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“Air Man ga Taosenai” (Japanese: エアーマンが倒せない; lit. “Can’t Beat Air Man”) is a Japanese doujin rock song that is based around the frustration the player feels during boss battle between Air Man on the Mega Man game, Mega Man 2. The song reached massive popularity on the Japanese net after its release during the summer of 2007, inspiring a series of remixes and musical tributes on Nico Nico Douga (NND).
The first version of the song was created by NND user Seramikarutitan, or Sera for short, and was uploaded to the video sharing site on May 26th, 2007. Originally a guitar composition, the MIDI karaoke-style video featured lyrics describing the player’s inability to defeat Air Man, so he can make it through the Heat Man stage on Mega Man 2, while featuring Mega Man dancing and mouthing the lyrics. The video was well-received with users on the site, helping the song to gain over 395,000 views as of March 2014.
Mega Man 2
Originally released in Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) on December 1988, Mega Man 2, also known as Rockman 2: The Mystery of Dr. Wily was the second installment in the Mega Man series, developed by Capcom. Universally considered to be superior to the first game, the game was both a critical and financial success. The gameplay of the series is based around making your way through a number of Robot Master’s lairs, before taking down Dr. Wily himself at the end in a boss fight.
Almost a week later, the first full vocal-mix of the song would be performed by nyanyannya, vocalist for the doujin group Team Nekokan (Team.ねこかん[猫]), and uploaded it, without permission, to NND on June 7th, 2007. While that version would gain over a million views, the song would later be uploaded officially by the group to NND, and later reprinted to YouTube, on July 1st, 2007. In a collaboration with the groups SoundCYCLONE and Scinicade, the song featured improved musical arrangements and a flash-animated video created by Sera, involving Mega Man finding a way to defeat Air Man, but ends up finding difficulty when battling Wood Man, before giving up and goes back to battle Air Man again.
Team Nekokan’s musical re-arrangement would help the song immediately captivate the attention of Japanese users, with its higher quality, extended lyrics and vocals, and it’s animated video. In just six years, Team Nekokan’s video would generate over 4.6 million views on NND and over 11 million views on YouTube. Soon after, users on NND began trying their hand in creating their own musical rendition and visual tributes to the song. Additionally, users also began creating parodies of the song known as the “’Can’t Beat X’ series” (倒せないシリーズ), which was initially kick-started by a parody based on Japanese weather reporter Yoshizumi Ishihara, created by NND singer known as J and uploaded it to the site on June 19th, 2007, where it would gain over 1.6 million views as of March 2014.
The well-known status of the song has since been cemented on Nico Nico Douga, with its multiple inclusions in Nico Nico Douga medleys, alongside another Mega Man-inspired song, “Okkusenman”, when the medleys were first being created during 2007. The song has also been included in compilation album titled “Nico Nico Douga Selection: CD de Kiite Mite.” (“Try to Listen to the CD.”), which featured songs that also became popular within the site.
Led by the huge online popularity of the song, Sera and Team Nekokan decided to form a unit called Tetsu x Neko (てつ×ねこ) and distributed the song, along with an acoustic remix, in a CD (shown below, left) at the 72nd Comiket convention during the August that same year. Ringtones of this song were released during October, where it would later rank 15th place in Japanese ringtones charts in the first half of 2008. An official English version (shown below, right) would also be created by the group and released on December 23rd, 2007. The song has been distributed by major Japanese karaoke services since late 2007, and has been included in compilation music albums of popular songs in NND several times. Moreover, the song was featured as bonus tracks, along with “No Sleep Until Clear” and “Is He Really In The Mood To Cooperate?”, in Capcom’s official compilation album for Mega Man titled “Rockman Kai: Arrange Shitemita!!” and was released on October 20th, 2010. The release was a rare case for an official video game franchise to approve doujin fan works in those days.
On the other hand, thanks to the popularity of their doujin works, Team Nekokan succeeded in getting a contract with an indie record label under the umbrella of major music company King Records in 2009, before moving up to a major label the following year, where they have since been building their careers as professional musicians and producers.
Many instrumental covers, parodies, and remixes has since been created after its release, with more then 3,000 videos relating to the song can be found on the Nico Nico Douga.
Left: Guitar Cover | Right: Ruler Cover
Left: Piano Cover | Right: OS Sound Effect Remix
Left: Eroge Parody [NSFW!!] | Right: 3D Animation MV
Search results for the English translated version of the title receives little to no results, while the most noticeable searches being for the original Japanese title, with it spiking in interest after its release during the July of 2007.
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