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)
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.
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!