Monday, April 16, 2007

Translucent Silver Hair (Page 12)

//Panel 1//
Marybel's Song:
So beautiful that the gods stopped time for this young girl.
…They stopped time…
…That is what you were singing the first time I saw you.
Ahh…That’s a really old song Old Hannah used to sing to us.
//Panel 2//
At bed time, when my brother and I were small, that’s what she sang to put us to sleep, as a lullaby.
Marybel's Song:
…And so the girl…lives on, tomorrow…
Then Old Hannah…passed away…
//Panel 3//
And then Mother and Father were kind enough to become our new parents.
Marybel's Song:
And the next day, and the next day, her lovely silver hair…
//Panel 4//
Marybel's Song:
…caressed by the breeze…forever a young maiden…
//Panel 5//
Teach me that song.
//Panel 6//
Song's lyrics:
…translucent silver hair…

Here Marybel reveals a little bit of her past. The full story will be given in a later episode, but it is very interesting to see that Hagio had her grand saga all planned out by the time she penned her very first piece.

In Panel 1, there's something placid and reassuring about the sight of two people chatting under a tree; it is a good locale for opening up and sharing. On the left hand side of the panel we see a giant profile of Old Hannah, and on the right, a broken hourglass (I will admit that my husband had to tell me this was an hourglass) to represent the stoppage of time for the girl depicted in the song...and for Marybel herself, though Charles of course doesn't realize this.

The lines from this song that Marybel is singing are sprinkled throughout many of the pages of this story. Incidentally, since these lines were often truncated and in differing variations, and compounded by the inherent word-order differences between English and Japanese grammar, the consistent translation of these lyrics was a real headache.

As for the full lyrics, it is interesting to consider them as a lullaby...Would a typical child find a song about a girl who never grew up soothing, or disturbing? In Panel 3, Charles is scrambling for a reply. Although in Panel 5, he is now asking Marybel to teach the song to him. It's as if he knows this is the only part of Marybel that will remain with him.

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