“We Gotta Power!”

Hironobu KageyamaToday I lament. I lament that there are no other good versions of the second Dragon Ball Z theme song “We Gotta Power” by Hironobu Kageyama. There are several for the original Dragon Ball theme song (the European Spanish/Catalan versions being my favorite) and Chala-Head-Chala (look out for the rockin’ Philippine made English version). There’s even one for the original DB end credits song “Romantikku Ageruyo” (“I’ll Give You Romance”) but not for We Gotta Power.

There is an English version but sadly it was also made by Mr. Kageyama himself who for the love all things holy can’t pronounce English. He’s an amazing singer (ranked up right there with Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, Kai Hansen and Tina Turner) and delightfully quirky but his English translations of his own songs have always been extremely embarrassing to listen to. His English version of Chala-Head-Chala, I’ll admit, is good for laughs and it is more of a silly theme anyway but I find not only does his English version of We Gotta Power pretty much piss on its intensity and energy, it pretty much ruins it in the process.

And no matter where you look, no other language version I’ve heard comes even close to repeating the awesomeness of the original version… except, the German (Deutsch) version. But even it has a major hick-up: the ending. Mainly the problem is that the German version ends with the singer screaming “Dragon Baaaaaaall!” from the top of his lungs. Now I’ll admit that the original version also ends with the show’s name but there’s an inherent problem here with stress and intonation which in my view makes trying to force the show’s title into the lyrics redundant and stupid.

In Japanese the title of the show “Dragon Ball Z” is actually pronounced properly as “Dragon Ball Zed” (not “zee” as we all are more familiar with). If you have no idea how the Japanese language works here’s a few quick pointers…

  1. The Japanese writing system is based on syllables and not single letters, except for vowels and when there is a Chinese symbol (kanji) thrown in which may stand in for a whole word.
  2. Aside from consonant doubling in the middle of a word (Rockman >> Rok-ku-man) no Japanese syllable can end with any other consonant sound except “n”.
  3. The “L” sound is famously problematic for Japanese speakers (Engrish) since depending on the region of Japan and the dialect you’re born into it may get muddled with the “R”-sound. Though language savvy Japanese folks do recognise the difference and are able to overcome it.

These things in mind the name of the show in Japanese is “Dorangu Boru Zeta”. However because of the melody of the song Mr. Kageyama pronounces the title “Do-ran-go-u Bo-o-ru Ze-ta!” That’s nine stresses you would have to hit, “Dragon Ball” only has three. With nine stresses you can make a whole sentence: “I am so sick of this fuck-ing shit”. So you might see why screaming “Dragon Baaaaa….” to infinity may sound a little awkward even for a Ger-Man. For the other version the main problem is that none of them have managed to hire particularly good singers to perform the song (the Mexican-Spanish and Brazilian-Portuguese versions make Baby Jesus cry) but this ending is just a major hick-up I’d wish future generations, given there’s gonna be a new dub of the song sometime in the future would take into account.

MAKE SOMETHING UP! ANYTHING!! Anything would honestly be better than just singing “Baaaaaaall”.

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