Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: The Boy Who Listens

Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!

"Just when will this little boy leave the premise? I hate that the other customers are uneasy of his presence. His voice is way too loud, and he doesn't seem to think about others around him too. His ability to pick up dialogues is astounding, I must say. But I don't think it's good to repeat the line loudly. If he wants to quote it, just write it somewhere, without the need to memorize verbally!" - Waitress.Bookmark here

All eyes were on him.
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It could not be helped. He was utterly engrossed by the anime displayed on the television. The customers were eyeing him for unconsciously bothering them during meal. The unnecessary concern was obviously noticeable, but he turned to deaf ear. What he should focus on, to him, was the anime on the television.Bookmark here

If he delayed even a millisecond, he would lose the opportunity. His parents were the strict type – They restricted him from getting close to the television even if it was weekend or holiday. Therefore, he took this golden chance to watch one of his favourite anime on the show. Being bothersome? It was just temporary. He was one of the customers too, so he would eventually leave the restaurant after paying for his meal. Bookmark here

A waitress came to his table. She bent over a little, whispering something to his ears and grinned as naturally as she could. It was undeniably disturbing, but he could not ignore his own desire too.Bookmark here

“Uhm,” the waitress was the one being eyed instead, “Hey, little boy. The other customers are disliking your activity here, you see.”Bookmark here

She was being as polite as she could despite her heart throbbing from those sharp stares by the customers. It was entirely not her fault that this little boy refused to listen to her. She has reminded him twice already, but the mentioned little boy really neglected her trouble. A long sigh escaped as she could only think of one resort at the moment. However, she has never done it since it was quite rude to drive a customer away from the premise. Bookmark here

She peeked at her eye tips. The other customers have already sent off death glares at her. She flinched, getting the vibe that she would not get out from their grasp if things were not handled seriously. She gulped as she suddenly had an awful idea in order to control this little boy from getting on their nerves continuously. Bookmark here

While there were still some who watched the anime like the little boy, the whole restaurant was stunned by the impatient screen change. From displaying a popular anime at the moment, the screen showed a real-life 3D figures acting out a romance drama. Grunts and complaints filled the atmosphere as the waitress chose to execute the constructed plan in her head without hesitation. Bookmark here

“Miss Waitress! I want to watch the anime!” the little boy undoubtedly lamented. He was the loudest among those whiners. “The main character was about to kill his best friend!”Bookmark here

“It’s inappropriate for an elementary student like you to watch such anime,” one of the customers responded, “At your age, you should be watching <Doraemon> or <Chibi Maruko Chan>. Oh! You should watch <Mirimo De Pon> too! It’s funny and watchable.”Bookmark here

It was clearly a mock, and the little boy was really pissed off by the scoffing. He pulled a pout and crossed his arms in dissatisfaction. Not only he was forbidden to watch television at home, he was also banned from watching in public. Bookmark here

“Little boy, the anime is R-13. You surely are not a 12-year-old yet, right?” The waitress attempted on persuading the little boy from sulking. Bookmark here

The little boy lowered his head, avoiding the waitress from looking at him pitifully. He was not really watching the action or explicit scenes. He was just digesting the voice of the character in the anime. Its main character had a throaty voice which suited his role in the anime – an antagonistic hero who fought to create a much better world for the sake of his little sister. The little boy adored how the voice actor conveyed the mischievousness and annoyance of the character, making him to appreciate the anime more. Bookmark here

The waitress was right – he has not even reached 12 years old. He was eleven, to be exact. He loved watching anime, but due to familial schedule, he could not make some time for his hobby. He could only wander around to watch somewhere he came across to – including this restaurant. Judging from the response by the worker itself, he realized immediately. He could not even do what he loved in public. Bookmark here

Nothing could be done. He has done what he loved to do, therefore he could not complain anymore. He paid for his meal and exited the restaurant. He knew the waitress did not meant to hurt him emotionally, but he was still pained by the fact that he was unable to re-act those important scenes in the episode.Bookmark here

He loved that voice of the main character in the anime. He might need to look up the name, right? But he did not have computer to use Internet. Should he go to the cyber café instead?Bookmark here

“Aki!”Bookmark here

Someone called him from behind. It was a familiar voice. The little boy would not have to feel afraid over an abrupt accost. He turned around to see his best friend running towards him. The best friend was bringing a bag almost as the same size as his torso, predictably he has just finished his piano class.Bookmark here

“Tori!” Bookmark here

The two boys quickly met each other. The one who was called Tori huffed and puffed. He was running all the way to the one who was called Aki. Aki just hopped a little to be able to lessen the distance between them.Bookmark here

“Why do you look so gloomy?” Bookmark here

They decided to rest on a bench at a playground. It was common for kids like them to spend time there, but on that day, it was rare to only sit and chat a little. The dull expression on Aki’s face was clearly portrayed.Bookmark here

“People dislike my presence,” Aki pouted. His one foot kicked the ground beneath them. “I was watching an anime when the worker suddenly changed the channel. She wanted me to stop watching. Even the customers whined at me.”Bookmark here

“The customers whined at you?” Tori’s eyes widened. “They must be really angry.”Bookmark here

“I love the anime though,” Aki somehow found a pebble and kicked it further. It felt as if he was kicking his uneasiness together with it. “I like how the main character controls everyone just by looking directly into their eyes. The best part is his power won’t be wiped out, like, do you get it? It will remain till you die!” Bookmark here

Tori chuckled at how enthusiastically Aki shared about the anime he watched at the restaurant. He liked seeing Aki in such state rather than his own sorrowful past self. He was a coward. He could not be as open as Aki. Befriending Aki meant he was becoming like Aki, as if he borrowed some of Aki’s spirit and courage so that he could appear much braver each day.Bookmark here

“I know, I know,” Tori ceased from giggling, “Then, you must have disturbed everyone again, Aki.”Bookmark here

“I didn’t!” Aki abruptly denied. However, Tori’s subconsciously cold stares gave him shivers, “Ah, I think I did.”Bookmark here

Tori patted on Aki’s shoulder, telling him ‘Good job for being frank’.Bookmark here

“Who was you imitating today?” Tori’s sight landed on a truck selling street food.Bookmark here

Even from first glance, it was definitely not a normal food truck. There was a weird aura emitting from it, but Tori could not estimate whether it was a good vibe or bad miasma surrounding it. He frowned a little.Bookmark here

“I don’t know who the voice actor was,” Aki noticed that Tori was staring at one direction. He trailed to find out what has allured the attention of his friend. “But listening from the voice, I think he acts for shonen or seinen anime.”Bookmark here

“I don’t really know who acts in seinen anime, but I do know some for shonen,” Tori shifted at Aki to reply, then returned to the food truck. “Well, we can look up on the Internet, right?”Bookmark here

The longer Tori stared at the truck, the stranger Aki sensed. “Yeah, I thought of doing so once I left the restaurant. But I don’t know whether I should go to the cyber café or your house,” Aki’s intonation gradually flattened as he was too focus in disclosing what has gotten to Tori. Bookmark here

“Ah, I have a mobile phone!”Bookmark here

Out of the blue, the odd environment interchanged to cheery and adorable mood. Their attention immediately shifted to themselves and the food truck was ignored. Tori scribbled for something in his bag. Aki was about to inquire when the latter fished out a shiny matte black object. It did not have a cover, so its originality was proven by the brand printed on its back. It had small sized buttons with numbers and symbols on each of them.Bookmark here

“This is my mobile phone!” Tori announced in delight, “My father bought it for me, so that I can call the driver after my classes have ended.”Bookmark here

“For real?” Aki covered his mouth with his palm, eyes went teary and blinking, “Adults are usually the one using mobile phones. Are you saying that you’re an adult now?”Bookmark here

“There’s no way an 11-year-old kid becomes a legal adult,” Tori pressed on one of the buttons. The phone lit up, “I just obtained this last night, so I haven’t discovered much of its features. But at least it can be connected to the Internet.”Bookmark here

Aki watched Tori typing up something on the phone. He read the sentence Tori has typed – Seinen Anime voice actors – on the browser space. A few milliseconds later, the result appeared on the screen, and there were links connecting to another relative website. There were indeed websites which provided information such as background of the voice actors, the company profile, ages and birth dates, and so much more. Bookmark here

“It’s really handy!” Aki cried in happiness. He liked how Tori could search for anything only by his fingertips. Tori even tried to play a video attached on one of the websites. “You can even watch anime with it!”Bookmark here

“I know, right? Mobile phones nowadays are much more convenient compared to the old styled ones. Especially when there are packages of mobile data for internet users in our local telecommunication. The intelligentsias believably are creating much faster internet connection for us as the next generations.”Bookmark here

It was Aki’s turn to giggle at Tori’s passion. He has befriended Tori since they were Standard 1. It was initially his parents’ wish so that they could get close to one of the richest family in the neighbourhood. Aki’s parents were not materialistic since they were rich too, but in term of influence, Tori’s parents held much bigger power compared to Aki’s. Bookmark here

Nothing much but to be acknowledged by Tori’s family. That was the sole motive of befriending Tori set by his parents. However, Aki was not that naïve to follow whatever his parents have arranged for him. He preferred to move around on his own will.Bookmark here

That was his sole motive for playing truant from his violin class. He disliked schedules. He disliked learning. He disliked being instructed like robots. He disliked the way his parents arranged everything for him. The only provision he could accept was his friendship with Tori. Four years of befriending each other divulged their own hidden sides, which at one point relieved them both. Bookmark here

Aki and Tori were not that perfect as the sons of famous family in the neighbourhood. Aki was stubborn and refused to obey to his parents in many matters, while Tori was the timid and shy type to the point he could not voice out when people ask for his name. Their dissimilarities complimented each other thus creating a very balance friendship. Bookmark here

“Ah, it came out!”Bookmark here

Aki never expected he would daydream whereas the time taken the internet consumed to search for answers was not even reaching one minute. Aki blinked in embarrassment even though Tori did not notice his fluster. He leant his forearm against Tori’s, enclosing his distance to Tori’s phone and reading the entire screen. Bookmark here

“It seems like the voice actors for seinen anime can act in shonen. That’s why their numbers are uneven. Like this actor,” Tori pointed to one of the listed anime voice actors in the website, “It said that he acts in multiple range of anime genre. He even acts as a girl!”Bookmark here

“All right, that’s a news to me!” Aki ogled in slight shock. “He is not too young to capably act as a girl. Guess he really can act well.”Bookmark here

“This actor!” Tori pinched out a part of the article, “It said that he can apply wide voice range too! And this actor!” Tori kept pointing here and there along the article, “He can do screaming and yelling pretty stably!”Bookmark here

Aki squinted at Tori, “Why are you the one getting overjoyed?”Bookmark here

Tori raised his brows. “It isn’t wrong, is it?”Bookmark here

“Then!” Aki fidgeted with his fingers on the lap, “Can you find for me the list of voice actors in that anime? It’s Code G.”Bookmark here

“Sure!” Tori immediately returned to the home page and typed new keywords – Code G anime, voice actor list. Bookmark here

The duo stared at the screen when there was a loading symbol, depicting that the internet was looking for answers in the supercomputer. Once the screen displayed a bunch of bluish links connecting to other websites, they grinned ear to ear in delight. Bookmark here

“Here you go.”Bookmark here

There was a long list of voice actors and actresses involved in the Code G anime. Aki’s brightened face somehow entertained Tori. He was glad that Aki could be happy just by finding the name he has been questioning himself. Bookmark here

“Do you remember the character name in the anime?” asked Tori.Bookmark here

Aki surprisingly shook his head and scratched his temple, laughing wryly while receiving Tori’s unacceptance stare. “But! I remember how he looked like!”Bookmark here

Tori assisted him to find the character by himself. Tori did not see the anime, hence only Aki could help himself. He shrieked in pure gladness once he found the mentioned antagonistic main character he has put his attention on. Bookmark here

“This is him! Elle Britannia!” Aki excitedly pointed at the image displayed, “His voice is still ringing in my ears! I like how the actor acted as Elle Britannia. Although he seems villainous, he can talk very gently to his little sister Nana Britannia. As if he is a coin with two different sides!” Bookmark here

It was quite astonishing to Tori even though Aki has always been inspirited each time they met up. He knew Aki’s, rather, bad habit while watching anime. Aki has always had the urge to imitate the dialogue in the scenes he watched. The Code G that he saw at the restaurant was the newest incident, eventually bothering the other customers and causing unwanted attention. He was not belittling the anime. His curiosity in trying voice acting has always overwhelmed his heart and soul. He would try imitating the tone, the pitch, the conversation, the side effect sounds, and the screaming when it was necessary. Once he began imitating, he would concentrate on the attempt without considering the comfort of other people around him. Bookmark here

“Aki, why do you like imitating voice actors?”Bookmark here

Tori’s sudden question did not waver Aki. His answer would always be the same. “I’m wondering how an actor who contributes only his voice in an anime could deliver various kinds of feelings, emotions, and utterance whereas no one sees him. I want to be someone who could move people by voices only too.”Bookmark here

The breeze brushed against their hairs, swaying their fringe and providing them coolness. That was Aki and his fondness. They were about to indulge themselves into the calming wind as Tori’s stomach grumbled, pleading to be filled. Bookmark here

Marshall Eastman
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