Beastbite

Romaji Lyrics English Translation

Inishie no mahou ga yobisamasareta you da
Yomigaeru yajuu ga kiba wo muku

Chi ni ueta you ni mata nodo wo narashiteiru
Emono no nioi wo kagiwakete

Inochi to iu tomoshibi wo
Tsunagu tame tomarenai sa

Chameleon mitai ni jibun wo hengenjizai
Kaete ikanakya ikinokorenai

Shuui no iro ni awase
Toki ni sugata wo keshite
Nerai hazusanu kyouri sematteiku

Eien ni tsuzuite yuku
Mirai nado doko ni mo nai

Omae no power wo sashidase
Ore no ashita ni nare
Iya nara tsuyosa ni hirefushi
Orokasa wo shireba ii
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
Ashita no tame kizame beastbite
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
Nigasanai akumu no main dish

Oikakeru chi no hate made mo
Ore no ashita kesu na
Kemono-tachi ni mayoi wa nai
Tada inochi no tame ni

Omae no power wo sashidase
Ore no ashita ni nare
Iya nara tsuyosa ni hirefushi
Orokasa wo shireba ii
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
Ashita no tame kizame beastbite
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
Nigasanai akumu no main dish

Magic of a bygone age stirs once more
This waking beast bares his fangs to the world

A bloodthirsty growl fills the air
As I take in the scent of my prey

I’m not gonna let my life
Flicker out this easy!

Like a chameleon, I can blend into any situation
You’ll never survive if you can’t adapt

I can match my surroundings,
Vanish amongst the crowd
Until I’m close enough you won’t see it coming

You can’t delude yourself
Into thinking you’ll live forever

So grant me the power of your mana
And keep me alive another day
Or else I’ll take it by force
And you’ll learn you could never compare
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
You’ll sate my hunger when you feel my beastbite!
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
You won’t escape from this nightmare, my main dish!

I’ll chase you to the ends of the earth if I must
I’m not letting my end come this soon!
For a beast lives only to live
And lets nothing stand in his way

So grant me the power of your mana
And keep me alive another day
Or else I’ll take it by force
And you’ll learn you could never compare
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
You’ll sate my hunger when you feel my beastbite!
Bite, magic! Bite, magic! Bite, magic power!
You won’t escape from this nightmare, my main dish!

Today’s translation lesson is: “lyrics that sound fucking stupid when translated literally, and how we deal with that.”

In this case, we’ll be looking at a few lines throughout the song that use metaphors or sentence structures that just don’t convert that well to English, the reasons why, and how we deal with that.

Our first instance is the third block of the verse: “Inochi to iu tomoshibi wo tsunagu tame tomarenai sa”. Literally translated, this means something like “To keep the light that is my life burning, I won’t be stopped.” In this case, the main problem with making this flow well is the sentence is worded as a positive, and by changing it from “I will keep the light burning” to “I won’t let the light go out”, the line means the same thing but comes across a lot more naturally in English. For comparison, it’s like the difference between “I will not be killed by you” and “I won’t let you kill me.” The former just sounds fucking stupid.

The second one is a tricky blighter because it’s kind of invisible: The first line of the chorus, “Omae no power wo sashidase”. Japanese has this great thing it can do where the pronounciation of a word and the meaning of the word are seperate: You can create words that are written using particular kanji, and then assign them a pronounciation. When you combine this with Japan’s love of English, bad things happen: They will take a Japanese word and then assign it an English word as its reading. In this case, the lyrics clearly show the kanji for mana (魔力, literally “magic power”) with the reading of the English word “power”. If you translate it as “mana”, the English word power is clearly audible but doesn’t appear in the translation. Translate it as “power”, and the meaning actually comes off wrong: Beast doesn’t get more powerful by eating Phantoms, they merely keep him alive, sate his hunger. In this case, we can simply fix the issue by working both words into the translation. Sometimes, though, that simply isn’t possible.

Our third and final highlight is “Ashita no tame kizame beastbite”, located near the end of the chorus. “Ashita no tame” means “for tomorrow”, kizame is a verb meaning to chop up and break apart finely – “chew”, essentially, in context, and then we have the name of the song, beastbite. As in, a beast’s bite. So, literally, the line is “Beastbite and chew them for your tomorrow.” Why this doesn’t go into the translation verbatim should be fairly obvious. “Ashita”, in the context of the song, is used to refer to Beast’s life, but pointing out its transient nature: Each meal he eats keeps him alive a bit longer, but it’s no guarantee he’ll be around that much longer. He is literally living for tomorrow, constantly having to feed himself Phantoms knowing full well he has no security, no way of keeping himself alive beyond sheer luck dropping Phantoms in his path. So we can translate “ashita no tame” in a relevant way – “keeping me alive”, maybe, but “sate my hunger” is so deliciously specific, it highlights the nature of his quandry and exactly what is standing between him and his tomorrow.

Here’s another problem though: There’s no subject or object anywhere in the line. I’m serious – Japanese fucking loves that shit. There’s no indication of who’s talking and about whom, meaning me using “You’ll”, and “my”? That’s actually all inferred. It’s obviously inferred, mind, the entire song is written from Beast’s perspective talking to his prey, so writing the lines like that is the obvious and default thing to do. For reference, “ore” in the lyrics means “I”, and “omae” means “you”. If you look, you’ll see just how few uses there are of these words, and hence how much context Japanese as a language assumes the viewer will infer. And that is why translation can, at times, be fucking awful.

And that ends today’s lesson!

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