Checkmate – The Killer’s Anthem – Chapter 1

Eichi: …~

Tsumugi: You seem to be in a good mood, Eichi

Eichi: Hm? Oh, umm… Who are you again?

Tsumugi: That’s so mean! Please don’t forget who I am~ I’m Aoba from your class!

Eichi: Ah… Aoba Tsumugi, was it? It has an ingenuous but beautiful ring to it, my name is hopelessly ostentatious*, so I’m quite envious.

Tsumugi: Ahaha. Well I suppose it is Tenshouin! Eichi!*1 Just like a feudal warlord.*2

Eichi: Haha. If I were born in the middle ages, I’d be dead and gone within a few days. The weak are weeded out: that’s the laws of nature

Eichi: But since I was born in modern times, I can survive, and could even conquer the land*3

Eichi: … By the way, what business do you have with me?

Tsumugi: Huh, please wait a minute! You just said a ton of complicated things, I can’t keep up!

Eichi: I’m told this quite often. But it’s fine, no need take pains to respond

Eichi: Most would be satisfied with nodding and saying “I see!” “How interesting!” “Yes sir, I completely agree!”

Tsumugi: But… That’s kind of sad. If I could, I would like to fully understand what the other person is saying.

Eichi: I don’t think you can understand. It’s not that I underestimate you faculties, but mutual understanding between men is just an illusion

Eichi: You’ll only make a fool out of yourself if you desire what’s functionally impossible.

Eichi: Though I think that’s a marvelous attitude to have. Not flattery or sycophancy…

Eichi: Not many people try to understand me. Haha, I like you

Tsumugi: I’m so glad~! I hope we can become friends, After all, we’ll be classmates starting this spring

Eichi: Indeed. I wasn’t able to attend school very much last year because I was hospitalized the entire time, but my condition has steadily improved and I’ve recovered…

Eichi: It appears starting this year I’ll be able to have a healthy adolescence.  

Eichi: I’m really looking forward to it. There’s so much I want to do

Eichi: There’s still a lot I’m unfamiliar with, I’d appreciate it if you could be my guide…Aoba  

Tsumugi: Ah, please call me ‘Tsumugi’! No need to be so formal, plus I don’t really like being called by my last name

Eichi: Me neither. In that case, are you the type who doesn’t get along well with your parents?

Eichi: To feel repugnance for stating the last name you share with your parents is to detest one’s lineage, is it not?

Tsumugi: Oh no, I get along fine with them!

Tsumugi: Even though my love for them might be one-sided, after all, I could never repay them for the gift of life.

Tsumugi: Never mind just ‘Aoba’, when people call me ‘Mr. Aoba” it just sounds so stuffy.*5

Tsumugi: A long time ago, people used to make fun of my last name *6

Eichi: I just called you ‘Aoba’ unmindfully. But, you’re an odd one, I didn’t expect that… I’ll take note of it, Tsumugi

Tsumugi: Thank you! By the way, I am the class representative… So if there’s really something you need help with, please let me know!

Tsumugi: Our homeroom teacher also asked me to help you

Tsumugi: I came today to give you some printouts that have been stacking up.

Tsumugi: I also have notes that I copied from the blackboard during class, please use them if you want

Eichi: Thank you. Huh, seems like your notes are quite meticulous…?

Tsumugi: That’s all I’m good for, being meticulous~ I’m sorry, I bet there’s some parts written neurotically in small letters, so it’s hard to read.

Tsumugi: I’m not sure what information you might need, so I just took down everything the teacher said

Tsumugi: I looked up anything that’s missing and added it as a supplement

Eichi: I’m sorry for all the trouble, it’s mostly things I’m already familiar with…

Eichi: How interesting, you also noted down what the other students chatted about during class.

This might actually be quite useful information.

Eichi: That was very helpful, Tsumugi.

Eichi: Regardless, I understand why you’ve come. As class representative, you came to visit me in the hospital…*7

Eichi: It’s been quite some time since that’s happened

Eichi: I’ve been in and out of hospitals since I was young, I’ve grown tired of people coming to visit…

Eichi: I’ve ordered the staff not to let anyone in the room, but

Eichi: Recently I was moved from a private room to this shared room so… It’s difficult to prevent everyone who wants to come in from doing so

Eichi: After all, the other patients have guests coming in too

Tsumugi: Haha. I’m good at slipping in unnoticed. Maybe I don’t have any presence?

Eichi: What are you going to do about that as an idol?

Eichi: …Cough, cough

Tsumugi: Ah, are you alright? I’m sorry made you talk so much! You shouldn’t exert yourself too much, right? I guess I should be going soon?

Tsumugi: Please excuse me. I hope I can see you in school soon, Eichi

Tsumugi: Take your time but feel better soon… I’ll do anything I can for you, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

Eichi: Yes, thank you, ‘The Bluebird of Happiness’

Tsumugi: Huh? What does that mean? Sorry, I don’t understand!

Eichi: The ‘blue’ from the ‘Ao’  in your name, and Ba sounds like ‘Bird’, so Bluebird…*8

Eichi: It seems like you have a bad impression of your last name, so I tried to give it a positive connotation. I wonder if this is enough to repay your kindness for visiting me here in the hospital?

Eichi: I hope we get along well, Tsumugi… I’d like to be friends with you.



1 The title is a reference to the song from Akira Kursosawa’s film “Drunken Angel” here’s a video to the song if you want to hear it:

2 ‘Tenshouin’ is written with the kanji heaven, blessed, imperial palace/temple. Furthermore Eichi’s name itself is written with the characters hero, wisdom, so his name is pretty ostentatious.

3 Specifically refers to the Warring States Period in Japan.

4 Eichi continues on the Warring States reference. The word he used here is 天下 which as the translation does mean to conquer, i.e. to be the ruling power of a nation, it also has a “unifying” implication, especially if looked at from a Warring States Period perspective: it’s to conquer over and rule a united country

5 Pardon this ‘localization’ but i wanted to put a translation there that would flow without understandings of honorifics and it’s too late to think of a clever pun. Here Tsumugi says, even setting aside ‘Aoba-kun’ (which he has a problem with people calling him that), ‘Aoba-san” sounds too similar to “oba-san” (which means ‘Auntie’) so he doesn’t like it. I (chika) tend to not use honorifics in my translations as a stylistic preference.

6 Literally, people used to call him ‘oba-san’ to make fun of him.

7 This specific word refers to visits to injured/unwell people.

8 Ao literally is blue, and Ba literally means leaf but here he’s using the sound “ba” as the beginning of bird (‘baado”). This is part of Tsumugi’s idol catchphrase in his official profile: 幸せを紡ぐブルーバード (The Bluebird Who Spins Happiness). The catchphrase take this pun a step further by using “spins” (紡ぐ, Tsumugu) aka his first name (written in hiragana, no kanji)