School was over for the day.
Ryuuga and the heroines dragged me to a music studio in the corner of a downtown area.
It was a place bands would rent out when practicing, equipped with microphones, amplifiers, drum sets, and other such things. Anyone can make a reservation and it costs 2,000 yen per hour.
…That’s right. The “practice” Ryuuga and the others were referring to was a band performance.
It seems that they’re applying to participate as volunteers on the stage during the school festival.
“Everyone, thank you for listening to my wish. Though, is this really alright? All of you are preparing for your own classes and the fight against Qiongqi is also approaching…”
When Aogasaki shyly said that, Ryuuga gave a refreshing smile.
“Don’t worry about it, Rei. We all decided to do this.”
It seems that this all started when Aogasaki mentioned that she wanted to try playing as a band just once.
The old-fashioned, Yamato Nadeshiko-esque “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance” actually loves listening to Western music. The pretty energetic, hard rock type at that.
Her passion grew to the point that she started playing the guitar herself and wanted to perform with her friends at some point. Then, everyone unexpectedly agreed. That seems to be the story of how this came about.
(I never would’ve thought that Ryuga and the others would make these kinds of plans behind the scenes…)
Hearing it left a bit of an impression on me. Isn’t a band with the main characters a great opportunity? Or rather, why didn’t I think of that?
A live performance with the heroes. This is what we need for the school festival episode.
I heard that for anime, in a sense, people have more fun with these kinds of scenes than with battle scenes. I also heard that when the song in the episode releases, it sells pretty well. They can also gain new fans by showing a different kind of charm.
Above all, I’m glad that they voluntarily crafted this kind of plan.
It’s like they, too, know how to do things. They know how to respond to needs.
(No doubt, this will probably be the biggest highlight of the school festival episode. Leave the hype-generating to me! I, Kobayashi Ichirou, am unparalleled at making things exciting!)
…However, there’s one big mistake they made.
A fatal error that must never be made.
Each of the five are about to finish their preparations. Among them──Ryuuga, of all people, carried a bass guitar on her shoulder.
“H, hey, Ryuga! You’re not the vocalist?!”
“Nope, I’m the bassist. I’m also part of the chorus.”
What a foolish decision. What kind of protagonist gets assigned to the rhythm section?
If a band’s a hamburger, then the bassist would be the pickles. I also felt displeased upon recalling that Agito was a bassist as well.
(You all nearly got it right, but why did you shove Ryuuga to the sideline?! Use your heads!)
While I was grinding my teeth, Yukimiya grabbed a microphone and acted shy. It seems that she’s the vocalist.
“Um, is it really okay for me to do this…? I’ve studied the violin, but I’m not confident in my singing ability…”
When Yukimiya seemed embarrassed, everyone else encouraged her by saying “It’s fine, it’s fine.”
Indeed, I’ve heard that Yukimiya won several awards in violin competitions. However, this is a hard rock performance. A violin wouldn’t be appropriate.
(I’d like the vocalist to change from ‘SHIORI’ to ‘RYU-GA,’ but there’s not much time until the actual performance…I guess there’s no choice but to go with this formation.)
Come to think of it, Yukimiya’s episode is still ongoing.
I’ll compromise by letting her be the center of attention. I trust that Ryuuga will have enough of a presence by being part of the chorus.
“Leave the guitar to me.”
Aogasaki, finishing her tuning, lightly strummed a guitar. It was pretty good.
“I’ll take care of the keyboard. Vampires tend to like pipe organs…and I’m quite experienced with a keyboard.”
Elmira set up her music sheets and tested her instrument. It seems that there’s no problem with her role either.
“I’m the drummer!”
Kurogame grabbed a pair of sticks and hit a tom-tom drum. That’s about right. I don’t think she’d be anything other than the percussionist. That’s all she’s good for.
“If you’d like to, do you want to participate as well? How about the tambourine?”
“N, no, I’m fine, Ryuga. Adding a new member at this point will ruin the coordination.”
“It’s just a tambourine.”
“Even so, I still can’t. There’s a lot of factors to consider. A falling out between band members, desires to work solo..”
“It’s just a tambourine.”
I firmly refused Ryuuga’s invitation.
A friend character is unnecessary in the protagonist’s band. If tambourinist “CHIRO-RIN” is part of the band, that would instantly lower ratings.
“If you do want to participate, just tell us, even if it’s on the day of the performance. Now then, everyone, how about we go through it from the top for now?”
Everyone nodded to Ryuuga, and they quickly began to practice.
…I should have expected this, but they’re better than I thought. Furthermore, each time they start over, they get closer to perfection.
(Their teamwork on the battlefield is working well in a band as well. Even that tortoise looks kind of cool.)
Aogasaki’s guitar was precise, strong, and had some edge to it.
Elmira’s keyboard was elegant, refined, and added brilliance to the hard melody.
Kurogame’s drums tended to be a bit ahead of time, but had a nice dynamic.
Ryuuga’s bass was simple yet fine-tuned, building a solid foundation for the song.
(This isn’t even in the realm of a hobby. It’s shame that this will end after the school festival.)
If I had to give some criticism, I suppose I’d say that everyone doing their best to perform results in little tolerance for errors. Also, the vocalist, Yukimiya, sometimes sings off-pitch.
Her singing voice is clear and beautiful, but she can’t seem to follow the melody well. It’s likely that as a rich daughter, Yukimiya isn’t familiar with hard rock.
(Though, boys and girls will probably go crazy just from hearing the school’s idol sing. I’d like there to be a full version of this performance for the disc releases as a bonus.)
I should prepare glow sticks for that day. While thinking about the need for shouting…the five already ended their performance.
“Phew…it’s about time. How about we end this for today? Pretty good for our first rehearsal, right?”
“Yeah. I’m honestly surprised. I didn’t think everyone would be this skilled.”
“Still, why are we choosing this intense song? Is this what you like, Rei?”
“This is definitely a song from the band ‘Aloe Nuris,’ right? I thought you would choose a traditional song, Rei!”
Aogasaki panicked and claimed “I, I thought it would be a suitable song for the school festival.”
Ryuuga and I nonchalantly exchanged glances and both slightly shrugged our shoulders. The “Swordswoman of the Beheading Dance” being a fanatic about foreign music is something only we know.
Yukimiya was the only one who breathed a deep sigh.
“The biggest problem is my skill as a singer…I need more practice before the day.”
She has to ‘convert’ Tao, needs to deal with Renie, lives in the Kobayashi house, and now she needs to figure out her role as a vocalist.
I don’t know when Yukimiya Shiori’s worries will end.
That night, everyone finished dinner and relaxed in the living room.
“La la la~. La la la~.”
In the corner of the room, Yukimiya continued to practice her singing.
Again and again, she softly sung the parts she got wrong at the studio. I think she’s passable, so she doesn’t really need to worry that much…
“La la la~. La la la la~.”
“Yukimiya, you’re off by a semitone.”
Thereupon, Mion, who was listening to the singing for some reason, sipped tea while pointing out a mistake.
“I, is that so? Um, do you know this song, Mion?”
“I suppose so. It’s a famous song that became the theme song of a movie. That part is supposed to go la la la~.”
“La, la la la~.”
“No, it’s la la la~. Try singing from the top.”
…I’m not sure why, but Mion began to lecture her. Honestly, the heron girl is quite caring.
Seeing the situation, the king cobra woman and Hokkaido girl approached. They weren’t there to help her, they were just interested.
“What if you stand up and sing, just like you would during the real performance?”
“This is interesting. Aim for Kouhaku.”TLNKouhaku is an annual New Year’s Eve television special where the most popular music artists of the year compete in teams of red and white.
With the three princesses and me as the audience, the “Shrine Maiden of Life” said “Since you’re already here, please listen to my practicing,” and sung a cappella.
She sounded a bit nervous, but the actual performance is going to have an audiences dozens of times larger than right now. It’s not a bad idea to let her get used to it ahead of time.
“La la la~, la la la la~.”
“Right there, put force into it.”
“La la la~, la la la la~.”
“Take a quick breath there.”
She corrected her singing each time Mion pointed out a flaw.
Surprisingly, Yukimiya’s singing improved rapidly. Of course, she wasn’t perfect, but she was vastly different from how she was at the studio.
“Yeah, you’ve gotten a lot better, haven’t you? You don’t have to mimic the original vocals too much. Let out your own individuality.”
“When you need a beverage, drink tea. Catechin is good for the throat.”
“Okay. Thank you very much for your guidance and encouragement.”
I didn’t think that Yukimiya living with us would work this well.
Come to think of it, I heard that the three princesses held a concert in the spirit world…I’ve heard their singing voices during karaoke, and they’re indeed good. It’s fortunate that such people experienced with performances were nearby.
I was thinking that this was a good spot to end today’s lesson.
However, Kiki and Jyuri began to give advice to Yukimiya as well.
“Superior Yukimiya. I’ve noticed this whole time, but you can’t stand upright. Songs aren’t just about your voice, but also expressing your body. Try some improvisation.”
“Okay. L, like this?”
Yukimiya hummed while doing a simple dance.
She spun around and tapped the floor with her toes…it didn’t match the rock music, but it was pretty cute. She was just like an idol.
“Not like that, Yukimiya. You need to shake your hips more erotically. You have no chest, so you’ll need to stimulate with your rear.”
“That’s none of your business!”
Yukimiya roughened her voice when responding to Jyuri’s advice.
Thereupon, her face suddenly went blank. I felt as though spirals appeared on her cheeks.
“I wanna dance too! I love festivals!”
Saying that, the “Shrine Maiden of Life” suddenly started a Bon Odori. Or rather, it was Tao that did it. The “Evil Spirit” who, at the moment, is established as a neutral figure.TLNBon Odori is a style of dancing performed during Obon, a festival that lasts for three days.
“Hey, Tao! Don’t just suddenly appear and dance!”
“Look, Ichirou! My Yasugi Bushi is the best in the spirit world!”TLNYasugi Bushi is a local folk song of the Yasugi Region in Japan. The song is paired with a comical dance about scooping loaches.
Tao pretended to scoop loaches while having the appearance of Yukimiya. Stop! Don’t squat down! Don’t put chopstick on your nose and mouth!
Right when I was desperately about to stop this foolish act unbefitting of the righteous, pure heroine…
“Oh? That looks fun, doesn’t it?”
“Ready to lose?! I’m the top dancer among the ‘Evil Spirits’!”
Against my wishes, Hundun and Taotie manifested and began dancing despite only having their upper bodies. Nobody should ever see this party amongst final bosses.
“Did you all lose your self-awareness as ‘Evil Spirits’!? Hey, Mion, Kiki, Jyuri! Stop these three idiots!”
I couldn’t handle this myself, so I turned towards the three princesses for help.
However, Mion left to the kitchen to wash the dishes. Jyuri was reading a magazine. Kiki was watching a recording of Spectacle Man.
“Did you all lose your admiration for ‘Evil Spirits’!?”
Feeling isolated and helpless, I couldn’t do anything.
I had no choice but to give up and dance with them.