ODL – Chapter 36 – Surprise Elementary School Student


“Onii-chan… become an elementary school student?” (Mafuyu)

Mafuyu, looking at my avatar, held her head as if she couldn’t believe it. She seemed unable to hide her shock at my character’s design, which was far from my usual self. I totally get it Mafuyu-chan.

“Isn’t he cute? Look, Mafuyu, this is your new onii-chan.” (Shizuka)

Shizuka grinned and lifted the laptop, bringing it closer to Mafuyu. Mafuyu stared at it intently and uttered something unbelievable.

“…Certainly, he’s cute.” (Mafuyu)

“See! He’ll definitely become popular!” (Shizuka)

“No way…” (Souma)

Mafuyu’s cheeks softened as she stared at the display. What on earth was happening?

“It’s like I’m looking at the old onii-chan.” (Mafuyu)

“Really? I feel like the old me had a bit more of a mature charm.” (Souma)

“Not at all. You were kind and… cool.” (Mafuyu)

“…Is that so.” (Souma)

I felt embarrassed when I heard her over-glorified opinion of the past me and turned my face away.

“Hey, you two, can you please stop indulging in memories from a time when I wasn’t around? It’s not good to exclude the adorable Shizuka, you know?” (Shizuka)

Shizuka was annoyingly intruding into our conversation. I shook my head and looked around for the supposed “adorable Shizuka” but couldn’t find her anywhere.

“But still… You received your character design pretty quickly. It probably won’t be long until the debut.” (Shizuka)

“Is that so?” (Souma)

“Normally, the process takes several months because we usually outsource1 it. But since we have in-house artists and designers now, it won’t take more than a month.” (Shizuka)

“…Really? Is it that close already?” (Souma)

Speaking of which, Maya-san mentioned on the phone that they have already started making the 3D model. They must be working on it at lightning speed or something.

“I’m starting to feel nervous…” (Souma)

“I was really nervous for my first livestream too. I think there were about 20,000 people who came, but when I rewatched it later, I could hear my voice trembling.” (Shizuka)

“Well, it can’t be helped. If yours was like that, I don’t even think I will be able to speak for mine.” (Souma)

20,000 people… That number doesn’t even feel real. My mind hasn’t even fully grasped the weight of such a number. I’ll probably only realize it by the time I start.

As I contemplated my rapidly approaching debut, Shizuka suddenly had an idea.

“I think our company will provide some lessons and training, but how about we practice a bit right now, just to give it a try?” (Shizuka)

“Uh… um… nice to meet you?… I mean, something like that?” (Souma)

“Your voice is too soft!” (Shizuka)

“I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say.” (Mafuyu)

“Ugh…” (Souma)

—Think of it like it’s the real thing.

With that in mind, I was placed near the living room wall to attempt my first “stream” and the two of them sitting at the table were criticizing me with stern eyes, like judges.

“What’s with you guys, stop heckling2 me.” (Souma)

“Come on, do it properly.” (Shizuka)

“Then give me a proper comment.” (Souma)

“I am giving a proper comment. It’s just that your voice is soft, and I couldn’t quite understand what you were saying.” (Shizuka)

“It wasn’t that bad.” (Souma)

“No, no. My first live stream was somewhat better than this.” (Shizuka)

Shizuka shook her head in disbelief. Surprisingly, Mafuyu also agreed with Shizuka and nodded quietly.

“Seriously… or rather, don’t characters like this usually have some kind of character setting? Like distinctive greetings or speech patterns. Shizuka, you’re supposed to be a refined character, right… even though this is what you’re really like.” (Souma)

“You’re so noisy!… Well, normally, that’s the case. But Maya-san said you don’t need to create a character, right? So, isn’t it okay for Souma-kun to stay as he is? Plus, handling chats with a character persona can be quite challenging, you know? Maya-san probably said that because Sohma-kun is a beginner.” (Shizuka)

“I see…” (Souma)

Indeed, it’s difficult to talk like a different person when you’re not used to it.

“If there’s one piece of advice I can offer… well, it would be to make yourself believe that every person watching absolutely adores and can’t get enough of you. Convince yourself that you will never be disliked. If you do that, you won’t feel nervous, right? After all, you can say anything.” (Shizuka)

“Never be disliked…? Something like thinking of everyone as my family or something?” (Souma)

My casual remark left Shizuka wide-eyed.

“…That might actually work. Viewers are like family. Try thinking of it that way.” (Shizuka)

“…You’re actual family is watching, you know?” (Mafuyu)

“Mafuyu-chan, you’re not my actual sister, you know?” (Souma)

I casually brushed aside Mafuyu’s usual remark. Hmm, this might work.

Viewers are like family… Viewers are like family…

“Alright, then… here we go.” (Souma)

With just a small shift in mindset, I was able to speak fluently without any pretense.

Two weeks later, on a holiday…

“Wait, wait, Souma-kun! Did you see [Virtual Real]’s Twitter?” (Shizuka)

Shizuka started shouting as she burst into my living room.

“You’re so noisy… What’s so special about Twitter?” (Souma)

I stopped cooking and moved to the living room where Shizuka handed me her smartphone with an image displayed.

“What’s this────haha!” (Souma)

“Yeah, it’s crazy, right???” (Shizuka)

I couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

The image displayed was the announcement of the [Virtual Real] Male Division 1st generation members.

Four characters struck various poses against a black space-like background. It looked like a typical poster, except for one noticeable detail.

“Why the heck did they add a bug-catching net for me!” (Souma)

—Yes, my character was there.

Surprisingly, the other three were dressed in black tuxedos, had colorful hair, and looked like they could become the top hosts in a nightclub right now with their sexy poses and seductive smiles, capable of capturing numerous women’s hearts.

…And right next to them was me, standing in a shirt and shorts, holding a bug-catching net with determination.

…It’s an understatement to say that I stood out.

The image, which looked like a poorly made Photoshop image, was indeed uploaded by the official account.

“Souma-kun, your character is causing quite a buzz. People are like, ‘There’s an elementary schooler LOL’.” (Shizuka)

“Well, it’s no wonder… when I’m being compared to the others…” (Souma)

When I searched on my own phone… No, I didn’t even need to search; a massive number of related tweets were already at the front of my home feed.

“(They are going all out for [Virtual Real]’s first male generation LOL.)”

“(Wait, this kid is actually super cute.)”

“(I wonder what the elementary student’s character is going to be like.)”

“(There is barely any talk about the other handsome guys lol.)”

“(I have already decided on my Oshi from the first-gen. Don’t try to stop me.)”

“No way…” (Souma)

Most of the discussions about the first-generation members were about me.

While many were just messing around, I came across a few serious comments, and it sent shivers down my spine.

“See? I told you it would be popular.” (Shizuka)

Shizuka seemed to have expected this outcome as evidenced by her smug expression. A multitude of question marks appeared above my head, and my brain short-circuited for quite some time.


TL notes:

Thanks for reading!

I’m sure they made the poster with pushing MC’s character in mind. Quite smart cause memes will definitely attract attention.

But having 3 characters who basically look the same is bad… no? Idk maybe the female audience prefers the character like that.


Footnote:

  1. Outsource means hiring external parties to perform a certain service, which is designing the model in this case.
  2. Heckling means interrupt (a public speaker) with derisive or aggressive comments or abuse.
| ToC |
Character List (might contain spoilers)
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Azuka

Thanks for the chapter!
.
Souma slowly accepted his shota persona LOL, I feel bad for him…

kirindas

Thanks for the new chapter!