Original Title: ぶらばん!～The bonds of melody～
Release Date: 28th July 2006
Producing Company: Yuzu Soft
Scenario Writer: 天宮リツ
The school that Jun attends has recently been shut down due to a low number of students attending and all of the students there were sent to another school nearby. Jun is a member of a brass band, along with his childhood friend Tae and class president Noriko. However, when they turn up for practise in their new school, it turns out that they already have a well-established brass band. Since the school only allows 1 brass band, the two bands decide to hold a competition in a months time (which will be judged by the other students) where the losing band will have to disband. To make matter’s worse, Jun has suddenly become the head of his brass band after their old adviser left all the responsibility to him!
Bra-Ban’s story is over the period of just over a month. The common route lasts for most of this time and is quite amusing at times. I liked the character interactions in the common route. During the day, you get to choose which girl you want to visit, which leads to little scenarios. The character routes only last for about 1 week – which is way too short to really have built up a story. The only route which i felt actually had some build up was Sumi’s. The two weakest routes (without a doubt) were Noriko and Tae. For both of these routes, it felt as if somebody had said that each girl must have some kind of drama in their route to make it “interesting”. I would have much preferred these routes to have been purely romantic with no problems. My favourite route would probably be Sumi, although Yuki’s route was good at times too.
Tae is Jun’s classmate, childhood friend and neighbour. She’s a trombone player and is vice-head of the brass band. She’s a friendly and cheery girl and gets on well with everyone. Tae wakes Jun up every morning and also makes him lunch since she’s a great cook. She cares about Jun a lot and she has had feelings for him forever. Her and Jun talk to each other from their windows at night.
Tae is pretty much a really cute childhood friend, and although there’s nothing especially exciting about her, she’s a very cute character. Her route could have been really adorable. However, Yuzu Soft decided to put some crap story about some supposed love triangle into her route. The route made me like Tae less since she started trying to make Jun jealous and stuff. Not good – definitely the worst childhood friend route i’ve played.
Noriko is a classmate of Jun and Tae as well as being the class president. She’s a clarinet player in the brass band and she’s a complete tsundere. Her cooking is really terrible and she gets scared quite easily.
Noriko’s dere side is super cute! Her route was basically about people accusing her of working with the other team. However, it’s quite clear that it’s not her from the start (especially because she’s always trying her hardest to make sure she gets her part right). Her route was very boring.
Minase is Jun’s kouhai who plays the trumpet in the brass band. She’s an energetic girl who is also very competitive. Jun nicknames her Ebi (which she doesn’t like at first). She seems to wonder the streets at night…
I really liked the actual story of Ebi’s route (it was strangely reminiscent of Kotomi’s route in Clannad) but i felt that everything was resolved way too quickly. I mean, over 10 years of self loathing was completely resolved in 1 day. How does that work? This was also one of the few stories which actually had more than one plot element used, which i appreciated.Ebi is also such a cute character!
Yuki is the conductor of the opposing brass band, she’s a tsundere from a rich family. She takes her job as conductor very seriously and is a perfectionist. She doesn’t have all that much confidence in her abilities though.
Yuki’s route was quite good and delt with her confidence problems which spawned from her parents trusting and placing a lot of responsibility on her at a young age (which makes her believe that she doesn’t need to rely on other people). I found watching Yuki overcome her fears and start to rely on Jun to be quite heartwarming. I wanted more of her dere side to shine through though!
Sumi is Jun’s kouhai and also the drummer of the opposing brass band before she moved to Jun’s band (due to bullying). She’s a very quiet girl who finds it hard to stand up for herself . Her best friend is an energetic girl called Kyoko who she relies on quite a lot.
Sumi’s route is mainly about her friendship with Kyoko and the bullying which she endures. I really liked the story of this route as it actually lasted longer than the rest of the routes and so had the most development. Some things were a little rushed though, but i felt that Sumi went through quite a lot of character growth as well. Sumi herself is really cute although i really pitied her for most of the game (not a good thing).
Although this game is over 5 years old, the artwork isn’t all that bad. I quite like the simple but moe style that the artist uses, although the artwork in the newer Yuzu-Soft games is definitely a lot better. There were some proportion issues as well. However, there were quite a large number of cgs in the game (which was something i definitely appreciated). The background art was quite average but did its job well.
Song: Beautiful Harmony by Sakakibara Yui
I would consider this song to be one of those really iconic eroge opening songs. It’s really cute and catchy and suits this type of game very well. The rest of the BGM is pretty nice and there’s a lot of upbeat songs. I actually liked the soundtrack more than usual. However, some BGMs were a little bit of a letdown and the ending song wasn’t to my tastes. The voice actors did a really good job and i loved the voices of the characters.
The system of Bra-Ban was pretty standard really, although the title screen was quite boring apart from the animated sakura blossoms. The textbox was also nothing special. The choices were mostly a “choose which girl you want to visit” type thing, and i liked the cute SD sprites used there. The only other slightly unusual thing i can think of is that fact that the H scene recollections all had SFW images.
Overall, Bra-Ban was quite a fun game with some really cute characters, although the authors tried too hard to fit in a story for all the characters. The common route was also far too long in proportion to the character routes, which made the drama in the routes resolve far too quickly. Sumi’s route is definitely worth a play though. Considering this was the first game from Yuzu-Soft, i can see why they made a positive impression and i shall definitely be trying out the rest of their games considering Bra-Ban is considered to be the worst. Now for the massive image spam xD