(Story and Art submitted by Ivan Seelnon)
Hello everyone. Looks like I found Mocchi earlier today. I was really surprised to see him in a place like this.
But here is the full report of the situation.
11:37 April 1st 2016
Local train station.
I was heading to the post office near the train station, to pick up an anonymous message I was sent the day before. Maybe it was for a solar power generator or something I had purchased online and forgotten about.
Anyway, on the way, I noticed a man in a black suit sitting in the waiting area of the train station. He had a strange bag with some Japanese writing on it.
I became curious and decided to get a closer look and… lo’ and behold, the man was Mochida-san from SMA! I had seen the article on the site, and thought that it was a joke, but… it was not… I was shocked. Living, breathing Mocchi was sitting in the middle of a train station, somewhere in the Russian countryside.
I remember on the news they said: “do NOT approach him directly”. But I was really curious about the situation, so I decided to play a little trick. Fortunately, I had a tablet and a cellphone on me, both with SIM cards.
I silently placed the cellphone near Mocchi and walked away without being noticed.
I called the phone. Mocchi was startled by the ringtone (I chose 5th symphony, you probably know it: Ta Ta Ta TAAAAA). And maybe this was a little scary, but on the screen of the cellphone was the name of the contact calling… MOCCHI… Of course it was me calling, but I wanted the real Mocchi to pick up the phone no matter what. And he did…
“Hello Mister Mochida, don’t you think it’s a bit dangerous to travel alone?”
“…Who is this?…”
“I can’t tell you. But I will give you a little advice. DO NOT look back”
Works every time. Mocchi started to spin his head in every direction like crazy. This is a bit cruel, but fun and works under almost any conditions. But let’s get back to our little conversation:
“Relax, Mocchi, it’s April 1st, so I was just having some fun…”
“I want to try to help you. It looks like you’ve decided to take a little vacation outside of Tokyo and get away from it all. Sometimes we all need some days-off to get into the right mood, but… People are looking for you, you know?”
I wasn’t sure if he understood my English, but if he did, then I could get some information by watching his reactions.
“Yeah, I know that you left a message saying “Don’t look for me!” on your desk, but… I’m curious, why did you take that laptop with you?”
This was a completely random guess, but… Mochida-san moved his hand to the bag with the Japanese writing. That was an unconsciousness move, but I got a lot of information from it. He understood what I was saying to him and my guess about the laptop was right, so I decided to push it a little further:
“We all know that you really care about SMA, Zenon, manga, your co-workers and people in general, but after some time there’s a period when people start to lose their sense of being cared about by others. They need some support and a bit of hot cocoa while working all night long. And as you may have seen, people do care about you… all those replies to the SMA06 being canceled article, the article itself… everyone needs you, the whole contest just vanished without you. People need you!
He decided not to continue. I was surprised that he had kept listening for as long as he had. I must have hit home with the topic. So I decided to plant an idea of him not being in the right place, and a desire to return.
“Having a day off may definitely help, but sometimes vacations are really stressful. Have you ever heard of identity theft? It’s a really popular topic these days, especially with the popularity of the internet. Some guy can just hack your accounts and pretend that he is you, and do all sort of things. Like making a story about a lonely cucumber in a can win the SMA contest… Or even without identity theft… someone might just pick the stories they like, like Taiyo picking detective or alien invasion stories as the best submissions… and now… there’s no one who can stop him…”
“Taiyo would NEVER!!!”
He cut the phone call.
Anyway, I got a lot of information from his facial expressions while talking to him, which helped guide my monologue. The part with Taiyo was just a guess, but Mocchi knows that different people have different tastes, even if it’s not about alien invasions, but something else… Mocchi should understand this.
After the talk, Mochida-san was looking uncomfortable and stressed, and he was looking around with an annoyed expression, searching for me. I felt that he really wanted to disprove my last words about Taiyo face to face. But this was all according to my plan. Now he was thinking about Taiyo, manga, SMA and how pissed off he was at me, not about work, and that was my intention.
Mochida-san leaves the train station.
Unnoticed by Mocchi, I kept following him. After our little conversation, Mocchi decided to go somewhere for a little lunch. Also, he was trying to catch me by waiting for someone to pick up the phone… but… I didn’t want to reveal myself yet.
Mochida-san definitely did not know Russian and wasn’t good enough with English to communicate freely, so I had him at a disadvantage.
Italian Dream Restaurant.
I followed him to some kind of restaurant. We walked in… I sat at the table next to him. Mocchi took the menu and pointed at some dishes to order. I decided to move onto the next phase… I’m sorry, but I decided on close contact… I’ve got some experience with extraterrestrials, so I was prepared enough for this…
“Oh, hello, are you… Mochida-san from Silent Manga?… You’re one of the judges if I remember correctly…”
“Yeah… That’s me…” (Really defensive)
“I wasn’t expecting to meet you in a place like this. Why aren’t you in Tokyo?”
“I’m on vacation.” (Trying to smile honestly)
“Yeah, vacations are great, you can meet new people, visit new places… And now you’re preparing for SMA06 or something like that?”
“Yes. I was thinking of a theme.” (Glancing slightly to the right)
“Oh, so the new theme will be about small foreign cities?”
“I haven’t decided yet” (Fake smile)
And I decided to push it…
“But you know what? I love this contest, and I wish I had more time to participate regularly, but I also love just seeing what other people come up with. There are so much talented artists all over the world. (I could not say that I had already sent around 15 manga entries for SMA in the past 18 months…) And I like how they can easily be turned into a short film. The Sky-Sky short was just great…”
It worked. The solid stone heart of Mochida-san began to melt into warm feelings that spread all over his body, and we kept talking about the contestants, the idea behind SMA, its international concept and even how this contest might affect the world of entertainment in the future. We also ordered some pizza, and for him and for me it became a nice little conversation.
I did what I wanted, I showed him the bright side to his hard work and tried to remind him what he is working for: not just for paper with drawings… but for the feelings of people.
I left Mochida-san alone, with the ideas that I planted in his head. About not being safe here, about everyone waiting for him, and about the bright side of his work. That should create the desire to go back, should make him realize where he belongs. I’m sure he’ll be back in Tokyo by tomorrow, April 2nd, telling everyone why they need to keep going.
Local train station.
I found my phone. I was surprised no one took it… but well, luck is on my side. I still had something to do… to pick up the anonymous message I was sent the day before. The post office was nearby. I wrote my passport data and got the actual message. It wasn’t a solar power generator. It was just a sheet of paper. I opened it, and there were only few words:
“April 1st, Ivan.
And that’s the real story of what Mocchi was doing before we found him at the Momoiro Clover Z concert! Ivan guided Mocchi back to us and saved SMA06 🙂
We really enjoyed reading this!
We hope everyone will continue to send us their work!