A Transfer Student, a Mom, and a Dad, part 1
Otome Game ―― From young girls to respectable ladies, it’s a game genre that magically captures the hearts of a wide range of women.
Unlike in reality, the games are full of good looking men of radiant countenances for you to conquer one by one. Branching pathways, reverse harem, ravaging, all the guys fighting over you, and even some stranger scenarios are all possible play styles you can expect to encounter. If you were to do such a thing in real life, it would be considered having a number of petty affairs.
Their popularity has seen a great number of such games published, and on their days off, women crowd the streets of Ikebukuro and it’s quite a sight to behold.
“I’m telling you Makoto, it’s all about the Otome games, BL, and voice actors.”
“Sooo, you really like games, don’t you Subaru?”
“Yep yep, that’s right. ――…wait, that’s not what I meant!”
After Subaru finished her piece on the subject, I thought I made an agreeable response, but apparently that wasn’t the response she was looking for.
I was sitting on a floor pillow with Subaru standing menacingly over me. What was she thinking standing over me in that miniskirt? I could see her underwear. A girl should be more conscientious of things like that.
“Then what did you mean?”
“…You really have zero interest in Otome games don’t you Mako…”
“It’s not that I don’t have an interest, I like cool looking guys as much as the next girl. And there are some voice actors I like too.”
Subaru was a beautiful girl with straight black hair and fair skin, and yet she was a total Otome game addict. Lately, I heard she’d been working with a group to produce their own Otome game to sell. Not only that, they’d made a good number of sales already.
On the other hand, I was an unpopular girl with a plain face and wore either glasses or contacts. I never changed the style of my clothes or hair, and I wasn’t really into games or manga. Being friends with Subaru, I’d absorbed knowledge of such things over the years, but never had any desire to play Otome or BL games myself. I didn’t hate them, I just never wanted to play them. If I was gonna play anything, it’d be an RPG.
Everything I knew about Otome and BL games came from Subaru.
“Well, I guess it’s fine. Hey Mako, wanna go to the bookstore after this?”
“I need to pick up my game at a bookstore in the next district over. Let’s go, Mako!”
The first thought that crossed my mind was that I really just wanted to have a lazy Sunday, but Subaru’s heavy breathing left no room for refusal, and I reluctantly went along with her.
It was about a 10 minute walk from my place to the train station. In that time, Subaru told me all about the game she helped create, “Hearthrob Love Revolution”. It was a really straightforward title. I could guess it was a game about a revolution of falling in love that got your heart pounding. I didn’t really understand the ‘Love Revolution’ part, what exactly is that? I knew of the Revolution move in the card game Rich Man, Poor Man, but nothing other than that.
Subaru summarized the long plot for me.
The protagonist, in this case the player, was called Mitsuki Sakurai or whatever else the player wants to name her, and she’s a second year in high school. The player has the power to increase their stats over time. Those specs determined other characters’ responses to the player and whether they would go with you or not.
The prince character was a boy named Kiritani Riku something or other, I couldn’t remember. Sorry Subaru.
Listening to Subaru’s incredibly long monologue, at some point we arrived at the station. I sluggishly made my way to the ticket gate while Subaru quickly went through.
“Mako, it’s track number 1.”
“Eh, Subaru, wait up.”
I rummaged through my bag while I made my way to the ticket gate, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
I continued forward while thinking it was strange, but I just couldn’t find it. I didn’t leave it at home, did I? That sucks. It would be too much of a pain to walk 10 minutes all the way back to my house to get it.
“Ah, no, what do I do?”
Subaru called to me from the other side of the gate. The older salaryman behind me cleared his throat to hurry me along.
Neither the front nor the back of the line was moving as I panicked rummaging through my bag. At that moment, something touched my hand. The feeling was probably what I had been looking for. Thank goodness. I felt relieved as I took it out, and touched it to the ticket gate sensor.
Then suddenly, I remembered becoming terribly dizzy and inadvertently stumbled. I felt sick to my stomach. It was like I was going to fall, but somehow managed to remain standing, then my knee began throbbing. I suffered through it for a few seconds and closed my eyes, then looked back up.
When I looked up, what I saw was not the familiar sight of the station.
What appeared in front of my eyes were surroundings I’d never seen before. The people around me were also different. Before, most everyone had been in casual clothes since it was Sunday, but now I saw a lot of suits and school uniforms. It felt like a weekday morning.
“Subaru? Hey, Subaru?”
“Huh, what’s wrong Mako-chan?”
I heard a girl’s voice from behind me, and quickly turned around.
I had expected to see Subaru, but the girl behind me was clearly not Subaru. Different from the intense beauty of Subaru, the girl had pinkish brown hair and plain eyes.
“Don’t you ‘eh’ me, geez! You scared me when you almost collapsed, Mako-chan. Are you okay? Do you feel sick?”
“Uh, sorry, but who are you?”
The pink-haired girl’s eyes were opened wide in surprise.
I thought she looked pretty plain at first, but when I took a closer look, she was actually kind of cute. She had large eyes and a nice nose, and her lips were pink and plump. Her body was small and dainty looking, and her hips looked thin enough to break.
While I stared at her, the girl began to giggle.
“Gosh, Mako-chan, don’t look so serious when you tell a joke, geez. You scared me. Let’s hurry and board the train, okay? We can’t be late for our first day of school after transferring.”
“What? Wait, no, I really-”
“You’re talking like a girl Mako-chan.”
TL Note: Makoto is referring to herself with the feminine pronoun, ‘watashi’.
What a rude thing to say to a girl. I was a bonafide female. I had never once been mistaken for a man.
But, now that she said that, I noticed my view was a little taller than I was accustomed to. The girl in front of me was well below my line of sight. Normally I stood at 158cm (5’2″), so for a girl to be this short, she had to be around 130cm (4’2″)? No no, no way. She looked like she should be in high school.
Does that mean that I got taller somehow?
Suddenly I took a look at my own feet, and what I saw was a pair of men’s leather shoes. When I looked a little farther up, I saw a high school boy’s gray slacks. Even further up was a high school boy’s dark blue blazer and red necktie. An enamel badge was even pinned to my shoulder. Huh. What’s going on here?
“Huh, wha-? Eh?”
“Mako-chan, what’s wrong?”
“Sorry, um, I…er, I‘m…”
TL Note: Makoto switches from the female pronoun ‘watashi’ she’d been using up to now, to the male pronoun ‘ore’.
From this girl’s attitude, I guessed that we were acquaintances. I had no idea what was going on, but I felt like I could only rely on this girl right now.
“Mako-chan, are you still half-asleep? Okay, I’ll humor you, You’re Makoto Sakurai, and I’m Mitsuki Sakurai, fraternal twins. Starting today we’re transferring to Izumino School.”
“That’s right. I’m Mako-chan’s super adorable little sister.”
Mitsuki Sakurai. I felt like I’d heard that name somewhere before.
Wasn’t that the name of the protagonist from Subaru’s Otome game? Now that I thought of it, she was the spitting image of the picture Subaru had on her smartphone of Mitsuki Sakurai. No freaking way. It couldn’t be, did I…enter the world of Heartthrob Love Revolution??
And not only that, as Mitsuki Sakurai’s “older brother”…
“Sorry Mitsuki, give me just a minute.”
Unable to process this unbelievable situation, I retreated to the restroom.
Before I rushed into the restroom, I stood at an impasse wondering which side I should enter, and paced back and forth in front of them at a loss. I scrutinized the front and back of my hand, but no matter how I looked at it, this was obviously a hand that belonged to a man. My normal hands weren’t so angular, and the blood vessels didn’t stand out. My knuckles were also too high. Moreover, my hand was just way too big to be a girl’s hand.
I checked to make sure no one was inside, readied myself, then dashed into the men’s restroom. Reflected in the mirror was a man. My hair was short, and while there were traces of my original visage, it was still very much a man’s face. It was like someone had taken my face and remodeled it into a man’s. I also stood roughly 20cm (6”) taller than normal. I was somewhere in the ballpark of 180cm (5’9″). I was tall, but not a looker. Though I wasn’t completely unfortunate looking… Probably.
Finally, I patted down my chest, but as I thought, there was nothing there.
“This can’t be real…! If only Subaru was here!”
I collapsed onto the closed toilet seat, my head in my hands. I was a high school boy?! You’ve got to be kidding me!
It was an original game Subaru had made. How relieved I would be if she were here with me.
“Mako-chan, Mako-chan. We’re really gonna be late.”
Mitsuki called out to me in a timid voice from outside the restroom, and just when I was about to answer from the stall, another male high school boy entered the restroom. Did he hear me talking to myself just now? I was so embarrassed thinking about it, he’d probably think of me as a weirdo if he did. From his uniform, I guessed he went to the same school I was going to.
His black hair was short, and he had gentle drooping eyes. He stood even taller than my new 180cm (5’9″). He kinda reminded me of a large dog.
When he looked at me, the smile he gave me was so pleasent, I could swear it sparkled. Ooh, he seemed like a rather sociable and charming guy.
“Is the girl outside your…girlfriend?”
“No that’s…my sister.”
I wasn’t used to using a male pronoun to refer to myself, and it was incredibly embarrassing. My face flushed red from it. Mitsuki called out for ‘Mako-chan’ once more. I bid him farewell then exited the restroom.
Mitsuki was pouting when I came out, so I patted her gently on the head.
I wondered if I’d see that dog-like high school boy again. We were in the same school after all.
…Woah, wait a minute! I should be thinking of a way to get back home. I mean really, I was in a game world and I’d turned into a guy for crying out loud! I didn’t even have any idea how to live in this world.
Subaru, save me!
After a 15 minute ride from Tachibana station, we disembarked at Hanagaki station for Izumino School.
We mixed into a crowd of boys and girls all wearing the same uniform, and I even saw a few high school boys wearing the classic Japanese Gakuran-style uniform. There must be another high school in the neighborhood.
“Mako-chan, where do you think the Faculty room is?”
“I don’t know. Let’s ask some people around here.”
I was at a loss for words looking upon the castle-sized campus of Izumino School. Mitsuki was nervous and clung to the hem of my uniform. Looking at me with upturned eyes, Mitsuki was indeed the heroine, she was so cute it was amazing. The epitome of femininity.
Woman though I may have been, I couldn’t help but want to protect Mitsuki…were the kinds of brotherly thoughts I had. I was shocked at myself.
I cleared my throat, and Mitsuki turned to look at me, bewildered. Facing her, I said,
“I’ll ask someone, so Mitsuki, just stay here and-”
“Excuse me. Could you tell me where the Faculty room is?”
Before I could even finish, Mitsuki grabbed a male student and asked for the whereabouts of the Faculty room.
As expected of an Otome game heroine, she’s not adverse to taking action. I’d forgotten the heroine of Subaru’s Otome game was such a go-getter. If the heroine was too shy, the story would never get anywhere.
“Mako-chan, he said it’s over there!”
Unable to notice my internal monologue, Mitsuki returned smiling as if nothing had happened.
“Ah, over there. Then, let’s go.”
Mitsuki led the way in high spirits, and I followed her from behind to the Faculty room.
It had only been 30 minutes since the shock of being dumped into Subaru’s game “Heartthrob Love Revolution”, and I was surprised at how much I had already adapted. I believed from the bottom of my heart that this could still very well just be a dream.
When we went into the Faculty room, a male teacher waved at us by the window on the other side of the room.
Mitsuki and I approached the man waving to us. He seemed to be a brand new teacher, and looked more like a salaryman with his nicely cut black hair and gentle expression.
Seeing the laugh lines around his mouth, this teacher was likely the type that laughed a lot. He looked like an earnest teacher, yet something about him exuded a certain sex appeal.
Maybe it was because of his big, round, and young looking eyes, but he was almost kind of cute. And yet that sex appeal was still strangely there.
Our teacher had a printout of our transcripts, and was putting a face to the names written there.
“So you’re Makoto Sakurai-kun, and you must be Mitsuki-san?”
“Ah, yes! I’m Mitsuki Sakurai, and this is Makoto.”
“I’ll be your homeroom teacher then. I’m Tamaki Yurino, your biology teacher.”
Tamaki Yurino. I felt like I’d heard that name before, too. I was certain that in Hearthrob Love Revolution, or LoveRevo for short, that this was some sort of special character introduction.
The homeroom teacher was almost always a love interest in school-based Otome games. I mean come on, he was super handsome. If he was just some background character, then the hotness level of the real love interests would be ridiculous.
“You two are twins, right? Who’s older?”
“Ah, that would be me.”
At least I was pretty sure I was older. My knowledge of the game was still a bit vague, so I was worried I spoke out of turn, but Mitsuki didn’t say anything so I must have been right.
Yurino-sensei was checking me out. Even though we were twins, Mitsuki and I didn’t look anything alike, and I’m sure that’s why he looked at me like that. Well, that or he found fraternal twins to be fascinating.
Still, his staring was getting to the point of being uncomfortable.
“Yes. I know it sounds like a girl’s name, so maybe that makes me a girl…”
“Haha, my name also sounds pretty girly, so I can sympathize. On the contrary, my little sister has a rather masculine name…er, I suppose that’s not really important. Ah, right right, you two are being transferred into second year class A.”
Even if I accidently called myself a girl, I suppose I was at a level where I wouldn’t be easily mistaken for one. It was a little shocking.
Yurino-sensei stood from his seat, and standing next to him, I found he had half a head of height on me.
“Well then, let’s be on our way. Are you ready to meet your new classmates?”
I’d gone through so much stress and shock in just the last half hour that this was hardly enough to phase me.
But I could see Mitsuki was really nervous. Her face was stiff and her fingers were trembling. This from the girl who just a few minutes ago walked up to a total stranger to ask for directions. That she was just now getting nervous made me laugh.
“It’s all right, Mitsuki. I’m here with you.”
I held onto Mitsuki’s hand to calm her down. I had no idea how close Mitsuki and Makoto were supposed to be, but with Mitsuki always sticking close to me and calling me “Mako-chan, Mako-chan”, I was certain holding her hand would be fine.
Sure enough, Mitsuki relaxed and smiled. She was still a little stiff, but the expression on her face had softened. She should be fine.
“Mako-chan is dependable as always. You were a little weird this morning, but now you’re back to the normal Mako-chan.”
Mitsuki smiled, completely relieved.
Mitsuki’s sudden praise made my heart skip a beat. I knew I was being a fool, but it made me realize I wasn’t her real “Mako-chan”.
My heart clenched. I wondered what Mitsuki would do if she found out I wasn’t her real brother. I may have been Makoto Sakurai in body, but I wasn’t really Mitsuki’s brother.
I walked along with Yurino-sensei and Mitsuki, the distress growing within me. Mitsuki still hadn’t let go of my hand. Siblings though we may be, what must others think seeing us walk around the school hand in hand?
Even so, her grip was stronger than I thought, she wouldn’t let go.
“We’re here, go right on in.”
Mitsuki finally released my hand.
Following behind Yurino-sensei, we entered the classroom for 2-A. It was a small class of barely 30 students, and about evenly split between boys and girls. …There may have been a few more boys though.
All the students were watching us, curiosity sparkling in their eyes. I apologized inwardly to the girls of the class who were probably expecting a really handsome transfer student; Sorry for having such an average face.
“Okay, let me introduce the transfer students. We’ll start with the older brother.”
“Ah, right. …Umm, I’m Makoto Sakurai. Pleased to meet you.”
“And I’m Mitsuki Sakurai. I’m looking forward to class with everyone, my older twin, Makoto, included.”
Mitsuki quickly bowed her head, her face fully red. I followed suit and bowed as well.
It may have been a rather brash introduction, but I didn’t get the sense that anyone was bothered by it. Rather, she was really cute. All the guys must be really happy that such a cute girl transferred into their class.
“Then, Mitsuki-san, you’ll be sitting next to Fujisaki-kun. Fujisaki-kun, please raise your handー”
“Ah, yes. Your seat is over here, younger Sakurai.”
The student named Fujisaki looked like a normal guy that followed the school regulations, with the exception of his shockingly blonde hair and red hairclips. His lethargic looks and nice way of talking were at odds sharp eyes and snaggletooth.
Mitsuki sat in the seat next to Fujisaki, and seemed to be having a rather fun conversation with him. It made me feel a bit lonely. I wondered if this was how a father felt when they gave away their daughter’s hand in marriage?
“Makoto-kun, you’ll be next to Tsubaki-kun. Tsubaki-kun, please raise your hand.”
I let my eyes drift over the students trying to locate the guy named Tsubaki. He was furthest in the back, two rows from the window. Wait a minute, wasn’t he the male student I’d met in the restroom not even half an hour ago? That young man with the friendly smile.
And speaking of which, that smile was still plastered on his face as he waved his hand to me. It really was that guy.
Yurino-sensei gave me a small push in Tsubaki’s direction, and I sat at my desk in the back seat by the window.
The teacher went through the morning announcements, then left the classroom. The second he did, Tsubaki tapped me on the shoulder.
“Hey, you’re the guy I met before, right?”
“I was right, you’re the guy from the restroom at the station.”
“Yep, that’s me. I had no idea you were transferring to my school. Ah, my name’s Soutarou Tsubaki.”
My first impression of him didn’t change. He was like a big friendly dog.
“Well then Tsubaki, nice to meet you.”
“Souta, you’re already getting friendly with the transfer student?”
The blondey from before came over to our seats and struck up a conversation with Tsubaki. He suddenly turned his gaze upon me, and he gave a little smile and nod.
Even though he had delinquent-blonde hair, he seemed like a pretty cool guy. Back when I was in high school, anyone with hair that yellow would have been someone to avoid. But maybe it’s because of…that. In Otome games, characters needed to have a distinctive look. Since it wasn’t easy to tell the characters apart just by their face, their hair was used as their identifiable trait.
“Ah, Kana. Yeah, I had already met Mako-chan at Tachibana station.”
“Right, we happened to meet when I was having an existential crisis in the restroom.”
The blonde guy named Kana looked at me blanky for a moment after repeating my words, then broke out into a laugh.
It wasn’t that funny, was it?
Not only that, Tsubaki just casually called me Mako-chan. I guess I didn’t really mind. I’ll just call him Soutarou then.
“What, did you get so nervous about transferring that you got the runs?”
“No, my bowel movements are quite normal, thank you very much.”
“I can’t believe you just said ‘bowel movements’ with such a serious face…Mako-chan, you’re great, so funny!”
Did I really say something that funny? To me, Kana’s range for being amused was way more entertaining.
Seeing me looking at him with such a dubious expression just made him laugh that much more.
“Soutarou, make this guy stop laughing.”
Soutarou looked at me with surprise at suddenly using his first name.
“My instincts tell me that Soutarou is the only one that can get Kana to stop laughing.”
“Yes indeed, right you are.”
I didn’t skip a beat, and while I was again shocked at my adaptability, I’d come to the conclusion that this wasn’t a dream. Somehow or other I’d have to make my way through all this.
Still, if at all possible, come save meー Subaruー!
Continued at Nakimushi