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True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... Original Soundtrack Album Title: True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00284
Release Date: August 6, 2003
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... is the fourth and last title in the main line of True Love Story games. Whereas previous titles in the series were set in a one year story, the story was this time set in the summer holidays. Returning composer Noriyuki Iwadare therefore decided to keep the cheerful and sentimental sound of the series while integrating some fresh summer sounds. Overall, the production values of this soundtrack are quite a bit higher. The tracks are more convincingly synthesized than before, so gone are the tacky timbres of past True Love Story soundtracks in favour of balanced soundscapes and the occasional star instrumental performance. Furthermore, it appears Iwadare spent a bit more time refining and elaborating on each piece in this set, yielding quite impressive results. Though a stand-alone soundtrack, this was also compiled with the other soundtracks and vocal albums for the series into the True Love Story Special Song Box.


The main theme for the game opens the soundtrack on a strong note. The combination of soft piano chords and cantabile violins are certainly not innovative musically, but they are just right for representing the title. Perhaps what makes this theme stand out from predecessors is that it is impeccably implemented, featuring a particularly passionate violin performance. "Main Menu" continues the tradition of featuring Iwadare's light jazz style with its punchy syncopated phrases. Once again, though, the production values prove higher than predecessors since the highlight of the composition are some fantastic accordion passages. Subsequent themes reinforce the summer mood, such as "My Room ~ Morning" with its calypso rhythms and "School Life ~ Summer" with its panflute melody, though things are kept subtle enough to keep the True Love Story feel alive. Probably the most seasonal themes are those dedicated to a few of the episode themes later in the soundtrack, especially "Episode 2" with its tropical drums and "Episode 6" with its intense samba influences.

Once again, the character themes dominate the True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... Original Soundtrack. Hina Kusunose's theme seems to be a pleasant combination of the styles that made many past True Love Story themes so endearing — featuring sections dedicated to happy-go-lucky jazz melodies and contrasting sections with mild reflective melodies. Unlike some past soundtracks, there is a pleasant variety in the subsequent character themes. While keeping the characteristic True Love Story sound alive, Yako Mukai's theme offers some novelty with its boogie rhythms and Nayu Kimaya's theme provides a fascinating blend of saxophone, electric guitar, and thunderous timpani. There are also a few more classically-oriented character themes; Yuiko Shinosaka is given a gliding flavour with wind melodies dominated by repeated staccato notes, whereas Hitomi Arimori is portrayed with rich violin melodies and a slight waltz tact. A few of the themes are a little less memorable, such as for Ruri and Satomi Kiriya, but are still thoughtful compositions that suffice in context.

Most of the remaining themes on the soundtrack are used during specific events. The episode themes provide a few of the most emotional moments of the soundtrack, particularly "Episode 4" with its hopeful violin and trumpet interplay or "Episode 5" with its distressing clarinet melodies. The three date themes feel quite a bit like muzak, but still suffice in context with their distinctive blends of tropical, jazz, and pop influences. After the summer has been wrapped-up by the accordion-based "School Life ~ The End of the Summer", "Confession" provides a more personal reprise of the main theme led by acoustic guitar. Naturally, things end on a positive note with an epilogue theme blending reflective woodwind melodies with light pop beats. Arguably Iwadare's magnum opus on the soundtrack, however, is the subsequent ending theme. The composer gradually layers different forces, such as piano, strings, woodwinds, and bells before building up to a raw volin interpretation of the melody from the 1:30 mark. There are plenty of emotions and intricacies during the five minute playtime so this theme is a must for fans of Iwadare's love soundtracks. Exclusive to the stand-alone version, there is also a pleasant acoustic version of the vocal theme "Sweet Connection".


The soundtrack to True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... is probably the pinnacle of the series. Iwadare still keeps the series' upbeat and sentimental style alive while introducing new summer flavours to rejuvenate the franchise. However, what is more impressive about this soundtrack is how nearly all the compositions are elaborate and refined in their composition and synthesis after the often functional soundtracks of past games. The main theme is rich and expressive, the character themes are all distinctive and bubbly, and even the event themes are evocative and seasonal. It is still quite a stereotypical love soundtrack, so won't appeal to everyone, but it is one of the best in its genre nonetheless. Alongside True Fortune, this one is a must-have for fans of Iwadare's upbeat or sentimental works.

Overall Score: 7/10