Friday, March 19, 2010

Ponyo Theme Song in English

This one is short and sweet (I guess). Unlike most of their Studio Ghibli releases, Disney dubbed the end theme of Ponyo, most likely because the voices of the main characters were provided by the younger siblings of Disney Pop Stars. However, they only did half of it, leaving the other half as a remixed version. A full version of the remix was also released, which annoyed fans of the original song, mostly because the original song is a huge earworm, but also because the remix is full of autotuning. I find it kind of interesting, though, that the remix version is slightly more true to the original's Japanese lyrics than the English lyrics written for the first half. Yes, it's true, "Munch and munch, kiss and hug" is from the original ("Paaku paku chuugyu"), though not exactly how it's sung in the remix. Of course, there's plenty in the remix that's not remotely like the original ("You can clap your hands, clap your fins," comes to mind).
Also, how lame is it that even on the DVD, Disney doesn't provide subtitles for the opening song? I mean, I understand not doing that for the theatrical release, but on the DVD? C'mon, people!

Update: I've been thinking about it, and I feel like going into the translation of the movie credits version vs. the remix version. Now, make no bones about it, the credits version does a good job of translating the first verse in the spirit of the song, but after that, what's being sung has little to do with what original Japanese. Take the chorus. In Japanese, it's
ponyo ponyo ponyo sakana no ko
aoi umi kara yatte kita
ponyo ponyo ponyo fukuranda
manmaru onaka no onna no ko
Roughly translated, that's "Ponyo (x3), a little fish, came from the blue ocean. Ponyo (x3) got bigger, a girl with a perfectly round stomach."
The credits version gets about half of that, making it "Ponyo (x3), fishy in the sea, tiny little fishy, who could you really be? Ponyo (x3), magic sets you free. Oh, she's a little girl with a round tummy." (And in the second time around, the last line is "Oh pretty little miss, will you swim back to me?") While the remix version has "Ponyo (x3), tiny little fish, she's a little fish from the deep blue sea. Ponyo (x3), she's a little girl. She's a little girl with a round tummy." Not so bad, perhaps, but the bridge of the song (which IMO is the most earwormy) goes:
ano ko to haneru to kokoro mo odoru yo
Paaku paku CHUGGYU! paaku paku CHUGGYU!
ano ko ga daisuki makkakka no
Which roughly translates to "When I skip with that girl, my heart also dances. (*sound of eating* *sound of kiss and hug* x2) I love that girl, so bright red." The credits version starts out okay with "My feet are skipping, my heart, too. Happy, happy are we all," but then throws out the rest: "Maybe I might love you, maybe I might love you. So hold on tight and hold me close. You're my hero!" The remix version, meanwhile, goes "And when I'm skipping with her, my heart does a dance. Munch and munch, kiss and hug, munch and munch kiss and hug! Oh, he's my favorite little boy. Rosy rosy, red red!" which is much closer to the actual lyrics.
So there you have it. Although the remix loses points for the bridge being nearly unrecognizable musically (as in, I didn't realize that was the bridge until I put together the "munch and munch" with "paaku paku." Once I knew what to listen for, I could hear it). And, as I mentioned before, it does throw in some parts that have nothing to do with the original song at all, so I'm not saying that the remix should replace the original, just that people shouldn't give it such a hard time, y'know?

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