Monday, April 26, 2010

Translation: Daimajin Kanon Episode 3

I eventually realized that each episode title for this show is always two kanji, which can be pronounced "ka" and "on," and therefore sound like "Kanon" when read together. So technically, the title of each episode is "Kanon," even though that word has a different meaning every time.

I consider this pun to be absolutely untranslatable, so I just translate the meaning of each kanji as two separate words. If you're wondering what's up with the odd titles like "His Sound" and "Drunken Past," now you know the reason.

Episode 3 script lies beneath the cut!

Edit 5/25/10: Added a bit of jargon to Tomosuke's line around 0:10:00, tweaked the last line of the prayer song.

Edit 1/2/11: Changed the Next Episode title, upon realizing that I am an idiot.

0:00:00
NARRATION: This is the story of a girl who lost her way in the city, and then used her singing voice to summon a miracle. A 21st century fable.

[Opening song]
Someone hurts you
With heartless words
Makes you wanna give up
There's no more kindness
Someone will use that to trap you
You must find yourself and fight them
Got to live your life
Believin' in these evil times
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
A song that reflects you
Don't hide your kindness
Let us hear it!
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
Pushing the sadness from your heart
Takes true strength
Forces harmonize
Stand by your side
Just sing your heart out


0:01:50
NARRATOR: Misaki Kanon, who came to Tokyo to become a singer, has been sought out by the mysterious stranger Taihei.

NARRATOR: But the Prayer Song that binds them together has become a source of heartbreak.

NARRATOR: The Prayer Song is also a song of destiny, connected to the legendary warrior Bujin.

Episode 3: Small Warmth

MARUYAMA: She's from Yamagata?

MANAGER: Looks like.

MARUYAMA: She left the "Sports" column blank...

MARUYAMA: And wrote "I don't know" under "Hobbies."

MARUYAMA: She actually wrote "I don't know"!

MANAGER: You see what I'm saying?

MARUYAMA: Yeah, what a strange application!

MANAGER: But she says she's got waitressing experience.

MARUYAMA: Right. In that case, she should be fine.

MANAGER: And if not, you can show her the ropes.

MARUYAMA: Aye-aye, sir.

----

0:03:12
MARUYAMA: Excuse me.

KANON: Good morning.

MARUYAMA: Good morning.

MARUYAMA: I'm Maruyama, the head waiter. I'll be handling your training. It's good to meet you.

KANON: I'm Misaki. Nice to meet you...

MARUYAMA: Okay. Here, sit.

KANON: Yes ma'am.

MARUYAMA: I hear you're from Yamagata.

KANON: Yes ma'am.

MARUYAMA: The Nan'yo area?

KANON: Yes ma'am.

MARUYAMA: My sister's husband is from Yamagata. He's from Takahata.

KANON: Oh, I see.

MARUYAMA: Sometimes he makes chrystanthemum pickles.

KANON: That's nice...

MARUYAMA: It's really tasty, I eat it all the time now.

KANON: Oh...

MARUYAMA: You're nervous, aren't you?

KANON: Oh... no...

MARUYAMA: Don't be nervous, okay?

KANON: Sorry...

MARUYAMA: Did you read the manual?

KANON: Most of it.

MARUYAMA: Good. Please change into your uniform.

KANON: Yes ma'am.

MARUYAMA: She's an aloof one, isn't she?

--
0:04:36
BOY: Jan-ken-po, jan-ken-po...

JYUZO: Ahh, hello?

TAIHEI: Hello, is this Jyuzo? It's Taihei.

TAIHEI: IT'S TAIHEI.

TAIHEI: Sorry this is late, but I finished the mission.

JYUZO: Finished the mission?! The hell you talkin' about?

TAIHEI: You know... finding the girl who sings the Prayer Song.

JYUZO: You found her?

TAIHEI: Couple days ago.

JYUZO: Wow!

TAIHEI: Whaddya mean, 'wow'?

JYUZO: You sure about this?

TAIHEI: Absolutely! 100%!

JYUZO: How'd you find her?

TAIHEI: Totally by chance.

JYUZO: By chance?!

TAIHEI: It's her! I sang her the Prayer Song and she got all serious at me.

JYUZO: 'Got all serious'? ... so you sang it for her?

TAIHEI: Well, I hummed it. But then I made one little joke and she started crying!

JYUZO: What?!

JYUZO: Listen up, Taihei! The mission you're on is an extremely delicate matter.

TAIHEI: Howso?

JYUZO: You must not upset that girl!

TAIHEI: Right... got it.

JYUZO: So, you must find out why she cried... without upsetting her further!

TAIHEI: Does this have something to do with hunting that Ipadada?

JYUZO: Yes.

TAIHEI: Got it.

0:06:49
OTAKI: Taihei!

TAIHEI: WHAT!

OTAKI: Would you help Tomosuke make a call later?

TAIHEI: Oh... yeah. I'm just gonna take a walk.

--
0:07:11
BOY: So did Taihei find the girl?

JYUZO: He reckons it's the girl we're after.

BOY: Oh, well, that's good!

JYUZO: But he says she hates the song.

BOY: Why'd she do that? It's a good song!

JYUZO: Indeed, what could put a girl in such a state?

JYUZO: Perhaps that's just the way of the world...

--
0:07:53
NAMETAG: Misaki

MARUYAMA: This is Misaki Kanon. She'll be working the shift with you two starting today.

AME: I'm Ame! Nice to meet you!

HATOKA: I'm Hatoka! Nice to meet you!

KANON: It's nice to meet you...

AME: Hey, is this your first time as a waitress?

KANON: No, I used to be one...

MARUYAMA: You worked at a cafe, didn't you?

HATOKA: Oh wow! I worked at a cafe once, too! This job is way easier!

AME: Once you get used to it, anyway!

HATOKA: They're so strict!

BOTH: Yeah!

AME: Anyway, how's your uniform?

HATOKA: Yeah, it looks so cute on you!

AME: I was so embarrased the first time I wore mine!

HATOKA: I know, I couldn't stand it!

MARUYAMA: Not even with girls her own age...

--
0:08:58
IKECHIYO: Listen...

IKECHIYO: I've been thinking it over.

TAIHEI: What're you on about?

IKECHIYO: Maybe the reason that girl's pouting...

IKECHIYO: ... is because you can't carry a tune.

TAIHEI: Huh?

IKECHIYO: Was that too harsh?

IKECHIYO: Come on, let's go. Buchinko probably misses us.

BOARD: Chofu City Notices
POSTER: Oba Hitomi On Stage! "Memory Hill"

--
0:09:56
MORISAWA: This is just my intuition, but I think this Ipadada may be tougher than we thought.

TOMOSUKE: What makes you say that?

MORISAWA: The way it handled that Soul.

TOMOSUKE: Yeah... it did seem pretty strong for a first-time use.

MORISAWA: Only a spirit with a really deep-seated grudge could create something like that.

TOMOSUKE: Well, no one said this would be easy.

HASHITAKA: But a frog, of all things!

TOMOSUKE: Well, there's plenty of frogs in that neighborhood. He would've had his pick, for soul drones.

MORISAWA: At any rate, his grudge will lead him to consume even more from here on out...

MORISAWA: More ways of fighting... and more human souls.

--
0:11:14
IKECHIYO: I knew she wouldn't be here.

IKECHIYO: Hey, Bujinko.

TAIHEI: So, Bujinko the spy, what do you have to report about our little girl?

TAIHEI: What? Well, you think a lot of yourself, don't you!

TAIHEI: Your role in the mission isn't over by a long shot! Come on...

0:11:49
TAIHEI: ... sorry to disturb you...

0:12:20
MARUYAMA: You can eat with everyone else, you know.

KANON: That's okay... I like it here.

MARUYAMA: You're doing an excellent job. I can tell you have experience.

KANON: You don't have to say that.

MARUYAMA: Listen, I'd like to have a welcome party for you tonight.

MARUYAMA: Do you think you'll be free?

KANON: I guess so...

MARUYAMA: Listen, Misaki...

KANON: Yes?

MARUYAMA: Do you get anxious around people?

KANON: Yes ma'am...

MARUYAMA: I see... I can't claim to know why, but you need to try to be a team player.

KANON: Yes ma'am.

MARUYAMA: Think about it, okay?

---
0:14:00
I&T: Kanon?

TAIHEI: Did you hear that? Her name's Kanon!

IKECHIYO: It's a pretty name.

TAIHEI: That's important info, why'd you hold out on us?

IKECHIYO: Didn't you say you had met this Kanon girl before?

TAIHEI: Yeah. When she was just this big...

TAIHEI: I was up north, doing some sightseeing...

MAN: Must've broken off up there...

0:14:49
TAIHEI: What's all this?

MAN: We'll just have to wait.

WOMAN: You're just going to wait? But...

0:15:06
TAIHEI: Wow, that's not good.

0:15:59
TAIHEI: HARDER!

0:16:14
TAIHEI: That was close, huh?

IKECHIYO: I see. So you could say this Kanon owes you her life.

TAIHEI: For Onbake like us, a good deed is its own reward.

TAIHEI: ... but her grandmother still wanted to thank me, and invited me to her home.

GRANDMOTHER: I don't know if this will suit your tastes, but give it a try.

TAIHEI: Thank you!

TAIHEI: This is great!

GRANDMOTHER: Now, Kanon, you learn from this nice man. You must always help a person in trouble.

KANON: Okay! I promise to be a nice girl too!

0:17:23
GRANDMOTHER: Excuse me. My granddaughter has something she'd like to give you.

[Prayer Song]
When the sound of the bell
Rings through the village
All the birds, together,
Fly back to the mountain

No one wants to be all alone
But each has only one voice
So let's join all our voices together...


TAIHEI: The old lady said the song was a precious family heirloom, sung to honor someone who has done you a great service.

TAIHEI: I know she loved her grandmother's song...

IKECHIYO: What could have changed her?

0:18:58
KOTARO: ... and that's how it goes.

IKKI: That's it?

SHINYA: I like.

IKKI: Me too.

KOTARO: What about you, Saki?

SAKI: I feel like I've heard it before.

SAKI: It's a nice song and all, but...

SAKI: Compared to the material we've been working with, it lacks... impact, I'd say.

KOTARO: I get it!

KOTARO: I think that's enough for today.

IKKI: Kotaro, didn't you spend all night on this?

KOTARO: Forget it, just go!

KOTARO: Go, get out of here.

0:19:48
[Prayer Song]
When the sound of the bell
Rings through the village
All the birds, together,
Fly back to the mountain

No one wants to be all alone
But each has only one voice
So let's join all our voices together
And bring a smile to everyone

If we all join hands together--


IKECHIYO: What a nice song.

TAIHEI: Ain't it?

0:20:44
COOK: Here.

KANON: Yes sir.

0:21:20
MAN: Hey lady, hurry it up.

WOMAN: I'm sorry, please go ahead.

0:21:36
MAN: 'scuse me.

KANON: Are you alright?

WOMAN: I'm so sorry...

KANON: No, I'm sorry...

MARUYAMA: Are you alright, ma'am?

WOMAN: Thank you...

MARUYAMA: Misaki, please clean up here.

0:22:08
MARUYAMA: Please, sit here...

0:22:23
MARUYAMA: It doesn't look like she was injured.

MARUYAMA: You really saved the day, Misaki.

0:22:43
MARUYAMA: Misaki?

KANON: I'm so sorry...

MARUYAMA: What is she crying for?

[Ending Theme]
Hey, why don't you show your real feelings?
Outside the window, the rain is falling
The town seems like it's carved from ice
So cold you'd freeze just from touching it
Closing your eyes, you pray for some kindness
Are you waiting for blue skies like the ones in your dream?
Tomorrow, that's what you'll see


NARRATION: A drunken Kanon heads home from her party. Taihei faces enemies from all directions. Just then, Kotaro is...

NARRATION: Next episode: "Excess Drink"

Episode 4: Excess Drink
Read more!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Translation: Ringo (Yoshida Takuro)

My unabashed love of The Alfee eventually led me to discover another classic Japanese folk singer named Yoshida Takuro. Yoshida's career goes all the way back to the '60s. He's written some of the most iconic Japanese folk songs of all time, and is known as the Japanese Bob Dylan. They're the kind of songs where, when you search for them on YouTube, you'll find fifty million amateur covers of them before you have any hope of finding the original.

(In a bizarre coincidence, I recently discovered that Yoshida Takuro is the namesake for New JACK Takuro, the singer of Gosei Sentai Dairanger. Wheels within wheels, I tell ya.)

Today's translation is for Yoshida's song Ringo, which is not referencing the Beatles' drummer, but is actually the Japanese word for Apple. There are a lot of versions of this song, but my favorite is the one he did for his "Oldies" album, a 2002 revisit of some of his most classic songs. Check out that version here, appearing with a slide show of New York.

Check out the translation below!

Song Title: Ringo (Apple)
Artist: Yoshida Takuro
Album: Oldies

hitotsu no ringo wo kimi ga futatsu ni kiru
boku no hou ga sukoshi ookiku kitte aru
soshite futari de nakayoku kajiru
konna koto ha nakatta sukoshi mae made ha
usuyogoreta kissaten no bane no kowareta isu de
nagai hanashi ni aidzuchiutte
soshite itsumo migi to hidari ni wakarete


You cut one apple into two pieces
(My half was slightly larger than yours)
And we ate it together as old friends
Before all this, not long ago,
We'd sit in an old coffee shop, on broken springs
Trading long stories in conversation
And then always split off to the left and the right

kono ringo ha kinou futari de katta mono
boku no hou ga okane wo dashite
otsuri ha kimi ga moratte
konna koto ha nakatta sukoshi mae made ha
KOOHIIKAPPU ha itsudatte futatsu hakobaretekite
mukou to kochira ni, UEITORESU ha
sarigenaku KAPPU wo wakete


We bought these apples together, yesterday
(And I'm the one who paid for them,
but you took all the change)
Before all this, not long ago
The waitress would walk, from here to there
Always with two coffee cups on the tray
And casually split them between us

futatsume no ringo no kawa wo kimi ga muku
boku no hou ga umaku mukeru no ha kimi ha yoku shitteru kedo
ringo wo tsuyoku kajiru, amai shiru ga kuchibiru wo nurasu
hidari no hoho wo kimi ha bukun to fukuramasete
yokubatte hoobaru to
horahora hanasenaku nacchimau darou


You peeled the skin off the second apple
(Even though you know I'm better at peeling)
You bit sharply into it, the juice wetting your lips
And the piece was so large it puffed out your left cheek
Hey now, don't eat it so quickly
You can't talk with your mouth full
Read more!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Translation: Daimajin Kanon Episode 2

It's surprising to me that, in a show where half the cast occasionally lapses into Yamagata Dialect, the hardest lines to translate are the ones spoken by the native Tokyonite band. Saki, slow down! Shinya, open your mouth when you talk!

Song lyrics are still really tentative. Once the singles are released and proper kanji starts going up, I'm surely going to be slapping my forehead over a couple of misinterpretations.

Other than that, please enjoy episode 2!

EDIT: 5/28/10: V. belatedly corrected Otaki's line at 0:11:56 about "working together to fight the Ipadada"... apparently, it was a reference to Kazahana?

4/28/10: Corrected Taihei's line beginning with "Jyuzo told me to find the girl..."

4/28/10: Corrected "a kazahana!" to "Kazahana!", as she appears to be a character with a proper name. (Thanks for putting that info on the site, Kadokawa.)

4/2/11: Changed a few lines.



0:00:00
NARRATION: This is the story of a girl who lost her way in the city, and then used her singing voice to summon a miracle. A 21st century fable.

[Opening song]
Someone hurts you
With heartless words
Makes you wanna give up
There's no more kindness
Someone will use that to trap you
You must find yourself and fight them
Got to live your life
Believin' in these evil times
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
A song that reflects you
Don't hide your kindness
Let us hear it!
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
Pushing the sadness from your heart
Takes true strength
Forces harmonize
Stand by your side
Just sing your heart out

Episode 2: His Sound

NARRATOR: Misaki Kanon, who once dreamed of becoming a singer, is for some reason tormented by the song written by her former lover, Kotaro.

NARRATOR: Meanwhile, in a corner of the city, a demon and a mysterious warrior battled each other.

NARRATOR: In addition, a mysterious man has come from Yamagata Province, searching for Kanon.

Episode 2: His Sound

TAIHEI: 'scuse me!

OTAKI: Quiet down out here! Get in already!

TAIHEI: Coming!

IKECHIYO: Pardon us, good evening.

KANON: Thank you for the meal. It was delicious.

0:03:00
SAWAMORI: Try it.

0:03:13
OTAKI: Well? I called Ikechi here myself, but what are you doing in Tokyo, boy?

TAIHEI: Whaddya mean? Didn't Jyuzo tell you about it?

OTAKI: I don't remember him sayin' a thing about you.

TAIHEI: What? Grandma, you're just pullin' my leg.

OTAKI: 'scuse me?

TAIHEI: He must've told you I was comin'. I'm here on a real important mission!

OTAKI: And what mission's that?

TAIHEI: As it happens, I can't say.

IKECHIYO: Posturing as always.

IKECHIYO: Now, Otaki, have you been getting a lot of young women in here lately?

OTAKI: Nah, just that one girl. But she said my ramen tasted like home. Even said she was from Yamagata, too.

TAIHEI: Of course. Then that girl really was...

HASHITAKA: Otaki!

TAIHEI: Hey!

HASHITAKA: Ah! Taihei! Come quick!

0:05:37
SAWAMORI: Taihei?

TAIHEI: Hey, hurry up!

0:05:59
HASHITAKA: Tomosuke!

TAIHEI: An Ipadada?

0:06:14
BOY: You think Taihei will find that girl?

JYUZO: No idea.

BOY: I'm gonna sing that song Taihei taught me. I really like it.

[Prayer song]
When the sound of the bell
Rings through the village
All the birds, together,
Fly back to the mountain


NARRATOR: Jyuzo thought back on the events of that night, long ago...

NARRATOR: That night, an evil spirit "Ipadada" grew to touch the heavens, and smothered their small castle town in waves of terror.

NARRATOR: But one maiden stayed behind, and sang the Prayer Song to summon the great warrior, Bujin.

0:08:43
NARRATOR: In the end, Bujin was returned to his long slumber.

0:08:52
KANON: It's been a month since we broke up. Since then, I've been so afraid to meet new people.

KANON: I still don't want to, but I really need this job...

MANAGER: So I see you have experience as a server?

KANON: I do.

MANAGER: So you'd be able to start immediately, then?

KANON: I think so.

MANAGER: That's great. To tell you the truth, I only just took over the shop. I've been hoping to find someone experienced who I can rely on.

KANON: Of... course.

0:10:11
KOTARO: You could've called.

SAKI: I tried! You didn't pick up at all last night, I thought maybe you got hurt or something...

SAKI: Where were you all night?

KOTARO: I... guess I was here.

SHINYA: So why didn't you pick up? They changed the time for the gig. Did you get my messages?

KOTARO: I've been asleep until just now.

SHINYA: Just sleeping the whole time?

SAKI: Now we have to be there at three.

KOTARO: Just let me get a shower in.

0:11:56
OTAKI: Damn that Ipadada... he sounds like one tough opponent.

SAWAMORI: I'm sorry, ma'am.

OTAKI: You've got eyes in the sky now. Combine everyone's strength to defeat the Ipadada.

OTAKI: Now, then... Taihei?

TAIHEI: Yeah? What is it?

OTAKI: I don't know what Jyuzo's got you mixed up in, but can't imagine any mission from that potty-mouthed, drunken old pervert being very important at all.

OTAKI: So you'd better not make any trouble for Sawamori and the others.

TAIHEI: But I told you, it's important!

TOMOSUKE: I'm back!

TAIHEI: Welcome back!

TAIHEI: I want you to pick up the scent on this chair.

TAIHEI: C'mon, do it! Hurry!

TOMOSUKE: 'kay...

TAIHEI: Got it?

TOMOSUKE: Got it!

TAIHEI: Sweet!

0:13:08
TOMOSUKE: The scent's stronger here!

TAIHEI: I knew you could do it! Good boy, Tomosuke.

TOMOSUKE: But Taihei, why am I following this scent?

TAIHEI: What, you wanna know?

TOMOSUKE: Yes!

TOMOSUKE: Because you know THE SCENT WE'RE CHASING IS THE SCENT OF A WOMAN.

TAIHEI: Forgive him! He's always like this!

TAIHEI: You idiot! What're you doing yellin' out like that...

TOMOSUKE: 'cause I knew you weren't gonna tell me...

TAIHEI: That's because it's a very important secret mission.

TOMOSUKE: Secret?

TAIHEI: Yup.

TAIHEI: Jyuzo told me to find the girl who has this scent. We're going to need her to beat the Ipadada.

TOMOSUKE: And that's the secret?

TAIHEI: Yep. That's the secret.

TOMOSUKE: Are you sure you were supposed to tell me that?

0:14:05
KANON: Now that I have a part-time job lined up, I feel like things might start going my way.

0:14:35
TELLER: Thank you for your business.

IKKI: 'sup.

SAKI: Do you know each other?

SHINYA: Yeah... this is Saki. She's the new lead vocals for 0°C.

SAKI: Pleased to meet you.

KANON: I'm Misaki.

IKKI: She was our old singer.

SAKI: What? Oh, I see! I'm so thrilled to meet my predecessor. Have you heard "To The Top" yet?

SAKI: Oh, that's right! We're having a concert tonight, why don't you come? How about it?

KANON: No... thank you. I'm... busy.

0:15:50
TAIHEI: This is the place?

TOMOSUKE: It's definitely the place.

TAIHEI: Here we go...

TOMOSUKE: She must not be in right now.

TAIHEI: Aw, man...

IKECHIYO: Excuse me.

TAIHEI: How'd you get here?

TAIHEI: Ah, Kazahana!

IKECHIYO: You know it.

TAIHEI: Get outta here!

IKECHIYO: Otaki's not happy about this.

TOMOSUKE: Sorry.

TAIHEI: Sorry!

IKECHIYO: You shouldn't be loitering in a place like this.

TAIHEI: It's not like we're at a gas station.

TOMOSUKE: That stinks.

TAIHEI: I have to stay here, it's part of my mission.

IKECHIYO: Then you can stay, but I'm taking Tomosuke.

TAIHEI: As you wish!

TOMOSUKE: But I was having fun! Wait!

0:17:05
KOTARO: You're late.

SAKI: Sorry. We had to stop by the store.

SAKI: By the way, we met a girl named Misaki while we were there.

KOTARO: Kanon?

SAKI: She seemed like a really nice girl.

0:17:52
KANON: I should never let myself think things are going my way.

0:18:15
GIRL: Sorry I'm late!

0:18:40
KANON: I was such an idiot...

0:19:00
GRANDMA: Time to get going, Shizu.

SHIZU: Okay!

GRANDMA: Put them all back in...

GRANDMA: Did you have fun?

0:20:14
TAIHEI: We meet again.

KANON: Why do you know that song?

TAIHEI: Huh?

KANON: That song.

TAIHEI: If you can believe it, you sang it for me once before.

TAIHEI: I still sing it all the time.

TAIHEI: It's a great song, anyone can sing it.

KANON: You're wrong!

[To The Top]
The sound of the rain
Makes the town cry
But I just need an umbrella
To keep me from crying...
Standing alone on the stage
I've got another chance
And I'm going straight to the top...


TAIHEI: But it's such a great song...

KANON: How would you know about it?

0:21:20
TAIHEI: I'm back...

OTAKI: Welcome back.

IKECHIYO: Welcome back.

TOMOSUKE: Welcome back!

TOMOSUKE: So, did you meet the girl?

TAIHEI: Huh? Yeah...

IKECHIYO: You're sure she's the one you were looking for?

TAIHEI: No clue.

TAIHEI: Buchinko's gonna take it from here...

0:22:24
KANON: What if I never get it back...? My beautiful... Prayer Song...

NARRATION: Kanon suffers, knowing that the Prayer Song that once soothed her heart has been transformed into the hit song "To The Top."

NARRATION: A part of her has begun to realize that if she cannot take it back, she may lose herself entirely...

[Ending Theme]
Hey, why don't you show your real feelings?
Outside the window, the rain is falling
The town seems like it's carved from ice
So cold you'd freeze just from touching it
Closing your eyes, you pray for some kindness
Are you waiting for blue skies like the ones in your dream?
Tomorrow, that's what you'll see

0:24:17
NARRATION: Something has Kanon in tears at her job, and Taihei revisits his memories of Kanon. Just then, 0°C...

NARRATION: Next episode: "Small Warmth."

Episode 3: Small Warmth
Read more!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Translation: Daimajin Kanon Episode 1

Well, two weeks in and I'm already straying from my blog's initial mission statement of song translations only. Here is the script for episode 1 of Daimajin Kanon, which I did because, I guess, I felt like it.

... but it's a series about music! So it counts!

For those who don't know, Daimajin Kanon is a new tokusatsu series based on the 1960s Daimajin trilogy. The original trilogy was set in feudal Japan, and featured a huge stone giant who would come to life to fight the sort of evil oppressor types who lived back then. The first two movies were released subbed by ADV in the early 2000s. I've only watched the first, but I heartily recommend it.

Daimajin Kanon is a TV series by Kadokawa Shoten and set in modern times. It also reunites much of the production staff that worked on Kamen Riders Kuuga and Hibiki. I found the first episode really interesting -- it's like Kamen Rider Hibiki without the headache-inducing style of direction -- but it's fairly dark and talky, so I'm posting the script in hopes of spreading interest about the series among English-speaking fans.

(Please note that until singles for the series are released, I have no definite lyrics available for the songs. I've tried my best to translate them by ear, but such a thing is always a doubtful proposition.)

Anyway, enjoy!

4/12/2010 Edit: Added second part of "To The Top" lyrics and changed both instances of "Great Soldier" to "Bujin" (it appears to be his proper name).

11/06/2010 Edit: The name of the criminal is Kento, not Yoshihito. Stop having such ambiguous names, Japan!

4/2/1011 Edit: Altered a few minor lines based on having watched the full series.


Daimajin Kanon
Episode 1 script

0:00:00
NARRATION: This is the story of a girl who lost her way in the city, and then used her singing voice to summon a miracle. A 21st century fable.

[Opening song]
Someone hurts you
With heartless words
Makes you wanna give up
There's no more kindness
Someone will use that to trap you
You must find yourself and fight them
Got to live your life
Believin' in these evil times
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
A song that reflects who you are
Don't hide your kindness
Let us hear it!
Sing your heart out
Don't worry, Just shout
Pushing the sadness from your heart
Takes true strength
Forces harmonize
Stand by your side
Just sing your heart out


TITLE: Episode 1: Distant Song

[Prayer song]
When the sound of the bell
Rings through the village
All the birds, together,
Fly back to the mountain

No one wants to be all alone
The sound of a song--


0:04:05
KANON: Rain again...

NARRATION: Misaki Kanon. She entered Tokyo University with the dream of becoming a singer, and began dating a friend of hers. Now heartbroken from the affair, she is to be dragged under by waves of destiny beyond her comprehension.

0:05:00
NEWSCASTER: ... law enforcement will be increasing patrols, with the help of regional crime-prevention agencies. And now, our next story. A man convicted in 2002 for the murder of his parents, his housekeeper, and five others, was executed yesterday.

CAPTION: Murderer of family of five executed
CAPTION: The executed man, Saiki Kento (29)

NEWSCASTER: At the hour of his execution, the prisoner Saiki's last words were, "You can't kill me yet. I need to kill more people. Anyone will do."

CHEF: What a jerk!

NEWSCASTER: ... the incident sent shockwaves through the community. In their decision, the Supreme Court stated that it was "A brutal act, completely devoid of humanity."

CHEF: Who kills their own parents? They take the time to raise you, and you just kill them... breaks your heart, doesn't it?

KOTARO: I couldn't say.

00:06:05
CAPTION: One Month Later

JYUZO: Hey, Taihei! Buchinko's callin'.

JYUZO: I keep tellin' you, that's just an old rock!

TAIHEI: Wasn't it you said it's the great Bujin, who killed a bunch of demons, Jyuzo?

JYUZO: I just said that was one story about it!

TAIHEI: It's still a good story.

0:07:14
JYUZO: We're counting on you!

TAIHEI: Roger that!

0:07:44
KANON: Good morning.

KANON: It's been a month since we broke up.

KANON: I moved from my old place to a cheaper apartment in Chofu.

FROM: My brother
SUBJECT: No title

KANON: "Congratulations on the move! I hope your make lots of new friends in your new city!"

KANON: "But uh, I don't necessarily mean boyfriends."

KANON: You don't have to tell me twice...

KANON: After all, finding a nice man is harder than you'd think. Right?

0:09:33
TAIHEI: Hey!

DRIVER: Woah!

TAIHEI: I think you dropped this! Throw it away properly!

TAIHEI: Empty cans belong in the trash can! You know?

TAIHEI: Hey!

TAIHEI: This guy!

0:10:28
KANON: I went out into the city again, today. I'd just get depressed if I stayed in my room.

KANON: Tokyo has really given me a lot.

KANON: ... but it's taken a lot in exchange.

[To the Top]
The sound of the rain
Makes the town cry
But I just need an umbrella
To keep me from crying...
Standing alone on the stage
I've got another chance
And I'm going straight to the top...


KANON: I hate this song.

KANON: Why does this have to happen to me?

0:11:35
WOMAN: Oh no!

WOMAN: Thank you, I'm so sorry...

WOMAN: I'm sorry!

MAN: It's okay...

0:12:13
TAXI DRIVER: Hey, lady... are you sure this is the place?

IKECHIYO: Yeah, I promised I'd meet someone here.

TAXI DRIVER: Well, if he doesn't show up... I'll take you where you need to go.

IKECHIYO: I'm sure you would.

TAXI DRIVER: My service is non-stop...

IKECHIYO: Sorry, I'm done traveling.

TAIHEI: Hey!

IKECHIYO: You're late!

TAIHEI: Sorry, had an unexpected delay.

IKECHIYO: Buchinko!

0:13:28
HASHITAKA: I just heard! Ikechiyo's coming by, and she's bringing Taihei.

SAWAMORI: Taihei?

TOMOSUKE: It appears Jyuzo has a secret mission for him.

SAWAMORI: Secret mission?

TOMOSUKE: It looks like the whole brain trust is gathering here in Tokyo.

SAWAMORI: Brain trust? But we can't meet up until we deal with that Ipadada.

0:13:53
IKECHIYO: I never thought we'd meet in Tokyo again, Taihei.

TAIHEI: Hey, thanks!

IKECHIYO: So, what's the mission?

TAIHEI: Wanna hear?

IKECHIYO: I sure do.

TAIHEI: But old Jyuzo made me promise not to tell...

IKECHIYO: The Prayer Song?

TAIHEI: Hey you, quit spilling the beans!

IKECHIYO: What does this mean? You're searching for a Songstress for the Prayer Song?

TAIHEI: You have to promise not to tell anyone.

IKECHIYO: You know I won't tell.

TAIHEI: Jyuzo told me...

JYUZO: Got it? We need the girl in Tokyo. She'll be useful in the fight against the Ipadada.

IKECHIYO: So, your mission is to find that girl, right?

TAIHEI: You got it.

IKECHIYO: How do you plan to do that?

TAIHEI: The truth is, I met her once, in the village by the mountain. She was just a tiny little thing, but...

[Prayer song]
When the sound of the bell
Rings through the village
All the birds, together
Fly back to the mountain


TAIHEI: The Prayer Song was the first song she ever learned.

TAIHEI: She looked so happy singing it.

TAIHEI: I'd recognize that voice anywhere.

IKECHIYO: How old would the girl be now?

TAIHEI: Around 20, I guess.

IKECHIYO: She must be quite grown up now.

TAIHEI: Yeah. I hope she's doing well.

0:16:18
KANON: I can't trust people the way I used to. Now I sort of feel like I'm mourning for the person I used to be...

KANON: My dad wanted me to move back home, but part of me still can't give up on my dream. Also... I feel like there's still something for me here in Tokyo.

0:17:19
IPADADA: The rage within you reflects my own. Shall we go out and kill, together?

0:18:05
IKECHIYO: Idiot, you passed our exit!

0:18:22
DRIVER: That stupid biker...

0:18:40
KANON: Eh? What's a ramen shop doing here?

KANON: Maybe I'll try it out.

SIGN: Chinese-Style Soba

0:18:58
HASHITAKA: Tomosuke, how is it?

TOMOSUKE: Hmm...

SAWAMORI: There must be a lot of potential Hosts in this city...

0:19:32
HASHITAKA: Was that a scream?!

OTAKI: Thanks for waiting.

KANON: Thank you.

KANON: I humbly accept this food.

KANON: Tastes like home...

OTAKI: Dangerous times...

0:20:45
SAWAMORI: An Ipadada?!

IPADADA: Do not get in my way.

SAWAMORI: Help the girl!

0:22:35
TAIHEI: Here we are!

IKECHIYO: I hope Jyuzo told them you were coming.

TAIHEI: Don't worry about it.

TAIHEI: ... ah!

[Ending Theme]
Hey, why don't you show your real feelings?
Outside the window, the rain is falling
The town seems like it's carved from ice
So cold you'd freeze just from touching it
Closing your eyes, you pray for some kindness
Are you waiting for blue skies like the ones in your dream?
Tomorrow, that's what you'll see


0:24:19
NARRATOR: Kotaro's song brings pain to Kanon's heart, and an Ipadada sets a trap for our warriors. Then, the Great Bujin appears...

TITLE: Episode 2: His Sound
Read more!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Translation: Dark Side Meditation (The Alfee)

It's been a busy day, so more Alfee tonight, with limited comments. This time around, it's the enigmatic Dark Side Meditation, the second track on the örb album. There's an interesting progression there if you listen to it after Hysteric Psychedelic Infinity.

Check out the song here, and the translation below.


Original kanji for the romanization found here.

Song Title: Dark Side Meditation
Artist: The Alfee
Album: örb

fuan na ichinichi ga hajimaru
kotoba ha meiro no naka de yukiba wo ushinau
aa anata ga koko ni ite hoshii
dare yori mo soba ni ite hoshii


An uncertain day has dawned
And my words have lost their way in the maze
Ah, how I want you here with me!
More than anyone, I want you beside me

dareka ga ima
tousui he no tobira wo tataita


But someone has knocked
On the door to obsession

Crash out zetsubou no RABIRINSU kowasareta risei
Flash back kioku no kanata de kesarete yuku chisei
Dark Side Meditation
yami ni dakarete


Crash Out of shattered reason, this labyrinth of despair
Flash Back to neglected knowledge deep within my memory
Dark Side Meditation
Be embraced by darkness

genwaku sareta tokai no IRUUJON
shiroku moeru taiyou ni kokoro mo tsukarehatete
aa anata ni ima sugu aitai
sono koe wo kikasete sono koe wo


I chased a mirage of a dazzling city
But my soul collapsed under the white-burning sun
Ah, how I want to see you now!
Your voice, please, let me hear your voice

soushitsu he no PUROROOGU
tobira wo tataite


Prepared for defeat
I knock on the door

Crash out nigedashite mitai ima me no mae no subete kara
Flash back meisou no kanata ni samayou tooi kioku
Dark Side Meditation
yami ni dakarete


Crash Out, when I wish to run from everything that is before me
Flash Back to the memory lingering deep in the subconscious
Dark Side Meditation
Be embraced by darkness

soshite nanimonai ichinichi ga owari
yagate tameiki ni yoru ha michibikarete yuku


Then, this day of emptiness will be behind me
And sighs will guide me along into the night

aa anata ni dakishimete hoshii
nureta yume hageshii yasashisa de


Ah, how I want you to hold me!
In tear-stained dreams, with passionate kindness

jiko henkoku
kono mune no tobira wo hiraite


In a revolution of self,
I throw open the door to my heart

Crash out zetsubou no RABIRINSU kowasareta risei
Flash back kioku no kanata de kesarete yuku chisei


Crash Out of shattered reason, this labyrinth of despair
Flash Back to neglected knowledge deep within my memory

nemurenu yoru gensou he no SERENAADE kanaderu
odoritsudzukeru tsubasa no oreta tenshitachi yo
hitotoki no yokubou no umi ni ima subete wo yudanete
jibun de ha nai jibun ni ai ni yuku sono tame ni


On sleepless nights, I play a serenade to illusions
To all the broken-winged angels that continue to dance
I say, devote everything to the indulgence of the moment
And search for a self that is not yourself

Dark Side Meditation
hitomi tojite
Dark Side Meditation
muishiki no kabe
Dark Side Meditation
yami no BEERU
yoru no shijima ni dakare...


Dark Side Meditation
Close your eyes, and be embraced
Dark Side Meditation
By the wall of unconsciousness,
Dark Side Meditation
The veil of darkness,
And the silence of night...
Read more!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Translation: Gosei Sentai Dairanger (NEW JACK Takuro)

When translating for fans, one inevitably runs into the issue of what to translate, and what to leave in Japanese. After all, most members of a given fandom will pick up at least a couple of relevant Japanese words. You don't need to explain "henshin" to a tokusatsu fan, or "miko" to someone who's seen a lot of anime.

Sadly, this often leads to fan translators who go too far, leaving intact Japanese words that mean absolutely nothing to the audience. On the other hand, for a knowledgeable audience, over-translation can actively hinder their understanding more than it helps. (I've never seen a translation of "tonkatsu" that was anything but a distraction.)

As with many aspects of translation, this is a decision that has a lot riding on it, yet has no definite right or wrong answer. Ultimately, it's the translator's call to decide, in context, when it's worth sacrificing some audience understanding for the sake of precision, and vice-versa.

Today's translation is Gosei Sentai Dairanger, a song full of that tricky fandom jargon I just described. In this case, I decided to err on the side of caution and translate as much as possible. After all, I figure, if you're really concerned about the precise term, the romaji's right there above the translation.

If you've never heard the song before, make sure to check it out in all its quasi-Chinese grooviness on YouTube. My translation lies below.


(Original kanji to be found here.)

Song Title: Gosei Sentai Dairanger (Five-Star Squadron Dairanger)
Artist: NEW JACK Takuro
Series: Gosei Sentai Dairanger

tenshin daaa! kiryoku daaa!
tsurugi yo mae! kobushi yo unare!
RYUURENJAA SHISHIRENJAA
TENMA KIRIN HOUOURENJAA


Changeover! Chi power!
Dance, my sword! Roar, my fist!
Dragonranger, Lionranger!
Pegasus, Chimera, Phoenixranger!

kiryoku tenshin! hengenjizai
naiteru kimi no hohoemi mitakute
kiryoku tenshin! hengenjizai
moyashitsukusu ze makka na honoo
ten ni kagayake! itsutsuboshi
gosei sentai gosei sentai DAIRENJAA
DAIRENJAA oh!


Chi-power changeover! A dazzling illusion!
Hoping to light a smile through your tears...
Chi-power changeover! A dazzling illusion!
... we'll burn out our crimson fire
Shine in the heavens, o five stars!
Five Star Squadron Dairanger!
Dairanger! Oh!

tenshin daaa! kiryoku daaa!
karada yo tobe kokoro yo sakebe
RYUURENJAA SHISHIRENJAA
TENMA KIRIN HOUOURENJAA


Changeover! Chi power!
Fly, my body! Cry, my soul!
Dragonranger, Lionranger!
Pegasus, Chimera, Phoenixranger!

kiryoku tenshin! mondoumuyou
kinou no koto ha furimukanai no sa
kiryoku tenshin! mondoumuyou
mamoritaosu ze kimi no mirai wo
asu ni kagayake! itsutsuboshi
gosei sentai gosei sentai DAIRENJAA
DAIRENJAA oh!


Chi-power changeover! Don't waste your breath on words!
We know there's no use looking back at the past...
Chi-power changeover! Don't waste your breath on words!
... but we'll stake our lives to protect your future
Shine toward tomorrow, o five stars!
Five Star Squadron Dairanger!
Dairanger! Oh!

kiryoku tenshin! hengenjizai
naiteru kimi no hohoemi mitakute
kiryoku tenshin! hengenjizai
moyashitsukusu ze makka na honoo
ten ni kagayake! itsutsuboshi
gosei sentai gosei sentai DAIRENJAA
DAIRENJAA oh!


Chi-power changeover! A dazzling illusion!
Hoping to light a smile through your tears...
Chi-power changeover! A dazzling illusion!
... we'll burn out our crimson fire
Shine in the heavens, o five stars!
Five Star Squadron Dairanger!
Dairanger! Oh!
Read more!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Translation: 15 no Yoru (Osaki Yutaka)

It's a special REQUEST post! This request is from akodox, who asked for an English translation of Osaki Yutaka's classic 80's anthem of high school rebellion, 15 no Yoru.

In doing a bit of research about the song, I learned that at the time of its release in 1983, it was forbidden to be played on school grounds, due to its lyrics promoting juvenile delinquency. Nowadays, the lyrics are printed in official high school ethics textbooks. Quite a turnaround, indeed.

I hadn't heard the song prior to the request, but having seen this amazing live performance on YouTube, I'm pretty well sold. Watch the video and follow along with the lyrics below!

Song Title: 15 no Yoru (On That Night When I Was 15)
Artist: Osaki Yutaka
Album: 15 no Yoru (Single)

Song romanized from kanji to be found here.

rakugaki no kyoukasho to soto bakari miteru ore
choukousou BIRU no ue no sora todokanai yume wo miteru
yariba no nai kimochi no tobira yaburitai
kousha no ura tabako wo fukashite mitsukareba nigeba mo nai


Doodling in my textbook, daydreaming out the window
Dreams I knew would never reach past the high-rise buildings to the sky
I want to break down the door to these pent-up feelings
But there's not even a place to run if I'm caught smoking behind the school

shagande katamari se wo mukenagara
kokoro no hitotsu mo wakariaenai otonatachi wo niramu
soshite nakamatachi ha konya iede no keikaku wo tateru
tonikaku mou gakkou ya ie ni ha kaeritaku nai
jibun no sonzai ga nan na no ka sae wakarazu fueteiru
15 no yoru


Squatting with my back to the wall
I glared at the adults, who never tried to understand me
And my friends were all making plans for the night
And all I knew was I wanted to leave home and school behind
Trembling, under the weight of not even knowing who I am
On that night when I was 15

nusunda BAIKU de hashiridasu yukisaki mo wakaranu mama
kurai yoru no tobari no naka he
dare ni mo shiboraretaku nai to nigekonda kono yoru ni
jiyuu ni nareta ki ga shita
15 no yoru


Stole a bike and took off, not even sure to where
Just straight into the curtain of the night
I took shelter that night, from the pressures everyone put on me
And I think I experienced freedom
On that night when I was 15

tsumetai kaze hieta karada hito koishikute
yumemiteru ano ko no uchi no yoko wo SAYONARA tsubuyaki hashirinukeru
yami no naka potsun to hikaru jidou hanbaiki
100endama de kaeru nukumori atsui can KOOHII nigirishime


The cold wind chilled my body as I rode past the house of my beloved
Whispered "goodbye" to the wall where she lay dreaming on the other side
The light of a vending machine pierced the darkness
I clutched the can of hot coffee in both hands, a moment's warmth for 100 yen

koi no ketsumatsu mo wakaranai kedo
ano ko to ore ha shourai sae zutto yume ni miteru
otonatachi ha kokoro wo sutero sutero to iu ga ore ha iya na no sa
taikutsu na jugyou ga oretachi no subete naraba
nante chippoke de nante imi no nai nante muryoku na
15 no yoru


I don't know what will come of our love
But she and I are always dreaming about our future together
And I can't stand the way adults keep acting like I should just throw my soul away
Because if these boring classes are all there is to our lives...
Then how fucking small... how meaningless, how powerless was I,
On that night when I was 15

nusunda BAIKU de hashiridasu yukisaki mo wakaranu mama
kurai yoru no tobari no naka he
oboetate no tabako wo fukashi hoshizora wo mitsumenagara
jiyuu wo motometsuzuketa
15 no yoru


Stole a bike and took off, not even sure to where
Just straight into the curtain of the night
Cigarette on my lips as I gazed up at the stars
And searched for my freedom
On that night when I was 15

nusunda BAIKU de hashiridasu yukisaki mo wakaranu mama
kurai yoru no tobari no naka he
dare ni mo shiboraretaku nai to nigekonda kono yoru ni
jiyuu ni nareta ki ga shita
15 no yoru


Stole a bike and took off, not even sure to where
Just straight into the curtain of the night
I took shelter on that night, from the pressures everyone put on me
And I think I experienced freedom
On that night when I was 15
Read more!

Translation: Hysteric Psychadelic Infinity (The Alfee)

The Alfee is a band as old as the hills, and yet, they're not very well known among western fandom. I attribute this partly to their age, partly their retro sound, and mostly to the fact that the anime they've done music for -- Touch, Salaryman Kintaro, Doraemon -- don't exactly make huge waves on this side of the ocean. The closest they've had to a breakout hit is the Donald Duck song on Disney DDR.

Nevertheless, I love them. I love their classic sound, I love their devotion to Simon & Garfunkle, I love their tendency to cover songs in English and get them almost-but-not-quite right. And so, as America's one and only Alfee fan, I will make it my mission to expose the world's English-speaking population to their music, one translation at a time.

Today, I start, with the first song from the first album of theirs I ever bought: Hysteric Psychedelic Infinity, from the 2000 album "örb."

Check out the song for yourself here, along with a totally sweet sideshow of Tokyo skyscrapers. Translation lies below the cut.

Romanized lyrics transcribed from kanji found here.

Song Title: Hysteric Psychedelic Infinity
Artist: The Alfee
Album: örb

Private network uso de katameru
hontou no koto nado oshienai
Access funou na Conversation
itsudemo asobi to warikiru no sa


In a Private Network founded on lies
No one even bothers with the truth
Because this Access-prohibited Conversation
Is never considered as more than a game

Hysteric ni sawagitai
Psychedelic ni kanjitai
Giri-giri made Kiss shitai
sono ba kagiri no Virtual game


I want to celebrate Hysterically
Feel you Psychedelically
Kiss you with all the time I have
Our Virtual Game begins and ends here

Database mitsukaranai
kore kara nani wo shitai no ka
yume sae oenai mainichi ni
ima dake kagayakitai


Now the Database is down
So what am I supposed to do now?
In monotonous days, lacking even in dreams
I just want this one time to shine!

Thrill na yoru ni dakarete
fuan na mirai Freeze out
Can't get enough manzoku dekinai
motto hageshiku Body install


Embraced by the Thrill of night
My fears about the future Freeze Out
I Can't Get Enough, can't be satisfied
More forcefully now, Body Install

tsujitsuma no awanai
iiwake dake kurikaesu
kizu darake no CPU
itsudemo totsuzen kowareru no sa


I keep getting these lame excuses
Over and over again
That a CPU so full of flaws
Can break down without warning at any time...

Hysteric ni sakebitai
Psychedelic ni yurete itai
yakusoku nante dekiyashinai
ichiya kagiri no One night stand


I want to scream Hysterically
I want to shake Psychedelically
No promises made, and none delivered
This is just a one night stand

hitomi de hajimaru Love interface
mitsumete totsuzen hajikeru
tameiki dake ga shinjitsu sa
kotoba ha mou iranai


The Love Interface connects through the eyes
They meet, and suddenly, something snaps
These sighs are the only truth we know
And there's no more need for words

Gimme some lovin' dare demo ii sa
Crazy na yume katariaou
Can't get enough manzoku dekinai
motto hageshiku Body install


Gimme Some Lovin', it doesn't matter who
Let's tell each other our Crazy dreams
I Can't Get Enough, can't be satisfied
More forcefully now, Body Install

matenrou futo miageru
kiritorareta yozora ga aru
marude fuan na mirai no you
ima sugu nigedashitai


I catch a glance up at the skyscrapers
At the sliver of night sky that remains
It reminds me of my fears about the future
And suddenly, I need to run away

Thrill na yoru ni dakarete
fuan na mirai Freeze out
Can't get enough manzoku dekinai
dakara konya


Embraced by the Thrill of night
My fears about the future Freeze Out
I Can't Get Enough, can't be satisfied
And so, just for tonight...

Gimme some lovin' dare demo ii sa
Crazy na yume katariaou
Can't get enough manzoku dekinai
hadaka ni natte


Gimme Some Lovin', it doesn't matter who
Let's tell each other our Crazy dreams
I Can't Get Enough, can't be satisfied
I am made bare...

Thrill na yoru ni dakarete
fuan na mirai Freeze out
Can't get enough manzoku dekinai
motto hageshiku Body install


Embraced by the Thrill of night
My fears about the future Freeze Out
I Can't Get Enough, can't be satisfied
More forcefully now, Body Install
Read more!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Translation: Ai Senshi (Inoue Daisuke)

The theme song from the second Gundam movie, Ai Senshi has got to win some kind of award for total disconnect between music and lyrics. The lyrics lament the sorrow caused by war, raise doubts about its purpose, and describe the carnage left on a battlefield in a way that is really pretty gruesome. The only hope offered is that of a faint, longing prayer.

The music, by contrast, is pretty great for dancin'.

Still, it's a pretty classic song, and has been covered many, many times, most recently by the likes of Gackt, JAM Project, and even Andrew W.K. (The latter did a singable English version, which I tried to avoid, hoping to leave my own translation unspoiled.)

Of course, the classic version is sung by Inoue Daisuke, and that's the version you can check out here on YouTube.

(Incidentally, I wish that all of the English languages's best words to describe someone genuinely worthy of pity hadn't been twisted with derogatory implications. The urge to translate the title as "Wretched Soldiers" was immense.)


The song is romanized from kanji provded here.

Song Title: Ai Senshi (Pitiable Soldiers)
Artist: Inoue Daisuke
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam (Movie 2)

ai furueru ai
sore ha wakareuta
hirou hone mo moetsukite
nureru hada mo tsuchi ni kaeru
kouya wo hashiru shinigami no retsu
kuroku yugande makka ni moeru


Pity, shaking pity
That is their parting song
We gather their bones, now reduced to char
Their stained flesh now returned to the earth
The columns of death rush over the wasteland
Contorted and black, burning in crimson

ai inochi no ai
chi no iro ha daichi ni sutete
arata na toki wo hiraku ka
ikinokoru ai senshitachi
kouya wo hashiru shinigami no retsu
kuroku yugande makka ni moeru


Pity, the pity of life
The color of blood stains the land
Will they open up a new age?
These survivors, these pitiable soldiers?
The columns of death rush over the wasteland
Contorted and black, burning in crimson

shi ni yuku otokotachi ha mamorubeki onnatachi ni
shi ni yuku onnatachi ha aisuru otokotachi he


From all the dying men, to the women they protect
From all the dying women, to the men that they love

nani wo kakeru no ka nani wo nokosu no ka
I pray, pray to bring near the New Day


What do we put at risk? What will remain for us?
I pray, pray to bring near the New Day

ai kanashimi no ai
ima ha nokoru dake
na wo shiranu senshi wo uchi
ikinobite chihedo haku
hayate no gotoki shinigami no retsu
aragau sube ha waga te ni ha nai


Pity, sorrowful pity
Now, that is all that remains
Shooting down soldiers, not knowing their names
Surviving a moment longer while coughing up blood
The columns of death rush with the force of a gale
And we have no means to oppose them

shi ni yuku otokotachi ha mamorubeki onnatachi ni
shi ni yuku onnatachi ha aisuru otokotachi he


From all the dying men, to the women they protect
From all the dying women, to the men that they love

tatakau otokotachi ha furusato no onnatachi ni
tatakau onnatachi ha shinjiru otokotachi ni


From all the fighting men to the women of their hometowns
From all the fighting women to the men that they believe in

nani wo kakeru no ka nani wo nokosu no ka
I pray, pray to bring near the New Day


What do we put at risk? What will remain for us?
I pray, pray to bring near the New Day
Read more!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Translation: Ikiteru Tochuu (ISSA)

Today's translation is Ikiteru Tochuu, from Da Pump singer ISSA's first solo album, Extension. Like yesterday's Amadare Blues, there's some conspicuous finagling in the translated lyrics, as attempting to translate word-for-word would result in a stilted, largely inaccurate mess.

Take the song title itself: "Ikiteru Tochuu" is two words, but requires a full sentence in English to explain. "Ikiteru" means "living." "Tochuu" literally means "partway through," but colloquially, it's used to describe an unexpected interruption or a change of course. Hence: "An interruption on the journey of life."

(Of course, in the case of this song, the interruption was a pleasant one: the singer fell in love.)

Check out the full translation below. No YouTube this time, unfortunately.


Song Title: Ikiteru Tochuu (Interruption on the Journey of Life)
Artist: ISSA
Album: Extension

The song is romanized from kanji provded here.

moshimo saki ni mezametemo BEDDO no naka kara dete yukanaide
kusari no you ni tsuyoku omae wo dakishimetai dake


If you wake up before I do, don't get out of bed
I want to keep my arms around you, binding like a chain

IKIZAMA nante saisho kara doko wo sagashitemo nai keredo
hikari to kage no you ni hitotsu ni musubaretai dake


I've been aimless all my life, but I've finally found meaning
I want to be joined with you as one, as light is bound to shadow

DANSU ga ai no akashi nara asa made odoritsudzukeyou
kanjiru mama yurashinagara aa futari


If a dance is proof of love, let's keep dancing until sunrise
The two of us, the way we feel, swaying back and forth

KISSU ga ai no katachi nara sono mama choukoku ni narou
kanjiru mama wo eien ni aa futari


If a kiss is love's true form, then let's remain like this
The two of us, the way we feel, carved in stone forever

uso darake no mainichi mo kakehiki dake no mainichi mo
tatta hitotsu no shinjitsu ga omae no hitomi ni areba ii


My days are full of deception, full of compromise, and yet
If the only truth is the one found in your eyes, I can be content

SHATSU wo nuidara koko he kite mune no kodou wo kikasete kure
ikiteru tochuu no ore dakara omae wo dakishimetai dake


Take off your shirt and come to me, let me hear your heartbeat
You interrupted my journey of life, now, I just want my arms around you

DANSU ga ai no akashi nara asa made odoritsudzukeyou
kanjiru mama yurashinagara aa futari


If a dance is proof of love, let's keep dancing until sunrise
The two of us, the way we feel, swaying back and forth

KISSU ga ai no katachi nara sono mama choukoku ni narou
kanjiru mama wo eien ni aa futari


If a kiss is love's true form, then let's remain like this
The two of us, the way we feel, carved in stone forever

DANSU ga ai no akashi nara asa made odoritsudzukeyou
kanjiru mama yurashinagara aa futari


If a dance is proof of love, let's keep dancing until sunrise
The two of us, the way we feel, swaying back and forth

KISSU ga ai no katachi nara sono mama choukoku ni narou
kanjiru mama wo eien ni aa futari


If a kiss is love's true form, then let's remain like this
The two of us, the way we feel, carved in stone forever
Read more!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Translation: Amadare Blues (B'z)

When you're a young, aspiring translator, one of the most difficult things to accept is that the actual words that make up a phrase are less important than the ideas that those words convey. Why is this so difficult to accept? Simple: translating words is easy; translating ideas is hard.

Translating words is also safe. You don't really have to care about what you're doing. You're dealing in relatively unimpeachable facts; if someone tells you that you're wrong, you just have to point to your dictionary to prove that you're right. On the off-chance that you do make a mistake, it's very easy to catch and fix.

By contrast, translating ideas requires a certain investment. You have to connect with the material. You have to understand it. You have to use your judgment about what needs to be conveyed, and the best way to convey it -- and despite your best efforts, not everyone will agree. You'll get into arguments that have no right answer and no end.

In other words, real translation is hard because it's art.

I bring up these thoughts, because they were running through my head as I hammered away at a translation of Amadare Blues by B'z. The meaning of the song is simple enough; the challenge is figuring out how to convey the singer's stream-of-consciousness rantings without sounding stilted. This meant the painful sacrifice of no small number of literal words.

Check out the amazing song here on YouTube, and follow along with the translation below.

Song Title: Amadare Blues (Rainy Day Blues)
Artist: B'z
Album: Monster

amadare no oto jiwarijiwari hibiite
kemono no you ni ugomeku omoi
doyoubi no gogo no sora miagerya ayashige na GUREI ni kasumu


The stale rain's pounding louder and louder on the roof
And my thoughts've started straining at the leash
It's Saturday afternoon and the sky is grey, a bad sign of things to come

suzushige na manazashi de boku no ireta KOOHII susuru
KAPPU ni soeta yubisaki ha machigainaku shiroku kirei
yuube dare to dokomade itte donna tanoshii koto shitetano?
aa shiritai iya shiritaku nai


With studied cool, you sip the coffee I made
Your fingers around the cup, so clean and white
But I'm wondering who you were with last night, what games you played together...
And ah, I want to know... ...but no, I don't want to know...

aru no ka nai no ka mada hakkiri shinai kakutaru shouko wo motometeru
hajimarimasu giwaku no daibousou


I'm scrambling for hard proof, not even knowing if it exists
My suspicions are spiraling out of control...

nani ga okiteiru no ka tende wakaccha inee
sagashiteru mono ha doko ni aru no


What is this feeling coming over me? I haven't got a clue
I just need to find what I'm searching for

koi no honoo ha kieta hazu na no ni shiranai yokogao miserare
mata iyarashiku moete kuru
ima sara sonna kenri mo kaishou mo nai no ni uragiri wo yurusenai baka daro
migatte na yubi ga sono karadajuu saguru masaguru


I thought the flame of my love had died, but seeing this new side of you
Brings it flaring up again, against my will
I've given up right to you, but I still feel betrayed -- ah, it's so stupid!
My fingers across your body, with a life of their own, fumble and grope...

aru no ka nai no ka daremo shiranai tairyouhakai heiki mezashite
burei ni ranbou ni tsukisusumu you da yo


As after weapons of mass destruction, not even knowing it exists
I rush forward recklessly, throwing consideration to the wind

nani ga okiteiru no ka tende wakaccha inee
sagashiteru mono ha doko ni aru no
honto ha nanimo mitsukaranaide hoshii
mou ichido CHANSU wo ikinokoru CHANSU wo kure


What is this feeling coming over me? I haven't got a clue
I just need to find what I'm searching for
The real truth is, I don't want to find anything
Just give me one more chance, please, one more chance to survive...
Read more!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Translation: Wind & Rain (Shimon Masato)

I have not seen a lot of Fist of the North Star, just bits and pieces here and there. One thing I know about it is that it is a manly show about manly men killing each other in hilariously gruesome ways. The other thing that I know about it is that it has incredibly kickass music.

Today's translation is not one of FotNS's more kickass songs, but it is one of its more beautiful ones. It's an insert song from the second season, called "Wind & Rain." It's also one of the first songs I ever downloaded back when I was first getting into anime. I only hope that my translation can accurately convey the simple, earnest longing contained in the Japanese lyrics and Shimon Masato's heartfelt vocals.

[12/7/2010: Song link removed due to ToS violation. So sad.]


Song Title: Wind & Rain
Artist: Shimon Masato
Series: Hokuto no Ken 2 (Fist of the North Star 2)

otoko no kokoro ha kaze
tada hitasura hashirinukeru ato de
hontou ni daiji na mono
nakushite kita koto ni kizuki mata maimodoru


A man's heart is the wind
It blows its earnest course, and then
Realizing all that it's left behind
It returns to where it came from

omae no hoho ni furu sono ame wo
nuguu koto sae dekinu jibun ga munashikute


When I see the rain falling on your cheek
I feel so powerless to wipe it away...

dakara sukoshi dake de ii
niji no you na sono hohoemi misete hoshii


So please, for just a little while
Let your smile be a rainbow in my life

otoko no inochi ha kaze
sugite mireba tada hakanai yume sa
dakedo hitotsubu no ai
kata ni nosete dokoka tooku hakonde yukeru


A man's life is the wind
It seems so fleeting, just passing by
But if it picks up just one grain of love
It can carry it on forever

soko ni omae no yasashisa no ame
sosoida naraba utsukushii hana saku darou


If only the rain of your kindness would fall on me
The most beautiful flowers would grow

asu ha wakaranai kara
yokei kyou ga omotaku naru ikiteru koto ga


But I don't know what will happen tomorrow
And that makes it so much harder to live through today

soko ni omae no yasashisa no ame
sosoida naraba utsukushii hana saku darou


If only the rain of your kindness would fall on me
The most beautiful flowers would grow

asu ha wakaranai kara
yokei kyou ga omotaku naru ikiteru koto ga


But I don't know what will happen tomorrow
And that makes it so much harder to live through today
Read more!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Translation: Kamen Rider Agito (Ishihara Shinichi)

Generally speaking, people who sub Japanese series really don't put enough time into the song translations. I don't know why this is. I mean, people are going to see that translation over and over -- anywhere between 13-52 times, depending on the length of the series. If the translation doesn't make sense, then sooner or later, the audience is going to notice.

It's especially galling when you're dealing with a song that is really deeply about the show it precedes. I mean, someone spent a lot of time writing that song, trying to create something that would give the Japanese audience a sense of what they're about to watch. If you're a translator, why wouldn't you want to give the English-speaking audience that same benefit?

So without further ado, here is my translation of the opening to wonderful series Kamen Rider Agito. If you don't know the song, check it out here on YouTube.

Song Title: Kamen Rider Agito
Artist: Ishihara Shinichi
Series: Kamen Rider Agito OP

(Kanji source is the Song Attack Ride Second album.)

"yami no naka mitsumeteru...
te wo nobashi tsukamitore kimi motomeru mono"


"You stand, staring into the dark...
Now reach out your hand... and grasp what you are searching for."


mata dareka ga heiki na kao wo shite
yume dato warattemo...


Even if, once again, someone laughs at you
And says, with a smile, that it was just a dream...


Ready to go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito!
kimi no mama de kawareba ii
Here we go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito
ima kimi ga inai to... Get on!


Ready to go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
You must become more than what you are
Here we go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
We need you with us, now... Get on!


"atarashii hokori ni ha...
atarashii... itami sae tomonau darou"


"I suppose that with every new pride...
There must always be... new pain"


sono daremo ga akiramesou na
nanika ni tachiagaru...


And with that, you stand up against the things
That would make anyone else back down


Ready to Go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito!
miteru dake no kimi de ii kai?
Here we go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito!
ima kimi ga inai to... Get on!


Ready to go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
Can you be content to merely stand and watch?
Here we go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
We need you with us, now... Get on!


Ready to go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito!
kimi no mama de kawareba ii
Here we go, Count ZERO Kamen Rider Agito
ima kimi ga inai to... Get on!


Ready to go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
You must become more than what you are
Here we go, count zero! Kamen Rider Agito!
We need you with us, now... Get on!


(Note: For those unfamiliar with the franchise, "Kamen Rider" means "Masked Rider." This is the rare instance where I'll leave a bit of Japanese intact. I figure if "Kamen Rider" is enough of a brandname that even the official American import won't change it, I can leave it in here.)
Read more!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Translation: Ambitious Japan (Tokio)

This single was written as a cross-promotion between the band Tokio and JR Tokai, a major Japanese railway company. I heard it on my first trip to Japan, right after I graduated in early 2004 -- I think I may still have the shinkansen time schedule that features the band all dressed up as train operators. If you haven't seen it, it is fantastic

But anyway, that cross-promotion is the reason the song is all about the train/journey metaphors. I can't really complain; Japan's rail system is so good that it kind of deserves to have hero ballads written about it. If you haven't heard the song, check out this PV on YouTube. (Also featured: lots of glorious footage of Japanese trains. Surprise!)

My translation sits below the cut.

Song Title: Ambitious Japan
Artist: Tokio
Album: Ambitious Japan (Single)

tatoete ieba RONGU TOREIN
kazekiri saite hashiru you ni
mirai ni mukatte masshigura
tsukisusumeba nozomi ha kanau
tachidomaranai furikaeranai
yarubeki koto wo yaru dake sa


Like a long train
Rending the air as it passes
I'm heading for the future at full speed
My wishes will come true if I just press on
So I won't stop, won't look back
I'll just keep doing what needs to be done

aitakute aitakute
tamaranai kara tabi ni deta
aitai hito ha kimi dakedo
kimi nanda kedo sore dake ja nai


Wanting to find you, wanting to find you
Unable to bear it, I started my journey
But though you're the one I want to find,
This journey's not just about you

shiranai machi de
deaitai hontou no jibun wo
(I get a true love)


In unfamiliar towns
I want to meet my true self!

Be ambitious! waga tomo yo boukensha yo
Be ambitious! tabidatsu hito yo
yuusha de are Be ambitious!


Be ambitious, my dear friends, adventurers!
Be ambitious, my fellow travellers!
Be warriors! Be ambitious!

tatoete ieba RONGU TOREIN
yoru wo tsuranuki hashiru you ni
hikari ni mukatte masshigura
tsukisusumeba kiseki mo okiru
tachidomaranai furikaeranai
yarubeki koto wo yaru dake sa


Like a long train
Piercing the night as it passes
I'm heading for the light at full speed
Miracles will happen if I just press on
So I won't stop, won't look back
I'll just keep doing what needs to be done

dakitakute dakitakute
tamaranai kara tabi ni deta
dakitai hito ha kimi dakedo
kimi nanda kedo sore dake ja nai


Wanting to hold you, wanting to hold you
Unable to bear it, I started my journey
But though you're the one I want to hold,
This journey's not just about you

ryoute wo hiroge
dakishimetai kagayaki yoake wo
(I get a true love)


With both hands outstretched,
I want to hold the shining dawn!

Be ambitious! waga tomo yo boukensha yo
Be ambitious! tabidatsu hitori
eikou are


Be ambitious, my dear friends, adventurers!
Be ambitious, lone travellers!
Find glory!

Be ambitious! waga tomo yo boukensha yo
Be ambitious! tabidatsu hitori
yuusha de are


Be ambitious, my dear friends, adventurers!
Be ambitious, lone travellers!
Be warriors!

(I get a true love)

Be ambitious! waga tomo yo boukensha yo
Be ambitious! tabidatsu hito yo
eikou are Be ambitious!


Be ambitious, my dear friends, adventurers!
Be ambitious, fellow travellers!
Find glory! Be ambitious!
Read more!