2021-04-24 - Counterfeit Doesn't Beat the Real Deal

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Title: Counterfeit Doesn't Beat the Real Deal

Niramo and Fumiko meet up after school to do some shopping around Akihabara. A visit to a shady pop-up store has the two girls collecting something new, and for Fumiko, a bit closer towards the truth.


Fumiko Inoue, Niramo Umokeshi


Akihabara Electric Town

OOC - IC Date:

2021-04-24 - 2015-11-19

.**************************** Shitamachi Low City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Akihabara Electric Town +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Brave Akihabara, holy land of nerds, Akihabara of the cartoony signs and      
 gumball-machine colors. One can buy anything in Akihabara, as long as it is   
 computer gear, electronics or anime merchandise. The main strip is the        
 glitziest, with a large percentage of the visible building faces covered in   
 electronic signs, huge posters, or garish paint jobs, and there one can       
 purchase coveted new items at (or just a hair before) their street dates.     
 The streets to either side are home to a messier brand of store, where one    
 can, with a little luck and persistence, find used goods like that rare       
 out-of-print first edition Sailor V figurine or vanity press Pretty Cure      
 doujinshi. These smaller stores compete ferociously for space, and can be     
 found crammed into alleyways and spilling out onto sidewalks as well as in    
 more standard configuration.                                                  
 Those whose tastes run more to programming than fandom can find the area,     
 also known as Akihabara Electric Town, quite rewarding as well. It's the      
 perfect place to shop for computer parts and other gadgets for projects both  
 personal and paranormal, with the venue ranging from a posh cutting-edge      
 robotics store on the main strip, to tiny stalls wedged into alleys that      
 sell high-grade electronics on the cheap. The latter category manage this     
 feat of thrift by selling unpackaged items taken from wholesale lots, and     
 piled up for display like supermarket apples.                                 
 It's relatively safe to be seen wearing unusual clothing here; it's likely    
 to be taken for cosplay, or the uniform of one of the diversely themed maid   
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The late autumn sun is barely visible above the top of the nearest buildings of Akihabara, the streets crowded with throngs of school students and office workers looking for a good deal on the way home. There's a noticable chill in the air, which hints at colder times to come. That, and several stores were already brazen enough to have Christmas sale banners on display, loudly proclaiming to purchase now to beat the holiday rush.

Niramo is still wearing her school uniform since it was a Thursday, but she's currently has a new tan scarf wrapped around her lower face to keep it warm. The artificial lights coming from the stores are inviting potential customers in to shop around and warm up, but Niramo was just happy to shop around at the moment.

Turning her head around, Niramo's smile is just visible over her scarf as she looks over at Fumiko. "Have you seen anything that catches your eye? I know I saw a secondhand store with an old console around here somewhere..." Niramo has been saving up her allowance for a while for that console, and she hopes it hasn't been sold yet.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The reason for Fumiko's backpack seeming completely stuffed during school is now apparent - over her school uniform is now a large black winter coat. Segmented almost like scales, and very thick, it almost gives the appearance of a puffy black dragon. The coat's hood hangs behind her brown hair, out of the way.

What is less apparent is why she has a frog in her hair. Wait, that's just a hair ornament. A pretty realistic hair ornament, but still not a real frog. It does match the hop in her step, however.

Fumiko turns to her friend and smiles back. "There's quite a lot here actually," she admits. "I have no idea where to start!" Her eyes dart back and forth from building to building, window display to window display. It seems everything has her attention. Although there was one thing in particular she was keeping an eye out for...

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko's puffy black coat is the subject of more than one jealous stare when she thinks Fumiko isn't looking over at her. Sure, the winter uniform for Juuban has a blazer to keep the wearer warm...but its' thin enough that wind cuts right through the jacket at the right angle. One issue with using a bookbag is that you couldn't carry around an extra coat.

Niramo isn't the best when it comes to fashion, but you don't need fashion sense to see something being absolutely cute. "Fumiko-chan, where did you get your ornament? I been thinking of getting something for my hair." A dark green hair ribbon is holding Niramo's ponytail against the onslaught of the wind, but maybe Niramo is on the lookout for something more?

The stores on the street have quite the colorful collection of items for sale. From secondhand computer parts, GPS units, anime figurines and merchandise and even a small movie theater playing older anime movies, Akihabara has quite the selection! There's even a street stand selling freshly cooked takoyaki off to one side. "Same here. When I want to put off my homework for a while, I tend to just wander around for a hour or so just to look around." Niramo seems to be enjoying herself, even if she can't find what she came to find today.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko catches one of the glances from Niramo and a quick succession of emotions flashes over her face. At first, she seems to think Niramo's coat jealousy is funny, but then scolds herself at that. She was better than that. She was GETTING better than that. Finally, a look of realization and slight concern as she starts to understand that maybe the envy wasn't about fashion. "Niramo, are you cold? I um... could lend you my coat for a while. I thought I was just cold because I was cold-blooded~" There were a number of meanings to that joke, but she was sure that Niramo had no way of knowing... right?

Her eyes light up at the mention of her frog accessory. "Oh! There's this cute little shop, neither expensive nor cheap. I don't know how they get away with their sales and not end up bankrupt! I could show you some time!"

As the two pass stores with figurines and shirts, Fumiko's eyes lock on to one, scrutinizing and perusing it. No... nope... nuh-uh... it doesn't look like it has what she is looking for, if any place even POSSIBLY did. Maybe in a more shady store, one with less... 'official' merchandise? "Uh... mhm... what? Oh, sorry, zoned out a bit. Yeah, it is nice to stretch your legs and do some window-shopping, and who knows? Maybe we'll find something neat and actually buy a thing or two!"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo's stealthy glances may not have been as sneaky as she had wanted, especially once Fumiko starts to get a little worried. Sure, she was shivering a little, but she's just not used to the cold temperatures!...is what Niramo is telling herself. Maybe finding a cheap bookbag to carry around an extra coat might be a good idea. Fumiko's pretty smart for thinking ahead, honestly.

"Huh?" Niramo jumps a little at being caught out like that, but she nods her head. "Y-yeah, a little. We could take turns to make sure we're both not freezing. I though this scarf I got would be enough. Here, i'll let you use it for a little while, too!" The tan scarf being offered was plain looking yet very soft, not bad at all for something that was bought at a store a few days ago.

Niramo has another scarf back at home, but it would certainly cause issues if someone tried it on and could be perfectly fine in a blizzard. Best to keep it mundane whenever possible.

Hearing that Fumiko doesn't mind showing where she got her frog hairclip is enough to put a spring in her own step, despite the cold. "Some places have deals that just seem crazy yet work perfectly! I been wanting to try stylizing a little and get away from generic clothing, but...yeah, i'm still kinda hopeless when it comes to knowing what shirt works best with which pair of pants..."

Niramo has been catching Fumiko looking around the main street for a while, so it's clear she has something in mind, but if it's something that not at a major store...oh, that makes sense. "Something neat? Hmmm, well there's the alley streets! You can usually find a lot of unique items there, but you have to be careful. I bought a few cheap knockoff figurines without realizing before, but there's better deals too!" With that, Niramo starts to lead Fumiko down a side street branching off from the busy main road.

It's noticably quieter once they start to head into the deeper sections of Akihabara, but not from any lack of people browsing the stores. Not as many stores have speakers out front spouting off advertisements mixed in with catchy music, and colorful banners are not quite as flashy as before. The atmosphere has changed a little, but it can't be tied to any one thing, but it can make some people feel a little on edge if they're not used to these streets.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko quickly sheds her backpack and coat, and hands the warm coat over to her friend. "Yeah, taking turns is a great idea. We both get to be warm for a while!" She gives Niramo a wink and a smile. "Can't have one of us freezing, and the other have to carry a cute ice sculpture!"

The cryptic nature of sales and deals gives Fumiko something to ponder about. "Hm, yes. Maybe they have someone make them for them, instead of a company they have to buy through?" She shrugs, though, quickly losing interest. Then Niramo says something that re-grabs her interest. Fumiko opens her mouth to say something, but hesitates, slowly closing it and looking slightly to the left of her. "Hm. Looking to find your own style? I was going to offer help but... I think that might be a bit of a personal journey. I can comment on what looks good on you, but not on what 'is' you. Buuuut... I can still help you find stuff if you want. Just... later. Kind of in the wrong shopping area for finding yourself! We have other fish to fry~"

Speaking of which, it was time for a shopping adventure, off the beaten path! Now they were getting somewhere! Fumiko sees just what Niramo meant. The prices were much better. A little too good, in fact. Maybe just wholesale, maybe off-brand or factory-rejected stuff, or maybe... the names on the things might not be accurate. Perhaps... perhaps she could find herself here.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Trading a scarf for a coat may not seem like a good trade for one trade, but Niramo isn't going to turn down the extra heat right now! Her bookbag is thrown (gently) to a side, and the black coat is slipped into gratefully. Burrowing in the coat a little, Niramo nods her head towards Fumiko. "I like collecting figurines, but I rather not have a life-sized Fumiko one. She would find my hot chocolate stash, i'm sure!"

Niramo is familiar with having to browse some less-than-legit stores in the search for legit merchandise while on a very thin budget, so she knows her stuff when it comes to bargain hunting. Fumiko may not have to deal with that kind of problem, but it's clear she knows what's up when it comes to fashion. "Even if you make fun of something I put on, that'll be a big help, Fumiko-chan. I know you'll be honest! I just tend to throw on anything that's comfortable, or try to be fashionable and go completely overboard. And you're right, that's a conversation for another time!"

There's great deals to be found on these streets and in small stores, but you have to be careful with what you buy. That new motherboard that's going for dirt cheap has likely been deep fried. That blu-ray collection of an anime that's no longer in print won't play on any name brand devices, and the quality will be abysmal. And then there's the stuff made by fans and for fans, and in the city of Tokyo that has constant supernatural threats, magical girls are an ideal target for the market.

One store in praticular has several clothes racks just outside the open front of the store, with shirts of many sizes having ironed on pictures of various magical girls on shirts straight out of a dollar store. For anyone who may be a magical girl themselves, the faces match nothing like that would in real life, like Sailor Venus looking nothing like she does in person. There's shirts here for pretty much all the known magical girls, no matter how popular they may be with the public. There's even quite a collection of resin figurines made that are a little rough around the edges, like they have come from a 3D printer.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko giggles quietly when Niramo talks about the hot chocolate stash. "Mmm... probably would~ But a Niramo figurine would be fun to have!" She puts her hands in her pockets... then remembers those went when the coat did. Instead, she just shakes her hands a bit and wiggles her fingers. "Not sure where I'd keep a full-sized one!"

Having an earnest conversation about fashion and friendship was nice, but being distracted was another reason Fumiko thought this was for another time. For now, it was treasure-hunt time, and among the dodgey-looking magical girl merch... there it was. A rough figure to be sure, but there was no mistaking it.

A Serpentina Ruse figurine.

Fumiko snatches it up and puts it next to her face. "Wow, look! I look just like Serpentina!" Well... kind of... sort of... not really. But they both had the same medium-length brown hair, and the same green eyes. Wait... didn't Serpentina have much longer hair? And weren't her eyes yellow? Must be a factory mistake, since these are clearly definitely one hundred percent official.

A thought occurs to Fumiko, as her brow furrows. "Shouldn't I get a cut, since I'm clearly her? Kidding, kidding, but... I wonder if Serpentina- or any other magical girl - ever licensed their appearance? I mean... Sailor V did... I hope. Otherwise I'll feel really guilty about loving her arcade game."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo laughs softly and shakes her head at how silly it would be to see her on a giant shelf. "I'm sure it would, but you better watch out if you did. I heard Niramo figurines have a great talent for finding any sweets you have hidden away and not sharing~" Not that she wouldn't share if she had to, but chocolate always tastes better the more you have of it!

It certainly looks like Fumiko is finding what she's looking for on these off-brand stores. Niramo did remember that Fumiko did happen to be a big fan of Sourisi back when there was some overeager fans cosplaying, so maybe she looks up to magical girls in general!

But then Fumiko holds up a Serpentina figurine and compares the two of them together. "Huh? I mean, with the figurine, yeah! I think I remember Serpentina having yellow eyes though-" Niramo's eyes widen as she realizes that might be something that might not public knowledge, and quickly scrambles to try to cover herself. "-I mean, from pictures I seen on the Internet before! You know how hazy the pictures and videos are, so i'm sure someone photoshopped her with yellow eyes to look more snake-y, yeah!"

Niramo's imagination gives her the sense that she just heard Takk facepalming from her bookbag.

Thankfully Fumiko already has moved on, and Niramo picks up a figurine of Sourisi with a frown. It really was nothing like the real deal! There's no tail, and was the figurine using claws instead of tonfa? Very shameful. "Uh...I don't really think so? I mean, if a magical girl wanted to get money from her likeness, she would likely have to reveal herself. I think their images are considered public property because of that." Seems Niramo has looked into this herself. It's a great thing she could ask these kinds of questions to her detective dad. "The arcade game is great though!"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo mentioning that Serpentina had yellow eyes did not raise any red flags for Fumiko... but the suspicious behavior afterwards did. Fumiko's eyes narrow for a second - but only just a second. "I don't know... I remember hearing about the yellow eyes thing too. Some even said they glow. OooOOOoo... spoookyyy..." She waves her hands and fingers in a way that was short-hand for 'how mysterious'. "Maybe she can fire laser beams out of her eyes!"

She then watches Niramo pick up the Sourisi figure and notes her disappointment. "Look... these aren't exact..." She then inches closer and whispers. "These aren't exactly official. I don't think they'd get all the details right." Fumiko then raises her voice to normal. "You are clearly right that the images are probably public domain, so that's all they have to work off of. It isn't like Serpentina or Sourisi or Sailor Moon go up to a toy company and model for them. And maybe we are the ones with the wrong idea of what they look like!"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo still feels a little uneasy about her slip, but she didn't happen to catch Fumiko's eyes narrowing. She does remember Fumiko asking these kinds of questions before, and Fumiko knows that Niramo's in the magical community. Curse those dodgeballs. "Glowing eyes would be really cool, but eyes lasers? I can certainly see that coming from a monster, maybe something with like 10 eyes?" Some monsters were already bad enough without having eye beams!

It's clear that Fumiko knows these aren't exactly the most legit figurines on the market. Niramo nods and whispers back quietly. "Yeah, there's a lot of things off. I mean, that Sailor Mars figurine has her with a mace of all things. Totally knockoffs." Speaking a little louder, Niramo shrugs her shounders under the black coat. "I mean, the only time the real Sailor Moon or the like come out is often to fight monsters or to help protect people from attacks. I think it'll be pretty hard to get them to pose for pictures!"

While still being annoyed by how off the Sourisi figurine is, Niramo does still go up to the cashier standing by an old cash register to buy the figurine. Sure, it's clearly not her, but it's still a figurine about her alter ego! A few months ago she would never have imagined there being Sourisi merchandise, and with Serpentina getting her own knock offs, this means they're starting to get popular with the masses! It feels good to be recognized.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Yeah... eye lasers do seem to be more a 'monster' thing for some reason. Not sure why." Fumiko shrugs, then lets out a small chuckle. "Heh. Maybe Serpentina IS a monster! Maybe the Mi- magical girls with the animal themes actually ARE animals transformed into people! What if she's a giant snake in real life?"

Despite the clear knockoff state of the toys, Fumiko decides to buy hers as well. "Target acquired," she jokes, placing it in her backpack after paying for it. "Anything else we should search for, or just go with the flow?"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.\

Niramo just shakes her shoulders when Fumiko brings up eye lasers being more of a monster thing. "I think that's just how often you see heroic people using eye beams? I mean, look at how many people in video games use swords and are the main characters." Niramo giggles at the thought of Serpentina fully being a snake person. "Maybe her secret hideout is inside a reptile house at the zoo, hiding away in plain sight."

Niramo does cheer mentally as she sees Fumiko buying her own knock off figurine. "Glad you found something you like! I know a few other stores we can check out if you're into collecting these, but i'm fine with just looking around. I'm sure I can find that console again another day."

Niramo does take the time to offer the black coat back to its' owner though. No way is she going to hog all the warmth, and what kind of a terrible friend would she be if she tried to keep the jacket for herself. "Your turn, and thanks for keeping me warm! You're nowhere as cold-blooded as you say, Fumiko-chan."

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko nods sagely at the idea of Serpentina living in the reptile house. "Of course. Nobody would ever suspect the truth. I think you are on to something. Do you secretly know her perhaps~?"

Letting that thought linger, Fumiko examines the other statuettes but does not buy any more. "Hm. I do like collecting these kinds of things, but I think I am up to just heading out to explore or whatever."

That backpack... Fumiko loves it, but it sure gets in the way. She removes it to eagerly accept her coat back. "Thank you, and just in time too! I was starting to get a bit chilled. And thank you Niramo, I'm glad you don't think... me... tooo... cold-bloooded..." She suddenly starts moving in slow-motion. "Oh no... the cold... I'm going to hibernaaate!" She then bursts into a bit of a giggling fit, then stops herself, looking away red-faced. "Um... I went a bit overboard there, sorry! I don't get to be... 'weird' very often, but I feel safe with you. I know you won't judge me, or make me have to act all 'perfect' and stuff. I'm glad we can be friends."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo feels the cold biting again once she hands over the coat back over to Fumiko, but she knows she would be a whole lot colder if Fumiko hadn't offered to share with her. She is a little worried at first once Fumiko started to move slow, but quickly caught on and started laughing along with her friend. As Fumiko tries to apologize for her, Niramo just waves her off. "Don't ever think you went overboard, you're just being yourself. That's what friends are for, you know. Making sure we can be happy and won't judge. Well, i'll judge you a little if you didn't like sushi." This is met with one last giggle before Niramo nods. "Same here!"