Disclaimer: The following story has been written with no intention of claiming ownership or solicitation, nor does the author claim the movie character(s) as his/her own. The movie character(s) have been borrowed solely out of a love of the particular movie and is not intended for any other purpose but amusement and entertainment.
“So — you do not mind, Brother?”
John Biebe’s eyes turned from the small stage at the front of the Tavern, shaking his head in response to Maximus’ inquiry. “What’s a guy going to do? I mean, it’s not like she’s hurting anything, right?”
Siobhan covered her mouth, trying not to laugh. “Of course not, John. You know she’d never do that.”
Arthur and Johnny exchanged glances and both chuckled.
“What?” John asked. “Seriously, she’s not hurting anything, right?”
The younger brothers continued to snicker as Johnny added, “Oh mate! I’ve seen this before. It starts out all innocent enough and then WHAM!”
John’s eyebrows knitted. “What? Wham? I didn’t think this was a wham moment–”
In the background, female voices were heard trilling:
Mou nani mo kamo zenbu
Wasure sasete ageru kara saa
Azatoi kiss wa irania fukujuu wo
[Yes my lord.(1)]
A female guest screamed “I love you Sebastian!” as the song came to its’ conclusion.
“See?” Arthur was wagging a finger. “Sebastian? You know who that is, right?”
The former sheriff of Mystery and the current head of law enforcement at the Point took another sip of his beer. Of course he did, but it wasn’t his Tina who had shouted that name – it was some guest who had been bouncing up and down in her chair almost from the second the topic of the sing-a-long was announced.
“Ladies– Fans–” Now that was Tina, who was smiling from ear to ear and looking as though she had not had this much fun in ages. “Some of us just became fans of this show a little bit ago; in fact, I missed out on the original Nineties series, but thanks to Hulu–”
“I love Hulu!” another screamed to much laughter.
“–I’ve managed to binge and catch-up, and now that the series has been updated–” Tina tried to continue.
“It still needs some work!” someone shouted and there was laughter and applause.
“Anyway, be that as it may, this is a request from my dear friend Savannah–”
The Canadian took a bow.
“Who said that a beautiful night like tonight isn’t complete until we do this one. And I agree. Not that the night is over, not by a longshot, but this feels like the perfect place to put this in. Thea if you please!”
Thea, the Point’s resident entertainment director switched over the karaoke feed and when the images appeared on the screen, the women screamed and those not on their feet already soon were, a few running up on stage so that they either link arms or place their arms around one another’s shoulders.
“And here we go,” Bud grunted, his face dropping to the tabletop.
John knew this one too well. He heard Tina singing it in the kitchen, the living room, the gardens…
Namida wa hoho wo tsutai hitomi wa akaku moeru
Inazuma no you ni hageshiku dareka ga ai wo sakebu
Tatoe donna kurayami demo hitori ja nai yo ne?
Watashitachi wo terasu Moonlight (2)
“Why are some of them waving their straws on the air?” Sometimes, even after all of these years, the things modern individuals did still surprised Maximus.
“They’re supposed to be wands,” Siobhan explained, and she laughed when she saw his expression.
“Wands? Like Harry–”
“No– Like Sailor Guardians. Sailor– Look, I don’t get it either. I was never a huge fan of this stuff.”
“So that’s why you haven’t joined–”
Siobhan looked aghast. “I am not dancing to a Sailor Moon song, sorry.”
“Sailor?” a voice asked; hearing a nautical term caused the blonde captain to raise an eyebrow. He watched the images on the screen and gulped. No sailor had ever looked like – that! “Do they even realize what the lyrics are?” Jack Aubrey had been watching intently, fascinated that these women of all ages, races, such-and-such were having such a wonderful, silly time.
John nodded. “I think most of them do.” God knows he had needed to go online and find the English translations once this phenomena known as anime and manga first hit the Point several months before, because he was definitely curious. For the most part the words were inoffensive and were simply used to describe the upcoming events or action, and a few were representative of the characters that were about to appear.
“Ah onnanoko ni mo yuzurenu kyouji ga aru–“(3)
Cort had simply been enjoying the atmosphere on both sides: the ones who were having such a great time, and the ones who were still trying to wrap their minds around things. But when he suddenly realized that a voice was softly singing very close to him, he looked around to see that Chloe – her eyes on the stage – was actually participating in the song as if she had been performing it her entire life.
“Sore wa oujisama ni unmei nagezu–” (4)
She started, only now realizing that she had been singing aloud, and that the preacher was grinning at her.
“Really?” It was difficult not to chuckle at the childlike expression on her face.
“You — like–” and he nodded towards Tina and the others.
“I…um…oh, frack it. Okay, I’ll own it. Yes, I love Sailor Moon,” she said, proudly. “I was a fan of the original series when I was growing up and I admit it! I’m not ashamed.”
“I can see that!”
Shiny Make-up kagayaku yo hoshizora wo atsumete
Tada mamorareru dake no kayowai sonzai ja nai wa (5)
“I was a Sailor Jupiter fan,” she confessed, hoping she was not turning red. Why should she be embarrassed at any rate? “You have to admire a girl who can kick some bad guy’s butt, then fix up a pretty bento box and bake a cake too.”
Cort just smiled even more. “Yes, I can definitely see that.”
Shiny Make-up tatakau yo hoshizora wo matotte
Atarashii densetsu ga ima koko kara hajimaru
La La Pretty Guardian SAILOR MOON (6)
“Somebody just shoot me now.” Bud was banging his head against the back of the leather seat in the booth.
Maximus sighed. “And there is nothing you can think of to stop this, John?”
“Like I said, I don’t know that she’s hurting anybody, well, I mean except for us, and she’s not really hurting us, except–” He coughed, realizing from the intent stares of his brothers that his argument was not very convincing. “Look, just because some of us–”
“Most of us,” Bud groaned, motioning to a waitress and indicating that his glass was empty. Another shot of Maker’s might do the trick.
“Some of us don’t get it doesn’t mean they’re hurting anybody. I mean, you’ve got people who have been waiting how many years for the final three movies in the Star Wars trilogy to come along. Tina just happens to be into–” His eyes focused back on Tina as she and her fellow conspirators launched into yet another opening theme — another he had heard in the gardens, in their bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, her office when she didn’t think she was being overheard…
Give Lee Give Lee hashiridase
joushiki wo tsukiyabure
Make Lee Heart Lee kimete ike
Iza sanjou ROCK LEE (7)
And each and every one placed their left hand behind their backs, while their right hands went forward in the ‘come and get me’ stance.
“You know John, I get the feeling that your wife might have a little crush on–” Alex was trying hard not to sputter his drink.
Biebe scowled, then muttered. “My wife does not have a crush on an anime character. Are you fucking serious? Do you hear yourself?”
“Well at least it’s not Tuxedo Mask,” and Alex’s words caused the entire group to laugh.
John didn’t answer. He wasn’t going to give Alex the satisfaction of having him defend Tina.
Give Lee Give Lee furishibore oku
no te wo dashimakure (8)
John honestly felt he was getting dizzy watching them bounce back and forth as they danced.
Now Lee Who Lee kamawazu ni Ike!
Sono na wa ROCK LEE! (9)
Alex winked. “You’d better watch out John. You may find yourself getting replaced by a bushy eyebrowed ninja.”
John rolled his eyes. Although…Tina did seem particularly fond of the character, and Biebe had to admit he could understand why. It was the writer in her, the instinct to search beyond the surface, and once he had seen the three episode arc which gave such a wonderful back story, he could definitely comprehend the reasoning behind her crying into several tissues whenever she watched and rewatched. Looking beyond the surface had led her to him all those years ago. But that didn’t mean– Alex is getting into your head, John.
There were more squeals of delight and shouts and applause as another video was introduced on the screen, this one with even more shots from the more recent animated spin-off. The second they knew what closing theme it was, Tina, Savannah and a few others started pumping their fists in the air as they enthusiastically sang:
Rock Lee! Rock Lee!
Go! Go! Here we Go! Rock Lee! (10)
“Oh my God! I loved that scene! There’s the squirrel he rescued!” Savannah was pointing at the image on the screen.
“Squirrel? Now they’re talking about bloody squirrels.” Terry clinked shot glasses with Bud and both downed their bourbon in a single gulp.
“I don’t get it. What the fuck is going on? Why he’s on a crutch now?” Cal’s face was twisted as if he was attempting to put way too much thought into it.
Arthur shook his head and in the utmost seriousness explained, “You need to see the entire Chunin exam arc. It’s actually pretty tragic, what happened to him. I mean things improved but–”
“Holy shit, not you too?” the reporter groaned.
Doryoku Doryoku Doryoku
Doryoku wa uragiranai
Sennen goroshi ATA~! (11)
Another “oldie but goody” John thought to himself, but without realizing it, he was beginning to tap his foot. He had to admit it, it was a catchy little tune. He had never let her see it, but when he would stand in a doorway and watch her dance in a room when she believed herself alone – she had done that almost from the day the two of them had fallen in love – he saw all the cares of her old life fading away until the Tina of the Real World was no longer prominent. She had made that decision a very long time ago, not only when she married him (had it really been fourteen years now?), but when she accepted her destiny and full responsibility as the Keeper.
The shy young woman he had seen in the Tavern on that long ago May day – back then, he would never have seen her energetically dancing on the stage to a karaoke video featuring a secondary Naruto character with a huge fan base. In fact, John would never have seen her up on the stage at all.
Shishou wa maito gai
Donto koi donto koi
Nin nin nin nin ninja
Rock Lee! Rock Lee!
Go! Go! Here We Go! Rock Lee! (12)
But the song didn’t end there.
Cal’s mouth dropped. “Holy fuck it’s an extended version! Oh great – look at this,” and his groan intensified as now both Arthur and Johnny headed up on stage, and young Jack was finally giving up the struggle and joining Adalia, the Point’s chef, who had been singing along since the beginning. “This shit is going to go on all night, isn’t it?”
Secondary character. Sometimes it was those secondary characters that caught the eye and – through no cause of their own – pushed themselves forward so that the world noticed. He still remembered a time when no one had heard of Mystery, Alaska until Gladiator spurred the interest. Tina had known him yes, but that was an exception.
“And the language they are speaking–” he overheard Jack Aubrey asking to no one in particular.
“It’s called Rōmaji,” John explained, and all eyes turned to him as if he had suddenly become the biggest genius at the table. “Hey, I didn’t know that until I looked it up online, believe me. It’s a — well, how do I put it? Hold on.” He pulled his smartphone out of his pocket and after typing for a little, he said “Here we go. It’s ‘a system of Romanized spelling used to transliterate Japanese.'”
“In other words then,” Aubrey commented, “it is a more simplified way of learning the Japanese language?”
“Pretty much yeah. A lot of anime and manga–” He saw their confused expressions and he waved a hand in the air. “I’ll explain later that later, but a lot of the non-Japanese fans may have first learned Rōmaji thanks to these theme songs, then went on to study the real language afterwards. Tina’s known bits and pieces of Japanese for years though – she’s been watching Japanese movies and TV shows since she was a little girl. But yeah, the Rōmaji makes it a whole hell of alot easier when you’re a beginner.”
“Damn them,” Bud muttered half-jokingly, rubbing his forehead as he did. But he was looking up at the stage again, where someone he greatly admired was leading her “squad” in a reprise of the chorus, their movements appearing choreographed, but no, they had likely seen the music video so many times they knew the moves almost automatically. A couple of guests along with Thea – who decided she could not resist participating – were even imitating the character’s trademark stances, which brought on a huge amount of cheers from the numerous onlookers who immediately recognized them.
Bud could see why these songs were so easy to learn, although he would never admit that to his brothers. He would also never admit that when his face was on the table, he was mouthing words here and there as they seemed to take over his brain. He fully understood why the younger brothers were now up there dancing their hearts out with the ladies.
Shishou wa maito gai
Donto koi donto koi
Nin nin nin nin ninja
Rock Lee! Rock Lee!
Go! Go! Here We Go! Rock Lee!
The chorus ended, and the Tavern was once more filled with cheers, laughter and applause.
Terry looked up from his glass, his sight somewhat blurry. “Are they done yet?”
Aubrey chuckled. “I believe the Go Go Rock Lee song may be at an end, but it does not appear that they’ve reached a conclusion as you may wish for.”
“Fuck,” and Terry eased his head back onto the table. He would have left long ago, but it might have seemed rude had the Keeper noticed him slipping away like the proverbial thief in the night. Face it, when it comes to Tina, I just never want to hurt her feelings. She is the Keeper after all; most of all she’s been good to us – like a sister, and considering what the Keepers used to have to suffer to put up with us, listening to a selection of theme songs from your favorite anime isn’t all that bad.
He glanced across at John Biebe, saw the twinkle in his Alaskan brother’s eyes, and wondered if the sheriff realized what he had been thinking.
“Now that is what Killick would have described as ‘screech, screech, screech’ – although it was a song you could definitely dance to. Not certain what Stephen and I could have made of it though.”
Bud rolled his eyes at the British sea captain’s words, resting one cheek on a fist. “I know this is crazy–” He was addressing John, who was smiling at him in a rather suspicious manner.
“But you know, if I decided – I’m not saying I’m going to – but if I decided–”
In the background, the participants had launched into yet another song in Rōmaji, but this time, many of them were facing the karaoke machine screen as they tread into somewhat unknown waters:
Hirogaru yami no naka kawashiatta kakumei no chigiri
Aishita yue ni mebaeta aku no hana
Korekara saki otozureru de arou subete wo
Darenimo jama saseru wake ni wa ikanai kara (13)
“If you decided you might want to check out some anime?”
“Again, not saying I would but, you know, if I did–”
“Sailor Moon Crystal,” John replied in all seriousness.
Alex and Terry chuckled as Bud growled, “I’m not watching some damn magical girl cartoon, John! I might as well be watching the one with the rainbow ponies.”
“Come on Bud, you might actually enjoy it. Really.”
“Look, you asked me about something as an introduction, and there you go. The storyline isn’t half-bad, the characters are interesting, and at least Crystal knocks it out in about twenty-something episodes instead of the one hundred-plus it took on the original show. Or – just jump on into Naruto and let me know what you think…in about two hundred or so episodes, a lot of which is filler garbage with a few exceptions.”
Bud’s eyes widened. “Two hundred–”
“And that’s just the Shonen Jump part.” It was obvious John was enjoying this too much. “We’re not even talking about the Shippendun series, or the movies, or the forty or fifty episodes of Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals, or the video games, or–”
“I’m not doing this, John.”
“Bud – remember, you asked me”
“Come on Bud,” Alex said in a soft voice as he eased an arm around White’s shoulders. “Magical girls. Have you seen the legs on Sailor Venus?”
Bud groaned. “You guys are fucking sick. And here’s Alex – yeah you – here you are asking John if his wife-”
“Asking John if his wife – what?”
The men who were seated all jumped to their feet when Tina walked up to the table, her cheeks a pretty shade of rose coloring from all the activity. She was fanning one hand before her face, and her smile was infectious. John moved to her side and gave her a quick kiss on the forehead while the others greeted her.
“They’re just being a bunch of idiots, darlin’. Don’t listen to them.”
Alex was still grinning. “We’re trying to convince Bud to start watching Sailor Moon or Sailor Moon Crystal.”
Tina’s smile widened. “Really?”
“Oh Lord,” Bud mumbled, punching the Marine in the arm. “Thanks a lot Alex.”
“But if you’re new to anime, I mean, you could always do Pokemon or Dragon Ball Z” (Bud was turning up his nose while Alex nodded enthusiastically and kept nudging him over and over), “but I think Crystal might not be a bad start, even if it is considered a ‘magical girl show’. And there’s Naruto–”
“All nine million episodes–” Alex did not know when to stop.
“And Bleach and Fairy Tale and– I admit I’m partial to Sailor Moon and Naruto and Black Butler and Inu x Boku SS.”
“Oh not that SS, Bud, don’t worry. John, let’s head up to the bar. I’m dying for something cold.” She had withdrawn her own smartphone, and after a few movements across the keyboard, she slipped it away. “Look Bud, get with me tomorrow, okay? We’ll talk and I’ll get you set up.”
“Yeah – setup. Thanks sweetheart. That would be–” He glared at Alex. “That would be great.”
“My pleasure! John’s really gotten into it himself. Did he tell you all that?”
The brothers were all smiling and shaking their heads. So that’s why he was so knowledgeable.
“Oh and Bud — check your messages. I just sent you something. It’s a sample, but I hope it gets you excited.”
“Oh sure Tina – thanks.” He pulled his phone out of his jacket pocket and saw that his sister-in-law had indeed sent him a sample of– His eyebrows raised as he saw the cover.
“What does it say, Brother?” Maximus inquired.
“Uh…Naruto Volume 10 Shonen Jump Manga – A Splendid Ninja. A splendid–” He used one finger to flip through the pages. “Hey, it’s that bushy browed kid!”
“So what did you send Bud?” John asked as he and Tina walked away. He loved it when she had that ‘cat that swallowed the canary’ expression.
“A Splendid Ninja.”
Biebe laughed. “You know that Alex says he’s about to replace me?”
“Replace – you? Who? Oh! What? No! Alex is such an ass sometimes.”
“He just gets hold of something and doesn’t know when to stop.”
“So just because– Hi! I’d love a cosmopolitan please. John?”
“The usual, thanks,” he told the bartender. “You were saying.”
“Just because I like something and I happen to like the theme song, and I happen to like the character, and I happen to think the spinoff show was hilarious, now all of a sudden I’m about to replace my husband with– He’s a boy!”
“Alex obviously thinks–”
“Alex — needs some attention. Alex — needs someone to occupy his mind or he gets dirty, stupid little thoughts.”
“That’s a fact. Maybe he’s the one that needs to hook up with a magical sailor girl and not Bud.”
“Huh! Oh!” she laughed. “So were you guys bored to death? I’m sorry – it just sort of happened. We were kind of singing to ourselves, and then Adalia said it was just too good to keep to ourselves, and then Savannah asked Thea if we had anime theme songs, and when she said yes–” TIna shrugged as she sipped the drink almost the moment it was placed before her. “I didn’t know the audience was going to be full of manga and anime fans. It did get kind of crazy.”
“I like it when things sort of happen though,” John admitted, pushing a lock of hair back from her face. “And never mind us. You were having a great time – I could tell.”
“Was I? Yeah, I guess I was. Although I’m probably going to wake up hoarse in the morning.”
“It’ll be worth it though.” He loved it when she smiled, when he could see those chocolate brown eyes of hers glowing with life, whether it was when savoring her beloved English history, or watching a movie she adored, or cuddling with her husband of over fourteen years. This was why the Point would always thrive, why it would have life – because the Keeper was so full of it.
She finished the cosmopolitan and grabbed John’s right hand as he put down his mug. “You still know how to dance right?”
“Yeah but– Oh no darlin’. I’m not going up there!” but he found himself being dragged along to the stage.
“Come on, Teddy Bear,” she whispered, calling him by her nickname for him. “It’ll be fun.”
Biebe could already hear his brothers making comments (if Tina had not now been holding both hands, he would have given a couple of them the middle finger), but up on the karaoke stage, he was getting cheers for showing his ‘bravery’. And at that moment, as Tina consulted with Thea about what would be played next, the last thing he cared about was whether he would get mocked.
Tina stepped up to the microphone. “Well, a few of my brothers-in-law have joined us up here, as well as my husband. Gentlemen! Thank you! So the evening’s still young and just for the fun of it–”
“While I’m still looking for the original Sailor Moon theme,” Thea joked, and Savannah and a few others – along with Chloe, who remained seated with Cort – began to enthusiastically sing both acapella and in English:
Fighting evil by moonlight,
Winning love by daylight,
Never running from a real fight,
She is the one named Sailor Moon. (14)
“While our DJ tries to find that one, we’re just going to redo one we did earlier.”
“Oh no,” Cal was saying, wondering if he could ease his way to the exit without anyone seeing him.
“You don’t think it’s going to be that–” Alex was about to say, when the group on the stage sang:
Rock Lee! Rock Lee!
Go! Go! Here we Go! Rock Lee!
Alex shook his head. “I was right. Hey Bud? Bud?”
The cop was flipping the virtual pages on his cell phone back and forth, obviously puzzled. “It just– It left me hanging. Where’s the rest of it? How could Tina just leave me hanging like that?”
Alex groaned. Yeah, it was going to be a longer night than he imagined, but for some reason, he realized he didn’t care to be anywhere else.