JAM Project

One Punch Man's Hero and infinite translation possibility space

So I've been listening to the opening to One Punch Man "Hero" by the fantastic group JAM Project. And the original song is great. You can literally feel them push their vocal chords to their limit:

But what's fascinating to me is these two English dub covers of the song:

It's neat because the lyrics vary quite a bit, but both do an interesting job at capturing the feeling of the show in different ways. It's a departure for subbing, since in dubs you can just put whatever you want as long as you get the feeling more or less correct. But it's also more constrained, since it has to sound lyrical and fit well in a song.

It kind of reminds me of this story from Radiolab, where this one guy had this French poem translated in dozens of ways to try to capture the structure, tone, and meaning of the original in English.

It might be counter intuitive, but having very clear constraints can be very beneficial to creative works. It gives focus and can lead to surprising innovation.


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