Attached Dragon Mind Theory
Could the dragon's mind have attached itself to the dragon program in order to survive the length of all four games? This theory discusses how and why Lagi could have survived in such a fashion.
Among the Panzer Dragoon community there is much debate regarding the identity of the dragon who destroys the Towers and rescues Orta in the four Saturn and Xbox games. Is it the same dragon in both body and mind in all four games? Or did the the Heresy “Program” from Sestren discard Lagi’s body at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and re-enter a new dragon that the Sky Rider rode? Perhaps we will never know the answer to this timeless debate, but one thing is certain: these two theories are not the only possibilities.
When Lagi disabled Shelcoof at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei his body may not have survived physically after focusing all of his energy on bringing down the flying Tower. Lundi’s diary states “Exhausting all his power, he discarded his body, and entered a deep sleep” which is quite a vague description to be sure. For this theory, I’m going to assume Lundi meant that his friend literally discarded his physical body, which implies that Lagi’s physical body died. However, that doesn’t necessary mean that Lagi (the coolia)’s mind and soul disappeared. Indeed, Lundi does strongly suggest that part of Lagi lived on, and that’s where this theory comes in. It’s revealed in Panzer Dragoon Orta that the dragon is made up of two parts, one being the physical creature that was once a coolia, the other being the dragon program that was cast from Sestren. The question is, what became of Lagi the coolia’s mind and soul at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei?
What if the coolia’s body died at the end of Panzer Dragoon Zwei, but his soul lived on? What if the creature called Lagi transcended beyond his physical body and became one with the Heresy Program, literally “attaching” himself to this virtual identity? When the Heresy Program was banished from Sestren, it entered Lagi’s body and the two became one. In the words of Smilebit “They are the same, yet different parts of a whole”. At that moment, when the Heresy Program entered the coolia, the two entities became one. Even though this doesn’t mean that they became inseparable, there are many good reasons to believe why the Heresy Program and Lagi the coolia wouldn’t separate. They had become a team, the Heresy Program giving Lagi things no normal coolia would ever receive in its life: a far greater intelligence and lifespan, and a grand purpose that involved the salvation of humanity. At the same time, Lagi gave the Heresy Program a host, a steed for each dragon rider, and a body to use to fulfil its mission. When the two entities combined, the coolia’s mind could have imprinted itself onto the Heresy Program, making his mind become a bit like an email attachment (if we’re thinking in terms of the Heresy Program being a piece of software).
When Lagi enters the crest inside Shelcoof he leaves some part of himself behind, as the coolia pup that comes out in Panzer Dragoon Saga shows. But just how much did he leave behind? Supposing the dragon in Panzer Dragoon was indeed meant to be a biologically separate entity, either raised from a coolia pup by the Sky Rider, or a lab-created dragon body prepared for the Heresy Program in the Ancient Age, one thing would still undeniably make him the same dragon - the fact that the Heresy Program entered his body at some point. So when the Heresy Program entered the Panzer Dragoon dragon’s body - at whatever point that was - the two identities of the dragon would have both entered, meaning that Lagi’s entire mind and consciousness were transferred into the Sky Rider’s dragon. The Panzer Dragoon dragon would not simply carry on Lagi’s mission with the Heresy Program, he would become Lagi.
With the exception of the original Panzer Dragoon, in each game the dragon starts off in an entirely different form. This again brings up the same dragon/different dragons debate, but if this attachment theory is correct, the dragon could be both a different creature physically, and the same creature mentally. The body of the dragon is, after all, a highly transformable biological entity, with the “shell” around his body changing every time it morphs. Taking that into consideration, the physical form or body that the dragon is in perhaps isn’t so important after all. If Lagi could completely change his shape leaving next to no trace of his previous form (think of the difference between agility and defence types in Saga for example) and still keep his mind the same, that suggests that his brain must either change shape too when that happens, or at least move around considerably inside his head (unless his brain was very small and centralised). If the very organ that holds Lagi’s mind can change in such a way why couldn’t the dragon transfer his mind into new bodies when they became exhausted? I don’t think it’s impossible that, with the Heresy Program’s help, the dragon could have remained immortal forever in this fashion.
The dragon in Panzer Dragoon Orta is strikingly different from Edge's dragon, suggesting a new physical body.
Some time after or around the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga, the two parts of the dragon separated back into what they once were - the mind of a software AI and the mind of an animal. The Heresy Program informs the physical dragon that he is “fragile and mortal now” and will more than likely die if he chooses to continue living in the world of humans. Lagi chooses to continue on regardless in order to help Orta, perhaps in the same body or one last creature that the Heresy Program has allowed him to download himself into. Although the scene in the seventh episode of Panzer Dragoon Orta does suggest that the dragon is still in the same body as he was in Panzer Dragoon Saga, the dragon’s physical body does look considerably different to any form that he takes on in Saga (much more like a reptile), so this might not be case.
At the end of Panzer Dragoon Orta, the dragon dies, and a legend comes to an end. Yet, despite the unsubtle confirmation that the dragon’s body definitely died here, some part of him may have lived on. Orta finds - somewhere - a dragon pup, an heir to Lagi’s legacy. Could part of Lagi the Heresy Dragon have been born again into this dragon? Could this be the next incarnation of the same dragon of legend?