Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: January 2010

30 January 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 42)

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I changed my clothes with one of the set of clothes I just bought. (Itsuki is waiting outside despite me genuinely allowing him to be around as I changed.) I don't know what my hands were doing to my head and face as they moved by themselves. I couldn't tell as my eyes were forced shut and there wasn't any mirrors when I could see again. I wonder how I look like, and what's with this pleasant smell coming from myself?

I put on my white coat, changed into high heel shoes (they're uncomfortable and unstable for running, but I don't know why I like wearing them), and wore two work passes that had distinctive designs for the company I work for and for the one I founded, but what kind of a job title is "Visitor" for the one I founded, and "Executive Research Assistant" for the other? I have another for the former that says "Employee of Hatsuya Institute", but that's worse than just "Visitor" since my employees see the Hatsuya institute as a major competitor that the HR department does not want people who had worked there before. There are three different designs for passes for visitors, staff, and supervisors, but me having the supervisor design with my name, photo, and the title "Visitor" on it especially looks odd: there's no name, photo, or fanciful design for a visitor pass! Title on my pass is completely different from company records though, but my pass is genuine with anti-copying features.

Itsuki was waiting in my office at the entrance of my house here. He had the extremely shocked face when he saw me and wanted to get away quickly.

Itsuki: "Please forgive me! You see, my younger sister went into that room you came from and intruded into your office. P…please forgive me. I really didn't mean to…"

He closed his eyes with his hands together, as though begging me for forgiveness for something. What is he doing?

Me: "Onii-chan, what are you talking about? It's me! Saeko!"

He slowly opened his eyes to have a quick look at me before heaving a sigh of relief.

Itsuki: It's just you, but what is with all that you are wearing? I really didn't recognize you with all that you have put on and that hairstyle.

I looked at myself in the mirror. Yes, who is that serious-looking woman in a business suit with a white coat on it? Why am I seeing her instead of myself? She seems to be copying every action I make perfectly. Wait, that's me?! That's what my hands were doing by themselves as my eyes were forced shut? I don't even recognize myself, nor do I look awful. Neither did I know that just some adjustments here and there make me look different. Me being formerly part of Itsuki had me have mixed reactions about how I look.

Me: "Lets just say that I was thinking of having the people here to take me seriously."

Itsuki: "Erm, before I get attracted to you, shall we go search for whatever we are looking for?"

Why would you want to be attracted to your other self? You already have Kotomi.

•••••

We roamed around all the rooms in the entire facility, but yet we don't even know what to look for. There are so many rooms I've never been into before with many unfamiliar faces that are, ironically, my employees. As I show myself quite rarely, don't think anyone knows who I am though: there were no photos of me anywhere in the company (except my pass and entry scanners), and only my name and rumors being spread around (which are wild guesses) are the only way to know that I exist. I was called "the mysterious big boss" like those two who called us earlier.

While walking around, some of the staff tried to stop us (reluctantly), but immediately let us through after staring at me for reasons they didn't say, along with a face saying that they did not expect me to appear. They either saw my name or a supervisor-level pass design with a photo that matches mine. What I'm still amused is that the fingerprint scanners all over think that Itsuki's thumbprint is mine: I am supposed to be the only one who has access to all rooms without restrictions, but he is in many ways physically identical to me.

Why is Itsuki trying to avoid looking at me since I changed clothes? Well, my appearance alone give others the "don't mess around with me" feeling, though he could be feeling guilty after underestimating my abilities from earlier.

After what seemed like forever, we could not find any clues relating to the current phenomenon. We know we had overlooked documents and digital information, but there's way too much to look through. Wonder if any of my staff knows anything?

As we were about to head to the last few rooms, we met up with the two we met earlier and an another who had stopped me quite a while back for "hanging around" too much. Not sure if any of them recognize me from before though.

Staff A: "Oh! It's you again! And who's that with you? I've never seen her before."

He looked at me and noticed my pass.

Staff B: "Saeko Hisakawa… Where have I heard that… OH, SHI- It's the big boss that allowed the guy with her and his sister to run around the place. By the way, where is she?"

I sighed.

Me: "Didn't you get the hint? I've already mentioned that I'm Itsuki's younger sister, and he mentioned our family name."

Staff A: "That voice… you were that schoolgirl we met earlier?! A kid who founded and is running one of the biggest research companies in the country?"

Me: "Sadly, yes."

Itsuki: "It's a long story."

Staff C: "I was shocked myself to. I didn't know the schoolgirl I see running around everyday was the big boss. I thought she was visiting her father here or something until I noticed her doing it too frequently for too long. I was shocked when she showed me her pass upon being asked."

Me: "I wanted to keep my profile low by not making it obvious and using my appearance to my advantage. Also, I don't want people to know that I can't age or die due to some curse beyond my control. I'm supposed to be 18, but my body's age is frozen at 15. In fact, I was supposed to have died twice since I remember being stabbed or hit by a speeding vehicle and feeling the pain and seeing myself in a pool of my own blood. Even I don't know how I immediately recovered from that as though it never happened, or who tried to kill me."

I was surprised I was able to say all of that. Everyone, including Itsuki, had a shocked look on their faces.

Me: "Before anyone asks, I'm not a vampire either."

Staff B: "So what are you exactly?"

Itsuki: "Her soul originated from me directly, but her body is a clone of my female self while in the other dimension that somewhat went wrong. Before anyone knows that her soul is in the clone instead of the original, the Hatsuya Institute decided to irreversibly turn her body into something like an invincible, no-maintenance android. Besides emotionally, I don't know if she's would be affected if I were gone."

Me: "It may sound great, but as the years go by, I got tired of it. As Itsuki said, I was him and even had a girlfriend before it happened, but now I can't."

Itsuki: "By the way, did you find anything to share with us?"

She referred to a handheld device.

Staff C: "Well, so far it does not seem to originate from here, but it seems to have caused by something. We don't know what it is, but we know that it's in an office building downtown. We look up at the tenants of that building, and found out that a long-time rival company of the Hatsuya institute, which is not us obviously, is the major tenant. According to the boss' notes about them..."

Huh? Me? I didn't write anything. What are you talking about?

Staff C: "...she had been physically attacked by them at least three times and a loved one, which, in the current dimension, is still alive. Both worked for Hatsuya institute. Another earlier case 12 years ago is where the wife of a supervisor of one of their branches was killed for failing to give information that particular branch was working on. All of the victims they attacked were killed, but for reasons our boss mentioned earlier, she was the only one who survived their attack. Their objective behind this is unknown."

Where did you get this information? Although they are true, I never wrote this down anywhere.

Staff B: "That's cruel! Sure we are competing against them too, but not to that extent of killing people! Why isn't the company shut down or the police arresting them?"

Staff C: "There was no evidence or suspicious items found when they raided the place, and they just employ thugs or gangs on the streets and paying them with a lot of money instead of their own people. Oh, and here's one of the few videos available of them attacking a victim as it happened. Be warned that it's quite disturbing."

She also showed a video of me (from a witness point of view) being pinned down suddenly. A masked man started stabbing me with a knife and my Mihara uniform soon torn and stained with my blood. I tried to stop him, but was too weak to stop him. I showed no sign of life when they decided to stop stabbing and ran away, threatening bystanders as they pass. Odd, it didn't seem that painful or horrifying from my point of view. After the video ended at that point, everyone, Itsuki especially, was speechless.

Me: "I'm afraid to say that the girl being killed there in the video really is me. But what's the point of being invincible if my body behaves as though I am actually dying and unable to fight back? I was really scared! Hey, why are we talking about my past? Aren't we supposed to stop them or something?"

Staff A: "Erm, we are limited in numbers that they could just wipe us out easily. We could ask for outside help, but who out there isn't vanished into thin air? Plus, we don't have enough information to know what their strength is or their weaknesses are."

Staff B: "That's a tough question."

Me: "For starters, I shall head there first to sneak around to find out what they are up to. If they do catch me, do not respond to their demands, even if they point a loaded gun at my head or something like that. Next, forgive me if I went crazy since my actions could be easily modified. Lastly, I want all of you to work together with the Hatsuya institute. I'm sure they would know who I am if you mention my name. Itsuki here might help you guys with this."

Except, Itsuki seem to be very distracted by my voice and appearance to pay attention as to what I said. I know what he's thinking. Guys…

Me: "I know you are thinking "there's no way that this attractive sweet-sounding woman is the other me", but can you work with my workers and contact our director when I'm not around? It's important for making this tricky mission a success."

Itsuki: "Yeah, sure."

He gave me a "how did you know" look, but did not say that. Let's not waste anymore time.

Itsuki did not use my car today, so it should be at the usual spot, but how how are we getting around all the stationery vehicles? Can this car fly or go through objects? Well, I only know I could just sit in the passenger seat and think of the end destination and the car would move as though there's someone driving it. Like me, it doesn't need maintenance and there won't be any dents or feel the impact if you were to drive this thing at high speed into a wall and there won't be any dents on both the car and the wall. It just stops like a 3D game hack: sudden, but you won't feel it.

What a long bad today has been for my original birthday. At least the meal at the family restaurant was great.

Chapter 9

23 January 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 41)

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After what seemed like forever, avoiding the stationery vehicles while riding the bike, we finally reached the institute where I'm staying at. The lighting looked as though it's neither day nor night, more of heavy clouds blocking the sunlight completely. Our clocks says that it's already late at night, but all the clocks everywhere were stuck in the evening. There wasn't any security guards at the entrance, and neither is the gate closed, but it did look as though the building is occupied with people, and neither is it affected by the strange phenomenon that's going on now. I normally enter by the back, so Itsuki zooming through the main entrance without stopping (due to the absence of the guards) might had triggered the intruder alert which, only sounds to the people watching through the security cameras. I know, because I own the place and had talked to some of the staff, but Itsuki doesn't know that.

The distance between the gate and the building seem quite long due to the narrow curvy roads and tall trees. The feeling of this place is somewhere between a garden and the outdoor areas of most colleges. It's beautiful, but yet I've never been here despite being part of my house. Wait, this is not the time to talk about that!

Sure enough, there were some staff gathering at the main entrance, but no familiar faces here.

Staff A: "Thank goodness there people like you two from the outside. I thought we were the only ones inside since everyone outside has vanished completely, with nothing but their clothes and belongings left behind!"

Staff B: "We were shocked when the intruder alert went off and saw you two. By the way, who are you two? What are you guys doing here?"

Itsuki: "Well, we figured we could find some clues here before heading to the Hatsuya Research headquarters whom I'm working for... Erm, my name is Itsuki Hisakawa. Nice to meet you."

To keep them clueless that I am the founder, I did not take out my work pass I had in my pocket or say my name.

Me: "And I'm his younger sister..."

Staff A: "Nice to meet you both. But I'm afraid the two of us won't be of much help since we are just employed here early this year. There are other staff more senior than us around here though. By the way, what's in that bag you're holding?"

Me: "These are just clothes I bought earlier today... What's wrong?"

I'm guessing that he was expecting something that would interest them, like documents or an advanced device.

Staff A: "It's nothing. We thought you have something to show our superiors relating to this phenomenon."

Itsuki: "We were shopping downtown when it happened, and the bike we came in isn't ours. We should find some clues here, if not, we are off to my workplace some distance away."

Staff B: "Wait! You two need permission enter the non-public areas. I'll contact whichever of our superiors are around. It usually takes some time for any one of them to review, but it's mostly rejected or for a limited amount of rooms. If more than one were to reply with different rooms, you can check all the rooms mentioned in all the replies, but you must specify the exact person to approve when asked."

I quickly took out my phone to type the reply message of what he's most likely to type. The reply system uses serial number according to purpose, addressee and the order it came in, so I don't need to know his name.

Staff B: "It usually doesn't get approved for people like you two, working for a rival company, treating this place like a... What?! There's an immediate reply from the mysterious big boss letting you guys enter all the rooms?! How... Why..."

Huh? They still don't know that it's me despite my name appearing in the reply message? Well, I didn't give my name though. Let's see how far this goes. Itsuki oddly seems to know my intentions and is playing along with me.

Staff A: "Well, if the big boss says so, I guess we have to let you two go ahead. To tell you the truth, almost nobody who works here have met up with that boss or receive orders. Among the few who did, they said the boss looks like a 15 year old girl in a uniform of a nearby high school with the name Saeko Hisakawa. Not sure if it's a rumor they made up. I don't know whether to laugh or be shocked if it's true though."

How dumb can they be? Itsuki has already said our family name and I am obviously wearing a high school uniform, and I'm standing right in front of them. *sigh*

We made it to my room, but Itsuki immediately ran for the thumb and eye scanners. I'm puzzled, I thought I was the only one who could enter, but why was he enter easily like yesterday, the same way as me?

Itsuki: "In case you were wondering, you inherited the same set of thumbprints and eyes as me. See? The scanner thinks that I'm you."

Sure enough, the eye scanner thinks that it's me after Itsuki scanned his eye with little effort. Nobody in the right mind would go for a surgery to modify their iris and thumbprints to match mine, not to mention the complications involved. Log records of the scanners, however, did show that there were many failed attempts by my workers and some visitors attempting to enter, with the most recent being a few hours ago. That took out my initial suspicion of the scanner not working.

Me: "How can that be? Even identical twins, let alone siblings, have different patterns."

This words came out of my mouth. To tell you the truth, I actually already knew why.

Itsuki: "I think the inner you knows the answer to that more than me."

Me: "…the 'Inner me'? What are you talking about, onii-chan? You have been talking to me strangely today."

Hey, can we move on? This is going nowhere and I want to get out of this mess! Itsuki!!!

Me: "Shall we go now? I'm bored and I want to get out of this mess! Onii-chan~!"

Wait, what was that? It sounded like the more polite (and cute) version of what I wanted to say. More importantly, apart from the lady-like behavior and addressing Itsuki as "onii-chan", I am now able to control and say what I want to. He can't control me again, because he now knows my will would overwrite most of it in less than a day, but my skills and how my body behaves could be modified easily and people could read, see, and/or hear my thoughts as easily as turning on the radio.

Itsuki: "Shall we place our stuff aside in your house? Maybe you should try out your new clothes too."

That's all you are saying for the things you did to me and entering my house without permission? Can't you be serious in a situation like this?! I can't believe that I was him just two years ago...

Chapter 9

19 January 2010

Disorientated Feelings (Part 26)

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As time passes by, it's increasingly obvious that Saeko does not age that one day, even my own children's ages might overtake her. Of course, my children aren't even in primary school yet. They're too young to tell what they had inherited from either me or my husband, but they sure appear healthy. I don't know why my uncle insists on checking on my children just after they were born and conduct more-than-necessary tests. I was allowed to be around when it's going on, but he didn't tell me what the extra tests were for. Well, he is in the medical science field and could gather information for one of his many (weird) projects that I don't know what is the purpose or the benefits behind it.



•••••


Anyways, back when they promoted me and was posted to a different branch, I didn't know what my new job position meant and believed that it was the same as the last. However, when I went there, I couldn't find my name on any of the desks they said my working area is. Of course, this was when I was just fired from the previous company back in 2011 for reasons unknown to me.

Me: "Excuse me, I am new here and just posted here from headquarters."

Staff A: "And what's your name?"

Me: "Miyazawa Kotomi. I've been working at headquarters with the director since 2004."

She searched through the database.

Staff A: "I'm sorry, but your name isn't here. Let me call the HR department at headquarters."

My name is not in there? Is that some kind of a way to fire workers by removing their names when transferring to elsewhere?

Staff A (on the phone): "Hi, I would like to enquire about Miyazawa Kotomi who claims to have transferred from your place."

There was an awkward silence. I can't hear what the person on the other side is saying, but she suddenly laughed with a smile.

Staff A (on the phone): "Oh I see. Thanks."

She hung up the phone and looked at me with a smile. What's going on?

Staff A: "You're the Hisakawa Kotomi who's taking over our recently-retired boss, right? He was getting fairly old and is having health problems that he couldn't do things as quickly as he would like to."

Me: "Hisakawa Kotomi? Me? Well, Kotomi is my name, but Hisakawa is my boyfriend's family name... Oh wait..."

I am married to the person in question and even bore a child with him. I slapped my face for not knowing such basic things. First, it was my own birthrate, and now it's my own name. Why can I remember the difficult things, but not the easy ones? What's next? Where I live? I don't even get how my own brain works.

Me: "I forgot that I'm married to someone with that family name. It's been a habit to use my birth family name."

Staff A: "Anyways Hisakawa-san, let me show you to your office."

The lady brought me to my new office, walking past some messy desks (Most tried not to look at me.) before we reached a door that has my (married) name and that job title that is unknown to me.

Staff A: "Not much people here have seen much of the previous bosses, so when they see or receive orders from them, they gave everyone stress with tight deadlines or difficult projects. Many people feared him or the bosses before him, so don't be surprised if they try to avoid you too."

Me: "Yeah, I'll keep that in mind."

She unlocked the door and gave me the keys to that room. What I saw inside made my jaw drop. Not only does it has the atmosphere of entering an important person's room, it very much look like that of my uncle's office. There was a thick stack of business cards with my name on the desk, and portrait photos of the previous supervisors from the very first for this branch. Noticed that all of them are men.

Me: "Are you sure this is my office? I would like to have a word with your supervisor. This doesn't seem right to me."

Staff A: "Erm, you are our supervisor. If you haven't figured out what your job title means."

Wait...what? Who me? Even though I've been with the company for about a decade, this news was shocking to me.

If that was not shocking enough, it just so happens that my husband was at the HR department when he overheard the call about my situation that was on the speakerphone there. He told me about it when I came back. Saeko, who was holding my child in her arms at that time, laughed too.



•••••


Speaking of Saeko, she's actually able to take over my role to take care of the household chores and taking care of my children to the point that I don't need to bother or worry at all, but not to the point that they don't recognize or are close with me as their mother. Since Saeko has their dad's "warmth", they think that she's the third parent. How am I going to explain at what age about her? She can't age or die even if she wanted to (she's supposed to be the same age as me, and had even jumped off the roof of a tall skyscraper with nothing but hard concrete to cushion her fall), Itsuki's actual soul is in her (since 2006), her body is like the real version of the androids you see in movies. You would think she's just a normal high school girl until you notice something odd in various ways, if you paid close attention for long enough. She's also the company's primary test subject since she herself doesn't care what people do to her anymore since she's fed up with her immortality she never asked for. Some odd things they did was to feed her with expired food with chemicals added on top of it and study her reaction to it. As for how she's legally recognized, I've no idea: security checks for illegal immigrants and contraband items when entering most countries had made it more complicated. Oh wait, she has this ability discovered back in 2007 where could teleport or freeze time, but I've never seen her using it. It's something that, to others (myself included), had passed by in a fraction of a second. I've heard of people talking to each other when they suddenly found themselves in different clothing in a position completely different a second earlier. I saw it happening in front of my eyes.

Since I have started working in my current job position mentioned earlier some time ago, the workers there has opened up to me more. Somehow, they manage to do things on time or early without me prompting them. My monthly salary is a lot more than my husband's but it's small compared to Saeko's, on top of income from another research institute she somehow formed. It feels strange to manage people and there's always this "I've entered the boss's room", along with a hint of fear, each time I enter my own office. There's now a portrait picture of a woman (me) among the sea of men hung on the wall. I don't feel easy sitting in here doing nothing in this large room, waiting for the unlikelihood for a call or someone knocking on the door. Looking through the drawers at my desk, I found several templates and contact cards for golfing and travel agencies. Were the bosses before me that bad? Going off during office hours, not helping around, and yet order them around like dogs? It's no wonder I was asked to lead this group and them being scared of me at first.

Part 25Part 27



Last modified: 21 March 2010

16 January 2010

Alternate Dimension (Part 40)

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Itsuki brought me to a family restaurant that's neither empty nor crowded at the time we went there. Just looking at food that other people had ordered gives me a general idea of what they are selling here. Those look quite delicious. Surprisingly, I was able to order what I wanted at my own will, though I can't stop smiling and what came out of my mouth when talking to Itsuki is not exactly what I wanted to say.

Itsuki: "Say, Saeko. there's something I want you to know."

Me: "How rare of you to talk to me like this. What is it? What is it?"

Itsuki: "I have a girlfriend. And I've known her for quite some time now."

You have a girlfriend... Don't tell me it's who I think it is.

Itsuki: "Her name is Kotomi Miyazawa."

Thought so. I'm trying to act as though I'm not interested, but my body is behaving as though I'm surprised at this news and wanting to know more.

Me: "Is she pretty? How did you get her? When can I meet her? Onii-chan~!"

Itsuki's reaction to my actions tells me that he actually thinks that his erasing of my previous memories and replacing with a fake one actually worked.

Itsuki: "Um, she's currently studying overseas, so I can't introduce her to you in person. You could say she's very much like you, from her beauty to her intelligence. Though she was popular among the guys in my high school, it was she herself that picked me even though I did nothing to compete with the other guys for her attention. I don't know what she saw in me."

Me: "A top grade girl, choosing someone like you who could barely keep up with grades among all the better guys. something must have happened between you two."

Since I wasn't aware of my own appearance or know how others saw me prior to him saying this, I wondered if there were any lies in what he told me until I saw my own reflection on the glass window. Wait, I am as pretty as Kotomi? Was that supposed to be a compliment?

Itsuki brought me to the clothing section of a large department store. He knows that I have a very limited set of clothes, and I can't be wearing my uniform all the time. I don't know what were clothes I picked, but it's certainly not what my guy-ish mind would pick to wear for myself, like blouses and skirts. These range from casual to expensive-looking business attire. Though I'm not mentally comfortable buying them for myself, I'm oddly looking forward to wearing them.

As we walked through one of the many narrow, near-deserted streets I have walked through several times. I sensed that something was not right: it's too quiet. There wasn't any sound of the birds or insects, let a lone the sound of vehicles from a major road not too far away. I looked around: Itsuki seems normal, but everything around me is void of any living thing. In fact, the only sound we heard is our own footsteps and the shopping bags we were carrying. What's going on?

Me: "Onii-chan, I'm scared..."

I found myself saying that in a quite frightened voice while hugging him with my face in his chest. Hey, this is not the time for me to be this scared! What's wrong with me?

Itsuki: "Saeko-chan, don't be scared. I will protect you from any danger."

I would like to see what you would do now that you have forced me to behave as though I had lost my memories and you having no experience in situations like this.

We walked around the streets. It seems that everyone has vanished with their clothes and accessories on the ground. Things were left at what they were at that time, like the ruins of an ancient civilization that is oddly preserved. This is actually the most scariest thing I've been through.

Me: "Onii-chan... Uwaaa-ha! Mummy..."

Okay, I'm not that scared to the point that I started to cry for my mother.

Itsuki: "Strange, what's going on here? Why are we the only ones here?"

Itsuki took out something that doesn't seem to be sold in stores, pushed some buttons, and, as though he spotted something odd mid-way, he looked at me with a shocked face. Am I the cause of all of this? Is he planning to lure me into something I don't want to again?

Itsuki: "Y-you! I thought I erased your memories."

Oh, you're finally admitting to what you did to me last night. Yes, my thoughts and memories are still intact as though it never happen, but I'm forced against my will to act as though I've actually lost them.

Me: "Onii-chan, what are you talking about?"

See? You only modified how I would behave. I never liked calling you as my older brother, and neither did I liked my body going against my will.

Me: "What are you looking at, onii-chan? Did you discover something? You looked shocked. Let me see..."

Itsuki: "Erm..."

To tell you the truth, I don't mind me behaving like this, though I don't know what I would do if you let the clueless me see this. Best to not let me see this before my clueless self thinks that I'm someone else who's taking advantage of Kotomi's absence for your attention. Remember: I am you. You wouldn't want to betray yourself.

Itsuki: "According to this there are still people around us. Even right now! I think..."

What I saw were bars, waves, and mathematical/scientific equations. He's right, though I didn't get to see it long enough to know what exactly I was looking at.

Me: "I don't understand, onii-chan..."

Itsuki! It's your fault you didn't allow myself to analyze that in critical situations like this.

Itsuki: "These are live statistics of the data of brain waves of people around us, so it moving means that there are still people around."

Are you sure? If so, doesn't it include our own brain waves?

Me: "So that means we're not alone?"

Itsuki: "Yes, that's right. It's hard to tell though."

Which question were you replying to? My thoughts or what I just said?

So, with nobody around, that means nobody is operating the buses, trains, or taxis. Itsuki didn't bring my car along. So the only way to get around is to either take a long walk or steal a vehicle that already has the engine running. But where to?

Me: "Ah! I think the research institute at where I live might be able to help."

Surprisingly, I was able to say this at my will. This came across my mind because it seemed to have came with me when I came back from the other dimension. There was no Saeko Hisakawa at the time they say the company was founded, and that time was when I was still in middle school. Hatsuya Research Institute wasn't my first choice after what they did to me and Kotomi years ago. My very own appearance alone is a strong reminder of that.

Itsuki: "The easiest way to get there is by train, but since the network of trains are not driver-less we could crash into another train ahead of us on the same line, as there is no one operating that train or the ones ahead of it."

It wasn't easy driving around by automobile either, with cars stationary all over, especially areas known to have heavy traffic where it's hard to overtake. Although neither of us had rode a bike before, we have no other choice besides walking long distances.

Me: "A bike? Are you sure you know how to ride it?"

I could drive it if you just let me take control of myself. Then again, riding a bike like this is not something a girl like me would do.

With that, he took a random bike that could contain the stuff we bought earlier (mostly my clothes) and I'm the pillion of the bike. I'm quite nervous about him driving the bike since I know the only kind of vehicle he drives is a car. Since he's my other half, I guess he should at least know how to ride a bicycle since I myself know how ride one before we were split apart.

Me: "Say, onii-chan. I am having this weird thought since earlier. Although I've never met your girlfriend, I'm having visions of her landing on top of me, attending her 16th birthday, someone who looks a lot like me. I even felt as though I was someone else just yesterday. Even at the restaurant earlier, there's something inside me that's angry about you."

Wait. What did I just say? Am I slowly overwriting what Itsuki programmed me to do? The first sign of this was that I was able to do what I wanted in front of him. That was quick, considering that he did that less than twenty-four hours ago. Well, what I said was alone to make Itsuki almost crash into a stationary bus in front.

Me: "Sorry. It's just that it has been bothering me. I tried to ignore it, but it's too strong and distracting to do so. I'm scared... Onii-chan!"

This phenomenon is something I had never experienced before. Neither do I know the cause nor the solution to get out of this, or what will happen if we were to stay here for too long or when we get out.

Chapter 9
Part 39 | Part 41

13 January 2010

463rd post: Seijin no Hi

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Recently, I've tweeted that 11 January this year was my coming-of-age day (成人の日). It's for people who turn 20 in the current acedemic year (April 2009 to March 2010), as 20 is the official age in Japan where one is recognized as an adult and as a full-fledged member of the society. The ceremony was held at the city town hall. My legs became numb from sitting in the same position for quite a long time. In fact, I found my head swinging around and leaning on the shoulder of the person next to me. (; ̄O ̄) Since my parents were too cautious about saving money, I didn't wore the Kimono. Though I felt out of place, I wasn't the only one. 21 seems to be the maximum age around the world where one is considered an adult though.

I was born on the 8th month of Heisei 1 (平成元年8月), which tranlates to August 1989 on the western calender. Confusingly, the beginning of that year was Showa 64 (昭和64年), as the country was under a different emperor regime and entered the Heisei era in January. On top of that, the months follow the western ones. In case you were wondering, 2010 is Heisei 22 (平成22年). Notice that 元年 is used instead of 1年 for the first year.

I don't know what the future holds for me. Let's just hope that it's a good one. Of course, I should take the initiative to do things without waiting for them.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

10 January 2010

462nd post: Winter 2010 anime first impressions

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(Cross-posted from the anime blog)

Here are some of my first impressions of the new winter 2010 anime that has been aired as at the time of this post. I am facing this weird problem where if I were to take a snapshot of a 1080i video, the aspect ratio goes funny, but nothing wrong when playing it. The screenshots are taken at random, so having fewer or more screenshots does not mean that they are very/not good.




Ladies vs. Butlers (レディ✕ばと!)

Opening:


This opening is actually quite upbeat and good, but there are some hints of fanservice and signs that I won't be watching this.

Episode 1:
That's ridiculously thick and long!
A "lost kid"
Isn't she cute?
Haruhi with evil eyes
You could sense the evil aura from her
What and how is the bag hung up there?

A high school girl that looks like a kid, another with weird hair, one who had tortured the protagonist in primary school (who awfully looks a lot like Haruhi in the flashback). But this episode is just mostly about the protagonist being chased by the weird-haired girl for randomly accusing him of being suspicious in the school of a female-majority. I was waiting for it to get somewhere, but that wasn't until towards the end and the last scene (not snapshoted) confirms my suspicious of this being not what I would want to watch. This was produced by Xebec, which also did To Love-ru some time ago.

Ending:


It's just the two main girls sitting on a hill with the wind blowing. zzzz

Dance in the Vampire Bund (ダンスインザヴァンパイアバンド)

Episode 1:
Iogi, Tokyo See you tomorrowIs this a re-enactment?
What's that?
Even the program sponsors are fictional.
What kind of an anime is this?
Taxi driver?
Uh oh, there's trouble.

"What am I watching?" is my first impression when I first saw this. I wouldn't mind it for the first few minutes, but not the whole episode... This anime is produced by Shaft, which did Maria Holic and Natsu no Arashi, so there's the scary-looking eyes when shown up close, the annoying horizontal black bars in a widescreen image that they overused in Bakemonogatari. I would say that this is not a good way to start an anime, but the first episode of the 2006 broadcast of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu also had the something's-not-right feeling (on top of the 1:1 or 4:3 aspect ratio in videotape quality) until the end of it (and the sudden switch to HD widescreen) where it was revealed that it was a film for their upcomming school festival. If they had not seen the trailer below or have heard of its related media, people might not have gone past before the surprise happened. It's not as impactful as the first episode of Ga-Rei Zero though.

Trailers:


(Couldn't find any without those Spanish subs)

Baka to Test to Shoukanjyuu (バカとテストと召喚獣)

Opening:

Glowing spinning cube

The title


This opening animation make me feel like I'm watching that of a visual novel with catchy music and animation.

Episode 1:
A nice way to start the anime.
The contrasts between classes 2A and 2F
You wouldn't believe how bad the classroom facilities are
Kinoshita Hideyoshi: He looks very much like a girl
Hey, I'm pointing at you. Why are you looking the other way?
What's with the weather stats for an indoor virtual fight?
You can loose HP by hitting yourself against the table
Looks like Hideyoshi finally decides to cross... oh wait, that's his fraternal twin, Yuuko.

The school has a system whereby whichever class they end up in is determined by their test results. The A class has sofas, coffee maker, computers, flat panel displays behind the teachers' desk, in a large room with posh finishing. F class however, has tatami flooring, floor cushions, with things falling apart. (Class D looks like an average class) During the test, however, Mizuki Himeji falls sick and ends up in F class. In virtual fights, the F class competes with other classes to take over their classes that has better facilities.

Ending:



The ending features the guys in the gakuran uniform. I think the words in the background is the English translation of the ending song.

Sora no Woto (ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト)

Episode 1
Nice drawing
Doesn't her face look a lot like Nodoka of K-On!???
Oh my, that's a huge doll!!
Water festival
The sunrise is beautiful.
Crap, I can't play the trumpet

This is the first of TV Tokyo's "アニメノチカラ" (The Strength of Anime) formed in April 2009 to produce original animation by various creators together, with this anime being the first. You can think of it as something like noitaminA on Fuji TV, but different in some ways. It's glaringly obvious for me to not say it, but I wonder if the character designs of K-On! are involved. Since it's an anime original, nobody knows what it will be about. I do know that the heroine joined the army because she thinks that is where she could play music or something like that.

Ending:
(Note: Video might be removed, and I don't know what language the subs are in)


The ending seems to be focused on what the girls (including those that are yet to be introduced) do together during peacetime.

Dyurarara! (デュラララ!!)

Opening:

The girl would only be introduced in the next episode.
What?
"I'm attacked by a can of soda!!!"

I'm surprised at how recent anime pay more attention to detail
"The First Things You Say" is the title. The reading order to read 2 x 2 kanji is confusing as you could start from the top right and then down or top left towards the right.
What's the point of setting up a cardboard person there?
Holo of Spice and Wolf?
A scary, yet friendly, gaijin.
This online chat conversation with narration seems to pop up frequently, with no revelation as to who's who other than their nicknames and avatar.
What happened to her? She has odd scar marks on her neck.

Ryuugamine Mikado wants an exciting life in the big city. So, with an invitation from his childhood friend Masaomi, he transfers into a school in Ikebukuro. The rest... I don't even know what's going on, but it does look like something I would pick up.




I know there's more anime in the winter 2010 list, but, except for Nodame Cantabile: Finale (which has yet to air), none of those appeal to me. Among what I've listed above, it seems that I would only pick the last 3 titles (Bakatest, Sora no Woto, Durarara!) for the winter anime. I did want to mention Seikon no Qwaser, but when I read the summary on how the hero receives his power and saw the ending, I became disturbed and not watch it. Of course, I did not forget about the earlier anime that are still airing

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.