A Simple Survey:Volume1 Intro
Introduction to the Participants
“…up. Hey, wake up.”
A girl’s sweet (but somewhat accented) voice stabbed into Anzai Kyousuke’s ears, so he raised his head. He felt a dull pain in his forehead where it had been pressing against the table.
(Where-…? Why am I in a university auditorium?)
As his half-asleep head began functioning, his consciousness finally came into focus with reality.
“Oh, right. I was taking some survey, and the professor went on talking too long…”
“Don’t do that. You should listen to the very end.”
“It’s like meeting a small baby at the coin locker and falling asleep before you can be told ‘It’s you!’.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about…”
Anzai looked around as he spoke.
That strange professor was no longer on the auditorium’s large stage. In fact, most of the 20-30 people gathered for the survey were gone. It was just him, the girl who had woken him up, and three other girls gathered a bit away.
Anzai guessed the girls had stayed behind talking after the survey had ended.
“It must be dark outside by now,” said the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who had woken him. “We’re about to leave, but what about you?”
“…What about locking up the building?”
“I don’t know. The professor who ran the survey would be in charge of that, right? He gave his speech and then left. Do you think we should speak with the old guy in the office?”
“I guess you’re right.” Anzai stood up and yawned. He grabbed his small bag that had bare minimum of school supplies inside. “We can just leave that to the professor. I wonder if the coffee shop is still open.”
“Oh, we were just talking about heading somewhere else.”
Then the three girls who were likely with the blonde girl called over toward them. Naturally, they were calling to the girl, not to Anzai.
The one who actually called out was a tall girl with long, glossy black hair. She was likely an upperclassman of Anzai’s as he had taken more than one year to get into the university.
“Harumi, are you still doing that?”
“Hotaru-san. He says he’ll go with us to the coffee shop.”
(I never said I would go…)
They were of course complete strangers, but Anzai had noticed that kind of spontaneous thing happening a lot more frequently once he entered the university. You would hang out with people out of the blue and just as quickly never see them again. In middle and high school, he had always eaten lunch with the same group.
The mood and atmosphere had caused some kind of chemical change to the situation, but he still felt an odd pressure in being so casually thrown into a group of girls. It was different from meeting someone new one on one.
A girl who looked more like a cabaret club girl than a college girl seemed to pick up on Anzai’s bewilderment and she smiled. When she spoke, her speech was more polite than her appearance would lead one to expect.
“See, Harumi? You always get too close to people.”
“Eh? What are you talking about, Aisu. I don’t have bad breath, so what is the problem?”
“Sorry. Harumi has very few emotional boundaries. She has no grasp of what an appropriate emotional distance is. But do not think this means she has fallen for you. She is this way with everyone, so you will be in for a shock later if you get it in your head that she is treating you special.”
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
“Just making sure. She managed to get four different stalkers during her middle and high school years. And one of those was her school’s head teacher. That is an amazing high score, don’t you think?”
(Why do you have to compare me to some stalkers from her past…?)
Anzai didn’t know what to think about that, but he was not a straightforward enough person to just say it out loud.
He would not go so far as to say that the world was held together by lies, but he did view the truth as something like a bitter medicine. Those who did not wrap the truth in some sweetness would end up distanced from others due to that bitterness.
“Why is Kozue hiding behind you, Hotaru-san?” asked the girl named Harumi.
“She went to a girl’s school all through middle and high school, remember? She’s probably afraid of guys.”
“Quite the opposite actually. Kozue is the type to attack and then run away when she sees something that scares her. Since she is creating a safe area and carefully watching him, I would say she is quite interested in him.”
After having all that said about her, the girl named Kozue gave a short but distinct reply.
“That is not true.”
“You should be careful. Kozue is the opposite of Harumi. She is the type to start thinking someone is in love with her if he picks up an eraser she dropped.”
“That is not true.”
“In fact, even though we are all girls, she had quite an amazing misunderstanding during the first term.”
“That is not true.”
“Hey,” said Anzai to Kozue. “Why are you wearing those giant headphones? How can you hear us with those on?”
“That is her style of fashion,” cut in the girl with the long black hair who seemed to be named Hotaru. “The cord isn’t connected to anything. The bandages wrapped around her wrists and the ripped stocking on her right leg are the same. They look like they have some kind of meaning, but thinking about it is just a waste of time.”
“Hey, I told you she was dangerous! Look, she is looking over all wide-eyed because some stupid guy has taken an interest in her outfit!! If you do not run away too, Hotaru, you will fall victim to her razor as well!!”
“Th-that is not true!!”
“Hey, let’s go to the coffee shop already!”
At the unreliable-looking Harumi’s insistence, they left the auditorium. At some point, Anzai had become surrounded, so it was easier to just go along with them.
It happened with a rather arbitrary feeling.
It happened with a feeling of “Well, whatever”.
Anzai reflected on the fact that he had rarely experienced that kind of feeling in middle or high school. Back then, he had thought having to repeat a year would put hundreds of cracks into his life, so this was quite a change.
It was pitch black outside and the air was filled with a chilliness that had not been present at the time of the afternoon lectures.
Outside lights were installed here and there, but there were not enough of them to help much. Despite being on the grounds of a national educational institution, the area had a fairly low crime rate.
“What time is it?”
“7:30. What happened to your cell phone, Harumi?”
“The battery died.”
“…The coffee shop should still be open if it’s before 8 right?”
“It makes no sense. That chain has shops in 30 countries, so they must have standard operating hours. They should not be able to close up shop just because there is a temporary lull in customers after 8.”
“This is a university campus, so they do not get customers from elsewhere. I think they were staying open for 5 more hours with no one coming by, so they have altered their hours to match the school events.”
“What is it, boy? You have not said anything for a while.”
Kozue’s oddly distinct voice turned the focus to Anzai, but he simply did not see anywhere to fit into the conversation. How was he supposed to enter into an already completed circle of friends?
At a group party where half a circle met with another half a circle, he would at least have an opening.
“I am glad you are here,” said the (tanned) cabaret club girl with the modern-sounding name of Aisu.
“Why?” replied Anzai.
“I want to ask your opinion about that strange survey. Speaking about it in just our group is fine, but people in the same group do not have much diversity in their ideas. I wanted to get the opinion of someone outside of our group.”
“That really was a weird survey,” said Harumi.
“It gave me an indescribably strange feeling. I was hoping to discuss it before that feeling disappeared so we could try to get a clearer grasp of things. Although the discussion we had in the auditorium just made things all the more confusing.”
“That is another reason why a new point of view is important.”
“Kozue has started praising you needlessly again, so be on your guard, boy.”
“By the way,” said Harumi as she stared up at Anzai’s face. “What order did you give those short films on your survey?”
(It is time to determine who you are most compatible with. In the following chart, please honestly use the final rankings you gave each story .)
|← = No ↓ = Yes||Begin|
|Aisu||←||Did you prefer 15 to 12?||←||Did you prefer 05 to 17?||←||Did you prefer 11 to 09?||←||Did you prefer 24 to 06?|
|Harumi||←||Did you prefer 01 to 03?||←||Did you prefer 04 to 02?||←||Did you prefer 20 to 13?||←||Did you prefer 07 to 18?|
|Hotaru||←||Did you prefer 22 to 15?||←||Did you prefer 21 to 07?||←||Did you prefer 08 to 01?||←||Did you prefer 10 to 20?|
|Kozue||←||Did you prefer 23 to 19?||←||Did you prefer 14 to 16?||←||Did you prefer 02 to 23?||←||Did you prefer 13 to 04?|
Continue on to the proper section based on the above chart.
Harumi’s Case (Chase the mystery of the other absurdity that supported this absurdity!)
Hotaru’s Case (How did that professor have those short films made?)
Kozue’s Case (What are these absurdities approaching one after another? Can you accept the answer?)
Aisu’s Case (That professor’s questions are not over yet. What will the next question be!?)
|Back to After Finishing the Survey||Return to Main Page||Forward to Choose From Above|