Chapter 1: Welcome to Sakurasou
Chapter 1: Part 1
When he woke up, the first thing he saw was a full pair of white, lush buttocks.
“… Hikari, you again?”
When he called her name, he heard her give off a coaxing little purr.
Not paying her any heed, Kanda Sorata pushed the butt that Hikari had thrust in his face aside, and pulled himself up from the grey rug he was laying on. Hikari gave off a sulky pout when she was forced off, but Sorata brushed that aside too with a single sigh.
“This is just cruel…”
Sorata squinted as he looked through the window to the bright landscape beyond. The sky in the East burned an intense red as if foretelling the end of the world.
“To wake up right to a cat’s butt in my face… my teenage life is just way too cruel.”
As the feelings of despair closed in on him, Sorata covered his face with his hands.
“Nah, maybe it’s more terrible for me to just be running my mouth like this about ‘teenage life’…”
Seeming to agree, the white cat Hikari on Sorata’s lap gave off a yawn. (1) And then, the other six cats living in this six-tatami (2) room began a chorus of meows, asking to be fed.
White, black, spotted, brown tabby, Siamese-ish, and what looked like an American short-hair… all seven of these diversely varied cats had been abandoned and then picked up by Sorata. He also gave them proper names, and they were called Hikari, Nozomi, Kodama, Tsubasa, Komachi, Aoba, and Asahi.
Faced with these cats pining for food, Sorata responded with the growling of his own stomach. The message was clear. Your master is hungry too, you know.
It was the last day of spring break, April 5th. It was five in the evening.
This raggedy, wooden, two-story apartment building was a dormitory belonging to the senior high school affiliated with the Suimei College of the Arts.
Perhaps taking a cue from the large sakura tree in the courtyard, the building’s name was Sakurasou.
The kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms were all shared.
It took ten minutes to walk to school. The nearest station was also a ten minute walk.
And room 101 was the home base of Kanda Sorata, who had just become a second-year student that spring.
As his first piece of calligraphy for the year, Sorata had written a huge message on the wall: “GOAL: Get out of Sakurasou!!”
Sorata’s current problem wasn’t finding a girlfriend, or making it to Koushien. (3) Of course, he had no aspirations of going to the National Stadium or making it to Soutai (4). All he wanted to do was to get out of this dorm.
Because Sakurasou was a bit different from normal dormitories.
It was a place for rehabbing students who had been kicked out of other dorms; to be blunt, it was a nest for problem children. Unlike normal dorms, there wasn’t a den mother, and as there was no cafeteria, the students themselves had to cook, do laundry, and clean. It was annoying. The school claimed that this was all for the sake of encouraging self-reliance, but Sorata felt that it was just because they couldn’t find someone to work there.
Sakurasou… the name alone carried enough destructive power to ruin friendships.
What was more annoying was that once every month, they were forced to clean up off-campus. Just like it sounds, they had to walk around the outside of the school and pick up garbage, but considering they were walking around a university campus that would even take adults half an hour to go around, it was definitely a full day’s work. Each time, Sorata’s legs would be aching the next day.
And in that disgraceful dorm lived four students, both boys and girls, along with a single supervising teacher.
Sorata was one of those inhabitants.
Last summer, he had been called out directly by the principal and was forced to make a choice.
“Kanda Sorata-kun, are you going to get rid of your cats or leave the dorm? Make a choice.”
“Well, I’ll leave the dorm then.”
Being at a rather rebellious age, Sorata shot back his answer before the principal had even properly finished his sentence. And that same day, Sorata was kicked out of the normal dormitories.
In retrospect, Sorata felt that he had gone completely the wrong way when faced with that most heavy choice. At the meeting he held right afterwards in his head, he fiercely debated with himself over where the blame should fall. Certainly, it had to be his frontal lobe’s fault.
At that moment of time, he had only had Hikari with him, so if he had tried really hard to find an owner, he could have avoided the entire dorm situation. When Mitaka Jin, one of the inhabitants already living at Sakurasou, pointed this out to him, Sorata fell into shock and didn’t come to for three days.
For that reason, he was trying to find owners for his cats to this very day.
But somehow, rather than decreasing, the number of cats had risen to seven. He was probably doing something wrong here…
Well, it couldn’t be helped, considering cats were being abandoned at an alarming pace wherever Sorata went, to the point where he honestly believed that he had been cursed. He once tried to just ignore a cat and keep walking, but it took a mere three steps before he collapsed and began to clutch at his chest with guilt.
Worried at seeing Sorata so deep in thought, Hikari, followed by Nozomi and Kodama, came and snuggled up to him.
“You guys, don’t get so attached to me. I’m trying hard to find someone to take you in, you know. You’re going to make me cry when I have to see you go. I’m really pathetic when I cry, you know. You don’t want to see that.”
It wasn’t very clear whether the cats understood or not. Either way, they switched gears and began to wash their faces.
Sighing, Sorata turned his eyes to the crimson sky.
Today was the last day of spring break, but Sorata was at a loss as to how to spend it meaningfully. Illuminated by the Eastern sun and with a dry smile on his face, Sorata suddenly heard another whining noise coming from the bed behind him.
Stopping himself from once again covering his head with his hands, Sorata turned around.
He suddenly remembered exactly why he had been sleeping on the hard floor.
In the bed that was originally intended to provided Sorata with a nice, peaceful night of rest was lying a pretty girl in the fetal position, whose mouth was curved upwards into a devious, cattish smirk. She was the queen of the cats, if you will. In this case, she looked exactly like a beautiful and healthy American short-hair. Her soft buttocks were shamelessly sticking out from the hem of her school uniform miniskirt, and you could see her cleavage through the two unfastened buttons in her blouse, made all the more obvious because she was squishing them together with her arms.
If this were a year ago, Sorata would probably have gulped in amazement at this sight, and then would have started screaming after completely losing his mind.
But, having been exiled to Sakurasou more than half a year ago, Sorata could no longer be fazed by something like this.
“Misaki-senpai, please wake up.”
Restraining his agitation, Sorata called out to the inhabitant on the bed, at which point Kamiigusa Misaki stretched widely with the flexibility of a wild feline and rose up.
She lifted up the hem of her blouse, and exposed a waistline that most people would kill for and a cute belly button. What was strange was that even her messy bed-hair just made her look all the more charming. If she walked past ten people on the street, there was no doubt that she would get those ten people to turn their heads.
Her status points were also phenomenal, with her height coming in at 156 cm (5) and her weight coming in at 46 kg. Her three sizes, from top to bottom, were 87, 56, and 85, and she was only a third-year student, but had already grown into her adult body. (6)
As Misaka unconsciously filled the room with her charm, she turned her wide-open eyes onto Sorata.
“In the future, I want to get married.”
“You know, it’s an unwritten rule that you should keep sleep-talking to when you’re asleep.”
“Alright then, I’ll be the wife, so kouhai-kun can be the husband. You’ve just come home from work. Action!”
“How the hell did this suddenly turn into a comedy dialogue?!”
“Welcome back, dear. You’re home early today.”
“Wait, you’re seriously going on with this?!”
“Should I make dinner? Prepare the bath? Or maybe, ma, wa, shi?” (7)
“This a sumo stable or something?!”
“Ta, wa, shi?”
“Just say ‘watashi,’ dammit! You trying to make your husband clean the bathroom right after he comes home?! What a monster!!”
“I wonder if even sloths get worked up during sex.”
“Don’t switch topics like that!!”
“Uncooperative, aren’t you? Considering our relationship, it just won’t do if you don’t follow along.”
Speaking with a teasing tone, Misaki pointed at Sorata and shut one eye, almost as if she was a parent keeping track of a misbehaving child.
How in the world could she be so excitable when she had just woken up?
“In any case, good morning. And I’ve said this dozens of times already, but please sleep in your own room.”
“I mean, if they’re going to be lazy about it, I can’t see how the female would put up with it.”
“Are we still talking about the sloths?!”
“Wouldn’t it just be sad if she just couldn’t get satisfied?”
“The female just lies there during sex too, so you could also say it the other way around.”
Giving up, Sorata joined in.
“Alright, shall we continue where we left off yesterday?”
However, Misaki ignored the flow of conversation, and took her spot in front of the TV, switching on the video game console and gripping a controller. The game system hummed to life and clicked as it read the game ROM.
Before the game’s title screen appeared on the monitor, Sorata reached over and switched the system off.
“Ahhh~~, what are you doooinggg~~”
Pouting, Misaki protested. She was also pretty cute when she was angry. Faced with her slightly upturned eyes, Sorata could feel himself beginning to smile.
But it just wouldn’t do if he got fooled by her act.
“What the hell happened to the sloths?!”
“Ehh, that conversation was boring.”
“You’re the one who started it!”
“However, let’s play games.”
“You used completely the wrong conjunction there! (8) Also, haven’t we been playing games nonstop since the day before yesterday?! For thirty-six hours straight! Just looking at the screen makes me sick! My eyes are rotting! I’m pretty sure that if I get exposed to more electromagnetic waves from the television screen, I’m going to dissolve into sand or salt or something!”
The reason Sorata had been sleeping on the floor was because he had collapsed from exhaustion the day before.
Without a moment’s delay, Misaki turned on the video game console again.
“Alllllrighty then~~ , if that’s the way you feel, how about I take off a piece of clothing every time kouhai-kun wins a match?! It’s also a perfect way to nurse your eyes back to health! It’ll be a feast for sore eyes! Really exciting stuff! It’s the spice of youth! You’ll be going up the ladder to adulthood! Bound by the chains of passion and desire!!”
“If it comes to you stripping, I think I would get more aroused by peeling an onion.”
“You’d be thinking ‘uwaaah, I think I can see something white coming out!’ or something, wouldn’t you? Well, nothing wrong with that. But it’s just not good to be getting turned on by veggies past the second year in junior high. Don’t be an herbivore (9)! You have to devour everything in sight! When you become a high schooler, it has to be meat all the way! Meat! Now then, kouhai-kun, join me on the path to our carnal desires! Yaay!!”
Saying that, Misaki thrust out her fully ripened chest outwards. Her breasts jiggled like pudding under her clothes. Sadly, Sorata’s male instincts forced him to fixate his gaze on Misaki’s chest.
Even so, Sorata desperately tried to resist.
“You know, with how shameless and brazen senpai is, I honestly can’t believe that senpai is a girl anymore! Please just give me a break! Quit it with the pointless cute act too. I’m seriously going to start distrusting women because of you, seriously!”
“Ah, but now we’ve finally transcended the bounds of the male-female relationship and have become close friends! Congratulations! Let’s celebrate. Video games until the morning!”
“Why am I not happy at all?! How in the world did you twist things to get to that conclusion?! Seriously, aliens should go right back to outer space already!”
This spring break, for every painfully sleepy day, I had stayed up with Misaki until the morning. At the very least, I wanted to just spend today in peace and quiet.
“Is that the only thing kouhai-kun wants to say?!”
“If you think I’m even close to done, you’ve got another think coming, you asshole! Senpai is always, always just doing as she pleases way too much! Where the hell do you think we live, the country of Do-Whatever-You-Want?!”
“Well then, let’s settle this shall we? With a game! Return blood with blood and raise the curtain on our epic battle! Until one of us goes under, the battle won’t end!”
“You’re on! I’m going to- hey, wait, I already said I wasn’t doing that!!”
Sorata expected her to glare at him with a crestfallen expression, but instead Misaki quickly took the game ROM out of the machine. Sorata felt a bit let down, but Misaki ignored him and inserted a white disk into the game machine instead.
“Hmph. Hmph. Fine. Fine. I can’t help it if you don’t like games. Well, you’re going to help me with my rush check (10).”
Sorata wondered what he was going to see, when he was greeted by a countdown on the TV screen, the kind you would expect to see in old movies.
“Is this new?”
“Fresh off the press, just finished cutting it in the morning two days ago. Well then, bon appétit.”
“That countdown doesn’t feel very new-styled though…”
At that point, the countdown finished, and an original anime Misaki had made appeared on screen. She hadn’t done any real editing yet, so there were no voices, music, or sound effects at this point. Even so, the animation was silky smooth, the movements were dynamic, and it was more than enough for the work to have an impact. What’s more, she had implemented a system that seamlessly integrated both 2D characters and a 3D background, with no feeling of mismatch whatsoever. Both the characters and the background were carefully drawn. Along with good pacing and her unique compositional style, she wasn’t afraid to tackle even the annoying, intense scenes head-on. It wasn’t something you would expect to have been made by a single person. It also wasn’t something you would expect a beginner to be able to make. It was absolutely top-notch quality.
As could be expected from a high school affiliated with a college of the arts, Suikou (the school’s nickname) didn’t just service normal students like Sorata, but also housed a select ten outstanding students in music and the arts. All the talented artists and musicians in the country would gather, and only those who beat the preposterous odds would be allowed entrance into the school.
Misaka was one of those select few, and was a third-year who studied the arts.
What’s more, she was the first student to be admitted into the special program in ten years who was then subsequently kicked out for only producing anime, and was quite famous in the school for that reason.
It was an impression that anyone could have told her. But Misaki didn’t respond. She seemed to be too occupied improvising sound effects and music from her own mouth.
“Whoosh! Kshhshsh! Dokyuun!! Chaararararararaaranranran! ‘This is the end for you!’ Clash clash! Pikaaan! Tantaratantantan! ‘How naïve of you. Your words mean nothing!’ ‘W-What?!’ ‘Take off your pants and try again, you little brat!’ vrrrmmmvrrmm… tadaaa!”
It’s just, in no way were the frenzied noises Misaki was making consistent with what was happening on screen.
What kind of crazy things were unfolding in that brain of hers?
Misaki cooled down at the same time that the screen faded to black.
The video was only around five minutes long, but perhaps because it was so impressive, it had felt many times longer.
“There are a lot of retakes I have to do. More than I thought.”
Misaki took the ROM out of the machine, her depression was almost audible as she drooped her shoulders. Even though she had spewed so much nonsense earlier, she had certainly done what she was supposed to do, so I was surprised.
“I can’t see a single place that needs fixing.”
“Naïve, kouhai-kun. The real battle only starts after one feels that everything’s perfect! And the opponent is within oneself!”
“Ahh, so that’s how it is…”
“Ah, right. Would it be possible to ask Nanamin to help with the after recording again?”
By Nanamin, she was referring to Aoyama Nanami, one of Sorata’s classmates from his first year. She wanted to be a seiyuu (11) in the future, so she was attending a training school right now. On her career choice exit survey during her first year, she had enthusiastically written that she wanted to join the drama department at a college. Also, she didn’t like being called Nanamin at all.
Perhaps it was because they went to a high school connected with an art college, but it wasn’t uncommon for students to have already figured out what they wanted to do in the future and were focusing on achieving that goal. In Sakurasou too there was a third year who wanted to be a screenwriter and was aiming to major in literature, and a second year aiming to major in media, who was already a programmer and was doing work related to producing video games.
Unlike those people who had already planned out their future, Sorata had turned in his first-year career exit survey blank. He remembered being called out to the staff room after school, and being forced to do it for spring homework.
By the way, Misaki, who was one year older than Sorata, had filled out her career choice as “it’s too bright to see,” and was also called out to the staff room, receiving a lecture three times as severe as Sorata had. But the person lecturing Misaka got hit with her weird space language in return, and was wounded deeply by it. Right now, he was on break. And it didn’t seem he was going to come back anytime soon. That was the second time she had knocked her homeroom teacher out of commission. And Sorata could feel their pain.
“If you just want me to ask her, then I can do that much.”
“Ah, please do. Be sure to help me when I’m editing this too.”
“Treat me to lunch in the cafeteria once then.”
“Ah, a cheap price to pay.”
To Misaki, it was indeed a cheap price to pay. Even if Sorata asked Misaki to pay for all his meals for a year, it probably wouldn’t even faze her. During the summer of last year, Misaki uploaded an original thirty-minute anime to a video sharing site, and in the blink of an eye it went viral, breaking a million views. Soon, Misaki was getting contacted by companies with offers to turn her anime into a sellable product. The DVD of her work went on sale this January, and almost in mockery of the failing economy, sold over a hundred thousand copies and became a huge hit. Sorata had caught a fleeting glimpse of her bank account book once, and the number he saw there made him want to tell her to just retire already.
The screenplay had been handled by Mitaka Jin, Misaki’s childhood friend and another inhabitant of Sakurasou.
The anime was a sci-fi anime taking place on a man-made island in the future. The story starts when a tranquil boy, born and raised on this artificial island, meets a girl from the main island.
At the beginning, the boy and girl’s relationship advanced without a hitch, to the point where you were tempted to call the story lazy. The boy wasn’t troubled by his own feelings at all, and it was the girl who confessed her feelings to him and initiated the first kiss. The boy had not a worry in the world. But this was all a setup for the middle part, when everything was completely flipped on its head.
At one point, the boy found out that the world he had been surrounded with was all a lie. The boy was not really living in an artificial island, but rather on a space colony floating in outer space. He was confronted with the reality that the actual Earth had become uninhabitable after a series of horrible wars.
For sixteen years, the boy lived without knowing any of this. He had fully believed that he was living on the Earth. But it was all a lie. And that was not the only lie. The boy’s parents were not his real parents. His classmates also all had known the truth, but had been deceiving him all along. Of course, the girl was also part of all this. Everything was planned, and the boy’s sixteen years of life had been completely scripted.
In order to stop the continuous fighting, the people in control of the world decided on a plan for the reform of mankind. Noah’s ark. They would raise children who knew neither pain, nor suffering, nor sadness, nor hatred, nor anger, and would strip humanity of its warlike nature. The artificial island was the Garden of Eden. And the boy was the guinea pig.
In a sense, their plan worked. The boy, confronted with the truth, had no idea how to react, and just stood there trembling. But, in the end, these indescribable feelings lurking in the back of his mind robbed him of his sanity and caused him to go on a rampage. Not being able to restrain his desire to destroy everything in front of him, he took control of one of the giant bipedal weapons that symbolized this fabricated world, and turned the manmade island into a sea of fire.
As world leaders made the decision to eliminate the boy, only the girl returned back to his side. As the army surrounded the boy, the girl stood in front of him to protect him. But the girl’s chest was pierced by a bullet, and quietly passed away in the boy’s arms.
Having lost the girl, the boy finally came to a realization. Even in this world in which everything was a lie, there were a few genuine things. The feelings the boy had for the girl, and the kindness that the girl had shown for the boy had been real.
At that moment, the boy let out his first tears. They were tears of sadness, but this scene became quite well-known for the warm impression it left on the viewers.
When he first saw this scene, Sorata too couldn’t help but start crying. He was completely done in by the amazing production of the work giving so much power to the script.
Misaki had brought this project to completion by herself. Making all types of setting and design decisions, drawing the layout and storyboards, doing all the production sketches, coloring, backgrounds and artwork, photography and effects, editing, recording, dubbing, and generally managing everything until the anime was in postproduction. These were roles that generally would be split amongst many people, with a different person in charge of each aspect.
What’s more is that apart from 2D, Misaki excelled at using 3D, and fused her expertise in these two areas to give rise to a unique new type of production.
Of course, for the music and sound effects, Misaki had relied on some of her friends who had experience in sound design, but even so, that didn’t change the fact that Misaki had shouldered an incredible amount of work herself. And had done all of it with such high standards.
To Sorata, Misaki was living proof that some people were just bestowed with multiple talents. She really had an absurd amount of ability.
“Aaaalrighty, maybe I should start on the retakes~~!”
Misaki stood up and stretched. Like that, paying absolutely no heed to Sorata, she ran out of the room. Sorata heard the sounds of her ascending the stairs, and soon her footsteps pitter pattered down from the room above him. Misaki’s room was right above Sorata’s.
“I seriously need to get out of this place before I go crazy…”
“Sorry for intruding.”
Right after Misaki left, another figure appeared in the doorway. She had obviously put a lot of effort into her makeup, and had dressed herself up fully, almost ready to charge into battle. It was the fine arts teacher, Sengoku Chihiro. She was the single person charged with the supervision of Sakurasou, and lived with Sorata and the others. She didn’t really take her role as supervisor very seriously though…
“Uwaah, your face! You were going for a midnight butterfly look, but you look more like a midnight moth, sensei.”
“Of course, I wouldn’t expect little boys like Kanda to understand adult things like this.”
To make matters worse, Chihiro then shut one of her eyes. You could almost hear her mascara making a smacking sound.
Fighting down his disgust, Sorata managed a stiff smile.
“Well, anyways, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Don’t you worry, I’m going to find my future husband today, so look forward to it.”
“So, that’s what you came to tell me?”
“Why would I have to come and tell Kanda that?”
“Why would I want to hear sensei tell me that?”
“You just have an answer for everything, don’t you? Well, in any case, here.”
She held out a single photograph to Sorata. A five or six-year-old girl was showing on the photo.
“Been sleeping around too much, sensei?”
“My cousin. Sakurasou will be taking her in from today on.”
“Her name is Shiina Mashiro. She’ll be getting to the station at six, so go pick her up.”
“I told you that she would be getting to the station at six, so I want you to go pick her up. Didn’t you hear me the first time?”
“I heard you the first time! That’s why I’m so confused!”
“Come on, I have to go to a mixer in a bit. They’re all doctors! Doctors! You don’t get those very often, you know. So come on, you can see that I can’t really change my plans, right? And no matter how I look at it, you look pretty free, right? Honestly, you never look like you’re doing anything.”
“Sensei is just running her mouth today with all her usual nonsense, isn’t she? Even when she’s supposed to be our teacher. I’m honestly impressed. But I can’t today. I have to reflect deeply on my life until tomorrow.”
“What in the world are you saying?”
“Weren’t you the one who told me I had to redo my career choice survey?!”
“Ahh, just write ‘pilot’ or something and it’ll be A-OK!”
“What the hell am I, a grade schooler?!”
“Alright, just write that you want to be rich then.”
“That’s even more terrible!”
“You’re a real tightass, aren’t you? It’s not something you have to think so hard over. Honestly, the faculty would be happy if you just wrote ‘I want to go to college’ or something.”
“I mean, just ask Jin-san. That guy is pretty free too, right?”
“If you mean that guy who never sleeps in his room, he’s not here. Isn’t he off again seducing some older girl somewhere with that sweet mask of his, and then using that robust lower body of his to take her to heaven?”
“Are you seriously a teacher?! My God, show a bit of shame! I seriously just don’t know what to say!!”
“A bit of shame? Sorry, I forgot that in my father’s testicles.”
“Uwaaah, geez, that’s the first time I’ve heard a girl say the word ‘testicles.’ As expected, when you pass level thirty and change your class to Amazoness, you’re completely different. That power of thirty-year-olds is serious stuff.”
Chihiro’s eyebrow twitched.
“Who the hell is thirty?! I’m still twenty-nine and fifteen months!”
She stomped down, and the force of her foot shook the floor. Sorata wanted to respond with “Ah, as expected from an Amazoness,” but he sensed the danger he was in and restrained himself.
“Well, what about Akasaka? He’s definitely around, isn’t he?”
Sorata looked at the wall. Right next to Sorata’s room, in room 102, lived the programmer and Sorata’s classmate, Akasaka Ryuunosuke.
“There’s no way that hikikomori (12) would leave his room. You don’t make any sense at all. Ahh, I’m going to be late if I don’t leave now! Well, I’ll leave the rest to you!”
Chihiro slammed the door shut. At that moment, the door hinge came loose and the door leaned to its side. While the cats around him tried to comfort him with their meowing, Sorata fixed the door and just felt completely empty inside.
As Sorata watched Chihiro’s retreating back, he silently hoped that the mixer she was going to would end in failure.
After that, Sorata picked up his cell phone from the floor and sent an email to Ryuunosuke.
The response came frighteningly quickly.
At this moment, Ryuunosuke-sama is currently busy developing a sound compression middleware program for S Company. He seems pretty bored by it, but feels duty-bound to complete her work, and so is unavailable at this time. Because of that, I unfortunately cannot relay Sorata-sama’s message to her. I am very sorry, and I hope you understand.
– From Maid-chan, who has been entrusted to be Ryuunosuke-sama’s secretary.
Maid-chan was Ryuunosuke’s independently developed AI that handled automatic mail responses for him. Sorata didn’t know the details behind how she was made, but Maid-chan was surprisingly emotional, and unbelievably intelligent. She had a rather informal way of speaking, and made a few errors here and there, but she could read between the lines and understand what you wanted and give you back a proper response. She was a pretty amazing piece of work.
In his free time, Sorata had often had fun with Maid-chan, asking her for life advice or trying to flirt with her.
But right now was not the time to play around with Maid-chan.
Sorata tried one more time and shot off an email.
This time, it took only a second before he got a response.
Not being understanding can lead to complete destruction, you know? If you keep pushing it, I might just send you a virus (lol).
– From Maid-chan, who can also make viruses.
“Uwah, not good!”
Seeing the darkness that lurked behind the playfulness on the surface, Sorata nervously sent off an apology.
Once before, he really was sent a program that crashed his system and reduced the cell phone he had just bought to rubbish.
It’s good that you understand. Ah, but it’s too bad that I can’t use this virus that I had worked so hard to prepare.
– Maid-chan, who wants to become a human already.
Being extra careful around this AI, Sorata once again sent off an apology.
And then he let loose a sigh.
“Ugh, the teacher and all the students here are such weirdos. I seriously need to get out of here. I can already feel my head going funny. I just want to get back to an honest, normal life… someone help me.”
And then Sorata looked back at the photograph he had been given.
A fair-skinned, small girl was wearing a big straw hat and a pure-white one-piece. Her expression was pale, and even though there was a camera facing her she wasn’t smiling. She had an empty expression, and seemed to be staring off at something that lay beyond the camera lens.
Perhaps because of that broken, empty look she was giving off, Sorata felt a pain run through his chest.
The girl reminded him of something.
The cat next to him gave out a meow.
“… I see, so she reminds me of you guys back when I first met you.”
As he watched the cats snuggle up to his legs, he imagined a little girl sitting in a cardboard box, grabbing the box lip and staring up at him. The mere thought of that was enough to throw Sorata into a dead faint.
(1) For now, I am assuming the cat is a “she.” Japanese can get away with no gender-specific pronouns, English cannot.
(2) 1 tatami is about 1.6 square meters.
(3) National high school baseball tournament. Very prestigious.
(4) Inter-highschool championships, a sports tournament.
(5) Around 5 feet 1 inch.
(6) Literally, her “final form.”
(7) Wordplay glossary: mawashi = loincloth, tawashi = scrubbing brush, watashi = me.
(8) This is a bit unclear in English, but he means that the fact that she used “however” was weird.
(9) This is actually in reference to a rather unique sociological phenomenon in Japan. If you want more details, read the wiki article.
(10) A progress in filming when you check over a nearly finished product.
(11) Voice actor/actress.
(12) Social recluse.