Ooooh, welcome back to the review corner! It took more than a month, but I can finally talk about the latest creative input from BUTAOTOME! Please make yourself comfortable because we have lots of bacon here!
The past week has been filled with exciting BUTAOTOME stuff that I still can’t believe. Before that week, I was complaining (mostly on the Discord server and private chats) about how this was their darkest age: drop of quality in their latest releases, too much focus on Touhou stuff, 10th anniversary stuff is not really exciting. But then… surprise! The new albums are great (ops spoiler)! We finally have a live announcement in a festival that doesn’t have a poster with Reimu and co. on it! Comp made a song with Kanako Itou of all of the people! But now let’s start with this review!
After 3-4 disappointing Touhou vocal albums in a row, I lost faith on BUTAOTOME’s Touhou music and I was completely unexcited for their C96 release. The XFD sounded the same exact thing as Abyss and Epitaph, with just a decent concept. I still needed that album for my usual purposes, though. Melonbooks took a lot of time shipping my C96 albums, and even the package took a lot to arrive here, but honestly, I didn’t care that much about it. My only worries were just updating Tiramisu Cowboy and THBWiki. So, last Monday I was greeted with this package, containing my three albums… and a clearfile with some anime girl in yukata. Not exactly what I was expecting as an apology for being so late, I’ll be sure I won’t use your service again if not for your exclusive stuff. Before listening to Goku with my boyfriend, I took a look at the booklet (and listened to the Nekokenban and transcribed Black Sunflower’s lyrics). Goku’s cover art features a menacing illustration of Urumi and the ushi-oni, welcoming us to Touhou’s hell. Inside, instead of illustrations of the other Touhou girls starring in this album, we have the otter, the eagle and the wolf: the three animal spirits from Touhou 17. A very nice choice! (also #otterslivesmatter) When Scott showed up on Discord, we finally proceeded with our first listen together.
1. Yomi no Kaze
Once this track started, I thought it was the Soldi clone number 454364564. Luckily, I was wrong, and then it becomes its own thing: Urumi’s theme, in the typical Butaotome style. I don’t think it’s one of their better “first arrange of the latest Touhou game”, but it does its job at opening the album. For some reasons, I’m expecting this track to be part of the inevitable Groove Coaster event for the 10th anniversary. (note: this is my supposition)
2. Muryoku na Uta
When it comes to arrangements of Night Bird, Minna no will always hold the top spot, but this track will satisfy those who wanted a take with a similar feel to the original! It’s an upbeat Paprika track. The song gets better around the end, with an exchange between Ranko’s singing and some whistles.
And when I thought this album was gonna be another “Comp’s tracks are meh” one, this pops up. And I’m amazed. And I get that kind of feeling that only BUTAOTOME and few other artists can give to me. It’s one of their most unique-sounding Touhou rock tracks, and I can’t help but dance, just like the song’s title. I wanna see how Ane would dance on this. And Ranko’s rrrr is alive! Also, “honyarara” is my new favorite word.
This is the Pig’s fourth vocal arrangement of Fate of Sixty Years, but I can say that it’s one of the themes Comp gets more creative with. Each one of them is in a different style and uses the main melodies of the theme in a different way. Because of this, it’s hard to say which one is the best. Anyway, Odabutsu gives us some sexy bassline and fast singing!
5. Chigirizake (Goku ver.)
I think this is one that of those rearranges that are here just to arrive at the 8 tracks quota. It’s a faster and rocker version of Chigirizake, but the acoustic version is still the best version of that song. I think a rearrange of Karamawari, or even a new Kasen song would have fit better with the album’s theme of hell and animals (also as a sort of celebration for WaHH’s final).
Paprika’s tracks in this album are not Yokoshima na Honoo/Shiroi Asa level of epicness, but they are still good. This one is my favorite out of the three! I simply love how it sounds. It reminds me of some western/R’n’B songs…
7. Futari ni totte Taisetsu na Mono
Another track from the cat, but this one doesn’t particularly stand out if not for the clearer bassline and Ranko claiming it to be “the hardest Paprika song so far”. Paprika’s songs are usually quite hard to sing, so kudos to Ranko for always being able to sing them!
…okay, my first reaction to this track wasn’t of the brighter ones. I thought it was a generic anime opening-sounding track. Also, we got it, KA NAAA, no need to say it fifty times! But with further listens of this album, it grew on me, and now I love it. It has a similar vibe to the original songs (the verses reminded me of Derashine), and Seraphic Chicken has been rearranged in a good way that makes it sound less repetitive!
I didn’t expect to like this album a lot, and the more I listen to it, the more I feel happy. It was worth the wait. Thank you for this come back in style, my dear BUTAOTOME. I’m looking forward to Vegeta (my temporary title for the C97 vocal album), and what you’ll do with the post-demo songs and characters from WBaWC! (please not a full album, there will be at least 10 other albums milking the OST of the latest Touhou).
You know, after this article I will come back to work on my “Rank(o)ing every BUTAOTOME vocal album from worst to best” series. There might be a chance that I will be able to sneak Goku into the higher positions. Otherwise, I may just edit the last tier I published!
Touhou Nekokenban 18
I admit that not even the Nekokenban XFD sounded good to me. I think it was mostly because there were a lot of themes I’m not a fan of, especially my nemesis Flower of Japan. But Team Paprika semper fidelis and I still want to support the cat’s series. This time the album’s theme is the Japanese summer, and pretty much all the tracks recall the summer. Honestly, I think Paprika herself wrote a much better review than what I could write about, so I wholeheartedly recommend you to read it! Click here! I hope she will do it for future Nekokenbans!
Overall, I quite enjoyed this Neko, but my only small regret about it is that I got my album copy right when it became out of season since we are in Fall now. Well, it will be for next year! Also, I wonder if Nekokenban 19 will be winter-themed, with Christmas-sounding songs and such!
AKA the live-exclusives album. I always thought that tracks like Shiawase, Shuushin, Gensou wo Shinjite etc. were fated to remain as “exclusives” for a long time and there were two possible moments for releasing them in a more accessible album: the 10th anniversary (or any big anniversary) or the breakup.
Like every other compilation album, this release is only recommended to hardcore Piggys who want to complete their BUTAOTOME Music Library. But there are still some tracks that deserve a listen. It’s an unpopular opinion, but I prefer Shiawase over Kyouen, and Futari dake no Sekai is its perfect companion track. Shuushin is also a great and catchy rock mix of the themes of the real cursed sisters. Listening to this album makes me feel nostalgic. Maybe because I hold the five live exclusives with new songs quite dearly, despite having probably not really interesting takes of very common themes. Too bad that there aren’t the piano and acoustic versions because they are worth to listen to.
Anyway, there is only one original (as not being a remix/piano/acoustic version of an already existing Butasong) track left from the various live/event-limited albums. Mondai, original (as being a song not based on ZUN’s works) song from the Kashiramoji of Songs present disc. As I said multiple times, Mondai is a song I hold dear, more than any other track in the exclusive limbo, and I really REALLY hope they won’t leave it out. I understand they leave it out from this release because it’s an original, so I truly hope there will be a collection of old original songs for Comiket 97. They could put Toumei Mislead and Koe from the Melonbooks BGM compilations, then maybe some of the rhythm game songs that don’t have copyright stuff that’s too hard to deal (Jibun Kanpai from Tapsonic, then maybe Yumehanabi and Akarui Mirai from SEGA’s games and Heisei Kaisei Dottenshan from Groove Coaster). If Akubi manages to be in I would scream, but I don’t know if they’ll be ever able to put a song from a very old Voltage of Imagination album…
Please, Buta, grant my wish, there is the potential for an album that will have some of my all-time favorite songs :praying:
Track from Touhou Man’youshuu, Melonboobs’ latest compilation.
It’s not bad, but it’s just your typical BUTAOTOME guest track that is there mostly to fill a Touhou compilation slot with their name. Also, real honesty: you don’t need any other Comp arrangement of MoF stage 5 when Mirai exists. Oh, and this song has the intro of Ichimai no Touei for unknown reasons.
Covers & Covers
In this part, I will talk about covers. BUTAOTOME making a cover of that popular song of circle X, and circle X making a cover of BUTAOTOME’s popular songs. For this Comiket, we got BUTAOTOME’s take on Paranoia by Digital Wing and Shinra-Bansho’s rendition of Kakoinaki yo wa Ichigo no Tsukikage. Let’s start with the first one! You know, there is a hidden law that in order to keep the universe balanced, BUTAOTOME must arrange Hartmann’s Youkai Girl at least once a year. This time it’s in the form of a cover of everybody’s favorite DiGiTAL WiNG song, the one you saw at every single Touhou Livebox livestream unless you close the stream after you watched the circles you cared about. Anyway, it’s a great cover! The song fits very well their playful style. I could even say this is one of the better arrangements of Koishi’s theme by the Pig!
Now, it’s time to talk about Shinra-Bansho’s cover of the famous Kaguya song. I have a love and hate relationship with Shinra-Bansho. On one side, kaztora’s arranges are very fresh and creative, and Ayaponzu is a great vocalist when she is not all about being cute (check her utattemita albums!). But on the other side, sometimes I think the circle relies too much on the kawaii-sounding song. Anyway, back to the cover. It’s alright, it doesn’t readapt the song in a creative way like other tracks on the album. I can’t help but thinking this cover is a last-minute addition. Anyway, I appreciate the idea of a collection of covers of other circles’ songs (and it seems it will become a trend, see for example Sekkenya’s upcoming album, with a cover of Kyouen among other things!) and I hope one day BUTAOTOME will consider doing that, with all the Touhou covers we got so far and some new tracks. Though, let’s be honest: I will be more than happy if their version of Bad Apple gets stuck in the countless Bad Apple remix compilations.
It’s a best of with no new stuff, so I can talk about it before its release. Honestly, while I know Autumnal events are never for big stuff, I’m quite disappointed. I was hoping for another selection of tracks from compilations (like Omatome and Riverside Parade), a small re-arrange album (where is my Neko no Anmin 2), or even another best of album that followed a specific theme (best of Ranko, so that Uso to Doukoku and Mirai Yohou can become Butaotome songs!!11). I thought the BUTABEST series was done, especially after the Otogee Best and Yuusei Hakurankai. Also, I have two major issues with this selection. The first is that I think there is a severe lack of Paprika songs, with only two of her tracks from Paradise Lost being here. I would have included more of those since there are quite a few tracks here that don’t really deserve to be in a “best of” selection (Comp’s Shoujo Rengoku 4 tracks in the first place). The second is the sachlich songs. Okay, they are good if you can get past Ane’s vocals and they might give variety, but they feel very jarring in the middle of all the Ranko stuff. Honestly, I would have completely skipped that album, and put some Abyss songs instead (but only if one of them was Yokoshima na Honoo).
There are still some great tracks. Some were quite predictable, but they still deserve their place here: Soldi, Fabulous, Mesen, Inzen, Inishie, Gekkou! I’m also happy for In The Black, a track that I didn’t expect to be selected. Overall, the purpose of this album (like the BUTABEST series in general) is to give a taste of every vocal album released in a specific timespan. But honestly, I might recommend Yuusei Hakurankai or even the third Best album over this one for beginners.
But I forgive everything because there is Sawareru Yume.
WEEEEWH, and that’s all for this review! Thank you for reading all of my ramblings!