(It’s been a little over a year since I scripted the entirety of Last Waifu Standing, the ultimate review on my blog in dialogue form. Since then, I’ve been thinking about doing a follow-up to explain just what exactly was going on to inspire such perfect madness, that maybe 5 people besides me had bothered to read. While I haven’t written a lot of anime reviews since then, maybe it’s time to revisit this project before I move on. Naturally, there is only one way to explain Last Waifu Standing: in more dialogues.
Sections that I thought might be important to those who just want answers to the psychological trauma that I have put myself through in these writings are in bold.)
Scene: small office space, with a desk and three chairs. Scott (me) is already sitting at his desk, laptop open, and hashing away at whatever keeps him busy nowadays. The other two chairs are placed opposite of him. There are two doors on either side of the room: one that leads to a closet, the other that leads to the hallway. Behind Scott is a window. Enter Nanana Ryūgajō.
Nanana: (merrily hums and eats from a pudding cup as she glides over behind Scott to see what he’s doing) Ooh. That looks interesting. What’chu working on?
Scott: (completely unfazed) None of your business.
Nanana: Aww… you’re no fun. The Scott I knew would at least smile when he sees a pretty ghost girl.
Scott: (stops typing and looks at Nanana, stoic as ever) I’m working on lesson plans and classroom management stuff. There’s not much time I can devote to anime reviews as I used to. I’m getting too busy.
Nanana: Is that really the reason? (Scott glares at her) You may be able to fool your friends, but you can’t fool me. Why else would you reference me in every single chapter of Last Waifu Standing?
Scott: Because you’re a red herring who doesn’t know how to stay out of my way?
Nanana: (drops her pudding cup in shock) Wha–!
Scott: Yeah, I’ll admit. When I started doing reviews, you might have been the first character whom I liked for your smile. The “smile I want to protect,” sort of speak. And I’ll take that with me to the grave, if I have to.
Nanana: (smiles) That’s so sweet. But why me?
Scott: (ponders) I had a friend once, a long time ago, who promoted Nanana’s Buried Treasure strictly for the tropes. And perhaps, to any other anime fan, that’s all they needed to hear. For all intents and purposes, that’s all the show ever really was: garbage to the fan base that came just as quickly as it went.
Nanana: Well that’s not a very nice thing to say.
Scott: Precisely. And that’s how a lot of folks remember your series: something that’s sort of fun, but not very memorable. But not to me. Call me an elitist or a misguided otaku or whatever, but I saw you differently than from any other would-be fan or critic. I saw a clever, joyous young lady who wanted to make the only community of adventurers she knew become better people, while also having fun with it, of course. You could have easily just found more clues to figure out who your murderer was, but the Nanana I knew wouldn’t want that. You loved just how full of life your new friends were to leave them so soon. That’s why I loved your smile the most.
Nanana: Aww… you really did think a lot about me.
Scott: Yeah. I did. Well that’s all in the past. I try not to get goaded into that conversation, unless it’s a setup for a joke.
Nanana: Wow. You’re a heartless bastard.
Scott: (smirks) I know. (Someone knocks at the door) Well, time for my office hours. Go back to the closet and keep it down, okay?
Nanana: But it’s so boring in there!
Scott: (rolls eyes and hands Nanana his laptop) Here. Go play some video games or something. I won’t need this for a while.
Nanana: Yay! (Exits through closet, big grin on her face)
Scott: And don’t give me any viruses this time! (gets up out of his seat and opens the hallway door.) Come in. (Enter Yoshioka Futaba, Erika Shinohara, and Chihaya Ayase)
Yoshioka: (bows) Hey, sensei! Settling in?
Erika: (waves) Yo!
Chihaya: (points at Scott) Ready to play some Karuta?
Scott: Wait, what, how are all of you girls together?
Yoshioka: Don’t think about it too hard. We weren’t included in the fanfiction, and to be honest, I’m okay with that.
Erika: I’m not.
Yoshioka: (ignores Erika) Anyway, you’re a teacher now, right? (Erika and Chihaya take a seat, while Yoshioka stands next to them.)
Scott: (as he says this line, Scott keeps the hallway door propped open and returns to his seat behind the desk) Almost. This setting is so that I can imagine that– wait, why am I explaining this?
Erika: So we heard about this “Last Waifu Standing” thing you did about a year ago for your blog, and we had to ask–
Chihaya: (shouting) WHY WASN’T KANA-CHAN INCLUDED!! (Erika closes her mouth with her index finger)
Yoshioka: What Chihaya meant to say was, why did you bother to write the series? It’s not like you really care that much about the waifus you picked.
Erika: What? I thought he did!
Scott: Actually, you’re both right. (Yoshioka, Erika, and Chihaya make a confused utterance) Look, at the end of the day, I don’t care about the waifu wars. Fans go crazy over that kind of stuff. That being said, I think that it’s kind of fun to express what you admire best out of the characters that you like, so I spend about a paragraph or two on them for my reviews. It gives your audience an idea of the kind of people you like. It’s just for fun.
Yoshioka: But then why didn’t you include a lot of the shōjo titles that you reviewed? Surely you liked some of us.
Scott: I did. You all read the hasbando chapter, right?
Erika: You mean the best chapter!
Chihaya: (cluelessly) Huh? I don’t get it.
Scott: I mean, I didn’t think too hard about picking waifus for the shōjo titles because to me, that wouldn’t have been the point. That’s why none of you were included in the fanfiction.
Erika: Yona was.
Scott: Well, Yona is… a special case. She has a certain… sort of appeal.
Yoshioka: And we don’t!?
Erika: I mean, just look at Chihaya! She’s gorgeous!
Chihaya: Heheh, let’s not get carried away. I’m just here to be the best at the best game in the world… (Yoshioka and Erika laugh nervously)
Yoshioka: Anyway, we thought since you specialize in shōjo anime criticism, you might have added more of us in your narrative, but you didn’t. Why is that?
Scott: Well, I’m including you all now, right?
Erika: Hmm… good point.
Yoshioka: So then what were you trying to get at by writing this fanfic? Somehow I don’t think it’s just because you wanted to promote 5 years of anime criticism.
Scott: You’re right, Yoshioka. There was also a girl involved.
Yoshioka, Erika, and Chihaya: EEEEEEEEEEEHHH!!??
Chihaya: A real girl!?
Erika: No way. That’s too weird!
Scott: Yeah, but she rejected me. And at the time, I didn’t know how else to handle it. That’s why I decided that maybe it was time for me to let go. Feel empowered to reject instead of being rejected. I don’t fall in love very often, you know.
Yoshioka: And did that help?
Scott: (ponders) No. It didn’t. (awkward silence)
Chihaya: Wow. That’s really surprising though.
Erika: Yeah. Considering how much time and effort he puts into writing romances and stuff.
Yoshioka: You should have told us about it. If there’s anything that shōjo heroines know most, it’s understanding other girls.
Scott: You’d think so, anyway. But, well, I don’t know… I guess I don’t really picture her as any one of you. And besides, I may have confused love for other feelings anyway, so I doubt that was it.
Erika: Huh. So if she wasn’t like any of us, then who?
Scott: Well… (ponders) I mean, it’s in the past, right? I’m not giving her a second chance to change her mind (shrugs).
Yoshioka: Oh, come on!
Erika: You can’t just tease us and not tell us!
Chihaya: You gotta fight for the ones you love!! (everyone stares at Chihaya awkwardly)
Scott: Well… I guess she kind of reminded me of Felt from Re:Zero. (Enter Felt)
Felt: Wait, is THAT why you’ve been putting off a review of Re:Zero for so long!?
Scott: How did you–
Felt: Unacceptable! You gotta do that now! Your readers must know your thoughts about one of the most popular shōnens of the past couple of years!
Scott: Well I’m not declaring a waifu in it now, especially not you!
Felt: (pause) Meh. I’m okay with that.
Chihaya: I don’t get it. I thought we were arguing about girls just now. How did we get to that anyway?
Scott: You’re right, Chihaya. And that’s why if I ever find myself having to make a quick buck, I might do some commissions for BL. Maybe include some fun stuff with Taichi and Arata.
Chihaya: Fun stuff? What would they be doing without– (Yoshioka and Erika close Chihaya’s ears with the palms of their hands on either side)
Yoshioka: (nervously) Okay, it’s time for us to go! Leave Scott to his work now.
Erika: (stands up with Chihaya) Yeah. Good luck with life, Scott!
Felt: Make your audience proud, whoever they are, all right? (Scott nods)
Scott: Okay. Have a good day. (the girls bow as they leave. Exit Yoshioka, Erika, Chihaya, and Felt through hallway door. Enter Uryū Ishida through the same door) Oh no.
Uryū: Aha! I found you, you impostor!
Scott: Cosplayer. And I haven’t done the Ichigo thing in years.
Uryū: Who cares? A lot of the cosplays you featured in the “Cosplay OTP” chapters were ones that you retired. Why not the first one you ever did?
Scott: Well I didn’t write a review for Bleach, so I didn’t think it was necessary to have it showcased in a fanfiction written in response to all my reviews.
Uryū: Screw your anime reviews! Your readers and your friends know Bleach, and they adored you as Ichigo Kurosaki because it’s something that they would have remembered! Probably would have boosted your views if you included more popular stuff as it is.
Scott: Whoever said I write for popularity!
Uryū: I beg your pardon?
Scott: Look, I know, better than most probably, that I may never be as popular as other fan personalities out there. The passion, the capacity, the criticism is all there, but I don’t exactly have the personality to want too many folks who have their eyes on me. Who would want that?
Uryū: (sigh) I should have known. You’re nothing like Ichigo. At least he wouldn’t have given up so easily just because a bunch of dumbasses got in his way.
Scott: Excuse me?
Uryū: You’re a coward! Someone who couldn’t accept that you were different. That you wanted to be just like everyone else. But no matter what you did or how you thought, you couldn’t. And that’s why she left you. That’s why she said “no.” You can’t commit to being yourself, and face the truest part of yourself that you have neglected: (leans in from the desk, inches away from Scott’s face) you’re afraid to fall in love.
Scott: (pause) Are you finished?
Uryū: (pause, then sits down) Yeah.
Scott: Good. Because I’m not a big fan of Bleach.
Uryū: (angrily) What!?
Scott: Yeah, I’ll admit. Bleach was kind of like, an introduction into anime for me. Hell, it was probably the very first thing I got into heavily. You know, besides stuff like Pokemon, Digimon, or Love Hina.
Uryū: You had a weird childhood.
Scott: I’ll admit that Bleach was good for me to watch as an initial conversation starter with other anime fans who would know, but that’s all it was. A gateway anime. I found a lot of other shows to enjoy since then, a lot of them that were featured on my blog. Bleach was good to me for a time when I didn’t know much about anime, and that’s fine. But that’s all it will ever really be to me. Nostalgia. Beyond that, there isn’t that much that was special about it.
Uryū: Huh. I was wrong. You come across as the quirky, but sensitive nice guy in your reviews, but you’re really just another asshole, aren’t you?
Scott: That sounds about right.
Uryū: (stands up and adjusts his glasses) And here I thought that you could be different somehow. You grew up so fast, yet didn’t grow up at all. You just might be more like Ichigo.
Scott: Well, are you even listening to yourself? Do you even know why those chapters were callbacks to “Cosplay OTP?”
Uryū: I don’t know. Something about the romantic pairings you thought were most ideal to each of the cosplays that you did?
Scott: Exactly (winks, Uryū cringes). No worries though. My personal eye candy from that show was Chad.
Uryū: (grips his stomach) I’m sorry. I… I gotta go before I come down with the flu or something. Yeah. (Exits through hallway door, disgusted)
Scott: (aside) Fan service, baby. No matter how where I stand in this community, I will never be above it. (Enter Honoka Maki through the hallway door)
Honoka: (takes a seat right away) Well, Scott. We finally meet. I have to ask you something.
Scott: What is it, Honoka.
Honoka: You included a lot of girls in Last Waifu Standing. Some who didn’t even have a lot of lines to begin with. Why wasn’t I included?
Scott: Wait, that’s what you’re upset about? Of all the possible characters I could have included, I’d think you would be the least willing to take part.
Honoka: Well, that’s true, I guess. (aside) Damn he really does get me a lot.
Scott: Well if you must know, there were a lot of characters I could have added to the script, but didn’t. Mostly because they would have been repetitive, or I didn’t have a lot of jokes to give them so that I could… properly… reject them.
Honoka: Enlighten me.
Scott: Well, since you put me on the spot, I could have added Makoto Kowata from Flying Witch…
Makoto: (flies by the window and waves, smiling)
Scott: Natsumi Koshigaya from Non Non Biyori…
Natsumi: (voice only) Hey! Who’s calling my name? (pow) Ow! That hurt, Komari!
Scott: Or Yū Otosaka from Charlotte, I guess. (Enter Yū Otosaka, through the hallway door)
Yū: Oh, come on! Nao is cuter than me!
Scott: (yells at Yū) You know I would have though!
Yū: Fuck you! (Exits, angrily.)
Honoka: (gets out of her seat and slams the hallway door) Noisy! All of them!
Scott: Hey. These are my office hours. I keep an open door policy.
Honoka: Shut up! I have something to say! (sits back down and stares intently at Scott) I hate it when a man can’t be honest with his own feelings. They remind me too much of myself.
Honoka: I thought you were different! For someone who could be so honest with his feelings, in blogs no less, to have so much trouble finding true love. How could you? You deserve better than this. You could have any one you want if you just tried for once! It’s not like your closest friends died or anything–
Scott: (angrily) Don’t ever bring that up! (silence)
Honoka: I’m sorry. That’s not my story to tell. But you really are just like me, aren’t you? It’s so hard for you to trust others, even when there are so many who look up to you. You hide your pain in your writing, to express sincere hopes that you can look back on everything that’s happened to you with a silver lining. But deep down, you really are scared. You’re scared that they’ll all walk away from you, so you made the conscious effort to walk away from them first. That way, you would never have to feel that pain again. Isn’t it?
Scott: (sigh) And that’s why you would have won. The last waifu standing.
Scott: Short hair, brunette, intelligent, energetic or cool-headed or both, average age of 18. Mega Drive almost got it right. Now that I think about it, she could have just as easily described you.
Honoka: (embarrassed) No. N-n-n-no way. I’m too young for this kind of relationship!
Scott: No worries. I wouldn’t have picked you anyway, ’cause the point of Last Waifu Standing was to pick my self. At least, one of my stand-in characters for some of the other writing projects that I have done on the blog.
Honoka: Oh, that’s a relief.
Scott: But like I said as early as chapter 1, that’s not how I pick my waifus. Physical appearance and personality are but the surface details about a character or how they develop, and I actually hate it when animes rely on those tropes, just to get views. But you? I loved you for your honesty, how you decided one day to open yourself up to others again, even though it was really hard to do. And you learned to trust in ways that were different from my own. But you know something, that wasn’t completely why I would have fallen in love with you then.
Honoka: So what was it?
Scott: Honoka, you give people the impression that you are tough, uncaring, and perhaps too willing to let your friends go. But upon tearing down those layers, you have a kind heart. One who would never let go of the people who mattered most to her in her life. I can respect that. My own friends have tried to convince me that I have the same thing.
Honoka: I do, don’t I? (smiles) I think… I think that’s what I wanted to hear from you. And I wished you took the time to say that when you were doing that kind of stuff for all your other waifus and hasbandos. (whispers to me, aside) You’re still going to add that gag in your reviews, right?
Scott: I’ll think about it.
Honoka: (smacks her lips, unconvinced) One last question before I go. (stands up) Are you ready to fall in love again? For real this time?
Scott: (stares up towards Honoka, unflinchingly) I am.
Honoka: (smiles) I’m glad. I think it’s time to let go of your painful past for good. Let a new love in your life come in. Just make sure it’s not one of your current friends. That would be too weird, right?
Scott: Yeah. I think you’re right. (Scott and Honoka bow at each other before leaving. Exit Honoka through the hallway door. Honoka closes the door on her way out. Scott gets out of his chair and looks out the window. As he looks around the room, he notices the pudding cup on the floor. He picks it up, intending on discarding it in the trash on his way out) Well. Guess I’d better take care of that. (Scott takes a step closer to the closet, then stops. He looks out the window again, then faces the audience.) Nah. Some things from the past are just that. The past. Why bother trying to change that? Especially if they truly were happy memories? (toward the closet) Keep smiling, kid. That’s one thing I will always protect. (Exits through the hallway door and shuts it on his way out. Enter Lystria, Prof. Ginkgo, and Shuko, through the closet door. Shuko is holding the laptop.)
Lystria: Well. That’s that. “The True Lystria” is growing up.
Prof. Ginkgo: Yeah. Who knew he had to get to my age once he got there?
Shuko: Oh please. He’s been growing up all these years! We just don’t see it because we’re by his side everyday!
Prof. Ginkgo: Yeah, I guess you’re right, Shuko.
Lystria: So, you think he’s going to fall in love again?
Prof. Ginkgo: Hah! He’ll fail the first few times.
Lystria: Yeah. You’re probably right.
Prof. Ginkgo: Oh, I know.
(Exit Lystria and Prof. Ginkgo through the hallway door, closing it on their way out. Shuko lays the laptop back on the desk gently, then pushes back the right side of her hair to reveal emerald earrings).
Shuko: (smiling) He’ll be fine. He’s grown more than he will ever know. Everyone else has seen wonderful things from you over the years. Whether you have changed or stayed much the same, matters not to them. (pauses to look out the window, then at the hallway door) Keep growing. Leave us behind, if you have to. And always stay true to yourself. And if by chance, you ever decide to come back, I am still here. You will always have a home in my heart. (curtain)