Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun is finally here! The Nintendo Switch game has received a worldwide release. But, people accustomed to Japanese companies swapping out songs for rhythm game releases and popping in licensed tracks from another region might be a bit surprised to see that this is Taiko no Tatsujin: Switch Version in its entirety, right down to the Japanese version of Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go.” While it might cause a moment of culture shock, think of it as an opportunity to learn more about games, shows, singers, and other things popular in Japan.
An important thing to note, going into Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun, is that it has a lot of songs that can be considered Taiko no Tatsujin staples in Japan. It is not uncommon to find a Disney track in its song list, with Frozen’s “Let it Go” as a popular inclusion. (It’s even in the PlayStation 4’s Drum Session!) So seeing “Doko Made Mo: How Far I’ll Go” from Moana is really no big deal. Studio Ghibli is also commonplace, which explains it getting a DLC pack, and both My Neighbor Totoro’s “Sanpo” and Spirited Away’s “Itsumo Nandodemo” being here. Most importantly, do not skip out on Neon Genesis Evangelion’s “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” Definitely play it. Know it. Love it. Aside from being part of an iconic anime series, it is a fantastic track that constantly pops up in the Taiko no Tatsujin series, so if this ends up being a jumping off point for you into the world of virtual drums, you will always have one song you can look for and use to show off in multiplayer sessions.
You should also consider using the Anime section of Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun as a guide to recent anime series. A few of the songs in that section make a point of saying where they are from. “Pop Team Epic” is very obviously from Pop Team Epic, a show many people might recognize from the various memes online inspired by the manga and anime. It is not for everyone, but I would say the first episode is definitely worth watching at least once. (Both the versions with the male and female voice actors, of course.) If you somehow missed Dragon Ball Z or One Piece, then “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” and “We Are!” might convince you to watch. (“Cha-La Head-Cha-La” is a definite product of the late 1980’s and is very good.) But the really cool song here is “Be the One” from Kamen Rider Build. This is a recent tokusatsu series following the adventures of Kamen Rider Build, who fights Smash monsters. Given that Sento Kiryu, the man who is Kamen Rider Build is experiencing amnesia, I felt like it could be a good entry point in the series for newcomers when I watched the first few episodes.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun is a fantastic opportunity to get into Touhou Project music. Let’s be frank here. Most of the Touhou Project games we have been seeing on consoles aren’t true Touhou, as they are spin-offs of the bullet hell shoot’em ups that made Japan fall in love with the characters and series. This means we also have not had a chance to be exposed to a lot of the amazing music from the series out there. But hey! Songs from the series are in here! Touhou Gensokyo: Lotus Land Story’s “Bad Apple!!,” Touhou Koumakyou: the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil’s “Grip & Break down !!,” and Touhou Fuujinroku: Mountain of Faith’s “Iro wa Niho e do Chiri nuru o” are all here and frankly, they are fantastic examples of great Touhou tracks. “Bad Apple!!” has a good rock and roll feel, “Grip & Break down !!” is so dance-y, and “Iro wa Niho e do Chiri nuru o” is practically soothing after hearing those other two!
Of course, I could not go over this without talking about “YouTube Theme Song” by HIKAKIN & SEIKIN. Okay. So, in Japan, the YouTuber and UUUM co-founder HIKAKIN and his brother, SEIKIN, made a theme song for YouTube. He is known for his beatboxing and singing, and you might remember him from his Super Mario Beatbox performance from a few years ago. It is a fun and clever little song that is incredibly catchy, and it might get you thinking about what sorts of content Japanese YouTubers might be coming up with.
Think of Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun as a way to not only expand your musical gaming horizons, but perhaps be introduced to an array of new shows, games, and artists. The track list is full of songs from cartoons, movies, some incredible singers, and games that may or may not already be available here. In addition, there are even niche things like the YouTube theme song, Touhou Project tracks, and Vocaloid music. It’s a way to expose yourself to new things, which makes the game even more fun.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun is immediately available for the Nintendo Switch.