日常 - nichijou, Arawi Keiichi


3:25 pm.

Misato's face is glowing bright red. She's rapidly walking through the hallway with her eyes snapped shut.

"That Sasahara!" Misato shouts, waving her hand as bursts of steam shoot out of her ears. "What was he thinking!? That idiot! Hmph!"

Suddenly, someone bumps into her. Maybe walking through the hallways with her eyes closed isn't the best idea.

"Oh, sorry," Misato apologizes distractedly.

"No worries," the blindfolded student says, smiling.

Misato shakes her head and continues walking, staring at the ground. "That Sasahara!... That guy!... What's with him?..."

She steps into the schoolyard. She looks up.

"He's like that plastic bag," she mutters, glaring at the object being blown around in the distance. "Doing what he wants without a care in the world. Hmph."

Misato stops for a moment, gazing into the air.


可塑

"Plastic"


She exhales and clenches her teeth.

"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she shouts, sprinting towards the green bag. She quickly pulls herself over the fence and hits the ground on all fours.

"Just what do you think you're doing!?" she demands, jabbing an accusatory finger at the plastic bag.

The bag just floats there.

"You're a plastic bag. You belong in the garbage, not in the air."

The bag just floats there.

"Get down here, or I'll make you."

The bag just floats there.

"Feisty one." Misato's eyes narrow. "You asked for it."

She reaches behind her and slowly draws her kendo sword without taking her eye off of the bag.

"Men!" Misato jumps and slashes. The sword misses by less than a centimeter, and the resulting air movement blows the bag even higher.

Misato sighs. "You think you're pretty clever, don't you?"

A gust of wind blows the bag away.

"You're not getting away!"

Misato grabs her sword and places it back in its holder as she takes off after the bag.

The wind is strong today. The bag is getting further and further away. Even worse, it's in the air, so it doesn't need to worry about obstacles like houses or buildings.

"So that's your plan?" Misato takes a quick look around. Residential area… "Not gonna work!"

She does a sharp left turn into the driveway of some house. She leaps right over the fence and into the backyard. Avoiding the garden hose and the toys lying on the ground, Misato runs right up to yet another fence. After crossing the backyard beyond that fence, she comes to another road. She cuts across the road and continues running through even more driveways and backyards.

The bag flies through the air, twirling and tumbling. Misato soon finds herself running into a busy urban area.

She stares at the bag in the distance. The wind is more erratic in this area due to the taller buildings.

Misato runs across the street and directly into the first floor of a multi-storey department store. Ignoring all of the surprised customers, Misato weaves through the aisles and displays, quickly closing in on the escalators. She reaches the roof on the fourth floor in less than twenty seconds. She slams the door open and surveys the scene. Ah, the plastic bag is over there, hovering near that roof several buildings over.

"Just give up already!" Misato shouts, sprinting towards the bag, unhindered by the meter-wide gaps between the rooftops.

The wind shifts, and the bag begins drifting away from the roof. Still several meters away, Misato leaps towards it, and her fingers get within 10 centimeters of the bag before she begins falling.

Misato braces herself, smacks the top of a tall dumpster, rolls off, and lands on the pavement without injury. She looks up.

The bag has begun descending due to a break in the wind.

"Heh, heh," Misato grins. "You've got nowhere to run. You've managed to get yourself cornered behind a building, eh? How careless."

Huge imposing brick walls loom over them on all four sides.

"Ironic, too," Misato says, gesturing towards the dumpsters lying around. "You're going to get captured in the very same place that you're trying to escape from."

The bag swirls around lazily, several meters above the ground.

"Now then, are you going to turn yourself in peacefully, or are you going to make my job even harder?" Misato draws her kendo sword. The bag is now low enough for her to reach.

"Anyway," she grins. "It's all over for you."

Misato takes a step forward, lifting up her kendo sword. "Now, to end—"

She gasps, beads of sweat appearing on her face. There's something behind her.

She gulps. Slowly, she turns around.

Her eyes widen. "What's this…"

The wind has picked up again, and floating behind her are three plastic bags of different colours— one red, one yellow, and one blue. "Reinforcements!?"

A blast of wind comes, and the four bags scatter in different directions, quickly disappearing into nearby alleyways

"Was this your plan all along?" Misato's expression darkens.

The four bags get further away.

"Che." Misato closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. "Time to stop holding back."

Her eyes snap open and she shoots off after the bag to her left. She chases it over the fence and through an alleyway.

Her grip on her kendo sword tightens. Her eye glints.

"Wind slash!"

A shockwave of air blasts forward, hits the red bag, and slams it into the brick wall on the other side of the street.

Misato runs across the street, peels the bag off of the wall, and jams it into her pocket.

"Not bad for a move that I made up just now," Misato mutters. "Next."

She sprints down the sidewalk for a while before turning and crossing the street again. She runs into the alleyway. She makes a right turn, a left turn, then another right turn before spotting the blue bag.

"Over here!" Misato shouts. She grips her kendo sword.

"Wind slash!"

The air blast slams the bag into a door at the end of the alleyway.

Misato scrapes off the blue bag. "What a tricky guy, getting all of them to split up like that," she mutters as she pockets the bag.

She takes a quick look around, taking in every detail of her surroundings, searching for something that would determine her next move.

Misato spots a fire escape on the side of one of the buildings in this alleyway. There!

With a running jump, and using a trash can as a boost, Misato grabs onto the bottom of the shaky metal structure. She quickly heaves herself up, climbs the staircase, and leaps onto the roof.

Misato grins, panting slightly, looking around.

"There you are!" Misato takes off, jumping across the building tops, heading directly towards the yellow bag in the distance.

She's slowly gaining on the bag. She does a sharp right turn and jumps off the roof, landing on a street light. Without missing a beat, she continues running forward, jumping from street light to street light.

As she approaches the intersection, she jumps off of the street light and onto the bus shelter, and then onto the top part of the bench. She turns right and bounds across the congested road, from car roof to car roof.

She lands on the sidewalk, goes around the corner, and continues running forward at full speed.

She looks to her left and sees the yellow bag on the other side of the road, matching her pace.

"Hmph."

She grips the handle.

"Wind slash!"

The air blast zooms across the street without hitting any cars or pedestrians and slams the yellow bag into the window of an Italian restaurant.

Misato skids to a stop, looking at the defeated bag with a grin, panting for breath.

She shrugs, and then walks across the street to scrape off the bag.

"And finally, the last guy."

In the distance, the green bag is tumbling and twirling into an area with lots of trees.

"The park, huh." Misato puts the yellow bag into her pocket, takes a step, and then sprints after the bag.

"What were you even thinking, coming here, huh?" Misato shouts, entering the park. "You're gonna end up tangled up in one of these branches!"

The bag hovers next to a lamp post.

"I'm going to give you one more chance," Misato says, casually jamming her kendo sword into the ground like a walking stick. "Turn yourself in. Save ourselves both a lot of trouble."

The bag floats in the air.

"I will eventually capture you. You're just making it harder on yourself."

The bag floats.

"Suit yourself."

The bag floats.

Misato's eye glints. "Wind slash!"

The bag suddenly twirls out of the way. The air blast misses.

"Che. Wind slash! Wind slash!"

The bag somehow manages to dodge all of the air blasts.

Misato walks towards the bag. "You're annoying. Wi—"

She gasps. Her kendo sword clatters on the ground as she drops to her knees, clutching her wrist. "I've… I've overused it…" Sweat trickles down her face.

The bag just floats there.

Slowly, Misato bends down, picks up the sword, and puts it back in its holder. "This isn't over."

The bag just floats there.

Misato stands there for a moment, catching her breath.

The bag just floats there.

Misato's eyes snap wide open. "HYAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" she roars, sprinting forward.

She swipes at the bag, but the bag twirls out of the way.

She spins around, jumps, and swipes again. Another miss.

She lunges at the bag and hits the ground without the bag in her hands.

The wind begins blowing the bag across the park. Misato runs after the bag, leaping, jumping, spinning, rolling, skidding, swiping and kicking at the bag.

This goes on for a while.

Soon, the street lights start turning on. The sky is bright orange, filled with countless red tinted clouds. The sun is now a large red disk that you can look at without squinting, not far from the horizon.

The bag hovers near the middle of a bridge. Misato stands before the bag, panting for breath. Her mouth is dry, her throat burns, and her chest aches.

"What's your goal, anyway?" Misato asks, wiping sweat off of her forehead. "What's so important that you simply have to escape? Important enough that you risk your life like this? Do you actually have a goal? Or do you have absolutely no idea what you're doing with your life?"

The bag just floats there.

Misato chuckles. "It can't be the doldrums, can it?"

The bag just floats there.

"Oh my god, it is!" Misato laughs. She wipes some tears away. "Wow, what a typical, typical goal. I totally haven't heard that before!"

The bag just floats there.

"A gigantic bunch of plastic garbage in the North Pacific Gyre. Over 10,000,000 tons of it, all just floating there." Misato grins. "Sounds nice, doesn't it?"

The bag just floats there.

"It's too bad you'll never live to see it." Misato pulls some toothpicks out of her pocket. "This is one ambition of yours that will just have to remain a dream."

The bag just floats there.

Misato tenses, preparing herself for battle. That being said… I need to end it soon, or things are going get tricky. She holds three toothpicks in each hand, like senbon. My energy's practically spent.

The bag just floats there.

I'll put all of my energy into the next three minutes. At the end of those three minutes, you'll be down for sure.

A sudden gust of wind blows the bag off of the bridge.

"NOW!" Misato throws all six toothpicks simultaneously.

All of them miss, and embed themselves in the tree trunks behind the bag with audible thunks.

Misato sprints forward and leaps onto the bridge railing.

Che. Throwing too many at once decreases the accuracy, eh. She leaps off of the railing and onto a nearby branch. Her arms blur and three more toothpicks whiz past the bag.

Two toothpicks impale the bag and into the bark behind it.

She jumps off the branch and onto another branch, another tree, then another tree, quickly closing in on the bag.

A gust of wind in a convenient direction blows the bag free of the two toothpicks.

More toothpicks whiz through the air as the wind takes the bag away from the bridge and towards a park trail 50 meters below.

Misato jumps to lower and lower branches and trees, gradually descending.

The bag hovers above the park trail, near ground level.

Misato flips herself around to the underside of the branch and pushes off with her feet, closing the remaining 10 meters to the ground in less than a second. She slams the bag into the ground and involuntarily tumbles forward, rolling due to her slight forward momentum.

A gust of wind picks the bag off of the ground again.

Misato gets up immediately, twirling around and lunging at the bag. The wind blows it just out of her grasp.

She hits the ground, rolls once, gets up, pivots, and shoots four toothpicks in quick succession. They all embed themselves into a tree trunk, with two of them anchoring the bag.

The wind blows the bag away from the tree again.

Misato sprints forward, and using the toothpicks in the tree as temporary footholds, she shoots up the tree. She turns around and leaps forward, swiping at the bag.

Her fingers actually touch the bag, barely, but it's still too far for her to grab hold of it. She completes a flip, lands, and starts shooting toothpicks like a rapid-fire machine gun.

The bag flies around, randomly changing directions. All of the toothpicks embed themselves into tree trunks and branches without hitting the bag.

Che. Misato sprints after the bag, clenching her last two toothpicks in her left hand.

She pushes herself harder, and runs ahead of the bag. Using a trash can as a boost, she leaps up and slams her fist into the bag.

The bag shoots towards the ground, suddenly stopping 20 centimeters above the ground because of air resistance.

Misato hits the ground, twirls around, and aims a downward kick at the bag. It flies out of the way at the last moment, and dirt explodes underneath her shoe.

She spins around and elbows the bag at a downward angle. Because of air resistance, the bag billows around her elbow. Misato loses her balance and flips around, falling over.

Her right arm immediately shoots out to grab the bag, but the wind blows it off of her elbow, and her fingers get no closer than millimeters.

She pushes herself up and sprints after the bag. Damn, this is bad. He's getting closer and closer to the river.

Misato clutches the remaining two toothpicks with her right hand. I need to grab him before then, or else it's all over.

The water in that river is flowing extremely quickly; possibly due to the heavy rainfall earlier that day. If the bag touches the water, it'll be instantly dragged in, and then it'll be kilometers downstream seconds later. Or something like that.

That tree over there is the last tree that the bag will pass before reaching the river.

Misato skids to a stop, and channels all of her momentum into hurling the two toothpicks as hard as she can.

The toothpicks zoom through the air, impale the bag…

Yeah! Misato clenches a fist.

…and then harmlessly bounce off of the tree bark.

"EHHHHHHH!?"

The bag floats over to the river, leaving the toothpicks in the dirt behind it.

"What the hell!? What the hell kind of tree is this?" Misato demands, rushing forward.

The bag twirls, and then suddenly begins falling towards the water.

Misato's eyes widen. This is bad. Very bad. The bag is now less than a meter above the water, and dropping fast. She's still ten meters away from the water, so she'll never make it in time if she runs. She's out of toothpicks to throw, and even if she still had some, there isn't anything to aim at to anchor the bag.

Her mind races furiously, trying to think of something, anything, as the final 0.85 seconds tick away.

Because of the adrenaline running through her blood vessels, everything around her seems to start slowing down. The green plastic bag is now only 40 centimeters above the rushing water. Now it's 20 centimeters. Then 10 centimeters. Then 5 centimeters.

Then the bag is slamming into a large rock on the other side of the river courtesy of a shoe flying at Mach 0.2.

Misato runs up the river and starts jumping across the river, using various protruding rocks as stepping stones.

The shoe had bounced off of the rock, landing close to the shoreline.

Though visibly damaged, the bag can still fly. The wind picks the bag off of the cracked rock and blows up into the air. The bag starts drifting towards the river again.

Still on the protruding rocks, Misato jumps forward and punches the bag as hard as she can. The bag flies back towards land, but that won't keep it down for long.

Misato flails her arms and struggles to keep her balance.

The bag drifts up and flies over the river again.

"You don't know when to give up!" Misato leaps the final few stones to the shore, takes off her other shoe, and throws another Mach 0.2 shoe projectile at the bag.

The bag slams into the very hard tree on the opposite side of the river. The shoe bounces off, bounces off of a protruding rock, bounces off of another protruding rock, and then lands on yet another protruding rock in the middle of the river.

Misato rushes along the shoreline to pick up her first shoe.

That stubborn bag is trying to float over to the river again!

Blam!

Misato's third Mach 0.2 shoe throw sends the bag flying back about 150 meters before skidding another 50 meters along the dirt ground.

In her socks, Misato jumps across the river, picks up her shoe, puts it on, and then jumps the rest of the way before running after the bag as quickly as she can.

She looks ahead. Because of all of the skidding and bouncing, the shoe landed on the ground separate from the bag. The bag is floating around again.

"You idiot!" Misato shouts. Her legs are shaking. Sweat is dripping from her face. She's just about reached the end of her rope.

The bag just floats there.

"Quit acting like Sasahara and just come down already!" Something metallic gives off a glint in the setting sun. Misato's index finger tightens.

BANG.

A bullet shoots through the air, whizzes past the bag without hitting it, and then buries itself into the foliage of a tree in the distance.

"H…Huh?" Misato stutters. "I missed?" She looks down at her hands. They're shaking. "I… I must be more tired than I thought."

Then, a large branch falls out of the tree and right in the middle of the park trail. Upon seeing this branch, a bike rider yells and swerves hard to avoid the branch. A flock of birds at the side of the trail are startled by the sudden swerving and quickly fly away. Suddenly spotting this flock of birds, a dog barks and chases after them. In doing this, the frisbee that dog had been about to catch flies through the air unimpeded until it bounces off of a tree trunk and slams into the vending machine. Surprised by this, a woman near the vending machine almost drops her drink while backing away from the frisbee, unintentionally bumping into the little girl behind her. This bump loosens the little girl's grip on the bright red helium balloon in her hand, and it flies away into the sky.

A bright red model airplane abruptly banks left to avoid colliding with the balloon. This evasive maneuver takes the plane into a head-on collision trajectory with a tree. Thanks to quick thinking on the part of the boy with the remote control, the plane swerves again, skimming the foliage. This causes some branches and leaves to fall, along with a bright red soccer ball that had been stuck in the tree. The ball plummets, bounces, and then knocks over a long metal pipe that had been sitting against the tree trunk. The pipe falls onto the tip of a Daiku Burger soda bottle, sending the bottle flying and spinning through the air. The bottle bounces and lands in an grassy area that's not particularly close to any trees. Then, something whooshes, and a gigantic wire mesh net emerges from the underside of the bridge 50 meters above.

"Wha!?" Misato leans forward.

The enormous net falls and slams into the ground, trapping the soda bottle, and missing the plastic bag by mere millimeters.

"Eh?"

The bag is still floating in the air.

Misato blinks.

The bag is still floating in the air.

Misato drops to her knees, puts her hands to her face and exhales very slowly.

The bag is still floating in the air.

Then, a conic crow flies directly into the plastic bag, gets tangled up, and plummets to the ground.

Misato looks up. "Ah!?"

She gets up, takes a few wobbly steps, and stumbles towards the bag. Inside, the crow is wrestling and thrashing about, trying to free itself.

Gently, Misato grips the bag with both hands and rotates it. The crow bursts out of the opening, flounders a bit, and then flies on its way.

Misato blinks. She turns her head down and stares at the tattered bag in her hands. A grin slowly spreads across her face.

"Heh."

She stands up. "HAH!"


At the side of the busy road, Misato pushes open the garbage lid and drops in four colourful plastic bags. She dusts off her hands.

"All right. Since that's over with, I guess I'll be heading home." Misato looks at the sky. The sun has already set. The sky is now completely dark, except for a tiny band of light above the west horizon, and a few stars.

She steps onto the road and starts walking across. "That took longer than I thought," she sighs. She looks down at her hands. They're still shaking from her earlier physical exertion. "I guess I can't do something like this every day…"

A sudden screeching sound breaks Misato out of her reverie. She looks to her right and her face freezes in horror as two bright headlights rapidly close in on her.

** Public Service Announcement **

Remember to look both ways before crossing the street.

CRASH.

Misato flies backwards, rolling across the pavement. She screams, clutching her right arm.

Cars stop and people get out of their cars. "Are you okay!?" someone's voice yells, panicked.

Misato's face is contorted in pain. She clenches her teeth and tries to choke down her screams, but fails miserably.

"Shit."

"Someone call an ambulance!"


日常 - nichijou, Arawi Keiichi