Dino opened his eyes. He saw that he was now outdoors under the bright summer sun. He sat up and found that he had been lying on unpaved ground. He looked around and saw that he was surrounded by traditional Japanese houses and shops. Thankfully it seemed that the hot afternoon had kept people out of the immediate area and the place was deserted.
Beside him the boy in the glasses was also beginning to stir. The boy sat up, took in the view, and smiled. He pixelated for a few seconds. “I still have it. I still have it.”
Dino tapped the boy on the shoulder. “Data, right?”
The boy kept looking around him and smiling. “Yeah?”
“Just where the heck are we?!” Dino asked, sternly.
“Samurai Wars, where else?” Data answered him. “That’s where you wanted to go!”
“YOU wanted to go here!” Dino yelled, then abruptly stopped. “Wait, you mean, we’re INSIDE the Samurai Wars show?!”
Data beamed at him in reply.
Dino looked around him more carefully. He stomped on the ground, and ran to a house and knocked on the wood. All of it was real. “How is that possible?” he asked.
“DO I really have to explain everything to you? What dimension are you from, really?”
“YOU tell me!” Dino was getting exasperated and confused.
Data took out a device similar to a PDA from the satchel. The movement made him look at his clothes, as well as Dino’s. “Oh! I forgot! To blend us in!” He pressed on the watch. Both of them pixelated. Dino emerged wearing a traditional male kimono, while Data came out with a Meiji-era hodgepodge of a Western shirt under a kimono, soft cap, the glasses, and the satchel.
Data pressed on the PDA, then he showed a succession of text, drafts, and drawings to Dino. “Animation, when presented in its final form, often requires less pixels and kilobytes per square area. Therefore, theoretically, assimilating within animation is easier than even crossing dimensions. This is even made easier if the actual person involved does not have to cross the animation dimension itself, but rather have a representation of himself manifested as pixels and kilobytes.”
“You sound like a textbook,” Dino scratched his head.
Data kept going. “Also, consider the fact that there are only a limited number of actual time dimensions that a human being can cross at any given moment. Whereas, there are literally thousands of dimensions that can be penetrated within the realm of animation. In any given year, there are 50-80 new animation series being created, and that is only in one country not including all the other countries that also create animation. Each animation series creates an alternate dimension, with different degrees of variation to actual known time dimensions. Therefore, crossing – no, jumping—dimensions created by animation increases the options by a thousand-fold!”
“In simpler English, please?”
Data grinned from ear to ear. “If you can find a way to enter the alternate dimensions created by animation, who knows just how many worlds you can travel!”
“And, you mean to say, Professor, that you have FOUND that way to enter cartoon universes?”
The reply was quick and unassuming. “Yup!”
At the end of the long street a group of men in blue uniforms emerged. “Sir,” one of them said, “there are two more of them!”
“Uh, oh.” Data gulped.
“What do you mean?” Dino asked.
Both of them saw several of the men in blue draw out swords – flaming swords. “According to this universe,” the boy explained, “those are spirit swords, made to exterminate opposing spirits.”
“And they think we’re opposing spirits?”
Data started to run away from the attacking group of men. “Yup!”
Dino sighed, rolled his eyes, wondered why he was following a boy he had just met in unusual circumstances, and started running as well.
It was rather fortunate for them that another swordsman appeared, dressed in red and armed with a blue flaming sword. “Don’t mess with poor innocent spirits. Fight someone you can deal with,” the swordsman challenged with a smirk.
The men in blue took him on, while Data and Dino ran until they could turn a corner, panting and gasping. Data then took out the mobile and pressed on several numbers. “345-10-1987. Dragonball?”
Dino shook his head. “No, thanks.”
Data grinned. “Oh, well. 873-23-1990.” He pressed on the buttons, and both pixelated away from the scene.
After a seconds of feeling blank, Dino regained consciousness in a stylized modern city. Data was a few feet away from him and looking around. He seemed relieved that their current appearances blended in with the world without his changing their costumes. “See, this is a nice, calm, show…” A group of pretty girls in sailor-type uniforms passed them, laughing and chatting with each other. “Has cute girls, too.”
But no sooner had Data said that, a 9-foot purple monster with four arms and three eyes appeared in the middle of the square. It started to growl and snarl at the immediate vicinity. Predictably, all humans within range started screaming and running away. From a rooftop, a woman in a black body suit laughed long and loud. “Hahaha! Let’s see the Magic Girls beat our new creation!”
Suddenly the girls in the sailor-type uniforms all raised a powder compact each. A bright multi-colored light surrounded them. “We are the Sailor Magic Girls! Transform!”
While the pretty girls changed into colorful costumes with fancy magic wands, Dino screamed. “SAILOR MAGIC GIRLS! What the HECK! I should’ve said yes to Dragonball…”
One of the girls in skimpy colorful costumes came up to them. “It’s dangerous to stay here. I suggest that you move away and leave this to us.”
“Gladly!” Dino said, and started to back away.
But Data kept peering down at his PDA and checking various files. Dino did not wait to be acknowledged and unceremoniously pulled him by one arm away from the area. “Don’t you know of anything calmer?” Dino asked him rather icily.
Data typed a set of numbers into the mobile then pressed on the watch again. Then he grinned at his companion. “Thanks for coming along. I’ve never had this much fun in a long time.”
They disappeared from the world of Sailor Magic Girls, and reappeared in a pixie forest.
Data shifted their clothes, such that Dino now had a three-cornered hat with a feather, and Data looked more like a knight’s squire who wore glasses.
They walked in silence for a while. Dino, for his part, wanted to think for a while, to make sense of this rapid series of adventures he has had across several types of animation, without his consent.
Dino’s thoughts were interrupted by the sensation of something soft and fuzzy nuzzling at his foot. He looked down and found a small furry animal, a cross between a dog and a fox, sniffling and wagging his tail. Nearby, Data had stopped as well, cuddling a round bouncing jelly ball that seemed to enjoy the company. Several other fuzzy little creatures were also present, like a sleek, catlike animal with nine tails, and a blue dragonlike creature that twirled around a tree.
“Don’t tell me this is Little Pocket World,” Dino scratched his head while petting several furry dog-fox creatures all at once.
“Wow, you really know your cartoons,” Data grinned.
“No, it’s just that this show is too popular to be ignored,” he answered while a furball licked his face.
Dino barely heard some parts of a recorded transmission from the mobile. Illegal connection…disconnect….soon as possible… This was alternated by a panicky female voice: Data…Data…what’s happening…come back…
“Data, shouldn’t you be answering that?” he asked.
“Oh, don’t bother with that,” Data waved it off, but in a rather worried way. “We’ll be fine….We’ll be fine…I promise…” he talked distractedly. He pressed on a button and stopped the transmissions. “We’ll be fine.”
Dino was not convinced, but did not ask any further.
A boy of about ten years old eventually came up to them, armed with a box that fit into his hand. “Thank you for taking care of my pet,” the boy said with a smile. The dog-fox came up to the boy and nuzzled to him. “I’ve been looking for him for a while.” The boy pressed on a button in the box and made the animal disappear inside it. “Thanks again! See you in the next district!” He ran off. Dino and Data looked at each other and smiled.
But the crackling voices from the mobile were heard again. Illegal connection…disconnect…alternated by …Data Fix! Respond! Dino looked at Data, but the boy just grinned nonchalantly and stopped the transmissions again.
Data typed a set of numbers on the mobile, and both emerged just in front of a typical high school on a typical sunny day. Data pressed on the watch and created school uniforms for both of them.
Almost as soon as they changed to the uniforms, a blue-haired girl in a similar school uniform came up to them. “Excuse me, but have you seen Makoto?”
Dino shook his head. “Don’t know him, sorry.”
But the girl did not leave. Instead, she kept looking at him. “I haven’t seen you here before. You’re kinda cute!”
The girl was joined by another with pink hair. “Saki! You’re flirting again!”
“Can you blame me if I like good-looking guys?” Saki retorted.
The pink-haired girl took a good look at Dino. “Yeah, he IS cute.” She struck a sexy pose. “I’m Mayumi. What’s YOUR name?”
Several other girls with different hair colors also came to them, either asking about Makoto or admiring Dino’s good looks, unless they were fighting with each other about the flirting girls. Poor Dino found himself in the middle of the circle of girls, and annoyed by them all. “Data,” he muttered, “what’s the title of this show?”
Data checked his PDA. “I think it’s called ‘My Favorite Girl’.”
Dino rolled his eyes. “I knew it…that harem anime…”
He barely noticed Data drop onto one knee and catch his breath before being overwhelmed by the circle of girls once again. “DATA! GET US OUTTA HERE!” he shouted.
“Yeah…” Data faltered for a few moments. “Yeah.” He pressed on the watch and the mobile, making them disappear from the scene.
They appeared in front of a typical modern-day house, which Dino noted was still rather familiar. He read the name plate near the gate of the house. “Shibuya.”
Data sighed. “This is Makoto Shibuya’s house; we’re still inside ‘My Favorite Girl’, sorry about that.” He tottered and swayed for a few seconds.
“You okay?” Dino asked.
Data rubbed his eyes before taking out the PDA from the satchel. “Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay. I’ll be okay.”
Data smiled weakly back at him. “Yup.” He pressed on the mobile and the watch again. “Let’s go.”
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