Hourglass of Summer Sound Collection


Review by · June 13, 2006

It’s no secret that I loved the game Hourglass of Summer (Natsuiro no Sunadokei). I thought every aspect of the game was par excellence, including the music, which is why I picked up the Natsuiro no Sunadokei sound collection. Yuki Nita’s synthesizer-based compositions are all very good and quite varied, since the game has a rollercoaster storyline with many moods and loads of distinct characters.

However, there is a bit of bad news regarding the soundtrack. My favorite song from the game, “Went Away” by KOTOKO, is missing. Said song is the vocal number that played during the opening sequence that occured after some introductory play time. That song was simply beautiful with an excellent instrumental arrangement and a great vocalist. The song fast became one of my favorite introductory vocal numbers and I was thankful that the song was on a Hirameki digital catalog CD that came with my copy of Exodus Guilty vol. 1. I listened to that song almost nonstop for a while because it was so good. I don’t know why it wasn’t on the sound collection CD. Perhaps it was added to a later version of the game or something, but I really don’t know. All I know is that I was disappointed that the most amazing song from this amazing game was absent from the soundtrack CD.

The soundtrack starts off with the character themes of the main females: Kaho, Ai, Mana, Tomomi, and Ligene (Lee Jane in the US version of the game). Each theme fits the respective character’s personality perfectly. Kaho’s theme has a very gentle and almost fragile vibe to it, since she is a rather delicate character. In contrast, Ai’s theme is very upbeat and energetic befitting a character who’s always thinking positive despite any obstacles that may exist. Mana is a rather enigmatic and complex character with an affinity for water, and her theme has a nice watery sound with a wishful loneliness to it. Tomomi is also a rather complex character with a troubled past and her theme music totally reflects that. Since she is an older character, her theme is in a lower register so it seems less youthful. Ligene’s theme is a lot of fun, because her bumbling antics are often a source of comic relief. The five character ending themes are music box style versions of these songs. I knew Kaho’s theme would sound awesome in music box form, but was hesitant about how some of the other character themes would translate. I need not have been worried, because all of them translated very well. It was nice to hear Ai’s and Ligene’s themes, for example, in such a delicate format. Ligene’s theme had the most drastic change into music box format and I thought it was a change for the better, because it reflected the sadder and less goofy side of her character.

I will say without hesitation that the end credits song following a bad ending is much better than the good ending credits theme. The bad ending song has more varied and interesting instrumentation while the good ending song is a standard ballady tune.

There were even a couple of classical pieces by Chopin and Tchaikovsky that made it into the soundtrack. These may seem a bit out of place, but both of these songs are important in the storyline.

And that’s the main idea of tracks 1-15. These were mostly character themes, the title theme, and the ending themes. Tracks 16-30 are tracks that play throughout the game. I wasn’t initially familiar with some of the tracks since I hadn’t gone through all the possible paths with all the characters yet, but all were good. A wide variety of moods and genres are represented here. For example, Shining Beat and Wire Frame Circuit have a very danceable techno vibe. Whereas something like Snow Chapel is much softer and utilizes synthesized versions of traditional Japanese instruments for a more airy sound. Electronic Ocean is an interesting tracks layering all kinds of instrumentation and some cool sound effects to give a delightful vibe of disorientation. I love the track Bubble Moon, because of its whimsical feel. This track often plays during story scenes where the protagonist’s friends think he’s a few apples short of a bushel. In short, all these tracks offer distinct sonic textures and are all aurally pleasing.

The final song is a five minute vocal number called Future on this Star and it is quite good. The vocalist has a terrific voice and the instrumental is nice. There is a lot of varied instrumentation throughout the song, such as airy synths, some tastefully distorted guitars, and a driving drum beat. It’s a terrific song, but nowhere near as good as the missing opening sequence song.

So although my favorite song from the game is sadly missing from this CD, it’s hard to fault this soundtrack. Sure it’s all synthesizer based, but the quality of the compositions are terrific with loads of variation in terms of mood and instrumentation. My final verdict is that this is a great soundtrack to an even greater video game.

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Neal Chandran

Neal Chandran

Neal is the PR manager at RPGFan but also finds time to write occasional game or music reviews and do other assorted tasks for the site. When he isn't networking with industry folks on behalf of RPGFan or booking/scheduling appointments for press events, Neal is an educator, musician, cyclist, gym rat, and bookworm who has also dabbled in voiceover work and motivational speaking.