Kakariko Village is a reoccurring town found throughout Zelda lore. Generally a farming town, it’s a quiet and relaxing place to visit, play some games, do some side quests, and overall procrastinate from what really matters. Though the location has had a change in
Princess Zelda’s Study is a series where we examine the history of The Legend of Zelda to bring you some fascinating (or just plain weird) trivia. In our studies, we’ll explore each game’s development, curiosities within the rich lore of the franchise, and the impact it has had on our culture. From time to time, we’ll also look at Nintendo’s past to unearth some facts about our favorite company.
Kakariko, both the village and the song, debuted in A Link to the Past. A common mistake, also found with “Zelda’s Lullaby” is that it’s thought to have been created for Ocarina of Time, but it’s been around 7 years prior to its release. For the most part, this soothing tune melodically sounds the same aside from its synthetic instruments.
Once it was recreated for Ocarina of Time, it was given the sounds of recognizable instruments: guitar, harmonica, and, of course, ocarina. Actually, there are two versions of the theme in Ocarina of Time. One for when Link is a child and one as an adult. The adult version features more strings to give it a fuller sound. Otherwise, the two are exactly alike.
The next time we would hear this song would not be in Kakariko, but instead on a little island called Windfall. In the year 2002, we were given The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This indirect sequel to Ocarina of Time featured many old songs with a new spin on them, including both Outset Island and the Forest Haven’s take on the “Kokiri Forest Theme” and the upbeat Kakariko transformation that is the “Windfall Island Theme”.
While both A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time featured more soothing renditions of the “Kakariko Theme”, The Wind Waker’s Windfall Island was filled with people hustling and bustling about, so a peppier theme was needed for such a place! The song is given a nice little intro before the first six notes we all know are finally played. However, once we reach the bridge, the tune is identical once more. The melody at this point is slightly different than the original, having a more playful tone than somber.
Two years later this song would return, but once again not in the village of Kakariko. 2004’s Four Sword Adventure takes us to a different location, like Windfall, that is similar enough to Kakariko to share its theme song. “The Village of the Blue Maiden” is another town where the people never seem to rest, so once again it has a more upbeat tone. Unlike the “Windfall Theme” however, this one’s melody remains the same to its original source. It’s a faster pace and played with much louder instruments, but it’s the same “Kakariko Theme” we all know through and through.
Now 2006’s Twilight Princess has a brand new theme song for this iconic village, and in my honest opinion, though it fits the scenery, it’s just not as catchy. There is still a callback to the original “Kakariko Theme” when you first enter the scene — the first six notes are most undeniably a reference to the previous games, and you hear them once again as the track loops every so often. You can even hear bits and pieces of it while trying to calm Epona!
Of course, what good sequel wouldn’t include a newly orchestrated version of a beloved theme song? In 2013, A Link Between Worlds released with an overworld nearly identical to its direct prequel, A Link to the Past, and we’ve officially gone full circle with this piece!
It’s been a few years since then and no sign of our beloved “Kakariko Theme”. Well, at least not as an actual town theme. It is one of the many songs that can be played in the Tri Force Heroes lobby, but aside from that, Breath of the Wild decided to reinvent the theme of the village to better suit the traditional Japanese tone. The Twilight Princess version is also revamped to fit the hack and slash gameplay of Hyrule Warriors. What, you didn’t expect them to put in the calm and peaceful version into a game like that, did you?
It’s always fun to see these songs revisited in each new Zelda game they appear in. The “Kakariko Theme” has always been a favorite of mine, especially the Windfall rendition, and I will be hoping that Nintendo revisit this theme the next time we visit Kakariko Village: or perhaps somewhere entirely new!