For the reviews segment, we wonder what the hell is up with Project A-Ko; and if you’ve read Ritsu’s post on the subject, you’ll have a good idea of where that conversation goes (he totally stole my Commando comparison). Also, we weigh in on the merits of K-ON!
CD Japan’s listings have recently revealed new information about the upcoming K-ON!! single. You can preorder it here.
Pure Pure Heart Release Date: June 2nd Price: 1000 yen Tracklist:
1. Pure Pure Heart
2. Sakuragaoka Joshi Kotogakko Koka (Sakura Girls High School Theme Song) [Rock Ver.]
3. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental)
4. Sakuragaoka Joshi Kotogakko Koka [Rock Ver.] (instrumental)
5. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental) [Guitar 1]
6. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental) [Guitar 2]
7. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental) [Keyboard]
8. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental) [Bass]
9. Pure Pure Heart (instrumental) [Drums]
Since Stilts has introduced you to Ritsu’s VA. I figured you should meet the rest of the group. Can you guess which voice actress plays which character? Mouse over each picture for the answer! More information can be found by clicking on the link below their picture.
Not content with simply stealing the hearts of otaku, the K-ON!! girls’ newest single, “Go! Go! Maniac”, stole the top spot of Oricon’s weekly singles ranking according to ANN. “Listen!!” came in second place, because there’s apparently no such thing as overkill.
“But Stilts,” I pretend you’re asking, “who are they beating?” Good question! Looking at today’s daily rankings, the #3 slot belongs to enka-singer Fuyumi Sakamoto’s “Asia no Kaizoku/Mata Kimi ni Koi Shiteru” (“Asian Pirates/I’m in Love with You Again”). It was released over a year ago and recently climbed to the top, only to be unseated by Hokago Tea Time’s songs. And in #4 is “Mahō no Ryōri ~Kimi kara Kimi e~” (“Magical Cooking ~From You to You~”) by the curiously-named Bump of Chicken, who have done songs for video games and anime, too. It was released on April 21 and made it to the top of both the daily and weekly charts. Clearly, both songs were worthy contenders for the cultural steamroller that is K-ON!!
I’m pleasantly surprised by this development. To me, the vast majority of the songs from the first season of K-ON! were generic and forgettable J-pop tunes. When I first heard the OP and ED for the second season, I thought, “Hey, they’re actually taking risks and experimenting with different styles. Good for them!” It’s nice to see that they’ve been rewarded for their efforts.
Before you get your hopes up, no one’s made a Touhou-esque shooter featuring Ritsu and the gang. Yet. Instead, Beat Hazard gives you a ship, throws you into a twin-stick shooter arena filled with enemy spacecraft and asteroids, and determines your weapon strength, spread, and re-fire rate based on how frantic the background music you choose gets. In other words, it’s like Macross 7 was adapted into a curtain-fire shooter. As you can see from the video, “Go! Go! Maniac” works really well. In fact, J-pop in general works really well, as does metal.
It’s a cool idea, and I’m enjoying it so far despite a couple irritating problems. For example, Beat Hazard doesn’t work well for every song. Since your ship’s ability to kill things is heavily dependent on the intensity of the music, trying to play some genres will just be an exercise in frustration. Everyone hoping to cause massive destruction with Enya will be disappointed. I also found that the amount and density of particle effects on the screen can often become absurd; it’s a neat visual effect, but the gameplay isn’t fun when I can’t see where the enemy bullets are. Finally, there’s no AAC or M4A support (at the moment), so anything you buy off of iTunes won’t work unless you convert it.
Still, for $10 it’s a fun little diversion that I can see myself consistently going back to for half an hour every few days. After all, I still play Audiosurf (another game with music-generated levels that I highly recommend), and it’s been over two years since I bought that thing.