Chapter 5:

Chapter 5: Invitation to Clubs

Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!

"Wow! What a shock! This kid likes imitating voice actors, huh? Does he want to be one? I have an opening though." - Hiro.Bookmark here

The petals of cherry blossom fell off the bloom and flew elsewhere by the gentle breeze. The walking students beneath the trees gleefully accosted each other. It was their first day of middle school which began during spring, thus supplying good vibe despite the awareness of lifestyle changing once one left elementary school. They had school uniforms to wear for the whole year according to the season.Bookmark here

It was a totally different environment compared to the carefree life of elementary school. Although the weather was still nice, no one could resist from not getting nervous for the first day of enrolment. Everyone would be gathered in the main hall of the school, and they would be distributed into their classes referred to lists attached at the information board. Bookmark here

The same worrisome sensation was felt to those two best friends. Even after they have encouraged each other on bracing up and confidently striding among the unknown classmates, apparently the spirit shook as soon as they stepped into the school compound. They never acknowledged anyone who came from the same elementary school as them, hence all the faces they saw there were alien to them.Bookmark here

The most fortunate matter regarding their first day in middle school was that they were both located in the same class. They hugged each other as they saw their names lumped together in the name list, abandoning those strange looks from other students. They quickly made their way to the main hall to gather themselves for the entrance ceremony. The other students have already lined up according to their classes, while the parents were standing at the back of the hall. Bookmark here

“Welcome to Izumi Junior High School!” A sturdy old man announced on the microphone. He was believably the school’s headmaster, judging from his way of talking and his movement, “Congratulations for your enrolment! Hopefully you’ll be having great time studying here!”Bookmark here

The students and their parents applauded to the headmaster’s speech. After around one hour of the ceremony, the students were distributed to their classroom according to their years. The parents dismissed and returned to work or home, while the teachers split to their respective classroom. The hall became clear in less than ten minutes.Bookmark here

But not Aki and Tori’s eagerness.Bookmark here

“Hey, Tori!” Aki nudged at Tori’s forearm, “Do you know what clubs this school has?” Bookmark here

Tori glanced at the latter before shrugging in bewilderment. “I haven’t found any information regarding that. But, according to the headmaster’s speech earlier, the capacity of students is quite high. Therefore, I believe there are variety of clubs in Izumi Junior High School.”Bookmark here

Aki frowned at Tori’s seriousness, “You sure can work as a detective, Tori. You’re like an information centre at malls – You know everything!”Bookmark here

“Can you compare me to a much better example? Like bulletin board, police station, or Meitantei Konan? Plus, the headmaster said it himself. You were not focusing, right?” Bookmark here

The two best friend climbed the fleets of stairs to their classroom. They chose to walk at the most rear among their classmates to look around and obtain better view from behind. They would not get rushed as long as they could keep up with the pace. Bookmark here

“Well, you do know many things but comparing you with Meitantei Konan is a little too far,” Aki giggly teased Tori by poking on his waist. “I think police station suits you better.”Bookmark here

Tori and Aki happily laughed while making their way to the 1 – 6 classroom. Their classmates have already waited outside 1 – 6, while their homeroom teacher was drawing something on the board. The small numbered boxes on the black board was defining the position the students would sit in the class. Bookmark here

“All right, students!” Once the teacher has done sketching on the black board, she motioned her hand, signalling the students to come in. “You may pick a number and sit accordingly.”Bookmark here

Aki and Tori were the furthest from the first student, therefore they were the last to choose their numbers. Fortunately there were some of their classmates exchanged numbers to get seated next to their close friends, hence the only empty seats left were for Aki and Tori on the back of the class. They happened to sit next to each other as well. Chuckling in pure satisfaction, Aki and Tori thumbed up to themselves. Bookmark here

“Let’s introduce ourselves, students. I begin first,” the teacher stood on the platform, “My name is Maeko. You can call me Miss Maeko.”Bookmark here

The whole class then stood up by turn and introduced themselves. Aki was the last student of 1 – 6 for self-introduction, however his was the most memorable to the classmates. Bookmark here

“Good morning. My name is Aki. I live in the nearby neighbourhood. My hobby is voice imitating.”Bookmark here

It was a big fat lie if Aki denied the scene before his eyes. His classmates were looking at him in disgust except Tori. He took a glimpse at the restless Tori beside him. From the expression, Aki could say Tori also did not expect such reaction from their classmates. They secretly exchanged looks as they overheard some of the girls even whispered among themselves.Bookmark here

“Be quiet, class!” Maeko warned the entire class over the noticeably unfair response to Aki’s hobby. “Can you tell us more about your hobby, Aki?”Bookmark here

Wavering determination portrayed on Aki’s countenance, yet he gulped to clear his throat and replied calmly, “I love watching anime, and the best thing about an anime other than the story is the acting. I adore how the actors display variety of emotion and life of the characters by only voices.”Bookmark here

There were more murmurs as they heard Aki’s description about his hobby. Both of Aki’s hands turned sweaty. Why was with the reaction? The classmates were like mocking him for having such weird and less beneficial hobby. As he was battling with his inner emotion, his mind reminisced the incident between him and his mother. The dejection was almost the same to both situation. Thus, Aki ducked his head to evade more refusal against him. He was powerless to fight for his interest.Bookmark here

Tori saw that, and he felt bad for not being able to lend Aki some strength.Bookmark here

“I like your way of thinking, Aki,” Maeko clapped her hands as a sign that she was not going to reject Aki’s reasoning. “I like watching anime too, but I never thought to find out how a voice actor acts and portrays without facial expression.”Bookmark here

Somehow, the whole mood switched automatically. Aki gradually lifted his face up to confirm whether Maeko’s persuasion suited her complexion. It seemed like she did – She was genuinely smiling while voicing out her opinion regarding Aki’s hobby. As the result, his classmates remained quiet and listened to Maeko earnestly without the need to glance at him in disgust. Aki then shifted to Tori and received a thumb up with a wide grin. Bookmark here

Their first day of middle school in Izumi Junior High School was mainly about introduction to the syllabus. Maeko explained everything briefly about subjects they would be learning for the whole three years there. The session would last only till the afternoon because the students were told to go and find a club they were interested to join. It could be a sport club, a non-sport club, or a charity club – The seniors would be in the club room, hence the juniors would come to greet them. Bookmark here

It was the most awaited moment to Aki and Tori. The promise they have vowed once they have entered the same middle school would be granted at the after school session. They dashed to the information board at the lobby since it had the most detailed information regarding school’s activity, including clubs. They could hardly believe their eyes as soon as they arrived at the board – tonnes of students were crowding the board and it would be hard for Aki and Tori to slip in. Bookmark here

“At this rate, we will lose the opportunity to join the anime club!” Aki clenched his teeth while examining the whole troop of students there. Bookmark here

“They may also have their own desired clubs like us, Aki,” Tori bit his lower lip, thinking of possibilities like he always did, “From what I’ve overheard since the beginning of the day, I guess the boys are joining sport club, while the girl will be applying for…”Bookmark here

In the middle of Aki and Tori’s discussion, a big portion of the crowd dismissed from the board and reformed towards a direction. Aki and Tori stood on their tiptoes to find out what the girls were chasing after when they heart more mumbles from the smaller crowd at the board. Bookmark here

“There he is – The so-called prodigy of Izumi Junior High School.”Bookmark here

Tori tugged Aki’s arm sleeve a little to attract him to eavesdrop. Bookmark here

“Well, he’s the president of the student association after all.”Bookmark here

“It’s not like that. He’s the president and he’s the most handsome senior we’ve had here.”Bookmark here

“Is he that handsome? I think he looks average.”Bookmark here

“His good looking face could even entice men, you see.”Bookmark here

“I saw him from up here,” while overhearing to the indistinct conversation, Aki kept on tiptoeing to see the gossiped prodigy. “I must admit that he’s handsome. He has nice body stature, and he seems so nice to the girls.”Bookmark here

“Having a handsome face isn’t everything though. You sound like he’s a playboy,” Tori murmured while clutching on Aki’s sleeve.Bookmark here

Out of the blue, a boy tilted his head in front of Tori, startling the latter to the point that he accidentally tumbled on his feet and fell. The boy shrieked as he realized he was the main cause of Tori’s shock, thus he helped Tori to get up and checked on him. Bookmark here

“I didn’t think I might scare you like that,” the boy wryly laughed at his mistake, “I just want to say that I agree with you. Handsomeness isn’t everything and he is a playboy.”Bookmark here

Aki was too engrossed peeping over the crowd to see the president of student association when he heard there was an unfamiliar voice around him and Tori. He took a glance of an unknown student talking to Tori casually, while Tori seemed pallid.Bookmark here

“Uh, hello. What happened here?” Aki purposely butted in. If the student harassed Tori, he would back his best friend up, “Who’re you?”Bookmark here

The boy widened his eyes as he saw Aki. “You! So you’re here! We’re classmates, remember? I’m Hiro, the one sitting at the most front line!” he gestured a handshake. Bookmark here

Both Aki and Tori furrowed to the fact that this Hiro boy was their classmate. His curly hair and slightly tanned skin were supposed to be recognizable but not to them. Especially since they were sitting at the most rear row, hence it could be the reason why they were unable to acknowledge him. Hiro grabbed Aki and Tori’s hands and shook them together. Bookmark here

“I’ve heard about your hobby, Aki! I’m really proud of you!” Hiro thumbed up and winked, “And actually, that’s why I’m looking for you!” Bookmark here

“Looking for me? Why?” Aki failed to mask his confusion. He peeked at the perplexed Tori. Bookmark here

It took Tori only a few milliseconds before he could grasp the whole meaning of Hiro’s accost. “Do you want to recruit us to an anime club?”Bookmark here

“You’re not a mere first year student, it seems,” Hiro smirked at Tori and patted his shoulder, “You’re absolutely right. I want to recruit you to a club, but it’s not anime related.”Bookmark here

“Then I’m not interested to join,” Aki immediately turned his back towards Hiro. “I just want to get myself busy with those stuffs.”Bookmark here

Aki was about to leave the scene when someone tugged his sleeve again. He rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Let me go. Don’t force me on something I refuse.”Bookmark here

“But Aki. It’s very unfair to not hear him first.”Bookmark here

The small crowd around the information board slowly dissolved. Each of the encircling students must have had their desired clubs, and they might have gone there while Aki, Tori and Hiro confronting each other. A sigh escaped from Aki when he turned around, returning his focus on the delightful Hiro.Bookmark here

“I know my suggestion may not be accepted, but I would like to try my luck,” Hiro inhaled deeply before proceeding, “I want you guys to join the multimedia club together with me.”Bookmark here

Both Aki and Tori frowned in confusion. They exchanged looks among them before shifting back to the anticipating Hiro. Hiro grinned widely from ear to ear, possibly expecting a Yes from either Aki or Tori. Bookmark here

“Are you belittling me, Hiro?” Aki crossed his arms to his chest. Judging from his intonation, even Hiro could distinguish that Aki was agitated. “You do know the anime club doesn’t exist here, don’t you?”Bookmark here

The silence engulfing them felt awkwardly strangling. Tori glimpsed at Aki. So Aki do think critically, he thought. Bookmark here

Hiro’s fondness vanished instantly and replaced with emotionless complexion. “You’re a smart boy, it seems,” he said after a minute of quietness, “All right. I unluckily ran into two matured teens even though they’re at my age. But I guess it’s not bad either.”Bookmark here

“What are you trying to tell us, Hiro?” One of Tori’s hand clasped on Aki’s arm to restrain the latter from doing ridiculous action. “You don’t have to beat around the bushes. Just tell us what your intention is. We’ll take some time to think and we’ll let you know if we’re accepting or declining the offer.”Bookmark here

That was it. Short yet compact. It was how Tori dealt with anyone in his life. He disliked people with ambiguous intention and two-faced, hence he despised being one. This dilly-dallying Hiro quite irritated him, but he could still control his manner. Bookmark here

“Thank you for lending me your ears,” Hiro handed out a flyer to Tori and Aki each. “I’m one of the members. Well, my brother was there and he recruited me right away because we have the same interest. Watching you at the classroom, I could tell that you really love your hobby, right? In fact, it’s probably your ambition of becoming a voice actor.”Bookmark here

It felt like Aki’s rage was just an imagination. His emotion entirely interchanged when Hiro could estimate his ambition correctly. His pair of eyes widened and sparkled in excitement unconditionally. Bookmark here

“You’re the second one to be able to understand me after Tori!” He said while shaking Hiro’s hands, “But, why the multimedia club?”Bookmark here

“You see,” Hiro giggled at Aki’s superficial behavior. It entertained him a little, “The club is generously equipped. The previous members have been collecting money by doing various job for the school, until they could buy the instruments and apparatus suitable for the club. Since those seniors have already left Izumi, the youngsters must overtake the role to take care of those equipment.”Bookmark here

Aki’s expression has not changed yet, but Hiro’s revelation received too different reaction by Tori. Tori was squinting at Hiro regarding the sudden invitation, but it would hurt Aki if he declined the offer and chose other clubs instead. Although he, too, wondered why this Hiro recommended them The Media Club whereas he was fully aware that Aki wanted to get involved in anime-like activity. Bookmark here

“If it’s about taking care of the properties, why don’t the club request service from the school janitor instead?” Obviously Tori doubted Hiro’s offer.Bookmark here

Hiro seemed shocked until his pupil froze, but then he laughed. “You’re funny, Tori! I was dazed for a moment just now!” he pressed his stomach due to laughing too much. “Taking care here means we must use it properly so that it will benefit us. You do know how an electrical and electronic devices break down if they aren’t used for a very long time, right?”Bookmark here

“So you’re telling us to use those equipment once we joined the club? You’re using us, Hiro?” Tori’s tone depicted his irritation. Bookmark here

“Nu-uh. It’s not just using them,” Hiro naturally put both his hands on Aki and Tori’s shoulder respectively, “We have diversity of microphones there. As a type of training to be a voice actor, you can use any of them. Do you get what I mean?”Bookmark here

Hussain Maknoon
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