Surviving a Shounen Manga - Chapter 5
The Mad Gunslinger of Virgin City (1)
The Mad Gunslinger of Virgin City, Kiriko.
Also called, Kiriko the Magician (魔彈), Kiriko the Slayer, Kiriko the Seeker. Also known as the Great Monster, Kiriko.
As the story progresses, few characters have as many nicknames as this guy. This is partly because he plays an active part in so many chapters that he can be compared to the main character, but mostly because the character itself is very three-dimensional.
His eccentric personality gives the story a surprised tint by taking unexpected actions every time, and even makes him apply constant changes to himself. For example, one time he shaved his because he went to a temple, and another time he suddenly drank ‘special drugs for monsterization’ since he was curious about the thoughts of beasts.
For this reason, in addition to the official nicknames he had within the work, he had many other nicknames among the fans, such as ‘King of Mischief Kiriko’ or ‘Kiriko the Kid’.
However, Kiriko in the early days of ‘The Mad Gunslinger of Virgin City’ was not a very three-dimensional character.
Rather, like most of the key supporting characters in a shounen manga, he was a guy who faithfully reflected the clichés.
At first glance, he seemed cold and rigid, but in reality, he had the character of a ‘tsundere’.
The role of an indifferent actor who just grunts and does everything he has to do.
Naturally, these tsundere characters tend to act more like villains when they first appear, to set the stage for the reversal effect that will come later.
In particular, Kiriko was a guy whose first appearance was shocking enough to be counted in one hand among all the characters. The first time he shows his face is a scene where he aims a gun at a man’s head.
So, at first, I thought I would be able to find this guy soon. It’s because he was already a very famous villain here in Virgin City. So I thought he might already be causing a commotion somewhere…
It’s been two days since I came to Virgin City.
I still haven’t been able to find even the ‘Ki’ of ‘Kiriko’.
The city was quiet, and there was no sign of any disturbance. There were hardly any people even talking about Kiriko.
At best, somebody whispered ‘Isn’t he quiet these days?’
There is one particular reason why I want to meet Kiriko instead of Leo. Because the main character of this chapter is nobody other than him. Even the title of the chapter is ‘The Mad Gunslinger of Virgin City’, isn’t it?
From the moment I first decided to have the next match in Chapter 3, my strategy was already set.
Let’s just focus on Kiriko.
As long as I can play an active part as his assistant, I can imprint my character on the readers and the writer to a certain extent.
‘Well, I didn’t know that we wouldn’t even be able to meet like this.’
I scratched my head.
I was trying to be calm, but to be honest, I couldn’t help but become more and more anxious. It was because I didn’t know exactly when Leo would finish Chapter 2 and move on to this place.
Before that, I had to somehow contact Kiriko first and imprint my character in his mind.
‘There’s no other way.’
In the end, I decided to start Plan B. I initially tried to refrain from contacting with other characters since I thought that might cause a butterfly effect, but it seemed unavoidable. If it was plan A to just meet Kiriko, plan B was ‘let’s find Kiriko first’.
“If you want to do that, you just have to go there.”
I moved on without delay.
“This is the last one…”
With a pounding heart, I entered a dark alleyway.
If it’s not here, I’ll have to start searching the alleys again from the beginning.
It felt like the whole world was shining.
The place I had been looking for over half a day was right there.
A shabby bar that looked so run-down as if only ghosts frequented it.
It looked just like in the manga.
「Madame Rosemarietta’s Goodnight Moon」.
When I finally saw the sign, I broke out in a smile without noticing.
But the joy was short-lived, and I quickly calmed my mind.
Here again, I had to be careful. It wasn’t just Kiriko that was the problem. Everyone you meet from now on is highly likely to be a ‘character’. If there were any disputes, it was clear that the chapter would be twisted even before the beginning of the chapter.
After a couple of deep breaths, I opened the door.
As soon as I entered, the sweet scent of honey filled my nostrils.
‘Oh, is that good?’
The inside of the bar was bigger than I thought. The interior view was never fully depicted, but it seems that the setting of ‘clean and spacious interior’ was attached.
It was then –
A languid voice rang in my ears.
As I turned around, I saw the face of a familiar stranger.
‘Rosemarietta… is she pretty?’
It was unfortunate. The strange displeasure I felt when I looked in the mirror didn’t go away when I looked at her. She did look somewhat like a real person. She was also incredibly pretty.
Of course, the heterogeneous elements were not completely absent. First of all, the body shape was unrealistic. With a chest that looked like it was going to explode any moment under a small face, a waist as narrow as an ant, and ridiculously long legs.
But nonetheless, I thought that it was not particularly awkward, and it was beautiful.
‘… Maybe that’s why.’
In fact, at the time of the serialization, there was criticism that the female characters had less personality compared to the male characters. They were just pretty drawings.
The writer did a good job pushing forward with his ideals without being swayed by meaningless public opinion.
It seemed that I had lost my thread of thought without noticing.
I hurriedly looked around.
Obviously, the guy in the corner…
There was nobody where I thought one would be.
“Uh… where did the guy who sits there every day go?”
I asked, pointing to the far-left corner. It was the reserved seat for Kiriko as far as I remembered.
However, her reply was absurd.
“Huh? No one likes that place… And aren’t you a first-timer here?”
“Oh? Ah, yes, well, that’s right.”
What? This was just embarrassing.
Clearly, I was correct that Kiriko’s seat was always there…
For a moment, I slapped my forehead. Are you confused about such a simple thing?
Come to think of it, Kiriko started to dine here after ‘that incident’, and before that, he didn’t really have any interactions with Rosemarietta.
No wonder things were so quiet.
‘It’s been too long since I’ve read the first volume…’
My head was pounding a little. How much time did I spend finding my way here?
“What? Are you dizzy? Would you like to sit here for a moment?”
Rosemarietta looked at me worriedly.
“Ah… yes. Thank you.”
In an instant, I looked back at her again.
Rosemarietta was beautiful and gentle.
Seeing her, I thought that ‘that incident’ was likely to happen.
Things should go the same way. And that scene in which Kiriko first appears.
Kiriko pointing a gun at a man’s head.
And in front of Leo’s eyes, he actually ‘pop’, pulled the trigger.
The cause of the incident was the woman in front of me. This is because it was triggered by a gangster from an organization that Kiriko is hostile to who was harassing Rosemarietta.
I thought it was just a common cliché used to develop the manga plot…
“Have a drink and you’ll be fine.”
Rosemarietta smiled and held out a glass towards me.
“This is the special honey beer that we are proud of.”
I was perplexed for a moment. Would you recommend a drink to someone with a headache?
Actually, I’ve always wondered. What do the drinks in the manga taste like? Also, what is the alcohol content, and how much alcohol do these guys drink all day long?
“Ummm… then just a sip or two.”
With a pounding heart, I took a sip.
“How is it, good?”
It just tasted like beer. Maybe a little sweet?
However, the alcohol content seemed to be quite high, and I was already subtly drunk.
And people pour something like this by the bottle. Again, the characters here must be monsters.
After a brief moment of appreciation, I immediately began to focus on my thoughts.
Anyway, he wasn’t even here, so there was only one way left to find Kiriko.
Visiting and asking ‘the guys’ who might know about his whereabouts.
Of course, I knew who they were and where they were.
Besides, unlike Rosemarietta’s pub, it wasn’t that difficult to find their base. In fact, there was no place in the city was easier to find.
I passed it by dozens of times while wandering around looking for this bar.
The problem was that they were enemies of Kiriko.
And another was that these guys are ‘humans that are dangerous to anyone’, not just Kiriko.
As the thought ran through my head, the tension rose again. If you make a mistake, you may be killed off-screen before Chapter 3 even begins.
“Huh… a little bit of alcohol helps.”
In a timely manner,
[Chapter 2 – ‘Stupid Bandits’ has ended]
The warning to move came.
Kiriko has the setting of being a notorious outlaw here in Virgin City.
And this is a common characteristic of ‘tsundere characters who are misunderstood as villains’. Think of it as a prerequisite for the future scene of ‘I know you’re actually a good guy’.
But what sets Kiriko apart from other similar characters is that this guy actually honestly did the things he was accused of.
Hitting, smashing, shooting.
The guy was particularly focused on destroying the powerful elites of this city. There was a good reason why the gossip about him was about a ‘bad guy’ or a ‘piece of garbage’.
In that case, why was this character later called a ‘good guy’ by the main character?
Simple. Because the elites of this city, the enemies of Kiriko – they were the real villains.
A mafia organization that dominated Virgin City. Kiriko was its enemy.
I stared at the huge building in front of me.
The building called ‘Virgin City Tower’, was the headquarters of the mafia, located at the city’s centre.
I was a little nervous after I became sober.
‘Let’s not be afraid. At best, they are just extras that appear at the beginning of the first volume.’
After a round of self-encouragement, I went straight to the two thugs guarding the front door.
“Stop. What is it?”
In the manga, they were dense as a rock. However, when I looked closer, they weren’t as tough as I had thought.
But I didn’t give off a very mild impression right now.
Raising my voice, I slowly opened my mouth.
“I came here to meet the manager.”
“What? Who are you?”
“Reveal your identity.”
It was a very appropriate reaction.
With a deep smile on my lips, I blew the backstory setting that I had prepared.
“Can you afford it? I am an executive from the Red Scorpion.”
“Red, Red Scorpion!”
Some manga-like reactions popped out.
Actually, they’re not that great, they’re just another neighbourhood mafia organization that’s a little bigger than this one. However, there were rumours that their boss had something to do with ‘Black Shadow’, so other mafia were more wary and afraid of them.
Of course, this is my review after reading the manga, and I really don’t know what these guys will think of the Red Scorpion’s executives.
“Oh, I’ll guide you!”
When I saw their reactions, it seemed that there was definitely a lot of fear. Enough to guide you in right away without even questioning your identity further. The guard must have thought that no one would dare impersonate a Red Scorpion.
After waiting a while inside the building, someone rushed in.
“Oh, so sorry to have kept you waiting!”
“Oh, I was late because the middle managers were all absent. Because there is nobody from the main office…”
“Yeah, okay, fine.”
“And, and I’m sorry… Actually, the boss and the other executives are also absent.”
In fact, none of that mattered, but anyway, in order to be faithful to the role-play, I had to at least arrange the basic ‘pretence’.
“What, where did they go?”
“I don’t know about that either. It’s just that there are some important meetings with other organizations…”
“Is that so? Hmmm…”
I frowned. From now on, I needed to set the mood a bit.
“And who are you?”
“Oh! I haven’t introduced myself. I am a junior manager of the organization……”
From what he said, he seemed to be the highest-ranked among the remaining members of the organization. Since Kiriko’s information isn’t confidential anyway, this guy should know.
“Yeah, then. First of all, the purpose of my coming here is…”
That was then.
Suddenly, a noise came from outside.
“A-, avoid it!”
“It’s an attack!”
Soon afterwards –
“Is this the place?”
Someone walked in slowly.
A man looking around while holding the drooped necks of a gang member in one hand.
For a moment, I doubted my eyes.
Long bright red hair, and eyes that stared indifferently as if bored. With a cigarette stuck in his mouth, he spat out smoke, and the overall impression was pretty villainous.
Two revolvers, with antique patterns embossed on them, hung at his the waist.
I was so confused that no words came out.
It was Kiriko who I had been desperately searching for.
“Uh… over there…”
And at that moment when I was still nonplussed –
“Please, officer! Help!”
The man who had been playing dead, held in Kiriko’s hand, shouted.
Embarrassingly, the guy’s gaze wasn’t on his manager.