*English lyrics by Leeandlie on YouTube*
To kick off the first “Song Analysis” on Otaku Collision, I wanted to visit the soundtrack of an anime with extreme debate, fans calling it a copycat of Gundam. “aLIEz” by Hiroyuki Sawano may appear at first to be the perfect song to pair with Aldnoah Zero’s themes of unwanted warfare, as the planets Mars and Earth are at odds against each other. When looking at the lyrics translated in English, it becomes apparent that the song gives the listener a perspective into Princess Asseylum’s innermost thoughts about the conflict and her cry for peace. However, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that those who have faith in God can instead hear a cry out from someone desperate to escape trial or addiction. The whole idea may seem somewhat exaggerated, but bear with me and put on your pair of Jesus Glasses to see the entire picture ahead!
“I will rise in resistance, sing the oath of rebellion
End cease-fire on this high wire, head to toe in vanity
When those eyes in the mirror stare back at me
I’m reminded that the ghost of pride is clear to see”
These first two stanzas of the song open up the listener to the problem at-hand, that there is some evil force at work to destroy the singer, yet they decide to stand against it. They describe their situation as walking on a “high wire” and being surrounded by vanity. For the sake of my spiritual analysis, let’s say that this force is addiction, which is common for many modern Christians. Pride is the main killer for those stuck in it’s tight grip and the singer recognizes this when they see themselves in the mirror; they are brutally honest with themselves.
“Wipe away the weakness, will you let those scars define you?
Or will they adorn you as we carve our way to victory?
Doubt is crying out but I refuse to let it drown me
Wearing down my fight ’til nothing’s left”
For the sake of my translation, I read these lyrics almost as though God was asking the addict a rhetorical question of how they can allow their pains to define them when they have the creator of the universe in their heart. He makes clear that victory from the singer’s struggles is possible and that only faith is required to make their sorrows their war trophies. Like most Christians, even with this affirmation from God himself, the singer still feels doubt and has a lack of faith to believe the positive outcomes, seeing how they are being worn down by Satan over and over again. However, they refuse to let it drown them and have the fortitude to keep on fighting their addictions until the very end.
“I say crier, I say liar, I say rise in hell
I stand gazing down at death as they say war
I’ll wage war, I hate war
They say fight for peace but what is that?”
The chorus of “aLIEz” takes the build up from the singer’s internal struggles and creates a powerful response that calls out Satan for the liar that he is. They curse him for the pain he has caused them and tells him to go back to his Hell Hole instead of hurting them. However, the singer explains that they literally face the death of themselves, which Jesus describes in the Bible as picking up our crosses, when waging war with themselves, yet they decide to press on. They hate the turmoil, discomfort, and pain that it causes them, and sometimes doubt that there is any peace at the end, but they still fight their addiction despite the circumstances.
“Raise a shield to the bullets, hold my ground, all I got now
But I’m defenseless, all but helpless if it gives beneath my feet
I turn from the mirror, that desperate plea
I refuse and can’t believe those eyes belong to me”
The second bridge again builds back up to the chorus like the first one did, describing the singer’s fight against temptation. They hold their ground against Satan and give it their all, and recognize that without the Lord they would easily slip and fall. Yet they still see themselves going against God’s will for their life and hate that the pride they saw in themselves gets in the way. Again, they are struggling with their addiction even though God has given them the tools to victory.
“Come on, one more breath, my ravaged voice betrays me mid-shout
Will you never hear those final words I failed to choke out?
I tried to survive by putting all my faith in instinct
But now I regret, what have I done?”
This extension of the bridge is one that most people with struggles can personally relate to. Sometimes the singer feels that their prayers are not being heard by God, their cries for help are not being answered, and lose their voice in screaming in desperation. Even with this doubt from God, they have confidence that the faith that they placed into themselves was what got them into their addictions in the first place and feel regret over their decisions.
“A cowardly façade weaves into my voice
As I call for war, blinded by this far-fetched noble cause
Although I had a choice, I believed the lies
But it’s all a dream, ending when I open up my eyes”
The final lyrics to the song explain how the singer has fallen into temptation despite waging war against it, that their cowardly flesh draws them into addiction, and they decided to believe these lies. Only when they were again at the end of their rope did they realize what they had done and this always brings them back to God, no matter how many times they fall.
When listening to “aLIEz”, I am reminded most of King David’s cry out to the Lord in the book of Psalms when he is in a time of deep distress. His words are recorded as a song and have much similarity to the second opening of Aldnoah Zero that I believe addicts can relate to.
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.” (Pslam 69:1-5, NIV)
Even though we may feel like the singer from “aLIEz” or King David from the Bible, there is a God big enough to overcome our addictions and catch us when we fall. Even though the addiction may throw us into a wild, seemingly endless cycle, we can break free with the power of Jesus Christ, who defeated death on the cross.
Although it may seem a stretch, I firmly believe that with some deep analysis and thought, “aLIEz” from Aldnoah Zero can have a double meaning in Christianity and strengthen those who are caught in addiction. As a personal note, I do in fact listen to this song when Satan overwhelms me throughout my day and I meditate on it, remembering that God does indeed come to help His people and loves them dearly. This song gives me encouragement in my spiritual walk and I hope that it does the same for you too!
All English-translated lyrics from “aLIEz” came from leeandlie’s cover on YouTube and I would highly recommend her version, as it does successfully captures the heart and voice of the original Japanese song!
What did you think about the first “Song Analysis” on Otaku Collsion? Do you personally resonate with “aLIEz”? What other spiritual implications do you see in “aLIEz”, not just Christian? Let me know down in the comment section!