Tokimeki Memorial MIDI Collection
Tokimeki Memorial MIDI Collection
May 21, 1997
Buy Used Copy
1. Good melodies are the most important thing to me, when listening to music.
2. I prefer light-hearted music to dark, dramatic and/or serious music.
3. I don’t need real instruments to fully enjoy the music as long as the synth is good.
4. Multiple loops are important to me.
5. I don’t mind if my music comes from a dating simulator.
If you agree with these five statements, your next move should be tracking down copies of both Tokimeki Memorial MIDI Collections. What Konami did was take 60 of the most important tracks from the Tokimeki Memorial soundtrack and essentially remade them, using a top-notch midi set-up with 30 tracks for each Midi Collection. Very little (if any) arranging is done, so you’re getting straight-up game tracks, taken note-for-note from the original compositions (unlike Dracula MIDI Collection and the MIDI Power Pro series, which are all-out arrangements). By that description, the Tokimeki Memorial MIDI Collections might not sound too impressive. What makes them such a must-have is the treatment the music is given. The MIDI used is much more pleasing to the ear than even the second soundtrack (which was very good) and all of the tracks are played through two or three times (compared to only once on the soundtrack). To me, this makes all the difference in the world, because they are so much easier to settle into than the soundtrack. Since Tokimeki Memorial‘s music generally gets right to the point of the melody without wasting any time, it feels like each Midi Collection contains well over the hour of music on each of them.
Most of the tracks on MIDI Collection 1 are of the softer nature. For example, “Album of Memories” is a music-box arrangement of the main theme of the game, and “Confession” is the theme played during the good ending. In addition, most of the character themes are of the more mellow variety. “Just a Few Memories”, the theme for cover-girl Shiori Fujisaki, is light and nostalgic (you play the role of her childhood friend), while “Baby Bird in a Basket” has a soft Japanese feel to it. “Temptation in Your Eyes” uses a piano and a sax together, for a smooth jazzy feel. Of these, my favorite is the one for Miharu Tatebayashi, “Goodnight, Love”. It has to be one of the most relaxing themes I’ve ever heard. This relaxing feel continues on in the middle of the disc as well, with classic melodies like “Lilac Hill” (which is used for the trip to Hokkaido) and “Rising Dragon, Chaotic Transition” (which is used for the fireworks display). The added repetitions and better synth only make these tunes even more hummable and relaxing.
Of course, there are a few of the more bouncy, rocking themes that grace the series as well. The main theme, “Motto! Motto! Tokimeki”, is arranged as an instrumental version at the start of the disc and only serves to remind the listener how addicting the tune is, because it’s literally begging you to hum along with it. Both “Shopping” and “Skiing” went on to spawn some of the best arrangements ever made on Tokimeki Memorial Sound Collection 2 and getting both of these remade versions of the originals only demonstrates the great melodies backing them up. “You’re Gonna Feel Some Pain” is the main battle theme of the game and it holds up better on here with the Midi treatment. This is probably the best overall version of “Omakase Network”, a great old-school rock’n’roll piece, with a synth-guitar and a piano. Also, “Psyth”, one of the dance pieces at the end of the Tokimeki Memorial Forever With You Original Soundtrack 2, is just as funky and catchy as ever.
Of the two, the second MIDI collection is my favorite. Most of the tracks on here are my favorite ones of the series, mostly the more bouncy, rocking variety. Plus, a lot of the tracks selected were those that I never noticed on the soundtrack because of their brevity (many tracks seemed to get sandwiched on Disc Two). Of the character themes featured here, the only one that isn’t really upbeat is Mio Kisragi’s “A Sonata For You”, with its classical overtones. The others — those for Ayako, Saki, Yuko, Nozomi and Yumi — are all energetic and a rocking good time. Ayako’s “Boyfriend” is a great funky piece, with an awesome synthy sax while the others are done mostly with a synth-guitar.
Once the character themes finish, the disc doesn’t let up. We have “Burning Gong”, the awesome synth-rock theme for the pro wrestling matches, with it’s relentless, but catchy melody. Amazingly, this was never arranged on the Sound Collections or any of the other arranged albums. Later in the album, we get the 1-2-3 punch of “Find That Kid”, “Encircled by Flowers”, and “Song of the Southern Islands”, three of the greatest “unknown” themes ever composed, one after another. Series stand-bys like the classic “Karaoke”, “Planetarium”, and the season themes grace this disc with their presence as well. Finally, we are given the pleasure of two vocal songs getting instrumental versions — “Don’t Carry Love Too Far”, which is Ayako’s in-game karaoke song, and “Futari no Toki”, the final ending theme. If Konami really wanted to milk this franchise, they would be re-releasing all of the Tokimeki Memorial vocal songs this way and people like me would be lining up to buy them, because they are so darn catchy.
Describing this music is a waste of time to be honest, because you have to just sit down and listen to it, in order to understand its brilliance (or better yet, play the game!) It’s simple, it’s light-hearted, it’s hummable, and it’s very listenable. If I were forced to choose between getting the Tokimeki Memorial Forever With You Original Soundtrack 2 and the two Tokimeki Memorial MIDI Collections, I would choose the MIDI Collections simply because they are the better listening experience. Of the 60 tracks selected, I feel the best from the soundrack was chosen, so having extended and improved synth versions of them makes for a much more satisfying listening experience (of course, I still love the soundtrack for completeness’ sake!). If you agree to everything in my little questionnaire at the top of this review, try to find copies of these. They pop up on eBay from time to time. Thanks to the obscurity of this series outside of Japan, you should be able to land them for decent prices.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andy Byus. Last modified on August 1, 2012.