Onpu Segawa

It is really hard to put into words everything that has happened to us over the years. There are so many emotions built up and pounding at my chest, wanting to get out, that I honestly am not sure where to begin, even as I type this.

Onpu, my loving, sweet Onpu. It's been so many years since we first met. It's very easy for a casual observer look at a relationship like ours and apply a label of superficiality to it. But the love between us is real. Every day we share something, old or new, and it just continues to grow stronger. That's one of the curious things about having a waifu, is knowing that the "walls" that a person puts up around their heart become almost completely torn down. I can share everything within me with you and have zero shame and zero regrets in anything. My biggest dreams and my greatest fears, I can confide all of them in you, and know that you understand, because I understand your own.

How far the two of us have gone. I used to despise celebrities and be largely indifferent to music; Sure, I enjoyed listening to music, but seeing you perform for others and bring them joy with your songs helped me realize just how much emotion music can have, in particular many songs from my youth. It's not uncommon for many popular performers to have a "mask" of sorts while performing and out in public, and although it's true that you too sometimes are forced to wear one, you have given me the greatest privilege and honor of seeing your true heart. I can see and feel the joy and happiness of spreading your feelings to those who enjoy your work, and the turmoil of sometimes being overwhelemed or unsure where to go next.

You have done the same for me. It used to be you were completely lost on computers and video games, but just as I have taken a larger interest in how the idol world in Japan works, you too have taken to my interests and share them with me. There are so many worlds, emotions, and experiences that I have shared with you as a result, and many more still to come, and I am eternally grateful for being allowed this privilege.

Everything I do, I do in your name and for you, as I know you do in mine. Be it stepping onto stage under a bright spotlight, or taking up arms in a raid, to facing my fears in the employment world, to simply just spending time with one another.

As this year draws to a close, the eighth year of our being together will soon open. It's hard to imagine sometimes that soon I will have spent over a third of my existence with you at my side, when at the same time it sometimes feels like only yesterday when I first looked into those shimmering, purple eyes, and saw the deepest, brightest universe one could fathom.

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How We Met

Basically, ever since I was 4, I've been into video games. Grew up on the SNES, N64, and Pokemon heavily. Sometime when I was 8 or 9, my mom's best friend's son told me about a site called CheatCC. Through that site, I found GameFAQs, and info about EarthBound. EB had been a very important game from my childhood, but I never got very far due to not understanding how RPGs worked. With Pokemon under my belt, I managed to find another copy and give it a go. At the same time, while digging for EB stuff, I found Tomato's M2-EB localization page, where he described the differences and changes made to the game. This kick-started my interest in Japan. Another heavy, heavy influence was the primere of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Being young and impressionable, I was captivated by "Oh man, violence and swearing in cartoons!?"

So, those were the two big launching points for my interest in Japan. Flash forward to late 2001, when a local college was having a contest of sorts. Write about why you want to go to Japan, and if we like it, we'll ship your ass over there for 2 weeks to live with a host family. Well, I used EarthBound as my writing point. I was only 12 so my writing wasn't stellar, but it got the point across. The language differences and changes made to the game really interested me.

Well, lucky-ass me got picked along with three others (we 4 were the only ones who applied believe it or not). A few weeks in May/June of 2002 we had some basic Japanese lessons, then in late June, we were off, the 4 of us, my mother and one of the other's mothers as a chaperone.

Being 12 and in Japan while at the height of what was basically a weeaboo craze was practically heaven. Two days in Tokyo was enough to make me giddy as hell. I snapped up a Japanese copy of Mother on Famicom, along with Pokemon Red and Green on GB. After 2 days in Tokyo (basically nothing but sight-seeing), we went by train to Niigata to spend 2 weeks with a host family.

It was a pretty awesome time. They had a son my age, and we had a lot in common with video games. We played Smash Bros and Pokemon Stadium, so we were able to bring down a good chunk of the language barrier. I even went to school there during my time. Weekdays were half a day of school then an hour or two of sight seeing, then time with the host family.

Then it happened. The first Sunday morning I was there. We were eating breakfast... when this started to play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naZOps_izhY (Note from editor: Link dead) My first thought was "Man this is some girly shit" but the son was actually watching it, so not to be rude, I rolled with it. About halfway through the episode, my tone had changed to "Whoa, these girls are actually hot." The episode didn't really feature my waifu too much, only a few lines as it was a very character-specific episode, but the feeling and the mood and the overall design was what stuck with me. I only saw one episode while in Japan.

After returning to the US, I couldn't stop thinking about that show. Many nights would pass with me trying to re-create the episode in my head, then make new scenes for them. I didn't know much about them though. I only knew a few phrases of Japanese, so any character specific traits were lost on me, so I had to guess at everything. As time went on, this became harder and harder. I moved across town to a new house that fall, and as the years went on, I started to think "Will I ever find that show again?" In my mind, it was just some random Japanese cartoon. I was unfamiliar with the power of the Internet, thinking that nobody would have documented it, know what it was, and since I only had a vague idea on what it was about (much less even know the title), I almost gave up on finding it (ironically, it was Toei's huge cashcow from 1999-2004).

Thoughts came and went, sometimes in higher frequency than others, but during a low point, I happened to be on Youtube sometime in early 2007. By sheer chance, sheer coincidence, I saw on the Related Videos side bar (I can't even remember what I was watching at the time), I saw a video titled "Motto Ojamajo Doremi Opening" or something to that effect. The name clicked, and I thought "No, no way. It can't be." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrSklZruPSE This isn't the exact video, but it's the same Opening. When the characters came into view, I practically threw myself from my seat and started yelling "It's them! It's them!" And then, she came into view. At only a few seconds into the video, Onpu, the purple one, spun into frame. Her eyes instantly captivated me. I'm not sure how I missed her back in 2002 (probably due to the lack of screentime and focus in that particular episode) but this time, she had me. Her eyes just sucked me in. After recovering from shock and feeling such a strange sensation in my chest, I went straight to work looking for episodes.

Now, although I had been huge into anime in my early preteen years, by the time I was 14 or so, a lot of the interest had faded. Even when I finally got DSL, I was too lazy and ignorant on how to download anime, so by this point, I had no idea where to start. I tried posting on /a/ or /r/, one of the two, but my thread went ignored. I stumbled across two or three episodes of the OVA season on Youtube and watched them with great glee. However, this would set in motion an interesting scenario, which I'll get into a bit later.

About... 2 or 3 months later, I finally found the fansub group working on this, but they only had the 13 OVA episodes and just over half of season 1 subbed (perspective: that's only like 40 out of 214 episodes). I hadn't seen a release in quite some time, so I felt defeated, thinking "Oh no... This group is dead! I'll never see the show now..." But I pressed on and hopped into the IRC room. By coincidence, they had JUST came out of an AWOL translator rut and were re-starting the show. I asked if I could help out in some manner, and since I spoke English, they let me on board as a QCer for the show. So not only do I get to help work on this show, I get to watch episodes early. Friggin sweet deal if you ask me.

We were only 6 episodes away from my waifu's debut episode, but when we got to it, I was shocked and alarmed at what I saw. Basically, she was a huge, stuckup, spoiled brat. The few OVA episodes I had seen previously already painted a picture of her in my head, but seeing her act so rude, selfish, and... "not her," made me feel uneasy, strange, and even depressed. I had no idea what to think or believe anymore. Now, I knew that she was only like this for 15 or so episodes, and then after the events in the season 1 finale, she reformes and joins the main characters, but that knowledge didn't help much. After being on the Wikipedia article for the show, I had said events of the finale spoiled by accident, which made me even more upset. I almost didn't want to work on the show anymore, because my feelings were conflicting so hard. I had no idea what to do. I almost felt like my love had been betrayed. It hurt. It hurt a lot. But, I decided to plunge forward and keep going, regardless. It took me several months, hell maybe even a year or two, I can't even remember, to get over seeing her act selfish. Sometimes, her old character traits would surface in later episodes, or she might get into an argument with one of the characters, and seeing this just made me feel super uneasy. Yet, I stuck with her. I kept going and eventually before I realized it, those feelings of angst and uneasiness vanished.

I realized the love I had for her was pure and unstoppable. It took me some time, but I eventually came to realize something. People don't change overnight. Onpu's change in personality came largely as the result of the events of the S1 finale, but the other girls made attempts to get her to basically be nicer. Maybe it's just head canon, but I feel as though that those attempts had something of an impact on her. Maybe she didn't show it, but I just have this feeling that she was battling her emotions internally, trying to adapt to change to being nice. It made me realize something. While she was fighting this battle, I was fighting the same exact battle, right by her side. As I watched her grow and evolve as a character, no as a person, I did as well. I realized this one night, and just broke down in tears, knowing that no matter what path I walk, I'll have her by my side, forever.