reflection

Boys Who Wear Glasses DVD Commentary Part 2

More commentary!

You know, I totally laugh at all my own jokes, both while I'm writing them and while I'm rereading them. On one hand, this seems kind of pathetic, and you should see the way people stare at me. On the other hand, easily amused people have more fun.

Tezuka and Inui didn't have a chance to practice again before their first quiz bowl competition, although Inui kept calling Tezuka to try new questions on him.

"Your accuracy is ninety-six percent, Tezuka," he said after Tezuka correctly identified the capital of Madagascar (Antanánarivo). "The Seigaku quiz bowl club will be strong."

"We will play our best," Tezuka allowed. Then he hung up.

More phone sex, yay! And I know the capital of Madagascar off the top of my head from it being mentioned in Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams, IIRC.

Inui often called him while he was running, Tezuka noted. He was impressed by Inui's conditioning. His lung capacity was superb.

Oh Tezuka, sweetie. I know how you can put Inui's lung capacity to better use.

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When they arrived at Sato Daini for their matches on Thursday evening, Tezuka and Inui stood out more than Tezuka would have liked. They were the only team who had only two players, rather than at least the requisite four. They were the only team whose coach had declined to show up, citing a previous engagement, which Tezuka suspected was at a hostess club. They were the only team who were unsure of where to go and what to do. Tezuka was glad he had allowed an extra half hour for registration.

"This week and next week we'll be playing in a round robin," Inui reported, flicking through the information packet.

The vast majority of our quiz bowl tournaments in high school were one-shot Saturday affairs, but our district competitions were set up basically like this.

"Who are we playing first?"

"Fudaisei."

"What do you know about them?"

"There are six of them on the team and their coach has very long hair. Also, their tennis club is terrible."

Tezuka blinked.

"Before I was able to gather any further data, I was asked to leave the building," Inui explained. "It's much easier to collect data on tennis players. If you are unable to penetrate the school grounds, a pair of binoculars will suffice. For quiz bowl, perhaps some carefully-planted microphones would be useful."

Tezuka wondered if maybe, as Inui's captain, he should discourage this behavior. He decided that it probably wouldn't matter what he said either way.

"Let's go find the classroom where our first match is being held," he said instead.

I just love Tezuka's resignation to Inui's creepy stalkery ways.

The other team was there already, their four starting players seated together at one table, clutching buzzers in poised hands. Tezuka moved purposefully towards the empty table.

"What are you doing here?" demanded the high school kid draped over the podium at the front of the room. "This is the quiz bowl competition."

"We're the team from Seishun Gaikuen," Tezuka said evenly. The opposing team was whispering and giggling and pointing at them. Tezuka couldn't imagine what they found so entertaining and deplored their lack of sportsmanship. Inui took the chair at Tezuka's right and handed him three sheets of scratch paper from his notebook and a pen, just in case.

My senior year, I was the captain of my quiz bowl team. I had my very own right-hand boy who was good at all the things I was rubbish at, like math, geography, and military history, and together we were basically unstoppable. Our team placed second in the state.

"Names, please?"

"Tezuka Kunimitsu, captain. My teammate, Inui Sadaharu."

No one reacted to their names. Tezuka wondered if maybe none of them even followed tennis. He had known that such people existed, of course, but he rarely actually met them. He was obscurely disappointed.

Wait, there are people who don't follow tennis? What???

Poor Tezuka can probably barely remember what it was like not being followed by a pack of squeeing fangirls.


"All right," the moderator said, "everyone knows the rules, so let's just begin."

Inui started to protest that they were not, in fact, fully informed of the rules, but Tezuka whispered to him that they would be all right.

"Question number one is in Japanese history."

Inui made a sort of triumphant sound. Tezuka elbowed him to be quiet.

"In 1923, it -- "

Answering questions after only three words is so totally badass.

A buzzer sounded from the opposing team. This was clearly a mistake of some kind, Tezuka thought. Nerves, probably.

"Fudaisei, Sato-kun."

"The Great Kanto Earthquake," said the boy with messy red hair who had buzzed in.

"That is correct!" the moderator pronounced.

"That's impossible!" Inui said.

"Shh," Tezuka said, automatically. He was staring at the Fudasei team, who were looking back, all brimming with smugness and glee. He was rattled.

Psychology plays an important role in quiz bowl. After all, the whole game is in your mind.

"That's impossible." Inui bent his head to Tezuka's ear. "Perhaps they are cheating. They were in the room before we were."

"Question number two is in mathematics," the moderator went on.

Inui missed the beginning of the math problem because he was scribbling infuriated notes to Tezuka and Tezuka was writing scolding notes back and Fudasei got that one too. At the half, the score was 70-0 Fudasei.

Squabbling with your teammates through notes instead of playing is a lousy strategy. Yeah, I'm looking at you, satyadasa and coercedbynutmeg. :-P

"A love game," Inui muttered. He sounded low and broken.

"I wonder why Seigaku sent jocks to play on their quiz bowl team," Tezuka heard one of the Fudasei team say.

"Maybe they misread the flyers."

"Probably they can't even read."

"Take a deep breath," Tezuka advised Inui, who was fuming. He was feeling somewhat less than calm himself.

I love this part for its inversion of the usual whatsit. I used to be such a snob about people who play sports, but I have learnt respect and tolerance for their bizarre ways.

In the second half each question could earn your team a bonus question worth additional points, so it was possible for a team to rally and come from behind to win. Tezuka focused all his attention on each one as it was read.

This is a super-simplified version of the basic format I played. The official state format had four quarters, where the first and third were plain tossup questions and the second and fourth had the bonuses attached to them. That could get long and boring. At a lot of invitational tournaments they would replace the third quarter with a sixty-second lightning round, which were basically long mutant bonuses with ten questions or ten things to list, and those were much more fun.

Obviously, for my purposes, the shorter and simpler the format of the games were, the easier they would be to write. Bonuses change the dynamics of the game a lot, so I put them in even though they're harder to write.


"Question number eleven is in mythology. The third of these is now located in the imperial palace. The second is in the Grand Shrine of Ise in -- "

Wikipedia again. Thank god for Wikipedia. I find it hard to come up with an interesting variety of questions off the top of my head because I don't think about things unless I'm thinking about them, if you get me. Plus I obviously don't know as much about Japanese things as actual Japanese people ought to.

Tezuka realized what the answer was but he fumbled awkwardly for his buzzer and the red-haired Fudasei captain got it first.

"The Three Sacred Treasures or the Imperial Regalia of Japan," he said. His team got an easy bonus question, naming the gods of the sun, moon and storm, and brought the score to 100-0.

The gods of the sun, moon and storm are Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi and Susanoo respectively, in case you were wondering.

Also, giving alternate names for things separated by 'or' like he does here is a good quiz bowl strategy in case the question writer was lazy and only put down one of the options, because the people reading the questions don't necessarily know anything about anything and protests are annoying and messy.


"Question number twelve is in mathematics. The graph of y equals the quantity x plus two times the quantity x - 3 intersects the x axis at points A and B. Find the length of AB."

Inui scribbled on his paper for a few seconds and then managed to knock his buzzer off the table. Its clatter echoed in the quiet room and the Fudasei team laughed. Their coach had the decency to cover her mouth, but she was laughing too. One of them rang in and took the question while Inui was awkwardly stooping under the table to retrieve his buzzer.

"IGNORE THEM" Tezuka wrote in large characters on his paper as the Fudasei team answered their bonus questions. He realized that his right hand was on Inui's knee and that he was actually gripping it rather tightly, but he left it there and Inui seemed to relax a little.

Oh, boys. ♥ ♥ ♥

They played a little more calmly and took several questions. Inui was faster on the math questions than their opponents when he stayed focused and didn't sabotage himself, Tezuka noted with approval. The final score was a slightly less embarrassing 270-90.

Tezuka shook hands firmly and politely with each member of the Fudasei team, including their coach, who looked surprised. He signed the official scoresheet.

"Our next game is in another classroom," Inui reported, flourishing the information packet, and he and Tezuka left that one without another word to anyone.

"Do you know which way we're supposed to go?" Tezuka asked. In response, Inui pulled him around a corner into a hallway, but it appeared to be deserted.

You thought they were going to make out already, didn't you? Ha!

"I'm sorry, Tezuka," he said, staring down. "This was all my fault. I should have realized how dramatically the effects of actual game play would affect my data and compensated accordingly. It was careless of me."

Tezuka stared for a moment. "No, it was my fault. I'm the captain," he said. "I should have ensured that we were familiar with all the rules and knew what strategies to employ. Besides, you scored more points than I did," he added.

"Our next game is in four and a half minute," Inui said. "If the opposing team is even half as strong as Fudasei, there is a zero percent chance that we will win."

"There are three more matches next week," Tezuka reminded him. "There is still a possibility that we can make it to the district finals if we work hard between now and then."

Inui brightened. "I will prepare training menus for both of us," he said, whipping out his notebook and writing furiously.

"And I will fix our buzzer system so that we can practice with it."

"I can help you with that." At Tezuka's raised eyebrow, he added: "I'll be more careful with it this time."

Training montage!

God, you don't even know what I would give for there to be, like, a shonen quiz bowl anime/manga/anything. It would be the best thing in the whole entire universe. I would probably die of happiness, but it would be worth it.

Oh come on, they did it for Go! Just because Go is something that actually exists in Japan and stuff ...


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Ryuzaki caught Tezuka the next morning before school. "How were your quiz bowl matches?" she asked him.

"Inui and I have a good partnership in quiz bowl," he answered, leaving out the actual details of their matches, which they had in fact lost both of. Ryuzaki just smiled at him in that odd way that she sometimes did and told him that she would see him at practice.

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At tennis practice that afternoon, Fuji insinuated himself next to Tezuka as he stood outside the chain-link fence, watching Echizen play Momoshiro. "How are things with you and Inui?" he asked softly.

"We lost our first matches, but we know what we need to work on before next week," Tezuka responded.

"Oh, but that's not what I asked," Fuji said, still smiling, before he drifted away.

I just love these two sections. They're perfect to me.

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That night Inui came home with Tezuka and accepted a cup of tea and said various polite things to his parents and grandparents (although Tezuka cut him off whenever he started quoting various statistics about Tezuka to them). Then they went back to Tezuka's room, where the buzzer system was still in pieces all over the otherwise neat floor.

This mental image of Inui talking to Tezuka's family kills me dead every single time. Oh, Inui.

"I found schematics of this particular buzzer system on the internet," Inui said, pulling out his laptop and a small leather toolkit from his racket bag. "I think that if we rewire it, it will be as good as new."

Tezuka looked at the schematics and instructed while Inui soldiered and screwed, but after a while he determined that Inui had figured out what he was doing. He found his copy of Le Petit Prince and the French dictionary, but the book stayed closed, his fingers in chapître dix. He watched Inui instead.

The buzzer system is totally a metaphor for masturbation, oh my god. I will never be able to look at a buzzer system the same way again.

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Tezuka and Inui practiced twice that week in the empty classroom of their absentee coach. The first time, they took turns asking each other questions and buzzing in using their newly-refurbished buzzers to answer them, until it became much more natural, like swinging a tennis racket. The second time, Tezuka asked Oishi if he would read the questions for them for a little while, if he wasn't busy, and Oishi said of course.

"I actually can't stay too much later, because my uncle is coming to dinner tonight," Oishi apologized after they had practiced for an hour. "But don't worry, because I arranged a substitute."

"Hoy! It's me, Kikumaru-sama!" Eiji tumbled into the classroom. "I've come to improve your quiz bowl team with my acrobatic play!"

"Eiji," Oishi said. Eiji huffed.

"I mean, I've come to read your boring questions out loud to you without distracting you or changing the subject or anything," he corrected himself sadly. Tezuka tightened his lips and thanked Oishi for his help.

Aww, Golden Pair cuteness.
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"There is an eighty-nine percent chance that we will win both of our matches next week," Inui pronounced at the end of their practice. "However, whether that is enough to advance to the finals depends on the performance of the other teams. Based on my data, I estimate that the chances of this are only thirty-two percent." He rifled through his notebook. "One of our weak areas is sports."

Tezuka stared at him.

"Sports other than tennis," Inui clarified.

I don't know why this is so funny to me. I guess it's the whole 'wait, so there's a whole world of stuff that doesn't even involve tennis?' thing again. It never gets old.

"Oh," Tezuka said. "I can study those."

"You already have foreign politicians and Nobel prizewinners and world rivers and American popular culture," Inui said. "I'll take the sports."

"We can study it together," Tezuka said. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Tezuka would totally try to do everything himself. It's a good thing Inui has other plans.
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