telling us that he could chart Genkai Toppa×Survivor without gathering 7 magic balls, but also to present to us the latest installment of the recurring notecharter-oriented feature family.

Today's protagonist is the nick-named Kohara (こはらー), one of the three currently-active series contributors who has been a regular one since the very beginning!

Profile
Joined Taiko Team: 2000 (during the first Taiko arcade's development)
Number of charts made: about 50
Skill level: If it's a modern song and it has around 7 stars on Oni, he can norma-clear it.

For the first four arcade versions, the nick-named Kohara was the one-stop-shop for everything notechar-related, from the specification sheet/program/debug technical side to notechart creations and difficulty adjustments, as well as compiling the musical scores made by the other team members (last-minute fixes, score/soul gauge increment regulations, ...) With these tasks and the fact that he was the most skilled Taiko player among the first title's staff/developing team, Kohara himself is questioning whether to be considered an ante-litteram Taiko Team leader!

Nowadays, he's mostly been tasked of game design-oriented jobs such as programming (especially for the console Taiko games), but it may still happen that he's been commissioned the charting task of some of the newer songs as well.

Notechart Speciality
-"Retro" gameplay flavor
-It seems that the old "Dondoko" festival rhythms have been stuck in his mind for a long time...

Notechart Production Mottos
Valuing the feeling that the player might experience while playing songs on Taiko drums, Kohara's notecharts often feature a busy flow of notes followed by silent stanzas, just so can the same player can tackle the succeeding portions with a fresh feeling. The charter puts its highest care on Kantan modes, profiling a guiding rhythm that won't make players feel bored regardless of their skill threshold.

Sample Notecharts Created
Unless otherwise mentioned, all of these comments will be about the songs's Oni mode.

-) Love You☆Don-Chan (ラブユー☆どんちゃん) (Old Chart)
One of the series's very first Namco Original tracks, its charting process had took some trial-and-error action to get across in order for the final result to shine through. The then-chart creation leader Kohara's sentiments at the time well reflect the difficulties of mapping it despite deeming it a cool song, until in one eventful week-end the charter could assist at a live Taiko performance at a festival that was held near his home. The joy of the female players and all her listeners around the giant Taiko drum has given the inspiration of its difficulty-escalating notechart motif on all modes, of which he was (and still is!) very happy about.


-) Go-Go Kitchen (ゴーゴー・キッチ)
The trial-and error approach ending up with gradual difficulty increments has also been the modus operandi for the creation of the charts for the series' very first 'boss song'. Starting from the question of "What could I make in order to create a really challenging track for our debuting game?", the answer came up in increments with the five elements that made Go Go Kitchen's Oni a quite distinguishable track:

  • Playing Don notes at increasing speeds in key points;
  • Playing a similar sequence with both Don and Katsu notes;
  • Gradually ramp up the difficulty by removing breaks between notes;
  • The more the song goes on, the harder the chart gets;
  • Note-branching is a must for a true expert to have the hardest trial be fully revealed.

At the time, the formula made most of the early developers shiver in fear, which in turn made Kohara himself really glad when he was able achieve a norma-clear the first time, followed with full-combo performances some time after.

-) Radio Taizou Dai Ichi (ラジオ体操第一)
The popular one-timer Variety track from the first arcade generation was also one of the ones labeled under the Taisou (='gymnastics') genre, so why don't make its notecharts an occasion to stretch a little bit and physically exercise? This thought process drove Kohara's creative direction for the song's charting, ultimately resulting into a track whose music and chart may feel like exercising routine by putting more enphasis on each note hit and its method of hitting it... as long as you don't put a lot of strength on each hit!

-) Anpanman no March (アンパンマンのマーチ)
The series doorstep for a lot of young Taiko players, this has been the very musical charting project for which a concept was really clear in the mind of the designed charter: "It's intended to be really easy, but let's not make it boring". For that purpose, Kohara made a chart that could feature all kinds of special notes on Kantan mode while not over-stuffing the chart with notes or making it bland with repeating rhythms made of recurring small note sequences.

The final result paid off to its creator, as the very same Kohara was glad to see it being one of the most played tracks for the first Taiko arcade titles' location test periods and after the arcade's actual release. By witnessing first-hand some children playing the track with their parents (on Papa Mama support) with the most modern arcades the other week, the charter is also clad that its legacy still goes on to this date!

-) S(mile)ING!
From some of the most ancient musical experiences in Taiko history down to the most recent Idolm@ster-related accolades, Kohara has been in charge for the charting process of one of the latest Cinderella Girls collaboration's featured songs. While not being involved in the re-recording session for the Taiko cut to be used in the games, he felt in tune with the track during the charts' creation, as it has been with nearly all the original songs compositions made for Taiko no Tatsujin. Most of his former charting days' techniques were enveloped to convey a sense of lightness while playing the song, so much so that Kohara feels like he's become a living relic of the old-fashioned Taiko way to chart and play songs!

Below is a list of some of Kohara's other charting jobs! Keep in mind that for the songs featured below whose charts have been renewed along the years, he's always the composer of the first-released charting set.

~) independent
~) WE ARE THE CHAMP ~THE NAME of THE GAME ~
~) Utabito
~) Osakana Tengoku
~) Omatsuri Ninja
~) A Cruel Angel's Thesis
~) DANCE! Oja Majo
~) Chu! Natsu Party
~) Doraemon Ondo
~) Doraemon no Uta
~) Hamtaro Tottokou Uta
~) MUSIC♪
~) LOVE Namida Iro
~) LOVE MACHINE
~) Lupin III Theme '78

See you next time! The next notecharter interview might come out sooner than expected...

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