Saekano is one of my personal all-time favorite light novels, and I have been all over volume 8 since I got my hands on it last month. The introduction of the “new” blessing software, the dynamics of the heroines, and the charm of Megumi got me hooked even more. With story written by White Album 2’s Fumiaki Maruto and illustrations drawn by Cradle’s Kurehito Misaki, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) is showing signs that it can still improve with each new volume; I am personally hoping for a satisfying ending this time.
By the way, here is a summary of Saekano volume 8 that I wrote by myself; although I said “summary”, since this is my first time posting one, I tend to translate the whole part from some scenes and simply narrate less important ones. If you can bear with that, then read along. And for those of you who are anime-only viewers, this is a spoiler territory, so proceed with caution.
blessing software — Member Profile
– Tomoya Aki (planning, producer, director, scenario)
– Megumi Kato (planning, sub-director, main heroine)
– Michiru Hyodo (music)
– Izumi Hashima (key visuals, graphics)
> Project: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
“T-Tomoya-senpai’s cousin?! P-p-p-pleased to meet you!”
“Well~ It’s not really a big deal. We were just born on the same day, were born on the same place, and bathed together while we were kids~ Ahahahahaha~”
Volume 8 begins with the prologue which took place in Tomoya’s room where he is holding a circle meeting with the current members of his circle: Izumi, Michiru, and Megumi. Izumi and Michiru introduced each other and had some verbal exchanges about Tomoya—with him present and doing the tsukkomi, of course.
“Izumi-chan, is it? If it’s about the things Tomo like or things you want to know I will be able to help, so please take care of me ~”
“R-right, please take care of me too, Cousin-san!”
“What do you mean by if if it’s about me you’ll be able to help?! Don’t start spouting nonsense when you don’t even follow this season’s anime heroine popularity ranking!”
“Man, just stop involving yourself with those 2D heroines, Tomo. After all, those heroines are usually covered by steam and light in certain places so you cannot see the important parts, right? If it’s a real girl (me), the parts unseen in the anime will be…”
“I don’t want to see those parts! The fact that they seem visible but cannot be seen is the important point!”
After some random conversations, Tomoya started speaking about the reason he gathered everyone: to celebrate the new blessing software’s formation. Tomoya started talking about the game that the circle made last year and Izumi showed her own excitement, matching Tomoya’s own. However, Michiru quickly slapped reality to Tomoya by reminding him that Eriri and Utaha are no longer here, causing him to scream in agony. Michiru added that the last game only succeeded because of those two’s popularity and skills, which threw Tomoya off-board even further.
Izumi, despite being a new member in the circle and a former member of a rival circle, comforted Tomoya and said she won’t leave the circle.
“…..Yes, it’s alright, Senpai. I will make you forget that woman’s words.”
And of course, she started bringing up Eriri.
“Sawamura-senpai is the worst… Abandoning Tomoya-senpai like that… She deserves a death penalty.”
“Ah, no, actually, Eriri has a reason for that…”
“A proper punishment is necessary… And so this time, I, Izumi Hashima, shall destroy Eriri Spencer Sawamura… Eri Kashiwagi.”
“Aren’t you both competing in the Winter Comiket!?”
“Nope, everyone who stands in Senpai’s way is my enemy.”
“Izumi-chan, can you please stop developing your character in a strange way!?”
The talk was continued by Michiru, who said that it was inevitable that Utaha and Eriri leaved the circle. Tomoya asked what she meant by that, and as she explained that both of them have lost their footing in the circle, Megumi entered the room bringing in the drinks for the toast. Michiru said that Megumi is the one who “drove those two off just like a wife who is delivering judgment” in a joking manner, and Izumi was baffled. Megumi retorted in her flat tone and told everyone not to make her look like a bad person (although everyone seems to disagree) and “reprimanded” Tomoya as usual for being “so scared of her”.
Megumi asked Izumi to help her distribute the glasses and handed one to Tomoya, telling him to get a grip of himself. Tomoya then continued talking about the circle. He admitted that what Michiru said was true; a lot of bad things did happen and two important members have leaved the circle. However, even more than that, a lot of good things also happened; and so today, putting all those good things together, the 2nd generation blessing software shall embark on a new beginning.
“S-so, please take care of me from now on, Senpai’s sister-in-law!”
“You sure like to pick up fights with other people, aren’t you, Tomo’s suckerfish?”
…The circle won’t break up again this time, right? Everything’s going to be okay, right? Tomoya wondered.
Chapter 1 took place in the classroom of class 3-F. Yoshihiko is Tomoya’s friend who has always been in the same class with him at high school (1-A, 2-B, 3-F). Yoshihiko noted that Tomoya hasn’t been updating his blog for a while to which Tomoya replied that he is busy with “a very important mission” as an otaku. But, that conversation soon ended after Yoshihiko pointed at the person standing at Tomoya’s right side.
“Good morning, Tomoya.”
The blonde twintail girl has been standing there since who knows when.
Eriri said good morning to Yoshihiko too, and he answered back with a stutter.
“She said that to everyone, though.”
“B-but, but, she is Eriri Spencer Sawamura, you know?”
“Yes, she is indeed Eriri Spencer Sawamura.”
Tomoya then re-narrated Eriri’s background.
“Hey Tomoya, I will be asking this again, are you really, with her…”
“Yeah, we went to the same school before. I don’t really have any intention to hide it, anyway.”
“N-no, it’s not just about that, you know…”
As Yoshihiko continued, Tomoya thought about how rumors have been spreading since Winter Comiket because he and Eriri were often seen going to school together, and also the fact that they have been getting pretty distant after that incident at the spring break. He also mentioned about Fan Disk & Girls Side (lol).
Suddenly, a text message arrived in Tomoya’s smartphone.
“How is it going with your new work?” (The bolded lines are in text messages.)
Eriri sent a text message and kept on gazing at her smartphone despite standing close to him.
“Still in the process of tuning the plot.”
“I see; good luck, then.”
“You don’t have to say that.”
“What’s with that way of speaking? Are you pissed off or something?”
“No, nope, not really, not in the slightest am I pissed off at all, you know?”
“See, that strange way of speaking. Are you still holding a grudge on me?”
“What is it, Tomoya!? Didn’t we talk about it before!? Those words from that time at the Tokyo Line, were those only a lie!?”
“Even for me, swallowing everything down takes time, you know. Can’t you understand that!?”
“Ah, talking about Tokyo Line, I remembered! You, what did ‘that thing’ mean!?”
“What do you mean by ‘that thing’? If you don’t say it straight out, I won’t understand!”
“‘That thing’ is ‘that thing’! See, the one… The one you did with Utaha Kasumigaoka!”
“Ah, that was… No, that was, see, ‘that thing’, you know, ‘that thing’!”
“If you don’t say it clearly, I won’t get it!”
“Putting it like that, it’s actually us who don’t really get it, though…”
Before they realized, Tomoya and Eriri have stopped using the text messages and spoke against each other loud enough to be heard by the whole class. The chapter then continued after class ended, again preceded by Tomoya and Yoshihiko’s conversation, followed by Eriri and Tomoya apologizing to each other. However, just as Eriri wanted to invite Tomoya to go home together, Izumi entered the fray to Eriri and Tomoya’s surprise. Izumi started introducing Tomoya as the representative of her circle to two of her friends who came along with her. Tomoya asked Izumi why she is here, and Izumi answered that she wanted to show off her senpai to her friends.
Apparently, after hearing that she entered a game circle, her friends (named Mina Nozaki & Manami Furuhashi) were interested to hear more about the circle. Izumi asked Tomoya to explain about the circle to her friends, but Eriri exclaimed that amateurs or people who are not an otaku shouldn’t join. Izumi retorted by laying out the fact that Tomoya was also an amateur who only started a year ago and managed to have his circle’s game released in the Winter Comiket. Eriri wanted to declare that she and Utaha were members of that circle, but lost her strength to do so partway. Both of Izumi’s classmates then revealed that they are actually full-fledged otakus. Completely losing the ‘battle’, Eriri leaved the classroom as Tomoya took off with Izumi’s classmates to explain about the circle. As Eriri went out of the classroom, she met Megumi at the corridor.
“Going home, now?”
After Tomoya finished the circle explanation and was just about to leave the school, Utaha has been waiting for him. As Tomoya was confused, Utaha told him to come quickly, which he did. Utaha complimented Tomoya for not running away and took him to the usual log house cafe, which was where they held their conversations.
Tomoya asked Utaha how was college, and she answered that she didn’t go because it should only be orientation at the time. Tomoya wanted to change the topic, but he was dismissed by Utaha. Utaha called him a good-for-nothing protagonist. After all, they have been in a really awkward atmosphere for 15 minutes with Tomoya’s shaking right hand being held by Utaha’s hands all the time. Utaha then joked around saying she wants something to stimulate the libido, which Tomoya quickly brushed off. Utaha then continued throwing lewd remarks to Tomoya which he can barely evaded as usual, like if he might want her to do it with her and that she would wait for his 18th birthday for it.
They talked about Izumi’s classmates who wanted to join Tomoya’s circle and ended up not joining. Utaha guessed that it must have been because Tomoya was being overly excited in his explanations, which Tomoya denied (although it was spot-on). The next was about him being in the same class with Eriri; Utaha said it must be awkward, but Tomoya denied it. Utaha changed the topic again; this time about Megumi. Utaha asked how Megumi is doing and reminded Tomoya to take care of both girls since Kato is actually pretty dark inside despite her appearance. Tomoya asked her to stop joking about it since he is also worrying about that. Utaha then asked Tomoya if he has told Megumi about their first kiss and wondered how the usually flat Megumi would react, to which he replied that it is not something to be talked about with people. Utaha then said she suddenly wanted to call her through the phone, but Tomoya stopped her saying it is rude to call someone in the middle of having a conversation.
Tomoya asked how Utaha’s doing. She said that she already told him about her college, but he cut her off and said that he is talking about Fields Chronicle. Utaha was thinking about how to respond and asked Tomoya about what he will think if she said that she was currently having the most exhilarating moment in her life. Tomoya replied that he would be crying inside his heart and giving a fake smile, while also waiting for her upcoming work. Utaha described his response as something similar to a good-for-nothing protagonist who got his girlfriend stolen (google “NTR” for more details).
Tomoya and Utaha realized that a long time has passed and leaved the cafe while continuing their talk as they walk. Tomoya reminded Utaha to go to college, while Utaha wished him good luck for his circle. Utaha asked if they will meet again, to which Tomoya said yes and that they will be checking each other’s progress.
“What is it?”
“Don’t the two of us right now look like an ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend who are trying to start over their relationship?”
“Why does the world ‘ex-’ suddenly…”
“It is coming… The inspiration for a new plot is coming! Two people who were separated because of unforeseen circumstances. But, while both of them were drowned in regrets, they somehow met again and their bodies were touching each other. .. Suddenly, a mysterious disease struck the girl. When an experimental new drug was used, unexpectedly…!”
“You cannot publish that in Fantastic Bunko, you know.”
“You’re right; M Bunko will do then… And so it’s time for us to gather data; shall we go, Rinri-kun?”
“Where are we going and for what purpose are we gathering the data!? And please talk about this with Machida-san instead!”
Tomoya and Megumi were arranging the schedule for the circle’s new work at Tomoya’s house.
“Let’s see, we will come up with the plot until April, and Izumi-chan’s character design will be up in May.”
“Is it okay? Wouldn’t it be better to stretch it up to the end of Golden Week?”
“No, the beginning of May is the weekend anyway, so I’ll have Izumi-chan finishing it in one go.”
“But, last year, the plot was done at the very last day of the Golden Week, right?”
“And it was almost done on the next day, you know? We were late to school because of that, right?”
“You remembered that well, Katou…”
“That’s because I have been forcibly put to work the whole time. Have you forgotten, Aki-kun?”
“No… Of course I haven’t forgotten.”
Tomoya kept silent for over five seconds while reminiscing about his old circle, which made Megumi inquired him about it, interrupting his monologue.
“Well then Aki-kun, about the character design, how long will it approximately take?”
“Around two months, I reckon… Getting it fixed on June, and then working on the rest or something like that, I guess? Well, I will have to confirm this with Izumi-chan first.”
“About the scenario, will it take around the same time as the character design?”
“Yeah, of course. So from May… I think it should be finished around August, maybe?”
“Is that time limit okay? It isn’t much different from last year’s, right?”
“It’s alright, no problem. After all, we already have the experience from last year…”
“But last year, even Kasumigaoka-senpai couldn’t manage to meet the deadline, you know?”
“Besides, there was also that incident with that illustrator; if you do not make a schedule with enough leisure, there’s going to be a lot of troubles like last time…”
“Hmm? What is it, Aki-kun?”
“Why is it that you can properly call Utaha-senpai’s name, but you only refer to the illustrator as ‘the illustrator’?”
“………………………..It was just a mistake. There is no deeper meaning to it.”
“Of course there is! It’s really scary when you stay quiet for more than 5 seconds, you know!?”
After telling Tomoya how dense he was, Megumi started explaining that she didn’t really understand the reason Eriri leaved the circle, and asked if Tomoya understood it. Tomoya replied that someone who is still trying to become a creator like him would not be able to understand, but one day he might become someone who will. Megumi asked if he will discard the circle when that time comes, and Tomoya affirmed that he in the present still doesn’t know. Megumi said that whenever she thinks about Eriri, her mind becomes hazy, to which Tomoya asked if it could be love (the word used is “恋” instead of “愛”); Megumi dismissed it and called him disgusting.
Michiru who has been there from the beginning finally barged in the conversation, telling the two not to ignore her, although Megumi denied that. After that, Megumi took a break for a while as Michiru started talking to Tomoya. She noted that Megumi doesn’t hold back at him in the slightest. Michiru said that Tomo has been relying on Megumi a lot; Tomoya wanted to object but Michiru said that “because it is Katou” won’t suffice for an answer. Tomoya then asked why Michiru came here today, and she answered that she wants to talk about her band, icy tail (of course, Tomo completely forgot about that). Michiru said she wants to aim higher and asked Tomoya to arrange a live two months from spring, CD release, and a major debut. As she was throwing all these demands, Michiru started pushing Tomoya down the bed… until Megumi came to the rescue after a bath.
They then talked about the job division, with Tomoya holding six roles (producer, director, planning, scenario, script, and band manager). Megumi questioned his sanity and thought that at least the matter regarding the schedule has been put together. Tomoya started bragging about two years of experience, but Megumi shut him up. Megumi told Tomoya that he needs to quit one of these roles, and Michiru jumped over to the conversation saying that Tomoya can’t quit being her band’s manager since she was just getting started. However, Megumi quickly dismissed it by saying she has learned from last year that you can’t go anywhere with only hopes and dreams. Megumi then said she will take care of the script and she can help doing the directing. Tomoya noted that Megumi looks really sleepy, and she fell asleep after that.
“Are we really doing it here?”
“…Are you embarrassed?”
“Ra, rather than embarrassed, what if she wakes up?”
“It’s fine… Look, she is sleeping soundly.”
“B, but… Ah…”
“What is it, despite being reluctant, you are actually…”
“B, but, but… Ahhh…”
Megumi woke up and found Tomoya playing a galge with Michiru. Tomoya said good morning to Megumi and urged Michiru not to run. Michiru asked Megumi for help, while Tomoya convinced her that it’s only one more hour until the game ends and explained about the game. Megumi concluded that Tomoya forced Michiru to play the galge with him just like what he usually does with herself, and Michiru was surprised that Megumi have been doing it all the time.
Megumi soon replaced Michiru as she fell asleep and discovered that the game is really bad. Tomoya said that he had heard similar rumors about the game, and Megumi asked why he asked other people to play a shitty game without himself playing it; Tomoya reasoned that he was “busy writing the new work’s plot”.
While playing, Tomoya said to Megumi that it is alright to take it easier. Megumi replied that she wants to finish this quickly as he might not be satisfied before one route is completed. Tomoya said what he referred to was about the circle. Tomoya also wondered why Megumi has been burdening herself with the circle’s responsibility even though he was the one who founded the circle, but thanked her nonetheless.
“However, in the end it’s just a game.
And it’s just a band.”
Tomoya realized that this time, he wants to think things through slowly with everyone; about the future that will bring happiness for all the circle members, that is.
“It’s just study. It’s just a path. It’s just… life.”
“Well, indeed, it’s just a game, it’s just a band, and it’s just Aki-kun, isn’t it?”
“You don’t really need to add that last one… Oh well.”
While holding the controller, Megumi closed her distance with Tomoya just a little bit; and from within that “skinship” that couldn’t really be called a skinship, Tomoya could feel Megumi’s honest feeling.
“…….Sorry Aki-kun, this game is shit after all. Can I give up?”
“Only the epilogue is left, so just finish it!”
“Well, well… You have done well coming to this narrow place, Tomoya-kun.”
In this chapter, Tomoya visited the Hashima household to meet Izumi. The one who welcomed him was Iori, though. Izumi came to greet him after some short exchanges and he proceeded to enter Izumi’s room. Izumi noted it has been a year since the last time he came. Izumi then tried to think of what to do first and offered to play Little Love Rhapsody 3+ together, but Tomoya refused by saying he didn’t come for that. Izumi then provided the drinks as they talked. Tomoya asked how she is doing in her new school, and Izumi said she likes Toyogasaki Academy’s environment since everyone is so nice and there is no prejudice towards otaku.
After more talks, Tomoya showed Izumi the proposal of their circle’s new work. Izumi asked if it is okay for her to read it to which Tomoya confirmed since she is already a member of his circle. Tomoya wanted to hear Izumi’s opinion from the perspective of an illustrator, especially about him changing the one in charge of the planning from him to “blessing software”, meaning he wants to have everyone’s thoughts and aspirations incorporated in the game to avoid repeating the same mistake from before.
“Are you done reading? Then, if you have anything to—“
“Can you get out from here right now?”
After being sent out of Izumi’s room, Tomoya talked about what happened with Iori. Iori then asked Tomoya to show him the proposal, which he reluctantly did. After reading it, Iori noted about how the work’s style has changed compared to the previous one and the huge burden of the scenario writer. Iori questioned if Tomoya will take care of it alone while also being the director and producer. He also mentioned that using Meguri Kanou (the same main character as the previous game) will exert a tremendous pressure on the current illustrator since it will inevitably be compared, which made Tomoya start to think that was the reason behind Izumi’s action. However, Iori said that it might not be the reason, and told Tomoya not to underestimate his little sister. Then, Izumi came down and took Tomoya back to his room; after he hid for a while and Iori lied saying he already went home, that is.
After returning to Izumi’s room, it turned out that Izumi has already made 100 character designs of Meguri Kanou; from the one based on Eri Kashiwagi’s design, her original design, the one she made based on Megumi, and even the one based on Tomoya’s sample texts including long hair, short hair, and ponytail variants. All the designs she made are scattered all over her room from the bed to the floor, and every single one of them is, without a doubt, Meguri Kanou. Tomoya found out that Izumi thought today was the deadline for the character design. Izumi then talked about how Meguri resembled otome games’ protagonists and how Eri Kashiwagi’s illustration is fearsome (Tomoya’s not really sure whether Izumi is complimenting her or the other way around). Izumi then asked Tomoya to prepare himself as she’ll end up making stories for the character she completed, which is exactly what Tomoya is hoping for.
Tomoya went to the station after his business with Izumi is done, accompanied by Iori. On the way, Tomoya asked Iori about his thoughts regarding his proposal; Iori said that it was overflowing with Tomoya’s 2D delusions. Tomoya questioned him of whether it could surpass the previous game or not, and Iori replied that he should be focusing on completing the game first before thinking about that (and Tomoya literally went “UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH STOP STOP STOP!” in response). Iori reminded him of the problem of the scenario writer’s burden and gave him a single piece of advice: finish the sub-heroines’ routes before the main heroine’s route in order to avoid losing his motivation halfway if he finishes the main heroine’s route first; Iori said that this is especially true for creators who only write what they like. Tomoya replied saying that there are people who succeeded making a legendary game that way, but Iori asserted that attempting to create a legend is a taboo for creators. They also discussed about how fast the flow of new otaku contents is, and that Tomoya’s circle only have this year to release their new game if they don’t want to get left behind.
Tomoya was thinking about the name for one of the sub-heroines (which was coincidentally the one based on Eriri) in his room. Not getting any inspiration, he decided to think about the story plot instead while remembering Iori’s advice. Tomoya’s smartphone rang all of a sudden; it was a call from Eriri.
“Good morning, Tomoya.”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Hm… Is Megumi there?”
“No; if you have business with Katou, shouldn’t you just talk to her directly?”
“Ah, well, it’s not like that… If she is not there, can we talk via Skype?”
“That’s alright, but…”
And so, the conversation was continued on Skype.
“You’re having such a worn-out face, aren’t you?”
“I haven’t slept for around 30 hours, after all.”
“Stop that appeal, you look like a good-for-nothing public worker.”
“Anyway, Tomoya, move aside for a bit, I want to see behind you.”
“Huh? What do you…?”
“Not in the bed… She is really not there, it seems.”
“What would you do if she was in the bed!?”
Tomoya then asked Eriri whether she has made up with Megumi or not, and she didn’t answer him clearly—implying she hasn’t. Tomoya warned her that things would become even more complicated if she doesn’t do it soon. Eriri asked Tomoya to help her a bit, but Tomoya refused because Megumi is scary when she is angry and that Megumi is actually a really nice person, to which Eriri agreed. Eriri admitted that she doesn’t want to lose Megumi as she is the first best friend she ever made.
The next topic of the conversation is about Eriri’s work. Eriri mostly complained about Utaha and her own work that involves 40 characters and 12 main characters among them. Eriri also started talking about Akane Kousaka who provoked Utaha to work harder without regards to her high pride, although she was reluctant to talk about Akane at first in consideration of Tomoya.
Tomoya then talked about Izumi’s 100 character designs that she made in only two hours and boasted Izumi’s improvement; of course Eriri didn’t seem very pleased. Tomoya asked if she is still having that attitude despite being a pro, and Eriri answered that becoming pro doesn’t automatically make someone grow up. Tomoya comforted her by saying she has been improving throughout these few months and reminded her that she was scouted by that Akane Kousaka. Eriri asked Tomoya which one is better between her and Izumi; Tomoya said there is no way he is going to admit the loss of her circle member. Eriri started pouting again, and Tomoya called her annoying. The conversation ended after Eriri asked Tomoya if she can call him again and talk to him at school.
Iori is invited by Tomoya to meet in a cafe. Iori asked for Tomoya’s reason and noted that Megumi is also present. Megumi introduced herself and said not to mind her, although Iori already knew her. Tomoya said he wants to talk about an important thing regarding his circle and show Iori his revised proposal. Megumi whispered to Tomoya, asking why he didn’t discuss something important regarding the circle like this beforehand and decide it by himself. Tomoya answered they are discussing it right now. Megumi said that is too late and guessed Tomoya didn’t discuss about it because he is meeting a former enemy. Tomoya inquired Megumi and asked her if she opposes his decision, and she said that was not the point.
After reading the revised proposal, Iori asked why he was shown this, and Tomoya told Iori that he wants Iori to become the manager of his circle so he can focus on writing the scenario. Tomoya stated that he knows that Iori is currently not in any circle after leaving rouge en rouge. Iori asked if Tomoya is okay with this even though blessing software is his circle; Tomoya replied that precisely because of that, he wants to create the ultimate game no matter what it takes. Tomoya also expressed his desire to compete with Utaha head-on and remembered Utaha’s words to him: “I want to see an original work made by Tomoya Aki.” Tomoya added that if he keeps everything to himself too much, Megumi will be angry at him. Megumi exclaimed that she is angry because he didn’t discuss something as important as recruiting a new member to the circle.
Iori declined Tomoya’s offer. Even though Tomoya kept asking about the reason why he was rejected, Iori denied all of them; this reminded him of last year when his proposal was repeatedly rejected by Utaha and Eriri. Iori said that his proposal has a nice balance and all the heroines are well done, but it won’t sell, which confused him even further. Megumi then stood up out of the blue and said that it’s not right; even though Iori said it won’t sell, he wouldn’t tell the reason why. Tomoya told Megumi to calm down. Megumi argued that it’s not fair, but Tomoya replied that it is certainly fair as he was asking Iori for a favor. Tomoya then confirmed with Iori when they will be meeting again.
Before leaving, Iori said to Tomoya:
“Your girlfriend is pretty severe*, you know?”
At that very moment, Megumi’s eyes ‘died’.
(*The word used here is “重い” which can be interpreted as “severe” or “serious”, but literally means “heavy”.)
“What should I do…”
“Hey, calm down, Katou.”
Right after the meeting, Tomoya and Megumi returned to his house. Tomoya initially thought she was down over the refusal, but Megumi was actually concerned over Iori’s last words. Tomoya convinced Megumi that she is still the usual flat heroine, which Megumi reiterated in her own monologue. Tomoya then added that Megumi is really scary when she is angry and quickly retracted it in order to avoid Megumi’s imminent wrath. Tomoya ended up cooking carbonara spaghetti for Megumi.
The next meeting with Iori will be held a day after tomorrow, which means they have to find the mistake and revise it in one day in order to persuade Iori. Megumi wondered if Iori is someone they could trust, and Tomoya affirmed that if it is about whether something will sell or not, he is no match for Iori. Tomoya asked Megumi whether she has been listening to him or not, and Megumi asked him what is up with that “the only one who understands him is me” way of speaking. Megumi compared the situation to a popular coupling among young girls between the main character and the rival who became a comrade from the middle of the story. Tomoya questioned if Megumi really is not an otaku, and whether she is rotten or not.
Megumi asked about important points of a game’s story that go beyond simple remarks like “it’s interesting” or “it’s boring”, and Tomoya started giving her a lecture about that. The first point he brought was “hate” with the following key words: “hetare” (“good-for-nothing”; protagonist, heroine), character decay, and NTR (main heroine, sub heroine). Megumi asked what NTR means, and Tomoya explained it thoroughly. The second point was “pakuri” (“steal”) in regards to character & story references, one-time character quotes, and homages. The third point was “tsukkomi parts” (“straight-man”) like discrepancies in the story that the audience can notice. After the lengthy explanations, they continued working.
Megumi asked Tomoya about the date event for sub-heroine 3 where the protagonist leaved the sub-heroine to chase another heroine while the sub-heroine only smiled in front of the protagonist but got angry after he was gone; she asked him if it was based on a real experience. Tomoya said he didn’t remember any experience like that, and Megumi said it must be her imagination after keeping silent for a while. She then asked if he had anything in mind about the scene where sub-heroine 1 and 2 argued against the protagonist’s complaint; Tomoya said it was just a coincidence. Megumi compared the protagonist to the first point Tomoya explained earlier (“hate”). Megumi then brought up about sub-heroine 4’s final story where she fell sick and the protagonist decided to go to her side even though he had an important thing to take care of. Megumi pointed out that the protagonist’s choice gave her an uncomfortable feeling (this is a reference of volume 6’s incident).
As they were struggling to find the problem, Megumi reflected on whether they could understand the problem or not. Tomoya replied that he doesn’t know. Megumi wondered that Utaha might be able to, but added that she is not her. Tomoya said something hypothetical like that wouldn’t solve the problem, and it would be the same even if he is the one to become Utaha. Megumi said that it has to be her; since if it was Utaha and Tomoya, if it was TAKI UTAKO, the problem would have been over quickly. Tomoya and Megumi decided to call it a day after that.
Megumi woke up in the morning and asked Tomoya the time, to which he answered 5 AM. After the newspaper came, they recalled things that happened last year. They then continued searching for the proposal’s problem, but to no avail. In the confusion, Megumi muttered, “really, all the heroines are done so well that it is impossible to tell which one is the main heroine, everyone’s routes are so good. I wonder, what could be the problem?” Thanks to that, Tomoya finally figured out the problem.
Tomoya and Megumi met Iori in the same cafe as before. Iori complimented Tomoya for not running away and properly coming to the second meeting. Tomoya told him to wait for five minutes and Megumi seemed really tired. Iori rhetorically asked them why they both look so tired, and Tomoya replied that the answer is obvious. As Tomoya waited for Iori’s response regarding the revised proposal, Iori suddenly started giggling and Tomoya realized Iori was reading something else: Utaha’s Pure-“Hearted Hectopascal”. Iori commented that even Utako Kasumi could do comedy, and Tomoya started talking about the novel. Megumi told them not to unnecessarily raise the tension.
Iori started reading the revised proposal for real, but he also giggled while reading it which caused Tomoya to ask if his reaction’s the same no matter what he reads. Iori said that Tomoya finally understood what he meant. Iori acknowledged that Tomoya’s motivation is the value of his own work rather than money, telling Tomoya to create a “legend” and show him his wildest delusion; after that, he will see for himself whether the main heroine he made would sell or not. With Iori signaling an “OK” for Tomoya’s invitation to his circle, Tomoya and Megumi fell asleep at the table.
As the chapter number indicated, this chapter took place right after chapter 7 chronologically. Tomoya who had realized the problem of the proposal said that the Meguri route is still not good. Megumi thought that Meguri route is comparable compared to the other routes, but Tomoya said that is exactly the problem; after all, he originally made the game for the main heroine. Tomoya explained that the quality of the plots had been increasing which was reflected in the improvement of the sub-heroines’ routes. However, this caused the sub-heroines’ routes to overshadow the main heroine’s route—which is the actual problem. They decided to redo Meguri’s route, and Megumi said she will entrust it to Tomoya. Tomoya questioned Megumi’s decision of entrusting it to him. Megumi replied that she did it not because she has any basis or faith, but because she doesn’t have any idea right now. Megumi told Tomoya that she wants to go home to eat and change clothes first since she figured he would be staying at home the whole day to gather materials. Tomoya said that there is a more fitting way to gather materials for Meguri’s event: a date.
Tomoya has been waiting for 30 minutes inside Megumi’s house as she prepared everything before going on the date. Megumi noticed that Tomoya is sweating a lot, particularly because he is nervous of the situation he is currently in. Megumi offered Tomoya to eat some manju from her mother. Tomoya thought that Megumi’s mother is different from his imagination, and commented that she doesn’t get mad even though her daughter goes on a date right after she stayed overnight at her friend’s place.
As they began their date, Tomoya asked Megumi to turn on the IC recorder. Megumi questioned Tomoya if he really wants to record today’s date, and Tomoya replied that using memo is troublesome. Tomoya then asked Megumi for a suggestion regarding the date’s location; Megumi suggested Hourakuen Amusement Park, but Tomoya refused because he went there for research before (with Eriri). They eventually decided to go to Rokutenba Mall. Tomoya asked what shop she wants to go to first, and she said she has already decided. Tomoya started making the plan for the date according to the shops that Megumi wants to visit. After she finished buying something from one of the shops, Megumi told Tomoya to come along with her inside the shop, but he refused since “the hurdle is too high”. As they moved around the crowds and through the escalator, both of them held hands like last year.
Tomoya and Megumi got tired from going to all the shops, as Megumi said that the next one will be the last, which is the glasses shop that they also visited last year where Megumi bought Tomoya a pair of glasses that later got taken by Eriri. Megumi said that since the key item for the protagonist and the main heroine has been lost, a new key item is necessary, she asked Tomoya what would be a good one. Tomoya asked Megumi if she has been sarcastic since earlier, while Megumi answered that this is only for the sake of gathering materials. When Tomoya refused because he doesn’t want the material of “a yandere who overwrites memories”, Megumi started suggesting leather jacket and pierce, which caused Tomoya to respond by asking what kind of boyfriend she wants to raise.
At the food court, Megumi told Tomoya that he met Eriri there last year after Tomoya leaved her to go meet Utaha and that it was an important event between her and Eriri, since that was when Eriri drew Meguri’s angry expression. Megumi said that it was because of that day that they could become friends; she exclaimed that this place feels so nostalgic because this place held something she used to have, as her expression turned sad. Tomoya offered Megumi to let him set up a meeting between her and Eriri to patch things up. Megumi initially rejected the offer since it feels wrong to ask Tomoya for that, but added that she is fine as long as Eriri is okay with it.
Two hours have passed since they leaved Rokutenba Mall. Megumi said it was fine, while Tomoya admitted he was scared halfway. Tomoya wondered if Megumi is as “severe” as Iori put it, but Megumi denied that. Tomoya proclaimed that Meguri’s route will be awesome and that it was just a matter of time until Megumi becomes a real main heroine.
This final part below is special since I completely translated it; my Facebook friends may have already read this since a long time ago, though.
“Well then… Last attempt as the main heroine, shall I do it~?”
And then, as we reached out to the top of the slope…
“Err, just for now, is it okay to turn off the IC recorder?”
Katou, after giving me such a weird instruction, overtook me by walking a bit faster…
And then, close to the top of the hill, she looked down gently at me.
…No, actually, I couldn’t really see that expression of hers concealed by the night.
“Hey, Aki-kun… Nope, Tomoya-kun.”
Even so, her voice at that moment, those words…
That expression of Kato made me remember.
“Do you remember…? It has been exactly a year since then, you know?”
Of course, I remember that.
Even that time, I was struggling, having a hard time of thinking about the plot.
“Have I, compared to that time, been able to become closer to the heroine of your story, I wonder?”
At that time, Katou should have been staying in Hokkaido.
Even so, she looked after me who was in a pinch, prioritized me over her family, and encouraged me.
“Have I been able to become your strength, I wonder?”
She has become a tremendous strength for me.
“And then, do you remember…? Since then, it has been around a month, you know?”
“Eh, wait… Hey…”
Well… Even if I want to forget, I still couldn’t forget it.
After all, I was crying out loud like a dog while standing in front of Kato.
“There are no Eriri* or Utaha-senpai* here for me anymore…”
But, Kato is…
“Even so, would I still be able to cheer you up, I wonder?”
Her unchanging gentle voice is reaching out to me who is covered in shyness.
“Could I stay as someone important for you and for the circle, I wonder?”
She is still the heroine of my dreams.
The truth is, the truth is…
Today’s Kato somehow feels like a jack-in-the-box.
Flat, nice to hang out with, doesn’t feel like an opposite sex, sharp-tongued, dark, nostalgic, sweet, frail, unfair, annoying…
“As long as there is a will, there will somehow be a way or something like that; I have that kind of feeling.”
And also, this reliable.
“That’s why, from now on… please take care of me, alright? Let’s work hard together, okay?**”
Even so, it was a good thing the IC recorder was turned off.
After all, I don’t really want to hear a conversation this embarrassing again.
“Let’s work hard together, Tomoya-kun.”
“With the two of us, with everyone… This time, the ultimate game, let’s create it, okay?”
Why did I turn off the IC recorder… I am an idiot.
*: The furigana is written as “Eriri” and “Utaha-senpai” while the kanji is written “coordinator” and “acting instructor” respectively.
**: Literally “let’s vomit blood together, okay?” (“一緒に血反吐、吐こうぜ？”; “issho ni chihedo, hakouze?”) from the proverb “血反吐を吐きながら”; “chihedo wo hakinagara”. Trivia: Utaha used the same phrase in the second volume of the light novel and the sixth episode of the anime.
“You let Iori Hashima enter your circle!?”
Tomoya talked with Eriri via Skype again, and Eriri was really surprised by the fact that Iori became a new member of Tomoya’s circle. Eriri wondered if Tomoya could control Iori and if everything is going okay. Tomoya told Eriri to worry about her situation more than his own. Eriri started talking about her work including Utaha and her Fields Chronicle 20th Anniversary key visual deadline. They switched topics to the meeting that Tomoya has arranged between Eriri and Megumi that will take place next week. After that, they wished each other good luck and ended the call. Tomoya noted that he has been calling Megumi by her first name as a habit.
Tomoya talked with Utaha through the phone. The first subject is about Iori joining the circle and the plot that Tomoya wrote with Megumi. The next subject is about the new Fields Chronicle’s PV that will be shown at the upcoming Fields Chronicle event. Tomoya said that he will be watching the livestream along with his circle members. Utaha inquired Tomoya again if he really will be watching it with them, and Tomoya asked her to explain what she wants to say. Utaha asserted that Eriri has been trying her best to catch up with his circle; however, the current Eriri is no more the Eriri that Tomoya knows. Tomoya compared her remarks to those lines from stories with brainwashing, NTR, and ahegao double peace. The conversation ended with Utaha asking Tomoya, Izumi, and Megumi not to become Eriri’s enemy, or at least stay as her rival, and to accept her for who she is now.
The members of blessing software watched the livestream of the Fields Chronicle event together. The livestream started with the MC’s call followed by the introduction of the staff. The PV of Fields Chronicle XIII was shown right after that, which showcased the characters of the game. Everything looked normal until Izumi noticed that all the pictures shown in the PV are actually connected, forming one large picture like a jigsaw puzzle which shocked everyone in the circle. The usually motivated Izumi was completely confounded by the thoughts of competing with someone at this caliber—with Eri Kashiwagi. Tomoya finally understood the meaning behind Utaha’s words at that moment. Megumi called out to Tomoya, and he realized the difference in her voice: it contained both her loneliness and sorrow of being left behind by her best friend, along with her irritation of not being understood by that best friend of hers.