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If I recall correctly, Mr. Hirasawa mentioned somewhere that he had a moment in Thailand where he saw many elegant SP-2s (the male-to-female transgender women he's friends with) walking through the neon-lit back alleys of a city in Thailand one night. The whole atmosphere was so surreal that he thought he was in a sci-fi movie where beautiful androids roam about a futuristic artificial city or something. (If I find the source I will link to it here later.) My impression is that this is (roughly) the concept behind the Sim City album from 1995, which is HEAVILY influenced by Mr. Hirasawa's post-1994 impressions of Thailand.

So let's take a look at this song from Sim City (and the later tribute album Switched-On Lotus. It seems to be about Malaysian androids who are too beautiful and too powerful to resist...

平沢進 - "Archetype Engine"

アンドロイド弾丸の眼差しで 今朝アンダマンの海を超え
意志に母の心根は She was made in Malaysia
鉄を焼く熱帯びて 祈る姿可憐と
寝た子は皆焦がれ死ぬ She was made in Malaysia

日は来たりとキミよ今アトムなる
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

ヒューマノイド電流のごとく来て 踊る仕草の雅で
狙撃手の胸たたき割る She was made in Malaysia

姿見えず あまつさえ聞こえない
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

アトミック瞬間の段取りで 形にシバ降ろした
意志にケシの心根の She was made in Malaysia

日は来たりとキミよ今アトムなる
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia


Hirasawa Susumu - "Archetype Engine"

Andoroido dangan no manazashi de kesa andaman no umi wo koe
Ishi ni haha no kokorone wa She was made in Malaysia
Tetsu o yaku netsu obite inoru sugata karen to
Neta ko wa minna kogareshinu She was made in Malaysia

Hi wa kitari to kimi yo ima atomu naru
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

Hyuumanoido denryuu no gotoku kite odoru shigusa no miyabi de
Sogekishu no mune tatakiwaru She was made in Malaysia

Sugata miezu amatsusae kikoenai
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

Atomikku shunkan no dandori de katachi ni shiba oroshita
Ishi ni keshi no kokorone no She was made in Malaysia

Hi wa kitari to kimi yo ima atomu naru
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia



Hirasawa Susumu - "Archetype Engine"

With the gaze of android bullets, she crossed the Andaman Sea
Her determination contains a mother's nature   She was made in Malaysia*
Taking on a heat that could burn iron, she looks lovely while she prays
All the sleeping children pine away with love   She was made in Malaysia

As the sun comes, you now are atomic
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine**
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

She comes like a humanoid electric current   With the elegant gestures of her dance
She smashes through the chest of a sniper   She was made in Malaysia

You can't see her form, nor can you hear it
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

With the plans of an atomic moment, she took the form of Shiva***
Her determination contains the nature of the opium poppy****   She was made in Malaysia

As the sun comes, you now are atomic
Mighty Mighty Mighty Mighty

Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Here comes sister Archetype Engine
Mighty Mighty Made in Malaysia

Translation Notes:

* I vaguely recall hearing that some transgender people go to Malaysia for gender reassignment surgery, but I don't have a source for that right now. If that's the case, though, "Made in Malaysia" takes on a special meaning.

** I'm not sure whether "Archetype Engine" should be understood as a machine driving the archetypes, if it's a machine powered by (or created by)archetypes, or what. The "Great Mother" is a common Jungian archetype, which fits the previous verse of the song. Also not sure whether we should understand the engine as the "sister" or if it's a "sister archetype," if that makes sense. It's possible that "sister" here is just a literal translation of the Japanese way of casually addressing young women whom the speaker looks up to as neesan (sister)--that would be too cute, which might be why it's in English. Or, quite simply, it could be a sign of the close bond between the singer and the woman--she's the motherly android, but still a sister. (I guess it's all up to your own interpretation.)

*** The best I can make of this line is that she invokes Shiva to take possession of her, or looks like Shiva has taken possession of her. Not quite sure. I recall reading somewhere that Mr. Hirasawa was friends with an SP-2 who believed she was an incarnation of Shiva, but I can't remember exactly where that was. (Will update this post when I find it.)

Interestingly, (from what little I know) the Hindu god Shiva is associated with both destruction and creation--a duality of terrible might and great joy. Shiva also has a form called Ardhanarishvara that is depicted as half male and half female, which would be very appropriate to SP-2s. And Shiva is also Nataraja, the lord of the dance (who can even destroy the world with dance)--that meshes nicely with the image of dancing and killing earlier in the song. On one level this song could be about the archetype of Shiva crossing the Andaman Sea from India to be incorporated into the cultures of other lands, but it's obviously got more layers (as Mr. Hirasawa would say) than that.

**** Poppies are symbols of death and rebirth, apparently (though that may be in reference to the corn poppy and not the opium poppy). There's also a story I found online about a lady who danced with her husband's sword to raise his spirits (apparently as elegantly as poppy petals in the wind) who then kills herself upon failing to cheer him up. If nothing else, the story is another example of a female figure dancing and then causing destruction. I'm just going to read the poppy reference as saying that the woman's nature is beautiful like a flower and dangerously addictive like opium. :P

archetype engine

Date: 7 June 2011 15:15 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
wow, never realized he was actually saying "here comes sister archetype engine". it didn't occur to me that part could be in English.

so the song is about a robotic woman? I always assumed "archetype engine" was a war machine! Maybe it's because of the marching rhythm!

thanks a lot for the translation...at least it unwraps a couple of the many layers of mystery around the music!

Re: archetype engine

Date: 8 June 2011 22:10 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
well I don't know if the marching rhythm means anything really, considering he's used it in so many songs. who knows what the song is really about, but if you don't understand the language, you assume the music sets the tone, in which case pretty much everything SH does seems to suggest something fairly epic and incredible in scope. for example it was almost disappointing to hear that "Nurse Cafe" is sort of a drinking song, in which case it must be the most epic drinking song of all time!!

Re: archetype engine

Date: 15 August 2013 14:34 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
( Very ) late answer, but : I always thought that the « Archetype Engine », with such martial overtones in the music and phrasing, was referring to customs/society/mentality that in most countries actively tries to grind and crush people who are not « standard » ? Even here in France, who *was* once know as the country of Human Rights, there have been violent riots against our « marriage for all » law proposal ...