Hypnosis Mic: My New Weird Obsession

Recently, I’ve found myself growing tired of BTS music. I can’t exactly pinpoint the reason why – Could it be that their new music is too similar to western music and lost that level of intrigue that used to capture me? Could it just be that I’ve played it too often and is the only music interest I share with my current ‘co-habitant’, who refuses to listen to any genre besides pop? No matter the reason, I quickly found myself jumping into a rabbit hole – one belonging to a rather queer niche I found in a little corner of the Internet: Hypnosis Mic.

Hypnosis Mic.png

When I say I jumped down a rabbit hole, I mean the very concept of a rabbit hole – this place is outlandish, wacky, unconventional, innovative…simply wonderful. As you can tell, I like it. It’s very…4-dimensional. While I am new to this realm, I still feel like giving them an introduction is warranted, since I’ve spent hours listening to their music and watching the videos on repeat.

What is Hypnosis Mic?
To try to fit it into a genre would still end up with confusing results. It is a 2.5D music project that features 12 male seiyuus (or Japanese voice actors) who are divided into 4 teams, or divisions, representing various parts of Japan. In this fictional land where these divisions exist, rap music is the way they battle each other and expand their territories. Each MC brings their unique style and flow, and battle it out. Yes, indeed, there even is a story to all this craziness. And I think the Wiki page on Hypnosis Mic best explains it:

“The history of H was eradicated by an armed military force in a war. The conflict was replaced, not by the military forces, but by a special ‘Mic’ mesmerising the spirits of the people. Its name is [Hypnosis Microphone]. The lyrics channeled through this microphone affect people’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, making it possible to alter a person’s state of mind. Rap is used to determine one’s superiority. Outside of Chuuouku District, men live in the Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro and Yokohama divisions. As each division’s representative MC group fought, the districts who won were allowed to acquire certain parts of other territories. In this world, where words, not weapons, became tools of power, the battles for territories holding men’s pride and prestige begins.”

I haven’t stumbled upon something so wonderfully bizarre since Hetalia songs were a thing. I couldn’t even tell you how I found this rabbit hole to jump in, just that I looked into it, and took a nose-dive.

It is, at the very start, 2.5D art involving MCs. That in itself is not unusual, given that Japan is the birthplace of Vocaloid and the cancer that is Hatsune Miku (in my eyes, she is severely overrated – her songs are average, her voice is terribly autotuned, she’s just cute). The creation of MCs is even less unusual, since even casual artists like me enjoy creating MCs once in a while, either as a character in a story of ours or to portray a certain part of our personalities. The job of a seiyuu is not unusual for me, as an Asian, who grew up on a healthy dose of Anime. Seiyuus are Japanese voice actors who, as the title suggests, voices characters in otherwise animated shows. Many anime fans know Murata Tomosa, who voices Gasai Yuno in Future Diary, and is known as the Queen of Yandere, since she voices mostly Yandere characters. These elements in themselves are bizarre enough.

Then, we bring in this story element. The eradication of humankind – ok, that’s normal enough, we’ve seen Attack on Titans – that’s an innovation in the eyes of the west, whose imagination of post-apocalyptic humankind is merely limited to zombies, but in Anime, that’s a perfectly generic shounen setting. What’s this? Music and lyrics, as weapon? Rap battles as the way to wage war? Now, we’re doing some Attack on Titan and Utau no Prince-sama fusion right here – and it’s bizarrely wonderful to my senses. I had such a hard time trying to grasp what exactly I was watching, and I haven’t felt that way about anything for a long time – the thrill of the weird unknown. I know it’s good when my brain goes: “What…on earth…is this? But…I kinda like it.”headerutapri-uta-no-prince-sama-34333836-1216-850It’s as if these two shows had a love child or something.

Their Music
I fully intend on doing follow-up posts actually translating the lyrics of these rap battles. Sadly, since translations are not readily available, it is no wonder that it is extremely niche. Not only does it touch on ‘kinky’ stuff like cosplay and anime boys, etc., western audiences wouldn’t even be able to appreciate the music as easily. That’s where my experience with learning and speaking Japanese actually helps – I could understand it quite easily, even given the speed at which some of them rap.

The first of their music I stumbled upon was the Division Rap Battle:

I think, for once, I will include all the different lyrics together, since the Kanji lyrics doesn’t really help anyone who doesn’t speak Japanese:

Lyrics:

選手宣誓 万死一生
Senshusensei banshiissei
Oath be made, there’s no escape**
決して揺るがぬ無敵の無頼漢
Kesshite yuruganu muteki no buraikan
Untouchable rogues who never flinch
言葉は今やマシンガン
Kotoba wa imaya mashigan(machine gun)
Words are now machine guns

または未来導く羅針盤 AH
Matawa mirai michibiku rashinban
Or rather the compass leading towards future AH
三位一体 it’s show time
Sanmiittai It’s show time
Three as one, it’s show time
歴史に刻む俺らのスタイル
Rekishi ni kizamu orera no sutairu (Style)
Be carved in history, our style
生死彷徨う遺伝子の器
Seishi samayou idenshi no utsuwa
Between life and death, our flair**
本能がままにつらぬくぜ say what?
Honno ga mama ni tsuranuku ze say what?
Just leave it to instincts. Say what?

1、2、3 Ikebukuro Division (Represent Ikebukuro)
Homies we are Buster Bro!!!
そっちの調子はどうだい? (Welcome to the Division)
Sotchi no chousi wa dou dai?
How’s it on your end?
1、2、3 Ikebukuro Division (Represent Ikebukuro)
Homies we are Buster Bros!!!
ブクロ最強の三兄弟 (Welcome to the Division)
Bukuro saikyou no sankyoudai
Ikebukuro’s strongest three brothers

Welcome to my Division Ichiro
池袋代表
Ikebukuro daihyou
Ikebukuro’s representative
マクロからマイクロ
Makuro kara maikuro
From Macro to micro
精密動作で解決する GeekなStyle
Seimitsu dousa de kaiketsu suru Geek na Style
Precise solutions as a geek’s style
圧倒的 それ自体が新時代のCrime
Attouteki sore jitai ga shin jidai no Crime
Too OP it’s a whole new generation of crime
与えよ生命(アニマ)
Ataeyo seimei (Anima)
Given Anima (life)
それだけが業(カルマ)
Sore dake ga gou (Karuma)
That’s karma (destiny)
躊躇は皆無だ
Chuucho wa kaimuda
Zero hesitation
ライムだけがLife Line
Raimu dake ga Life Line
Rhyme is the only life line
二次元でも三次元でも 俺は俺だから
Nijigen demo sanjigen ore wa oredakara
No matter 2D or 3D, I am me; therefore
決めつける奴らは 一昨日来い
Kimetsukeru yatsura wa ototoikoi
Pretentious pricks, piss off

My name is Jiro You know my Steelo
俺のベロ見ろ 俺はミケランジェロ
Ore no bero miro ore wa Mikeranjero (Michelangelo)
Look at my tongue I am Michelangelo
一郎の胸像(トルソー)をトレスした次男坊
Ichirou no kyouzou (Torusou) o Toresu shita jinan bou
Second bro traced from Ichiro’s torso
つまり最強の遺伝子 継承したライム
Tsumari saikyou no idenshi keishou shita raimu (rhyme)
Namely inherited the best genes and the best rhyme

三郎参上 慇懃無礼でブレーキがないのは
Saburou sanjou inginburei de bureiki (break) ga nai no wa
Saburo here Comply in appearance**, reckless
ちょっとした Subrosa
Chottoshita Subrosa
A bit of Subrosa
そのPoseが 気にくわねぇなら 僕と勝負だ
Sono Pose ga ki ni kuwaneenara boku to shoubuda
Don’t like my attitude, catch me outside
お前はもう体感速度が上昇し
Omae wa mou taikan sokudo ga joushou shi
Feels like your speed is rising
壁にめり込む覚悟ぐらいはしてあるんだろうな?
Kabe ni merikomu kakugo gurai wa shite arundarou na?
Aren’t you so ready to be thrown into the wall no?

1、2、3 Yokohama Division (Represent Yokohama)
Homies we are Mad Trigger Crew
ハマの深夜のカーチェイス(Welcome to the Division)
Hama no shinyaa no kaacheisu
Late night car chase in ‘Hama
1、2、3 Yokohama Division (Represent Yokohama)
Homies we are Mad Trigger Crew
浜風にも錆びぬスキル(Welcome to the Division)
Hamakaze ni mo sabinu sukiru(Welcome to the Division)
Skill that doesn’t rust in the coastal winds

俺は左馬刻さまだ 貴様は誰だ⁇
Ore wa samatokisama kisama wa dareda??
I am Samatoki, who the hell are you?
よく踏みなれた よくあるツラだな
Yokuu fumi nareta yokuare tsurada na
Looks just like some faces I always tread on
欲張りさんが 仁義破れば
Yokubari-san ga jingi yabureba
Allow greed to get the better of your morality and honor
信じ難いよな目に遭い この有様さ
Shinji gatai yona me ni ai kono arisama sa
Will get you served what you deserved**
目さませ(say what?)
Mesamaze (say what?)
Wake up
任侠も警察(マッポ)も Freakyな海軍(Navy)も
Ninkyou mo Mappo mo Freaky na Navy mo
No matter the chivalry, cop or weird-ass navy
指定外自慢(Boast)団
Shiteigai Boast Dan
Are just a bunch of random boasters
ヒプノシスマイクロフォン使って
Hipunoshisumaikurofon tsukatte
Let me use my hypnosismic
貴様の息の根止まるまでライムしよう
Kisama no ikinone tomaru made raimu shiyou
And my beat to take your last breath away

はい Stop stop stop)
(Hai Stop stop stop)
Hey stop stop stop

隠蔽工作も楽じゃないし
Inpei kousaku mo raku jinaishi
Covert jobs aren’t fun
一線を超えたら 俺も黙ってないし
Issen o koetara ore mo damattenaishi
But you crossing the line – can’t remain silent
ケツ持ちは国家だからまるで
Ketsu-mochi was kokkadakara marude
Behind me is the whole state
お前に勝ち目はないし
Omae ni kachime wanaishi
You ain’t got no chance
まぁまぁ 立場ってもんが解ればヨロシイ
Maa maa Tachiba tte mon ga wakareba yoroshii
Well well, know your stance and we good

先ずは敬礼 カレーはFriday
Mazu wa keirei kare* wa Friday
First off, salute. Curry for Friday.
小官にとっちゃ毎日がサバイバル
Shoukan ni totcha mainichi ga survival
For me everyday is survival
全生物に感激感謝
Zen seibutsu ni kangeki kansha
Thank you, so grateful for all living things
今日の具材は あなたで決まりました!
Kyou no guzai wa anata de kimarimashita!
You shall be my dinner today

つうに決着 でけえ悶着
Tsu* ni ketchaku deke e monchaku
The end is near, the greatest conflict
唸る俺のヒプノシスマイク
Unaru ore no hipunoshisumaiku
Growl, my hypnosismic

精神直結カスタマイズ
Seishin chokketsu kasutamaizu
Straight to your mind and well-customized
お前のシナプス焦がす言霊
Omae no shinapsu kogasu kotodama
Spirit of words that burnt away your synapses
三位一体 it’s show time
Sanmiittai it’s show time
Three as one, it’s show time

歴史に刻む俺らのスタイル
Rekishi ni kizamu orera no sutairu (Style)
Be carved in history, our style
生死彷徨う遺伝子の器
Seishi samayou idenshi no utsuwa
Between life and death, our flair
本能がままにつらぬくぜ say what?
Honno ga mama ni tsuranuku ze
Leave it to instincts, say what?

1、2、3 Shibuya Division (Represent Shibuya)
Homies we are Fling_Posse
街を彩る三原色(welcome to the Division)
Machi o irodoru sangenshoku (welcome to the Division)
Color up the streets with primary colors
1、2、3 Shibuya Division (Represent Shibuya)
Homies we are Fling_Posse
でたとこ勝負だ勝負(Welcome to the Division)
Deta toko shoubuda shoubu
Just wing it

皆のアイドル乱数の番だ
Minna no aidoru ramuda no banda
It’s the turn of everyone’s idol, Ramuda
こう見えても もう成人男子さ
Kou miete mou seijin danshi sa
Tho I may not look like it, but I am a grown man
君の涙もう見たくないな
Kimi no namida mou mitakunai na
I don’t want to see your tears
笑顔と寝顔が可愛いからさ
Egao to negao ga kawaiikara sa
Cuz your smile and your sleeping face are so cute
基本カラフル デコったGAL服
Kihon karafuru dekotta GAL fuku
Basically [I like] colourful, decorated Gyaru style clothings,
モードにパンクス アメリカンカジュアル
Moudo ni pankusu amerikankajuaru
High-end punk, or American casual
色とりどりのオネーさん達よ
Irotoridori no onee-san-tachi yo
All of you Oneesans
僕の事で喧嘩 ヤメデホシイナー?
Boku no koto de kenka yamedehoshiina?
I really don’t want you to fight for me please?

カンカン帽被り 勘ぐ性分?
Kankanbou kaburi kangu shoubun?
Boater hats means a skeptical personality?
真偽珍奇に佇み恭順
Just comply, no matter true, false or mystery
Shingi chinki ni tatazumi kyoujun
人間万事 塞翁が馬
Jingen banji saiougauma
Life was like a box of chocolates**
最後には文芸の才能が 最高のライマー
Saigo ni wa bungei no sainou ga saikou no raima*
At the end of the day,  poetry is the best rhyme**

まあまあしてやこいつはそう大博打
Maa maa shite ya koitsu wa sou oubakuchi
Yea right this guy is a huge gambler
肝冷やし切り抜けりゃ超リッチ
Kan hiyashi kirinukerya chou ritchi
Takes guts, but one day you get hella skrilla**
第六感に乗っかって
Dairokkan ni nokkatte
Ride along the sixth sense
どっかのっけから 舐めプのジョーカー
Dokka nokke kara name pu no jouka
Out of nowhere, the game-stalling joker

1、2、3 Shinjuku Division (Represent Shinjuku)
Homies we are Matenro
病める街新宿代表(welcome to the Division)
Yameru machi Shinjuku daihyou (welcome to the Division)
Representatives of the Sick City Shinjuku
1、2、3 Shinjuku Division (Represent Shinjuku)
Homies we are Matenro
ネオンぎらつく 不夜町(Welcome to the Division)
Neon giratsuku huyajyou (Welcome to the Division)
City that never sleeps under shimmering neon lights

執刀準備OK
Shitto junbi OK
Prepared for surgery (OK!)
涙目のクランケ
Namidame no kuranke
Teary-eyed patients (Roger that!)
全て任せてれば痛みなどは感じないです
Subete makase tereba itami nado wa kanjinaidesu
Leave everything to me, you won’t feel any pain (No pain!)
無下に背けば墓穴の中
Mugeni somukeba hakabu hakaana no naka
But should you defy me, you are a goner
內視鏡通し あなたの中
Naishikyou tooshi anata no naka
With an endoscope to see right through you
もう腹の中お見通しだが まだ抗うのは愚かな XXX
Mou harano naka o mitoushidaga mada aragau no wa orokana XXX
I can easily get into your head whoever still resists, is a foolish XXXX **

ご指名ありがとうございます
Go shimei arigatougozaimasu
Thank you very much for choosing me
コール入ります
Kouru hairimasu
Gonna start the chant right now
迷子の子猫に Love me do
Maigo no koneko ni Love me do
Stray little kitten, love me do!
はい 今日は(Fooo!!)
Hai Kyou wa (Fooo!!)
Yes, today (Wooo!!)
貴方に(Fooo!!)
Anata ni (Fooo!!)
Only for you (Wooo!!)
届ける(Fooo!!)
Todokeru (Fooo!!)
I deliver (Wooo!!)
魔法の(Fooo!!)
Mahou no (Fooo!!)
This magical (Wooo!!)
煌めく夜空と(シャンパンタワー)
Kirameku yozora to (Shanpantawa)
Sparkling night sky and (Champagne tower~)

はぁ〜〜〜しんどい
Haa~~~ Shindoi
Gosh I am beat
摩耗する精神と 吊るしのスーツ
Mamou suru seishin to tsurushi no suutsu
Mind worn out; this suit is killing me
通勤快速ってもしかして 「停まらないのかよ!」
Tsuukin kaisoku tte moshikashite 「Tomaranai no ka yo!」
What, the late night train “It’s not stopping?!”
依願退職 いまや社会の傍観者
Igan taishoku imaya shakai no boukan-sha
Resigned and now I am a bystander of society
「キレる中年」の身出しになったろかい????
「Kireru chuunen」no mi dashi ni nattaro kai
Am I becoming a grumpy middle-aged man????

選手宣誓 万死一生
Senshusensei banshiissei
Oath be made, there’s no escape**
決して揺るがぬ無敵の無頼漢
Kesshite yuruganu muteki no buraikan
Untouchable rogues who never flinch
言葉は今やマシンガン
Kotoba wa imaya mashigan(machine gun)
Words are now machine guns

または未来導く羅針盤 AH
Matawa mirai michibiku rashinban
Or rather the compass leading towards future AH
三位一体 it’s show time
Sanmiittai It’s show time
Three as one, it’s show time
歴史に刻む俺らのスタイル
Rekishi ni kizamu orera no sutairu (Style)
Be carved in history, our style
生死彷徨う遺伝子の器
Seishi samayou idenshi no utsuwa
Between life and death, our flair**
本能がままにつらぬくぜ say what?
Honno ga mama ni tsuranuku ze say what?
Just leave it to instincts. Say what?

つうに決着 でけえ悶着
Tsu* ni ketchaku deke e monchaku
The end is near, the greatest conflict
唸る俺のヒプノシスマイク
Unaru ore no hipunoshisumaiku
Growl, my hypnosismic
精神直結カスタマイズ
Seishin chokketsu kasutamaizu
Straight to your mind and well-customized
お前のシナプス焦がす言霊
Omae no shinapsu kogasu kotodama
Spirit of words that burnt away your synapses

三位一体 it’s show time
Sanmiittai it’s show time
Three as one, it’s show time
歴史に刻む俺らのスタイル
Rekishi ni kizamu orera no sutairu (Style)
Be carved in history, our style
生死彷徨う遺伝子の器
Seishi samayou idenshi no utsuwa
Between life and death, our flair
本能がままにつらぬくぜ say what?
Honno ga mama ni tsuranuku ze
Leave it to instincts, say what?

References:
The entire song is just full of references, starting every from the first line. They are all starred:

(1) “選手宣誓 万死一生” translates to “competitors vow, million deaths one lives”. The second part, in Chinese at least, is a common phrase used before a fight between challengers, i.e. not in battle, but rather when 2 or more skilled fighters challenge one another to combat.

(2) “遺伝子の器” translates to “weapon of genes”, which I have assumed in my translations to mean natural talent

(3) OP = Over-powered, a gaming term

(4) “慇懃無礼” means to “comply on the outside but remain impudent on the inside

(5) “信じ難いよな目に遭い この有様さ” although it literally translates to “you shall meet an unthinkable consequence”, it is meant as a threat. In a way, it is meant to reveal that particular character’s personality.

(6) “人間万事 塞翁が馬”, is another phrase where the understanding comes from Chinese. It literally means “Everything on earth is Grandpa Sai’s horse” which references a folk lore about an old man who loses his horse but then eventually, that one horse came back with other horses. His son tried to ride one of the new horses and broke his leg, but because of his broken leg, was not sent to the war. The moral of the tale is meant to be “a curse can be a blessing in disguise and vice versa”.

(7) “最後には文芸の才能が 最高のライマー” literally translates to “in the end, it’s literary skills which is the best rhyme” as a reference to how rap is poetry with a beat, to some extent.

There a lot more references that I can’t even begin to explain, which makes this song and Hypnosis Mic even more attractive to me. For example, one of the MC’s for the Shinjuku division is a Host, whose lyrics tend to be more suggestive. That is a reference to the dark side of Shinjuku being Tokyo’s biggest red-light district while also being a huge business district. Also the references to Shibuya being one of the, if the, largest shopping district in Tokyo where youngsters (as if I’m that old) take Instagram pictures and videos, Snapchats, etc. with the division name Fling Posse (posse meaning ‘pose’).

There’s a lot to dig into and that’s what I find amazing about Hypnosis Mic.

Not only does it make me wonder “Eh, why are they saying this? Or, why is this particular MC in this division (e.g. a host in Shinjuku, a diva in Shibuya)?” I also want to find out more about the background and personalities of these different MCs and how they correspond with their respective areas. It’s sorta like the attractiveness Hetalia had for me (how characters were countries with distinct personalities), but with much, much more creativity to it. Not to mention, since the style and rhythm of rap varies, I don’t really get tired of the songs that quickly (though I’d understand if one doesn’t understand Japanese).

My current favourite is the Shinjuku Division and my favourite MC is the Host Izanami Hifumi (Alias: Gigolo). Firstly, because their name is Matenrou, ‘rou’ meaning wolf, which happens to be their symbol and my favourite animal. Izanami because his personality, from what I understand is: An honest person with a flirty tone of voice. Because of his appearance and tone, he is easily misunderstood, but he is actually an extreme gynephobe. He initially became a host to overcome his fear of women. I, of course, am not limiting myself to the Shinjuku side, since I plan to listen to all the Hyponsis Mic music – those including all the divisions and division-only ones!

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