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True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 3 :: Review by Chris

True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 3 Album Title: True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 3
Record Label: Wonder Entertainment
Catalog No.: WDCD-24127
Release Date: September 23, 1998
Purchase: Buy at eBay


When four vocal albums are dedicated to a single game, one has to ask when "enough is enough". When has an album's sheer existence become unnecessary, superfluous, or just a commercial cash-in. In True Love Story's case, the third vocal collection seems to fit the bill. With only 29 minutes of playtime, mini-drama tracks included, all the content of this album could have been snugly incorporated elsewhere instead of on a third 2500 yen (25 US dollar) release. Even then, the new songs don't have much to offer that hasn't featured earlier in the vocal collection series. It seems this album might only be worthwhile when compiled in the True Love Story Special Sound Box.


Dedicated to the character Misaki, the vocal collection opens with a solo performance by her seiyuu, Chinami Nishimura. "Good Morning!" is a relatively bright composition despite its slow tempo and mild melody. This is in large part due to the natural youthful enthusiasm of Nishimura's voice, although it occasionally verges on being grating compared to other seiyuus for the game. By the cheap electric guitar solo, however, it's all too clear that the composers are running out of ideas by now. That said, "Lunchtime Lover" is surprisingly fresh with its harmonica introduction and syncopated bass line. However, Nishimura's voice doesn't complement the instrumentals as well as other seiyuus did for their themes on earlier volumes.

As with the second vocal collection, there are a few duets included in the production. "Playing Catch With Love" is a light-hearted collaboration between Misaki and Midori against a few punchy jazz and funk phrases. "Show Your Best" is a duet with Ikumi featuring somewhat more boisterous jazz parts and a little more instrumental focus. Both themes have their catchy moments and are well-produced, but still seem rather narrow-minded in their construction. I found "History to Dreams" to be even more bland, though this might be because of the effect of the surplus vocal themes rather than any major deficiencies in the composition itself.

Between each of the vocal performances is a short monologue from Misaki related to the story of the game. Again, these monologues help to bridge game and album experience, though won't be appealing to non-Japanese speakers. The album ends with "Good Night!", a slow soothing tune with bossa-nova vibes. Though a solo performance, Nishimura's voice integrates a little more smoothly this time and the repeating harmonic features add to the lullaby quality. Though mediocre in composition, it is effective nonetheless.


While True Love Story Vocal Collection Vol. 3 isn't fundamentally a bad album, it is a pointless one. The musical ideas offered have mostly been explored in earlier collections to the series and Misaki's vocalist doesn't always seem compatible with the instrumentals. Perhaps the most damning testament to the absence of original content is the length, which is 29 minutes overall (25 minutes when the drama performances are discounted). This equates to a dollar per minute playtime. It's pretty clear this album was made as a reliable cash-in rather than to add anything further to the True Love Story franchise. Despite the disproportionate pricetaf, the obsessive collectors out there probably made the marketing technique worthwhile...

Overall Score: 4/10