Chapter 16:

Animated Performance

I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols

Only one day after finishing Blossom Stars, Umi had already come up with the next song but, instead of doing everything by herself, everyone was going to work on it. Meanwhile, I had another job to fill.Bookmark here

I left the studio just one hour after the meeting started to head back to Saitama District. As I walked on the sidewalk of the busy avenue, I realized something I hadn't thought about.Bookmark here

How am I going to convince the owners to let complete strangers perform at their business? I know I have more chances of finding a venue in the Trading District, but I wanted to try here. There's only one problem: what am I going to show them? I have nothing. Not even flyers. I don't want to ask Aki to make them, they already have a lot of work. I guess that leaves me with one option.Bookmark here

I put my glasses on and called Jun, who was studying something related to design.Bookmark here

I hope he's not busy with that girl again.Bookmark here

A few seconds later, he answered. "What's up?"Bookmark here

"Hey, are you busy?"Bookmark here

"Nope."Bookmark here

"Great. By any chance, are you looking for a job?"Bookmark here

"Nope."Bookmark here

"Oh… And what about commissions?"Bookmark here

"Sure, money never hurts. Most of the time, at least. What do you need?"Bookmark here

"I… have no idea," I giggled.Bookmark here

As we talked, I kept walking and looking around for any interesting places.Bookmark here

"Then why did you ask for a commission?"Bookmark here

"I mean, I want something to advertise my idol group, but I don't know what, exactly. It could be a flyer, a poster, an animation…"Bookmark here

"Idol group?"Bookmark here

"I forgot I didn't tell you that time, since you were with that girl."Bookmark here

"Don't mention her, we already broke up."Bookmark here

"That was fast. Anyway. I needed a business for my final project, so I made an idol agency and it has one group. It already has five members and we are working on the first songs. You know what an idol is, right?"Bookmark here

"Yeah but, why an idol agency?"Bookmark here

"Long and weird story, I'll tell you another day."Bookmark here

"Okay… So, you have no idea of what you want."Bookmark here

"Nope."Bookmark here

He stayed silent for a moment. "I'm looking at idol stuff now. I'd suggest an animation, so people can see the liveliness in the motion."Bookmark here

"Sure, you're the expert."Bookmark here

"However, I need material for reference. Do you have videos of them performing or anything?"Bookmark here

"I don't."Bookmark here

He stopped talking again. "I need references. If not, it will end up weird and without the essence of the group."Bookmark here

"In that case, come see them perform in person. They haven't performed in front of anyone yet, so someone else's opinion would be great."Bookmark here

"Sure. When?"Bookmark here

I could tell Tomokazu as well, so there are two opinions.Bookmark here

"Let me ask Tomokazu. We can discuss the date in the chat group we haven't used in weeks."Bookmark here

We said goodbye and hung up. I called Tomokazu and asked him to come to see the performance; he immediately accepted. We chatted a bit in the group and chose the date for the next day.Bookmark here

I walked around for another hour and marked the places that caught my eye. I returned to the studio and told the girls about Jun and Tomokazu. They seemed nervous at first, but they were just as excited.Bookmark here

We worked on the new song and its choreography for the rest of the afternoon. Aki, Umi, and I walked together for five minutes towards the university, then we split. I arrived early at the lecture, but Professor Fuku was already there. We chatted until the lecture began.Bookmark here

For the third day in a row, Professor Fuku and I walked together throughout the campus and headed to her apartment. I dropped her off and returned to mine. Even though I didn't run into Aki again, I still couldn't figure out what was going on with me. But I believed there was some progress.Bookmark here

I headed to the studio the next day and we worked on the song until Jun and Tomokazu arrived. I opened the front door for them and we stepped into the studio.Bookmark here

"Girls, I want to introduce you to my friends: Tomokazu and Jun."Bookmark here

"Hey," Jun greeted.Bookmark here

"Hello, ladies," Tomokazu smirked.Bookmark here

"Tomokazu, Jun, they are the group I'm managing: Blostars. Aki, Umi, Astra, Risa, and Sanae."Bookmark here

"Hi!" they all smiled.Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, Tomokazu walked forward and approached Astra.Bookmark here

"Hello—"Bookmark here

"Don't even think about it," I warned, crossing my arms next to him.Bookmark here

After calming him down, Tomokazu, Jun, and I sat on three of the five chairs. Jun took out a QPad and a pen from his backpack. The girls warmed up a little before starting to perform. Since we couldn't make any noise, they only danced without singing. The song already had their voices and they played it in low volume.Bookmark here

The room was quite small for them to dance properly, forcing them to be especially careful. They had only practiced for two days, so their movements weren't the sharpest yet.Bookmark here

After they danced the entire song, they struck the finishing pose. Jun put his QPad on the floor and stood up to clap. Tomokazu didn't stand, but he also clapped.Bookmark here

"Amazing!" Jun said.Bookmark here

"Truly heartwarming," Tomokazu added.Bookmark here

The girls looked about to explode in joy. They congratulated each other.Bookmark here

"I guess you liked it," I said to Tomokazu and Jun.Bookmark here

"It wasn't perfect, but I can feel the emotion," Tomokazu replied. "With a little refining, it will be a success."Bookmark here

Jun nodded. "I was able to draw a few sketches for the animation. It will be ready in two days."Bookmark here

"That's fast," I said.Bookmark here

"Do you have a logo?"Bookmark here

"No, but we have the costume."Bookmark here

"Send me that. I'll make you a logo. And, because you're my friend, I'm not going to charge you for its license."Bookmark here

"No, no. Let me pay you properly; it's your job, after all."Bookmark here

"If you insist. I'll send you the invoice later."Bookmark here

He didn't even hesitate.Bookmark here

"I'll also ask you a few more things about the group," he added. "Please reply as soon as you can."Bookmark here

"Understood."Bookmark here

"What about me?" Tomokazu asked. "What can I help you with?"Bookmark here

"You already helped a lot by advertising the auditions. Astra found out about them thanks to that."Bookmark here

"I'm glad to hear that. But I can be even more helpful."Bookmark here

"How?"Bookmark here

"Just think about it. I'm a connoisseur of this entire anime culture. I know what the fans want."Bookmark here

"Like, marketing?"Bookmark here

"Precisely! I know what products they are willing to buy and how to sell them to them."Bookmark here

"But aren't you studying something about biology?"Bookmark here

"That's not going to stop me from working on what I'm passionate about."Bookmark here

I stood still, thoughtful for a moment. "It doesn't sound bad, but I think it's too soon to think about marketing."Bookmark here

"It's never too soon, dear friend."Bookmark here

"I mean that I'm very tight on money. I won't be able to pay you."Bookmark here

"I'll do it for free until you can."Bookmark here

"You know I'm not going to do that. Don't worry, I'll ask for your help when I need it."Bookmark here

"That's what I like to hear."Bookmark here

After chatting for a few more minutes, Tomokazu and Jun left. The girls took a break to go to the bathroom and eat something. As usual, I bought food for them. The delivery drone never took more than five minutes to arrive.Bookmark here

We dragged the chairs from the studio to the small dining room and started eating at the table. Everything in the building was antique, so the bathroom, the kitchen, and the dining room also had a classical style.Bookmark here

"Kaito," Astra called. "Are you struggling with money?"Bookmark here

"I'm not. Why do you ask?"Bookmark here

"You told your friend that you're tight on money. And you receive less money from the government because you only have one lecture a day now."Bookmark here

"Yes, but I still have my savings. I calculated your salaries based on them; I will be able to pay you for a few months even if we don't earn anything, but there isn't much to spare. Of course, the plan is to earn something by then."Bookmark here

"I see. Sorry for asking too much," Astra giggled.Bookmark here

"It's fine, I know you also worry. Also, I want to rent a proper dance studio, but I'm waiting for Umi to solve her situation."Bookmark here

"Situation?" Sanae wondered.Bookmark here

"I'd rather you didn't tell everyone about my personal life," Umi complained. "What does my situation have to do with renting a dance studio?"Bookmark here

"Once it's certain we can use your studio to record, I plan to rent a place in that building and turn it into a dance studio. That way, we won't lose much time going from one to the other. And the building is in the Saitama District, not too far from here. It will be closer to everyone."Bookmark here

"Ohh!" everyone uttered—except for Umi.Bookmark here

"That means Risa and I will have to walk there," Sanae said.Bookmark here

"Don't worry, we can go together," I replied. "Is that okay for you?"Bookmark here

Sanae and Risa nodded with a smile.Bookmark here

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