Lost in Translation -or- Japanese Cartoons Are Weird, Man

In Media by Daniel M. Clark8 Comments

bottle-fairy.jpgWe love to rent DVDs for our daughter at the local library. They're free, they're a good source of entertainment for a week or two, and did I mention they're free?

Last week, a DVD called Bottle Fairy was brought home. It's a Japanese cartoon dubbed in English. Now, I could write about the show itself, the characters or the maybe the DVD presentation. No. I'm going to focus on the lyrics of the theme songs, as translated into English and printed at the bottom of the screen.

All you need to know is that “Sensei-san” is the roughly college-age human male that looks after the four little female fairies that live in bottles in his house. Seriously.

Ready? And-a-one, and-a-two…

Bottle Fairy Theme Song

The girls in a magical land
Are very small fairies
Study the human world
We want to be
Nice ladylike girls
Puki puki payo
Ah, teach us Senseisan
This and that
We want to know more
Ah, do it, do it, Senseisan
Big secret
Beyond words, and everything
Lan lan lan la la

Bottle Fairy Closing Credits Song

The closing has different lyrics depending on the episode, and some of them were translated into… Japanese. It's quite surreal. There are six episodes on the DVD, here's two of them, from episodes themed with spring and summer.

Feelings of spring
Anticipate an encounter and hope
While being puzzled
You come closer
My heart is beating fast, but…
Ah, cherry tree, cherry tree
A row of cherry trees along a street
Sincerely I pray
Cherry tree, cherry tree
To make new friends
Turn pink

Feelings of summer
Think of the ocean and mountains
Look, a thundercloud, too
Is calling you
Run, run, and frolic, but…
Ah, festival, fireworks
Yukata patterns, watermelon, pool
Bathing suit marks
Summer, summer
To create lasting memories
Turn into sunlight

You need to go find this DVD and watch it. Trust me.

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where “Japanese cartoons are weird, man” comes from. Hint: he wears a red lucha libre wrestling mask and he's really strong. And bad. Strong and bad.

Comments

  1. You know, I've *tried* watching Sailor Moon, being the geek that I am, but I didn't really like it very much. There were elements that I thought were clever, but overall, I don't have a very positive opinion of it. I think whiny brat just about sums it up lol

  2. Emm,i'm chinese.
    Since you love this type of cartoons,there may be more great Japanese cartoons to you tastes.
    //You can have a try.

    Most our Asian children,now ,just search the Internet for favorit cartoons. And this is FREE and convenient,as there are too many on the Internet. //If you like,I can introuduce you some.

  3. I love this cartoon, my seven-year-old daughter and I. I ESPECIALLY love the line “puki puki payo.” I mean, I sing it all day long after a Bottle Fairies night. So, I’m getting the idea that this line does not translate into words and/or English. Do you know anything more about this line?

    1. Nope, as far as I know, it doesn’t translate. It’s possible that the original Japanese singing couldn’t be translated by whoever was doing the subtitles, so they just printed “puki puki payo” because that’s roughly what it sounded like. Without a proper spelling, we can’t run it through a translator. A native speaker might be able to work it out, though.

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