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Karifean's Blog of Visual Novels

Symphonic Rain Review

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Symphonic Rain is a visual novel developed by Kuroneko-san Team and published by Kogado Studio.


Symphonic Rain takes place in an Italian town called Piova in which a perpetual rain falls. The protagonist, Chris Vertin, is a senior at the local prestigious music school. He specializes in playing the Fortell, an instrument said to require 'magic' to play, capable of producing all sorts of different sounds depending on the player.

Chris is in a long-distance relationship with his childhood sweetheart Arietta "Ari" Fine, conversing with her by mail on a weekly basis and meeting with just once a year on Natale (Christmas Day). He attends school together with his girlfriend's twin sister Tortinita "Torta" Fine, whom he's careful to keep an emotional distance from.

The story takes place in the roughly two months before Chris' final graduation recital where he has to perform together with a vocalist. According to an urban legend, two partners performing together at that recital will forever be bound together by fate. However, he still hasn't found anyone to perform with... but some candidates show up soon enough.


When you first start Symphonic Rain you find yourself on the "Da Capo" path, and have a choice between three different character routes: Lise's, Fal's and Torta's. Once you complete all three of them, you may start the "Al Fine" path which is a retelling of Torta's route from a different character's perspective. When you've completed it and reached the alternate ending, you unlock the final route - Phorni's route - back in the Da Capo path.

In the Da Capo path, your choice of route is mostly made through deciding where to spend the day. Usually every area corresponds to one character and if you meet them enough times and occasionally answer an actual choice correctly, you end up on their route. The storyline itself makes it pretty clear where to go for whose sake, and with a bit of experimentation it should all be quite obvious. In the first place, it's impossible to miss out on meeting any of the heroines, so no need to worry.

Due to the nature of the Al Fine path, I strongly recommend going through Torta's route as your last of the three initial Da Capo routes. Besides that the game also tracks the bad endings you've reached so if you're a completionist it might be worth going for them. As far as I know you need to get all endings to unlock the final song.


This should hardly come as a surprise, but the character routes are generally romantic in nature. Something this novel does very well is the gradual falling in love. There's no sudden confessions or abrupt changes like that; Chris already has a girlfriend after all so it takes him a decent amount of time to realize and come to terms with the fact that another girl ends up being more important to him. I really have to give Symphonic Rain credit for how it handled this.

Occasionally during the story you get to play the Fortell which mean playing a sort of rhythm game. The song you primarily play is dependent on who you choose as your vocal partner and the bond they form with Chris through the music is conveyed nicely. I also found it a nice touch that the lyrics are always, in some form or another, relevant to the story of the character in question (although the lyrics of Torta's song are hilariously unsubtle). Oh, and if you don't like the minigame, you can set it to play automatically to get a perfect evaluation every time.

Of course since this visual novel is a representative of the nakige genre, there is a good deal of drama as well. The routes aren't just simple stories of Chris and a girl of your choice reciting together until graduation and then living happily ever after; things happen and complications occur that upset the regular everyday routine. Usually they have to do with the background and motivations of the heroine in question, and it does a good job of bringing the characters closer to you.

Although it wasn't all great. Both Fal's and Lise's route, while overall still pretty enjoyable, had elements I couldn't stand which really brought down my initial outlook on how the rest of the visual novel would turn out. Thankfully that impression was quickly overturned, but I won't be going back for a reread of those two routes anytime soon.

Ultimately Torta's route and Al Fine ended up being by far my favorite part of this visual novel. The change in first person perspective in the latter really changes your perception of the situation, which I really appreciated. I can't talk about it too much due to spoilers, but I found it quite moving.


Chris makes for an alright protagonist. He's a bit on the clueless side and his views sometimes heavily conflicted with mine, but he has his moments and you can feel him trying his best.

The heroines are all pretty likeable from the beginning and the additional insights through their character routes mostly further that as well as adding an extra layer of complexity to their personalities. I don't want to take away too much since it's fun to try and see how well you can understand them before it's all laid bare.

Arietta, Chris' girlfriend, we mostly only get to know through the letters she exchanges with Chris. Her letter arrives every Sunday and it's always a nice break from the overarching story just for a short time. It's made very believable very quickly that they love and care for each other deeply which really helps the story as far as I'm concerned.

There are also a number of side characters, most notably Phorni, the incredibly adorable fairy who resides at Chris' home. She calls herself a sprite of music and likes doing ensembles with Chris, who notes that she has quite an angelic voice. She's always helpful and tactful when he needs it. She takes a backseat in all routes but her own though since she can only be perceived by Chris himself and no one else.

There's also Ms. Cordell, Chris' Fortell teacher, as well as Asino, Chris' only male friend. They both occasionally support him in his search for a partner. They don't get much focus but on the rare occasions they do I appreciate the development they get as it really pushes them beyond just being "random person A and B".

Overall, while rather small, Symphonic Rain has a decent cast of characters. Torta is easily my favorite and the others are at least enjoyable for the duration of their screentime. There was only one character I disliked and they happen to be a minor antagonist.


Naturally with a story as focused on music as Symphonic Rain's, the soundtrack better back it up, right? No worries there, it does. While there aren't many different tracks, all of the individual tones are so damn memorable the game didn't suffer from it one bit.

Obviously the most notable tracks are the vocal pieces corresponding to each character. As it turns out, the character themes are just instrumental versions of these songs, which may sound lazy, but it really gives every heroine a distinct musical feel and only helps the immersion even further as far as I'm concerned.

Every character route also has its unique ending theme which is different from their signature song, which I felt was a nice touch. An especially notable example being Even When Crying which is considered the overall ending theme of the visual novel. If you so desire you can play all vocal songs including these ending songs in the Fortell minigame at any time in Free Play mode accessible from the main menu.


Symphonic Rain was a beautiful experience. It was as captivating musically as it was emotionally. Its latter half hooked me like nothing else has in a long time. The character interactions are very well written and I loved the subtleties both back when everything was still shrouded in darkness and when everything became clear as day during Al Fine. How much you can see before that depends on you, but it's certainly going to be an enjoyable experience either way.

A quick side note; if you have trouble with the rhythm minigame, I had a hard time with it too when I first started playing but as it turned out I was pressing the keys too early. Might be worth a try to just delay your presses a bit longer and see if it works better.

Overall I give Symphonic Rain a well-deserved

9 / 10

and I'd strongly recommend it to fans of Key games and other nakige. There's no question I'd have put it on my Top 10 if I had already read it back when I made the list.