An Annoying Paradise - Daria 8 - Daria-sama ga Miteru (1)

"You seem happy today." The bus to the subway station hits a bump causing Daria and Jane to bounce slightly.

Jane smiles. "The two months are over. Tomu and I had a date last night at a very discreet place." Jane makes a peace sign.

"Well, you can't be too careful."

"But, I am worried about one thing: two certain people loitering in front of your locker today."

"Should I stay with the cookies theme?"

"Well, unless a trick no longer works, one should stick with it."

Daria sighs. "Makes sense."

"You are low tension today." (2)

"Well, I have an unpleasant task I have to do."

"Are your coaches riding you hard?"

"No, I have to tell a couple of people off."

"That's unpleasant?"

"It is because I am showing concern."

Jane make a face. "Better you that me."

"I told you your decision not to be on stage was smart."

...

Jane scans the halls. "Wow, no Brittany and Keibin."

"I get to save the imaginary cookies for later."

"This is very odd. I will have to investigate this during drawing class."

Daria puts her books away. "Sorry, but duty calls."

Daria runs down the hallway. "Oh, Minamo?"

"Yes, Daria-senpai?"

Daria drags Minamo to the stairwell. Daria slams her hand against the wall near Minamo's head. "We need to talk."

"Ye ... yes?"

"Last night we had practice. I couldn't help but notice that both you and Natsuko where not as good as you two normally are, and not even as good as last week. Is there something I should know? Do you two now have boyfriends?"

Minamo looks down in shame. "No, but, well, Natsuko wanted to lose weight to get into the spirit of the modeling guild and I was trying to keep up with her."

"I can't even begin to describe how stupid this is. We were all at the guild week show, right?"

"Yes."

"Weren't many of the models there a lot less thin than you and Natsuko are normally?"

"Yes."

"Look, please eat normally. If you guys starve yourself I won't be able to relax in the comfort of my own pity party thinking that I am worse than you two."

Minamo involuntarily giggles.

"That's better."

Daria hears some giggling behind her. She runs around to see some seventh grade girls giggling and pointing smart phones. "Is there a problem?"

The girls squeal and run away.

Minamo nudges Daria, "Senpai, I think they thought it was exciting to see an upperclassman 'correct' a underclassman."

"That's stupid. It's not like I haven't heard of such things, but this is a co-ed school. Isn't that a girl's school thing?"

"Well, this is a strange school."

...

Daria and Jane slurp noodles.

"Sorry I didn't tell you this earlier, but I do have the scoop."

"Oh?"

"Brittany and Keibin broke up."

Daria looks up from her noodles. "That's unexpected."

"Well, Brittany told me that Keibin kept calling her the name of some other girl so she dumped him."

"Who is the unlucky girl who got mentioned?"

"She didn't remember the girl's name. Keibin never got the girl's name out before correcting himself."

"Well, so long as they stay away from my locker."

"But, that's not the real scoop."

"What?"

Jane takes out her cell phone and shows Daria a picture from The Wired. "Kind of sexy if you had no idea what sex was."

Daria stares at the picture of her "correcting" Minamo. "Gross."

"I don't know, the picture has seventy hearts so far."

"This is a weird school."

...

Daria and Jane walk towards the entrance to Tokyo Fine Arts School.

"Please join our new guild! Please join our new guild."

Daria and Jane grin at each other.

"I wonder what hair brained idea they have this time?"

Jane shrugs. "Hey, what's this new guild all about?"

Sandi turns up her nose. "Not that you two could join, but it's for guys who want to worship fashion goddesses."

Daria smirks. "Have you obtained a faculty sponsor yet?"

Tiffany speaks in her usually slow monotone. "We've had three so far who said maybe."

Daria and Jane walk to their lockers. Daria sees Keibin in front of Daria's locker making out with some girl.

Jane motions for Daria to be quiet. Jane takes out her cell phone and snaps a picture of Keibin and the girl, then starts smirking.

"What's so funny?"

"Check it out."

Daria's eyes bug out when she sees that the girl is Haruko.

"This one should belong to you."

"Great." Daria approaches the couple. "Wow, Keiby, is that the best you can do? You're giving me a bad reputation now."

Keiby turns around, angered. "Now wait just a second. You never gave me cookies."

Haruko smacks Keibin in the back of the head. "Why are you talking to her? You're with a star."

"Oh, hi Haruko. Didn't Kieby tell you that this is my locker? You don't think that he's doing this to try to make me jealous, do you? I would be livid if I was in your shoes."

Haruko grabs Keibin by the ear and drags him off.

"Well played."

"So what will you do with that picture?"

"If Tomu thinks it's a good idea, I will email it Josephine."

Daria smiles.

...

Daria shows up to practice but notices that T is there.

"Now that everyone is here, I would like to introduce you all to generation nine of the Harmony Project trainees."

Four girls walk out from behind a partition.

"Please introduce yourselves."

"Yagawa Nanamo, first year, junior high. Please take care of me." Namamo looks very calm and composed.

"Funaku Musuba, first year, junior high. Please take care of me." Musuba is shorter than the other three and nervously fidgets when she talks.

"Nakashi Bana, first year, junior high. Please take care of me." Bana speaks with an Osaka accent and has long parted hair. Her hair is similar to Risu, but Bana is not as pretty as Risu. Bana moves her hands a lot when she talks.

"Omura Utako, first year, junior high. Please take care of me."

T nods. "We are starting all four out at the remedial level. To help them on their journey, I am assigning the following intermediate trainees to be mentors: Chisako with Nanamo, Natsuko with Musuba, Bana with Minamo, and Utako with Daria. Please introduces yourselves. Now, I have another appointment so you will have to excuse me." T walks out of the third music hall.

Daria approaches Utako. "Well, I guess you're stuck with me."

Utako looks shocked. "Wait, you're Asumura Daria, right?"

"Who want's to know?"

"All of my classmates were excited by the prospect that I could get you as a mentor."

"Does this have anything to do with a strange picture that was put on The Wired?"

"Of course, the one titled 'The Correction'. It was so sexy."

Daria face plants, then regains her composure. "Well, I am now confused. Are you planning on constantly screwing up in hopes that I will correct you, or are you planning on doing your best under the assumption that I will correct you for some small matter that you could not have been expected to know?"

"I'll do my best!"

"Rats. My last hope to avoid debuting was to have a kouhai that was always getting in trouble. I even found out which bars will serve underage kids alcohol so that I could corrupt you."

Utako laughs very hard. "That's so funny."

Daria looks at her stone faced. "That's not a joke. I don't want to be an idol. I only agreed to be a trainee so that I could go to this school and be mentored in creative writing. The prospect of actually debuting is most unpleasant for me. It feels like a joke that has gone on for too long."

"But, you are already an idol to my classmates."

"That's their problem, not mine."

"WOOOOO!" Utako jumps holding her bottom.

"Oh, I should have warned you earlier. I must be a bad senpai. If you make intermediate and practice with the rest of us, you'll always need to know where Yamaka Risu is. If you loose track of her, that might happen."

Utako puffs out her cheeks and looks crossly at Risu. "What grade are you in?"

Risu smiles unapologetically. "Third year middle school, but I skipped a year."

"Where I am from, people who still did kancho (3) in fourth grade were seen as immature."

Manako jumps to Risu defense. "If it is any consolation, she's gotten all of us with that. Honestly, one needs a character like that in an idol group so I don't mind her too much."

Daria speaks in a creepy voice. "Risu will do it to you so often you'll wake up in the middle of the night holding your butt."

Manako shoves Daria's head. "She's lying. Risu only does it to people more than once if they want her to. Daria's just trying to discourage you so she can avoid debuting."

Utako glares at Daria. "It's not going to work."

...

Daria leads a large group into the dimly lit building. "Well, here we are. It's kind of a tradition among the trainees, Cyberia's all ages night."

Utako looks around. "This is a dump."

"No argument here. This is a place where girls slurp overpriced diluted sodas, dance to kind of awful music, and flirt with as many boys as possible."

Manako pushes Daria head. "Don't listen to her."

Utako laughs. "You're starting to sound like a granny, Manako-senpai. I don't need to be protected. I know when Daria is lying. She tilts her head."

"I do not!"

Manako puts her hand behind her head and nervously laughs. "Dar-dar, you totally do."

Daria pouts. "You were going to tell me that before I debuted, right?"

"Now you care about your debut?"

"Oops."

Minamo tries to defuse the situation. "Utako, one of the big traditions we have at all ages night is group dances. The officials and the intermediates try to get the remedial trainees to do the dances they are currently working on."

Utako smiles. "Sounds good."

Minamo, Bana, Utako, and Natsuko go off by themselves to go over a dance.

Daria drifts off to talk to Jane. "What's up?"

"Texting with Tomu."

"Is he here?"

"No, that would be to risky. So, how is the disciple?"

"Horrible. She seems totally competent and completely resistant to my efforts to sabotage her idol career."

Jane looks over at the group dance practice. "She's not too bad for a beginner, although Minamo and Natsuko haven't improved as teachers. You and Manako might have to rescue them."

"That's sounds like doing something good."

"Yeah, there's that."

The dance group comes over to Daria.

Minamo smiles sheepishly. "Senpai, could you help these two?"

"Well..."

"Excuse us." A group of three underclassmen girls approach Daria. "Please forgive our rudeness, but we have a serious question."

Daria shrugs. "Go ahead, but be warned that I charge for kabedon."

"Have you made Minamo your petite soeur?" (4)

Daria face plants. "You realize that we don't go to an all-girls school and our school isn't Catholic, right?"

"Have you?"

Daria smirks a little bit, noticeable to Jane, but not to the three girls. "Look, Minamo and I don't need any stereotyped rituals or titles. Minamo is a very important person to me and I always look out for her to make sure that she can achieve all she can. But, if Minamo wants to buy a rosary I wouldn't be opposed to giving it to her."

The three girls squeal and run away.

Jane smirks. "They're probably wiping the blood from their noses in the bathroom now." (5)

Natsuko shoves Daria. "Wait a second. Don't you like me, as well?"

Daria smiles an evil grin. "Don't feel bad Natsuko. If you want, I can tell your classmates the same thing about you. But, I charged Minamo five thousand yen, so I would have to charge you the same."

Natsuko gives Daria an evil look, then involuntarily starts laughing.

"So, should I help with the dance?"

Daria watches the four dance. Utako makes typical beginner mistakes but mostly keeps the rhythm going. Bana on the other hand is hopeless, thrashing away randomly, completely off the count.

"Bana? Are you okay?"

"Sorry senpai, I get confused."

"If it is any consolation, I was worse when I first started out."

"Really?"

"Well, if you give me one thousand yen I will continue saying that."

Bana sticks out her tongue.

"Let's break down the dance into four segments, and try to master the first one."

Manako and Jane watch.

"She's come so far, huh?"

Jane shrugs. "Only because the two of us carried her. Don't get your hopes up. The Daria I know will find a way to sabotage her chances before too long."

Manako looks worried.

A pair of shoes catches Jane's eye. "Oh, wait. There's something I need to investigate."

Jane walks over to the person wearing the shoes. "Hi, Brittany."

"Who are you?"

"Your classmate, Jane Lane."

"Oh yeah, I remember now. Lane from the Wired."

"Yes, my hair is down. But, what's going on with you?"

Brittany looks like she's going to cry. "I thought that if I create a cool alter ego like you did then I won't have my boyfriends leaving me."

"Alter ego?"

"Yes, I am disguised. But, I haven't figured out an alter ego name yet."

Jane looks at Brittany's weirdly died black hair. "Miss manic panic?"

"That's not bad. But, how did you know it was me?"

"You wear those sneakers every day."

"Darn it! I need to up my game."

"Um, Brittany, it's not like I don't think that you're kind of cool for making this effort, but I never planned to have an alter ego. I only wore my hair down so my rocker brother wouldn't tease me. Other people started that alter ego thing without any effort on my part. Also, Tomu doesn't stay with me because I have a cool alter ego, he does so because he isn't a moronic, egotistical jerk."

"Wait a second, are you calling me a jerk?"

"No, I'm calling Keibin a jerk."

"Why are you calling my Keiby a jerk?"

"Because he dumped you, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."

"On the other hand, there are easier ways to create an alter ego than wasting a lot of money on unnatural looking hair dye."

"There is?"

"You could just get a big pair of glasses with clear lenses. No one would recognize you."

"I have glasses."

"Do you wear contacts?"

"No, they are too scary."

"Why don't you wear your glasses?"

"They make me look like a nerd."

Jane smirks. "That kind of explains a lot. Try this. Next week for all ages night don't dye your hair and just wear glasses. No one will recognize you and the cute nerdy girl can be your alter ego."

Brittany mulls this over. "Maybe."

...

"He was trying to get a good nights sleep but it was impossible. Next on Hen Kanashii Sekai: The salmon were shouting!" (6)

Daria turns off the TV and calls Jane. "Hey, who was that dark haired chick you were talking to?"

"Brittany, trying to create a cool alter ego."

"Um, I don't know if I think that's cool or pathetic."

"It was only a rough draft. She'll have a more polished piece ready next week."

"Is this some weird art thing?"

"Of course."

...

"Daria!"

Daria turns around after putting one of her books in her looker. She glances quickly at the person's chest. "Oh hi, Yuuki."

"Did you see?"

"See what?"

"My voice acting debut. It finally aired. I had recorded it a couple of weeks ago."

"Is this on Love Idol War?"

"Hey, if you don't watch it, I totally understand. I had barely watched it myself, for obvious reasons."

"Wait a minute, Haruko started going on a rampage a couple of weeks ago. Do you no longer watch her?"

"Pin pon." Yuuki makes a circle with her arms. (7) "They decided it was too much for me to both babysit and get into character for my role."

"Are you worried that Haruko is going to get in trouble and cause the show to collapse?"

"Ajax is making a lot of money off the show. I'm sure that they can hush up any trouble Haruko can get into."

"I hope so for your sake."

"Hey, if I edit the show to just show my scenes without Haruko's character would you be interested in watching?"

"Does your character have big breasts?"

Yuuki winks. "You'll have to wait and see."

To be continued

(1) The title is a play on the title of the light novel/anime/manga called "Maria-sama ga Miteru" (The Virgin Mary is Watching). Here the meaning is "Our looked up to strict senpai Daria is watching".

(2) The English phrase "low tension" in Japan means "low energy".

(3) Kancho is also known as "1000 years of pain" to Naruto fans.

(4) "Petite souer" means little sister in French. "Imoto" would be little sister in Japanese, but here they are using petite souer in the sense used in Catholic girl schools: that Daria has given Minamo her rosary and has pledged to guide Minamo in the rules of the school so that Minamo can stay out of trouble.

(5) It is an anime cliche that when a male character accidentally sees the panties of a girl he gets a nose bleed.

(6) The salmon were shouting = Sake ga sakenda.

(7) Pin pon is the sound used on variety shows for a correct answer. Also, circle is correct, x is incorrect.