Chapter 1:


An American Otaku

In the midwest, among the flourishing Maple Trees, dynamic weather and diverse groups of people was a quaint house among other homes in a suburban district. In this home was a young girl named Isabel who was living her life like how she did any other day.

She got out of bed, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast and left home to go to school. If the manner in which you would describe her daily routine would be drab, you would not be mistaken. How many times can you walk the same route, hear the same conversations, listen to lectures and take tests before becoming detached, were thoughts she would commonly have. Isabel Rodriguez, declared on the third day of this third month in my third year in this highschool, that I’m officially bored.

“Isabel.” A voice calmly calls out.

“Yup, that's me. Isabel, the name my mother gave me. Quite nice I’ll admit, although I wouldn’t mind something a bit more unique. I’m pretty sure if you looked up Puerto Rican baby girls' names, I’d be right at the top.” She thought to herself.

“Isabel.” The teacher repeats herself in a sterner yet unsurprised tone followed with an exhausted sigh afterwards.

Isabel slowly comes out of her daze and repeats her name in a soft spoken manner, “...Isabel.” Then she slowly looks up and meets her teacher's gaze and the room is quiet for what felt like minutes.

Isabel stares at the teacher and the teacher stares at her and then the students turn and stare at Isabel. Isabel finally realizing the teacher is expecting something from her nervously responds with a very high pitched, “....huh.”

The entire classroom begins to laugh.

Trying her best to hide her embarrassment, she turns away and looks down at her desk but immediately in her head she yells, “NOOOOOO!!!!! GIVE ME BACK MY UNEVENTFUL LIFE!”

“Miss Rodriguez” The teacher says with all the authoritarian emphasis she could possibly put on her worlds, “Could you please continue reading from your literature book. We are at page 234, second paragraph from the top.”

Isabel reads the paragraph assigned to her by the teacher as fast as she could, only giving minor consideration to comprehension, hoping that as soon as it was over that the other students attention would turn elsewhere.

“...which increases critical thinking.” She finishes up.

“Alright, thank you.” The teacher says in response while continuing to elaborate on the passage that was just read off.

“Hey, hey Isabel,” a male student sitting next to her whispers. “Who's this?” He then proceeds to mock her by making a very high pitched sounding “huh!”

The students around her that happen to hear couldn’t help but to giggle in response to the boy’s taunt. The laughter immediately gets the attention of the teacher who responds by turning around to survey the class which causes everyone to immediately quiet down.

Isabel falls back into her seat and makes a very hollow expression. “Ah, if my beautiful feminine yet masculine tsundere friend was here he’d stand up for me while insulting my lack of confidence. …Not sure why my fantasy includes me being insulted but that’s a problem for future me.” She thinks to herself as she slinks back into her chair.

In spite of how embarrassing that moment felt, the awkward moment passed like an awkward glasses wearing bucket of awkward water being poured into an awkward sea. Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much sense but that’s not important. What I must do is focus. Only when you get through the daily routine are you rewarded with free time.

Isabel in gym class.

Gym teacher, “Alright class today we are going to be climbing up this rope. Don’t worry, it's tightly attached to the ceiling of this roof.”

Isabel, “Eeeeeeeeehhh… but why?!”


Literature teacher, “Ok, can you read the next part Isabel?”

Isabel picks up her book and begins to read, “If I profane with my unworthiest hand. This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand. To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”

Isabel puts down her book, sits down and takes a deep breath, “What the heck are these characters even saying?!” She thinks to herself.


“To properly learn the proportions of the face it’s good to use guidelines to help you out.” The art teacher says as she walks across the room. She stops near Isabel and looks over her drawing.

“Isabel, you’re making the eyes way too big. You need to work on your art style, it’s very strange.”

Isabel forces a fake smile with raised eyebrows and says, “Ha…ha ha. Sorry. I guess I got carried away.”


Slumped over and defeated Isabel lays her head across her desk. “You’d think it would have become easier by now.” She turns over to her side and notices the students doing their end of the day ritual, unzipping their backpacks, closing books, looking disinterested (as if they ever were), during the middle of the teacher's lecture.

Quick, consecutive turns of her head left and right to confirm this occurs. “Is it time?” She immediately sits upright and starts nodding her head as if she was hanging onto every word the teacher was saying during the duration of the class.

“Alright class” the teacher starts off saying, “It seems that’s all the time we have for the day. Make sure you complete the even numbered problems on page 157 and have them ready for class tomorrow.”

The bell rings and an usual sight follows that catches the attention of the classroom as well as the teacher, Isabel immediately dashes out the room with a huge smile on her face. Held tightly in her arm, over her books is a magazine ad showcasing all the new releases coming to the store today and highlighted with anticipation was “Little Lioness of the Moon”, her current favorite manga series. It didn’t matter how her day went because now it was new release day, a day that allowed her to continue her journey into a fantasy world with her fictional friends. A fantasy world unlike any other fantasy worlds that she saw or read but one from a country that had its own unique forms of expression, story telling, humor and drama! It was time to pick up a new copy of a manga.

Planning out the day perfectly ahead of time, she knew she had to be quick to pull it off.

“If I rush out of class fast enough I can make the 3:30pm bus to the mall, exit and get to the bookstore at 4:15pm and make it back home before five leaving enough time before dinner and after to finish up my school work so that I can knock out a few chapters and get a good feel of where the story is heading.”

Isabel's smile became so wide that it almost eclipsed her entire face and without her knowing it her brisk walk suddenly became an intense jog before eventually turning into a full on dash. She ran, outside the front of the school, down the sidewalk, while making her way through crowds while saying, “Excuse me” and “Sorry” as she hurried by.

In the distance she sees the public bus getting closer to the bus stop causing her to react by increasing her pace as fast as she could. Dashing towards an intersection, the walk signal counts down from three before it turns red indicating that no one should pass. As Isabel approaches the intersection at breakneck speeds, she immediately comes to a halt.

“Safety first.” She says with a smile on her face and turns to press the walk button.

The bus arrives and a line forms behind it as the passengers slowly begin to pay and board it, allowing enough time for Isabel to cross the street and make it on.

“I made it!” She says out loud as she slides two dollar bills into the bus payment machine.

The bus driver responds with a nod and a blasé expression.

As she takes her seat and looks out the window she thinks to herself, “Ah, it's like I’m going on an adventure myself. Maybe I’ll see a charming yet reluctant demon boy, or find a magical item that’ll unlock my mysterious power.” She maintains her smirk as the bus makes its way to the mall.

Isabel exits the bus and enters the mall, overcome with the amount of people, she takes a deep breath and looks for the location of the “Remarkable Books” stores and makes her way to it. Inside was a big area with bookshelves aligned all across the floor along with journals, art books and magazines. Accompanying all these items were various types of people spread out across the store. There was a children's section with parents and their young ones scurrying across the floor, a cafe located in the back right corner where sophisticated people and casual people sat at tables while going over books and magazines while surrounded by the smell of caramelized coffee drinks and the sweet aroma of giant cookies. None of these areas were her target, pass the nonfiction section and further down than the young adult books was a speciality section filled with foreign and unique books. This lonely, low lit area was where she was sure to find the manga that she has been waiting for, for the past month.

“Alright, here I go.” She slings her backup up and around her back more and enters the store.

“Hi, do you need assistance.” A store clerk asks.

“No, I’m fine.” Isabel politely declines.

As she walks past the clerk her expression immediately turns indifferent. “The last time I tried to get help here, it took them 30 minutes to understand what I was looking for and ultimately, even after all my effort, they went on to describe it as “those backwards Chinese books”. Maybe some other time but today I’m in a rush.”

The once lonely section of the bookstore has now found a buyer as Isabel makes her way to it and begins to browse the selection, spinning left and turning right taking it all in.

“Oh a story about a guy turning into a girl! Wow, a space adventure about a young boy achieving his destiny. Ah, a story about lovers who are connected throughout millenniums by fate. I could just live here but it’s not meant to be, time to find that manga and head back.”

Isabel bends down and finds the manga she was looking for “Little Lioness of the Moon” Volume 3. “Ah there you are, I’ve been waiting for you.” Her attention is slowly drawn away from the manga towards a dark shadow that is suddenly looming over her. The first thing she notices is a keychain hanging off a backpack, a green haired space officer.

“Kiyone!” Isabel says, identifying the character as she stands up.

“Hm?” Another highschooler says in response to Isabel’s exclamation. He turns his head towards her and puts his hands on his hips trying his best to strike a grand pose and says, “Hey, are you an Otaku too?”

Unable to respond immediately, Isabel stares with a puzzled look. Never having met someone else as a fan of anime and manga before was quite a shock. Now before me stood an awkwardly proud, slender, red headed, 5’6” highschooler claiming to be an Otaku. We like the same things? Could we be friends? Can I talk to him about the things I couldn’t…

Before Isabel could finish her thought, as she was silently observing him, her attention is drawn to his shirt which unapologetically had “I want a Japanese GF” on it.

“Weirdo…” she murmurs.


“Seriously, what’s with that shirt?”

“Are you kidding me? It’s my dream! Who else could understand the Japanese anime culture better than a Japanese moe woman! So kawaii, so cute!” He says as he hugs himself.

Isabel looks on as he continues on with his overly energetic antics.

“Japanese lifestyle is life!” He says while pumping his fist. “But enough of that, hmm Little Lioness of the Moon, is that good?”

Slightly embarrassed, Isabel's initial reaction was to cover the manga and step back. Realizing who she was incompany with she slightly lets down her guard. “Of course it’s good. I’ve been waiting months for it and ran all the way from school…” She trails off, “Oh no! The bus home! I’m going to be late!”

He looks at her with an inquisitive look.

“I’ve got to go!” Isabel exclaims.

“Hey you go to Green Valley East too right? My name is Anthony. You can borrow this, let me know what you think about it okay?” He takes out a dvd of an anime and hands it over to her. “Don’t worry I already bought it, I just brought it so that I could find something similar made by the same group.”

Isabel takes it and looks up at him, “What? How will I return it?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll find you.” He says with a smirk and a thumbs up gesture.

Isabel turns back and looks back at him one more time and then heads off to the register to purchase the manga so that she can catch the bus home.

“What an eventful day.” She says to herself