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Ningyo Hime: Town as Quiet as the Ocean

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #7)

One of the very first animes I watched, other than one of the big ones on Toonami like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon, was Chobits. I was probably around eleven or twelve when I first started watching it, so I was at the edge of teenagedom. All the prepubescent emotions were just starting to bubble inside of me and it was around this time that I began to grasp the concept of what it really meant to be lonely rather than just alone. During this period in my life, I had moved to the Philippines and left behind all familiarity and friends, I submerged myself in a new culture, a new life, and new experiences, which can be really strange and scary. At the time I must have not noticed, but looking back, I was really robbed of potential childhood friends and a childhood in general. Moving around all the time when you’re young is tough, and the effect of it is this neverending wandering, like that of a ghost, searching for nostalgia, constancy, and comfort from places that you just can’t seem to get a hold of. It is these kinds of longings that the second ending theme of Chobits really targets and that’s why that song hits home for me.

The anime itself is about the relationship of a man and an android who seems to be more human than a robot, but really it is an anime about what it means to be human and what it means to truly love someone (especially if they’re not technically human). I probably didn’t grasp these concepts as a pre-teen and I barely caught on to all the sexual innuendos in the show, but what did leave an impression on me was “Ningyo Hime”, one of the ending themes of Chobits, which translates to English as Mermaid Princess. I think it’s supposed to be like the story of the Little Mermaid, and the only big indication of this is the title, but the lyrics themselves do allude to the classic story as well. The lyrics tell the story of a mermaid princess who is searching for someone she longs to be with and seems to have been separated from. For anyone who has moved away from a place you spent a good amount of your life in or had to move to a new school or town or city, this song will really speak to you. One might interpret this as a song about love of the romantic sort, but despite what the title of the song might suggest, I feel like this is about general connections and bonds made and lost over time and distance. This might seem like a sad song, especially if you listen to it and hear the hauntingly sad instrumentals, but really it’s a hopeful song. The singer, Tanaka Rie, sings: “Hey, find me/Then call out with your heart/Because no matter how far apart we would be, I can hear you.” Which to me is just another way of saying even though we may never meet again and although I want to see you again, we will always be connected by the memories in our heart.

As it goes with most anime openings and endings, the lyrics are terribly poetic, which can be cause for confusion, but these seem to be clear with some really beautiful imagery. Some noteworthy lines are, “I’m forever searching for the blue light that shines softly” and “The silver lights are lit in their respective rooms.” These lines talk about light, which I feel represents the hope one has to hold onto when you’re slowly being consumed by longing and loneliness. It’s hard to live in a world where everything is supposed to be so connected, but when you put on your headphones you’re really disconnecting from all that’s around you. Music does have the power to transport you to a higher plane of existence, but sometimes we listen to music because it understands and acknowledges the aching solitude that humans must endure, and like as the song says, when we’re alone, the emptiness we feel in our hearts can be like a town that is “quiet like the deep ocean.”

– Kathryn Fornier





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