Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai:Volume 3 Chapter 1
 Chapter 1
It was September. Three months had passed since that day when my little sister had asked for that ridiculous life consultation.
And just because I promised to help her, all sorts of things had happened around me over the past few months. Just recalling half of them was enough to make my stomach hurt.
I helped my sister make friends with the same interests as her and I went along with her to an assembly of people with those interests.
I even had to put up quite a fight each time her secret was about to be found out.
Even I felt it wasn’t like me to do all that for that hated sister of mine.
But I didn’t really have a choice.
I wasn’t forced to do it by anyone. Those were simply the things I had wanted to do at the time.
I had spoken with her quite a bit over the past few months.
I had seen quite a bit of a side of her – an honest side – that I had not known existed.
However, none of that had led to a change in our cold relationship.
In fact, it had worsened. I couldn’t have told you exactly how, though.
I hated her as always and didn’t really care about her.
She showed even more scorn and disgust toward me than before.
And yet she still forced unreasonable demands on me in the name of a “life consultations”.
I just couldn’t stand it.
That aptly summed up the state I, Kousaka Kyousuke, was in.
When I entered the living room, my little sister was on the phone.
She was in her usual spot: seated deeply in the couch. She was wearing tight jeans and had her legs crossed.
The shirt she wore was so baggy the sleeves hid her hands. That must have been part of the current fashion.
God, no matter what she wears, she looks good in it.
I was a bit annoyed when that thought naturally entered my mind.
That good-looking sister of mine was laughing while happily talking about something over her cell phone.
“Eh? No way! So in the end, she dumped her boyfriend? Hehh. So that’s what happened. Ah ha ha. I can’t believe it!”
Her hair was dyed light brown, she had earrings in her ears, and her long nails were glossily manicured. Her shapely face was attractive enough without makeup, but she still further improved it with careful use of makeup. She had a mature air to her that belied the fact that she was in middle school.
She was tall but round in all the right places.
That extremely stylish girl was my little sister Kousaka Kirino.
She was a 14 year old middle school girl. She worked as a model for teen magazines, she was an ace of the track-and-field team, and her ranking on tests had her at fifth in the prefecture. She was an utterly amazing person, very unlike her mediocre brother.
However, she had a secret hobby. That secret hobby was so unbelievable that I doubted my sanity when I first learned of it.
What might that be, you ask? …Well, it’s kind of hard for me to say it out loud.
My little sister loved 18+ games, what some call eroge.
She especially loved the ones from the little sister genre and she had a collection of them stowed in a hidden space behind her bookshelf.
She also had children’s anime DVD box sets and other such things.
When I was first shown Kirino’s collection, I thought my eyes would pop out of my head.
It sounds like a bad joke every time I explain it, but everything I have just explained is the truth.
“Yeah…yeah…Okay, see you tomorrow~,” said my sister, ending with a coaxing voice before ending the call.
As someone who knew who she truly was, nothing could have been more sickening.
I wanted to get a drink from the fridge, but the living room was connected with the kitchen and dining room in our house. As such, I would have to pass in front of Kirino to get there. I wanted to have as little to do with her as possible, so I hesitated in the entrance to the living room.
Are you wondering why I would do something like that? …Sigh…Probably only brothers with extremely unpleasant little sisters could understand how I felt.
Suddenly, my sister’s phone started beeping. As soon as she had hung up, she must have received an email.
Middle school girls certainly are a busy bunch. When do they even get a chance to breathe?
“Ugeh,” groaned Kirino with a horrible expression upon reading the email.
Accompanied by a number of annoyed tongue clicks, she pressed a few buttons and put the phone up to her ear. She must have called the sender of the email.
“…You and your spiral glasses need to hold on just a second! Are you serious!? How about you just die!? I can’t believe you! I told you I didn’t want to!”
As usual, she was spewing abuse at a tremendous rate.
(My sister had a public face and a private face that she differentiated between depending on who she was talking to, and I had recently figured out how to determine which “type” of friend she was talking to from her expression and manner of speech.)
From her unrestrained speech and the term “spiral glasses”, she must have been speaking with “Saori”, one of her private friends.
“…Fine, I get it! You can quit going on about that, I get it already! But in exchange, you need to quit with that disgusting otaku outfit! It’s a nuisance being around someone dressed like that!”
While listening to her threatening voice, I resolved myself and snuck past the side of the couch to reach the fridge. I pulled out a can of coffee and brought it to my lips.
“…God, this is bitter.”
Kirino hung up just as I was passing back by the front of the couch after finishing off the espresso.
“Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” she yelled while holding her head in her hands.
What’s with her?
“…Quit being so loud. What has you so mad anyway?” I asked my sister despite the fact that I could have just left well enough alone.
…Why do you always look at me like that? Yes, I get it, I get it. You’re trying to tell me it’s none of my business.
“…Tch. It’s nothing.”
As she looked at me with the same look one would give a pile of garbage, I quickly began my escape.
It may seem pathetic, but that was my punishment for having broken our implicit rule.
Our sibling rule was to just ignore each other unless the other asked for a life consultation.
That rule had only been made a few months prior, but I’m willing to bet any household has similar implicit rules even if the contents are different.
If you want to live with someone else, I’d say it’s only natural to set up some guidelines of compromise.
Basically, we had a special version of that.
“Hey,” she said just as I grabbed the doorknob to leave the room. It was almost as if she had timed it.
“C’mere a second.”
Kirino was motioning me toward her with her finger while still sitting cross-legged on the couch.
That gesture really pissed me off. That wasn’t how she should have been acting toward a brother three years her elder.
“Hurry it up.”
I reluctantly did as my sister insisted. Neither of us made any attempt to hide our irritation with the other.
“What do you want?”
“Hah? What are you going on about? You’re the one that asked.” Kirino’s expression twisted into one of pure scorn. “You want to hear what has me so mad, don’t you? Then hurry up and take a seat.”
She pointed straight toward the floor. …This is what I hate. Why does she have to use that tone that seems to say, “I’m giving you a lecture so get down in your place”?
Are you that unwilling to tell me why you’re mad? To hell with that!
Dammit, I really need to give her a proper talking to…
I resolutely opened my mouth and said, “I can just sit cross-legged, right?”
Kirino’s mouth turned down at the corners and she began to speak.
“Yesterday, I hung out with them again. They invited me, so I didn’t really have a choice.”
By them she most likely meant her otaku friends, “Saori” and “Kuroneko”. Kirino had met them at an offline meeting for a social networking group she was a part of and had been hanging out with them quite often of late.
“Saori” and “Kuroneko” were both screen names.
To give them a simple introduction:
Saori was over 180 cm tall and had the same measurements as Fujiwara Norika. Her fashion sense and manner of speech were otakuism itself. She always used giant spiral glasses to hide her face.
She was very helpful and acted as the leader of the otaku community Kirino was a part of. She and I were indebted to her in many, many ways. She was the one that Kirino had called earlier.
Kuroneko was expressionless, unsociable, and had quite a sharp tongue. This made her quite difficult to get along with and Kirino was constantly getting into arguments with her over anime and games. All of her hair was long and black, including her bangs. Her skin was pure white. She always wore gothic lolita style clothes and had a beauty to her of a different sort than Kirino. According to Kirino, she was a “crazy jakigan girl”.
Basically, they were both very odd people.
At any rate, it seemed Kirino had met up with those otaku friends at the entrance to the electronics district of Akihabara.
“And that black one didn’t show up until five minutes after the time we set.”
You certainly have a short fuse. Is a mere five minutes really worth getting that pissed over…?
As I had that thought, Kirino continued by saying something I most certainly had not expected.
“And I had been waiting since an hour beforehand! Can you believe her!?”
An hour beforehand!? H-how much were you looking forward to this? You make it sound like this was your first date.
Normally, you’d show up late and not care in the slightest.
“Umm…So is that what you’re so mad about?”
“I’m mad about that too, but afterwards…”
After they had all gathered, it seemed they had entered Yodobashi Camera to do some window shopping. (This much could just barely be seen as a normal girl activity…or maybe not.)
They had looked at cell phones, they had looked at computers, and they had watched a demo movie being displayed on a TV in the video game section. (Apparently, it was for a game called Super something-or-other Wars) After wandering around the store long enough, they had tried out the new capsule vending machines.
That’s right, capsule vending machines. The term had such a nostalgic ring to it. I used to love those…when I was in elementary school.
“I was the only one that just couldn’t seem to get a secret one! Can you believe that!?”
“…Surely THAT isn’t what you’re mad about.”
“Of course not. I kept at it until I got one~. Hmph. Don’t underestimate a magazine model.”
A teen magazine model decked out in Shibuya-kei fashion clutching a handful of 100 yen coins and buying capsule after capsule? In the Akiba Yodobashi? …Now that’s a surreal image.
To explain, Kirino is paid for her modeling work, so she has no lack of funds for her hobbies. When she said “don’t underestimate a magazine model”, that was likely what she was referring to.
At any rate, by sparing no expense, Kirino managed to acquire a “secret one” as she put it. After that, Saori introduced them to a restaurant called Star Kebab where they ate something known as a kebab sandwich.
“A nice foreigner runs the restaurant and it’s one thing Akiba is well known for.”
…Well? When are you going to get to the reason you’re mad? How long am I going to have to listen to a report of my little sister’s walk through Akihabara? Actually, you suck at telling stories! Why are you telling me everything from beginning to end!? Who was late and who was on time and all that about the capsules is completely unnecessary, so do some editing and cut that stuff out of the story!
Of course, I was not about to share that wonderful insight with that sister of mine. She then told me about how they went to places such as Messe Sanoh and Sofmap to reserve games.
There was a question I had had since the time I went around Akiba with those three: Why do otaku go around to game store after game store after game store like that? They aren’t clothing stores, so the products for sale should be the same.
“Why did you go all the way to an Akiba game store to reserve them? Couldn’t you just buy them at a local store?”
“Each store has a different reservation bonus, you idiot. Like a telephone card or something.”
The word “idiot” had held an amazing amount of contempt for a single word. If only she wouldn’t act so threatening toward me all the time…
Incidentally, the reason she went with her otaku friends to reserve the games was so they could trade the reservation bonuses later. For instance, if all three of them reserved two games at Messe Sanoh, Sofmap, and Akibaoo, they would receive three different types of reservation bonus for each game. Afterwards, they could have a discussion to determine the best way to distribute the bonuses amongst themselves.
“There’s a lot to all that, huh?” was all I could say.
They must have really wanted to collect goods related to a game they like.
Apparently, some people would buy them up in auctions, so Kirino may have actually been closer to normal by merely trading. As I said before, my little sister keeps her collection of games and goods in a hidden space behind her bookshelf. I had seen a portion of it on that fateful day, and it was a lineup that most certainly could not be shown to our parents. In fact, there was some further threat that I had yet to see lurking in the depths of that hidden space. It was quite a scary thought.
Kirino’s story was still continuing.
“After that, we were worn out, so we started talking about just hanging around in Mister Donut.”
I was getting worn out myself, so I was wondering if she could finally get to the point.
As I listened despite my boredom, Kirino finally seemed to reach something that seemed like the crux of the matter.
“And then that black one started arguing with me. She was mocking Meruru by saying it was just a kids anime.”
Not again. How many times have you gotten into a fight over that!? Will you never grow tired of it!?
Kirino and Kuroneko were avid fans of the anime “Stardust☆Witch Meruru” and “maschera ~Lamentations of a Fallen Beast~” respectively. The two shows aired at the same time, so there was some antagonism between them.
“So I of course had no choice but to lose my temper, right? Well, I tell her how I bought the DVDs of that maschera show she likes so much and watched it, but the embarrassing chuuni dialogue, the template jakigan setting, and all the ‘I am strooooonnggg!!’ powerleveling disgusted me, so I just couldn’t enjoy it at all.”
I actually had no idea what she had just said. Sometimes, I wonder if she is even speaking Japanese.
At any rate, I could tell she had gone out of the way to buy those DVDs and watch them just so she could bash it.
It took a spiteful person to go that far just to win an argument.
Although, I also decided she might have wanted to have something she could talk about with her friend.
“And you know what she says? She scoffs and says she hasn’t seen Meruru’s DVDs because it isn’t worth spending her money on. And I bought every volume of maschera~! Apparently, Saori showed her an episode recorded from TV on her PSP, but that isn’t the true Meruru! There’s no way you can see the brilliant art properly on the tiny PSP screen! You need to watch the DVD version on a big screen! Well!? Are you listening you damn cat!?”
“Gweh…!? You id-…It’s ME you’re strangling! She isn’t here!”
Pant…pant…Are you trying to kill me!?
I shook my sister’s hands off and gasped for breath while holding my throat.
Hah…I get it now. You bought and watched all the DVDs of an anime recommended to you and yet she wouldn’t do the same in return. That’s why you’re mad.
You need to remember that not all middle schoolers are overflowing with money like you.
After getting too worked up and almost strangling her brother to death, Kirino put her hand to her forehead and sighed.
“Hoo…And you know what? While we were going at it like that, that spiral glasses girl butts in and tells us to calm down.”
That was the usual flow of events. As the leader of their otaku community, Saori was very tolerant and considerate. She would always act as a cushion between Kirino and Kuroneko.
From what Kirino told me, it seemed the following exchange continued from that point on.
“Hm, hm. From what I can see, you, Kuroneko-shi, and you, Kiririn-shi, are convinced that the anime the other loves is terrible. Of course, every work has those who like it and those who dislike it. But you two have more of a problem than that. You each have preconceptions and prejudices about the other’s favorite anime and that is preventing you from enjoying it. If you watch something assuming it will be terrible, you will not be able to enjoy it. And so…” Saori clapped loudly. “In the near future, I suggest we hold an appreciation party for Meruru and maschera.”
The point was to rid them of their preconceptions and prejudices about the other’s favorite anime so they could come to a deeper mutual understanding.
The plan was to have them watch each anime together in an environment they agreed to and where they could comment on them to each other.
“After that, you can hold another debate over the merits of the two works.”
That was the judgment Saori had given.
Yet another extremely otaku-ish idea. Would any normal person go that far over a mere anime? I guess it’s going that far that makes one an otaku.
I of course knew better than to speak the phrase “a mere anime” out loud.
Saori then gave the following suggestion.
“For an occasion such as this, I would like to hold the event at Kiririn-shi’s house.”
“Hahh!? Why my house!?”
By the way, “Kiririn” was Kirino’s screen name. Pretty damn unfitting, don’t you think?
Saori and Kuroneko gave the following responses to Kirino’s protest.
“Well, my place is too far away for everyone to gather.”
“I don’t have a large TV capable of playing DVDs in my house. Also, I have younger sisters, so I can’t exactly have a filthy otaku and a sweets coming by.”
Kuroneko also had a talent for saying things that would rub people the wrong way.
I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by “sweets”, but I was amazed that there was someone who could have a proper argument with Kirino. Of course, those excuses were not enough for Kirino.
“I have my parents at home! It would be nothing but a nuisance to have the likes of you over!”
“Oh? Weren’t you just saying a while ago that your parents would be out on Thursday for training, so you were going to be watching as much anime as possible right in the living room?”
“Kh… Why do you always pick up on things like that…?”
It was true. Ever since I had learned of her secret, Kirino always watched anime on the large TV in the living room while our parents were out. Apparently, she had been doing so when no one else was home even before that.
As she had been telling them to watch Meruru on a larger screen, Kirino had been cornered.
“Kuroneko-shi and I would love to see where our dear Kiririn-shi lives. Could you prepare the perfect viewing environment for our anime appreciation party? I will make sure to bring by the signed copy of Volume 1 of the Meruru manga that you have been wanting,” said Saori, adding her own calm persuasion.
She had been overpowered by the bait Saori had dangled before her.
“…and that’s what happened,” said Kirino finishing her story.
I could only give a curt, “Hmm…”, in response.
After all, it had nothing to do with me. And my little sister having friends over was hardly anything worth making a fuss over. Also, I had plans that Thursday, so I wouldn’t even be home.
I see…So they’re coming here. Hmm, with Kirino and Kuroneko together, I’m sure there’ll be quite a fight. That worries me a bit.
Well, Saori will be there too, so everything should be fine.
Overall, I was relatively indifferent about the idea.
On Thursday, I had school off due to a holiday, so I spent the day with my childhood friend.
We went to the bookstore in front of the station to look at reference books, ate lunch in the park on the way back, and spent the rest of the day chatting and snacking at her house. Overall, it was an utterly normal day.
That time was dull and calm. Nothing notable occurred and I grew sleepy.
That type of mediocre lifestyle is exactly what I had always hoped for, so I was glad it could continue uninterrupted.
This is just my personal opinion, but I think happiness is a moment where you can honestly say you are completely okay with yourself and your surroundings.
In that way, I felt my life was heading fully in the right direction.
I bet it makes you jealous. I took pride in those types of mediocre, normal, calm, and boring days that I hoped I would happily be able to continue having until the day I died. To put it simply, I was satisfied with my life.
Of course, my little sister would always smash that normalcy to pieces.
And that is precisely what happened on that day. I parted ways with my childhood friend at 3 PM and walked home while staring blankly up at the sky and yawning.
Hmm, I think I’ll read some manga and take a nap to kill time until dinner.
As I returned home with that thought in mind, I noticed a pair of unfamiliar shoes in the entranceway.
They were small, black shoes with frilly decorations. They were clearly not Kirino’s style.
I quickly recalled that the anime appreciation party was being held at our house that day.
Kirino’s otaku friends must have been over to play.
I walked up the stairs and placed my things in my room. I washed my hands, rinsed out my mouth, and then headed for the living room to get a drink from the fridge.
“…It sure is quiet.”
Pretty odd, don’t you think? Knowing them, I had assumed they would be shouting at each other in some kind of argument.
When I opened the door, the room was completely dark. It seemed the curtain was drawn.
They’re not here? I guess they must be in Kirino’s room.
I flipped the switch and the light flickered as it turned on. The fluorescent light must have been about to die.
Hm, we need to buy a replacement before long-
I almost jumped back the instant the light came fully on.
I did so because I had noticed a girl wearing all black calmly seated on the couch right in front of me. She looked like a queen seated in her throne. She was staring me down with a gaze that felt like pure ice.
As I stiffened and was at a loss for words, she grinned.
“…Heh. Well done making it this far. Most admirable.”
“This is my house,” I immediately shot back.
Who does she think she is, some villainous boss?
That gothic lolita girl was Kuroneko. I thought of her as Kirino’s otaku/arguing friend.
The question I was left with was why she was sitting alone in the pitch black living room after coming to our house to play. I finally managed to get out my first question.
“What are you doing?”
She turned away from me. I had no idea what she was thinking, but I could somehow tell she was feeling down.
Silence returned to the living room. It was truly awkward.
After all, I was alone with my little sister’s friend and she wasn’t saying anything. What was I supposed to do?
“Nothing, hm? Sigh…”
This girl is as difficult to deal with as ever.
Since you’ve come all the way to your friend’s house, how about you at least say hello to that friend’s older brother?
I had no idea what to do in that odd situation, so I just opened the curtains to let some light in. The evening sunlight eliminated all dimness from the room.
I turned around to find Kuroneko squeezing both eyes shut. Her previous cool aura was completely gone. It was the same reaction you get when you poke at a kitten’s forehead.
“Sorry, is it too bright?”
“I cannot stand the light of the sun.”
What are you, a vampire? Oh, wait. Is that a line from some anime?
“Well, make yourself at ho-…I guess you already have,” I said, stalling for time as I tried to figure out what to do.
I decided I first needed a grasp of the situation.
“By the way, where’s Kirino?”
“In her room.”
Hmm, in that case…
“Where’s Saori? Is she with Kirino?”
“She didn’t come.”
She didn’t come?
“Something came up so she couldn’t come. She went out of her way to come by my house yesterday and give me this.”
Kuroneko pulled out a Stardust☆Witch Meruru manga volume. It must have been the signed copy Kirino had mentioned Saori had promised her. Whatever it was that had come up, she was a very conscientious person.
“I would like for you to take this.”
As I took the signed volume from Kuroneko, I thought.
Saori didn’t come because something came up. Hmmm, so that’s it.
...Mh…I have a bad feeling about this. Wait, wait, wait a second…
“It was just you and Kirino here today?”
Now I think I get it…But wouldn’t that mean…?
If Saori hadn’t come, it would have been just Kirino and Kuroneko trying to hold an anime appreciation party.
Now that was something that would clearly never happen! That goes beyond having mortal enemies sharing a boat!
When those two got together, they almost always got into a fight. How was that supposed to work?
I see! I see, I see, I see, I see. I get it now! It’s all coming together!
“And you know what happened then?”
“You got into a fight with Kirino, didn’t you?”
“Heh. So you understand. Exactly.”
At that point, we both fell silent while still facing each other. I had a fairly good idea what must have happened.
Kuroneko had come to our house for the anime appreciation party. However, Saori had not been there as usual to mediate Kuroneko and Kirino’s fights.
When Kirino and Kuroneko unexpectedly ended up alone together…
Well, they must have gotten into a huge fight like usual. And with no one to mediate…
My bet was that Kirino had gotten sulky and holed up in her room.
Meanwhile, Kuroneko had faded into the darkness of the living room.
That was only my guess, but I was fairly confident in its general accuracy. I had to wonder if they really had no desire to get along after Kuroneko came all the way to our house for the party.
However, there was one aspect of the situation that I had to make sure not to overlook.
Despite the fight occurring in our house, Kirino had not kicked Kuroneko out.
Also, Kuroneko had still come despite knowing Saori was not coming and she was still there.
Well? Do you think I was overthinking things? I don’t think so. After all, I had gone to various places with those three and had seen how Kirino and Kuroneko acted towards each other each time.
My conclusion was-
“You’re coming up with some ridiculous idea, aren’t you?”
“N-no…of course not,” I denied with a stiff smile.
She’s surprisingly sharp.
Well, I guess it really isn’t any of my business.
I don’t think I can last much longer under this damn heavy atmosphere surrounding the house. I only just got home, but I guess I could head out to the arcade and kill some time…
Just as I was thinking that, the cell phone in my back pocket began to vibrate. It was as if it had been timed.
I had received an email. I had a bad feeling about it and – sure enough – it was from Saori.
Kyousuke-shi. I shall leave the rest to thee.
I stared at my cell phone’s screen with dead eyes.
“…Oh, shall thee, Saori-shi?” I muttered dejectedly.
“…Oh, you just turned into Maro for a second. Did you just go insane?”
“…It’s nothing,” was my discouraged reply to Kuroneko who looked completely at home as she flipped through a weekly manga magazine that had been lying nearby.
Now then, what do I do about this?
I tried to get my brain working on a way to fix the situation. I no longer had the option to ditch them and head out to have some fun. This was because I owed Saori for what she had done over the past few months.
After everything she’d done, I simply couldn’t turn down her request. I had to do something.
Damn her. Why did she have to send that email with such impeccable timing?
Saori was quite perceptive, so she may have been able to predict everything that had happened thus far as far back as when she realized she could not come. And her solution had been to have me carry out her usual role. That may be exaggerating her perception, but that was how it seemed to me.
What a pain.
Well, I guess I have no choice. She asked me to take care of this anime appreciation party.
Let’s see…um…First, I need to talk to Kuroneko and Kirino to find out what they got into a fight over. Then I have to somehow pacify them to the point where they can watch anime together. But they’re sure to get into another fight then, so I’ll have to pacify them again.
My goal was to let them enjoy themselves so they could strengthen their relationship.
I had to act as the cushion between them in Saori’s place.
“Ugh, it gives me a stomachache just thinking about it.”
Is this what she’s always doing? But she’s always laughing and making that ω face. Hoo. You really don’t realize people’s value until they’re gone…
It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I renewed my gratitude for Saori’s friendship with my sister.
“What was that about a stomachache?”
Okay, time to do this.
I pulled myself together and took action. I decided to start with the girl right in front of me.
“By the way, what were you and Kirino fighting about? Was it anime?”
“No,” said Kuroneko emotionlessly.
However, she just fell silent there and gave no additional explanation.
I patiently waited and finally she sighed and continued.
“I did not come here because I wanted to get in a fight. I knew Saori would not be here and I tried to act accordingly. I came here to watch anime, but I made an effort not to say anything about anime. I think she did the same.”
“Do you have a problem with that?”
“O-of course not.”
I didn’t have a problem with it; I was just surprised.
That makes sense. She was going over to a friend’s house for fun. She wouldn’t want to choose a topic that would likely lead to a fight.
“Then what did you get into a fight over?”
“A cell phone novel,” spat out Kuroneko in annoyance.
What the hell is a cell phone novel? …Oh, are they those things written and read on cell phones that are popular with girls these days? They are something like a novel I think. That may be a bit off, but I guess it’s close. I think they’ve been making books and movies out of them recently.
“What about this cell phone novel?”
“ ‘Heh hehn. I wrote a cell phone novel. You’ve written manga and novels before, right? How about you read mine? Personally, I’d say it’s a masterpiece~.’ ”
Her impression was spot on. The way the “heh hehn” got on my nerves made me think she was actually channeling Kirino.
The idea of Kirino writing a cell phone novel seemed disturbingly fitting. It sounded exactly like what a modern girl would do.
From the odd confidence in Kuroneko’s impression, I guessed it was Kirino’s first one.
“Was it bad?”
“It made me want to kill her.”
It was that bad!? What the hell was it about!? That actually makes me curious!
I’ve gotten mad when reading really bad novels and manga before, but being so bad you want to kill whoever wrote it is something else entirely!
Kuroneko must have been able to tell what I was thinking from my expression because she expressionlessly began to explain.
“First of all, the protagonist is a dead ringer for the author and she even refers to herself with ‘atashi’ just like the author.”
“Now I want to kill her too!”
That was all it took for me to know exactly how “refined” the contents of that novel had to be.
“A-and it isn’t just that. She carelessly starts a new line every two or three characters, she starts a new page whenever the hell she feels like it, and there are more emoticons and symbols than punctuation. In fact, there is hardly any punctuation in the entire thing. She mixes first person and third person together making it incredibly hard to read, she switches points of view and uses cutbacks like crazy, the first person sections are written in exactly the way she speaks, half the novel is made up of singing her own praises, and she even breaks the fourth wall to have the author and the characters speak. And on top of all that…” Kuroneko paused her flowing speech for a second. “A gothic lolita character named Kuroneko that is clearly modeled after me gets raped to death.”
That’s clearly done only out of spite! Anyone would get mad if their friend showed them something like that!
“…Um, I really am sorry about all that.”
Kuroneko nodded and fell silent once more.
I had no idea what to do, so I tried to bring the conversation somewhere less dangerous.
“B-but y’know, you really do know a lot about writing. You also draw manga, right?”
“I don’t know…that much. I’m really only barely past being a complete beginner.”
Kuroneko glanced over toward me.
Okay, this isn’t completely hopeless. Go for it!
“No, I’d say you deserve more credit than that. If I had read my sister’s cell phone novel, I would have had no idea how to explain what was wrong with it. You were only able to say what you did because you know the proper way of doing things. You actually know what to look for!”
“…Heh. You seem to be mistaken about something.” Now, Kuroneko completely turned back toward me. She seemed to have latched onto the topic I had brought up. “Whether you are talking about manga or novels, there is no ‘absolute right answer’ as to how to make them. In my opinion, using a lot of onomatopoeia, making constant new lines, using emoticons, or any other method one may choose are not necessarily bad things. And the cell phone novel is an especially new medium. Acting like an expert and saying everything must be made in the ‘proper’ way is not necessarily correct. You can follow the many rules polished up over the years by our ancestors, you can follow the latest trends, and you can come up with some new strategy for grabbing popularity. Each of those things is a ‘right answer’. None of them are wrong. However, you should not deny methods other than those either. Looking down on others and going on and on about the ‘right way’ of doing things and acting like an expert just makes you look like a fool. The shitheads who ramble on and on about a sense of wonder and other things without ever actually saying anything of substance are just as foolish. What matters is why you are writing it. That answer will of course be different for each and every person and you will have over a hundred million stories to be told if you gather a hundred people. That is why you can never find an absolutely ‘right’ way of doing it. Heh. It’s nothing but an amateur’s conclusion, but I would say literary works should be made out of a desire to make them not as a job.”
Just like Kirino, she became quite loquacious when it came to her fields of interest.
Her overly aggressive manner of speech showed just how angry she was.
“The list I was angrily giving to you earlier was nothing more than what I personally disliked. Please make no mistake about that.”
I honestly had no idea what she meant, but it seemed Kuroneko had been able to let off some much needed steam.
Her depressed mood from earlier had lessened.
One down. That just leaves…
“Anyway, I’ll go prepare some drinks and snacks. Just wait here.”
“I came to a girl’s house, so why am I instead spending the time with her older brother?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Can someone please tell me why I’m spending my holiday working to put my little sister’s friend in a good mood?
I left the living room and walked up the stairs.
I was not preparing snacks; I was on my way to speak with my sister.
“Kirino…Hey. I know you’re in there. Open up.”
I knocked lightly so that Kuroneko would not be able to hear from the living room.
After I had knocked for a while, the door violently opened. It was as if opening the door had been an attack aimed at my face. However, after so many times, I was prepared for that attack. I stopped the door with one hand.
Kirino clicked her tongue with an expression that said, “Tch. I missed…”
“…What do you want?”
“Don’t play dumb. What are you doing up here instead of having fun with your friend?”
“Playing eroge. I was just reading the blog of my true little sisters.”
Don’t give that kind of answer so boldly! You’re giving your brother a headache here!
“What’s with that ugly face? You gotta problem with it?”
“Um, yes!? No one calls their friend over to their house and then just plays games alone!”
“…Hah? What, do you want us to play an eroge together? Heh. Perverts like you really do have a different way of thinking.”
Gyahhh!! You piss me off! And how can you say that playing an eroge together is a pervert’s way of thinking? I seem to recall you ordering me to play an eroge with you three months ago!
That pervert is always blaming other people for the exact things she does!
Kh…no, I need to calm down. I’m trying to get them to make up, so I can’t be getting into a fight with her myself.
I gritted my teeth and shoved the anger deep into my chest.
“Kirino-san…Your friend is over, so I think it would be best if you would spend time with her.”
Kirino narrowed her eyes in displeasure and tried to close the door.
I managed to stop her by putting my own body in the door’s path.
You slammed that shut as hard as you could! You clearly saw what I was doing and a normal person would have at least slowed down the door! But you actually put more force into it, didn’t you!?
“Ueh. What a disgusting feeling.”
You’re making it sound like you just stepped on a frog! It’s your brother that you crushed here!
Why does it always take so much effort whenever I try to have a conversation with my sister!? Shit! This just isn’t right!
At any rate, my actions paid off and my sister’s escape route was blocked. I was in an incredibly pathetic position, but I could at least speak to her. First I had to hear Kirino’s explanation of why she got into a fight with Kuroneko.
“Y-you know, your friend went out of her way to come over, so at least try to get along. Don’t just fight.”
For some reason, I constantly had to tell my sister things like that that should be obvious.
“I-is that normally the position someone tries to persuade someone from?” said Kirino in a voice that sounded almost surprising admiring of her brother who was caught in the door.
Of course, if she was truly admiring of what I had done, don’t you think she would have lessened the force keeping me pinned there? Kirino did not exactly go along with my desire, but she did give me a response.
“I wouldn’t call that…thing…a friend. And it’s because of her that we got into a fight~!”
“Liar. Kuroneko told me you had a character in your cell phone novel that was similar to her and you had the character raped to death. You’re clearly the one at fault here!”
“Hah!? What are you talking about!? You’ve got it all wrong!”
“Wh-what do I have wrong?”
Without answering my question, Kirino let go of the door and entered her room.
As I freed myself from my crushed position, my head was filled with question marks.
Kirino used a finger to invite me into her room.
As usual, I was very reluctant to enter my little sister’s room.
It was a refreshing room that was colored red overall. It had an oddly sweet smell to it.
It had a bed, a computer desk, a bookshelf, etc. Basically, nothing about it was out of the ordinary. Perhaps because she had known friends were going to be coming over, a fold-up table was set up in the center of the room. A cell phone and some black books were placed atop that table.
Kirino sat down on her bed and pointed toward one of the black books.
“Read that for a bit.”
“Wh-what is it? And what does it have to do with what we’re talking about…?”
As my sister had ordered, I picked up the indicated black book and flipped through it. The cover had an illustration of a gothic lolita girl drawn in the style of a painting. The title was written in stylish cursive English.
And as for the contents…
“A manga…and…a novel…?”
“And excessively thick supplementary materials.”
“…What the hell is it?”
“A doujinshi. It’s a derivative work of maschera that Kuroneko made,” spat out Kirino in annoyance with a slight frown.
Simply put, a doujinshi was a book created out of pocket that was then bought and sold at some kind of event. A derivative work was one that used the setting or characters of an existing anime or manga. All of that had been explained to me back when I had been dragged to that offline meeting, so I had some knowledge of it.
“So what about this doujinshi?”
“ ‘Heh… Then while I read this cell phone novel that clearly reeks of terrible writing, you can read this. You watched every episode of maschera, right?’ ”
Her impression was spot on. The way the “heh” made it so clear she was looking down on you made me think she was actually channeling Kuroneko.
A doujinshi made by Kuroneko, hm? I can already guess something she made would not fit Kirino’s tastes…
“Was it bad?”
“It made me want to kill her.”
It was that bad!? And didn’t I just have almost this exact conversation with Kuroneko!?
“Wh-what is it about?”
“…Tch. It’s what’s known as a ‘retrogressive story’ and the protagonist is quite a ‘U-1’.”
“Is that some kind of code?”
From the literal meaning of the words, I could take a guess at what a retrogressive story was, but the term U-1 was a complete mystery. My first guess was that it had something to do with a martial arts tournament.
Kirino must have guessed what my questions were because she explained with a displeased expression.
“Retrogressive story and U-1 are terms used when describing derivative works. As you might guess from the meaning of retrogressive, a retrogressive story is a story where the protagonist travels back in time. To use Evangelion as an example, if you have a story where Ikari Shinji travels back in time from the world after the finale to the time of the first episode with all his memories of the events intact and then redoes his fight against the angels, that would be a retrogressive story. Having memories of the events gives the protagonist courage, so he can change history as he sees fit. Authors of derivative works are pinned down by the original story’s setting, so this allows them to make a completely different story to the original.”
I wasn’t quite sure what she meant since I had never actually seen Evangelion.
However, I caught enough to figure out that she meant it was a story where the protagonist had an overwhelming advantage at the start in order to “make a completely different story from the original”.
“And U-1 refers to adding all sorts of extra things to the protagonist to make him or her almost almighty and the strongest character. You could say they are the descendent of a demon king but the powers gained from that blood is usually sealed, you could have them win over any member of the opposite sex with just a smile but the protagonist doesn’t realize it, you could have seraphim wings grow from their back when they go all out, or you could have them actually have S rank level powers but only be B-rank due to not applying for S-rank. At a time, those things were popular in the derivative works of a popular eroge and the term U-1 came about as a parody of the name of the game’s protagonist. The term Super Shinji has pretty much the same meaning.”
“Th-that’s all a little confusing…”
First Kirino’s excessively detailed rant and now this! This is going to be harder than I thought!
“So anyway, you were saying the doujinshi Kuroneko wrote had a retrogressive story and a U-1…”
“Right. After the final boss of the first season of maschera, Queen of Nightmares, was defeated by the show’s protagonist, Shikkoku, she “retrogressed” to the time of the first episode with all her memories intact. From there, she possessed the corpse of a female character that died in the original story and approached Shikkoku as a normal girl. And that’s just how it starts.”
“Mh…So unlike the original, the final boss becomes the protagonist.”
“Right. That black one is always cosplaying as Queen of Nightmares, so she’s clearly projecting herself into the place of the protagonist of her own work. At that point it was already so painful that I had goose bumps. Oeh…”
You said all that to Kuroneko, didn’t you? I can see how that would start a fight.
You really are the one at fault here.
“So why was that enough for you to want to kill her? I mean this art…well, I don’t like how pointed the chins are, but it’s not bad overall. And from what you told me of the story, it sounds a little interesting.”
“Hah! …Don’t act like you know what you’re talking about just from hearing a brief summary and glancing at the art. The worst parts of this doujinshi aren’t something you can see on the surface.”
“…And those things are?”
“It doesn’t just jump out at you? Look through all the pages. This book is incredibly hard to read,” muttered Kirino frankly as she pointed at the pages of the novel portion. “Look how black this page is. Over 90% of it is a wall of text. Why doesn’t she hit the enter key every so often!? Also, she uses all sorts of difficult kanji and expressions. She goes on and on about parts of the setting I couldn’t care less about. She clearly isn’t thinking about the people who will be reading it at all. And the battle scenes are the worst of all! They’re so hard to read! If you’re having an explosion, can’t you just put in a line saying Boooom!? Onomatopoeia exists for a reason. When you use it, anyone can tell what’s happening at a glance. And when someone’s attacking, she needs to have the character yell ‘Ohhhh!’ and when a character takes damage they need to yell ‘Gyaahh!’ That makes it all so much easier to understand and easier to read. That way anyone can read it, right? If you ask me, her novel is nothing more than self satisfaction.”
I never read novels, so I had no way to know whether the things she was saying were right or not.
But even so, the way she said them pissed me off.
In fact, what Kirino was mentioning was how she wrote her cell phone novel. With a different genre and medium, the valid methods probably changed. Also, Kuroneko hadn’t written that novel to sell, so I felt there was nothing wrong with writing it with a focus on self satisfaction.
“And this doujinshi comes with a separate book that has about 200 pages of supplementary materials. If you don’t read it first so you can understand the original terminology that doesn’t even exist in the original series, you won’t be able to understand half of the actual doujinshi. Oh, and her original terminology just reeks of chuunibyou. Look at this: God-Demon Utter Destruction Shock! I can’t read a string of kanji like that! And it has some lame katakana ruby added on. And it’s some weird German or something! And what gets to me the most…” While grinding her teeth, Kirino paused for a second before spitting out the rest. “An original character clearly modeled off of me had the magic spell Charm cast on her so she becomes the protagonist’s sex slave.”
“You’re free to get mad about that!”
A few seconds before, I had thought Kirino was at fault for the fight, but at that point, I suddenly lost all desire to defend Kuroneko.
What is that gothic lolita girl doing to my sister!? They’re both at fault in this fight!
And you both did almost the exact same thing!
They had both put the other in their works and had them meet some horrible fate.
They had let the other read their work while looking down on them.
That had led to a fight, to Kirino sulking, and to the current situation.
But Kirino, you…
“Did you read that entire ridiculously thick supplementary book?”
“Hah? Of course I did. If I didn’t, I would have no right to complain about it.”
That was just how she was. What do you think? Makes you want to scowl, doesn’t it?
It makes you wonder how well they actually got along.
If Saori had been there, she would surely have roared with laughter will holding her belly.
God, what troublesome girls…
At that point, I had heard both sides of the story, so I had cleared the second stage.
I just had to bring them from the current situation to one where they could hold the anime appreciation party.
I had no idea if I could manage it, but I decided to do what I could.
Oh, and I had one last thought.
Middle school girls shouldn’t suddenly start saying things about sex slaves! I’ll make sure to stop you next time!
I entered the living room with a tray containing snacks and drinks.
Kuroneko was seated on the couch, relaxing. She was in the place Kirino usually used, so it felt a little odd. I almost felt like I was talking to my little sister when I spoke.
“Sorry about the wait.”
“You had better be. How long does it take to prepare snacks and drinks?” muttered Kuroneko while looking down at one of Kirino’s teen magazines.
Why are you so demanding when you’re a visitor in someone’s house? You really do remind me of a certain someone.
With that thought in mind, I lined the snacks and drinks up on the table.
Now then, time to begin.
I also placed a DVD case on the table.
“It took some doing to get this.”
Kuroneko’s eyes narrowed upon seeing the DVD case.
The DVD I had brought was the first volume of Stardust☆Witch Meruru.
“Why did you bring this here?”
“I borrowed it so we could watch it together. Let’s watch it on that big screen so we can see the true Meruru,” I said in voice half-filled with resignation.
With no change of expression, Kuroneko’s gaze turned toward me.
“Have you ever seen this anime?”
“No. In fact, I never really watch anime. But after hearing Kirino go on and on about how good it is, I’m a bit interested. It would help me out if you help explain some things.”
After a bit of silence, Kuroneko finally picked up the Meruru DVD case, scrutinized it deeply, and then held it out toward me.
I took the DVD case, walked up to the TV, and put it in.
After the DVD disk tray slid back in, the TV screen lit up.
It was displaying the menu screen. I ignored the various special features like bonus footage and voice actor interviews, chose the “from the beginning” option, and hit the button on the controller.
A pink-haired girl wearing an oddly suggestive outfit walked out from the edge of the screen.
She spun around in the center of the screen with a “kururin♪” sound effect, held up a wand (or was it a spear?), and shouted out in a high-pitched loli voice.
“Stardust☆Witch Meruru♪ Begins noooowww♪”
O-oh, no. This is way more embarrassing than I thought it would be…!
I could feel my face growing red.
However, I couldn’t exactly suggest we stop after being the one to suggest we watch it.
I gritted my teeth and entered defense mode.
However, what happened next ripped my defenses to shreds like they were made of paper.
The screen changed to show a girl standing in a field. She looked a lot like Meruru, but she was wearing normal clothes. She was also wearing a red randoseru, so I guessed she was in elementary school.
The girl shut her eyes and held her hands together as if praying. The camera started circling around her, a pink light and stardust started flowing out from the girl, and music started playing.
The girl spun around wrapped in light. Her clothes started disappearing one by one. First her shirt, then her skirt, then her camisole, and then her panties.
“Isn’t this a bit much!? Can they even show this on TV!?”
“This is the DVD version, so there is no problem. I believe most areas had a censored version where tons of ribbons and stars covered up the heroine’s nudity. I remember people on Nico Nico Douga going crazy uploading the uncensored transformation scene that was aired on TV Aichi.”
A cold sweat stared pouring from my forehead.
Why do I have to watch an elementary school girl’s strip show with my little sister’s friend?
I looked over toward the living room door, hoping for rescue.
But there was no sign of anyone opening the door.
Dammit, still? That girl needs to get her ass down here.
While I frowned, the tension of the music rose and rose.
And then the title, “Stardust☆Witch Meruru”, was displayed.
As soon as it did, Kuroneko whispered, “The first reason I simply cannot enjoy this anime…”
Meeru meru meru meru meru meru me~ Meeru meru meru meru meru meru me~
A shooting sta~r sparkling in space~☆ Blasting my enemies with a magical jet~
Shooting through the sky and falling to Earth from a magical land, here I am~
Stardust Witch Meruru~♪
“…is the nonsense theme song.”
I could feel my face growing pale.
This is indeed…painful…
I don’t think this is just a difference in tastes between otaku and normal people. Kuroneko looks like she’s suffering, too.
“Hoo…Hey, do you want to play a video game? Kirino has some in her room, so…”
Just as I reached for the controller, Kuroneko grabbed my wrist.
“I thought we were going to experience the true Meruru? At the very least, we need to endure this level of embarrassment.”
What idiot was it that suggested we watch Meruru!?
As I listened to the theme song, “Meteo☆Impact” (sung by Hoshino Kurara, the voice actress for the protagonist Akaboshi Meru (Meruru)), I was overwhelmed by embarrassment and regret.
Shoo~ting Star~♪ Shoo~ting Star~♪ Charging straight for your chest.
With a power (Kira☆) larger than a meteorite (Kira☆)
I will aim for your heart. So. When.♪ My full power♪ My all-out magic♪
Comes your way, make sure to catch it all~♡
“Hey, did that kid just blow an enemy away with a giant laser while singing the chorus?”
“The lyrics are basically saying ‘I am going to fire all my magic at you at point blank range, so don’t run away’. What a disturbing anime.”
According to Kuroneko’s explanation, Meteo Impact was the name of Meruru’s ultimate attack.
She would go into a spin in midair and strike the enemy, piercing the enemy through the heart with the tip of her wand.
She would then fly at high speed and low altitude with the enemy still skewered and dragging the enemy along the ground.
After that, she would fly back high into the sky and spin around, performing essentially a giant swing with the enemy on her wand. Centrifugal force would slam the enemy to the ground and she would finish things off by yelling “Gooo! Meteo Impaaaact!” and firing a giant laser straight down.
“The protagonist performs that string of attacks with an innocent smile on her face all the while. I do not think it is right to do such repulsive things while pretending to be a children’s anime.”
Well, that ultimate attack IS harsher than what you find in some shounen manga. The rival girl she was facing in the opening was probably torn to pieces.
“Lately, too many works are shoving loli and fanservice to the forefront to get sales. And not just in anime. I have no problem with making something to answer the demand out there, but something this blatant is too much. I hate all this talk about unprecedented levels of DVD sales. In my opinion, we should be lamenting the fact that this kind of vulgar trash is selling. The masses need to develop better aesthetic sense.”
I was still trying to figure out how to respond to that, when…
“You just don’t understand!”
The door was violently kicked open and someone stormed in.
I pretended to be surprised, but I was secretly relieved.
O-okay, somehow or other, this is working.
When I had borrowed Meruru from Kirino I had told her to come down to the living room because Saori’s present was there.
That girl is about as stubborn as you can get, so I had known she would never come down if I tried to convince her normally.
However, I had guessed that she would be unable to resist barging in if she heard Kuroneko and me watching and talking about her precious Meruru.
Just as planned. Wow, look how mad she is.
“Meruru’s theme is friendship! Don’t start making up crap about it being repulsive just because maschera’s DVDs didn’t sell! And you think you have ‘better aesthetic sense’? Hah! Quit acting so self-important. You’re practically blind when it comes to aesthetic sense. Is your ‘better aesthetic sense’ what leads you to call everything trash just because you can’t understand what’s so good about it? You’re such an idiot that you can’t even see the message the writers have put into Meruru. Actually, how far did you watch on the PSP, you damn cat? Surely you at least got as far as the end of the first season!”
“What are you doing here? No one asked for you.”
“Shut up! I just came down to get a drink, but then I heard something I simply couldn’t overlook! …Well!? How far did you get!?”
Kirino stomped forward and Kuroneko glanced at the intruder with cold eyes.
“Partway through episode 6.”
“Wait! Why would you stop there!? That’s a really good part!”
“The friend infected by an Evil Star parasite and turned into a Dark Witch in the A-part was mercilessly vaporized by Meruru in the B-part. She used Meteo Impact on her. I had felt obligated to at least watch to the end of season 1, but that was the last straw. How can you call that a story about friendship? Could you perhaps explain that to me?”
“Hahh? What show were you watching? She had no choice but to do that at the time. If she hadn’t, the earth would’ve been destroyed and then Aru-chan would have died all the same.”
“Even so, smiling and yelling “Gooo! Meteo Impaaaact!” when it’s your best friend is simply unthinkable. That girl is a natural-born psychopathic killer.”
“Don’t worry! She was revived afterwards! Before the battle, Meruru had set up a Magical Field, and anyone killed or anything damaged in one of those is healed or fixed afterwards!”
“So they just rip off other shows? …Anyway, I don’t like it, but I will admit that, with that magic available, that was the best decision at the time. However, it is still wrong how unhesitant she was and how she was not shown shedding even a single tear. Is a side effect of using magic inciting murderous urges or something?”
“Shut up! Quit being so picky! What does it matter anyway? She saved her in the end! Aru-chan even thanked Meruru for saving her!”
“And that is why I am saying it is nothing but a children’s anime. It depicts so little that you can barely tell what happened.”
“You sure are stubborn. …But wasn’t it so cool when she used her new ultimate attack and was twirling all over the place with god-tier art?”
“Perhaps, but she was still murdering her best friend.”
“Like! I! Said!”
Why are anime otaku so damn annoying!?
I was getting sick of the argument, but Kirino and Kuroneko were merely continuing on noisily as always.
Suddenly, Kuroneko grabbed the controller and paused the footage on the TV.
“Heh. You said the glorious artwork could not be truly seen on a small screen, right? In that case, let’s watch it right now. Bring out the DVD with episode 6 on it.”
Those belligerent words were clearly a challenge.
“Oh, now you’ve said it! There’s no going back now. I’ll be right back with it.” Kirino pointed straight at Kuroneko’s face. “Hah! I can’t wait to see the tears in your eyes!”
She then ran up the stairs.
What are you, a child?
God, what a pain. Although, it looks like the anime appreciation party might happen after all. It’s still too early to relax, though.
I looked in the direction of the door my little sister had left through and sighed.
In the end, time ran out after we finished watching Meruru episode 6. The anime appreciation party had only lasted 30 minutes, but that was the best we could do. If I had come home earlier things might have been different.
As soon as it reached five o’clock, Kuroneko said she was leaving. I did not even need to ask why she had to leave at what seemed like an elementary school kid’s curfew.
Meruru and maschera both aired on Thursday’s at 5:30.
By the way, Kirino and Kuroneko had continued arguing in the same way the entire time we watched Meruru. I wasn’t sure if they were a good match or a terrible match as friends, but I tried to pacify them, humor them, and praise them. In return, I was slapped, kicked, and verbally abused. Amid all that, I somehow managed to outlast and fill my role as the cushion between Kirino and Kuroneko.
You can probably already tell from what you’ve seen of this so far, but it wasn’t easy.
I gained some serious respect for Saori for always smiling while doing that. I mean, it was basically like having two Kirinos. A scary thought, I know. To be honest, I was saved thanks to the fact that it ended after only half an hour.
“I’ll be borrowing this,” said Kuroneko, standing in the entrance of the Kousaka residence and holding up a paper bag.
The bag contained the Stardust☆Witch Meruru DVDs we had not been able to watch due to lack of time.
Arms folded, Kirino gave a triumphant reply.
“Heh hehn. Looks like you’ve finally awoken to the wonders of Meruru.”
“Please don’t be so foolish. I will admit that a portion of the art in the battle scenes was fantastic and that the DVD version did an excellent job of correcting the terrible art from the TV version. However, my opinion that the story is shit remained unchanged. …Heh. It has barely enough value for me to feel obligated to watch it to the end.”
“Wow, are you stubborn. Couldn’t you just be honest and say you liked it and want to see more?”
I glared at Kirino thinking, You’re not one to talk.
I then pulled myself together and looked back toward Kuroneko.
“Thanks for playing with Kirino today.” I relaxed my shoulders and smiled a bit. “Come back anytime. We can have a proper anime appreciation party next time.”
Kuroneko stared me straight in the eye.
“There is something I have been curious about for a while now. This is as good a chance as any, so I’ll ask now. Why do you do these things for your sister despite how cruelly she treats you?”
Now that was a good question. I honestly didn’t know. It had started out with me just going with the flow and it was actually still that way. But that’s not all there was to it, was it? I’d rather not admit that, though.
In the end, there was only one thing I could say.
“Sorry, I don’t really know.”
“…Are you a siscon?”
“It’s definitely not that!”
Why would you say that!? Of course I’m not!
As I denied it with everything I could, I was kicked in the Achilles tendon by the tips of someone’s toes.
“Ow-…What the hell are you doing!?”
I turned around in anger to find Kirino staring at me with a contemptuous gaze.
Honestly, what the hell!? I know you don’t like the idea of me being a siscon, but I wasn’t the one to say it! In fact, I denied it! You don’t have to kick me out of the blue like that!
As I continued getting kicked, Kuroneko said, “…Are you a masochist?”
“It’s not that either!”
“…Then what is it?” asked Kuroneko as she tilted her head to the side.
For some reason, she seemed quite attached to that subject. She did not seem as if she would quit until I gave her a satisfactory reason.
I guess I have no choice…
I scratched at my head and tried to give form to the concept I was having trouble putting to words.
After searching for the right words, I finally uttered a truly hackneyed line.
“…It’s because we’re siblings…I guess.”
I averted my gaze and massaged my temples.
I clicked my tongue in an attempt to draw attention away from the heat in my face.
This is hopeless. I’m the one that said it and I know that doesn’t cut it as a reason. There’s no way Kuroneko will accept it.
Or so I thought.
“…I see. Understood.”
Kuroneko nodded slightly.
Her soft voice gradually filled my chest.
“What an excellent older brother. I am quite jealous,” she whispered to Kirino.
Normally, Kirino would have responded with something like “What was that, sarcasm?”, but she only continued frowning with her arms folded. Some kind of silent exchange went on between them, but I could only watch without understanding what it meant.
After the silence had continued for a bit, Kirino finally arrogantly said “hmph” and narrowed her eyes toward Kuroneko.
“Hehh…What’s this? Is he your type? What terrible taste.”
Kuroneko remained silent but her eyes opened wide.
“I won’t stop you, but let me warn you. He only likes ugly girls.”
“What the fuck did you just say!? Who are you calling an ugly girl! Depending on your answer, I’ll kick your ass even if you are my little sister!”
“Ugh, and now you get mad again. Fine, fine. I’m sorry~.”
Kirino mockingly shrugged.
Why you…! That attitude is just going too far!
I was about to speak my complaint out loud, but Kirino turned back toward Kuroneko.
“If you want him, you can have him. In fact, he disgusts me, so just take him home with you.”
As my fist trembled in anger, Kuroneko expressionlessly watched us.
“Only likes ugly girls?” she whispered. “Hmm…”
A cold satisfaction exuded from her. She then turned her harsh gaze on Kirino.
“Hah. Please make no ridiculous mistake. He is hardly my type. He’s so far from my type, that this doesn’t even qualify as a bad joke. How could I ever be attracted to a guy who does not have cat ears? Please do not mock me. This…boy…has no beauty to him. He is extremely plain and he has the face of someone who will not make much of himself in life. He is 100,000,000 light years away from my ideal. …I will have to turn down your offer.”
How cruel…You don’t have to go that far…
After that string of abuse at my expense, Kuroneko forcefully turned around.
She quickly walked off and I sighed while watching her receding back.
She had pure white skin and black hair like a Japanese doll. She had red color contacts in her eyes and a sexy mole under the eye.
She wore a frilly gothic lolita outfit.
Her interests were cosplay, anime, video games, and making doujinshi. She seemed emotionless and unsociable. When she opened her mouth, only abuse came out. She was an annoying girl who was extremely difficult to deal with.
“I will come over again sometime.”
At times, she could be pretty cute.
“Sure thing,” I responded in a quiet voice I wasn’t sure if she could hear.
I turned back toward the house to find my little sister with her arms still folded.
She stuck out her tongue.
 Translator's Notes
- A slang term literally meaning "evil eye" and referring to the common "people with supernatural powers" concept found in anime/manga or referring to people who like such things.
- A slang term originating from "Middle School Year 2" that (often with "byou" meaning "sickness" added on) derogatorily refers to being immature or liking immature things.
- A slang term referring to the stereotypical trendy Japanese schoolgirl.
- The name of a 2ch ASCII art character that speaks in the same type of archaic Japanese Saori used and Kyousuke repeated.
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