Ryusei no Namida: Ending an Episode with Possibility (Gundam Unicorn 01 ED)

gundam unicorn 01 banagher links audrey burne hotdogs

Often I think an ED of an anime episode should create a sense of wistfulness for the show as a whole. I do think this is possible, even if it is only the first episode. It’s a strange phenomenon, seeing images of the characters in slice of life situations — images that I will probably never see within the narrative proper make me feel nostalgic for things I haven’t even seen or experienced yet. It’s uncanny!

I think part of this is because the song often used in the ED is a slower, more melodic piece which supports a nostalgic mood. It now becomes easy to make characters stare into the sky/hair billow in the wind/add rose petals, cherry blossoms, feathers, etc. Again, these all contribute to the wistful mood. The net result is that if it’s any good, I’m already looking  forward to the next show.

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn presents a curious case. It hasn’t animated anything for its ED, instead rolling out the credits accompanied by the song Ryusei no Namida. I can’t find a translation of the title, so I only counted on Google Translate. I did find a translation of the rest of the song.

Meteor Tears/Star Flow of Tears

Sail – now take us aboard – in this world rowing forward,
Winds and sounds are wavering indecisively.
Same – someday we’ll visit – meetings and partings,
All in one moment.

No matter how far apart we are, even as I face each morning,
My feelings won’t change.

See, because the you I’ve known up to now is inside of me,
I’m not alone even when I’m by myself. I’m not lonely at all anymore.
Even if the sun sinks, even if the stars flicker out,
The sky is linking us, all the time.

Fly – the ship you seized with both hands
Will now set out wherever it’s facing.
Cry – I understand your tears – their real meaning,
The lasting sadness.

No matter how cold the rainy nights may be,
If you listen closely, you’ll hear it in time.

I sense your voice, and I can go anywhere.
There’s nothing to be afraid of. Embrace strength and weakness together!
Even if the sun rises, aren’t the stars still there?
We too are like light and shadow…

As the low-flying birds faded out of sight beneath me,
I was only a little concerned.
Then in a flash, the confusion and commotion
Between yesterday and tomorrow
Disappeared.

See, because the you I’ve known up to now is inside of me,
I’m not alone even when I’m by myself. I’m not lonely at all anymore!
Even if the sun sinks, even if the stars flicker out,
The sky is linking us, all the time.

Until the fleeting dawn…

Translated by Citrus, full romaji and kanji here.

The song reads something like a prayer, or a psalm, which involves feelings of adoration, thanksgiving, longing, and invocation. I suppose these things do invite the wistfulness I’m talking about. Given that the Gundam, Banagher and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (the show) itself represent possibility in their particular ways, Ryusei no Namida becomes a fitting theme song for them.

Don’t just take my word for it though, listen to the track yourself at the end of the first episode. Also, you may be interested to learn that the song is performed by Kuriyama Chiaki, noted for her acting performances in Kill Bill Vol. 1, and Battle Royale. She’s taken a popstar turn, and this song is her latest.

Check out her interview at MTV Iggy.

Now watch this trailer of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.

What I find interesting here is how the nostalgia effect is almost achieved by showing clips from the older Gundam shows. Unicorn benefits from such a huge tradition — 30 years worth of Gundam, particularly its Universal Century continuity. Being a trailer, it’s there to build suspense and excitement as opposed to nostalgia — so I the overall effect the song did for me is that of melancholy. Melancholy, as in “the human condition in the Universal Century never really changed; what would it take for human beings to be truly happy?” The music almost trivializes the violence — in that it could have been shock, or even horror, but instead it becomes this wistful sadness for these miserable humans.

And watching these miserable humans play out their lives (I too, meant you, Bright Noa) is part of my fascination for the Universal Century continuity of the Gundam Franchise.

It would be interesting if future episodes will have an animated ED. I really can’t wait for the next episode.

Further Reading

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn for me, is the very possibility of the best story that remembers love and builds on the Gundam master narrative [->]

Find Your Gateway Gundam! [->]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis, Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Ryusei no Namida: Ending an Episode with Possibility (Gundam Unicorn 01 ED)

  1. Crusader says:

    I don’t know man I think Monsha was by and large pretty happy with his life. It does bring a sense of melancholy for me as well but it lasts a few scant seconds after the realization that one can only affect his/her surroundings so much creeps back in.

    As for the Unicorn ED, it;s a nice song but it hardly makes up for having to wait so long for Ep 02 when Marida gets her ass handed to her.

    • Lol. Even when the article’s about a song you still manage to bring it back to the EFSF Hoorah and Death to Zeon thing. I think I’ve figured it out, Crusader is actually the voice behind our EFSF Propaganda friend Billy-San from episode 03 of MS Igloo.

      Anyway enough with silliness. This is about the same set of interpretations that I took away from the ending theme the first time I heard it. I know a lot of people really hated it and where raging about how Chiaki Kuriyama “can’t sing”, but I think she did just fine for a debut. Also the song gets some bonus points for not once featuring the words dream or prism which is a pleasant surprise if I do say so myself….but it’s still pretty cliche sounding as I read the lyrics out now.

      Back to the silliness….if they can just ban or at least put a restriction on the use of the words “tomorrow, yesterday, sky, sunny and happy” and all references pertaining to them then we can start making some breakthroughs in this whole J-Pop business. Is there anybody daring enough in Japan enough to rescue the music?

    • I don’t think Monsha is happy at all. He’s cheerful no doubt, but he’s a soldier with a high sense of entitlement. I don’t think he’ll be happy at all that young punks like Jerid got the opportunities to see action that Monsha would definitely feel he deserves for himself.

      • Crusader says:

        Considering how miserly Jerid was and how Jerid lost at love I am not sure why you’d think Monsha would be jealous of Jerid.

        Let’s be honest here Monsha needs only three things to be happy his GM, booze, and young women to chase. None of which are in short supply.

        • Let’s be honest here, Monsha didn’t like ‘chasing.’ He liked ‘getting’ only that he never could get any.

          • Crusader says:

            Even so i doubt he would have been thrilled to watch his beloveds all die like Jerid’s did.

          • Yes, which delightfully illustrates the human condition in this milieu. I think it’s really great you brought up Monsha. He does represent to me, the emptiness of existence, relative to his mild success.

            I don’t think that it’s impossible to generate happiness. I am a very very happy man despite the political and economic milieu I have been in, and still am in here in the Philippines.

            My happiness is perhaps comparable to (but not closely) to Shiro’s and Aina’s at the end of the 08th MS Team. That said, in general terms I feel it appropriate to describe their existences as melancholic for the content of misery they had to go through.

  2. Citrus says:

    Thanks for linking my translation! I enjoyed this thoughtful post on what I feel was a great ED for a great OVA episode.

    By the way, I can confirm that the song’s title (流星のナミダ, Ryuusei no Namida) translates to “Meteor’s Tears.”

  3. donkangoljones says:

    Reading the translation for that song gives me the feeling of a very thoughtful, yet melancholy poem. So I can understand your feelings when listening to the music in a portrayed context. When you point out the techniques often used in a ED theme animation it brings to mind all the ED themes I’ve come to know & love. I wonder if our feelings for this song will change once the OVA is complete? I fear the LOL Tomino & the “Kill ‘Em All” Tomino, for some reason I want this show to reach for a possibility I have not seen yet. But maybe I should keep my hopes for that to 00 & just enjoy what I get.

    • Tomino has nothing to do with the light novel and this anime, beyond being the creator of Gundam as a whole.

      I generally enjoy OPs than EDs, and I find myself skipping more EDs than the ones I stay around for. But indeed, sometimes it all comes together… and usually OVAs don’t do it for me since often they don’t animate them. Diebuster has a good one though, I certainly loved that one.

  4. vendredi says:

    Unicorn truly is “remembering love” as you have defined it – I was absolutely blown away by a watch through, far beyond my best expectations. This truly does feel like a proper anniversary series. In many ways, it reminds me a lot of 0080 and 0083 – the other two UC OVA series.

    As for the EDs, I doubt we’ll have a properly animated ED sequence, seeing as this is an OVA – more likely we might have an animated sequence that rolls on through the credits at most. The past couple of Gundam series – SeeD and 00 – have also been quite good at rolling into the ED from a dramatic climax point (consider the many end-of-episode scenes in 00 where the background music gently rolls into “I LOOOVE YOU! I TRUUUST YOU!”)

    • I really enjoyed those 00 credits and how they rolled them in along with some kind of preview for the next episode. I do think that it’s Macross Frontier who was really excellent with those.

      You may also want to add War in the Pocket to your list, hehe.

  5. rakusukira says:

    for me, a perfect song for Banagher and Mineva..

    they are not alone.. 🙂

  6. banagherlinks says:

    I was intrigued when I first heard it from a trailer and yeah a fitting ending song for a promising anime. For real? I hardly recognize that girl from kill bill and battle royale, for s second, I recalled that girl having a gattling gun in place of a hand, anyways I can still listen to it with the same level of enjoyment with fields of hope and that I LOOOVE YOU and I TRUST YOOOOU song of forgot about that I wanna go to a place form seed destiny.

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