Zankoku na Negai no Naka de (Inside a Cruel Wish)

Well, what can I say?

I like this ED sequence. Its in my top list along with Futuristic Player. And hey, I even made a video for the lyrics!

(Translated lyrics not made by me but by xzx)

Ehem.

Zankoku na Negai no Nake de was sung by Ueda Kana (Saki’s seiyu) and Komihimizu Ami (Nodoka’s seiyu) so it was no surprise that it heavily pertains to them. Or more  accurately, it pertains to Saki. Well,  I’ll interpret this heavily in Saki’s pov anyway. But, then again its just itching to be interpreted that way. ^^

If I give up, its over  [あきらめたら終わり ]

I reset my feelings and in the place return to. [ 気持ちをリセットして 戻る場所で] 

One more play. 

This is the chorus of the song and it was repeated several times. I think it was fitting as well considering we hear it when Saki or Kiyosumi was in trouble. ^^ What it says is straightforward. The lyrics is saying that giving up, is tantamount to losing. So they’ll go to the back to the place and reset their feelings. One more play.

Basically, Its a chorus of affirmation. A chorus to show their determination and their inability to give up. Its also a chorus that shows the hanging threat of failure.

If I close my eyes just a little now[ 今ちょっとだけ 目 閉じたら ]

Will I at least be able to hide my sadness?  [ せめて私が落ち込んでるの隠せるかな ]

I’m sorry, even though you supported me much [ ゴメンあんなに 応援してくれたのに ]

I tripped. I can’t be forgiven[ つまずいた 自分が許せないの ]

And here is where things get interesting, we get a clue of who the speaker. (Hint: who is the character that gets scared and trips on regular basis?)

If you didn’t get who is being alluded to. Look at the title of the anime. ^^

Anyway, it gives us some insight on the figure (Saki). The pov was deeply depressed but more than anything, she wanted to hide that sadness. This is congruent to Saki’s self sacrificial tendencies.

The third and fourth line gives us more context and irony. Its really telling that Saki wanted to ask forgiveness but she does not believe she should get it. There is an element of self blame there. To paraphrase her mentality, “I, who was supported this much but still failed cannot be forgiven.”

The thing that gets me was to whom was this addressed?

At present time, there is only one person that Saki wants to ask sorry for. Teru. Perhaps, the song is a clue to whatever is ailing their relationship.

It could also be addressed presently or for the future, meaning it was for Nodoka. Perhaps a foreshadowing in the event that Saki does fail.

Or perhaps both, I have a funny feeling that Saki’s relationship with Nodoka is sometimes a mirror to what she have with Teru once. That and I sometimes think that Teru and Nodoka have some sort of mirror personalities with one another.  Of course, I need to see some more of Teru to confirm this. ^^

That meant there might be a repeat of the past in the future. And considering what happened with Teru-Saki relationship that could be very bad or very good. ^^

Every time, I climb the stairs,  [ 階段をのぼるたびに ]

Even if someone deserts me, [ 誰か置き去りにされるとしたら ]

I will accept the sadness, [ 悲しみ受けとめるよ ]

“I can’t quit here,” I stand up.  [ ここでやめられないと立ち上がる ]

Did you guys know that stairs could be a metaphor for the ladders in the tournament brackets?  I think the manga said it in one point, a throw away conversation between Kokaji and Kouko. Anyway, this is interesting because this line basically says. “Every time you go forward, there is always someone who is left behind.” 

That is true specially in tournaments. Doubly true for the format that is being used in the anime and manga.  The pov (Saki) is not happy with this set up. But, she will accept the situation. She can’t quit just because of that.

And that is because…

I carry only a single wish [ ただひとつ願い抱えて]

And gamble on each fate saying I can’t lose [ それぞれの運命 賭ける負けないよと ]

While I tremble —  [ ふるえながら

But, if I give up its over. [ でもあきらめたら終わり

I reset my feeling and am afraid, [ 気持ちをリセットして 巡り合いは]

That the chance meeting will be too cruel. [ 残酷すぎてこわい…] 

Because of that single wish. She fights and gamble.

In Saki’s case, the wish is very very obvious. That is to heal her broken family again. Get her Onee-chan back. Even if she was afraid, she’ll continue on for that slim hope of it coming true. She won’t give up because that is tantamount to failure.

And yet, even as Saki acknowledges this. The last line belay the trepidation she feels on the chance meeting. The meeting that she has been looking forward to with her sister. She is afraid that such a meeting will be too cruel.

Note the wording. Too cruel. Not just cruel but more cruel than one can be able to withstand. This meant she was prepared for some cruelty, but Saki is afraid that it would be even more than she can take.

Considering what we know of Saki-Teru relationship… let’s just say that is a very legitimate concern.

Let’s try aiming higher, even though I’m bluffing. [ 上向いてみよう 強がりでも] 

Someday, I’ll be able to smile more naturally. [ いつか自然に微笑んでると感じるから ]

Its alright. This time, reflection won’t be impossible. 

[ オーライこんどは 反省ムダにはしない ]

And I’ll jump over the pitfall.  [ 落とし穴 楽々飛び越えちゃって] 

After the heaviness of the previous stanza. We get more show of her determination. Even though, its a bit tainted by the very first sentence.

“Let’s try aiming higher even though I’m bluffing.”

I think this mirrors Saki’s end goal and the confidence that she showed whenever she states it.  I can’t help but think of how Saki stated her goal when Koromo asked in their match. “She will win this match, go to Tokyo, meet her sister and they will be a family again.” She said it as if it was a fact.

But, really, like this song and a lot of visual clues that the manga was heaping up shows. Saki is more or less bluffing. Its the old technique wherein if she believes it strongly enough, it may come true.

And it was even acknowledged by the second sentence. That someday, the fake smiles that she showed today will become real in the future.

The third and fourth line is a reason why there might be a slight chance this time. Reflection is possible. That is Saki has experiences to use to avoid the pitfalls this time.

My heart is dyed in frustration [ 悔しさにそまるこころ ] 

But, if I make use of everything it will turn into chance. [ 全て生かせればチャンスに変わる] 

I think it one more time. [ もいちど考えるよ ] 

Its not like me  to be crushed here. [ ここでくじけるなんてらしくない] 

More affirmations. And really quite straightforward.

Frustration was the adjective here as well. Dictionary states that it means:

  • the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
  • the prevention of progress, success, or fulfillment of something.

Saki’s heart is dyed with it.

But, there is a chance to overcome that if she used everything she can. So she thinks it over, one more time.

I sometimes believe that “think it over one more time”  reference her goal. We know that Saki made an attempt earlier to reconnect with Teru and failed. So in effect, what is happening in the anime/manga right now is Saki’s one more time.

Its not like me to be crushed here. I believe mirrors Nodoka’s affirmation of Saki. If you remember what Nodoka said to Saki when she was  PTSD’ing in Koromo’s match. Nodoka said that it is not like her to play that way. Or something to that effect.

In essence, the last line is Saki trying to motivate herself which is really the tone of this stanza.

Before I advance again,  [ また進む時間の先で ] 

I’ll meet with all of you. Next time, I want to win 

[ 君たちに会うでしょう 次は勝ちたいから ] 

Even if I got hurt.  [ きずついても ]

And here we have plot reference. ^^

Before I move again, I’ll meet with all of you. Note the “ALL”. This isn’t just one person. this is a plural, meaning more than one. I want to stress this. Because, the only person that we know that Saki wants to meet is Teru.

But, this innocuous line implies that beside her dear Onee-chan. Saki wants to meet other people from her past. Combined with the WHAM chapter along with the “girl in the pier” flashback, and you get an idea of whom the other people that Saki wanted to meet.

The next phrases make this theory more likely. Saki said, “This time I want to win, even if I’m hurt.”

Considering one of the few concrete background facts we know about Saki is she only played mahjong with her family in the past. The picture becomes more solid.

Beside that, the phrase implies that Saki will try to win this time. Even if it will hurt her. Ominous foreshadowing anyone? I can see so quite a few ways this would play out.

I don’t know when it started,  [ いつ始まるかは知らない ]

I was emptied by an advanced trick,  [ 高度なトリックより 空っぽにした ]

My consciousness move at last… [ 意識がついに動く… ]

Next is some reference to the anime. More specifically to the trick Hisa employed to get Saki playing again. It was a bit understated but that beginning is very important. Due to that trick, Saki was able to play mahjong again and hopefully finally move from the various amount of past shackles that she is still carrying around.

If I give up, its over.  [ あきらめたら終わり ]

The rules are cruel, but my wish will be granted. (if I stand up)  [ 残酷なルールで 叶う望み(立ちあがれば)]

This really neatly sums up Saki’s point of view. If she gives up, its over. But, even if the rules are cruel, it will lead to the fulfillment of her wish.

That is if she has the courage to take a stand.

And of course, the moment the wish is mentioned. We remember what that wish is with this stinger.

I have only one wish. [ ただひとつ願い抱えて ]

And gamble on each fate, saying I won’t lose.  [ それぞれの運命 賭ける負けないよと ] 

As I tremble —  [ ふるえながら ] 

I reset my feeling that I’m afraid  [ でもあきらめたら終わり ] 

That the chance meeting will be too cruel… 
[ 気持ちをリセットして 巡り合いは 残酷すぎてこわい… ]

Concluding Notes :

Zankoku na Negai no Naka de (Inside a Cruel Wish)  is a very good ED song. And it has a very fitting title.

As the last part of the song neatly summarized,  even if the rules and the road to Saki’s wish is “cruel”. It can be fulfilled. And then, we think about what exactly is the thing that Saki is angling for in this tournament.

It is to meet Teru.

<involuntary wince>

If you think about it, Saki is going this “cruel” and “hard” road for a price that will really hurt her. We know it and worst, there is every sign that  Saki knows it too. But, she’ll do it anyway. Because…

<look at the chorus of the song. >

If I give up, its over. 

Because really, if she give up. Its tantamount to a admitting to herself that her family is never going  to be fixed. It will stay broken.

And thus, she’ll continue on. For her cruel wish. For the slight chance of its fulfillment.

Inside a Cruel Wish, indeed.

Now, go and play it again. One more time!

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6 Responses to Zankoku na Negai no Naka de (Inside a Cruel Wish)

  1. purelove says:

    " I’m sorry, even though you supported me much. [ ゴメンあんなに 応援してくれたのに ]

    I tripped. I can’t be forgiven. [ つまずいた 自分が許せないの ]

    And here is where things get interesting, we get a clue of who the speaker. (Hint: who is the character that gets scared and trips on regular basis?)"

    I like this analysis but I can't help but feel you are ignoring Nodoka's role far too much throughout. These lines I quoted are actually sang by her, which superscedes who trips more as a clue for who they pertain to, and I think whilst your analsys shows a high level of understanding, I am pretty sure you are misinterpreting some of the lines that are meant for Nodoka as lines that are meant for Teru. If your analysis was correct, then it was a rather stupid decision to have Nodoka's Seiyuu take part in the song frankly. It should have been a solo performance by Ueda Kana.

    • I do admit, I have inadvertently done that.

      In the beginning, I tried to incorporate both Nodoka and Saki as the pov of the song. Unfortunately, I kept getting confused which part is being sung by who. (Yes, my ability to distinguish seiyuu voices is ridiculously low. I get it wrong half the time. )

      For example. The line that you quoted sounded like it was sung by Komihimizu Ami but I can't wrap my head around Nodoka actually saying it. Though, that maybe because I haven't seen Nodoka get a huge setback in canon. Hmmm… foreshadowing?

      … Anyway, since I don't have a clue who is saying a particular line. I just decided to interpret it using a single pov. And between Saki and Nodoka… I chose Saki since it is so easy to interpret the song using her.^^

      And thus, have this analysis.

      Though, it does make my analysis feel a bit incomplete… if you or anyone can help/tell me who is singing which though. I'll be willing to do a part II. As I've said above, I felt that this can easily be seen as Saki-Teru or as Saki-Nodoka depending if you see it in a lens of past/future.

  2. purelove says:

    Oh well the first few lines are easy at least. If you turn on one of the episodes that uses this ED (which I agree is a very nice ED), you will find, if I recall correctly, that the picture swaps to the character whose Seiyuu is singing. You can also watch the live video of it which should make it easy to figure out who sings which line, and the two Seiyuus even have a cute moment together during the song and I would reccomend watching it for that anyway. I hope links work on this site 🙂

    is the song, if not just youtube 'zankoku na negai no Naka de live' or so and it should be easy to find.

    My own personal interpretation for that particular line would be the similar interpretation I had for when Nodoka actually trips during the fireworks festival in one of the later episodes; that it's indeed foreshadowing. Now, I may be reading too much into that scene and it could literally just have been included because it's a cutesy yuri scene, but in the scene Nodoka is the one who trips and Saki does her best to catch her, preventing her from landing on the floor at least (and then they blush at each other). I thought it was odd that Nodoka was the one who tripped however, hence my thought that it might indeed be foreshadowing.

    I think this could easily foreshadow that Nodoka is going to screw up in one of these matches really badly. We have hints already that something like that could happen with the way it went against the shrine maiden, but her reluctance to accept superstition might finally seriously catch up with her vs Megan + Usuzan's vice captain, and if I'm right, Saki will then 'catch' her by going full demon in the captain's. She won't be able to completely prevent Kiyosumi from htiting the ground, such as in the festival scene, but she will prevent Nodoka from hurting too much by taking second.

    I think the scene could be the same kind of thing as the line here in the song.

    PS. I wouldn't worry about the problems distinguishing between the two Seiyuus, they do blend some of the lines together quite deliberately in particular.

  3. rainyblueskies says:

    "Or perhaps both, I have a funny feeling that Saki’s relationship with Nodoka is sometimes a mirror to what she have with Teru once. That and I sometimes think that Teru and Nodoka have some sort of mirror personalities with one another. Of course, I need to see some more of Teru to confirm this. ^^" I agree. During the last episode of Saki, there was a bit of foreshadowing in the ending where Saki and Nodoka was shown upset or sad. The key chain (I forgot whose.) was left drenched in the puddle. Given that they seem to treasure it, it doesn't make sense. Which lead me thinking that somehow, Saki's past is connected with it… Or maybe my imagination is running wildly again. Like what purelove says, it maybe just because Nodoka will screw up in the semi-finals. Though I don't see that happening soon in the manga.

    "Let’s try aiming higher, even though I’m bluffing. [ 上向いてみよう 強がりでも]
    Someday, I’ll be able to smile more naturally. [ いつか自然に微笑んでると感じるから ]
    Its alright. This time, reflection won’t be impossible.
    [ オーライこんどは 反省ムダにはしない ]
    And I’ll jump over the pitfall. [ 落とし穴 楽々飛び越えちゃって] "

    In chapter 13 of Zenkoku Hen, we get a bit more insight to Saki's past. We learned about the blonde girl who might be Saki's relative and the key to her past. I replayed the brief flashback(?) she had several times and can't help but think that Saki may be the reason the girl died. A picture of three of them shows that Saki is bit more energetic and cheerful than she is now. It also shows that the girl's legs was perfectly fine. Though because of some accident, she was unable to use her legs anymore. Hence the wheelchair. (Well, she can swing her legs though.) Then suddenly we see white flowers and Teru's back wearing black clothes. This heavily implies that the girl died. How? Fire. A burning house (Or its remains) and a burning wheelchair probably told more than it should. (For me anyways) Maybe she died because she saved Saki? Or maybe she died because of SAKI. I thought of something crazy while writing this. Maybe Saki's hair was short because the rest of it was burned. Even if it did grew, she would cut it because of a trauma she had. Which brings to a point as to why Saki suddenly remembered this crucial thing! During that time, she wasn't really that hesitant in meeting or seeing with her sister-heck, she was running with Nodoka and Yuki. She knew her sister was in there beforehand but she suddenly stopped after seeing those memories. WHY? When I saw her face, I thought I saw guilt in them. Or it could that I was just projecting what I had in mind. If you think about it, her inability to see her sister was probably because she was guilty of something. I really think her brain unconsciously forgot about the whole fire incident for a self-protection. She was deluding herself again into thinking that everything is all right when in the back of her mind, she knew it wasn't. She also didn't tell Nodoka about the fire incident. It could be that she really forgot about it. Maybe that's why Teru is angry with her. She wants Saki to remember and understand what happened. Weeeeeeellll.

    There goes my imagination again. I blame Ritz for this.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      You somehow put me on a Saki mood again lol.

      The key chain, I think was from Saki; if I'm remembering it right, Saki picked the weird UFO thingy and exchanged it with Nodoka's etopen keychain. Thus, the keychain that got lost on the rain is from Nodoka. And it might imply something that will cause Nodoka to get angry at Saki?

      Well pretty solid. Nodoka getting angry at Saki is easier to believe than Saki getting angry at Nodoka.

      And yeah, I think there are elements of self-deception at Saki's goal in the national which can be aptly described at make-up with Teru. If you noticed, for all Saki's determination in trying to repair said relationship she is naturally avoidant of meeting with her big sister herself.

      Which frankly doesn't add up if Saki is so sure that her relationship is salvageable.

      I think in part this is because Saki doesn't believe it is possible or at least have a very large inkling of its failure. Thus, avoidance; like Saki knows the truth but she can't let go of the faint hope that everything would be alright. It is quite a sad state of affair if you think about it.

      And yeah, Saki is very melancholic whenever she thinks of the past. This is true even on the fluffy flashback way back in the first chapter with Teru telling Saki of rinshan kaihou. If you noticed, when Saki woke up, she is wiping out TEARS.

      Anyway, the reason why I think that Nodoka and Teru is similar was beyond the superficial cold, unemotional, rose haired resemblance with a probable hidden soft spot for Saki? They gave very similar reaction when trying to deny Saki way back in season 1. Before Saki-Nodoka got some understanding, Nodoka when asked about Saki metaphorically speaking, hesitated a bit and then of course denied knowing anything about it.

      Said reporter caught on the split second hesitation.

      Fast forward Teru who is probably a more stoic Nodoka and when asked about Saki, same reaction but more pronounced, then denied association.

      I won't be surprised if said reporter also caught on. Thus, I really have no problem with the chapter when it was shown nosy reporter was researching Teru's past.

      Anyway, got sidetracked, but the scene and others show certain parallels between Nodoka and Teru. I don't know if it will be complete though. But, I won't be surprised if there is such a break between Saki and Nodoka to show parallel to Saki-Teru or with Teru as a catalyst.

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