The Importance of Philosophical Dialogue

Standard

This isn’t so much a well, drawn-out thought piece, as it is a reflection on the kind of writing that I do. For starters, I don’t consider myself an analytical philosopher. Sure, my past couple of editorials have focused on that modern style of breaking down logical arguments in the works of Descartes, Peano, or Mill, who were figures of the analytical style. But the lessons they teach are boring to me, frankly because they just don’t feel alive, unless I give them context.

I suppose I would talk a little more about continental philosophy in the future, and give my thoughts on the works of Hegel, Marx, or any and all of the Existentialists. I’ve been told countless times that my life is more like Sartre’s right now, and Lugones is my go-to philosopher/literary critic for a lot of my own worldview at the moment. But there’s always been something that bugged me about this strange differentiation between what is philosophy and what is philosophy proper: why is it that we don’t talk to each other?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Anime Review: Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Standard

School is back in session for some of us in the States, and I am no exception! Getting back to the grind, it’s time to shake off those Summer blues and get ready to hit the books, do the research, and work out all those practice exercises!

But before you dive in head-first into your school year, take some time to

S  L  O  W   D  O  W  N  !  !  !

and read this review, because Tanaka here’s got different plans! While other school comedies with shōnen protagonists’ names in the title are all about the over-the-top funnies, plenty of coolness and hot romances, Tanaka-kun is about to mellow them out like no other protagonist would.

Why? Because unlike every other protagonist whose presence brings color to everyone’s life, Tanaka-kun will bring gloom and doom to yours if there’s too much attention drawn toward him!

Continue reading

Re: Cosplays That I’ve Done (2011-2017)

Standard

So I just finished a really quick fan fiction project recently called Last Waifu Standing. You can read the entire anthology here.

Having said that, there was one section of the series that I really liked (which will probably be the first one I do quick revisions on, because I want it to be perfect), and that’s the two-part arc on “Cosplay OTP.” The premise of those chapters were that I would revisit past cosplays that I have done, roleplay the character I portrayed, and attempt to woo the character’s other half of the One True Pair fall in love with me. Spoiler: they end up giving me thoughtful advice that I may or may not take instead.

Although this was my favorite part to write, something was nagging me: unless you peruse my blog well enough, you wouldn’t have known that I did any of these cosplays! I’ll admit that I do cosplay just for fun, and wear them as conversation pieces to curious fans. But if I must draw attention to myself somehow, I might as well bring these up.

So without further ado, I will showcase each one that was featured in the ‘fic (and then some) right here. Right now!

Continue reading

Last Waifu Standing [fan fiction]: That Cheese Ending

Hack
Standard

Scene: open field. Wooser and a few disgruntled waifus have descended upon me from an airship. Wooser wants me to reveal my best waifu, but I have a different plan.

(Enter Scott, Wooser, a dozen waifus alongside Wooser)

Wooser: You? Give your honest feelings about me? (laughs) Go on. Let’s hear it.

Scott: Well… you see–

Wooser: So did you think it was a masterpiece? Great enough to someday get a fourth season? Or maybe you thought it was horrible, and that’s why you’ve made me your enemy.

Scott: Actually–

Wooser: It’s fine. I can take it. I may have been popular in Japan, but nobody knows what I am overseas. Oh, what a sad day.

Scott: Oh, will you just shut up already!

Kiriha Kurano: (gasp) How dare you speak to Wooser that way!

Kameko: Poor Wooser…

Margay: Haven’t you had enough lines as it is, you fake fan!

Scott: Whoa! Whoa! When did you all get so hostile?

Kirishima (KanColle): Oh, we’re not hostile. We’re only taking orders from Wooser now.

ALL: (wink and put hands together in the shape of a heart) HEAAART!

Scott: Yeesh! Remind me never to make my nemesis a pervy yellow rabbit ever again! (Enter Sakurako)

Sakurako Kujō: Quit wasting everyone’s time and just tell him! Honestly, we’re all waiting!

Scott: Alright. (clears throat) Look, Wooser, your show is–

Wooser: Great? Terrible? Funny? Diabolical?

Scott: It’s average.

Wooser: (blinks) What?

Scott: Yeah. For a show that runs short gags with varying comedy styles and anime cameos, it’s okay. Sure, I’d wish that the animation quality or writing could have been better, but what can I say? For such a low budget, it was actually kind of fun.

Wooser: Kind of?

Scott: Okay, a lot of fun. I had a good time with it. Sure, I was skeptical at first, given that I was bored with the first two seasons, but over time, I came to appreciate its simplicity. Its surprising volatility. And it wasn’t afraid to make fun of popular shows that the rest of us would have taken so seriously.

Wooser: Impossible! Fans do take me seriously! Why else would I have been approved for three seasons?

Scott: Wooser, I used to hate your guts like no other because you did things so differently from the way I would do them. Your show was like the anti-anime to me. But now, as I’m writing this parody of a fan fiction, I think I get it. It can be a lot of fun to just go back to the simple things and make light of them. And I totally laugh at bad plot devices now, because… I don’t know. I think so hard on them, that I stop writing. (Wooser steps off the airship to stand in front of Scott) Wooser, you may be average, but you are the best average show that I have ever watched. You helped me put the good and the bad in perspective. And you helped me realize on a whim that… reviewing doesn’t have to be so static. Sometimes throwing in a little bit of chaos can be a lot of fun.

Wooser: I… I don’t know what to say.

Scott: (happily) I’m glad I have chosen you to be my foil, Wooser. As a critic, I would be happy to support your show as best I can.

Wooser: That… that makes me… so happy to hear you say that. I feel like I’ve done something wrong to have upset you. To exploit all your girls so that they would all eventually become mine.

Scott: Hey, it happens, Wooser. (Scott reaches out his hand to shake Wooser’s) So how about we call a truce then? Friends?

Wooser: I… I would be honored. But I… I… (slaps Scott’s hand away) No way! You and I both know that this is not how you wanted your story to end! The sentimental ending? That’s sooo boring, and overused!

Scott: Wooser?

Wooser: Come on, Scott. You know what’s in your heart right now. You know exactly how you want this to end. So bring it on! Let’s end this story in the best way possible.

Scott: (puzzled, he blinks a couple times, trying to figure out what Wooser means by that. Then he smiles once more) You’re right Wooser. Let’s end this the right way. With…

BOTH: That cheese ending!

Kiriha: Face it, Scott! Wooser’s gonna beat you good this time!

Kazuki Ferrari: You’ll never want to write another anime review again.

Hibiki Hagyū: Heh Heh Heh! Wooser’s got all of us to support him! What do you have left?

Sakurako: (joins Wooser’s side) Face it, Scott. You have broken all of our hearts, and you have nothing left. You’re all alone. Just like me.

Scott: (cowers as all the anime girls he once had a crush on stare him down, with Wooser standing front and center) It’s true. What do I have left? (lowers head in shame, when he feels a firm hand on his shoulder. Enter Yona)

Yona: You’re wrong. He’s not alone. He’s got us. (Enter Jaeha)

Jaeha: His waifus, and his hasbandos. (Enter Sūko)

Sūko: He knows our flaws, and embraces them. (Enter Nanako)

Nanako: We’re not his waifus. We’re his friends. (Enter Sawa)

Sawa Okita: We may have never met, it may be impossible to ever have these conversations in real life. But we share a bond with viewers like him through the stories we tell. (Enter Birthday)

Birthday: We need critics like him. To make sense of our worlds, and bring meaning to our audience. (Enter Kaon)

Kaon Lanchester: When he laughs, we laugh. When he cries, we cry. When he smiles, we smile. (Enter Nanana)

Nanana Ryūgajō: Sure, he can be a real piece of work, but he’s got a kind heart. (to Scott) And you still owe me pudding. (Scott rolls his eyes. Enter Ito)

Ito Hikiotani: You’ll… you’ll regret turning your backs on Scott, after he loved you so much!

Hisa Takei (on Wooser’s side): Eh. I just like to screw with him. (Enter Ritsu)

Ritsu Kawai: Hey, Scott. This scene’s getting really confusing and convoluted. Why are there so many girls on Wooser’s side too?

Scott: You know how in all the popular shows, where the heroes have the entire world back them up, while the villain stands all alone? That never made sense to me. If you really want an epic fight, the heroes and villains should be on equal ground!

Ritsu: (stares at Scott with distrust) You’re stupid, you know that? I’m starting to think that you’re the villain.

Scott: Yeah, I know. (Enter Louis)

Louis Andō: So who’s it going to be, ladies? Wooser? Or Scott?

(As more waifus and hasbandos gather and yell on either side for the final battle, Scott raises his hand for all to see. Everyone quiets down).

Scott: It’s alright, everyone. I got this.

Wooser: Oh really? This is rich, coming from you. So which cosplay power are you going to use? I know them all! And I know how to counter every one of them.

Scott: I don’t have to be anyone else. All I have to be is me.

Wooser: Oh? Have you forgotten? I’ve studied you. I’ve watched you. I know every last trick in your book.

Scott: Oh? Then how about this? (Scott pulls out a card that has data on it)

Wooser: Impossible! How could you possibly have that?

Scott: Face it, Wooser. My blog is low budget. Just like your show.

Wooser: No way!

Scott: Activate, Anti-Climactic Plot Device!

(The card lights up and creates a white flash in the palm of Scott’s hand. He shoots a beam of light in Wooser’s direction. Wooser screams, as the beam sends him off into oblivion. Twinkle.)

Scott: I’m sorry, ladies. I had to get rid of him. I’ll accept any and all your punishments. Do with me as you wish. (awkward pause)

Kiriha: (nonchalantly) Oh. There goes Wooser.

Hisa: Eh. He wasn’t so special at all.

Kameko: He’s probably just going on vacation.

Sakurako: I really need to get a vacation.

Scott: ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!!

Louis: Yeah. We knew all along.

Kazuki: None of us really liked Wooser that much. Only you do.

Nanana: Wooser just wanted to have some fun with you, Scott. Keep you honest.

Birthday: We’re all proud of you. You did well.

Sūko: Thank you for keeping us in your heart.

Kaon: After all…

ALL: We still love you! (The girls and guys gather around Scott and take turns hugging him or patting his head. This appears to be the sentimental ending, that he didn’t want. But no. Something’s not right.)

Scott: Wait. Everyone, stop! (all listen attentively) I’m sorry. I can’t return any of your feelings. I don’t love you that way at all! Listen, I’m not that special. I’m just an anime critic with a philosophy background. A blogger who shoots his mouth off that nobody cares about. But you were all created by so many unique artists, who gave you the love and attention you deserved, and you touched so many hearts with your growing audience. But let’s face it: you’re not real. None of you can satisfy me beyond my imagination. So I’m sorry. There is no last waifu standing. (Exit all but Scott)

(The entire scene disappears, as all characters leave Scott behind, and fade away. He sits on the empty void, head lowered).

Scott: I can’t be with you forever. (long silence, as he cries. Alone.)

???: Yeah. We know that. (Scott raise his head, and slowly stands up again. Three mysterious, yet familiar characters come forward. Each with physical features that only he has imagined up to this point. Enter Lystria, Prof. Ginkgo, and Shuko.)

Scott: You guys. What are you doing here?

Lystria: Who, us? That’s silly, we’ve been here the whole time. We are you.

Prof. Ginkgo: You created us. Loved us. Used us as your voice, when no one else would hear you.

Shuko: But you don’t need us anymore. You have made wonderful friends in real life, who will listen to you, and share your experiences.

Lystria: We never left your side, and you never left ours.

Prof. Ginkgo: You kept us in your memories. And held on to our names closest to your heart.

Shuko: Even if none of our stories were ever complete…

ALL: We still love you, Scott.

Lystria: Scott. You never actually published my story on this blog. You only worked on it when you played WoW. Those days of fun we had are long gone, yet you still had the love for me to watch over your blog as its namesake. The True Lystria. Thank you for loving me as the chaotic-good warlock that I am!

Prof. Ginkgo: Scott. You may have created me on a whim to express your nostalgia for Pokemon, but you developed me into a character that you wanted to become, both in my universe, and yours. You bridged your imagination with your reality, in a way most people might never have considered. And now you use my name for social media platforms, as your alter ego. Thank you for loving me as the pragmatic pokemon professor that I am!

Shuko: . . .

Scott: I’m so sorry that I never fully developed your characters. You’re all still incomplete, and I’ve left you behind.

Lystria: Oh. That’s okay. It’s all in the past, right?

Prof. Ginkgo: Besides, our stories are still being told, but in different form. Through your real life narrative.

Lystria: No matter where you go in life, I’ll always be your fierce, passionate, youthful side, ready to take action!

Prof. Ginkgo: And I’ll always be your rational, cool-headed, responsible side, ready to make a difference.

Shuko: . . .

Prof. Ginkgo: If there’s anything that this whole experience has taught us, it’s that you will always keep us in your heart, and love us just as we are.

Lystria: And so, we’ll be there for you, too.

Shuko: After all…

ALL: We are you.

(Lystria gives Scott a big hug, and Prof. Ginkgo gives him a handshake. The two of them wave goodbye, as they fade away. Scott and Shuko stand alone together. Shuko’s head remains lowered, too ashamed to look into his eyes).

Scott: Shuko. I’m here for you. Is there something you wanted to say to me, too?

Shuko: I… (Shuko slowly raises her head to look at him, tears still flowing from her eyes) I don’t understand, Scott. Who am I?

Scott: (looks at her puzzled, trying to understand her inquiry. Then he smiles) Well that’s easy. You’re Shuko Oda, Priestess of Ransei. Prof. Ginkgo’s twin sister. Keeper of the legendary staff Sangen, and trainer of your three Eevee siblings.

Shuko: But who am I to you? (Scott tilts his head in confusion) Lystria and Prof. Ginkgo have such elaborate backstories that have held meaning to you so personally, that you have used their names in other media. But what about me? Am I not special to you?

Scott: Shuko–

Shuko: ANSWER ME!! I don’t even know who I am anymore. My story is incomplete, but I feel so lost. (pause) Tell me, Scott. Who am I really? What do I become? Does my life, my story, have a purpose?

(Scott ponders for a moment to figure out how to answer her. Then he smiles gently and rubs her shoulder.)

Scott: Shuko. You are a very special person to me. So special, that I can’t describe you with words alone.

Shuko: That’s stupid. You’re able to do that with the others. Why not me?

Scott: Well, it’s true that I couldn’t describe you all by finishing your stories, but there was a reason I intentionally left yours incomplete, that’s different from the others. See, Lystria was going to become a champion warlock in her narrative. Prof. Ginkgo was going to be a professor in the Special Investigations Department, with a clear conscience of what to do, with rational decision-making. Their stories may not have been completed, but their endings would have been obvious.

Shuko: But… what about mine? (Scott leans over to Shuko’s ear and whispers the spoiled ending for Oda Twin Chronicles that he originally intended, before he put the project on hiatus) Are you serious? Me? Becoming… what? That’s impossible.

Scott: Yeah. You were that special all along, Shuko.

Shuko: But… but… that’s so boring. I wouldn’t have written my story that way!

Scott: And that’s exactly why I couldn’t finish it.

Shuko: I don’t follow.

Scott: You see, Lystria and Prof. Ginkgo’s stories may not have been complete written-wise, but they were already complete, experience-wise. They both represented facets of me that I’m aware of, and could easily write their story as if it were my own. But you, Shuko. You’re different from that.

Shuko: And how so? (Scott grabs Shuko’s hands and holds them together in his).

Scott: Shuko. You’re a very special side of me that no one else can be. You’re kind. Intelligent. Thoughtful. And honest. You listen to others. You care about them. And you always remind them of what’s really important. You’re the part of me that I can’t see for myself. But I can feel. You are the part of me that can only be realized by others. (Shuko’s eyes widen as they gaze upon each other with this revelation, in silence.) Shuko. You’re the one I love most.

Shuko: (blushes) I… I don’t… I don’t know what to say.

Scott: It’s all right. It’s okay not to know. (Shuko fights back more tears, as she tries to stay strong. She sobs, wipes her face, and straightens up.)

Shuko: I have one more question. Before I go.

Scott: Ask away.

Shuko: Glasses. Does my character wear glasses?

Scott: Huh?

Shuko: Lystria gets those goggles for being an engineer warlock. And Prof. Ginkgo has been wearing glasses since he was a kid. You like girls with glasses and you wear them, too. So do I wear them?

Scott: What? I wear glasses and contacts interchangeably. Whether or not I wear glasses doesn’t matter to your character.

Shuko: Well it matters to me!

(Scott takes a step back and thinks for a moment. He takes his glasses off , and studies them. After a few seconds, he snaps them in half and smiles)

Scott: You never needed glasses to be beautiful, Shuko. I loved you just the way you are.

Shuko: I… How could you… Well that’s not good enough!

Scott: Oh, what more do you want?

Shuko: I want an accessory. A jewel. An accent that gives my character meaning by appearance. Weapons and titles are but forms of action. Give me a trait that defines what I look like! (softly this time) Anything would do. (pause)

Scott: Well, there is one thing I can give you, Shuko. But you have to promise not to make fun of it.

Shuko: Of course not.

Scott: Okay. Close your eyes. (Shuko closes her eyes, with relaxed composure. Scott leans in closer, caresses her cheek, and pushes back her hair that’s covering her ears. He clips two earrings on her lobes: two emerald studs. Shuko opens her eyes as he gives her a compact mirror to see for herself)

Shuko: They’re beautiful. But what do they mean?

Scott: Well, they don’t have a meaning yet. I just made them up on a whim.

Shuko: What?

Scott: I want to give them to you so that you can give them meaning. A purpose. A story.

Shuko: I don’t know if I can. You’re always the one telling my story.

Scott: (grabs Shuko’s shoulders and faces her) Of course you can. You are me, after all. And besides, green is my favorite color. (Shuko stares at Scott in surprise, then bursts into laughter) What! I thought I said you couldn’t make fun of me!

Shuko: (laughs) But it’s so… it’s so… it’s so you. You really did want that cheese ending!

Scott: Well let’s be honest. I’m not very good at being romantic. (they laugh together)

Shuko: Well… One cheesy ending deserves another, right? (smiles)

Scott: Yeah.

Shuko: Okay then. I want… I want to kiss you.

(I gaze upon my own character in confusion, knowing just how absurd it is to kiss her, a fictional character who was supposed to represent a specific facsimile of me. But I decide not to overthink it and smile. I caress her cheek once more and kiss her warmly on her lips. Satisfied, Shuko disappears, and I am left alone once more, in that blank space.)

Scott: I love you. I will take a lifetime to get to know you. You will always be in my heart. Be the beautiful person that you are. My other self. My last waifu standing. (Curtain)

Last Waifu Standing [fan fiction]: Cosplay OTP Part 2

Standard

Cosplay 4: Ratio (Hamatora)

(Scene changes to the city again. This time, it’s a dystopian Yokohama. Now cosplaying Ratio, Scott has lost depth perception, given a patch over his right eye, and his arms feel heavy. He tries to remove the patch when he’s rudely interrupted. Enter Birthday.)

Birthday: WHOA! What the hell do you think you’re doing there, Scott?

Scott: What? You and I both know that I’m not Ratio. That means I shouldn’t have any of his powers.

Birthday: Yeah, but whatever contraption you had to get here was loaded with some extra add-ons with each of your cosplays. You’re basically the real thing.

Scott: Okay, then tell me. Where’s the real Ratio right now?

Birthday: Oh. He’s waiting over there. (Birthday points toward a car about 50 meters away. A single black glove can be seen from the side window, middle finger raised).

Scott: That’s my Ratio. (smirks)

Birthday: Look, no jokes, no riddles. I’m just gonna tell you straight up.

Scott: Okay…

Birthday: Ratio and I… we’re just partners. We fight crime together. That’s it. I don’t get why the fans love pairing us up all the time for other things.

Scott: Oh… Well of course! (laughs uneasily) Why would anyone ever think that? (Birthday glares back at Scott, then shrugs.)

Birthday: Anyway, I’m supposed to give you some kind of advice, so you can be happy and move on, right?

Scott: Huh? I don’t remember Shiori ever telling me that.

Birthday: (presses Scott up against a wall and slams his palm onto it) Look, this blog? This life of yours? You’re doing it all wrong, man!

Scott: Why? What’s wrong with how I do things now?

Birthday: You need to trust your audience more! Listen to what they have to say. Give them what they want, no matter how dumb it is!

Scott: What? Why? Then I’ll just be like every other anime critic out there! Sure, I’ll have the views, but I’d be miserable, just watching the same shows that everyone else is, just to get attention!

Birthday: (steps away and turns his back on Scott) You really sure that’s how it works? You really are stupid.

Scott: (stands up straight and looks at Birthday, face to face) Enlighten me.

Birthday: (turns his back on Scott again and crouches) Do you even know who your audience is anymore?

Scott: Not really. Why?

Birthday: Why? That’s your problem. You don’t cater to one. You’re so busy, trying to please everyone that you forget what’s really important. You limit your perspective by focusing on too broad of a spectrum. You’re kind of like–

Scott: Yeah, yeah. I’m kind of like Ratio that way, right?

Birthday: (turns his head to look at Scott) Who, the guy who loses perspective because he has only one eye? No. I was gonna say you’re just like me! (turns his head back) Ratio’s a medical doctor. He knows how to focus. (fiddles around with his taser) Me? I’m just here to have a good time, and take down some baddies while I’m at it. (puts the taser away) I don’t have a focus. Why else do you think I’m only good for cheesy one-liners?

Scott: Wow. I had no idea you thought of yourself that way.

Birthday: (stands up and turns to face Scott) Really? Well those who make the rest of the world laugh are the ones who suffer the most. It’s the comedian’s paradox, you know?

Scott: Yeah. I understand that.

Birthday: You know the Hamatora Detective Agency? You may think of us as heroes, but we don’t get paid very well. (turns his back on Scott again) We take shitty jobs, work with shitty people, and for what? All to use our minimum powers for something “good?” Sometimes you gotta do shit work to please others, Scott. Only then will you appreciate what really matters in life.

Scott: A life worth living?

Birthday: (looks at Scott again) Hell no! What are you, some kind of philosopher?

Scott: Well, yeah–

Birthday: Nah! (turns his back once more and crouches) What really matters in life are girls! Babes! Waifus! That’s why you’re doing this fan fiction, right?

Scott: Huh? No!

Birthday: Then what are you doing it for?

Scott: Well, for starters, me. (Birthday gazes up at Scott attentively) Lately I’ve been feeling down about myself. Can’t get work, can’t pass simple exams, I’m losing friends, and overall, I just don’t think my voice is being heard anymore. I had to write this. That way, if someone else out there feels the way I do right now… perhaps they can find strength in what I have to say.

Birthday: (ponders some more, then stands up) Well, I guess you really are more like Ratio. He cares so much about others, that he barely has any time to take care of himself. That’s why he’s a medical doctor. I know it’s not easy for him, and that’s why I stay by his side. Stoic as he is, he needs a balance. A foil, if you will. And so do you.

Scott: Yeah…

Ratio: (from a radio clipped to Birthday’s shirt) Hey, if you’re done playing around with my double, get your ass back over here! Honey just got a lead!

Birthday: (shrugs) Well, duty calls. We got a yellow rabbit to catch.

Scott: A yellow rabbit? I know who–

Birthday: Forget about it. We’ll take care of it. You need to start taking care of yourself right now. And don’t forget about that audience of yours. They’ll listen. (Birthday runs toward the car and exits)

Scott: No worries. I’m sure I’m headed that way, too.

Cosplay 5: Umetarō Nozaki (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun)

(Scene changes to a school hallway. Scott’s sight returns, as he straightens up his tie. Enter Chiyo, running.)

Chiyo Sakura: Nozaki-kun! Nozaki-kun! Wait for me!

Scott: Huh? No, you got it all wrong. (Chiyo stops in front of him and catches her breath)

Chiyo: Oh no, I knew it was you. I’m just practicing a scene that’s supposed to happen in a lot of shōjo manga, where the girl has to pursue the guy, you know? I want Nozaki-kun to notice me.

Scott: Well you have my attention now. Have you come to tell me what I’ve been doing wrong too?

Chiyo: Actually, no. I’m here to tell you what you’ve been doing right.

Scott: (pause, suprised) Well that’s new.

Chiyo: You see… you’re kind of like Nozaki-kun when you take interest in stuff that girls like. You understand how characters think and feel, and sometimes play around with them in your reviews. Nozaki-kun does that too, when he’s writing his manga. He observes so many scenes in his own life, and translates them into his amazing work, but…

Scott: But?

Chiyo: There’s something you possess that Nozaki-kun doesn’t. At least, not yet, anyway. The thing is, you’re really honest about your feelings. That’s not very common for a guy. But whether or not you believe it, a lot of girls like that kind of thing, you know? I mean, it’s kind of surprising to find out at first, but, we really appreciate it. It makes us feel like someone understands us. Knows what we’re going through.

Scott: I see.

Chiyo: When I found out that my favorite manga artist was really Nozaki-kun, I was shocked too. I’ve wanted to get to know him better because of that. I figured if he could write such a fun story that I could enjoy, then he must really get me! But then when I see him, all he does is imitate romantic scenes, for the sake of his manga. To give him that inspiration, but never get the satisfaction that comes from truly falling in love. But you? I think you do understand. And that’s what… that’s what I really wanted to say to you. (Chiyo and Scott stare at each other awkwardly. Then Chiyo blushes and acts more flustered) P-p-please don’t get the wrong idea! I know I’m still only 16.5 and you’re xx!

Scott: Damn it! People really do use that age reference! Seriously, this community is weird!

Chiyo: Well… I said what I had to say. I guess… that’s that. (Chiyo wiggles around nervously, as if she’s about to burst into tears. Scott pats her on the head.)

Scott: You’re a good kid, Sakura. I’m sure one of these days, Nozaki will open up to you. Just be prepared for when he says it, and listen. But perhaps, you already do a good job of that.

Chiyo: Aw, that’s so sweet.

Scott: Oh, and before I forget. I have something for you.

Chiyo: Really? What’s that? (Scott takes out an autograph signing board and a felt tip pen. He writes out his signature and hands it to Chiyo.) Wha. Wha. WHA–

Scott: Just think. If I ever become famous, that’ll be super valuable. Maybe.

Chiyo: (turns bright red, as steam comes out of her ears) WHY!!! YOU’RE SUCH AN IDIOT!!!! (Exit Chiyo, with a whirl of emotions)

Scott: All right. One more to go.

Cosplay 6: Gunzō Chihaya (Arpeggio of Blue Steel)

(Scene appears to be inside a submarine captain’s deck. Scott sits in a chair as the Captain, noticing that only one crew member is around… in teddy bear form. Enter Kirishima.)

Kirishima: Well, if it isn’t the anime critic who’s been causing a storm lately, over breaking his waifus’ hearts.

Scott: I’m sorry, okay? There’s too many, so I had to get rid of them.

Kirishima: Yeah, I know. Some of them are really annoying, that’s for sure.

Scott: Kirishima, I get that Gunzō has an entire harem fleet of mental models, and don’t get me wrong, I still think you’re the best. But tell me, why are you in the teddy bear form?

Kirishima: Oh come on, Scott. If I were in my human form, I’d be too sexy, even for you. And besides…

BOTH: (Scott says it monotonously, while Kirishima says it enthusiastically) Bears are awesome.

Scott: Man, I really need to start coming up with better catch phrases. Anyway, how did you manage to get away from the others? Aren’t you always playing with that kid?

Kirishima: Who, Makie? I’ve got Haruna covering for me in the sleeping quarters. She’s watching over her. Also, I think there’s some ghost girl with them, eating pudding.

Scott: Oh good.

Kirishima: Regardless, I just have one thing to ask you.

Scott: Go on.

Kirishima: Why do you care so much about what other people think about you?

Scott: What are you talking about?

Kirishima: There was once a time when you were like Captain Chihaya. Cool. Suave. Charming–

Scott: Those are all essentially the same thing.

Kirishima: (shocked) Anyway, he didn’t care what other people thought of him. That’s why he left the Naval Academy, went rogue, and joined forces with the traitor of the Fog, I-401. He would have been the typical rebellious type, except that he was also extremely rational, and turned out to be an excellent strategist, if I do say so myself.

Scott: Yeah, he got you and Haruna good that one time. (chuckles)

Kirishima: Don’t remind me. (pause) The truth is, you used to be like that too. But then you started to get in tune with your feelings more, and added emotion to your already logical reviews. Sure, it made your writing more interesting, but having such skills comes with a double-edged sword.

Scott: Oh really?

Kirishima: You started to care too much! You got far too invested. And eventually, you started to see your criticism as work rather than play. And for what? Because a few trolls told you that you had to start talking about things their way? Are you really gonna let them walk all over you like that!?

Scott: Well no–

Kirishima: Then WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT THEM!? (Scott groans and sulks in his chair) You don’t have a reason, do you?

Scott: Not when you’re trying to force an answer out of me.

Kirishima: Just look at me for a minute. (Scott obliges) When my hull was destroyed and I couldn’t get my mental model back, I was placed in this stuffed toy. I hated it at first. I thought, “who would ever take me seriously again?” I hated myself, because that’s how others would have seen me! But you know what? I was wrong. That kid Makie adores me. And Haruna still looks out for me whenever she can. And Gunzō… Gunzō…

Scott: What about him?

Kirishima: It’s nothing. He’s a really good captain, you know? Anyway, I started to like my new form. I loved myself again. And do you know why?

Scott: (pauses, as he ponders) Not really.

Kirishima: (pauses) Because I found someone to care about. I found someone worth a damn to me. And protect her at all costs. She loves me for who I am, especially in this bear form. She makes me feel… feel…

Scott: Special?

Kirishima: Like I’m not a monster. When I was part of the Fog, all I ever did was follow orders. I killed hundreds. Thousands of innocent people. And I didn’t feel a single thing for any of them. But now, I care for her, because she cares for me. One last hope for me to find redemption for this forsaken existence. And to me, a mental model that was never meant to have emotions, that’s Love. (Scott and Kirishima continue to dive stealthily with no purpose, gliding along the ocean floor aimlessly) Scott, find some one, some thing to care about. It can be more than one thing. And damn the rest. That’s what I would have done, that’s what Gunzō would have done. And so should you.

Scott: You got it. And thanks. You know, bears really are awesome.

Kirishima: Indeed they are. (The submarine is about ready to surface, when Scott decides to change the subject)

Scott: All right, enough small talk, Kirishima. Where’s Iona? (Kirishima is shocked) Everyone knows that Gunzō’s true love is Iona. That would make them the OTP.

Kirishima: So? This is your fan fiction. It doesn’t have to be canon.

Scott: Yeah, but I never declared any waifus from this series, so whoever everyone else ships becomes the default OTP. That’s how fandom works! But Iona’s not here. (Scott stares intently at Kirishima) Is she?

Kirishima: (flustered) Ah… I don’t know what you’re talking about. Surely this ship couldn’t operate without her on board, right?

Scott: Right… but she’s not on deck here! In fact, no one on the Blue Steel crew is here but us! And I’m starting to doubt that Haruna and Makie are here either!

Kirishima: Just what are you trying to say? (Scott impatiently pulls out the Trigger device.)

Scott: This. This is how I’ve been able to change into all my cosplays so quickly. I’m using this in the middle of a virtual training room operated by Shiori from World Trigger. Everything up to this point has been an illusion, hasn’t it?

Kirishima: Well, yes, but all the conversations you’ve had have felt real, weren’t they?

Scott: Well yeah…

Kirishima: Then there’s nothing to worry about. You win. You’ve brought closure to all your waifus and hasbandos.

Scott: No. There’s still one left.

Kirishima: Huh?

Scott: I know he’s behind all this. He’s been pulling the strings this whole time. He’s the mysterious villain of the fan fiction. You’ve worked with him before, haven’t you?

Kirishima: I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Scott: (picks up Kirishima and brings her closer to his face) Where’s Wooser? (Exit Kirishima, perplexed)

(The scene dissolves, as Scott changes back to his regular clothes. He’s no longer in the training room, but in an open field, with nothing else to be seen in any direction.)

Scott: All right, give it up! I know you’re here, watching me, haunting me. You’re a hack! A coward! Show yourself!

(A maniacal laugh echoes from above. A large airship with several of the past waifus are on board, staring down at Scott in cold disgust. Enter Wooser.)

Wooser: Girls. Meat. Money. Uniforms. (Wooser laughs maniacally some more, as he lands before Scott) Have you made your decision, True Lystria? Who is your last waifu standing?

Scott: I have. But I have to tell you something first.

Wooser: Really? And what’s that?

Scott: Something I should’ve told you a long time ago, back when we wrote that review together. My honest thoughts about your show. (to be continued)