The latest episode of K-ON!! has brought with it an entirely new OP and ED, replacing the much-maligned Go! Go! Maniac and Listen!! with fresh songs and animation.
Utau yo Miracle
No, Thank You!
I’m not too keen on the new OP; it strikes me as bland and forgettable. As for the new ED, I think it has promise, but I’d like to hear the full song before passing final judgement. I’ll have to wait, though, since the singles don’t come out until August 4th.
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.
The first episode of K-ON!! just finished airing in Japan. The speedsubs aren’t out yet, but fortunately we’ve got just the thing to take the edge off your moe cravings. Behold, the new K-ON!! opening and ending themes!
GO! GO! MANIAC
The singles of these songs will be released on April 28th by Pony Canyon.
I initially didn’t like the “Go! Go! Maniac” very much, but I think it’s starting to grow on me. It has a very infectious beat, like that damned Love Hina theme that always gets stuck in your head. As for “Listen!!”, I feel it’s kinda generic; definitely not as good as “Don’t Say Lazy”, but not all that bad either. Let’s hope the rest of K-ON!!‘s music is a bit more memorable.
Anyhoo, the buzz on Twitter seems to indicate the K-ON!! premier was a huge success. This will no doubt come as a relief to many otaku who have been nervous about Kyoani since last year’s Endless Eight debacle. Fortunately, it seems disaster has been averted… at least for now…