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Visual Novel / Symphonic Rain

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Symphonic Rain is a music-based Visual Novel created by Kogado Studio. It plays out for the most part like a regular visual novel, with very little input by "players" beyond clicking through text and making choices. Until, that is, you happen to hit a music stage, during which the gameplay makes good of its "music based" description and switches to an O2Jam/DDR like music game, complete with fully voiced songs written by the late Ritsuko Okazaki.

The story follows Chris, a third-year Fortelle student at Piova Communal School of Music, located in a city that never stops raining. His hobbies include staring blankly at rain, talking to an imaginary fairy that only he can see, and writing letters to his sweetheart, Arietta, who lives in a distant town. It is via one of Arietta's letter that we are first introduced to Chris' plight: With the finals fast approaching, Chris must find a vocalist to partner up with for his final graded performance.

There are four different prospective partners (who are all girls, naturally) throughout the story whom he can choose as his vocalist partner. For the easily emotional, get a tissue ready.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Grave. Hitting Lise's throat to make her play with good posture and to "punish" her for singing? Damn. Also at the end of Lise's route even after he "allows" Lise to be with Chris, he literally throttles her into what appears to be oxygen deprivation induced brain damage and permanent vocal damage before disowning her to Chris.
  • Becoming the Mask: Fal eventually falls in loves with Chris after only getting close to him because of his talent with the Fortelle.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Fal. To her credit, she feels bad enough to tell him at a time that could severely screw her over out of fairness and is probably not quite as bad as she portrays herself to be. However, it's eventually explained that the driving force behind Chris's musical tones in his Fortelle is sorrow. So in retrospect, it also can be interpreted as if she is taking a gamble by forcefully bringing it out of him through the revelation.
  • Bromantic Foil: Asino
  • Downer Ending: Lise's route, which has her confined to a hospital for over a year with what appears to be brain damage and unable to sing any more. There is a bright spot in that she might be recovering, but it's left ambiguous as to the extent of her recovery.
    • Also the so-called good end of Torta's route and her normal end in Al Fine, along with the bad ends for each girl of course.
  • Dying Dream: Arietta basically suffers from a very long term version of this trope. Although you only find out about it in Phorni's route.
  • Empathic Environment: The intensity of the rain always seems to reflect how depressing the situation is. Or so Chris thinks.
  • First-Name Basis: Basically everyone since the story appears to be set in Italy, which isn't as formal as Japan.
  • Foil: Sociable, popular, hard working chick magnet Asino who is of average ability vs antisocial genius Chris.
  • Foreshadowing: Each of the partners songs are related to what happens to them during their route or the secrets that they're keeping.
  • Genre Savvy: Chris is actually quite aware that his situation might well lead to him dating the girl he's hooked up with.
  • Golden Ending: After four routes with at best bittersweet ends, Phorni's route finally offers one that is genuinely happy in nature.
  • Gratuitous Italian: There's a lot of common words throughout the story that opt to use the Italian term over the English equivalent. You'll primarily see this in the names of establishments (ristorante = restaurant), food (lasagne = lasagna), and the one holiday that takes place within the timespan of the game (Natale = Christmas). The game's UI also does for the days of the week, even when the narration goes for the English terms instead.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Asino to an extent, though he never makes an issue over it. Presumably Torta as well in Lise and Fal's routes judging by her inner monologue during Al Fine.
  • Hidden Depths: Pretty much every character except Grave who is every bit as evil as he appears to be.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: With Torta. Mix it with his active avoidance of getting too close with other girls due to Chris's fidelity.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: What Torta and Phorni end up doing in routes other than their own.
  • Leitmotif: All the main girls' theme songs are instrumental versions of the songs they end up singing at the end of the route or their image song.
    • The lyrics of both songs that each heroine sing tells you a lot about the heroine, their situation, and what their route is about. This makes them quite foreshadowing and possibly spoilerific, especially Phorni's "I'm Always Close to You." Ironically, despite giving spoiler hints about the final route of the game, it is first character song to be available but is never fully heard during the story and can only be fully accessed in "free play."
  • Look Both Ways: What happened to Ari and the reason behind Chris's depression, not that he remembers it.
  • Love Triangle: Torta -> Chris <-> Ari and in her route Asino -> Fal -> Chris, who may or may not reciprocate based on your choices.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Or rather, betrayal of love. While it is possible that Grave have always been a pragmatic and strict person, it is clear that the reason why he absolutely loathe singing, treats his daughter horrendously, and probably why he doesn't trust anyone stems from the fact that his wife abandon them both for another man, who happens to be a singer. Both singing and his daughter reminds him of his wife's betrayal.
  • Meaningful Name: Falsita's name translates to Falsehood from Italian to English.
    • Piova is Italian for rain and is also the name of the city where the story takes place and as one might expect, it's always raining.Except not really.
  • Multiple Endings
  • Mundane Fantastic: It's extremely low key but the fact that the Fortelle runs on magic and the existence of Phorni suggest this.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game will shred you if you don't know how to play the Rhythm Games. To let you know: you tap to the notes as they run into the bar. Easy and even Normal both use eight buttons, making it hard to track if you really aren't paying attention, and Hard will go overboard by using almost the entire character set of the keyboard. Thankfully you can switch the games off in the options.
  • Oblivious to Love: Averted. Chris is perfectly aware that Torta loves him, knows he could get Fal whenever he wants and can tell from Lise's reactions that she's also interested in him.
  • Perspective Flip: To Torta's POV during Al Fine (unlocked after completing each ending) which recounts the events of her route with plenty of reveals along the way.
  • Rhythm Game: Doesn't overly influence the game and only alters a few lines of dialogue except for the final minigame in Lise's route where failing it will net you a bad end. Not that the good end is much better.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Chris in regards to finding a partner.
  • Sanity Meter: Though you can't actually influence it, the Piova meter beneath the text box seems to serve as this for Chris. This is fitting as the constant rain is only Chris's delusion and the rain changes according to his mood.
  • Schizo Tech: Passenger trains and cars have been invented but the concept of a telephone doesn't exist with all messages going by post. This may be justified due to the influence of magic on this world though.
  • Sex Equals Love: Averted like hell in Fal's route.
    • Well technically, you automatically get a "wrong" or at least unsatisfying ending if you don't have angry sex with Fal. So...yeah.
  • Shipper on Deck: Everyone ships Torta/Chris except Lise and Fal, basically.
  • Sibling Triangle
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Shy and quiet but supportive Ari who has no real skills vs the talented, outgoing Torta. Everyone thinks Chris matches with Torta better.
  • Stepford Smiler: Torta, Fal and Phorni to a certain extent.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: how Torta explained her surprise when Chris said the partner about whom he was thinking would be arranged by Ms. Cordell in case he wouldn't find one himself.
    Torta: N-Nothing? Right... It's not like I was thinking that you believed the rumour and were about to fool around or anything, okay?
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Chris suffers from this due to having seen his childhood friend run over by a car right in front of him.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Torta and Ari respectively.
  • Twin Switch: Torta pretends to be Arietta on occasion.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Chris, due to his Trauma-Induced Amnesia. Half of his narration in the first few scenes turns out to be a complete lie, unknown to him.
  • Utsuge: It seems like a slice of life visual novel at first but reveals it's more depressing elements later on.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Well, both sisters were friends, right? So either choice makes one of them winners. And Torta seems to be the main heroine... Though it is debatable which of the twins is the main heroine. Phorni can be considered to be Arietta and Phorni has the most screen-time of any of the characters (besides Chris) and is arguably more significant than even Torta. Both twins can be considered the main heroines.