Rank(o)ing every BUTAOTOME vocal album from worst to best – part 4 (the C tier)

Welcome back to the weekly show where an aspiring magical girl talks about her favorite band and tries to introduce people to the songs and albums she loves! After a week of rest, we are finally in the hot zone! Today we have… *counts* eight albums to talk about! So let’s start!

Touhou Kaiten Mokuba (2010)

♪BGM: Machibito wa Kozu.

Ooooh, and this is where it all began! There is not much to say about this album. It’s a debut. A good debut. The Pig was new to the world of Touhou arranging, so they just wanted to experiment with styles and have fun with ZUN’s creations.

Being the first album, this is the mandatory album for those who want to discover BUTAOTOME’s origins. While the sound quality might not be the greatest, and the arrangements tend to be too faithful to the melodies of the original themes (and a couple of them also aged badly, in my opinion – I’m looking at you Kyoai), some tracks are still good even today, like the orchestral Mamorubeki Mono or also the three UFO arranges.

This is also the only time we see a BUTAOTOME cover art made by a non-Ranko no Ane artist (I know Kaen Ranzen exists, but ssssshh). While The Sis is not an ultra perfect artist, I think her art style and the constant experimentation gives a unique flavor that makes BUTAOTOME stand out even more in the Touhou Music World. But since Kaiten Mokuba’s cover is the only one that looks like a generic Touhou album art, doesn’t this make it feel unique in the Pig’s discography? :muse_thinking:

Jitsu wa Sensai na Anata to tama ni Yuukan na Watashi no nandaka Sawaideru tte Hanashi. (2012)

♪BGM: Itsumo no Futari

And here we have the album with the longest title ever. But moreover, this is the album that was originally planned for the E tier. I never liked Jitsu wa a lot, and it was “the bottom one” until Suzu no Sorane came out. I thought the other albums had much better tracks and were overall better (except Panorama Grill). However, when I relistened to it, I thought it didn’t have the same big flaws as my least liked albums.

But let’s go in order. Revoleader Align is a cool introductory rock piece. Choukahanka Shikizokuzekuu is a disgustingly catchy swing piece. Kireta Ito is a great and powerful take on Ancient Temple. Akai Kioku, Shiroi Mirai has a good usage of the acoustic guitar. Itsumo no Futari is probably one of the best tracks that blend pop-rock and jazz elements in a good way, and a good hit that deserves to get the spotlight more often (at least it has one of the best PVs!). Hitori Game is not bad, but to me it always felt like “oh hey, here is our take on Missing Power! Now please stop claiming that fucking Uso to Doukoku is a song of ours, thanks.”. Nai. is the song that kickstarted the whole Hartmann’s Youkai Girl curse is a weird-sounding take on Hartmann that still remains their best one even to this day. I used to think Fureru from a Toranoana compilation was better, but now I appreciate the uniqueness of Nai better. And Suisai no Kusa is a slow and sweet acoustic piece. But is this really the end? The “real” final track is Paprika’s first vocal song. A song about Gensokyo, the “second hometown” of all the Touhou fans. An arrange of ZUN’s theme and a great way to celebrate his marriage at the time.

I really like the structure of this album, as the first two tracks are Marisa’s themes, the (not really) final one is Reimu and in the middle, we have a track about the two of them. Maybe it could have been better if the other tracks were about characters who are closely related to Reimu and Marisa (or more ReiMari themes, I think a full ReiMari vocal album is possible), but most of them were already featured in other albums. Remember BUTAOTOME’s first years of activity (at least up until 2013) were an age when they just wanted to arrange as many new themes as possible.

Kemonomichi (2013)

♪BGM: Minna no

An album about animal characters. From a circle where 3 out of 4 members are animals, it was something mandatory! I think this was the best album concept for expanding something that Jitsuwa silently (lol) started: the idea of making vocal tracks arranged by Paprika.

If we come from BUTAOTOME’s releases from the last couple of years, Kemonomichi is not really exciting: we are used to albums with one half arranged by the bear and the other one by the cat. And relistening to her tracks in this album makes me realize how much Paprika improved over the years. Most of her songs here, while good, are pretty much basic arrangements with the basic style she had at the time. Except for Atatakai Uso, which is still wonderful and has a beautiful winterly mood.
On the other hand, Comp provides his usual stuff, but they aren’t just four generic rock songs and call it a day. His arrangements are not overly faithful to the original themes but they still sound good and have their own personality. Denkousekka and Egao no Saki would be perfect live songs! Ondeko no Namida has a nice Japanese feel. Last but not least, we have the Ultimate Kawaii Track: Minna no. This is how to properly make a cute track!

This is a simple and fun album and I really like its art and the colors used inside the booklet. Even though sleeping characters don’t fit Comp’s tracks :laughs: I think there are enough characters to make a Kemonomichi 2 (especially with Touhou 17’s animal motif), but I wonder how they would make it different from the previous one, especially since its “style gimmick” has been reused in quite a lot of other albums. Maybe with tracks arranged by the sisters?! Not sure if I want it…

Pop (2014)

♪BGM: Hitori

First of all, let’s say that this is one of the most hilarious albums design-wise. The cover looks fine, but inside the booklet, we have art made with Paint. Even the website looks like one of those low-budget hotel sites! How did we get from homepages that added to the album experience in some way to those lifeless, anonymous and cloned webpages from the last 3 events that literally scream “please use any other page in the whole internet to link about our new album, even a shop page is fine”?!?! (and yeah, while I’m writing each album review I’m also updating each album page on this website with the new template, but I’m very slow sorry!)

This album is all about cannibalism and youkai eating humans. Probably the primary example of “be careful of the lyrics you can’t understand of that happy song you are listening”. Also, I read somewhere that pig meat is very similar to human meat… oh man, we are heading in Nightmare Fuel territories, I’m sorry, let’s talk about the music. Most of the tracks are fun pop-rock pieces you can jam to. Koi no Yamai is probably the one that does the job best among the other tracks. But there is also a couple of standout pieces! Anata no Uta has some heavily distorted vocals, but they work somehow. The whispers in the second part are a nice touch! Hitori is a personal favorite of mine. I love its dark and cold atmosphere, and how the refrain contrasts with it.

However, the “cannibalistic” theme is not consistent in all the tracks. The last two songs are not bad at all, but they are not about Parsee/Wriggle feasting on a poor human being. Yakeru you na Aka de is a melancholic piece that gives justice to the hashihime’s theme, but I always thought it could have been a better fit in a Shoujo Rengoku album. And Hikarenai is cute and childish-sounding. But it’s not Minna no-level of Kawaii Perfection (wtf).
Now I’m hungry. But I don’t want to eat meat.

Getsumen Tansa (2015)

♪BGM: Rouget- SHUT UP.

♪BGM: Bokura no Mirai

Aaaaah, Comiket 89. The event that entered history as that one time every music circle and their mother decided to spam arrangements from Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. Nearly every album released at that event had a LoLK character (Clownpiece or Junko most of the time), or at least an arrangement of Pure Furies or Clownpiece’s theme. BUTAOTOME weren’t even safe from it, and they decided to give their own twist to the formula by making their album focused on Moon people (and their enemies) in general. While we have the mandatory Touhou 15 songs, half of the album is Imperishable Night arranges and there is even a Silent Sinner in Blue song.

I have a love-and-hate relationship with Rougetsu, the first track. Sure, it opens the album in a nice way and introduces us to the Touhou Moon. Sure, it’s Lunatic Blue and arrangements of that theme are ultra-rare (I think this is the second vocal arrangement ever?). But to me, it just sounds like a generic anime opening. I would have liked it a bit more if only the Pig didn’t decide to play and spam this over the other tracks of the album. Gurimuchuu is a generic song that exists just to add Reisen to the album. Some rhythm game songs are even longer!! But after a non-majestic beginning, we have some great stuff. I would say that the LoLK songs stand out the most in this album. Starting with Sakebe. Yes, it’s pretty much a So What ripoff and that’s probably the main reason for its popularity. But in an age where everybody spammed Clownpiece’s theme and all of them had the same exact refrain, this is a refreshing take of it. It’s also a great track by itself, even though quite repetitive. Daruma-san ga koronda has some playful piano. The remix in PartyBox 3 also deserves a listen and manages to blend the bridge/solo part in a better way. Watashi Nokoshi is a short acoustic piece, I love how there is no instrumental break between each vocal part. Bokura no Mirai is what I consider to be the ending theme of the hypothetical Touhou Moon anime. And like the 80% of the good anime series, the opening gets spammed everywhere, but the ending is a hidden gem! I simply love the spacey atmosphere it has and the Paprilicious piano. Itsuwari no Hibi feels like Kaguya’s side of Daruma-san and has a old J-pop feeling. Last but not least, we have the album closer: Ikijigoku. It’s not Bokura no Mirai or a ballad, but it kinda works as the closer. The robotic voices are not as distorted and ominous as Anata no Uta’s, but they fittily represent Junko’s murderous intents.

…I think I’m a bit tsundere towards this album and I love it more than what I admit. Maybe it’s Rougetsu. Maybe it’s the fact that Ranko toned down her trilling R a lot with this album. Maybe it’s the cover art. Yeah, speaking of it: I’m sorry but Getsumen Tansa’s artwork is one of the worst ones in the entire discography (probably on par with Epitaph’s general design).

Paradise Lost (2016)

♪BGM: Rasen Zetsubou

I see this album as two things: as something made to prepare fans while waiting for the first major release (though it was recorded after Furubokko) and as an extension of some of the small worlds/albums in the BUTAOTOME Universe.

Haruka Tashika, RAKUEN and Kanashisou de Ureshisou na Monogatari serve as an extension to FREAKS and BUTAOTOME’s Hifuu World in general. The first two are some great rock material, perfect if you thought FREAKS was lacking it! The last one is a soothing song that it’s faithful to the mood of the original theme and perfectly closes the album and the year.

Then we have Rasen Zetsubou, Kyoujin Nikki, Mikan no Yue and Mamanaranai: an extension to Getsumen Tansa. Rasen Zetsubou is just kickass and different enough from Ikijigoku from the year before. Kyoujin Nikki has a jazzy taste and the vocal delivery in the pre-chorus is great. Mikan no Yue is a great orchestral piece and a proper Reisen song (but still short). Mamanaranai is an okay pop-rock piece, but I honestly think Pandemonic Planet might have deserved a better take.

Last track left is Nanakaime no Fuyu, a standard Paprika track for all the LALALALALAs and Marisa needs. The artworks are good, and I love the Adam and Eve pose reference!

Giji Kazoku Nyuumon (2017)

♪BGM: Shunshuu

This is another work that I see as a sort of extension, this time of the “ReiMari world”. Reimu and Marisa are recurring characters in the BUTAOTOME Touhou World as much as the Hifuus, if not even more. One day I will make a post about all the arranges! But not now.

Other than the protagonist duo, we have tracks about some Koumakan characters, Alice and the Komeiji sisters, but I can’t feel those as part of their own world. And if I have to be honest, I see the Komeiji sisters more like the “joke characters” in the discography, due to the 34436567 Hartmann’s Youkai Girl arrangements and how they ruin your expectations about new albums. Sorry for whoever likes them!

Like with Paradise Lost, I will divide each song into its category. Nikoichi, Chuudou Hokou and Shunshuu are some of Comp’s best material. Nikoichi is simply a great rock introduction that nicely uses a combo of ReiMari themes that’s different from the usual. Chuudou Hokou sounds like Kyouen 2.0, but since both tracks are Reimu themes, it doesn’t bother me, it gives that “sequel” vibe. And Shunshuu is a beautiful ballad that closes the album magnificently. Yeah, I’m a sucker for good ballads as album closers.

We move to the Koumakan with Tsubureru Riyuu and Chiguhagu na Housoku, the two Paprika tracks of the album. I really love the first one, it sounds so childlike! The second one is much more standard stuff, but with some small and nice touches. Futari dake no Kotoba and Toge bring us to the Chireiden family. They aren’t bad but they both sound kinda weak (and Shuushin and Koishi ni are much better). Last but not least we have Sorairo Ribbon, a great take on Alice’s extra stage theme with some Comptastic bass. Too bad that it sounds veeery similar to Hakike ga suru hodo Gesu na Yume, the previous arrange from Touhou ReiMari Quest

By the way, I’m still waiting for a proper BUTAOTOME mug for my tea time. And this album’s cover could be perfect. Maybe just change the Komeiji sisters with the Yorigamis.

Ayakashi Yokochou (2017)

♪BGM: Mesen

I’ve written the perfect review for this album some months ago. So go to re-read it, click here!! There is also Sachlich, an album I didn’t include it as part of this series, but it would be part of the D tier. Anyway, here I will just add some comment about the art. Sure, the characters themselves are nothing like the Rengoku series, but the urban setting felt like a natural progression of Shoujo Rengoku 3’s city-like art. Giving a small frame to each song title in the back cover is also a very cool idea and I would love to see it more often.

Weeeewh, another tier is gone! I’m sorry that it took a lot more than expected! See you next week, with moooooooore albums!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *