We spent a lot of time talking about manga and novels at the cafe.
Mitobe and Hanazono-san are acquaintances, so they have similar interests.
Hanazono-san said to us while playing with her empty Frappuccino.
“It’s almost time for me to go……. It’s good to see you today, ……, you’ve sorted out your feelings. –Oh, and I’m new at this too, but if you ever have any problems, you can always call me! – It’s about time my brother ……”
The time passed quickly.
Hanazono-san was scurrying around, looking for someone to pick her up.
“Oh, there he is! Hey, big brother Tatsuya!”
When a …… strong-looking man with a large paper bag under his arm in front of the UDX spotted Hanazono-san, he approached us with a big smile on his face.
Mitobe blew out the water she was drinking.
“Eh ……, why ……”
The older brother only had eyes for Hanazono-san.
He looked very happy and excited.
“Haha, I finished my work as fast as I could and immediately went to buy your manga! Yaa, Meguru-chan is amazing! I can’t believe it’s in my holy land, Animation. Oh, and there’s some loot I could get at the last sale! Wanna see? Yeah, Meguru-chan is cute!”
“B-brother, you’re embarrassing me! Come on, I have friends here!”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had a bad experience. I had no idea that …… was Hanazono-san’s brother.
As soon as he saw us, he froze, dropping the paper bag on the floor with a pale face.
I can see the way the teacher’s thoughts move at high speed.
“…… Gohon, ah, well, what the heck, Hanazono is my cousin. W-why are you guys here ……”
“We used to go to school together.”
“Uhm, we’re social media friends, and we met for the first time today.”
“I-I see …… I-I was asked by an acquaintance to do some shopping …… and give Hanazono a ride home.”
Hanazono-san interrupted his brother and said to us.
“The reason I started drawing manga in the first place was because my brother Tatsuya was an otaku. Even when I didn’t want to go to school, I would go to his house and read his manga.”
Mitobe murmured with a slight drawl.
” …… Y-you like younger people, huh?”
“No, I don’t! I just love Meguru! What kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t dote on this cute cousin! Oh, ……, f-forget it, …….”
“There are many unforgettable events today. Oniryuin-sensei, since you’re here, would you like to see some of my manga?”
“Y-You idiot! You troublemaker! Why should I look at an amateur’s mang—-“
Even as he said this, he looked sideways at the manga that Hanazono-san had been reading just now.
Oniryuin-sensei’s words stop.
He took a seat beside me and started reading the manga.
Hanazono-san gave an earful to him.
“My brother’s school is a private school, you know. According to the regulations, you can get a second job. Actually, he draws manga. My teacher and broth—“
Oniryuin-sensei interrupted her while reading my manga.
‘Yeah, I love you, my little Meguru.”
“Yeah, that’s gross, stop it.”
Oniryuin-sensei returned my manga to me, neatly arranged.
“…… It is at the level where if you put it up on Twitter, you’ll be approached right away. It’s honestly better than me in terms of visual appeal. But–“
Mitobe gulped. It’s rare for the usually taciturn Oniryuin-sensei to speak as much as he does.
The words that followed were.
“The editing hasn’t altered it, has it? The pictures don’t bring out the story to the fullest. ……The characters don’t shine. There’s a lack of moe. The manga looks like it’s being processed mechanically. There’s not enough passion. You need to burn your heart out more. Push your own personality to the limit. It’s not interesting as it is.”
Mitobe’s words came out reflexively.
“Why is that? Kagurazaka-kun, you’re drawing my novel exactly as I imagined it! It can’t get any better than this. ……”
“So it’s based on Mitobe’s novel……. I see, so it’s exactly the same. …… Show me the novel.”
Mitobe sent the URL of the web site to the sensei.
He looked at the novel with great speed.
“…… Fuu, just like the manga. It’s a good novel, fun …… but uninteresting, you know, manga is not a novel. Don’t lump novels and manga together. …… You’re killing the goodness of manga.”
I tilted my head.
I thought I drew the manga just like Mitobe-san’s novel.
Yet he called uninteresting. What was so uninteresting about that novel?
I don’t know what he’s thinking.
But ……, what is this feeling?
It’s a feeling that rises up from the pit of my stomach.
–I’m …… frustrated at being told it’s uninteresting.
Hanazono-san punches Oniryuin-san in the shoulder.
“Y-You’re hurting me, Meguru. This is the level of these guys–“
“Haa, I understand and that’s fine, but you make them both depressed. …… You know, my brother only gives advice to people who have potential. Honestly, you could publish it as is ……”
“Who’s your editor? You don’t have one?
“It’s Sumire Hiratsuka from KADOTAN.”
“Ah Kagurazaka-kun, you can’t! You can’t tell someone you don’t know!”
“What? Oh, right, confidentiality. I was carried away by my enthusiasm and went on …….”
“Fuun, that girl huh. She’s been on a roll lately. …… Oh well, it’s late today, we should go home. We’re in a hurry because Meguru and I have a family dinner to attend.”
Oniryuin-sensei left with Hanazono-san. ……
It was just me and Mitobe left in this place.
“…… For the first time, I felt like punching someone.”
I didn’t think my voice would be so low.
“Fue!? Y-you can’t! ……, but honestly ……, I’m so frustrated …….”
How can the feeling of frustration be so mind-blowing?
It’s a feeling that gushes heat from the body.
Mitobe also gritted her teeth in frustration.
I’m more disappointed that he said I made her novel uninteresting than that he rejected my manga.
Mitobe’s voice was filled with heat.
“Kagurazaka-kun, I’m in the mood to write a novel.”
“Well, Mitobe, I want to draw your novel right now, too.”
We both stood up at the same time.
Then, after making one phone call to Hiratsuka, we decided to leave Akihabara.
Our heat didn’t cool down even after we left Akihabara.
When we were on our way to Mitobe’s house, we met Tetsuya, Kyoko and the others, but that was not the point.
This heat wouldn’t go away unless I put it to creative use.
“Ah, Hayato, h-hey, we’re going to karaoke now……”
“Oh, Kyoko, let’s give it some time. ……”
“It’s the two of them together again. …… Mitobe-san? Was she like that?”
I’ve said it many times, but that’s not the point.
I gave a cursory reply to the three of them and walked past.
I went up to Mitobe’s house with the same momentum.
“Moootherr! Sister brought the guy from last time!”
“Ara ara, that nice boy, right? I’ll have to make a lot of dinner!”
“K-Kaede ……father is …… ugh …….”
I called my mom to tell her that I was going to have a meeting at Mitobe-san’s house.
I asked my dad to give me the details of the manga artist named Oniryuin.
Then, I asked Hiratsuka to participate in the meeting via Zoom.
According to Hiratsuka, she was originally going to give me some advice via e-mail.
She said that she had planned to start with the character designs, think about the structure of the first story and the overall structure, and draft the name.
“Achyaa, it’s Oniryuin-sensei……. He’s very strict with others and with himself.
I was not that angry with him for telling me about the manga and for showing him my manuscript.
Rather, he told me that I could show it to him again when I had finished the story properly.
The meeting between me, Mitobe and Hiratsuka lasted for several hours.
From that day on, the stormy days continued.
“Mom! Sister brought Hayato again! Yay, we’re having a feast today!”
“Ara ara, please eat your fill today, okay? Today we have curry, Neapolitan and fried shrimp.”
“…..Well, he’s a very nice young man, which is hard to find nowadays. ……Kagurazaka, how did you develop those muscles? Do you go to the Gold’s Gym …….”
At home and at school, we discuss the structure of the story and the overall structure, and in the evening, Hiratsuka-san gave me some advice. At the same time, I submit my character designs.
My classmates noticed that something was wrong with us, but they didn’t care because no one was talking to us.
“T-they’re really going at it, aren’t they?”
” …… What’s the event? What is it? Winter comicon is already closed—.”
“Hmm? How does Misuzu know about otaku events?”
“I mean, How to say it, Mitobe-san looks thinner? Isn’t …… kind of …… cute?”
“Idiot, she’s a otaku and a fat ……, right? R-right, she is little cute, indeed?”
“Haha, anyways, she is cute isn’t she?”
We didn’t listen to the nonsense of our classmates.
We poured our hearts and souls into creating our work.
Hiratsuka’s criticism was also quite severe.
“Haa? She’s cute, but not attractive! You should draw characters that make her swoon!”
“If you don’t incorporate Hamusuke-san’s fourth story into one, it won’t be as exciting, so adjust it.”
“This reminiscence scene would be great in a novel, but it’s too long, so draw a picture that sticks in the mind in one page!”
“You took up all my time at the party, so make it the best you can!”
I had hit a wall.
This is because I can’t truly understand the emotions of the characters in the story. This is a problem due to the lack of empathy.
The difference between the two is only slightly apparent when drawing the characters.
Normally, Mitobe, who is the author of the original work, does not work with me on the name.
The final check is done.
“Yes, the protagonist at this time ……. Yes, …… Oh, do you know how Hanazono-san felt when se thought she might be bullied? …… Yeah, that’s the same feeling I had when I felt bad.”
“Let’s see, the heroine at this time was ……, um, oh, Inomata-san was fixated on Kagurazaka-kun, right? You didn’t feel any favoritism? Yes, she was possessive, but she also showed her favoritism to others to keep them in check.”
The character’s emotions, which I hadn’t understood in detail, seeped into me through Mitobe.
And I learned those feelings with my body.
I drew the names over and over again, putting the characters’ personalities into the brush.
At home, my father chatted happily to me.
“Hayato! Didn’t the Oniryuin guy give you a bad name? Hahaha, the lolicon has become a big shot. Anyway, did you finish your name? Hmm? You don’t want to show me? Show it to me when the book is finished, huh? That’s great! I’m looking forward to it!”
My mother saw this and smiled kindly at me.
It was strange, my mind was growing through the manga.
I was able to reach a point where I understood that my past manga was incomplete.
We were called by Hiratsuka and knocked on the door of that stylish coffee shop.
It was a few minutes’ walk from Iidabashi station, where there are so many exits that it’s easy to get lost.
What we found there was a shrinking Hiratsuka, the Afro-editor-in-chief, and Tatsuya Oniryuin.
“Ou! You’re going to show your completed Manga to Hiratsuka today, right? Show it to us, too.”
“…… Afro-san, I’m going to …… pick up Meguru-chan.”
Pen name [Seiryu Kiryu].
He is a very popular manga artist and a teacher whose otherworldly fantasy and romantic comedy has been made into an anime. In other-worldly terms, he is an SSS-class monster of a writer.
He is an odd teacher whose hobbies include teaching and cousins.
Mitobe meets the sharp eyes of the editor-in-chief and Oniryuin-sensei head-on.
I stared back with strong-willed eyes.
I grit my teeth lightly. I remember how frustrated I was at that moment.
Mitobe took my hand and held it.
I don’t know why my heart started beating faster, but I decided not to worry about it.
“I’ll never lose because Kagurazaka-kun is next to me–“
I squeezed her hand back tightly. There were so many words I wanted to say to Mitobe that I couldn’t choose one. So I nodded and said.
“—I’m glad we met.”
A sense of urgency grew in the coffee shop.
“What is it? Are they dating? Hey, Hiratsuka, take good care of them.”
“No, no, not like that. …… But they’re always flirting. …… It gives me a headache to watch them. ……”
We put the manuscript on the desk, hand in hand.
Hiratsuka looks at it with both hands. Then, without saying a word, she hands it to the editor-in-chief.
The editor-in-chief finishes looking at it at high speed, and hands it to Oniryuin-sensei–.
Oniryuin-sensei, unlike the other two, takes a long, hard look at our manuscript.
Yes, this is a full-length manuscript created by the two of us.
The sound of the manuscript being turned echoed through the coffee shop.
A change occurred in Oniryuin-sensei. That page was a reminiscence scene that I put so much emotion into that it broke my heart in one page.
–His hands trembled.
And gradually, as he approached the climax of the story, Oniryuin-sensei’s body began to tremble–
The teacher looking at the last page…
He stood up and cried quietly–
He releases the words, letting the tears flow uncontrollably.
“………… This, what a thing, you painted. …… Do you want to put me out of business? …… Hey, I can’t stop crying? I didn’t tell you to grow up here.”
The teacher took a deep breath, suppressing a sob, and told us.
“—–It’s the most interesting manga ever.”
It’s a simple statement, but it penetrates my heart.
I understood that he was serious about this.
“Higu……, Higu, Kagurazaka-kun!”
Mitobe leaned over me as if she was going to fall over.
I supported the skinny Mitobe with both hands.
The weight of Mitobe was soft and comfortable.
“Yeah. We’ve convinced a lolicon……, fu, fufu, is this what you call a sense of accomplishment? …… I’m in the mood to hug Mitobe-san irresistibly–“
I guess I’m smiling. I hugged Mitobe gently and shared my joy with her—-
For the first time, I felt like shouting for joy.
“Well, there’s a difference between selling and being a masterpiece. You never know until the book is published.”
“Mou, Chief Editor! I will take care these young people!”
We hadn’t heard those words before.
It was the first time we had really worked together, and it felt as if we were being praised as two children.
The joy was immeasurable.
We hugged each other all the way until Hanazono-san came to the coffee shop, and shared our joy.