Toyo'o Ashida 1944-2011

My obituary of Toyo’o Ashida, a crusader for animators’ rights and the legendary show-runner on the old Fist of the North Star TV series, is now up on the Manga UK blog.

(Bring My Love) Right Back to Me

Because the song translations I did for Pioneer were for the music division, not the anime division, they covered theme songs from other companies, too. That is the only possible explanation for Pioneer’s decision to hire me to work in 1997 on lyrics for the mad hair-metal theme to Fist of the North Star “Ai o Torimodose”. I did the best I could… and you thought Schoolgirl Milky Crisis was weird.

Shock of love! When heaven sent you it was just the start

Shock of love! Stopped me in my tracks, now you’ve got my heart

Burning fever binds me waiting for my love to find me

But now I’m giving it my all

None can stop my anger, I just point my little finger and down

They all fall

Shock of love! Just one look at you, heartbeat’s getting fast

Shock of love! Me and you as one, and it’s gonna last

Now my heart is burning with the madness they call yearning

To find the place where you’re hiding

I can’t live without you, fight the cruel thoughts that doubt you, I’ll do

Anything

Now you’re far away, a quest to save our love, and I’m here waiting for you

Tomorrow’s gone, until you bring the key

Never can forget your pretty smiling face, for I know your heart is true

Bring my love right back to me*

Shock of love! Shining light upon the shadows in my mind

Shock of love! Just the thought of you, and my thoughts unwind

When we’re back together, promise it will be forever and then

Take me in your arms

I will hold you to me and nobody’s gonna free me again

From your charms

repeat *

Tough Boy

Just when you thought it was safe, I dig up another of my song translations from the Pioneer anime CDs. This one is the theme from the second series of Fist of the North Star, for which i set myself the intellectual exercise of keeping all the Engrish lyrics in exactly the same place in my translation as they occurred in the original.  “Tough Boy”, for so this song is called, is an interesting exercise. Even to the Japanese, it must have seemed impossibly dated — I was hired to translate it in 1997, with a chorus that lionised the fact that its singer was “living in the eighties.” Good luck with that!

From the looks of this, it seems that I couldn’t be bothered to make the lyrics to this one actually rhyme. Perhaps I knew I was on a hiding to nothing.

Welcome to this crazy time

On the run and deep in trouble, your life’s on the line

You’re such a tough boy…

She never met a boy that made her feel so bad

I got a feeling that a man like you could drive her crazy

You, tough boy…

Here we are, at the end of the century

Our time is now, out on the streets, our generation’s taking over

Keep you burning, till the race is run

Got to be more to your life than all this scum and crime and dirty fighting

No boy no cry, cast your fears aside

There’s a bright tomorrow waiting, wait until you see the rising sun

We are living, living in the eighties

We still fight, fighting in the eighties

Looks as if you’ve had your share of battle scars

It’s gonna take more than a few hard knocks to break your spirit

Such a tough boy…

Everywhere she turns she gotta feel so sad

I got feeling that’s there more to you than causing trouble

Tough boy…

Here we are, in the eternal rockland

Our fists are raised, it’s time for us to make a stand and take it over

Keep you burning, till the race is run

Gotta fight the madness of illusion, till our hopes and dreams are all our own

No boy no cry, keep on keeping on

Turn and face the wind and take its strength so you can be a hurricane

We are living, living in the eighties

We still fight, fighting in the eighties

We are living, living in the eighties

We still fight, fighting in the eighties

You’ll notice, perhaps, that my pronouns are all over the place here — a sign of my indecision over whether the singer was male or female, and hence whether the titular tough boy was first- or third-person. Such switches in addressee are a bad idea. I’m pretty sure, for example, that such vagueness in the lyrics of “How Does She Know” in Enchanted cost the song its Oscar. But there won’t be any Oscars for “Tough Boy”, either, not till hell freezes over. These days, I would be able to YouTube the original song and get a look at the band… or Wiki them to work it out, but those options weren’t available 13 years ago. At least, they weren’t to me.