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Middle-Aged Teen (おやじローティーン, Oyaji Routiin) is a one-shot story by Rumiko Takahashi, published in 1997. It was adapted in anime as the 3rd episode of the Rumiko Takahashi Anthology.

Summary

A frustrated salaryman suffers a head injury that causes him to believe that he is 13 years old. His wife and son are annoyed as they discover that he might have dated a young high school girl whom he becomes smitten with.

Plot

An average salaryman named Toshio Furuda was promoted to branch manager and must relocate to Hokkaido. His wife Kazuko and son Minoru congratulate him while having a big meal, however much to his disappointment, they do not want to move with him because Kazuko doesn’t want to quit culture school and Minoru wants to get into a high school in Tokyo, and they ask him to bring back some crab and some corn.

A drunk Toshio walks back home after having a farewell party night, and his colleagues mention that he won’t be able to move back to his home until he is forced to retire and believe him to be depressed. The next day, Toshio didn’t return home and Kazuko receives a call from a hospital. She goes to that hospital where she finds Toshio who tripped on a pedestrian bridge and hit his head while he was drunk, and much to her shock, he asks her who she is.

Toshio is brought back home, and Minoru learns that he not only lost his memory but believes he is 13 years old. Kazuko finds his wallet empty and a set of photo booth stickers of him and a cute young high school girl surrounded by little hearts, which drives her to demand an explanation but all he can say is that he finds the girl lovely. She contacts his company to have him stay at home and says he should recover in time for his transfer without telling he became amnesic.

As Toshio wearing a cap goes on a walk together with Minoru, they arrive at the pedestrian bridge where he tripped and find the high school girl named Emiri who hands Toshio a large sum of money and his credit card back before running away, much to Minoru’s shock. Minoru tells his mother at home, and both believe he paid that girl after dating her and she assaulted him for more money which led him to fall down the pedestrian bridge. Having become smitten with Emiri, Toshio finds her helping an old lady cross the road so he waves her but she runs away. He chases after her and she stops as he asks her how he got his head injured. At a WcDonald’s, Emiri is surprised to learn that Toshio lost his memory, and she says she had noticed he dropped his money and bank card and didn’t manage to give them back to him on time. During dinner, both Kazuko and Minoru look at Toshio with anger, so he tries to think of something funny and remembers a bizarre pose that was popular at school that he makes, which annoys his wife and son who believed he remembered about himself.

Back at the hospital, the doctor tells Kazuko that Toshio’s regression seemed to be cause by stress rather than physical trauma. While walking, Kazuko asks Toshio if he isn’t actually pretending to be amnesic because she found out about his affair and becomes outraged as he doesn’t deny being in love with someone, who is none other than Emiri. The two arrive by train at the neighborhood where Emiri lives, for Kazuko hopes to find her again by waiting outside the train station in order to have a word with her, to which Toshio answers that he would rather confess to her himself much to her annoyance, and Emiri shows up in no time so Kazuko questions her. Emiri reveals that the set of stickers was because she was standing behind a drunk Toshio who asked for her help as he was trying to use the phone booth and the flash went off just as she stepped into the curtain, and she then accompanied Toshio who was saying that he didn’t want to go home. The two then notice Toshio in front of a shop, asking himself what his parents asked him to buy, much to their confusion.

Several days pass and Toshio shows no sign of recovery, which becomes too much for his family who shout at him. Consequently the next day, the two find a note saying Toshio left the house to go to his parents’, however they passed away long ago. At the station, Emiri misses the train and spots Toshio sitting on a chair, so she tries to sneak off but as she sees him crying, she asks him what’s wrong, to which he answers that he can’t remember where his parents are. Just then, Minoru and Kazuko arrive and apologize to Toshio, saying it’s fine if he wants to play around with Emiri, who however corrects their belief that she was fooling around with him, by revealing that as he looked lonely to her while they were walking on that night, she asked him if he would like to go on a date with her as a joke, which made him tell her not to do things that could worry his family and give her his money and credit card, and she tried to give them back to him, but she went to the opposite side of the stairs of the pedestrian bridge from where he fell thus didn’t notice his accident. Minoru and Kazuko realize Toshio was innocent and as they try to stop him from leaving, he asks them who they are, which drives Kazuko to tears. Not wanting him to abandon his real family, Kazuko tells Toshio they will go with him to Hokkaido, which eventually makes him remember that he had to buy corn and crab, thus she and Minoru apologize to him as they realize they casually said horrible things to him.

Followingly, he recovered soon, his stress seemingly disappeared, and the whole family moved to Hokkaido. Toshio reads a postcard from Emiri thanking him for the green asparagus and corn he sent her and wishing for a crab when winter comes. Kazuko feels a bit annoyed that he stays in touch with her, but thinks she can forgive him.

Characters

  • Toshio Furuda (古田 年男, Furuda Toshio)
  • Kazuko (和子) & Minoru (稔)
  • Emiri (絵美理)

Character Name Japanese Voice English Voice
Toshio Furuda Akira Kamiya Doug Stone
Kazuko Kazuko Sugiyama Sonja S. Fox
Minoru Kappei Yamaguchi Kevin Hatcher
Emiri Satsuki Yukino Jennifer Sekiguchi
Co-Worker Kazunari Tanaka Michael McConnohie
Yūko's Husband Wataru Takagi Patrick Seitz
Doctor Minoru Inaba Doug Stone
Nurse Sachi Matsumoto Wendee Lee

Trivia

  • Kazuko and Emiri were originally not named in the manga.
  • In the anime version, Kazuko’s reason for opposing to move to Hokkaido is because she paid one year of swimming instructions.
  • WcDonald’s (shown as WcDonaid’s in the anime version) is also featured in two major works by Rumiko Takahashi, Inuyasha (as Wacdnald’s) and Mao.
  • Various characters are voiced by seiyus who voiced other characters from other works by Rumiko Takahashi:
  • Various cameos of other episodes of the Rumiko Takahashi Anthology are featured:
    • Yūko’s husband from The Tragedy of P is among Toshio’s co-workers who were at his farewell party.
    • The hospital in which Toshio was admitted is the same from One Hundred Years of Love. Additionally, Koizumi appears but is not voiced by the same seiyu and was credited as "Nurse".
    • Pitt the Penguin from The Tragedy of P appears among the various penguins when Toshio makes a weird pose.
    • Matsuko Kogure and the dog Gorgeous from The Executive's Dog, pass by the Furuta household during night.
  • Various cameos would be featured in other episodes of the Rumiko Takahashi Anthology:
    • Emiri can be seen walking when Yūko buys 500 grams of sardine in The Tragedy of P.
    • Emiri can be seen entering the subway station in The Merchant of Romance.
    • Minoru would be seen riding a bike and dumping a can many times in House of Garbage.
  • Another story One Day Dream which was also adapted in the Rumiko Takahashi Anthology, is similar to it as it also involves a salaryman voiced by the same seiyu, living with a wife and son and thinking of a high school girl.

Gallery

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