Notes on Lychee Light Club
“Usamaru Furuya Unofficial Web Site, Tokyo” has a dedicated section on Lychee Light Club. Furuya himself helped provide the translations for the opening pages’ German speech, perhaps the most useful feature. The site can be perused in English as well as Japanese.
Translation of the German
The Japanese original gives the foreign text in phonetic katakana script without translations of any sort. To replicate the effect, Vertical’s English edition has left the German phrases untranslated and without annotation. Here are their meanings.
DIE RECHTE SEITE!: The right side!
DIE LINKE SEITE!!: The left side!!
DIE HINTERSEITE!: The rear side!
BEFREIE NICHT!: Don’t let him escape!
WIR HABEN IHN EINGEHOLT!: We’ve got him!
EINE SACKGASSE: A dead-end!
ICH WILL NICHT MEHR!: I’ve had enough!
WIR WURDEN GESEHEN!: We’ve been seen!
DER STÜTZPUNKT!: The base!
DER MANN LÄDET EINE SCHULD AUF SICH!: The man bears a burden of guilt!
DAS GEHEIMNIS!: The secret!
DAS LICHT!: The light!
VERBANNT DEN STÖRENFRIED!: Banish the interferer!
WIR WOLLEN BESTRAFEN!: We wish to punish!
ERMORDE DEN MANN!: Slay the man!
DIE BESTRAFUNG!: The punishment!
EINS / ZWEI / DREI: One / two / three
VIER / FÜNF / SECHS / SIEBEN: Four / five / six / seven
DIE STRAFE!: The penalty!
DIE SCHÖNHEIT IST ALLES.: Beauty is everything.
DAS MONSTRUM!: The monster!
ERMORDE!! ERMORDE!! ERMORDE!!: Slay! Slay! Slay!
The conjunction of power and beauty fascinates the villain.
Elagabalus (203-222): The same episodes of decadence and gender fluidity that historically made him the most reviled of Roman emperors endear him to many a modern artist. The beautiful boy came to power when he was fourteen years old.
Yang Guifei (719-756): The Chinese imperial consort is counted among history’s three most beautiful women along with Helen of Troy and Cleopatra VII (Ono no Komachi often takes Helen’s place in the Japanese reckoning). Her emperor husband had fast horses deliver a steady supply of her beloved lychee from the southern provinces where the fruits grew.
All of the heroine’s songs are actual.
“Little drops of water/Make the mighty ocean…”: These lyrics are a slightly rearranged version of American educator Julia Carney’s 1845 poem “Little Things.” In the original, Kanon sings a Japanese translation.
“Low I kneel with heart submission…”: The medieval Latin chant “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath) is part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. In the original Japanese edition, Kanon sings a rendition in archaic-poetic Japanese, while the Vertical edition uses an English translation from 1849 by William Josiah Irons. The Latin:
Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.
Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus
Huic ergo parce, Deus
“The blue-eyed doll/Is American-born celluloid…”: Japanese poet and lyricist Ujo Noguchi penned the words of the 1921 hit song “The Blue-Eyed Doll.” Despite the art style, which can also be evocative of the Taisho era (1912-26), from which Tokyo Grand Guignol member and comics legend Suehiro Maruo frequently draws inspiration too, it would seem hasty to conclude that Lychee takes place in pre-war Japan: in the prequel, Our Light Club, we see a 500-yen note, which did not circulate until much later.