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Afterglow, The Same As Always
 
Ran and Afterglow deal with personal problems while preparing for a show.
 
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16
  • Chapter 17
  • Chapter 18
  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20
Same as always

Ran gets a phone call in the middle of practice. After seeing the look on Ran's face, Tomoe is concerned.

Studio
 
Tomoe
... Okay. I think we've got this song down.
Himari
Yeah we do! That's the power of friendship! We childhood friends of Afterglow are invincible~!
Moca
You say that now~. I'm pretty sure you missed a beat in the first verse there, Hii-chan.
Himari
Ahh...
Tsugumi
E-even so, that was really well done, Himari-chan.
Moca
Really well done, Himari-chan~.
Himari
Hmph!
Tomoe
Come on Moca, leave her alone.
Moca
Fine~.
Tomoe
How did you think it went, Ran?
Ran
... The same as always, really.
Himari
There's the catchphrase, "Same as always"!
Moca
Ooh.
Ran
... Don't say it like that.
Tsugumi
We know what you mean, Ran-chan. "The same amazing sound as always." It's a good thing!
Tomoe
For us, the best we can be is the "same as always." That way we know we're still putting out the best music possible.
Moca
I'm getting tired of staying cooped up in this studio, though~. I wanna try performing live some time~.
Himari
Great idea! I think I wanna try performing live some time too!
Ran
I'm in.
Tomoe
Me too. It'll be good to get back on stage thrashing the drums again.
Tsugumi
And I'll do my best on the keyboard, too!
Moca
And Hii-chan will get all emotional and cry again, I bet~.
Himari
What? I... That was just one time, and... Hmph! Stop teasing me, Moca~!
Tomoe
Haha. Try not to let her win too much, Himari. ... Oh wow, it looks like our time's nearly up already.
Moca
Hmm... I'm hungry~.
Tsugumi
Hehe. Maybe we should stop by that bakery, then. The one you really like.
Moca
Perfect, Tsugu. Exactly what I wanted to hear~.
Tomoe
First things first, let's all tidy up the studio.
Himari
I'll go and settle the bill, then. Everyone, money over this way!
Moca
How much was it again?
Himari
The same as last time~!
Moca
Right... so... 100 yen?
Himari
You know that's not right!
Tsugumi
Haha!
Ran
...?
Ran
...
Moca
... Ran?

Himari
All done! I went ahead and put in our next reservation, too.
Tsugumi
And we're all done cleaning up.
Himari
Nice timing! All that's left is to head on home.
Moca
... Hey. Where's Ran?
Ran
... Sorry. I had to take a call.
Moca
...
Tomoe
Are you feeling okay, Ran? You look kinda tired...
Ran
I'm fine... Let's go. We don't want the bakery to close on us.
Moca
Wait, wait, hold on! Yamabuki Bakery closes... does that mean...?
Ran
You don't get any bread.
Moca
But... that's not good! That's really not good...!
Ran
We'd better get moving, then.
Himari
After all this time, it still amazes me how Ran follows Moca's wandering mind like that.
Tsugumi
Of course we're all great childhood friends, but those two have something special. On stage and off, they're like two bodies with one mind.
Tomoe
They don't even need words to communicate any more. It's all pure feelings.
Tsugumi
Yeah! That's a great way to describe it.
Moca
What are you guys talking about~? We have to go, before the bread disappears~.
Ran
Let's go, Moca.
Himari
Hey, wait for me~! Hmph! They're always doing this...!
Tomoe
Same as always, I guess.
Tsugumi
Haha, oh yeah.
Tomoe
Moca, Ran, the music... I'm glad it's all the "same as always."
Tsugumi
Me too.
Himari
Tomoe! Tsugu! Come on, come on~!
Tomoe
Yes, yes. I guess we should get going, too.
Tsugumi
Okay!
An Exciting Event

The band debates participating in the event. What will Tsugumi do?

Several Days Later
 
Studio Reception
 
Himari
Excuse me~! Uehara here, I booked from 5pm!
Studio Staff
Ah, Himari-chan! Everyone's already in room B.
Himari
I'm the last one here?! I've gotta hurry...!
Studio Staff
Oh, Himari-chan. Before you go in, there's something I wanted to talk to you about.
Himari
... Really?


Studio
 
Moca
Hii-chan, you're late~.
Tomoe
It's not like you to be late for anything... Are you okay? You look serious.
Himari
The studio staff gave me this flyer just now...
Tsugumi
"Girls Band Jam Vol. 12 - Entries Open"...? Is this...?
Tomoe
Girl Jam is one of the biggest events out there for girl bands, right?
Moca
Wait... Did they want us to sign up or something~?
Himari
Actually... they did.
Himari
They said we've been getting really good recently, and that they could recommend us if we decided to apply...
Tomoe
A lot of popular bands started out at Girl Jam. I've been to watch it a few times myself, too. It really is an intense event.
Tomoe
All the events we've played so far have been small-time, for student bands. Girl Jam is on a whole other level of intensity...
Tomoe
It's nice of the staff to say they'll recommend us, but I'm just not sure how well we'd do up on that stage...
All
...
Always Starting
Tsugumi
... Let's do it!
Himari
Tsugu?!
Tsugumi
We... we should do it! We have to do it!
Tsugumi
We all said we wanted to do another live show, right? Th-this is just the kind of challenge we need! Let's do it!
All
...
Tsugumi
A-ahh... D-did I say something wrong...?! I... I'm sorry...
Tomoe
Fufu... hahaha! Not at all, Tsugu. You're completely right.
Moca
That was so cool, Tsugu~.
Tsugumi
Ahhh... S-stop it... I just...
Tomoe
She's right. We should think of this as a challenge. Ran? Moca? What do you think?
Ran
Sounds good.
Moca
If Ran's okay with it, then so am I~.
Tsugumi
Ran-chan, Moca-chan...!
Himari
... Hooray~! It's decided, then!
Tomoe
Okay!
Himari
Now all that's left is to rehearse! I can feel the motivation flowing through me!
Himari
Come on guys! Let's do this! Ready? Hey, hey, hoh~!
All
...
Himari
... We're all supposed to say it together, you guys~!!
Ran
... "Hey, hey, hoh?" No, I don't think so.
Himari
Wh-what?!
Tomoe
It's... a little embarrassing.
Himari
You too, Tomoe?! You meanies~!
All
Hahaha!
Tomoe
... All joking aside. It's not going to be easy. This is our dream performance, and we're going to have to work hard for it!
Moca
Hey, hey, hoh~.
Himari
Now you say it?!
Ran
Moca. I want to try that phrase we couldn't get last time.
Moca
Okay~.
Ran
Let's go from two phrases before...
Tomoe
Those two were quick to get back to it.
Tsugumi
I've got to start practicing, too...!
Himari
Yeah! Let's do it!


Studio Reception
 
Himari
Phew. Time for a break. We were all so focused we just kept on going...
Ran
... But that's...!
Himari
(Hmm? Is that Ran...? She's on the phone with someone...)
Ran
Stop picking me up on every little thing.
Ran
... I told you, it's got nothing to do with you!
Himari
...!
Ran
...
Himari
(She was having an argument... I wonder what happened...)
Moca
Ran~?
Ran
Sorry. I'll be right there.
Moca
Okay. We can try that tough phrase again~.
Himari
(Maybe Moca knows something about it...? It seemed pretty serious... I'm starting to worry.)
The Wrong Key

During intermission, Ran gets another phone call. When the band sees her exhausted expression, they all grow concerned.

Studio
 
Tsugumi
Maybe we should try it again one last time, from the start.
Moca
Okay~.
Tomoe
... Are you okay, Ran? Your throat sounds a little rough.
Ran
I'm fine. It's just been a long practice.
Tomoe
Sure. As long as you're okay.
Ran
...
Himari
...
Himari
I-I think I'm getting a little tired, too~! I'm feeling kinda sweaty as well. I guess I really gave it my all today!
Himari
... So maybe we should call it there for today? Yeah?
Moca
Agreed~.


Walking Home
 
Himari
...
Himari
(Ran really didn't seem the same after we went back to practice.)
Himari
(She's never usually off-key like that... She looked upset, too. Maybe it had something to do with that phone call after all...)
Tomoe
Hello~, Himari? Are you listening?
Himari
Huh?! Wh-what?!
Tomoe
It wasn't anything important. You just had this weird, puzzled look on your face, is all.
Himari
I-I did?! Really?! Ha, haha... I guess I'm just tired. I-I'm fine, though! Really!
Tomoe
Are you sure...?
Ran
... I'm gonna go home, then.
Moca
See you, Ran~.
Tsugumi
Good bye.
Tomoe
See ya.
Himari
(She looks more tired than any of us. Ran... What's going on with you...?)


Mitake Residence - Living Room
 
Ran
... I'm home.
Ran's Dad
Were you out practicing with your band this late again, Ran? You know, you haven't been to your flower arranging class in some time now. You should really rethink your priorities.
Ran
Leave me alone. It's none of your business.
Ran's Dad
Of course it's my business, Ran. I'm your father and the head of the Mitake School of Flowers. A school that you will one day take over from me. Do you understand what that means?
Ran's Dad
I don't think you do, not enough. So let me tell you.
Ran's Dad
If you are to lead a traditional school of flower arrangement, you will need to improve your own skill as well. You are in high school now, Ran. It is time you started considering your future, and-
Ran
... Shut up! I'm going to my room.
Ran's Dad
Get back here, Ran... That girl...
Ran
...


Walking Home
 
Tsugumi
Ran-chan seemed very tired during practice today. I hope she's okay...
Tomoe
It's not like her to sing out of tune, is it? She said it was from all the practice, but... I wonder if that's all it was.
Tsugumi
What do you mean?
Tsugumi
She's been getting a lot of calls recently. I think it might be her dad.
Tsugumi
Her dad owns the Mitake School of Flowers, right...? I heard he wants her to go into flower arrangement, just like he did...
Tomoe
I heard him say she should start practicing once she enters high school. But she's always said she has no interest in it at all...
Tomoe
I'm wondering if that's what her dad keeps calling her about recently...
Himari
I did see her on the phone to someone during our break. She looked furious... She was shouting into the phone, "It's none of your business!" and "Leave me alone!"...
Himari
After she hung up, she looked like she was holding back tears... She looked like that all through practice, really. You noticed too, right Moca?
Moca
Mmm, I dunno. She kinda felt the same to me~. All, y'know... "Hmm~" and stuff.
Himari
Maybe I'm just reading too much into it... At least, I hope I am...
Tsugumi
It is a worry...
Tomoe
If she still seems the same tomorrow, we should just find the right time and ask her about it. Not that she'll answer so easily, but still...
Tsugumi
Good idea. I'm worried about Ran-chan... and I'm worried about Girl Jam, too~.
Himari
Whoa, whoa. You're the one who said we should join, right Tsugu~? Come on, we'll be fine! We'll get in, no problem!
Tsugumi
... I guess we should probably end for the night, then!
Tomoe
We still don't know if we'll be chosen, of course. But Tsugu knows we've got the best sound out there, right? You've just gotta believe in us.
Tsugumi
You're right...! Okay! I'll do everything I can, too! I don't know what exactly, but... just everything!
Tomoe
Haha, that's all we ask. Let's get back to it tomorrow, then. See you.
Moca
...
Moca
... Hello? Ran, dear? It's me, your great great grandma, Moca... Just kidding.
Moca
Mmm... I didn't really have a reason to call~. I'm just walking back from practice on my own, so...
Moca
I dunno. It's nice to call sometimes. I'm sure you'll feel all kinds of happy hearing my pretty voice, too. You already were? Well now you're 100 times happier, I guess.
Moca
Hehe~, I'm just joking with you... Well, I just reached my house, so~. I'll see you all happy tomorrow, I guess~.
Moca
...
Moca
I'm rooting for you, Ran~.
Let's practice!

Ran finds herself unable to focus on practice, while the others are busy with after-school clubs...

The Next Day
 
Haneoka Girls' Academy - Class 1B
 
Himari
To-mo-e~! Good morning~!
Tomoe
Hey, morning.
Tsugumi
Himari-chan, Tomoe-chan. Good morning.
Himari & Tomoe
Good morning~! Morning.
Tsugumi
I was so excited I couldn't sleep at all last night... *yawn*...
Himari
I didn't sleep much either~... *yawn*...
Tomoe
Why not? Homework?
Himari
...?! I just... I had... things...! I-it's a secret! Hehehe~.
Tomoe
...? Strange girl. I didn't exactly lose sleep, but I've been pretty excited, too.
Tsugumi
You too, Tomoe-chan? I'm glad it wasn't just me. I just couldn't fall asleep, and now I'm feeling so tired... I have a student council meeting after school, too~...
Tomoe
Don't push yourself too hard, Tsugu. I know you like to give 110% with these things.
Tsugumi
I'm not pushing too hard~... Everyone else is still doing more than me. Part time jobs, and band, and clubs... I've got to do better, too...!
Himari
I just love that about you, Tsugu! I feel like I get all this motivation just watching you! I'm gonna ace my tennis practice today, too!
Tsugumi
Himari-chan...! Thank you! We can do it!

After School
 
Student Council
 
Student A
Right, we should get those documents ready...
Tsugumi
Ah, I-I'll do it!
Student A
Thanks, that'll really help. I need you to sort and collect up this data here. There's a lot of it, but do you think you can get it done today?
Tsugumi
O-of course!

Tennis Court
 
Student B
Himari~! Come and help me set up the court~!
Himari
Leave it to me! I'll have it done in no time at all!
Student B
Always with a smile, huh Himari~.
Student C
Himari~, do you have that training schedule we talked about?
Himari
Ack... I forgot...
Student B
Himari...
Student C
Uehara-san, about the equipment...
Himari
Ahh...
Student B
Why do you take on all these different tasks like this, Himari...?
Himari
I just like it when people count on me for stuff~! Ahh~, what do I do~?!
Tomoe
Hey, Himari! ... Is something wrong? You look pretty upset.
Himari
Tomoe~! Help me~!

Studio
 
Ran
...
Ran's Dad
Do you understand what that means, to take over the School of Flowers?
Ran
...
Ran
(I'm not focused at all. I haven't got a single idea for a song...)
Moca
Hey~. You're early, Ran.
Ran
You're late.
Moca
Potato, potahto. Come on, Ran, smile~. You know you're cutest when you smile~.
Ran
Cut it out already. Why did you ask to practice just the two of us, anyway?
Moca
Mmm... I dunno, no reason. I just wanted to practice with you~. Hey, is that our new song written out there~?
Ran
It's.. nowhere near ready. I can't show you yet.
Moca
Hmm. Is it a love song, about your dearest Moca~?
Ran
You got me. Come on, let's start.
Ran
...
Moca
Shouldn't you get that?
Ran
No. It's just my dad.
Moca
... Huh. Okay...
Ran
I'm ready.

Walk Home
 
Himari
I am beat~... I didn't think it would go so late today...
Tsugumi
I know what you mean, Himari-chan. My student council meeting was really tough, too...
Moca
Oh, Hii-chan, Tsugu. Are you heading home~?
Tsugumi
Hi Ran-chan, Moca-chan.
Himari
What are you two doing?
Moca
It's a secret~.
Ran
We were in the studio. And you?
Tsugumi
I had a student council meeting and Himari-chan had tennis practice. We just left to go home. So you two were practicing together?
Tomoe
What's everyone doing here?
Himari
To~mo~e~~!
Tomoe
And a hello to you, too. Himari must have had tennis, and Tsugu had student council. Which means Ran and Moca were at the studio?
Ran
More or less.
Tomoe
Great... that's good. You looked pretty tired yesterday, Ran. We were worried. I'm glad to hear you managed to practice today.
Ran
You don't have to worry about me.
Moca
You've got instruments too. Why?
Tomoe
I was just getting them checked out. You know, making sure they sound their best, ready for Girl Jam.
Tsugumi
The three of you, practicing and fixing instruments...
Tomoe
Ever since we decided to take part in Girl Jam, I just haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Just like you, Tsugu.
Moca
Me too~. It's all exciting and buzzing~.
Himari
I already let the staff know we want to apply. I guess I'll get some kind of instructions in the next few days. I'll let you all know as soon as I do!
Tomoe
... Very calm of you, Himari.
Moca
It's weird not seeing her panic like this~. You're not buzzing enough, Hii-chan. Buzz buzz~.
Himari
Hya~?! S-stop that! Tickling me is not going to help~! Ha... haha~! Get off me, Moca~!
We're in this together♪

The girls are ecstatic over their invitation to Girl Jam. Meanwhile, Himari has made something. What is it?

A Few Days Later
 
Uehara Residence - Entrance
 
Himari
*Yawn~* (... I've gotten sop worked up about Girl Jam, I'm out here checking the mail every day now...)
Himari
(Which would make this the third... fourth... fifth day? It's worked its way into my daily routine now... Well, let's see what we have today.)
Himari
Ah!
Himari
This letter...!

Hazawa Coffee
 
Himari
There you are! You're late!
Moca
You're early, Hii-chan.
Ran
Have we really heard back from Girl Jam?
Himari
We have...! Look, here.
Tomoe
Girls Band Jam Vol. 12 Performer's Guide...
Moca
... This is for real, isn't it...
Ran
Yeah...
Tsugumi
...
Himari
Wh-what...? Why is everyone so... I dunno, like this?! Where's all the fun and cheer, and "let's do it, woo~," y'know?
Tomoe
I'm happy, I am. It's just... Seeing this guide makes it all suddenly feel so... real.
Moca
... Are you crying, Tsugu?
Tsugumi
Wh-what?! Ah.. I-I am... I-I'm sorry! I didn't know...
Himari
Haha, Tsugu~! You're always crying at stuff like this.
Tsugumi
H-Himari-chan... I'm sorry...! I just... I don't know, I feel so relieved...
Moca
Look who's talking, Hii-chan~.
Himari
This is not about me!
Moca
Tomo-chin's right, though~. Seeing these documents and stuff, makes it all so, just... y'know? Hehe~, isn't that right, Ran~?
Ran
... Sure, yeah.
Tomoe
Now that we're definitely performing, it's time we cranked our rehearsals into overdrive. In fact, why don't we-
Himari
Fufufu~! Before we begin, there's something I want you all to see!
Moca
What is it~? You know you already showed us the performer's guide, right~?
Mysterious Charm
Himari
Not that. I made some lucky charms for us all!
Himari
In tennis club, before a tournament we always make these lucky charms to take with us. I wanted us to have some for Girl Jam, too!
Himari
I've been making them for a while now, and I just finished the last one yesterday~... Tada! Himari's Amazing Charms! Take any one you like~ ♪
All
...
Himari
Huh?! Why did you all go quiet?!
Moca
I think I speak for everyone when I say... "Really...?"
Himari
What~?! That's just mean~! I was up every night making these~...
Tsugumi
So that's why you've been so tired recently, Himari-chan...
Tomoe
That's a little harsh, Moca. Himari clearly worked hard on these.
Himari
Tomoe~!
Tomoe
Still... they are a bit funny-looking...
Himari
Oof...
Tsugumi
Please, don't get sad, Himari-chan! I think they look really cute! Especially... Umm... Their, umm...
Himari
Thank you Tsugu, but... that's not really helping...
Tsugumi
Ah... I-I'm sorry...
Tomoe
Hahaha. I think this is a classic case of "it's the thought that counts." Thank you, Himari. I'll stick mine on my snare bag.
Tsugumi
I'll put mine on my keyboard case.
Moca
And one for my guitar case~. What about you, Ran~?
Ran
... I'll do it later.
Moca
Hmm~? Are you all embarrassed, Ran~?
Ran
No I am not...!
Moca
You shouldn't be~. Come on, put one on your guitar case like me~.
Ran
... Okay, fine.
Himari
Hehehe, now we're all lucky-charmed together♪ Moments like these make me so happy. Now let's all get ready for the big show.
Tsugumi
Yeah!
Himari
Please, please make it all go well...!
Ran
She's praying to her lucky charm...
Moca
It does look like a kind of voodoo effigy. It might work.
Ran
... Good point.
Himari
You meanies~!
Tomoe
Come on everyone, let's get ready. We've gotta go make this Girl Jam ours.
All
Okay!
What can I do?

The girls meet to discuss Girl Jam, but Tsugumi is staring to doubt her abilities...

After Practice
 
Studio Lobby
 
Tomoe
I know we're all excited, and practice is very important, but we should probably work out the details of our set, too.
Moca
Sounds boring~. I'll leave you kids to it~.
Himari
No you won't! This is something we all need to discuss together.
Tomoe
... Looking at this lineup, there are gonna some fairly well-known bands performing with us.
Tomoe
Like these guys here. There are rumors they're about to start their major debut soon.
Tsugumi
That is amazing... I bet they're all really talented performers, too... I wonder if I'll be okay...
Moca
Tsugu~, you're worrying too much~.
Ran
The event may change, the location may be new, but we'll always be performing the same as always.
Tomoe
Exactly. ... Now, about our set list for the show...
Tsugumi
(Wow... Everyone's talking through all the details already... I have to try not to get left behind...)
Tsugumi
(But I'm just not as good a performer as the others... I can't even bring everyone together like Himari-chan does... What exactly can I do...?)
Tsugumi
......
Himari
Tsugu? Hello~? Tsugu~?
Tsugumi
... Ah?! I-I'm sorry! Was I daydreaming?
Moca
Yup. You were even more out of it than me~.
Ran
You must be tired, Tsugumi. We don't have to do this today. We can pick it up again-
Tsugumi
I-I'm fine! I'm really fine, honestly! Hehe, I'm sorry. I was just thinking to myself, that's all. Come on, let's go through the set list!
Ran
... If you're sure. So, for the second and third songs, I was thinking...
Tomoe
... All right, we've decided on the set list, then. Next rehearsal, we'll go through all the songs and see how it all comes together.
Ran
Okay. Himari, don't forget to bring the details for our contact at Girl Jam.
Himari
Ah... I had completely forgotten...
Moca
What a great leader you are, Hii-chan~.
Tomoe
... Moca.
Moca
Sorry~.
Tomoe
Don't get so down, Himari. We still have plenty of time to send back our reply. Just let us know if we can help, okay?
Himari
Uuu, thank you...
Moca
Hey, I heard that big record companies send people to Girl Jam, y'know~. Some bands even get scouted right then and there~.
Tomoe
Now that you mention it, I think I saw some industry types around last time I was there.
Himari
Fufu~, so you're saying we might get scouted too? "You kids, you've got just the sound we're looking for. Wanna sign up?", that kinda thing?!
Tomoe
Y-you sure bounced back quick, Himari...
Himari
And then, and then! We make our major debut and start our new super rich and famous future~!
Ran
Our future...
Tomoe
Haha. That's probably going a little far, Himari. I doubt that'll all happen from one show.
Himari
Really~? You never know, though! This event might be the start of something huge. We might look back on it from our giant mansions one day!
Tomoe
One day... I've never really thought about where we'll end up with all of this.
Ran
......
Tomoe
I guess a big break isn't out of the question. Haha.
Ran
... I want us to be like this. The five of us, in our band. I'm not interested in making it big.
Tomoe
Ran...
Moca
......
Tomoe
I think I agree. As long the five of us are together, I want us to stay just the way we are.
Himari
Fufu. I agree too, you know! I mean, it would be nice to be super famous, but the most important thing is being here with you guys!
Tsugumi
I think so too!
Ran
... I just want to focus on what's next. The event. No talk of debuts, or the future...
Moca
Yup. I just wanna focus on literally right now. We're having fun, and that's fine by me, hehe~. Isn't that right, Ran?
Ran
Not what I said.
Moca
Hehehe~.
Tomoe
(Moca really is good at handling Ran. ... It was stupid of me to talk about the future like that.)
Tomoe
(... Even so, Ran. All this talk of futures and the problems you have at home... How much longer are you gonna keep it to yourself?)
Tomoe
(You have all these great friends around you, bonds 10 years strong, and still...)
Disappearing Act & Brain

Tsugumi is exhausted from band practice and student council every day. Tomoe is worried about her, but what will she do...?

Studio
 
Tsugumi
(Only two weeks left until Girl Jam... Everyone is improving so much... But me...?)
Himari
Tsugu~? I think we're about ready to finish~.
Tsugumi
... I-I think I'll stay and practice some more.
Moca
Ooh. That's the spirit.
Ran
You shouldn't push too hard. Taking a break is just as-
Tsugumi
It's fine! I won't go all night or anything. I just want to review what we practiced today.
Himari
As long as you're sure, Tsugu... Just don't be too long, okay? I wanna see you bright and happy at school again tomorrow~!
Tsugumi
You will. Thanks! I'm gonna go and ask for some extra time. See you all later.
All
See you~!
Tsugumi
......
Tsugumi
(I have to keep going... I have to catch up with everyone... I have to make this performance a success...!)

The Next Day
 
Haneoka Girls' Academy - Class 1B
 
Tsugumi
(I think I went a bit too far yesterday... I can't focus at all in class. This is no good at all...)
Tomoe
... Tsugu, you don't look too good. Are you okay?
Tsugumi
I'm fine... I'm okay...
Tomoe
... Whoa there! Stumbling around like that is "fine," is it? Have you got a fever?
Tsugumi
Hehe... I'm sorry... Oh, I almost forgot. I have a student council meeting. I might be a little late for rehearsals today. I'd better get going...
Tomoe
Wait, Tsugu...!
Tomoe
......

After School
 
Haneoka Girls' Academy - School Gate
 
Himari
To~mo~e~! It's time to get rehearsing!
Tomoe
Yeah...
Himari
...? What's the matter?
Tomoe
Did you see Tsugu?
Himari
Now you mention it... I wonder where she's gone. D'you think she went ahead to the studio already?
Tomoe
... She's got a student council meeting today. It's just she looked so sick since lunch... She could hardly stand straight when I spoke to her.
Himari
It does feel like she's been pushing herself a lot, lately. She keeps saying she's fine, but still...
Tomoe
Right? I was hoping I might still catch her, tell her to just go home and get some sleep tonight... Will you come to the student council room with me, Himari?
Himari
Of course!

Studio
 
Ran
Tsugumi said she'll be late today. She has student council.
Moca
Huh... That Tsugu sure is a hard worker. You could say she's pretty "Tsugurific."
Ran
You should probably be more Tsugurific yourself, Moca.
Moca
I'm way Tsugurific. I'm Mocatastic too, baby~... Umm?
Ran
What is it?
Moca
That voodoo thing Himari made me, it's gone. I had it right here on my guitar case~.
Ran
Voodoo thing...? You mean the lucky charm? Did it drop off out on the street or something?
Moca
Mmm... I dunno where it went~...

Haneoka Girls' Academy - Student Council Room
 
Tsugumi
......
Student A
... So we're all in agreement with the budget for the track team? Good. Let's write it up and announce it to the students.
Student B
Hazawa-san, do you think you could write the documents?
Tsugumi
......
Tsugumi
(As soon as this meeting is over, I'll run to the studio for rehearsals. They've probably all started without me...)
Tsugumi
(Huh...? I... I can't move... my body...)
Tsugumi
(... No, no please... I have to get to practice... I have to...)
Student A
... Hazawa-san?! Hazawa-san!!
Tomoe
...! Tsugu! Oi, Tsugumi!!
Himari
Tsugu...?
Tomoe
Himari, call an ambulance! Quick!
Himari
......
Tomoe
Now!!
Himari
...! O-okay!
Tomoe
Ran and the others must be at the studio. I have to call them...!

Studio
 
Ran
Maybe we can keep looking for the charm after practice, Moca.
Moca
Mmm... Can I at least keep looking until Hii-chan and the others get here?
Ran
... They're running pretty late, huh.
Moca
Yeah. Wonder what they're doing. ... Ah. It's raining.
Moca
And I didn't bring my umbrella~. This is all because I lost that lucky charm~. Not that I could fight the rain off with it anyway, but still...
Ran
... Tomoe?
Half Make-Believe

Sick from exhaustion, Tsugumi cancels band practice. When Ran gets home, her father is waiting for her...

Ran
... Uh-huh. Okay. Got it.
Ran
......
Moca
That was Tomo-chin? What did she want~?
Ran
... She said Tsugumi collapsed.
Moca
What...?!
Ran
Tomoe and Himari went with her to the hospital. They think it's stress-related.
Moca
... Wow. ... No rehearsal today, then.
Ran
... Yeah.
Moca
......
Ran
......
Moca
Let's go home.
Ran
... Yeah.

Hospital
 
Tomoe
We're heading home now. Please, take care of her.
Nurse A
We will. Thank you both.
Tomoe
I was so scared seeing her fall like that... I'm just glad it's nothing serious. They said she'll be out in two or three days.
Himari
Yeah...
Tomoe
Himari...?
Himari
I saw her fall and... my mind just went blank... Hearing you shout for the ambulance snapped me out of it, but...
Himari
I completely panicked. That's no good at all... I need to do better.
Himari
I could see she was tired recently... I should have told her to rest more...
Tomoe
Himari, I was just so glad to have you by my side.
Tomoe
If it was just me, I wouldn't have known what to do either. It was knowing you were there with me that let me do what I did.
Tomoe
You know more than anyone, Himari. I'm not as strong as people think. You shouldn't beat yourself up over this.
Tomoe
... Come on. Smiles.
Himari
H-Hyuu~~! T-Tomoe~! Stop pulling my cheeks~!
Tomoe
Haha, sorry, sorry. I just don't want you looking all sad like that.
Himari
You'd rather see me angry~?!
Tomoe
I mean, at least you look funny when you're angry...
Himari
Hmph~! Stupid Tomoe~!

Walk Home
 
Moca
......
Ran
......
Moca
Are you worried about Tsugu, too?
Ran
... Yeah.
Moca
... We're almost home.
Ran
......
Moca
Umm...
Ran
This is me.
Moca
... Okay. See you~.
Moca
... *sigh*

Mitake Residence - Living Room
 
Ran
... I'm back.
Ran's Dad
Band practice, again?
Ran
... So what if it was?
Ran's Dad
I just think anyone who can't even handle flower arranging classes surely can't handle any other activities, either.
Ran
What are you saying?
Ran's Dad
I'm saying that if you and your friends are just half-heartedly playing some band fantasy, you should give it up already.
Ran
This is not some "fantasy," and you have no right to say that to me! I am not quitting my band, not ever.
Ran's Dad
Oh you're just being rebellious. Where is this band going to take you? What about your flower arranging? You need to think more about reality, Ran.
Ran
... I have nothing more to say to you.
Ran's Dad
... That girl.
Ran
......
Ran
(How dare he call it just some fantasy...! But still...)
Ran's Dad
Oh you're just being rebellious. You need to think more about reality, Ran.
Ran
(Just being rebellious... Maybe he's right...)
Ran
......
It is my business!

The band is worried about Ran when she doesn't show up to class. What will Tomoe do when Ran tells her to mind her own business?

The Next Day
 
Haneoka Girls' Academy - Class 1B
 
Tomoe
Have any of you seen Ran today?
Himari
No, I don't think so.
Moca
Ran~? She's where she always is.
Tomoe
... She hasn't been up on the roof much at all recently. Moca, you should really stop her if you see her heading there.
Moca
Mmm~... Sorry. I'll stop her next time~. So are we starting rehearsals again today?
Tomoe
Yeah. Tsugu won't be able to come yet, but we just don't have enough time left before the show. We'll have to do what we can for now.
Tomoe
Let's make a strong foundation of skill for her to come back to.
Himari
Yeah! Good idea!

Haneoka Girls' Academy - Roof
 
Ran
......
Moca
Ran~?
Moca
It's time for rehearsals~.
Ran
... You go ahead. I'll be down later.
Moca
I mean, it's already later now~. I guess if we're gonna get shouted at, we might as well get it over with together~.
Ran
I'm used to getting shouted at alone. It's all I hear at home.
Moca
You mean, your dad...?
Ran
... Yesterday, he told me I was just pretending in some band fantasy. Said I should just give it up already.
Moca
Band fantasy, huh~. I wanna play the guitarist~.
Ran
I don't think what we're doing is just some fantasy. And I'm not going to give up. And I'm not going to do flower arranging, either...!
Ran
And I keep telling him all this, but...!
Moca
......
Ran
... I'm sorry, Moca. Go to practice. I'll be there later.
Moca
Okay... I'll be waiting.
Ran
......

Studio
 
Moca
Heyo~. I'm late, I'm late~.
Tomoe
Didn't you bring Ran with you?
Moca
She said she'll be around later~.
Himari
Poor Ran...
Tomoe
Let's hope she can make it to practice today.
Himari
Ran! Are you okay? We were so worried.
Ran
I'm fine... There's nothing to worry about.
Himari
B-but... They said you spent all day on the roof, not even going to classes...
Ran
... And what if I did?
Himari
It's just you've been so good with attendance lately, I thought something might be-
Ran
Nothing's wrong. And me not going to class doesn't affect you anyway, Himari.
Himari
M-maybe not, but...
Tomoe
That's not fair, Ran. We're all just worried-
Ran
Well don't be. So what if I am skipping classes? It's none of your business!
Tomoe
None of our business...?
Himari
Tomoe...!
Tomoe
How dare you say that to us! You have no idea just how worried we all are, do you?!
Ran
...!
Tomoe
... We're friends, aren't we? We're supposed to know you better than anyone.
Tomoe
And you tell us it's none of our business...? How can you even say that...?!
Tomoe
I know your family, Ran. I know you must be going through so much, with future plans and whatever else...!
Tomoe
But you don't tell us anything! You don't let us in...!
Himari
Tomoe!
Tomoe
... I'm sorry. I went too far.
Ran
......
Himari
Ran!
Moca
......
Tomoe
... I'm really sorry. I'm the worst.
Himari
I-it's okay!
Himari
Ran's been going through a lot. Tensions are high, and... I think if we all calm down and try again, she'll understand. Right, Tomoe?
Tomoe
... I think I need some fresh air.
Himari
Ah, Tomoe...!
Moca
I'll look for Ran.
Himari
Moca...! They all left... ... Wh-what am I supposed to do...?
Birds of a Feather

Moca confides in Lisa during their shift at the convenience store. What advice will Lisa give her?

Walk Home
 
Himari
......
Himari
(There was no way we could start practice again after that... Everyone just left, not knowing what to say...)
Himari
I never noticed how long the walk back home is, until I walked it on my own...
Himari
(The five of us have been together for so long now... I only now realize how lonely it is without them.)
Himari
(I couldn't do anything to keep everyone together tonight... And I call myself leader... It's laughable.)
Himari
... We'll perform together again though, right...?

The Next Day
 
Convenience Store
 
Lisa
Thank you for shopping with us~.
Moca
... Cheers~.
Lisa
Moca... You're getting worse with these thank you's, you know.
Moca
I'm seeing how far I can go with it~. The other day I said "Hank's view" and they didn't even notice~.
Lisa
Haha, you did? That's crazy! If only you were that dedicated in your actual work.
Moca
Hehehe~. Lisa-san, compliments will get you nowhere~.
Lisa
Definitely not a compliment! ... Oh, from Yukina.
Moca
You've been friends with Minato-san a long time, right?
Lisa
Yeah. We're neighbors, you see. We must have known each other more than 10 years now... Same with you and Ran though, right?
Moca
Yeah... I mean, I guess so...
Lisa
Hmm? Is something wrong~?
Lisa
Huh. I didn't know Ran's family owned a flower arranging school.
Lisa
... So then what? I mean, I can see why Ran has problems, but how did you react to them?
Moca
React...?
Lisa
She came to you and told you all of this right? And it was emotional enough for her to burst out the studio. So what did you do?
Moca
What did I do...?
Moca
I... I always listen to her problems... and I try to do what I can to make her feel less stressed...
Lisa
Okay. So what do you want her to do?
Moca
I... I don't want her to quit the band. I want her to always be with us, so... I want her to face her problems at home... but that's just me...
Lisa
That's good. And I think you should tell her exactly that. All of it, just how you told me.
Moca
All of it...
Lisa
You're sweet, Moca. You're worried she might not want to hear what you have to say, aren't you?
Moca
I... Maybe...
Lisa
If Ran's really that important to you, it's no longer enough just being there for her.
Lisa
Being her friend... her best friend, means that you have to make sure she doesn't go down any wrong roads, take any wrong paths.
Moca
No longer enough...
Lisa
... That was probably just me trying to sound cool. Hehe. The truth is, I'm kind of worried about Yukina, too... She tries to do everything herself, too.
Lisa
I always promised I'd be right by her side, as long as she was happy. Just standing there, wondering if she was making the right choices.
Lisa
... Thinking back on it now, I wasn't doing enough either.
Lisa
I guess we're quite similar, you and me. ... That's why I don't want you to make the same mistake I did.
Moca
......
Moca
Me and you, we're similar...
Lisa
At least, I think so.
Moca
I think... I'm probably cuter, though~.
Lisa
... Haha! Hahaha! You are a strange one, Moca~. Maybe we're not so alike after all! I just think you should try talking to Ran again.
Lisa
I know you're not the most communicative pair... but there's no harm in trying, right? You're not going to fall out over something like this. Give it a go!
Moca
If I do fall out and smash into tiny little pieces, scatter them over the ocean for me~.
Lisa
Okay, sure. Anything you want, my cute little Moca.
Moca
It is great being so cute~.
Lisa
Okay, okay! Man, Ran really has some skill handling you, doesn't she?
Moca
Hehehe~, she does~. So I'll do my best, for her. I'll let you know how it goes, Lisa-san.
Lisa
I'll be waiting.
The Sun Will Rise

Moca finds Ran looking at the sunset. What does Ran confide in Moca?

The Next Day
 
School Path
 
Tomoe
Mm, so bright...
Tomoe
(What a sunset. It reminds me of middle school, when the five of us would sit up on the roof watching it together.)
Tomoe
(... Even when we're apart like this, I'm still thinking of the others. I guess when you spend as much time together as we have...)
Tomoe
(I should probably apologize. To Himari, to Moca... and to Ran.)
Tomoe
Hey, Himari? The sunset looks beautiful right now. Take a look... Oh, you already were? Haha... just the same as me.
Tomoe
... I wonder if Ran and Moca are watching it too.

Haneoka Girls' Academy - Roof
 
Moca
(If I know Ran, she'll definitely be up here... ... And there she is.)
Moca
(But... what do I say? "What a nice sunset," or something? No~, that's so stupid~...)
Ran
... Moca?
Moca
...! Ahh~, you found me~. I applaud your keen senses, my dear~.
Ran
... What are you talking about? Come over here.
Moca
Okay, I will.
Moca
I haven't been up here in so long~.
Moca
All my middle school memories are of stuff that happened up here... We came almost every day after we formed the band~.
Moca
It really does have the best sunset view, huh. Hey Ran, do you remember that sunset after our middle school festival performance?
Ran
... Yeah.
Moca
That school festival was our debut show, huh~. I remember it perfectly.
Ran
It was so different to rehearsals. There was our sound, and then the sound of the crowd, all mixed in together... It was like the song had come alive...
Ran
I never imagined it would be like that... I know it sounds cheesy, but it made me realize that's what a real "live" show should be...
Moca
I think we all felt something after that show~. We all sat here crying together, watching the sun set. Hii-chan shouting "I'll never forget this moment!" and stuff.
Moca
... I guess we were all kids back then~.
Ran
Never forget this moment, huh... I never forgot it either. That show, that sunset... Even everyone's faces, all crying together.
Moca
You can go ahead and forget my crying face~.
Ran
Definitely not.
Moca
Didn't think so~.
Childhood Friends
Ran
... I hope we can all watch the sunset again together some day...
Moca
... Ran.
Ran
... Do you think we will?
Moca
Yeah. I do.
Ran
......
Ran
I want to stay with this band. I don't want to give up.
Moca
......
Ran
Hearing Tomoe say all those things made me realize. I have been running away... from my dad, from flower arranging... even from the band.
Ran
... I didn't want to hear it, so I just ran away... I guess Tomoe really hit a nerve with me. She's sharp, I'll give her that.
Ran
I should apologize to her. To Himari and Tsugu, too. And... to my dad as well.
Moca
Yeah.
Ran
... It's so easy saying all of this in front of you, Moca. Why can't I say it to other people, too?
Moca
Maybe you don't think of me as a person~?
Ran
Haha, maybe you're right.
Moca
Wow~, now that's mean~.
Ran
I'm just kidding... Thanks, Moca. You know... for always being there.
Moca
Being there...
Ran
Moca?
Moca
Ahh~, I can't deal with your praise~. You'll make me blush.
Ran
... I'll make sure never to praise or even thank you again, then.
Moca
Now hold on a minute~. I feed on compliments, you know~.
Ran
I know, I know. Let's go and visit Tsugu tomorrow. I think I'd like to talk to her, too.
Moca
Yeah. Good idea~.
Ran
It's a date, then.
Moca
The sun looks so big tonight... Don't they say a big, orange sunset means clear skies the next day~?
Moca
I guess tomorrow's gonna be sunny then... I think it'll be a good day, Ran.
Ran
Yeah.
The End of the Beginning

Himari and Tomoe visit Tsugumi in the hospital. The three of them consider what Ran said...

The Next Day
 
Hospital Room
 
Himari
How are you feeling, Tsugu?
Tsugumi
Himari-chan, Tomoe-chan! You came to visit!
Tomoe
Hey. You're looking much better.
Tsugumi
I feel much better, too. They said I just had a fever from stress... I'm sorry I caused so much trouble for you all.
Himari
What are you talking about, trouble? We're just glad to see you're okay, Tsugu!
Tomoe
Yeah. Seeing you collapse like that really had us worried, you know.
Tsugumi
Hehehe... I won't let it happen again! I'm really lucky I had you two there to help me... By the way, have you seen Ran-chan and Moca-chan?
Himari
Erm... About that...
Tomoe
... There's no use hiding it. The thing is, Tsugu...
Tsugumi
... Oh. I had no idea.
Tomoe
I was just worried about Ran, but I got all emotional and took it too far... I went way over the top... I just wish I could apologize to her like this, too.
Tsugumi
I'm sure if you talk to her again, she'll understand.
Tomoe
... I really hope so...
Himari
... It's just not the same without the five of us together.
Tsugumi
That's why we started the band in the first place... so we could always be together.
Tomoe
... You're right. It was all because Ran was moving to another class in middle school.
Tomoe
She stopped going to classes, spending all of her time up on the roof...
Himari
She sat there thinking up ways we could all be together, like before... and suddenly, it's Tsugu who said "let's make a band!"
Tomoe
To be honest, I thought she was joking when she first told me.
Tsugumi
Hahaha...
Tomoe
But then once we formed the band, Ran started going back to classes again. And the rooftop became a sort of home ground for us all, right?
Tsugumi
Yeah, it did.
Himari
The first sunset we saw up there after starting the band was just so pretty, we decided that would be our name - Afterglow.
Tomoe
It did take us forever to look it up though. We knew we wanted the word for evening orange twilight, but no one knew what it was.
Himari
Oh yeah! I forgot about that part...!
Tsugumi
Fufu. We really didn't know anything when we first started out... but that was part of the fun, wasn't it? The five of us experiencing something new, together...
Himari
... I wonder if Ran still enjoys it all.
Tsugumi
... Huh?
Himari
She hasn't looked like she's enjoyed practice for some time now... Her performance, her singing, it's just not the same...
Tomoe
... She must be under a lot of pressure. From the band and from home, too.
Tsugumi
But if... if the band really is making her feel this way, then... maybe we should all think about quitting...
Himari
But...!
Tsugumi
I enjoy it, too! I love performing with everyone, but... it's not worth making Ran feel terrible for...
Tomoe & Himari
... ...
Tomoe
I don't want her to suffer any more either. Seeing Ran's face after what I said to her the other day... Well, I just don't want it to happen again.
Tomoe
What do you think, Himari?
Himari
I think it's so sad, but... if it'll help Ran, then maybe we should take a break…
Tomoe
We can start again once things have calmed down. I'm sure we'll get another chance at Girl Jam in the future, but for now we have to put Ran first.
Himari
You're right.

Downtown
 
Moca
Are you sure we won't need any buns~?
Ran
Are you sure you just don't want some for yourself?
Moca
Of course not~, I wanted to take some for Tsugu~. Why would I ever think something like that~?
Ran
Sure, of course. ... Visiting hours are almost over. We should hurry.
Moca
Okay~. I wonder if Tomo-chin and Hii-chan are there.
Ran
Huh... I wonder.
Moca
I hope they are~.
Ran
... Mmm.
Moca
Ran, you look scary~. Are you nervous or something~?
Ran
N-no, I always look like this. I'm not nervous! If Tomoe and Himari are there, then... I just have to apologize, and...
Ran
... And say I want to continue the band.
Moca
Yeah.
Ran
Come on. First we just need to see if Tsugumi's okay.
Repairing Friendships

Ran and Moca visit Tsugumi in the hospital. What will Ran do after hearing what Tomoe said?

Hospital Room
 
Moca
Tsugu~, we're here~.
Tsugumi
Moca-chan! And Ran-chan, too!
Tomoe
Ran...
Ran
... Tomoe.
Ran & Tomoe
... ...
Himari
... I-it's been a while since we were all together, huh.
Moca
I can't even count the years~. Hii-chan, Tomo-chin... You've both grown so big~...
Tomoe
It's been two days.
Tsugumi
Haha... Thank you both for coming.
Moca
No worries~. Are you feeling better~?
Tsugumi
Yeah, I'm feeling much better. Thanks.
Moca
That's good, that's good. I was so worried I couldn't even sleep~.
Tsugumi
Fufu. I doubt that somehow.
Moca
No, really~. I did all my sleeping in class instead~.
Himari
... How do you have such good grades, Moca?
Moca
Probably because I'm a genius~.
Tomoe
Big-headed, much?
Tsugumi
I've missed so much school recently... I hope I can still keep up in class...
Moca
Don't worry! I'll let you copy my special genius notes~.
Tomoe
They're special alright. You'd need an enigma machine just to decipher them...
Moca
I dunno about that~. Hey, when are you coming back to school by the way?
Tsugumi
I should be out of here by the end of the week and starting school straight after!
Himari
Hey~! That's great~!
Moca
Good, good. Great, great. That means we can start rehearsals again next week~. Oh, but Ran and Tomoe have to make up again first, right~?
Ran
......
Tomoe
......
Tsugumi
U-umm...
Tomoe
Tsugu, it's fine. Ran... It was wrong of me to say what I said the other day. I was just worried about you, but still, I went too far. I... I'm sorry.
Ran
M-me too, I'm... I'm sorry...
Moca
All friends again~... right?
Ran
... Mmm.
Himari
... Tomoe.
Tomoe
... Also.
Tomoe
We were talking about you earlier today. About how you've been looking so stressed recently.
Tomoe
We started this band so we could all spend time together, right?
Tomoe
... But every time we gather for practice, you look like you're being torn apart by something.
Ran
But that's...!
Tomoe
I know things are tough at home. I can see it.
Tomoe
And if the band is just making things harder for you, if it's just giving you extra pressure... it becomes hard on all of us, too.
Ran
(No...)
Tomoe
We don't want to do this if it's hurting you, Ran.
Ran
(... Please, don't say it.)
Tomoe
We think... we should all take a break.
Moca
...!
Ran
......
Himari
Once things have settled down at home, Ran, we can start up again... right?
Ran
... I hope we can all watch the sunset again together some day...
Moca
... Ran.
Ran
... Do you think we will?
Moca
Yeah. I do.
Ran
......
Ran
... No.
Tomoe
Ran?
Ran
No!! I don't want to quit the band!!
By Your Side

Ran tries to storm out of the hospital room, but Moca stops her. An argument ensues...

Hospital Room
 
Himari
... Ran...
Moca
......
Ran
I don't... want to quit...
Ran
......
Tomoe
Ran...!
Moca
Ran...
Lisa
If Ran's really that important to you, it's no longer enough just being there for her.
Lisa
Being her friend... her best friend, means that you have to make sure she doesn't go down any wrong roads, take any wrong paths.
Moca
Ran...!!
Ran
Let go of me!
Moca
... No...
Himari
Moca...?
Moca
... Umm...
Ran
...?
Moca
... You're a coward.
Ran
... What?
Moca
If you've got something to say, then say it~. You can't just keep running away like this. I'd call that cowardly. Wouldn't you~?
Ran
Shut up... Just leave me alone...!
Moca
Not shutting up~. If you can't even face Tomo-chin... can't even face any of us, there's no way you'll ever face your father. You coward. You chicken.
Moca
You... erm... idiot.
Ran
What...? Who are you calling idiot?! At least I don't just speak whatever nonsense comes into my head all day long!
Himari
H-hey... come on, you two...!
Tomoe
... Wait, Himari.
Himari
What? But...!
Tomoe
They're fine. You'll see. Leave them to it.
Moca
Nonsense~? You don't speak at all, you never tell us your true feelings, but you're gonna say I speak nonsense~? Idiot, i~diot. And, erm... fool.
Ran
What are you...?! ... You're the worst, Moca. I'm done.
Himari
I can't just let this happen! S-stop it, both of you~!!
Ran
... What?
Moca
Hii-chan, this is a fight between friends. Leave us be.
Himari
What...?!
Tomoe
Hey, hold on now. Himari's just concerned about you-
Ran
Tomoe, will you cut it out already? Trying to act so cool all the time.
Tomoe
I am not trying to act cool. I'm just worried that you-
Ran
There you go again, being all cool. Do you think you're better than us or something?
Tomoe
... Ran, you really need to cool off right now...!
Tsugumi
E-everyone... Please, calm down...
Moca
You both think you're the coolest girls around. Always flying off the handle when things get too much. You're two peas in a pod~.
Ran
Don't say I'm like her.
Tomoe
I'm the one who should be insulted.
Tsugumi
Th-this is a hospital, guys...! Ahh... they're not listening to me at all...
Ran
Insulted? I'd much rather be me than you any day.
Tomoe
Now hold on a second...!
Head Nurse
Will you all just be quiet?! Need I remind you this is a hospital!
All
......
All
Sorry...
All
......
Moca
Pff...!
Tomoe
Haha... Hahaha...
All
Hahahahaha!
Tomoe
Hahahaha. ... What were we talking about again?
Ran
Oh, I dunno. Anyone remember?
Moca
I think we all forgot~. I just know I feel a lot better now~.
Tomoe
Hahaha, me too. ... Right, Ran?
Ran
... Yeah.
Tomoe
Let me say again. I really am sorry for the other day.
Ran
S-so am I. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have run away like that... But I really do want to keep playing with you guys. I never want to quit the band.
Ran
I... I want us to all watch that sunset, like after our first live show. Again and again, the five of us together... So I decided.
Ran
For the good of the band... I'm going to speak to my dad.
Himari
Ran...!
Moca
She finally opened up~.
Tomoe
Come on, don't tease her. ... I know how you feel now, Ran. Thanks for talking it out.
Tsugumi
I'm so happy you spoke to us, Ran...!
Himari
We were all too important to each other to tell some real truths. Fufu, we're just too good friends.
Tomoe
... That's right.
Moca
Ahh~. All this fighting's made me hungry~. Let's stop by the bakery on our way home. The sweet buns should be on sale today~.
Tomoe
Haha. It's always good to see business as usual for Moca. Come on then, let's go. Back to "the same as always."
Tsugumi
Wh-what about me...?!
Himari
You'll just have to wait a little longer, Tsugu!
Tsugumi
Okay...
All
Hahahaha!
How I Feel

Ran decides to have a serious conversation with her father about staying in the band. What happens when she tells him how she feels?

A Few Days Later
 
Mitake Residence - Front Entrance
 
Himari
Ran~... Are you sure you'll be okay by yourself? You don't want me to go with you?
Ran
I told you, I'll be fine!
Moca
I just hope you don't go crying and running away again~.
Ran
... You're the worst, Moca.
Moca
Just kidding~.
Tsugumi
You can do it, Ran-chan!
Tomoe
We'll be waiting right here. ... You go do your thing.
Ran
I'll be okay, really! ... Here goes nothing.
Himari
Ahh~! I'm getting nervous, too! I'm so worried for her~.
Tomoe
We just have to trust her.
Himari
Are you feeling okay by the way, Tsugu? You did only just get out of hospital~.
Tsugumi
I'm okay, thank you! I just hope it all goes well for Ran-chan...
Moca
... Go get 'em, Ran.

Mitake Residence - Living Room
 
Ran
... Dad.
Ran's Dad
What is it, Ran? Finally decided to quit that band of yours?
Ran
I'm not quitting. That's... that's what I've come to talk to you about.
Ran's Dad
......
Ran
Dad. I am not going to quit the band... ever. You might call it our "band fantasy," but we are absolutely serious about it.
Ran's Dad
You can say you're serious all you want, but your actions tell me otherwise.
Ran
... Here. Take these tickets.
Ran's Dad
Girls Band Jam...? What is this?
Ran
It's a live music event... Do you see this band here, "Afterglow"? That's us... and I want you to come and see us play.
Ran
Right now, we're all practicing really hard for this event. I want to show you how much it means to us. I want you to see for yourself.
Ran
... Once this event's over, I'll think about flower arranging again. I'll think about everything you've asked me, and I'll give you answers.
Ran's Dad
... Ran.
Ran
... Please, just... please!
Ran's Dad
... Okay.
Ran
Dad...!
Ran's Dad
I'll watch you play. But if I don't see what it is you want me to see, I'll have to reconsider all of this.
Ran
...! You'll see it. We'll show. That's why we all want you to come.
Ran's Dad
I do like your spirit, at least. I think this is the first time you've ever spoken to me like this...
Ran
Really...?
Ran's Dad
... Well done, Ran.
Ran
I just want to stay in the band...
Ran's Dad
I see.
Ran
Well... I've got rehearsals now, so...
Ran's Dad
Sure.
Ran
... Dad.
Ran's Dad
... Yes?
Ran
Thanks.
A Beautiful Dawn

The band welcome Ran back after talking to her father. Once again, a five-some, what will their plan be?

Mitake Residence - Front Entrance
 
Tsugumi
I wonder how it's going in there...
Himari
How long has she been talking now...? Is it too long? Maybe it didn't go so well after all...
Moca
She's bawling her eyes out 'cause it all went so well~. She'll come back out once she calms down~.
Himari
Don't tease the poor girl, Moca...
Tomoe
Ah, Ran!
Ran
......
Himari
... Ran?
Tsugumi
How did it go...?
Ran
... Dad's coming to Girl Jam. He said he'll watch our show.
Himari
So that means...!
Ran
It means we need to get to the studio and get rehearsing. We have a chance to change his mind.
All (ex. Ran)
... ...
Tomoe
... Tch, there she goes again... never sharing her feelings.
Tsugumi
Ran-chan, this means you can stay in the band, right...?
Himari
It sure sounds like it! Hooray~~!!! I'm so happy~~!! I was so worried back there~!
Moca
... Ran~? Your eyes are red~. Were you crying like a baby~?
Ran
...! No I was not!
Moca
Oh come on~, you can tell your old friend Moca~.
Ran
... I-I wasn't crying...!
Tomoe
Ran...
Himari
Ahh~, Moca made her cry~!
Moca
Not my fault~.
Ran
... Moca... you idiot...!
Moca
Me~? Why am I the idiot~?
Hard Being Honest
Tomoe
... You really did it, huh Ran.
Ran
... I did... I did...! I mean... I was so worried, too...!
Himari
I'm so glad we can still play together, Ran. Afterglow just wouldn't be the same without the five of us!
Tsugumi
That's right!
Ran
You guys, I...
Ran
... Thanks. For everything.
Himari
... Ran...! We should be thanking you! It's your music that brings this band together, after all. Now come on, let's get to the studio!
Tsugumi
Okay! ... Wow, look at that! A beautiful sunset!
Moca
Ooh~, you're right. It's so bright~. Just like all our childhoods, huh~.
Tomoe
... What are you talking about?
Himari
Let's all make a wish on the sunset! I wish that our live show goes perfectly~!
Himari
Hey, hey, hoh~!
All (ex. Himari)
......
All (ex. Himari)
What~?! You're not joining in this time, either~?!
Ran
... Hoh~.
Moca
Are you okay, Ran?
Ran
I-I'm fine!
Moca
You didn't have to do that. You've gone bright red~.
Ran
Shut it, you.
Tsugumi
Hahaha... It is a relief though. We're finally back to the same as always.
Tomoe
Now all we need to do is get through Girl Jam. We'll put on the best performance we can. For Ran... no, for all five of us.
Tsugumi
... Yeah!

Studio
 
Himari
H-hey... do you think we should take a break? It's been a while since last practice, and... I-I'm getting kinda tired...
Tomoe
She's right, we've been going quite a while. Let's rest for a minute.
Himari
Y-yay~...

Studio Lobby
 
Moca
Ra~n.
Ran
Moca. What is it?
Moca
Hmm~? I just thought you might be feeling lonely. Since your dad's not calling any more, I mean~.
Ran
... Wow, Moca, that's...
Moca
Ran.
Moca
I'm glad we got to see the sunset together again.
Ran
... Yeah.
Moca
And Ran. Thanks for coming back to us. Welcome home.
Ran
... It's good to be home, Moca.
Real Voice

Ran composes a new song for Girl Jam. What will the band think after hearing it...?

A Few Days Later
 
Mitake Residence - Living Room
 
Ran
......
Ran
Let my true voice be heard...
Ran
It's finished...!
Ran
Hello? Oh, Moca? Great timing. I just finished writing a new song.
Ran
... You wanna hear it now? No way. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow.
Ran
Yeah... Okay, got it. See you tomorrow.
Ran
(... I just want everyone to hear this song. Including my father.)
Ran
(I want them to understand my true feelings... and I'll do everything I can to make it happen.)

The Next Day
 
Studio
 
Himari
All right, ready for another day of rehearsals!
Tsugumi
Which song should we start with today?
Ran
I wrote a new song, actually...
Tomoe
Wow. Wanna share it with us?
Ran
... Okay. Listen.
Ran
What do you think...?
All
......
Ran
No good...?
Tsugumi
O-of course not...! It was... it was amazing...!
Moca
It's not very "you", huh Ran.
Tomoe
She's right. The lyrics aren't your usual style at all. They're so... I dunno, honest...
Ran
I-is that bad...?
Moca
I'm not saying it's bad~. I'm saying you must be all grown up, to write a song like this, Ran~. I like it~.
Ran
I want to perform this song at Girl Jam. I know we don't have much time, but... what do you think?
Tsugumi
Wow...! I think that's a great idea! Let's do it!
Tomoe
We do only have one week left, though... We still have to arrange it and practice it, too... It'll be close.
Himari
We'll need to rethink the set list, too...
Tsugumi
Oh... It's too difficult then, huh...
Ran
... It won't be easy. I know. But... I think it will be worth it. I think this is the song to show my... no, to show our true feelings!
Himari
Ran...
Ran
I've always run away from my problems... from my father... from all of you, too.
Ran
But that fight we had the other day... It was the first time I stood and faced up to them. I mean, it was just something petty, but still...
Ran
It was scary, not running away like usual... but it made me understand just how important you all are, facing up to me as well.
Ran
And I know it's selfish of me, but... I want those important people to perform this important song with me and really show my dad we're serious.
Tomoe
We're all just as important to one another. None of us think you're being selfish, Ran.
Moca
Not this time, anyway~. I dunno why you'd start caring now, you've always been this way~.
Himari
M-Moca! Shh, will you~?!
Ran
......
Himari
Ah... J-just ignore her~!
Tsugumi
A-anyway...! We should start practicing this new song for the show! Right, Ran?
Moca
If Ran feels that way, then I do too~. I'll show you the deepest, most emotional Moca there is~.
Tsugumi
Yeah! Let's do it! The five of us, together!
Tomoe
That's the spirit! Let's go!
Himari
Mmm~~!! I can feel a fire burning inside me! This is gonna be one busy week, guys~~!!
Moca
Just don't get too Tsugurific again, okay Tsugu~?
Tsugumi
Wh-what?! Tsugurific...?
Ran
You be more Tsugurific, Moca.
Moca
All right~. More Tsugurific it is, then~.
Himari
... What? What are they talking about?
Tomoe
Who knows? They're just the same as always, I guess.
Ran
I've got some thoughts about the arrangement. Come on.
Tomoe
Okay. Let's hear the first couple of phrases again, then.
Ran
Okay.
Himari
(Just one week until the show... and we're all back together again. I've got a feeling nothing can stop us now!)
I didn't say not to eat!

Girl Jam has arrived, and Ran is incredibly nervous. What happens when she gets something unexpected...?

One Week Later
 
Girls Band Jam - Event Hall Entrance
 
Himari
This must be the place...!
Tsugumi
Ahh, I'm getting nervous...
Moca
We're not even inside yet~. Try to be more Tsugurific~.
Tsugumi
Tsugurific... Tsugu being Tsugurific...? Ahh, I don't even know who I am any more~!
Tomoe
Come on, she's already nervous enough as it is. She doesn't need you confusing her, Moca.
Moca
I'm not confusing her~. Relax now, relax~... Mmm. Ran? Your face looks all scary~. You're not nervous too, are you~?
Ran
O-of course not! ... Come on, let's go!
Moca
Ran~, you're not even walking straight~.
Ran
Shut it, you!
Himari
I've never seen Ran so nervous before...
Tomoe
I guess this show's a lot different to all the others. The scale of it all, for one thing. But the emotion, too.
Tsugumi
Tomoe-chan's right... O-okay! Let's get in there and do this! For Ran!
Himari
Yeah!

Dressing Room
 
Ran
What is this...?
Moca
Ran Mitake, congratulations on your event participation. These flowers, are they from...?
Himari
Ran's father... I would guess.
Tomoe
It is a beautiful bouquet... You can do this, Ran.
Tsugumi
Give it everything you've got, Ran-chan!
Moca
Yeah, Ran-chan~!
Ran
... Zip it, Moca.
Himari
Ha, hahaha...
Himari
Tsugu~, it's just a dressing room~! It's no different to any other waiting room~! You don't have to look like such a scared little puppy~.
Tsugumi
Ooh~... I'm just so nervous~...
Staff
Everyone~! We'd like to go through today's event schedule, so could each band representative please come and follow me~!
Moca
... Go on then, Hii-chan.
Himari
What?! Me?!
Tsugumi
She said band representatives, right?
Himari
But... m-me?
Moca
What? You're band leader, right Hii-chan~?
Ran
That was my understanding.
Tomoe
Go on, go follow her, leader!
Himari
......! Okay! Leader Himari! I'll be right back~!
Moca
...? Hii-chan's weird~.
Ran
... She is band leader, right?
Tomoe
In as much as she is leader of the band, sure.
Ran
...? Sure, okay.
Staff
Umm, e-excuse me~...
Moca
Yes~? What is it now~?
Moca
Staff
Moca
Is there a Ran Mitake here? An older gentleman brought these, said they are for the band...
Tsugumi
Wow, these are donuts from that famous bakery...!
Moca
They look so good~. Shotgun this one~.
Ran
This... is just... too embarrassing...!
Tomoe
Hahahaha! Your dad's sweet, Ran.
Moca
He must be kind, to give us all these delicious donuts~. I'll have yours if you don't want it, though~.
Ran
... I never said I don't want it!
Tsugumi
Fufu... Ah, Moca-chan, make sure you leave one for Himari-chan, too...!
Moca
Hey, donuts go bad just minutes after opening, you know. So~... another one for me~♪
Tsugumi
Ah...! She really ate it...
Himari
Hey everyone~, I wanna talk about the setup with you all, so come meet me on the stage~!
Moca
Okay~.
Ran
Moca. You've got donut on your face.
Moca
It's called fashion, Ran~.
Tomoe
Could we try to be a little more professional today~? I mean... it's asking the impossible of Moca, but still...
Always Near

The girls give it their all on stage. Ran feels a renewed kinship with her bandmates.

Dressing Room
 
Himari
It looks like we're up next...
Tomoe
The crowd sounds pumped.
Tsugumi
Ahh... Phew... I'm okay...! It's all okay...! Same as always, same as always...!
Moca
I'll teach you a great trick, Tsugu. All you need to do is picture the whole audience as different types of bread~.
Moca
When I look out there, all I see are rows and rows of delicious, sweet buns~.
Himari
I think that's very specific to you, Moca...
Moca
Fufu~. Your face looks all round and delicious too, Hii-chan~.
Himari
That's so mean!!
Tsugumi
Ah, they finished their performance!
Himari
That mean's we're up!
Tomoe
It's finally here.
Ran
... Okay, everyone. The same as always. Our absolute best.
All
Okay~! Yeah! Yes!

On Stage
 
All
(The atmosphere up here... It's so different to anything we've done before.)
All
... This event, this stage, this crowd. We're here to make it ours. Open your eyes, open your hearts, and try to keep up. Here we go!
No Hesitation
Tsugumi
(Ran-chan... She's singing with so much more power today...!)
Tomoe
(It's like she never even lost it for a moment... She's feeding off the crowd's energy, and it's fueling a fire inside of her.)
Himari
(And it's up to us to match her! Follow her voice...!)

A Few Songs Later
 
Audience Member A
What are they called again? Afterglow? I've never seen them before, but... they're pretty good.
Audience Member B
Right? The vocalist just looks so cool up there!
Moca
Phew~. You're even better than usual, Ran~.
Ran
You too, Moca.
Ran
(... This next song will be the last...)
Ran
......
Ran
... Our last song today.
Ran
I sort of lost my way recently... but these girls helped me find myself again. It's because of these four that I'm standing here today.
Ran
... I promise you all. I won't lose my way again. I won't run away again.
Himari
Ran...!
Tsugumi
Ran-chan...!
Ran
... And I hope this next song will show my feelings are true!
Tomoe
That was incredible! We had the whole crowd in the palm of our hands!
Himari
Ahh~! I'm just so glad it went well~! I can finally relax...
Moca
Here comes Hii-chan's post-show cry. Let me get a picture~.
Himari
Hey, stop that~!
Tsugumi
You were so amazing today, Ran-chan! I felt so moved performing with you...!
Tomoe
You were the most intense I've seen you in a while, Ran. And thanks to you, we put on the best performance ever!
Ran
You're right. We put on a great performance, all of us. Thank you all, so much...
Himari
Ahh~, you'll make me cry again, Ran~!
Moca
Wait, I put my phone away, hold on~.
Tsugumi
M-Moca-chan~!
Ran's Dad
... Ran.
Ran
...! Dad...
Moca
Wow~, Ran's dad. Long time no see~.
Ran's Dad
Hello, Moca-chan. Everyone... Thank you for taking care of Ran.
Moca
It's hard work~.
Tomoe
O-oi...!
Ran's Dad
Hahaha. No, I'm sure it is. I listened to your performance today.
Ran's Dad
... To be frank, I'd always thought of you as just high school kids playing band together...
Ran's Dad
But today... I was moved by a wonderful, passionate performance. You made me recall a feeling I'd long forgotten, Ran.
Ran
......
Ran's Dad
Consider your feelings well-understood. You are obviously very serious about this band.
Ran's Dad
I hope you realize it's all thanks to these four, as well.
Ran
...! Does that mean...?
Ran's Dad
You can continue with the band. You clearly have some wonderful friends here.
Ran
...! Thank you... so much...!
Himari
You did it, Ran...!
Tomoe
I'm really happy for you. Today is just the best day...!
Tsugumi
Ahh... I... I'm so glad...!
Moca
Ran~. Let's keep on keeping on together~.
Ran
Yeah... Yeah...!
Ran
Thank you... All of you, thank you!
Same as always.

The show is over, and the girls bask in their sense of achievement. What will the future for Afterglow be?

After The Show
 
Dressing Room
 
Himari
Excuse me~! We're all heading home now. Thank you for today!
Staff
No, thank you! That was such a great performance~! We all hope you'll be back again!
Himari
Okay!
Ran
Let's go home, Moca... ... What are you looking at?
Moca
Look look~. I found Hii-chan's lucky thingie I thought I lost~.
Ran
Where was it?
Moca
Drum roll please~. It was in my hoodie pocket~! Hehehe, I found it~.
Moca
... Maybe it's what kept our friendship strong through all of this~.
Ran
... Maybe so.
Moca
Hehehe.
Himari
You two~! Come on~!
Moca
Okay~.

Walk Home
 
Tsugumi
Wow... I haven't been to this park in so long.
Himari
So long~! We used to come here all the time as kids, right? Should we take a look?
Tomoe
Good idea. It might be nice to take a little break.

Park
 
Himari
It really hasn't changed at all, huh.
Tsugumi
Yeah! It's nice to see some things still stay the same.
Ran
Stay the same... I think I've been so against change, even the word itself has become kind of scary.
Ran
Maybe that's why I was running all the time. From my future, from you guys... Because I just want things to stay the same.
Ran
But all of that arguing and fighting... I think it's made me trust in all of you even more than before.
Tomoe
It felt like we were all closer than ever before on stage today. I could really feel you up there, Ran.
Tsugumi
I could too! It felt like we were all more in sync with each other... and it was so much fun!
Ran
I feel like I've changed... like we've all changed. I think a new Afterglow was born today.
Himari
A whole new Afterglow~!
Ran
Afterglow shows just how much we can change, while all staying the same. It's... something we should cherish.
Tsugumi
Th-that sounds kinda difficult, but... I think we can do it!
Tomoe
Haha. I think she just means we should keep giving it our all.
Himari
Yeah! Forever and ever, the five of us together!
Ran
Yeah.
Tomoe
Well then, New Afterglow... what's next? Should we try setting ourselves a new goal?
Himari
A new goal... like, writing a new song or something?
Moca
Something deeper than that~. Like, erm... hmm... I dunno~.
Ran
Our new goal...
Tsugumi
U-umm...!
Himari
Got something, Tsugu?
Tsugumi
What about... the Nippon Budokan?
Moca
... We're talking about goals here, Tsugu.
Tsugumi
What?! I-I know that...! D-did I say something weird...?!
Tsugumi
I thought it was every band's dream to play at the Budokan... right...?
Himari
Pff... Hahahahaha! Tsugu, I think that's a little too big for us...! But hey, why not?
Tomoe
The Budokan... Haha, sounds good to me.
Moca
Very good. Very deep~.
Ran
... Fufu. Trust you to come up with an idea like that, Tsugumi.
Tsugumi
Wh-why do you say that?!
Ran
Forming the band, taking part in Girl Jam, and now aiming for the Budokan... they were all your ideas, Tsugumi. You always start us off on something new.
Himari
She's right...!
Tsugumi
I-I didn't mean to, but... Hehehe...
Tomoe
As long as we've got Tsugu with us, I'm sure this band will achieve great things.
Himari
Mmm~, I'm starting to think Afterglow might just about be invincible!! We can do anything~~!!!
Moca
Wow~, Hii-chan's turned into some kind of living ball of energy~.
Ran
... She's gonna say it, isn't she.
Moca
No doubt~.
Himari
Here we go guys! Are you ready~?! Hey, hey, hoh~!!
All
......
Himari
What?! If there was any time to join in on it, it was now, surely~?! I thought we all changed~?!
Moca
I'm good with "the same as always" in this case~.
Tomoe
Pff... Hahaha...!
Ran
Fufu...!
Tsugumi
Fufufu...!
All
Hahahahaha!
 

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