Musical Motifs

Given her impact, itís unsurprising that Serah has multiple themes throughout the subseries. However, Serahís titular themes are unique to the Final Fantasy franchiseís traditions: her themes are vocal, a first for an NPC turned player character, and these vocal themes are arrangements of songs that play on the gameís title screens when the game is booted, which means theyíre respectively the gameís leading motifs.

Letís start with Final Fantasy XIII. XIIís title theme is known as The Promise, with Serahís Theme as one of its arrangements - there are others, naturally, but aside from Serahís Theme the one most well known is probably The Sunleth Waterscape. Serahís Theme has differing lyrics in the Japanese original and overseas versions. This is likely because the Japanese version doesnít make much sense to an English speaker (really, really doesnít. Gotta love that engrish).

The lyrics below are to the English version, as sung by Frances Maya. You can listen to it here.

Make my wish come true, let darkness fade to light
Show me thereís still hope, show me itís not over
Battles we can win, our struggle lies within
Will we live to greet the dawn?

Love will not leave you
Hate will not heal you
Promise me one day that peace shall reign.

Promises also features in Lightning Returns whilst traversing Yusnaan - one of the NPCs plays it on a trumpet upon the completion of his fetch quest. Lightning comments that Promises was one of Serahís favourite songs, one that she often used to hum to herself. Promisesí motif also sneaks its way into one of Lightningís latter themes in the game, Claire Farron. Donít think I didnít notice that subtle inclusion, Square.

Itís not strictly a themesong for Serah, but a song that disappeared in the overseas versions was Eternal Love, a song about Serah and Snow. Eternal Love plays over the FMV scene where Serah and Snow ride through the Fireworks display at the festival in Bodhum - international variants replaced this with Serahís Theme. Thereís no English variant for Eternal Love, but there is a fan arrangement that you should acquaint yourself with because it gives me the feels. Villiers Farron, everyone, the truest of OTPs with their own in-game track. Single tear.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 adds to Serahís musical theme repertoire. XIII-2ís title theme is Wishes, and Serahís Theme - Memories is an arrangement of The Future that is in turn an arrangement of Wishes - The Future is a non-vocal version of Memories, but, thatís the official apparent order. Weird. Like Serahís first vocal theme in the original, Memories is also sung by Frances Maya. You can listen to it here.

You rest inside my mind
Since the day you came, I knew you would be with me
All the time we spent, what we shared was surely
Warm enough to know you cared for me

Light flies through memories
Helps me walk my path, Iíll keep my head up high
Words of faith and love
Your strength gives me hope
Someday Iíll find you with open arms.

Iím quite a big fan of Memories, because itís so utterly Serah. It marks her journey and the wishes of her heart, and the goals that she strives for. Itís her want song, her need for a reunion with her dear sister... which is the general theme for all three games. I need another moment here.

You can also have your heart broken minutes after learning Promises was a song that Serah used to hum when a songstress starts to sing Memories in Yusnaan. Yes, sing. Tears were shed. Thanks, Lightning Returns, you werenít already upsetting enough.