Juushin – pre-release commentary

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New BUTAOTOME album, new pre-release commentary!

Album page

Juushin. Beast god. To start off, I wanna tell you that this title can be accurately translated into Italian as “dio bestia”. :a_wild_cannarsi_appeared: If it wasn’t for the fact that I dislike profanities, I would eternally refer to the album with this name.

This album is centered on greed, and “the obsession of the powerful ones who rule the place”. The original themes’ selection features characters that not only have connections to this sin, but also economics, money, and such. I love how BUTAOTOME’s albums often have a simple concept/motif that links together what would otherwise be a seemingly random selection of original themes. This is also a nice way to focus on some of the newly introduced characters from the latest Touhou games (17.5 + 18).

Now… I’m not a huge fan of Unconnected Marketeers, barely any track stood out to me and I didn’t particularly care for most of the characters. The arrangement scene is also pretty poor so far, and there’s almost no arrangement I love (except for ZYTOKINE’s HUNDRED DUOVIGINTILLION ARROWS, that song is boppin’). When thinking of Buta’s future, I was way more interested in hearing their inevitable take on Memory of Fossil Energy over anything from Kouryuudou. But now that we have an album with a nice concept and great tracks, I must admit I’ve warmed up, and I really like Misumaru in particular (plus Mike, but she is a cat, and as a wise man said, “cats rule the world”).

Also, I was expecting Yuuma (I admit I’m still not used to calling her by her first name, my mind always refers to her as “Toutetsu”) to officially enter the World of BUTAOTOME in summer, alongside a new Shoujo Rengoku. But I guess they couldn’t wait, so here she is! There hasn’t been a lot of new stuff in Touhou, I wonder what the Pig will plan for summer… more UM? Focus on the more neglected ZUN works? Seihou album because #MuseDeservesHerButaSong? (shout out to Hatsunetsumiko’s, btw)

The cover art is amazing, I love Yuuma’s pose and the general aesthetic and color choices. I wonder if the album title on the sides has a particular meaning with its radicals being separated and read from top to bottom, or if it’s just a purely aesthetic choice. Probably the latter (兽 is Chinese, while 礻 is a radical and never used as the second part of a word).

In a supporter-only FANBOX post, Ane showcased a few sketches she did in the past month, including a Mike she posted on Twitter. She didn’t mention that they were for the Reitaisai release at all, but I assumed so. And while we haven’t seen them in the art revealed so far*, they matched with the original theme selection, so I was right! They are probably in the booklet, I’m looking forward to seeing the colored version of Mike and Shou!

*turns out that the linearts/sketches of Aya, Hatate, Shou, and Mike are featured in the background of the official website. I hope we’ll have a better view of them in the booklet and that they are colored…

Music-wise… This sounds like it’s gonna be a very standard album. I wish it was more varied, but I still really enjoy it. Lyrics-wise, Ranko wrote 4 tracks, Comp wrote the other half of the album (and we learn this through non-BOOTH shops such as Melonbooks). Let’s dive into them, with a focus on what each character represents in the concept. I won’t talk about the lyrics because the XSD (sic) video doesn’t include JP subtitles.

Neko ga Kitarite (猫が来たりて, the cat presented itself), KUROSAKI (黒咲, blooming in black), and Monosashi (モノサシ, measure) are the three Unconnected Marketeers arrangements of this work, representing Mike (a maneki-neko, symbol of economic fortune), Misumaru (an observer of greed, following her official profile from UM), and Chimata (the goddess of marketplaces). These songs all sound sooooo good. In particular, KUROSAKI sounds weird, but lovely in the verses, and Monosashi has amazing energy, gotta love the trend of final boss themes getting very upbeat and high BPM arrangements! The Misumaru song is also the only one where I was able to transcribe by ear the entire sample, so here is a crappy translation:

What is beautiful becomes impure
What is corrupted is still corrupted
They scream that they don’t want to live in such a world
Their voices will fray and disappear in time

The darkness that swallows the shadows, it blooms deep and black
These rusty chains hold sorrow and grief

Next, we have two Bunkachou tracks, Street Journal (ストリート・ジャーナル) and Shinjitsu no Mitsu (真実の蜜, nectar of truth). I’m not well-versed in tengu lore to know why Aya and Hatate are here, but perhaps it’s more about their journalist side – corrupt journalism is often driven by money… Back to the songs, the former is a nice intro track, I love the pico pico sounds at the end of the sample, while the latter sounds like it’s gonna be a worsened version of Ichimai no Touei from Shoujo Rengoku 4 (hey, it even says ichimai in the sample).

Honjitsu no Makugire ni (本日の幕切れに, at the end of today’s act) is, surprise surprise, a brand-new Egoistic Flower arrangement! I also didn’t expect it to be a ballad! The Yorigami sisters’ key concept is the Japanese bubble era, as well as the desire for money (and wasting them), so they fit here. Ranko wrote the lyrics, so I’m fairly sure it will be a Joon song. And since I’m also a big fan of the pestolence pestilence goddess, this is the track I’m looking forward to the most.

Tora no Kase (虎ノ枷, tiger’s shackles) reminds me that Setsuna Anthology will be stuck in Cannonball limbo forever, and now I’m sad. Anyway, Bishamonten is a god of wealth (among other things), and Shou has the ability to gather treasures. I like the tiger youkai, she often gets interesting songs (we don’t talk about the one from a certain pairing album), and this sounds like it’s gonna get some desperate lyrics… I hear stuff like “alone” and “tears” (well, Denkousekka from Kemonomichi wasn’t happy either).

To end, we have Kawaita Nodo (乾いた喉, dry throat)… Yuuma, the star of this album, is extremely greedy. This also applies to her mythological counterpart, the Tao-tie – heck, the word “toutetsu” has a dictionary entry for “someone who is extremely greedy”.

Overall, I’m excited as usual about this album, and I will preorder it soon along with my other purchases from Reitaisai and M3 Spring. And once I’ll get a copy, I’ll be publishing lyrics and translations and working on a full review! Oh, and of course, I’ll keep an eye on Twitter to see what the Buta members have to say about their new work…

Now, what about you? Feel free to comment down below!