After achieving superstardom with the critically acclaimed Fruits Basket, fans of Natsuki Takaya wondered what she would do for an encore. Originally released in 1999 in Japan, Songs to Make You Smile is a compilation of five stand alone stories tackling the subjects of love, music, and art.
It’s important to note that each chapter varies in quality. Though none really falter, the clear standout of the volume is “Ding Dong” in which a girl named Chisato recounts memories of her father, painting a moving and emotional portrait of a family that never quite understood each other.
Another memorable tale comes in the form of the bonus chapter included at the end of the book. The only story to tie into one of Takaya’s previous works, “Princess Dark Black” is a follow up to Tsubasa: Those with Wings, telling the story of a princess whose beauty is only matched by her mean streak. This chapter is much more fantasy oriented allowing it to stand out from the rest.
Fans of Takaya will find themselves drawn to this book. The stories themselves are heartfelt and entrapping. While some chapters aren’t quite up to par with what one would expect of her, Songs to Make You Smile offers a continuation of Takaya’s style that fans have come to adore, making this a must have for those with a romantic side.