Little Busters! Original Soundtrack

Little Busters! Original Soundtrack Album Title:
Little Busters! Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Key Sounds Label
Catalog No.:
KSLA-0033/5
Release Date:
August 17, 2007
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Released by Key in mid-2007, Little Busters! marked the departure of many central members of the studio’s development staff, as well as the introduction of many others. The game’s original soundtrack went through similar changes from past works. While Jun Maeda once again contributed a good deal to the soundtrack, Magome Togoshi and Shinji Orito play a greatly reduced role, and the majority of the composition is left to the hands of a handful of newcomers to Key’s scores: PMMK and Manack, with all of the vocals handled by Rita. Can the new generation of visual novel composers, in conjunction with the old, successfully build on the successes of Air and Clannad?

Body

Jun Maeda composes the game’s opening theme, “Little Busters!,” of which several variations are present. The piece is wonderfully peppy, even though it may not break any new ground; the melody and accompaniment, especially the light touches on the piano, are thoroughly enjoyable. “RING RING RING!,” the theme of the title’s main heroine, is hauntingly evocative. The motif introduced in the pieces beginning is almost dizzying, and complements the theme itself quite nicely as it builds to a satisfying crescendo. Introduced with a short guitar segment, “BOYS DON’T CRY” is a rather enchanting piece, feigning simplicity yet involving the listener with its every note. “Waking Up in the Morning” rather brilliantly puts to music the simple act described in its title, slowly and gradually building from a murmur as if to accompany the opening of one’s eyelids. “Lamplight” is an absolutely wonderful, ethereal piece, featuring an exquisite melody and intelligent orchestration.

Shinji Orito composed only a few pieces on the album, though they are mostly unique from one another. “Gather the Light” is a soft piano piece with synth accompaniment that manages to sound sad yet hopeful, avoiding being overly sappy. “When Will Realization Come” evokes similar emotions with a equally interesting if shorter and more simplistic melody. The guitar serves as an endearing introduction to the relatively light “Day Game,” though the piece doesn’t pick up until a sitar, of all things, is introduced — an instrument that surprisingly fits the melody like a glove. Reminiscent of the exotic blends in Air, the sitar and electric guitar combine to form a thrilling yet laidback track. “Girls at 4:30 PM” is a bit more typical for a dating sim type game, with its peppy beat and happy, synth laden melody.

Some of the most interesting additions are more rock-oriented here. The heavy metal inspired “Mission Possible ~but difficult task~” starts off rather uninteresting, yet soon picks up into a delightful yet grungy trip. “Epic Mortal Fight” is of the same basic ilk but is more melodically focused, sounding like the equivalent of an RPG late-game battle theme. “Heroic Battle,” sandwiched between the two previously mentioned, is Magome Togoshi’s sole contribution to this album. This one is far more melodically focused, ditching the grungy atmosphere for a melodic battle theme-like composition that sounds eerily similar to some of Gust’s.

Of the two newcomers, the brunt of the compositions was given to PMMK. His introduction to the album comes with three character themes placed side by side. “Magic Ensemble” is a delightfully peppy piece with a darker side hinted at after its halfway point. The theme receives a surprisingly light, mournful arrangement with “Just One Magic Word,” showing the malleability of the original’s melody as well as the deftness of the composer. The second of PMMK’s three character themes, “Melancholy of a Troubled Girl,” is just as neatly enthusiastic as the last one, though the oftentimes silly instrumentation might annoy some. The melody picks up for a brief second half, at least. “Exotic Toybox” breaks no new ground amidst these three pieces, in terms of overall silliness, fitting neatly in between the other two.

“A World is Born,” the game’s title theme, is somewhat annoyingly slow moving, but, drifting lazily onwards, it starts to grow on the listener. “A World Where Nothing Happened” follows its namesake quite well, and in doing so manages to be the oddest piece on the album. Nearly nothing of note occurs in this overly long atmospheric track, aside from the odd tone here and there planted over a constant electronic drone. It’s extremely effective for its use in the game, eminently skippable outside of it. Most of the composer’s other contributions are of standard visual novel fare, from the rhythmic “MY BRAVE SMILE,” to the childish and somewhat irritating “Tick Tack Routine.” “Race” is perfectly suited for its short length — an extended bout with the flitting flute featured would be disastrous. “Thin Chronicle” breaks the mold a bit with its heavy, melodramatic nature. The bells and thick tambourine sounds help add to the air of mystique. In a similar vein, “Parting of the Boys” paints an overly, though not overwhelmingly, sad scene with its dancing piano.

Manack contributed a single character theme, “Heart-colored Capriccio.” This synth heavy piece is alright at first yet doesn’t pick up until the jazzy piano interlude halfway through its length. The piece receives a somewhat superior arrangement, “Untitled ‘A Capriccio Played by an Awakening Love’,” which rather brilliantly weaves the original melody into a piano solo. Losing some of the magic of Key, “My Unpleasant Thing” is a likely intentionally dreary piece that is generally unpleasant with its odd synth and chromatic melody. The following “Parhelion” starts off with an uninteresting piano motif repeated ad nauseum, yet picks up soon enough with a beat and enjoyable melody. “In the Town of Incessant Rain,” a piano solo with light synth accompaniment, is a rather enjoyable yet mournful piece, whereas “Incommunicable Message” transmits similar emotions with piano and guitar.

The third disc is comprised entirely of vocals and their variations, with a couple of unused tracks thrown into the mix. “Faraway” is likely Maeda’s best vocal contribution, with a hauntingly sweet, deceptively lighthearted melody that drips with the feelings of nostalgia and loss. The piece takes a particularly dramatic turn near its end that is rather heartrending. “Song for Friends,” also by Maeda, is a far happier piece, yet it still possesses melodramatic undertones suitable for the scenario. Orito’s “Alicemagic” is a rather generic and uninteresting peppy affair, though it isn’t intrinsically bad. PMMK’s “Sunny After the Rain” is more interesting melodically, though still fails to quite live up to Maeda’s vocals.

Summary

While the new composers contribute quite a good number of decently good tracks, a bunch are likewise generic sounding or irritating. Still, there’s far more to like here than not, and while the veterans keep the album afloat, the newcomers more than prove their worth. This is certainly a grade below Key’s last work, but overall it represents a good first step into their future.

Little Busters! Original Soundtrack Marc Friedman

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Marc Friedman. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


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