7 years ago, a young Moritaka Mashiro is visited by his uncle who compliments him for his award for getting 2nd place in an art competition. His uncle comments that Mashiro would make a good artist or designer when he grows up.
The story really begins with a now 14 year old Mashiro Moritaka, an average Junior High student, walking to school. During his walk Mashiro says that he does not have a clue as to what he's going to do with his life; often replying to adults or teachers questions like; "What do you want to be when you grow up?", with a simple; "I don't know." or "I haven't decided yet." Though he states that he'll just have a normal life. He'll just go to a good High School, go to a good University and get a normal office job even if he didn't want to. Upon returning home that day he is greeted by his mother and heads to his room. Once in his room, he starts studying for the exams for the following day; Japanese and Math, he opens his school bag only to find out that his math notebook isn't there. He then remembers he left it at school and, although he says he didn't need it to study, he returns to school to get it because he didn't want anyone to see it.
He enters his classroom and is then surprised to see Akito Takagi, a classmate of his still in the classroom. Curious, Mashiro asks him what he was still doing in school when there were exams the following day, to which Takagi replies wordlessly by holding up Mashiro's math notebook, the notebook where he sketched Azuki. This worries Mashiro a bit; making him think Takagi found out about his crush on Azuki. Noticing Mashiro's worried look, Takagi says he didn't have to be so serious, he even jokingly asked Mashiro whether his notebook was a Death Note or not. Mashiro asks him what he's doing with his notebook and Takagi replies that since he sat in the very back of class, he saw Mashiro leave it, so when everyone else left he took it and figured Mashiro would come back for it, so he waited for him. Takagi then opens the notebook to Mashiro's sketch of Azuki, complementing him about his drawings. He the starts listing off some facts about Azuki like; although she was cute and quiet and didn't quite stand out she was the hottest girl in school. With Takagi listing off Azuki's good traits, Mashiro thinks that Takagi likes Azuki as well.
Curious as to what he was still doing in school when there are exams that he should be preparing for, Mashiro asks him, to which Takagi replies wordlessly by holding up Mashiro's math notebook, the notebook where he sketched Azuki. This worries Mashiro a bit; making him think Takagi found out about his crush on Azuki. Noticing Mashiro's worried look, Takagi says he didn't have to be so serious, he even jokingly asked Mashiro whether his notebook was a Death Note or not. Mashiro asks him what he's doing with his notebook and Takagi replies that since he "sat in the back", he saw Mashiro leave it, so when everyone else left he took it and figured Mashiro would come back for it, so he waited for him. Takagi then opens the notebook to Mashiro's sketch of Azuki, complementing him about his drawings. He the starts listing off some facts about Azuki like; although she was cute and quiet and didn't quite stand out she was the hottest girl in school. With Takagi listing off Azuki's good traits, Mashiro thinks that Takagi likes Azuki as well.
Takagi then says that he thought Azuki liked him back, greatly surprising Mashiro. He starts protesting saying that he has never even talked to Azuki, he also wonders how Takagi would know such a thing. Takagi replies plainly that it was because he "sat in the back". Seeing Mashiro's annoyed expression, Takagi then says that if he didn't think so maybe he was wrong about Azuki liking Mashiro back. Takagi says he will give Mashiro back his notebook and he wouldn't tell anyone what was inside on one condition. Knowing Takagi had a condition Mashiro asks him what he wanted. Before Takagi could state his condition, Mashiro begins to think that he wanted him to stay away from Azuki which Mashiro apparently had no problem doing since he couldn't ask her out anyway.
Takagi then suddenly asks Mashiro to write a manga with him. Takagi explains that he has always loved manga and dreamed of becoming a mangaka, adding that he's thought about it and he needed Mashiro's drawings. Mashiro becomes quite surprised; finding it hard to believe that the guy with the highest grades, not only in his school but possibly in the entire country, dreamed to be a mangaka. Takagi explains that he wants to rich and famous and since he didn't have the looks or the voice to be a singer and he wasn't really good at sports, he would become a mangaka since he was good at writing anyway. Mashiro concludes that Takagi would use his award-winning literary skills to write the stories and he would draw the pictures. Although saying it was interesting, Mashiro declines; saying he liked manga, but only to read. Mashiro states that Takagi wouldn't become a mangaka; explaining that the only ones who become mangakas were those with talent, the true geniuses and that the rest were just gamblers. He further explains that mangakas are people who could live off making manga's for the rest of their lives. And if he was somehow able to get his manga in a weekly magazine, it would be ranked weekly by readers and if it didn't do well he would be out in ten days. Mashiro continues saying that if you make enough to live off it after a few tries then you'd be considered a mangaka otherwise your just a gambler. Takagi is surprised that Mashiro knows so much about manga and asks if someone told Mashiro all of this.
Mashiro assures himself that Takagi wasn't one to brag and says that his uncle was a manga or rather a gambler. Quite impressed with this Takag excitedly asks who Mashiro's uncle was. Although Mashiro says that Takagi wouldn't have heard of him, he says his uncle was Kawaguchi Taro. At hearing this Takagi says that he used to watch Super Hero Legend when he was a kid and that he loved it so much that he bought all the volumes at a bookstore. After finding out Mashiro's uncle was Kawaguchi Taro, Takagi states that manga was in his blood and he knew a lot about manga and if he didn't know something he could always just ask his uncle. It was perfect, as Takagi put it. Mashiro disagrees; saying that Kawaguchi Taro was his dad's younger brother, as Mashiro was trying to say something else Takagi cut him off saying they were still related. Takagi stops talking then admits that Kawaguchi Taro's drawings were horrible and Mashiro's were really good. Adding that maybe genetics didn't have anything to do about it also saying it really was a gamble to become a mangaka with drawings like that.
Mashiro doesn't tell Takagi anything else about his uncle and leaves saying that he wouldn't do it. Takagi stops him and asks him whether he wanted to make a living off his art, to which Mashiro just says no. Takagi then exclaims that he would just be wasting his talent, he then persuades Mashiro to at least give it a shot. Annoyed by his persistence, Mashiro comments that essays and manga were nothing alike. Takagi says he knows this and says that he would just write something that would appeal to the publishers and readers. Mashiro asks him why he wouldn't just go for the Naoki prize, to which Takagi proclaims that he could make more money with manga and he liked it better. Mashiro then asks Takagi why he wouldn't draw it himself or just enter as an author and find someone better than Mashiro to draw for him. Hearing this, Takagi demands to know why he was so against the idea of becoming a mangaka. Mashiro admits that he doesn't know or maybe because he thought it was too much trouble. With that said Mashiro walks out of the classroom, notebook in hand, and says he will study. Takagi follows him, furiously asking Mashiro if that was all he wanted in life. Refusing to acknowledge what Mashiro was saying; Takagi continues to persuade him, telling him to just thin about it. Annoyed by Takagi's persuasions, Mashiro relents, saying he would think about it when he got home. Takagi is surprised bu breaks into a grin, seeing this Mashiro comments that his answer may still be no, but Takagi doesn't mind.
At home, Mashiro thinks about Takagi's offer while playing a video game since he didn't feel like studying. Mashiro admits that when he was in Elementary School he wanted to become a mangaka just like his uncle, Nobuhiro Mashiro or Kawaguchi Taro. In a memory of his, Mashiro asks hi uncle why he became a mangaka or rather a gambler. His uncle replies it was because he wanted girls. He confesses that there was a girl he like in Middle School, but by the time graduation came he hadn't talked to her yet. On the day of their graduation, Nobuhiro says he got a letter from the girl, it wasn't a love letter but a letter saying that they should both try their best and he wrote back saying that he would. After that they each went their separate High Schools, and by the time graduation came she went to work for a good company and he went to a University. He admitted that he wanted to marry her but he didn't want to be just some worker in a company; he wanted to get her attention and since he didn't have much money he figured he'd become a writer or a mangaka, something that only needs a pen and paper for. When he was in his final year of College and had finally been published, he decided to call her and ask her out. Nobuhiro found out that she'd been promoted to secretary of the president of the company, and since he felt like he wasn't good enough for her and that the gap between them was getting wider and wider, he didn't ask her out. Mashiro excitedly says that after Super Hero Legend got an anime he did it, but his uncle told him by that time he was 30 and she was already married. He comments that she was the reason he worked so hard and that he feels that she's out there watching him that he keeps on drawing.
But two years after their conversation, when Mashiro was in the 6th grade, his uncle died. His parents told him he died from over work, but he was and still is convinced that he committed suicide. From the moment he died, any thought on becoming a mangaka disappeared. His mother then enters his room only to find him playing video games. Seeing this she is greatly angered, shouting that he would never get into Minami High. Hearing this angers Mashiro, thinking to himself why nobody would leave his future alone. He then gets a call from Takagi saying that he was going to tell Azuki, alarming Mashiro. Knowing Takagi knew that he liked Azuki, Mashiro wonders why he can't just tell Azuki himself, even saying that Takagi was pathetic. But Takagi reasons that it wasn't like that and without him it would be meaningless. Mashiro tries to decline but Takagi tells him to go, not leaving any room for excuses. Mashiro meets up with him in Lawson at Nishihco, wondering what Takagi could possibly tell Azuki. Once they meet up with each other, Takagi drags Mashiro to Azuki's house. Takagi nervously attempts to ring the doorbell, seeing that he was actually shaking and sweating like crazy; Mashiro asks him if he never rang a girl's doorbell. Takagi says that if he has then he should do it but Mashiro immediately says no stating that it was Takagi's idea not his. Takagi then successfully rings the doorbell and Mashiro takes this chance to quickly run off, but Takagi catches him and makes him stay.
After talking to Azuki's mother, Azuki comes out and stands by the front door. She and Mashiro look each other in the eyes for a few seconds before quickly looking away, blushing madly. Seeing this Takagi's former suspicions that they liked each other were confirmed. Takagi then surprises both of them by telling Azuki that he was going to be a mangaka, he explains that her friend, Miyoshi, told him that she wanted to become a voice actor. Mashiro although surprised tells himself that there was no way she could become a voice actor. Takagi then says that she has already sent some recording to some companies and she was told she had promise. Hearing this Mashiro remembers his uncle and starts to think that if Azuki would become famous then the gap between them would widen; just like his uncle's situation. Takagi then pulls Mashiro to the front and says that he had something to tell her as well. Mashiro was suddenly at a lose for words, he stared up at Azuki for a while before finally saying that he would do the drawings and Takagi would write the story. Hearing this Azuki is ecstatic, awed that her eyes were shining, seemingly making her cuter, Mashiro states that when their manga becomes an anime she could do the voice of the heroin, to which Azuki replies that she would love to. By this time, Azuki approached them saying that she'd become a voice actor so that she could be in their anime, happily stating that it was perfect. At this point, with Azuki being so near him, Mashiro began to think about his uncle's experience with the girl as well and asked her that when their dreams come true she'd marry him.
Embarrassed and surprised, Azuki quickly enters her house. As soon as she does Takagi asks him what the hell was that and Mashiro replies that he really didn't know, Mashiro then began to inwardly scold himself for saying such a thing. Azuki then calls out to him though her doorbell (voice intercom), just as Mashiro starts to apologize Azuki agrees to his marriage proposal, surprising both Takagi and Mashiro. She then quickly adds that they wouldn't get married until their dreams came true and that they couldn't see each other until then. Mashiro seems confused, saying that they would just suddenly get married after their dreams come true, Azuki agrees saying that it was so they would have less distractions. Mashiro agrees and proclaims that he'd become a mangaka. Takagi the says that it played out how he thought it would if not better, he then says that they'd become the best in Japan.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Nobuhiro Mashiro (Debut)
- Moritaka Mashiro (Debut)
- Akito Takagi (Debut)
- Miho Azuki (Debut)
- Suzuki Hajime (Debut)
- Kawasaki (Debut)
- Kayoko Mashiro (Debut)