Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is a 2018 anime series directed by Tomohiro Furukawa and animated by Kinema Citrus, based on a 2017 stage play and mixed-media franchise. It follows a cast of nine girls at an elite performing arts school as they compete on stage and in underground musical battles for the title of Top Star. In particular, the focus is on Karen Aijo, whose dwindling passion is rekindled by the reappearance of old friend Hikari Kagura and the promise they shared to one day defy tradition and become Top Stars together.
When the show originally began airing I had no particular interest. I vaguely recall seeing a teaser trailer for it earlier that year and not having any strong like or dislike towards it. It was probably some slice of life comedy about a theatre club, and that sort of thing isn’t for me, I thought. However, early impressions of the anime community piqued my curiosity.
“Wait a minute, they fight in this show?”
“What the hell is with this giraffe?”
“Holy crap, did you see the animation in this sequence?”
So I sat down and checked out the first episode, and was blown away. For the following eleven weeks, I found myself glued to my screen, watching and then re-watching each episode and its accompanying new song/fight scene (or “Revues”, in the show’s parlance). I was consistently floored by the cinematography, choreography and vocal finesse on show, and this can be no more clearly illustrated than with episode 3’s Revue of Pride, as performed to the song Pride and Arrogance (JP: Hokori to Ogori).
Fast forward two years, and I still regularly listen to the Revue Starlight soundtrack. On a random occasion I happened across a Youtube video by Sepia Days Music which covers the opening theme of the show (sung by the cast in character) using entirely English lyrics and English-speaking amateur singers. I often find these sort of fan-dub covers cringe-worthy for cheesy lyrics or awkward intonation on the syllable counts or such, but this one felt natural to listen to and had high production values. The same group had also done several other Revue Starlight songs, among a great many others from other shows and idol groups.
But one thing they hadn’t covered was Pride and Arrogance. My search for others who might’ve done the same was fruitless, save for one video with a microscopic view count that left me wanting. So I decided to write one myself. Now, I’m no lyricist by any stretch of the imagination, but with the existing melodic framework I had a skeleton of beats to which I could set words. I’m also not much of a Japanese speaker, but with four different translations at hand and a little creative interpretation, I was able to put together a complete set of lyrics that hopefully captures the originally intended meaning and context.
Here are some notes about my lyrical choices if that sort of thing interests you. Otherwise you can skip to the next section for the lyrics themselves.
- In a lot of cases, the meaning of the lyrics as rendered in English was much shorter than the syllable count of the lyric as rendered in Japanese. I tried where I could to phrase my version in such a way that both the meaning was preserved and the melody matched, but often I had to add extra words with a similar vibe as the original lyric to match.
- The first two lines are very simple statements of “I should be able to see [something]”/”no, you should not see [something]”, which I extended to further impress Karen’s arrogant confidence and Maya’s proud condescension of that.
- In Karen’s solo verse I effectively doubled her interrogation of Maya’s motives in each of the first two lines two attack each point from two different angles.
- At the end of Maya’s second verse, where she decries those lacking will and invites Karen to put her pride on the line, I rewrote the lyrics such that she now decries trying to step to her with false willpower and when inviting Karen’s challenge she wonders whether it will reveal Karen to be strong and proud like Maya or merely weak and arrogant, to call back to her earlier comments about unworthiness (and the title of the song of course).
- At the end of Maya’s two choruses, she defines the preceding lyrics as being “pride” for the first and “my pride” in the second. The additional syllables made that statement tricky in English so I added the command to “behold” to fill the gap and also as a callback to Karen’s very first line, definitively showing Karen has lost the duel lyrically as well as physically.
- Some lyrics sounded like non-sequiturs after applying the above to preceding or following lines, so I added or modified the context or meaning slightly to function as a call-back or -forward to other lines and the wider lore of the Starlight play.
- The third line about the view at the top of the tower reads as a sentence fragment that didn’t neatly join to both Karen and Maya’s expanded lyrics, so I reframed them in the context of what one finds at the top, being the Stars they seek to pluck which acts as a call-forward to Karen’s later lyric about being unable to reach the star. That lyric in turn was reframed to call back to Maya’s refutation of Karen’s worth.
- Maya’s first solo verse about the goddesses of Starlight was expanded on to suggest that the girls’ (“mortals'”) aspirations to be the Top Star is a mirror of the goddesses’ aspirations to pluck a star and that the latter is the vehicle (“temptation”) to achieve former.
- The order of some lyrics was sometimes flipped to better accommodate the translation but in one case was also done for dramatic effect.
- Specifically, I refer to the first lines of Maya’s two choruses at the end where she declares her rising and shining star power. In the first chorus, I retained the order of “rising higher”/”shining brighter” to tie into the following line about illuminating the horizon, while in the second chorus I reversed the order to “shining brighter”/”rising higher” to tie into the line following that about unreachable heights.
And now, finally, here is the result of my endeavours. I’ve included the Japanese Romaji lyrics alongside my English translation to help align the words to the melody. If you’d prefer to have each syllable separated out, please refer to this link: https://pastebin.com/dFW8qdTJ
“PRIDE AND ARROGANCE” (“HOKORI TO OGORI”)
SHOUJO KAGEKI REVUE STARLIGHT
as sung by
KAREN AIJO (CV:Momoyo Koyama)
MAYA TENDO (CV:Maho Tomita)
(INSTRUMENTAL) === KAREN AIJO === JP: Watashi ni mo mieru hazu EN: I seek to behold it and so I shall === MAYA TENDO === JP: Iie, mie wa shinai EN: Your eyes, they are yet unworthy === BOTH === JP: Tou no itadaki no keshiki EN: The Star on the tower above will be mine === KAREN AIJO === JP: Anata no kokoro ni nani ga aru no? EN: What is your heart's deepest desire? For what wish have you fought? JP: Matataku hitomi ga toraeru saki EN: What do your eyes, twinkling so, see that others' cannot? JP: Imada todokanu hoshi demo EN: I may not be worthy of reaching the Star JP: Yakusoku no tame nara EN: But for the sake of that oath we swore JP: Hashiri tsudzukeru no EN: I'll keep right on charging ahead (INSTRUMENTAL) === MAYA TENDO === JP: Megami no yobigoe sora no gyokuza EN: The goddesses are calling from thrones wrought of heaven's light JP: Maioriru hoshi wa sou EN: Tempting the mortals below with a Star JP: Hitotsu nomi EN: There can be just one (INSTRUMENTAL) === MAYA TENDO === JP: Nobotte kinasai iji ga aru nara EN: Approach me if you have the will to climb upon the stair JP: Kitte minasai ikari misete EN: Show me your fury; strike me down if you dare JP: kokoro ni sukuu okina kemono EN: In our hearts there resides a beast hungry and alive JP: Furimawasaretenai de EN: It has no mercy; control it or die JP: Mikansei no kakugo nante iranai EN: Don't even try to face me with bluster or an act JP: Mitai no wa hokori kake tatakau EN: Wager your all! Will what I feel from your attack JP: Sono manazashi EN: Be pride, or arrogance? (INSTRUMENTAL) === MAYA TENDO === JP: Yori takaku yori kagayaku EN: I rise ever higher and shine ever bright JP: Chiheisen terashite EN: Horizons see dawn, such is my light JP: Hitotsu susunde EN: With a step one at a time JP: Hitotsu chikadzuku yume EN: With a step I'm enacting my dream JP: Sore ga hokori EN: So behold: that is pride! JP: Yori takaku yori kagayaku EN: I shine ever brighter and rise ever high JP: Todokanai basho e EN: Unreachable heights are all mine JP: Sore ga watashi no hokori EN: So, behold all that is me, and my pride! (INSTRUMENTAL) === MAYA TENDO (SPOKEN) === JP/EN: Position zero! This is Tendo Maya!