Chapter 1:

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I was Dead.

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I Was Dead


The man hurling his pudgy, middle-aged body through the air like a lion trying to secure his prey is dressed in a tattered pink jacket, under which is a t-shirt, one size too small and stretched out over his dangling belly, with the face of some blue-haired girl from one of those idol shows peeking out, staring straight at me. Her eyes are so wide apart that she almost looks like a fish. I can’t believe how anyone would ever find...something like that attractive. Wrapped around his forehead is a headband in the same dull pink color. I can’t imagine the amount of sweat and grease that must be in that thing.

Any sane individual would think that the person who is about three seconds from tackling me like a pro wrestler is some demented home invader who lives under a bridge somewhere.

I quickly duck under his outstretched arms, as he lands with a face-fault and skids to a stop in the front foyer of the house in a manner that makes him resemble a beached whale.

In fact, I’d prefer it if this man did live under a bridge somewhere. In fact, the truth is far worse.

This man is my father.

“Haru-chan, why so cold to Papa?” He’s up like falling facefirst on a wooden floor didn’t even hurt him. All that blubber must have made him bounce. “I just wanted to give you a hug! My favorite son is back from school!” Now he’s making these obnoxious kissy noises that sound like a walrus clapping its flippers together.

“Dad, stop,” I grumble while taking my shoes off. “Shouldn’t you be working right now or something?”

“You’re so mean, Haru-chan!” He feigns distress in a melodramatic way. “Look, I went to all this trouble to greet you…I even put on Aimyo today!” He points to that…thing on the front of his shirt that’s small enough that the bottom of his fat belly peeks out from under it. “Kurihara Ai, 16 years old, Ai love my fans!”

What is he doing, striking some pose?

“I wanted to show Haru-chan I love him as much as Aimyo loves-”

“How am I supposed to know who that is?” I sigh. “She looks the same as that other cartoon idol you like...”

“Come on now, Haruto.” A high-pitched, musical voice floats from behind me. I turn around to see a small, dainty woman with her long, silky hair pulled in a ponytail behind her head prancing out from the kitchen with a ladle in my hand. “Papa gets worried sick when you kids are gone. He’s been doing it all day.”

My dad’s piggish face lights up. “Ahh, Chisato! Thank goodness! I thought Haru-chan was going through his rebellious phase…where he'll go 'I hate you, Dad!' like Ralph Lazers from Planetary Gun...”

The first thing people notice about my mother is that she’s short. Like, she’s really short. She maybe gets up to 135 cm with heels on. She can’t reach top shelves without assistance and every single member of my family towers over her.

The second thing people notice about my mother is that she looks like a middle schooler. She’s 45 but there’s not a wrinkle on her face. I swear she hasn’t aged a day since she was twelve. If she and I were to go out in public, I guarantee more people would think she was my little sister than my mother. More importantly, if she were to go out in public with my father, I guarantee you most people would think he had kidnapped her.

Of course, I’m used to both of those things, so the first thing I notice about her is the frilly, lacy French maid outfit that she’s wearing. My heart sinks in my chest. She’s brought that thing out again. Why can't she wear normal clothes like a normal mom?

She looks my dad up and down, and her cheery expression turns stern. “Oh, so that’s what it is. Uh-huh. I understand everything now. Dear, it’s because of that.” She points to the image on his shirt. “Idol Paradise? In 2022? You have got to be kidding.”

“W-what are you saying, Chisato?” His fat cheeks flush in embarrassment. “I love Aimyo! And I love Haru-chan even more than Aimyo! I’m showing Haru-chan the depths of my feelings!”

“That’s the problem!” my mother bellows. She is suddenly so passionate I can almost see fire erupting from behind her. “You’re not with the times! Idol Paradise hasn’t been relevant for 10 years, and the extent of the fanbase is nothing but dirty old men like you! Haruto is one of Tokyo’s cosmopolitan youth of today! Do you think that you’ll reach him with such outdated taste?”

Mom, first off, we don’t live in Tokyo. We live in Chiba. The only thing Tokyo about this prefecture is the airport. And second off, what makes you think I’m a “cosmopolitan youth”? Do you think I spend my days off in Harajuku drinking 1000-yen coffees with steampunkers and goth lolis or something?

“Traditional idol anime are out! They’ve been out for years!” my mother bellows with a passionate fury. “No one wants to watch a bunch of interchangeable same-face girls dance around in CGI! You can go to Y*utube and see real high school girls do that for free! Besides…did you really think that something as crass as AiPara would compete with something as great as my Boys’ Band Sparkle?”

She whips something out of one of her front pockets. It’s her phone. On it is some rhythm game with sparkly and shiny visuals. I can’t even begin to imagine how much she’s spent on it. Please, God, please don’t let her have dipped into my college fund. “Aaaaah- Souma-kun!” she moans, putting her phone close to her face. “I thought so…those girl idols aren’t anywhere close to a beautiful boy like you! Both you, and Arashi-kun…and Raya-kun too…”

My dad has popped up to his feet. “Enough, Chisato!” he says bravely, even though I can hear his voice quaking. “I won’t let you insult my wife Aimyo any further!”

“I’M YOUR WIFE, TOMOYUKI!” my mom roars.

I bet when people see my mom and my dad (after they realize she's an adult, and he didn't kidnap her), they wonder how on earth they ended up together. She's pretty good looking (well, if you’re into that), and from just a glance nobody can tell she spends most of her time thinking dirty stuff about those gacha game idols she loves. My dad is not attractive, and you can tell he's an obvious otaku and pervert just by looking. I bet people wonder if she married him because she was poor and needed money, or if they’re not even married and she's a rental wife. Unfortunately, I know exactly why, and the truth is far worse. They're absolutely perfect for each other, and it means hell for me.

Suddenly, I catch some movement at the top of the stares. My little sister is standing at the top of the stairs in her house clothes with an Umaibou hanging halfway out of her mouth, staring at my mom, and then my dad, and then at me, dumbstruck.

Ahhh…I wish I could just melt away.

She turns around in disgust and disappears to wherever she came from.

This has gone on long enough, and my parents have become silent enough that I cut in. “Now that you two are done, I’m going to change and go for my nightly run. Please just leave me alone for a little bit...” I wearily trudge up the stairs to my room. My head is really starting to hurt.

When I get to the top, I hear the TV blaring from the room at the end of the stairs. Some variety show is on, where some D-list “celebrity” is getting candid camera pranked. I guess that’s all that would be on in Japan right now at 6:30 PM. We’re not exactly known for being leaders in television program originality. My sister is sprawled out on her bed, her side to me, her fake nails clacking away on her phone as she types.

“I’m home, Kaede,” I say in a manner as polite as I can muster.

“Good for you, Nii-chan.” She doesn’t even look up. It figures she doesn’t want to talk to me. She’s been cold like this for years, but I couldn’t help but try to be nice. She’s still my sister.

Reaching my room, I throw my bag down on my bed and just lay there, still in my uniform, for a few minutes. Everything is tiring. I’ve been through 7 hours of school and 2 of karate practice and when I get home I have to deal with this mess. Almost every single day of my life, this same bad comedy routine unfolds...I have to deal with my dad, I have to deal with my mom, and so on. Why couldn’t I have been born in any other family?

Slowly, I begin to change out of my uniform and put on my athletic clothes. Every bone in my body still aches from practice today, but if I don’t stick to my cardio schedule I’ll quickly fall behind. I can’t have that. I joined the karate club when I first got into high school because I'd been training for a while, and it's something a typical boy my age would do. Even though I've done it before, I still might have underestimated the amount of work that went in. Every day is like this, where everything is sore and I wish I could just sleep. But I’m going to keep at it. Why? Because I’m not one of those people like my mom or my dad. I’m different. I have goals. I have dreams. I’m normal. I’m not like them at all.

What happens after the otaku gets together with the girl he loves, and the story ends? I, Haruto Kouga, 16, don’t have to imagine. Because I have to live it every single day.

Pope Evaristus
Alyssa Aurinia
Steward McOy