Fushigi Koubou Shoukougun vol.10

 ふしぎ工房症候群 朗読CD EPISODE.10「最後の願い」

Company: Cosmic Ray
Based on: Original
Released: 2006.05.26
Official Site: http://www.cosmicray.co.jp/fks/

ふしぎ工房症候群 (fushigi koubou shoukougun) translates into something like 'mysterious workshop syndrome'. The mysterious workshop in the title is what binds all of the stories in this series together. The shop can only be found by someone who is lost and really needs it, and is run by an old man, who sells 'happiness'

Each story is told by a (high profile) voice actor who both tells the story and acts out certain characters. The story is told from the perspective of the main character, and mostly centres on that person his thoughts. In each story the main character is going through a troubled period or trauma, and the mysterious workshop becomes a turning point in their lives.

The tenth story is told by Morikubo Shoutarou and is about someone who has always been regarded as a 'bad person' or someone you shouldn't associate with purely because of his looks. This pisses him off more than anything, but eventually he started working as a debt collector. That way his looks are actually an advantage, but more than that he feels like he is collecting debts from people that are even worse than he is, giving him some sense of superiority.

One night while he is waiting on a train a girl walks forward as if she is planning to jump in front of it. In a reflex he pulls her back, throwing her on the ground. Because she is blind and he is always judged on his looks he is immediately taken into custody, but the situation is cleared soon enough. She eventually thanks him for saving her life.

A few days later at work he is ordered to collect a debt. The man who borrowed the money has long bailed, but he left the address of his daughter so that is where he goes. When he reaches the old apartment where she lives it at first seems like no one is home, but the door is open so he goes in. And finds the girl from a few days before collapsed on the floor with a high fever.

Again in a sort of a reflex he starts to aid her. She doesn't want to go to the hospital because she has no money, so he takes care of her at home. When he leaves that evening he discovers that his company is not the only one that is trying to collect a debt, apparently her father borrowed money from all sorts of places. He takes her key with him and promises to check back the day after.

That evening he gets himself drunk and while trying to find his way home arrives at the Fushigi Koubou. The old man, like everyone else, refuses to help him at first because "you can see he is a bad person at first sight". This actually surprised me a bit, I would have expected him to be willing to serve anyone but apparently not. The protagonist gets angry at him and tries to him, but this is where we learn that the old man apparently has a black belt in several martial arts or something. At any rate he fights off our debt collector.

Scared by the old man and probably still hazy with alcohol, our protagonist wishes to "become a good person". When he goes to visit the girl the next day there are indeed other debt collectors at her door. He waits until they are gone to get her out of there and brings her to his place. He leaves her there for now, but when he returns she has made him dinner. That he discovers that she knew he was a debt collector all along, but that she decided that if she was going to be taken away anyway, she should go with him because he treated her so well. This is where he realizes that he loves her, and the sleep together that night.

The next day he puts her on a train to safety, and chooses to face the other debt collectors. He gets severely beaten up, and wakes up at the hospital with the girl at his side. She sensed something was wrong and returned to get the police. While he is treated as the victim for this case, he still has done a lot wrong, and has to go to jail for one year. But when he comes out she is waiting for him, with their newborn baby.

This was an interesting story. You can sort of guess how it ends from the beginning, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. I suppose this is a typical 'big guy small heart' kind of story, but it really is very cute to hear how he cares for the girl. It is less of an emotional story than many of the others, but still a very touching romance.

Two interesting things in this CD were the old man suddenly being an accomplished fighter, who'd expect that the old guy who always seems to know what everyone needs is also able to beat someone to pulp? And the fact that the protagonist makes a reference to Episode 5. He talks about a man "who suddenly had so much money that he scattered bills into the air when we came to collect" which is exactly what happens in Episode 5.

Maybe it is predictable, but I enjoyed this story. It takes a step back from the far more emotional tone that many of the other stories have, but still delivers a touching story. It makes you a little less melancholic than most other stories as well.

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