Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Bubblegum Crisis Song Translation

This is something a bit obscure, but I think it's a very fitting song for the times. Besides, I've just finally been able to find out what a lot of the songs on my old BGC Best Vocal Collection CD actually mean, so you get the results!

Bara no Soldier (Rose Soldier)
Bubblegum Crisis Ep. 5 Insert Song
Sung by: Tsubokura Yuiko
Lyrics/Composition/Arrangement: Makaino Kouji
Singable translation: Maureen S. O'Brien, 4/22/04
(After Takayama Miyuki at

Stabbing through the still there comes a sudden cry
Out of the earth's quiet greenness.
Something's blocking up that road as black as night --
With dazzling light plainly seen.
Look at you, angel, on the ground. Did something make your wings break?
Here and now keep living for tomorrow's sake.

So-oldier, fighting to kill the wrong --
In your heart, the red roses will be --
So-oldier, this is the way of love
Until you can take up victory.

Here within your hands, there lies the future's key.
Truth fights for you -- the Resistance.
What sets spirits trembling in the di-istance --
The power of bravery.
Even blood flowing can be proof that you are really alive,
If you fight for those you love, so they'll survive.

So-oldier, question of life or death --
In your heart the red roses will be --
So-oldier, meaning of life for you --
Until you can take up victory.

Joy of life, joy of living --
The birds that fly in the sky, and the flowers --
This is what we swore in our hearts,
This is what we swore in our hearts:
We would not keep silent and let it pass!

So-oldier, fighting to kill the wrong --
In your heart, the red roses will be --
So-oldier, this is the way of love
Until you can take up victory.

Bubblegum Crisis

First off...this is not Bubblegum Crisis 2040. Certain persons are more tolerant of that remake series than I am. I'm glad it makes Linna, the least-used character in the old series, a main viewpoint character. But I don't like the rest of the changes; so for me, it's simpler just to ignore it entirely.

Because once upon a time, there was Bubblegum Crisis -- a series I saw for the first time in the U of Michigan's Student Union with their anime club. It featured an almost entirely female cast from all walks of life, who shared a secret identity as high-paid, justice-seeking, evil-corporation-fighting, robot-butt-kicking mercenaries in powered armor: the Knight Sabers.

Now, all of that was quite enough, even if you didn't have subtitles, a translated script, or even more than a vague summary of the plot. You could tell what was going on. But there's a saying that there's seldom much wrong with a series if the music is good -- and Bubblegum Crisis had one of the biggest and best hard rock soundtracks ever, not just in anime. Sung by the voice actors, what's more. (Did I mention one of the Knight Sabers had her own band, Priss and the Replicants?) So of course I loved the show.

But then we got the subplots. Priss the musician is also the team's red-suited, motorcycle-riding hothead. She has an admirer in Leon, one of the police detectives investigating both the mysterious giant robot malfunctions that keep devastating Megatokyo and the elusive Knight Sabers. And then there's Leon's partner. And then there's Nene, who acts like a bubblehead but maintains a triple identity: Knight Saber, police clerk, and hacker. Meanwhile, the overarching story is of Sylia's revenge against the Genom Corporation for killing her father and tampering with the robots he designed. There are a lot of twists in each episode as well, but I'll let you discover them for yourself.

I should mention there are a couple annoying things about the show. The team's leader, Sylia, runs a lingerie shop as cover and funding source. Her little brother (the team driver) occasionally tries to check out the team members while they're putting their armor on. In other words, typical Japanese "fan service" moments.

In general, however, the show is a wonderful, fun, and exciting trip to a cyberpunk future full of rubble, robots, horrors, and hope. I recommend it without reservation.

Anime Singable Translation: "Coppelia's Coffin" from Noir

Again, this takes a few liberties for the sake of filling up syllabobbles. Otherwise, it's not bad. Note the Eucharistic theme! In the opening credits, the song at first seems fairly harsh and critical of Christianity, but when you hear the whole song, it ends up supporting it. But I never really doubted it; the cry of "Kami" in the song is heartrending.

Coppelia ni Hitsugi (Coppelia's Coffin)
Noir opening song
Sung by: Ali Project
Lyrics: Houno Arika
Composition/Arrangement: Katakura Mikiya
Singable translation: Maureen S. O'Brien, 4/22/04
(after the DVD subtitles and Elwen Skye at

Coppelia's encoffining --
All the tears that once were flowing have completely gone dry.
Loneliness thirsts for blood-drinking.
Death is dancing -- with him, bringing
The perfume of angels' hair and angels' wings.


In the town where the sun is black
And it never is setting,
People look like a magic trick;
That's how silently folks keep working.
Walls of metal that close me in
In the room they're enclosing --
As soon as I lay down my head
I sleep like the dead till it's morning.

I look for You. I can't see You,
Not with these eyes. I can't see You,
God who created us all from the rocks and clay.

Coppelia's encoffining --
All those people are just dolls who've tired out from the dance.
Lamb on the altar, Offering --
You can see the clockwork dreams
All the mechanics of their schemes -- where will they go?

Prophecies of Apocalypse
Are what they're now announcing.
On the doors of the neighborfolk
Who live near, I hear soldiers pounding.
Folded fingers, there's thousands there
Like birds with folded wi-ings,
But it's only their many prayers,
That can fly to the sky, arising.

I look for You - I can't meet You,
Not around here. I can't meet You,
God who can save us, o God who can set us free.

Coppelia's encoffining --
All the tears that once were flowing have completely gone dry.
Loneliness thirsts for blood-drinking.
Death is dancing -- with him, bringing
The perfume of angels' hair and angels' wings.


But even so -- I want to touch,
And with these hands -- I want to clutch,
The one and only Love that is protecting us.

Coppelia's heart pulsating --
Oh, the thing is, to be living is to be feeling pain.
Throw off my shoes, go barefooting,
And without a single doubt,
I will set out to wear that footpath down again.

Coppelia's encoffining --
O light waking in the darkness, springing forth like the dawn,
Lamb on the altar -- offering,
What about the clockwork dream
Whose spring has run down, poor machine? Where will it go?

* "encoffining" -- Instead of 'coffin'. It's all for the syllables and rhyme, I swear.
* "angels' hair and angels' wings" -- The DVD seemed very sure about it being feathery down from angels' wings, but everybody else seems to think it's angel hair. I combined them for peace of mind.
* "as soon as I lay down my head" -- Added.
* "from the rocks and clay" -- "Pebbles" in the original. Shrug.
* "Lamb on the altar" -- The original says "sheep". I don't know if there's a word for "lamb" in Japanese, and if there is, if it fits the scansion.
* "All the mechanics of their schemes" -- Added.
* "Like birds with folded wings" -- The original just says "folded like wings" and was probably making another angel image, but I couldn't figure out how to make that fit.
* "That can fly to the sky" -- Added.
* "Coppelia's heart pulsating" -- The original had "Coppelia's heartbeat".
* "go barefooting" -- Added.
* "springing forth like the dawn" -- Added.
* "poor machine" -- Added.

More Proof That Journalists Aren't

I hear that CBS ran footage of the dying Princess of Wales last night. British journalists are outraged. When UK tabloids look down on you, I think you should mend your ways.

Meanwhile, if anyone happens to see Dan Rather, ask him what Edward R. Murrow would've thought of that. If you can be heard above the sound of CBS News spinning in its grave.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Someday's Dreamers Anime Song Translation

Here's my singable translation of the closing song for each episode, "Under the Blue Sky". (The credits only use the first verse and chorus, but there's a music video on Volume 1 that includes the whole song.) I used both the subtitles on the DVD and the translation by Kevin at to figure this puppy out. I'm afraid it's a bit freer translation than I like, but since the Japanese used an awful lot of syllables for concepts that don't take long to say in English....

"Under the Blue Sky"
by The Indigo
Singable translation: Maureen S. O'Brien, 4/19/04

Even now, when I look behind me it's still right there,
The tomorrow I always gave my all to pursue.
Inside my heart's what really matters --
Precious things beyond compare.
I made a wish that was my own prayer
On an drifting cloud unseen beyond the blue.

Under the blue sky,
That day we were together -- dreamed this dream up -- you remember?
Don't ever make us wake,
Oh, please don't ever make it end.
Under the blue sky,
Here's hopin' you and I will keep on goin' while we're glowin',
And may the journey without end...continue.

We can swear to each word fell out of our mouths that day
And they change into power, transforming all they find.
The stubborn stains of an old sorrow that no tears can wash away --
You made them vanish -- presto change-o!
With the magic that they just call being kind.

Under the blue sky,
That day we were together, trading words -- oh, you remember?
While they were coming true,
While watching over me and you.
Under the blue sky,
And now the time that tied up to the future, to tomorrow,
It's set itself to start to move, even now.


* Tomorrow: Originally, "the future".
* "what really matters" and "precious things": Both are meanings of "taisetsu na mono". Also found in the original title of the series, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Mono (Things Important to Magic Users).
* "beyond compare": Added.
* "that was my own prayer": added.
* "drifting cloud still unseen beyond the blue": You write a line about a blue, drifting, still-unseen cloud.
* "you remember": Added.
* "keep on goin' while we're glowin'": Originally "go on walking while we're shining".
* "presto change-o": Added.
* power: chikara, not mahou. Mahou is used in the line about the magic called kindness.
* "oh, you remember": Added again.
* "to tomorrow": Added.

Anime Recommendation: Someday's Dreamers

From the classy folks at Pioneer Animation...I mean, Geneon... comes the 12-episode show Someday's Dreamers (aka Mahou Tsukai na Taisetsu ni Mono: Someday's Dreamers). It's a sweet, simple story set in a world just like our own, but with mages scattered among the population. This is Japan, so of course all certified mages are part of the Bureau of Mage Labor, acting only on duly filed and approved citizen requests. Of course there are exams that young mages must pass or give up magic. So, just like thousands of Japanese high school juniors, Yume (the name means dream) must leave her family's farm for Tokyo during her summer vacation, to go cram like a maniac. (Many, like Tenchi in Tenchi in Tokyo, even move to Tokyo for the last few years of high school to get a better chance of passing the college exams or do special study.) But Yume's teacher is a quiet, sober Class B Master Mage who also owns the salsa bar downstairs. (And how the show manages that subplot while remaining quiet and dignified itself...'s amazing.) As Yume's warm and impulsive heart keeps getting the country girl in trouble, Mr. Oyamada's patience and judgement is a lesson in itself. But Yume also learns that she can change things for the better, and that she doesn't even need her magic to do it.

Interestingly, this show actually features a Christian character, albeit a foreigner. Angela Brooks is a young mage from England who's come to Japan to be trained by Japan's enigmatic Chief Mage Ginpun. Angela wears a cross necklace all the time and uses an angel-winged cross as her heraldic badge. (All mages register a badge in this world; it helps ID their magic.) But there's really nothing more to it than the look -- though we'll see how Volume 3 works out. (Some think the way Angela's played is a parody of Witch Hunter Robin.)

There's absolutely nothing in this show to cause a parent a moment's anxiety, and yet it's got enough meat in it to satisfy older kids. There is a certain amount of joking in this show about other anime series; for example, the first few shows counter all the cleavage shots elsewhere with shots of men's bare chests, there's several characters designed like bishonen, and one woman who can't get a date with Mr. Oyamada decides he's gay. (Mr. Oyamada is actually still grieving for his wife, who passed away several years ago.) I haven't watched the dub yet, though it's pretty good from what I hear. It gets a bit annoying, though, to have "mahou" constantly translated as "Special Power", when everywhere else it's translated as "magic". Is everybody afraid of Rowling's lawyers?

The show itself is visually beautiful and has a sweet soundtrack using classical piano and contemporary Celtic music to good advantage. (The soundtrack is available in a US edition including an 18 page insert with lyrics and everything. Go, Pioneer!, Geneon!) Each episode is chock-full of the details that make up a Tokyo summer. Also, Yume speaks with a Tohoku accent (though I have trouble picking out what's so different about it).

All in all, it's a lovely series you may come to love.

Other reviews from Anime Academy (with pictures), Sci-Fi Channel, DVD Verdict, and