Was the dragon different in each of the Panzer Dragoon games, or was it the same dragon in all four Panzer Dragoon games? Here we try to prove that the dragon was the same physical creature from Panzer Dragoon Zwei to Panzer Dragoon Orta.
- From Humble Beginnings
- The Facts Surrounding the Panzer Dragoon Zwei Endings
- The Diaries of Skiad Ops Endow (aka Lundi)
- The Appearance of the Armoured Blue Dragon in Panzer Dragoon
- The Dragon Survives?
- Why Did Lagi Downgrade Himself to the Basic Wing Form for Panzer Dragoon Saga?
- The Mystery of the Dragon Crests
- What Purpose do the Dragon Crests Serve?
- Where Did the Baby Dragon Found Inside Shelcoof Come From?
- Pandora’s Box and the Empire’s Understanding of the Dragon
- The Dragon in Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Panzer Dragoon Orta Look Very Much Alike
- The Conversation Between the Two Halves
- Was the Dragon Merely a Tool for the Heresy Program?
- Did Lagi Really Die?
- The Legend of Lagi Ends
Solo Wing: The Heresy Dragon, in the original three Panzer Dragoon games, existed to free the world from the will of the Ancients. However details of what exactly the Heresy Dragon is were complicated with the release of Panzer Dragoon Orta. The dragon, who prior to the release of Panzer Dragoon Orta, was commonly believed to be a singular entity, was revealed to be two parts of a whole. The Forbidden Memories episode of Panzer Dragoon Orta contains a hidden memory orb that shows a conversation between the physical dragon and the golden ‘Heresy Program’ that once occupied the physical dragon’s body. The contents of the conversation revealed that the Heresy Dragon was actually made up of two parts: the dragon’s body and the entity that gave it a purpose (commonly known among fans as the “Heresy Program”).
While Sestren’s memory orbs confirm that the same impurity was present in all three Panzer Dragoon games, how do we know that Lagi - the name that Lundi gave to the coolia baby at the start of Panzer Dragoon Zwei - was the same physical creature in each of the four games? The Panzer Dragoon Saga dragon was definitely the same creature as the Panzer Dragoon Orta dragon, but what about the dragons in the first two Panzer Dragoon games? After all, Lundi’s Old Diary does speak of Lagi “discarding his body” and “reemerging with a new body”; this suggests that the Heresy Program left the physical dragon’s body and ‘downloaded’ itself into a new form.
In this theory, we’re going to be supporting the contrary. We argue that Lagi was born in Panzer Dragoon Zwei and lived through the entire 84 years of his life until his death at the end of Panzer Dragoon Orta - within a single physical body. We’re not arguing that Lagi died at any point over the course of the four games, or changed bodies, with the exception of the different forms that he morphs into (in this theory Lagi’s different forms are regarded as part of the same physical body). Lagi is the same dragon in all four Panzer Dragoon games. For alternative arguments, see Lance Way’s Different Dragons Theory and my Attached Dragon Mind Theory.
Please note that this is a joint theory between myself and Geoffrey. Each section of the theory will be marked with the respective author’s name.
From Humble Beginnings
Geoffrey: It has always been my firm belief that Panzer Dragoon Zwei was meant to provide a backstory for the dragon seen in the original Panzer Dragoon. If it didn’t then that would defeat the purpose of the game being a prequel. Panzer Dragoon Zwei was always meant to tell the tale of the dragon’s humble beginnings. After all, who could imagine that a mutant coolia would save the world and become a legend?
Solely in the context of Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei, where else could the dragon seen in the original Panzer Dragoon have come from otherwise? Panzer Dragoon Zwei was meant to clarify the dragon’s origins, not be the story of the birth and death of a single dragon. Keep in mind that we never see the dragon born in any other game. That leads me to believe that it was the same dragon that we see throughout the series and not merely one of many dragons.
Lagi’s life was also spared by chance. If Lundi hadn’t taken pity on him then the dragon would have died in its infancy. You could argue that the dragon’s essence would have simply moved on to another coolia, but that’s just taking another risk. Keep this in mind for later.
The Facts Surrounding the Panzer Dragoon Zwei Endings
Geoffrey: In the primary endings obtained by not achieving a perfect score and by not taking all the hardest routes in the game, we are shown the fate of whatever dragon you finish the game as/with. Here we watch Lagi and Lundi part ways, but before the dragon bids his rider farewell Lagi shows Lundi the dragon’s true purpose via a sequence of mind bending visions. These endings are meant for our benefit as much as they are for Lundi’s benefit. The game is revealing the truth about the dragon’s purpose for players through some cryptic imagery on top of showing us part of what Lundi is seeing. According to Lundi’s journal found in Panzer Dragoon Saga when he became the leader of the Seekers, Lundi was shown the truth regarding the purpose of the Ancient monoliths known as the “Towers”.
During the primary endings the baby dragon and the Blue Dragon are shown overlapping while they both cry out at the same time. This is meant to convey the fact that they are the same dragon in a younger and older form, respectively. I can’t interpret it any other way… in the context of Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Panzer Dragoon alone. Other moving images seen in the endings are overlapped but for a much shorter amount of time where they can to be said to fade into one another rather than overlap for the same significant amount of time. Images of Shelcoof and the Tower from the original game are overlapped with one another while exploding and thus parallels are drawn between the two Ancient monoliths, but the emphasis is clearly placed on the explosions (i.e. their destruction) rather than anything else.
Each ending in Panzer Dragoon Zwei shows the fate of whatever dragon form players finish the game with. Likewise, the true ending which is obtained by gaining perfect shot-down scores and taking all the most difficult routes containing the most challenging foes, shows the fate of the armoured Blue Dragon. In the true ending, for the want of a better description, we see the darkened silhouette of Lagi, now as the Type 01 armoured Blue Dragon fly off into the unknown directly overhead, and then we are shown clips from Panzer Dragoon showing us what happens next in the timeline (the dragon destroying the Tower seen in Panzer Dragoon). The sequence of moving images reveals the fate of the Blue Dragon you finished the game with, as I explained before, and also shows that Panzer Dragoon Zwei provided the background story for the Blue Dragon we first saw in the original Panzer Dragoon. By now, it should be clear to players that Panzer Dragoon Zwei set the stage for the events that take place later in Panzer Dragoon. Panzer Dragoon Zwei was the game that explained how Lagi reached his current form in Panzer Dragoon; it was the story of this dragon’s birth.
Sidenote: It is strongly implied that Lagi became the armoured Blue Dragon by the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, because in one of Sestren’s memory orbs, which are flashbacks of past events, we see Lundi riding an armoured Blue Dragon when fighting the guardian dragon of Shelcoof. We assume that this was a record of the actual event and that Sestren wasn’t lying, although anything is possible. While Sestren’s memory orb showed other non-Type 01 Blue Dragon crests as well, the FMV of the Blue Dragon fighting the Guardian Dragon was the only scene created from scratch just for Panzer Dragoon Saga. The rest were recycled from the Panzer Dragoon Zwei endings.
The Diaries of Skiad Ops Endow (aka Lundi)
Geoffrey: Excerpted from Dragon Book 3:
Losing Lagi has left me numb, and the vision has left me overwhelmed. When he destroyed the ship, he entrusted me with his secret. The secret of him, and of the world.
Lagi, the dragon, entrusted Lundi with the secret of his existence. Here, Lundi regards Lagi as the inner personality of the dragon – not merely its shell. Take note of this passage for later.
Excerpted from Dragon Book 3 again:
In the center of the airship, Lagi laid still, his power completely exhausted. Lagi’s body was stone cold, but I knew he was still alive. At least, deep inside of me, I believed so.
One day, Lagi will regain his power and return to the sky. And there will be another rider… Someone other than me. But I won’t be sad. As long as I do not lose what Lagi entrusted to me, he shall always be with me.
In this passage Lundi is confident that Lagi – not the Heresy Program, but Lagi – will return to the skies one day. Of course, considering the fact that Lundi regarded Lagi as the dragon, I suppose Lagi himself could return one day as a newly shaped dragon.
Excerpted from the diary of Skiad Ops Endow:
By destroying the Tower of the Sky, Shelcoof, our journey came to an end. Exhausting all his power, he discarded his body, and entered a deep sleep. I assume he has now reemerged with a new body, and chosen you as his rider.
The words, “discarded his body” seem to contradict Lundi’s earlier statement (about Lagi returning presumably in the same body), unless of course, Lundi meant that Lagi shed his skin, or appeared to have left his body, and by new body he meant Lagi would literally return in a new body, leaving the old one behind. Perhaps whatever was said here in Japanese didn’t translate very well into English, or could only translate into the word “discarded”. Still, by new body, Lundi could have meant as a new form of dragon/new dragon form.
Lundi also thought that Lagi entered a deep sleep, but at the same time thought the dragon “discarded his body”. Now unless Lundi saw Lagi go into a dragon crest, his meaning is quite clear in my opinion: by re-emerging in a new body Lundi meant that Lagi would return in a new body by morphing into a new dragon, which he did in Panzer Dragoon Saga. However, Lagi didn’t return in a new body (i.e. new form of dragon) for the events of Panzer Dragoon; he returned as the familiar armoured Blue Dragon seen at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei and the beginning of Panzer Dragoon (in chronological order) to better tie the games together, so Lundi was wrong. One way of interpreting this is to assume that the soul of Lagi or the Heresy Dragon would somehow return in a brand new body completely regrown, or a new dragon form (remember, Lundi regarded the Heresy Dragon and Lagi as one and the same). It appears that Lundi was wrong unless we skip forward to Panzer Dragoon Saga where the dragon did indeed return in either a brand new body or new type of body morphed from the old one.
Lundi writes that Edge’s dragon has inherited the soul of his dragon, but Lundi always regarded Lagi and the Heresy Program which are later revealed as separate entities, as one and the same, which means that interpreting these passages to mean that Lagi’s soul was the black dragon program while Lagi himself was merely a shell for it isn’t based on a strong foundation.
If you think about it, we don’t actually know when Lundi wrote this journal. Lundi could have written it long after the events of Panzer Dragoon, so he could have been referring to the same dragon in the same body… in a new body (new form) after the events of Panzer Dragoon had taken place.
Since he knew the secret of the dragon’s existence perhaps he was also aware of the fact that Lagi and the Heresy Program were separate parts of the same whole, and yet he still expected Lagi himself to return. The “soul” to which Lundi was referring was Lagi’s personality in a new body or a new dragon form. I must admit that this is assuming a lot. There’s no way of knowing that Lundi knew his dragon was in fact separate parts united into one whole. It’s just an assumption based on Lundi’s eyes being opened to the truth. Along the same line of reasoning, why wouldn’t he know?
A newer translation courtesy of our budding translator Kimimi…
At the end of our journey together, after the Tower of the sky - Shelcoof and Georgious fell and things came to a conclusion, my friend’s power exhausted as expected, he cast away his flesh and entered a deep sleep. Now, once again his body has been reborn and awakened, and you have been picked as the new rider.
Again, Lagi couldn’t both discard his body and enter a deep sleep, unless he shed his skin, but this is open to interpretation. It’s a contradiction. His body being reborn could still mean that his old body morphed into a new one much later in Panzer Dragoon Saga which is the time Lundi is referring to. Lundi may not have known they were separate, so he might even be saying that his dragon will return in a new body.
Solo Wing: As Geoffrey has pointed out, there are certainly many ways that Lundi’s diaries can be interpreted. Having read two different translations of the original Japanese text of the Old Diary, the meaning of the passage remains just as clouded as ever. When Lundi talks about the dragon “discarding his body” or “casting away his flesh” we can’t know for sure if Lundi was talking about the Heresy Program, the coolia, or a combination of both. Likewise, when Lundi says that he “entered a deep sleep” he could also be talking about any of those three possible entities.
I’m going to play on the defensive here and take a guess that Lundi was talking about both the Heresy Program and the coolia as the same creature, whether or not he knew that they were two parts of the whole. After blasting Shelcoof from the sky, Lagi became exhausted and had to go into a form of hibernation in order to recover. Did he discard his body or the morph he was in? Who knows. Perhaps he needed to revert to a lesser form while recovering in hibernation, the “deep sleep” that Lundi speaks of (more on this theory later)? In any case, there are enough possibilities here for there to be a reason to believe Lagi survived the ending of Panzer Dragoon Zwei and then reappeared in Panzer Dragoon. Which brings us to the next game in the series…
The Appearance of the Armoured Blue Dragon in Panzer Dragoon
Geoffrey: Lagi is the Type 01 Solo Wing dragon seen in Panzer Dragoon – the same dragon form he ended the game with at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei. The lack of dragon sightings between the time spanning between Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Panzer Dragoon indicate another adventure in which the Heresy Dragon might’ve possessed another coolia didn’t happen. Sestren would’ve seen something prior to Panzer Dragoon if that was true. The fact that Sestren only recorded the dragon being born once suggests that the dragon was in fact only born into the world once. An FMV flashback sequence showing a dragon being born into the world again wouldn’t have bankrupted Sega.
It would’ve been easier for the Heresy Program to emerge in the same dragon (Lagi), rather than occupy another coolia unless the Heresy Program could reshape a coolia faster than the year it took to evolve Lagi in Panzer Dragoon Zwei. Why download itself into another coolia only to go through the slow and painful process of growing up again (and take the chance of not being killed as a young helpless baby dragon again), and evolving into the Blue Dragon again, when Lagi had already become the fully grown armoured Blue Dragon? It makes no sense.
Lagi/the dragon only came out of hibernation when Towers were on the verge of activation. The Heresy Program couldn’t waste time evolving another coolia. It was waiting for an opportunity to enter Sestren (through an active Tower) as well as protecting humanity by stopping disaster before it started. It would be easier to come out of hibernation at the first sign of trouble rather than occupy another coolia and evolve it into a dragon in time to stop the Tower outside the capital and to stop the Tower of Uru from going active… again unless the coolia could grow up up overnight (which is entirely possible considering that the Heresy Program is a dragon program designed to reshape other creatures into a dragon). The truth is we never see the Heresy Program evolve another coolia into a dragon. I think this fact speaks for itself.
Solo Wing: In Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Lagi took a year to grow up. However after he entered battle he began to grow at lot faster. Lagi grew relatively slowly before he and Lundi set off on their quest, but once the pursuit of Shelcoof had begun he grew into the Blue Dragon in under two months. It seems that destroying enemies may have caused Lagi to grow somehow. But even taking the dragon’s fast growth rate into consideration, when would the Sky Rider have had the opportunity to raise a coolia pup into the full grown Blue Dragon? If he had defeated hordes of Sestren’s monsters to “level up” his dragon, surely Sestren would have recorded these events and shown them in the memory orbs at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Such a tale would be far from unimportant in terms of the story of the Heresy Dragon. Instead, the Sky Rider’s part to play is portrayed as insignificant and almost irrelevant.
The story of the original Panzer Dragoon is one of haste. The armoured Blue Dragon and the Sky Rider were chasing after the Dark Dragon; their goal was to stop him from reaching the Tower no matter the cost. The Sky Rider simply wouldn’t have had time for anything else, raising a coolia pup included, unless he had spent at least a year raising the coolia beforehand. And if that was the case, why didn’t someone notice the two of them?
I mentioned earlier that Lagi may have had to change to a lesser form than his ultimate Blue Dragon form after destroying Shelcoof, in order to recover from the battle. If this is true, why would the Panzer Dragoon Zwei true ending show the two blue dragons overlapping as if the story was meant to continue straight on from that point without Lagi transforming into any intermediate forms? The answer is symbolism; the Panzer Dragoon Zwei ending may have been trying to show that they were the same dragon by presenting two dragons that look identical, even if Lagi wasn’t in his blue and white Solo Wing form for the whole eighteen years in between the two games.
The idea of the Sky Rider managing the raise Lagi through a few forms back into the Type 01 at least seems more feasible than him raising the dragon from a coolia again. Remember that Lundi’s diaries speak of Lagi “casting away his flesh” and “entering a deep sleep”, yet in none of the games is a second coolia mentioned.
The Dragon Survives?
Geoffrey: The dragon didn’t die at the end of Panzer Dragoon. He left footprints in the sand around Kyle as a reminder of his presence. He, therefore, could have survived the destruction of the Tower in one piece. He could have exhausted his power temporarily, but there’s no reason to believe this was fatal. So why couldn’t he survive the destruction of Shelcoof earlier (even with his energy completely drained)?
Why Did Lagi Downgrade Himself to the Basic Wing Form for Panzer Dragoon Saga?
Geoffrey: The answer is simple: players couldn’t begin the game with the most powerful dragon. Also, this gave Team Andromeda the opportunity to experiment with new dragon morphs.
The information contained in Panzer Dragoon Orta states that a dragon can morph of its own free will to adapt to its surroundings. If Lagi randomly evolved into new dragon forms, and if these morphs weren’t designed in the Ancient Age, then the chances of another dragon following the same evolutionary path are slim. When the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Saga merges with the baby dragon found in Shelcoof, he becomes the Solo Wing dragon whose standard form is the Type 01 Blue Dragon. Not only can the Solo Wing morph into all the dragon forms Lagi morphed into in Panzer Dragoon Zwei, but he can also become the Dark Dragon, which is a form Lagi never adopted in the game. This suggests that his forms were all preprogrammed, but we also cannot forget the fact that the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Saga could only become the forms Lagi took in Panzer Dragoon Zwei after merging with the baby dragon. Not before. The dragon shouldn’t have needed to merge with the dragon pup to become those forms if the Heresy Program could morph into them at any time. Who’s to say Lagi didn’t assimilate the Dark Dragon after defeating it?
I won’t deny that my argument here is based on a fairly weak foundation. I think it’s more likely that the dragon could become the Blue Dragon in Panzer Dragoon Saga to remind us that he actually was the armoured Blue Dragon from Panzer Dragoon. It’s a way of reminding us of something that we shouldn’t forget and paying homage to the first Panzer game.
Solo Wing: One might assume that since the first dragon in Panzer Dragoon Saga looks totally different, and indeed is a less powerful form than the Blue Dragon from Panzer Dragoon, the two creatures must be different dragons. Whilst this is an understandable assumption, I don’t see it as the only sensible interpretation. If you take into consideration the transformation of the dragon at a whole, you’ll notice that dragon looks considerably different from its previous form at the start of every Panzer Dragoon game, the only exception being the original Panzer Dragoon, however we know that the physical dragon was the same in at least two of the games, those being Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta.
In Panzer Dragoon Orta, the form that the dragon begins in is the Base Wing class. Base Wing implies that it was a “starting” form, not so different from the Basic Wing in Saga, so one might assume that this was also the first form of a new dragon. But according to the conversation between the Heresy Program and the physical dragon in the seventh episode of Panzer Dragoon Orta, the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Orta is the same physical creature as the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Saga. We know this because the Heresy Program tells the physical dragon “your body is fragile and mortal now” before bidding his other half farewell and telling him to “watch over our friends for me”.
However, certainly reasons can be provided for why the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Orta looks different than he does in Panzer Dragoon Saga, such as because he is no longer occupied by the Heresy Program. The point to take away here is that the term “Basic Wing” doesn’t automatically mean “starting form of a whole new dragon”. Whilst the Heresy Program leaving Lagi explains why he downgraded in Panzer Dragoon Orta, why would Lagi need to downgrade himself from the Blue Dragon to the Basic Wing before Panzer Dragoon Saga?
One theory that I have is that Lagi had to downgrade himself to the Basic Wing after destroying the Tower near the Imperial capital in Panzer Dragoon. It’s shown at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei that taking out a Tower (Shelcoof) requires a tremendous amount of energy, so much that Lagi had to enter a deep sleep (according to Lundi’s account in the old diary). If he is the same dragon in all four games, Lagi would have reemerged from hibernation years later in the same Blue Dragon form, fully recovered from his assault on the Ancient ship.
Why would the dragon have had to have downgraded after destroying the Imperial Tower but not Shelcoof? First, we don’t know for sure that Lagi didn’t have to downgrade after assaulting Shelcoof. Second, as we find out by playing Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shelcoof wasn’t actually destroyed at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, just disabled. In the original Panzer Dragoon, the Tower is completely destroyed; there is no trace left of it on the island. Perhaps such a tremendous use of his energy caused Lagi to have to revert to a less powerful form in order to survive, completely exhausted from destroying the Tower all in one go. Remember, this is the only event in the entire series where the dragon completely destroys a Tower in one go. He takes two attempts to destroy Shelcoof, and it is Azel who destroys the Tower of Uru. Perhaps Lagi had to downgrade his form after destroying the Tower because he destroyed more of it than Shelcoof. If this is indeed the case, it would explain why it takes a whole game (Panzer Dragoon Saga) to get Lagi back from his Basic Wing form to a Solo Wing dragon again.
To conclude this section, I speculate that the dragon “demorphed” at certain stages in his life, in particular at the end of Panzer Dragoon, rather dying at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei. Lagi could morph to adapt to his surroundings, and changing back to the Basic Wing in order to survive could be another example of this.
The Mystery of the Dragon Crests
Geoffrey: At the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei Lundi explores the downed Ancient skyship Shelcoof and finds a dragon crest high on the wall of a massive empty room. He stumbles over the crest almost by accident, but here we see an engraving of whatever dragon the player finishes the game with. The engraving, or what we call a crest, shows a green patch of light on the dragon’s neck which answers the question of why the villagers of Elpis believed that the light was so ominous when they saw it on mutant coolias and why the villagers killed them: the green light was a bio-weapon. Of course, any mutation might have frightened them but for the sake of the story it makes sense that this bad omen came from somewhere like tales of the Ancient Age and it became tradition to fear the light (with good reason).
The heart of Shelcoof where Lundi found the dragon crest we see at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei seems to be completely different from the area where Edge finds a dragon crest inside Shelcoof in Panzer Dragoon Saga, as shown here.
The hallway where Lundi found the crest is massive and makes the room Edge found seem small in comparison. If the crest Lundi saw here is a Type 01 Solo Wing dragon crest then it’s not the same one Edge finds. In Sestren’s memory orbs we see a flashback of this event where Lundi finds a Sky Dart crest. Even if the Solo Wing crest seen in Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s true ending was located in another part of the ship in addition to the Sky Dart crest (which, again, is entirely possible), it’s still not the same crest Edge found.
One could argue that Shelcoof was out of scale in Panzer Dragoon Saga. It may seem like that from a distance but once Edge’s dragon flies into the ship itself we see how small the dragon is when approaching it, not to mention how long the tunnels are inside.
Remember, if Lundi saw this crest (of the Type 01 Solo Wing Dragon) in the hallway at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s true ending then it can’t be the same crest Edge found. The rooms are completely different.
Also, the green light absent one moment and seen glowing on the crest the next could be entirely symbolic. We don’t see the light glow until the screen fades to black, and it glows on the dragon’s throat to emphasize why it was thought to be ominous. The game could be symbolically showing us why the green light was thought to be ominous: it’s the single most distinctive mark of a dragon, the most feared of all of the Ancients’ bio-weapons. Note that the green light is the first thing we see at the start of the game when the screen fades from black with a patch of green light floating over the screen before fading to natural light and attaching itself to the coolia the Elpis villagers kill, and the last thing we see at the end in the true ending when the throat of the dragon depicted in the Solo Wing crest starts glowing as the screen fades to black to highlight the dragon’s throat by glowing in the dark (so that it soon becomes all we can see). Nothing may have entered the crest at all.
However… assuming the Type 01 Solo Wing crest we see at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei was the crest Edge found, who’s to say that Lagi himself didn’t enter the crest and left it before the events of Panzer Dragoon took place perhaps even by dematerializing and rematerializing via an alchemical process, and left the baby dragon Edge finds behind then? Lagi could have stored his consciousness in the dragon crest. We have no idea when Shelcoof’s bio-mechanical sentries started repairing the ship; Lagi could have left the crest before the events of Panzer Dragoon transpired and hibernated in another crest by the end of them (like the one Edge finds), meaning he was still the same Lagi, just in new bodies that were carbon copies of the old ones but the same dragon. Same mind, same body but digitally stored in different crests and could rematerialize at any moment when the time was right. It sounds like science fiction but this is a sci-fi game. I am merely exploring all the possibilities.
What Purpose do the Dragon Crests Serve?
Geoffrey: If the dragon crests we see throughout the games are nothing more than engravings (as Edge sees here below the excavation site) then the Heresy Dragon couldn’t hibernate or hide from the world in any of them. Also, if they served as passages to Sestren then the Heresy Dragon would never have needed Azel to reach it. He wouldn’t have needed her to open up a gateway to Sestren in the first place. As far as we know, Sestren can only be reached through an active Tower (we know nothing beyond that), which would make sense because the Towers were/are the most heavily defended of the Ancients’ ruins. Of course, there may be more ways of exiting Sestren than entering it, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Heresy Dragon still needed Azel to open a passage to Sestren. If there had been an easier way then the Heresy Dragon wouldn’t have hesitated to use it. Following that line of reasoning we can only conclude that the dragon crests are not gateways to Sestren.
So where did the Heresy Dragon go if he didn’t store itself in the dragon crests? You’ll find the answer in Lundi’s journals: Lagi, his host, simply hibernated (i.e. he slept until he regained his strength or until it was time to return). Why would the dragon’s consciousness hibernate in a crest and find a new host body when it already had a host? Of course, nothing rules out the possibility of Lagi himself or his consciousness entering the dragon crests and exiting at a later date in a new body because the old one was drained of power but we never saw it happen for ourselves (note that I said Lagi himself. There’s no need for the consciousness of the physical dragon to die in this scenario). Thus far, based on the baby dragon found inside the dragon crest found in Shelcoof, all we know is that dragon crests can store bodies. But that’s all.
Solo Wing: Even if there were other ways of reaching Sestren besides Azel opening the gate, or the dragon program could somehow use the dragon crest to enter Sestren without its host, we’re still left without any firm evidence that the Heresy Program ever entered Sestren between Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s intro and Panzer Dragoon Saga’s conclusion. The Heresy’s departure from Sestren into the outside world wasn’t something to be taken lightly; he was attacked by the gold dragon program and literally cast out of the network. If the Heresy Program used the dragon crests to return to Sestren in between games, we’re still left with the problem of Sestren being on the alert for the impurity and simply kicking it out again before it had the chance to do whatever it had planned to do within Sestren. We’re shown how quickly the anti dragons surround Edge and his dragon on their visit to the astral passages at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Sestren simply wouldn’t have allowed the Heresy program to reenter the network with such ease.
If the helpless Heresy Program on its own had somehow evaded the wrath of Sestren, and downloaded itself back into a new body or another coolia, we’re still left with far too many mysteries about the origins of the new dragon. It seems more believable that the Heresy Program simply never entered Sestren between games in the first place, and therefore never left its host. Admittedly, the dragon may not have needed to enter Sestren to transfer to a new host body. The argument here largely rests on the fact that the series provides no evidence of host occupations being possible other than directly from Sestren.
On the contrary, the dragon crests may well have been used as hibernation chambers or “nests” for the dragon. According to Lundi, Lagi went into a deep sleep at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and Lundi also uttered the word “Lagi” when he looked upon the crest, which strongly suggests that Lagi hibernated inside the crest. The nest hypothesis also leads us nicely into the next section of this theory.
Where Did the Baby Dragon Found Inside Shelcoof Come From?
Geoffrey: Here are two more screenshots that should throw more fuel onto this speculative fire. The baby dragon found inside Shelcoof could, in actual fact, be Lagi’s offspring – proof lies in the fact that Lagi reproduces at the end of Panzer Dragoon Orta somehow. Lagi leaves “an heir”, which brings forth the possibility that the baby dragon Edge finds was one such heir too. Edge even asks “is he the son of my dragon?” when you highlight the dragon with your cursor from a distance in Panzer Dragoon Saga as if Team Andromeda were trying to tell us something.
Why is it so impossible to believe that the baby dragon Edge finds is Lagi’s offspring? The dragon somehow cloned himself in Panzer Dragoon Orta, so why couldn’t he have left a clone in Shelcoof (perhaps as a spare host for the Heresy Dragon)?
Solo Wing: One quote may not be enough to convince all of us that the pup was Lagi’s offspring for certain, but we have to ask ourselves why the quote was put there in the first place and why no other explanation is offered as to the origins of the pup. The dragon was completely capable of asexual reproduction at the end of Panzer Dragoon Orta so it stands to reason that he could have done so at other stages of his life.
So why did would Lagi leave this pup behind inside Shelcoof in the first place? As we know, the dragon pup’s ultimate purpose was to transform Edge’s dragon into the Solo Wing. It’s possible that since Lagi had lost his Blue Dragon form earlier after destroying the Tower near the Imperial capital he needed some of his original DNA to revert back to the Solo Wing form, as strange as that sounds; Lagi’s evolutionary patterns had taken a much different turn in Panzer Dragoon Saga, and the only way to return him to his original form would be to force a backwards evolution into the Solo Wing which had both the flexibility of his previous forms and the power of the Light Wing. If the baby dragon was Lagi’s offspring, it would have inherited all of Lagi’s original DNA and may have even grown into the Blue Dragon if it had been given time.
It has been speculated that the pup is actually Lagi himself, rather than his offspring; after Lagi disabled Shelcoof he entered the crest and returned to his original pup form. But we have more reason to believe that the baby dragon was Lagi’s heir (something that has been shown possible in Panzer Dragoon Orta), rather than Lagi being reborn as a baby again (something that has never been shown possible anywhere in the series).
Pandora’s Box and the Empire’s Understanding of the Dragon
Solo Wing: The Pandora’s Box in Panzer Dragoon Orta features a number of entries that refer to the dragon from the Saturn Panzer Dragoon games. Some of these passages - most notably, the ones that talk about each of the three playable dragons, the Blue Dragon, Lagi, and Edge’s dragon - seem to imply that they were indeed different dragons. However, lets take a look at the perspective of these encyclopaedia entities before taking this as fact.
It’s possible that these sections of the encyclopaedia were written by the Empire, as opposed to an anonymous writer who knew every detail there was about the Panzer Dragoon world. I suggest this possibility because it is strongly implied that someone with a certain degree of ignorance about the history of the Panzer Dragoon world, wrote some of the other passages in the encyclopaedia. Take this excerpt from the Great Fall entry for example:
It is said that the Seventh Emperor himself, deeply affected by the death of many of his subjects, rose to challenge the ancient ruins by using the power of the imperial fortress, Grig Orig. His Majesty sacrificed his own life to eradicate the foul creatures that resided within the ruins, and even disabled many of the surrounding ancient ruins with his valor.
If the person or persons narrating the encyclopaedia did indeed know everything about the events of the Panzer Dragoon trilogy, there would be no need to tell only the inaccurate side of the story, while conveniently choosing to ignore the real truth about the Seventh Emperor. Perhaps a historian from the Empire, whose viewpoint would have been distorted by the Empire’s limited viewpoint, assumed that the dragons were different creatures, and wrote about them as such. Certainly if one section of the encyclopaedia can be purposefully wrong other passages could be based on false assumptions.
There is information in the encyclopaedia that the Empire wouldn’t have known about. The Empire would be unlikely to know about all of the pure-types guarding the underground ruins, and of course the guardians within Sestren itself. I’m not suggesting that the entire encyclopaedia was written from the Empire’s perspective, but certain parts of it do strongly imply that the writer didn’t have a complete understanding of the events featured in the Saturn games. The Great Fall entry and the information about the dragons are both found in the same World category of the encyclopaedia. Even Lagi’s name, which is written in the encyclopaedia, could have been obtained by the Empire. Lundi spent around two months on his journey with Lagi, and stopped off at at least one caravan along the way (see Dragon Book 2). It is likely that people who met Lundi were questioned by the Empire for information about the dragon.
The Dragon in Panzer Dragoon Zwei and Panzer Dragoon Orta Look Very Much Alike
Geoffrey: Until Panzer Dragoon Orta was released, we (the fans) were all led to believe that Lagi/the dragon and the gold dragon first seen at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga were the same dragon in different forms. However, we later discovered that these two distinct dragons were in fact “different parts of the same whole”, as the creators at Smilebit put it.
When the Heresy Program shaped the coolia Lagi into a dragon, it must have enhanced his intelligence, giving him a mind of his own. That explains why he chose to risk his life to save Edge’s daughter, Orta; he felt obligated to Edge for sacrificing his life to save the world (all evidence points to Edge never returning from Sestren).
In Panzer Dragoon Orta, Lagi is beginning to show his age, and after splitting from the Heresy Program even resembles the mutant coolia that he once was. Without the presence of the Heresy Dragon to give him an unlimited supply of power, Lagi reverted back to being a mutant coolia (or rather, took a form that resembled a wild animal which could have once been a coolia). The rough texture and colour of his skin even resembles that of the coolia he once was.
Indeed, this could have been a new coolia, but I believe this was intended to show Lagi succumbing to the enfeebling grip of old age. Once they sunk their claws into him, there was no escape.
The Conversation Between the Two Halves
Geoffrey: In Forbidden Memories in Panzer Dragoon Orta while exploring Sestren’s data banks, Lagi takes a trip down memory lane where we witness a past conversation between him and the Heresy Program who once occupied Lagi’s body. The Heresy Program has switched colours from black like we saw at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga to gold, which seems to indicate that the Heresy Program has filled the role of the former Sestren AI (and become an active part of the system as opposed to an intruder).
In this flashback scene, the now conspicuously golden Heresy Dragon tells Lagi that his body is “fragile and mortal now”, which directly implies that Lagi was immortal before, not necessarily as in indestructible, but ageless with an endless supply of power perhaps.
Why would an immortal body succumb to death at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei?
Also, if the dragon’s body could withstand the destructive potential of the Grig Orig’s beam cannon by being able to shield himself from it (and shield Kyle from the destructive forces coming from the Panzer Dragoon Tower when the dragon blew it up), which was basically a modified Ancient Age weapon, then the dragon could withstand the destructive energies released by whatever Towers he chose to destroy. Who’s to say he wasn’t hibernating in Shelcoof when Lundi stumbled on him? Who’s to say he didn’t just blow up Shelcoof’s core anyway as opposed to becoming a bomb? It must have had a power source. Even if/though Lagi did amass and unleash a wave of energy himself to destroy these Towers (likely), draining all of his energy, he still survived nonetheless drained or not. As Panzer Dragoon Saga shows, Shelcoof wasn’t “destroyed” per se, as in obliterated, but was disabled. What remains parks itself in Georgius.
The dragon gathered a huge amount of energy at the end of the original Panzer Dragoon when he destroyed the Tower outside the Imperial capital and survived the explosion that followed, so he could have survived anything.
The golden Heresy Program also asks Lagi if he wishes to remain in the world even though his mission had been completed. Remain? As opposed to what? Dying or resting with the Heresy Program? I think it’s safe to assume that Lagi chose potential death in the real world to save Orta over immortality as host to the Heresy Program. Lagi only truly exhausted all of his power once he split from the gold Heresy Dragon Program.
Also, the Japanese version of Panzer Dragoon Orta was narrated by the dragon (even though he narrates his own death) while the American/PAL versions of the game was narrated by an unknown narrator, but the latter has an amplified tone of voice suggesting that it wasn’t human. One theory is the Heresy Dragon Program wasn’t really destroyed at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga but merely deactivated Sestren and took control of the entire system. The English translation wasn’t 100% accurate, but even if it was, the story could have been changed to pave the way for Panzer Dragoon Orta. Of course, that’s open to debate (the Heresy Dragon Program could have merely been deactivated and not destroyed).
The Heresy Dragon claimed that it needed to destroy itself after taking control of Sestren at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga (leading us to believe that the game’s English translation was rather suspect), but when the dragon meets it later the Heresy Program says that it must “rest” which is much more ambiguous.
How is this relevant you ask? If the Heresy Dragon Program narrated Panzer Dragoon Orta then it would confirm that it was immortal and that it perhaps had an inexhaustible supply of energy (or a very long lifespan), meaning its host (the physical dragon) did as well. The Heresy Dragon could have offered the physical dragon, namely Lagi in my opinion, immortality as well.
Notice the oval or eye shaped lens through which both the AI governing Sestren and the narrator of Panzer Dragoon Orta monitor the world. It’s easy to assume from here that it’s the Heresy Program itself watching events unfold from within Sestren after it had assumed the mantle of AI. This is proof that the Heresy Dragon Program did indeed live on after Panzer Dragoon Saga. Of course, it could have been the dragon watching from Sestren and not the Heresy Program, but these images strongly suggest that it’s the Heresy Program who took control of Sestren.
This is relevant because it proves that the Heresy Program was immortal with an endless supply of energy, thus making the dragon immortal too (before the program and dragon host went their separate ways). Therefore the Heresy Program wouldn’t need new hosts unless the old ones were completely destroyed. It could potentially live forever. If the Heresy Program could morph a coolia into a dragon then it could regenerate a dragon too. There would be no need for the original dragon (namely Lagi) to die.
The only time we see the dragon die, or a dragon the player controls (for the sake of argument) die is when it is no longer possessed by the Heresy Program.
How much don’t we know I wonder? How many secrets does this story hide?
Was the Dragon Merely a Tool for the Heresy Program?
Solo Wing: At the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga, the two halves of the dragon go their separate ways. The Heresy Program remains behind in Sestren and possibly destroys itself, and the physical dragon leaves Sestren and goes to find Orta. The fact that the two dragon halves are distinct identities means that Edge’s dragon wasn’t simply a ‘dumb’ creature with no intelligent mind of its own. Edge’s dragon wasn’t just a biological tool that the Heresy Program used to complete its mission; both parts of the dragon were fully independent, intelligent entities. With this in mind, one has to ask why the Heresy Program would have made an exception for Edge’s dragon and allow him to carry on living at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga, but not the dragons found in Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei?
My answer to this question isn’t complex at all: because the Heresy Program did allow the dragon to survive at the end of all the Saturn Panzer games. The Heresy Program never had to dispose of a host and move to a new host because it was the same dragon in the same body the whole time. Lagi the coolia was, after all, more than just a tool; he was a central character of the Panzer Dragoon trilogy.
This is assuming that the Heresy Program had any degree of compassion for his host dragons, and didn’t just think of them as a means to an end. But I find it unlikely that the Heresy Program wouldn’t have looked out for his hosts. Even if that behaviour was just part of his programming, the Heresy Program showed concern that Lagi would die if he remained in the world outside of Sestren. This shows that he cared for (or was programmed to care for) the dragon’s wellbeing. Ask yourself what makes it acceptable to sacrifice the dragons from the first two games (if they were indeed meant to be different dragons who perished after destroying the Empire’s Tower and Shelcoof) but also appropriate to show concern for Edge’s dragon?
Did Lagi Really Die?
Solo Wing: The dragon’s life cycle ends after the final episode of Panzer Dragoon Orta, when the dragon, exhausted from the battle with Abadd’s mare, collapses and passes away, his legacy at an end. Certainly, the dragon’s death cannot be denied here, but was this the moment that Lagi finally died once and for all, or did part of him live on in the baby dragon that he leaves behind?
With the passing of the dragon, so died a part of Orta.
And yet, not all was lost. The dragon had left behind an heir… a symbol of proof that the dragon had once lived.
And so a legend came to end. But every ending leads to a new beginning.
To be honest, this part of the story is too vague for us to come to any real conclusion as to where the baby dragon came from. However, if we take the words in this final narration from the epilogue literally it’s very easy to come to the conclusion that the baby dragon is meant to be the dragon’s heir, not the dragon himself. Never have we been given any solid evidence that the dragon (the physical creature, not the program) could pass its mind/soul into another living creature, so it would make a great deal of sense if this scene was meant to show the death and birth of two entirely separate dragons.
Not only did the dragon die, but the writers made a point of confirming his death, both by showing it and telling the player in an epilogue. This is something they didn’t do for the other dragons (if the dragons in the first two games were indeed supposed to be different dragons). In my mind, the dragon from Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta is no more important than Lagi and Kyle’s dragon, so why didn’t we get epilogues showing or explaining their deaths? Why should Orta’s dragon receive special treatment? Of course, if the dragons were one and the same then there would be no need to look for an answer to this mystery; the dragon would have been born once (in Panzer Dragoon Zwei) and died once (in Panzer Dragoon Orta), exactly as we were shown.
The Legend of Lagi Ends
Geoffrey: There’s a reason why Panzer Dragoon Orta’s epilogue states that a legend came to an end (that legend being the dragon from the first three games), and why “the dragon” (not a dragon) left an heir as proof that he once lived. The dragon in Panzer Dragoon Orta was a legend for a reason. There’s a reason why the first episode in Panzer Dragoon Zwei is titled “Destiny Begins”, and why the last episode of Panzer Dragoon Orta is titled “The End of Destiny”. The story that began in Panzer Dragoon Zwei ended in Panzer Dragoon Orta.
We only see the dragon born once after the Heresy Program was purged from Sestren (at the beginning of Panzer Dragoon Zwei). And we only see the dragon die once (at the end of Panzer Dragoon Orta). If Team Andromeda wanted us to believe that the dragons were different they wouldn’t have hidden that fact from us… not even for a second. It wouldn’t have cost an arm and a leg to develop a five second long FMV flashback showing us the dragon being born again (at the beginning of or in Panzer Dragoon Saga for example).
Solo Wing: So here’s the evidence, at least, all that we’ve managed to scrape together from the little that there is in the games. In the end, there isn’t actually all that much to go by, both for and against the dragon being the same creature in all four games. So we can’t conclude without a doubt that it really is the same Lagi, in both body and mind, from Panzer Dragoon Zwei to Panzer Dragoon Orta. Since writing the original version of this article, I now lean more towards believing that the Attached Dragon Mind Theory is the best interpretation of the dragon’s evolution. This theory remains here to argue for another reasonable possibility. If in reading this theory you’ve come to entertain the possibility, perhaps the time that we’ve taken to research and write it has been worthwhile.
Geoffrey: In any case, our only aim here is to provide all the known evidence supporting the theory that all the main playable dragons seen in each Panzer Dragoon game were all the same dragon in both body and soul. In hindsight, I believe that we became so obsessed with the tiny details that we shut everything else out and lost sight of the bigger picture. Pure logic should prevail here, and where there’s solid reasoning (like in Lance’s theory) I at least try to keep an open mind.
There is evidence that the dragons are different but no proof. At the same time, there is a strong case to be made that the dragons are the same dragon in all four games, and no conclusive evidence to indicate otherwise.
Drained of energy or not, the dragon was waiting when he slept to pass time arguably as much as to regain strength (assuming it was even necessary). The dragon was waiting for the right time to return and didn’t need to discard his body because the Heresy Dragon made the dragon that was hosting him immortal. When the gold Heresy Dragon said that the dragon was mortal now he implied that the dragon was immortal before. It’s a viable explanation but in my opinion all the proof is there.