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Sep 25

Our World of Worlds

I guess it’s just human nature to be afraid of what we don’t understand.  It’s a reoccurring theme throughout the history of media.  Some forms of media, like Rock N’ Roll, have seemed specifically designed to bait the paranoid censors even though they’re mostly harmless when you get to know them, while others ,like video games, have just been moseying along, minding their own business, only to find themselves dog piled in a series of flying tackles from moral guardians and politicians.  Did you know there’s even a song about this phenomenon?

Well, actually there isn’t as far as I know, but there is now because I just finished localizing one.  It’s called “Subarashiki Shin Sekai”, which approximately translates to “Brave/Wonderful New World”, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the novel by Aldous Huxley.  Instead it’s known as the theme for the game “Namco X Capcom”, and is one of the better anime theme songs I’ve ever heard.  The straight translation goes like this:

The silent city is filled with swaying

Even the signposts seem like illusions.

The sky that cannot be reached even if one yearns or calls out for it

Embraces everything and becomes stained.

If one strains one’s ear toward the sky that divides the world in half,

(Brave New World) an inviting voice will resound.

When you look up at the sky that divides the world,

(Brave New World) The dramatic play begins.

The intersecting new worlds are charmed by each other

Soon, light and darkness will melt and become one.

The shadow falling on the ground drills into the earth and

Even the signpost’s meaning was lost

Quietly and earnestly just go beyond

This sad, lonely white night that cannot sleep

This faraway sky divides the world

And the world is born anew.

When you look up at the sky that divides the world,

(Brave New World) The dramatic play begins.

So

Now I brush off my hesitation, Now, without looking back

I start walking toward the endless sky.

The power in my arms; the prayer in my heart; don’t scatter my heart to the wind.

Let’s believe in tomorrow’s dreams and wishes and run to the new world.

Pretty good for something that seems like it was intended to be more pop-musical brain fluff.  To me, it felt like there was a message in this song that came almost completely unlocked save for a couple bindings.

Aside from the usual localization issues, like trying to figure out how to add more words so the lyrics fill out the song, there’s… not much to adjust aside from a couple… clichés, I think they’re called?  For example, the metaphor of “light and darkness” is something I’ve never believed in.  It’s too abstract, and darkness is merely the absence of light, not a force that counteracts light.  This is why there’s no such thing as a supreme force of darkness/evil either.  To make something completely evil, you’d have to take away everything good, including existence itself.  Heck, even in the Bible, God and Satan are not peers and opposites.  Satan is just a punk who didn’t like being ordered around, so God fired him.  He has no real power; he can only make noise.  He’s more like a con artist on the lam rather than the king of darkness.

Aside from that specific part, the only other thing that sits funny with me are the last two lines of the song, which seems like a steady progression of Engrish.  You know, the kind you might find on a T-shirt or a food package that sounds like a drunken fortune cookie.  But it’s hardly the worst thing I’ve ever seen either.

So, with those stipulations in mind, I have modified/mangled/enhanced/ruined Subarashiki Shin Sekai into this:

Everything we see, each day, suddenly seems not all there

Even every post, and sign, seems to waver in meaning

And if you look up, the sky overhead, that cannot be reached, and seems deaf to your cries

Carries a stain, a fume if you will, that shifts everything we know

But if you, stop and listen closely, as this world gets divided

(Brave New World) An inviting voice will echo back

When you look, as reality sways, with each new thing that enters

(Brave New World) The dramatic play begins for all

A world of worlds, from so many minds, each with their own rules

As they join this melting pot, they challenge how we all think so we see much more

But these new worlds, can bring, shadows that drill into us

Inciting panic, as their, whispers confuse what we knew

But stop and listen, just give them a chance, and then maybe you’ll learn something interesting

Then quietly, slip beyond their sad, lonely and restless white night

These distant, skies divide our world, amidst much joy and sadness

When they’re done, each time our world is born anew

When you look, as reality sways, with each new thing that enters

(Brave New World) The dramatic play begins for all

And so I

Brush off all of my hesitation. And now without a single glance behind

I’ll take my first step now… approach the endless sky

With power in my arms and prayers filling my heart and a mind open wide yet secure in who I am

I shall let myself get excited for what’s opening before me and run off to see this new world

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