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Hajime Wakai

Hajime Wakai Instruments: Piano
Joined Nintendo: 1999
Company Role: Composer
Game Works: Pikmin, Pokémon Stadium, Star Fox Command


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris and is under copyright.

Hajime Wakai has been a composer at Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development since 1997. He debuted the company in 1997 creating sound effects for the Nintendo 64's Yoshi's Story. The same year, he and Koji Kondo established a synthetic orchestral score for Star Fox 64; demonstrating influence from cinematic composers, Wakai was responsible for the world and battle themes in a largely well-received work. Subsequently, he assisted Taro Bando with composition of F-Zero X. The hard rock soundtrack added energy to the futuristic racing game and was so popular that it was arranged by Ryuichi Katsumata into a hit guitar album. Wakai subsequently scored the Nintendo 64's Pokémon Stadium with Toru Minegishi and Kenta Nagata. This first non-handheld instalment of the game, its soundtrack was packaged with Pokémon Snap. In his first solo project, he returned to its sequel, combining endearing remixes with light-hearted original compositions.

On behalf of 2001's Pikmin, Wakai melded all sorts of musical and artistic influences together in weird but wonderful ways. Its unconventional instrumentation, whimsical phrasing, catchy motifs, and endearing personality come together to portray Pikmin's world and creatures excellently. Unfortunately, the score was variably received given the same five area themes were used for hours at a time within the game to the irritation or boredom of many gamers. In his only role in the Zelda series, Wakai supported Nagata and Minegishi on 2002's The Wind Waker; while no individual credits are available, Wakai is believed to have maintained the cutesy Pikmin style on the compositions for Outset Island, Forest Haven, and the Wind Temple, among others. In 2004, Wakai returned to score Pikmin 2 with Kazumi Totaka; while preserving a similar sound, he compensated for the problems with its predecessor by ensuring each area had multiple themes and most were very extensively developed.

In another solo project, Wakai scored the various games in the Nintendogs line in 2005. The hit lifestyle title's low-key scores weren't intended for stand-alone listening, but were regarded as an acceptable accompaniment for the most part. The composer made his belated Mario debut with the DS' New Super Mario Bros. in 2006. Asuka Ota produced the majority of the score, but Wakai's stylistic touches were evident in many of the world themes and mini-game tunes, essentially colouring an already accomplished score. Also that year, Wakai commemorated the long-awaited return of the Star Fox series to Nintendo EAD with a memorable quasi-orchestral score for the DS' Star Fox Command. In 2007, Wakai scored Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree with presumed new employee Ryo Nagamatsu and contributed some arrangements to the multi-artist project Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

List of Game Projects

Year Game / Role Console
1997 Yoshi's Story
Sound Effects
Nintendo 64
1997 Star Fox 64
Composition with Koji Kondo
Nintendo 64
1998 F-Zero X
Composition with Taro Bando
Nintendo 64
1999 Pokémon Stadium
Composition with Kenta Nagata, Toru Minegishi
Nintendo 64
2000 Pokémon Stadium 2
Nintendo 64
2001 Pikmin
2002 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Composition with Kenta Nagata, Toru Minegishi, Koji Kondo
2004 Pikmin 2
Composition with Kazumi Totaka
2005 Nintendogs
2006 New Super Mario Bros.
Composition with Asuka Ota, Koji Kondo
2006 Star Fox Command
2007 Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
Composition with Ryo Nagamatsu
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl
2008 Wii Music
Composition with many others

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
F-ZERO X Original Soundtrack PCCG-00459
F-ZERO X Guitar Arrange Edition ZMCX-101
Lylat Wars - Sound of Lylat: The Original Lylat Wars Soundtrack (Europe) Art.-Nr.: 94025
Nintendo Sound History Series - Zelda the Music SCDC-00395
N64Y2K Millenium Trax (Europe) 3591040
Nintendo 64 Greatest Hits (US) 1101-Winter96
Nintendo 64 Trilogy (US) 2020-Fall97
Nintendo Sound Adventures (Europe) Promotional
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 1: Peach Healing Music CN-P004
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 3: Luigi B-Side Music CN-P020
Pikmin World Original Soundtrack TOCT-24808
Pokémon Gotta Catch the Sound Original Soundtrack 3591666
Star Fox 64 Original Soundtrack PCCG-00421
Star Fox 64 Soundtrack CD (US) 2080-Fall97
Star Fox 64 Original Cuts Promotional
Touch! Generations Soundtrack Promotional
Zelda Majora's Mask Original Soundtrack, The Legend of PICA-2006
Zelda Majora's Mask Original Soundtrack, The Legend of PICA-2006
Zelda Sound Collection, The Legend of Promotional
Zelda The Wind Waker Original Soundtrack, The Legend of SCDC-00250/1
Zelda Twilight Princess Official Soundtrack, The Legend of (Nintendo Power) Promotional
Zelda Twilight Princess Official Soundtrack, The Legend of (Sword and Shield) Promotional
Zelda Twilight Princess Sound & Visual CD, The Legend of (Nintendo Dream) Promotional