Based on: Original
Official site: http://www.ike-men.net/ci_jitop.html
The full title reads "osananajimi to anata ga koi wo enjiru jiyuu kenkyuu, saigo ni koi ha mebaeru no ka" (the research project in which your childhood friends and you act out love, will love bloom in the end?). Yes that is a long title, a bit too long if you ask me. But it does describe what this CD is all about: for a high school research project you and your childhood friends decide to do an experiment to see whether you will fall in love if you act like lovers.
You and your childhood friends Urabe Tsukasa (Suzuki Tatsuhisa) and Suzuki Youhei (CV: Sakurai Takahiro) grew up almost like family. Your parents were good friends since before you were even born, and you always went on vacation with all three families. Ever since you can remember you've been together. The CD starts with Tsukasa taking the train back to your home town and his reminiscing about the research project you did together, which eventually caused a great change in your relationship to each other.
At your second year in high school, right before the summer vacation, you decide to do this experiment for your research project together. You decide on a couple of rules: the pair that has to act as 'couple' always has to hold hand whenever you go somewhere, and the other person takes on the role of observer and has to keep a small distance. Also, you have to call the observer by his last name instead of his first name like you have been doing up to that point. If you really start to feel something for each other, you may confess your feelings on the last day of the summer vacation - and whether that feeling will be mutual or not will then be the end result of the research.
Which one of the two will be your 'boyfriend' is decided by rock-siccors-paper (they sound really cue doing that btw). Tsukasa wins and gets to decide who will get the boyfriend role. He appoints Youhei as your boyfriend, and himself as the observer. And so you begin hanging out with Youhei as your 'boyfriend'. This is slightly awkward in the beginning, but Tsukasa soon notices that you start to act more and more like an actual couple the longer you keep it up. He also starts to become slightly jealous.
Not only that, Youhei confessed to him that he has liked you for a while now. Tsukasa says that he will cheer him on, but this only makes him think about his own feelings more - although he doesn't really know how he really feel about it. One night while all three of you are staying over at Youhei his house for the night Tsukasa eventually kisses you in the spur of the moment when Youhei steps outside for a bit. Before you can react or say anything however, Youhei returns and you never talk about it again.
The cover of the CD is actually the final time that all three of you are together. You are watching the fireworks together, and this is when Youhei decides to tell Tsukasa exactly what he thinks about this entire experiment (throwing a few punches to make his point) and in the end this changes your entire relationship with each other...
Being a Sakurai fangirl I was already silently rooting for his character before I even started listening. However my hopes were destroyed in the worst possible way in the beginning. The opening words of this CD are... painful. I am not kidding when I am saying that this CD managed to make me cry within 30 seconds. And not just a few tears welling up, I mean literally crying. I do have to say that Suzuki-san his voice is beautiful here though. For some reason I didn't really associate his voice with more mature characters, but his grown up voice here was fantastic (as a child he sounds completely different).
Listening to this I am guessing that the script includes the actual lines that were said by the heroine. There is not just a small pause where you are supposed to have said something, but realistic gaps. They also don't repeat whatever you said for the sake of the conversation; this was written like an actual drama and you'll have to guess whatever you were saying. Of course you can deduce what you probably said from the flow of the conversation, but not everything. Whether this is a good or a bad thing I will leave up to you to decide for yourself. Personally it took me a short while to get used to, but I enjoyed it.
The beginning and ending aside, the middle part of the story (the part when you are doing the experiment) is kind of cute and bittersweet. It is the beginning and the ending that stab your heart with a thousand daggers. Cineria is really good with that... This story seemed less realistic than Kareshi Igai, but the way you talk and the lack of repetition (when a character repeats what you supposedly said) still make the conversation flow naturally just like in all their works.
I could have done with a free talk to heal my broken heart, but unfortunately there is none.
If you are a Sakurai fan this CD is pure heartbreak. If you're a fan of Suzuki-san however, this most likely turns a bit more into a bitter-sweet love story. Although there is no denying that it is still plenty painful either way. I secretly which for an alternative version where the outcome is different, but I doubt my heart would actually survive listening to something like this again.