Okay, folks, sorry for the long period of silence. I've been very busy with college; now that summer's coming up, I hope to be able to write some more. Anyway, this is a treatment of an idea I've had bouncing around for a while now. I'll detail it a bit more later if people ask about it, but for now, let's see if y'all can get it anyway.
At the conclusion of the last volume, Nozomu-kun had just been discovered by the itinerant piano salesmen he had been sent to infiltrate on the orders of Duke Pororoca and his eighteen daughters. His travels in the land of the sea had left him indebted to the seventh-youngest daughter, Rizzo-chan, when she saved him from tumbling into the fabled NEET Crevasse, and he was now returning that favor by delivering a message to the son of the Piano Lord, a declaration of endless –
Itoshiki Nozomu – homeroom teacher, manic-depressive, and eternally unlucky bearer of the name 'Zetsubou-sensei' – set the thick stack of papers in his hands down with a sigh. His eyes flicked up to the girl standing in front of him, then back down to the manuscript. There was at least another paragraph detailing his supposed exploits, certainly none of which had ever been mentioned before, and yet continuing to read was almost preferable to meeting the expectation being beamed at him from the eyes of his most irrepressible student, Fūra Kafuka.
"Do you have to include the summary every time, Fūra-san?" Nozomu asked finally, thumbing through the rest of the manuscript. About half of it was inked, practically done; closer to the bottom of the stack, ink dissolved into Harumi's confident pencil strokes, then into Kafuka's own amateurish drafts. Nozomu paused on a two-page spread of what appeared to be Chiri with a third eye in the center of her forehead and sighed. There was going to be some horrible pun there, no doubt. "It might be… confusing to someone who's never read it before."
Kafuka tilted her head, touching a finger to her lip as she frowned at her teacher. "But we only ever make enough copies for the students in the class and you, Sensei," she replied, quickly counting off on her fingers. "Oh! And one for Majiru-kun too," she added after a moment. She leaned over the desk, looking down at the chunk of text on the top page. Her eyes flickered back and forth, scanning the upside-down kanji and borderline-nonsense kana with barely a hitch. "And all of them know what's going on already –"
"No they don't," Nozomu protested, turning the top page sideways so they could both read it with only minimal neck strain. "No one knows what's going on at all! Every time, it's like you picked random phrases out of a hat and strung them together as you thought of them."
Kafuka pouted. "Is it that obvious?"
Nozomu blinked at her. "Anyway," he continued, after a moment, "I've never been a fan of these summaries in the first place. Anyone who's following your publication already should know what's been going on, and anyone new trying to come in is going to be confused no matter what! It's self-enforcing exclusivity!" He paused for a second as Kafuka obligingly slid the manuscript to one side, then let his head thump down onto the desk. "I'm in despair," he sighed. "This world of self-enforcing exclusivity has left me in despair."
"What is it today, Kafuka-chan?" a new voice interjected as the door slid open. Nozomu rolled his head to the side to watch as Kobushi Abiru stepped through the door. She raised a bandaged hand in a lazy sort of wave as she set her bag down at her seat; the quiet scrape of her chair against the floor echoed in the otherwise empty room.
"You're early today, Abiru-chan," Kafuka replied, smiling. "It's exclusivity today, looks like. Self-enforcing exclusivity."
"Oh, like in novel trilogies and things like that?" Abiru asked in her quiet voice. She slid her eyepatch to one side as Kafuka handed her the manuscript; her blue-and-brown eyes darting from panel to panel as she spoke. "That happens a lot. I pick up an interesting-looking book, but it's the second book in a series, and the first one's never in stock."
"It's not just books!" Nozomu declared suddenly, standing up. He seized a piece of chalk from the tray at the bottom of the blackboard and made a line of dots down the right side with sharp, crisp motions. "There are many things that practice self-enforcing exclusivity in this world!"
・Prequels you need to have seen the original to understand
・Long forum threads
・A band releases a new CD everyone calls a radical departure, but you haven't heard the old ones
"Every continuation of a topic threatens to lock people who don't know what's going on out of the loop!" Nozomu continued, slamming a hand down on his desk. "And anyone locked out of the loop will naturally want to know what's going on, and it's never worth the effort it takes to find out! Watch," he said warningly, pointing to the door. Kafuka and Abiru looked over, with an air someone uncharitable might describe as 'humoring'. "If anyone comes in while we're talking, the first thing out of their mouth will be 'what are you talking about?'. It's common sense! Any normal, ordinary human being would –" he cut off as the door slid open.
Hitō Nami looked at her classmates, then at the board, then at her teacher, who was still pointing in her general direction. "Please don't say it," she sighed, taking her seat.
"Fair enough," Nozomu agreed briskly, regaining his composure. He swiped the blackboard clean as the rest of the class started to trickle in; the morose-sounding school bells tolled almost as an afterthought. "I'm sorry, Fūra-san. I'll take a look at the rest of it during lunch break, and assuming Fujiyoshi-san hasn't thrown in another page of…" he trailed off, and shared a haunted look with Jun as the quiet boy took his seat. "Anyway, it should be fine."
"That really hurt sales, by the way, Sensei," Harumi called from her seat. "Aren't you willing to make sacrifices for art, anyway?"
"Don't worry about it, Sensei," Kafuka replied over her artist, smiling. "You just wrote another chapter for me, after all."
"…Right," Nozomu replied, somewhat weakly. Somehow he just knew that the only thing recognizable about the incident would be the list, and the remainder would probably involve either mass murder, societal refuse or BL in some way… but that wouldn't be for another volume or so yet, so there was no point in worrying about it now. "Please go sit down," he told Matoi, who did so with a pout. "Otonashi-san, please silence your phone. Let's get started."
So, yes. I know it's short, but I do have a general plan for it. This is mostly to tide you guys over and to get some feedback both on the concept in general, as this is an AU. Anyway, let me know what you think, if you please. And look for more soon!