Hototogisu Tairan is a follow-up to Hototogisu Ran, featuring a bizarre combination of war simulation, card trading, and role-playing. Audio Studio Hibiki's Tomoyuki Kawakami replaced the disgraced Kennosuke Suemura as the composer of the title. His apparently brief score was released as a six track iTunes download earlier this year.
The soundtrack opens with a modern rendition of the opening theme from the original Hototogisu for the NES. The melody sounds as beautiful as ever on the enchanting flutes and violins here. However, the arrangement is too thin in its orchestration and linear in its development to be especially appealing. It's good that Tomoyuki Kawakami references the series' routes, but to rather functional and mundane results.
The rest of the soundtrack follows a similar approach with functional yet uninspired orchestrations. Traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto permeate tracks such as "Title Menu", "Campaign", and "Deck Building". However, these sampled instruments are used merely to create a sense of place and aren't treated in an original way. "Campaign" is especially obnoxious with its stereotypical serene flute melody against military snares, made worse by its sudden premature loop.
There are two action themes featured at the end of the soundtrack. "Battle Screen" throws listeners into battle with its passionate flamenco rhythms and piercing orchestration. However, the various samples are assembled in such an incohesive way that the composition sounds like a prototype. Shifting between staple features of fantasy scores, "Battle" is another uninspiring composition that soon tires on both the soundtrack release and game screen.
Simply put, the soundtrack for Hototogisu Tairan is not worth any time or money. With its mundane stylings, excessive samples, and contrived emotions, it's clear little time was put into these tracks. What's more, there are cripplingly few of them — just six pieces, all approximately two minutes long. Stick to the Hototogirisu Ran Original Soundtrack instead.