Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream Soundtrack, Yoko Kanno, 2000
Occasionally legend is indeed more intriguing than reality. One such case is Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream, a Japan-only Dreamcast title that initially made waves for having been developed by a predominantly (or even exclusively) female team. Unfortunately, a look at the game’s credits quickly shows that this wasn’t the case, although key design roles were indeed held by women. Ultimately, Napple Tale didn’t need these sorts of urban myths to stand apart from the competition. While not particularly challenging, the game created a wonderfully whimsical, dreamlike 2.5D world that mixed platforming with RPG elements. Around this framework, developer Chime Corporation wrapped a narrative that dealt with how the passing of seasons impacted the personality of the game’s characters.
While the game never left Japan, it did gain a certain level of popularity in the West – and that’s really due to Yoko Kanno’s involvement with this project. By the time she wrote the Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream soundtrack, Kanno had firmly cemented her position as one of Japan’s finest anime composers, coming off the twin successes of Cowboy Bebop and Turn A Gundam (maybe the greatest score ever written for this long-running franchise). What exactly inspired Kanno to make a return to video game scoring after having firmly established her film music career is unclear. However, it’s safe to say that Napple Tale is just as outstanding as her other scores of this era.