Happy Birthday to Ranko no Ane! (2023) – Let’s talk about BUTAOTOME’s lyrics (Ane edition)

      Comments Off on Happy Birthday to Ranko no Ane! (2023) – Let’s talk about BUTAOTOME’s lyrics (Ane edition)

Happy birthday to our favorite dancing bunny, the artist behind all the cool BUTAOTOME covers and designs!

Here in Liguria we often put our focaccia in the caffè latte. Some Americans might find it weird…

…so. I originally didn’t plan to do anything special for this year’s birthdays, last year’s posts were made to celebrate my 10th anniversary. However, two weeks before Ane’s birthday, I got this idea, so I decided to focus on it.

“Let’s talk about BUTAOTOME’s lyrics” (originally titled “An analysis of BUTAOTOME’s lyrics”) was a draft I had, a post that originally was meant to celebrate the almost full English translation of their track catalog yeah, I know, there are still the I LOVEs, I’ll try to have them translated before Comp’s birthday, and the English subs on the official YouTube channel. Now, this post will be split into 3 parts, to be published on each member’s birthday. So, let’s start with our bunny!

Back in the day, there was this common misconception that she writes lyrics for all of BUTAOTOME’s songs, and honestly, I hope there are no more people who think that in 2023. Anyway, she only has sixteen (and a half) lyrics, but they are enough for me to write a general comment about them.

I think Ranko no Ane has a very poetic writing style, meant to evoke fantastical images. Her lyrics have a very unique vibe, at least among BUTAOTOME, and they just feel really pretty to me, especially compared with Ranko’s straightforward storytelling, and Comp’s Comp things. I will try to expand on this by listing my top 5 personal favorite Ane lyrics.

5. Karasu no Ousama (from Tasogare Elegy)
Tasogare Elegy certainly stands out for having the highest number of Ane’s lyrics, covering half of the album! I feel like her lyrics here seem to have a recurring theme of the relationship between the owners of the original themes and humans/nameless NPCs.
I was struggling between choosing the lyrics to feature here, but in the end, I chose Karasu no Ousama. It’s… well, not your typical Aya song, it’s more about the tengu. These lyrics depict the autumn, getting lost in the forbidden forest and finding the secret banquet of tengus. I just like their vibe and how they pair with the music. But is it a good or bad ending? I’m admittedly not well-versed in tengu lore, so I leave the outcome to whoever will read this.

4. Gensou no Satellite (from Gensou Homo Ludens)
Well… the BUTAOTOME classic. Feels like a very normie pick. But screw “being normie”, it’s still great, so here it is! Its lyrics are just pure Magical Astronomy. The opening lines “The stars floating in the veil of the night reveal a false hour / Deceived by the pendulum of time, now I can’t even see my location” gives the sense that Renko can’t even rely on the starry sky that can tell her the time and place (and thus can give her security) :renkodoomed: In a certain sense, I see this as a dark take on the generic RenMerry adventure stuff… although generic RenMerry adventure/love songs were pretty rare back in 2010, a lot of big stuff such as Diao ye zong’s Meguri or <echo>Project’s Mary had a little love didn’t exist back then.
But, truth be told, I wanted to include this also for another reason. With Ane’s lyrics being rare, GenSate certainly stands out among the other Buta hits. It could have been easily written by Comp (or Ranko) instead, and… certainly, it would have sounded different, with probably none of those fun “yoru no tobari ni.” Think about it!

3. Shoujiki Mono A no Dokuhaku (from Kochuuten)
Despite my constant complaints about the lack of Enigmatic Doll and #MuseDeservesHerButaSong, Kochuuten managed to become my second favorite BUTAOTOME Touhou album due to the huge impact it had on me and its great balance between the Three Factors. And it gave us the great comeback of Ane lyrics with Shoujiki Mono A no Dokuhaku and Shokuchuuka. I like the first one a bit more lyrics-wise, so it gets featured here.
It’s a great prologue to BUTAOTOME’s take on the honest men’s tale, and phrases like “Even so, I want to see it. I want to see much more” and “I want to see it now. I want to meet you” convey the sense of “curiosity” that characterizes the first honest man, but also a certain urgency due to the impending doom. By the way, I was quite shocked when I first listened to the album and I heard “I want to eat you.” What a cute and family-friendly album!

2. Tanzanite (from Kouseki Radio)
Kouseki Radio was an album that merged two of Ane’s favorite things: the Hifuu Club and gemstones. And so it gave us a couple of songs with Ane lyrics.
Tanzanite has always been a big favorite of mine. It’s a huge stand out in the Hifuu arrangement panorama for not being in first person and… not having those direct phrases you find in every Hifuu song ever.
I absolutely love how the lyrics are divided into two parts, and how this references the original theme’s name: the swallow who dreams of the milky way is the “strange bird of the moon (Renko),” the kitten who dreams of wings in the sunset glow is the “mysterious cat (Merry).” In particular, the latter part can be easily linked to the end of Magical Astronomy, where Merry sees the Lunar Capital through the moon’s reflection.

1. Higashi no Kuni no Waltz (from Gensou Homo Ludens)
One of my all-time favorite lyrics, probably. When I think of Ane lyrics’ “poetical” vibe, this song (and Tanzanite) come to mind.
Higashi no Kuni no Waltz has that sense of nostalgia, of longing for the distant eastern country, that perfectly fits its unique instrumental. I especially love the contrast between the two verses (“I thread each shining pearl through a golden thread…” vs “I wrap each broken coral in a silver cloth…”) and the lyrics, in general, are so simple, yet effective. Also, “If I tie up the untied ribbon / Her smile will fade away…” perhaps it could be read as “if I (Yukari) claim back Merry by tying up the ribbon, that girl (Renko) would be sad”? Probably I’m just overinterpreting stuff…

Also, fun fact: Yukari and Renko/Hifuu are the only characters who got lyrics written by every Butamember. If we exclude Paprika, the list is extended with Parsee, Byakuren, Sanae, Reimu, Keine, Hina, Aya, and DiPP things! (Paprika and Ane also didn’t write any original songs)

Honorable mentions go to Kin’iro no Ugetsu (from Eight) because I had fun translating it, and Suisai no Kusa (from Jitsu wa Sensai na Anata to tama ni Yuukan na Watashi no nandaka Sawaideru tte Hanashi.) for being written by Ane and Comp. I wonder how its writing process was…

And that’s all for this post! What are your favorite Ane lyrics? And once again, happy birthday to her!