Volume 6 Chapter 9 Shirogane Aqua, Appearing on a Music Program!!
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
The music stage, commonly known as M Ste.
Broadcasted during prime time, an immensely famous and long-running music program.
As an idol, I had always wanted to appear on it at least once. Today, thanks to everyone, that dream comes true.
”Everyone from Beryl Entertainment, please come this way.”
The recording takes place in a studio built underground at the headquarters of the television station.
After getting off the van arranged by the program, we quickly entered the building following the guidance of the staff.
The song we’ll be singing on today’s recording is “next round,” the opening theme of Masked Driver Heaven’s Sword, composed by Tenga-senpai. We decided to perform it with the four members of Driver who are appearing this time. Ako-san, our manager, and Beryl’s exclusive stylist team are waiting on-site as well.
Previously, when the company was relocating, Ako-san mentioned increasing the staff, and Beryl’s exclusive stylist team is one of those additions. The chief who leads the team and the sub-chief who assists are introduced by Nobu-san. Among the ten members of the stylist team, four were apparently recruited by the chief and sub-chief’s connections, while the other four were selected through processes like document screening, interviews, and practical tests from applicants. I don’t know all the details, but apparently, some of the members used to work at Corolle. Impressive.
”Nice to meet you!”
”We appreciate your help today!”
”Sorry, passing through. Thank you.”
As I exchanged greetings with the passing staff members, Toa, Mayuzumi, and Tenga-senpai also lightly nodded in response.
”Shirogane is amazing… I’m not very good at greeting people I don’t know well.”
”I understand, Tenga-senpai.”
”That’s true for Aqua, too. When he came to my house, it was the same. Even during the Summer Comic Market, he casually high-fived the staff backstage, and later, when I asked if they were acquaintances, he said he wasn’t. I kind of wish Aqua would be a bit more cautious, but I’m starting to think it might be fine as it is.”
Both Toa and Mayuzumi nodded in agreement with those words.
”Well, it’s just a matter of getting used to things. Besides, you know, we have acquaintances here too.”
Saying that, I called out to the staff member who was standing by the corridor.
”Oh, Suzuki-san, thank you. You helped us during the Fuji morning show.”
Suzuki-san, whom I addressed, looked surprised.
Oops, I must have done something wrong. It’s a common greeting situation, where you remember someone’s name, but they don’t remember yours. At times like this, it can be a bit embarrassing when the other person doesn’t remember you, even if you remember them. But if I pretend I didn’t notice, it would be even more embarrassing. So, I tried to continue the conversation in the hope of making Suzuki-san remember me even a little.
”Ah, excuse me. I’m Shirogane Aqua from Beryl Entertainment. Before summer break, I worked with you on the Fuji morning show… Um, sorry, if you forgot, I apologize.”
I said that much, and Suzuki-san vigorously shook her head left and right, as if her neck might snap. Is she okay? Doesn’t her neck hurt?
”I remember. I remember, of course, there’s no way I’d forget!!”
Phew, that’s a relief. Thanks to Suzuki-san remembering, I might not have to endure an embarrassing situation.
”Uh… um, why do you…?”
I point to the employee ID card hanging from Suzuki-san’s neck.
”Because when I saw it before, your name was written on it.”
”Ah… um, yeah, but that… Well, do you remember the names of staff members too, Shirogane-san?”
Well, obviously, I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember those who impressed me. For instance, I remember Suzuki-san quite well. During the recording, she was attentive to everything around her, supporting the smooth progress of the production by taking care of the details. That’s why I remember her so clearly.
And this is something Kohina-san told me during the filming of a Monday 9 PM drama as well. She said if I want to play various roles in dramas, it’s better to observe people who are actually working. That way, when I portray the role, it comes across as more realistic.
For instance, even if I’m told to play the role of a carpenter, if I don’t know how real carpenters work, there will be a mismatch between what’s in the script and reality, causing the viewers to feel a sense of inconsistency.
By the way, Kohina-san has also taken me and Ayana to a super fancy restaurant after a recording. The advice she gave me then was very enlightening.
’If you were to play a super wealthy character, what would happen if you didn’t have good table manners? That’s why spending money like this has meaning for us actors. Ayana-chan is probably already making quite a bit, and with her long career, she’s secure. But Aqua-kun will likely receive a large sum of money soon, so it’s better to think carefully about how to use it. And Ako, probably isn’t thinking about these kinds of things, right?’
Kohina-san’s smile at that moment was really gentle. Kohina-san had previously mentioned that she only had Ako-san as a friend, but her expression when talking about Ako-san is truly serene. That must mean Ako-san holds a special place in Kohina-san’s heart.
Even when we dined at the upscale restaurant and I carried the intoxicated Kohina-san on my back, she said she wouldn’t forgive me if I made Ako unhappy. It’s clear she really cares for Ako-san. When she’s at the office, she teases Ako-san quite a bit, not showing any of this affection… Oops, right now, I was in the middle of a conversation with Suzuki-san. I should stop thinking about unnecessary things.
”Well, not everyone, but I remember Suzuki-san well because she was really efficient on set. So, today, when I thought we might get to work together again, I couldn’t help but call out to you with excitement.”
”Uh, um, th-thank you!”
”Thank you as well. Please take care of us today too.”
After waving to Suzuki-san and parting ways, I stopped and apologized to the staff member who was guiding us. Even though the guiding staff said it was okay, I bowed repeatedly to the people around because I had stopped in the middle of the passage. Perhaps due to the conversation I had, everyone was looking at me.
”I see, so this is how he increase the number of new victims. Hmph.”
”Shirogane… tone it down a bit.”
”Junior, you’re a scary one…”
Ugh… indeed, she didn’t remember me at first, and she managed to remember me thanks to my prompting, but it’s true I was on the verge of dragging Suzuki-san into it. I need to reflect on this.
While pondering about such things, I stepped into a slightly larger room. As I did, the sharp gazes of the women in the room all turned towards me.
”Here they are, from Beryl Entertainment.”
Someone said that. We weren’t the only ones participating in today’s recording. Perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the gazes of the other artists who were also participating, Toa tightly grabbed onto my outer garment and hid behind me.
But for some reason, Mayuzumi and Tenga-senpai followed suit. Oh, and let me clarify about Tenga-senpai – my senior is 10cm taller than me, so his head was still visible. He wasn’t hiding at all. Just like before, I smiled and took a deep breath.
”We’re Shirogane Aqua, Nekoyama Toa, Mayuzumi Shintaro, and Tenga Akira from Beryl Entertainment! As newcomers, we might cause some inconvenience to our seniors, but if anything comes up, please let us know right away. We look forward to working with you today!!”
After me, the three of them also bowed slightly. Then, one of the women smiled gently. It was the famous singer, Mizumori-san. I had heard she was in her late 30s, but she looked even younger. Fans call her “Mimorin,” and apparently, she looks young enough to warrant that nickname.
”I look forward to working with you today too. Shirogane-kun.”
The moment Mizumori-san spoke, for some reason, I felt a chill in the air from the surrounding women, and my body shivered.
Huh? Did the air conditioning get stronger because more people came in and the density increased?
”Thank you, Mizumori-san. Or should I call you ‘Mimorin-senpai’ like everyone says on TV?”
Hmm? Was that not okay? Not only fans, but also on TV, the name ‘Mimorin-senpai’ has become popular. Radio programs like ‘Teach Me, Mimorin-senpai’ and TV shows like ‘Mimorin-senpai and the Juniors’ have established the name. I thought that might be better, but maybe it was too casual?
”Oh, um, sorry. I shouldn’t have called you ‘Mimorin-senpai’…”
”Shirogane-kun, it’s not that. I’ve always been your ‘Mimorin-senpai,’ so… well, if you want, you can even call me ‘Mimorin’ without honorifics. If you have any questions, feel free to ask individually, and if you’re okay with calling me ‘big sister (Onee-san),’ I’m open to that… yes, any・thing, I’ll teach you!”
It’s nice that Mimorin-senpai is just as kind as she appears on TV. The staff said Mizumori-san was caring but strict, so be careful, but that wasn’t the case at all. I really can’t tell until I actually meet someone face-to-face. Yeah.
As Mimorin-senpai and I talked, the girls around us suddenly became noisy.
”I-I’m envious of Mimorin-senpai…”
”I’m relieved… if Aqua-kun had two faces, I would lose faith in humanity.”
”Shirogane Aqua really is Shirogane Aqua.”
”Toa-kun… makes me want to protect him.”
”Actually, I think Mayuzumi-kun is the cutest.”
”Akira-kun is dangerous; he hits differently.”
”I’ve always thought of them as a CG character, sorry.”
”Oh no, the boys from Beryl, they’re 100 times cooler in person!”
”Wait, isn’t Beryl only for guys? I wanna transfer!”
”The one who suggested waiting in the octopus room (タコ部屋?) near the private room is a genius.”
”Oh, dang, there’s a nice scent of boys…”
”Is it bad if I secretly take a picture?”
”I understand the feeling, but is it really okay?”
”I’ll be back in a bit…”
I didn’t understand what everyone was saying, but one girl stepped forward.
The one who called out was a girl who barely reached 150cm (4.9ft) in height. Based on her outfit that resembled a white sailor uniform and her youthful aura, she might still be in junior high?
The girl tightly held her smartphone and stared intently at me with big, round eyes.
”Um, um, I’m Kato Iria from the idol group Fairies. If, um, it’s okay, could I take a photo with you?”
Come to think of it, other artists, announcers, and such often take backstage photos for promotional purposes on social media. Ako-san had told me that if someone asks to take a photo together for work-related purposes, it’s fine.
”Nice to meet you. I’m Shirogane Aqua. It’s for promoting on social media, right? Sure, let’s take a photo together.”
Kato-san stood beside me, holding her camera as if taking a selfie. However, there was some awkwardness in the photo, likely due to the distance between us.
”Um, should we get a bit closer?”
I moved closer to Kato-san’s face.
Kato-san pressed the shutter button, but her hand trembled, resulting in a blurry image.
”I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
”It’s okay. But how about this?”
I placed my hand over Kato-san’s camera.
Alright, this should eliminate any blurriness.
”A-ah… thank you so muuuch…”
After successfully taking the photo, Kato-san went back to where she was, looking a bit wobbly. Is she feeling unwell? I’m starting to worry.
”No way… right?”
”That guy, she did it…”
”Wait a minute, did she just say they can take pictures together for SNS purposes!?”
”Ah, if I get that close, we’re practically lovers…”
”Oh no, if Aqua-sama makes eye contact with me at that distance, I’ll definitely get pregnant.”
”Hey, don’t you think a girl who wouldn’t fall for a guy doing something like that doesn’t exist?”
”Actually, I liked him from the start, so there’s no problem at all. That being said, I’ll go too.”
”Wait, I want a picture with him too!”
”I’m with Tenga-senpai!”
”Then, Mayuzumi-kun can be this big sister.”
”In that case, big sis will take Toa-kun.”
The artists who had been noisily listening to us came rushing into the room at once.
”Well, if Aqua takes care of it, I expected it to turn out like this from the beginning. Yeah.”
”Well, I guess I’ll have to lend a hand too.”
”Shirogane, I’ll… I’ll do my best to get used to being around girls.”
Sorry, all three of you. I thought maybe one or two pictures at most would be taken. Yet, so many people wanting pictures… It’s really embarrassing to involve even Mayuzumi, Tenga-senpai, and Toa.
As we were dealing with individual photo shoots, Ako-san emerged from the back room.
”I thought I was late… Well, excuse me, everyone. I’m Atori Ako, the president of Beryl Entertainment. The schedule is running late, so please allow our talents to go ahead. Regarding the published photos, please specify that they are from a program shoot. Come on, everyone, stop dawdling and come here!”
Thanks to Ako-san, we managed to escape from the crowd of girls. Once in the dressing room, I first apologized to the staff member who had guided us.
”S-Sorry. I didn’t expect it to turn out like this.”
”N-No, actually, in situations like this, we should be the ones protecting the gentlemen. But I got lost watching.”
I apologized to the staff member, then turned to Ako-san.
”Thank you, Ako-san. I’m sorry that my actions delayed the schedule.”
”No, actually, I didn’t expect so many to come out from the room, so it would’ve been better if I had gone to welcome you properly. I’m sorry.”
I got more involved in the conversation, and I apologize to Aqua, Mayuzumi, and Tenga-senpai as well.
”No worries. Thanks to Aqua, I’ve gotten somewhat used to being around girls.”
”Yeah… I feel like my shyness has improved a bit.”
”I might have collapsed before, but thanks to Shirogane, I’ve been able to strengthen myself. So, instead of an apology, I want to say thank you for confirming that.”
Everyone’s kindness made me a bit teary-eyed.
”Anyway, the fact that the shoot is running late is true, so let’s get ready.”
We changed into the outfits the stylist had prepared for us and had our makeup lightly applied, with our hair set. I was moved by the instantaneous and unwavering professionalism of Beryl’s in-house stylist team.
”Kobayashi-san couldn’t make it today, but in his absence, I’ll be watching from backstage. And I’ve heard that Director Hongou will be supporting you all from the audience. There might be only four of you on stage, but don’t forget that we’ll be right there with you. So, everyone, let’s do your best without fearing failure!”
””””Yes, yes, yes!””””
The four of us, along with Ako-san and the stylist team, formed a circle.
”Thank you, everyone. Just a few months ago, I never even thought I’d be singing on such a big music show, but thanks to all of you, I’ve made it this far. I might cause you trouble again in the future, but I’ll work even harder. Also, I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I want to go forward with all of you. So, let’s make this recording a success for sure.”
I looked around at everyone’s faces. They all nodded in response to my words. Once again, I realized how fortunate I was to be surrounded by these people. When I extended my hand to the center, everyone’s hands overlapped.
”Let’s go, Beryl!”
Boosted by our unity in the circle, we put on the outer garments that had been prepared. Then, one by one, we left the dressing room.
”Tenga-kun, do your best. I think of you as the leader in the group, so take care of everyone.”
”Yes, of course! President Atori, you can leave the juniors to me!”
As expected of Ako-san; she understands Tenga-senpai well.
”Mayuzumi-kun, if you ever feel anxious, scared, or nervous, just look at Aqua-kun’s back in front of you. You’ll see that Aqua-kun is right there for you!”
Ako-san lightly tapped my back in front of Mayuzumi. She turned her face towards me, and I smiled back at her.
”Aqua-kun, show me the best stage again today!”
”Of course. So, Ako-san, make sure to watch from the VIP seats. I won’t even let you blink.”
I gave Ako-san a fist bump.
”Toa-kun, since you’re the calmest and most composed during performances, if someone starts to go off track, make sure to bring everyone together.”
”Yes, please leave it to me, President Atori. As long as I’m here, I won’t let Shirogane Aqua have an embarrassing stage.”
Toa said that and lightly tapped my back with both hands.
”So, Aqua, just focus on the front seats today. We’ll have the back covered.”
”Yeah, of course, I’m planning on it!!”
In truth, Ako-san had suggested that I could perform a solo since it was my first music show and a good opportunity. However, the song being used, “Masked Driver, Heaven’s Sword,” is from the show that led all of us to join Beryl. Director Hongou was the one who created that show.
Since I heard that Director Hongou would be attending today’s recording, my mind has been made up. Today… just for today, I wanted to give the best stage for Director Hongou, or rather, for the very first fan of “Masked Driver, Heaven’s Sword.” On top of that, I have such reliable friends supporting me. Singing on a music show with them, and being able to perform a special song for us, made me really happy.
[Now, let the evening begin. Music stage. I wonder which artists will be performing today?]
[Yes, we have some wonderful artists joining us tonight!]
One by one, the familiar songs played as the artists made their entrance. Our turn was at the very end.
[And now, for our last performers of the day, we have Shirogane Aqua, who plays the main role in the popular Sunday morning show, and also joining us are Tenga Akira, Nekoyama Toa, and Mayuzumi Shintaro, who are scheduled to appear from the second episode onwards.]
As we descended the stairs and reached the two hosts, the charismatic host wearing sunglasses spoke to me.
[How’s your mood today?]
”I’d like to say I’m feeling fantastic, but the truth is, I was so excited yesterday that I couldn’t sleep well. So, I might be a bit sleep-deprived… That’s why I secretly got some help with makeup in the dressing room earlier.”
[Heh-heh, I see. That’s how it is. By the way, you’re really popular right now. Masked Driver. I’m watching it too.]
”Oh, really? Thank you very much.”
[Hey, you said you do your own action scenes, is that true?]
”Yes, for now, I’ve been doing all my scenes myself.”
”Oh, wow, that’s impressive.”
The conversation felt like chatting with a neighbor, but that’s how things usually go on Music Station. Maybe due to time constraints, the sub-host, the announcer, chimed in.
[It seems today you’ll be performing the theme song from Masked Driver, Heaven’s Sword, in a special band format for the music stage?]
”Oh, yes, that’s the plan.”
[Wow, looking forward to it. Viewers, don’t miss out. So, keep the channel on until the very end!]
The recording took a temporary break there. While the entrance scene filming was done, we had the performance scene coming up next, so we began preparing right away. By the way, the performance and talk scenes for the other artists have already been filmed.
[Alright then, from Masked Driver, Heaven’s Sword, we’ll present you the next round, music stage special version, featuring Shirogane Aqua, Tenga Akira, Nekoyama Toa, and Mayuzumi Shintaro!]
The intense guitar sound of Tenga-senpai’s intro and the fans in the audience had their excitement at maximum. Along with that, Toa’s powerful drumming and Mayuzumi’s bass joined in.
”Ima, kono shunkan o minogasu na!! (Now, don’t miss this moment!!)”
I locked eyes with Director Hongou in the audience. She was holding two fans in each hand and waving fans with our names on them. The fans were adorned with LED lights matching our individual colors, a clear display of dedication.
”Soredemo mirai wa aru!! (But there’s still a future ahead!!)”
As we transitioned from the second verse to the third chorus, there’s no part for me to sing in this section. However, I grabbed the microphone and addressed the audience.
”My mom said to me!”
I discreetly brought out a beetle-shaped robot toy from my pocket and held it up towards the sky. By the way, this wasn’t just any toy; it was a proper one I used during the actual performance. Director Hongou immediately recognized it as genuine and reacted with surprise. The reason Director Hongou was flustered was because she didn’t know about this staging and that I had secretly borrowed the beetle toy from the producer.
”Boys shouldn’t make girls cry, so I… we swear here. We’ll make everyone smile and captivate them!!”
We continued into the final chorus. The stage was filled with the highest energy. As I finished singing while maintaining the energy until the very end, I flipped my jacket during the last part of the background music. In that moment, a belt I had concealed inside the jacket revealed itself. Almost immediately, screams akin to shock resonated from the audience. I could only be grateful to the team that skillfully styled me to match the belt.
”Let’s go, everyone!”
At my cue, the people in the audience exchanged glances and nodded slightly.
The voices from the audience blended with mine. As I struck a transformation pose, the performance came to an end. The cameras that had been capturing us gradually zoomed in on my face. Until then, I had been striking a serious pose, but at the last moment, I broke into a smile, winked at the viewers in front of the screen, and waved.
The filming concluded at this point. When I turned around, the other three who had been performing joined me in a rush.
”We did it!”
”Whoooa! Junior, my juniors, thank you! Thank you!! To have a band play my song feels like a dream come true!!”
Tenga-senpai let out a triumphant yell. His first guitar solo and the final guitar sound were both amazing.
”Aqua, you really went overboard with that last part! But thank you. Because Aqua took me out of that room and brought me outside, without that, I wouldn’t have experienced any of this!”
Toa hugged me with a smile. I think the real thanks should be coming from me. It was because of Toa’s courage at that time that we are where we are now, I told him.
”Thank you, Shirogane… Back then, you invited me, or rather, you became my friend, Shirogane. Without that, I wouldn’t have experienced any of this. Thank you so much!”
Mayuzumi’s glasses were all messed up with tears. Rather, it’s me who should be grateful. Because Mayuzumi became my friend, I’m having the best time now!!
We exchanged glances, then made our way down to the audience in one go. Although the surprised audience let out screams, they understood, and even Director Hongou made a path for us.
”Director, thank you. Thanks to you.”
”H-Here, thank you too… but, but you know, I can’t see anything through my tears right now… It’s supposed to be me who’s watching properly till the end…”
I playfully teased the director whose tears had made a mess of his appearance.
”It’s okay, Director. This is being recorded. You can watch it properly during the actual broadcast.”
”Ugh! You’re ruining the atmosphere! Aqua, seriously, seriously!”
”Kukukuku, I shall record the broadcast and keep it forever!”
After that, in high spirits, I high-fived the fans who had come to see us and, thanks to the staff’s arrangement, we took a commemorative photo together. Even the initially nervous trio seemed to have gotten used to it, engaging in easy exchanges with the fans. It’s quite a progress compared to when we started. Seeing them like this makes me smile.
And thus, my first appearance on a music show became one of my best memories. By the way, I said I made her laugh, but it’s a secret that I made Director Hongou cry!!
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.