Hmm, I wonder where Tanaka ran off too?
Once I left the clubroom, I went off to search for Tanaka. She wasn't in the hallway, or by the school gate. I could text her, but maybe she had gone home already. There is one more place I could look. I headed upstairs towards the school roof, and there I saw Tanaka standing by the rooftop gate just staring off into space.
“Hey,” I said.
“Ah!” She shouts. “Kazuma-kun you scared me. Wait a minute, what are you doing here, shouldn’t you be with the cooking club? Unless… Have you already prepared my special meal?”
“What, of course not. I was only there for about five minutes. There's no way I can prepare a special meal that fast.”
“I decided to quit the cooking club.”
“Yes, I was looking forward to joining the club. Back at home, my father prohibited me from cooking or even entering the kitchen, so I was excited to finally cook. But what’s the point if only one of us joins a club? I understand the importance of couples spending time apart, but for operation L&D, we should just join the same club. After the month finishes we will be free to join whatever we want anyway. Plus, you wanted to join too, didn't you?”
“Kazuma-kun.” She smiles. Then, I guess that just leaves the The Jp_lit ☆ A club.”
"I was afraid of that," I sighed.
The two of us headed to The Jp_lit ☆ A club clubroom.
“Well this is it,” Tanaka said.
I reread the sign on the door once more “Welcome to the The Jp_lit ☆ A club. This name is ridiculous. How do you even pronounce the star?”
“Maybe they just ignore it, like in some anime and manga titles.”
“Still seems unnecessary to include it in an actual club name.”
“I think the star makes it look cool and unique. Anyways, let's go."
I began to knock on the clubroom door. Then, suddenly, the door swung open. In front of me stood a first year with pink hair.
“Waaah! Look, he has pink hair!” Tanaka shouts.
The pink-haired boy smiles and sighs. “Anyways, hello, welcome to the Japanese literature an— Kazu, what are you doing here!”
“Kazu?” Tanaka asks.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Well, well, well. Kazu, I see you decided to join the best and most exclusive club in school. I’ll just see if there’s any room.”
Tanaka pulls me aside and begins to whisper in my ear.
“Kazuma-kun do you know who this guy is? He keeps calling you Kazu. Also, his hair is pink.”
“No clue. This guy might just be a bit confused. And yeah, the pink hair is a bit odd.”
“You know I can hear you two, right.”
“Oops.” We said.
“Come on Kazu, how could you not remember me, Dachi Yamazaki? We were best friends back in elementary school."
To be honest, I don't really remember much from that time.
“Ah, well. It is a pleasure to meet you again, Dachi Yamazaki. How have you been? It is nice to finally see you after so long.”
“Kazu,” Dachi says in a very low tone. “We are currently in the same class, I sit a few rows in front of you. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”
“Eh, I don't really pay attention to my classmates.”
“He also doesn’t pay attention to the people in his year either,” Tanaka adds.
“Well, I can see that.”
“But, um, Yamazaki-”
“You can just call me Dachi, miss.”
“Oh okay. Um, Dachi, I don't remember seeing you in his class.”
“Huh? What are you talking about? I know you’re not in our class.”
“The other day we were handcuffed together,” I said
“Oh, now I remember! So you were the girl everybody kept mentioning. Ahh, I can't believe Iwas out sick that day. It would have been hilarious seeing this guy handcuffed.”
“Yeah, hilarious.” I turn towards Tanaka. “Let's go, there has to be another club."
“Wait, wait, wait. Please don’t go Kazu and…um…” He turns towards Tanaka and whispers, “psst what’s your name.”
“Oh, my name is Rika Tanaka. But you could just call me Rika.”
“Sure thing Rika-tan.” Dachi winks.
Rika…tan? Why call her that?
“Come on Kazu and Rika-tan, please, please, please, don’t go. Could you two stay for just a little bit? We have cookies.”
Tanaka pulls me aside once more. “Kazuma-kun, why don’t we at least check it out? They have cookies after all.”
“You're too easily influenced.” I turn towards Dachi, he looks desperate. "Fine, we’ll check the club out.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, let’s head on in,” he said.
Inside the classroom there were stacks of mangas and DVDs all over the place. A large TV with a dvd and vhs player, sits on a black rolling tray in the corner. I see various scribbles and drawings on the chalkboard. A curtain hangs over and divides the classroom. From out the curtain a girl with reddish curly hair, and a yellow shirt wrapped around her waist, comes out holding a tray of cookies.
“Dachi, the cookies are done,” she said. “Ah.” She started to make her way towards us. “Hello, my name is Saori Hashimoto and I’m a second year. It is a pleasure to meet you. Are you interested in joining our club? I apologize for the mess. Right now we are doing some...spring cleaning. Oh, where are my manners? Would you like some tea? We have a wide selection. Feel free to enjoy these freshly baked cookies too.”
“I’m alright thank you.” How polite and mature. I wouldn't picture someone like her in an anime club.
“Oooh, I’ll take some cookies!" Tanaka shouts. “Than..yu.. so..mu..ch Hashimoto-senpai," she says with her mouth full.
“No need to be so formal just call me Saori.”
“Then you can call me Rika.” The two girls giggled.
Saori-senpai turns towards me. "May I ask for your name?"
But before I could answer, Dachi interrupted.
This guy right here” Dachi wraps his arm over my shoulder “is Kazuma Ito.”
“Hey, 2m apart,” I said.
“What about 6ft,” he responds.
Ah yes, it’s coming back to me now. I forgot how annoying Dachi can be.
“So Senpai, what do you think of our new members?” Dachi asks.
“Hey, we haven’t agreed yet,” I said.
"Pretty please Kazu, we need new members or else."
“What do you mean?” Tanaka asks.
"Well if we don’t increase our club membership soon, we're going to be disbanded," Saori responds.
Suddenly, a loud noise arose from behind the curtain.
What’s with the stereotypical anime rich girl laugh?
"Here come Prez," Dachi sighs.
"Prez?" Tanaka asks.
"Our club leader," Saori responds.
A girl with long black hair and round glasses emerges from behind the curtain.
“Hmmmmmmm. Look what we have here, two potential club members. How interesting. Let me ask you two a question. How many club members do you see here?”
“One…two. I know, three!” Tanaka answers.
“Ding-ding, excellent 1,000 points.”
“Next question, why are there only three club members present? I want you to answer this time, Mr. Plain looking-first-year.”
Tanaka gives me a slight poke. ”I think she means you.”
Okay then. “Is it because there’s not many people interested in it.”
“Bzzzzt. Incorrect. Negative two million points.”
"Huh?" I said.
The strange girl smiles. "This club was one of the most requested this year. We had hundreds of potential applicants, but as you can see our acceptance rate is very low.
“Why, isn’t this just an anime and manga club?” I asked.
“Just an anime and manga club! Do you think we simply just sit and read? Foolish mortal. In the Japanese Literature and Animation Appreciation club, we dive into the beauty of manga, light novels, anime, etc. We don’t simply consume these mediums. Here we explore elements such as symbolism, the author's point of view, and the relationships of these mediums to contemporary society. We analyze the themes of friendship, love, and loss. As you can see we are more than a simple anime and manga club."
“Wait, since when,” Dachi asks.
The club leader gives Dachi an intense glare.
“Ah, always, of course,” he chuckles nervously.
“Anyways, are you two ready to enter the ring of fire, face fierce trials, and tribulation? To find that missing one piece, have a grand fairy tale adventure, enjoy some ramen and driving away in your silver moped, after bleaching the world in your stylish matching colorful power suits with a chainsaw and a katana in tow?”
I turn towards Tanaka, “Does it have to be this club?”
“Yeah, it’s going to be fun, I can tell.”
“Fine,” I sighed “So what do we have to do?"
The girl smirks. Nothing too difficult, just review this popular, award-winning, beautiful piece of literary art…