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Odin Sphere – “ODIN SPHERE’S Theme – Shanachie ver.” (Hitoshi Sakimoto)

January 6, 2010

This week I decided to do something a little different with vgmdaily. This is going to be a selection of lyrical vgm. Most of these are opening and ending themes because vgm tracks often loop, and a song can only have so many lyrics to it. Additionally, lyrics might distract from the gameplay. As a result, like film, lyrical music is used only in a few select places, such as an opening or ending sequence or sometimes in a quiet moment in the middle. In other cases, lyrics might be added to songs later, as we shall be seeing through this week. The first of these lyrical tracks in this series is “ODIN SPHERE’S Theme – Shanachie ver.” composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and arranged by Nami Uehara.

Odin Sphere – “ODIN SPHERE’S Theme – Shanachie ver.” Hitoshi Sakimoto, Nami Uehara)

Odin Sphere (2007) is a Norse-themed 2D action RPG that is known for its amazing visuals, which have been unmatched in terms of 2D videogame animation. Incidentally, I find the writing and dialogue to be very good (a rarity for a game!) though I wish they had followed the source material a little more closely (this is a loose interpretation of the Ring of the Nieblungs). On top of this, Sakimoto’s soundtrack is also outstanding and of high quality. The ending theme, which uses a fiddle, recorder, bodhran, piano, and synthesizer, is one of my favorite pieces due primarily to the sound of the lyrics and the beautiful voice of Noriko Kawahara. The track was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and with arrangement and lyrics by Nami Uehara. The “Opening Theme” on which this track is based has French lyrics by Maryvonne Nagel Okamoto.

An interesting aspect of this track is the first half is lyrical while the second is instrumental. The lyrics suggest memories of better, ideal times that have perhaps been lost; the instrumental section suggests a passing of time while calling for a sense of nostalgia and folk through the traditional instruments. Though the lyrics are in Japanese, it can be useful to simply sit back and listen to the flow of the singer’s voice and how it serves as an instrument carrying meaning and emotion.

Below is the English translation of the lyrics:

Imagine the angels singing,
the voice of the wind passes, passes
the silver horizon.

Imagine the wind humming,
think and then dream, dream.
and then remember.

Let yourself be rocked
by the vastness.
Fall asleep in the dreams,
fly towards the sky,
fall asleep in the dreams, dreams,
look at the butterflies flying to the moon
In Arabesque whirls.

Let yourself be rocked
by the vastness.
Fall asleep in the dreams,
and
remember that one loves life, life, life…

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