A few years ago, I was talking to someone at a party who mentioned she’d taken up taiko, traditional Japanese drumming. She said that though she liked the musical and cultural aspects, what really had gotten her hooked was what great exercise it is. Playing the traditional instruments means striking their heads with an impressive amount of force, and when you add in the dynamic, dance-like nature of taiko performances, playing a few pieces seems like it should be at least as much of a workout as an aerobics session.
Of course, a lot of that physical aspect gets lost in the transition to taiko-themed video game Taiko no Tatsujin, right? Well, that may be the case for most gamers, but it’s definitely not for the guy in this video, as he dances, poses, and mugs for the camera like mad on his way to a high score.
Expat and aspiring game creator James McVinnie was recently hanging out in a Tokyo arcade. But while he and his friends were trying to find out which one of them is the fastest Mario Kart driver, McVinnie found his attention being pulled from the virtual circuit to the real-life performance going on next to him.
If you’re a true stickler for perfection, and can make it through the entire video without blinking, you might count about 10 notes the man misses. On the other hand, he nails hundreds of beats perfectly, and while headbanging and spinning in time with the music.
▼ Please forgive the blurry nature of the images, but as you can tell, he doesn’t spend much time standing still.
The dude is so in the zone that he doesn’t even need to look at the screen, and spends a section of the piece dancing away from the machine and taking in the view of the rest of the arcade.
▼ The two women in the background are missing quite a show.
At the tail end of the song, he drops one of his sticks and misses a few beats as he reaches down to pick it up. The fact that he doesn’t always have a set of spares within arm’s reach seems to be the only difference between a professional taiko player and this extremely avid gamer, though, and we can’t help but hope Studio Ghibli makes an animated version of him if the production house ever does another promotion for Taiko no Tatsujin.