The long-awaited Megumi volume of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata has finally arrived! After experiencing what I would call “Eriri route” and “Utaha route”, we’re back on track for the main course.
Note: I’ve added an anonymously written summary that covers a general idea of the important parts below. Some interesting parts like Akane’s talk with Tomoya are omitted, sadly it’ll have to wait. If you own the book and you’re not sure about certain parts, feel free to ask me in the comments; I’ll try to answer them when I’m around.
The earlier part of this volume is pretty ordinary, with a flat and lack-of-presence Megumi. The story started off from the usual shuraba scene after the completion of Michiru and Izumi’s heroine scenario without their involvement. We also have a glimpse of Iori and Eriri after that, with Utaha not getting any proper screentime. The feel of this first part is pretty reminiscent of volume 8’s first half.
The later part of the story starts exploring the main problem of the volume: Tomoya’s writer block while writing Meguri Kanou’s scenario. The scene that troubles him is the scene where Meguri finally falls in love with the protagonist. For Tomoya and for the game itself, this is the scenario that he cannot really afford to fuck up. As unlikely as it sounds, Tomoya consulted Akane Kousaka, the founder of rouge en rouge and the current employer of Eriri & Utaha. After talking with her and getting an advice (she’s basically telling him to “expose all the embarassing stuff inside his head” or so), Tomoya started working on the scenario with Megumi’s help.
From here, the story progressed like a vanilla rom-com development, with Tomoya and Megumi doing several lovey-dovey things that will probably make your heart flutter. One particular scene that really strikes me as genuinely saccharine is when Tomoya said “I kinda, want to see your face,” in the middle of their phone call—and so they are moving to Skype for a video call (you can see the illustration below). The part where Megumi does an ad-lib in front of the camera while lying on the floor simply kills.
The highlight of this volume would be Megumi’s lines to the protagonist:
It’s not like I want something like a confession.
I’m fine with a chance to fall in love, just a little.
I just want simple, casual words.
Words that can make one say,
“ah, so I could fall in love just like that…”
“What do you mean by this, Tomoya-senpai~!?”
“W-wait, what did you guys want!? Why are you bullying me? I don’t get it at all this time!”
“Why did you complete the scenario for the cousin heroine Michiru (tentative) without me knowing~!?”
“Why did you complete the kouhai heroine Izumi (tentative) scenario, just when I took my eyes off you a bit~!?”
“I’m getting all these complaints for finishing it on time!?”
V11 started with Michiru and Izumi getting mad at Tomoya for completing their respective scenario for the game without consulting to them. Michiru asked Tomoya why he’s not running around corners as usual, just like when he was writing Eriri and Utaha’s scenario (the furigana can be read as “a whole volume worth of screentime”). Izumi complained about the unfair treatment she is getting despite being “the one with the most contribution for the circle” and that the current members have less presence than the former members.
Michiru remarked that while it’s common for first generation band members to become legendary, there are also cases in which the second generation vocalist managed to help the band have a major debut. Izumi followed by throwing an eerily similar example to blessing software’s situation, and Tomoya asked them to stop.He tried explaining that he did it so as not to halt the development of the music and illustration, but Michiru didn’t seem to be pleased since there are still two months left. Izumi said she had hoped the heroines would have more conversations with the protagonist, to which Tomoya replied that he already wrote it with that in mind.
“…..Well, it’s Tomoya-kun’s fault to start writing it the way it was.”
Megumi’s voice pierced through the room like a 5.1 surround sound.
“To be honest, while “answering a girl’s problem with a game scenario” is very painful and embarrassing to the point that I don’t get it at all, it certainly feels that you’re giving some people special treatments. That’s why, when it’s someone else’s turn and they didn’t get treated the same way, it’s inevitable that they would think ‘Huh? So what am I to you?'”
“I’ve already admitted it, haven’t I!? Please stop it with the embarrassing commentary, Megumi!”
Tomoya then apologized to the two albeit in a not-so-sincere manner. Michiru and Izumi didn’t seem too satisfied with his apology but Megumi told them to let it slide since he seems to be feeling remorse in his own way.
“Well then, for the sake of this “great game”, we gotta work harder~”
“Indeed, we have the scenario data right here after all…”
“Look, at this “Izumi 04.txt”! This”feeling of longing while separated” is the real excitement of a childhood friend heroine!”
“Eh~, really? Isn’t it better to always be together and get along without ever being separated?”
“Michiru-san’s (tentative) scenario is shallow because of predictable developments like that~”
“On that note, if we’re talking about Izumi’s (tentative) scenario’s depth… This part about her staying in love with the protagonist for three years really added a depth to her route!”
“Eh~, it wouldn’t do if they aren’t separated for at least five years~”
“What’s up with that year gap!?”
And so, Michiru and Izumi started arguing about which route is better.
“Huh~, if we’re talking about vividness, look at this “Michiru 16.txt”. Certainly something you wouldn’t be able to see in a brat heroine’s route~”
“Precisely because they have been looking at each other as they grow up together since childhood, the moment that the protagonist suddenly realized she has become a “woman” is very real~”
“P-please don’t imagine something like that!”
“Look, look… This part where the heroine and the protagonist is going all lovey-dovey on the bed with their feet touching each other… ‘Hey, Tomo… Wanna do it?'”
“Uwaaaaah….! Stop quoting every single dialogue!”
“Uwaaaaah….! I didn’t even put that line in the dialogue, though~!?”
Michiru and Izumi continued debating while quoting moe phrases from their scenario.
“T-then… Look at this “Izumi 238.txt”! At the spot sale event, after getting immersed by her first time successfully selling out her stuff… I, I mean the heroine, got reeled in by Tomoya-senpai, I mean the protagonist, and on his bed… ‘Se-senpai… This is my first time, so…'”
“Uwaaaaah….! I didn’t even create that event, you know~!?”
…….Hm, as I expected, the way I created the game this time is wrong.
I shouldn’t have used a girl I know as a model for the heroine.
“Hey, Tomoya-kun, you just denied the very theme of this work, is that okay?”
“What did you hear just now, Megumi!?”
“The deadline for all the necessary materials is the end of September, see.”
“That’s really fast, as expected from a consumer game.”
“We’ll still barely make it for the release in the end of the year, though… So actually, I don’t really have time to go to school this month.”
“….Dropping out of college may still get you jobs in the industry, but isn’t dropping out of high school going too far?”
Tomoya is conversing with Eriri about their respective projects at school.
“Even so, the development timeframe is just too short… This is a big title, so the company should have at least provided 2-3 years worth of budget and manpower.”
“Well, your project leader (Akane Kousaka) seems to like rushing things…Doesn’t the work cycle fundamentally contradicts a consumer game’s long production time?”
“I shouldn’t have worked on “Force Chronicle”, then… Really, I could never understand what that woman’s thinking.”
Eriri is mostly venting about how Akane has been making her work to the bone.
“She’s been giving more meticulous demands lately… Not to mention, she’ll throw away anything that doesn’t satisfy her without mercy.”
“Well, caring about those meticulous parts is an important part of the development. The users will be very sensitive about those issues, right?”
“Even so, having to keep up with that level of detail for another month of thirty event CGs is asking too much from the illustrator.”
“Barely making it again, huh…”
“I’m proceeding according to the schedule! I also finished thirty illustrations last month, you know?”
“…O, oh, good job.”
“Even so, your director really sticks around, huh.”
“Well, she has always been like that… The problem now is that even the scenario writer starts getting involved more.”
“You mean Utaha-senpai?”
“When she did a drastic revision to the scenario, it’s suddenly a huge problem! Clients are holding their head, and even some talks about changing the writer has been brought up, but Akane Kousaka rejected all of them.”
“And after that, she’s been doing whatever she wants. Teasing, bullying, and making a fool out of me… Man… Who the hell got her back into shape!?”
“A, aha, ahaha…”
“You have written Utaha Kasumigaoka’s scenario too, right?”
“….Well, the person in question denied the whole thing, though.”
“Hm, huh, really…”
“…What, what are you getting at?”
“Hm, I guess when it comes to dense love comedy protagonists, the urge to kill surely builds up when you’re looking at them as an onlooker rather than as a part of it. So that’s why people really want to hit those characters that they can’t empathize with. I see, I’m learning something new today~”
“What did you even study in this exam period!?”
The next scene took place the day after that in the usual cafe where Megumi and Tomoya usually hangs out; they are meeting with Iori to talk about the scenario.
“Hm, huh, really…”
“Why is your response exactly the same as Eriri’s, Megumi!?”
“Ah~, actually, I have heard most of it from Eriri yesterday through the phone, so I’m not really that surprised.
Besides, I care even less about Utaha-senpai than Tomoya-kun, and like, I trust Tomoya-kun. That’s why, it’s not like I’ll start sobbing in front of people just because I’m worrying about that person.”
“No one remembers what happened last month (volume 10; chapter 6)!”
“Well, if Tomoya-kun’s worrying that much, Utaha-senpai should be fine.”
“But, she’s certainly mad about the scenario last time, and she doesn’t seem willing to forgive me…”
“Well, if you think so, how about keeping a distance for a bit? Not so sure about holding it back, anyway. Not going to say who, though.”
“Sorry, can you stop with those whispers that I can still properly hear?”
“Yo Tomoya-kun, Katou-san, keep you wai—”
“Anyway, we have to worry more about our circle than Utaha-senpai’s problem. I’d prefer to start working on the scripts as soon as possible, as well as checking all the currently available materials.”
“….Nah, what we need to worry about now is that you quickly brushed off Iori just now.”
“Hey Megumi, why are you always treating Iori like that…”
“Ah~, it must be just me being shy.”
“No, but, in my memory up until now, I’ve never remembered Megumi Katou being shy even once…”
“….Can you stop ignoring me too with the guise of defending me, Tomoya-kun?”
“Why not? You’re probably always in the top position everywhere else, so it’s fine to be in a low hierarchy for just one circle, right?”
“I’m aware that the me up until now has always been popular, but if I’m treated like this continuously, don’t blame me if I start piling up hate towards you guys, okay?”
“So, Iori, what’s up with you calling out to us on the start of the new term? If you had something important to discuss, you should have come to yesterday’s meeting and discuss it with everyone.”
“The thing is, I didn’t get any call about yesterday’s meeting. And just this morning, your girlfriend there simply sent me the proceedings and materials.”
“Eh~? I certainly remembered sending an invitation, though~ It’s weird, isn’t it~?”
“The schedule of the final scenario, huh?”
“Yep, Tomoya-kun. Up until yesterday, you have finished the scenarios of four characters. With this, only one route remained.”
“Main heroine, Meguri Kanou…”
“Yeah, the last fort.”
“…Err, are you talking about doing that today?”
“He just finished writing the previous route yesterday, you know? Tomoya-kun spent his summer holiday writing it without barely even sleeping; if he starts writing the next one right away, his body wouldn’t have any time to rest, right?”
Basically, Megumi and Iori started arguing about the writing process of the last scenario. Megumi insisted that Tomoya needed a break after writing the previous scenario, while Iori wanted Tomoya to start working on it right away as not to drag the schedule down further. Tomoya joked around that this is the second Holy Grail War between Megumi and Iori (a pun of “seisai” / “wife” and “seihai” / “holy grail”), with him acting as the mediator voiced by Jouji Nak*ta.
“I am expecting the Kanou Meguri scenario to be completed in November, at the very worst.”
“Wait, Iori, isn’t that still three months away from now?”
“Heh, so Tomoya-kun is confident enough to be able to finish Meguri route in a mere three months… That promised godly scenario that surpasses all the other routes…”
It took a while for Tomoya to remember the true abyss of “Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (tentative)”.
[It wouldn’t do if the main heroine is not definitely the best girl.]
“Putting together the plot into a scenario in three months is one thing, but in this case, you have to create something that can surpass that plot.”
“After all, the other routes also strayed from the plot and were further developed.”
“That’s why, it’s better to think that the advantage that the main heroine had from the plot is no longer there.”
“Create a masterpiece, Tomoya-kun…”
Tomoya finally realized that Iori didn’t simply want to rush the next scenario.
Neither did he wants to quickly decide on the schedule.
“The greatest plot that will surpass every single scenario up until now.”
What Iori wanted to do is to cast pressure on Tomoya.
In the greatest level possible.
“Can you do it?”
“Yeah, I will… But, I won’t do as you please.”
“The Meguri Kanou scenario… just like the original plan, will be completed on October.”
“Are you fine with saying something like that?”
“After all, taking more time to write the scenario doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be better, right?”
Tomoya and Iori ended their conversation by betting on whether Tomyoa will be able to finish the scenario in October or not and snickered in unison. Unable to contain his motivation to quickly write the main scenario, Tomoya sipped the remaining coffee in front of him…
The coffee he drank was so sweet, his whole body was trembling in convulsion.
Further investigations hinted that Megumi put the gum syrup, maple syrup, and six sugar sticks from the table inside the coffee.
Saturday, 8.30 AM.
“Tea check, coffee check, chocolate check, everything’s ready!”
Tomoya was just getting ready to write the main heroine scenario when Izumi suddenly rang the bell and started babbling. After falling asleep for four hours, Izumi said to Tomoya that she had seen a god (her way of saying she found inspiration for a godly illustration) and asked Tomoya to get out of the room for a while before she can show it to her.
After 15 minutes, Izumi finally showed the illustration to Tomoya. She admitted to Tomoya that she can’t draw the way Eriri draws, but she believed that this single illustration that she made is not losing to Eriri’s. That illustration turned out to be a humongous drawing of Eriri, or rather, the character based on Eriri from Tomoya’s current game. The illustration was described by Tomoya to portray the hesitation and the tenderness of her white skin—her feelings of shame, determination, and lack of joy; such combination of purity and perversion is all perfectly captured in that illustration.
“After all… No matter how many times I read the “Eriri 22″ scenario, it would definitely turn out like this, right?”
Event Number: Eriri 22
Type: Individual Event
Requirement: entering Eriri route
Summary: The first time with Eriri…
….This picture is the embodiment of that event (volume 9 page 201 onwards), huh.
“That scene’s dialogues are kinda, no, very lewd, you know.”
Tomoya thought to himself, Izumi has finally took another step forward. It can be said that Izumi’s illustration just now is already in dakimakura-leve of quality.
Izumi said the illustration still has a problem: it took her a whole week to finish it, so doing the rest of the illustrations may take months to complete. Tomoya then continued by saying they will need to re-think about the balance, but as he was going to start printing the CG list, the ink ran out because Izumi used it earlier. The next part is Tomoya and Izumi deciding which scene will require extra quality, with Izumi getting excited about her route’s beach scene and onsen scene. Time passed really fast as they were discussing and it’s already late night. Tomoya and Izumi talked about giving 100% percent for Meguri route’s climax scene and ended up doing another reorganization of the schedule until the last train time passed.
Sunday, 06 AM.
Tomoya came back home after sending Izumi off to the train station. Half-asleep, he was about to get some rest when suddenly…
“What is it…?”
“I’m kinda sleepy now after an all-nighter, see….”
“Relax, me too…”
“If you wanna do it, let’s just do it after we sleep for a bit…”
“Alright… Then, two hours from now, it is…”
“? ….Eh, UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA~!?”
“Shut up, Tomo. I already said we’re doing it after two more hours, so just wait for a bit…”
“What are we waiting for!? What are we going to do after two hours!?”
“Eh~, aren’t you really in the mood for that? That’s why you touched my body in lots of places just now…”
“Please forgive me since I was half-asleep, but your reaction is very different than the usual, so—uh, please just forget whatever happened just now!”
Tomoya gave Mitsuru a short pants to wear, and she teased him while wearing it.
“…A new song?”
“Yeah, a really good song! This is certainly michie’s latest masterpiece, should I say? That’s why, I really want Tomo to quickly listen to it…”
“Ah, I see…”
“Hey, what’s up with that reaction? I thought you’d be happywith me coming right away.”
“Ah, no, sorry…”
“Huh~, too bad… All that tension from last night feels pretty meaningless now.”
“No, it’s my fault. But really, I’m grateful. Please let me listen to it.”
“Hm, I will make you regret that attitude just now…”
Michiru ended up playing the song for Tomoya after betting that she will make him cry with the song.
“…….So, how is it?”
3 minutes later.
The moment that Michiru’s voice fades from the room as she looks at me….
This time, my roaring applause is the one that fills the room.
“It’s great! So good! It’s certainly a new masterpiece!”
“Yeah, I cried a bit! It’s very heartbreaking, isn’t it!?”
“I really enjoyed it, which scene is this suppoesd to be for?”
“…..Well, it’s just like I expected so far.”
“The fact that you didn’t cry.”
Tomoya realized that the few tears that went down from his eyes didn’t leave any trace.
“No, it’s my lost. It’s very emotional, really!”
“Nah, if it didn’t make you break down in tears, there is no meaning to it.”
Michiru took something from her short pants’ pocket and showed it to Tomoya.
“Right now, I’m going to cast a magic.”
The thing in her hand is an USB flash drive.
“The real form of this song is inside this thing…”
Tomoya opened the folder inside the USB and double-clicked the file “saekano.exe”.
[Utaha]: “It’s over, isn’t it?”
As we left the building, Utaha-senpai’s black hair was blown by the wind.
As if fascinated by that refreshing wind, I could see a dash of her vivid expression that wasn’t present in the last few days.
“What is thi…”
“Well, just keep reading.”
“Yes,. Kishotenketsu‘s ‘ten‘, as in twist. The turning point.”
“Oh, that part when the heroine dies from an accident, or when she dies from an illness, or for whatever reason…”
“…Why does the heroine have to die no matter what?”
Just one night after the scenario-reading, the voice of Megumi who has returned to being flat can be heard not from the PC, but through the smartphone speaker.
“But I guess it’s something like that; the part when the story reaches its climax.”
“Ah right, the Meguri route doesn’t really have any development like that right now…”
“Oh, let me get this straight; of course I really love the Meguri route up until now! Meguri’s very cute, after all!”
“….Ah, yes, yes.”
“It definitely is lacking any drama, though… It makes your heart flutter, but it doesn’t make you restless.”
“But, do the players of this game really want that, I wonder? Rather than getting separated with the heroine, wouldn’t it be better for the two of them to be… uh…”
“Well, there are also some people who prefer seeing lovey-dovey scenes between the two instead of engaging in stressful developments.”
“That’s certainly what I wanted to say, but can’t you put it in a better way?”
The scenario writing after the “Meguri 15” event has surpassed two digit numbers and is progressing with the pace of three events in one day.
“So, what do you think, Megumi?”
“Do you think we should add a complication after this? Or should we stick to the lovey-dovey portrayal until the end?”
Everyday, we are simulating various situations, coming up with dialogues, and sharing our thoughts.
“Ah, it’s okay to tell me what you think about it. I’ll be the one to decide in the end.”
“….You don’t really have to worry about it, really.”
That’s why, right now, I can understand Megumi’s feelings… No, saying that I understand all of her feelings would be a lie.
“Let’s see… for me…”
” For Megumi?”
“….I don’t really want a “twist”, I think.”
Even so, hearing her slightly shaking, barely holding it in and letting it out, made me understand.
“To begin with, the current scenario is so embarrassing that it’s pretty hard to stomach already; adding a complication would be…”
“Nah, the embarrassing situations will still continue! I still have around ten heart-fluttering events inside my head…”
“Geez… If it comes down to it, I’ll just have to pull through this work with just embarassment.”
“Well, anyway, I’ll think about the final part a little bit more. When I’m hooked on another idea, help me on the scenario-reading, okay?”
“Ah, about that.”
“What is it?”
“This scenario-reading… Can we take a break from it for a while?”
“Ah, sorry. I know we’re just getting into it for today too…”
“What happened? Don’t tell me you’re about to die from an accident, or from an illness, or for whatever reason?”
“I don’t have any sudden development like that. Definitely not.”
“That’s, uh… Lately, aren’t we getting too much into it…? Myself, and Tomoya-kun too.”
“…Is that a bad thing?”
“Ah, well… If it’s ‘only’ inside the game, there is no problem, I think.”
….I can clearly hear Megumi’s soft whisper.
And, in a way, even if not completely, I understand… or at least I want to.
After all, I also… or rather, it’s me who wants to embrace Megumi’s words and her feelings beneath those words.
That’s why, I…
“Alright, let’s take a break from scenario-reading for a while.”
“But, we’ll have a meeting to make up for it instead… This Saturday, 1 PM, let’s meet at Ikebukuro.”
I will aim for the opposite direction from the one Megumi wanted to take.
“Ah, it’s okay. I will definitely wait for just that day. I’m fine with just hanging out together.”
“Err, when I said I wanted to take a break from scenario-reading, I don’t really mean taking a break from the whole game-making—”
“Even I understand that, you know.”
“I understand, but I just can’t agree with it.”
But seriously, the current Megumi…
Of course I want to meet her in person, wouldn’t I?
“Now’s not a good time…”
I can hear that whisper of hers just now too.
That’s why, I chose the center of the city as the meeting place.
Right now, I can vaguely guess that she’ll probably reject me if I invited her to my room.
“But, it wouldn’t do if we don’t do it now.”
“Megumi, didn’t you realize that September 23 is this week?”
Yes, if you found a day as convenient as this, of course you wouldn’t let it come to pass.
It’s Megumi Katou’s 18th birthday.
“Even though you completely forgot it last year…”
“We’ll be having two-year worth of celebration, then! We’ll completely celebrate it this year!”
Yes, we’ll do it all-out.
After all, we are looking for the greatest cliche.
This will be the perfect event fit for the climax scene of Meguri route.
“Err… Can’t it wait for just a bit longer? Next month, maybe?”
“It wouldn’t do if we delay the birthday celebration that long!”
And also the perfect chance for other things.
“…It’s just, a date.”
Yes, no matter what, this is simply a date.
A good-for-nothing 2D otaku guys is now, gathering up his courage to escort an inconspicuous yet precious flower.
“Please, Megumi! Please, Megumi-san! I’m begging you, Megumi-sama!”
Even if all that I could deliver are words, I bowed my head with all my might.
Even if I can’t see her, I keep on imagining it over and over again.
That moment which didn’t last more than three seconds but felt longer than three years.
“Ah, whatever~, Tomoya-kun.”
Megumi subtly expressed her answer.
“I really don’t know anymore~”
“No, what do you mean?”
Certainly, I wouldn’t get it if I simply took her words literally.
“The day after tomorrow, right?”
“A, ah… eh?”
“Geez, what to do… I really can’t wait now…..”
But, I understood.
The fact that the resounding voice of her delicate words—that those beautiful, painful, and yet captivating emotion of hers has reached me.
“Can’t tomorrow and the weekend come sooner, I wonder?”
“It wouldn’t take long.”
“Where will we go? Where will you take me to, I wonder?”
“Rest assured. Just for this time, it won’t be the usual places.”
“Ah~, but I’m okay with going to that area, you know. I’ll feel more at ease, too.”
“Even if you’re fine with it, I won’t, just for this time!”
“You don’t really have to go out of your way for me, you know. It’s my birthday, after all.”
“It’s exactly because it’s your birthday that I’m going to specially treat you.”
“Ah, those words just now, shouldn’t we use it for the Meguri scenario?”
“Eh? What did I just say? Can we repeat it while I’m taking a note?”
“It’s your own words, so repeat it yourself.”
“The emotion won’t come out if I’m doing a solo act.”
“In the first place, can you even do an emotional performance, Tomoya-kun?”
“Please, Megumi… Right, starting from ‘ah, whatever~, Tomoya-kun.'”
“If you still remember that line, you shouldn’t be having any problems, right?”
For now, it seems I can relax after putting such an effort.
The current Megumi is not rigid nor flat; her way of speaking is brimming with the image of a girl.
No, she has been very girly for a while now.
But—or rather—because of that…
“Anyway, I’ll confirm it one more time! Saturday, 1 PM, Ikebukuro!”
“….I’ll definitely come.”
“Of course, it’s a promise.”
“I won’t forgive you if you are late, you know, Tomoya-kun?”
“Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a joke coming from you, so please give me a break.”
“….Well, I can wait if it’s only one minute.”
“Isn’t that too short!?”
Even my voice is brimming with excitement right now….
I want to meet this girl, Megumi Katou, right now.
I want to meet her, talk to her, laugh together with her, touch her, and then….
But, that will have to wait until the day after tomorrow.
……I’ll just have to bear it until then.
Event Number: Meguri ??
Type: Individual Event
Requirement: Meguri Route completion
Summary: On Meguri’s 18th birthday, the two of them…
“Let’s see… for me…”
“….I don’t really want a “twist”, I think.”
The awaited day after tomorrow.
September 23, 12 AM.
Just a little while before the meeting time.
“…., …….!” (possibly Megumi’s voice, but could also be someone else’s)
“Eh? What? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you…” (Tomoya)
From that phone call which wasn’t too clear because of the noise.
“Wha—Wait for a second! Who did…”
The “twist” that she didn’t wish for…
…in that moment, has finally come.
I’m still recovering from Megumi’s cuteness and the desire to just roll on my bed, but it’s pretty hard.
Compared the previous volumes which was mainly serious in tone, this volume feels a lot more laid-back in comparison, and yet it delivers a far better experience than volume 9 and 10. We have seen Megumi’s ‘dark’ side for a while now, but it’s completely different here; this volume strongly re-establishes Megumi’s place as the main heroine along with providing us a look at her deredere side. This contrast in Megumi’s attitude is on an even higher degree than the one in volume 8.
No forced drama or conflict is present in this volume, as it focuses solely on developing Tomoya and Megumi’s relationship to a whole new level, and I think it’s really better that way. The two last volumes were not received all that well because both failed to deliver a meaningful impact for blessing software’s development, but volume 11 managed to even that out. I guess I’ll have to commend Fumiaki Maruto’s prowess in using subtle ways to show us Megumi’s feelings this time around. As of now, I’m more or less convinced that those feelings are real.
If I really have to choose one thing that bothers me, maybe it kinda feels that things went a bit too well. The part where she mentions that she doesn’t want to have “a twist as part of the story”* may hint for a sudden plot twist next volume. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this volume, probably even more so than volume 8.
*: I’ll explain this in detail since someone asked me about this via Discord.
This part refers to the “ten” element of “kishotenketsu”, a four-part narrative structure prevalent in Japanese and Chinese narratives. Kishotenketsu is comprised of four elements:
- “Ki” / “起”: introduction of characters and important settings for the story.
- “Sho” / “承”: development of the story without any major change.
- “Ten” / “転”: twist/complication, the peak or climax of the story.
- “Ketsu” / “結”: conclusion of the story.
There is a heavy contrast between kishotenketsu and conventional Western narrative structure (namely the three-act structure centered around the setup, escalation, and resolution of a conflict). If you haven’t noticed, the usual “conflict” element of the Western narrative is not included as one of kishotenketsu’s parts. While this doesn’t mean that stories using the kishotenketsu structure will inevitably have no conflict, it is clear that conflict is neither an inherent element nor an obligatory requirement for a story using kishotenketsu as its basis. Also, twist/complication is not to be confused with conflict. An example of a famous work that used this narrative structure is Hayao Miyazaki’s classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service.
As to what is the interpretation of the line itself, I think what Megumi wants is to have a steadily developing relationship with Tomoya without a “twist” before the relationship reaches its “conclusion”. Feel free to tell me your take on this if you have a better interpretation.
Note: Purchases of this volume in certain stores will also give you a special 8-page side story booklet.
Updated Summary (anonymous):
>prologue >Michiru and Izumi are mad Tomoya didn't consult them for writing their routes like he did with Eriri and Utaha >he apologizes profusely >they move on to arguing about whose route is better >chapter 1 >Eriri and Tomoya chat at school, usual stuff about their work on their respective games and stuff >Megumi and Tomoya neet with Iori at the café after school >he tells Tomoya to start writing the main heroine route because he thinks it'll take all the way to the end of November >Megumi wants Tomoya to take a break from writing, but Tomoya challenges Iori's assertion instead and says he'll finish it by the end of September >when Tomoya sips his coffee, he gags because there was too much sugar in it >he's pretty sure Megumi emptied the sugar sticks into it >chapter 2 >Izumi shows up at Tomoya's house late at night to show off her latest drawing >after he's sent her to the train station he comes back home and tries to sleep >chapter 3 >accidentally gropes Michiru in his sleepy daze >she's there to show off her latest song for the game >wants to see if the song can make him cry >he doesn't at first but then cries when the song is paired up with the original Utaha route >he's confused on how Michiru knew about the original Utaha route, which he originally scrapped >she tells him Megumi gave it to her >chapter 4 >Tomoya tells Megumi he's mad he gave someone else the scenario without his permission >he accuses her of being a hypocrite since she said in V7 that friends always contact each other before doing stuff like that >she just asks if he cried to the scenario, which he admits to >she suggests adding the scenario as a bad end, but he rejects doing that >later Tomoya is writing the Meguri route, but he's not making any progress >he gets a text from Megumi while taking a break >she apologizes for giving the scenario without permission, saying that she did it because she wanted to make a good game >chapter 5 >Tomoya still can't write, goes to Iori for advice >he has nothing >chapter 6 >Tomoya consults Akane >talks with her and gets advice (she basically tells him to “expose all the embarrassing stuff inside his head” or so) >chapter 7 >late at night, Tomoya asks Megumi for help in writing the route >he lets it slip that he asked Akane for help >she gets mad enough to where she doesn't want to call him by his first name >Tomoya responds by saying he'll call her by her last name as well >he asks what he should do for the route >Megumi tells him he needs to rewrite the whole thing because there is no way a girl that would fall for that MC exists >they start reviewing the whole route, with Megumi explaining in detail why the MC is horrible >she's especially mad about the part where the MC leaves to see Eriri without telling anybody >she says that no matter how she sees it, it's an Eriri event, not a Meguri event, especially because one of the lines is "I might have wanted to keep Eriri to myself" >Tomoya explains that the MC doesn't know what he feels for Eriri at that point and that's the diverging point between the Eriri and Meguri routes >Megumi says that that's the problem, she doesn't like how the MC can choose between girls with just one event and that it's unfair to the heroine Already translated dialogue: >"....it's morning." >"....it really is." >The light that had started flowing in from the window some time ago is bright. >A look at the clock would show that it was past seven, the time when people start waking up and enjoying their mornings. >Despite spending six hours going over the script, in the end the scenario hadn't progressed one bit. >"Well then, let's start Meguri 15!" >"Yeah, at the last possible point, the protagonist picks Meguri, even though if he was in a slightly different mood, he would've gone for a totally different girl." >...not just that, despite that brutal criticism, I don't even know how to fix Meguri 1-14. >"...then how should I fix the routes up until now?" >"Umm, uh..., I don't know." >"So in the end nothing changes..." >For how much the scenario was criticized, I have no plan, like one of those fringe political parties. >Did I make a mistake in picking personnel? >Should I have consulted someone with experience in the scenario for going over it? >But they say, "for the main heroine, ask the main heroine herself"...never mind. >Then...Katou, what kind of protagonist do you like? >With that, in the end I lower what I am asking of her down a stage. >If there is something in the protagonist's words or actions she just doesn't like, then I'll have her make clear what kind of words or actions from the protagonist she would like. >"Umm...I don't expect much." >"Sorry, but then what was up with all that up until now?" >"But, you know, my standards for guys have always been low, in fact they're basically nonexistent." >"You're saying that? Really saying that?" >Well, considering how she became friends with a disgusting otaku like me right after our first meeting and her flatne-..., anyway, that was something I had already realized. >Even so, putting aside how shallow that character would be, if you consider the level of her appearance, you'd think there was more that she expected. >"Ah, but, a little is fine. All I need is for him to say some things that make me happy or excite me and for him to show that he cares about me, I guess? >"And...only once in a while?" >"After all, if you do it all the time, doesn't it come off as fake?" >"Well, maybe..." >"So, it's best if he always just goes lower and lower, and then once in a while he goes high." >"You...never mind." >For some reason, the word "codependence" fluttered through my mind, but if I define it as this the protagonist winds up a DV husband, so I strongly ignored it. >"I'm an unromantic heroine, aren't I?" >"Like I said, you're saying that...?" >I was taken back by how dreamless, unromantic, even unrealistic and unideal her ideal was. >But, I sensed a contradiction in the character she described. >"But, if that's the case..." >"...right. I'm sorry, I lied. I don't actually hate this protagonist." >Right, the protagonist I wrote was pretty close to Katou's "small ideal." >Putting aside Izumi-chan's carefully made character designs, he isn't that handsome, and he doesn't excessively pamper the heroine. >He doesn't say stuff that sets your teeth on edge, and he doesn't try to act too cool. >Take a bit out of the last part, and it's just full of events that end with the two sharing a laugh. >”But, it’s still lacking a bit. After going lower and lower, the part where you go high, just those words...” >”That’s hard...” >I hold my head. Guys...no, I don’t really know how to interpret that slight difference. >Like, it probably has to do with the inner workings of girls. >Those things are small, hard to understand. >They can’t be known by seeing, hearing, touch, smell, or taste. >You just clear your mind and feel them. >Even if you feel it, you’re not sure if it’s right or not. >If you want to find out, all you can do is work up your courage, put it into words, and check. >”Hey...try saying something.” >”Something...like what?” >”The lines you came up with for Meguri 15.” >Even so, she… >”I don’t need a confession. I just want a small chance to fall in love. Casual words, words that can make me think ‘ah, so I can fall in love just like that.’” >”That’s...really hard.” >She’s asking me...no, the protagonist, to give such a hard answer. >”I wonder if that’s true...don’t you sometimes say things like that?” >”If I have, tell me...” >”I can’t do that...after all, it only works because it’s a surprise.” >”Katou...” >”Aw geez, that’s not right.” >”...Megumi.” >”You really got that...Tomoya-kun.” >”...like I thought, this is hard.” >”Ha ha.” >A few sighs were mixed in her words. >I feel their heat, like they’re really blowing on my cheeks and ears. >”Hey, Megumi.” >”Hm?” >”I kind of want to, see your face.” >So I got curious on what kind of face she had as she talked on the phone. >She’s definitely sleepy. >Maybe she’s smiling. >Or really bored. >“...no, way. You’re not following at all.” >She softly refused that crude desire of mine. >”Still, I want to see it.” >”I said no...for that, first I have to take a bath, sleep a bit, and make sure my face looks right.” >”Right now, I just want to see your bare face.” >”The protagonist isn’t following at all. He’s gone far away from my ideal.” >”I don’t care. I want to see your face.” >”Tomoya-kun.” >I don’t care about what she wants. Right now, I’m just doing what I want. Go lower, go lower...if I do that, I’ll definitely go high next. >”...I don’t know.” >”As she let out those words of resignation, I start up Skype. From the center of the list, I pick Katou Megumi. >The sound of Skype calling rings out of the smartphone speaker. >”Hold on...I never said I’d come.” >”But you said, ‘I don’t know.’” >”And?” >”Isn’t that your OK?” >”...jeez.” >That “jeez” was really moe, but my attention had already been captured by something else...Megumi’s expression on my PC screen. >As she said earlier on the phone, Megumi was laying on the floor. She was holding her cheeks, staring at me. >She was already done with her smartphone, so she could’ve gone back to her desk, but for some reason, she was laying down. >”...we should’ve done it this way from the start.” >”Huh, why? Looking at people’s faces and talking is pretty...” >”But there aren’t any phone costs. This is better.” >Megumi looked dull. Our conversation was dull. >Yet, I couldn’t think about anything but the girl in front of me. >”...hey, stop doing that.” >”Huh, what?” >”You’ve just been staring for a while now.” >Put off by my actions, she turns her face away from the camera, embarrassed. >”Yeah, but isn’t that fine?” >Still, I won’t let her run...as I say that in my mind, I push back against her resisting, desperately but not enough to be coercive. >”But, I stayed up all night.” >”So did I.” >”Does my face look weird?” >”Not at all.” >”My eyes are puffy.” >”They aren’t.” >“Tomoya-kun...” >”They aren’t.” >”After all, her face really looked like a girl’s. >”Why did it end up like this...” >”Well, because we’re doing a script-reading.” >”We’re not even reading a script.” >She wasn’t the flat, hard to read “Katou,” but she wasn’t the black, reliable, soothing “Megumi” either. >”It’s alright...right now, the text for Meguri 15 is just overflowing.” >”Wait, does that mean...” >”Yeah, so look forward to the complete version.” >”Hey, stop it~” >”The way you’re talking now and how sleepy you are is fine...also the ‘hey, stop it’ part.” >”Uh, what are you hitting the keyboard for?” >”Well, you don’t pay attention to what I’m doing. It’s nothing, so keep talking.” >She’s the lovely Meguri, the one I want in my game. >”Huh~, no way. This isn’t going to be a good scenario.” >”No, it will. It’ll be fine.” >Some time ago, our positions switched. >She used to be the person asking the other to talk. >Now that we’re looking at each other’s faces, I’m the one making selfish words. >”But, this isn’t dramatic at all.” >Well, the me right now isn’t me. >He’s the protagonist. >”Also, Meguri won’t fall for the protagonist with a casual conversation like this.” >”Really? She won’t fall in love?” >”Yeah. Like I said, she won’t.” >”But, I like this Meguri, who falls in love with the protagonist over something as trivial as this.” >”...agh.” >The protagonist who says things that make her happy and excited, cares for her, and loves her as they share in these meaningless conversations. >”I don’t think the things you’re saying now are trivial though.” >”Is that so? I think this is pretty casual.” >”No, it’s embarrassing. The tension is too high. It’s not trivial.” >”This is fine. Your standards for men are low, right? Then it doesn’t even matter if it doesn’t fit your preferences.” >”Ah, your logic’s all messed up Tomoya-kun.” >”Uh, quiet! I’ve already decided. I’m writing Meguri 15! This story’ll be packed with embarrassing misunderstandings and stupid flirting. You’ll roll over the floor holding your head. >”...is your head alright Tomoya-kun?” >”Yeah, you’ve given me such wonderful ideas. A true goddess!” >”Got it, got it. I’m done, do whatever.” >In the end, the tension got too high, and I blundered and made her return to her usual self. >Even so, the creative desire I got back won’t stop. >”So, thanks for staying for so long.” >”It’s nothing. There’s nothing to thank me for.” >”Anyway, goodnight...I’m getting off? >Then, Megumi… >”No, stay on.” >”...why?” >I thought she was starting to insult me for being embarrassing… >”Until I really hit my limit and fall asleep, I’ll be watching...” >”Watching what?” >”I’m going to watch you writing, the whole way through.” >”Why!?” >...and, in the end, she tried one other counterattack. >Then it was nine in the morning. >”...” >”...” >”Did you fall asleep?” >”When I answer, that means I’m not asleep.” >”Oh...” >Eleven in the morning. >”...” >”...” >”You’re asleep now, aren’t you!?” >”...ah, sorry, I slept a bit.” >”Sorry, I woke you up...” Chapter 8 >So, Monday morning. >”Oh, morning, Megumi...” >Along the path from the train station to school, I found the non-distinct figure with short hair and tried to celebrate our first tryst since the one twenty one hours ago, but… >”…..” >”Hey, why do you look so unhappy?” >For some reason, when she looked back at me she had a sour expression on her face. >”Huh, huh, Megumi, are you...” >”Stop that, let’s just talk normally.” >”Yeah, but...could what happened yesterday have been a dream?” >”That’s impossible.” >Her actions matching her cold expression, she tries to avoid me, whose tension is a little higher than usual (so, by general standards, pretty high) by walking faster up the school road. >”Um, Megumi, I want to check a bit, but did we talk on the phone all the way from Saturday night, in the middle switch to Skype, and then all the way until Sunday noon...” >”Oh, our memories of that should be the same, so you don’t need to talk in detail about it, okay?” >”Okay, so why is our tension so different?” >”We might have the same memories, but, uh, the way we interpret it might be different.” >”Hey, what does that mean? Was what happened yesterday that bad?” >So does this mean that the reason Megumi’s unhappy is the same reason I’m so happy right now… >Wait, what’s with this fatal discommunication? >Is this how boys and girls act after confirming each other’s love like in yesterday’s scenario? >Uh, but this might actually be something that happens often after special events between boys and girls, so everyone, try not to misunderstand this kind of stuff and wind up like this, though it’s too late for me. >”Well, um, you know, Tomoya-kun, a woman once said these words long ago.” >”...is that woman a famous writer of the past or some vindictive former girlfriend?” >”The words were ‘I don’t like the fact that I don’t dislike it.’” >”So it’s the latter.” >”Well, something like that.” >”Uh, what?” >As I was about to lament my biggest weakness, my lack of knowledge in boy girl relations… >”Getting in that mood with you itself was a loss, or complete defeat, a decisive defeat...” >Megumi expressed her feelings in an easy to understand riddle for me. >”So basically, you remember what happened yesterday, and though it wasn’t unpleasant, you’re so embarrassed about getting in that kind of mood with me that...” >”That’s why I asked you not to explain everything in detail.” >”...sorry.” >Though it looks like she didn’t express them completely. >"Anyway, I'm going ahead. Also, don't talk to me too much at school. People might spread rumors if they see us leaving school together." >Keeping the low tension until the very end, Megumi tries to leave me behind and head to school. >"It's no big deal. Up until now no one ever cared about us being together." >"That can't happen anymore..." >"Huh, why?" >"Because...I don't want her to see us as we are now." >"...I see." >Who do you mean by "her"? >"Like, it'd just be kind of hard to explain..." >"Uh-huh, I guess." >Really, who? >"Anyway, later." >"Yeah, later." >Who!? >Megumi left behind a small mystery… >Megumi: Anyway, now that a little time has passed, >Megumi: Can we meet at the usual cafe at four afterschool? >Tomoya: Sure… >Those messages came thirty seconds after we separated. >So, as usual we skip the school scenes and it’s evening. >As promised, we’re at the loghouse cafe. >”Really, what are we doing, putting off college entrance exams for half a year.” >”Can you try not to remind me of real life!?” >...there, two people from Toyogasaki High, a school boasting high rates for moving up from high school, met and started talking about their future. >”But really, Tomoya-kun, what are you going to do? Wait around for another chance to get into a university? Survive on part-time work? I’ll say this again, but I might not be able to stick with you after high school, you know.” >”Seriously, let’s stop talking about this...” >The topic is too stingy, and I try to keep tears from slipping out. Megumi, constantly changing and shifting, is back to being flat, and I reign in what she’s talking about. >”Anyway, this is the event you finished writing yesterday…?” >”Yeah, it’s what you’ve waited so long for, Meguri 15!” >Well, I stop thinking about that kind of stuff and reach into my bag. I spread out a bunch of papers on the table. >Those papers are the product of my sweat, blood, and my super fast fingers. >”Then...I’ll start reading.” >”Sure! I’ll leave the evaluations with you!” >Megumi hears my words filled with self-confidence, and like she did yesterday, she furrows her eyebrows, seemingly in displeasure, but even so, she takes a deep breath and starts reading. >I’ve spend a week working on the composition and ten hours writing this thirty kilobyte file. >”…..” >”…..” >Although she only kept that serious flatness up for only the first minute. >”…..” >”…..” >”~...” >”…..” >And so, a slight change appears on that flat expression. >”Uh, Tomoya-kun.” >”What is it?” >”Don’t look at me so much when I’m reading.” >”Got it. I’m facing the opposite side, so don’t mind me and read.” >”…..uh.” >Her expression gets more and more displeased, her cheeks get red, and cold sweat drips from her forehead. >”...I’m done.” >”How was it?” >”…….k-kill it. Something like that.” >”Yeeesssss~!” >And then, filled with embarrassment, she uttered those words of defeat and humiliation. >”I’m through...I don’t want to read this ever again.” >”If there’s anything you don’t like, I’ll fix it. Specifically, what didn’t you like?” >”...nothing.” >”Huh~? What~? I can’t hear you~.” >”It was embarrassingly, infuriatingly perfect~.” >”Yeeesssss~!” >”Aghh, shut up.” >With the best, most moe scenario I’ve ever written, I succeeded in breaking her ability to freely change and brought out her moe points. >If a scenario writer reads this scenario, they might totally disapprove of it. >There’s not much narration. It’s mostly just the protagonist and Meguri exchanging short sentences in conversation. >The content is almost nonexistent. >I put all my effort in writing this situation where the two of them just slowly flirt. >I didn’t really care for the rest. >…also, it’s just my imagination that it resembles my conversation with Megumi yesterday. >”You know, it feels like I was forced to nude model...” >”Wow, how graphic.” >No really, it’s just my imagination. >”You’re awful, Tomoya-kun, for writing such a pin-pointedly embarrassing scenario.” >”I don’t think I’ve done anything different from what I did in the past though.” >In fact, the descriptions are more subdued than any of the other scenarios up until now. >Like, they don’t strip. >They don’t kiss. >They don’t hold hands. >At this point, they don’t even confess. >Really, they just casually exchange words. >…..the fact that the two love each other just slips through and becomes clear. >”For some reason, all of a sudden I can see you as a guy...” >”Wait, but I’ve been a guy from the start!?” >Even though the scenario was written so platonically, to Megumi, the descriptions seemed to have piled up one by one and appeared sexual. >...well, looking at it one way, that’s how I aimed it to be though. >”Ah, it’s hot. Sorry, but could you give me some more cold water?” >Megumi slowly brushes her hair with a handkerchief, wiping her sweat. >I flap my print-outs, cooling her down with air...pretending to, but really staring at her completely red face. >She seems to like the cool air I sent her, and with her eyes closed she takes a light breath… >That was supposed to be totally platonic, but, in a certain way… >”So, what’s the next event, Meguri 16, going to be about...?” >Later, after Megumi calmed down a bit, we start packing up. >She timidly asked a critical question that strangely had not been asked up until now. >”Right...Megumi, what event do you want?” >”Umm...in the previous scenario, the protagonist and the heroine finally become lovers, so for this one, I think there should be some kind of trial for them to face, the kind that usually shows up.” >”Trial, huh...can you give an example?” >”Like, the heroine loses her memory and completely forgets everything up until then, or the protagonist time loops and changes the past where they became lovers, or in fact everything that happened was just some scenario writer’s dream.” >”...you really seem to want to erase Meguri 15, don’t you?” >Pretending to discuss the scenario positively, Megumi instead put all her effort in retreating. >It seems that platonic scenario was actually pretty traumatic. >But… >”Too bad, Megumi! In truth, I’ve already plotted out Meguri 16!” >”And that’s...” >”Relax! I’ll set aside those sudden developments for a while. I’m just taking another step into writing these scenes where they’re totally all over each other!” >”Ehh~.” >I smash her what little hope she has. >Right, Meguri 15 was subdued. >They don’t strip. >They don’t kiss. >They don’t hold hands. >They don’t even confess. >As for why, it’s because I’ll write those scenes in the next scenarios. >”With that said, tonight we’re doing script reading over Skype, so once you get back, take a nap and get ready to contact at night.” >”...are we assuming we’ll do this until morning? Even though we have school tomorrow?” >”Please Megumi! This is all to create our strongest galge...” >”Ah~, I got it. I can do an all-nighter, but this is tough...” >Her complaints seemed to come from the bottom of her heart… >But Megumi didn’t even try to refuse my order...err, request. >Event Number: Meguri 16 >Category: Personal Route >Condition: Occurs right after Meguri 15 >Summary: Meguri flirts with the protagonist after school >Tuesday, evening afterschool. >”...well, this isn’t anything big.” >”...right, not anything big.” >We’re on a platform bench, two stations away from the train station closest to school. >It’s a place you only pass on a train. >...I apologize in advance for those of you who were looking forward to the script reading last night. >This one is way more important, so please understand. >”As I thought, I have to write a handholding scene.” >”Sure, but you don’t have to do it in real life.” >”You sure are persistent, Megumi.” >”Uhh...” >We’re entering the scene that will be presented as Meguri 16. >At yesterday’s discussion, the scenario didn’t advance one it. >It was about the handholding scene, which was the second flirting scene and a step up from the first one, and we couldn’t agree on things. >I didn’t know the softness, warmth, or slipperiness of the partner’s hand, nor how much strength was put into it or the bashful expression on her face. >They were things that couldn’t be fully expressed in pictures and had to be supplemented with words and conversation. >It was hard to get that stuff from Skype. >”Besides, we did this half a year ago.” >”That was just research.” >”Yeah, this is research too. After all, this is to create our strongest galge...” >”You know, that catchphrase seems to be an excuse to do whatever you want.” >”Does that mean you don’t want to do this?” >”...I hate that question.” >”So, it’s fine?” >”I also hate being checked.” >”Well, then...by force...” >Just as I said, without her consent I softly touched the hand of the girl who had agreed to sit beside me, a hand purposely placed where I could swiftly take it… >”...wow.” >”Don’t sound so disgusted! I properly washed them!” >With that slight reacting, she reflexively, quickly pulled her hand away. >”Well, I get that.” >Looking at it another way, Megumi, who had given that slight reaction, has no indication of pulling her hand away, and she is just staring at my hand, which had been pulled away. >...if she isn’t that flustered, then I wish she wouldn’t make a voice that made men draw back like that. >”But you know, that face you made just now seemed so panicked.” >”Don’t look! Please don’t look at my face!” >...also, I wish she wouldn’t say things that made men draw back like that. >”How should I say it, it looked like just like your face on Skype when you were writing that scenario. I thought, ‘wow, the tension’s gone up~’.” >”And don’t explain! In fact, did you look and say that!?” >At some point, the one who had the advantage had changed, like it always changed. I gritted my teeth, feeling defeated, and covered in face in humiliation...err, embarrassment. >”Hey, calm down Tomoya-kun.” >”You’re the one not letting me calm down.” >”Well, it’s just how it is. Not even I can say flat in a situation like this.” >”So don’t corner me like that.” >”But you were the one who suggested we hold hands?” >”Like, I, said, it’s to make our strongest~” >”Yeah, yeah, our strongest galge. I get it already.” >”Do you really get it?” >”I get it, I get it.” >Does she really, really understand…? >Some time ago, she had firmly gripped my hand with hers. >”But, like.” >”What is it?” >”Holding hands like this, doesn’t this make us look like an ordinary couple?” >”What’s with that? Do you want something more special?” >”Wow...” >”Like I said, stop reacting like that...it’s just for the game’s scenario.” >Like that, it kept going without stop. >The topic and initiative went back and forth. >We sat there for about an hour without anyone finding us thanks to how we were at the station two stations away. >”Well, it’s okay for the protagonist and the heroine to have some bigger developments, right?” >”Like, any examples?” >”Umm, right. Uhh…….something like linking fingers?” >”...wanna do it?” >”Like I said, you don’t need to ask me about everything.” >”But really, isn’t this pretty critical?” >”But, Tomoya-kun, you have even greater skinship with someone else.” >”...is that something you should talk about now?” >”You’ve even kissed someone~.” >”Dammit, didn’t I explain that last month ago?” >An hour passed, and the evening sun was sinking. >Still, we weren’t tired of it, and we kept going with this pointless conversation. >In the end, all five of our fingers were tightly wrapped around each other. >If you looked at it from the beginning, we probably did seem like an ordinary couple. >Event Number: Meguri 19 >Category: Personal Route >Condition: Happens after Meguri 18 >Summary: Meguri and the protagonist's first... >And then, Wednesday, late at night. >"S-s-so, so, so" >"..." >"It's f-finally time for the k-k-kiss..." >"You're just fooling around, aren't you Tomoka-kun." >"Nope! It's just that I'm embarrassed so my reaction is a bit strange!” >”Uh, quiet down, you’re bothering the neighbors.” >I could see Megumi’s face and how she acted over Skype. A complete change from how she when we were on a date holding hands...when we were reading the script for the date for holding hands, she was back to being flat. >Well, after all, the reason for that is how tense I’m acting and how the hurdle for each event keeps rising. >”Besides, you don’t need to show every bit of an embarrassing scenario like that. Just write whatever makes you satisfied.” >”No, even considering what we’ve done until now, it’s still that if I personally have you see it, we’ll get something better!” >”But wouldn’t you, who has actual experience in kissing, be better for a kiss scene?” >”You’re saying that, really saying that!?” (furigana: Y-you’re just admitting you’ve never kissed before!?) >...anyway, today’s script reading is about Meguri 19, where the protagonist and Meguri share their first kiss. >It’s a crucial turning point where Meguri, who was once flat, has now fully recognized the protagonist as her lover, and it’s essential for it to capture the hearts of the users. >Meguri 19 has to fully combine various things like descriptions to directly express the two’s feelings, situations that would make your mind melt with moe, and dialogue that makes you want to root for them without a second thought. >”It’s pretty tough for me to do this script reading now though.” >”We can’t have the main heroine doing that!” >Despite that, Megumi ignores how important this meeting is, and her attitude just keeps getting more negative. >...in the beginning, anyway. >”I’ve been having some doubts recently. I feel you’re just having fun watching my reactions.” >”You don’t get it all!?” >”Besides, I think that your scenarios are pretty good, even if I don’t do ad-libbing.” >”Really…?” >”Yeah, it’s embarrassing for girls, to the point they pretty much can’t read it. That’s why I think it’s perfect for guys.” >”...there are still things I’m stuck on, but for now I’ll take what you said as praise. That aside, open up the Meguri 19 file I sent you. It’s still rough, but I tried writing the part right before the kiss.” >”...I guess no matter how much I resist, in the end I don’t have a choice.” >”Hey hey, act instead of talking back.” >”You’re really been getting carried away recently, Tomoya-kun.” >Well, no matter what you say of it, this is all for making our best (rest omitted), I can’t let myself be dispirited from something like this. >MC: Hey...Meguri. >Meguri: What...stop the talking after I close my eyes. >MC: But...is it really fine?” >Meguri: What is? >MC: Are you fine with the one being me?” >Meguri: Hmm… >Right before we were about to do it, I said those cowardly words. >But, Meguri just sighs with a bitter smile and replies with her eyes still closed, us still being on standby. >Meguri: You know, right now I’m thinking of something weird. >MC: Something...weird? >Meguri: As time passes and I become an old lady, right before I die… >MC: ...that’s definitely weird. >Meguri: That’s definitely when, as my life until then flashes before me like a revolving lantern… >Meguri: I feel I can die with a smile, >Meguri: If I can just remember, “Ah, come to think of it, my first kiss was with you...” >MC: Meguri… >Meguri: “I love you.” >MC: ... >”A, aww...” >”...” >”I can cry to this! It’s moe but I can cry to this! Don’t you think this is just the best situation, Megumi!” >”...putting aside if it’s good, I can guarantee these lines come off as overdone.” >”Thanks, that’s the best compliment you can give! I gave a lot of thought into picking this, if someone told me this in real life I’d be fine dying on the spot!” >”Ok, got it, got it.” >Megumi drew back from my self-praise, and she is now looking at me from the back of her room, having left the camera. >”So, please go over this! Megumi-san!” >”...I told you not to shout. You’re bothering the neighbors.” >”If that’s what you want, come back to the camera. Go back!” >”Aww, sheesh.” >Fed up with my pressuring, Megumi reluctantly went back to the MC. She glares at me with a sour look. >Even so, in the end she peers into her PC screen and earnestly starts reading my scenario, looking for faults...going over it. >”Putting aside how it’s packed full of your delusions and so embarrassing I can’t look at it straight...” >”Do you have to give criticism every time you talk about it to feel satisfied?” >”Isn’t this heroine too ready?” >”Too ready?” >”Like, no matter how much you’re going out, wouldn’t you normally think more about the future? Something like “am I really fine with this guy?” >”I’m sorry, but does a galge heroine really need that kind of mentality?” >”Even so, they already assume they’ll always be together. They don’t think about ever breaking up...it’s like they’re already husband and wife.” >What Megumi said seems negative… >”Husband and wife...that’s it!” >”That’s what?” >But it shook me in the completely opposite way, like a divine revelation. >”They already assume they’ll always be together, and they don’t think about breaking up at all...that’s the viewpoint of two people married, having decided to walk their future together! >”Well, a real couple would think like that at first and then quickly divorce.” >”Yeah, a married couple...that’s right, that’s how it’s going to go, Megumi!” >”Agh, I really don’t like this.” >I withstand the cold coming from her with my passion, and with that passion I declare to my monitor. >”Try saying these lines more like a wife!” >“You’re fooling around...Tomoya-kun, you’re definitely using me to fool around.” >Even though she was across the camera, I can tell her eyes are like a dead fish’s. She was glaring at me with resentment. >However, I’m not one to back away just because of something like this. I know no shame, even if it doesn’t make sense I’ll get by somehow through enthusiasm. Blessing Software is a circle that draws out the heroine’s charm and makes her moe. >”Okay, start from the “as time passes” part.” >...anyway, I totally gnore Megumi’s complaints. Like how a believer worships a goddess, I stare back at Megumi. >”Really, lately haven’t you been pretty ecchi towards me?” >”Can’t help it. When I’m writing a scenario, I want to feel like how the protagonist feels.” >Well, recent scenarios for the Meguri route have had the protagonist being aggressive with her, with the idea that the more I try to write their lines and feelings, the more I’d understand the feelings he has for Meguri. >I’m not actually following Kousaka Akane’s advice in “masturbate so you feel good”...I think. >”Like a wife...wife, huh...” >”As I was racking my head trying to come up with some cringeworthy excuse, Megumi seemed to have already accepted it. She was practicing her acting to get into Meguri’s character. >I stop my needless chatter, take notice of her every action, and earnestly wait for her words. >”Uh, as time passes and I become an old lady, right before I die…” >Meguri drips from Megumi’s lips. >”That’s definitely when, as my life until then flashes before me like a revolving lantern…” >”...” >”If I remember, ‘Oh, my first kiss was with a total otaku’...then I’ll think, ‘There is no way I can die like this.” >”CUUUUUUUUUTTTT! NO GOOD!” >...that’s what I expected, but what came wasn’t Meguri but black Megumi. >“Umm, is it really that bad for me to ad-lib by mixing in what I’m really thinking?” >”Absolutely! The flat acting and tone is also bad! Everything is!” >I pretend not to notice the contents of what she said (furigana: my first kiss was with a total otaku!!) and, in an unnaturally forced way, coach her on her act. >”You can ad-lib, but no jokes. Only do ones that make you cry or are so moe they give heart attacks!” >”Aghh, I don’t want anyone but the person I’m actually kissing to know what I say when I kiss.” >”...imagine something. You can make it different from what you’d actually use.” >But Megumi gives a retort, like she’s seen how troubled I am and is playing around with me. I don’t know if it is conscious or unconscious, but those words have some nuance to them. Lately, when we do this script reading, it always turns out like this… >”No matter how I look at it, doing it ‘like a wife’ is pretty hard...Tomoya-kun.” >”Well, then, let’s drop it a little, how about we make it someone you’ve been going out with for a long time?” >”Ok, got it. We’ll put it at that amount of ‘love’, alright?” >”Uh, sure...” >Even though she was complaining just a while ago, Megumi sees my intentions and assertively steps into this embarrassing world of mine. >She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, wets her lips with a lick… >She did all that so close to her camera, in other words, right in front of me.” >”Alright, let’s go.” >”Oh.” >”...” >”...” >”...So?” >”’So?’” What?” >”I wonder if the protagonist is going to start talking...” >”Huh...” >She does it again. >”Like, it’s a conversation, right? There’s dialogue.” >”Yeah, but...” >”If it’s a one person act, then the feelings won’t come...they just won’t, Tomoya-kun.” >”Could you even act with emotion in the first place!?” >”Anyway, from now on I won’t do this without a partner.” >The retorts once used on “Katou” won’t work anymore. >”But, but, I’m not the protagonist. I’m the writer.” >”...so this is the only time you say that.” >”Megumi...” >”Megumi” is filled with emotion...she’s overflowing with it. She won’t let me run away anymore. >”Are you ready? Then...I’m starting.” >Because of this sudden attack, I’m nervous, my heart beating and cold sweat running. >Without warning, I’m pulled into this embarrassing roleplay. >“H-h-hey...Meguri...” >”Hold up...you’re too nervous.” >”S-sorry. But, you know, this is so sudden...” >”This is my first...and yet, if you’re so nervous, I won’t know what to do.” >”Huh? Uh...” >She wasn’t criticizing my poor acting. >”But like, this isn’t something to be nervous about. For both of us.” >”...why?” >”Because, there’s no way this will be a bad memory.” >”Umm...” >”Even if our teeth clash, or we laugh or get into a fight...no matter what happens, it’ll definitely be a wonderful memory.” >She had totally become Kanou Meguri. A total ad-lib. >”Megumi, ah, Meguri...are you fine with the one being me?” >”Jeez, are you still asking that? I gave the answer so long ago.” >”S-sorry.” >I’m the only one unable to follow her ad-libs, just reading off the script and trying to put us back on course but making it worse instead. >From the lack of clarity of where the conversation is going, the way the story is developing, and her feelings, my discomposure and heart’s beating won’t stop. >”...” >Meguri, no, Megumi stops her words and actions. From across the monitor, she’s staring at me. >But it isn’t because she’s waiting for instructions or out of material or even embarrassed… >”...Meguri” >”Yeah.” >She was just waiting for my...no, the protagonist’s words. >In other words, it meant “I’ve already told you how I feel, so you’re up next.” >”Show me more of your face.” >”Sure.” >Megumi gets close to the screen. >Her face is now as big as the one I always see in real life. >”Meguri...” >So to follow her resolve ––– acting, I close the distance between her. >Even though it’s just virtual, it feels like we’ve gotten closer in the real world… >”You’re close...” >”Nothing we can do about it. We’re...” >”Going to kiss, after all.” >We’re both drunk. >My face is so close, and it’s such a disgusting situation, but I could see that Megumi’s cheeks are bright red on the monitor. I hear her sigh from the speaker. >”U-um...should we close our eyes?” (Japanese quote brackets show it’s Megumi speaking here) >”No way...I want to see it all the way through.” >”That’s against the rules.” >”So what?” >”Aghh...” >Megumi’s face is so close. A situation like this is so hard to get. I don’t want to let go, so I refuse to close my eyes. >Embarrassed by my staring, Megumi can’t stand it anymore and turns her face away. >”Look over here.” >”I just don’t like this.” >”You can’t kiss after all.” >”We can’t kiss anyway. Not at this rate.” >”That’s not the problem here...” >Megumi finally broke the rules. >She threw away this scene where we were so close to each other. >”That is the problem...even though we’re not doing anything, don’t stare at me like that.” >”I can’t let that happen. I want to write down your expression into the scenario.” >So I revise the rules up until now. >I switch the roles of Meguri and the protagonist. >”You can just use your imagination for that. That way you can really be creative.” >”Nope. After all, this is a game, not a novel.” >”And?” >”As long as there are drawings, describing people’s expressions simply affects the readers more than describing it in a complicated way that stimulates their imaginations.” >”...that explanation was complicated and fit for a novel.” >”Stop running away like that. Hurry up and look here, Megumi.” >”Honestly...you really have been getting carried away lately, Tomoya-kun.” >No, you're wrong, Megumi. >It's not that I'm getting carried away. I just can't stop. >When you're reading the script, your main heroine act is perfect. >...no, you're becoming my main heroine. >You're beautiful, cute, and moe. >I just can't take my eyes off you. I don't want to let go of you. >”...” >”...” >Our eyes open, our faces super close, we stare at each other. >Those lips seem close enough to touch, but sadly, they’re just images on a screen... >”Hey.” >”What is it?” >”Why aren’t you here...” >”Uh...” >A lament comes form the speaker. >”Why won’t you be here, right in front of me...” >It wasn’t my voice. >”Me-Megumi...umm, what was that just now...” >”~~~!” >”Ah.” >But, before I could figure out the meaning… >Suddenly, the screen shook, and with the sound of a slam, the image disappeared. >...by closing the notebook PC, she had sealed the words that were to come after.