A Cruel Angel's Thesis

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A Cruel Angel's Thesis is the opening theme song for the series Neon Genesis Evangelion, composed by Hidetoshi Sato and sung by Yoko Takahashi. The lyrics are by Neko Oikawa while the arrangement is by Toshiyuki O'mori. The song also has the distinction of taking first place in the JASRAC Awards. [1]

Unlike it is commonly assumed, this song was written without any involvement from the show's creators, Oikama had next to no knowledge of the show, and simply skimmed through a proposal of the show (possibly Neon Genesis Evangelion Proposal) and watched two episodes on fast-forward, only serving to broadly "fit" the anime after the fact [2] Anno originally wanted to use an excerpt from Borodin's Polovtsian Dances in the opening, but the producers did not approve of this and instead decided to use a J-Pop song, which eventually resulted in the creation of this song.

Lyrics

Original Japanese Lyrics: Neko Oikawa

English Translations

Official English Translation1 Alternate English Translation2

Young boy, like a cruel angel's thesis,
Live up to be a legend...

Even though clear blue winds
Beat on the door of my heart,
You just smile, looking straight at me
Too involved in yearning for
Something to hold on
The innocent eyes still know nothing of fate yet.

But someday you will notice
On those shoulders of yours
There are strong wings
To guide you to the far future.

A cruel angel's thesis
Will someday fly high from the window
If memories are betrayed by
The overflowing, burning pathos.
Young boy, shine like a legend,
Holding the sky in your arms.

The cradle of love that sleeps within me
There will be a morning that
A servant of dreams will come for you.
The moonlight shines on your thin neckline.
I'd stop time in this world
And lock it away for myself, but...

If there is any meaning
In the fate that pulled us together,
Then I am, yes, the Bible
That teaches you of freedom.

A cruel angel's thesis
And then sorrow comes forth
When the shapes of the dreams you hold in your arms
Come to life within you.
Young boy, who shines brighter than anyone else,
Rise to become a legend.

Instrumental section
3

People weave together love to create history
And so I live on,
Unable to become a goddess...

A cruel angel's thesis
Will someday fly high from the window
If memories are betrayed by
The overflowing, burning pathos.
Young boy, shine like a legend,
Holding the sky in your arms.

Like a cruel angel,
young boy, become the legend!

A blue wind is now
knocking at the door to your heart, and yet
you are merely gazing at me
and smiling.

Something gently touching--
you're so intent on seeking it out,
that you can't even see your fate yet,
with such innocent eyes.

But someday I think you'll find out
that what's on your back
are wings that are for
heading for the far-off future.

The cruel angel's thesis
will soon take flight through the window,
with surging, hot pathos,
if you betray your memories.
Embracing this sky [universe] and shining,
young boy, become the legend!

Sleeping for a long time
in the cradle of my love
The morning is coming when you alone will be called
by a messenger of dreams.

Moonlight reflects off
the nape of your slender neck.
Stopping time all throughout the world
I want to confine them, but...

So if two people being brought together by fate
has any meaning,
I think that it is a "bible"
for learning freedom.

The cruel angel's thesis.
The sorrow then begins.
You held tight to the form of life
when you woke up from that dream.
You shine brighter than anyone else.
Young boy, become the legend!

People create history
while weaving love.
Even knowing I'll never be a goddess or anything like that,
I live on.

The cruel angel's thesis
will soon take flight through the window,
with surging, hot pathos,
if you betray your memories.
Embracing this sky and shining,
young boy, become the legend!

A blue wind is now
knocking at the door to your heart, and yet
you are merely gazing at me
and smiling.

Something gently touching--
you're so intent on seeking it out,
that you can't even see your fate yet,
with such innocent eyes.

But someday I think you'll find out
that what's on your back
are wings that are for
heading for the far-off future.

The cruel angel's thesis
will soon take flight through the window,
with surging, hot pathos,
if you betray your memories.
Embracing this sky [universe] and shining,
young boy, become the legend!

Translation Notes

1This is the translation found on the U.S. release of Evangelion by ADV.

2This was translated by Takayama Miyuki and these are the translator's notes:

  • young boy, become the legend!: The word "shinwa" actually means "myth" ("legend" would be "densetsu"), but I think it sounds better as "legend."
  • with surging, hot pathos: "Atsui" (hot) can also mean "intense, passionate." "Pathos" is "the quality or power in life or art of evoking a feeling of pity or compassion; pity; suffering; sorrow."
  • Embracing this sky [universe] and shining: "Sora" (sky) is the reading given for the kanji for "uchuu" (universe).
  • has any meaning: The kanji used for the "a" in "aeta" is not the normal kanji used in "au" (to meet). It's the first kanji in "ouse" (encounter, tryst) and has more of a connotation of meeting by fate or being brought together by fate, not just meeting. (Interestingly, a dictionary I have gives the meaning of "au," when written with this kanji, as "to meet (with drama or pathos)")
  • for learning freedom: The "watashi wa sou" is probably "watashi wa sou omou." And "bible" in this case isn't referring to *the* Bible. "Bible" can also mean "guide book, how-to book, a book valued for its use as a reference," like in "a handyman's bible," or "a bird-watcher's bible."

3The instrumental section contains chanted lyrics that are not in the Japanese language in Yoko Takahashi's version and a few others, while other versions of the song have a purely instrumental section. The closest transliteration anyone has come up with for Takahashi's lyrics in this section is "Fariya. Seta(or sepa) messo. Fariya. Tuse." which may be in the Portuguese language as this forum discussion suggests. As noted in the forum thread, Newtype magazine speculates that the lyrics are meant to be in the fictional language of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but there has never been any official information on the actual lyrics or their meaning, if any.

Romaji and Original Japanese Lyrics

Zankoku na tenshi no teeze 『残酷な天使のテーゼ』

Zankoku na tenshi no yō ni
Shōnen yo, shinwa ni nare...

Aoi kaze ga ima mune no doa wo tataitemo
Watashi dake wo tada mitsumete
Hohoenderu anata
Sotto fureru mono
Motomeru koto ni muchū de
Unmei sae mada shiranai itaikena hitomi

Dakedo itsuka kizuku deshō
Sono senaka ni wa
Haruka mirai mezasu tame no
Hane ga aru koto...

Zankoku na tenshi no teeze
Madobe kara yagate tobitatsu
Hotobashiru atsui patosu de
Omoide wo uragiru nara
Kono sora wo daite kagayaku
Shōnen yo, shinwa ni nare

Zutto nemutteru watashi no ai no yurikago
Anata dake ga yume no shisha ni
Yobareru asa ga kuru
Hosoi kubisuji wo tsukiakari ga utsushiteru
Sekai'jū no toki wo tomete
Tojikometai kedo...

Moshi mo futari aeta koto ni imi ga aru nara
Watashi wa, sō, jiyū wo shiru
Tame no baiburu

Zankoku na tenshi no teeze
Kanashimi ga soshite hajimaru
Dakishimeta inochi no katachi
Sono yume ni mezameta toki
Dare yori mo hikari wo hanatsu
Shōnen yo, shinwa ni nare

Hito wa ai wo tsumugi nagara rekishi wo tsukuru
Megami nante narenai mama
Watashi wa ikiru...

Zankoku na tenshi no teeze
Madobe kara yagate tobitatsu
Hotobashiru atsui patosu de
Omoide wo uragiru nara
Kono sora wo daite kagayaku
Shōnen yo, shinwa ni nare

残酷な天使のように
少年よ 神話になれ

青い風がいま
胸のドアを叩いても
私だけをただ見つめて
微笑んでるあなた
そっとふれるもの
もとめることに夢中で
運命さえまだ知らない
いたいけな瞳

だけどいつか気付くでしょう その背中には
遥か未来 めざすための 羽根があること

残酷な天使のテーゼ
窓辺からやがて飛び立つ
ほとばしる熱いパトスで
思い出を裏切るなら
この宇宙(そら)を抱いて輝く
少年よ 神話になれ

ずっと眠ってる
私の愛の揺りかご
あなただけが 夢の使者に
呼ばれる朝がくる
細い首筋を
月あかりが映してる
世界中の時を止めて
閉じこめたいけど

もしもふたり逢えたことに 意味があるなら
私はそう 自由を知る ためのバイブル

残酷な天使のテーゼ
悲しみがそしてはじまる
抱きしめた命のかたち
その夢に目覚めたとき
誰よりも光を放つ
少年よ 神話になれ

人は愛をつむぎながら 歴史をつくる
女神なんてなれないまま 私は生きる

残酷な天使のテーゼ
窓辺からやがて飛び立つ
ほとばしる熱いパトスで
思い出を裏切るなら
この宇宙(そら)を抱いて輝く
少年よ 神話になれ

References

  1. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-05-25/songs-from-evangelion-other-anime-win-jasrac-awards
  2. “My manager got the job, we had a quick meeting lasting about 30 minutes, skim-read the proposal and watched two episodes on fast-forward. And with that I was told ‘so, yeah, just write whatever you want!’, and finished the song [lyrics] in about two hours. Sorry to burst your bubble, guys!” http://soranews24.com/2015/01/08/a-cruel-angels-thesis-took-just-two-hours-to-write-says-evangelion-lyricist-neko-oikawa


Audio Releases
Arranged Albums: Evangelion Symphony | Evangelion Vox
Compilation Albums: Evangelion: Decade | Evangelion: The Birthday of Rei Ayanami | Refrain of Evangelion | The Day of Second Impact
Soundtrack Albums: Neon Genesis Evangelion OST I | Neon Genesis Evangelion OST II | Neon Genesis Evangelion OST III | Evangelion Death | End of Evangelion (Soundtrack) | Music from Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone | Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone Original Soundtrack | Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance Original Soundtrack | S² Works
Studio Albums: Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition | Neon Genesis Evangelion Classical Volume | Refrain, The Songs Were Inspired by Evangelion
Theme Songs: A Cruel Angel's Thesis | Fly Me to the Moon | Soul's Refrain | Thanatos: If I can't be yours | Komm, süsser Tod | Beautiful World | Sakura Nagashi