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Author Topic: An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 9 - It's Never Too Late  (Read 2217 times)

Offline resop2

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An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 9 - It's Never Too Late
« on: September 22, 2017, 04:00:36 AM »
This will be a new experiment for me.  I am releasing this both here and on fanfiction.net.

Because it will also be on fanfiction.net some of the character names have been changed
so it cannot be accused of being a real person fan fic, but the characters should be
pretty obvious.

This is a distant sequel to the "An Annoying Paradise" fic.  Many years have past.  Most
of the major and minor characters have moved on, but Harmony Project, Jeneral
Entertainment, and Ajax remain.

If you don't like the idea of mixing American cartoon characters with H!P idol (trainees)
then you have been warned.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 01:08:02 AM by resop2 »

Offline resop2

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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 04:29:11 AM »
(promo)

Living in Tokyo, 8th grader Asamura Daria has always wanted to be a writer.  However, one day she is shocked to discover that a path is available to her that could greatly increase her chances of success at being an author.  However, this path will force her to do the last things on earth that she thought she'd be doing.  Ch 1 - "A Faustian Bargain", it's a complete turnover story.

(end promo)

An Annoying Paradise - Daria -- A Faustian Bargain

Author's note: This story includes many characters not from the Daria universe, many of which are based on real people.  No names of real people or real companies are used, however, many will be able to figure out who the characters are based on.


"Are you even listening to me?"

Startled, Asamura Daria (1) looks up from her book and looks at her sister, Asamura Quinn (2), through large glasses.  "Who are you again?"  The sparsely filled bus they are riding in hits a bump and jostles the two of them.

Quinn groans.  "Aren't you supposed to be watching out for me?"

"You're still here."

"Well, even though I don't mean it, I guess I should thank you for that."

"Mom paid me five thousand yen (3) to do it, so you don't have to thank me if you don't want to."

"Whatever!  Daria, you wouldn't understand what this audition is, but to me it means everything.  You could at least pretend to support me."

"Do your best, rah rah."  Daria dead pans.

"Sometimes I wish you weren't an alien.  Then you would understand what a big deal an idol audition is for a young girl."

"Is that what we're going to?"  Daria makes a disgusted face.

Quinn rolls her eyes.  "Here!"  Quinn shoves a flier in Daria's face.

Daria reads it.  "But, this isn't an idol audition, this is an idol trainee audition."

"When the see me, they will instantly debut me."

Daria keeps reading.  "Well, Mom might like that.  It says that there is a ten thousand yen a month training fee for trainees."

"She told me I should follow my dreams."

"She was probably surprised that you had dreams beyond correctly coordinating your outfit for the day."

"Yet another thing that you wouldn't understand.  Oh, here's our stop."

Daria and Quinn catch a commuter train taking them to the heart of Shibuya.  The train is crowded and they can barely talk to each other.  Terrified, Quinn holds on to Daria the whole way.

After getting off the train, Daria follows the directions on the fly to get Quinn to the audition.  "I am surprised at one thing though."

"At how pretty I am today?"

"Well, aren't your three friends from school also auditioning?"

"Yes, but they're riding with Sandi's Mom."

"Why aren't you with them?"

"Daria, being an idol is a constant struggle.  Since they are going to accept all of us, soon I will be rivals of Sandi, Tiffany, and Stacy instead of being fashion club friends."

"Oh, here we are."

Quinn shakes in fear and freezes.

"If you want to give up I won't care.  I've already been paid."

Quinn shakes it off.  "No, I will do it."

Quinn and Daria walk into the lobby of the Harmony Project building.  Quinn gets in line to sign up while Daria excuses herself to sit in the cafeteria to read.

...

"Excuse me, miss?"

Daria looks up.  A well dressed man is sitting across the table from her.  "Who are you?"

"My professional name is the English letter 'T'.  I am the head producer for Harmony Project."

"Asamura Daria.  Can I help you?"

"Asamura, Asamura, are you Quinn's sister?"

"Yes."

"You look just like her."

"I do not!"  Daria turns red.

"Will you be auditioning today?"

"No.  It is not my ambition to dedicate my youth to smiling and acting cutesy all the time."

"So why did you come?"

"To watch over Quinn."

"She left thirty minutes ago."

"What?"

"She left with three friends."

Daria takes out her cell phone to call her sister.  She confirms that she is riding home with Sandi's mother.  "I guess she's okay."

"I noticed the book you are reading.   The Housekeeper and the Professor by Ogawa Youko.  That was one of my favorites when I was young."

Daria blushes.  "Forgive me for asking, but are you ... (4)"

"Gay?"  T laughs.  "I am married and have two kids.  However, reading novels and manga written for and by women helps me get inspirations for songs."

"Sounds reasonable."

"Would you like to be a writer when you grow up?"

Daria blushes even redder.  "I guess so, but I probably would not be very good."

T laughs.  "Do you think you would have better chances if you had a mentor?"

"You?"

"No, I am way too busy.  But, have you heard of  Enchi Murasaki?"

"The authoress of 'A Tale of Masks'?  She's one of my favorites."

"Did you know that she teaches at Tokyo Fine Arts School?"

"Wow!  But, isn't that school really expensive?"

"One hundred thousand yen per month tuition."

"My mom would never spring for that."

"Would she spring for ten thousand a month?"

"The idol trainee fee?  Well, she apparently would have for Quinn.  But, why?"

"Well, if you became an idol trainee, one of the perks that come with the trainee fee is free tuition at TFAS."

Daria chuckles.  "That's really nice, but me?  I am untalented and nonathletic.  I would never be able to pass your audition.  You're just teasing me."

T laughs hard.  "Miss Daria, I think you have a misconception about the nature of this audition.  We didn't want to eliminate anyone.  The more people we signed, the more money we take in."

Daria turns white.  "So, Quinn and her friends passed?"

"No, those four, along with one hundred and ninety seven of the two hundred girls who showed up, all walked away by their own choice."

Daria smiles a sly smile.  "So what did you tell them to crush their dreams?"

"Well, I told them they couldn't date boys as an idol.  One of your sister's friends laughed and said that I was just saying that as lip service and I told her that I was deadly serious and the rule was enforced for all idols all the time.  That's when they bolted."

"And, the others?"

"Many more left when I mentioned how many hours a day they were expected to practice, and then all but three left when I mentioned that at some point they would eventually have to do handshake events where they would shake the hands of thousands of creepy looking middle aged men."

"So three passed?"

"Three didn't quit."

"Now, wait a second, are you seriously saying that I can be a trainee?"

"I think you are a good candidate.  You have a burning ambition to be a writer and you would be willing to fake being a trainee and waste your parents money so that you could have a famous authoress as a mentor."

"You don't care that I will never be any good?"

"I don't care at all, after all your parents' money will be appreciated.  But, there are three people that you would have to keep happy."

"Sounds ominous."

"Why don't I introduce them to you?"

Daria follows T while making a face as if she was being forced to eat unpleasant food.  They enter a large room.

"I found a straggler.  She's already heard the speech.  She wants to be an author one day and feels she can use Harmony Project to get into TFAS.  Daria, this is our head singing coach Sachiko."

Daria bows.  "Please take care of me."

The middle aged blonde lady bows and smiles.  "Please take care of me as well."

"This is Ai, she will be you dance instructor."

Daria bows.  "Please take care of me."

A thirty something short brunette bows and smiles.  "Please take care of me as well."

"And, this is Risa, our fitness trainer."

Daria bows.  "Please take care of me."

A thirty something short red head with short hair bows and smiles.  "Please take care of me as well."

"These are the three people you will have to keep happy.  If they are not happy with you, you will be kicked out of Harmony Project and your parents will have to pay the TFAS tuition."

Daria gulps.

"Honestly, they do not care if you are untalented and nonathletic.  But, they do care if you try or not.  If you follow their instructions, I am sure you will surprise yourself.  If you don't follow their instructions, they will notice."

Daria gulps again.

"So, will you go for it and chase your dream?"

Daria thinks for about a minute, looking at Sachiko, Ai and Risa with fear.  "Yes.  Even though I will fail at being an idol, I cannot pass up being mentored by Enchi-sensei."

Sachiko gives Daria a funny look.  "Daria, are you saying that my teaching is too weak to help you succeed?"

"I'm saying that I am too hopeless."

Sachiko laughs.  "You should have heard many of our most famous idols when they first started out."

"I'm probably worse."

Sachiko walks over to a keyboard.  "Just say 'ba' and try to mimic the notes.  When I get back to the beginning of the arpeggio you can say 'ka'."

Daria giggles over Sachiko allowing her to call call Sachiko a dummy (5).  "Okay.  Ba ba ba ba ba ba ka."

Sachiko laughs.  "Daria, you have no idea how many idols we have who couldn't even do that when they started.  But, they all worked hard, as you will, and they got better."

"Oops.  I should have pretended that I was worse."

T smiles.  "Don't worry, they will all start you at remedial level."

"What's that?"

"There are three levels: remedial, intermediate, and official.  Remedial trainees learn the basics in an individual setting.  Intermediate trainees apply the basics in a group setting, and official trainees are the ones considered good enough to be back dancers at Harmony Project concerts.  An official trainee will get an blog and a website profile, lower than that they will be anonymous.  An official trainee will also be under consideration to join existing groups if there is an opening or be placed in a new group.  Once they debut we pay them as opposed to them paying us."

"Well, I won't have to worry about that."

T raises an eyebrow.  "Who knows?  Besides, a blog would be good writing practice."

"If you say so."

"Now, there are three girls I want you to meet."

T leads Daria to another room.  "Girls!  I found a straggler.  Please treat her well."  T exits the room.

One girl glares at Daria with the scariest face Daria has ever seen.  Another girl, taller than Daria and having short hair, runs over and snatches her glasses.

"Minamo, take my picture!"

The third girl takes the taller girl's picture with her cell phone.  "Rikoko, you're scaring her.  You should give them back."

Rikoko complies.  "Sorry, but I love glasses shots."

The girl with the cell phone bows.  She has a prominent chin and long hair.  "Please forgive her.  My name is Minamo.  What is your name?"

"Asamura Daria."

"Daria-san, I should explain.  Rikoko is a junior model. She's super in demand.  She loves shoots where she can wear glasses because it makes her look smarter."

"Okay, I forgive you Rikoko."

"Thanks!  But, I will want to borrow them again.  Your glasses make me look really smart!"

"And, the girl over there who is glaring at you is Natsuko.  She doesn't hate you, it's just that her resting face looks angry."

"How are you, Natsuko?"

Natsuko breaks into a radiant smile.  "Good!"

Minamo looks relieved.  "What level are you, Daria-san?"

"You can call me Daria."

"Thanks!"  Minamo beams.

"I am remedial."

"Natsuko and I are intermediate.  Both of us have had three years of private training."

Daria's eye's become wide.  "Wow!"

"And, Rikoko is official."

"Amazing."

"Her dad is the lead singer of a metal band so she is a second generation musician."

Rikoko bangs her head and flashes the metal hand sign.

"How old are you guys?"

Rikoko holds up six fingers.  "Sixth grade."

Natsuko and Minamo hold up seven fingers.

"Eight grade here."

Minako grabs Daria's arm.  "You can be our cool senpai."

"But, I am remedial."

"Doesn't matter."

...

"Thanks for meeting me here."

Ame Nichijo and Daria put down the ramen bowls and squeeze into a table at the local ramen shop.  "No problem.  After hearing your story on the phone I had to hear more."

"Well, after I got home, Mom said that of course she would pay for my idol training.  Quinn was throwing a tantrum saying that it was unfair that I was going to stand out more than her and then spent her time scheming on the phone with her friends."

"Sounds like the evil empire is planning a counter attack."  Nichijo slurps her noodles.

"Maybe TFAS has a program in coordinating outfits?"  Daria giggles.

"They don't."

"You seem to know a lot about TFAS."

Nichijo dons a superior look.  "My mom wanted me to go there so I had to look through all of their stuff.  But, in the end, I thought it would be more fun to stay with the awful school that I was used to."

"You could go there any time you want?"

"Yes, I can.  When do you start?"

"Monday."

"That's when I will start, then."

"What?  You don't have to do this for me."

"I'm doing it for myself.  It wouldn't be fun to be the school outcast by myself.  And, since you as Miss kira-kira (6) idol are going to be popular, I think it would be fun being one of the popular students in the new school."

"Are you jealous that I sold my soul to the devil?"

"Of course!  I paint all sorts of pictures of Makai (7) and the devil never takes notice.  Men, who can understand them?"

"Well, at least you'll get to date."

Nichijo smirks.  "Well, there is that.  However, I suspect that the art teachers will run me ragged with assignments."

"Speaking of assignments," Daria pulls out a piece of paper, "here's what I have to do everyday."

"Is this all?  I could do this stuff in five minutes."

"Really?"

"If you need a coach, just ask."

Daria frowns.  "You're not going to be the type of character who can effortlessly do everything the main character wants to do but can't?  Maybe instead of Nichijo I should call you Mary Sue ( 8 )?"

"I was thinking of a different name for myself for the new school, but I'll keep that quiet for now."

Daria sticks out her tongue.

"Heeey, guys."  An older teenage boy walks up to their table.

Nichijo smiles.  "I asked my brother to congratulate you as well."

"Hi Totoro."

"Daria, I think you should know that my band, Mystik Spiral Kakko Kari (9) is debuting in a couple of weeks at the club Cyberia.  However, I don't think that Ame Totoro is a good name for a band lead singer."

"Oh, you have a new name now?"

"Yeah.  My new last name is a translation of my last name into English.  My new last name is Lane (10)."

Daria nods.  "Sounds cool."

"And, Totoro is the name of some anime character, so I will go with Trent."

Daria gives a thumbs up.

"So, you're going to be a sell out idol who sort of sings, sort of dances, and sort of looks cute?"

Daria crawls out from under the hundred pound anvil of Totoro's words.  "Yes, I am selling my soul to the devil so I can be a writer."

"That's cool."

"It wasn't my idea.  The producer, T, talked me into it."

Totoro's eyes double in size.  "Wait, T is going to be your producer?  T from Shazam Q?"

Daria gets a blank look on her face.

Nichijo pulls out her smartphone and looks it up.  "They are one in the same."

"Woooah.  Shazam Q is my favorite band of all time.  Their song 'Go Forth as Squids' (11) inspired me to be a song writer.  Maybe I will have to check out the stuff he produces."

Nichijo nods.  "Sounds like a good idea."

"Gotta go now.  I have a band practice scheduled two hours ago.  They should just be getting there now."  Totoro leaves.

"So, will you go with me to his gig?"

Daria blushes.  "Sure."

To Be Continued





(1) Asamura Daria's name is written 朝村 ダリア.

(2) Asamura Quinn's name is written 朝村 クイン.

(3) Author's note: 100 yen is approximately 1 US dollar.

(4) Daria is not homophobic, it's just shocking to her that a guy would read a girls novel.

(5) "baka" means dummy in Japanese.

(6) "kira-kira" means sparkling in Japanese.

(7) "Makai" is the netherworld in Japanese.

( 8 ) "Mary Sue" is a fan fiction term meaning a super overpowered character with no flaws.

(9) Kakko Kari means "kari in parenthesis" (仮) and translates as "temporary".  It is a similar meaning as if Totoro was saying "our name is Mystik Spiral but we are thinking of changing the name".

(10) The translation of Ame (雨) is rain, but Lane is pronounced the same as rain in Japanese.

(11) Really bad pun time here.  'Go Forth as Squids' would be Ika-masshoi, as opposed to Ikimasshoi which means Let's Go!.

Offline resop2

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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 09:44:42 PM »
(promo)

For Daria it's a new school, new mentors, a new rival, a new night club, and a new hair style for her best friend. Unfortunately, many of her old problems follow her to the new school. It's An Annoying Paradise Chapter two: Serial Experiments Lane, it's a complete turnover story.

(end promo)

An Annoying Paradise - Daria -- part 2 - Serial Experiments Lane


Daria and Nichijo breath heavily at the bus stop.

"Why did we run for three bus stops when we could have just took the first one?"

"Daria, if you want to be able to fake being an idol trainee, you're going to have to develop endurance."

"And singing, and dancing, and general body control."

"One step at a time."

"Oh, here it comes."

Daria and Nichijo board the bus.

"What are you doing here?"

Daria and Nichijo stare at Quinn and Stacy.  "Why wouldn't we be here?  Why are you guys here?"

Quinn gets a smug expression.  "We are starting at Tokyo Fine Arts School."

Daria makes a face.  "How did you convince Mom to pay for it?"

"Well, most people who go to TFAS get a huge tuition discount if they join one of the schools guilds.  So Stacy and I have joined the fashion design guild, as you would expect from the fashion club."

Nichijo thinks for a minute.  "Quinn, I happen to know a little bit about TFAS."

Quinn looks at Nichijo blankly.  "Who are you and why do you know my name?"

"Ame Nichijo.  You make fun of my fashion everyday in school even though you're my kouhai. (1)"

"Someone has to do it.  But, you're not her."

"I am wearing my hair up.  Doesn't it look cute?"

Quinn looks at Nichijo for a minute trying to picture her in her usual severe hair style.  "Oh, sorry."

"Anyway,  did you know that joining the fashion design guild at TFAS has nothing to do with coordinating outfits and has everything to do with," sinister pause, "sewing?"

Quinn looks sad.  "I know.  Sandi and Tiffany bailed when they heard that and went for the modeling guild."

Nichijo laughs.  "They are going to be so mad when they have to model clothes that they would rather die than be seen in."

Quinn nods.  "I know, but the alternatives were even more disgusting."

"So, you're willing to to brave the fashion classes?"

"I view myself a fashion avatar.  If I am not able to design my own style then I will be forever limited by other people's vision."

Nichijo smiles.  "You're willing to work?"

Quinn hangs her head.  "Please don't say that too loud."

Stacy squeezes Quinn's arm.  "It's okay.  We'll get through this together."

"Stacy, I don't think that fashion design is all that collaborative."

"It's not?  Quinn, don't leave me alone."  Stacy starts whining.

Daria and Nichijo roll their eyes.

Nichijo thinks for a minute.  "Quinn, you realize that the fashion guild does three shows a year and you'll be expected to exhibit a design each show?"

Quinn nods.

"And, if it's not up to standards they can kick you out?"

"No-oooooo!!!"  Quinn looks miserable.

Daria studies Quinn.  "Quinn, this isn't like you.  What is the real reason you're joining TFAS?"

"Daria, you wouldn't understand.  Once the word got out that my own sister was an idol and I wasn't then the entire fashion club would be branded as losers and we would become the school outcasts."

"So, it wasn't just that you were jealous that I was standing out more than you?"

"Well, of course there's that!"

...

"Class, we have two new transfer students starting today.  You first."

Daria and Nichijo stand at the front of the class.  Daria writes her name on the blackboard.  "My name is Asamura Daria.  However, my last name is a translation into Japanese of my father's last name.  He is from Germany and his last name is Morgendorrfer which means morning town.  That's where we got Asamura.  I am an idol singing trainee from Harmony Project, please take care of me."

Much to Daria's surprise no one teases her.

"And, now you."

Nichijo whispers to Daria.  "Ready for the big reveal?"

Daria nods.

Nichijo writes her name on the blackboard.  "Here is the kanji for my name, Ame Nichijo.  However, I am joining the fine arts guild so using my current name would be too ordinary."

Several members of the class face plant. (2)

Nichijo looks at the teacher.  "Was it that too bad a pun?"

"We have many students studying Manzai comedy." (3)

"Okay.  So, I will be using a kira-kira pronunciation of my name. (4)"  Nichijo writes her name on the blackboard in English.  "My name is Jane Lane."

Daria hears many of her new classmates murmur "cool name".

They sit down in seats next to each other.  "Jane, huh?"

"Please call me that from now on."

...

Jane and Daria put their books in their lockers.

"Daria, big trouble.  A girl is approaching who looks like she's going to beat you up."

Daria doesn't look up.  "I know who that is."  Daria turns around.  "Hi, Natsuko, Minamo."

"Daria-senpai!" (5)

"Oh, this is my friend Jane.  Jane, this is Natsuko and Minamo, by fellow idol trainees, although they are both way ahead of me."

Jane smirks.  "They won't be for long."

Minamo gathers up her courage.  "Daria-senpai, do you have a sister?"

"Why yes I do.  Her name is Quinn.  Although, in our previous school, she referred to me as the strange international transfer student who lives with her."

Minamo gets giddy.  "I knew it!  I knew it.  She's in our homeroom now.  She looks just like you."

"She does not!"  Both Jane and Daria say this in unison.

"She's so cool.  I want to wear the clothes she designs."

Daria rolls her eyes.  "I will be shocked if she lasts five minutes after the first time she stabs herself with a sewing needle."

Natsuko looks thoughtful.  "If she's your sister I think she will last."

Jane and Daria look at each other in shock.

...

"Come in, you must be Asamura Daria ."

"Yes, Enchi-sensei (6), that's who I am."

"Your producer T told me all about you."

Daria gulps.

"I told him that I would do my best to help you."

"Thanks."

"So, Daria, have you written a lot before?"

"Nothing worth showing."

"Well, don't worry.  Let me tell you a little secret.  The best writing is relating things that you have experienced first hand."

"Then I should quit now and not burden the world with depressing books."

Enchi-sensei laughs.  "Well then, here is your first assignment, due next week: Write a description of one of your friends as if you were introducing them in a novel.  Figure out what makes them them special and make them pop off the page."

"Do they have to read it?"

"No."

"Good, I get to keep whatever friends I still have."

"Daria, you need to change your attitude a little bit.  You're in the Harmony Project idol trainee program.  You will be meeting some of the most colorful personalities anywhere.  This is a priceless opportunity for a writer to start developing a cast of characters in her head that she can use."

Daria smiles slightly.  "I would like to disagree, but I cannot."

...

Daria walks into an empty music class room.

She is soon joined by her singing instructor Sachiko (7).  "Good afternoon, miss Daria."

"Good afternoon Sachiko-sensei."

"We should be joined by another remedial student later on.  She's never on time so we should just get started."

"Okay."

"Did you do those exercises I gave you faithfully?"

"They got done, not by faithfulness on my part, but by the fact that I had a friend to nag me to do them."

"Wonderful!  You're so lucky."

"To be susceptible to bullying?"

Sachiko laughs.  "That's a much better trait than to be completely impervious to instruction."

Daria smiles.

Sachiko starts the lessons with warm ups.

Ten minutes later, another girl enters the room.  "Sorry I am late!"

Sachiko rolls her eyes.  "Daria, this is Haruko.  She is also a remedial idol trainee.  She's been remedial for six months now because she never does her assignments."

"I do too!"

Sachiko ignores her.  "I would hope that you will reach intermediate long before six months.  If you do, you'll get to practice with the rest of the trainees."

"As if I needed more humiliation in my life."

"Now, Daria.  If I approve you for intermediate, your practices will be fun, not humiliating.  However, there will probably always be girls who are ahead of you in singing but they want to sing with you, not to show you up."

"If you say so."

"Haruko, please warm up in the corner."

"Okay."  Haruko pouts.

"So, Daria, first we will go ever the exercises I gave you at the audition, then I will give you a new set of exercises for next week."

"Okay."

...

Daria and Haruko walk the halls of TFAS to get to conditioning instruction with Risa-sensei.

"I'm so sorry I was late, but there was this really cute guy who flirted with me and I just couldn't break away."

"Sachiko-sensei looked like she wanted to kill you."

"Who cares about her?  It's only a matter of time before they debut me."

Daria cringes, remembering how Haruko sang at practice.  "You realize that T won't debut you unless Sachiko approves?"

"If they don't I will just switch agencies."

Daria rolls here eyes.  "I hope that works out for you.  I'm just a beginner myself, but somehow what you said seems unlikely."

"Just wait until you see me in dance practice."

They get to the room where Risa-sensei waits for them.

"No way!  No way!  No way!  Haruko is not ten minutes late?"

"I'm here!"  Haruko strikes a pose.

"Miss Daria, how are you?"

"I am okay."

"Did you do all of the exercises that I gave you?"

"Well, my friend made me do them.  However, it was pretty embarrassing that I couldn't do two repetitions in a row of anything."

"But, you didn't give up?

"I wasn't allowed to."

"Excellent."  Risa brings a chair over.  "This might help you on the squats.  Pretend that you are sitting down in the chair.  When your butt just makes contact with the chair stand back up."

Daria does this in a clumsy way.

"Again."

Daria does this again.

"There, two squats in a row!  You're definitely on your way."

"Well, that's better than falling over sideways."

...

Daria and Haruko walk to the classroom where Ai-sensei waits to teach them dance.

Haruko looks smug.  "So, you see how well conditioned I am?"

"I did notice one thing.  On the exercises we did together, Risa-sensei would give me tips on what I was doing wrong and how to correct my form but she didn't say anything to you."

"I'm perfect, that's why."

"You were doing the same things wrong."

"I was?  Oops."

"Has Risa corrected you many times before and you ignore her?"

Haruko blushes.  "Maybe."

They get to the room where Ai-sensei waits to teach them dance.

"Oh my god?  Haruko is on time?"

Daria smiles.  "I must have chased away all of her boyfriends."

Ai-sensei, who is shorter than Haruko, still looks down her nose at Haruko.  "Haruko, what have I said about boyfriends?"

"I was just being polite!"

"Miss Daria, please make sure that Haruko makes it to class on time."

"I'll do my best."

"Now Daria, how did the box step go?"

"Fifteen."

"Fifteen what?"

"Times I fell down doing it."

Ai-sensei laughs.  "It's not how many times you fall down, it's how many times you get back up."

"If you say so."

"I'll send you a video this weekend on how to do it."

...

Daria sees Jane outside of Cyberia.

"Daria, I wish you had ridden with me and Trent."

"That's okay.  I've seen Trent's car."

"Yeah, it is a little on the sketchy side."

"Have you given up on the new hairstyle?"

Jane laughs.  "Trent said that I would look more rock and roll with my old hairstyle."

Daria looks down her nose at Jane.  "Didn't he really say that he was embarrassed by how cutesy the new hairstyle was?"

"He might have said something to that effect.  But I will still use it at school."

Jane and Daria enter Cyberia.  It is a rundown and grimy nightclub.  The lights are down very low to hide how badly maintained the place is.

Daria rolls her eyes.  "Class joint."

Jane scans the area.  "Well, I can see this is an all ages show.  Plenty of people from TFAS are here."

"Well, it's only a couple of blocks away from TFAS."

"Including ..."

"Daria-senpai!!"

"Your fan club."

Daria rolls her eyes at Natsuko and Minamo.  "You can call me Daria."

Minamo shakes her head.  "No, no.  Daria-senpai is Daria-senpai."

"Is this your first time here?"

"No, no.  Natsuko and I have been going to TFAS for a while.  We go to most of the all ages shows to practice dancing."

"Wow, are your parents rich?"

Minamo looks embarrassed.  "Somewhat.  But they were happy when we got accepted as idol trainees."

"I am kind of jealous.  If I bomb out as a trainee then I will have to go back to my old school."

Natsuko looks concerned.  "Daria-senpai, if you ever need help, we're here for you.  Let's do our best!"

"Okay."  Daria sounds skeptical.

Minamo hands Daria and Jane some cardboard glasses.  "Check these out, there are hidden pictures on the wall that you need these glasses to see."

Jane and Daria try them on.

Jane smiles.  "Cool."

"They don't quite work if you already wear glasses."  Daria hands her pair back.

Jane bows.  "May I keep these for a while?"

"Sure!"

...

Trent's band takes the stage.

"Hello, we are Mystik Spiral Kakko Kari.  This is our first live outside of my parent's basement.  Please take care of us."

The kids applaud.

"This first song is dedicated to my sister who is also here tonight."  Trent points to Jane who waves.

Trent starts singing a song about a sister with really bad rhymes and really poorly thought out lyrics.

The kids applaud enthusiastically.

Daria rolls her eyes.

...

Jane meets Daria at their lockers at school.  "What's up?"

"Just my own physical incompetence."

"Aren't you getting good instruction?"

"Didn't I forward you the email I got yesterday from my dance instructor?"

Jane laughs.  "That was so funny!  It was a video of a cockroach."

"She later sent me the real video.  What a weirdo!"

"I envy you.  None of my art teachers are like that."

A strange boy approaches.  "Excuse me?"

"Can we help you?"

The boy stares at Jane.  "Are you Lane from the wired?"

Jane looks perplexed.  "The wired?"

"That's the name of the school web site.  They had a picture up of this super cool girl who was at Cyberia this weekend, and you kind of look like her."  The boy pulls out his cell phone and shows Daria and Jane a picture of Jane at Cyberia wearing the cardboard glasses with her hair down.

"If I told you that was me I would have to kill you."

"So cool!!"  The boy runs away.

"Are you going to keep your hair up?"

"Maybe."

...

Assignment 1:

Subject: Nomaru Minamo -  She is a very polite and conscientious girl.  She looks out for her friends and is always looking for ways to help.  She dances very stylishly and is not afraid to go to grimy clubs with her friends.

Note from Enchi-sensei:  You didn't make fun of her chin!



To Be Continued




(1) Kouhai means underclassman.  Nichijo is pointing out that Quinn acts cheeky for someone younger than Nichijo.

(2) Horrible pun time again!  Nichijo writes on the blackboard the kanji  雨 日女 (Ame Nichijo) Which means "Rain, Sunny Girl".  However,  日常 is also pronounced Nichijo and means "ordinary".

(3) Manzai comedy typically involves a straight man (tsukkomi) reacting to the misunderstandings and puns of the funny man (boke).

(4) Kira-kira names (names pronounced differently than their kanji) are a fad in Japan.

(5) Senpai means upperclassman.  Here, Natsuko and Minamo are using it to fan girl Daria.

(6) Sensei means teacher.  All students will address all their teachers with this honorific.

(7) Sachiko, Ai, and Risa are not TFAS teachers.  They have an arrangement with the school where they can come in and teach Harmony Project trainees once or twice a week.  At night they train the debuted idols at the Harmony Project building.

Offline resop2

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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 3 - Aim for the Lace!
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2017, 03:07:20 AM »
(promo)

Quinn's transition to the new school has not been an easy one.  And now the fashion design guild wants her to design a dress for the guild week show and she not allowed to accessorize it.  No-oooooh!  This is too cruel.  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter three: Aim for the Lace!, it's a complete turnover story.

(end promo)

An Annoying Paradise - Daria -- part 3 - Aim for the Lace!



Jane looks at Daria.  "Something is wrong."

"Is my posture off?"

Jane crosses her arms and then points down the hall of TFAS from their lockers.  "Don't you see?"

"I see Quinn."

"But, what do you not see?"

"Oh, I get it, there isn't a crowd of boys pestering her."

"Bingo.  This calls for an intervention."

Jane and Daria walk over to Quinn who is putting stuff in her locker.  The line up on either side of her and slam their hands into the lockers around head level with Quinn.  (1)

Quinn looks up startled.  "What's going on?"

"I think my Sister was replaced by a zombie.  I don't see any fan boys surrounding you."

Jane nods.  "And, you haven't made fun of my outfit in a week."

Quinn looks sad.  "I'm sorry.  I've been overwhelmed by the fashion design guild."

Jane smiles.  "So, they have weird ideas on accessorizing?"

"No-oooh, they only talk about how to build very plain things from scratch.   Whenever I look at one of their diagrams I automatically start accessorizing the piece in my head and I don't absorb how to make it."

"Talk to your guild leader.  I am sure they will know what to do."

"Okay.  But, the boy thing is harder.  No one approaches me."

Daria looks hard at Quinn.  "You're not wearing makeup.  That might be why."

"No, I am so overwhelmed that I no longer project cuteness from within.  Putting on makeup for me now would be like you putting on makeup."

"Hey!  I might eventually have to do that."

Jane comforts Daria.

Quinn sighs.

Jane raises an eyebrow.  "How are the other former fashion club members doing?"

"Stacy cries herself to sleep every night.  Sandi and Tiffany don't call me."

Daria nods.  "You know, maybe you need some female friends who could raise your spirits."

"Like who?"

Daria looks around.  "Oh, Natsuko!"

Natsuko comes running.

"That scary girl?"

"Daria-senpai!"

"Natsuko, this is my sister Quinn.  She's having problems adjusting to the school.  Could you help her?"

Natsuko smiles radiantly.  "Leave it to me!"  Natsuko smiles and raises her eyebrows trying to look cool.

"I guess it's okay."

"Meet me at lunch at the cafeteria."

...

Natsuko and Quinn sit down at a table with their bentos (2).

Quinn sighs.  This school is just so strange to me.

Natsuko nods.  "How was it like in your previous school?"

Quinn smiles and looks nostalgic.  "Me and my three friends used to run the entire school.  Whenever I turned around there would be a crowd of boys there waiting to grant my every request.  We would dress like princesses and break hearts like movie stars."

"So, you take after your sister?"

Quinn almost spits out her food.  "Puuuuuu-lease!  My sister and her friend were outcasts in our previous school.  They didn't have a single friend."

"Oh, come on."

"It's true.  The only reason that they took Daria instead of me was that Daria wouldn't have to give up a full schedule of dating boys."

Natsuko thinks about this for a while.  "So, you're disappointed that you came to this school and no one wants to date you even though you can date?"

"At this rate I should have been an idol trainee."

"Well, I would like to say something encouraging, but ..."

"But what?"

"This school isn't really a good place to find a date, especially if you're a girl looking for a boy."

"What?"

"Look around the cafeteria.  Who looks good?"

"That table over there looks promising, however I would need to check to see if their cars were up to standard."

"Those are trainees from Jeneral Entertainment. (3)  They are not allowed to date girls and,"  Natsuko leans over and whispers, "they probably don't want to either."

"Oh, no!  They're like the boys in my fashion design class?  This is a tragedy."

"Me and my friend Minamo do stuff together all the time.  We don't find it that tragic."

"Such a bitter pill to take.  My life is over."

"Maybe you could come out with us some time?"

"Natsuko, it wouldn't be the same.  It is the height of pleasure in being a girl to order a guy around and have him spend money on you.  I couldn't ask you guys to do that and it would feel weird if I did."

"Are you poor?"

"No, the joy is getting money that you don't need."

"We can't help you with that, but the offer is still open."

"Maybe."

...

Quinn gets up to leave at the end of the Fashion Design guild meeting.

"Miss Asamura?  We need to have a talk."

Quinn looks down in despair.  Even though Risaki was only a couple years ahead of her in school, she would have the power to suggest to the faculty supervisors that Quinn wasn't working out.

"I hear that you are having problems with dress design."

"Yes.  It's true.  I cannot stand to see a plain dress so I have to draw cute accessories for it."

Risaki thinks about this for a minute.  "Let's do a little game.  I want you to draw me a dress in the Betsy Johnson style, only I want you to first draw the accessories first."  Risaki gets a piece of plastic and some colored markers to use.  "Go."

Quinn nods and gets to work.  Ten minutes later, "Taa daa!"

"Wow.  You drew a dozen different accessories."

"Well, maybe they need to be edited down."

"Don't worry."  Risaki gets another sheet of plastic and places it over the first.  "Now draw the dress.  You don't have to draw over the accessories."

After another ten minutes.  "How is this?"

"Great!"  Risaki takes away the bottom sheet of plastic.  "Now, connect the lines.  We'll then put the first sheet over it and it should look the same."

Quinn looks at the second sheet of plastic and the sheet starts becoming larger and smaller as if she is having a hallucinogenic experience.  "I'm scared."

Risaki puts the second sheet over the first.  "They're still here."

"Okay."  Twenty minutes later, after painstakingly putting the first sheet of paper over the second after every single small line is drawn on the second, Quinn finishes.  "Here."

Risaki puts aside the sheet with the accessories.  "Great!  I think you have talent, Quinn-chan." (4)

"But, that was so scary!"

"But, you got through it.  We're having our first show in a five days.  Stacy has already designed something appropriate.  I want you to show as well."

"But, show what?"

"Starting tomorrow, you will be creating the dress that you just drew.  The accessories are not needed."

Quinn stares ahead in horror.  "Will I ever get to show my skill in accessorizing?"

"Quinn-chan, in advanced dress making you will learn about adornment, where you can customize your dress with things built directly on the dress, like different fabrics and custom dress parts."

Quinn rolls her eyes.  "Well then, I guess I will aim for the lace!" (5)

Risaki face plants, then smacks Quinn in the head with a sheet of plastic.  "Baka!"

...

Daria sees Minamo walking in the hall.  "Oh, Minamo?"

"Daria-senpai!"

"Umm, do you know a seventh grade girl who goes here, Haruko?"

Minamo looks like she just ate something unpleasant.  "Tall?  Acts ditsy all the time?"

"Bingo."

"Stay away from her at all costs."

"I can't, we take lessons together.  We're both remedial."

"She's big trouble.  She ditches class, she dates boys, she goes to clubs on nights when they are not all-ages, and ..." Minamo whispers, "... she even uses slang."

"Wait, how does she get into those clubs?"

"There are many clubs in the area who are really sleazy.  They think nothing of a twelve year old girl drinking alcohol."

"That's horrible."

"Don't let her corrupt you Daria-sama."  (6)

"Umm, just Daria is fine.  Don't worry.  If I want to get in trouble I already have Jane."

Minamo smiles.  "That's a relief."

"So, why is she still a remedial?"

"She never tries.  She never practices and she never does homework.  I am amazed that she hasn't been kicked out if school or the Hamony Project trainee program yet."

"Well, I will tread carefully around her then."

"Good."

...

Stacy and Quinn sit next to each other in the fashion design guild class.

"So, Quinn, what do you think of my design?"

Quinn looks at it for a second and turns away violently.

"Oh, no!!  Quinn, was it really that bad?  You can lie to me if you need to."

Quinn tries to regain her composure.  "Stacy, your design is fine.  It's just that I have a problem looking at things that aren't accessorized."

"Well, maybe you could come up with a better lie than that."

"But, it's not a lie.  Here is my dress design.  I had to draw accessories first on a transparency to get through the drawing."

Stacy looks at the drawing.  "This is so cool!  I wish I could design like you."

"No, Stacy, you must not think that way.  Your design is fine.  The world doesn't need two Quinn's but it does need a Stacy."

Stacy starts crying.  "Quinn, this is the happiest day of my life!"

"Whatever."

...

Daria gingerly walks out of Ai-sensei's dance class.

"Wait up!"  Haruko runs up behind her.  "What are you doing tonight?"

"Probably a lot of limping.  Those mamba steps did a number on me."

"Strange, I didn't have a problem."

"But, you weren't doing it correctly."

"What, are you a smarty-pants, or sumting?"

"No, but I noticed that whenever Ai-sensei looked in your direction she had a stink face.  If you were doing things correctly she would have cried tears of happiness."

Haruko sticks her tongue out.  "So, what else besides limping?"

"I will being going to my friend Jane's house.  She's been unofficially coaching me.  I need to give her all of my homework from our real coaches so she can bully me into doing them.  Then we will probably watch Hen Kanashii Sekai. (7)"

"Boooooooring!"

"Oh, what are you doing that is so exciting?"

"Clubbing.  I know of a great club.  There are a lot of big wigs from the entertainment industry that go there.  Harmony Project doesn't recognize my talent.  I am a miracle girl.  There's no way that I won't be a huge star. I'm sure that if I network enough I will find a producer who can use me if T doesn't wanna.  You should come."

"Haruko, I'm just an eight grade girl.  I know nothing of the entertainment world.  I don't even want to be a performer.  I want to be a writer.  I don't have any ambition at all compared to you.  But, even I know that clubbing would be a horrible idea.  A producer who hangs out at bars that serves alcohol to kids is not a producer who is going to make you into a star."

"You're right, you know nothing."  Haruko, slightly upset runs away.

...

Risaki pulls Stacy and Quinn aside.  "Okay guys, your designs are approved, and you have the materials and the equipment needed to make the dresses.  If you like, we can get some of the girls in the modeling guild to be your pin up dummies."

Stacy starts imagining Tifany asking her every thirty seconds if the dress made her look fat.

Quinn starts imagining Sandi insinuating that it was very bold of her to go with so outdated a design.

"I think we can find regular people to do it."

Risaki nods.  "Well, if you change your mind, just call me."

...

"They were ready for a good night sleep, but boy were they were disappointed!  It was the futons that flew away, next on Hen Kanashii Sekai. {8}"

Jane turns off the TV.  "Well, young disciple, I am afraid that you will be doing your practice solo the next couple of days.  I need to paint something for my class."

"That's okay.  I think I might be over the period where you have to catch me to prevent me from falling over every thirty seconds."

"They grow up so quickly."

"At least I won't be a burden to you."

"In three days I will be so bored I will be crawling to your place."

"We'll see."

...

"Oh, Natsuko?"  Quinn catches up to Natsuko in the hall.  "Do you have a second?"

"Sure."

"Um, I was wondering if you were free tonight?"

"I think so."

"Well, I am making a dress and I need a pin up dummy.  I know this is a horrible imposition but it would mean a lot."

"Where would we be doing it?"

"My place."

The place where Daria-senpai lives??  Natsuko has to hold back a nose bleed.  "Of course!"

"However, please don't be upset if I don't look at you a lot."

"No big deal, I get that a lot."

Quinn face plants.  "No, I meant that I don't like looking at dresses without accessories."

...

Jane sits at her usual table during lunch.  A tall girl approaches her.

"Excuse me, are you Jane Lane?"

"Why yes I am.  Are you the girl who the modeling guild sent over?"

"Yes, my name is Rikoko."

"I haven't seen you before at school."

"I'm on the first floor."

Jane does a double take.  "Wait, you're in elementary school?"

"Six grade."  Rikoko makes a peace sign.

"Well, that doesn't matter much.  I just need you to sit for a painting."

"Okay.  Do you have glasses I can wear to pose in?"

Jane looks shocked.  "Hey, by any chance could you also be a Harmony Project trainee?"

"An official one!"

"Do you know my friend Daria?"

"Daria-senpai is so cool!'

"This could get interesting."

...

Daria practices dance steps and exercises in her room.

"Daria, are you in there?"

Daria opens her door.  "Quinn, no dates tonight?"

"Ha, ha, ha.  Very funny."  Quinn throws a one piece swimsuit at her sister.  "Put this on and come to my room."  Quinn walks away.

This is too weird to pass up.  Daria changes and comes to Quinn's room.  It looks like a disaster area.

"Daria-senpai!"

Daria sees Natsuko who also in a one piece swimsuit.  Quinn has placed fabric over some of the swimsuit and she is sewing the fabric together.  "Stacy needs a model."

Daria sees Stacy in the corner.  "I have to warn you, I did this once before for a bridesmaid dress and the dress maker complained the whole time that I had no figure."

Stacy chuckles.  "Daria-senpai, that was before your idol training.  You look just fine now."

"I do??"  Daria looks in the mirror.  Wow, I will have to thank Risa-sensei.  "Well, let's get this over with then."

"Hopefully I won't stick you."

"If you do I will cast a magic spell on you to make you unfashionable."

Quinn raises an eyebrow.  "Daria!  Don't cast magic spells on my friends!"

"Okay."  Daria sees that Stacy has gone from shivering in fear to an expression of relief.  She also catches in a mirror that Natsuko is staring at her non-stop.

...

Sandi and Tiffany sit backstage in a badly lit dressing room.

Risaki walks in with Quinn and Stacy, each holding a dress.  "Good afternoon models.  These are the dresses you will be walking in.  Please put them on and then I will instruct Quinn and Stacy how to adjust them.

Sandi makes a stink face.  "Adjust them?  I don't understand why all dresses are not made with me in mind."

Sandi and Tiffany put on their dresses behind a folding screen then come out.

Tiffany looks in the mirror.  "Does this dress make me look fat?"

Sandi rolls her eyes.  "Quinn, I think it was very brave of you to go with so outdated a design."

Quinn and Stacy shudder.

...

Daria and Jane walk along the painting exhibit.

"And, this one is by me."

Daria stares long and hard at the painting.  "What is it?"

Jane face plants.  "It's a girl."

"Is this expressionism?"

"This is Dada-ism."

"Is that another way of saying that you got frustrated?"

Jane blushes.  "Well, yeah.  But, the guild accepted it.  I guess I will have to work harder since they won't buy that excuse twice in a row."

"So, was your model not good enough to work with?"

"No, she was too good.  Completely professional in every respect and with no bad angles.  It ate at my self esteem.  And, she was only in sixth grade."

"Rikoko?"

"Did I mention she was a member of your fan club?"

"Wait, won't your parents pay for your tuition even if you're not in a guild?"

"It's a matter of principle for me."

Daria looks the clock on the wall.  "Oh, we better hurry, the Fashion Guild is going to have their outfits walked soon."

"Joy, joy."

...

"Ladies and gentlemen, the Fashion Guild and the Modeling Guild is pleased to present the guild week fashion show."

Applause.  Then loud trendy music starts playing.

"First up, basic dress design.  Walking first is Sandi, walking in a dress designed by Quinn."

Sandi, looking bored and angry at the world walks up and down the catwalk.

"Next up, Tiffany, walking in a dress designed by Stacy."

Tiffany, looking self conscious and nervous walks up and down the catwalk.

Daria nudges Jane.  "I don't know anything about fashion shows, but didn't that look a little off?"

"Oh yes."

...

Jane and Daria walk into a ramen shop a block from campus.

"Daria-senpai!"  Natsuko and Minamo run over to them.

Daria, though tired, tries to smile.  "Thanks for inviting us to the wrap party."

Minamo blushes.  "Actually, it was an indirect invite.  Rikoko wanted us to come."

Daria and Jane are lead over to a table where Rikoko and an older girl sit with a lap top.

"Guys!  I am so happy you could make it."

Daria smiles.  "No problem.  Oh, do you want to, you know?"

"Of course!"

Daria lends Rikoko her glasses and Natsuko, Minamo, and the older girl take pictures while Rikoko goes through a bunch of poses.  Daria, however is oblivious to this.

"Here are your glasses back."

"Thanks."

"Oh, this is Haruno-senpai.  We're waiting for the footage of the fashion show to download from the wired.  Do you want to watch it with us?"

Jane smiles.  "Sure, let us order first."

...

Jane and Daria slurp their ramen.  They are joined by Quinn and Stacy who look very worried.

Haruno smiles.  "Okay!  It's ready.  Gather round."

Jane watches the video.  "Haruno-senpai, I am not an expert at modeling, but I notice a huge difference between the walks if Sandi and Tiffany and the walk of Rikoko."

Haruno makes a face.  "Well, I was thinking of letting those two go.  After the show they left in a snit.  Sandi even complained that her dress was out of date and Tiffany complained that her dress made her look fat.  I have never heard such talk from models before."

"Haruno-senpai?"

"Yes, miss Quinn?"

"I would rather you not can them."

"What?"

"Looking at the footage, Sandi has a point.  The design is outdated.  But, now I will work harder to improve."

Stacy nods.  "And, my dress did make her look fat."

Haruno rolls her eyes.  "Baka!  Tiffany hasn't been doing her stomach exercises.  A real model keeps her core tight during her walk."

"All the same, I think I can improve things so that even someone without abs of steel will look good."

Haruno nods.  "Very well, but if I get complaints from other designers, they're history."

Daria nudges Rikoko.  "So what did you think of the painting?"

Rikoko starts headbanging.  "It was metal!"

"You didn't mind it looked nothing like you?"

"That's what pictures are for."

...

Assignment 2:

Subject: Asumura Quinn: She is nauseatingly perfect in appearance in every way.  In a normal school she would be Miss Popularity, but at this school she doesn't stand out.  But, behind the bouncy hair, perfect complexion and stylish clothes lies actual substance that will occasionally appear when it is not being vigorously suppressed.  I hate her, but admire her sometimes as well.

Note from Enchi-sensei: Don't forget to mention her figure!


To Be Continued


(1) This actually has a name in Japanese: "Kabedon" (wall slam).

(2) A bento is a boxed lunch.

(3) I guess when it was pointed out that their name was misspelled they just simply went with it.

(4) Calling Quinn "Quinn-chan" is slightly talking down to her.

(5) Quinn is making a horrible pun on the manga/anime "Aim for the Ace!" a tennis drama.

(6) The -sama suffix is Minamo trying to be as respectful to Daria as she can.

(7) "Hen Kanashii Sekai" means "Weird Sad World."

{8} Like the show "Sick Sad World" on Daria, the show Hen Kanashii Sekai relies on promos consisting of very lame (old man) puns.  Here the phrase "the futons that flew away" is pronounced "futon ga futton da".

« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 10:13:54 PM by resop2 »

Offline resop2

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An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 4 - WataMote
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2018, 01:40:30 AM »
(promo)

Daria gets a new senpai, Jane gets a new boyfriend, Sandi gets a new gig, and somebody gets fired!  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter four: Watamote, it's a complete turnover story.

(end promo)


An Annoying Paradise - Daria -- part 4 - Watamote (1)


Daria walks into the music room expecting to see Sachiko-sensei but sees a different woman instead.

"Asamura Daria?"

"That's me."

"Hi.  My name is Megumi.  I work for Harmony Project."

"Am I fired?"

"Why would you think that?  Sachiko, Risa, and Ai all have high praise for you."

"They do?  They must have really low standards."

Megumi laughs.  "Actually, I came because I have to debrief you."

"You can't have my underwear."

Megumi laughs again.  "Daria, there was someone who was fired."

"Was it Ai-sensei for sending weird videos?"

"You got one of those?  Those are great, aren't they?"

"Maybe in retrospect.  Not when I got them."

"No, Ai is fine.  But we kicked Haruko out."

"I would like to say I am surprised, but I am not."

"Paparazzi pictures surfaced of her drinking at a club.  We can't risk being associated with her."

Daria smirks.  "If you had some huge role for her, would you have bought the pictures to cover the situation up?"

Megumi turns serious.  "Daria, Harmony Project is a business and we are here to make money first, and girls' dreams come true second.  Yes, we would have paid off Friday magazine (2), but we have no such plans for her."

"So, why do I need to be debriefed?"

Megumi starts talking in a spooky voice.  "Daria, teen idols are the angels of Japan.  However, it is possible for an angel to fall from grace.  There are people out there who prey on fallen idols.  Some say they can smell a fallen idol.  Since you know Haruko, I am worried that the problems coming her way might rub off on you."

"We never really hung out."

"Good.  One more thing.  Did you like Haruko?"

"I admired her a little bit for her self confidence even though she had no ability."

"Daria, sometimes a fallen idol can get into huge problems.  Some times these problems are so bad that if the fallen idol has no one that cares for them at all, they will be totally lost."

"This is starting to sound like a magical girl manga. (3)"

"The question is, would you be willing to risk it all to save Haruko if she gets in trouble?"

This question stumps Daria.

"Well, hopefully we won't have to revisit this question seriously."

"Am I on hidden camera?"

"Always assume that you are."

...

Sandi walks into one of the art workshop rooms.  "Hello.  I was asked to do a modeling job.  Is this the right place?"

Three boys who were discussing a manga around a table look up.  One of the boys responds.  "We did.  We are looking for someone who can be the lead character in our manga.  Can you do 'tsundere'?" (4)

Sandi makes a disgusted face.  "Tsundere?  You losers must be really brave to do a manga on so outdated a character type.  I am an existentially bored princess type."

The three boys nod in agreement.  "You're perfect!"

"Whatever.  I need to do this assignment to stay in the modeling guild.  What do you want me to do?"

One of the boys sets up a video camera.  "We need to capture your expressions so that we can infuse them into our character."  The boy turns the camera on.  "Each of us will make a lame confession to you and you will just say the first thing that comes into your head."

Sandi looks down her nose.  "If this is some lame scheme for you geeks to get to talk to a beautiful girl like me, know that I will file a complaint."

The boy setting up the camera gets up.  "Perfect!  Now, I will go first.  My name is Kuro Junichi. (5) What's your name before we start?"

"Biumi Sandi." (6)

"Great."  Junichi gets into character. "You know, Sandi, I have been admiring you from afar for some time now.  I was wondering if you would be my girlfriend?"

"What sort of a car do you have?"

"Car?  I take the subway to get to this school like everyone else."

"Surely you must be kidding?  Do you think a glamorous princess like myself would stand for riding on a subway on a date?  As if!"

Another member of the manga guild gets up after preparing a second camera.  "I will go next.  I am Kasshoku Jirou." (7)

"Whatever."

"So Sandi, do you think that you are cool enough to go out with a guy like me?"

"Obviously not.  I will never be able to be cool enough to wear a Bleach T-shirt. {8}  That's been out of fashion for years."

The third boy, after setting up a third camera, gets up.  "My turn.  I am Kiiro Jurou." (9)

"Whatever."

"Um, Sandi, I was wondering if you would accept my confession letter?"  Jurou mimes holding an envelope in front of him while bowing.

"I don't accept confession letters that have been reused.  Don't think that I can't see that there was another name that was erased on the outside of the envelope.  Loser!"

The other two boys stare intently at the monitors of their cameras, then look up.

Junichi smiles.  "That was absolutely perfect.  You can go now."

"I thought you needed me to act like a tsundere."

Jirou nervously laughs.  "Oh, don't worry.  We're changing the project name to 'Existentially Bored Princess'."

Sandi smiles.  "A much better name."

Jurou nods.  "You can go now."

"Yeah, I need to be in a geek free zone."

...

Daria and Jane place their bowls of ramen down on a table in the ramen shop close to the school, the same ramen shop that the guild week post party was in.

"Thanks for meeting me on such short notice."

Jane smiles.  "Hey, I was getting worn down from all the guild work."  Jane breaks her chopsticks and starts slurping her noodles and noisily slurps in between replies. (10)

"I just don't know what to think.  Somehow, I think that it's my fault that Haruko got canned."

"And, why pray tell is that?"

"People like Natsuko and Minamo have never had a bad word to say to me, but I was always negative towards Haruko."

"Natsuko and Minamo are in your fan club."

"Even so, maybe I shouldn't have been so hard on Haruko?"

"Now, which Haruko are we talking about?"

"What do you mean?"

"Are we talking about the Haruko who refused to do any homework or practice for six months before you got here, or are we talking about some other Haruko who somehow would have turned her whole life around on one nice word from you?"

"Somehow I think those two are the same person."

"Their not.  No matter how I look at it, she is the reason why she got kicked out of Harmony Project."

"Even so, I wish I had one hundredth of her self confidence."

"Daria, Daria.  Do you remember ten minutes ago when we got in line for our noodles?"

"Yes."

"And when someone got behind us in line, didn't it make you feel better?"

"I guess."

"That's it!  While Haruko was in Harmony Project there was at least one girl you could feel ahead of."

Daria nods and slurps her noodles.

"Come on, I am sure there will be other people you can feel superior to."

"I wonder then if I should go tomorrow?"

"Go where?"

"Natsuko and Minamo want me to go to Cyberia all ages night with them."

"I should go as well."

"You don't have to."

"I was put on this earth to cause trouble.  There's only so much trouble I can cause from my room."

...

Quinn looks through a book of basic dress designs while putting stick-on accessories on the dresses.  Suddenly her phone rings.  "Oh, hi Sandi!  I haven't heard from you in a while."

"Well, I have decided to forgive you for that outdated dress design."

Quinn rolls her eyes.  "Well, don't worry, it won't happen again.  And, if it does, I will ask for a different model."

"That might be just as well.  I am now a famous manga model."

"Really?  How fashionable."

"Three geeky guys wanted me to pose for them."

Quinn raises an eyebrow.  "Did all of their first names start with 'J'"?

"How did you know?"

"I have them in my history class."

"I am sure they were all talking about what a great model I was."

"Actually, they were."

"And, how beautiful and nice I was."

Quinn gulps.  "Well, you did make a strong impression."

"Of course, they even changed the name of their project in my honor."

"They did?"

"Yes, it is now 'Existentially Bored Princess'.  Named after me."

"Well then I will have to talk to them, um, to see how their progress is going."

"Prepared to be blown away."

"That just might happen."

...

"Daria-senpai!"

Daria and Jane barely have time for their eyes to adjust to the dim lights of Cyberia before they are set upon by Minamo and Natsuko.

"You could try calling me Daria in the club."

Minamo shakes her head.  "Anyway, I want you to know that me and Natsuko are one hundred percent behind you in this Haruko situation."

"Did you guys ever try to support her?"

Natsuko frowns.  "Of course we did, but it was like talking to a brick wall."

"Well, at least someone tried to encourage her, instead of being blunt."

Minamo smiles.  "Maybe you did the best thing for her being blunt.  Support didn't work."

Daria half smiles.  "I guess."

"Anyway, we want you to meet our friend.  She is also intermediate.  There is a four person dance that we want to try and we need a fourth person."

"Won't I screw things up?"

"It's not hard.  Come on, give it a try!"

Daria looks at Jane.

"Go ahead, Missy, have fun."

Daria is led by Minamo and Natsuko to a third girl, who is shorter and a lot prettier than the other girls.

"Daria, this is Chisako." (11)

"Please take care of me."

"Daria is remedial."

Chisako smiles.  "Don't worry about it Daria, I was remedial for a couple of months.  But, I got the hang of it somehow."

"Um, sorry for asking this, but is that your real name?"

"Yes, it is."

"Are your parents tall?"

"Yes!  They were the tallest couple in their high school!"

Daria face plants.

"So, have you danced with a group yet?"

"No."

"No problem.  We will walk you through it."

Jane watches from a distance with a bemused look.

"Excuse me?"

Jane turns around to see a pretty boy.  "Can I help you?"

"Are you an idol?"

"Sorry to disappoint you, but no.  If you're looking for idols, some trainees are over there."

"Actually, I am not disappointed.  I am not allowed to talk to girl idols."

"Why is that?  Do they have a protection order against you?"

"No, Josephine would kill me."

"Josephine?  Is that your mother?"

The boy laughs.  "No, he is the head manager at Jeneral Entertainment.  And, yes, that means that I am a 'Jenny Boy'."

"So, why is a big star like you talking to me?"

"I am still a trainee.  But Josephine has told me that I am on the fast track and I will soon be put into a group."

"So, why talk to me?"

"Well,"  the boy blushes, "at Jeneral Entertainment, we are allowed to have all of the cheap affairs we want so long as the girl looks trashy."

"I'll have you know that this look is actually quite fashionable."

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean it that way.  But, we are not allowed to be seen with girl idols or go steady with girls of substance."

"Girls of substance?"

"Girls who look like they are doing the idol a favor by going out with them.  It would be a turn off to the fan base."

Jane rolls her eyes.  "Of course."

"But, so long as we keep it a secret, we are allowed to go steady.  But, I would have to clear you with Josephine."

"But, why wouldn't I go out with him then?"

"He already has a guy."

"I see.  So, if we are going to be going steady, maybe I should know your name?"

"Tomuru.  But my friends call me Tomu."

"I'm Jane Lane."

"Oh, yeah.  Lane from the wired.  Do you go to TFAS?"

"Yes I do."

"I haven't seen you around."

"I'm in the fine arts guild.  I also wear my hair up at school."

Tom looks at Jane for a minute.  "Oh, I have seen you."

"The big question is, is Jane from school a dream of Lane from the Wired or is Lane from the Wired a dream of Jane from TFAS?"

"Good question.  So, do you want to get some ramen and discuss it?"

"Twist my arm, you silver tongued devil.  But, I should tell my friend Daria."  Jane points to Daria who as if on cue falls over trying to keep up with her friends.

"Is she an idol?"

"She's a remedial idol trainee."

"She's so lucky!  I was like that once as well, but I had great senpai's who looked after me and didn't let me get discouraged.  Are those girls her senpai's?"

"Yes, but a couple of them don't act like it since they are younger."

"Confusing, isn't it?  But, she has your phone number, right?"

"Of course."

"You could send her a text message so you don't disturb her practice."

"Good idea."

...

"I'm never going to get this!"  Daria pouts.

Chisako tries to comfort Daria.  "Now, now.  It's not like we are experts.  We're just intermediate.  We're probably throwing you off with our own bad dancing."

"Throwing me off enough to fall down?"

Chisako smiles.  "Wait right here, a friend of mine just got here."  Chisako runs off.

Natusko and Minamo look dejected.

Minamo looks down.  "I feel like a failure."

"Minamo, no one is paying you to teach me.  They're not going to demand their money back or something."

"But, I wanted to dance with you."

Chisako returns with another girl.  This girl has chubby cheeks and long black hair.  "Daria!  This is Manako."

"Daria smiles.  Oh, we're in math class together."

"Manako is an official trainee and she is a member of the interpretive dance guild.  Manako, Daria is a remedial trainee."

Manako looks guilty, then bows low in contrition.  "Sorry!  You must think that I am a rotten senpai."

"It's okay."

"Chisako was telling me that they were trying to teach you the four person dance we did in practice on Wednesday."

"Wait, intermediates and officials practice together?"

"Yes, we'll all have to get in sync if we want to stand on stage together."

"Makes sense."

"So, line up behind me and do what I do."

Daria complies and stands behind Manako who stands in front of a wall that is partially mirrored.

"Okay, let's go!"

Daria makes it halfway through the dance before falling.

Manako helps her up.  "You have no idea how close you were to nailing it.  When you did the samba part you lost a beat and got foot work reversed.  Let's do it again and I'll count slower."

Close to halfway through the dance Manako stops.  "Right there!  You have to switch twice.  It's a little tough, but I know you can do it."

They do the dance again and Daria finishes it.

"Wonderful.  Now, you three with her."

The four girls complete the dance without a catastrophe.

Manako puts her hand on Daria's shoulder.  "Dar-chan, you made past the first step.  However, dancing is not just being in sync with the count, it's being in sync with your partners.  Now you will need to concentrate hard when you go to practice to make sure that your partners are doing the same things as you.  In this case, you should scold them for falling behind the beat."

"Dar-chan?"

"Oops, we are in the same class.  Sorry!"

Minamo frowns.  "Daria, please keep close track of Manako.  She is already known as a schemer who acts in a super cute way to hide her slacking off."

Manako pouts and sulks.

Daria notes that although Haruko used to pout when scolded by their mentors, Haruko would pout in a halfhearted way and Manako was at least putting effort into her pouting.  "But, Manako, I am just a remedial trainee.  I don't get to train with you guys yet."

"Oh, sorry, I forgot you were remedial.  You're nothing like that other girl."

"Is that why you were avoiding me in class?"

Manako looks sad.

"Hey, knowing Haruko, I understand why your wouldn't want to talk to me."

"Thanks, Daria.  Trying to help her was torture.  Let's be good friends."

...

Daria gets home and turns on the TV.

"They were demolition experts in charge of blowing holes in a wall, but they fell in love!  It's love of the gaps, next on Hen Kanashii Sekei!" (12)

Daria turns off the TV and calls Jane.  "So, how did the hot date go?"

"I bagged a Jenny Boy."

"What?"

"A trainee at Jeneral Entertainment.  They produce teen boy idol acts, just like Harmony Project produces teen girl idol acts."

"Are they allowed to date?"

"So long as it's not with a girl idol and as long as they are discreet."

"So, you're his secret girl?"

"Cool, huh?"

Daria raises an eyebrow.

...

Assignment 6

Subject: Biumi Sandi - Sandi is the picture of the perfect Japanese girl without any of the skills or nobility behind the appearance.  In her previous school she lead a "mean girls" quartet and maintained control through an endless barrage of veiled insults.  If she didn't have the intelligence of a carrot she might be dangerous.

Note from Enchi-sensei: Don't forget about her obnoxious vocal mannerisms.


To Be Continued


(1) Watamote is short for the name of a Japanese anime called "WATAshi ga MOTEnai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!".  Translated the title means "No matter how I look at it, It's you guys fault I'm not popular!"

(2) Friday Magazine in Japan is a tabloid magazine that has broken in the past many stories that were troublesome for idols, include publishing pictures of them with boyfriends.

(3) Manga's are comic books.  There is a whole genre of manga with the lead character being a young girl with magical powers who can usually transform into a more power form as needed.

(4) Tsundere is a character type, usually a girl, who physically or verbally assaults other characters because she is not good at saying that she likes them.

(5) Kuro Junichi means "black obedient one".  The manga guild members are supposed to correspond to Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie from the Daria show so Junichi would correspond to Joey since Joey had black hair.

(6) Biumi sort of means Beauty Sea but is probably not a real Japanese name.  It might be an alias that Sandi uses to make herself look cooler.

(7) Kasshoku Jirou means "brown second son".  He corresponds to Jeffey since Jeffey has brown hair.

{8} Bleach is a very long running popular anime/manga about death guardians.

(9) Kiiro Jurou means "yellow tenth son".  He corresponds to Jamie since Jamie has blonde hair.

(10) In Japan it is considered normal to noisily slurp your ramen noodles.

(11) Chisako could mean "small small", this is why Daria has a hard time accepting her name as real.

(12) "Suki da" is "it is love" and "sukima" is "gap" so the title is  "Sukima no suki da", another rancid middle aged man pun.

Offline resop2

  • ecchi
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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 5 - Bleach
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2018, 10:33:05 PM »
<promo>
Daria is shocked from the news from a TV show, Jane is shocked by Tomu's boss, Manako shows Daria a shocking game, and Sandi is shocked by the manga.  Besides shock, there will also be bad puns.  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter Five: Bleach.  It's a complete turnover story.
</promo>

An Annoying Paradise - Daria -- part 5 - Bleach


Daria and Jane stand in front of their lockers.

Minamo runs up to them.  "Daria-senpai!  Big trouble!"

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "Oh?  Do you have a zit?"

"Much, much, much worse than that.  Didn't you see Good Moo-ning Japan (1) today?"

"I try to avoid that show."

"Oh my god.  I watch it every day.  One of the debuted girls is an extra on the show."

"So, what was on it?"

"You might want to sit down."

"We're in the hall."

"Oh, right.  Well, Haruko was on the show."

"What?"

"It gets worse.  She was signed by Ajax."

"Wait, she's a cleaning lady now?"

Minamo face plants.  "Ajax is another idol company, a rival company to Harmony Project."

"Are Harmony Project and Ajax numbers one and two?"

Minamo blushes a little bit.  "Seven and eight.  But, it still gets worse."

"Oh?"

"She was signed to be the lead voice actress of a new anime, Love Idol War."

"Well, good for her.  I'm glad to hear that someone sees something in her, even though I didn't."

"But, I haven't even told you the worst part yet."

"She sings on the anime?"

"That's kind of assumed.  But, they asked her who she considered her rival was and she said Asamura Daria."

"This has got to be a joke."

"No, it's not.  Natsuko saw it as well."

"She said her rival was someone who isn't even acknowledged by her own company?"

"Crazy, right?  Well, I have to get to class."  Minamo runs off.

Jane nods.  "Well, so much for anonymity."

Daria looks panicked.  "Tell me about it."

...

Manako approaches Daria after math class.  "So, did you hear the news?"

"Minamo gave me a report."

"Funny isn't it?"

"What's funny?"

"The comic!"  Manako pulls out her smart phone and shows Daria a four panel comic strip (2) from The Wired.

Daria giggles.

"It's called Tsundere Princess and it's by the manga guild.  I am glad you thought it was funny.  I showed it to Chisako and she gave me a vacant look and said she didn't get it."

"That's nice, but I thought you were talking about Ajax signing Haruko."

Manako makes a face.  "It just means that we have to try harder.  We, and you especially, can't lose to her."

"At what?  Underage drinking?"

"At popularity."

"I don't want to be popular."

"Yeah, yeah, the writer thing.  But, you'd be surprised about how many people ask me about you."

"That stinks."

"Anyway, I was wondering if you would like to come over to my house tonight.  There's a game I want to show you."

"Will I still be able to get married after this game?"

"It's not a hentai (3) game.  I promise.  And, if it is, you don't have to help me with math."

"As expected from the queen of 'azatoii'." (4)

Manako makes the peace sign.

"Well, normally I would be eating ramen with Jane, but she's been seeing a lot recently of a certain boy, so I suspect that tonight is okay."

...

Tomuru and Jane slurp ramen noodles at the ramen shop close to the school.

Suddenly a tall cross-dressed man sits next to them.  "Mind if join?"

Tomuru looks nervous.  "Um, Jane, this is Josephine."

"How do you do.  I've heard a lot about you."

"And, I've heard a lot about you.  So much so that I had to come see for myself if there was a girl even more perfect than myself."

Jane fidgets nervously.

"But, I can see now that Tomuru was correct.  However, Tomu-kun?"

"Yes?"  Tomuru looks down in a guilty way.

"How is this in any way, shape, or form discreet?"

"I guess it isn't."

"Well, please try harder.  I won't stand in between the two of you, but know that this girl could torpedo your career with a single Friday's picture."

Tomuru suddenly smiles.  "I know what to do.  You should hire Jane!"

Jane looks shocked.  "Now wait just a second here buddy-boy.  I have never been accused of being a bishounen.  (5)  And, I have no desire to be drooled over by a bunch of fan girls."

Tomuru laughs.  "Not as a boy idol, but as a cd cover designer."

Josephine smiles.  "That's not the worst suggestion I have heard this week.  Jane, Tomuru did show you me your paintings on The Wired."

"Why, thanks."

"But, I don't have much say in the design department."

Jane shrugs.  "Oh well."

"One more thing, Jane."

"Yes?"

"Do you hang out with any girl idols?"

"Just with my friend Asamura Daria."

Josephine does a double take.  "That Asamura Daria?"

"Wow, word from the TV show travels fast."

"What TV show?  T and myself are childhood friends and we still get to get together for drinks every other week.  T praises Daria to the skies and thinks she will be Harmony Project's biggest star."

Jane smirks.  "I keep telling her that and she doesn't believe it."

"Well, it's best that Daria stays a long way away from Tomuru, just in case."

...

Manako shows Daria her home gaming system and microphones.  "Here it is, your new best friend."

"Jane will be disappointed."

"Well, not literally.  The game is called Superstar Singing."

"That rules me out."

"Give yourself a chance for once, it's fun.  Watch me."

Daria watches as Manako sings "Sakura Night Fever". (6)

"... Halloween, Valentine's, Hina Matsuri ..."

Daria points at the screen.  "What are those weird lines?"

Manako pauses the game and points at the lines on the screen.  "These lines give you an idea of pitch and duration.  Watch this."  Manako resumes the game and deliberately goes off pitch and off duration in her singing. A second colored line which up to this point had been drawing over the initial lines diverges and starts going up and down.

Daria's jaw drops.  "Whoa.  I though that the colored line covered the first line automatically.  Were you getting a perfect score?"

"Well, it is easy mode."

"No way I can do this."

"Hey, math is hard for me as well, but I will ask for your help."

"Well, maybe."

That's the spirit.  "Give it a try."

Daria tries to sing the song but gives up halfway through, unable to match the pitch or the phrasing.  "I told you I would stink at this."

"That was your first try.  Let's try it again in free style mode.  The lines will not grade you and you can try to match your pitch to mine."

"Okay."

They make it through without a mishap.

"Dar-dar, you wouldn't believe how many girls who are idols are tone deaf."

"After hearing Haruko in practice, yes, I would!"

"But, you're not one of them.  If you can match my pitch then with a little bit of work you can match the pitch of the song.  Try it again."

Daria makes it through to the end of the song, scoring around 30%.  The machine gives her a rank of amateur.

"There, that's a start."

"But, this is easy mode."

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.  You have at least made the first step."

"What if I don't want to make the next step?"

"Do you have this console at home?"

"Yes."

Manako hands her a game and a microphone.  "Here.  These are spares.  Pick a song and practice tonight until you can get through it."

Daria looks at the game in horror.

...

Quinn works away at a dress design in her room, using the same two transparent sheet trick that Risaki had shown her.

The phone rings.

"Hello Sandi.  How are you?"

"I have never been worse!  Didn't you see the manga?"

"I did.  It was so funny!"

"Did you see the title?  It was supposed to be 'Bored Existential Princess' not 'Tsundere Princess'.  I was mortified to be associated with a project with so lame a name."

"That?  I asked Junichi, Jirou, and Jurou about that.  They said that they changed the name back."

"I knew they only asked me to do the project because that was the only way they could talk to a pretty girl."

"Wait, I talked to them."

"Only about the project."

"That's true."

"But even worse, even worse, was the character design.  They used me as the character design for a character who was fat!"

"The character was just chubby."

"Are you implying that I am not fashionably thin?"

"Of course not."

"So, Quinn, you need to talk to your mother.  I need to sue the manga club for deflation of character."

"You mean defamation of character."

"Whatever.  Are you implying that my character hasn't be deflated?"

"Sandi, it's just a legal term.  I know this because I have gone to my mother many times for offenses against my purehearted girl nature that rivaled the insult of that manga.  And, in every case my Mother shot down the idea saying that it would be laughed out of court."

"But this case is serious!"

"I'm sorry Sandi, but the legal system is cruel and insensitive to fashionable girls like us.  I don't want to see you get hurt."

"Grrr!"  Sandi hangs up.

...

Daria and Jane stand around their lockers before class.

Manako walks up.  "Dar-dar!  Did you get through a song?"

"Oh, Manako.  This is my friend Jane Lane.  Jane this is Inabu Manako."

Manako looks at Jane closely.  Ame Nichijo?"

"I have been known to answer to that name."

"Don't you remember me?  We were in ballet class together."

"There are some episodes in my life I try to forget."

"Dar-dar, your friend is the best dancer of all time."

"Figures."

"I haven't done it in years."

"HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!"

Daria, Jane, and Manako turn around to see Haruko flanked by a shorter girl with an impressive figure.

"Asamura Daria, I told you I was going to be a star and I became one.  Beda!"  Haruko sticks out her tongue and pulls her eyelid down.

Daria smiles.  "You know Haruko, I think that you've changed.  I think that the sticking out of your tongue was the first thing I have ever seen you do that wasn't done in a halfhearted way."

Koharu looks furious.  "Let's go!"  Koharu and the other girl walk down the hall.

Manako looks shocked.  "Daria, that was savage.  True, but savage."

"Thanks, I guess."

"You should be a poisoned tongue idol."

Daria looks flustered.

Jane smiles.  "See?  There is something you can excel at."

...

Daria walks into the music room and sees Sachiko talking to a talk crossed-dressed man.  "Excuse me, are you Josephine by any chance?  Jane told me about you."

"Bingo!  You must be Miss Daria.  I can see that everything that T says about you is true."

"Umm."

"Oh, you're the type that doesn't take complements well?"

"I usually respond with a poisoned tongue comment."

"Wonderful.  I can see you going as far as T says you will."

"Nowhere?"

Josephine laughs.  "You have no idea.  But, to get to the point, please, please, please stay away from Tomuru.  He is my ace and I need him not to have a scandal."

"I haven't even met him."

"Good!  Keep it that way, for his and my sake."

"Sure."

...

Daria sees Manako before class.  "Hey, I got 50% on The Usagi Dance." (7)

"I figured that you would pick that one.  Hey, one step at a time."

"I don't know why, but somehow I felt more motivated last night."

"I know why, Haruko has awakened the tiger inside you.  You now want to compete and show that you're not as lame as Haruko."

"Maybe."

"Hey strange foreign exchange student who lives with Quinn?"

Daria and Manako turn around to see Sandi.

"Sandi, shouldn't there be a 'senpai' at the end of that?"

"Whatever.  You need to get your mother to sue the manga club for deflation of character."

Daria smirks.  "For Tsundere Princess?"

"Yeah."

"You can't.  Since the character is heavier than you, you need to sue for inflation of character."

"Good point!"

"However, Quinn has much more pull than I do with mom since I am only a foreign exchange student who lives with Quinn."

"I'll get on her right away."

Sandi walks off.  As soon as Sandi gets out of earshot Manako starts laughing.  "Who was that idiot?"

"She's one of my sister Quinn's friends.  In out previous school they formed the self proclaimed fashion club."

Manako gets a sneaky look on her face.  "I might need to study her."

Daria looks disgusted.

"However, 50% is a cause for celebration.  Let's do ramen tonight!"

"Can Jane come?"

"I thought she had a guy."

"A Jenny boy, so she has to keep things hush hush."

"Of course she can come."

...

Jane, Daria, and Manako slurp noodles together.

Jane breaks the silence.  "You know Manako, I am not made of tissue paper.  You can talk about me without hurting my feelings."

"Okay, Nichi-chan."

"You snake!"

Daria clears her throat.  "Play nice now."

"Um, excuse me?  May I join you guys?"

Daria looks at the girl standing next to their booth and then stares at her chest.  "You're the girl who was with Haruko, right?"

"That's me.  I am Yuuki."

Daria motions for her to sit down.  "So, are you also an Ajax idol?"

"I am signed with the Ajax talent agency, but I am a voice actress.  I can sing if I need to, though."

"Well, I was worried that having an Ajax idol and a Harmony Project idol at the same table would cause a scandal."

Yuuki laughs.  "You won't get in trouble.  We're all girls.  No one cares about that."

"I was worried for Manako.  No one knows who I am."

"Thanks to Haruko, everyone knows who you are."

"I am trying to forget that."

"So, are you trying to following in the footsteps of Ikuda Alana?"

"Who is that?"

"Oh my god!  You've never heard of Harmony Project's biggest star?"

"Guess not."

"She's going to graduate from her group in two months.  It will be the first time any Harmony Project group has every headlined Budokan."

"What makes you think I will be headlining Budokan?"

"No, no.  Alana is famous for staring at the chests of other girls."

"Oh, sorry."

"No need to apologize.  They're B-cups.  They only look bigger because I have really good posture."

"So," uncomfortable pause, "why did you want to join us?"

"To apologize for Haruko's behavior."

"Shouldn't she do that?"

"I'm kind of Haruko's keeper during the day."

"Wow, they must really hate you at Ajax."

"Not really.  If I can keep Haruko out of trouble for the first thirteen episodes of the anime they will write me to the story.  It will be my first big break in an anime, so I have to make the show work until then."

"Well, good luck then.  That can't be an easy job."

"I will do it."  Yuuki makes a fist.  "I know if I get into that show I will clean up in anime."

The rest of the table face plants.

...

Daria enters her room and turns on the TV set.

"The Chief started crying.  Next, on Hen Kanashii Sekai, there was nothing to be done about it, they had run out of ginger!" {8}

Daria turns off the TV set and picks up the microphone.


To Be Continued


(1) Good Moo-ning Japan (Ohayo GozaiMOOOsu Nipon) is an imaginary show somewhat similar to Oha-sta.  This show, aimed a kids and teens will often have idols on the show making announcements, usually standing between extras dressed as cows.

(2) Four panel comic strips are called yonkoma's in Japan.  95% of Yonkoma's follow the formula of establish, development, climax, reaction for the four panels.

(3) Hentai means perverted.

(4) Azatoii means scheming.

(5) Bishounen means pretty boy.

(6) Sakura Night Fever is a pop song by KAN.

(7) The Usagi Dance (the bunny dance) is a children song and is presumably easy to do.

{8} "there was nothing to be done about it, they had run out of ginger!" would be "Shou ga nai -- shouga nai!" another horrible Japanese pun.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 05:40:15 AM by resop2 »

Offline resop2

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An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 6 - Stacy
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 04:56:44 AM »
<promo>
A strange boy and girl make out in front of Daria's locker causing annoyance.  Josephine gives Tomu an edict causing annoyance.  And, Risa gives an announcement to Daria causing annoyance.  Besides annoyance there will be bad puns.  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter six: Stacy, Attack of the Clinging Junior High School Girl.  It's a complete turnover story.
</promo>

An Annoying Paradise - Daria 6 - Stacy, Attack of the Clinging Junior High School Girl (1)


"Oh my god, Quinn, I have the same outfit that you're wearing.  If you had told me, I could have worn it and we could have been twins ..." Stacy continues with mindless chatter until ...

"Um, Stacy?  I'm reading this fashion magazine, trying to get ideas for the next guild week show.  Could this wait until later?"  As they ride the bus together Quinn doesn't look up from her magazine as she answers.

"Oh I totally understand.  I am stressed out over the show as well.   I mean, do I really have a creative side?  Or, ..."  Stacy continues on with mindless chatter until ...

"Stacy, could you be quiet?"

"Okay."  Stacy looks depressed.

Jane clicks a stop watch.  "Five minutes and twenty seconds."

Daria smiles.  "That means that I win.  You're paying for ramen tonight."

"Curses.  I can never win at these bets."

...

Daria and Jane approach their lockers.  A strange boy and girl are making out in front of Daria's locker.

"Um, could you guys take this elsewhere?"

"Did you hear anything?"

"No Keiby."

Daria looks at Jane and notes that both of them are furious.

Jane whispers into Daria's ear and Daria nods.

The two girls blow into both of the boy's ears.

The boy starts shivering and pushes the unknown girl away.

Jane smiles a sneaky smile.  "Gee, Keiby, thanks for last night.  You were a real tiger."

Daria also smiles a sneaky smile.  "Since you liked my cookies so much I'll have to bring you some more, baked with l-o-v-e love."

The unknown girl slaps the boy and runs off.

"Wait!  Babe!"  The boy runs after her.

Jane looks sad.  "Sorry about that.  I actually know that girl.  That was Brittany. She is also in the fine arts guild.  I hate her guts."

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "Now wait just a second.  I can understand being mad about Rikoko's looks, but Brittany doesn't look like someone you would mind.  She's just a cheap looking gal. (2)

"It has nothing to do with her looks.  We both do painting and drawing.  She seems to have no capacity to learn about perspective, yet the faces she can draw are a hundred times more expressive than the ones I can draw."

"Are you worried that she'll get kicked out of the guild and then get hired to do Haruko's anime?"

"Bingo."

Daria shudders.

...

Junichi, Jirou, and Jurou surround Quinn in the hall.  "Please.  We need a new character for our manga.  you would do great!"

Quinn sees Stacy in the distance.  "You know, guys, I'm really busy with my own guild's work.  However, what sort of character do you want?"

"Comic foil."

"I know just the person.  Oh, Stacy!"

Stacy runs to Quinn at a dead sprint.

"Stacy, these guys need a model for their manga.  They need a comic foil for Sandi's character."

Stacy looks scared.  "Do I have to pose with her?"

"No, no.  She's just a one trick pony.  We will never have to ask her for stuff again.  But, you, you have possibilities."

"I do??"

Quinn smiles.  "I'll let you guys work it out."

...

Daria shows up at Manako's house with Jane.

Manako smiles.  "Daria!  Jane!  This will be a regular Superstar Singing party!"

"Rah rah."  Daria deadpans.

Jane looks uncomfortable.  "I will probably be really bad at this game."

"So, your score will only be twice mine?"

Manako grabs both Jane and Daria by the shoulders.  "Let's go."

Once upstairs Manako starts up the equipment.  "Jane, don't you have a guy you might be with?"

"He said that Josephine wanted to see him."

"Josephine?"

"Tomu is a Jenny boy, and Josephine is the head manager."

"Maybe he'll be promoted."

"They should promote him.  He's really quite amazing."

"Daria, I want you to go first.  Try 'Seeds Of The Heart'." (3)

"Okay."

"You did practice it?"

"Thirty times, and I could never get more than seventy-five percent."

"Don't worry about it, just smile and have fun."

"Smiling costs extra!"

Daria sings the song and gets a seventy-seven percent.

Jane smiles.  "A new personal best."

Daria frowns.  "Let me guess, you two are going to do the song next and both get one hundred percent scores?"

Manako smiles a smile three times more sneaky than Daria has seen before.  "Actually, there is something else next."

"SURPRISE!!!!"

Daria is shocked when the door to Manako's bedroom bursts open and Sachiko, Ai, Risa, Rikoko, Chisako, Minamo, and Natsuko pile into the room.

"What?"

Sachiko smiles.  "Daria, congratulations.  We are promoting you to intermediate."

"If nominated I will not run.  If elected I will not serve."

Risa pushes Daria's head.  "Baka!  You will still be anonymous.  The only difference will be that you will practice with everyone else, and, my workouts will be harder."

"But, just because I could do a seventy-seven?"

Ai smiles.  "It had nothing to do with that score.  It's because you're ready."

"I knew I should have slacked off."

Minamo grabs Daria's arm.  "I can't wait to learn from you."

"From me?"

"Of course.  We all learn from each other."

Daria looks scared.

Manako steps in.  "Anyway, since you all are here, let's see who can get the high score!"

...

Tomuru walks into to Josephine's office.

Josephine is not alone.  "Glad you could make it Tomuru."

"Got caught up.  Good news I hope?"

Josephine pulls out a folder and motions for Tomuru to have a seat next to the other boy.  He starts pulling out pictures.

Tomuru cringes.  "Crap."

Josephine ignores him.  "Keibin, do you notice something about your pictures?"

"Yeah, me and Brittany look cool together."

"What is our policy about girlfriends?"

"It's okay if they are trashy looking?"

"And, if you are not going steady.  Do you still not see what is wrong with these pictures?"

"Um, no."

"Brittany is wearing a different outfit in every picture.  Doesn't that suggest going steady?"

"I guess so?"

"And, Tomu?  I can be more lenient with you because you probably didn't think that Friday Magazine photographers went to art galleries, but they do."

"Sorry."

"Not as sorry as the amount of money I had to pay Friday Magazine for these pictures.  I am afraid that I will have to punish you two."

Keibian and Tomuru cringe.

"For the next two months," Josephine gives them a stern look, "you two are dating, each other!"

Kiebian is grossed out.  "Ew!"

Tomuru has a pained expression.  "Does that mean public displays of affection?"

"I will leave that up to you two."

Keibin pulls himself together and sits up right.  "You realize, Tomu, that I will be the guy and you will be the girl."

Tomuru face plants.  "What are you talking about?  We're both guys.  Why not just be ourselves, and pretend we enjoy each other's company?"  Tomuru mutters under his breath, "Which we don't."

Josephine giggles.  "You two sound like a couple already."

"We do not!"

...

"Daria, you did it, you got an eighty five."  Rikako dances about, her hands flying around as if they were possessed.

"You got one hundred."

"But, I didn't sing for you."

Jane walks back into Manako's now crowded bedroom.

Daria comes over.  "How was the phone call?"

"Disaster.  Do you remember those two lovebirds this morning?  Well, the guy is named Keibin and he's also a Jenny boy."

"No cookies for him, then.  I can't sabotage his career like that."

"It gets worse.  Both him and Brittany, and me and Tomu where caught by photographers.  Josephine is now punishing them both by making them pretend to be boyfriends."

"Hey, if it means that Keibin and Brittany won't make out in front of my locker, I'm all for that."

"Yeah, but you're not going out with Tomu."

"Sorry."

"Maybe I could arrange for Tomu and  Keibin to make out in front of your locker?"

Daria makes a face.  "That's okay, I don't need to see that."

"I don't either.  But, I will have to in my mind's eye."

Minamo walks up to Jane and Daria.  "Um, excuse me?"

Daria half smiles.  "What is it?"

"I was wondering, now that Daria is intermediate, if Jane could take a picture of generation seven together."

Jane raises an eyebrow.  "Generation seven?"

"Us four are from the seventh trainee audition that Harmony Project has ever done."

Jane shrugs.  "Sure."

Rikoko, Natsuko, and Minamo gather around Daria.  They all make the peace sign with their fingers except Daria.

Jane focuses the camera on Minamo's phone.  "Now smile!"

Everyone does so except for Daria who gives a bemused look.

Jane shows everyone the result.  "Is this the first picture of the four of you?"

Minamo shakes her head.  "I made T take a picture of us on audition day."

"Did Daria smile or do the peace sign in that picture?"

"No, but she's a cool senpai, so that is okay."

...

"Oh, I am so nervous, what will I do?  What if I am no good? ..."  Stacy continues with mindless chatter until ...

"Okay, Stacy.  I am ready."  Kasshoku Jirou motions for Stacy to go stand on an "x" drawn with masking tape on the ground close to where Kuro Junichi is standing.  Jirou looks into a video camera monitor intently.

Kiiro Jurou looks up from the monitor of a different camera.  "Okay, this will be simple.  We will give you a line, Junichi will respond to your line and then you'll give us your reaction.  Okay?"

"I hope so."

"Great.  Just pretend that Junichi is Sandi."

Stacy gets a deer caught in the headlights look.

"You're first line is: 'Look Sandi, I got a confession letter.'"

Stacy delivers the line to Junichi.

Junichi sneers and tries to act like Sandy, imitating her voice.  "Gee, Stacy, you are a really nice person.  I would have torn up a confession letter in the guy's face if there had been another name that had been erased from the letter before your name was added."

"Oh, my god!  Oh, my god!  This is horrible.  I will never be able to get a boyfriend.  Why does this always happen to me? ..." Stacy continues this self abusive tirade for several minutes until ...

"Cut!"  Kiiro smiles.   "That was wonderful Stacy."

"What was?"

"Your acting."

"I was acting?"

"Sure.  I mean, there was no confession letter here right?"

"Oh, you're right."  Stacy looks confused.

"You really go into your character.  I think we have all the expressions that we need."

"I did?"

"We'll probably want some more stuff for next month's comic.  We can contact you through Quinn, right?"

"I could give you guys my number."

"Great!"

...

Jane and Daria approach their lockers.

Brittany stands in front of Daria's locker and glares at them.  "I hope you two are proud of yourselves!"

Daria and Jane stare at her blankly.

"I know all about your scheme to steal Keiby from me."

Daria rolls her eyes.  "How did you make this brilliant deduction?"

"I know that Tomu is your boyfriend Jane.  I know that Keiby is going out with Tomu is a lie and that Keiby is secretly going out with Daria."

Jane smirks.  "Must be your cookies, Daria."

Brittany looks like she's going to explode with anger.

Daria sighs.  "Brittany, let me introduce you to two words that will change your life."

"If they are 'I'm sorry', then that's not going to cut it."

"No, the two words are 'people lie'."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that I can't cook, and I have never made cookies for Keibin."

"Then why did you say that you did?"

"Because the two of you were being rude by not allowing me use my locker.  Like you are doing now."

"But, Keiby said you made him cookies."

Jane smirks.  "Brittany, let me give you some insight into Keibin that Tomu gave me: Keibin is a moron.  If you ask him a question that he doesn't know the answer to he will make things up and then try to pretend that they're true to not lose face."

Brittany gets a far off look on her face.

Daria and Jane move Brittany, now in "Blue Screen Of Death" mode, away from their lockers.

...

Quinn works steadily on her guild week project.

The phone rings.

"Oh, hi Sandi.  How are you?"

"Quinn!!!!!!!  How dare you say that to me after stabbing me in the back?"

"What ever do you mean?"

"You know what I mean.  I heard those three manga geeks talking about getting a new model.  My sources tell me that you recommended Stacy to them."

"Why, yes, I did.  But, they were never going to use you again anyway."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

Quinn gulps and then composes herself.  "It's because that you are such an incredible model that you worked yourself out of a job.  They got everything they needed on the first take."

"Well, that's true, but why do they need Stacy?"

"For another character."

"I don't understand why all manga characters are not modeled after me."

"I'll have to ask them.  Anyway, I have to go.  Buu bye!"  Quinn hangs up, turns off her phone and gets back to work.

...

Daria opens the door to the third music study hall.

"Daria-senpai!"  Minamo and Natsuko try to run to Daria but two other girls grab them and sit them down.

Manako pats Daria on the back.  "Welcome.  There's probably a couple of people you haven't met yet."  Manako gestures to the two girls who are glaring and Natsuko and Minimo.  "The girl with the parted long hair is Risu and the girl who looks like Anapanman (4) is Akira."

"Please treat us well."

Daria bows.  "Please treat me well."

Manako puts her hand on Daria's shoulder.  "We are four and four now, four intermediates and four officials.  I guess that means that I will have to do work now and make sure that you are progressing."

"You haven't seemed to have a problem with that before, though."

Manako nervously laughs.

...

"So, Tomu-babe, what should we do?"

"Keibin, if you call me that one more time I will do Josephine a favor by rearranging your face and ruining your chances for debut."

"Why all the violence, Tomu-babe?"

Tomuru rages, then regains his composure.  "Keibin, I don't think you grasp our situation.  Josephine wants us to not be suspicious to photographers for a while.  If you keep referring to me with girl like terms then they will be suspicious."

"I thought we were dating."

"Pretending to be.  Understand?"

"Um, not really."

"Well, as for what to do, why don't we do guy things, like playing basketball?"

"I wouldn't do that on a date with Brittany."

"Exactly.  I am not Brittany and you should not treat me like her either."

"Well, okay, but only on one condition."

"What's that?"

"Brittany hits me pretty hard when she gets jealous.  You won't be like that will you?"

"Of course not!"

"Good.  Will you bake me cookies like Daria?"

Tomuru face plants.  "Jane told me about that.  I haven't met Daria, but Jane tells me that the cookies thing was a lie to get Brittany mad and that Daria doesn't even cook."

"That's the worst!  I get hit and I don't even get cookies."

"Let's play some basketball?"

"Okay, Tomu-babe!"

...

Brittany and Jane both look out of the window during the Fine Arts Guild meeting at Tomu and Keibin playing basketball and sigh.

...

Daria and Manako walk to the train station.

"So what did you think?"

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "Actually I was very confused.  You and Rikoko were way above me in talent as I expected.  So were Akira and Risu.  But, I was very surprised by Minamo, Natsuko, and Chisako.  I was expecting to look really weak next to them but I didn't.  Is this some trick you guys are using to prevent me from quitting: having my peers pretend that they are as bad as me?" (5)

Manako laughs.  "You know Dar-Dar, I used to have the same problem as you.  Megumi had to explain it to me.  You see, I used to think that I was an impostor."

"You thought you were someone else?"

"No, I thought that everyone else could do everything and I could only do a couple if things.  But, it was a trick my mind was playing on me.  I saw Akira and thought I will never be as funny as she is.  I saw Risu and thought I will never be as big a pervert as she is.  So, my mind told me that they could do everything better than me.  But they can't.  We all have things we excel at so Megumi told to concentrate on what I was good at so other people could learn from me."

"But, you excel at being sneaky.  How do I know this isn't part of the ruse?"

"I guess you won't know for sure.  But, I can assure you that this was a good practice for Natsuko, Chisako, and Minamo."

"But Minamo and Natsuko have been taking lessons for three years."

"You have had better teachers.  Besides, you had a lot less to unlearn."

Daria sighs.  "It's not like I will pass Rikoko and you, right?"

"Dar-dar, I would really hope so.  There are levels of talent, that is true.  Intermediates are usually better than remedial trainees, officials are usually better than intermediates, and debuted girls are usually better than official trainees.  But, even debuted girls kind of stink compared to professionals.  None of the debuted girls sing as well as a second rate musical theater singers.  None of the debuted girls dance as well as chorus dancers in professional productions.  And, with the exception of Rikoko, no one in Harmony Project would go far as a model."

"That's depressing."

"But, we are idol trainees.  Our only job of an idol is to make people like us.  There's no formula to that, just be yourself and turn the volume up."

"That might be a problem for me."

"Why?"

"My only talent seems to be telling people off.  Wouldn't I be disliked for that?"

"You wouldn't be ignored though."

Daria smiles.  Maybe this isn't so bad?

...

"He was trying to study but an insect was distracting him and he couldn't chase it down.  Next on Hen Tanashii Sekai, that fly is quick! (6)

The phone rings so Daria turns off the television.  "Hello, Jane."

"How was practice?"

"They were messing with my mind.  They had Minamo and Natsuko pretend they were as bad as me."

"Far be it for me to shatter someone's illusions of inadequacy, but we've been going to Cyberia's all ages night for a while, right?"

"Yes."

"So, I gotten to see Minamo and Natsuko dance many times right?"

"Yes?"

"They're cute, and they have a bag of tricks to make them look better, but, honestly, they're not better than you at dancing.  And they couldn't beat your score at Superstar Singing."

"You're confusing the issue with facts."

"A nasty trick on my part, I know."

"So what do I do now?"

"Being mentored in writing is important to you right?"

"Of course!"

"Then continue to do your best."

"But, what if they promote me again?"

"Wouldn't be good to get blog and start building up a fan base for your writing?"

Daria stares off into space in horror.

To be continued


(1) There is a Japanese horror movie that was called in America "Stacy Attack of the School Girl Zombies".

(2) "Gal" is the name of a fashion style in Japan where girls bleach their hair blond, get out of season sun tans, and try to copy the stereotypical California girl look.

(3) Seeds of the Heart is a completely made up song name.

(4) Ananpanman is an anime character with a round head that is an animated bun filled with red bean paste.  Ananapanman also has squishy cheeks.

(5) This trick is often used by Sumo Wrestling dojo's to keep newcomers from being scared off.

(6) "that fly is quick" in Japanese is "ano hae, haee"

Offline resop2

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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 7 - Is It Graduation Yet?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 01:30:57 AM »
<promo>
T makes an announcement during practice that causes Daria shock, Jane paints a picture for guild week that causes shock, and the behavior of the fans at Daria's watching of her first Harmony Project concert causes her shock.  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter Seven: Is It Graduation Yet?  It's a complete turnover story.
</promo>

An Annoying Paradise - Daria 7 - Is It Graduation Yet? (1)


"You seem pretty quiet tonight."

Jane stops noisily slurping her noodles.  "I feel like an idiot."

"I'm not touching that one."

"Lately I have been jealous of Keibin for monopolizing Tom's time."

"Wasn't that supposed to be the point?  To throw Friday's Magazine off the scent?"

"I know.  It doesn't make sense, but I feel it anyway."

"How does Brittany feel?"

"She feels the same way, but she doesn't feel like an idiot."

"Somewhere there is a idiomatic yojijukugo (2) to describe this."

"Um, excuse me?"

Daria looks up to see an older girl, around college age.  "Can I help you?"

"Are you Asamura Daria?"

"Who wants to know?"

"I'm Ikuda Alana.  I must apologize for being a rotten Harmony Project leader and not introducing myself to you before."

"It's okay, I am not even official yet."

"Strange, to hear T talk about you one would think you have already debuted."

Daria blushes.  "Has the thought ever crossed people's minds that T might be kidding?"

"He kids all the time, but he would never kid about someone's chances."

"Well, I guess now we have met.  Now what?"

"I need a favor from you."

Both Daria and Jane's eyes open wide.

"How much trouble will I get into?"

Alana laughs.  "Nothing like that.  I graduate in a week and I would like my last blog entry to be memorable."

"You realize that I have never done a blog post?"

"T told me that you were a great writer."

"You realize that Harmony Project, if they screen your blog entries, might throw out something I would write?"

"I'm sure it would be fine."

"Well, okay.  Just write down where your blog is and I will look through it to get ideas."

Alana writes down the URL on a napkin.  "Thanks!  I have to run now.  Bye!"

"What a weirdo!"

Daria looks startled.  "Why is she weird?"

"She glanced at my chest, shrugged and looked away."

"Isn't that a good thing?"

"Maybe, but I still feel disrespected."

...

Stacy and Quinn ride the bus together looking at fashion magazines.

"Hey Quinn, what do you think of this one?"

Quinn looks at the picture and frowns.  "You could do better.  I do like the accessory on the chest, but it would look better on one of your dresses."

"Thanks."

Jane looks at her stop watch and sighs.

"I guess our bet is a no contest?"

"It seems unfair that our happiness could be foiled by another person becoming more well-adjusted."

"It's a purely dystopian world for us."

...

Daria and Jane get to their lockers, where Tiffany is waiting for them.

"Jane, I have an idea on how to get our boyfriends back."

Jane and Daria trade confused glances.

"And, what would this idea be?"

"We should make out in front of them to make them jealous."

"Make out with who?"

"Each other."

Daria can barely suppress her laughter.

"Brittany, putting aside that I don't want to make out with you, aren't you forgetting the fact that Tomu and Keibin haven't broken up with us?"

"They haven't?"

"Doesn't Keibin call you every night?"

"No."

"Well, Tomu calls me every night.  Maybe you should look for someone new?"

"Wait, is Tomu cheating on my Keiby?"

Daria and Jane face plant.

Desperate to change the topic, Daria sees Natsuko walking by.  "Natsuko."

"Yes, senpai?"

"How is it going?"

Natsuko blushes.  "Pretty good.  But, have you noticed your friend Stacy?"

"She's my sister's friend, but I have noticed that something is up."

"I just saw her walking with three boys who were fawning over her.  Isn't that amazing?"

"Well, I guess being a famous manga model has it's perks."

"Did you say something to her to encourage her?"

"Not at all."

"Strange.   Oh, Quinn told me that Stacy's dress designs were being highly praised."

"Maybe she has talent?"

"I definitely want to see her dresses on Friday's guild week show."

"Maybe you should ask her if you could model for her?"

"They're using the fashion club girls again.  But, this is such a big weekend coming up.  First the show, then Alana's graduation."

"Is that supposed to be a big deal?"

"Oh my god!  This is the first time a Harmony Project group has played at Budokan.  I'm sure that you'll be amazed."

"Well, it will be my first Harmony Project show that I will be going to."

"I'll tell you what to look for."

...

Daria and the rest of the intermediates and official trainees grunt their way through a workout under the guidance of Risa.

Daria hears the other girls gasp and she turns around to see that T has entered the third music hall.

"Please forgive my intrusion.  I have some news that I wanted to share with you all.  After the concert we will be having another audition for trainees.  For you intermediates, this means that you will become senpai's to the eighth generation trainees.  I hope that you will take this task seriously and help instill in them Harmony Project's values."

"Yes, T-sama!"

"Well, I will see you at the concert.  I hope you intermediates will have fun and support the officials even though they are only back dancing."

"Yes, T-sama!"

"Carry on."  T leaves.

Daria looks at Chisako, Minamo, and Natsuko and is pleased to see that they are also horrified.

...

The eight trainees sit around a table slurping ramen.

Manako nudges Akira.  "You should go first."

Akira looks flustered, then composes herself.  "Well, um, you all are probably nervous right now.  I was nervous as well when I found out that I was to be a senpai.  But, fortunately, I was lucky and Minamo is mostly low maintenance.  Maybe your kouahi's (3) will also be easy going?

Manako nods.  "Risu?"

"I agree with Akira.  It's very tough and nerve racking, but it is very fulfilling to see your kouhai improve."

Manako nods.  "Well, I shouldn't talk about my first kouhai for obvious reasons.  But, I do have something to tell that will shock all of you.  I will only tell you this so that when it happens you will be better prepared."

Rikoko nudges Manako.  "What?  What?"

"I'm getting a haircut."

The rest of the table face plants.

"Just kidding.  Here's the real story.  I have been studying the history of Harmony Project for a while.  Six years ago Alana's group started.  They started with eight people from the second and third generations of trainees.  Three years ago a sister group to Taiyaki School (4) was formed, Diafuku School (5).  They also had eight members and used generations four and five.  In both cases, the groups were announced at the beginning of the school year around April.

Minamo looks at her comrades nervously.

"Now, April is still several months away.  But, my prediction is that the eight of us will debut together as a new group at that time, and ..." Manako turns around dramatically to stare and point, "Daria will be our leader."

Daria's eye grow big.  "This is a ghost story, right?"

"No.  You probably don't know a lot about idol culture, but the leader of an idol group is always the oldest."

"Wait, I'm the oldest?  I thought that Risu was a grade ahead of me."

Risu looks sheepish.  "I skipped a year because I was overseas for a couple of years."

"This is still a horrible idea."

Manako chuckles.  "Dar-dar, you do know why T chose you, right?"

"He said something lame about my having ambition to be a writer."

"He was kidding. He liked your voice and thought that it was really cheeky for you, a junior high school girl, to talk to him like he was a normal person.  He feels that you would make a great leader because you wouldn't be intimidated by TV show hosts."

"Well, none of this has happened yet."

"True.  And, there could be something that derails the plan.  If you four are not good senpai's T could reconsider."

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "Remind me to ask Haruko which bars she went drinking at."

...

"Wow, this is different."  Daria stares at Jane's painting which hangs in the gallery for Guild week.

"Who is the guy that your boyfriend is with?"  Trent looks at the picture trying not to be embarrassed.

"That is Keibin.  Tomu and I got caught by photographers so Tomu's agency is making him pretend to be Keibin's friend."

"Why are they also punishing him?"

"He also got caught with a girl."

Trent looks at the picture closely.  "You know, I can see where you wanted to make your boyfriend look good, but this painting kind of breaks some of the rules of yaoi (6).  Tomu should have been drawn to look more girly.  Also, Tomu is crouching over Keibin in a dominant position, but you can tell from the proportions that Keibin is taller, so he should be the dominant one."

Daria blushes.  "You seem to know a lot about yaoi."

"Well, one of  my ex-girlfriends was a squealing yaoi fan girl.  She made good cookies, though."

The word "cookies" pierces Daria's heart like an arrow.

"Oh my god!"

Daria turns to see Brittney staring at the painting.

"Jane, how could you?  This is horrible!"

"Sorry, but it was in my subconscious and I needed to get it out so that I could move on."

Brittney looks at Jane funny.  "What are you talking about?  Look at Keiby.  His expression is all fear with no undercurrents of desire.  This makes it look like Tomu is just bullying him."

Trent looks at the painting closely.  "Wooow, you're right."

Brittany looks nervously at Jane.  "This guy?"

"Oh, Brittany, this is my older brother Trent Lane.  Trent, this is Brittany, the girl that I hate for having more talent than me."

"Don't worry, Brittany, lots of guys hate me as well.  Have you seen my band?  We're called Mystic Spiral Kakko Kari."

"Sounds cool."

Daria sulks making duck lips.

...

"And next, wearing a dress by Asamura Quinn is Sandi."

Daria nudges Jane.  "Has her bored hateful expression gotten worse?"

"Ohhh, yes."

Brittany nudges Daria.  "Your sister designs dresses?"

"Why yes, she does.  She's even considered good at it."

"Then why do you dress in the same unflattering outfit every day?" (7)

Daria flinches, but then regains her composure.  "I do it for your sake.  I can't have Keibin chasing me all the time."

Brittany looks mad.  "Just you wait, I am learning how to make cookies."

Daria mumbles to herself.  "Maybe I should, too."

"And next, wearing a dress by Stacy is Tiffany."

From the seat behind Daria's, Natsuko nudges Daria.  "I could do better than that model."

Daria giggles and doesn't turn around, wanting to enjoy Tiffany's nervous expression and lack of fluid movement.  "Normally I would say to concentrate on what you're good at, but in this case I would have to agree."

Brittany nudges Trent.  "Excuse me?"

"What's up?"

"My boyfriend is over on the other side of the catwalk and I need to make him jealous.  Can I cuddle up to you?"

"Um, sorry, I am too old for you.  It won't make him jealous, it will just make me look like a perv."

"You and your sister are impossible."

"Woah, there are some things that I don't want to know about."

Brittany turns around.  "What about you Daria?"

"Brittany, don't other guys hit on you all the time?  If you're relationship with Keibin is making you this twisted, maybe you should just find someone else?"

Brittany looks depressed and starts sniffling.

...

Quinn and Stacy walk into the ramen shop.

"Congratulations!"

Quinn and Stacy hurry over to the table where the congratulations came from.  Waiting there is Daria, Natsuko, Minamo, Rikoko and Haruno.  Daria and her fan club slurp noodles.

Quinn smiles.  "Thanks guys.  Has the video been put up yet?"

Haruno nods.  "It's downloading as we speak."

"Daria, where that Jane girl?"

"Her and Trent had to go home."

"Did they like my outfit?"

Daria thinks.  "Actually, we were too busy noticing Sandi's angry expression."

"No-ooooh!"

"Okay, here it is."  Haruna starts the video on her laptop.

After watching Quinn and Stacy's dresses, Haruno stops the video.  "Quinn, Stacy, let me ask you this again.  Should I kick Sandi and Tiffany out of the modeling guild?"

Both Quinn and Stacy first look nervous, but then they look at each other and nod.  "Yes."  They say in unison.

Daria smiles.  "I never thought I would live to see this day."

Quinn gives Daria a sad look.  "You don't understand, we are doing this as a favor to Sandi and Tiffany.  It's obvious that they have no aptitude for modeling and are only trying to fit in."

Stacy nods.  "It's embarrassing.  They really should go back to our previous school were they can stand out, not stay here and wonder why nothing is working for them."

Daria snickers.  "I guess your mean girl credentials are still intact."

Quinn nods.  "Sometimes friends have to be mean to each other."

"Especially when they deliberately make the dresses you guys slaved over look bad."

Stacy smirks.  "Well, let's not mention that."

Haruno nods.  "Well, I don't really care about your motivations.  However, Daria is correct that Sandi's and Tiffany's performances were abysmal.  I had worked for weeks trying to get those two to improve but not only did they ignore all of my suggestions for fixing their faults, they somehow managed to find new faults.  I will be very happy to show them the door."

Daria smirks.  "Well, sis, I guess you will have to block Sandi's number now."

Quinn winks.  "I did that on the way over."

Natsuko nudges Haruno.  "Hey, can I join the modeling guild?"

Haruno looks suspiciously at Natsuko.  "You're an Harmony Project trainee like Rikoko, right?"

"Yes."

"How do I know that you won't do a mediocre job because you already have a tuition discount and don't need the modeling guild's discount?"

"Rikoko will vouch for me."

Haruno looks at Rikoko.

Rikoko shrugs her shoulders.  "I guess so.  She seems to work hard."

Natsuko shoots daggers out of her eyes at Rikoko for the halfhearted endorsement.

"Well, we have two openings coming up.  I could give you a try."

...

"An elderly gangster came to Japan and was pleased by his nickname!  Next on Hen Kanashi Sekei, the man they call 'ojiisan'." {8}

Daria's phone rings so she turns off the TV.  "Did you guys get back okay?"

"Sure, Trent was just a little weirded out by the number of young girls looking at him like he was a bowl of ramen."

"I hope I wasn't doing that."

"Don't worry, Trent finds you non-threatening."

The word "non-threatening" pierces Daria's heart like an arrow.  "Wait, if I am supposed to be an idol isn't that a bad thing?"

Jane chuckles.  "So, now you are worried about such things?  I see that the system is changing you."

"Yeah, and it stinks."

"Don't worry, being non-threatening is a good thing for an idol."

Daria makes a face.

...

Tomu and Keiban stand in line for the concert trying not to look uncomfortable together.

Tomu gets a text message from Jane.  "Um, Keiban, can I ask you a personal question?"

"Hey, big guy, like I said before, I am the guy of this relationship."

"You're not, but the question has nothing to do with that.  The question is are you calling Brittany?"

"No, I'm supposed to be going out with you."

"In public.  Josephine doesn't care if you call in private."

"Oops.  I'll bet Brittany is mad."

"Well, she's ready to give you up to me and move on."

"That sucks!"

"Then send her a text message."

"What should I say?"

"Try 'I'm sorry, will call tonight.'"

"You're the man Tomu-babe."

"That doesn't even make sense."

...

Minamo, Natsuko, Chisako, Daria, and Jane also stand in line.

Jane looks around.  "Aren't we going to be joined by Miss Perfect-chan?"

Daria raises and eyebrow.  "Rikoko?  She's already inside.  She's going to be performing."

"Just what I need to crush my self-esteem some more."

Daria looks annoyed.  "Unless Rikoko can paint better than you, I can't feel sorry for you.  If you had wanted to, you would have been on stage with her by now.  But, you made a choice, an intelligent choice I might add, to not be on stage.  Now you get to do what you love and have a hot, judging by your painting, boyfriend."

Natsuko nudges Minamo.  "Scary atmosphere."

Jane laughs.  "You're right.  It's just seems unfair that there isn't three or four Jane Lane's so that I can do everything I could conceivably want in life."

"Well, isn't there two?  You and Lane from the Wired?"

"They aren't allowed to exist in the same universe."

"Thank goodness, the world would not be safe."

"Oh, speaking of Tomu, there he is in that line section over there."

Daria raises an eyebrow.

"So, how did that blog post go?"

"It was kind of depressing.  Alana has a very distinct writing style and a very strong personality.  If I wrote something where she wasn't putting herself down, it would stand out like a sore thumb.  So I wrote something upbeat and banal."

"I looked at her blog as well, that was a good choice."

Daria realizes that she has been ignoring her fan club.  "So, Chisako, is this your first concert?"

"No, I had to go the last one as well.  It was really colorful."

"Is there anyone you are looking forward to seeing onstage?"

"Well, Manaka has helped me out a lot so I want to make sure she does well.  I am also interested in seeing how Rikoko does."

Minamo nudges Chisako.  "You realize that this isn't a trainee recital, right?  We're going to see Alana's group."

Chisako sticks out her tongue.  "Oops!"

Daria chuckles.  "Anyone you're looking forward to seeing Minamo?"

"Well, this is Alana's big night, but it is also Hamura Ayani's big night as well as she gets promoted to group and Harmony Project leader."

"Is that a big thing?"

"She will probably cry buckets.  She loves Taiyaki School and probably feels really overwhelmed now."

Daria looks worried.

...

Daria, Miss Megumi, Chisato, Minamo, Jane, and Natsuko sit in a secluded section high up in the rafters.  They all use the opera glasses that Megumi-sensei has brought.

"So, what do you think so far?"

Jane doesn't look away from her glasses.  "Some interesting stuff so far.  I am surprised at the guys in the area in front of the stage.  Most of them are dancing in sync to the music."

Daria pans down with her glasses.  "You're right.  But, is that surprising?"

"Sure it is.  Look at how short the skirts are in Alana's group.  None of the guys are trying to peep them."

"That is surprising."

"Also, Alana's group has two chubby girls in it.  But, neither one has a problem with keeping up with the dances."

"That's why they make the big bucks."

"Oh, and Tomu and Keibin are in that section over there."

Daria scans over and finds them.

"And, Trent is over there."

"I see him.  He seems to be looking at his phone a lot."

"He's looking up the kanji for the lyrics.  He likes T, remember?"

"Oh yeah."  Daria nudges Miss Megumi.  "Um, do guys always act like that in Harmony Project concerts, dancing around and not trying to peep up the girls skirts?"

Miss Megumi smiles.  "They do.  They feel protective of the girls as if they were their kid sisters, so they would have no interest in peeping them."

...

The lights go out after the last song.

Daria nudges Megumi.  "Is that the end of the show?"

"No, the first encore is the graduation ceremony."

"Does she get a diploma?"

Miss Megumi laughs.  "You'll see."

Minamo nudges Daria from behind.  "When the music starts again watch the front couple of rows of fans."

"Okay."

"Oh, and the trainees will only participate in the second encore."

"Well, they deserve a break."

"I know, they did great!  I was watching them the entire time."

Jane smirks.  "I was trying not to watch them the entire time."

Minamo makes an angry face, but then smiles.  "Did you succeed?"

"No, and I was filled with jealousy the whole time."

"Well, I'm jealous of them as well and I have to see them every week."

Daria grimaces.  "Children?"

"Yes!"

The lights come on and soft instrumental version of one of Taiyaki School's songs starts playing.  Alana comes out in a princess like ornate dress.

Daria scans the first couple of rows of fans.  Most of them are crying.  "Are they going to cry through the entire first encore?"

Minamo nods.  "And, the second as well."

Alana gives a short speech, sounding very upbeat, saying that while she loved being a teen idol, she would soon no longer be a teen and that if she didn't pursue her dream of being a professional golfer now she might never get another chance.

The members of Alana's group then come out each with a bouquet of flowers.  Each one gives Alana their flowers and makes a short statement.  Alana then hands the flowers to a stage hand.  Finally Hamura Ayoni gives Alana her flowers and barely makes out a statement through tears about she will never be ready to fill Alana's place.

The other members leave the stage and then Alana leads the crowd in a cheer, then leaves the stage.

Daria scans the front rows again and sees many of the guys curled up in a fetal position.

After several minutes Alana and her group and the trainees come out for one more song.  Daria notes that the trainees do the dance for the song perfectly but Alana's group looks totally disorganized as many of the girls cannot contain their tears.

They leave the stage for the last time, but the crowd chants Alana's name for five minutes.  Finally Alana comes out, bows, and goes to the back.

The fans start shuffling out of the building.  Daria's group keeps sitting, knowing that it will be too crowded for a while to leave.

Daria nudges Miss Megumi.  "So, why were the fans waving blue joysticks?"

"Blue is Alana's official color.  All of her merchandise has that color."

"Merchandise?"

"Oh, we skipped the merchandise stand on the way in.  We'll check it out when we can get out."

...

Daria's group reaches a balcony overlooking the merchandise stand.

"That's odd, I don't see any aqua blue merchandise."

Miss Megumi smirks.  "They sold out before the concert started."

"Was this a concert where Harmony Project made a lot of money?"

"I don't have all the figures, but Alana sold the place out and I think that we sold about ninety percent of our merchandise so far.  We might completely sell out before the last straggler leaves.  So, I would guess we cleaned up.  That is the power of a seven year girl."

"Do all girls get such a huge send off?"

Megumi lowers her head a little.  "Well, Alana released four bikini photobooks and was on variety shows a lot playing an idiot character."

"Is she an idiot?"

"Of course not.  But, she was good at playing one.  It made her look nonthreatening."

Daria raises an eyebrow.


To be continued

(1) This was the title of the last Daria TV special.

(2) A idiomatic yojijukugo is a four Kanji character phrase whose meaning is different from the literal meaning.  Here is it being used to mean a proverb.

(3) Kouhai means underclassman, but in this context it means "the person you will be mentoring".

(4) A taiyaki is a fish shaped filled pastry.

(5) A daifuku is a filled rice cake.

(6) Yaoi is manga and anime featuring boy/boy romantic relationships.  They are almost always drawn by females and are always aimed at the female audience.  Yaoi is a word that started as an acronym.  It was originally an acronym for YAma nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi (No peak (climax), no fall (punch line/denouement), no meaning) meaning that stories concentrated on the sex rather than the plot.  Among women who are yaoi fans, the alternate acronym YAmete, Oshiri ga Itai (Stop!  My butt hurts!) is popular.

(7) Because TFAS is an art school the junior high school students are not forced to wear school uniforms.

{8} This one is cross-cultural.  An elderly gangster in America would enjoy being called an "OG" (original gangster).  "Ojiisan" sounds like they are calling him "Mister OG", when in reality they are calling him "gramps" or "old man".

Offline resop2

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An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 8 - Daria-sama ga Miteru
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 05:22:31 PM »
<promo>

Today again the girls of Tokyo Fine Arts School meet by the school gates with pure smiles. Walking slowly is preferred here as to not disturb the pleats of their skirts. Tokyo Fine Arts School is a garden for maidens. Actually, this is a lie. It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter Eight: Daria-sama ga Miteru.  It's a complete turnover story.

</promo>

An Annoying Paradise - Daria 8 - Daria-sama ga Miteru (1)


"You seem happy today."  The bus to the subway station hits a bump causing Daria and Jane to bounce slightly.

Jane smiles.  "The two months are over.  Tomu and I had a date last night at a very discreet place."  Jane makes a peace sign.

"Well, you can't be too careful."

"But, I am worried about one thing: two certain people loitering in front of your locker today."

"Should I stay with the cookies theme?"

"Well, unless a trick no longer works, one should stick with it."

Daria sighs.  "Makes sense."

"You are low tension today." (2)

"Well, I have an unpleasant task I have to do."

"Are your coaches riding you hard?"

"No, I have to tell a couple of people off."

"That's unpleasant?"

"It is because I am showing concern."

Jane make a face.  "Better you that me."

"I told you your decision not to be on stage was smart."

...

Jane scans the halls.  "Wow, no Brittany and Keibin."

"I get to save the imaginary cookies for later."

"This is very odd.  I will have to investigate this during drawing class."

Daria puts her books away.  "Sorry, but duty calls."

Daria runs down the hallway.  "Oh, Minamo?"

"Yes, Daria-senpai?"

Daria drags Minamo to the stairwell.  Daria slams her hand against the wall near Minamo's head.  "We need to talk."

"Ye ... yes?"

"Last night we had practice.  I couldn't help but notice that both you and Natsuko where not as good as you two normally are, and not even as good as last week.  Is there something I should know?  Do you two now have boyfriends?"

Minamo looks down in shame.  "No, but, well, Natsuko wanted to lose weight to get into the spirit of the modeling guild and I was trying to keep up with her."

"I can't even begin to describe how stupid this is.  We were all at the guild week show, right?"

"Yes."

"Weren't many of the models there a lot less thin than you and Natsuko are normally?"

"Yes."

"Look, please eat normally.  If you guys starve yourself I won't be able to relax in the comfort of my own pity party thinking that I am worse than you two."

Minamo involuntarily giggles.

"That's better."

Daria hears some giggling behind her.  She runs around to see some seventh grade girls giggling and pointing smart phones.  "Is there a problem?"

The girls squeal and run away.

Minamo nudges Daria, "Senpai, I think they thought it was exciting to see an upperclassman 'correct' a underclassman."

"That's stupid.  It's not like I haven't heard of such things, but this is a co-ed school.  Isn't that a girl's school thing?"

"Well, this is a strange school."

...

Daria and Jane slurp noodles.

"Sorry I didn't tell you this earlier, but I do have the scoop."

"Oh?"

"Brittany and Keibin broke up."

Daria looks up from her noodles.  "That's unexpected."

"Well, Brittany told me that Keibin kept calling her the name of some other girl so she dumped him."

"Who is the unlucky girl who got mentioned?"

"She didn't remember the girl's name.  Keibin never got the girl's name out before correcting himself."

"Well, so long as they stay away from my locker."

"But, that's not the real scoop."

"What?"

Jane takes out her cell phone and shows Daria a picture from The Wired.  "Kind of sexy if you had no idea what sex was."

Daria stares at the picture of her "correcting" Minamo.  "Gross."

"I don't know, the picture has seventy hearts so far."

"This is a weird school."

...

Daria and Jane walk towards the entrance to Tokyo Fine Arts School.

"Please join our new guild!  Please join our new guild."

Daria and Jane grin at each other.

"I wonder what hair brained idea they have this time?"

Jane shrugs.  "Hey, what's this new guild all about?"

Sandi turns up her nose.  "Not that you two could join, but it's for guys who want to worship fashion goddesses."

Daria smirks.  "Have you obtained a faculty sponsor yet?"

Tiffany speaks in her usually slow monotone.  "We've had three so far who said maybe."

Daria and Jane walk to their lockers.  Daria sees Keibin in front of Daria's locker making out with some girl.

Jane motions for Daria to be quiet.  Jane takes out her cell phone and snaps a picture of Keibin and the girl, then starts smirking.

"What's so funny?"

"Check it out."

Daria's eyes bug out when she sees that the girl is Haruko.

"This one should belong to you."

"Great."  Daria approaches the couple.  "Wow, Keiby, is that the best you can do?  You're giving me a bad reputation now."

Keiby turns around, angered.  "Now wait just a second.  You never gave me cookies."

Haruko smacks Keibin in the back of the head.  "Why are you talking to her?  You're with a star."

"Oh, hi Haruko.  Didn't Kieby tell you that this is my locker?  You don't think that he's doing this to try to make me jealous, do you?  I would be livid if I was in your shoes."

Haruko grabs Keibin by the ear and drags him off.

"Well played."

"So what will you do with that picture?"

"If Tomu thinks it's a good idea, I will email it Josephine."

Daria smiles.

...

Daria shows up to practice but notices that T is there.

"Now that everyone is here, I would like to introduce you all to generation nine of the Harmony Project trainees."

Four girls walk out from behind a partition.

"Please introduce yourselves."

"Yagawa Nanamo, first year, junior high.  Please take care of me."  Namamo looks very calm and composed.

"Funaku Musuba, first year, junior high.  Please take care of me."  Musuba is shorter than the other three and nervously fidgets when she talks.

"Nakashi Bana, first year, junior high.  Please take care of me."  Bana speaks with an Osaka accent and has long parted hair.  Her hair is similar to Risu, but Bana is not as pretty as Risu.  Bana moves her hands a lot when she talks.

"Omura Utako, first year, junior high.  Please take care of me." 

T nods.  "We are starting all four out at the remedial level.  To help them on their journey, I am assigning the following intermediate trainees to be mentors: Chisako with Nanamo, Natsuko with Musuba, Bana with Minamo, and Utako with Daria.  Please introduces yourselves.  Now, I have another appointment so you will have to excuse me."  T walks out of the third music hall.

Daria approaches Utako.  "Well, I guess you're stuck with me."

Utako looks shocked.  "Wait, you're Asumura Daria, right?"

"Who want's to know?"

"All of my classmates were excited by the prospect that I could get you as a mentor."

"Does this have anything to do with a strange picture that was put on The Wired?"

"Of course, the one titled 'The Correction'.  It was so sexy."

Daria face plants, then regains her composure.  "Well, I am now confused.  Are you planning on constantly screwing up in hopes that I will correct you, or are you planning on doing your best under the assumption that I will correct you for some small matter that you could not have been expected to know?"

"I'll do my best!"

"Rats.  My last hope to avoid debuting was to have a kouhai that was always getting in trouble.  I even found out which bars will serve underage kids alcohol so that I could corrupt you."

Utako laughs very hard.  "That's so funny."

Daria looks at her stone faced.  "That's not a joke.  I don't want to be an idol.  I only agreed to be a trainee so that I could go to this school and be mentored in creative writing.  The prospect of actually debuting is most unpleasant for me.  It feels like a joke that has gone on for too long."

"But, you are already an idol to my classmates."

"That's their problem, not mine."

"WOOOOO!"  Utako jumps holding her bottom.

"Oh, I should have warned you earlier.  I must be a bad senpai.  If you make intermediate and practice with the rest of us, you'll always need to know where Yamaka Risu is.  If you loose track of her, that might happen."

Utako puffs out her cheeks and looks crossly at Risu.  "What grade are you in?"

Risu smiles unapologetically.  "Third year middle school, but I skipped a year."

"Where I am from, people who still did kancho (3) in fourth grade were seen as immature."

Manako jumps to Risu defense.  "If it is any consolation, she's gotten all of us with that.  Honestly, one needs a character like that in an idol group so I don't mind her too much."

Daria speaks in a creepy voice.  "Risu will do it to you so often you'll wake up in the middle of the night holding your butt."

Manako shoves Daria's head.  "She's lying.  Risu only does it to people more than once if they want her to.  Daria's just trying to discourage you so she can avoid debuting."

Utako glares at Daria.  "It's not going to work."

...

Daria leads a large group into the dimly lit building.  "Well, here we are.  It's kind of a tradition among the trainees, Cyberia's all ages night."

Utako looks around.  "This is a dump."

"No argument here.  This is a place where girls slurp overpriced diluted sodas, dance to kind of awful music, and flirt with as many boys as possible."

Manako pushes Daria head.  "Don't listen to her."

Utako laughs.  "You're starting to sound like a granny, Manako-senpai.  I don't need to be protected.  I know when Daria is lying.  She tilts her head."

"I do not!"

Manako puts her hand behind her head and nervously laughs.  "Dar-dar, you totally do."

Daria pouts.  "You were going to tell me that before I debuted, right?"

"Now you care about your debut?"

"Oops."

Minamo tries to defuse the situation.  "Utako, one of the big traditions we have at all ages night is group dances.  The officials and the intermediates try to get the remedial trainees to do the dances they are currently working on."

Utako smiles.  "Sounds good."

Minamo, Bana, Utako, and Natsuko go off by themselves to go over a dance.

Daria drifts off to talk to Jane.  "What's up?"

"Texting with Tomu."

"Is he here?"

"No, that would be to risky.  So, how is the disciple?"

"Horrible.  She seems totally competent and completely resistant to my efforts to sabotage her idol career."

Jane looks over at the group dance practice.  "She's not too bad for a beginner, although Minamo and Natsuko haven't improved as teachers.  You and Manako might have to rescue them."

"That's sounds like doing something good."

"Yeah, there's that."

The dance group comes over to Daria.

Minamo smiles sheepishly.  "Senpai, could you help these two?"

"Well..."

"Excuse us."  A group of three underclassmen girls approach Daria.  "Please forgive our rudeness, but we have a serious question."

Daria shrugs.  "Go ahead, but be warned that I charge for kabedon."

"Have you made Minamo your petite soeur?" (4)

Daria face plants.  "You realize that we don't go to an all-girls school and our school isn't Catholic, right?"

"Have you?"

Daria smirks a little bit, noticable to Jane, but not to the three girls.  "Look, Minamo and I don't need any stereotyped rituals or titles.  Minamo is a very important person to me and I always look out for her to make sure that she can achieve all she can.  But, if Minamo wants to buy a rosary I wouldn't be opposed to giving it to her."

The three girls squeal and run away.

Jane smirks.  "They're probably wiping the blood from their noses in the bathroom now." (5)

Natsuko shoves Daria.  "Wait a second.  Don't you like me, as well?"

Daria smiles an evil grin.  "Don't feel bad Natsuko.  If you want, I can tell your classmates the same thing about you.  But, I charged Minamo five thousand yen, so I would have to charge you the same."

Natsuko gives Daria an evil look, then involuntarily starts laughing.

"So, should I help with the dance?"

Daria watches the four dance.  Utako makes typical beginner mistakes but mostly keeps the rhythm going.  Bana on the other hand is hopeless, thrashing away randomly, completely off the count.

"Bana?  Are you okay?"

"Sorry senpai, I get confused."

"If it is any consolation, I was worse when I first started out."

"Really?"

"Well, if you give me one thousand yen I will continue saying that."

Bana sticks out her tongue.

"Let's break down the dance into four segments, and try to master the first one."

Manako and Jane watch.

"She's come so far, huh?"

Jane shrugs.  "Only because the two of us carried her.  Don't get your hopes up.  The Daria I know will find a way to sabotage her chances before too long."

Manako looks worried.

A pair of shoes catches Jane's eye.  "Oh, wait.  There's something I need to investigate."

Jane walks over to the person wearing the shoes.  "Hi, Brittany."

"Who are you?"

"Your classmate, Jane Lane."

"Oh yeah, I remember now.  Lane from the Wired."

"Yes, my hair is down.  But, what's going on with you?"

Brittany looks like she's going to cry.  "I thought that if I create a cool alter ego like you did then I won't have my boyfriends leaving me."

"Alter ego?"

"Yes, I am disguised.  But, I haven't figured out an alter ego name yet."

Jane looks at Brittany's weirdly died black hair.  "Miss manic panic?"

"That's not bad.  But, how did you know it was me?"

"You wear those sneakers every day."

"Darn it!  I need to up my game."

"Um, Brittany, it's not like I don't think that you're kind of cool for making this effort, but I never planned to have an alter ego.  I only wore my hair down so my rocker brother wouldn't tease me.  Other people started that alter ego thing without any effort on my part.  Also, Tomu doesn't stay with me because I have a cool alter ego, he does so because he isn't a moronic, egotistical jerk."

"Wait a second, are you calling me a jerk?"

"No, I'm calling Keibin a jerk."

"Why are you calling my Keiby a jerk?"

"Because he dumped you, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."

"On the other hand, there are easier ways to create an alter ego than wasting a lot of money on unnatural looking hair dye."

"There is?"

"You could just get a big pair of glasses with clear lenses.  No one would recognize you."

"I have glasses."

"Do you wear contacts?"

"No, they are too scary."

"Why don't you wear your glasses?"

"They make me look like a nerd."

Jane smirks.  "That kind of explains a lot.  Try this.  Next week for all ages night don't dye your hair and just wear glasses.  No one will recognize you and the cute nerdy girl can be your alter ego."

Brittany mulls this over.  "Maybe."

...

"He was trying to get a good nights sleep but it was impossible.  Next on Hen Kanashii Sekai: The salmon were shouting!" (6)

Daria turns off the TV and calls Jane.  "Hey, who was that dark haired chick you were talking to?"

"Brittany, trying to create a cool alter ego."

"Um, I don't know if I think that's cool or pathetic."

"It was only a rough draft.  She'll have a more polished piece ready next week."

"Is this some weird art thing?"

"Of course."

...

"Daria!"

Daria turns around after putting one of her books in her looker.  She glances quickly at the person's chest.  "Oh hi, Yuuki."

"Did you see?"

"See what?"

"My voice acting debut.  It finally aired.  I had recorded it a couple of weeks ago."

"Is this on Love Idol War?"

"Hey, if you don't watch it, I totally understand.  I had barely watched it myself, for obvious reasons."

"Wait a minute, Haruko started going on a rampage a couple of weeks ago.  Do you no longer watch her?"

"Pin pon." Yuuki makes a circle with her arms. (7)  "They decided it was too much for me to both babysit and get into character for my role."

"Are you worried that Haruko is going to get in trouble and cause the show to collapse?"

"Ajax is making a lot of money off the show.  I'm sure that they can hush up any trouble Haruko can get into."

"I hope so for your sake."

"Hey, if I edit the show to just show my scenes without Haruko's character would you be interested in watching?"

"Does your character have big breasts?"

Yuuki winks.  "You'll have to wait and see."


To be continued

(1) The title is a play on the title of the light novel/anime/manga called "Maria-sama ga Miteru" (The Virgin Mary is Watching).  Here the meaning is "Our looked up to strict senpai Daria is watching".

(2) The English phrase "low tension" in Japan means "low energy".

(3) Kancho is also known as "1000 years of pain" to Naruto fans.

(4) "Petite souer" means little sister in French.  "Imoto" would be little sister in Japanese, but here they are using petite souer in the sense used in Catholic girl schools: that Daria has given Minamo her rosary and has pledged to guide Minamo in the rules of the school so that Minamo can stay out of trouble.

(5) It is an anime cliche that when a male character accidentally sees the panties of a girl he gets a nose bleed.

(6) The salmon were shouting = Sake ga sakenda.

(7) Pin pon is the sound used on variety shows for a correct answer.  Also, circle is correct, x is incorrect.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 01:08:31 AM by resop2 »

Offline resop2

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Re: An Annoying Paradise - Daria ch 9 - It's Never Too Late
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2018, 01:31:28 AM »
<promo>

It's Daria's first live!  However, it's just for the school's Christmas festival.  But, why is Trent emailing Daria about it?  It's An Annoying Paradise - Daria Chapter Nine: It's Never Too Late to Make a Bad Impression.  It's a complete turnover story.

</end promo>

An Annoying Paradise - Daria 9 - It's Never Too Late to Make the Worst Impression


Daria reaches into her locker to get a book.

"Dar-Dar!"

"What is it, Manako?"

"Which song would you like to do?"

"In Super Star Singing?"

"No-o.  Wait, you haven't heard?"

"Heard what?"

"This school waives tuition for Harmony Project girls.  Now, the girls who have debuted already have a Christmas concert, but the trainees will have to perform for the school."

"You have got to be joking."

"Nope.  The coaches think that it should be the eight of us with the remedial trainees as back dancers."

"In other words, feeding into your crazy theory that we're going to debut together?"

Manako chuckles.  "Well, there is that.  I did make up a name for ourselves: Senbei School." (1)

"But, senbei aren't even filled."  (2)

"Don't worry about the small details.  Anyway, we need to come up with a song, and since you are our leader, you should decide."

"The leader of a group that exists only in your head?"

"You are the oldest of the eight."

"Well,"  Daria ponders, "You're second oldest, right?"

Manako nods.

"Why don't you pick three songs that we could do and then I'll pick the one that seems easiest."

Manako pouts.  "Don't be a wimp.  We'll want a song that will allow everyone to have a solo line that they can do well."

"Why don't you pick it for me?"

I can't do that."

"How about you pick three songs and then if I pick the wrong one you will talk me out of it?"

"You're a natural born leader Dar-Dar."

"If I was I would beat you up for that nickname."

...

Daria puts her ramen bowl down on the table.  "I'm glad you could meet me on such short notice."

Jane nods.  "Well, things have been kind of depressing recently, so why not?"

Daria's eyes get larger.  "Wait, you're depressed?"

"Well, Brittany successfully stole my 'cool alter ego' gimmick from me.  The manga club even put her alter ego in Tsundere Princess.  Lane from the Wired was never asked."

"I guess that is bad."

"Hey, you're in the manga now as well, as a kabedon character."

"Don't remind me."

"So, what did you want to talk about?"

"The Christmas concert."

Jane nods.  "Oh, yeah.  Tomu has been freaking out over it."

"Wait, Tomu has to perform as well?"

"Well, he's not freaking out over performing.  He's actually quite looking forward to that.  But, he's freaking out over Keibin."

"I thought they 'broke up'."

Jane raises an eyebrow.  "Not professionally.  Tomu has to do a duet with him and Keibin's skills have gone way downhill since he started hanging out with Haruko."

"Maybe they will get rid of him?"

"Josephine wants to debut them together.  He's put pressure on Tomu to straighten Keibin out."

"That stinks."

"So, let me guess, you're freaked out over performing?"

"Of course."

Jane chuckles.  "Hey, I think there is nothing to worry about.  Just think of the worst possible performance that you can give."

"I do that all the time.  Are you going to say that I will get even more fans if I stink the joint out?"

Jane shrugs.  "There is that.  But, I wasn't going in that direction.  Now, even with your worst performance possible, remember that Haruko is also going to perform with Yuuki."

"You're really plugged in."

"Yuuki is in my gym class and she was freaked out over it."

"What are they going to do?"

"The opening song from Love Idol War.  Yuuki is afraid that Haruko's singing is going to make her a laughing stock."

"Wait, didn't Haruko record that song?"

"Yes, and no.  You don't know how many takes it took and how badly they had to use software to fix her singing.  Singing in the studio and singing live are two different things."

"Sounds like a nightmare for Yuuki."

"Yeah, it makes me feel sorry for her and her B-cups."

"I guess I have it easier then.  I only have to worry about eleven other people."

"Oh, are you actually saying that you are concerned about the quality of the performance?"

"Yes, even though I hate myself for it.  It's just that the other eleven take this really seriously and I would hate it if I screwed things up for them."

"Nonsense.  Trent once told me that sometimes it is a good thing to have someone in your group who stinks since it forces you to be on your toes to compensate.  If they are serious, they should feel the same."

"That still doesn't make me feel better."

"You're playing with fire Missy with this idol thing.  Sooner or later you knew you were going to get singed."

"Well, at least only the people from the school will see it."

"And, anyone who can view stuff on the Wired, like Trent."

"How can he do that?"

"He used to go there before deciding it was a poser scene."

"Strange, it doesn't seem that way to me."

"It isn't.  'Poser scene' is a euphemism for 'place that wanted me to do work'."

Daria half smiles.

...

"So, what do you think?"

Enchi-sensei looks up from Daria's latest writing exercise.  "Excellent, as expected.  However, ..."

Daria looks anxious.  "Yes?"

"I had another one of my students mention you recently."

"In class?"

"No, this is one of the people who I am mentoring.  Her name is Andrea.  She said that she spoke to you in the Cyberia club."

Daria looks worried.  "Wait, is Andrea taller than me, and does she wear goth make up?"

"Yes, and she is heavier than you.  Writers cannot sugarcoat descriptions."

"She's trying to be a writer?"

"She's only in seventh grade and she is already president of the erotic fan fiction club, which I am the faculty adviser for."

Daria looks disgusted.  "Has she been writing stories about me and Minamo doing perverted things?"

Enchi-sensei makes the "O" sign.  "Pin, pon.  However, I have admonished her not to use real names so  she is using made up names: Dar-dar and Minami."

"I feel sad for Minamo."

"Well, so far in her stories the two characters don't really get perverted.  They just have a Catholic girls school sister type relationship."

"Great, not only am I in the manga, I am now in fan fiction?"

"You haven't even debuted yet as an idol, don't you consider that auspicious?"

"Well, supposedly, I have to perform for the Christmas festival."

"Are you going to give them what they want, some fan service with you and Minamo?"

"Gross!"

Enchi-sensei laughs.  "You know those girl school cliches.  Would it kill you to slip one or two of them in?"

"Like straightening her tie?"

"Would it kill you?"

Daria looks flustered.

...

Daria enters the practice room for voice training but Sachiko isn't there.

"Glad you could make it!  We been waiting for you."

"Miss Megumi, what are you doing here?  Shouldn't you be managing Daifuku School?"

"I have an assistant who is doing that.  Today, and for our next two sessions I will be helping you guys get ready for the Christmas Concert."

"Rats.  I thought if I ignored it long enough it would go away."

Miss Megumi laughs.  "So, what song have you chosen for the group to sing?"

"Well, Manako made it as clear as she could that we should do 'Always Do Your Best!!' by Taiyaki School." (3)

Miss Megumi smiles.  "What a wonderful song!  I remember the recording sessions for that.  Everyone was trying their hardest to get it down correctly."

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "I thought you managed Daifuku School."

"I managed Taiyaki School until Daifuku School started to get formed.  My assistant at the time took over managing Taiyaki School since all the hard parts had been worked out."

Daria cringes.  "Is this your way of telling us something?"

"Like you guys are going to debut?  I have no control over that.  A lot will depend on how you guys do in the Christmas Concert.  I'm sure that T and the other producers will look at the concert footage very carefully."

"You're not a producer?"

"I am a manager.  I don't compose and arrange music.  I get people from point A to point B and convince them that they can do it."

"I'm sorry that you have to deal with me."

"You'll do just fine.  Did you listen to the song?"

Daria smiles.  "It had a catchy arrangement which kind of hid the banal and cliched nature of the lyrics."

Minamo, who had been listening carefully while sitting on the floor sits up.  "That's my favorite Harmony Project song!"

Daria face plants.  "But, every line is a cliche from a shoujo manga."

Minamo turns up her nose.  "That doesn't stop me from liking it."

Daria notices that Manako has snuck in, bringing everyone, including the remedial trainees, into attendance.  "Let me conduct a quick poll.  Who here thinks that 'Always Do You Best!!' isn't a stupid song?"

All of the other trainees raise their hands.

"Whose favorite song is 'Always Do Your Best!!'"?

All of the other trainees raise their hands.

Daria puffs out her cheeks and pouts for a few seconds, then tilts her head and smiles a fake smile.  "Well, that's why I chose it."

The rest of the trainees cheer even though they know Daria is lying.

Miss Megumi nods.  "Now comes the hard part, the part that usually results in fist fights.  I am assuming that the chorus will be sung by the top eight, and then the verses will be divided up one line per girl.  I am not a producer so I can't assign people to each line.  You girls will have to fight it out among yourselves."

Minamo sits up.  "What about the bridges?"

"Up to you guys.  Now, let the battle begin!"

Jiro jiro.  (4)

Daria is shocked to see everyone looking at her for direction.  "Well, um, since Manako is the most stable singer, I think she should do the first solo line since she'll be the least nervous."

Everyone nods in approval.

"I think I should do the second line!!"  Minamo jumps up, shocking the rest of the group.

Daria composes herself.  "Any reason?"

"Well, I was thinking that would be a good character for me to play.  A girl who trips and gets peeped on by a bully, but her senpai saves the day by straightening the bully out."

"We're acting out the lyrics?"

"Of course!  And, obviously you'll be the cool senpai."

Daria winces.  "So who will be the bully?"

"I can do that."  Risu says smugly.

Daria nods.  "Well, if Risu and I are playing characters in the first verse then our lines should come in the second verse."

Everyone voices support for this.

Daria thinks for a minute.  "So, who should be the transfer student in the second verse?"

The group points at Akira.

Daria snickers.  "Akira, can you sparkle when you smile and pout cutely?"

Akari does so with ease.

"Works for me.  So Akira, you should do the third line so that in the second verse you can concentrate on your character."

"Yea!"  Akira makes the double peace sign.

"And, since the fourth line is angry, I think Natsuko should do it."

Natsuko gives Daria an angry look.

"Perfect."

Natsuko pouts but realizes that she's been type-cast.

"So, what about the bridge?"

The group looks at Daria with puzzled expressions.

Daria thinks.  "Well, I disagree with the idea that the remedial trainees should only be back dancers.  I think that they should suffer the same anxiety that I am suffering over having to do a line."

The remedial trainees cheer, ignoring Daria's gloom and doom.

Manako smiles.  "Maybe instead of solo lines, they could have lines with the official trainees?  That would make it easier."

Daria nods.  "Okay, since Akari and Manako will have already done a line, they should pair up with a remedial trainee on the bridge lines."

Manako gets a sneaky look.  "Since the first line in the bridge is about you, Daria, I think that your senpai and your kouhai should deliver it."

Utako cheers and makes a peace sign.

"Okay."  Daria makes sure that Miss Megumi is writing things down and then nods.  "Akira, any preference?"

Akira blushes.  "Well, um, Nanamo has confessed to me, so I think it is only fair that I pick her."

Daria raises an eyebrow.  "Confessed?"

"That she liked my blog and thought I was a cool senpai."

Daria relaxes a little.  "Okay."

"That's why we're sleeping together."

"What?"  Both Daria and Miss Megumi face plant.

"It was just a joke!"

Daria pouts as the rest of the group laughs at her overreaction.  "Okay, so Akira and Nanamo for the second line of the chorus."

Miss Megumi clears her throat.  "There's only eight microphones.  The duos will have to share."

Daria nods.  "Okay, now for the second verse.  Risu, you're the most experienced of the ones remaining so you should do the first line."

Risu gives a thumbs up.

"Chisako, do you think that you can do the second line?"

"Sure!  Since all the girls already envy me, it should be a breeze."

Daria cringes.  "I don't."

"Well, maybe some of the girls."

"As for the third line, I think I should do it.  That way when Rikoko does the fourth line people will forget how bad I was."

Rikoko laughs.  "You'll do great, senpai."

"And, since Rikoko just did a line, Risu should do the first bridge line."

"I'll do it with Bana-chan.  I think I can lead her through it."

Daria nods.  "Okay, so Musuba and Rikoko will do the last bridge line."

Musuba and Rikoko slap high fives.

"And, since Manako is the sneakiest, she should be the scheming best friend."

Manako makes a peace sign.

Daria turns to Megumi.  "How does that sound?"

Megumi looks at Daria in shock.  She pulls out her phone and makes a call.  "Sachiko?  They're ready to start rehearsing."  Megumi pulls the phone away from her ear as if Sachiko had yelled.  "I'm serious.  No one fought over the lines."

Megumi puts down the phone.  "She was expecting it to take over an hour.  Daria, I have never seen a girl before so cut out to be a leader."

Daria blushes.  "When I screw up my line I will take comfort in your praise."

...

"So, Dar Dar, ready to knock them dead?"

Daria looks at Manako with a look of slight annoyance.  The other trainees lounge about the dressing room, checking their make up and stretching.  "Of course not."

"What are you worried about?"

"Everything."

Manako gives Daria a sneaky look.  "What about our outfits?"

"The outfits are fine.  We can move around in them easily and we don't have to worry about giving the audience a free show if we make the wrong move."

"Your make up?"

"I don't wear make up."

"Your glasses?"

"The holder strap seems to be working."

"The dance?"

"The dance is fine.  I was surprised.  After all that hard work doing all those crazy dances in practice we get a dance where we are posing motionless most of the time."

"It's so we don't upstage the person singing.  What about your lines?"

"I think I can do them."

"So, what are you worried about?"

"Me.  I'm pretty self-destructive.  I am sure I will find a way to screw things up."

"Don't you remember the Taiyaki School concert?"

"Yes."

"How many times did I screw up my back dancing?"

"None."

"Twenty.  But, I have done it before so I can recover gracefully.  We're all going to screw up, and it's always painful when you screw up the first time, but we all get over it and laugh about it later."

"If you say so."

Miss Megumi opens the door.  "Five minutes!  Get ready!"

Daria suddenly realizes that everyone is crowding around her and staring at her.  "Is there something you all need?"

Manako pushes Daria's shoulder.  "Baka!  You're the leader.  You're supposed to say something inspirational and then we put our hands in for a cheer."

"Um, I hope that you guys will be able to compensate for me stinking out the joint.  You all are pros so you shouldn't have any problems.  OWWWW!!"  Daria holds her butt.

Risu, with her index fingers still together winks at Daria.  "Daria, your butt is in good hands with us."

Daria starts laughing.  "Thanks Risu, I needed that.  Hands in!"

The trainees chant together "Singing, dancing, exciting, Yeah!"

Miss Megumi opens the door.  "It's time."

...

"It was the annual dogs versus cats competition.  Next on Hen Tanoshii Sekai: the dogs win one to none." (5)

Daria turns off the television and answers her phone.  "Hello Jane.  What's up?"

"What's up?  How are you feeling now that you are a star?"

"Like I don't want to see another human being for a month."

"Well, that's too bad.  We still have school on Monday."

"So, how badly did I stink?"

"Not at all.  Your line went over well, your group looked in sync on the dancing, and your skit with you adjusting Minamo's tie got fan girl screams."

"Don't remind me."

"Well, in sync except for that one girl who kept turning the wrong way on the choruses."

"You mean Bana?  She was screwing up in practice, but we thought it looked funny, so we changed the choreography so that Bana was now supposed to do that."

"Smart move.  It got laughs.  Oh, check your email, I think you will have two messages."

Daria turns on her computer and checks.  "One from Trent and one from Tomu."

"Um, could you do me a favor?"

"What?"

"Delete Tomu's message."

"Why?  Is it embarrassing?"

"Why?  You know why Miss Missy."

"Um, no I don't."

"Well, it's kind of obvious, especially when you chose that line to sing.  It's obvious you're planning on making a play for Tomu."

Daria makes a face.  "How do you know that I picked it?"

"Minamo bragged about it within earshot of me."

"Did she say why I chose it?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

Daria winces.  "I chose the second verse because I was doing a skit in the first verse.  I chose the third line because Rikoko would follow me and everyone would forget how bad my line was."

"A likely excuse.  Especially since you wrote the song."

"What?  If I did write the song in third grade then Harmony Project owes me five years of royalties.  It was Taiyaki School's first single.  You even saw them perform it at Alana's graduation concert.  What's this really about?  Are you jealous that Tomu sent me an email?"

"Jealous that he went into great detail on how you could improve."

"Well, I am glad you don't have big brother complex or else you would ask me to delete both emails."

"Not really.  That would mean that Trent actually put effort into writing the message."

"Should also I look at Tomu's performance?"

"You little ..."  Jane calms down.  "I guess so.  Sorry, I am acting stupid."

"Actually, I think Tomu is lucky he has someone who is stupidly jealous over him."

Jane chuckles.  "Thanks, I think.  Anyway, Tomu's performance was really good.  You can barely tell how terrible Keibin was."

"What and Yuuki's performance?"

"She did fine on her singing.  And, Haruko sounds exactly like she sounds on the recording."

"Exactly?"

"As in lip syncing.  Which is another thing that she is terrible at."

"Do you still want me to delete the message?"

"No."

"Okay, time to catch up.  Later."

Daria opens Trent's message first.

Daria, your group was really good.

Daria smirks over Trent's lack of effort.  Daria opens Tomu's email. Ten paragraphs?  Wow, maybe Jane was right to be mad.

...

Daria calls up Jane.  "I just want to apologize."

"Why, for me being an idiot?"

"No, you weren't.  That was a really long message from Tomu.  It was all tiny performance detail tips that the coaches will probably miss, but it was still really long."

"That's okay.  Just don't start baking him cookies."

"I did notice one thing though."

"Oh?"

"Of the dozen small things that I was doing wrong, Keibin also did all of them, only much worse than I did."

"You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

"Also, Tomu and Yuuki did none of those dozen things."

Jane laughs.  "You should tell Yuuki to announce on the Wired that you are her rival.  You could then answer her announcement that you accept her as a rival, unlike some other person."

Daria half smiles.


To Be Continued


(1) Senbei are rice crackers.

(2) Two of the groups in Harmony Project are "Taiyaki School" and "Daifuku School".  Both Taiyaki and Daifuku are filled snacks.

(3) A completely made up song.  Here are the "lyrics" they are brainstorming over:

Always Do Your Best!!  (Taiyaki School)

(Chorus)

When your life's not going right
When the sun's not burning bright
You could throw it all away
And crawl back in between the sheets
Or you could try, harder still
No need to cry, use your will
Even if you can't find the way
You must always do your best.

(Verse 1)

You're late (late!) for school again
Running with some toast in your mouth  - (Manako)
You trip (trip!) on a sidewalk crack
Causing your skirt to hike up - (Minamo)

Why did that boy have to be there?
The one who teases all the time - (Akira) (Risu is the bully)
Now he knows what panties that I wear
Peeping should be made a major crime. - (Natsuko)

(Bridge)

But there's a senpai I like
Who is perfect in every way - (Manako/Utako) (Daria is the senpai who fixes Minamo's tie)
He corrected that jerk by
telling him to pretend he didn't see - (Akira/Nanamo) (Risu extra line - I didn't see, it was a lucky guess!)

(chorus)

The transfer student is a bishounen
I bumped into him first so he is mine  - (Risu) (Akari is the transfer student)
He sparkles when he smiles and is cute when he pouts
All the girls will envy me - (Chisako)

But my best friend is trying to ruin everything
And I known her all of my life - (Daria) (Manako is the best friend)
I thought we promised long ago to not do that
I wonder if she just forgot? - (Rikoko)

(Bridge 2)

But I found out the boy's secret
The thing he hides from all the world (Risu/Bana)
With the purity of my heart
I'm sure I can help him work it out (Rikoko/Musuba) (Akari's extra line - I'm actual really into shoujo manga)

(chorus)

Dance break

(chorus acapella)

(4) Jiro jiro is the "sound effect" in Japanese for people staring.

(5) "One" sounds like "Wan" which is the sound the Japanese assign to a dog barking (like English speaking people assign "woof").  "None" sounds like "Nyan" is the sound the Japanese assign to the noise a cat makes (like English speaking people assign "meow").  So, the dogs won wan to nyan.


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