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A Tribute to Engrish – Tuesday Tunes

Posted on: March 9, 2010

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!

Blue Water

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.

Hybrid Rainbow

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.

Honorable mentions:

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.


12 Responses to "A Tribute to Engrish – Tuesday Tunes"

The line “Drowning for my life” from the opening to X, eX-Dream, is pretty bad.

Saki’s first OP “Glossy:MMM” about made my brain shut down the first time I tried to grasp the lyrics. I still don’t know what “Yoshi! My mine mind” is supposed to entail, though I guess it’s something good?

Kiddy Grade’s OP (and Kiddy Grade in general) is also pretty infamous for terrible Engrish. Only My Railgun still trumps everything, though I also might just really like the title.

Mell – Rideback is one of my favorite engrish songs…if you take her engrish version, most of the lines “could” make sense if you tweaked them, but even her “official” lyrics in english were…off.

One of my fav. j-rock songs is Crucify My Love by X Japan. It’s pretty but the English lyrics don’t make any sense. Especially the line “If love should see a colour”. Should love see a colour? Maybe love is colour blind. Who knows?

Blue Water was the first anime i ever watched from beginning to end. I never notice that part of the OP until you pointed it out. Thank you!

This one cracks me up everytime i hear it

Two quick comments about the meanings of the last two:
1) I think that You Get To Burning was a SERIOUS mistranslation. I think it SHOULD have been You Get Burning. Think the burning heat of a man’s soul (GEKIGANGAR!).
2) Pretty sure Hybrid Rainbow is about an acceptance of multiculturalism, as it takes in a lot of non-Japanese people in the video. Though the vibrating bear… thing doesn’t help their cause.

Note that I suck at analysis.

i listened to only my railgun, and i couldnt actually find where the engrish was. help?

The song goes by so fast that it’s hard to hear. But the main offender is in the chorus, which includes “Looking! The blitz loop this planet to search way. Only my railgun can shoot it!” and later, “Sparkling! The shiny lights awake true desire! Only my railgun can shoot it!”

The most egregious one I remember recently was the end of “Unnamed World” (ED for Daughter of Twenty Faces), featuring the epic “Naked half, there’s a shiny way.”

I would like to submit Dancouga’s first ending, Burning Love.

Relevant line: “I just keep burning love.”
Personally, that sounds like a pyromaniac going on a Valentine’s Day rampage to me.

It seems a “blitz loop” is a soul calibur 4 move.

Dunno if there’s a relation.

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