Tokimeki Memorial MIDI collection

 

Review by · December 16, 2016

When people think of Konami, they think of Castlevania, Suikoden, or Metal Gear, among others. Tokimeki Memorial is one title that may not spring to Western gamers’ minds, but it is probably familiar to Japanese gamers. This prolific, acclaimed, and popular dating sim series (some installments of which even have turn-based RPG-style battles) has been prevalent through several generations of video game consoles, and the sheer number of soundtracks it has generated is staggering.

One of these soundtracks is Tokimeki Memorial MIDI collection — one of two MIDI arrangement soundtracks featuring a cross section of music from various Tokimeki Memorial games. Sadly, I’ve never had the opportunity to play a Tokimeki Memorial game (and I badly want to), so my only exposure to the series has been its music. It’s better than nothing, but I can’t identify which pieces come from which games and can only listen to the music on its own merits. Because Tokimeki Memorial, as an entity, encompasses a smattering of everything within RPGFan’s coverage, its music is often a smorgasbord of musical genres and sonic textures. This soundtrack is certainly no exception.

Character themes comprise the lion’s share of the album’s first half. They are very distinct from each other and quite intricate, which I’m sure encompasses the uniqueness and complexities of each girl’s personality. I can hear the sentiment of each dateable girl’s archetype (e.g. the childhood friend, the mysterious girl) but the layers of the compositions lend a depth that goes beyond the surface archetypes. The melodies are not the kind that get stuck in your head right away, but rather ones that need to grow on you after multiple listens. In much the same way, getting in good with the girls in Tokimeki Memorial takes quite a bit of effort. My favorites are the mysterious, jazzy theme of Mira Kagami (“Temptation in Your Eyes”) and the brazenly intense theme of Yuna Himoo (“More Than Anyone Else in the World”), with its more heavy rock feel.

The second half of the soundtrack is mostly event themes, based on what happens during various social scenarios and events. For example, “Skiing” definitely has that air of happily schussing down the slopes, and it gives off the same vibe as the joyful and buoyant Lloyd Conley song “Bobsled Run.” There are also some festive themes that reflect key holidays, such as “I Love Chocolate.” This Valentine’s Day theme is delightfully coy, almost like a girl blushing upon getting noticed by her crush. Other cool themes include ones that represent important school events, like the big inter-high school swim meet (“Like a Dolphin”). I like that the instrumentation suggests water, but the rhythm sounds very competitive. Overall, the melodies, harmonies, and MIDI instrumentation are all very evocative and their intentions are crystal clear outside of the game. The only piece that left me with some confusion was “Go For It, Cultman!” The theme is engaging to listen to, but I can’t hang my proverbial hat on any context since Cultman is something of a mascot character exclusive to the Tokimeki Memorial world.

I’ve said this in the conclusion of many Tokimeki Memorial soundtrack reviews, but this music makes me want to play a Tokimeki Memorial game more than ever. The music presented here in particular has that effect since it’s the music I’d typically hear while playing the game. I want to hear the context of these pieces. I want to meet the characters whose themes I enjoyed so much. I want to experience the events and places whose themes so successfully evoked them. I want to know who Cultman is because his theme music is so cool. Yes, I know I could use Google to find out that information and watch gameplay videos on YouTube, but it doesn’t compare to actually playing the game. Alas, I can only hope for a localization and in the meantime, there’s plenty of great Tokimeki Memorial music to listen to.

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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 not schmoozing with various companies on behalf of RPGFan or booking/scheduling appointments for press events, he is an educator, musician, voiceover artist, cyclist, gym rat, and bookworm.