Episodes 3 and 4 of Season Two (embedded here) saw Yuu Asakawa and myself learning the tricks of the shadow warrior trade within the hallowed halls of the Jidai Academy, an actual ninja dojo located in the unassuming Tokyo suburb of Tabata.
From the minute I met a badly hungover Yuu Asakawa at the station, to meeting an unlikely lady ninja named Ms. Vanessa, to finally suiting up in a full ninja uniform, this turned out to be the genuinely weirdest time I’ve ever spent working on OVZ. It was a long shoot and unfolded very much as this two part episode plays out; in hushed, reverent tones punctuated by insane fits of laugher.
Strung out and flattened in Inokashira Park. Renamed Inokashira Dark because of all the troubles. Pretty much homeless and nowhere to go. Me. Canned classical music plays on hidden speakers while the final rays of Golden Week fade out. Trail of worker ants on every surface, mirroring human sized traffic on the paths behind me.
The first earthquake I ever felt in Japan was a 5 min walk from here. A now-dead café where yet another girl named Yuka (the most popular name given to the last-born during the Taishomei) used to work, putting up with my policy of trying to stretch out a single drink purchase into a 3-4 hour stall for time. That marked the beginning of the Gerotan invasion, but not the ending, which Counter-ESPY still deems classified. Whatever else ended there in then-definitive terms has turned to a staunch policy of no-closure and denial, making burn victims of us all.
Government of Dark. Secret mission in the park. Everyone trying very hard to relax, but their hidden trauma and fear bubbles up to the surface in subtle configurations. “We see terrible things if we live too long” said some old dead person in a Gamera movie; the great truths of the universe spilling out in hastily written words made to fit out of synch lip movements. And these are mine.
I'm on the doubutsuen. What’s left of it anyway. Seated. Trying to get to gray blasted Shinjuku on twisted train tracks before the next disaster strikes. Lolita girl (not fat, not really a girl: early 20s) stands in front of me, her Metamorphose temps de fille skirt continually swaying to brush my skin via the perputal hole in the right knee on my torn jeans. Oblivious. She has no idea this is happening, and -- to get real honest -- I'm not a big fan of it either, but this seat was hard won at Tokyo Teleport and I don't want to make a fuss about moving out of the way, in the way, any way.
No one wants to make a fuss now.
The 3/11 earthquake broke a hole in the mystery frequency. Psychic flotsam and jetsam from the tsunami poured into the year 20XX where we sit here now at the very end of the line that was the Taishomei jidai. Then the radioactivity from Fukushima polluted the Tokyo2 biotope along with substantial portions of The Big Board. The result was that the spectral bands have recently become unhinged. Reversed. Even what few children and old people who remain know this to be true: the overtones have become the tonesover.
And still we all pretend like nothing has happened. Precedents: it was a little but like this a few years back during the height of the Gerotan invasion. But the damage this time is much more severe; taking its toll even on infrastructures carefully set in motion by the Government of Darkness. Even they are mere insects now; they too facing greater foes than those behind the Goka-na Jyupun senso.
As we approach the station, the great yawning Taishomei Jidai that was all our lives begins to end. There’s still no name yet for what comes next. It’s not so much that the best days are behind us so much as the most dangerous ones are about to begin.
Light green fabric with lace trim with a satin ribbon brushes my leg yet again. I have to get of this train and find some place dark to hide. That won’t be hard in Shinjuku, but the usual maps no longer apply.
I suspect at least some of the usual players will be back in the game: Col. Baldwin, Youna, Yuka Yuka, the Paranormal Rejects, and co. But I almost wish they’d sit this one out. It’s clearly a new age, in need of new heroes and villains who can define it. We can’t ask the former to save us anymore.