Panzer Dragoon Saga or Azel has been on the Pixelated Audio radar for some time and we couldn’t be happier that it’s finally here. The stars aligned and with the help of Alex Aniel of Brave Wave Productions, Saori Kobayashi became the first confirmed Japanese guest to come to MAGWest 3 in California. We had the chance to interview her in-person, see her talk about her career and hear her splendid live concert featuring Stemage on guitar, Ronin Op F on violin and Michelle Dreyband on vocals.
The series began as a pair of rail shooters on the Saturn developed by Sega’s in house group, Team Andromeda. In order to compete with games like Final Fantasy VII, Panzer Dragoon Saga was made into a JRPG and released worldwide on the Saturn in 1998. It features a semi-realtime 3D combat system, an evocative soundtrack and gorgeous art design. Although the game had a small print run in the West due to its relatively late release, it received critical acclaim and became one of the most well-loved classics on the system, remaining a cult favorite to this day.
Composers Saori Kobayashi and Mariko Nanba bring together an incredible album of exotic soundscapes that has rarely been matched. They combine the best characteristics of classic melody driven Japanese game music with the expanding richness that was becoming possible during the Saturn era to make a soundtrack that stays with you long after you stop listening.
Saori Kobayashi has become synonymous with the world of Panzer Dragoon, having written the music for Panzer Dragoon Saga, Orta, the spiritual sequel Crimson Dragon, her original album Terra Magica and the Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary album. She’s also worked on titles like Sylvan Tale on the Game Gear and Shadowgate 64.
Mariko Nanba is the lesser known composer of the two but she is no slouch herself. Nanba joined Sega in the early 1990s and in addition to writing some of our favorite songs in Panzer Dragoon Saga, went on to write music for Space Channel 5 Part 2, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic Colors and many others.
All music composed and arranged by Saori Kobayashi unless otherwise stated
- 0:00:00 Ecce Valde Generous Ale ~Behold the Precious Wings~ (Title theme)
- Composed by Mariko Nanba, arranged by Hayato Matsuo
- 0:09:28 Premonition of War
- 0:14:31 Overworld – excerpt from Sylvan Tale
- 0:21:18 Mutation I
- 0:25:30 The Chaos Within the Silence
- 0:33:36 Giant Creature
- 0:43:23 Rest
- Composed by Mariko Nanba
- 0:49:08 Seekers’ Stronghold / シーカーの里 (20th Anniversary)
- Composed by Mariko Nanba, arranged by Saori Kobayashi
- 0:54:36 The Expected Enemy / The Unexpected Enemy
- Composed by Tomonori Sawada – from Panzer Dragoon Zwei
- 1:05:36 Paet’s Theme
- 1:14:52 Zoah
- 1:26:12 Wandering
- 1:38:30 Atolm Dragon (20th Anniversary)
- 1:51:38 Forest Shriek / 森の悲鳴 (20th Anniversary)
- 1:59:34 Tears / 涙 (20th Anniversary)
- Performed by Triforce Quartet
- 2:01:55 Tears (excerpt)
- 2:05:49 Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu ~Art Thou the Holy One~
- Vocals by Eri Ito
Thanks again to Alex Aniel and the wonderful folks at Brave Wave Productions for giving us the opportunity to bring Kobayashi stateside and interview her. Check out their bandcamp page for tons of other great releases!
For more music from Kobayashi and the very talented musicians that work with her:
- Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement album
- Terra Magica
- Crimson Dragon soundtrack
- Journey by 茜 -AKANE-
- Saori Kobayashi (Panzer Dragoon)
- Yumiko Takahashi (Suikoden)
For links to the MAGWest content
And finally a link to the Polygon article