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One-Winged Angel is a musical theme from the game Final Fantasy VII. It became notable for being the background theme music for the game’s final battle against Sephiroth. The popularity of the character, combined with the popurity of the game itself, has made the theme one of the most notable songs in gaming history.
Final Fantasy VII was first released in 1997 for the Sony Playstation. The game itself is a role-playing video game developed by Square Enix as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series. During the last part of the game, the player battles the main antagonist Sephiroth. During this battle, Sephiroth takes on multiple forms as the battle progresses, the last form being called Safer Sephiroth. It is during this battle that One-Winged Angel plays as the background music. The theme was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and was the first theme in the series to feature vocal lyrics.
Reputation in Japan
Also in Japan, the reputation for this song is so high among Final Fantasy communities. However, compared to other popular FF songs, this isn’t set to a subject for numerous covers, remix or parodies so much. One of the reasons is that simple melody and slow tempo doesn’t so much motivate amateur music players for challenging to covers or remixes of the song itself. And the other is that its too-long playing time isn’t fit for creating MAD videos in a short time.
In addition to these, on the Japanese web, it is coloured by the special deep impression caused by a flash animated video which features the misheard phrase. The video “One-Winged Tashio” was a derivative of the Japanese classic internet meme for Masashi “God” Tashio. It was created in December 2001.
Due to the too strong impact of this video, not a few Japanese internet users consider “One-winged Angel” as the song not for Sephiroth but for Tashio. Therefore, it is rarely diverted to other online parodies.
Sephiroth’s popularity has gained him multiple appearances in other games in the franchise and even outside of that, each time with One-Winged Angel accompanying him. Within the main series, One-Winged Angel can be found back in Dissidia Final Fantasy, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and Crisis Core. Sephiroth also appears as a boss character in the Kingdom Hearts series, a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios, along with his theme (shown left). The most notable reappearance of both Sephiroth and One-Winged Angel was in the 2005 animated film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (shown right), due to the orchestral performance being accompanied by The Black Mages, an instrumental rock band formed by Nobuo Uematsu himself.
Square Enix’s 2002 Japan-exclusive game for PlayStation2 “Hanjuku Hero vs 3D” included the parody for this song “Zetsubou Subeki Houkou” (絶望すべき咆哮, lit. The Roar of Despair). This song with self-deprecating lyrics was composed by Nobuo Uematsu himself.
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