The words that were chosen for this week’s #SongLyricsSunday challenge were “Bottom/End/Middle/Side/Top”. The challenge is hosted by Jim at An Unique Title For Me. My first choice for the challenge was Shania Twain’s “Up”. I mentioned in another post last year that “Up” is my favorite song by her. However, I eventually chose something that I have loved since I was in elementary school: “Tenchi Muyo”.
The Meaning Behind “Tenchi Muyo”
“Tenchi Muyo” (天地無用) is the name of a popular Japanese anime series that started in the early 90s. There are two meanings behind the word. One meaning, which a lot of the show’s fans stick to, is “No Need For Tenchi”. But, the other meaning is used as a shipping terminology. When you see “Tenchi Muyo” on a box, it means “this side up” or “this way up”.
It is interesting to note that “muyo” (無用) is translated as “useless”. The literal translation of “Tenchi Muyo” is “useless heaven and earth”. However, negative sentences, verb conjugations, and words in Japanese actually mean “an action that one must do”. So, if a package is written with “Tenchi Muyo”, one must follow the instructions — no ifs or buts.
The double meaning behind “Tenchi Muyo” really confused anime fans in the 90s. I don’t know if the creators behind the series were intending to create a pun or not. But, there were a lot of mistranslations of the series’ name back when it first came out.
The Lyricist and the Band
“Tenchi Muyo” was recorded by a duo named SONIA. There isn’t much information about the group as they weren’t popular except among anime fans. They only lasted for two years from 1994 to 1996. They released four singles and one album.
SONIA on the back cover of the “Tenchi Muyo” Single
SONIA on the back cover of the “Tenchi Muyo” single
I tried to find out who was in SONIA but there is so little information on Google: in Japanese and in English. It seems that the members were bilingual as they could sing English and Japanese seamlessly. You can hear this in their bilingual cover of Sheena Easton’s “Modern Girl“.
The lyricist behind the Japanese version of “Tenchi Muyo” is Natsuko Karedo. She made her debut as a lyricist in 1988 with Hiroko Kasahara’s “Hard-Boiled tte Naani?” (ハードボイルドってなあに?; What is Hard-Boiled?“. This lyricist from Osaka wrote many songs for Tenchi Muyo! as well as other anime series. She also wrote for other artists like Shounentai, C.C. Girls, and Miki Fujitani.
Get Ready, Love Will Leave You Cryin’
The plot behind the story is more of a warning: Be careful of that woman who you want to fall in love with; she is dangerous. Now, this is based on the English version (which the lyrics are written by a mystery person), which I shared below. The lyrics tell of someone warning his/her friend that looks are deceiving! The woman you want to fall in love with will only break your heart in the end. Isn’t this a vicious warning?
The cast of Tenchi Muyo!
It is a mystery how the song’s lyrics to relate to the anime series of the same name. The reason why is because the series’ plot is about six space alien females who take up residency at the house of the part-human male named Tenchi Masaki. There are fights and serious storylines at times. But, the overall genre of the series is comedy: What would Tenchi do when he is stuck with five beautiful space aliens in one house?
(My favorite character of the series is Sasami, who might look young but is actually over 700 years old. My username (Aisasami) is partially derived from the cute character’s name.)
Tell Me What You Think
Listen to both the English and Japanese versions below. Afterward, tell me what you think about the song below! What do you think the story behind the lyrics is?
I recommend listening to “Tenchi Muyo” because it is filled with high energy. From the first beat, you know this is a song that you want to dance to. And it never stops! It is a perfect song to play during that morning workout as it will help to inspire you to become energetic!