Losing terribly when it was his turn to wrestle leaves the roughed up Akihiko dejectedly walking away from the circle of stronger boys. His skinny forearm runs beneath his runny nose and eyes due to the desperation to prove himself and win still fresh, like scraped knees, in his mind. Somehow this feeling hurts more than physical pain, although he’d tear up at their existence, nonetheless.
“Are you okay?”
He stops. He peeks and pulls his reddened face away from his arm, and his eyes meet a young girl named Takeba Yukari kneeling on both knees a couple feet away. On the ground a bunch of miscellaneous figures and plushes lay scattered in front of her. Amber eyes shut amicably as Yukari smiles, pleased to see he’s calmer than expected despite his state. “…Do you want to play?”
Akihiko just stands. Then, quietly, his legs move, and next thing he knows he’s kneeling next to her.
Phoenix Ranger Featherman R has always been all the rage. Even Yukari owns a few action figurines in her collection. Immediately Featherman Red catches his eye while she holds Featherman Pink. Soon Akihiko’s own laughter and excitement alleviates his demoralized spirit as the two toss and bash through assigned villains in the vicinity: a rubber duck, Timon and Pumba figures, Mr. Potato Head, pony and alpaca dolls. At one point they bicker over defeating the giant bear plush, which results in Yukari flinging it in the air and Akihiko’s knuckles striking it farther away.
After a few more adventures, the setting sun sadly reminds Yukari of the time. She slowly accumulates the toys one by one into the bucket before standing up and slightly bowing to the other, the handle gripped tightly in both hands. He doesn’t know she’ll be moving tomorrow. It’s bittersweet, as Yukari says goodbye and walks back home, how her final day here was spent with one boy who was kind to her.