[PERSONAL | GEEKY THOUGHTS] Monster High Fright Song (Lost in Translation?)

I think you guys might have picked up on me being a Monster High fan. If you don’t know what Monster High is, it’s a multimedia franchise by Mattel. They’re primarily dolls, but they also have books, movies, a web series, clothes, and a bunch of other things. A lot of people call them Barbies, but they’re not Barbie. They’re a lot more creative and fun, not to mention targeted towards tween (10 to 12 year old) girls instead of a younger audience.

I know I became curious about it when I saw Draculaura staring back at me with a huge smile and a heart on her cheek. I already briefly knew about Monster High before, but it didn’t really occur to me to check it out until then. I quickly found out it was by Mattel and all the dolls were children of famous monsters, such as Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, the werewolf, etc.

Children of famous monsters mixed with a fashion doll honestly came out to something pretty unique and fun. (I mean, come on — one of the most recent dolls, Vandala Doubloons, is a ghost pirate who has a peg leg that comes off. This is a freakin’ fashion doll for 12 year old girls and the LEG POPS OF VOLUNTARILY! How awesome is that?!)

When Monster High first came out, it seems like they made a theme song for it called the “Monster High Fright Song”, which you can view:

You can definitely tell from the music it’s older. That particular sound hasn’t been used for a few years. Regardless, it’s still a great song to me. It’s super fun and the lyrics embody Monster High pretty well. ’cause, you know, the monsters are pretty freaky, chic, and fly.

One of the things I REALLY like about this song, and Monster High as a whole, is the large amount of references to things like death. When they sing “drop dead gorgeous”, it has a double meaning — that the monsters are extremely pretty, but also that they’re actually dead. Even the end of the song when they start shouting “we got spirits, yes we do! we got spirits, how ’bout you?” makes me chuckle because they literally mean spirits. Ghosts. Monster High is a school of monsters and a bunch of other nightmarish things. It makes it super hilarious to me and oh-so-satisfying with all the puns.

Even though Monster High has a new theme song now, it seems that Japan has recently gotten a hold of the “Fright Song” and made it their own to help promote the franchise over there (I don’t think the series is really popular over there; I know that some stuff on it exists, but it seems like it was really only the end of last year that Mattel decided to do something to promote it further):

It’s actually a cute rendition and I love it, but I genuinely wonder just how much stuff was lost in translation and localization? The English version, as you can hear, has a lot of references to the dead that suit the franchise amazingly well. I’m almost certain that was lost in the Japanese version.

I’m going to attempt to translate the video above, but take it like a grain of salt since I’m still only a beginner at Japanese, harharharhar. Feel free to correct me if you need to.

My translation:
Ahaha! You are the coolest
Hi! Charmy Stitch Frankie
Romantic Draculaura
Clawdeen, the Fashionable Class Queen
Relaxed Surfer Lagoona Blue
Smartest Girl in School Ghoulia
Ice Beauty Abbey
Each has their own style
A little strange, that is good
(?) Therefore hold out personality
Come, welcome to Monster High!
A dark corridor runway
Everyone look over their shoulder
Your not ordinary
You’re the most scary cool
A mysterious smile is cute
Really gorgeous! Very gorgeous!
A chill! Everyone is scary cool
(?) Isn’t it too much to fit in?
Being scary rules!
Monster, Monster High
Monster High
Monster, Monster High
Hey, come to
Monster High
(?) Dear guest who has enjoyed
Monster, Monster High
Monster High
Monster, Monster High
Feelings are High
Monster High
So your style!
Your own style, do you have?
Your own style, search for it!
Your own style, do you have?
Your own style, search for it!
(?) Ahaha! I’m not dead yet.

Okay, okay, so my translation is a bit raw. I didn’t want to give you a cleaned-up version since I thought it would be harder to make a good comparison if I did. There’s a few lines I’m uncertain about, so if somebody wants to correct me, that would be awesome!

This comparison will make more sense if you go and watch both videos, so go do that if you haven’t already.

Alright, so the first glaringly obvious change from the English to Japanese version is the rap. (I’m not going to talk about the placement either; in the official recorded version for the Japanese one, it’s in the same place as the English one.) Not just in the fact it’s a female singer now, but in who is listed in the opening.

In the original English version, Frankie, Draculaura, Clawdeen, Lagoona, Cleo, and Deuce are all rapped about. That’s probably because they were all released in the first wave in 2010. Ghoulia wasn’t included until the second wave (she was in the very first webisode though) and Abbey wasn’t introduced until the fourth wave!

In the Japanese version, Frankie, Draculaura, Clawdeen, Lagoona, Ghoulia, and Abbey are all listed with a glaringly obvious absence of Cleo. This follows in line to me of the Monster High anime adaption (I hate to say it, but it’s awful), where Cleo kind of ends up as a background character (she also, curiously, wears her 2.0 outfit and not her first). Abbey is promoted though to a larger role. I wonder if they think Abbey will sell more than Cleo?

The rap also describes the characters a bit differently, but I think it works well. (And I can’t imagine how Cleo feels about Clawdeen being called the “Fashionable Class Queen”; probably not good.)

The song though, for the most part, is more or less an adaption of the English version, even more so than I thought it was. I’m actually pretty impressed.

Just as I thought though; a LOT of the nightmarish puns made throughout the English version are pretty much non-existent in the Japanese version. That kind of makes me sad since some of the Monster High charm to me ARE those nightmarish puns (“hey, let’s go to the maul!” “oh my ghoul!” “drop-dead gorgeous”). However, it’s something that can’t be helped. I don’t think those puns would’ve translated correctly into Japanese.

I have to give Japan some credit though — it appears that they made up a word for Monster High! 怖イケ (こわイケ/kowaike) combining 怖い (kowai) meaning “scary” with イケ (ike) meaning “cool; attractive”. So 怖イケ (kowaike) means “scary cool”! And that’s super cool! I was wondering what that word was through my initial viewing; didn’t occur to me shortly before I went to go look it up that I realized what it was.

Overall though, it seems like a pretty faithful adaption. I’m actually…surprised.

I do wonder how the FULL song compares though, because there’s clearly another verse in the version I bought that, quite blatantly, sings “sexy” and I hope to figure that out one day.

For now though, this is a fairly accurate translation.

Huh.

I think so many of us English speakers are used to Japanese franchises being adapted into English, not the other way around. It’s kind of interesting the other way around, isn’t it?

I should do some more thoughts and comparisons in the future, huh? No…? Maybe?