The challengers stood, side by side, more or less, with the presenter in between, all the while trying to look at each other when they spoke, as the interpreter darted back and forth into the microphone, obscuring the cautious Japanese player with her shiny black hair and glittering cheekbones.
“So, we’re about to start,” asked the grinning ginger hipster bearded professional, knowing pretty much next to nothing about the game, “do you have any final words for your opponent?”
The young man from a small fishing town near Tokyo adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat. “Ok then,” speaking in his native tongue, “let’s have a good fight.” He nodded politely.
This time, the presenter swung the mic towards the interpreter to lessen the risk of her headbutting her way through.
“Hope you’re ready, pal” narrowing her eyes as she built momentum, she pumped her first into the air and yelled “come get me!!!”
The crowd roared with approval, but those who were not already mesmerised by the sight of an attractive woman on the stage, rather, were studying Ikuichi’s face, would have noticed his eyes widen in surprise: while he was in no way proficient in English, he knew some phrases and the sneering tone certainly suggested the translation was more than a little off. However, his opponent was already busy pointing at him and goading the audience to cheer louder. This was rather annoying and detracting. Ikuichi would have preferred to just. play. the. match.
But what could they do, this was the dawn of eSports, they had to support it, with all the bullshit of the entertainment business that it entailed. The next three weeks leading to the grand tournament would be full of it.