Full Metal Panic! - Volume 5 - Chapter Aft

The Afterword Eh...  
As usual, I’m sorry for the incredibly long wait. I present to you the last part of ‘Ending Day by Day’. For those who would rebuke, “But I’ve already forgotten what happened in the first one,” I’m sorry.  
This time this story was completely different.  
Well, there were times when I thought, “The ending has to be a hijacking or a seajacking, and look like the ending of the ‘Die Hard’ series or ‘Chinmoku’ series.” But this time the climax was more of a traditional super robot anime style. Strong, strong, extremely strong. And the hero gets to decide what to bash for a change.  
At first, I was thinking of a plot that “allows” Sousuke to return back to his former life by reasons of pre-established harmony and windfall. However, that kind of situation- it being the organization’s intentions that he continue his excessive lifestyle, no matter what kind of elaborate story I devised, it only felt unnatural to me. When I was stuck, a more plausible means of resolution from the beginning was the only thing I could think of.  
This choice seemed obvious, and then I was hit with an unexpected blind spot. Grasping the rights and wrongs of a situation, for oneself rather than one’s environment- a lot of people, myself included, tend to forget this kind of thing from time to time. You remember, but the severity of your environment makes you soon forget it. Those who are sincere are made out to be cynical, aren’t they?  
The writing of “Ending Day by Day” was a work to correct the malaise that Sousuke Sagara had been feeling against the Arbalest character. It was a short, steep mountain, but thanks to the hardships, it feels like he finally becomes the protagonist of 
the story with real meaning. And the Arbalest also finally- truly finally, becomes the main mecha of the story. Like Sousuke, I also didn’t feel much attachment for the Arbalest, but now I think “It’s not a piece of garbage” without any maliciousness. It may not compare to the various leading robots that my predecessors have created, but don’t you think that it’s got some appeal?  
It’s for that reason that I think these novels are first a story about Sousuke and the Arbalest- and also a story about Sousuke himself. If you had asked Sousuke “Why are you at this school?”, up till now he would have replied “It’s my mission,” but now he would reply “Because I choose to be.” And on top of that, he should confront the situations and difficult themes that befall him.  
Speaking of which, I want to say something. A hero who can’t stand up for himself without his girlfriend scolding him- dear me, it’s a pitiful thing. But I think that’s how it is when you’re young. This can’t turn completely into Golgo 13*1. Since he naturally won’t stand up to Kaname. “Women are strong and beautiful,” I’ve thought often for a long time. Now I watch the brave women who let me work with them. Wow.  
This is still page three, right? While I was writing the story, I thought “I’ll write about this and that in the after word,” but when I finished writing it, I became more like “whatever’s fine,” for this. Even a report on how I’ve been getting along would work, too. There’s not much to tell, since everyday is pretty ordinary. I’d have no choice but to write about the current news. I could talk about the Valkyrie plastic models coming from Hasegawa, but if I did that I’d take up another twenty pages going on about it.  
Which reminds me, I actually went to collect data in Hong Kong. By myself. Lazily. This time it was supposed to be more of the main stage, but for plot and tempo convenience, I cut the descriptions and episode extremely short. It’s disappointing. Well, 
there are always a lot of scenes that get rejected, but if I get the chance, I want to try to return to Hong Kong again.  
From here I will borrow some space for a few private messages.  
Tomohiro Nagai, I recieved the tankoubons*2- thank you very much. I’m sorry for not replying. Every month you allow me to burst out loud with laughter while I’m reading.  
Retsu Tateo, thank you for the chocolate. Since it’s a mutual neighborhood, how about we do dinner next time? I’m looking forward to new developments.  
Ichirou Sakaki, thank you for the New Year’s card. I’m sorry for not replying.  
Toshihiko Tsukiji, I’ve neglected to stay in contact. How are your eyes? Let’s have a good drink next time.  
Giguru Akiguchi, please tell me the next time you’re in Tokyo.  
And Douji Shiki, congratulations. I’m sorry for being busy with my new life. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.  
This novel was a lot of work for various people. Mr. Shiki, the editor Mr. S, as well everyone involved, thank you again as always for everything.  
Well, then. Because this novel was rather heavy and full of frustration, I think I want to make the next one brighter and cheerier. For those who are worried that the mood of Full Metal Panic series will keep on being dark like it was in this novel, please don’t worry.  
Till next time, then. We’ll accompany Sousuke into hell once again.  
Shouji Gatou (Kung-fu Fighters Big Affirmative School)  
March, 2001 
Translator’s notes:  
1. Golgo 13 is another manga strip.  
2. Tankoubons are Japanese comic books.  
Translator’s Afterword:  
Well, now I get to actually write something of my own. This was probably one of the most ambitious projects I ever decided to take on, and I was actually skeptical as to whether or not I would ever finish it, especially when I think of how hard it was when I started out. I know I didn’t get everything perfect, but I can say that I did give everything my best effort. I really have appreciated all of the support I’ve gotten for the project, even though it’s an unusual release for a manga scanlation group. I have to say, though, that it’s been the most enjoyable thing that I’ve translated, not only because I love the series, but because there is more of me in this translation than you would normally see in a manga translation. Translating this has been as much about writing as it has been about translating, so I feel like I’m doing something that I used to love to do a long time ago. I remember earlier this year when I talked to my dad, who was a writer, and I told him what I was doing, he said, “You’ve got a little something of me in you, then.” I don’t think I will ever forget those words, because that was the last thing he ever told me. I know it sounds sappy, but I like that I’m getting to do something I enjoy while being able to provide something that others will enjoy.  
Now I’m going to take some time out to plug a few people I want to thank. I want to thank Mukan and Jekias, because they are the ones that have really helped me out with this project. I’d like to thank all the Boku-tachi staff for letting me do this... even though it wasn’t manga and it was something that I wanted to do. Another person I have to thank is my boyfriend, who is willing to leave me alone when I’m working on this stuff, has been supportive of everything I do, and has been there whenever I needed 
him. I also want to thank everyone who reads this, because it gives me the motivation to keep working even when it’s past midnight and I’m absolutely brain-dead. I also have to thank the creator’s of Winamp, which is my best friend while I’m working ^^  
Well, that’s the end of this novel. But fear not, I will be continuing the story with the next novel “A Dancing Very Merry Christmas”, as well as some random short stories when the mood strikes me. Well, until next time then, when I follow Sousuke into hell first, then try to drag everyone else along with me :)  
May 2004 

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