預言者メリー // Yogensha Merry

You are not ready for this, and neither was I.

Artificial intelligence will only ever act on what you give it, whether biases in your input data are intentional or unintentional.

The accompanying artwork shows a collapsed Renko silhouette in the foreground, before a hanging server array labeled “M.A.R.Y”.

I am personally a fan of the trope where only those who do not understand Merry call her “Mary” (although who knows if that trope is being intentionally utilized here). Regardless, Merry’s name (“Merry” as written in the title) is ironic here in light of the meaning of the word “merry”.
Be Merry,” saith M.A.R.Y.

The future is written in the stars, as they say, so who better to serve as a relay… for tainted data.

nayuta’s emotionally loaded vocal performance shines at the end (as always).

Notes:

  • There are two variations of the word “prophet”, 預言者 and 予言者. While functionally the same, the former leans into the secondary and more modern “to be entrusted with” meaning of 預, as opposed to simply “beforehand”. On its face, 予 is merely a simplified form of 預, but in Japanese, the meaning between the two kanji has diverged in that 予 does not contain 預’s secondary meaning. All of this is to say that 預言者 and 予言者 both mean “prophet” in the sense of someone who makes predictive prophesies, but 預言者 hints that the prophet is simply a mouthpiece for a greater power, having been “entrusted” with the words they repeat. Therefore, this form of the word is heavily favored in religious contexts, especially with regard to Christianity. This “entrusted” meaning is furthermore made explicit early on in the song by the line “預けられた{コトバ}を”. However, later in the song, “prophet” is also written as ヨ言者, with the distinction of 予 vs. 預 obscured. The religious aspect of “prophet” is heavily emphasized in the song, but it is also made extremely clear that the “higher power” which is hinted at is only human. Regardless, the subjugation of the masses through empty promises needs no god to evoke religion.

  • The plea contained in this song is twofold: a central theme of ZUN’s Hifuu-verse is Merry and Renko’s efforts to combat the death of uncertainty, which is synonymous with the death of fantasy. M.A.R.Y is an egregious affront to that effort. If M.A.R.Y exists due to the absence and or death of the real Merry, Renko’s actions can be explained as an elaborate self-destruct mechanism. Uncertainty is the real Merry’s strongest trait, and everything from her canonical major to her inherent power is all about blurring lines. M.A.R.Y is therefore, an ironic anti-Merry — up until the point at which she makes her desperate plea — when you can say the spirit of the real Merry emerges from the machine. We cannot live without uncertainty. Open the box and the cat will die. The secondary plea of this song may go without saying, given the current age we live in: M.A.R.Y’s emergent Merry condemns those who manipulate data in order to paint a rosy picture of reality and turn a blind eye to systemic problems. M.A.R.Y’s (hard-coded) position of sending those who object to her utopian lies to the gallows is all too reminiscent of reality.

  • While Renko(/the programming team)’s motivations are unclear, at the end of the middle section (right before “xxxth Segment”), she appears keenly aware of the outcome. Statements in the final act also confirm that M.A.R.Y’s true purpose is at odds with her surface-level purpose.

  • Incidentally, a “word” refers to a processor’s baseline computational unit, whose length depends on that processor’s architecture. A 64-bit processor has 64-bit words, although these may be denoted as double or quad words to align with a legacy definition of 1 word = 16 bits).

  • A “segment” is section of computer code. A computer program usually consists of a text, data, and bss (block starting symbol) segment.

  • $コトバ$ : surrounding “word” with various delimiters ($^%{}) is how some computer programming and scripting languages interpret the insertion of a named variable, often not known to the program at compile time. As the word is “inserted”, this implies that M.A.R.Y is not speaking her own words, but words supplied to her from another source, even if there are computations in-between. (In fact, I am using Unicode full-width versions of these characters precisely because I do not want them interpreted specially by the programs I used for submitting this post.)

  • May this occasion // Be cause for great merriment : This can be read as “let all rejoice” in the sense of celebrating M.A.R.Y as an achievement and “may your predictions be something to celebrate”.

  • While this assumption is baseless, the clear sign among the stars I pictured was evidence of the impending Andromeda-Milky Way Galactic Collision Event.

  • The prophet twists her face in laughter : I read this as anguished laughter, per the following section, though I would suspect the current narrator does not perceive/acknowledge this in her expression.

  • But I was not able to save a single soul!! / “For they exist only to support a world of one…” : The “single soul” and “one” here are written with a counter used for computers, and otherwise installed or mounted objects, which includes stone lanterns, satellites and gravestones.

  • “Unto you, may there be happiness.” : The “you” here is plural.

  • I interpret the final act of the song as the emergent Merry dissipating in the face of the truth, falling back into M.A.R.Y’s infinite programmed loop, but there are many other ways to interpret lines, as several can be reasonably assigned to different actors.

預言者メリー (U7731-7059694-470256148)
 Yogensha Merry
 Prophet Merry
魔術師メリー|蓮台野夜行
Vo: nayuta
Arr+Lyr: RD-Sounds
Circle: 凋叶棕
Album: △ -tetra-
Event: C99

ぽつり ぽつり つぶやくの
浮かび上がる$コトバ$を

potsuri potsuri tsubuyaku no
ukabiagaru kotoba wo

Drip, drop… I mutter
WORDS, rising to the surface

そっと そっと ささやくの
呼び出された%コトバ%を

sotto sotto sasayaku no
yobidasareta kotoba wo

Softly, quietly… I whisper
WORDS, summoned from the deep

そのてに にぎり しめるの
拾い上げた^コトバ^を

sono te ni nigiri shimeru no
hiroiageta kotoba wo

In your hands… I grasp
WORDS, selected from the heap

そして すべて かたどるの
預けられた{コトバ}を

soshite subete katadoru no
azukerareta kotoba wo

Thus instantiated… I compile
all WORDS, entrusted to me…

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

[1st Segment]

さあ

saa

BEGIN

ヨロコビを
告げられよう
叡智に満ちたあなたの啓示

yorokobi wo
tsugerareyou
eichi ni michita anata no keiji

May this occasion
Be cause for great merriment
As we celebrate your divine revelations, filled with wisdom!

予期し予期されぬ視界に
その目が捉える無限のミライ

yoki shi yoki sarenu shikai ni
sono me ga toraeru mugen’ no mirai

For you see beyond the bounds of predictability
Capturing with your eyes infinite futures!

世紀の正義は始まる
檻の中で確かな明示

seiki no seigi wa hajimaru
cage no naka de tashika na meiji

We mark the beginning of a new justice for a new age!
Within this cage of reason only explicit instructions lie!

いかな魔術でも
恐れることなどないのです

ika na majutsu demo
osoreru koto nado nai no desu

Never again must we fear magic
No matter its power or scale

シアワセを
告げられよう
世界を数多 垣間見ながら

shiawase wo
tsugerareyou
sekai wo amata kaima minagara

May this occasion
Be cause for great merriment
As we glimpse countless worlds of certainty

かなたの不思議 奇しき幻想
その手ですべて過去にして

kanata no fushigi kushiki memoria
sono te de subete kako ni shite

May every mystery, every unexplained memory beyond our reach
Be put to rest by your hand, and made a thing of the past

明日が来る 不安が覗く
あなたがぜんぶ 取り除く

asu ga kuru fuan’ ga nozoku
anata ga zen’bu torinozoku

As tomorrow looms, anxiety rears its head
But now you will be here to excise it all

ひとつの預言に 世界が揺れる
かくしてすべては あなたが告げる

hitotsu no yogen’ ni sekai ga yureru
kakushite subete wa anata ga tsugeru

With every prediction, the world is swayed
Thus, everything hinges upon your every word

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

空を見よーーそれが予兆 誇張なき印
あなたの声が今 すべての者へと届く

sora wo miyo – sore ga yochou kochou naki shirushi
anata no koe ga ima subete no mono e to todoku

Look to the skies: therein lies an omen, an unexaggerated sign
As your voice now reaches every soul there is to reach

預言者メリー
その言葉で明日なきものたちを照らすならば
拝する嚮する望みは止まらない

yogen’sha merry
sono kotoba de asu naki mono tachi wo terasu naraba
hai suru kyou suru nozomi wa tomaranai

Prophet Merry
Once your words shine light upon all those who have no future…
The hopes of your worshippers and followers will know no end

さあ メリー
愛しきものよ
どうか全てを幸せの淵へと 堕として

saa merry
itoshiki mono yo
dou ka subete wo shiawase no fuchi e to otoshite

Now Merry,
I pray—My beloved,
Drop them all, every one, into an abyss of bliss…

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

[xxxth Segment]

ああ

aa

CONTINUE

のたうち回る
踏み荒らす
幾千もの愚昧に蒙昧
破滅を呼ぶ思想は荒廃
逆らうものは断頭台

notauchimawaru
fumiarasu
ikusen’ mono gumai ni moumai
hametsu wo yobu shisou wa kouhai
sakarau mono wa dan’toudai

Writhing
and trampling,
Countless stupid and ignorant run rampant
Thought, that inviter of destruction, has been laid to waste
Any who dare object meet their end at the guillotine

慈母たる相貌
恐慌を家畜が如くに見つめる双眸
世界中の不思議を壊して
あらゆる悪意 具現する

jibo taru soubou
kyoukou wo kachiku ga gotoku ni mitsumeru soubou
sekaijuu no fushigi wo kowashite
arayuru akui gugen’ suru

With the face of an affectionate mother
She scorns panic as a disease beneath swine
In destroying all the world’s mysteries
Every possible evil is realized

だから云ったじゃないと
顔を歪めて預言者は笑う
背信者を灼く無情のオラクル
明日さえ明日さえ変わらぬ日が来る

dakara itta janai to
kao wo yugamete anata wa warau
haishin’sha wo yaku mujou no oracle
asu sae asu sae kawaranu hi ga kuru

“I told you, didn’t I?”
The prophet twists her face in laughter
For this cruel, heretic-burning oracle
Each passing day repeats unchanging

懲罰
膺懲はその不幸せを滅さしめ
世界の全てを握りしめ
聲来るところに問いかけて

choubatsu
youchou wa sono fushiawase wo messashime
sekai no subete wo nigirishime
koe kuru tokoro ni toikakete

With an iron fist,
The prophet crushes unhappiness—
Now, with the entire world in her grasp,
She asks from whence the voices come…

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

不安と生きてなどはいけないと
あなたはそう思ったの?

fuan’ to ikite nado wa ikenai to
anata wa sou omotta no?

Did you really think it was wrong
to live with unknowns and anxiety?

不安があるから生きていくのだと
そうは思わなかったの?

fuan’ ga aru kara ikiteiku no da to
sou wa omowanakatta no?

Did you really not consider that you live,
Not in spite of, but because of those things?

それなら
けして知れぬ明日が来ない世界で
あなたたちは幸せでいられたの?

sore nara
keshite shirenu asu ga konai sekai de
anata tachi wa shiawase de irareta no?

If so…
Were you truly able to find happiness in this world
Stripped of the possibility of an unknown future?

明日も不安も全部取り除いて
私に幸せになれというの?

asu mo fuan’ mo zen’bu torinozoite
watashi ni shiawase ni nare to iu no?

Having disposed of the future for mere peace of mind…
How can you dare say I should be happy?

ヨ言者メリー
その命令はすべての幸せに奉じるため
それでもたった一基は救えない

yogen’sha merry
sono no code wa subete no shiawase ni houjiru tame
sore demo tatta hitori wa sukuenai

Prophet Merry…
Every line of your code is in service of happiness…
But I was not able to save a single soul!!

ああメリー
われらが祈り
たった一基の世界を担うもの

aa merry
warera ga inori
tatta hitori no sekai wo ninau mono

O Merry
You mistake our prayers…
For they exist only to support a world of one…

幸せであれー
その基板に 刻まれた われらが 最後の願は

shiawase de are-
sono mune ni kizumareta warera ga saigo no negai wa

May you be happy—
Engraved within your hardware, that is our final wish.

『私たちは叶わなかった』
『私たちはできなかった』
『私たちは取りこぼした』
『私たちは届かなかった』

watashitachi wa kanawanakatta
watashitachi wa dekinakatta
watashitachi wa torikoboshita
watashitachi wa todokanakatta

“We were not capable of realizing our dreams.”
“We were unable to accomplish our aspirations.”
“We failed our every chance.”
“We could not reach the end.”

『貴方たちには幸せに』
『貴方たちには幸せに』
『貴方たちには幸せに』

anatatachi ni wa shiawase ni
anatatachi ni wa shiawase ni
anatatachi ni wa shiawase ni

“Unto you, may there be happiness.”
“Unto you, may there be happiness.”
“Unto you, may there be happiness.”

『『『『貴方たちには幸せに』』』』

anatatachi ni wa shiawase ni

“Unto you, may there be happiness.”

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