The 'Shroom:Issue 146/Palette Swap
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Welcome to the fabulous month of May!
We are finally seeing some warmer temperatures where I live, and it seems they'll be here to stay for a while, hopefully. Right now, I'm excited for all of the great movies out there: Missing Link, Detective Pikachu, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, there's just so much good stuff to see in May! Must be why they call it Blockbuster month. I'm getting hyped up for E3, too. Here's hoping Nintendo doesn't spend 25 minutes talking about Fire Emblem like they've been known to do.
Palette Swap has openings for writers of all kinds! Want to write about art? Music? Both? You can definitely find a home here! To get the application process started, please PM our Stats manager, Ludwig Von, a completed application for the section you'd like to write. The 'Shroom staff can give you some helpful writing tips and editing help if you need it, and you can set your own schedule for writing, so why not give it a try?
Here's to all the great sections we have this month! ~FunkyK38
Section of the Month
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
It's been a while since we've featured a boxart here from a mainline Mario series game, but for this month we're carrying on ignoring those games as I have decided to look at Nintendo Land one of the launch titles for the Wii U. I remember having hours enjoying some of the games here like Mario Chase, the Donkey Kong one and Luigi's Ghost Mansion.
And most of the game that I enjoyed playing seem to have made it onto the boxart. In fact, it looks like the developers guessed how popular Mario Chase would be as not only are there little Mii characters running around, but it's on both the GamePad and the TV. Luigi's Ghost Mansion is also visible on the boxart, as are The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, Takamaru's Ninja Castle, the Metroid Blast and Pikmin Adventure. Look, even Monita makes an appearance.
Usually, I complain in this section that a boxart doesn't have enough content, and while I'm not about to accuse this one of having too much, I do have to question the necessity of Takamaru appearing on the cover. The game is fun enough, but it's hardly a star attraction, surely the F-Zero attraction or even the Balloon Flight one might've been more worthy of an appearance on the cover.
I like the boxart for Nintendo Land. It beautifully shows off the various amount of game modes within, and even features cute little details like the Pikmin being mostly separate from Olimar, and sitting on the Wii U console with the Samus character, while Olimar and a separate Pikmin run across the title. Perhaps featuring Mario Chase three times on the boxart is a little bit of overkill, but given the mode's popularity, it's easy to see why, but overall a great boxart, there should be more like this.
Ongoing Fan Projects
Touhou (Remix) Project
Hello, 'Shroom readers! Welcome to the latest edition of Touhou (Remix) Project, that section where I tell you all about all the Touhou remixes of a particular song! And this month, the theme tune to catch my ear was one of the most well-known, both inside and outside the fandom - U.N. Owen Was Her? The theme song of the vampire Flandre Scarlet, kept in a basement to protect herself and others from her destructive tendencies. It's also a reference to Agatha Christie's book And Then There Were None, where the killer uses U.N. Owen as a pseudonym to disguise their identity. This tune dates all the way back to Touhou 6's release in 2002, and age plus popularity plus certain internet memes help carry this tune to being one of the most significant Touhou songs out there!
To start with, I absolutely have to mention Last Brutal Sister Flandre S by COOL&CREATE. Not only is it one of the oldest U.N. Owen remixes, it's also one of the most iconic - I wouldn't be surprised if some people thought of this before the original song! What brought it to people's minds was McRoll'd, an 11-year-old meme video matching Ronald McDonald's various voice clips to both the original U.N. Owen and the COOL&CREATE remix. That video set off a chain reaction of remixes, plenty of people doing their own covers of both the first part, all of it together, or just the second part. Seriously, just look up "U.N. Owen was her ytpmv" and enjoy the tidal wave you'll get.
But, setting that aside, how about remixes that haven't achieved legendary meme status? Well, that's where my preference for vocals comes in. Space Rainbow by KRASTER is the first one on my list, and it's an interesting thing about Kraster - some of their albums are very solidly "cheerful pop", but others are hard rock. There doesn't seem to be a particular divide between the two, it's just whatever they feel like doing for that album. Space Rainbow itself solidly falls into the first - listen to it on a bad day and hopefully it'll help your mood! ELECTRO RAiNBOW by Chipion, meanwhile, is a highly tech-focused song. Not so much techno, but there's a lot of audible synthesizer, some chiptune-ish sound in the background, and I'm pretty sure that voice is auto-tuned. It creates an interesting effect of modern music, in my view. In the same techno connection is SCARLET DISCO by OTAKU-ELITE Recordings, which definitely gives off that techno beat impression the entire time. The voice itself also... kind of sounds synthetic, too? But I can't be sure, could be natural. So I'm not going to make a judgment call there. It's still quite catchy, though. To finish off this batch of related vocals, we've got 明日へ向かって by White Elephant, which starts off with a very beep-boop beginning, but abandons that quickly for, well... a pretty regular vocal track. I honestly don't have that much to say about this one. It's nice, though. I like it!
From a more... ominous perspective, we've got Sweet Little Sister. It's hard to put it into words, but the vocals (combined with the visuals) give a feeling of impending concern. Maybe that's just because any time Red Riding Hood comes up it's got an ominous effect. Still really catchy though! It's not the only song that gives that sort of feeling to it, as I also get it from Who Killed U.N. Owen? by Liz Triangle - well, it's a remix of a remix, originally by 暁Records. But I prefer the Liz Triangle take on things, so that's the one you're getting for this section! Sure, it doesn't sound that ominous, not as much as Sweet Little Sister, but the lyrics... hoo boy! Some people don't pull their punches with Flandre remixes. A similar type of force can be found in 海に咲くすずらん by Crazy Berry, which gives a sensation of barely restrained madness during the main verses... and then gives a taste of what happens when that comes out during some of the chorus. The frantic pace doesn't help at all! Finally, there's 緋色月下、狂咲ノ絶 -1st Anniversary Remix- by EastNewSound. While the video in question no longer has annotations (thanks Youtube) with the lyrics, it's a song about two equally deadly but contrasting personalities, and even without the words you can feel the danger and insanity shining through. A song not for the faint of heart, perhaps?
Of course, not everyone feels you have to go that way with a U.N. Owen remix! For example, there's Tightly with Flan! by IOSYS. An entirely cheerful bubbly song throughout the entire thing, it's perfect for a good jolt of positive energy. Though the 5 seconds of rap feel kind of random, really... Another great example of a song that just feels upbeat is 〇✕△□ by Shinra-Bansho - and no, I don't know why it's named after the Playstation buttons. It's a wild contrast compared to the song by Liz Triangle, especially considering that it was arranged by the same person! Different vocalists, though. Still, it's always amazing to see the wide range that various artists can hit when they're crafting their works. Kaztora and Shinra-Bansho strike again with Mischievous Sensation, a blending of U.N. Owen with Remilia Scarlet's theme. Surprisingly, these two themes, despite being highly different in their original takes, mix well - it helps that there's clearly vocals for Remilia and Flandre. I don't know what they're singing about, but both of them seem clearly excited about it! Hopefully, it's a good thing. You never know with these.
Next up, the vocal remixes that I don't really know how to classify relative to the others! First off, there's 紅の月影 ～Fran Doe～ by Yellow Zebra. What always stands out to me about this is how low-key the song feels at first, focusing almost entirely on vocal with only a slight bit of instrumental. Then the chorus hits, and you realize the band's just been lying in wait the whole time. It really helps set the chorus and main verses apart in a unique way that you don't hear that often. Meanwhile, U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか？ by KISHIDA KYOUDAN & THE AKEBOSHI ROCKETS (good name for a rock band - oh wait), just feels like a regular rock remix. But sometimes, that's all you want, you know? Nothing super special, just taking a good Touhou base and giving it a rock twist without anything more. The song holds up well with that alone, enough for me to link it here, so they've done something right! And to finish off the vocals for this particular song, 蒼月の懺悔詩～Universal Nemesis by Yonder Voice gives a similar low-key feel, minimizing the vocal presence for a lot of the song. I mean, the vocals are constant, but oftentimes the music backing them actually feels stronger than they do. It gives a unique effect that really sells the song, and when the vocals take center stage, it's with an impressive result!
Finally, we can't leave this off without remembering to cover a few instrumentals! Only a few though, I've always felt U.N. Owen Was Her lends itself better to vocals. But there's still a few good ones, such as Vampire Girl by Minazuki. An independent remixer at that, as opposed to someone working in a group. The song just gives you the feeling of a dangerous boss battle, with the occasional stutter and jitter thrown in at the right time to sell it properly. In a completely different genre, we've got handz up sister 2012, an intense technobop. It's even got some words mixed in! But... still very clearly not a vocal. (I have no idea if it's "happy ice cream" or "happy i scream" or something else. Still catchy, though). And to finish off this sharing of U.N. Owen links, I've got one more that's ALSO in a wildly different camp, that being 紅魔館で踊りましょう by Floating Cloud. They manage to take U.N. Owen and turn it into probably the biggest departure from the source material, by creating a traditional Irish jig out of it. Surprisingly, it actually works really - you can easily imagine dancing to it, and it makes for a great effect! One of my personal favorites. That's all for this month - I'll see you in two months for Even More Touhou Music!