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Shiki No Uta Is One Of The All-Time Great Anime Endings

Shiki No Uta Is One Of The All-Time Great Anime Endings

We bet you could look up any number of top 10 anime song lists or videos and you’d find Shiki No Uta on more of them than you wouldn’t. More than a few have called the Nujabes produced Minmi performed colorfully melancholic Samurai Champloo ending theme the greatest of them all, and we don’t think they’re wrong. 

Even now 15 years and hundreds of listens later, the opening bass and string notes give us the chills. Of course in a Shinichiro Watanabe show that, while not actively about music like Carole & Tuesday, relies heavily on its unique soundtrack, you’d expect the opening and ending to be bangers. However, we’ve still never heard another song quite like Minmi and Nujabes’ Shiki No Uta in the realm of anime or outside of it and that it deserves this recognition and more.

The Importance of Music In Samurai Champloo

Any Shinichiro Watanabe show will have a killer soundtrack guaranteed. Even when he’s not creating anime that activity revolves around music like Kids On The Slope, the song plays such a huge part in all of his works you could argue it’s more important to him than animation. 

Calling Cowboy Bebop a huge success would be an understatement and one of the aspects people loved most on that soundtrack was Yoko Kanno’s jazz-influenced work. However not wanting to repeat himself when making his first follow up series to Bebop, Watanabe wanted something stylistically completely different and came to the genius idea of marrying traditional Japanese culture with HIp-Hop.

Watanabe enlisted the help of Nujabes, one of the most revered figures in hip-hop production to have ever done it, to flesh out his show. He needed beats and sounds that were distinctly Japanese in origin and yet completely understanding of Hip-Hop’s nuanced soul to realize his vision of Samurai Champloo

Calling on friends Tsuchie, Forces of Nature, and Fat Jon to help create the soundtrack and performers Shing02 and Minmi to lay vocals on the themes and a few of the inserts, the team crafted a series of songs that make for incredible listening on their own and succeed in giving the ambitious cultural mash-up its signature character.

From The Beautiful Mind Of Nujabes Shiki No Uta Sprang Forth

Not to take any credit away from Minmi who laid down some truly iconic and enduring vocals on the track, but a big part of what makes Shiki No Uta an all-timer is Nujabes. As we said, Nujabes was tasked with orchestrating the soundtrack for Samurai Champloo which he and a few of his close collaborators knocked out of the part. It makes sense for a series so dependent on his music to have the same musicians actually do the opening and ending songs too, which is pretty rare when it comes to TV anime. 

While its a little more pop and RNB than what Nujabes would normally create for his solo material, he produced one of his best pieces of work in Shiki No Uta. Considering he was a master of his craft who consistently set his output at a very high bar, we think that’s saying much to his endless imagination, creativity, and his love for music.

Unfortunately, it has been a decade since Nujabes passed away in a tragic car accident well before his time. The actually named Jun Seba, already a musician with a huge cult audience in Japan, broke onto the world stage when Samurai Champloo made it to international broadcast. 

Every week Battlecry, Shiki No Uta, and whole other host of works he produced aired on the same cable channel that would rerun Family Guy and Futurama ad nauseum. Even if not every viewer cared to look him up after, the instrumental hip hop of Samurai Champloo and the pop production of its ending track by Nujabes wormed its way into the heads of millions. 

While we wish he was still here, we’re glad the powers at be lined up in a way that allowed Nujabes to be introduced to the world.

The English Lyrics For Shiki No Uta

Of course, Shiki No Uta is a Japanese tune, and, like most but not all of them, it was originally written and performed Japanese. Over the years dozens of people went to task in translating the song so fans could make a deeper connection through understanding what it was about. 

We present a translated version originally done by a YouTube cover artist Sapphire. Our reasoning was because when Minmi revisited the song to record an English version herself, she used these lyrics. They may differ from a direct word to word translation depending on who’s asking but they accurately strike at the meaning.

The sun will rise and we’ll bid farewell to forever

All our happiness will only be a dream

Oh darling, won’t you stay with me

‘Cause all these seasons aren’t the same without you

In the darkest times you’d always light the way

So darling, won’t you stay

Flowers start to dance

Welcoming the spring time

The fields, endless

The summer’s bringing on the sunshine

Dazzling moonlight

Just wishing you were here this autumn night

Should winter arrive

I’ll still be waiting for a sign

 

I find myself going back in time when I close my eyes

I see us watching the skies

Reminiscing about what we had, us holding hands

While I sang you sweet lullabies

(Oh, so sweet)

But now the summer is gone

And it’s hard to move on

‘Cause now I’m on my own

All these old memories

Coming back to me

I’m thinking there’s got to be a way

So I’m heading on out

(Off to find my way to you)

No, I won’t mess around

(Swear that I will see this through)

 

The sun will rise and we’ll bid farewell to forever

All our happiness will only be a dream

Oh darling, won’t you stay with me?

‘Cause all these seasons aren’t the same without you

In the darkest times you’d always light the way

So darling, won’t you stay

 

Flowers start to dance

Welcoming the spring time

The fields, endless

The summer’s bringing on the sunshine

Dazzling moonlight

Just wishing you were here this autumn night

Should winter arrive

I’ll still be waiting for a sign

 

It’s seven on the dot

Here we are, living free

I wish tonight would go on for eternity

Will we ever meet again?

Tell me that it ain’t the end

My tears start to flow

Oh baby, please don’t go

 

But now it’s all becoming clear to me

That if we’re truly even meant to be

Our love won’t fade

And I will break free from all this pain

Tearing down all the walls like a mighty hurricane

 

It’s clear to me

That if we’re truly even meant to be

Our love won’t fade

And I will break free from all this pain

Tearing down all the walls like a mighty hurricane

 

Flowers start to dance

Welcoming the spring time

The fields, endless

The summer’s bringing on the sunshine

Dazzling moonlight

Just wishing you were here this autumn night

Should winter arrive

I’ll still be waiting for a sign

 

Baby, let’s dance

All throughout the spring time

Fields are endless

The summer’s bringing on the sunshine

Dazzling moonlight

Just wishing you were here this autumn night

Should winter arrive

I’ll still be waiting for a sign

 

The sun will rise and we’ll bid farewell to forever

All our happiness will only be a dream

Oh darling, won’t you stay with me

‘Cause all these seasons aren’t the same without you

In the darkest times you’d always light the way

So darling, won’t you stay

Samurai Champloo
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