Final Fantasy VII – “Main Theme from Final Fantasy VII” (arr. Shiro Hamaguchi)October 1, 2010
Final Fantasy VII is probably the most-loved title in the long-running series. For many, it was an introduction into the world of role-playing games, with characters that were lovable and story that was epic. Coupled with pre-rendered cutscenes that are now all but ubiquitous to games, Final Fantasy VII set the mold for the modern RPG. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, the incredible storage capacity (at the time) of PS1 CDs allowing Nobuo Uematsu to actualize his musical ideas in terms of scope, length, and sound quality. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the “Main Theme from Final Fantasy VII”, here arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi for Tour de Japon.
The “Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII” is an endearingly beautiful song, with a lovely balance of call and response, repetition of the main melody. This recalls the limitations of the 8- and 16-bit systems where a short song would be looped over and over until the scene changed; here, however, the theme is broken into loop and variation to create a larger, multi-layered tapestry. The “Main Theme” presents an enduring theme of love, of travelling with friends over great distance and rolling landscape and the ties that bind two hearts over vast distance. After swelling in power and intensity, the piece transitions about five minutes in to discordant strings of brewing evil powers, the forces of dark energy seeping through dark forests and shadowy canyons. Light finally breaks through the looming clouds at 5:40. Truly an endearing melody, and it’s a shame the theme is broken up so readily by random battles.
Mr. Hamaguchi’s arrange has more recently been performed in Distant Worlds II (highly recommended). Though Mr. Hamaguchi’s work is in many ways an actualization of Mr. Uematsu’s original work, I in some ways prefer Trptcox’s straight-up arrange from VGMix 2.0 due to its lovely piano solo. Titled “The Caped Men Meet,” it seems lacking only in synth quality.
Speaking of piano, there was a lovely piano arrange in the Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII by Shiro Hamaguchi and performed by Seiji Honda. OCReMix has their own piano arrange by kLuTz, but I don’t feel it has the emotional touch of Mr. Hamaguchi’s arrange.