True Fortune Original Soundtrack
True Fortune Original Soundtrack
October 29, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Though best known for his RPG works, Iwadare is also a veteran ‘love’ composer. He has appealed to the small but dedicated group of fans with his mixture of sentimental improvisations and upbeat jazz music on dating simulation franchises such as Sotsugyou, True Love Story, and KimiKiss. After a short break from this scene, Iwadare returned in 2008 to compose the music for True Fortune, the girl-targeted spinoff of the True Love Story series. His score proves a considerable step up from his dating simulation soundtracks of the past. Though it’s still quite obviously a love soundtrack, it stands up well as a stand-alone musical achievement thanks to the depth, intricacy, and refinement of the featured material and the use of very convincing instrumental samples. Indeed, even those unfamiliar with the love soundtrack genre might want to consider this one…
“Title” flawlessly establishes the sentimental and dreamy tone for the game. The theme technically revolves around simple piano scales and suspended string backing, but the forces combine in a very clever way and all the nuances make a big difference. Many of these features are elaborated upon in “Fortune Telling Music”, which is bound to work magically in the game. Iwadare continues to achieve elegance in simplicity with subsequent additions to the soundtrack. “Prologue”, for instance, manages to sound youthful in a sincere rather than patronising way with its pleasant combination of music box and pizzicato strings. “School Life” provides the first of the catchy jingles on the soundtrack. Once again, Iwadare demonstrates his strength creating rhythmically compelling jazz pieces here. The flute and saxophone melodies are merely average in their basic construction, but the various improvisations and harmonisations more than make up for this. It’s a rare example of a piece that fulfils its superficial purpose to be catchy while also being musically rounded too.
The character themes dominate most of the first disc and Iwadare once again demonstrates his flair for depicting personalities. The aspirations of the main character Jun Hoshimiya are explored at the start of the character theme set; a beautifully implemented piano wanders through different passages and interweaves with guitar and strings to sensitive effect. The theme proves a flexible one, also explored in guitar and piano solos later Most of the other character themes take a more upbeat approach, whether Yu Yaguchi’s foolish jazz tune, Yosuke Himukai’s power-rock anthem, or Masako Takamura’s feel good depiction. Regardless of the style, they all shine with their melodic hooks and youthful exuberance. Nevertheless, there are a few contrasts to the typical dating sim stereotypes. Taisei Kido and Tsuriki Sensei feature more mature laidback jazz synth work compared to the others and the latter features an especially enjoyable harmonica solo. The theme for Jun’s rival Mikaru Kamijyo, on the other hand, seems to channel influence from Iwadare’s epic orchestral battle themes to enjoyable albeit over-the-top results.
Most of the second disc features various setting and event music for the game in a similar tone to earlier pieces. “A Song Done Gracefully” and “Sepia Memories” show Iwadare’s elegance using piano and guitar respectfully, but tend to focus more on inspiring deep emotions from the player rather than characterising those of the main character. As per Iwadare tradition, “Bruised Heart” comforts with electric piano meanderings that are both spot-on in composition and synthesis. “Coffee Lounge”, “Totally Enjoyable Tune”, and “Coming Home…” on the other hand, are yet more example of upbeat jazz tunes filled with Iwadare’s goofiness and youthful flair. Hinted at earlier in the soundtrack, “Confession” seems to be the intimate song used for declaring love in the game and, though a little more saccharine than other tracks in the soundtrack, it captures the emotions of the situation well. The soundtrack is rounded off by full vocal and instrumental versions of the obligatory vocal theme, “Truest Love”. Iwadare is bound to inspire a few tears among girl gamers by presenting Jun’s theme successively on piano, strings, and then male vocals inspired by Zac Efron. A select taste, but nonetheless excellently done and faultless in context.
Overall, the True Fortune Original Soundtrack surprised me by just how emotional it was. Although the ideas of many themes are intrinsically simple, the elaborations and development generally produce wholesome and two-dimensional compositions. Most of the soft tracks will move most with their beautifully presented solo instruments and heartrending progressions. The lighter compositions are also quite enjoyable and there is a fair amount of variety overall. Given how effective it is out of context, it’s almost certainly exceptional within the game too. It’s pleasing that Iwadare put a lot of effort into this one after mostly functional soundtracks for his past love games. It is a great example of a love soundtrack done well and should endear to anyone with an inclination towards sentimental or light-hearted music.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.