Masami Okui performs this song more than any other, I can understand why she wanted to give it a bit of a make-over. And what a makeover! A wonderful new take on this classic, featuring some really badass bass. Seriously, this song is all about the bass. It’s hot, guys. Trust me on this.
“RONDO-Revolution (red rose ver.)” [“Round Dance Revolution”]
Okay guys. Before I talk about this song, we need to have a talk about something else.
THIS SONG IS NOT TITLED “RINBU-REVOLUTION”.
I REPEAT. THIS SONG IS NOT CALLED “RINBU-REVOLUTION”. YES. THAT IS WHAT THE KANJI SAYS. BUT NO. THAT IS NOT THE TITLE. THE CORRECT TITLE – AS SPOKEN BY THE WOMAN WHO WROTE AND PERFORMS IT – IS RONDO-REVOLUTION. PLEASE STOP CALLING IT RINBU-REVOLUTION. THAT IS NOT THIS FUCKING SONG’S NAME. EVERYWHERE I LOOK I SEE IT LABELED IS RINBU-REVOLUTION AND IT FUCKING PISSES ME OFF. STOP IT.
This is probably one of Masami Okui’s best known songs, serving as the opening theme to Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena). What can’t be said about this song? The lyrics are amazing and inspirational, the tune is memorable and uplifting, and it really served as a perfect fit for the series it represented. The album version is a little harder and guitar-heavy than the single version, and I gotta admit I prefer this one a little more.
A line from this song has become a mantra of mine; not just because it rolls off the tongue so well but because it’s so very true:
“Genjitsu wa gamushara ni kurushi” … or, “Reality is recklessly approaching.”
Reality often does come upon us without regard to how prepared we are to face it.
I love this song. I love everything about it. I can sing this one in my sleep, and I’m sure a fair few anime fans out there can too. But please, PLEASE start calling it by its proper title? It deserves that kind of respect.
In this article I’m taking a look at the lyrics to the song “I Can’t…”, written by Masami Okui. The song “I Can’t…” was included as the b-side on her “Rondo Revolution” single,“Rondo Revolution” of course being the opening theme to SKU. “I Can’t…” wasn’t believed to be related to SKU but I defy anyone to read the lyrics, watch episode 39, and then say that . I think its written as a song ‘by’ Anthy about her life and specifically events during the final duel “Apocalypse” in the last episode, 39.
I’m noting observations line-by-line, where I feel important references to Anthy can be seen. This also means you can see where I’ve taken my ideas from.
"How much time has passed by, I wonder? In our home of homes, where there was no trace of anyone but just the two of us.“
This sounds like Anthy talking about the time before when Akio was Dios. Before he started busting his balls saving everyone and Anthy having to step in to stop him killing himself.
"We met, we loved, we separated. And then we met and loved again… It was my first wish, to meet you time and time again.”
This may be Anthy talking about all the other “Utenas” (whoever they may be..) that have come into their world/Ohtori and not managed to do anything. Possibly Utena is in this included also. It reminds me of Gio what wrote about when Anthy was thinking aloud during a duel between Utena and Touga (See the article “Concerning Touga’s Seitokai Duels”) , maybe convincing herselfthat Utena “ can’t do it, none of them could!”. But in relation to these lines, in this case, its more like she’s convincing herself and trying to surprise a wish she still has that this one might just be “the one”. It’s as if these lines release the wish she has to welcome someone who could revolutionize the world that Anthy denies to save herself being hurt again and again. If this was Masami Okui’s intention, I admire.
"My trembling fingertips touched it just briefly. I want to go far away. Just like this, far away.“
A very telling set of lines, this. During the climactic Apocalypse duel in the last episode of SKU, Utena looks inside the coffin and sees Anthy. She calmly asks her to take her hand (HOLD IT!! TAKE IT!!) but only their fingers end up touching. This explains the use of 'touching’ and 'briefly’ in these lines. I believe its a word that has a couple of layers. Literally touching Utena and also 'touching’ what Utena could have done for her at that moment. You see, Anthy was unwilling to take Utena’s hand at first but she *did* start to take it and would have probably got a good grip had the arena beneath her coffin not collapsed. I interpret the lines "I want to go far away. Just like this, far away” to be what Anthy was thinking when she decided to move her hand towards Utena’s on that fun-filled afternoon.
"It was strong enough that I could have thrown everything else away. I thought I would never again feel this kind of love.“
Anthy feels Utena is different and worth making a change for. As we know, in the end there was indeed something special about Utena. She did revolutionize the world and she was different from others who came and went very many times over the hundreds of years.
"I withdrew into a glass shield, a deep sickness. I couldn’t see anything for myself. My dislikes, my aspirations, my emotions. Killing these things over and over again…”
This sounds like the period from the time of her locking Dios away from the world. The time when she and Dios slowly rotted in on themselves and became Akio and the witch, and how she’s acted for most of the time she’s met Utena. I think when she says “I couldn’t see anything for myself”, this doesn’t mean she’s admitting Akio had brainwashed her. Its obvious Anthy isn’t brainwashed but she simply doesn’t bother not to go along with his wishes.
"On this railroad. Disappearing into the night sky I’ll board this ride of unstoppable love and set off. When tomorrow comes I’ll hurt this person. What sadness…“
This might be presumption on Masami Okui’s (or my) part but it sounds like when Anthy dreams she doesn’t play her 'role’ as the witch. Dreaming of Utena? Maybe. Then being upset because she knows that the game must resume tomorrow with her possibly having to hurt the one she loves in one way or another. I think Masami Okui knew the story in and out before writing these songs, as I have said before, so I don’t think she’d write anything without thinking about it.
”The stars I see, shining in the night sky, will guide us lovers, we are a multitude of hearts. Can’t stop… I’ll set off on this railroad. Can’t stop… Drawing us to some unknown place/ When tomorrow comes, and night falls we’ll be in the midst of eternity.“
Anthy’s thoughts as she walks out on Akio? I think so. And where do we see her at the end? Yes. A railway station.
I think Masami Okui titled the song "I Can’t…” with a couple of meanings.
A: Anthy saying “I can’t take her hand”. (When Utena is imploring her to hold her hand.) B: Anthy saying “I can’t stop.” (As is in the lines quoted above, saying she can’t stop until she finds Utena as she is leaving Ohtori.)
I think there is no right or wrong way to read them. Maybe, if possible, its best to think it means both. The “…” is there for a reason.
Another great rendering of a MEGUMI classic. This was the opening to “Shaman King”, and one of Megumi Hayashibara’s best anime themes. Masami does her best to make this version her own, throwing everything she’s got into giving this song the dynamic performance it deserves.