“Man, this sucks,” I growled to myself.
Here I was at San Japan, one of the biggest anime cons in Texas, and I was all alone. Because of the upcoming DBZ movie, the heads of the con had to move it up earlier than August. I was prepared, but my friends weren’t. I told Jennifer, but she was busy, same thing with James. I had to make the drive all the way up here and I have yet to see my con-buddies Joshua, Amy, Danny, and Frank. I made a couple of friends around here who were really neat; a couple cosplaying as Alucard and Rip Van Winkle, one who was waiting with me in the line to get Mary Elizabeth McGlynn’s autograph who was also a big fan of Team Four Star. I had gotten all of the autographs I needed and those were loads of fun, but now I just wandered all over the con, looking for something to do. I was excited for tonight because it was the Team Four Star 18+ panel. It was gonna be hilarious. There was also some awesome merchandise, but since it was the second day of the con, I had to watch my money.
There was another reason I was feeling down too.
Jennifer and I tried dating for a year on a whim. She felt we should just be friends. I will agree, when we were together, we were more like best buds then we were together more than a couple. Then, she told me we should see other people. Easier for her to say; she’s a cutie, she could get any guy she wanted. A fat otaku like me had a snowball’s chance in Hell.
Like I said, I had to watch my wallet because I bought a whole bunch of crap while I was here.
And I kept ignoring myself.
I bought figures, t-shirts, some manga, even a damn scouter. As I was going around, I saw it.
Two-in-one volumes of Ranma ½. I needed that damn manga!
I ran as fast as I could and reached out my hand to take it.
That was when our hands touched.
It was a hand wrapped in a wool black and green glove. I followed the glove all the way past her elbow. I saw her face right next to her arm. It was the round face of an Asian girl. She had the biggest green eyes I’ve ever seen. Her long, black hair was in twin ponytails held by purple rubber bands. She had hot pink tips on her ponytails and her bangs. She had purple eye shadow on and black lipstick.
I lost myself in her eyes for a few minutes when she drew her hand back.
“Sumimasen,” She said in authentic Japanese before speaking English perfectly. “You probably want it a lot. You can have it.”
“W-wait,” I said as she started to leave.
She turned around and looked to me.
“Y-you can have it, if you want,” I said.
She smiled at me and said; “Arigatou”.
As she took the book and went up to the owner of the store, I got a better look at the rest of her.
She was on the chubby side, which I didn’t mind. In fact, Jennifer was chubby too. She was short; her head was about to my chest, and that along with her chubbiness made her look adorable enough. I also noticed her…ampleness. The chest of her convention shirt was made more rounder because of her bust. She was wearing a cute little plaid mini-skirt and thigh-high socks that were the same color and design as her gloves. At the ends of the socks, she was wearing platform Goth boots.
“Thank you,” she said to the teller as she bought the book.
I decided to buy the second volume in an attempt to cut my losses. I went to the teller, paid him the fifteen bucks and headed over to a table to read it. That was when she came back.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hi,” I said back.
“Wanna read this together?” She asked, holding up her book.
We spent the next couple of hours reading the book and laughing at every joke and funny scene we came across.
“Oh, man!” I said. “I never get tired of Genma’s signs!”
“I had no idea the English version of the manga was so witty!” the girl chuckled.
“Really? Did you grow up with the original version?” I told her.
“Yeah! Every week, I would go to the convenience store to buy the next volume of Weekly Shonen Sunday to buy the next release of Ranma,” she said. “I love Ranma! It’s hilarious and so cute~!”
“I know!” I said. “It was the first manga that made me laugh everytime I read it!”
“Hey, have you picked up One Piece?” I asked, expecting her to say no and that she didn’t want to.
“No,” she said. “But I’m interested. I heard that the seiyu of Ranma is the same as one of the characters.”
“Yeah, Usopp! He’s a long-nosed, cowardly sniper.”
“Hmmm…sounds really different from Ranma.”
“Yeah, but he, too, has an inflated ego.”
“Oh, then he will sound more like Ranma!”
“Yeah! And Krillin’s seiyu is also the voice of Luffy!”
“Oh, cool! Then I definitely need to pick it up!”
“Oh, wait; I didn’t catch your name. Call me Mac.”
“It’s Hikari,” she said, smiling. “Hikari Noguchi.”
“Hikari…that’s Japanese for light, right?” I said.
“Yep~!” she said. “My dad named me that because I was his cutest daughter~!”
Oh, he was right on the money with that one, I thought. She is adorable~!
“Hey,” she said. “Can I ask you something personal?”
I got a little sweaty.
Oh, man, what’s she gonna ask? I thought nervously.
“Are you here alone?” she asked.
“Huh? Um…yeah…” I said nervously.
“Well, I’m alone too,” she said. “So, let’s attend the rest of the convention together!”
“Really?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah!” she said. “It’s way more fun to do things in a group!”
Man, I’ve never met anyone who loves Ranma as much as I do and now this cutie wants to hang out with me at the con!
We hang out for the rest of the day. We swung by the anime kiosks, checking out all the awesome titles they had. Hikari picked up Lupin the 3rd: Green vs Red and I was a little jealous of that, but she said we could watch it together. We swung by this one stall run by a Japanese guy and she struck up a conversation with him. He kept asking her things about her, like where she came from, her family’s history, that sort of thing. And then we went to the Sleeping Samurai arena and she went in to fight and she did way better than I usually do.
Then, it started to get dark outside and then I got excited because it was almost time for the Team Four Star 18+ panel.
“Really? An 18+ panel!” Hikari said. “Oh, I wanna go too!”
“Wait…are you even 18+?” I asked.
“I’ll actually turn 20 next Spring~!” she smiled.
“Great! Now, follow me!” I said proudly.
Well, I led Hikari up to the second floor, looking for Ballroom A…when I figured out it was on the first floor. Hikari gave me a pat on the back and we looked for the room together.
We got in without a hitch, sat down and enjoyed the panel.
First, Team Four Star gave us a sexy runway show, which brought a lot of laughs and cheers from the crowd of fans, and then they started to answer questions. When they decided to show Dragon Ball Z Kai abridged episode 2, the entire room almost died laughing. Hikari and I had to keep ourselves from falling out of our chairs.
“Man that was great!” Hikari shouted as we headed out the entrance.
“Yeah, it was hilarious!” I said.
“Especially ‘I have a thick…meaty…v-’”
“Yeah! And the look on Vegeta’s face was priceless!”
We both laughed all the way over the river.
Once we got to the parking lot, she turned to me again.
“You gonna be here, tomorrow?” Hikari asked.
“I’m here all weekend!” I smiled.
“Oh, great! Then, do you think we could hang out some more?”
“Of course we could!” I said. “Maybe I could introduce you to some of my friends here at the con.”
“I’d love too! So, I’ll meet you around lunch, then?”
We parted ways feeling pretty good about the convention and I couldn’t wait to meet her again.
The next day, I was able to make it back to the con at a decent time. Once I got there, I actually found Joshua, Amy, Danny, and Frank waiting for me.
“We were wondering when we’d find you!” Amy said.
“How’ve you been, dude?” Joshua asked.
“Pretty good, especially since yesterday.”
“Oh? What happened yesterday?” Danny asked.
“Maybe he met some cute cosplayer here,” Frank joked.
I blushed a little and Amy noticed.
“No way, really?” she asked.
“He’s not serious?” Joshua said.
I turned around and saw Hikari heading over to us, waving her arm and smiling at us like she hadn’t seen me in years, one of those “just happy to see you” smiles.
Once she got there, she gave me a big hug, and that kinda surprised me.
“I’m so glad you’re back~!” she said.
“Damn,” Frank whispered. “First time I’ve ever been right.”
“H-how…?” Joshua said under his breath.
“So, what should we do first?” I asked.
“I wanna try some karaoke first~!” she cheered.
“Sure! I’ll join you!” Frank said.
“Me too!” Danny said it.
As they were singing their lungs out, Joshua suddenly grabbed my collar.
“How?!” he asked. “Last year, I asked fifteen cosplay girls out and I get nothing! You show up and you bag a beautiful babe like her!”
“Will you shut up?!” I said to Joshua. “I mean, yeah, she’s cute and charming, but….she probably has a boyfriend, anyway.”
Joshua tensed up, then sighed.
“You’re probably right,” he said sadly. “Girl like her could get any guy she wants.”
Once they were done singing, we checked out the dealer’s room again, wandered around artist alley, and then Joshua and I entered into the Sleeping Samurai tournament one last time.
I had bought a foam sword from the stall by the arena and I was aching to try it out.
Joshua and I were both on the same side.
Hikari was cheering at us from the sidelines.
“You got this, Mac!” she shouted. “You can take them!”
Joshua and I held in strongly and we were up against this big guy, covered with muscles, wielding a cudgel. He swung down at my leg and it tripped me, slamming onto the ground. Joshua then went up and swung at his legs and TIMBER! he went falling elbow first into my head.
That was when I blacked out.
“Is he ok?” a voice asked.
“I’m so sorry, man!” another shouted.
“Keep it down, you dummy!” Hikari’s voice said.
I slowly opened my eyes and was greeted by Hikari’s worried face between her cleavage.
“H-Hikari?” I said as I tried to lift my head.
Just then, a shock went through my head and I groaned.
“Don’t lift your head,” she said as she lowered my head. “You got hit pretty hard.”
That was when I realized I was resting my head on her lap.
“Do you have a fever, Mac?” she asked. “You’re all red.”
“Uh, no, I’m fine,” I said.
The guy Joshua knocked down felt pretty awful about what happened and I easily forgave him. Joshua was blubbing because he technically knocked me the hell out by tripping that guy. Besides, I was a little happy I was resting my head on Hikari’s lap. The medics at the convention told me I could be able to lift my head after an hour of not moving, but for good measure, I decided to wait an hour and a half.
After I rested, the closing ceremonies were beginning to start. The part where they thanked us, the fans, was awesome and so was the part where they showed us what would be arriving next year at San Japan 8, but me and the gang were hungry, so we left a little early.
Joshua knew of a great ramen shop he wanted to take us so we went there. It was like one of those mom and pop joints run by a couple of old cooks. We all ordered bowls of ramen and some gyoza dumplings and dug into the best ramen we’ve ever had. Way better than we make at home.
We talked about the last con, anime and manga’s we’d picked up over the year, and what we were most looking forward to at next year’s San Japan.
It was a great dinner, but as we were heading out, someone slammed into Hikari to the ground.
“Hey!” I shouted.
The guy just kept running as I helped Hikari.
“Asshole,” I growled. “What’s wrong with the world this day when people think they can just knock people over because they’re in a hurry?”
Once she got up, Hikari started to pat herself down and when she reached her back pocket, she started to panic.
“M-my wallet’s gone! That guy stole my wallet!” she shouted.
No sooner did she say that, than the guys started running down the street in the direction of the guy who swiped her wallet.
I won’t leave you in suspense, they didn’t catch him.
Unfortunately for Hikari, all that was in her wallet at the time was her debit card, but she was able to lock it. So, that meant bus/cab fare was out of the question.
“Great,” she groaned. “Now how am I gonna get back to Austin?”
“I could give you a ride,” I said. “I live in Austin.”
“You do?” Hikari said. “Oh, you’re my hero!”
I couldn’t help but smile at that phrase.
After stuffing all of the crap I bought into my car, Hikari got into the passenger seat and we headed into the setting sun.
The drive back was awesome. We watched DBZ Abridged reruns, talking along with our favorite lines, I showed her a few clips of One Piece and was very pleased with her reactions, and we watched some kick-ass AMVs.
It was already dark by the time we reached the Austin area. She lived in the Cedar Park area and it was about twenty minutes from home.
She slept the last quarter of the way there and she was resting her head against my shoulder. She looked so peaceful sleeping there that I didn’t want to wake her up. Also, it was pretty awesome the fact that I had this cute girl sleeping on my shoulder. So, I spun around the curb a bit.
After ten rotations, I finally stopped at her apartment building and nudged her awake.
“Hikari,” I said. “You’re home.”
She woke up and yawned almost like a cat.
“Oh, I am?” she said, drowsily. “Ok.”
She then leaned over and gave me one of those neck-hugs that made me blush.
“You’re the best,” she said before momentarily sleeping for five solid minutes.
I stayed still for every second before waking her up.
As she started to leave, she stopped and said groggily: “Oh, what’s your number?”
I told her my number and she jotted the digits down in her Android.
“I’ll be texting you~!” she said, before she stumbled into her apartment room with her bags.
I waited until she got into the building and then started up my car.
Well, I can dream, can’t I? I thought to myself as I headed into the cold darkness.