“Leaf is my favorite dating sim developer. Granted, I’ve never played a dating sim in my life, but I just can’t help but be enchanted by the wonderful artwork and excellent music that the company creates for its games, not to mention I’ve actually watched the To Heart anime and am thoroughly taken by it. So, when this CD first popped up for pre-order, it was a no-brainer that I HAD to have it, especially since Ryuichi Katsumata was arranging (The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time ~ Hyrule Symphony). Aside from loving piano arrangements, Leaf had never before failed to enchant me. I knew I simply could not go wrong with this album.
Before you read another word, especially if you have something against these types of games, forget that these arrangements are based on dating sims. Good. Now, if you absolute cannot stand piano music, you need to stop reading this review right here. Okay, those of you left should now be ready for Leaf Piano Collection.
The arrangements on this album consist mostly of the games’ vocal opening/ending songs. In a way this is both a good and bad thing. Considering I’ve listened to Leaf Vocal Collection more times than I can count, I was already familiar with many of these pieces, and was able to immediately recognize the melodies. The arrangements stay true to the originals while Katsumata adds a touch of romance with his emotional performance. But, however much I love these songs, especially the To Heart vocals, which have been rearranged more times than I can count, I would have liked to have heard more arrangements from the other Leaf games.
“”Romantic,”” “”Ruriko””, and “”Sigh”” are among my favorites of the album. They’re sweetly dramatic, and the delicate melodies are touching, yet do not retain the syrupy cuteness of the original compositions. The fact that they are all from Leaf’s lesser-known games only strengthens my argument that there should have been more of these types of arrangements.
Leaf Piano Collection offers a bit of variety as well. There are a few jazzier pieces such as “”Littlestone”” and “”New Premonition”” that are uplifting, upbeat, and are completely enjoyable to listen to. Honestly, I don’t think there’s one track on this CD that I dislike.
Albums like this don’t come along very often. Although not as good as the Tokimeki Memorial Piano Collections, which in my mind is one of the best piano arranged albums ever, it certainly comes close, and has enough charm to appeal to anyone who enjoys piano music. As newly-released, you can pick this little treasure up at CDJapan for under $25.