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True Love Story 2 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

True Love Story 2 Original Soundtrack Album Title: True Love Story 2 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10075
Release Date: March 3, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay


True Love Story 2 elaborated on the formula that made True Love Story so successful with a niche sector. Iwadare was asked to return to its soundtrack, though this time alone. He maintained the distinctive blend of light-hearted and sentimental tunes that characterised its predecessor. However, he also tried to create a seamless accompaniment to the gameplay with some more event themes and additional pieces. This bulked up the soundtrack release to a two disc set for the only time in the series. Despite the increase in quantity, how does the quality compare?


The main theme for True Love Story 2 provides a bittersweet reflection on the main character as he is about to encounter romance for the first time. It is an elegant and thoughtful composition, showcasing Iwadare's flair for using piano and strings. Once again, the main theme is also intimately adapted for the "Confession". True Love Story's main theme also receives a straightforward but welcome reprise in the "Prologue". There are nevertheless plenty of pieces to set the happy mood of the game. The three semester themes are all incredibly bright themes with pop and jazz vibes to accompany strolling around school. "School Festival" and "Tanabata Festival", on the other hand, both blend big band jazz with potent percussion parts to get just the right flavour. Other favourites include "Ball Game Tournament", which seems to be very inspired by circus music, and "After School Conversation" with its lyrical woodwinds and pizzicato strings. Iwadare has clearly upped his game for True Love Story 2 and regularly delights.

Akane Morishita's theme starts the character theme selections on a positive note. It manages to be both catchy and representative, blending a compelling chime-based introduction, a gliding primary melody, and modest yet intricate secondary melodies. Most of the other character themes keep their melodic potency while offering quite a lot of versatility to the soundtrack; from the calming flute-based interpretation of Kasumi Nanase to a happy-go-lucky saxophone-led characterisation of Aoi Hatano to an exotic panflute-based theme for Momoko Ando, they all appeal on their own and probably fit well in context. Once again, the upbeat jazzy approach is Iwadare's preferred and ever-efficient style, also appearing in the themes for Takeshi Kijimoto, Yuji Takabayashi, and Yoko Okano, though the themes have enough melodic potency to be worth listening to individually. Within the stand-alone soundtrack, most character themes are also preceded by a monologue from the character concerned, though non-Japanese speakers might find them disruptive.

The six episode themes portray different moods during the game quite effectively. Whether the mild chime-based wanderings of "Memories", the lyrical jazzy musings of "Smile" to the elegaic piano use in "Sadness", Iwadare is always able to portray circumstances in a stereotypical but endearing way. There are even some silly themes to represent a haunted house and playing sports. There are also four date themes, which are also peppy jazz pieces with slightly differing tempos. The offerings of two different endings for the game offered some good musical opportunities. While the bad ending features a nostalgic instrumental ballad, the good ending is rocked-up and elating. The album actually ends with two externally composed vocal tracks sung by female vocalist Shiho Kikuchi. There is a shortened version of the relaxing pop song "On the Usual Road, Today and Tomorrow", though a full version appears in the True Love Story Special Song Box. More significantly, there is a full-length version of the "Skirt Pocket", a ballad featuring pretty vocal lines and relaxing instrumentation.


Sandwiched between the somewhat samey True Love Story and largely uninspired True Love Story 3, it is clear that the True Love Story 2 Original Soundtrack is a highlight work of the series. There is a pleasant variety of tracks, mostly strong depictions of characters and mood, a number of memorable melodies, and even a few vocal bonuses. It doesn't quite parallel True Fortune and True Love Story Summer Days, and yet... in terms of development and refinement. However, it still stands up in context and as a stand-alone purchase comfortably. Those looking to explore Iwadare's sentimental and upbeat works further won't go wrong by investing in this soundtrack.

Overall Score: 7/10