Original Music in DDR Part Two: Junko Karashima and Yuichi Asami

Today, I’ll be looking at both Junko Karashima (jun) and Yuichi Asami (U1) together in one part as while they created some of DDR’s music, it is not as much as Naoki Maeda, and these two use very few aliases. Let’s look at jun first.

jun is one of the few other music artist people know about in DDR. jun is known for her mostly happy and uplifting songs  and being the vocalist for TËЯRA with Naoki. There are few things that people notice about jun’s music is that most of her songs are Happy Hardcore that tend to be boss songs but she did dabbled in other genres occasionally like Dance-Pop in “dreaming can make a wish come true”, R&B in “No Matter What”, Eurobeat like in “SUPER SAMURAI” (one of the very few songs from jun with a male rapper) and even did a remix of PARANOiA called “PARANOiA Hades” which is surprisingly dark and evil sounding. (PARANOiA Hades and No Matter What were done around when jun was depressed which is why they sounded more darker than her usual fare.) Another thing is that occasionally her songs have both an English and Japanese version and usually jun sings the Japanese version while there is another vocalist for the English version. When a jun song has both English and Japanese versions, one or the another is chosen at random in DDR but there’s a few easter eggs to access the Japanese version.  jun has also worked on other games like QUIZ MAGIC ACADEMY and recently has left Konami to work on CROSSxBEATS where she contributed the song “DAZZLING SEASON”. Personally, jun’s music is catchy and I do like some songs from her like “PARANOiA Hades”, “UNBELIEVABLE (Sparky remix)” and some songs as TËЯRA  but I don’t like her as much Naoki because with few exceptions, most of her music is kind of the same and lacks variety.

U1 is at least for a while was one of the other artists contributing for DDR’s music for a while but unlike Naoki and jun, is still working for Konami and has even branched out to other games like jubeat, and beatmania IIDX and is now a sound director for FutureTomTom. He has also worked on games like NBA POWER DUNKERS and RUMBLE ROSES. U1 first initially created songs for the home releases for DDR but has branched out to arcade versions of DDR nowadays. U1’s music has traditionally been diverse whether it is Eurobeat like”Midnite Blaze”, Rap-Rock like “IN THE ZONE”, or Hardcore Techno like “Go for the Top” and although some of the music are on the more generic side, he did create more unique songs like “MAKE A JAM” a Dance-Pop songs with Reggae toasting, and “Cutie Chaser” which is a song that combines dance music with the waltz 3/4 time signature. Although nowadays I think he kind of stuck in a rut creating songs like Dopamine which is him basically ripping off Sota Fujimori semi-occasional trend of Hardcore Techno songs with cliched Dubstep breakdowns. While U1 uses aliases like Naoki, most are only for one unique song but he does a few more notable aliases though.

U1 (and any variations) – Used as main alias with different genres , not much to say beyond that.

2MB/2.1MB underground – If there ‘s anything U1 is famous for it is creating hard dark sounding remixes in Hardcore Techno of various songs in DDR which tend to be more harder than the original songs. Usually U1 will remix a Naoki Maeda song (he did make a remix of London EVOLVED by TAG underground as 2.1MB underground) and will not remix the same song/series more than once. This is one the best alias as U1 usually is great at putting a darker twist of the different songs he remixes. U1 has also created “Illegal Function Call” for beatmania IIDX 20 tricoro which is a Hardcore Techno song that is not a remix of anything but is similar to his 2MB works. He is also known for his remix of MAX called MAX.(period) which is a song that only appeared in DDR Extreme CS considered to be the last DDR at the time.

U1 overground – Used for Hardcore Techno songs that are somewhat similar to his 2MB works but are usually more uplifting. Song like “Go for the Top” are decent but I’m not a personal fan of more recent songs like Dopamine which sounded too much like Sota Fujimori (even down to Dubstep breakdowns)

Next time, I’ll look at TAG, one of the only other prominent in-house artist for DDR. (Since Supernova 2, more BEMANI artist are starting to work on DDR like dj TAKA, Ryu, L.E.D but there are more known for their music in other BEMANI games like IIDX)

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