The Meaning of “Endless Orbit” in Harlock’s Endless Orbit SSX

Endless Orbit SSX is a literal translation of the Japanese title of the second Captain Harlock series (in Japanese → Mugen Kido SSX = 無限軌道SSX), and since it sounds very weird many people use the less literal Endless Road SSX translation instead.  Well, I just realized what this “Endless Orbit” means!!!

Here’s what happened.  I was reading Matsumoto’s The Cockpit manga and I came across a story about tanks.  One of the characters says: “Every tank has a mugen kido”.  Next to it, by way of explanation in katakana it read: “kiyatapira”.  My best guess here was that this “kiyatapira” was English “caterpillar”.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  So I looked it up and of course:

“Mugen kido” is the technical term for the caterpillar tracks used for movement in vehicles such a tanks!!  I didn’t know that!!  I always broke down the term into “mugen” (=endless, limitless) and “kido” (=orbit, track) and never thought to look it up as a phrase.

Isn’t this title clever?  Matsumoto uses a tank term, but of course since this is a space show he’s playing on the primary meaning of “kido” as orbit.  I don’t think we need to change our English translations since Caterpillar Track SSX just doesn’t have a good ring to it, but it’s nice to know where the word comes from.  Indeed, Time in the Leijiverse is sort of like a caterpillar track.  The movement is always the same and yet the whole thing—moves on.

~ by Haloed Bane on September 13, 2011.

6 Responses to “The Meaning of “Endless Orbit” in Harlock’s Endless Orbit SSX”

  1. Just the other day finished rereading your series of posts on Time and Leijiverse. So caterpillar track makes another model where several rings are united and moving together. Cool.

  2. The great Sensei-sama has done it again! I would’ve never thought of translated title that way! Thanks for pointing it out! ::)
    On a side note, I need help for five seconds here: one of my friends believes that Harlock and Emeraldas are a couple. No matter how many times I explain to her and show her things, she won’t believe me. Mind helping me?

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