Tom Smith on the unfortunately-named band SUPER BEAVER
The latest Naruto Shippuden box set brings with it another hapless victim in Japan’s ever-spiralling series of ill-advised names. This time it’s a Japanese pop-rock band that goes by the entirely unintentionally obnoxious moniker of SUPER BEAVER. At least I like to think their naming process is innocent, any immature attempt at a double entendre would go against their clean-cut and happy image. Take their song ‘Shinkokyu’, the ninth ending of ninja-themed series mentioned above, for example. In English its title means ‘Deep Breath’ and its lyrics tell a vague tale of working hard for the future and moving on from the pains of yesterday.
Now compare everything you’ve just read to Spread Beaver, another Japanese band but one knowing full well what its name can also mean in English. The group was the backing band for hide, a notorious figure for Japan’s alternative youth whose influence is still felt strongly today, some 14 years since his untimely passing. hide was originally part of X Japan, the biggest visual kei band in history, and visual kei, much like the west’s rock ‘n roll, is highly sexed up – hide was no different. What would you expect from the pink-haired man that penned a song called ‘Electric Cucumber'? (It means exactly what your filthy mind is thinking).
The point is, it’s fairly simple to tell when someone or thing is exploiting the ambiguity of language in a provocative way. SUPER BEAVER’s image sways towards blissful ignorance, while hide’s does not, and could do with an antiseptic wipe. Yet, this journalist can’t help but wonder if those foreign companies and individuals with inadvertently provoking names, slogans or products are entirely innocent – the results are far too amusing to be a whimsical accident. There must be an evil English-language genius running around causing havoc at their expense, mustn’t there?
Anyone that witnessed L’Arc en Ciel live in London recently can confirm that the band’s leader and bass player tetsuya is a cheeky perv. With a glint in his eye, he asked the audience if they’d like to eat his banana or suck on his lollipop (gasp), which makes me think that the collaboration between the band and electrical giants Canon was no mere accidental language booboo when they revealed the Wonder BJ.
It’s not always dirty words or phrases they’re seemingly playing with; there are also clean names so ridiculous that the whole family can enjoy them. Trying to lose weight and have your suspicions that the water you’re drinking could be part of the problem? Try some low-fat Diet Water!
Are your colleagues at work or friends from school a bit too happy in the morning? Simple, slip them a can of Deepresso coffee, to really bring them down. And what office doesn’t need a handshredder?
It’s not always the Japanese suffering from misinformed English. It can work the other way too. Just imagine what the Japanese must think of Australia’s town of Eromanga, for example.
Melissa Francis on the hell-spawn creature-feature
If we look back at the 25 episodes of the TV series, Blue Exorcist: The Movie seemed more cohesive in comparison – there were certainly less of those ‘for the hell of it’ moments (no pun intended) and more well-connected, relevant events.
Fans who are fully up-to-date and casual viewers and newcomers alike can both enjoy the One Piece movies! Each is entirely self-contained, with entirely new plots not found in Eiichiro Oda’s original manga, but are every bit as enjoyable.
Andrew Osmond finds Emperor Hirohito in Japanese animation
The Sara storyline in Fam the Silver Wing seems to echo a view – many would say a myth – of Hirohito, encouraged not just by the Japanese but also by the victorious Americans when they rebuilt the country. Namely, it was the story that Hirohito was a helpless figurehead, at the mercy of his warmongering government.
The word hihokan is usually translated as ‘sex museum’, although most are best described as indoor sexual theme parks. Imagine that an anthropological collection has been bought by the London Dungeon and put on show there by the owner of a strip club with a degree in engineering and a penchant for voyeurism. The result would be the hihokan: a garish combination of serious museum and soft pornography in a bizarre and often haphazard blend.