The Anatomy of "Castle · imitation"

Quite often, Chihiro's lyrics seem illogical. It's probably because she usually writes words in a burst of inspiration. According to her own explanation, all the words simply fall on "possessed" Chihiro, from high above. We, the audience, are inevitably obliged to give ourselves to the flow of mind-boggling images she delivers.

"Castle · imitation" is characterized by its eccentric lyrics. I've long been wondering about what is sung in this song. Now I've found the courage to take on this challenging task of writing about it.

Rather than logically weaving words together into a song, Chihiro scatters pieces of certain imagery along the entire length of this work. And each of them contributes to the creation of a higher-level image, just like in a pointillistic painting.

The first thing I noticed about these lyrics is that medical terms (brain, lungs, eyes, tumor, pulse, and nursing) are scattered throughout the song. This is very unusual. It has something in common with the gothic atmosphere of the "infection" promotion video. And here come those words that would remind us of role playing games (RPGs): the House of Prayers, choosing cards, and the Dress of Resistance. This is a mysteriously baffling combination, although the use of RPG-associated words is not unusual when this song's origin is taken into account.

And this work starts like this:

If you intend to smear your face with harmful righteousness
I too will be able to escape catching it
And I won't have to save that melancholy
That is left in the House of Prayers in raging flames

The locale is a battlefield. What is sung here is that the world has gone wrong. These lines are full of metaphors. "Harmful righteousness" is an example of her favorite usage of seemingly contradictory ideas. Also implied is a determination to abandon this world.

The literal translation of the word "utsuru", the original Japanese for "catch" above, should be "reflect". But I thought this might be the paronomasia (or a pun) of "reflect" and "be infected" ("infection" again!). Both are pronounced "utsuru" in Japanese. That's why I used the word "catch".

[a few lines here]
On the fire-devastated field are scattered the Choosing Cards
For all that, is your brain still in the case?

These lines figuratively describes the world that has gone to ruin. The heroine (this is not a hero because she uses female language) is concerned about "you" who are retired within self.

[a few lines]
Please live through, live through, live through...

This is a straightforward expression of a desire for your life.

If I can go beyond myself with complete ugliness
I'd be willing to smear myself with mud over and over again
If you plan to eliminate everything but beautiful things with your incomplete blinks
I will abandon these eyes of mine

This is a representation of her tragic resolution to survive. Here is another set of conflicts: "complete ugliness" and "incomplete blinks".

As the familiar south wind carries off my courage
Those rats that settle in disorder are gnawing at my lungs

[a few lines]
For all that, is your brain still in the case?

In other words, the things go for the worse. Notice that she uses "south wind" instead of "north wind", which is more likely to be used in this Japanese context. She means "even the familiar south wind carries off my courage".

[a few lines]
Part the sea so that I will never look back again
Even if this road leads to the dark
I will never look back

This section is much easier to understand. She is going to make a departure for a new world. "Even if", one of Chihiro's pet expressions, shows up here.

[a few lines]
Please live through, live through, live through...
[several lines]

(From "Castle · imitation". Original text copyrighted by Chihiro Onitsuka. Translated and quoted by Folia in compliance with the Japanese Copyright Act.)

In sum, this is a song in which she proclaims her strong will to live through her life in dire extremity, as well as her wishes for "your" life. It's so brave and tragic at the same time.

Uh... You ask me what about the "Venus" and "Nervous"? Ahem! I don't know either. I only have a vague idea that they might be some personified ideas that symbolize something. (<whisper>Between you and me: it's often that Chii-chan can't make out what she herself wrote.</whisper>)

An important piece in Sugar High. Originally written for the Breath of Fire 5: Dragon Quarter role playing game. (This game version is included in the 8-cm CD.)

Chihiro's comment: This album version is associated with an image of an old clock moving its second hand with all its might. If you are having terribly hard times, I want you to listen to this song and shed big drops of tears.

Please note: Interpretation of any lyrics can (and should) vary from person to person. This is only a tentative one.



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