Classic SEGA Music: Persevering


Sakura Taisen (also known as Sakura Wars) is the classic 1996 SEGA Saturn role playing game that innovated by focusing on character development and interactions instead of random battle encounters so that the player would care deeper for the cast, or perhaps even love them. You play as Ogami Ichiro, leader of the Imperial Assault Force and are given the mission to end the terror from mysterious enemies based on demon lore in an alternative steam punk version of 1920’s Japan.

This time we will focus on the song from the first battle, Persevering. Hit the jump to listen to some of the different variations and related songs.

Where it is heard:

Persevering was composed by Kohei Tanaka, whom would go on to write largely the entire body of work for the Sakura Taisen franchise. It is seen as a very important song, but one that would not receive as much attention as some of the vocal tracks.

It is the first song to be heard in a battle for the first game, and as such remains optimistic and encouraging. Taking place in a park near cherry trees (which happens to be an English meaning of the word ‘Sakura’) against shogun warrior-themed demons, the song is very faithful to the culture and history of Japan, but also retains a melody fit for combat.

It would not appear in much of the franchise in the same context, but instead was used for special menus and small sequences. As the franchise progressed into different regions, such as Paris and New York City, the majority of the soundtrack of the first two games was all but abandoned so that the style of music could better reflect the setting. Why such a powerful song was only used in small sections of various later movies and games is a mystery.

Other versions:classicsegamusic

~ PlayStation 2 Arrange Version

This was used for the PlayStation 2 remake of the first game in the same context. It uses much more expensive musical equipment to provide a more epic sensation.

~ Game Boy Color Version

Although a large portion of the song is missing, the quality of this track is unusually high for the weak Game Boy Color hardware. It was only used in special menus instead of battle.

Related songs:

Parts of Persevering include a melody that would be used for future songs. This would be used for cinematics more than anything. With this, the song is normally much shorter with higher quality production values and is synced better with the action on screen.

~ Sakura Taisen 4 Version

This was used for introductory sequences on SEGA Dreamcast.

~ Sakura Taisen: The Movie Version

The core song mentioned previously does not begin until 4 minutes and 50 seconds in, but the whole song is of incredibly high production value due to the large orchestra used for the music behind the film Sakura Taisen: The Movie.

Closing Thoughts

Although the Sakura Taisen franchise is largely unavailable in video game form outside of Japan, English speaking fans finally were able to play the series in the release of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, formally known as Sakura Taisen V from NIS America in 2010 on the PlayStation 2 and a new version previously unavailable for the Wii console. There has been confirmed interest in translating the earlier titles in the franchise as well, but as of writing this, nothing has been announced. Just like the song Persevering details however, fans will continue on and will hope for the rest of the franchise to arrive in the future, no matter how hard the wait is.

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