Part 6: Bonus Update 1Bonus Update 1
Nelke countdown image featuring Lulua cameo
Rorona and Lulua art
Thank you for playing the game! My name is Yanagawa. Having been involved in the earlier "Arland" trilogy, I truly am honored to be able to participate in this title too. I haven't expected to be able to return to this world. For this track, I incorporated the comforting sense of familiarity we have with Rorona in the beginning, but in the second half, I made sure to use a slightly disconcerting underlying tone. I was considering name this main track "Atelier Lulua", as was the custom in the earlier "Arland" series... But then realized that this is not where the story begins, so it became "Wagon Atelier" instead. (Yanagawa)
Wow that's...an awfully conscientious reason not to name this "Atelier Lulua", gotta say. There's more I want to say about this, but I'll revisit it next Bonus Update.
Atelier Meruru: For Lulua
Hello, everyone. This is Daisuke Achiwa!
This is the next official installment of the famed "Arland" series! It's also a chance to meet many of the familiar faces, and enjoy adaptations of classic tracks from the earlier titles. This is my arranagement of Kazuki Yanagawa's atelier piece from "Atelier Meruru", the final installment of the "Arland" trilogy. I suspect many of you spent a good deal of time on alchemy and will find this melody quite familiar. (Achiwa)
Running Down a Familiar Road
Since Achiwa and Nakagawa's in-town tracks were already by this time completed, I consciously avoided any similar arrangements, and by concentrating on drawing out Lulua's character in this piece, I managed to create a final product that is comparatively cheerful for an in-village track. My role as a jack of all trades, allows me the chance to create music to fill any and all gaps that my colleagues leave behind, and is something I find quite enjoyable. With the distinguished talents all around me, I just fell naturally into this role. (Laughs.) (Yanagawa)
Castle Town in a Small Land: For Lulua
This is another composition from "Atelier Meruru", this time for the castle town of Arls. In the original title, this was a small town, very rustic but showing promise for future development. In this title, the town has indeed started to flourish, so I tried to reflect a sense of serenity and maturation in my arranagement of the piece. (Achiwa)
No Sneaking a Bite
The image for the tavern is much like that of the town. It is shaped fundamentally by our image of Lisa. I wonder what liquor tastes like in such a world of fantasy. I don't think I'd like to try the stale-smelling liquor from Alanya, though. Just as I was thinking that, I am shocked to find it has indeed reemerged! So this how things survive for generation after generation... (Yanagawa)
For this title, the three of us (Ken Nakagawa, Kazuki Yanagawa, and myself) who were involved in the various titles of the earlier trilogy were gathered together! I only worked on the third title, "Atelier Meruru", so my duties this time were primarily focused on arranging Arls-themed pieces. Having said that, I did oversee the sound editing and sound effects in "Atelier Rorona" and "Atelier Totori" as well, so I am very much emotionally attached to all three titles. (Achiwa)
Boy, Nakagawa. He actually hasn't done any music in a mainline Atelier from Totori all the way to this game. He was a responsible for a large percentage of Rorona's songs alongside Yanagawa, did quite a few tracks for Totori, and then nada for Meruru on. Until today.
Shu Shu Waltz: For Lulua 1
"Shu Shu Waltz" was so named as Orthogalaxen, the ruins of an ancient civilization, had steam spouting out all over the place. It could have been just as befitting to call it "Stinky Steamy Waltz". (Nakagawa)
Song of Trees and Water
I wrote this track mesmerized by the otherworldly atmosphere of this map. Even the name Eternal Spring just fits perfectly. I have included recordings of my own performances on the flute and the melodica for some of the pieces for this title too. Though I've been practicing for nearly a decade now, I am sad to admit I have not improved much...but I wanted to produce a natural sound that only live recording could achieve. (Yanagawa)
Lulua Chasing Stars: Fields
It was in "Atelier Totori" that we first implemented the policy that allowed a seamless transition in music, from the world map track to an area map. Here, I kept things simple to reflect the tone of the field version. Absolutely no trimmings. (Achiwa)
Lulua Chasing Stars: Forest
This is the forest version of the area map track. Rather than covering a lot of ground at speed, a forest adventure entails a thorough exploration amidst the thickets. I concentrated on using stringed instruments to illustrate the stealthy movement. (Achiwa)
Lulua Chasing Stars: Wasteland
This is the wasteland version of the generic map theme. Wastelands are commonly seen in games, so in order to avoid creating yet another similar rendition, I added a Wild West quality, where you can almost hear the cowboys' gunshots. I suspect many around my age-group would find this nostalgic, while the younger generation will hopefully find this added spice a refreshing change of pace. (Achiwa)
Speaking of generations, when I was going through Sophie's sound gallery, I was surprised how young most of the composers on this series were. Sure Sophie was made a few years before I actually played it, but they were all only about...5-8 years older than me, I figured. It's surprising mostly because how many games are in this series and how it's only been going since the late 90s. But I think it's only with Rorona's release that this series had any kind of particular overseas exposure, which is where I came into the series. But the point remains that the composers are actually a fairly young bunch.
Lulua Chasing Stars: Wetlands
This is the wetlands version of the generic map track. One of my specialties. Well, maybe not. I felt that combining the sitar and the tabla, two classical sounds of Indian music, would produce a watery image, with the added air of something a little unsettling. You can almost visualize the insectivorous plants surrounded by the dampness and heat of South Asia. Just ideal for the wetlands. (Achiwa)
"Insectivorous". That's a good word.
This is a battle track for Arklys and its surrounds. I asked Ono to play the violin for this piece. In an attempt to maintain the Arland feel, I made sure to preserve the tone of the earlier battle music from "Atelier Totori", while also focusing on fusing it with Lulua's vitality in this title. Emphasis was also placed on the introduction, which is vital for any battle music. After all, as the items concocted become more powerful, battles can tend to end quite abruptly. (Yanagawa)
Don't I know it after having made ultimate bombs on my previous playthrough.
This is the Battle track for Arls and its surroundings. I was in two minds as to whether I should refer to the earlier version from "Atelier Meruru" which had a Latin feel, or keep the more traditional distinct beat here. In the end, I concluded that since this piece is more likely to be played after significant progress, the latter, upbeat version would be preferable. The one and only Dani is on guitar and bass once again, with a bass solo thrown in this time. (Achiwa)
I recall writing "Criss Cross" around 15 years ago for an "Atelier" title that centered more on battle. It proved very popular. (People tend to like music with a quicker tempo, after all) I had always wanted to create a sequel, but the chance never presented itself until now. Since there were no specific instructions for this battle music, I was free to realize my dream here. (Nakagawa)
The name of the title he's referring to is "Atelier Iris: Grand FANTASM", for the record. Released in 2006, where Lulua was released in 2019. So he's just about right.
Frixell in the Fields
As the "Atelier" series morphed from a simulation game to a role-playing game, so did the accompanying music. I did my best to keep a hint of the recorder in the piece, trying out all sorts of arrangments. 15 years ago, though, when using the recording was extremely unusual, you can imagine the mockery I received. It was all thanks to all of you devoted fans of the game that it eventually came to be loved as "Atelier" music. True story. (Nakagawa)
True. Atelier music has gotten very distinctive. You can definitely tell when you hear certain instruments being used in a song that "Yep, this is an Atelier song". Even Gust's other titles released in the last few years, like Nights of Azure or Blue Reflection, use different instruments that aren't the ones you typically find in this series.
Cradling a Cannon Under the Arm
Oh, Eva... How I wished I had a childhood friend as cute as you... I wanted to reflect her sweetness in the composition, too, and incorporated my favorite dainty sounds of the piccolo snare drum. Is it just me, or can everyone sense Eva's presence even in Refle's scenario? Actually, that's probably true for other scenarios too... (Yanagawa)
The next track listed after Eva's theme is "A Trick Up My Sleeve", the theme for that
Gazing at the Sword
When I first worked on the "Atelier" series, I was closer in age to the protagonists and other prominent characters. Now, though, I am closer in age to Arland's Hagel or Gio, essentially secondary characters in the storyline. That's why these days, I find myself looking down on youngsters like Aurel just a little. I don't quite know how this affects things, if at all. (Achiwa)
Remember how I mentioned a lot of the sound staff of these games was relatively close in age to me? Achiwa is not that, at all. He was born in 1973, so he has to be one of the older Atelier alumni. In fact, he's as alumni as they come. He's worked on almost every Atelier and Mana Khemia (which we know Gust considers to be the same universe, because Mana Khemia characters showed up in Nelke, which Achiwa also worked on) up to, and including, Marie.
Primula: For Lulua
Wow, Piana's all grown up and sexy now! This called for me to create a mature, more serene adaptation of the original Piana music. But wait, is she really grown up? ...Well, I guess on the outside she is. Her inner, less mature disposition, however, is reflected in the tricky chord progression. (Yanagawa)
An Arklys Smile
This is the music for the people of Arklys, from the rural outlands of Arland. To capture their relatively basic lifestyle, I kept the melody simple and uncluttered, only to learn these people actually have very colorful personalities. I guess one can argue that their rich character is being balanced out by the calming music. (Yanagawa)
Welcome to Arls
This is music for the people of Arls. I just like how in the "Atelier" series, even the townspeople, who are too insignificant to be included in the players' party, still have a prominent presence. I mean, even our alchemist protagonists would usually be considered on par with shopkeepers in more traditional RPG games. I just love these RPGs that place value on the affairs of every day life. (Achiwa)
Ghost Girl: For Lulua
It wasn't Pamela's theme, but there was a track called "Wicked Tongued Girl" before. And another called "Whistling Girl". Oh, and let's not forget "Dozing Girl" or "Performing Girl". Are you familiar with any of those? (Nakagawa)
Phew boy, had to look through Nakagawa's history to get the references here. "Dozing Girl" is from Atelier Iris 2: Eternal Mana, "Whistling Girl" is from Mana Khemia, "Wicked Tongued Girl" is from Mana Khemia 2, and finally, "Performing Girl" from good ol' Atelier Rorona. Nakagawa seems to find himself involved in a lot of games with themes with names like "x Girl".
A Kitten's Catnip
The usual. Is what I wanted to say, but that may be rude to those who join us from this title, so I will call it the "everyday theme". I purposely selected an unpolished rendition on the recorder here. I recall the first time I composed this kind of music. It was for "Atelier Meruru", I believe. I was racking my brains wondering how best to come up with music that shared the same "Atelier" quality, and I ended up buying a recorder and a tin whistle online. It brings back fond memories. (Yanagawa)
For the Long Night Ahead
I was instructed to write a calm, composed piece. The aim was to make players fall asleep. Did I succeed? (Yanagawa)
Toward the Blossoming Flowers
The objective was to come up with an exuberantly happy track. The solo part in the bridge is distinctly based on Lulua. Not that anyone would be interested, but my motto when I was a student also was "It'll all work out somehow!" So I feel a strong natural affinity with Lulua. (Yanagawa)
This track has a serious tone. Unlike my infinite supply of sad memories, I hardly have any serious ones. I guess living a carefree life has its drawbacks!
In case you're interested, the Japanese title is a phrase that I had put into my notebook of a long while back, intending to use it when the opportunity arose. And here was that opportunity! (Yanagawa)
I was told there are a few close shaves in this game, so I intensified the sense of urgency and panic in comparison to earlier "Arland" titles. Not to worry, though, I didn't overdo it. I don't want to be accused of hamming it up. Although I did have to desperately resist the urge to use the horn for effect. (Yanagawa)
This is music for delivering the punchline. I hope it was sufficiently humorous! (Yanagawa)
Glad to be able to use the circus march once again. I incorporated drums in this one, so it sounds a little poppy. I've just realized a lot of tracks for the "Arland" series have quite a pop-like sound, listening back to them. Drums seem to be frequently used. The trill of of the chime and glockenspiel that I've inserted halfway through the track is supposed to rsemble the sounds of a British brass band. Do you agree? (Yanagawa)
I opted for music with a mysterious air for this track. There is an abundant use of synthesizers as the storyline takes us exploring around the Galaxen. The writing around this area seems foreign too! I must admit my reading skills for non-Japanese words is somewhat feeble. I used to think "Alchemyriddle" was "Alchemydrill". I must practice reading over the summer! (Yanagawa)
This is the music for the festival. In 13/8 tempo, I must admit I can't remember when I last used this rhythm. The beat just came naturally when I was experimenting hitting a few notes on the keyboard, while imagining being at a festival. But instead of paying attention to the peculiar beat, I hope you can focus on the gameplay while enjoying the music. (Yanagawa)
This track is for the tutorial! Yes, the one you won't hear ever again after the second week. You know you can always return just to listen to it, now and again! (Yanagawa)
For the title track, I borrowed the interlude from the opening track. I wanted players to be able to listen to the full version of the opening track after clearing the game, too, so that they have the chance to recollect all their fond memories from the game. (Yanagawa)
The title track after clearing the game was arranged with a cheery feel. I was in two minds as to whether I should switch the two title tracks for before and after clearing the game. I thought that a simpler version should be used after clearing the game, but decided on the cheerier version to reflect the sense of accomplishment. These staging decisions are difficult, since it all depends on personal preference. (Yanagawa)
Let's Master It
For the "Atelier" series, we usually compose music from scratch, for the most part, but this is a classic piece for reading recipes in Arland. (Yanagawa)
Strike the Pose!
This is a jingle for victory in battle. I like to listen to it overlaid with the victory voice line. If the voices lines up perfectly with the tempo of the jingle, it makes my day! (Yanagawa)
No Overbuying, Now!
This is shopping music. I just can't get over all the special offers out there these days. I'm glued to my phone, constantly checking my screen for good deals. (Yanagawa)
Performing the Task!
I envy a world where you can take on a task and turn around shortly afterwards admitting you failed, not at all repentant. I wonder if Rorona is secretly handling what Lulua wasn't able to finish. (Yanagawa)
Lulua Chasing Stars
I had two different world map tracks in mind. The one we went for in the end was my original creation. My later version was a touch more bittersweet. The decision was based on the fact that my original, more lighthearted and exciting than the later version, matched the personality of Lulua, who ended up much more cheerful and carefree than we had first anticipated. It's as if Lulua herself persuaded me to go for the first version, in her usual animated tones. (Achiwa)
Lulua Chasing Stars (Choral ver.)
This is the version of "Lulua Chasing Stars" with backing vocals. For the chorus, we used Yuka, who we have called on for a wide range of vocal and chorus work in earlier titles. When viewing the world map, the screen is filled with symbols, so it is a chance to use music with a certain amount of assertiveness. There's also the crossfade transition between the world map and field map, so we've tried to use music to suggest a transition to the new level. How does it sound? (Achiwa)
The official track name is "Reemergence". It signifies the reemergence of the potent resources essential to alchemy in this great land, I believe. (Nakagawa)
Why is it that the people of Arland tend to sleep on their sofas rather than on their beds? I wonder if this will be true in this title too. Inspired by this, I've also been sleeping on a sofa a lot these days. Of course, I've now hurt my back, as a result. Don't try this at home, folks. I recommend a proper bed.
Ah, sofas aren't all bad. I've slept on sofas for weeks at a time myself, though, I have been known to be a tad askew. I'd prefer a relatively soft sofa over a slab of concrete in the shape of a bed any day.
Counting on you, Lulua
This track is for meeting a new ally, who will now accompany you on your journeys. For this reason, I borrowed the opening phrase of the world map track. Why not add your own lyrics, like "To my new friend, Lulua" to the tune? Then, when you get bore, you can create joke lyrics, by changing friend to "frog" or "lettuce". Spice up your life with some outrageous lyrics. It'll be worth it. I hope you will continue to love the "Atelier" series as much as I do. (Achiwa)
It's well known that the famous Flea Waltz is named differently all over the world. With the evolution of digital gadgets, it's now possible to add text information to accompanying music. On the other hand, there are setbacks where, for example, word length restrictions mean track names have to be changed even after they have been released. Since this is not uncommon, I am of the opinion that we shouldn't bother with an official track name, and everyone should name each piece as they see fit. Of course, some say I'm just sulking. All I want is to make things easier for my listeners. Honest! (Nakagawa)
I actually don't know where in the game this song plays, but it's listed on the OST on Disc 1, which contains most of the tracks prior to arriving in Arls. If it does show up somewhere else, don't know, don't care.
I was fortunate enough to be able to assist in the sound editing on this track. Of course, it's fun and an honor to be able to write the music. But when you get the chance to experience first-hand the other processes that all combine to create the in-game sounds, it's a true thrill, though it does require a lot of patience (Laughs) You can't take music away from me, but I'd definitely like to have a crack at even non-music-related aspects of the game creation process too. Yes, I am that dedicated. (Yanagawa)
In the Atelier Shallie concert hall, Yanagawa mentioned that he did a lot of run-throughs of one of the dungeons prior to the debugging process, before the music for the dungeon had been composed. So much so that he memorized the layout of the place early on in development. I'm not exactly sure *why* he was asked to do that, but presumably it had something to do with kinda getting the vibe of the place before composing the theme for it.
Turn the Page
This track is used for a bumper effect. I borrowed the phrase from the opening track for this one. And to create the sense of a new beginning, I used the motif from the first verse, rather than the chorus. Our music would be made redundant were it not for the game, so I like to play around with these options while taking into consideration the image of the game as a whole.
Presea (Short Ver.)
Yamamoto is on vocals here, accompanied by Dani on the guitar and bass, Ono on the violin, and Tsuchiya on drums. Just superb, as always! To be asked to write the opening track is a singular honor. I did lose some sleep from the pressure of that responsibility, though. Much like the opening tracks from the "Arland" series, the rhythm is in 6/8 time. My creations tend to be the end result of a balancing act of my gut feeling with the themes of the game. Here, I wanted to incorporate Lulua's vivacity to the simple melody to match the image of Arklys. I do wish I could one day write music using a more mathematical approach. (Yanagawa)
Listen to this track wondering who the [redacted] refer to, and you should be able to enjoy its significance all the more, especially after you've cleared the game. I wrote the piece hoping to portray conflicting messages depending on when you listened to it. Was it different before and after playing the game? It could just be me, but I love that sort of thing. Anyway, a big thank you all for clearing the game. I hope you got something positive out of this experience! (Yanagawa)
Phew. No matter how many Atelier games I LP, this first Bonus Update batch of song commentaries is always killer.
Veterans of the other games, as well as other games in general, will no doubt be aware of bonus messages given by the seiyuus that are just them talking for a bit about their characters, the game, or whatever else is on their mind. Every Atelier I know of has had these things, but there's something much different with Lulua: all of these messages are finally translated! So, we'll be going through all of these before this thread is done. Of course, for these first few bonus updates, I'll be not posting any messages from the seiyuus that spoil anything, or from characters who have yet to be introduced. Luckily, we'll have every major character introduced by Part XIV, so that won't need to be a consideration after that point. Let us begin. Formatting is mostly as I see fit to aid readability, and also to separate the different topics the seiyuus will opine on.
Elmerulia Frixell - Miyuri Shimabukuro
Congratulations on clearing the game. My name is Miyuri Shimabukuro. I play the role of Lulua.
So you guys actually cleared the game, right? I can't help but be curious as to which route you took and what ending you reached.
I've heard a lot about the "Atelier" series. I love the beautiful artwork, and I have friends who are really into the series. My interest in the game was already picqued, to say the least. But I never considered I'd be involved in the creation side of things before actually playing the game as a consumer, so I am justifiably nervous. I have absolutely zero confidence that I will one day be successful enough in the game to see this bonus free talk for myself. I am, therefore, super thankful to all of you who have reached this far. Congratulations, once again.
It could just be me, but everyone in Arland seems to have soft, sweet voices. And here I am, playing the role of Lulua with my deeper, more aggressive tone of voice. I am concerned you may have been shocked by my voice at first. Was I a convincing Lulua? Well, I'll never know, I guess.
I estimate Lulua had several thousand spoken words in the game. I don't think I've ever had this many lines for any voice work before. In fact, I feel like I spoke more as Lulua than I had in my personal life until taking on this role. I mean, if you include all the practice time, as well as all the fluffed lines, this may very well be a fact. This is one of the few times I've been assigned a lively, energetic character. I therefore had to think long and hard about how best to approach the role in terms of voice ton and manner--the whole process was really quite nerve-wracking. After my first voice recording session, though. It was as if Lulua herself guided me. Rather than me trying to find just the right voice for Lulua, it was Lulua who taught me how best to portray her. I do hope you all understand what I'm trying to say here---it's a little embarrassing for me if you don't...
I admit I didn't exactly understand the transition from the tutorial to the actual game play. The flow of time was a mystery to me. When you actually play the game, I'm sure this would have come naturally and it would have been easier to mingle with the citizens of Arland. That would be nice. I just heard myself and realized I'm rambling here again, so I will stop here.
But, before I do, here's a question for you. Do you have a favorite character yet? I guess those of you who were avid fans of past titles with Lulua's mother, Rorona, or Totori as the main characters already have your favorites. But what did you think of Rorona as a mother? Does this mean we need to address her as Rorolina Frixell now? I tell you, I had an absolute nightmare trying to say that name at first. I just love how even in this fictitious world, we can be so drawn in by this exemplary mother-figure, and the adorable mother-daughter relationship. During Lulua's conversations with her mother, I was instructed to speak with the tone of a puppy fawning on its master, while conversations with Eva were to resemble a husband and wife comedy skit. Though I could not hear the other side of the conversation, the back-and-forth of the dialogue was fun to record. I hope there's a scene in there that you'll find enjoyable too. Here's to deepening your passion for Arland through playing the game over and over, finding your favorite scenes here and there, and getting to know the people behind the voice through these free-talk sessions.
Thank you for listening, everybody. Should I have the chance to play Lulua in the future too, I will do my very best not to disappoint you, so I hope to see you again then. Please ignore me now as I leave myself a message. Miyuri, if you are listening to yourself now, it means you have cleared the game. Bravo! And to all of you, who have already cleared the game, very well done. Thanks again, I'm grateful for your time. Did that sound okay? Then I think that'll do.
She, uh...she had a lot on her mind. And I know she said that thing about Rorona even though we haven't seen Rorona in the story yet, but c'mon. If you couldn't guess Rorona shows up later in the story, I dunno what to tell you.
Christoph Aurel Arland - Natsuki Hanae
Hello, this is Natsuki Hanae here, playing the role of Aurel.
Thank you for playing "Atelier Lulua". I've had the honor, on this occasion, to play the role of Aurel, a slightly eccentric character of royal blood. Though usually haughty, Aurel is known to reveal his affectionate side at times, and even has some comical scenes too. He was certainly a fun character to play. At first glance, Aurel seems arrogant and obnoxious. But the more you get to know him, the more you learn that he is actually quite lovable. I played the role trying to achieve the best balance between his extremes of hot and cold, and making sure that when he is serious, he maintains his suave aloofness. I hope he comes across as the charismatic youngster I had originally set out to portray. I have not yet had the chance to play this game, but I am definitely looking forward to doing so, just as soon as I can.
I know you guys must have cleared the game once already, but I hope you'll continue on playing until you have explored all of Arland! This is Natsuki Hanae, playing Aurel, signing off. Thank you all for your time.
Piana - Kaoru Akiyama
Hello, all. My name is Kaoru Akiyama, and I play the role of Piana.
Piana has been absent from a number of "Atelier" titles now, so when I first heard she was returning, I was quite stunned. Since her last appearance, Piana has become all grown up, and has even welcome Lulua as an apprentice. This made me reflect on the last time I played Piana, when we were both novices, much like Lulua is now. I made sure to portray the now adult Piana as if she were watching over her younger self. This certainly provided a great opportunity to look back on my past, and I very much enjoyed the whole experience.
We don't usually play the game after recording is finished, but I admit this is somewhat of a letdown, so I will try really get into the game this time and join you all in the satisfaction and enjoyment you derive from this world. I urge you to keep playing too. Thank you all for your time.
Fun fact, Kaoru Akiyama actually has a lot of Gust veterancy under her belt, though this time she only talks about her role as Piana. In addition to reprising her role as Piana in this game, she also voices Horoholo in Rorona, Mimi's mother in Totori, Gilliant Clout in Atelier Annie, Cole in Rorona (if you can believe that), and Uryu in Mana Khemia 2, which she reprised in Nelke.