A Tribute to Engrish – Tuesday Tunes
Posted March 9, 2010on:
Last weekend, as my friends and I belted out our favorite otaku hits, I read all of the lyrics to current favorite “Only My Railgun” for the first time. While I usually try to ignore the lyrics to anime songs (trust me, you’re better off not knowing the lyrics to 90% of all Japanese songs, the lyrics are unbelievably inane), I couldn’t help but do a double take at the random English lines in the song.
I thought I was hardened to that kind of thing, but this one was just too heinous to ignore: “Looking! The blitz loop this planet to search way. Only my railgun can shoot it.” I mean, really? That doesn’t even mean anything when you translate it back to Japanese. What is a blitz loop? Is it a verb? Do you have to be 18 or over to blitz loop a planet? It brought up all kinds of questions that had no answers.
Anyway, that got me to compile a list of some of the most hilariously bad Engrish in anime music that I could think of, and over two decades of fandom dredged a few hits out of my brain, like “I believe in drastic my soul.” See my all-time top five after the jump. Feel free to chime in with your own favorites, too!
These five were chosen based on how little sense they make, not based on pronunciation – there are so many examples of badly mangled English that it wouldn’t be very much fun. They’re in no particular order – here we go!
Drastic My Soul
I love Mikio Sakai’s music, since I’m a sucker for a well-played classical guitar. But every time I sing the ending song to s-CRY-ed, I try not to snigger when the last line comes up. It’s just so jarringly out of place, but he sings it with such conviction that I can feel that he really does “believe in drastic my soul.”
My theory on what it means: “I believe in my dramatic soul” doesn’t make much sense either, but it’s the closest thing I have. The only other option is that “drastic my soul” is some kind of new religion that he’s singing about. I’m not ruling that out.
Anata Dake Mitsumeteru
Here’s another one that comes up a lot during my singing sessions – the classic Slam Dunk theme inserts a random “Spicy your mama” into an otherwise normal pop song about trying to catch a guy by learning more about his hobbies. It’s random, it’s hilarious, it’s enough to make my favorites list!
My theory on what it means: Ooguro Maki got tired of changing her hobbies and her looks to please this guy, and just ate his mother instead. With fava beans and a nice chianti!
While a lot of people still mock the infamously mispronounced “Fly Me to the Moon” from Evangelion, that at least makes sense once you get past the horrible pronunciation. However, if someone can tell me what “Don’t forget to try in mind” means and can prove their hypothesis, then that person will be the first.
My theory on what it means: I… I honestly don’t know.
You Get to Burning
I was initially going to put this in as an honorable mention, but some lobbying by my contemporaries, many of whom spent endless hours in high school wondering what would happen when you get to burning, and how much it hurt.
My theory on what it means: Combined with the last line, “Going your days grow up,” I am inclined to think that this song is one long, oblique reference to the dangers of venereal disease to young and reckless people. The other option is that she’s singing about self-immolation.
Honestly, I could have chosen any of FLCL‘s music here, as The Pillows are fond of inserting English where English doesn’t belong. It’s good music, and I still listen to it from time to time, but I don’t like thinking very hard about trying to feel the hybrid rainbow. It sounds like the kind of slang I don’t want to see demonstrated in person, and I’d like to shut down my imagination before I think about what it means.
My theory on what it means: “Hybrid rainbow” is probably some kind of dirty euphemism, and that’s as far as I want to let my mind wander.
“Far away place where two futures become a lights up dream” – “Nocturne,” Memories Off 2nd
“Just wild beat communication” – “Just Communication,” Gundam Wing
“Astro energy filling up power to space” – “Galactic Warriors Gingaman”
I leaned a bit toward older titles with this list, and I’m hoping that those of you who comment will add in a few more modern hits.