Trust Motomi Kyousuke to go out with a bang! This month's side story is really moving and made Asahi and me both cry :P I hope you enjoy it as well! I felt that this story had more of a feeling of conclusion to it than the last chapter of the main series. There's one more side story coming out in Deluxe Betsucomi on 12/24, I'll be buying it directly so it will take a few weeks to get to me, expect to see RAWs sometime in early to mid-January.
Before we get to the actual chapter, I'd like to give a huge thanks to Asahi, who has provided RAWs for us up until now. Thank you so much for spending your time and money to promote this fandom! Let's keep being good friends and fellow manga dweebs for many many years to come~ 今までずっと世話になってた！これからもよろしくね～
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The first page of this heart-warming side story features Riko and Souichirou looking blissfully happy. The taglines are "a collection of special side stories revolving around Teru's deceased older brother, Souichirou" and "I'm so glad I was able to meet you."
The first of these mini side stories is told from Kurosaki's perspective and is called "Admiration". (By the way, if my spelling is worse than usual, it's because I am writing this without the benefit of spell check, lol) Kurosaki confesses that he's never told anyone before, but long before he met Teru, he had a crush on Riko! He tells how, when he first entered the company he was still a depressed, anti-social bum but Riko was always there, cheerful and a little violent to cheer him on and get him to spend time with the other employees. He says she was a bit older, and beautiful, and it was pretty much inevitable that he'd be attracted to her, and if not for one thing he probably would have fallen madly in love with her: he wouldn't let himself, because she was together with Souichirou who he liked and respected too much for that.
Kurosaki reminices about how well suited the two of them were for eachother. There's a cute scene where Souichirou was about to kiss Riko at work in the breakroom and she's blushing adorably but then she sees Kurosaki coming into the room so she punches Souichirou in the face instead :P Kurosaki explains that Souichirou and Riko were trying to keep their relationship a secret at work, but pretty much everyone knew and supported them anyways.
Next Kurosaki describes Souichirou as his superior at work, and a person who gave an impression of being aimless, clueless, and a bit of an idiot, but who Kurosaki sensed actually possessed something very deep and fathomless that he kept hidden. Kurosaki also describes Riko as being cutest when she was around Souichirou: she was head-over-heals in love with him. He says that he was happy with the way things where (even though his feelings towards Riko could never be realized) because he loved them they way there were: in love with eachother. He says he wishes things could have stayed like that forever.
It switches to the next scene kind of abruptly, but this scene takes place in the present time, sometime shortly after the end of the main series. Akira, Teru, Riko and Kurosaki are going to a Matsuri, and everyone but Kurosaki is wearing Yukata. Akira's stuffing his face with Takoyaki and Teru and Riko have just returned with beer and a bunch of food; from the conversation I think that it's grilled squid on a stick and okonomiyaki (in the boxes). Someone, I think Akira complains that if they eat all this they're going to explode, and others (Teru and Riko I think) agree that that's the point of a Matsuri. Riko passes Kurosaki the other beer and Teru wipes takoyaki sauce off Akira's face like a baby and asks him how he's enjoyin his first ever matsuri, to which he responds poutily that it's "Okay."
Teru suggests that they use the time left until the fireworks display to go play a target practice game. Akira gets a deep-thinking expression on his face and then announces that he hates those kinds of games, so he'll stay here while they go. Kurosaki grabs Teru by the shoulder and steers her away, telling Riko to watch Akira and hold their spot for the fireworks show, which she agrees to. Teru starts to protest that it's rude to go off and do something the others don't want to, but Kurosaki roughly tells her that they are being given a chance to be alone, and tells her in an almost threatening way (it was really funny / cute) that he's going to hold her hand now. Teru's like "OH. Okay :D"
As Teru and Kurosaki walk away smiling happily at eachother, Akira watches them go, blushing. Riko asks him if he's okay and he poutily says "Of course I'm okay! It's not like I like Teru or anything!!" But then he says hesitantly that he doesn't dislike her, but he's happy seeing her and Kurosaki happy together, and he understands how it is. It's basically exactly like Kurosaki's feelings about Souichirou and Riko. Riko looks at them too, and smiles and says she understands too, and she hopes they call all be together like this forever.
The second story is told from Antora's point of view and is named "The Abyss." The story starts off with Antora ominously narrating "On that night, I appeared before him suddenly, without warning... Or at least I thought so..." Somehow, Souichirou seems to have known Antora was coming because he greets him cheerfully when he arrives. it's the middle of the night and Souichirou is in the hospital, waiting for Antora to appear. Souichirou congratulates Antora on his timing, saying he was planning to leave the hospital the next day, and then he asks Antora if he's come to kill him. Antora asks why Souichiro thinks that, and Souichirou responds that Nouguchi-san was recently killed, so he figured his turn would come soon. He also acuses Antora's organization of being responsible for using Kurosaki (I believe he's refferring to the Jack Frost incident?) and also of making Professor Midorikawa doing a bunch of things and then killing him as well. Souichirou also admits that he decoded a bunch of information about "The Will of M"-- the plan to erradicate a certain boy with certain special abilities.
Antora narrates that it's not uncommon for people whose time on this earth is about to end, such as Souichirou who was gravely ill, to have moments of supernaturally sharp intuition. Hey says that this foresight isn't anything to be surprised about, but there was still something about Souichirou... Antora confirms that he's come to kill Souichirou because he knows too much about The Will of M. Antora talks about how The Will of M is for the greater good and goes as far as to call it "Destiny" Then he says "People whose have nothing but their brains and did nothing but be used by others have no right to interfere." Antora tells Souichirou that he doesn't care if he hates him for this, but Souichirou says he doesn't hate him, because he knows that Antora is also being used.
Souichirou reveals that he has heard the rumors that influential people from all over the world are searching for the whereabouts of an infamous "facillitator" who can get just about anything done, including assassinations, infiltration / spy work and even influence wars. He also remarks that Antora is hard to get a hold of, and that he's well known for not accepting contracts or from or swearing loyalty to anyone he hasn't approved of. Antora says that this has nothing to do with Souichirou, and Souichirou agrees. Then he tells Antora that even if he kills him, he's already too late because "The Will of M" won't succeed in killing Akira for 2 reasons: 1. Souichirou decided it should be this way, and has set everything up so that at the appropriate moment the appropriate people will receive the information they need to carry out his plan. 2. Because Antora met Souichirou today, and Souichirou knows Antora's secret: that he's becomed numb with everything he's seen and done and although he doesn't believe it's possible anymore, he would like to see "Destiny" change. Souichirou makes a bet with Antora that everything will turn out as Souichirou said it would. Antora need not do anything, just behave as he otherwise would and watch how things turn out. Souichirou gives Antora the USB drive (the one Antora later gave to Teru, who gave it to Akira, which contained the videos of Professor Midorikawa singing for Akira) and tells Antora that if Souichirou wins the bet, Antora must pass this along. Over an image of Antora tossing the USB drive to Teru, Antora narrates "In the end, from that very moment I was being used by you all along. But it was fun."
The third short story is told from Riko's point of view, and is simply called "Special." Riko narrates that around that time, the two of them were thinking about moving in together. Souichirou rented a room at a fancy hotel and invited Riko there to talk about something important. However, when she gets there, Souichirou tells her he wants to break up. Riko's narration explained that after the incident with Professor Midorikawa, some other incident where the government ministry denied knowing about some code decryptions (I'm not sure about this part, I don't remember much from this part of the DD main storyline, so correct me if I'm wrong) and Souichirou himself getting diagnosed with stomach cancer, he went missing for a few months, and then this is what he has to say for himself when he reappears and meets with his girlfriend for the first time after all this.
Souichirou explains that he's been staying in an apartment he got Andou to rent for him and devoting himself to decrypting the code (now I'm pretty sure he's talking about the Jack Frost code that he had to clean up for Kurosaki before he died?). Riko says she'd heard the basics and asks him how his health is and what his sister's doing/thinking about all of this. Souichirou explains that he's been going to the hospital from time to time but he's trying to put off being admitted full time for as long as possible so he can work on this code, and he says that he simply told Teru he's busy at work and he goes home to visit her every once in a while. He appologizes to Riko and tells her that he just doesn't have enough time left. He bows down his head low and thanks Riko for everything, and tells her she's a wonderful woman and he's just an idiot who always put his girlfriend in the last priority after work and everything else. He gets up to leave and tells her to lead a happy life, and Riko runs after him and throws her arms around him from behind. He starts to tell her to try and understand, but Riko picks him up and uses some kind of body-slam wresting moves on him.
She yells at him for making decisions like this all by himself and telling her his one-sided decision with a face that says he knows everything and is always right. Riko shouts at him that even if he breaks up, she won't. Souichirou tries to protest that she's the one who'll be hurt if things continue as they are and she says she doesn't care. Riko starts crying and tells him she doesn't care even if she's his last priority and even if she gets hurt; she loves him and she wants to spend whatever time they have left together. She tells him to stop trying to act cool and do "the lone ranger thing" (my words, not hers). She tells him she definitely won't agree to breaking up even if he hates her for it. she says that idiots who don't understand the hearts of women should die, but that even if he dies she still won't agree to breaking up. then she runs out of the room.
Riko narrates that that's how she made a huge mess of the beautiful setting he'd prepared for their break up, and came to spend the next 7 days holed up in her house in a deep self-loathing depression, fueled mostly by alcohol. Then on the 7th day Souichirou shows up randomly, soaked from the rain and simply says "I ended up coming by..." She yells at him for coming in the rain even though it's bad for his health for such an ambiguous reason, and bustles inside before he gets rained on more. Riko starts to lecture him about being more careful with his health and orders him to dry himself off, when Souichirou suddenly hugs her really tightly. She's surprised and asks him what's wrong.
He tells her she must never tell anyone what he's about to tell her, and she agrees. Then Souichirou confesses to Riko that he's afraid of dying and that he doesn't want to die. He's crying as he tells her that he's got no confidence and he thinks he's made a real mess of things; that he's full of regrets about things he's left undone in his life, and most of all he can't tell these things to anyone. Riko realizes how much pressure Souichirou has been under as everyone's leader, always having to be strong and maintain their expectations of him. He tells Riko that he feels like in the end, he wasn't able to make anyone happy. He promised to protect Kurosaki but now he's going to die and won't be able to keep watching out for him; Teru's still in middle school and still needs him but he won't be around anymore; and even Riko has always been waiting for him but he wasn't able to be the man he wished he could've been for her. Riko is crying now too. Souichirou appologizes for being such a wreck, but Riko hugs him tightly too and tells him it's okay, that he's not a wreck, he's a wonderful man and he didn't make any mistakes.
The next scene shows Riko visiting Souichirou's grave with Kurosaki, Teru and Akira in the present day. She narrates that Souichirou lives on in everyone's hearts as a symbol of strength and unwavering hope. She says (in her thoughts) that only she got to see his weakness that time, and that it was precious to her. We see a picture of her with a plain band on her wedding finger, accompanied by Riko's narration that she can go on living, loving him for ever and ever with just that "something special" he gave to her. I think it's supposed to be a double entendre referring to both the ring and that memory of letting her see his vulnerability.
On the last page of extras is the information that there will be ONE MORE SIDE STORY in Deluxe Betsucomi, released 12/24. Also, Motomi Kyousuke will start her next series in Betsucomi magazine on March 13th, 2014. I will buy the issue of Deluxe Betsucomi with the sidestory in it, but it won't be as quick as we are used to getting RAWs from Asahi; expect to see it in early to mid January. I will probably check out the new series as well, but I will be either just about to leave for Japan or just arrived in Japan around the time of it's release, so it might be a while before it makes its way onto the blog :D