Comiket Part the Second
The Unforeseen Implications of Cosplay.
Two princesses, a knight and a Pik-chu waited for the train.
The first princess came with the Pok-mon but at the moment, wasn't talking to him. You see, the Pik-chu had made the offhand comment that the princess was prettier than his girlfriend. Understandably, the princess took offense and now refused to talk to her electric rat boyfriend. The knight was meeting a Viera and several different kinds of Shinigami along the train route but for now he stood alone off to the side, jumping up and down to jiggle his Pok-walker to gain levels faster.
The second princess fidgeted with the frills of her dress nervously, completely dumbfounded and waiting for her friend. Yutaka shifted from side to side nervously, trying to avoid the other conventionieers' gaze. Once or twice, the knight or the Pik-chu would glance in her direction and Yutaka would do her best to make herself unnoticeable until the medieval warrior/pocket monster resumed level hopping/arguing with his soon to be ex-girlfriend.
Yutaka wanted to just spend the night at Minami's house and head to the station from there but Minami-chan had been very secretive the last few days. Now and then Minami would be reading an obscure game manual but every time Yutaka tried to sneak a look, Minami would hastily hide it away while skirting the subject. Yutaka didn't know what Minami was so worried about; if she could dress up like a blue haired princess that piloted a drill robot then Minami shouldn't be too embarrassed by her costume.
Yutaka's train of thought was derailed by the arrival of a fifth passenger waiting for the train. Yutaka looked up at the new arrival coming up the stairs only to blush and look down nervously as it appeared to be a very beautiful young man. Yutaka guessed he was going to Comiket judging by his grey hair (probably dyed) and general getup (besides, not many people caught such an early train on a Saturday). He (or Yutaka supposed his character) had a unique style. His short hair was bound by a cap and bandana and his longcoat plunged a little, almost exposing his pale chest. What surprised Yutaka was how pretty the boy was. Not handsome but really pretty almost like a character from one of Patty's manga. His face was still mostly obscured by the rim of the hat but from what she could see…
Yutaka squeaked and ducked behind the ticket kiosk as the boy stepped up on the platform. She had never been good at talking to boys and to tell the truth, boys were a little intimidating to her. It wasn't as if she expected the boy to walk up to her and start a conversation out of the blue but still she avoided his searching gaze. Apparently he was already waiting for someone…
Yutaka felt a small buzzing in her pocket as her phone alerted her of a text. Where are you waiting? Minami's phone said
She must be on her way, Yutaka thought to herself. She texted back with the platform number, adding "By the cute boy" for reference. She didn't know Minami's tastes in boys but anyone with eyes could classify the boy in the coat as "cute."
She shot a furtive glance at the boy as if he was watching her call him "cute." For his part, he was mildly checking his phone, shooting a glance at the hopping knight and the Pik-chu curiously.
Yutaka got a "???" reply for Minami a few seconds later. Yutaka scooted behind the ticket kiosk to see if Minami was on the street below the station. There was a small group coming up the stairway but none of the elves, dwarves or assorted Shinigami looked like Minami. Still, Yutaka added the ticket kiosk to the text and sent it off, hoping Minami could find her in the rapidly swelling crowd of train passengers. Konata said the train would swell up around the fourth or fifth stop but by the looks of the platform-
"Oh, there you are." Yutaka perked up as Minami's voice called out to her.
"Oh, good morning Minami-ch…" Yutaka trailed off as she finally understood what Minami was hiding from her all week. The ashen grey hair…the red bandanna…the distressed jeans…even though Minami had called her by name, she was having a hard time putting the image of her best friend together with the brash handsome young man before her.
"I was wondering where you were." Minami said, checking her phone. "You said something about a cute guy but…" Minami chuckled to herself, glancing at the hopping knight and the overgrown Pik-chu. "I wasn't sure which one you meant.
"Uh-huh…" Yutaka said, more than a little embarrassed that she had accidentally mistook her friend for a boy (a very girly boy but still…) "Uh…I think Pik-chu's are cute…"
"Right, right…" Minami said, taking notice of Yutaka's costume for the first time. Her short hair had been dyed powder blue with streaks and swirls of white. Costume jewelry bracelets and armbands rested on her arms and clinked together as she fidgeted nervously for some reason. A necklace held a red neckerchief and a matching belt sat snugly around her waist. This was all over a sleeveless pink dress with a short skirt that Yutaka kept tugging down nervously. It was a little short, but Yutaka looked good in it.
"That dress looks nice on you." Minami said.
"Oh…thanks…" Yutaka mumbled, suddenly shy. "Um…your costume is…um…"
"What?" Minami said, blushing a little. "I-is there something wrong with my costume? C-can you tell I'm a girl?"
"No!" Yutaka blurted out, blushing in response. "You look like a guy! Ah! I mean a pretty guy! Oh wait…I mean a pretty guy that looks like a girl that…er…" Yutaka fidgeted nervously. "I mean…you too?" Minami-chan makes a pretty boy…Yutaka thought to her self
To Yutaka's surprise, Minami laughed again. "Thanks." Any further small talk was ended with the arrival of the train. As Minami and Yutaka jostled their way into the car, Minami caught a few boys covertly pointing, giggling and whispering in Yutaka's direction. They promptly stopped as Minami adjusted her cap and shot them what she hoped was a menacing glare. It must have worked because one of the boys readying a camera jumped a little and dropped on the floor with a sharp bang. Minami swept her gaze over the startled cosplayer's friends before turning back to Yutaka with a smile. They were probably harmless but taking pictures of random girls on the train didn't exactly make Minami comfortable.
This could be a long ride… Minami thought, glancing at the other passengers with uncertainty.
Wow…Minami-chan makes a cute boy…Yutaka thought privately.
"Wow…I've never seen this place so empty before!" Patty exclaimed, looking down at the small crowd of artists and assistants milling around each other's booths. There was about fifteen minutes left in the preliminary artists fair and about thirty minutes before the doors would open and the day's crowd would rush to get the limited prints and pieces. Fortunately for Patty, she had enough time after helping set up the club's stand to hit all her main targets before the cheering throngs tore apart what was left.
"It's empty when it's not in use." Hiyori pointed out, taking a long guzzle out of her flask of coffee, grimacing as she did. "Why did I let you talk me into bringing coffee? I hate coffee."
"Because you were really cranky this morning." Patty said "I can't have you fall asleep in mid sale; your future as a manga artist depends on it!"
Hiyori raised an eyebrow. "My whole future…really?"
"Oh enough with the sarcasm." Patty said, swinging her bags happily. "You could be discovered here! Your favorite studio could be scouting the doujinshi circles for untapped talent and you need to make an impression!"
"Well if you feel so strongly about my career, why did you keep me up last night?"
"I was antsy!" Patty said, bouncing on her toes as they approached the Ryōō Manga Club Booth. "This is my first Comiket after all."
"Really? I'm surprised…" Hiyori and Patty turned around to see Daisuke and Kensuke coming up the stairs to meet them, bags full of swag and panting heavily.
"Looks like you two made out like thieves." Hiyori commented, eyeing the bulging plastic bags with a mix of awe and uncertainty.
"Every…booth…" Daisuke panted, adjusting the cosplay goggles on his head.
"Every…last…one…" Kensuke groaned, setting his bags down and rubbing his shoulders. "Long…walk…"
"Good experience…" Daisuke said, checking the small red and white device on his belt.
"Quil-ava must have gained twenty levels." Kensuke agreed, checking his identical device.
"You guys really hit all the booths?" Patty asked.
"Except South High, of course." Ko replied, coming up the stairs behind them, miraculously not out of breath. "As far as I'm concerned, they can leave with what they brought."
"Hopefully we'll leave lighter than we came." Kensuke said, eying the boxes of manga behind the booth. "I have to take the train home and I don't want to bring any more than I have to."
"Says the guy with twenty pounds of doujin." Patty giggled.
"Like you're one to talk." Daisuke said, prodding Patty's bulging bag with a novelty foam hammer he bought. "You have almost as much as we do."
"What can you expect; it's the girl's first Comiket." Hiyori said, following Ko back to the booth.
"Really?" Daisuke said. "I thought you were here last year too."
"Yeah, but my sister Liz was in town and she wanted to hit Shibuya so she could shop." Patty chuckled. "Liz is a total fashion slave."
Daisuke and Kensuke shared a glance. "You have an older sister named Liz?"
"Yeah." Patty said. "Well, Elizabeth but you know…"
"Still…" Kensuke said. "You…Patty…have a big sister named Liz…"
"Yeah…" Patty said. "What's your point?"
"You don't think that's a bit…funny?" Daisuke asked.
"Funny "ha ha" or funny strange?" Patty asked, still confused.
"Well…it's just Liz…Patty…" Kensuke mumbled dumbly. "Doesn't that remind you of anything…"
"No…should it?" But before Patty could ask for further clarification, Ko's voice brought the club to order.
"Sisters…brothers…assorted otaku. Lend me your ears." Ko perched atop the folding table, calling to arms the small club around her. The freshman Nagisa-kun, Chiba-chan and Ryo-kun stopped unpacking the boxes and took their places in front of Ko as she prepared to make a speech.
"In less than," Ko paused to dramatically check her watch. "Thirty minutes, those doors out there will open and the 2009 Winter Comic Market will have officially begun. More than one hundred thousand people will break upon us like a cold, unforgiving ocean of sweaty and inappropriately dressed comic fans." Ko began to pace back and forth as Daisuke and Kensuke glared solemnly like a pair of lieutenants supporting their commander. Ko paused for a moment, letting the image sink in before going on. "And what do those people have?! Nagisa-san!"
"Acne!" Nagisa blurted out, stricken with panic.
"Lt. Daisuke, discipline that man." Ko said, ignoring the sound of a giant foam mallet colliding with the insubordinate freshman's head. "Tamura! Your thoughts!"
"Giant foam swords!" Hiyori added, ducking Daisuke's hammer attack elegantly.
"No, No, No!" Ko said, moving down the line. "Martin!"
"Inappropriately tight Sail-r M-on skirts, ma'am!" Patty said proudly saluting.
Ko sighed, rubbing her eyes. "Focus minions! What do they have that we are interested in?!"
"Inappropriately tight Sail-r M-on skirts, ma'am!" The entire club said, mirroring Patty's salute."
"Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, AND WRONG!" Ko grabbed Daisuke's souvenir hammer and wheeled it around in a wide sweep, barely missing everyone except Nagisa who was sent spinning to the floor with the force of her blow.
There was a stunned silence as the underclassmen shared confused looks. "Ma'am, please clarify!" A terrified freshman girl squealed.
"What goes in empty bags, Chiba-chan?!" Ko demanded.
"Uh…uh…" Chiba trembled Ko readied her hammer for a second strike.
"Doujinshi, chief!" Hiyori said, coming to her junior's aid. "People bring empty bags to Comiket to store doujinshi."
"Correct!" Ko said, brandishing the hammer at Chiba. "You lucked out there, Chiba-chan."
"Th-thank you sempai." Chiba whispered to Hiyori.
"Though there appear to be a limitless number of customers waiting outside," Ko continued pacing, lightly bouncing the hammer on her shoulder. "Quantum Physics dictates there is a finite amount of empty space in said empty bags!"
"Quantum physics?" Patty whispered to Hiyori. "Did I hear that right?"
"She's on a roll, don't stop her." Hiyori assured.
"Your objective; fill as many of those empty bags as possible with OUR merchandise!" Ko said. "Above all…above the money to cover our printing costs…I will accept nothing less than overwhelming success! I want every issue gone by the end of today! Am I understood?!"
"Ma'am!" The club responded in unison.
"Good…now listen up because this is my attempt at being inspiring." Ko paused to choose her words carefully. "Now I know I've been a bit difficult to deal with for the past few months…" Ko paused again as the club members loosed a collective snark that could be easily translated into duh. "But it's only because…I like what I see. I really admire the work you guys do. I've seen some really interesting stuff in my life as a fangirl…some…really interesting stuff…" Ko's eyes glazed over for a second, lost in some bizarre memory. "Like Chiba-chan! Sure, there's a thousand and one Nanoha/Fate doujins but you have a quirky style that makes it fun to read. That's why I liked being in this club; you guys are all out of your tiny little minds! And I mean that in the best possible way! What other circle in the world could dream up a Ranko/Asuka doujin and make it work!?" Ko stopped to take a breath. "I guess what I'm trying to say is…thank you."
Patty and Hiyori shared a glance as Ko offered a little bow to her group. "Thank you all for making my high school years memorable." The club looked at each other and there was a general murmur of "Thank you Ko-sempai" passed around before Ko resumed her pacing.
"Good. Now that that's out of the way, there's the matter of my successor." There was a sudden intake of breath. The passing of the torch between one head of the Manga Club to the next. Everyone leaned in closer to listen.
"Now, I've spent a long time conferring with my henchmen," Ko gestured to Daisuke and Kensuke as the rest of the club leaned in even closer.
"And after much deliberation," Hiyori and the others were practically on their tip toes.
"I've decided…to not decide."
The anticlimax caused at least six people, including Hiyori, to lose their balance and fall flat on their face like a row of anxious teenage dominoes.
For her part, Ko looked very pleased with herself. "Cause a mass facefault IRL…" Ko said, taking out a worn piece of paper and drawing a line on it. "Cross that off the bucket list…"
"Sempai!" Hiyori spluttered, as Patty pulled her to her feet.
"Calm down, Tamura." Ko said airily. "By Comiket's end, there will be a new chair of the Manga Club. All I'm saying is I'm not picking; you are."
"M-me?" Hiyori squeaked.
"All of you." Ko clarified. "I want everyone to vote on who'll take the reins after I leave." Ko reached behind her and produced a box with "VOTES" written on the front. "Give it some thought but by the end of today, I want your votes in this box! Am I understood?"
"Good! Now before you all scamper off to patronize the less talented circles around here…I'd like our Lieutenants to lead us in a little charm some of you may be familiar with…" Wordlessly, the club circled up and at first, Patty shuffled off to the side so as not to get in the way of their club ritual. Ko caught her eye and before Patty could protest, Ko raked her in to stand between her and Hiyori. The club circled around Daisuke and Kensuke as they raised their hands in the center. Patty shot a questioning look at Hiyori who gave her a reassuring smile and grabbed her right hand, raising it to lightly touch hers and Daisuke's.
"As we approach the crucial battlegrounds…" Daisuke began in a solemn tone.
"Believe that our blades will not shatter…" Kensuke said, equally grave.
"Believe that our resolve will not weaken." Daisuke responded.
"Though our paths may diverge-"
"Our iron hearts will remain together."
"Swear that though the land itself may break asunder"
"We will come back here…alive!"
With that, the doors opened at the far end of the hall. Comiket had begun.
This chapter is a long story. It's been a while since I updated but that's mainly for these reasons.
School's a beez but I've got it under control now
Got bit by a Pokèmon bug so I'm hammering out a short little story "The Sound of Falling Rain" (coughCheckItOutcough coughOnMyProfilePagecough cough ShamlessSelfPromotion cough)
Some fool got me Final Fantasy XIII and HeartGold for my birthday (both are phenomenal AWESOME!!!! btw) so my productivity has gone straight to hell
I lost the original file so I have to rewrite the second half of this
So now that my pitiful excuses are out of the way, a little business. Yutaka is dressed as Nia Tepplin from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (a pun on her English VA) and Minami is going as the zetta awesome Minamimoto Sho from The World Ends With You (if you own a DS Get This Game!!) Finally, the speech Daisuke and Kensuke give is from Bleach. The Patty and Liz part is from Soul Eater (sharp eyes, Outcast XIV!) one of my favorite manga that Patty hasn't read (but is awesome!).
Please drop a review and next time, the Comiket trilogy will come to an end in an explosive fashion! Lives lost! Fanservice! Friendships betrayed! Fanservice! Lying Authors BS their readers! All this plus fanservice! Lucky Legacy! Comiket Part Tres! Fear and Loathing in Tokyo. Coming as soon as I file my taxes!
Look forward to it!