大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy

^Shinta is the Renko and Merry artist. You can search his tag in most places with “shinta (artist)” but here is his pixiv for good measure: [pixiv-link]

This is the first real large translation project that I’ve overtaken and finished in less than 24 hours. I’m a bit proud of myself ^_^. Also a bit tired, but oh well; ┐( ̄ー ̄)┌ it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately this is the last installment of Renko and Merry’s adventures. Feel absolutely free to develop theories connecting Merry Hearn and Yukari Yakumo while trying to decide the fate of Usami Renko… I know I will.

Anyway about the music, this is one of my favorite disks; I do love them all absolutely, but Magical Astronomy, Retrospective 53 Minutes and Hourai Dolls come out on top. After all, Magical Astronomy contains 天空のグリニッジ (Greenwich of the Sky) possibly my favorite Touhou original track, 車椅子の未来宇宙 (The Future Cosmos in a Wheelchair), and of course 大空魔術, Magical Astronomy. If you like the music on this disk, I also recommend giving “Metallical Astronomy” by SOUND HOLIC a listen. If you like 天空のグリニッジ even a fraction of the amount I love it, I seriously recommend giving this [local-link] track by Buta-Otome a listen.

If you want to read more about Renko and Merry, look to my [translations-side-projects page] and you’ll find all of the works there translated ^_^.

As always, but especially with posts like these, I appreciate comments; Thank you for reading – if you want to skip the notes, just scroll down to the next picture and start from there. As always this story is best read while listening to the music it accompanies.

“Magic of the Skyward Heavens” might be making it a little too poetic, but I want to embrace the astronomy meaning with the image of a starry sky. You call them “celestial bodies” after all right? I didn’t use the commonly accepted translations of the titles of the tracks but translated them myself; especially because titles are short and thus more applicable to ambiguity, I’m not going to say anything like those translations are wrong or anything, I just wanted to pick/piece together the titles myself. I tried to fit them best based on the contents of the read-along below.

I tried to keep who’s saying what obvious enough so I didn’t have to throw in each of their names all the time, but if you need it, I can indent or color the dialogue.

I interchanged space, outer space, universe, and cosmos depending on the mood, but they’re all from the same word 宇宙.

I used “moon tour” throughout for brevity’s sake, but it really is moon’s surface tour, not to be confused with just circling the moon in a spaceship and riding back home.

I would also like to note that the individual notes for each section aren’t really that necessary to read, they’re mostly just notes on some terms, science, and a few of my comments. If I were skilled enough to make some sort of collapsing annotations system I would, but I’m not that skilled.

UTC stands for “Universal Coordinated Time” don’t ask me why, but some official abbreviations like this tend to be out of order. I researched this out of curiosity, and UTC is in fact less correct than GMT=Greenwich Mean Time (otherwise known as UT1=Universal Time 1 for the specific calculation formula etc.). UTC is based on the TAI=International Atomic Time, that has “leap seconds” added to it whenever UTC and GMT are more than .9 seconds apart. Solar time via the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is recalculated because the rotation of the Earth is gradually slowing down, tidal gravity waves from other planets and seasonal and weather changes and … (゚Д゚ノ)ノ time should not be this complicated. So that’s what Renko means by outside her ability.

A dango is a certain Japanese sweet, rice cakes skewered and roasted then dipped in sauce. They’ve very tasty and very autumn.

Stephen Hawking is probably greatest theoretical physicist and cosmologist of all time; due to a motor disease that he contracted early on, at this point in time he can’t really move much more than his cheek, which means he sits in a wheelchair and uses a voice synthesizer to talk. I actually have attended one of his lectures, and met (meaning really, say “hello” to and not that much more; I might have asked a question) him when I was younger. Hence, the “a wheelchair futuristic cosmos”.

Max Planck was a German physicist around Einstein’s time who founded quantum theory/quantum physics.

Hermeneutics is the study of explanations.

[Planck Length]

I want to try coffee that’s been exploded and frozen in an instant! (*´▽`*)ノ旦
I’d really like to see that experiment happen, I should send this to NASA and… oh wait (;ω;`)

The siphon system is similar (or equivalent) to the perlocated method (also now obsolete), which does technically use gravity to get the coffee back to the original chamber, but uses water vapor pressure to send the liquid through the grounds multiple times. I suppose if you made it more circular it would work just fine, however, personally, for coffee in the absence of gravity, I recommend the French press.

The four fundamental physical forces/interactions are: gravity, weak, strong, and electromagnetic.

I used necrofantasia and necrophantasia seperately. I figure there’s a nuance. Necrofantasia is the original title, but the subtitle is necrophantasia, what Renko describes.

“pond, lake” That’s just what was written. I’ll take it as poetic license. If it’s something with a fountain I’m assuming it’s rather small, but I could be mistaken.

It would help my finances if the dollar to yen rate were still 120 yen to a dollar.. it’s around 85 at the time of this writing (for your reference).

大空魔術 ~ Magical Astronomy.
 Oozora Majutsu ~ Magical Astronomy
 Magic of the Skyward Heavens ~ Magical Astronomy

 1.月面ツアーへようこそ (Welcome to Our Tour of the Moon’s Surface)
    Welcome to Lunatic City.


“One of mankind’s dreams, a journey to the moon, is now finally within anyone’s reach!”
“Next month, travel companies all across Japan will start tours!”


In front of a crowded private railway station a newspaper extra was flying this way and that.


It was rare for there to be an extra not sports related, and such bright news as this; normally people would just throw extras like this away, but just this time everyone was putting them away in their bags. While certainly some were interested in the contents of the article, I’m sure there were just a few taken in by the picture on the front.


Photographs of the universe have a healing effect on people’s hearts. If I had to say why, it’s because just seeing it forces people to realize the smallness of what it means to be human. Facing that directly is difficult, but when you feel how incredibly small you are compared to the rest of the great, expansive universe, it calms you. Because the universe is just so wide, each person’s individual efforts aren’t that important. Whether it be a superior, a politician, or a dictator (though now there are none left), all of them are human. So it’s fine for you to just put out as much effort as you can. You an feel all of that intuitively just from a picture of space.


Usami Renko and Maribel Hearn were having an excited conversation on a cafe terrace within the university grounds.

 2.天空のグリニッジ (Greenwich of the Sky)
    Royal Greenwich Observatory


“It says, ‘Furthermore, we’ve just sent another manned mission to Mars.'”


“Really? Well, I don’t really care about the missions to Mars. Merry, first I want to talk about that “Trip to the Moon” from the newspaper extra article.”


“Well, with you being able to tell the time and place by just looking at the moon and stars, I’d really like to know what you’d see on the surface of the moon.”


“Well I’d probably just know, ‘This is the surface of the moon.'”


“What about the time?”


“The only time I can see is Japan Standard Time (JST), Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is outside my ability range. In the first place I think it’s strange to use the same time on the earth and on the moon.”


“Wait a minute, “outside your ability range”…. it’s it just a matter of subtraction?”


In outer space we now use UTC, but this “universal coordinated time” is basically the same as Greenwich Mean Time. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was established in the 17th century; but when I think that the time originally used for viewing the universe is now being used throughout it, it feels just a little ridiculous.

 3.東の国の眠れない夜 (A Sleepless Night in the Eastern Country)
    Vampirish Nightlife

 「で、いつ行くの? 月面旅行」

“So, when should we go on this moon tour?”


“Merry, you really are hasty aren’t you? Well it’ll probably be crowded so I’d like to get reservations before long.”


“Since during summer vacation it’ll probably be ridiculously crowded, and it’ll be hot and all, so… shouldn’t we wait a little longer and go in the fall?”


“I’m pretty sure it’s not “hot” on the moon or in space, but I agree – going in the fall would be better, very Japanese. Anyway, why don’t we go during this year’s harvest moon?”


“Yeah, and take along dangos! Let’s do it, let’s do it!”


Even with all the information we have now, space has and will always be something of a romance for us. If it were possible to fulfill a part of that romance, to land upon our utmost captivating moon, I think anyone would want to take the opportunity and go at least once.


That said, those two still didn’t know how much the tour would cost.

 4.車椅子の未来宇宙 (The Future Cosmos in a Wheelchair)
    History of Time


“But really, we haven’t had a manned mission to Mars go well yet have we? I wonder if a day will ever come when we can confirm with our own eyes the cosmos inside Hawking’s head.”


“It really is a problem that no other physicist has been able to surpass Hawking.”


“Well, you should be able to do it if you try you know? You have a pretty rare ability after all.”


“My major is different you know? But well, I guess at least intelligence-wise you could say I’m on level with Planck. And anyway, that black hole evaporation thing that Hawking talked about, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to actually observe it. To tell you the truth, I don’t even think mankind will ever make it to Mars.”


“Well that’s pretty pessimistic. But if you’re the one saying it, it must be true.”


“The amount of energy required to make observations is just way too costly. Theory aside, realistically speaking, observational physics is coming to an end. And, by the way, this moon tour is too expensive isn’t it?”


Physics from a realistic standpoint is facing its end. Physics is already giving way to hermeneutics and philosophy.

 5.Demystify Feast
    神秘性のベールの向こう側 (Beyond the Occult Bell)


“Yeah, even though this cafe’s within the university grounds it’s relatively stylish and the food’s delicious. So, as you were saying, Renko, why is physics coming to an end?”


“Well, in a word it’s because the cost of observation is too great.”


“The same reason we can’t go on a tour of the moon, huh.”

  なっていくでしょ? すると究極まで行き着くと、宇宙最大のエネル

“When splitting small particles apart, the smaller the particle is, the more energy is required to split it. From a molecule to an atom, from an atom to a nucleus, from a nucleus to a quark… the smaller you get, the more you’ll need an endless supply of energy – right? – Eventually you’ll come to a point where you have a particle that even if you were to use the largest amount of energy that could possibly exist in the universe, you couldn’t split it. Even so, you couldn’t say that that particle is the smallest component in the world. Physics has already reached that world of the smallest minimums long ago and set its eyes on the next. But since it’s impossible to observe anything past this point, you’re just reaching into the realm of philosophy.”


“Ah, that new cake looks delicious! I guess the smallest components of this cake would be synthesized egg and synthesized strawberry.”

 エネルギーの限界量は10^19 GeVと言われている。このエネルギー量を
超えると時空に存在し得なくなるからである。ちなみにこの10^19 GeVは

It is said that the upper limit of energy is 10^19 GeV (10 quintillion giga-electron volts), because when you surpass this amount the energy is unable to exist dimensionally. This energy is called Planck energy, and is about 10^21 (1 septillion) times more than the energy generated from atomic energy.

 6.衛星カフェテラス (Satellite Cafe Terrace)
    Satellite Cafe


“You know, I wasn’t really asking for a physics discussion, and you just kept on talking on and on…”


“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s my major after all. But really, this cake is delicious.”


“I so wanted to go on a moon tour too… I guess I should have known, it’s way too expensive.”


“Now that you mention it, apparently they’ve made a satellite cafe for customers journeying into space, apparently the coffee there in zero gravity is really something else.”


“Yeah, but it’s probably an indoor cafe right? I prefer open cafe terraces.”


When you expose coffee to a vacuum – just for an moment, due to the low pressure, it instantaneously boils, but as it does, it loses the heat to boil, so in the instant it boils, it freezes. This using this frozen-while-boiling coffee, “Satellite Ice Coffee” is one of the specials on their menu.

 7.G Free
    Zero Gravity


“Now that I think of it, doesn’t filtering coffee rely on gravity? Without gravity the whole drip method doesn’t work right? So how do they make coffee in zero gravity?”


“They’ve brought back the obsolete siphon system, since it uses water vapor pressure to draw the water back and forth through the filtering system instead of gravity.”


“Siphon huh..
Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen them except in the interior of some cafes, but I suppose that’s a filtering device that would work.. Though I heard that it lacks in flavor compared to drip coffee…”


“I heard they’re remaking them in zero gravity versions – after all convection won’t work without gravity – and apparently the coffee they make is rich in flavor.”


“Hmm.. Even if I don’t drink its coffee, it feels like I’m just opening my eyes to the idea of space. It’s making me excited.”


Humans released from gravity are building a new culture. But at the same time, it makes you realize how many various tools we use rely on gravity. From when its existence was proven at an early stage, gravity has troubled physicists to the very end; it only was just recently that gravity was finally grouped together with the other fundamental interactions.

 8.大空魔術 (Magic of the Skyward Heavens)
    Magical Astronomy


“Ah, space really is fascinating…”


“What are you doing sighing like that? Are you saying there’s nothing left that’s fascinating for you here on the ground?”


“It’s 16:31, I just saw the evening star… Well there really aren’t that many wonders left for me on the surface.”


“Well I guess when it’s someone like you, who can see all the workings of the world, it’s only natural for the nihilism in your heart to start showing on your face.”


“Like I was saying though, I’m really envious of your eyes. You’re always able to see strange worlds.. I really did want to see through the gaps in the barriers on the surface of the moon too..”


“If the tour were cheaper…”


Boundaries aren’t specific to the earth, so of course they would exist on the surface of the moon as well. The boundary on the moon’s surface separates a shining capital from the rest of the barren, lifeless satellite. As long as this barrier exists, even if you went to the moon, you wouldn’t be able to lay your hands on any of the rice cakes or medicine the moon rabbits were preparing. A moon rock is the most you could ever get.


“There must be a forgotten world hidden on the moon. One with a advanced culture, with a capital where the high classes live. Rabbits prepare the elixir of immortality, staring towards the three legged bird that nests in the sun, lamenting their bustling human visitors on their moon tour. But there’s no one other than you who can see that world.”


“You’re right. I’d like to go before we start seriously colonizing.”


“Well if it’s decided then we’ve got to make preparations, haven’t we?”


“If we want to see the capital of the moon, first we should probably study more on the subject… about the ancient moon forgotten from history long ago, about the shining capital of the moon from the stories, about the moon, the symbol of insanity… after all knowledge will help define the gaps in the boundary.”


“Well I was thinking more that first we should get part time jobs.. to save up money for the tour and all…”

 9.ネクロファンタジア (Necrofantasia)


The sun had set, and although it was already about time to eat dinner, the two finished their cake and finally left the cafeteria. At this university you could pay with your student ID card for all the shops within the grounds. Then you would pay your expenses every month along with your tuition. That lowered the cost of managing money and uncrowded the registers, so the students could shop more easily (because their parents were paying), and sales rose. Though thanks to that, there weren’t a few who found they accumulated more costs than they had bargained for.


“Apparently there’s an elixir on the moon that makes you ageless and immortal you know?”


“Ageless and immortal huh. Doesn’t seem like someone like you would need it Renko, right? Facing the end of physics and headed towards nothingness and all.”


“Who’s this nihilist you keep going on about? I’m full of life, excited about going into space, relaxing with the night..”


“So, if you were able to get the that elixir, would you use it?”


As world rapidly developed, every country gained some level of prosperity, but mankind just continued on to the next stage. The human population that had increased steadily since before the common era, now gently began to decrease. Capitalism, like Noah’s ark, economically expanded stratified society, and due to that all countries across the board showed a decrease in birthrates, but this was just the world moving on to capitalism’s last step, “population control”. Japan with its rapidly declining birthrates and therefore population, was able to successfully avoid the demerits of its population decrease, and with the efforts of the time’s chosen people, its national psychological state was able to return to prosperity.


“The elixir of life? Of course I’d use it. Do you know why in stories and such ageless immortality is portrayed as an emotionally painful thing? It was just a warning against everyone’s greed and rebellion against authority. But on the other hand, its mere existence has become a curse. Ageless immortality doesn’t mean that you don’t die, but rather that the boundary between life and death ceases to exist; it’s a state of neither living nor dying. Really, it’s just a realization of “necrophantasia”, a world that exists in the apparent world and in the world of the dead.”

10.向こう側の月 (The Dark Side of the Moon)
    Megalopolis of Moon


The two sat down on the edge of a pond with a water fountain set up by the university.


The moon had already shown its face, and in the lake another crater-less flat moon was floating.


The magician Merry saw it there.


The rabbit preparing medicine,


and a celestial maiden, clothed in shining robes


dancing elegantly in the sky.


In the moon reflected on the water, she saw behind the barrier.
Looking at that moon an idea popped into Merry’s head.


“Hey, Renko. If the moon tour is too expensive, then why don’t we think up another way to get to the moon?”



Just in case we haven’t met before, nice to meet you, this is ZUN.


Well really, compared to the greatness of the universe, I’m pretty small. No matter what failure I make it’s all trivial. Even in for a few years I can’t advance, continue education, get a job, compared to the greatness of the universe it’s all good and stuff. Even with the deadline coming up really soon and my stomach aching, all just keep working, humming along and…


No. Humans are desperate and frantic, deadline means “dead” “line”. My stomach…

 で、宇宙旅行、行きたいですよねぇ。行きたくない? いやいやそんな

So, I’d love to go on a journey into space. Wouldn’t you? Oh come on, you don’t need to lie like that. If you don’t want to head out into space, where else are you saying you want to go?


Actually it won’t be long till we have a moon tour for civilians (except apparently you don’t get to land). At any rate the estimated cost is a hundred million dollars (about 12 billion yen). Now I’m not Renko but,


“This moon tour is really too expensive isn’t it?”


Anyway with that price, I don’t see how it’s supposed to be “for the public”. Is this a Noah’s ark shown to us by capitalism? Are they planning on letting those left behind here on the ground drown in a flood of information? I wonder if an age will ever come when the vacation-less frantically hardworking illusionary people of the surface may easily travel to the moon.

             上海アリス幻楽団 ZUN(P◯3も方舟?)
             Shanghai Alice Illusionary Orchestra
                      ZUN (is the P◯3 an ark too?)

    • brian
    • December 7th, 2010

    So I’ve been listening to Alstroemeria’s “The Brilliant Flowers” which had that song “As For Myself.” (Many thanks again for the translation).

    If it isn’t too much trouble, can you take a shot at translating the title track, sung by Misawa Aki?

    Lyrics: http://i52.tinypic.com/a2ddzs.jpg
    Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q0ECRDx4JI

    • exaltdragon
    • December 13th, 2010

    Simply delightful, I adore this ZUN album, especially NecroPhantasia, the magical astronomy version.. thanks for the translation

    • Thanks ^_^ – I really hope ZUN releases another one of these one day…

    • Somebody someone
    • October 12th, 2012

    I find some of the talk on physics quite… inaccurate. I think this would be expected since ZUN is not a physicist. However, Planck energy is not that huge of an amount of energy, and many physicists believe that the total amount of energy in the universe is actually 0. The idea of an “upper limit of energy in the universe” is somewhat absurd since the total energy never changes.

    • Well I always assumed that “upper limit of energy in the universe” would be all potential energy (including mass) in the universe+all kinetic energy in universe. I’m pretty sure there was a theory about it at some point… I guess if the energy in the universe was 0 you would be talking about including antimatter, but there is an overwhelming proportion of matter to anti-matter. So… anti-energy?

      Anyway, what ZUN’s saying isn’t really wrong, and it is related to the Planck constants, but… my note was completely wrong. I mistook Planck energy (apparently almost equal to a full gas tank ^^;) to be that particular theorized constant (when it’s more like the maximum energy that can be contained in a certain very tiny amount of space a sphere of diameter Planck length), so I’m going to cut that note down. Other quantum physics phenomena (like negative temperature) deal with maximum amount of energy within a certain space, but that’s going off on a tangent.

        • Somebody someone
        • October 12th, 2012

        Well, when it comes to negative energy, it actually talks about gravity, since antimatter is also positive energy. However, I wouldn’t know about the specifics of it.

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