A Simple Survey:Volume1 File19

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File 19: A Unification of Standards is Urgent Business[edit]

It was the middle of the night, but my cell phone was ringing.

I heard my little brother’s sleepy voice coming from the bottom bunk of the bunk bed.

“Onee-chan. Your phone is ringing.”

“So is yours. What is this? Another mystery villain warning?”

“You’re a magical girl, right, onee-chan? Can’t you do something about…mumble mumble.”

“I’m in charge of mystical beasts, those animals taken over by dark energy. Mystery villains are your thing, right? Hurry up and pull the string on the security buzzer to call in that bike rider.”

If I removed my nightcap and changed out of my pajamas and into my outside clothes I had prepared for emergencies, I would feel I had lost. I brought the covers back over my head on the top bunk.

When I did, I heard a rumbling coming from a great distance. It was not like an earthquake. Vibrations at regular intervals shook our cheap house.

“Onee-chan.”

“Demons that have turned giant are for that group of five people in tights to handle! Argh! Why don’t they take their combining robot with them whenever they leave their secret base!? In fact, why don’t they have it combined from the get-go!?”

More than one kind of evil was running rampant in this world and they all had their own distinct weaknesses. A single large organization like the police or the army could not deal with all of them.

Just like the police were skilled at handling criminals, magical girls were skilled at handling mystical beasts, bike riders were skilled at handling mystery villains, and groups of five people in tights were skilled at handling demons.

A unification of standards had been achieved to a certain extent, but that was as far as it went.

Since the reports sent to your cell phone came from various different organizations, your phone had a way of ringing all day long.

I looked over toward the window from which moonlight filled the room and I spotted someone landing on the balcony railing. The suspicious person looked like they were about to open the window and come in, so I took the initiative and spoke to them.

“…What are you doing? This is Japan. We don’t need you western people in tights.”

“Sorry, but our problem has already grown to a global scale. This is no time for you to be keeping up your isolationism.”

“Onee-chan. I got a warning email from overseas.”

“Don’t click it! Don’t do anything while you don’t know if you’ll get any service charges for this!!”

I had no choice but to call up the online cell phone manual and check to see if that would warrant a service charge.

Meanwhile, I recalled I had an English quiz the next day.

“You, magical girl of Cool Japan.”

“What is it, American comics macho?”

“It seems a giant robot pal of yours has started a war of independence up in orbit.”

“Eh? I thought that robot fell under the category of transformation heroes?”

“A boy who had lived a completely normal life up until yesterday somehow ended up inside a humanoid one and it activated never before seen functions, but I suppose it could be mistaken for the largest one belonging to that group in tights.”

“Well, if you look at it from the outside, you really can’t tell who’s inside.”

“Speaking of which, it baffles me how you magical girls keep your identities hidden. Your faces are fully visible.”

“We manage somehow or other using the magical power of love. Anyway, what’s going on with that robot battle?”

The western man in tights looked up into the night sky.

“The ones who cannot resist any longer look like they are about to rain down on the earth. These robots falls under the jurisdiction of the Japanese government, so I wonder how they will handle this.”

“Can’t they keep this up in space!?”

“I would like to know why the people from this country who deal with space seem to take every opportunity to try to drop giant things on the earth from space.”

I don’t know why he was asking me. I was a magical girl. I lightly struck my bed and the representative of boys, my little brother, opened his mouth sleepily in the bottom bunk.

“Fnyahh. It’s because they have dreams…”

“Hm. Perhaps it is like a skinny kid wanting to show up the football captain.”

While he was feeling admiration for some western concept, new warning emails started arriving at our cell phone, making them ring and ring and ring.

“Shut up... Can’t you do something about that?”

“They’re emergency warnings, so we can’t just stop them.”

“Yes, but can’t we unify everything so it’s all settled with just one warning?”

“What are you saying? People in tights and magical girls have their own separate places to shine. You can’t ask us to simply resolve everything in our 30 minute broadcasts.”

“Well, yes. But maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do crossovers occasionally.”

“Sorry, but I have not fallen so far as to embrace a little girl like you.”

“Now you’ve said it!! I’ll show you why Japan’s magical girls are such a steady source of income for the toy companies!!”

“Fgyaahhh!! Just let me sleep. I’m gonna call the bike guy!!”

It seemed my little brother in the bottom bunk had pulled the string on the security buzzer. The cell phones were bad enough, but now another annoying electronic tone added to the din.

I heard the front door break down, someone climb the stairs, and then the room to our bedroom was smashed through. A Japanese-style man in tights riding a giant bike entered the room.

I instinctually grabbed my magic wand.

“That engine is the most annoying sound of all!! Get with the times and use an electric engine!!”

“This is no time for that!! Things have gotten bad outside!!”

“I thought you were in charge of the villains in tights from this country?” asked the western man in tights.

However, it seemed that was not what the bike rider was trying to say.

“My mystery villains, her mystical beasts, and the group of five’s demons have started a joint venture with the robot army trying to win independence from earth!!”

“A joint venture!?”

“Also, they have pressured the EU into judging Souma Industries under antitrust laws. That’s the major defense company that develops and supplies us with our equipment. At this rate, they might be charged with an additional tax of over ten billion euros and asked to disclose their technological information!! The group will collapse!!”

“Geh! My toy company falls under Souma Industries, doesn’t it!?”

“You can still manage! What am I supposed to do about my bike!?”

“Oh, dear. Japan really does have a poor view of national defense. If you ask me, you need to keep in mind that, when it comes to military development, corporations are more than just corporations. That way, things cannot be so easily-…”

“ American comics boy. The major firearms company that is your primary sponsor just had to recall 2 million units. I’m sure they’ll do something about it, but their stock has tanked. Is that movie of yours actually going to happen?”

“Fwooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!”

The man in tights’s cry echoed into the night.

However, a magical girl or someone in tights could do nothing about these business issues. Just like the police were skilled at handling criminals and poor at handling mysterious villains, transforming heroes like us had no way of attacking problems like stock prices or a worldwide recession.

Just as the heroes who protect the world fell silent and were wondering what to do…

…the door to the room burst open.

Standing there was the seedy-looking central pillar of my family. He had glasses, a comb-over, and a worn-out suit, but he tightened his tie with focused strength.

That 45 year old man who had been seemingly forever been a section chief at a 2nd rate trading firm after graduation from a 3rd rate university spoke.

“Papa is about to head out to fight, so don’t worry about a thing. Just go back to sleep.”

Heroes were surprisingly commonplace.

Every day, people were fighting battles of life or death in their field of expertise.