When it comes to video game soundtracks, my favorite songs are always the character themes. For me, the most interesting part of any story is the characters. Even if the events of a story are ho-hum, if the characters are interesting, I’ll remain intrigued. And since games like To Heart 2 are so highly character driven, I was quite excited to hear this soundtrack. Not only does this soundtrack have songs, it also has spoken messages from the vocalists in it. This was a very cool touch. Though my understanding of Japanese is limited, these messages were still quite nice to hear, especially since the excitement really came through in their voices.
The songs are catchy J-Pop songs (with ridiculously long titles) that capture the archetypes of the various girls in the game. I enjoyed all of them, but there are some I enjoyed more than others. Some tracks like “Small Courage ~Don’t Give Up, Girl!~” and “The Sleeping Face of a Field in Spring Weather” had all the right elements for good pop songs but did not always have my rapt attention for their durations. However, sometimes there would be gem moments in those songs that would grab me back when I would drift off.
“With My Unadorned Heart, With My Unadorned Self” is one track that held my attention from beginning to end. I loved the vocals in the former. Shizuka Itou had a very smooth voice that was “just right” meaning it wasn’t a helium voice but it wasn’t an overly husky voice either. This was definitely a favorite song on the album. “Together, Forever, and Always” was also a great song that did not lose my attention one iota and also quickly became a favorite.
Yes, there are tracks that feature helium vocals, but none that really made me cringe. I have a clear bias against helium vocals (I find them annoying) but I know they have an appeal to listeners. I’ll admit, even though the song “Good Morning to the Fellow Munching His Toast” had helium vocals, I really enjoyed the song’s grin-worthy buoyancy. But if you harbor immense distaste towards helium vocals, this is not a soundtrack for you since quite a few songs have them.
As far as the soundtrack as a whole goes, it does what it’s meant to do quite well. It features catchy pop songs that capture the essences of the characters in the game. There’s nothing particularly new, innovative, or inventive here musically, but this is mass appeal J-pop music and not esoteric prog. I liked this album, but it’s not a “must have” unless you are a rabid To Heart fan.