Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Adventures in Anime Song Translation: "Lilium"

I wish to emphasize that I do not recommend the anime Elfen Lied. It is apparently really gorgeous, but also really really nastily violent, really really full of Akira-type psychics who explode heads, and has decided that normal anime fan service with naked women just isn't naked enough, besides having some silly stuff about God sending mutant horned women to destroy the world. Some would say I shouldn't judge this anime until I've seen it. Aehhhh...I say no. Bleaching images out of braincells is just too much work.

However, since the Anime Powers That Be have decided that the perfect theme song for this show is one with Latin chant, lyrics, translation, and annotation must be provided. The song is all in Latin.

The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom
And his tongue shall speak judgement
Blessed the man who resists temptation
For when proved he shall receive the crown of life
Lord, Divine Fire, have mercy
O how holy, how serene
How benevolent, how comforting,
O Lily of Chastity.

"Os iusti meditabitur sapientiam et lingua eius loquetur iudicium" is from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 36:30. "The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom: and his tongue shall speak judgment."

"Beatus vir qui suffert temptacionem quoniam cum probatus fuerit accipiet coronam vite quam repromisit deus diligentibus se" is James 1:12. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for, when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him." It's also an antiphon used for the Common of One Martyr. More to the point, a setting of said antiphon was on the Dominican Monks of St. Silos' album Chant. The first chapter of James has a similar theme to Psalm 36.

"Kyrie Eleison" is the old Greek words for "Lord, have mercy". They are still occasionally used in the Catholic Mass, both in the vernaculars and in Latin Masses. However, the text "Kyrie, Ignis Divine" comes from Nicolas Melchior Cibenensis' Alchemical Mass. If this sucker wasn't heretical, it certainly wasn't approved by canon law. Boy, and I thought they came up with pretentious liturgies in the seventies!

The final part of "Lilium" uses words from the sequence "Ave mundi spes Maria" (Hail Mary, Hope of the World). "O quam sancta, quam serena, quam benigna, quam amoena esse virgo creditur!" translates out as "O how holy, how serene, how benign, how comforting is this maiden who believed!" Then "O castitatis lilium, tuum precare filium, qui salus est humilium" is "O lily of chastity, pray to your son who is health to the humble". (A more readable version is here, but it's on a rather strange site....)

Presumably, the point of the song is that the "just man" (the kid who's hiding the genetically engineered girl) has to undergo trials, while the mutant girl is being compared to Mary. Or possibly the producers just liked the tune.



  • At 2:57 PM, Blogger Jess said…

    Elfen Lied isn't so bad. It's not all blood, nakedness, and exploding heads. Our anime club is watching it currently and everyone seems to really enjoy it, even the ones who are really squeamish when blood (even animated blood) is involved. It's no worse than Evangelion (I think Eva had more blood than this, seriously).

    Truly, don't knock it till you see it. The story's great and the artwork is phenomenal.

  • At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with jess, this series is beautiful, I have no other word to describe it. I read about it in a magazine, it said it was ultra-violent and bloody, it commented about the opening song and I downloaded it; I fell in love with the song and thought to myself 'an anime with this opening can't be that violent' so I got it, I loved it.

    Lucy (the mutant horned human) kills with no mercy, even being a little girl, but the way she does it is ridiculous, it actually made me laugh. The most violent thing in this programme is not the murdering she does, or the way the bodies explode, no, the most violent thing is the torture of a puppy in the 8th episode, it made my skin crawl, but that's it.

    It has a very well done plot; I found the story heart-warming.

    My mom liked it too and she compared it to 'Ah! my goddess' (with gore of course), just that instead of a goddess it's a demon. You'll know why right away.

  • At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Um...I watched the anime, and I didn't find any reference to "God sending horned women to destroy humanity"

    Not sure where you got that from. Anime is pretty good, no need for the bleach, just...put the stuff down.

  • At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Elfen Lied has many things about it that make people wanna not see this. the cute heart warming scenes, or the blood n' guts. howevr, when tied together, it makes for an awsome anime. the references to the bible are not very similar, howeevr they parallel each other, as to most myths, religons, and other moral stories. compare Hurculies with Samson. this is just like that, as it is a moral story of controling ones emotionsa dnactions. beautiful storyline, and very moving.


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