Well, with the hypnosis drama having finally been resolved, things are getting back to normal. Izumi and Ryouma’s TV series was a SMASH hit, and Rei is fielding non-stop calls for Izumi to audition for more roles. Rei is on cloud 9–he’s been waiting for this moment for so long!
Rei: Hmph… /This is going even better than planned! Honestly, I never thought that wimpy dunce Izumi would make it this far…but now the future of SenaPro is assured!/
His only problem now is deciding what Izumi’s next project will be. There are plenty of offers, but how to choose? He thinks he’ll consult with Izumi–but Izumi’s unavailable at the moment, having stepped out to “see a movie premiere with a friend”.
Elsewhere, Izumi is relieved to finally have the recording behind him, glad he can relax a bit. Ryouma’s busy with his own filming, but they find the time to have a little fun together (even if it’s just some flirty texting), and Izumi couldn’t be happier.
Izumi: /Sena Izumi, age 18…is currently doing FANTSTIC both in work and in love!/
Now that he’s got those two areas of his life under control…it’s time to up his game! He’s still got a dream, after all, and he’s dead set on seeing it come true.
He meets up with Kuroi, and together they head to the theater where the LalaLulu Movie is being premiered. Not only do they get to watch the movie, but Saotome-sensei will be making an appearance to give a few words.
Saotome: “I’m the author, Saotome Miyabi. I’m thrilled at this first movie for LalaLulu. I hope for your continued support of LalaLulu in the future!”
Izumi is moved beyond words–this is his GOD, his beloved Saotome-sensei who he reveres more than words can express. He starts weeping with emotion, and Kuroi, against his better judgment, suggests that Izumi accompany him backstage to get an autograph. Izumi is shaking with nerves, but he resolves to meet his idol and tell him everything he’s grateful for–how he’s always been a fan, how he loves LalaLulu, and how grateful he is for Saotome-sensei’s words which gave him support before.
They reach Saotome’s dressing room, and Kuroi introduces Izumi as his friend “Sena”, who’s a fan of LalaLulu. So stiff with nerves is Izumi, though, that…
SPLAT, he totally faceplants. As he struggles to his feet, trying to gain his composure, his glasses slip off…and Saotome-sensei realizes it’s THE Izumi, here in front of him. Izumi takes advantage of Saotome’s shocked silence to finally ask him the question he’s been waiting for:
Izumi: “PLEASE, MAKE ME YOUR DISCIPLE!”
Saotome, shocked at the request coming from such a huge celebrity, unthinkingly…agrees.
Izumi is over the moon with joy–and Kuroi alone knows that this is not a good idea. How can someone who is doing as well as a celebrity as Izumi STILL be thinking about becoming a mangaka?! Izumi is a mystery to him.
But the real hurdle is yet to come, because Rei hasn’t had his say yet. When Izumi merrily tells Rei back at home that he’ll be starting work as Saotome’s manga assistant, and for Rei not to schedule any shoots or anything for a while, Rei loses it.
Rei: “YOU’RE STILL TRYING TO BECOME A MANGAKA?!”
Izumi: “Whadya mean ‘still’?!”
He will become a mangaka eventually, Izumi reminds–he’s doing this celebrity thing as a way of expanding his horizons, but being a mangaka is his dream. The two continue to bicker for a few minutes until Seiya walks in to help smooth things over. He is, after all, the president of SenaPro!
Seiya: “I thought I should act like a proper company president on occasion. Actually, I’ve been thinking about what Izumi’s next project should be as well. And after looking over all of the offers…unfortunately, nothing really hit me!”
Rei feels the same way–the drama with Kisaragi was such a phenomenal success, that everything else is feeling like a step down. So, until the next smash offer comes along, they decide to let Izumi pursue his mangaka dreams. Just until they book his next project. That’s more than good enough for Izumi, and he departs in high spirits. Before he leaves, though, Rei tells him that rather than letting him ride public transportation, he will chauffeur Izumi to and from his job. After Izumi heads upstairs, Seiya gently berates Rei for being a worry wart–until Rei shows him just why he’s worried:
Rei: “I’d been hoping these were just spam, or a prank, but…”
Yup, it’s a big long list of e-mails from the same person, as some fan has been harassing Izumi. Izumi hasn’t noticed, because his professional inbox is managed by Rei, but he isn’t just being paranoid. He really needs Izumi to start taking things more seriously.
Izumi tells Ryouma about his plans as the two relax in the bath after a round of, ahem, you know.
Ryouma: “Eh? You’re going to be Saotome-sensei’s assistant?”
He’s glad that Izumi’s able to pursue his dream, but he knows that this new job means it’ll be harder for them to find time to spend together. Izumi reminds him that they can’t really help it, they’re both really busy, but the knowledge that he’ll soon have less time with Izumi drives Ryouma to pursue another round…
Afterward, while they soak in the tub, Izumi asks what brought that on (given that they’d done it a lot already that evening), and Ryouma confesses:
Ryouma: “I just…it made me feel like I suddenly wanted to spend more time with you…”
He wants to be around Izumi more, as much as possible, and the knowledge that he can’t is just too much to bear sometimes. Izumi then turns to him and makes an offer: he should just quit! Izumi will be the breadwinner in their relationship, and then Ryouma can just be his trophy husband. Ryouma protests that he doesn’t want to do that, it’s a little too much to give up, to which Izumi responds:
Izumi: “Right? I feel the same way.”
He can’t expect Ryouma to drop everything just to be with him, and Ryouma can’t either. He then kisses Ryouma deeply,
And reassures him that they’re strong, they’ll be fine. Even if they’re apart, they still love each other. Ryouma nevertheless vows to do his best to find time for them to be together.
Two days later, and it’s Izumi’s first day on the job!
Rei goes with him to give his greetings to Saotome-sensei–as well as a gift of apology. When Saotome expresses confusion about a gift of apology, when they’ve only just met, Rei explains clearly:
Rei: “Correct! I am sure that in all likelihood you will definitely ABSOLUTELY be inconvenienced in some manner or another, and as such, I beg your forgiveness in advance!!”
He then departs, leaving Saotome and his assistants both overwhelmed and baffled. Saotome shows Izumi to his seat and gives him his first job.
Saotome: “Let’s start with some simple fills. Could you fill in the area marked with an X entirely with black?”
Izumi gets right to work, his first job as an assistant, and quickly finishes…
Izumi: “I FINISHED!!”
Saotome: /HE COVERED UP SHANTY………….!!/
Best to move on, Saotome decides–how about some tone application and sketch line erasing? NOPE, if possible, Izumi does even worse, crumpling the paper, slicing up the paper, leaving sketch lines behind. Izumi, the poor child, is having a blast though, and is eager to move on to the next project.
Saotome holds a meeting in the hallway with the other assistants, begging for some guidance on what they can do. Kuroi thinks he should just fire Izumi, but there’s no way Saotome could bring himself to can THE Sena Izumi. They can’t let him continue ruining their work, but nor can they spare the time or manpower to actually teach him properly. So what to do?
As they’re discussing the situation, though, the bell rings, and in walks…
Ryouma: “Goooood morning everyone! I’m Ichijou Ryouma!”
Oh god, another celebrity. Izumi comes trotting out when he hears Ryouma’s voice, asking what he’s doing there but clearly thrilled he dropped by, and Ryouma explains that he told Izumi before that he’d do whatever it took to carve out time for them to spend together, remember? As such, he’s decided…
Ryouma: “PLEASE HIRE ME AS YOUR ASSISTANT AS WELL!”
Things…are not looking good for poor Saotome-sensei.
To be continued…