Fushigi Koubou Shoukougun vol.9

 ふしぎ工房症候群 朗読CD EPISODE.09「卒業」

Company: Cosmic Ray
Based on: Original
Released: 2006.02.17
Official Site: http://www.cosmicray.co.jp/fks/

ふl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 centers 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 ninth story is told by Midorikawa Hikaru, and is about a student that has failed. The protagonist grew up in a small village and moved to the city to go to university, however he had trouble keeping up there. In the end he gives up, but lies to his family and friends that he is still studying. He has one very good friend in particular, and their story is what this CD is all about.

Most of the CD is the protagonist telling about his past and their friendship. It started in grade school, when a boy transferred into his class. It was clear that he couldn't move his right arm and leg freely, so everyone avoided the boy at first, but the protagonist made friends with him and so everyone followed.

At the time, this was simply his childish way of making himself seem more popular, but over time and thanks to a few incidents their friendship grows stronger and they really become best friends. And all this time the protagonist feels as if he "can't win" from his friend, he looks up to someone who is always kind and honest.

When the protagonist moves to the city he discovers that he is no longer the most popular kid. There are people that are better at soccer, better at studying, better at everything. He despairs and resigns from the university, doing a few part-time jobs instead. When one day his mother phones that his friend is in critical condition. He rushes home but is too late.

After the death of his friend he becomes even more apathetic to the world, until one day he realizes that he made a promise to go to the park where they used to play as kids. On his way there he finds the Fushigi Koubou, and discovers that his friend has also been there, and that his friend requested for him to become happy...

The title of this story is "graduation", but not in the sense of and actual graduation. It is more intended as a 'graduation' of a certain period of your life, closing one chapter and moving on to the next. In this case, gathering your courage to make a new beginning. 

This is a wonderful story about a friendship between two people. You can see (hear) their friendship grow throughout the story. The scene where the protagonist breaks down because they grew apart for a short while is one of the most moving I've heard. But more than anything the last scene, where the protagonist resolves that he has to try to do his best again, where you hear the children sing in the background was incredibly moving. Somehow his renewed resolve and the children's singing really gave me the feeling of a new start, as if anything could be possible from there on.

Friendship is a beautiful thing, and I think that this CD tells that message really well. It is all about how a friendship can help someone get through things. But some more difficult aspects are also touched upon. It is also the one to tell that no matter how many times you fall, it is worth it to get up and try again.

Listening to this series always makes me so melancholic (in a good way xD)

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