Reborn as the Protagonist: I’m a Weeb Who Got Isekaid Into My Favorite Anime and Now I’m Gonna Make the Side Character Waifu Fall in Love with Me
“Are you okay, Hiro?”
In spite of my miscalculation, Yuko still lets me walk her home after school. Clearly, I haven’t blown my chance just yet.
“What do you mean?” I ask, trying my hardest to sound cool and casual and like I don’t already know exactly what she means.
“I’m not sure… You just seem… different today”
Neither of us says anything for a while. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to respond. I mean, yeah, I may know how to thwart an apocalyptic laser monster, but I don’t know how to cut the tension of an awkward silence.
I don’t think there’s any amount of magical energy that can do that.
It looks like I’ll have to play my cards carefully from here on out. I can use my knowledge of the show to navigate all the big dangerous encounters that are, no doubt, fast approaching, but as far as interpersonal relationship drama – this is all new to me.
There was never an episode where Yuko asks the protagonist why he was acting weird that day, so I’m gonna have to make this up as we go along.
“Well,” Yuko says as we reach the end of the sidewalk, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She finally shifts her gaze from the ground below up to me and locks onto my eyes. Her vibrant blue hair dances in the breeze as the streetlight overhead clicks on. The sun is going down for the day.
“Be careful, those earthquakes today were scary.”
That’s right, I quickly learned that no one but me could see the monster attacking the city. Just like in the first episode of the show, everyone assumes a massive earthquake hit near the school. Thanks to my bucket trick, the building is still intact, and class is still in session tomorrow.
Maybe I should have let that laser beam hit the school afterall. Just a little…
“Don’t worry about me,” I try to reassure her, “I’ll be fine.”
She stomps her foot.
“Dumbass! I never said I was worried about you!” She storms off towards what I’m assuming is the direction of her house. I dunno. They never showed it in any of the episodes she’s in.
I’m able to find my own apartment surprisingly easily. To be fair, the protagonist’s apartment shows up on screen a few times, so I knew what I was looking for.
On the way up the stairs I pass an older woman, the landlord, who insists I call her Obaachan.
“I had a lot of leftovers,” she says, pushing a plastic box into my hands. My day had been such a crazy onslaught of hectic events that I didn’t even realize how hungry I was until there was food in my hands.
It’s all I can think to say, but it must have been enough. Obaachan smiles brightly.
We both just stand there politely for a while.
Like I said, interpersonal relationships are not exactly my specialty. You wanna know the names of every staff member who worked on the movie version of this show? I’m your man. You wanna know what to say to make new friends? Me too.
“Ah-” I let out a small, surprised noise as something pushes past my ankle.
I flinch, more startled than I’d like to admit, and watch in slow motion as the bento box hits the ground and pops open, splaying rice all over the stairs. I try to say something but stop. There’s a cat, all black, pacing around the spilled food. That must have been what I felt just a second ago.
“Oh, shew, go on,” Obaachan says, “That darn thing has been hanging around here all afternoon.”
The black cat stares up at me, eyes never blinking, and then runs off with one of those little hotdog pieces sliced up to look like an octopus.
I always wanted to try one of those.
Inside, the apartment is sparsely decorated, just like I remember it from binging the show. It’s a studio, the bed shoved into the corner and a kotatsu centered in the middle of the room. A sliding glass door leads out onto a patio just big enough to stand alone on. I close the door behind me and head for the bed, my long day still weighing heavy on my body.
Scrrrtch, scrrrtch, scrrrrrrtch.
It’s that cat again, standing outside on the tiny balcony. It paws at the glass door, clearly wanting to come inside.
Did the protagonist have a cat?
Not that I remember…
I decide to ignore it, choosing instead to plop facedown on the bed in the corner. I’m halfway to dreamland when-
The jangly sound of shattering glass rings out beside me. I bolt out of bed and- Wait, no. I don’t. I can’t. I can’t move at all.
“What the hell?” I mutter.
It takes a bit for my eyes to focus, and I see the cat seated on my chest, its tail swishes back and forth mischievously.
And then, because this is an anime, it talks back to me.
“We need to talk,” it tells me. The voice sounds unmistakably feminine, so I guess it’s a girl.
My stomach growls and the cat gives a quick look of surprise before narrowing its eyes again. I’m suddenly reminded that it ate the food Obaachan brought me, that it ran off with those octopus hotdogs before I could try them.
“I don’t have any food for you,” I say.
“I am not looking for food, you simpleton.”
“Of course not, you already ate.”
“You cannot possibly be referring to that hot dog… Are you still upset about that?”
“I wanted to try it! Obaachan made those just for me!”
“No, she did not. Those were leftovers. I heard her say so.”
“Well of course she’s gonna say that. She was just being nice. It’s a thing nice old ladies say. Besides, it wasn’t yours to take.”
“It had fallen on the ground; I know that humans refuse to eat food with even a little dirt on it. You would have thrown it out.”
“Wait a minute,” I say, thinking out loud, “You did that on purpose, didn’t you? You wanted me to drop the food so you could run off with it.”
“I am afraid we do not have time to continue discussing such trivial matters.”
The cat leaps up off of my chest and lands gracefully on the tatami mat.
“That’s easy for you to say, you got to eat dinner. My dinner.”
“This is why I hate humans.” The cat says.
Before I can ask what exactly she means by that, my room is engulfed in an otherworldly green glow. The cat stretches dramatically, seemingly able to extend its limbs. The creature’s face begins to shift, eyes and nose growing larger, whiskers vanishing into its fur, fur vanishing into its skin, skin growing paler and paler.
Before long, the cat is gone. In its place is an extremely tall woman. A woman who looks very familiar to me.
“Ciel?” I ask.
“No,” the woman says. She extends her arms and I see a feather as black as ink as it tumbles and floats to the ground. In one swift move the woman arches her back, unfolding a pair of angel wings extending from her shoulder blades.
She looks just like Ciel, the angel character from the show. The one with the flaming sword who manages to save the protagonist from the monster in the first episode. The only difference is, where Ciel’s wings were made of pure white feathers, these wings are a black as night.
“Ciel is my sister,” not-Ciel tells me. “I am Sylvie.”
“Ok… So what do you want, Sylvie?”
“I have been sent here by my superiors to prepare an earth warrior for the coming apocalypse.”
Oh, yeah. That.
“Wait a minute, isn’t that your sister’s job?” I ask, knowing full well the answer. Like I said, Ciel, the angel-winged-woman with a giant sword covered in flames was supposed to be there to catch my fall.
“Well,” she starts, and for the first time she changes her expression. She goes from palpable indifference to slight annoyance. “She was technically asked first…”
“So where is she? Why wasn’t she there at school today when that giant monster showed up and wrecked the city? I could have really used the help.”
“You speak as if you were expecting her.”
“I was.” How do I explain this to an angel, do they have DVDs and streaming anime sites in heaven? Do they have manga? Can they even read?
“And what do you know of Ciel?”
“She shows up in episode one, helps the protagonist fight off the sky monster, tells him about the apocalypse… wait a minute, that’s what this: the info dump.”
“What on earth are you mumbling about, human?”
“You’re here to give me a bunch of exposition. To explain all the lore of the series so I – and the viewer – can get all caught up on what the bad guys are up to.”
“You continue to speak in riddles…”
She sighs and stares out the window wistfully.
“Never mind all that. Look, I already know everything you’re about to tell me. In episode two, Ciel rambles on about her sisters. You never actually make an appearance on the show, but if she’s the sky angel, than you must be-“
“The earth angel.” She finishes my thought for me. Her green eyes twinkle, reflecting the streetlight outside of the window.
“So… where is Ciel?”
“Oh? Have we finally encountered a subject on which you are not fully informed?”
“You know, Ciel is a lot nicer to the protagonist.”
“The protagonist… I believe he is the reason I have been summoned here.”
“He? You mean me? I’m the protagonist now.” It’s hard not to flash a beaming smile after uttering these words. I sound so cool!
“No, it is quite clear to both myself and my superiors that you are an imposter. We believe you have been summoned here in place of the protagonist, as you refer to him.”
“Are you telling me you know who I really am?”
“We know enough. You are not from this world. You do not belong here. I presume that is why you have unearned knowledge of coming events.”
“That’s pretty much spot on, but you still haven’t answered my question.”
Sylvie folds her legs up like a pretzel and leans her chin on her fist. She looks very pissed off.
“It seems that airheaded brat has run away.”
“She ran away? What the hell does that mean?”
“Ciel has shirked her duties. All in favor of running off with this… protagonist.” She clicks her tongue, annoyed. Sylvie looks up at me, as if suddenly remembering I’m here too. “The other one, of course. Not you. The real protagonist. The two of them seem to have developed an escape plan. We have no idea where they are.”
“Hey! Screw that guy,” I say, shaking my fist without even realizing it, “if he doesn’t wanna be the protagonist, good, I’ll gladly take his place.”
Sylvie stretches her legs out and yawns. She’s really starting to get on my nerves.
“I highly doubt that you have what it takes to protect this world from what’s coming.”
“Oh yeah? Who do you think killed that big eyed monster who popped out of the sky this morning, huh? Me. I did it. And without any help from your sister or any other magical beings I might add.”
“That monster, as you call it, has not perished. It has simply gone into hiding to lick its wounds. It is still very much alive, and my superiors anticipate that it will return in the very near future.”
She’s stumped me there. We’re entering uncharted territory now. None of this stuff happens in the actual show. It’s all new to me.
Sylvie finally stands up straight again, although her wings continue to keep her feet from touching the ground.
“And that is why I am here now. I have come to take you to begin your training. You will be given more power than any human being has ever possessed. After months of rigorous training, no creature shall be more powerful than you.”
“Oh, no thank you.”
“Yeah, I just… don’t really wanna do any of that.”
Sylvie looks exasperated. She finally lands, feet fully on the ground. I’m assuming that’s not a good thing…
“I beg your pardon, but I believe you were just mouthing off to me about how you were the protagonist now, and how you defeated a monster all by yourself-“
“Well, not defeated, necessarily. He is still in hiding. Like you said.”
“What is the meaning of this? Explain yourself, human.” Her eyes are glowing green. It’s hard to look away and yet at the same time I’m terrified just looking at them.
“Look, calm down. All I’m saying is that I don’t need to bother with all of that training stuff.”
“And why not?”
“Because I already know how to do all that.”
“Do all what?”
“Energy blasts and stuff.”
“Really. See, there’s this girl-”
I’m still thinking we’re in the middle of this back and forth conversation when I’m struck with what feels like the worst migraine of my life and the biggest panic attack imaginable all at once and all lasting for less than a half of a half of a half of a second.
I duck down and the feeling passes. Now I’m feeling warm. Now hot. I’m burning up.
I glance upward and see a burning sword, just like the one Ciel wields in episode one, except this one is longer, thinner, with a slight curve at the end. Sylvie holds a shining katana engulfed in swirling black and purple flame just over my head. The heat of the fire singes my wild and unruly anime protagonist hairstyle.
“Ow! Watch it!” I yell.
She retracts the sword. Her mouth is hanging open in awe.
Sylvie does it again. She stabs at me a hundred times in thirty seconds and each time I’m compelled by that painful feeling in my skull to jerk left and right and up and down, swiftly dodging every single blow without even thinking about it first.
“How are you doing this?!” she asks.
“I don’t really know,” I tell her. And I don’t. “I mean, I kind of already tapped into these powers earlier when that monster appeared, so I don’t think I need any training. Anyway, like I was saying, there’s this girl that I want to be with, and I’d rather focus on that right now than on trying to fight monsters in a another dimension, you know?”
“I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood, human.” She sheathes her sword delicately. “With the true protagonist gone and having run away together with my sister Ciel, the opportunity to prevent the coming apocalypse has been squandered. I have not come here to whisk you away to a fantasy world as you have no doubt imagined. The enemies that I am training you to defeat are not coming into this world,” her eyes narrow and she looks cold, deadly, “they are already here.”
Before I can react, I hear the loud BING-BONG noise of my apartment’s doorbell. I turn to look and see Sylvie’s sword slice through the air. The blade plants itself into my door, splintering the wood when it connects. Mere seconds later, the door collapses to the ground. Sylvie’s sword is back in her hand so fast that I don’t even see it.
I lock eyes with Sylvie. That’s Yuko’s voice in my shattered doorway. I give Sylvie a look that says don’t hurt this girl or be weird about it or anything. Or at least, I hope that’s what this look is conveying. Either way, Sylvie quickly shifts shapes back into her black cat form. Her sword falls to the ground with several loud clanging sounds.
“Come on in,” I say, as if everything is normal. I can see Yuko peering from behind the doorframe.
“What happened to your door, Hiro? I rang the bell and it almost fell on top of me!”
“Oh, that. Yeah, that’s a new type of security door. It’s supposed to stop thieves. It traps them until the police how up.” It was the best I could come up with.
“But why would a thief ring the doorbell?”
“To see if anyone’s home, silly!” I grip her shoulder gently and direct her into my tiny apartment.
“Hiro, did you get a cat?”
She’s already crouched down and petting Sylvie like she’s a standard housecat. I would tell her to stop, but Sylvie seems like she’s enjoying it.
“Uhh, no I’m just watching her for… my uncle?
“What’s this thing?” Yuko asks.
She lifts the katana off the ground. Thankfully, it’s not currently covered in flames.
“Oh, uhh.. that’s also… my uncle’s… So, what can I do for you, Yuko?”
She shows me the big box she’s been carrying and unpacks it on top of the kotatsu.
“I made you dinner, just like I always do.”
Now that’s not something that happens in the show. Maybe I triggered this somehow? From what it sounds like, the real protagonist, the actual Hiro, seems like kind of a jerk. Maybe me being here is making things different afterall?
I plan on thinking about it more as soon as I’m done eating the excellent meal Yuko brought. Yuko offers a piece of chicken karaage to Sylvie, still in her cat form, and she happily gobbles it down in an instant.
The three of us sit and eat together happily for a while until our pleasant evening is interrupted by an ear-splitting scream.
“What happened to this door?”