Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai:Volume 4 Chapter 1
 Chapter 1
My name is Kyousuke Kousaka. For anyone who listens to my stories about my sister, you should feel very strange.
I understand my sister – Kirino very clearly. How bad her temper is, how unreasonable she is.
Of course...I, myself, also realize how much I hate her.
Some may have said that is not totally true.
Because although I constantly said how much I hate her, her problem has nothing to do with me, when she is in trouble, my attitude makes a 180-degree turn, with me running around trying to help her – That is why some people mistake me for a siscon.
But this is not the case.
A natural beauty of a little sister and a normal useless brother. How could I not feel jealous, how is it that I would not feel she is very unsightly?
I hope that you remember when Kirino got sick, at that time her novel was going to be made into an anime. During that period, again I tried to ignore her, tried to pretend she did not exist.
The reason is very common and quite disgraceful. Of course, it can be called a shameful excuse. But because this is a common reason, that feeling cannot be changed randomly.
This is real life, and not everything can have a solution. Anyone who lives for 17 years can understand that. Manga is different from real life. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it is impossible to reach your dream. And some time, someone else can easily get past you, stand above you.
I am a normal guy. That is why I hate my beautiful, talented sister.
Sometimes, I want to defeat her, to crush her spirit.
That idea has been in my mind for a while. Anyone who has my problem should have that idea. I will not be fooled by her cute appearance – since every time, she treats me like a servant.
This is what I think from the bottom of my heart.
You deserve that – Haha! So funny!
But --- but...the result? All of you can see the result: I'm crying and there's Kuroneko’s regret-filled face. Both of us, trying to protect Kirino’s dream, enduring the mocking laughter.
There is no other way. We simply do not have any other choice.
No matter in the past or present, and even in the future, I can only do that - because I’m her brother.
Right now, half of February has passed. I’m alone in my room.
For a student who is going to university in the next year, this is pretty normal.
"Ah... So tired..."
After one hour sitting at the table, I am completely exhausted.
Right now, the idea of taking a break to read manga or check the Internet for some favorite sites seem so pleasant. If it was a few months ago, I would have already fallen for the temptation, but –
"No, I can’t waste the effort in the last hour."
Shaking my head, once more I face the table, clenching a pen.
I am not sure why I am working so hard.
It's such a simple thing, something anyone can easily do. It is just that before, I never had enough persistence and perseverance.
Although I always said I prefer an ordinary and normal life, this does not mean simply staying alive. Maybe I was too loose on myself before, using that as an excuse for my laziness...
Because of that, now I am at least trying to make some efforts.
This subtle change must be generated by my sister and her friend in these recent months.
Yes, it all began in June last year. Since I accidentally discovered my annoying sister’s secret. My sister – who constantly had a cold relationship with me, suddenly came at me for "life consulting", and then I met Saori and Kuroneko.
I defended her interest in front of father, then we went to our first Comiket together.
Then the struggle between my sister and her closest friend, Ayase.
And just a few days ago, I solved all the commotion about her cell phone novel. ----
In the last 8 months, a lot has happened.
During my 17 year life time, there has been no time which has been more trouble than right now.
No matter good or bad, these things are enough to change a person’s value.
"That has nothing to do with me." or "I have had enough..." – although I always think these things, the fact is that my "quiet days" have begun to feel like a distant past.
After many "life consultations", with the many problems that my sister has thrown at me, something has changed.
Both Kirino and I still hate each other, but our relationship has indeed changed.
There are new friends --- aarghhhh, my God, how long must I endure this life style? Deep down, sometimes I want to give up the struggle and return to my "normal" days.
But one day, my sister abruptly told me :
"Next time is the last life consultation."
Several days have passed, but my sister hasn’t said a word about the content of the last life consultation – and I began to think that perhaps I heard it wrong.
There is no way my sister can say something like that.
But...for some reason, that sentence keeps hovering in my mind.
"Last life consultation" – what exactly is it?
I can’t figure it out, so I go to the first floor to get something to drink.
In our house, to go to the kitchen, you must go through the living room. But the moment I open the door I can’t help but stare.
That is because inside the living room, aside from my sister, are her friends that I have seen before.
It seems that her classmates have come to our home to play.
Immediately after she saw me, the familiar sound comes from the brown-haired refined girl.
That is my sister Kirino Kousaka, who, still wearing fashionable clothes, is deeply buried in the sofa.
"Ah! Onii-chan! How are you?"
And would be my sister’s best friend and model companion, a beautiful dark-haired girl, Ayase Aragaki.
Both she and my sister are in 8th grade, but she shows a very calm disposition.
Oh, by the way, she is my natural enemy.
Her friendly attitude is simply an act. Deep down, she must be thinking "Do not come here, pervert...or I will kill you!"
And next to her is...
"Hi! How are you?"
Saying that with a disgusting smile is another of Kirino’s friends, Kanako.
She has a petite, flat-chested body. Her hair is tied into two ponytails. At first glance, she looks like a normal school girl : mini skirt with leggings, cute uniform.
Right now, she is sitting beside Ayase on the sofa.
I hardly met her before, but why am I getting a déjà vu feeling?
"Hehe...Is Kirino’s brother looking at me? So disgusting."
This girl is clearly speaking out loud, so I can hear it. She is as bad as Kirino!
Although I really want to leave this place, simply walking out is not an option.
Why? Why can’t I turn away despite wanting to avoid them? Because I must go get something to drink.
Having no other choice, I can only say hello, then quickly go through the living room.
Those little devils! Disgusting! I can’t stand them! Seems like I can only wait to go back to my room by using the back door.
Ah...am I ashamed with that idea? Well, if you are in my shoes you would certainly understand my mood now.
I pull my tired body to the refrigerator and take out some water.
During that time, the girls keep talking loudly, so I end up listening to what they are saying.
"Huh? What I want? Why do you want to know something like that, Ayase?"
"Er... This... I just want to know. You don’t need to think too much, just give me an answer."
"It seems that during the previous track competition, Kirino got a good ranking. So to celebrate, her friends want to give her a present."
"Hey hey, Kanako! How could you say it out loud like that?!"
"Why not? Just thinking about it is so troublesome, so we can just ask directly, right?"
Kanako replied with a clearly I-don’t-want-to-give-Kirino-a-present voice.
If you speak bluntly like that, doesn’t it affect your relationship?
However, Kirino replied with a gentle voice:
“Ah ha ha... No, no. There is no need for presents. Just knowing that you two care about me makes me happy.”
Now I remember, she always acts like that with her friends at school.
Once she heard Kirino’s reaction, Kanako burst into laughter.
"See? Even Kirino said she doesn’t need a present. Besides, I want to use that money for clothes! You thought so too, right Ayase?"
Ayase quickly put her hand over Kanako’s mouth.
"Ahaha. Kanako is joking again! Haha, how could we say such a relentless thing – we are friends, right?"
Tearing up, Kanako tried her best to nod, tears streaming.
"Ayase! I can’t breathe!"
Then Kirino hastily played the peacemaker:
"Uhm, Ayase, you're going overboard!"
"Huh? Am I?"
Ayase released Kanako immediately.
After being released, Kanako hurridly took a few steps away from Ayase, gesturing at her angrily with her hand.
"You...do you want to kill me?"
"Of course not, Kanako. How could I do that to my friends?"
This was terrible! How can everything this girl says always have some different meaning?!
"Hey hey, both of you please calm down..."
"Can we please talk about something else? Here, look at my new earring."
"I got this from a Shibuya shop. Don't you think it is so pretty?"
It seems that Kirino only played peacemaker with 'friends at school' - Don’t tell me she always does that at school? This is completely different than when she is with her otaku friends. In fact, I think that looks like a mask on her right now!
But she seemed happy, so I guess this is fine.
"Onii-chan, please give me a life consultation."
That is what Ayase asked me that night, after she went home.
My cell phone notified me that I got a new message from Ayase.
"Problems? What exactly is it?" Don’t tell me...she means those doujinshi... Ah...yeah, this might be it."
Still wondering, I already arrived at the meeting point. And that is the first thing Ayase told me.
"Life consultation? You are looking for MY consulting?"
Ayase nodded with a strange expression.
I once got into a fight with her, and after that she always thought I was "an incestuous brother who wants to kiss his own sister."
For various reasons, I can’t resolve this misunderstanding, so I try to avoid her as much as possible.
In fact, I think she must have the same thought – of course I have no way to confirm this.
However... "life consultation..."
Have you heard this word from Kirino? I hate to say it, but this is not something you can just say and expect me to obey your every order! However, the appearance of the beautiful and stubborn Ayase – despite her hatred toward me, made me concerned about what she wanted to discuss and I decided to hear her out.
But I think I have the idea now.
"Is it for Kirino’s gift?"
"It is good that you understand now, so what should I give Kirino?"
"How could I know? In fact, I think 'Whatever is fine' is Kirino’s real thought."
All she needs is something that YOU give her
"Of course I know that, but..."
Ayase looked down, hesitating – it seems like she wants to say something but can’t find the right words to.
So, I express my opinion:
"And...why are you asking me? How could I know what a 14 year old girl likes? You must understand that better than me."
"Because...I don’t know what she likes most..."
"What did you say?"
Her voice is so low that I can’t hear anything, so I ask her again. This time, she answered me very loudly.
"I want Kirino to have a gift that she loves! So that is why I came to ask you!"
Wait just a second. You said you want to give Kirino something she loves... Does that mean...
"I thought you still did not approve of Kirino’s otaku hobby?"
"Yes, and I still don’t approve of it! However, I consider this time to be a special case...so I want to give her something she loves... Besides, I have had some talks with Kirino about anime. “
"So that is why."
Like any normal middle school girl, Ayase really hates otaku.
But like our father, she is willing to try, little by little to understand Kirino’s interest.
This is really touching, knowing that your friend is ready to go that far for you.
"But there is a problem."
"It happened when she showed me some NENDOROID, and I said 'what is the purpose of collecting this?' and Kirino suddenly lost interest. And then she ignored me. I wanted to cry..."
"What is the purpose of collecting this?" This is not something you can say to an otaku...
However, ignoring her friend just because of that, my sister is really too narrow minded.
"So I want to use that gift to restore our relationship...and as an apology, this must be something Kirino loves...so I want to give her something like Nendoroid... That is why I ask for your opinion..."
"So that is it..?"
You still don’t approve of Kirino’s hobby, but you want her to be happy, want to give her something she loves most... So you run to her brother for a second opinion.
Looking at her, how could I reject her after hearing this?
"Got it. I will help you look for something that Kirino loves."
"Really?! Thank you!"
I was greeted with her most charming angelic smile, the same when we first met.
For this smile, finding a gift for my sister is just a child’s play.
"Hmph, are you saying that you want to give me a gift? So disgusting!"
--- Sorry, I failed.
After I got home and met Kirino, that is the reply I received when I asked her what she wanted.
And the situation became that I wanted to give her a present, not Ayase, or so she thought.
This is a big misunderstanding.
"What are you saying?! And I bought you the earrings last Christmas."
"Hmph. This is just a cheap present, so this does not count."
"Okay, okay, so that is it? You just want to make fun of your brother? Right?"
Kirino kept ignoring my question and changed the subject.
"By the way, every time I bring my friends here, please stop looking at them with lust-filled eyes. Not only is it rude, it makes me feel so gross."
"Lust-filled eyes? What are you talking about?"
"Don’t act innocent! You looked at both Ayase and Kanako with those eyes, didn’t you?!"
"Stop looking down on me! What do you mean 'lust-filled eyes?'. I have no such things. And besides, I just felt Kanako looked familiar."
"Do not lie to me! You were looking at them like this" (She makes her best interpretation of a perverted look towards me)
“You are thinking too much! And by the way, why should you care? You are not my girlfriend or something, right?!"
Kirino opened her eyes in shock, but the next moment she immediately answered.
"I will kill you! How could you say such a shameless sentence?!"
She starts hitting me with reckless abandon.
"Ouch! Ouch! Can you please just listen to me? This is all a misunderstanding!"
"What misunderstanding? Who is the one was pleased when called 'Nii-san' by Kuroneko? I know you are a siscon, but I will not allow her to call you that! So disgusting!"
"Hey, hey hey! This...it is not like I make her call me that."
I desperately tried to explain myself.
Kuroneko is one of Kirino otaku friends. She is a gothic lolita girl who always dresses in Maschera cosplay, and quarrels with Kirino a lot.
And since I went with her to investigate the solution of a certain event, we deceived others by claiming we were "siblings."
After that, even though the incident is solved, she still called me "Nii-san."
I think she only wants to make fun of me, but I don’t hate being called that. (Kirino NEVER does).
And since there is no way my real sister could call me that, at least somehow I feel relieved.
But for some reason Kirino seems to hate Kuroneko for calling me that. I honestly can't tell why that is.
"So, what exactly is it? Little sister role play? Did you pay her to do that?"
"I didn’t pay her, and this is not little sister role play."
Pay my sister’s friend so they will play a little sister’s role in front of my real little sister... I can’t even imagine it!
Do you think of me as that much of a pervert?
"Kuroneko is also my friend, there is no need for you to barge into our relationship."
"Yeah, right! Do whatever you want!"
[rapid footsteps are heard]
After she finished talking, Kirino dashed out of the living room.
According to this situation, I feel like it is impossible to ask what she really wants.
"Sigh... Throw a tantrum again, then leave without any explanation...what does Nii-san expect me to do?"
"Please stop this! And how long are you going to call me 'Nii-san'?"
"You don’t want me to?"
"This is not that, but if our relationship gets any better, Kirino will be pissed."
Although she doesn’t admit this, I think she feels her friends are being taken away by me.
“Hmmm. So let’s keep our relationship like now and make her even angrier."
"Please, at least think about things for my sake, will you?"
"Don’t worry, after two more months I will have another name to call you."
"What does that mean... Something will happen in two months?"
I'm taken aback by her words.
Kuroneko doesn’t answer my question, just smiles to herself. Her look makes me feel a little surprised. I have never seen her smile naturally. Compared to our first meeting, she can really open her mind to me now.
How could I say this? Well, only Kuroneko makes me feel that way.
Two of us meet in a café near a station along Shibuya.
What present will Kirino love?
Since I can’t get anything out of her, I had to ask her otaku friends, and the result is this meeting with Kuroneko.
"It is almost time. Saori’s message will be here any minute."
"Really? Saori seems like she's always busy, I wonder what kind of life she has."
Although me and Saori can be called 'close friends', I don’t know anything about her private life. Of course, the same can be said about Kuroneko in front of me. Although she calls me "Nii-san," I don’t even know her real name. Isn’t it the same for all network relationships? We can easily get along, but we know nothing about the other person.
In the end, about Saori's mysterious life, Kuroneko made a conclusion.
“She has connections with an anime production company, a wide knowledge about that stuff, so... Really mysterious."
"You think so too?"
"Yes, but I think she doesn’t want us to know about it."
In fact, I know that even if Kuroneko doesn’t say anything.
"If Saori doesn’t want to talk about it, of course we won’t ask."
"You really are such a sweet girl."
"What are you saying? No need to praise me, I just simply state the already known facts. And I always speak my mind like this, don’t pay too much attention to this kind of thing."
This girl is so easily to please. All I need to do is praise her a little...
"No matter how embarrassed you are, there is no need to panic."
"Seems like you don’t get it at all."
Because of anxiety, Kuroneko now turned to one side, drinks her coffee quietly.
A prolonged dead silence follows.
Although both me and Kuroneko have plenty of things to talk about like a doujinshi or various Kirino – related topics, we can’t seem to find the right words. So the situation is now like this : two people sitting across from each other, don’t know what to say. If this was Manami... Things would be different. At the very least, I would not feel awkward.
But now, sitting in front of me is not my childhood friend, in her stead, a young girl I have known less than a year...so I can’t treat her like Manami.
The two people now open their mouths at the same time.
And both fall back to silence once more. This is too much now.
"What! Are you trying to say something?"
"You are going to say something, right?"
Silence again. To avoid our lines of sight from crossing, we intentionally look in different directions and remain silent.
Wow... I really can’t stand this atmosphere any longer...
I impatiently scratched my head, while Kuroneko whispered :
"About that... About...that thing that happened before..."
"Yes...uhm... when we were going home on the train."
"Ah, that time?"
Finally I understand, Kuroneko is talking about when we sneaked into the publishing company near Shinjuku – and then we went home directly afterwards.
I remembered that since Kuroneko is severely criticized by the editor, I said many things to encourage her.
"Although it has been a while, I still want to say thanks"
"Ah, there is no need to so formal!"
"To be honest, I have completely forgot what I said that time. And I should be the one say thanks. Because of my request, you agreed to go with me to the publishing company. I feel so embarrassed."
"Never mind, you still have to accept my thanks."
"Thank you very much."
You are welcome. Thank you, too."
She hesitated for a moment before opening her eyes, then continued to whisper without looking at me.
"If I have to go to that publishing company again… will you go with me?"
"But I doubt I will be of any help..."
"I know that."
I can understand her reasons.
She is only a middle school girl, yet she has to work with so many adults, anyone could feel afraid. So I agreed to her request.
"Then that’s okay. I will go with you next time too."
Her usual answer give me a sincere feeling. It gave me a déjà vu feeling. Maybe because of this, so I’m not hesitant to agree to help her.
My past self probably would have said "This is none of my concern" or something to avoid this problem.
I really have changed, but I don’t know who changed me.
"By the way, have you finished your next novel?"
"Nope. I haven’t decided what to write..."
That is a problem when you want to write about too many things.
Writing a novel is not an easy task, after all.
"So… it seem that I have to wait for a while, right?"
I purposely let my tone smack of disappointment, so Kuroneko replied with a gloomy voice:
"So far, whether it is games, music, illustration, mangas or novels – I did all of this on my own, to satisfy my imagination. I feel like this is my most suitable arrangement. Of course, only a part of all this gets some results...but recently, my idea has slightly changed."
I think it is because she got some real experience when going to the publishing company.
But after hearing her spiel, I feel like the reason is not only that.
"And sometimes writing something with others seems to be a good choice too. Although I don’t know if things will go smoothly...but at least I thought about it."
She now has the same interest with her friends.
Writing together – one of her friends said so, too.
And I’m also a part of these friends.
So I said to my cute, shy friend:
"Writing something together with congenial friends must be fun."
Although Kuroneko’s expression hadn't changed a bit, I can say she is very happy right now, I can actually feel it from her.
And to that thanks to that, our awkward atmosphere starts to fade...
"Sorry for keeping both of you waiting!"
Saori waves her hand, walking to our seats.
I waved back at her as she walks towards us.
Our nice discourse is interrupted when Kuroneko shot a glare toward Saori.
I have done it so many times, but still, allow me to introduce Saori.
"Saori" is actually her screenname. In real life, she is an otaku with a swirled glasses. Her height is about 180cm, and speaking in an accented manner is her specialty. She is very good at taking care of people and a good friend of mine and Kirino's. Even if we know nothing about her private life, it doesn’t affect our friendship at all.
Using a loud emotional voice, she speaks:
"Then we should start immediately! Hum hum! The area around here is like a haunted house, so we should take a taxi to somewhere more interesting."
"Hey, hey...do you think we are here to play? I’m very busy, so I can’t mess around with you now."
Kuroneko replies, seeming annoyed.
Saori, shocked, answers:
"No no. It is just that I saw a Meruru doll somewhere. I thought Kiririn-shi would be very happy if we gave her that. What about you Kuroneko? You don’t look very happy...“
After we left the station, by Saori’s proposal, we go to various stores to pick a present that Kirino will really like (and Ayase will be willing to give).
"The only possible presents that I can think of right now – for example, maybe a Meruru doll from a crane game, or an eroge Kiririn-shi loves...or a rare doujin, what do you think Kyousuke?"
To be honest, aside from one particular gift that will not make Ayase freak out, I feel none of them have the something 'Kirino will love' requirement fulfilled at all.
"I feel like something is missing..."
"Like what...? Ah, right. If this is something we can buy from stores, then Kiririn-shi can probably buy that too. So we have to look for something that Kiririn-shi doesn’t already have, which made it difficult now."
"Hmmm...among those things Saori mentions, Meruru doll should be the most suitable. Not only it is easy to find, it is not something forbidden."
"But the 'Kirino will love it the most' seems a bit inconsistent..."
By the way, we are sitting in a fast food restaurant, taking a break.
While licking her ice cream, Saori answers:
"Don’t worry. I’m sure we will be able to find some wonderful gift for Kiririn-shi. If she has a 'track team celebration' then we will make one 'phone novel publisher celebration' too.
Haha... in fact me and Kuroneko have already discussed this matter
So, this is also our "Getting a present operation meeting."
"You guys are really..."
I look at Saori and Kuroneko :
"Really...thank you so much!"
"Hum. I haven’t done anything, as usual. All of this meddlesome plot is Saori's own idea."
Kuroneko returned with that comment.
Saori broke out into her strange laughter, then said:
"Yes! I’m such a meddlesome person! I do that of my own will, so there is no need to thank me."
"I know that, and I’m very grateful because of you"
"Hahaha, Kyousuke is really a spineless guy."
"I take back everything I said. Both of you are totally hopeless."
To my left, Kuroneko narrowed her eyes and looks at both of us
But then Saori changes her mouth into a ω shape, exposing her lazy smile :
"My god! Although you always call Kirino’s cell phone novel worthless, you still go with us to pick a present for her? How could you do that, Kuroneko? hahaha..."
"I just feel like those mediocre works will not last long, so I want to have some fun for now."
Recently, Kuroneko seems so cute when she is giving an insult, so I can’t suppress a smile. Although she always speaks what she really thinks, those words do not only have one meaning. Knowing this, I’m no longer feeling uncomfortable because of Kuroneko’s sharp tongue. However, if Kirino said the same thing, I would certainly feel very annoyed.
“Kyousuke, now today not only will you help Ayase-san, but you must also help me and Kuroneko find a gift for Kiririn-shi."
"Okay, I know we are back on topic of finding a gift for Kirino. But...we haven’t able to find anything suitable until now. How are we going to find it?"
"Well...ah, is any Meruru doll suitable at all?"
"I think it is the best choice at the moment – but it seems there are still more appropriate gifts, and yet I can’t think of any. So please, help me again, please!"
“No, no. I can somehow understand Kyousuke’s feeling. He wants to give his sister a gift, so he needs to carefully select it, right?"
Err...in fact, it is not like what you're thinking.
While trying to explain myself, Kuroneko also joins our conversation :
"So in the end, you want something more suitable than a doll right? This must not be sold on stores, must be something she will love, easy to carry around, and valuable."
"Yes, that’s right…. But is something got all of those conditions exist?"
Kuroneko gives no answer, just points ahead of herself.
She is pointing at the entrance of an anime shop we are going to pass next.
There is a big poster on both sides of the doors.
When I look at these doors, my eyes widen in shock.
"Yes...This is it! This is what we are looking for!"
"...Can you say it again please?"
"Kirino is a crazy fan of anime Stardust Witch Meruru."
The next day, I meet Ayase again.
“I understand. If Onii-chan brought the DVD cover, then it must not be hentai."
Ayase took another look at the Stardust Witch Meruru DVD box and nods.
Somehow I got the feeling that if I didn't mention the heroine getting naked during her transformation sequence it would be for the better.
"Er, so what do you think about this 'not-for-sale Meruru figure'? Kirino should be very happy to get it. This is hard to get and for a fan it is very valuable."
"Even I’m not sure about this, but if Onii-chan says so...then it must be true."
Too bad, she still considers me an otaku. That is why she said that.
"So...how do you think?"
"Uhm...this is an anime figure, so there should be no problem."
"The only problem this is a not-for-sale figure. And I’m not very clear on the method of getting it, so can you repeat that again?"
"Okay, as I just said, this 'MeruruEX' figure is an unique one, made by the prototype designer himself. As a big fan of Meruru, Kirino must really want it."
"Of course, there is no way to buy it"
I said this feeling a bit embarrassed.
"It is the prize for the winner of 'Stardust Witch Meruru cosplay contest'"
"You want me to participate in a cosplay contest?"
The light in Ayase's eyes disappears, she is visibly shaking now.
"Ah, yeah, I mean...you are a model...and a beautiful girl too...this kind of contest...I think it should be easy for you to win, right? Er...Ayase, are you angry?"
"Angry? How could I NOT be angry? How could I wear that rope–like costume and dance on stage? Do you want me to kill you? Pervert!"
"Wait wait just a second! Listen to me! I don’t mean that you have to cosplay this character! Besides, you wouldn’t look good in Meruru’s outfit anyway."
To be honest, I also want to see her in Meruru's magical girl costume. But of course there is no way she will ever wear it, not to mention show it to me.
In order to give Ayase some recommendations, I have try to investigate some information about this contest. This cosplay contest is sponsored by the same company that holds the copyright of the anime, so it has a high standard to it. The previous winner is a girl named Bridget. She cosplayed Meruru's friend.
“Look at this...this is the picture of the winner in the previous contest. I believe even if you wear Meruru's provocative clothing, put on a super-provocative posture, you would still be unable to win against her."
"What are you thinking? I have no intention of doing that!? Idiot! Pervert!"
"Ah.. sorry, sorry! I just want to imagine it!"
"Idiot! Sex predator! Pervert!"
Although Ayase is blushing madly, she still picks up the magazine and says:
"Ah...you mean cosplay like this girl? She really look like the anime character..."
"Don’t you think ?"
In fact, this is also my first time knowing how strong the foreign cosplayer is.
I can’t even say this girl looks like the anime character. It seem like the anime character somehow jumped out of the TV and turned into this girl.... If she is also participating in this contest, then she will undoubtedly a powerful enemy.
"But it is not like we have no chance of winning. You are definitely prettier than her. And you are a professional model too. You should know how to bring out the best in any clothes. As long as we choose the right character, that foreigner will never be able to beat us – and when you become the winner, you can get the perfect present for Kirino."
"So that is it...I understand. According to what you said earlier, there is some character looked like me? So, what costume must I wear?"
"Well, this one!"
I pick up the magazine, turn a few pages and return it to Ayase :
"Dark Witch Tanatos Eros EX mode"
By the way, EX mode means that character will grow into an adult, and receive some kind of magic boost.
Tanatos is the demon king of this anime, first she lives inside a girl’s body, then turns her into a 14-year old teenager...
"What?!?!?! She is almost naked! Die!"
Ayase used her demon king like appearance to launch a roundhouse kick straight to my face.
After I rolled a few times in the air, I managed to reply:
"...Wait! Let me explain first! Almost every reviewer is a male otaku! And Tanatos gets first place in the 'villain list!' According to my research, normally EX mode should become a woman, but this EX mode mixed in some loli, therefore this has the most effect with male otaku."
"You...shut up! Die, Die, Die! You want me to put on those shameless costumes? Have you done this to Kirino?! I must call the police!"
"No matter how perverted I am, there is no way I am that abnormal. If there is some brother make his little sister wearing such clothes to please himself, I will kill him."
"Saying so with a nosebleed is not convincing at all!"
"This is because you kicked me!"
What kind of dialogue is that? Why must I and my sister’s best friend have to make with this senseless bickering? I only think that Ayase cosplaying 'Tanatos Eros EX mode' will be very successful....not like I want to see her in that outfit or anything.... I just made a suggestion! Everyone misunderstands me!
"I will say it again! I will NEVER EVER wearing that disgusting costume!"
"Then what about Kirino’s present? Of course there are still some alternatives, but none of them is a 'present Kirino loves most.'"
When I mentioned this, Ayase falls into a desperate expression.
I really doing this for the sake of Kirino and Ayase's friendship! Really, I’m not lying!
"Then what are you going to do? I have told you all of our available choices, the decision is yours."
"In short, we need to be the winner of this contest, right?"
Ayase said something totally unexpected just now.
"As long as we are the winner, it doesn’t matter if I wear these costumes or not, right?"
"Yes, however...other costumes will not generate victory against this foreign girl. We can’t win with just your beautiful face."
"No. We can still win."
Ayase said, full of certainty.
For some reason, her confidence sent a shiver down my spine.
Ayase avoid my eyes, continues to speak :
"In conclusion, this cosplay contest is looking for someone who would look best in an anime character’s outfit. Because of that, for someone like Evan Bridget, who looks totally identical to anime character, she will be easily become the winner, right?"
"Yes...but what are you getting at? No matter how you look at this, only 'Tanatos Eros mode EX' suits you."
Ayase gave the Stardust Witch Meruru DVD box back to me, then takes her phone out, allowing me to see a picture inside.
"I have an idea. Look at this"
After I compare the DVD case and the picture, I’m totally dumbfounded. Yes...yes! With that...we can totally win!
Some time passes, and today is the day of the cosplay contest.
I asked Kuroneko and Saori to help me with preparing the cosplay outfit, and I put them into a large cylindrical bag before going to meet Ayase. Right now, I am under a large LCD screen on one of the main streets in Akihabara. By the way, per Ayase’s instruction, I used some gel, wore a suit and brought some sunglasses. At first glance, there shouldn’t anyone be able to recognize me. The reason for that is because ---- are, here they come.
"Sorry to keep you waiting! This is my classmate, Kanako Kurusu!"
"Nice to meet you! I’m Kanako Kurusu. Call me Kanakana."
And following Ayase, who is now trying to act cute, is none other than Kirino’s classmate, that brat Kanako. She still has her twin-tails, wearing some kind of clothes both childish and stylish.
"Nice to meet you...Kanakana-chan. I'm Aragaki's manager, Kouhei Akagi. There is no need to be too formal around me. Although I’m a manager, I just joined the company so I'm kind of like Miss Aragaki's helper. You can just treat me as a friend."
I feel a little nauseated with that much lying. While I’m afraid of being recognized, luckily Kanako doesn’t seem to have noticed my true identity. She takes out her phone, and answers:
"What? You are not a producer or anything? Damn it, I acted cute for nothing. And don’t call me Kanakana like you know me. It is gross."
This brat... It is like Ayase said, she totally doesn't remember me. To her, my voice or my appearance do not leave even the smallest impression.
So, I’m now going to explain Ayase's "plan."
Ayase firmly opposed my plan to make her cosplay 'Tanatos Eros.' And her alternative plan has a bigger chance of success as long as we get one particular individual to participate in the contest. After listening to her plan, I also agree with her.
My thoughts are interrupted by Kanako’s ranting:
“I will say this beforehand, however. I help you win this contest, in exchange you will have to recommend me to the president of your company."
That is why I got a déjà vu feeling before. Because she almost look exactly like Meruru!
Maybe because of her bad manners that I didn't notice it before...but her face, her physique...almost the same. Indeed, if she cosplays Meruru in this contest, then victory is at hand. When I compared her picture with the DVD box, I’m also shocked.
However, our problem is how to convince this brat to participate in the contest. Of course, Kanako is NOT an otaku. She doesn’t even KNOW Kirino’s secret hobby. To be honest, there is no way we can tell her ‘participate and win to get Kirino’s 'present.' Not to mention that the present for Kirino is only a 'trivial matter,' so there is no way she will accept such humiliation. Asking her directly for help is impossible.
Then Ayase, with her dark, hollowed eyes said to me :
"I will lie to her and say this is a beauty contest. Then I will bring her here. As long as we told her that if she won then we will recommend her as a model, she will be happy. Kanako wants to become a model after all. And I’m going to introduce her to my producer anyway, so we can hit two birds with one stone."
"But… when we give her cosplay costume, shouldn’t she be able to see through that?"
"Let me deal with this trivial matter. As a precaution, please prepare 'Tanatos Eros' costume too."
If Kanako escapes, then Ayase will have to use that costume to step on stage...such a stubborn girl.
"I will get the present that Kirino loves most – no matter what it takes."
That is what happened a few days ago, so it lead to our situation today.
Sensing Kanako felt a little suspicious, Ayase smiles and says:
"No problem Kanako. In fact, I have told my producer about you too. We only need to win this contest then there will be some magazine companies that will ask you to be their model."
Why don’t you say it is some Akihabara magazine company? You really are a good liar.
"Really? But you know I'm considered a loli right? I thought men prefer big ugly models than a petite cute girl like me..."
This brat … every time she speaks, she insults someone. How could middle school girl be so dark?
"Ahahaha, that depends on what kind of work. Besides, I feel like Kanako can easily win this contest, so that’s why I invited you."
After hearing some of Ayase’s flattery, Kanako seems very happy.
She is the same as Kirino. I wonder what will her smiling face change into?
Ayase clapped her hands, said:
"Why don’t we put your clothes on?"
Finally – the time to try the cosplay costume on. Of course Kanako is not going to change in a locker room, but a car instead.
We are currently in front of a parking lot in Akihabara. Because of her work, Ayase often sees a changing car parked here.
"I'm sorry because of the lack of space, when Kanako works she would also use that kind of car instead of locker room, so I think making a habit of it now would be good."
"Oh...so this is a changing car?"
Kanako makes a happy sound after she sees the car with the tinted windows all around.
In fact, while it is true that other models use that kind of car to change, the only reason we made Kanako change in here is no doubt for the contest results. If she changed with other cosplayers, she will find it very suspicious and may become angry. Although I feel a pang of guilt, there is no other way to do this.
"Go Kanako, hurry up! Today's costume is a bit special, so I will help you changed too."
"Oh...I really feel like an actress now!"
She really is an idiot... Aren’t you feeling the slight bit suspicious?
I stay outside of the car, listening to them speaking. The door snapped shut- I can only hear minute sounds coming from inside:
"Well, Kanako, please take off your clothes."
I don’t know why, but Ayase sounds like she is having fun...
“Ahn...don’t touch my breasts!"
"My hands slipped, sorry! Ah, they slipped again! Sorry!"
"It is really dark in here... I don’t know where do you going to touch..."
"Aha! Kanako, you're really ticklish..."
What IS going on the other side of this door?
After the door opens, Ayase steps out happily with Kanako.
Oh my GOD! When I see Kanako, I can’t help but swallow hard. Because, right now Kanako looks exactly the same as Meruru. Instead of ‘cosplay’, I feel like Meruru is standing in front of me.
But... somehow, I don’t feel her spirit.
Hey, hey Ayase...what have you done while helping Kanako change? Are you such a pervert?!
"Oh my god!"
Right after she get out of the car, Kanako immediately squats. Although she still looked pissed, if Meruru fans see her now they will certainly faint.
On the other hand, Ayase gives the driver a signal:
"We are all good here. You can go now."
[Puff, puff, puff, chatter, chatter]
The car drives away.
Of course, Kanako’s clothes are still in that car.
"So....there is no turning back now...." I whisper softly to Ayase.
Oh...Ayase’s actions are quite thorough and reliable, but why can’t I shake the feeling of dread? How could I face her in the future?
"Now then! Let’s head to the event!"
Ayase shows a happy smile, pointing to the stairs which lead to the cosplay contest hall.
While walking past a mirror, Kanako finds out about her strange clothes.
“Wh...wh...What is that...?!"
What a coincidence. Just like in "Stardust Witch Meruru" first episode, the heroine show exactly the same reaction when she becomes a magic girl.
After her shock, Kanako jumps up and uses her hand to cover her face while painstakingly checking her clothes. With a straight face, Ayase said to her friend who just turned into a magical girl:
"It suits you, Kanako."
"What?? Suits... suits... suit..."
"Yes. It suits you perfectly."
"Like hell it does! Aagrhhh..."
She goes quiet. Seems like she bit her own tongue.
With teary eyes, Kanako squats again, sticks her tongue out. There are still some bite marks left there. Look at her awkward appearance, Ayase smiles to me and says:
"What do you think? Cute, right?"
"Ah...er...yes, that’s right."
I want to say "stupidly cute," but manage to hold my tongue.
Because of her normal attitude, now looking at her suffer, I can’t help but want to bully her more.
Still squatting on the ground, Kanako looks at Ayase with fierce eyes.
"What kind of costume is this? No wonder it is so cold, there is almost nothing down here! And it looks like an anime costume – what the hell is this?!"
“My my...please calm down. You don’t want to bite your tongue again, do you?" Ayase said, still smiling:
"Sorry Kanako, I forgot to tell you the contest today is actually a cosplay contest."
"Cos...what is that? Where have I heard that word...wait a second...isn’t it...a contest to find a girl who is the most beautiful in anime character outfit? Right?"
Not really, since sometime males cosplay, too. But there is no way Ayase can correct it, because as expected, Kanako starts become angry. She quickly stands up and cries out:
"Why do I have to be in something stupid like that? I’m not doing it!"
However, no matter how she resists, Ayase still remains unaffected.
"Ah... so nerve-racking..."
"What? Nerve-racking? Don’t play dumb, you ugly girl! Return my clothes! I want to change back to my clothes! Return my clothes back to me now! “
"Huh? Kanako, your clothes should be on the highway by now."
She's obviously stunned by Ayase's comment.
Kanako turns around, panicking.
Seems like until now, she still hadn’t noticed the car has disappeared... Too slow...and sure enough, you are an idiot.
"You guys tricked me!"
"Yes, we tricked you!"
Ayase tilted her head to the side, then stuck her tongue out.
"So...what are you going to do? Are you going to use those clothes to board the train?"
This is absolutely a threat. Don’t say such terrible things with a cute face, Ayase! You are too scary!
Really... She CAN really do anything for Kirino...
Kanako look at Ayase’s dim eyes, her expression changed into "Oh shit, this girl is serious."
I also think she is serious, so you should just accept your fate!
After a while, Ayase changed her tactics.
"Listen to me Kanako…. I understand that you are embarrassed, but this is also a work for professional model."
"Huh? Cosplay is also a part of model’s work?"
"That’s right. Some predecessor had to wear special clothes at work. So this activity is the same! Besides, there is a foreigner participating in this contest. If you win against her, then it will go on your better qualifications."
Kanako... now she seems like she is going to agree.
"Of course it is! This is something only you can do Kanako! I can’t win against that foreign participant! But you can win! Because your outfit is so cute!"
"Really? I’m cute? Oh hahaha, I knew it."
"Yes, yes, you are so cute! Kanako is the cutest girl, right ? Say something..."
I can only casually agree.
"Yes, you are really cute. In fact, I think you can even become an AV (Adult Video) model."
"Go to hell!"
As usual, I get slapped.
A quick slap shut me up.
Ayase continues to praise Kanako:
"Here, take this wand! Oh...so cute! You can easily become the winner this time around!"
"Oh.. seems like I have no choice...Ahaha... since you want it so much, I will participate in this contest."
Looks like we successfully convinced her.
This stupid girl...I hope she will not get tricked again that easily.
For some reason, I’m afraid of this possibility.
"Stardust Witch Meruru! Start now!"
"WOOAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HOAAAAAAAAAAAA! Meruru –Kurara ----.HYAAAAAAAAAAA!"
When Meruru’s voice actress, Kurara announces the cosplay contest, the crowd let out an exaggerated cheer.
"Seems like this anime is really popular..."
"Oh...what kind of atmosphere is it... I already feel dizzy..."
Me and Ayase are now quietly talking, both of us being overtaken by the atmosphere.
I already got the experience from Summer Comiket, but this is the first time Ayase joined an otaku activity, so she looks pained.
"Are you okay? Do you want to take a little rest?"
"I’m fine...I used desperate means to force Kanako into this contest. If I don’t see it until the end, there is no way I can face her later."
Although Ayase looks pale, she's still pretending like nothing happened to her at all.
Under the sunny sky, the contest stage is set in a crowded area of Akihabara, under a big LCD screen. There are lights and a banner with "Stardust Witch Meruru cosplay contest" on the screen. And now down here are more than 100 people coming to see this contest.
"This is an anime for kids right? Why are all these adult males here?"
"You are asking me...?"
Who could be able to answer such a hard question?
"May be it’s proof that it’s popular among all demographics?"
She is still little uneasy, maybe more so now.
A sad truth is she may be right. Those adult male otaku are totally hopeless. Just a quick look can tell anyone about them: almost all dress in a Meruru pink jacket, waving various colorul sticks. In short, they look like soldiers or religious zealots.
Aren’t you guys too excited? Looking behind us at the rest of the audience in the back, they are all stunned. They even keep a distance.
"Everyone! Thank you for coming!"
Kurara kindly waved her hand, responding to everyone’s support. There is no doubt she is the culprit who caused such a crazy atmosphere. She is wearing a white hat, couped with a high-necked sweater, a black skirt and boots. Those clothes are pretty normal. But for some reason, the audience looks even happier. From the look of her fans, I can understand their feelings.
"Everyone! Welcome to the second official 'Stardust Witch Meruru' cosplay contest! This year we've got 23 participants! All of them will cosplay as a character from Meruru! I’ll be your host, Hoshino Kurara! Everyone, let’s have fun!"
"WOAAHHHHHHHHH! Kurara! Kurara! Kurara!" they shout in response.
Really, you otaku seem too excited. Your proficiencies make others can’t help but wonder if you got some special training.
Ayase is trying her best to make distance, watching them from afar...But soon, her eyes stop in one place, and her whole body freezes.
I followed her gaze, then let out a "ugh!" because of shock.
Because there is ----
"Yahoo! Kurara! Kurara! Hai Hai Hai!" Kirino shouts.
My sister is waving glowsticks like crazy. She's also wearing pink clothes, holding round fan of Meruru – completely become an otaku.
After witnessing her best friend's 'otaku mode', Ayase speaks like she has just seen a ghost:
“Is...is that.. Kirino? Am I wrong?"
"Yes, it is her."
I try to answer her as gently as I can. Because even I feel her appearance is a bit too much.
This should be expected! If we are here to get the prize, then Kirino here is completely normal! In fact, lucky for us that Kirino doesn’t participate in that contest herself! If Kirino and Kanako meet each other on the stage... Things would be bad... Real bad!
At least the situation is not that bad yet.
I try to calm myself. Next to me, Ayase breathes a sigh of relief.
"I’m glad I’m not participating in this... If Kirino saw me cosplaying in that, I’d die."
"But you seem interested in cosplay too..."
"What did you just say?!"
"Nothing! Nothing at all!"
At that time, Kurara points toward the sky, announcing:
"Everyone, there is a special prize behind me, please look at the screen! This is the reward for our winner, a special EX Meruru figure! There is only one of these in the world!"
"AAAAAAAAA Kurara! Kurara! Kurara!" The chants continue.
After the screen shows EX Meruru special figure, all otakus let out a joyful cry.
"Yeah! Yeah! EX Meruru figure!I want it so bad! Dammit! Yeah ha! If only there were a character looked like me!"
Kirino seems super excited.
As expected, she really planned to participate herself. I turn to Ayase, saying:
"See that Ayase? I told you our present is perfect."
"It certainly seems so..." Ayase replied with a complex expression.
Because she just witnessed how much her best friend wants that figure, no wonder she has this expression. Then the next step is...
"I will go warn Kirino. She's only acting like that because she thought no one would recognize her here."
I step toward the crowd. If Kirino is here, then we can’t allow Kanako to find out. And if Kirino keeps making such noise, then it would be hard for that to happen.
"Let’s split up for now. It’ll be harder to explain if she sees us together."
"Okay. Let’s meet up where we met earlier, after this contest is over."
"Ah, please give this to Kirino for me."
Ayase removes her hat and gives it to me. I gratefully accept it then start moving. In the stage, Kurara is explaining the rules of the contest:
"I, five judges and all of you will decide who the winner is! We will use a device to measure your cheers – up to 50 points. And then the 50 points remaining will be decided by judges!"
...So basically, it is like a kindergartener's contest?
I try to find my way through the crowd, little by little.
"Every cosplayer has 3 minutes to perform. They can sing, dance or do both, which is even better!"
"YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH!" They are cheering again.
Kirino and the crowd let out a loud cheer. She sure doesn’t care about what other people will think if they see her at the moment. But even though I can see my sister, I'm still unable to go anywhere near her. Damn! First is Summer Comiket, and now this, why does it seem like there are too many people here? Why are otaku so fond of sticking together?
During that time, the competition still continues.
"We will start with the first participant. From England, Evan Bridget-chan!"
"Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh!"
Resounding cheers go up.
Bridget is a blonde girl, and both she and her character, Dark Witch Al-chan is 10 years old.
"Bridget-chan is our previous winner – this time she also cosplays as Al-chan! So cute!!!!!"
Unlike Meruru’s pink outfit, Al-chan’s outfit was a black design. She wears a black cloak, holding a golden wand. Her childish face shows a cold and mature expression, and her long blonde hair is very suited with her clothes. Even an outsider like me can realize that she has high completion of the character image. No wonder she is the previous winner of this contest.
Bridget goes straight to the center, without any greeting, she immediately begins her performance.
"Here! Taste my blade!"
She uses her fluent Japanese to call the crowd’s attention, then uses awe-inspiring movement. Her gold-handled wand thrusts forward. Of course, there's no way such a move can be effective in real combat. But her moves are loveable and cute. She stays in the position for a second, and then her sword sweeps out, like she is trying to cut an imaginary bullet. Finally, she jumps back, make a pose like she just defeated an enemy.
[...] Her wand moves faster and faster.
"Ya! Ya! Hiyah!"
Bridget suddenly drops low, then her wand moves up, ending in a horizontal slash. At this moment, I can even see the shadow of an imaginary enemy got cut down. And seems like I’m not the only one.
The crowd sudden becomes quiet, then….
Cheers and applause can be heard from everywhere.
I have to admit she's got real talent. At first, I thought she won simply because she looks like character. But...just now...what a perfect performance. Seems like Kanako’s victory is not so certain.
After I recovered, I realize that I had stopped and clapping. And right in front of me is Kirino, who is also clapping.
"Yeah! Real Al-chan, so awesome! So cute! Be my little sister!"
"Quite down, you idiot!"
I put a hat on my sister’s head.
"Huh? Who are you?"
She steps on my leg immediately after that.
"You! At least look at me!"
"Huh? What are you talking about, idiot?"
"I’m not an idiot! You!? Can’t you recognize your own brother?!"
After I removed my sunglasses, Kirino finally noticed who I was.
Her eyes widen in shock:
"Why are you here?!"
"That is a long story...For now, just do as I say and don’t ask anything."
"I have my reasons. For now, hide your face with that. You don’t want your school friends to know about this right?"
"Is someone here?!?"
Kirino quickly pulls the hat down, looking around in panic.
Since the accident with Ayase, she really doesn’t want her school friends know about her otaku hobby.
"We can talk later. But someone you know is participating."
"...Be sure to explain yourself later."
While me and Kirino are talking, the electronic boards are beginning to show Bridget’s score. It is like a big electronic tower. The gauge starts to gradually increase. Everyone holds their breath, waiting for the outcome....
Then "bang!" Kurara reads the score:
"99! What a pity! But it really is good! Almost perfect! Maybe our winner is already decided!"
The cosplay contest continued smoothly. Bridget’s performance is really good, makes the crowd reach a climax. After that, each participants is also a cute and lovely girl. Of course, otakus and Kirino are very happy. Many of them are just primary school girls, so me and my sister watch them with a smile.
By the way, there are some participants who join to practice their work in maid cafés, or just to get some pictures for their cosplay photo album.
So the contest continues with two dozen performances. But there is no one can getting close to Bridget, so the atmosphere is a little boring. Pulling her hat down, Kirino whispers to me:
"Hey, who is this person I know?"
"No, you should be able to tell when she comes out."
"In fact, I’m not sure about that..."
Aside from her appearance, Kanako is nothing like Meruru. If she keeps acting like a brat, then it will only make Meruru’s fans angry.
If this happens, then Bridget will be the winner...
When I’m to the peak of worrying, Kurara finally calls that name:
"Now then, entry 21, Kanakana-chan, come on out!"
Meruru's sweet voice answers, making Kurara pause.
Even Kurara is surprised.
Then everyone is surprised when "Kanakana-chan" appears on the stage. She looks exactly like Meruru, but we are more shocked after her first line....
"Stardust Witch Meruru! Starts now!"
Magic wand in hand, Kanako/Meruru gently turns around.This is the same action in the opening for the anime Stardust Witch Meruru.
At this time, music starts to play the Stardust Witch Meruru opening – Meteor Impact
Meruru (Kanako) starts to dance with the music, her wand has been replaced by a microphone.
"Meru meru meru meru meru meru me
Meeru meru meru meru meru meru me
A shooting star twinkles in the space
shooting at the enemies with the Magical Jet
For the Earth, I've fell from the Land of Magic
Hello, I am Stardust Witch Meruru..."
What is she singing?!
This is too good! This girl is singing Meruru’s theme song with a perfect dance! Is she actually an otaku too? No, that’s impossible. Just now she doesn’t even know what cosplay is, and she doesn’t know she is wearing Meruru’s outfit.
What... What is going on here?
Flying towards your chest
With a giant power (sparkle!)
Bigger than a meteorite (sparkle!)
I'm aiming to your heart
So please, catch my full-powered full throttle magic
Don't run away from it, eh?"
Meruru(Kanako) throws her wand up, then takes a step backward. Then she catches the falling wand, her eye twinkles.
I’m unable to say anything. When something unbelievable appears in front of you, people can only watch in awe. And then...not only me, but all the audience which is also stunned by her performance suddenly recovered ---
"Woo! Awesome! Meruru!"
The crowd burst into cheers and applause. This was the same... No, this is even better than Bridget’s performance. While cheering, Kirino happily points to the stage:
“So cute! What is this? What is this? CG? An illusion? Is she 3D? 3D?”
"Oh crap, I got a nosebleed!"
Kirino uses a tissue to hold her nose, still talking nonsense about Meruru’s performance just now.
"Aren't you a bit too excited? Go look in a mirror, is there any middle school girl looking like someone you know?"
On the stage, after her song, Kanako raises her wand, revealing her satisfied smile.
At that time Kirino turns to ask me:
"....When does this person I know come out?"
You...I know you are excited, but you shouldn’t get a nosebleed due to your school friend!
Thanks to that performance, the second Stardust Witch Meruru cosplay contest ends up with Kanako as the winner. At the rewarding ceremony, Kanako holds the 'Special figure Meruru EX' in one hand and shakes hands with Bridget. Both of them are smiling, which means they are probably praising each other performance. If I remember correctly, Meruru’s theme is 'friendship'. Maybe they are the same as Meruru and Al-chan?
After convinced Kirino to go home, I meet up with Ayase.
"See? I told you we can win."
"Uhm...uhm, she really is quite skilled."
"Yes! Kanako is skilled!"
I have never seen Ayase so happy before.
This girl is really proud of her friends. That is why Kirino’s hobby made her so angry... those pure, innocent girls are very rare nowadays.
"I will go get Kanako’s clothes, please go find her."
After I split up with Ayase again, I go to the lounge to look for Kanako. Until now, I still unable to believe that brat is that skilled. I open the door, intend to give her congratulation.
Then I saw ----
"Man, this sucks. What is with those gross otaku freaks? Like I’d even think of coming within a hundred feet of them..."
Meruru/Kanako is squatting on the ground, smoking.
My jaw drops in shock, I'm unable to say anything.
My idol’s image is completely destroyed! Where did your bright smile just now go?Bridget is standing in front of her, but she looks nothing confident like before. In fact, she looks timid and scared.
"Ka-Kanakana-chan, you can’t say something like that...They all cheered for you..."
"What? Are you stupid?"
Kanako glares at Bridget, and then blows smoke in her face.
"Kuh! Kuh! .... Waaaa..."
Bridget start to cry –
"Waaaaa..! Meruru turned into a dark witch!"
Still crying like any child at her age, Bridget runs out of the room.
Seeing that, Kanako gives a remark:
"What a brat."
"You are the brat here!"
I shout, unable to stand it anymore.
"Oh? Ayase’s manager? What...something wrong?"
"Something wrong? You...what are you doing? Stop smoking, now!"
"What? Are you blind? It’s just some chocolate that looked like a cigarette."
"There is no chocolate looking like that! And there is some smoke leaking out! Here, give me your cigarette."
Without waiting for her reply, I took it and quickly put it in the ashtray.
"Ah, what, you thief. Why are you only mad at me? Just now Bridget was here too, why don’t you lecture her too?"
"Shut up! Mind your own business! A middle school girl smoking?!"
"Well, let’s speak about something else. What did you think about my performance?"
This brat...doesn’t care the slightest about her actions.
Although I’m very angry, since she asked me first, I quickly blurted out:
"...How did you know that song? Did you know about that anime?"
Kanako gives me a smug smile.
"Not only do I do idol auditions regularly, but I also go karaoke everyday. So I can remember a song like that after hearing it once. Amazing, right?"
Err... yeah, you are really good. But your personality is another matter...
"What about that dance? You can’t learn how to dance by looking at some static poster."
"That was an impromptu performance. I have some dancing experience too, so all I had to do is make some changes"
You said it was impromptu dance, but it really looks like the original. Seems like none of Kirino’s friends can be considered 'normal.'
Howerver, this brat’s personality is not just some minor flaw.
“You looked like you were having fun singing it. Was that an act? Were you just acting like it and making fun of the fans inside?”
After thinking for a while, Kanako smiles:
"It was fun. I like it when people call me cute. I think that 'moe' stuff is stupid, but I like the feeling of being worshipped then they go crazy over my singing and dancing."
After seeing her smile, I feel like she really can become an idol. However, for your own future, please stop smoking.
"Give me all of your cigarettes. I don’t want to see you smoking again as soon as I’m out of sight."
After that, I bring the Meruru EX figure to Ayase.
By the way, later I find out that Bridget returned with the police. They brought Kanako (still in Meruru’s outfit) to their station. This later known as ‘Akihabara girl incident’. I heard that both the police, Kanako’s parents as well as Ayase forced her to quit smoking.
 Translator's Notes
[RE-EDITED for context and fluidity by Delirium]
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