We are back with the second and final part of our REMASTERED TRACKS ROCKMAN ZERO album translation project. This updated covers "Notes on Characters" which features small profiles for Zero, Ciel and the Four Guardians, commentary from Toru Nakayama, an interview about the sound in the Rockman series, and Hitoshi Ariga's impressions about the first Rockman Zero game plus his own take on Phantom.
Once again thanks to Sidier for the translation:
Notes on Characters
Before the Irregular Wars… When the “Irregular Hunter” units existed, there was a Repliroid that won fame… Had a red body and long blonde hair, and cut the foes with the shining sword on his hands… The pronoun of death for the Irregulars… His name was “Zero”. The legend sleeping in the “ruins”. What the girl saw was a red body and blonde hair. But “he”, who woke up from slumber, had no memories. Didn’t even known his own name, or his fate. He only had his battle instincts and his heart of justice. When he yields the glowing sword, the legend revives.
She knew. That Repliroids have a heart. She accidentally knew. That there are heartless humans. Her words as a scientist didn’t reach Neo Arcadia, and Repliroids were being executed day after day out of unnamed crimes. To tell her words as a human, she left Neo Arcadia. It wasn’t only as humans and Repliroids but to spend her days living with them, her friends. But that didn’t last long. The gunfire of Neo Arcadia screams and closes in the name of “justice”. She had to yield a blade for the sake of what she believed in. Her job as a leader, which she can’t get used to. The research to earn the food to survive. It was an exit-less and endless corridor. She asks the Cyber Elves: “Where is our hope at?”. The Elves’ whisperings echo within her heart. She decides to visit the “Ruins”.
The scars of the long-lasting Irregular Wars remain across the Earth’s environment in the form of countless destruction. Neo Arcadia, aspiring to restore the world of humans, heralded 2 goals. One of them was the annihilation of the Irregulars, source of the wars, and the other was regeneration of the Earth’s environment to expand the human living area. The wind that leads weather control giant Mechanoloids and brings blessings to the people. That wind which only blew “for the sake of the humans” was named “Wise General” by them. The Resistance fears it as “The Slasher”. The battle with the Resistance in the remains of a lab named “Ruins”. A “hunt” that should’ve ended by capturing the Resistance’s leader, a human girl. But a single red Repliroid got in the way. The wind stopped, and when pride falls to the ground, the anger becomes a storm and sweeps over.
Neo Arcadia carried out an extermination war named “Scorched Earth Operation” against Irregulars and Resistance members that fled from it as part of its military actions. A roller operation as well as carpet bombing, as well as suppression through a huge army that fills up the horizon. These fierce operations are an insight of their fear towards the Irregulars. There was always a Repliroid leading the Scorched Earth Operation and standing at the spearhead. He carried a huge launcher in each arm, and his silhouette could be considered grotesque, even. But “those”, named after the treacherous city that was burnt down, are barely ever equipped in both arms at the same time. Whenever those arms roar, burning meteors drop from the heavens and his foes die while his two names are burn into their bodies. He controls destruction alone, and only seeks strength. When he faces the legendary “Red”, he swings his own “Crimson” in the way he’d like to. While yearning for that instant, the evil dragon sharpens its fangs.
The fall of the giant colony “Eurasia” was one of the greatest damages caused by the Irregular Wars. The hammer that wore an ugly hole in the motherly Earth greatly damaged the troposphere and humans have spent a long time being unable to earn benefits from the “seas of blessing”. A huge tropospheric operation working on both skies and oceans was the main axis of the Earth environment regeneration Neo Arcadia seeked to achieve and her abilities were to undertake one of the “wings”. She was created to be the goddess of the seas of blessing. But goddesses have always been whimsical existences. Environmental restoration and Resistance hunting are boring jobs for her. Splitting the seas by controlling water dragons and trapping her pitiful preys in a coffin of ice to then lay down atop them are boring, too. Nothing can excited her whimsical heart. But she’s finally found it. He will surely free her from this boredom. She sees the red prey in her icy pupils, and she smiled in a suspicious manner.
There are few that can avoid Neo Arcadia’s Irregular suspicions and flee from there but very few of them can survive afterwards. Many of those have their hideouts found out, and are killed by suppressing units. All intelligence against Irregulars as well as the Resistance is handled by his unit, named the “Cutting Shadow”. However, his ability to become a shadow and constantly protect his Lord works very well in espionage. He becomes a shadow to lurk in the enemy and then strikes them down as the shadow he is. Can even cut the foes’ shadows and never leaves shadows of himself anywhere. He doesn’t desire anything himself, there’s only the absolute loyalty for his Lord. The red one runs forward carrying light on his hands. He shrouds himself in shadows and rushes too. He will not tolerate that profane light that opposes his Lord. He controls the moonless gloom and the soundless blades rain down targeting the light.
Designer’s Voice (by Toru Nakayama)
The face of the blue hero, which slumbers beyond his lost memories. As he cuts down countless blue Repliroids and as he fights the Four Heavenly Kings which have some similarity to him, he associates those with the final foe to be defeated, he gets exalted. Wanting to give out that feeling of excitement, I designed the Four Heavenly Kings.
The same smell of that single Repliroid lings around...Rather than a subordinate, it’s the legendary blue warrior… While wishing for him to be seen as an existence specialized in the many facets of his heart, you learn through trial & error. While it’s a text to make the last boss’ debut predictable and exciting, they all must have a past they face in battle and that they all must have their stories about how they relate to each other.
Zero, who lost his memories but still fights, is the beginning; the battles with other Repliroids which have their own ideas are spelled through the words of a human girl. This soundtrack has many complementary materials, you can reflect about the characters’ backgrounds, some of which couldn’t be told in the games (or in terms of design); as the designer, who gave it a lot of thought as I designed them, that makes me very happy. Voices and music are strengths that are a very important modeling elements, must-have for the world and the characters. The beauty of sound which can’t be told by images; enjoy the world of “Rockman Zero”.
Born in Toyama Prefecture. Enters Capcom in the year 92. He works in the making of games such as “Goofy’s and Max’s Pirate Island Adventure (SNES)”, “Resident Evil (PSX)”, etc. He joins Inti Creates in the year 96 and works in games such as “Transformable Attacking Gunbike (PSX)” (Character / Mecha Design) “LOVE & DESTROY (PSX)” (Enemies Design), “Rockman Zero (GBA)” (Character Design), “Eithéa (PSX)”, “Super Mike-chan (PS2)”, he’s also worked in the publicity illustrations of “Rockman Zero” as well as the illustrations of the novel of “Transformable Attacking Gunbike”.
Chat About the Sound of Rockman Series (with Capcom Sound Staff)
(Interviewer): Let’s start with your impressions. Have you seen Rockman Zero?
Yamamoto: I borrowed it from the line, and had a look at it. But since it’s a hard game…
Horiyama: It is hard, yes…
Tomozawa: Both (Zero 2, too) are HARD…
Yamamoto: I guess that if I’d actually bought it I’d played it more seriously (laughs).
(Interviewer): Rockman fans want a challenge.
Horiyama: It’s a different type of game compared to EXE, but it’s way, way harder.
(Interviewer): Tell me your impressions of the soundtrack.
Yamamoto: I guess you can say it’s more adult-like than EXE is. It uses decadent characters. They use the hardware synthesizer skillfully and mix many genres into the tracks; nothing feels out of place in them.
Horiyama: I guess you can say the Zero games are the rivals of the EXE games like how the X games were the rivals of the Rockman games.
(Interviewer): Tell me about the sound-making of X1.
Yamamota: Not too long ago we revised the flow of the X series once again. We began by re-asking ourselves “what kind of image do the X games have?”. We talked about what we did when making the tracks and so on… And was asked how I made the songs back when X1…
(Interviewer): That’s very convenient (laughs) If there was something like a music-view of the series.
Yamamoto: The Famicon (NES) sound of Rockman was all “blip blop” and had a fashionable plus techno image to it. There are many rock tracks, too, of course. In terms of nuance, it can be considered pop music. What we talked about a lot when making the X soundtracks was that, first of all, it had to be different from the Rockman games… And that our demographic was going to be a bit older… Because it’d be harder than the Rockman games we went with hard rock tracks… Talk about a very simple idea (laughs).... We kicked off from the idea, and when asking what hard rock needs we settled on “guitar”...
(Interviewer): The guitar-making was such a struggle. Adding tons of guitar sounds and so...
Yamamoto: The making of songs starting from there… Let’s begin by saying that nowadays they might not feel so great because they were made for the Super Famicon (SNES) but back on its age we felt so satisfied at the sound of the guitars ringing…
(Interviewer): I know it, yes (laughs) We did the same for the X-MEN (game), too.
Yamamoto: Looking back at it, it was pretty sad, wasn’t it?
(Interviewer): What about Zero’s theme?
Yamamoto: We wanted to make a cool riff by using the guitar and that’s what led to the creation of Zero’s theme, indeed.
(Interviewer): The X Series doesn’t really have a “recurring” song, right?
Yamamoto: Since the main composer changes with every Rockman game that’s made, so...
(Interviewer): You work with the Rockman games often, don’t you? Horiyama
Horiyama: But it’s not like I leave such a big impression, no?
Yamamoto: Your words surprised me. You worked in (X) 1, 3, and 4, didn’t you?
(Interviewer): I was remembering how there was a major change in music staff back when X2...
Yamamoto: I think it was also due to the lead composer at the time was pretty stubborn… Saying he wanted all the tracks to be completely new stuff… He apparently kept on telling us the direction but the base idea is that it all had to be new music. But we’ve made arrangements of some songs within the X series, too.
Komiyama: I think the (X) 5 opening used a piece of the (X) 1 demo song theme…
(Interviewer): What kind of image do you have of Zero?
Tomozawa: Doesn’t VAVA have a stronger image in the X Series? Rather than Zero?
Yamamoto: I think you’re being biased (laughs).
Horiyama: VAVA hasn’t appeared against past (X) 4, so… (laughs).
Tomozawa: I want to compel for VAVA (to appear) (laughs).
Yamamoto: (Zero is) a contrast character, no?
Tomozawa: He’s supposed to be the senior, no?
Yamamoto: X is serious, works hard and is always worried… And in the other hand Zero is pretty “cool”.
Horiyama: He’s like Blues?
Yamamoto: Good point. But he’s slightly different at the same time, since he’s the type who takes the lead. Blues is more… sneakier.
Tomozawa: Blues is an enigma.
Horiyama: Whistles and appears, whistles and disappears (laughs).
Tomozawa: Speaking of which, is the Zero from the X Series linked to the Rockman Zero (games)?
Yamamoto: Zero goes to sleep in the ending of X6…
Komiyama: But the X at the end of X7, within Zero’s dream, has become “a bad guy”... Isn’t that connected? Since the planner told me that the plan was to link those together…
(Interviewer): Is that so!? Hmmm… Talk about a neat story (laughs).
Yamamoto: A neat story, yes (laughs).
(Interviewer): Huh? You drag on the enigma? (laughs) Can I have some parting words?
Tomozawa: Make VAVA appear in the Zero (games)!
Yamamoto: So we can pretend there wasn’t no communication today, can we?
Komiyama: Good idea! There’s nothing! Since it won’t fit inside of this!
Yamamoto Setsuo (Sound Director)
Born in Hyogo Prefecture. Joined Capcom in the year 92. His first sound work was for “Mighty Final Fight (NES)”, then assumed work in sound development. He mostly worked on the soundtrack for “Rockman X (SNES)”. Other representative titles are “Private Justice Academy (PSX)”, “Strider 2 (AC, PSX)”, “X-MEN (SNES)”, “Street Fighter Zero 2 (AC, PSX, SS)”, “Quiz Nanairo Dreams (AC, PSX, SS)” and others. He’s currently part of the 3rd Development Company.
Tomozawa Makoto (Production Manager)
Born in the city of Osaka. Graduated from Doshisha College’s Engineering Faculty. After joining Capcom in the year 93, he careers in sound development and game production. His main works are “Rockman X (SNES)”, “Rockman 7 (SNES)”, “Rockman DASH (PSX)”, “Rockman DASH 2 (PSX)”, “Resident Evil (PSX, GC)”, “Dino Crisis (PSX)”, “Dino Crisis 2 (PSX)”. He’s currently part of the Production Management Section.
Horiyama Toshihiko (Sound Director)
Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture. After joining Capcom in the year 93, he works in many Rockman titles such as “Rockman 7 (SNES)”, “Rockman X4 (PSX)”, “Rockman & Forte (SNES)”, “Tron & Kobun (PSX)”, “Rockman EXE 4 (GBA)”. The secret Rockman Meister. Other representative titles include “Demons’ Crest (SNES)”, “Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny (PS2)”, the Capcom logo jingle (PSX, SS), and others. He’s currently part of the 2nd Development Company.
Komiyama Yuko (Sound Director)
Born in Osaka Prefecture. Graduated from Soai College’s Music Faculty. Joined Capcom in the year ‘02. His first work was “Rockman X7 (PS2)”. He’s also worked in the production of “Asian Kitchen (Medal)”, “Mickey & Minitrick & Chase (GC)” amongst others. He’s currently part of the 3rd Development Company.
Special Contribution (by Hitoshi Ariga)
To be honest, I was puzzled when I first heard of this title. “Rockman” has many series to it and they all have in common that the protagonist is the blue “Rockman”... But this “Zero Series” would be a stand-alone series by the “red” Zero from the “X Series”.
And when I saw the official illustrations, I was puzzled again. The design of Zero, which had become familiar over the years, was wholly different. It was clear from all key points that it was “Zero”, yes, but you could say it was a wholly different thing at first glance. The drawing style had become so different from the previous series as well… What kind of game will this title and this design of “Rockman Zero” be like!? Before its release I had both expectations and insecurities… Maybe the latter had a bigger grip on me, even.
After it was released and I could get a hold of it to play it… The game I had there was indeed and unquestionably “Rockman Zero”... It ceaselessly inherited the blood of “Rockman” and it also was a game fitting to be a new title. I was impressed at how the foes recoiled from normal bullets, even. The Charge (Shot) of the classic Rockman games had become too strong and the use of normal bullets wasn’t being taken seriously; that’s what I’d been feeling but the element in “Zero” of them recoiling from the normal bullets was a wholly new gameplay experience. Hit them to make them recoil, change the weapon and cut them down. As I made my way through the game, I felt a strong “I’m playing the game” instead of “I’m being played by the game”. After playing in many forms, there were many situations placed there and there which were full of pleasure and tension… Oh yes, this indeed “Rockman”... or, rather, “Rockman Zero”...
The designs, which I’d been reluctant of before release, went on matching the world as I played the game, and while they preserved the fragrance of the series in some aspects, they also felt new and fresh, and so I ended up liking them. I personally loved “Phantom”.
… Saying this after all this praising might feel off, but… “Rockman Zero” isn’t the end goal of the “Rockman” games or the apex of action games, either. There’s still room for improvement, and it can become way more interesting… Should. I will be waiting to play a more interesting new game indeed.
I’m very glad that the soundtrack has been released, too. Because I’ve been given a chance to write this page, and even though there must be others more fitting to write in here or who must be eager to do so, I am very grateful for allowing me to express myself.
I hope that those who loved the world of “Rockman Zero” love and treasure this soundtrack.
Hitoshi Ariga (Mangaka)
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. He began drawing illustrations for walkthrough books in the year ‘90. He joins Winds out of contract in the year 91. Works as a graphic designer for “Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman 3 (PCE-CD)” and others. Past the year 92, he becomes a freelance sprite designer and works in games such as “Ranma ½ Explosive Battle (SNES)”, “Bare Knuckle 2 (MD)”, and in the year 93 makes his debut as mangaka in “Comic BonBon” of Kodansha Publisher. He draws manga of the “Rockman Series” and temporarily co-works as a sprite designer. Joins “ActRaiser 2 (SNES)”, “Illusion of Gaia (SNES)”, “Beyond Oasis (MD)” and others. His representative manga works are “Rockman X Gigamix”, “THE Big O” and others.
Ippo Yamada - Sound Designer / Producer
Born in Kanazawa Prefecture. Graduated from Chiba University Faculty of Science. Joined Capcom in the year 93. Worked on “Super Street Fighter II (SNES), “Demon’s Crest (SNES)”, “Resident Evil (PSX)”, etc. Also joined as support of (sound team) for “Rockman X2 (SNES)” and “Rockman 7 (SNES)”. Joins Inti Creates in the same year. Works in “Convertible Running Attack Gunbike (SNES)”, “LOVE & DESTROY (PSX)”, “Crayon Shin-chan The Adventure of Cinemland, the Wind-Beckoner (GBA)”, all sound of the “Rockman Zero Series” as well as CD production. Also involved in “Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children The White Tome (GBC)” as Director of Monster Designs.
Tsutomu Kurihara - Guitarist / Producer
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. Debuts in the year 84 at EUROX from Warner Pioneer. Works in anime songs for anime such as “Panzer World Galient” as well as in CMs for Suntory and Miki House. Provides songs to many artists like Nakamori Akina, Nyangilas and such. Joins in many recordings, such as those of: CLASS, Ono Masatoshi, Tanaka Minako, Sendo Akiho, Tamura Eriko, Tone Mariko, Funta, etc. Forms EGQ in the year 98. Releases 2 albums with Crown Records. He’s currently teamed up with Umegaki Luna to form Lu7 and released 2 albums, “Efflorescence” and “L’esprit de l’exil”. He’s also taken part in “Wave Rally (PS2)” and “Drihoo (XBOX)”.
Luna Umegaki - Composer / Keyboardist
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. Joined the making of the Drama CD “Angelic - The Saclear of Light and Darkness” while he was studying. Then he went on making the soundtrack and SFXs for many games such as “Ape Escape 2001 (PS2)”, “Drihoo (XBOX)”, “Everybody’s Golf 2 (PSX)”, “Jumping Flash (PSX)”, “The Legend Of Dragoon (PSX)”, “Koneko mo issho (PSX)”, “Battle Arena Toshinden 3 (PSX)”, “Choro Q2 (PSX)”, “Choro Q3 (PSX)”, “SIMPLE 1500 Hello Kitty Vol. 1~3 (PSX)” while being active as a musician. He’s currently the leader of the instrumental band Lu7.
REMASTERED TRACKS ROCKMAN ZERO Translation Project
- Notes on Zero World & Notes on Tracks (By Ippo Yamada).
- Notes on Characters, Designer's Voice, Chat About the Rockman Series Sound & Special Contribution (By Hitoshi Ariga).
REMASTERED TRACKS ROCKMAN ZERO Telos Translation Project