I have to admit, I'm a bit of a Konami fan girl. I love DDR, I love Dance Maniax, and all the rest. So when I ventured into a new arcade one day and saw Para Para Paradise, I just had to try it. For those of you who've never seen it, there's a consol with a screen on it, a ring on the ground, and a ring above you with sensors. The object of the game is to move your hands, and legs through the appropriate sensor when the screen prompts you to. Luckily, most machines unless they're imported, explain how to play the game before you get started., even luckier, the machine I chose to try out did. I soon discovered that this was not as easy as it seemed. Well, alright, it's easy to just run your hands under the sensors, but hard not to look like a complete dork doing it. So I try a song and laugh at myself and turn around to tell my friends how lame I was, only to discover about 20 kids behind me, dancing perfectly to the song. I dubbed them the Para Para Ninjas, as they would appear from the second you put a quarter in the machine and then vanish into thin air after you're done, staying just long enough to make you look entirely lame for not knowing the dance moves. Needless to say, I went home feeling like a loser. If only there was some way to learn the moves and go back and show those kids I had skills too. Several years later my prayers were answered and the DVD Para ParaMax US Mix: The Moves 101 hit the shelves.
I plugged in the DVD having very little idea of what to expect, except for some kind of instruction. The main menu consisted of the different songs I could select to play. So I decided to clear out my living room and give it a go. I'd like to state now that I have no rhythm, even though I do play DDR, so when the instructor started flying through the dance moves I was left standing there with my hands flailing about feeling silly. Luckily I soon discovered that I could set the instructional video to loop, and about ten to fifteen times through I was finally getting most of it. I also decided it was best to select the video under the mirrored option, this is where the instructor is your missored image while he teaches, so I didn't learn things backwards. We can pretend I figured this out right away, rather then after getting all the moves and THEN realizing I was doing it backwards.
So about half an hour in, I'm feeling pretty good and decide to play the performance video and try to do the routine along with the three girls who dance it on the DVD. Well I wasn't as awful as I had been in the arcade, but I wasn't anywhere near as good as they were! I even choose the option to loop the performance video and tried it a few times. I was definitely improving, but my lack of real patience got the better of me and I moved on to the next songs, which got easier the more I did things. A lot of the moves turned out to be repeated throughout different songs, making it easy to get in the groove of things.
I had about an hour of dancing in me, when my lazy anime watching, videogame playing body decided it was done. Which of course meant it was time to check out the DVD extras. There I found two additional "advanced routines" which I watched while eating a bag of chips. And then I discovered four music videos by Yoko Ishida, a musician who does songs for Para Para. They were perfect to just sit back and enjoy after a good dance lesson and just cool down.
Overall I enjoyed and made a total fool of myself in my living room instead of the arcade. I think I might even go down to the arcade soon and see how effective it all really was. I will not however, be going clubbing and showing off my moves. I recommend this for people who want to play Para Para and look decent, not for someone trying to get their groove on.
The instructions could have been a bit slower, I mean I am a rhythemless white girl, but overall it was well done.
Being artsy with an instructional video probably wasn't the best of ideas, but they did keep it to a minimum. Over all the sound was excellent and the video good. The extras were also superb.
Step by step Instructions to: A Cruel Angels Thesis, Let Me Be With You, Brilliant Road to Tomorrow, Fly Me To The Moon
Advanced Dance Routines: Mystic Eyes, Century Color
Yoko Ishida Music Videos: Eternal Flower, Open Your Mind, Passionate Goddess, Proof of Life