Friday, January 16, 2009

Chasing After the One Winged Angel - Distant Worlds Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy's themes have been arranged in multiple versions, from electric midi to The Black Mages' rock punk style, to piano and orchestral version. One of the themes that crop up most frequently is Sephiroth's One Winged Angel.

Doubtlessly, Final Fantasy VII is one of the highest acclaimed work in the RPG series and its plot line both compelling and touching. It spots some of the most memorable characters in the series' history and intriguing villains, namely, the one winged angel, Sephiroth himself.

The silver haired man's motives in the games are blurry, but his image is clearly engraved in the series' fans' minds, not just through his fighting prowesses, his imposing visage, but also through his theme.

One of the reasons that the One Winged Angel sticks in its listener's mind is the strong tempo, established by the percussion instruments at the start, then the slightly discordant chorus of brass and string instruments, invoking an image in the audiences' heads, giving them an abstract picture of a dangerous fallen angel descending from the heavens amidst a shower of raven feathers.

Another element is the Latin. Many products from Japanese popular culture have borrowed phrases from the language, from Persona 3's catch phrase Memento Mori (trans. remember that you are mortal) to Noir's Salva Nos (trans. Saving Us). The language adds an air of mystery and dark glamor to the title.

Perhaps it is the language's association with ancient wisdom and Christianity which lends an extra level of grandness to the music, perhaps it is its status as a "dead language" that adds a layer of otherworldliness.

All in all, the One Winged Angel is a piece of music that every gamer must listen to or must own, and with the addition of Liberi Fatali (FF 8's opening theme that makes use of the choir and Latin just as cleverly), Distant Worlds Final Fantasy is a dream come true for all who believes that there is more to gaming than blood and gore.

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