Trauma Button A Paradox Live Fansite
Stage Battle "RAGE" - Part 2
[sfx: Shogo walking slowly]
Shogo: "Show results or we'll be disbanded"... there's no way I can just say that to them right now... they're already nervous enough that we're going against cozmez... [sigh] ... but I guess I'm scared, too... going on stage right after 1Nm8 put on a performance like that... ngh! [slapping his own face] I can't go to them looking like this! As their leader, I have to pull myself together!
[sfx: door opening]
Shogo: I'm back!
Aoi: Welcome home, Shogo. What did the president want to talk about?
Shogo: Eh?
Aoi: Hm? Didn't you go to talk to him about some kind of promotional thing?
Shogo: Ah... ah! Yeah!
Toma: Well, you don't have to tell us if you don't want to!
Shogo: Eh?
Toma: Just by looking at your face, looks like our request for a bit of a bigger budget was declined, huh? No surprises there.
Shogo: A-ah.. yeah, no...
Kantaro: See? Even our agency is giving up on us.
Aoi: Nngh... sorry, you just got back but it's to this kind of atmosphere...
Shogo: Did something happen?
Aoi: Ah... just... feeling a bit sorry for ourselves. While you were away, we were talking about the time when Kei was with us, and then...
Shogo: Ah...
Toma: Hey, Shogo. We're still shining like we did before... right?
Shogo: Toma...
Toma: I know that I'm supposed to be always super-happy and excited Toma, so it's weird for me to talk like that, but...
Kantaro: We can still sparkle, right? We're all idols, after all! It's not just Kei who had that sparkle... right?
Shogo: ... what are you guys talking about? We've already gone over this, right? We'll do our best for the Stellas who are cheering us on!
Aoi: ... we're scared. Toma, Kantaro... and me. We're all scared to stand on stage... to really go head to head against the reigning champions...
[sfx: phone buzz]
Kantaro: Ah...
Shogo: What's up?
Kantaro: ... it says cozmez are doing a guerrilla show.
Toma: A guerrilla show? You're joking, right? They're so popular that any venue they perform gets sold out, right? Why're they doing something like that right n-- ah, look at that!
Aoi: Wait, isn't that picture from the park nearby?
Shogo: Yeah, that clock tower looks familiar... ... [sigh] Let's go.
Aoi: Huh?
Toma: Seriously?
Shogo: If we hurry we can still make it.
Kantaro: But...
Shogo: Let's go.
Toma, Aoi, Kantaro: ...
Toma: Okay. Whatever you say, Leader.
Aoi: You're right. Standing around here won't accomplish anything.
Kantaro: ... eh? Wait, I'm going too-- wait, don't leave me behind!!


[sfx: 'Get It', people moving]
Kantaro: Ah, over there!
Toma: Whoa, it's packed!
Aoi: The atmosphere is totally different...
Shogo: [sigh]
Toma: Amazing...
Aoi: It's like they've got the audience totally captivated.
Kantaro: Whoa, they're already trending...!
[sfx: 'Get It' fading away, crowd cheering]

[sfx: packing up equipment]
Kanata: Ah, I feel way better!
Nayuta: It's been a while since we did this in the streets.
Kanata: Yeah. I knew it'd be good. We're originally from the streets, after all. You can actually feel the reactions of the audience down at that level.
Nayuta: And since they're not paying for it, if our sound sucks then they'll turn on you in an instant. [laughs]
Kanata: What?
Nayuta: [laugh] I'm just remembering... how when we first started out, no matter how much we performed, nobody stuck around, and to make matters worse it started snowing on us.
Kanata: Ah, yeah... it was so cold, and we were hungry, too. Fuckin' sucked.
Nayuta: Even now, I still remember the taste of that meat bun we ate at the time.
Kanata: We could only afford one with the loose change people threw at us, so we split it in half...
Nayuta: And swore to ourselves that one day we'd eat a lot more than that...
Shogo: Uh-- excuse me!
Kanata and Nayuta: Hah?
Shogo: We saw your live performance just now. It was really amazing!
Kanata and Nayuta: ...?
Shogo: A-ah... I'm sorry for just walking up... we'll be participating in the next Paradox Live. We're VISTY! I'm the leader, Shogo.
Toma: I-I'm Toma!
Kantaro: ... Kantaro.
Aoi: I'm Aoi.
Nayuta: ... so? What do you want?
Shogo: Eh...? I-- uh, we're here to say hello.
Kanata: No point.
Shogo: B-but...
Toma: A-ah! Y-you guys were amazing! You were already impressive back at the Opening Show, but hearing you up this close, it's clear that you guys are really something else!
Aoi: Just what you'd expect from the champions! Capturing the entire audience, heart and mind, barely giving them a moment to breathe... I feel like I should take notes!
Kantaro: [tapping phone] ... insane! This isn't even an official recording but this clip's already got over ten thousand likes...!
Shogo: I'm really honored to be able to go up in battle against such an amazing team! I know we're still a ways behind you, but we'll do our best to work hard, and--
Nayuta: Already said that there's no point to crap like this. Feel like it's gonna make me hurl.
VISTY: ...!
Nayuta: And is that even what you really feel?
Shogo: Eh?
Nayuta: Do you think it'll make us recognize you as equals if you plaster on fake smiles and pretend you like us?
Visty: ...!
Kanata: Spare us the fake-ass formalities.
Visty: ...
Nayuta: [sigh] Look. Are you guys really going to try and compete with us with those fake expressions?
Shogo: Fake...?
Kanata: Yeah. There's no space for candy-coated niceties in hip hop. You have to put your desire, your rage, into words, and get revenge on this shithole world with it. That's the kind of music it is.
VISTY: ...
Kanata: It's about finding the feelings deep inside some rotten, profane part of yourself, shoving your hands right into your own open wounds, and dragging out the sound and the words kicking and screaming. There's no place in hip hop for a bunch of idols or whatever the fuck to play around half-assedly for funzies!
VISTY: ...
Nayuta: ... [sigh] Here's a word of advice. The Paradox Live isn't the kind of stage where you can come on and wag your tails all pretty and play nice and hope it all works out.
Kanata: And it's not just us. The other teams are putting their lives on the line, too, risking their souls for the chance to reach the top. Do you guys have the balls for that?
Shogo: ...! YES WE DO!'
Kanata and Nayuta: Oh?
Toma, Aoi, Kantaro: ...!
Shogo: We've been struggling and fighting to get through every day, too. We're not half-assing this! Do you know what people keep calling VISTY now? They keep calling us "the LeftoVISTY that the genius threw away"!
Toma: Wait, hold on, Shogo...
Shogo: But we haven't disbanded! We still have a dream we want to make come true, no matter what! No matter how many people laugh at us or trash talk us we're going to keep on doing what we do with smiles on our faces! We're not faking smiles at all! We're smiling because that's a sign of our resolve as idols!
Nayuta: Yeah, see, that's what I mean when I say you're fake.
Kanata: I'd argue that there's even less value in heartless hip hop that's dressed up with lies and pretends that reality is just peachy-keen.
Shogo: Lies...
Nayuta: I mean, are we wrong? After all, idols are all totally fake, right?
Shogo: ...
Kanata: What're you making that face for? If you've got something to say, then out with it.
Shogo: ... lying... what's wrong with lying?
Kanata: Hah?
Shogo: It's true that idols might be a constructed image that only exists on stage. It might just be an illusion. But... sometimes reality can be saved by a lie! The uncut truth isn't the only thing that has value!
Kanata: ...
Shogo: I... was saved by that lie. The only light I could see in the darkness... was idols. Seeing them smiling on stage made me smile, too. It gave me hope. That's why I admired them so much. I don't care if it was all just a lie. Those lies have always been something real in my heart.
Kanata: ...
Shogo: And so that's the kind of lie I want to tell. The kind that will come true one day. Encouraging somebody who needs it, and making them smile... those feelings aren't a lie!
Kanata and Nayuta: ...
Toma: [sigh] ... ... me, too. [stepping forward]
Kanata and Nayuta: Hm?
Toma: I'm... the same as Shogo. I've been saved by a lie, t-- ... no, I guess I mean, a lie has been helping me all this time. ... ... I'm sorry for just talking about myself out of nowhere[1], but to be totally honest, I... have really bad scarring on my face. You can't see it anymore, because of the plastic surgery, but somewhere inside of me, those scars are still there. I got bullied relentlessly as a kid because of it. I always tried to keep my head down because of it. Nobody ever wanted to look at me. I felt like I was worthless. But idols gave me a dream. They helped me forget about the harshness of reality for a bit. Stuff like "Do your best! Don't give up! Your dreams will come true eventually!"... when adults said that stuff to me, it sounded completely hollow. But when the idols said it, it sounded like the truth, it was like... a push at my back. It was like they were telling me, what good is standing around going to do? They told me to lift my head and move forward. ... [laughs] But that's not really an answer to your question, is it?
Kantaro: I think that's fine.
Toma: Kantaro...
Kantaro: ... then I guess I'll have to spill, too. [sigh] ... I'm really scared of being left alone. Ever since I was a little kid, I cried a lot because of it. It's because I don't know who I am that I always feel like I'm on unstable ground and can't really get a solid grip on myself. Someone has to be looking at me and telling me I'm doing a good job, and acknowledging me, or else I feel like I'm going to fade away and vanish at any moment... that's why I became an idol. I want everyone to be looking at me, and to love me. If they do that, then I can love myself, too. Even if it's a lie, or if the number of likes changes depending on their mood. If I can find myself there, then... I think even that kind of lie has value. I think there's such a thing as good lies.
Aoi: ... you're right. ... for me... the person I am on stage is the real me. I don't... know if what I'm doing is lying, exactly[2]... ... to be honest, it's kind of hard to explain, but I became an idol so I could be myself. It's the kind of hope and desire that can only really come true in a dream... so... Kanata-san, Nayuta-san... I know we're not as strong as you guys are. We're just a bunch of cowards who can't even stand on stage without pretending to be something we're not, without dressing ourselves up in lies. But we should at least have the right to dream!
Kanata and Nayuta: ...
Shogo: We want that dream to become real one day. As idols, we want to inspire the audience, and make them smile, and we can do that through these momentary illusions. I think that somewhere in those dreams is something that can come true one day. That's the kind of hip hop we want to do. Someday, it will shine bright and make all our lies come true. That's our dream as VISTY, as idols. It's our resolve to stand on stage at the Paradox Live.
Nayuta: Hm? ... turning lies into reality... ... hehhh. Quite the sparkle you guys have got.
Kanata: I thought you were a bunch of chickenshit cowards, but it seems like it's gonna take more than that to break your bones, huh?
Shogo: A-a-ah sorry! We didn't mean to--
Nayuta: It's fine. This way is better.
Kanata: For starters, we can acknowledge you as our enemy.
Toma: E-enemy?!
Kanata: That just now was a declaration of war on us, wasn't it?
Aoi: Huh!?
Kantaro: No, we didn't mean--!
Nayuta: It's fine. Dull nobodies aren't worth going up against.
VISTY: ...!
Nayuta: Well. We'll leave it at that. ... tch. Kanata, can you carry those bags?
Kanata: Got it.
Shogo: Um--
Nayuta: Huh? What is it? You still have more to say? We're already tired, so we'd like to go home sooner than later, y'know.
Shogo: Uh... no, it's nothing.
Kanata: Now that we're taking this seriously, you'd better go prepare yourselves for our battle.
Nayuta: We'll show you hell.
VISTY: ...! ... ... [sigh]
Toma: Hey, Sho-chin... [nervous laugh] Even though we're all terrified... [laugh] What were we thinking!? We picked a fight with cozmez!
Shogo: Ah... [laughs]
Aoi: ... [laughs] ... right? I'm surprised we were able to say that to their faces.
Kantaro: Almost felt like we fucked it all up...
Shogo: ... but, at least we finally worked up the resolve!
Aoi: [laughs] Yeah. We can face them properly now.
Toma: No point being scared now, right?
Kantaro: We'll hit them with the ol' razzle dazzle.
Shogo: I'm sure it's fine! If it's us, I'm sure we'll be able to pull it off!
Kantaro: The four of us shining together...
Aoi: Will make our lies come true!
Toma: Don't look down on us just 'cause we're idols!
VISTY: Yeah!


[sfx: footsteps]
Kanata: Doing live performances outdoors is great and all, but hauling the equipment is such a pain... it's so damn heavy!
Nayuta: [laughs]
Kanata: What?
Nayuta: Just now... you were baiting them on purpose, weren't you, Kanata?
Kanata: No matter who we're going up against, I don't want to go against someone who's half-assing it. That's all.
Nayuta: Is it, now?
Kanata: And I refuse to be upstaged by those assholes who beat me in the first round.
Nayuta: You mean BAE? Their music's pretty good. And they're way more cohesive than they used to be.
Kanata: We're better.
Nayuta: Naturally. ... you and I are twins. No matter what comes our way, we'll overcome it together.
Kanata: Nayuta...
Nayuta: ... hey. I... I'm really happy. To be able to stand next to you like this, Kanata. To be able to eat with you... to do hip hop with you. So... let's win, Kanata.
Kanata: Yeah.
Nayuta: As long as we're together...
Kanata and Nayuta: We're unbeatable.

[1] It's really hard to convey this in English, but he's being really extremely Japanese Polite. Not in terms of keigo necessarily but in terms of like, just the way he's apologizing?
[2] you are transmaaaasc (you're transmasc! boogiewoogiewoogie!)

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