Chapter a week: 1 “A Convoluted Situation”

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy! 

Link to Prologue

—-

“Five–what? What do you mean?” I stumbled. Not only was this my first time really hearing about the case I was supposed to help with, but it was also the first time seeing Nodaka with any sense of urgency or hurry.

“I solved the case! Hah! I’m seriously such a genius.” She grinned. “Hey, today is May 15th right?”

“Yeah, it is.” In response to my answer, Nodaka brightened up even more. “Is there anything special about today? I was actually planning on going to the mahjong tournament today, so if it could wait till tomorr–”

“Exactly! I can’t believe I forgot!” She began waving her hands around in accordance to what she was saying, as if what she was saying was some kind of message from God. “Miyuki put me on this case that I’d be too busy to enter since she knows I’m better than her, but I’ve cracked it in time!” 

“That said, the only problem is actually telling the police who the culprit is.” She then points her finger straight at me. “And that’s where you come in!” At this point, the only emotion I am feeling is confusion. Nodaka begins to jump around the room, picking up socks scattered around the room and putting them on. “I need you to go to Shirakawa and deliver my message to detective Ano.”

“Shirakawa? What? Why?”

“Because that’s where the crime scene is, what do you think?” She crouches down, supposedly having found her other sock. “Stupid intern.” she mumbles, but loudly enough so I could hear.

“Wait, I don’t even know where the crime scene is!” Nodaka turns her head around to face me, and stares at me blankly for a solid second before replying. 

“What?! You’re an intern, how could you not know?”


“You never told me!” I retort, but she simply stares at me with irritation. No, maybe disappointment is a better word. She sighs, and hops around the room, miraculously avoiding any of the items scattered around the floor, until she reaches her desk. 

“Man, you’re so useless. So all you’ve done is buy me food and make me coffee? What do you think you’ve been hired as, a babysitter?” Unsure of how to react to various elements of her comment, I just continue watching her in silence. She reaches into a pile of documents, and grabs a pink, semi transparent document holder.  She opens it and throws a bunch of pieces of paper out from it, until she stops after looking at one, and hands it to me. “There.” She puts her finger on a yellow post-it note on the sheet, which reads a long address written in surprisingly neat handwriting.

“Alright, so, just deliver my message to detective Ano, alright?” She begins to head towards the door, presumably to the mahjong tournament.


“Wait, you mean right now?”

“Yeah, when else?” She stares at me blankly once again, like I’m asking something stupid.

“You just said “we have to go” before, aren’t you going to come with me?”

“No, no, no, we have to go! You have to go to Shirakawa, and I have to go to the tournament!  Enough stupid questions, hurry up and get this case finished!” 

“Why can’t you just call the detective instea–” But before I could ask another stupid question, Nodaka runs out and slams the door shut on her way out, leaving behind me, a confused intern, in a large yet cramped and messy room to take in everything that had just happened.

Wait, so she hired me to participate in a mahjong tournament?!

Realizing this just now, I decide to take a short break.

——-

After finally receiving my latte, I sit down on one of the smaller tables in the corner, and open the pink folder given to me. I was a little excited before this, thinking that I’d finally be able to start working on a case in this detective agency. After all, I really had been just a babysitter. But when I actually looked inside the folder, I realized that Nodaka Asumi was a consistent person. Inside the folder was a collection mostly of doodles, the most noticeable of which was a doodle of who looked like Yosana Miyuki, the current president of the Yuzuriha detective agency, bowing down to Nodaka, saying, “Please forgive me! You are the better detective and a sexier woman!”

Ignoring whether she gave this to me on purpose or not, I realize that I should probably begin to head to Shirakawa, since it’s all the way in Kyoto.

On the way to the station, I recall the conversation that I’d had an hour ago with Nodaka, and realize that even if I ignore not knowing what the case is about, I don’t know who the hell Detective Ano is.

I guess I’ll call him when I’m on the train.

I buy the bullet train ticket to Kyoto costing nearly 15,000 yen without much thought, since it was a business trip, and sit on my seat.

I flip through the pages in the folder again, hoping to find some kind of clue about the case itself, but also to make sure I could ask Nodaka everything I needed to before I called her.

In the first place, I don’t even know if Nodaka is going to pick up her phone… I also want to avoid not knowing anything at all when I deliver Nodaka’s message.

.

.

.

It was at this moment that I had realized something much, much more significant than me not knowing who Detective Ano was.

Shit…

Nodaka didn’t tell me her message.

Normally this would be no problem, but that slight fear of Nodaka not responding to the phone call was creeping upon me. I call her phone number, and of course, she doesn’t pick up. I call her again. No answer. I call her for the third time since it should be the charm, but I come to realize that no charm works on the lazy sleazeball that is Nodaka Asumi, since she doesn’t pick up.

With a little panic, I call the company phone number of Yuzuriha detective agency. Natsuki, who is probably the only normal person I’ve met in the agency, picks up.

“Yuzuriha Detective Agency, how can I help you?”

“Natsuki, can you put me through to Nodaka? It’s pretty important.”


“Uh, I’m pretty sure she’s playing mahjong right now. I can go to her if you want.”

“That’d be really great, just hand over the phone to her. Thanks a lot.”

After a little while of waiting and pacing around my small seat, I was removed from being put on hold and was put through.

“Hey, are you there?” Unfortunately, the one who came back was Natsuki, not Nodaka. 

“Yeah, where’s Nodaka?”


“She said she’s busy.”

Are you kidding me??

“Tell her that she didn’t give me the message, so I have nothing to say to Ano.”

Although there was very clear confusion in her voice, Natsuki obliged, but didn’t put me on hold, so I could hear a little of her conversation with Nodaka. I could hear Natsuki speak to her in a normal, casual tone, and Nodaka’s very obviously irritated response, though I couldn’t make out what she actually said. Although there was a little hope in me that Natsuki would fight back and respond to her, to my dismay she came back to the phone.

“Hey, what’d Nodaka say?”

There was a short pause, before Natsuki responded. “She said that since she’s too busy, you should just go solve the case yourself.” After hearing what Natsuki said, I realized she paused probably because she felt as dumbfounded as I did. That said, I didn’t really want to put her through more scolding from Nodaka, so I decided to end the conversation.

“Yeah… okay…. Uh, thanks, Natsuki.”

“No need to thank me. Good luck, Risa.” -beep-

I take a deep breath, and decide to go over the options I had.

The first one that comes to mind is going back to the agency, kicking that dirtbag in the face and making her come to Shirakawa with me, but there’s just one problem. I’m already on the bullet train, and purchased a ticket. If I go back now, I’m going to have to explain why I spent 15 thousand yen on a ticket which basically had no meaning, and I can easily imagine Nodaka not accepting this as a valid reason, and thus making me pay for the ticket out of spite. 

I’m really short on money right now, hell, that’s the whole reason I’ve begun this internship in the first place. So that’s not an option.

The only other option that I can think of right now is to do what Nodaka told me to do, and actually solve the case. But is that even possible for me? God damn…

I flip through the pages in the file holder once again, trying to think of something to do. Although it is mostly filled with poorly drawn doodles, there are occasional notes that I can’t figure out the meaning of since there’s no context. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, sometimes it’s just a collection of numbers. I consider trying to decode some of these, but considering the possibility that these are direct quotes from a soap drama Nodaka was watching, I decide not to. But then, my eyes latch onto a set of numbers that resemble a phone number. Although it was shot in the dark, I really have nothing to go on right now, so I dial it on my phone.

Miraculously, the call goes through. And even more miraculously, someone picks it up, which, after my attempts with Nodaka, feels like an act from God.

“Hello?”

A somewhat husky, deep voice comes through the phone. I freeze for a bit, realizing that I dialed the phone expecting no answer, and thus I didn’t plan anything to say in the first place. 

“Uh- ah- um…..  Are you… an acquaintance of Nodaka Asumi?” I manage to say something, but it doesn’t really make sense.

“Who is this?”

“Uh…. I’m currently interning in Nodaka Ayumi’s–”


“Ohh, Risa-chan, the new female assistant! How the hell d’you get my number?” I get interrupted, but what stuns me more is that this person knows not only who I am but even my name.


“Well, I-”

“That doesn’t matter. I feel so bad for you! You really shouldn’t have taken this job offer. Though I guess you had no choice with your financial situation…. Man, even if it was my chance to get out of that shitty job, now that I’m talking to you, I feel really bad.”

Chance to get out of his job…? Wait, my financial situation?! How the hell–

“Sorry, who are you?” I abruptly ask him, somewhat demandingly.

In response, he laughs. “You’re the one who called me, and you’re asking who I am? Hah, that’s pretty good.” He’s right, but I’m starting to feel a little frustrated. “You sound quite troubled, what’s going on?” But suddenly, he begins to sound a little more reliable and kind. No, maybe he always had this tone, but it sounded threatening because he knew things about me. 

“It’s a bit of a convoluted situation…”

“Don’t worry about it, I have more time that I need, now that I’m unemployed.”

I quickly explain what’s happened to me today. For the most part, he listened in silence, but I could hear him trying to hold in laughter occasionally. 

“…and so that’s how I got your phone number.”

“Man, that really sucks. I really feel for, you I really do.” His previous laughing suggests otherwise, but whatever. “As I said, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands, so I don’t mind helping you. I can give you some info on the case, though I don’t remember all of it, and certainly don’t know who the culprit was.” Though I’d asked the same question before, his line just now piqued my interest again, leading me to ask, once more.

“Sorry, but how do you know all of this? Who exactly are you?”

“Oh, right. I didn’t introduce myself, sorry about that. I’m Kanou, Asumi’s previous assistant.”

Should you Play: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a game that came out quite a while back, but in case you were still wondering where to buy it or not, here’s my opinion:

So I sat down to play… Sayonara Wild Hearts (2019) - George ...

In short, yes.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is extremely entertaining, with graphics that look really good, and uses the blockiness of it to its advantage by making it a part of its aesthetic.

Sayonara Wild Hearts - Original Soundtrack 상품을 Steam에서 구매 ...

But although the visuals are great in the game, I think the key appeals of it are the music and the gameplay. Wild Hearts itself is an extremely short game, even for its 13 dollar price, and it’ll take you 1-2 hours to clear the entire game.

Review: Sayonara Wild Hearts - A Marvellous, Music-Driven ...

It’ll take longer than that, maybe another hour or two(or even more) to get Gold Ranks on all of the stages, but in 2 hours you’ll have seen everything the game has to offer.

The gameplay consists of dodging and shooting, while collecting points through hearts. Yet its constantly changing, sometimes being a 3D racer, while other times its a shooting game or resembles a 2D platformer(this review is intentionally showing similar photos that are mostly from the beginning of the game, to avoid spoilers).

sayonara wild hearts review (7).jpeg | GameCrate

But the key point to the gameplay is that it’s extremely easy. The levels themselves don’t require much skill, and there are countless amounts of ‘silent checkpoints’ in the game, allowing for quick respawns close to where you died, which keeps your excitement high while you’re playing.

Many people have referred to this game as a rhythm game, but I don’t think you should go into this game with that expectation. The music is definitely great, and there’s no doubt that this game would be much worse without it. That said, the gameplay itself is very loosely connected with the music, and rarely relies on your sense of rhythm.

I think the best way to understand how cool this game actually is, is to watch the trailer for it. When I first watched it, I thought that there was no way the game is actually going to look like this, but literally all of the gameplay looks like whats shown in the trailers. It transitions so smoothly between the short cutscenes and the gameplay, and it’s really unique in how you’re put in all sorts of new situations, introducing new gameplay mechanics that are really cool to play with, but simple enough to not warrant a tutorial.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Wallpaper 68826 1920x1080px

I only have two major complaints with this game, both of which are related to the ‘coins’ that are in every level, which affect the ‘rank’ that you achieve after each level. The first complaint I have is how disconnected the gameplay is to the visuals. There’s these guiding ‘coins’ in this game, and so when you’re being chased by an enemy, instead of looking at it to see where it would go and where you can dodge, you can simply look at the coins to look at where you’d go. This makes the visuals feel much less important and dragged my attention away from it, which is a true shame considering how cool and well done they are.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Review - Full of Heart (PS4)

The other complaint that I have is how the coins actually appear. During the parts in the game where there is no enemy, and all you’re really doing is chasing the coins to get a better rank(and lack of anything else to do), often times there is no visual cue or consistent pattern to how the coins appear. Instead, it’s much easier(and I think the only way to actually get all the coins) to kill yourself after seeing where to coins appear, so that you go back to the previous checkpoint to be able to collect the coins.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Review | Flashy stylish arcade bliss

But enough of my complaining, if you’re even considering this game, then I would strongly, strongly recommend it, especially since it’s only 13 bucks. The problems I mentioned were some things I found a little annoying during my first playthrough, and I’m sure some people won’t even notice or be bothered by it at all.

Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Dress Up Features are Simply Great!

For the longest time, ever since the first pokemon game, players have never had the ability to customize their own character’s design. Now, I don’t know about you, but I actually never had any problems with this.

The main character sprite in Pokémon Red and Blue is off-center ...

In the first place, the original games were tiny pixels, so obviously there isn’t much room for customization there. That said, with the recent additions of 3D pokemon games, I think Game Freak made an excellent decision to add character customization to the game, even if it wasn’t really asked for.

The amount of customization that’s present in this game is actually quite diverse, too. There’s plenty of different clothes for your character to wear, all sorts of hats and shoes, and I surprisingly found myself enjoying the heck out of myself customizing my own character.

There’s also this new feature in the latest installment to the game called “league cards”, where you basically pose your own character and decorate it with backgrounds, effects, and frames in the game, and share it with other players. This was also super fun, and I’m not going to lie, making mine was one of the top highlights of my playthrough lol. The character is just too cute!!

To show off some of the differences you can have in characcters, here’s my league card compared to Edy’s. It’s also there to show that I am better than him in design and pokemon.

Overall, although I’m sure no one is going to play pokemon for its character customization, I think many people will find themselves enjoying the dress up parts simply for how easy it is to make a good looking character in the game.

What makes Kaguya-Sama Stand Above the Other Rom-Coms

With the second season of Kaguya-sama being back on air, the popularity of the show has once again shown itself, with various anime communities having consistent conversations about the show. Kaguya has gotten an immense amount of popularity, even in the western fandom, with over 250,000 users listing the first season on MAL, and the second season currently holding an incredibly high score of 8.75. It’s not common for a Rom-Com Slice of Life anime to be ranked so high, so what makes Kaguya-sama stand so far above other Rom-Coms?

Well for the most part, it’s basically two things. Comedy and Cute Girls. But it’s the great execution that the show carries out with these two elements that allow for such simple things to help the show achieve such great acclaim.

The premise of the show is pretty simple, two very noble, prestigious students are in love with each other, but they want the other to confess first. Sounds somewhat like a commonplace relationship, but here, these two are characters of high intellect, so we are often treated with “high-level conversations” where the others try to evaluate any small hint that they come across through small talk, and they try and make the other slip up into a confession.

This of course is simply ridiculous, but it’s this absurdness of the show that makes it so funny. Many of the best parts of this show(and the source material manga) is the frankly stupid situations that the main two find themselves in.

Combine this comedy with the somewhat large cast of genuinely interesting and mostly likeable side cast, and you have an excellent recipe for a success.

P.S. Kaguya is best girl, fight me.

The Hilariously Wrong Vegan Documentary: The Game Changers

Now you may be wondering. Why is an anime blogger posting about a vegan documentary? My answer to you:

Confused-looking anime girls with question marks above their heads ...

With the CoronaVirus, I’ve been watching random stuff on Netflix. The other day, I watched the documentary, “The Game Changers”, a relatively popular documentary on netflix which discusses the ‘plant eating diet’.

It is definitely not because I had a quick school assignment, and did not want to write a blog post this week. Definitely not. No way

——– warning: this post is filled with 5 minute research, and you probably shouldn’t trust it. i am an idiot with no degree, no prior knowledge in this area, and my opinion should not be taken seriously ——-

fixed that for you guys 🙂

This documentary is actually pretty funny if you consider the ways in which it’s just outright wrong, which you’ll find from just a bit of research on the web. For example, they say that a peanut butter sandwich has just as much protein as a 3oz beef, but that would require literally ¼ cup of peanut butter.

If that doesn’t convince you to watch this, I would like you to know that there is a section in this movie where they discuss how eating plants make your erection better.

But for now, I’d just like to talk about the documentary and its problems.

The documentary pushes the idea that plant eating diets are much more effective in helping people for exercise, and strongly suggests that it is the superior diet to a meat based diet. It attempts to debunk many ideas within society of the benefits of meat diets and negatives of plant eating diets. 

One of the things that is deeply covered within this documentary is the poor knowledge that many people have about meat eating diets. There are undoubtedly many benefits to eating plants over meat, and eating sufficient amounts of plants and not overwhelming your system with meat is definitely a good idea, however, as this documentary mentions, many professional teams eat many steaks a day and treat themselves to junk food right before real matches

The film pushes the importance of diet on human’s physical performance. However, this film puts too much importance on the diet, and has a lack of focus on anything else.

There is a section in the documentary in which various athletes are given a meat burrito first and have their blood tested, then have a bean burrito the next day and have their blood tested again. In this test, they put the blood in a centrifuge to see the plasma within the blood easily. The point of this test was to demonstrate that one meat meal can impair blood flow, and that endothelium functions less well after a meat meal. Of course, the results of the test in the documentary show that the bean burrito was much more helpful. 

However, the documentary does not even mention other variables whatsoever,  such as sleep, medical history, training, muscle fatigue, mental clarity, emotional state and genetic predispositions. 

Furthermore, this documentary often has lots of sections where it is arguable that the problems being mentioned are not necessarily due to the people consuming meat instead of plants, but because they are consuming poor quality meat. 

Conor McGregor | UFC

There is massive misinformation and misrepresentation of facts, and man it’s hilarious if you know the context. There are many instances in the documentary where there are so many elements that are not properly shown to the audience, and only the diet is shown as the main cause of everything. One of the highlights of the film is where the fighter Conner McGregor goes against Nate Diaz. It shows McGregor constantly eating meat, and saying that he overeats meat, and strongly implies that the outcome of the fight in which Conner McGregor loses and that causes a major upset in the fighting community, is solely because of the diet. 

This is an extremely poor representation of the facts, because of many factors in this fight that were not mentioned. For example, many believe that in the first place, McGregor was a poor match to Diaz due to their conflicting fighting styles. Furthermore, Diaz was known to do much more cardio while McGregor would focus more on strength training. In addition to that, in this fight, McGregor had to go up two weight classes for this fight, meaning that there was likely a 20 to 30 pound difference between the two during the time of the fight. This is not mentioning the 11 losses that Diaz has, as well as the fact that McGregor emerged victorious in the rematch. The claim that the diet was the difference in this match is simply ridiculous, as it does not take other sources into consideration. 

Another one of the points that this documentary makes is that although people believe that we need to get protein from animals, that is actually false, and we can actually get all of the required protein from plants, and perhaps even better quality from protein. The film makes a fucking hilarious claim that ultimately the protein we get from animals and plants is the same, because the animals eat those same plants. However, there is much scientific evidence that suggests that plant protein is inferior to meat protein. 

There’s various reasons, and these are just a couple of ones I found from biolayne.com.

  1. most plant proteins are far less bioavailable than animals proteins
  2. most plant proteins are limiting in various essential amino acids.
  3. most plant proteins are low in leucine

anyway, thanks for reading. see you next week where i will actually post anime things.

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

The Struggle with Additional Characters(ft. Hidamari Sketch)

So many times, in long running TV shows and occasionally Anime, come a time in the show where either some character(s) join the main cast. There’s many reasons that can apply to this situation, such as some of the main cast leaving because their actors are too expensive, or even the writers running out of ideas with the current character dynamics. But whatever the reason, you often find that characters are coming in and out of shows. And the ones that come in are almost never just as good as the original cast.

Obviously there’s the sentimental value that you’ve come to bear for the original cast. But there’s indefinitely something beyond that. Good writers can obviously come up with characters that would have interesting chemistry with the pre-existing cast, and with the main cast already having been deeply explored, it may end up being easier to write a character with a personality and background that compliments the others than it would have been in the beginning. But more often than not, show writers are not that well skilled.

Hidamari Sketch is an example of a show where there was a more than solid cast, but the team(or rather, mangaka) decided to add an additional two characters who simply did not live up to the main cast. Nori and Nazuna are not dislikable, but they’re simply nowhere near the level of Miyako, Hiro, etc. Even the side characters like Natsume or Sae’s little sister are much, much more cuter, interesting and likable.

Still, there are some fun occasions with the two new main characters where they have some really enjoyable chemistry with the original main cast that stems from the upperclassmen and lower classmen. 

Also, Nazuna’s voice is just a little too high pitched for me, which just makes it worse- but that’s probably just me…

How Music in Slice of Life can transform「calming」into「relaxing」

Music affects our viewer experience, often much more than we end up realizing. When reading media reviews, especially ones concerning anime, I often see a lack of focus on the sound section. Now, of course I definitely think that part of this is on the fault of the anime industry, due to many series having lackluster soundtracks. But I think that the anime community in general has a lack of awareness for how important music is to a medium.

Animations consist of three different key elements, art, sound, and story. Now, I’d indefinitely mark sound in the last of the three, and music is only one of the three elements of sound, sound effects, voice acting, and music. But just because it’s not as vital as the story or art, you shouldn’t underestimate the massive effects that it can have on your experience with a show.

In this post, I’ll mainly be talking about the effect music has on slice of life shows, but the influence it has on viewers is universal to all genres. An excellent example would be Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Yoko Kanno is a serious legend, with masterful control of music. So much of her compositions in Stand Alone Complex are catchy and get me so hyped up whenever I hear them, enough for me to go back and download the soundtrack after completing the series. Of course, there are instances in which you can overuse your music, which I’d argue is somewhat of a case in the TV series Suits, where the same 10 songs are probably used the entire time. That said, the music in that show is also crazy good, which helps me not get tired of the soundtrack.

If you’re a slice of life fan, you may have heard of Hidamari Sketch. It wasn’t too successful, and that goes especially for the western community, where there’s only a little over 25,000 members listing it as completed in Myanimelist. The show is a bit of an oddball, where it implements many usage of Shaft’s signature material despite being an Iyashikei show. It’s directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, which was what dragged me into the show in the first place. There’s lots of creative imagery and clever usage of real life images to make up for small budget but also to establish character. There’s lots of other things to like about Hidamari Sketch, like the charming cast and excellent voice acting. But to me, what elevates this show from a good one to an excellent one, and what truly allows me to relax when watching it is the soundtrack.

The soundtrack of Hidamari Sketch is incredible, there’s so many songs that just ease up my shoulders as soon as I hear the music start. The best is probably “Shinmiri” , a song which whenever I hear it come on, I just begin sinking into my couch helplessly. The songs in Hidamari Sketch aren’t just catchy, they’re healing. Hypnotic, almost. As I said earlier, music influenes viewer experience in any genre. But in my personal opinion, I think the music of an iyashikei show is what truly helps it to become a real gentle, relaxing experience.

If you want another excellent example, I’d give you Aria, which I already made a post about why the setting of the show makes it kick even more ass. But Aria’s soundtrack is what allows the show to do what it does best, make you comfy and relaxed. The series’ opening, which plays in the beginning of the show allows it to reestablish its calming tone every episode. That opening song, “Undine”, played by Makino Yui, is one of the most relaxing vocal songs that I’ve heard in my life. Not only does it perfectly match the magical, mysterious yet inviting tone of Aria, but it’s just so god damn soothing.

I think I’ve said enough about why music is so important to anime, and the slice of life genre in particular. Do you have any opinions on genres that music is vital to, or want to share an excellent soundtrack of a show you love? Leave a comment!