Narration: “Private Himesaka Girls Academy’s koto club. There are a total of 36 members of third year senpai-s who retired until now. It is a super strong prestigious school that possesses the record of playing in the Nationals for 10 consecutive years...
...It can be said that in Kanagawa, they are without rival. Kanagawa’s unmovable absolute king. For us, this is inevitable. This is our absolute glory. Always until that day.”
Flashback: At the competition, it was announced that in Kanagawa, the outstanding school goes to Hakuto High School. The Himesaka girls are shocked. Watching someone from Hakuto holding up the trophy, Kazusa couldn’t believe it, it’s a lie for Himesaka lost.
In a room as everyone sat in seiza form, the club president asked everyone what they thought of today’s results. Wakaba raised her hand and said that honestly speaking, she doesn’t think that they are lacking compared to Hakuto even if Hakuto’s performance is also very outstanding. “It is just that their chosen piece is more suitable for the judges’ taste.”
The president asked if others have any other thoughts. Someone said that indeed, until now, Hakuto doesn’t have any achievements that it gives one have this kind of coincidence feeling about it. Yae said that she doesn’t think so. She said that they’ve lost and she thinks that they should confront and accept this result.
“Losing is not at all a coincidence and we definitely had gone lax somewhere. Because WE ARE HIMESAKA so we cannot lose. Victory is inevitable. It is because of this so we have slacked off.” The club president says yes, she also has the same feeling.
“Our Himesaka’s victory had become inevitable. But, that ‘inevitable’ must be paid by a corresponding hard work. We should re-examine our practice and attitude. –Besides, honestly speaking, we third years also want to get revenge on Hakuto during the Nationals preliminaries but after next week’s Tokyo performance, we are going to retire...
...So, I’ll leave it to you second years. It won’t be easy to participate in the Nationals CONTINUOUSLY FOR 11 YEARS. This burden is very heavy but you guys can definitely do it.” Everyone said, “..yes!!”
As the president told them to re-asses their attitude, Fumi noticed Kazusa looking glum. While walking home, Fumi asked Kazusa if she is still depressed over the shock of defeat so she is listless the whole day today. Kazusa said no, even if their lost is a fact and indeed it is a huge shock but compared to that, she basically didn’t properly listen to Hakuto’s performance.
Fumi said that’s right, after Tokize’s performance, where did she immediately go to-- Kazusa said that she went to complain to THAT GUY from Tokize. “Complain about the performance.. Satowa-chan has been snatched away so I felt particularly frustrated. I especially cannot accept it. Whether it is Tokize or Hakuto, I’ve totally despise them but..”
She recalled Chika saying that compared to the first time he heard Satowa’s timbre, he likes her current timbre. She also recalled the announcement of Hakuto winning. Kazusa bit her lips when she recalled Yae saying that it is because they are Himesaka so they cannot lose and winning is inevitable so because of that, they’ve slacked off.
Kazusa called out to Fumi. On the verge of tears, Kazusa said that she felt that she [Kazusa] was specially...awful.” Fumi [karate] chopped Kazusa’s head and told her not to display such a loser expression!!
While Kazusa is shocked by that, Fumi sternly said that isn’t it very good that ‘right now’ she is able to find out about this thing and it can be considered as luck. “Like this, we can be in a complete mode to go and confront the preliminaries. This time, we’ll absolutely not lose...
...*put arm around Kazusa* Okay, pull yourself together! Starting tomorrow, we still have to continue on working hard to practice!! Our senpai-s had accumulated a 10 year record of performance in the Nationals. How can we allow that to stop in our generation.” Wiping her tear, Kazusa said, ya.
The next day, Yae [current president] called out to everyone that they’ll be handing out the musical score of the piece that they’ll play during the National preliminaries. It is some 1973 piece. Kazusa asked ‘Three Adaptations’?
A girl asked Kazusa if she knows this piece. Kazusa said yes even if she hasn’t played it but this piece, she remembers that indeed-- Then, everyone is shocked upon seeing the complicated musical score. There are so many pressed fingered tones and all of it is sixteenth notes.
Isn’t the plucking at the latter half a bit too much and there’s too many tuning. Someone asked afterwards, how many people are going to perform this as an ensemble. Everyone started to look flustered yet fired up. The adviser said that everyone should already have the musical score.
The first and second’s sound division arrangement will be posted in advance so they go and confirm it by themselves [as to who’ll play in what division]. Afterwards, she has a suggestion. Before, ALL OF THE MEMBERS will play DURING THE PRELIMINARIES. It is only when performing in the Nationals when they’ll have a selection through election system to choose the top 25 performers.
But if they don’t come up with any changes, they’ll definitely not be able to smoothly win next time. She believed that everyone also knows clearly that will already be the end of Himesaka’s era of being champions. “Thus, I consider the preliminary stage and Nationals as the same. Through selection, we’ll decide the performing members!”
Everyone looked tense. She informed them that it won’t be the top 25 but rather, considering the second sound division, the balance has changed into 24. “Of course, the selection will be based on strength and it also has nothing to do with year level...
...This is for members that will charge into the Nationals. –how about it? If anyone has any objection, then say it out.” Yae raised her hand and said that she approves for she absolutely want to participate in the Nationals and selection is a must. Wakaba also approved of it. The others were a bit hesitant but they think that they have to do it.
The adviser said that since there is no objection then they’ll do things according to that method. “The selection will be one month before the preliminaries! Then, let’s start today’s practice! Okay, go prepare!” A girl looked nervous as she looked at the music score.
Another girl jumped on her and called out, Hozumi, how come she looked quite pale. Hozumi said that she felt that the piece is a bit difficult and all of it is complex pressing [notes], and besides, the selection will eliminate 12 people.
The girl exclaimed what’s with that demoralizing talk that she’s saying and there’s still time. “You’ll just have to go all out in practice! This is our last chance to advance to the Nationals as second year students! Let us climb the stage together.” Hozumi smiled and said yes.
Narration: “Altogether, Himesaka’s everyday practice is 4½ hours. After each club activity, they’ll definitely have a meeting wherein they’ll share to everyone the things that concern them in order to improve the ‘common’ [/collaboration] awareness. For Himesaka, ‘common’ is the ultimate beauty. It is the highest assessment.”
In her room, while listening to music, Kazusa thought that as a whole, it is falling apart especially the pressing notes that aren’t coordinated. “Actually, it is too awful. Like this, we’ll definitely lose to Hakuto. Also, what’s up with listening to Hakuto’s performance!! *hugged her pillow and jumped on the bed* I cannot help but think that it is a totally ‘correct’ performance!!...
..Also.. I don’t know why but whether it is my head or even ears, I couldn’t forget it. Tokize’s performance made my heart in a complete mess then it is scattered to allow it to develop into a semi-finished product. But, I totally has no way [of forgetting?]--.. *sat up* Ah- this is really no good. It is useless to be always quite bothered by the other schools!! Himesaka won’t lose again. Won’t lose again. Absolutely.”
During a meeting, Kazusa proposed that they should increase their practice time. Wakaba asked what she is talking about when their practice time is already enough. Kazusa asked what, she wasn’t able to totally play it yet. Wakaba said that she had already totally remembered the musical score. Kazusa replied that her technique is still very crude, isn’t it so? Irked Wakaba said what did she say, and she’s acting as if she’s so amazing.
Kazusa said that she’ll definitely go to the Nationals and for that, she’ll do everything that she can do now right now. Sitting behind the two, Hozumi told the two not to be so anxious. “Everyone wants to go to the Nationals. Let’s talk about this again, okay.”
While Kazusa called out to Hozumi, Wakaba is scowling. Later on, Kazusa had forgotten her musical score so she’s returning to the club room to get it. She overheard Wakaba complaining to the others that Kazusa infuriates her.
“Even if I don’t know what’s about her being an ojousama at home but no matter when, she’ll use that kind of despising look as if she is some big shot. Always praising that ‘Satowa’ from another school that it gives a feeling that it is better to go to that side. She is definitely despising our side, right?” Kazusa looked tense over this.
Just then, Hozumi asked is that so but she thinks that Kazusa is only working hard as much as she could and she really wanted to participate in the Nationals. “She only said it somewhat bluntly, that’s all. It is definitely like that.”
Wakaba said that she is also seriously considering going in the Nationals as her goal. Hozumi exclaimed but of course and she understands! “But, both you and Kazusa are first years yet so skillful. *smiled* The two of you are doing it in order to participate in the Nationals. I think that it is quite unfortunate if you guys were to have a dispute.”
After a pause, Wakaba thanked Hozumi’s concern. Hozumi wanted to call out to Wakaba when she turns but Hozumi’s friend said that’s enough, don’t mind her. Kazusa also left.
Soon, they practiced more. The adviser keep on making them repeat it since it is so messy. “Pay attention to the beat! Don’t play it so fused together! Ah- no good-stop, stop! First sound division! Play it one by one!”
As they play, the adviser scolded Hozumi for the pressed tone isn’t enough since that is just a half note! “Not enough! Do it one more time!” [<- basically, Hozumi cannot play it fast enough] At the toilet, Wakaba’s friend said that Hozumi is lectured again.
Wakaba said that honestly, Hozumi’s playing isn’t good. Kazusa went in the toilet and asked if Wakaba always say bad things behind other people’s back. “If you have time, then go and practice some more, how about it?”
Wakaba asked, “Ha? How about you quit randomly saying bad things about others? I’m only just honestly saying things, okay.” The two glared at each other then, turned away with a hump. Soon, after practice, Kazusa noticed that Hozumi is still sitting in front of her koto.
She went to Hozumi to ask if she is still going to practice. Kazusa smiled and said yes, for look, she played awful compared to everyone and she totally couldn’t play the pressed notes. Kazusa commented that Hozumi’s left hand fingers have very deep marks.
Hozumi said that is the same with Kazusa. Kazusa exclaimed that it is a lot more than hers. Hozumi laughed and said that only her fingers became experienced and it’s so embarrassing. “Strength must also increase. I’ll do my best!”
Kazusa said about that, can she also practice together with her. This surprised Hozumi who said, “Of course!” Soon, more training, more disputes between Wakaba and Kazusa, more practice for Hozumi and more meetings.
During one practice, the adviser looked at Hozumi playing. She thinks that Hozumi had progressed a lot and she must have practiced a lot but--.. She noticed Hozumi’s unsteady hand. Afterwards, one month before the competition, the adviser said that like she said in the very beginning.
Today, they are going to select the participating members for the preliminaries. She’ll call out one from first sound division and one from the second sound division to form groups of two then they’ll play the first movement’s second page...
...Those who were called are to come forward. She called out first division’s Yae and second division’s Jun. They go in front and play. The adviser evaluated the performances. Next, it is first division’s Hozumi and second division’s Rui. Rui patted Hozumi’s back and told her to relax.
Hozumi said yes. Hozumi thought that it will be alright for compared to anyone else, she always strived hard to practice the koto. “I can assert that even in the club, I definitely practiced hard compared to anyone. So, it will definitely be okay--” The adviser watched the performance.
On the second day, everyone is nervous for those who’ll be chosen will be announced today. Standing beside Wakaba, Kazusa said that she looks quite relaxed. Wakaba said of course, she is one hundred percent sure that she’ll be chosen unlike her.
This made Kazusa face-off with Wakaba. Fumi commented that lately, those two’s relationship is quite good. Someone asked what part of that is good? Hozumi is very nervous. The adviser said then, she’ll start announcing the people who’ll play in the preliminaries.
She warned that before the official competition, she’ll be stricter with the ones she called so they better be mentally prepared. She’ll start calling from the second year. She called out the names.
Hozumi wondered if all the second years will be chosen. To her shock, the adviser didn’t call her name and said next, the first years! Rui called out to the adviser and shouted that only Hozumi wasn’t called among the second years!
The adviser said that even if it is regrettable but this time, Hozumi won’t be participating. “Her hands are very skilled and she worked really hard to practice but no matter what, the pressed notes aren’t stable and that is the reason for it.”
Rui protested how can that be..but how can only Hozumi be excluded out! “For us second years, this is the last prelimina--” Hozumi told Rui to forget it, this is inevitable because from the start, it was mentioned that it has nothing to do with year level but rather, in accordance to strength.
Hozumi smiled and said that she already gave it her all so there is nothing very regrettable about it. On the verge of tears, Rui can only mutter Hozumi’s name. Kazusa also felt sad over Hozumi.
Soon, everyone is leaving. Rui asked Hozumi if she isn’t going home yet. Hozumi smiled and said, yes, she’ll leave later on. Rui said is that so, then see you tomorrow. Hozumi smiled and said, yes. Soon, Hozumi quietly looked at her koto.
She recalled the teacher saying that it is regrettable for this time, Hozumi won’t be participating. Hozumi quietly laughed and muttered that of all the second years, only one didn’t get chosen..it’s really sucks to death. A tear formed on her eye. She wiped it away. Soon, her tears started to keep on falling down.
Hozumi recalled Rui saying that this is their last opportunity as second years to advance in the nationals and they climb on stage together. Hozumi is already sobbing. Upon seeing this, Kazusa also felt like crying. She is about to go to Hozumi but Wakaba stopped her and started pulling her away. At the hallway, Kazusa shouted that hurts and let her go.
Wakaba asked if she is an idiot, for if she were to go and talk with Hozumi right now, it will cause their senpai to become more miserable. “Because senpai couldn’t play well so she wasn’t chosen. *this surprised Kazusa* It is a fact that senpai wasn’t able to pass through this selection.”
Kazusa retorted how can she say it that way.. Wakaba continued, “So, we definitely have to advance to the Nationals. *Kazusa looked surprised* If we who were chosen were able to smoothly get the ticket to get into the Nationals, then, there will still be a selection before the Nationals...
...Then, there is still one more chance. Right now, the thing we can do for senpai is only to ascend into the Nationals. Isn’t that right?” Kazusa said that she thought that she hated Hozumi. Turning to leave, Wakaba said that even if she said that Hozumi didn’t play well but she didn’t say that she hated her. “The only one I hate is you.”
Kazusa called out to Wakaba and shouted, “I also hate you! But this time, I approve of your suggestion. We will absolutely get the ticket to the Nationals!!” Wakaba smiled. Narration: “Cannot let it end here. *Hozumi sobbing* We will open the path to proceed towards the next stage. *Kazusa and Wakaba facing the same direction* Definitely.” End flashback.
As all the Himesaka girls are ready to play on stage, it is announced, “Third [to play], Private Himesaka Academy’s ‘Three Adaptations’.” Chika and others look tense. Hozumi and the others are nervous, too. Dong-- They start to play.
Comment: This chapter let us know what is the drive of the Himesaka. Actually, they have a lot in stake. There is that 10 years record of participating in the Nationals. That is a reputation they want to protect at all cost.
Then, they must win for Hozumi, too. I mean, if they lost, the others would start to think that perhaps, it would be better to at least let Hozumi play for the last time. I feel for Hozumi. It does seem to be a contrast with Tokize.
There are weak players but no one gets left behind in Tokize. With a lot of practice, they somehow managed to play in an acceptable way. With a reputation to protect, Himesaka cannot afford to let weak players play especially since they have recently lost to an unknown school.
In a way, they seem to be more for the ‘common good’ that it is okay to sacrifice a few to advance. It is very realistic and brutal just like real life. Tokize is more on the idealistic. But of course, Tokize isn’t focused on difficult pieces, technique and other formal stuff but rather, their timbre as a whole which moved people to the point that one couldn’t forget about it as Kazusa acknowledges.
Just like real life, in Himesaka, even if you’re nice, always smiling and worked really hard, if you do not reach the desired level, it’s over. It is one thing to be not chosen but to be the only one not chosen in one’s year level. That would really feel awful but somehow, Hozumi managed to pull herself together and cheer for her school.
Just when I thought Kazusa is just a typical annoying girl, she showed a different side of herself here. She realized her faults. She can actually be nice and helpful. Even if she can disagree with someone and attack others weakness to get what she wants, she can also accept a good suggestion when it is given. She didn’t reject Wakaba’s suggestion even if she hates her. That means, she can push her ego aside and re-assess what she can do.
It makes me think that what drives Hakuto to want to win this will also be portrayed. It assume that the mangaka will make us want to feel that any of the three groups deserves to win for their goals and of course, those who didn’t win...get ready to take out the handkerchief? ^^; Scans by 二次元秘店汉化
Quote of the day:
Be too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated. ~ Author Unknown