It’s funny. I remember back in high school—no, it was earlier, junior high. In junior high school I had really low self-esteem. It seemed like everyone else had their lives all put together, and here I was, just…stagnant.
(It might be strange to imagine someone thinking that in junior high. But it’s true! It’s the best way I have to describe it, anyway.)
I don’t think most people noticed. I was one of those girls who had always been a happy kid on the outside, and so even into junior high school I went on doing that. I could take care of myself—it was a boarding school, see—and I kept smiling and laughing. I don’t think I knew how to be unhappy then.
What I remember most, from that middle year of junior high, was the scandal when the captain of the kendo team got suspended indefinitely, and no one knew why. Like everyone else I had a crush on him, or thought I did. (I even sent him a love letter once, can you believe it? That’s what kids do, I guess.) But what happened was I came across him in the town, and he recognized me.
That’s what I’d like to think. In actuality he probably just saw the uniform, and saw that I recognized him. But in any case, we started talking, and somehow the idea came up that…he would stay in my room. I know, it’s ridiculous! A high school boy staying in a junior high girl’s room. But I didn’t even think of that at the time. I just wanted to be part of something special.
Something special. It wasn’t even about him, really, although it certainly didn’t hurt! It was that I had a secret. It was that I was connected to the captain of the kendo team. It was that I was important. For two weeks I was sailing blissfully around campus, and everything I touched turned to gold. My test scores improved. I had lunch with the other girls from my class outside and we laughed together. Boys blushed when I looked their way.
And then I found out the kendo captain was still in love with his ex, and somehow that made it all come undone. Like I said, in retrospect I don’t think I was ever actually into him that way. It was more like a celebrity crush, and that feeling you get when a celebrity descends into your world and notices you. And she shattered that, without ever saying a word.
That day, everything extra I’d been doing that month caught up with me, and I collapsed. I can’t remember what happened, actually, but when I recovered and went back home he was gone. A few days later he made his triumphant return to the school, and all his “adoring fans” turned out to cheer for him. Like I used to be.
from “Memoirs of a Student”, by Shinohara Wakaba
a fifteen-year-old anime purportedly about a middle school girl who gets drawn into a series of magic duels over a fellow student. The first season sets up the duels and the characters, the second takes a detour to lay some themes and groundwork, and then the third builds on that groundwork a spaceship which then flies to the moon and blows it up. Seriously, the third season just goes off the rails, and that’s where all the real discussion is. (Note that there’s also some disturbing sexual content in there as well, especially in season 3; the earlier episodes will not prepare you for it.)
I expect that only maybe two of my friends will have actually seen this anime, but I’m interested to hear what this piece sounds like for someone who hasn’t. Wakaba is actually a very minor character for most of the show, although she of course plays a central role in the events described here (mostly from an episode about two-thirds of the way through season 2), so if you enjoyed this piece that doesn’t actually say anything about whether you’d like the anime.
There’s another piece by Wakaba in the queue—really the second half of this one, after seeing this go longer than expected—and then I may try to find my way into some of the other characters. (Hey, it’s NaCreSoMo; I’m allowed to spend my time writing obscure fanfiction even if no one else gets any of the references!)
Part of NaCreSoMo 2017. Join us!