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Fanfic / Civilian Pianist

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Our reincarnation-troubled pianist, Hoshino Tomoko. With Rapunzel Hair.

"I had hoped I wouldn't die so early in life. And honestly, I wasn't good ninja material. The most I knew was how to twirl a stick and ram a backpack filled with school supplies on someone's head - and yet some entity decided to plop me down into a world where you're either a ninja or a civilian - and the mortality rate wasn't good either way. My choice was kinda obvious."
— Summary

When an 18-year-old college student is killed in a car crash and reincarnated into the Naruto world, the first thing she does is, quite simply, panic. On the outside, she was another loud, crying baby wailing for her mother. On the inside, that same 18-year-old student was wondering what had happened. After all, her life was rather peaceful and somewhat unremarkable. She had a loving family, caring friends, and a wonderful boyfriend. And yet, when dying so abruptly, why did God or anything else up there choose to drop her here?

More specifically, why was she reborn in the world filled with ninjas who aren't afraid of killing each other or civilians for the sake of completing a mission?

That's the first few things that go through the mind of one Hoshino Tomoko, and when discovering her new position, she already knows she doesn't want to be a ninja. And yet, when she sees the faces of the first three Hokage outside her window as a baby, she knows this isn't good. Those three faces alone showed that she landed in the Third Shinobi World War Era. As in, Team Minato-Kakashi Gaiden-era.


Her luck somehow made it so she landed YEARS before canon Naruto, but early enough where Kishimoto originally jump-started the plot.

If that isn't a "Holy Shit!" Quotient, then it gets weirder.

When Tomoko turned three, she discovered that she could play any song on the piano as long as she could remember it from her past life.

That's the rough beginnings of Civilian Pianist, another Self Insert OC fanfiction inspired by Dreaming of Sunshine and Catch Your Breath. The main difference from its inspirations however, is that the protagonist chooses to be a civilian. Tomoko knows that with the massive amount of info from her past memories, Naruto canon aside, she's not really the best choice for a new kunoichi in a war-torn era. Despite this, Tomoko still wants to help out whoever she can with her new pianist ability, and with her parents hosting a local cafe right in the middle of Konoha, it works.


Mostly a Slice-of-Life story with heavy touches of ninja shenanigans and emotional drama. To add onto the emotion and music themes, the author does reference actual piano covers of various Anime/Manga songs that Tomoko plays throughout the story.

All compiled into an actual YouTube playlist to listen to.

...Oh, and hugs. There are lots of hugs. And fluff. The author has admitted to writing a lot more fluffy moments than dramatic, but at the same time, she isn't afraid to get into some emotional territory. Tomoko may be a civilian, but with her home cafe catering to both civilian AND ninja populace, things are going to happen.

Namikaze Minato being her first customer is enough of a giveaway.

Also has a non-canon/alternate universe crossover in the works with Catch Your Breath under the name The Sea and Stars, with Tomoko meeting the Keisuke Gekkō herself when they're both six - the story being a Recursive Fanfiction of both original plotlines written by CP's original author and supported by Lang.

Keeping in-tune with the roots of Civilian Pianist, the Sea and Stars also has a YouTube playlist of all the songs used thus far.

Civilian Pianist includes examples of:

  • Action Dad:
    • Hoshino (nee Yuki) Judai, who now serves as the main co-owner for Nagareboshi Cafe. Is portrayed to be a cheerful, happy-go-lucky Dad on a level echoing a bit of Maes Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist, but can get pretty dangerous when his family is threatened.
    • Chapter 18: The Reality of War says more than enough on how lethal Judai can be.
    • Also, Chapter 42. Team Minato never stood a chance.
  • Acting Your Intellectual Age: Somewhat subverted. Tomoko may have the mindset of an 18-year old Vy, but her open-minded naivety, hugs, and physical age make it so that she's only strange in comparison to other children her age. She may have her moments of maturity, but those moments seem sporadic enough for others to not notice initially. Many characters such as Kakashi and Hikari notice this, but either don't mind or don't realize the reasoning behind it.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Mostly between Tomoko and her parents, which can include forehead flicks or even Judai pulling Tomoko into a hug from behind and resting his chin on her hair.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: With Tomoko playing songs from Kingdom Hearts and RWBY, this is somewhat expected. Tomoko herself insists on looking at things positively, even though she herself can get down on things.
  • Audience Surrogate: With most of the story in Tomoko's point of view, she serves as this. However, later chapters let the reader into the minds of people such as Kakashi, Judai, and even the White Fang for the sake of showing different perspectives.
  • Band of Relatives: The Hoshino Family, literally. Judai plays the cello, Hikari the violin, and Tomoko the piano. It's expanded on in Hikari's Interlude on how it was one of her first connections with her spouse. Now it's become a huge selling point for Nagareboshi Cafe.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Combined with First Kiss for Kakashi and Tomoko in Chapter 49. Many fans rejoiced.
  • Break the Haughty: Invoked by Judai to the entirety of Team Minato before their eventual mission to blow up Kannabi Bridge. The trope is subverted somewhat with how none of the team's members, Kakashi included thanks to Tomoko's influence are haughty at this point, but Hikari reasons to Judai on the contrary, wanting to teach the kids how bad the war could get before they needed to head out on their own.
  • Childhood Friends: How Tomoko's relationship with Team Minato is set up. She meets Kakashi when they're both 5, and later encounters Obito and Rin in that same year.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: How Kakashi seems to be seeing Tomoko lately in his own Interlude and the ANBU Report side story the author released
  • Child Popstar: How Tomoko is set up in Nagareboshi Cafe. Even when her parents are playing music on the main stage, it's been noted by some of the cast how Tomoko is more recognized for her piano music.
  • Child Soldiers: Despite Tomoko not being a ninja herself, she gets to see firsthand the downsides of being a ninja, thanks to her bonds with Team Minato. One specific consequence that she witnesses just after a tough mission are signs of emotional trauma and PTSD in her friends. Needless to say, she doesn't agree at all, and it serves as a constant reminder as to why she chose not to go on the same path.
    • Judai and Hikari also dislike this mindset of indoctrinating kids into the fold of killing, and despite not actively voicing it in public, that doesn't mean it is silent in private. This plays a role in how they parent Tomoko and by extension, Team Minato. Our main leads almost always receive love and full acceptance for teens their age by Chapter 46, just so that they could still have fun in times of war. It is also more understandable in Judai's case because of his experience as a former Jounin, and he would prefer his family to at least not see the things he did.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Something the story constantly throws barbs at when it comes to the ninja system. Tomoko is almost always unhappy with how her friends are being raised to be cogs in what is essentially a constant killing machine, and a lot of her actions go towards the purpose of having the ninja themselves realize that something is wrong with their world. Judai and Hikari too work towards this goal, considering their Shared Backstory in coming together as a couple and opening Nagareboshi Cafe in the first place.
  • The Confidant: Something that Nagareboshi Cafe strives for almost constantly. With its many privacy seals sitting around in the cafe and the various house rules laid down for staff, the cafe is made out to be open to anyone in Konoha, whether it's ninja or civilian. This is why Tomoko was able to save Sakumo, because she developed a deep-enough bond with Kakashi so that he could vent what was going on. Then she just had to work accordingly. In The Sea and Stars, this desire alone to help people is cited to being one of the reasons why Tomoko refused to be a ninja.
    Tomoko: "... The me back then wasn't able to help her loved ones in their times of need. I'm hoping that as Tomoko, I can do that at least."
    Kei: "Music isn't going to solve every problem in the world, you know."
    Tomoko: "I know, but it's better than nothing. And with therapy being almost nonexistent here, I might as well take up the helm, right?"
  • Cry into Chest: How Tomoko gets out a lot of her venting when pushed enough. Usually it's Kakashi or Judai dealing with most of her tears. Even though Tomoko feels bad every single time for ruining their clothes, the two never seem to mind.
  • Cuddle Bug: Whether it's family or a new customer, Tomoko goes about hugging her loved ones almost every day she sees them. The most hugged include her father and Kakashi thus far.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Something hinted at from both of Tomoko's parents. Hikari and Judai adore the little girl, and considering the few times the author has written their points of views, it more than shows.
    • Also Tomoko when in the presence of Pakkun for the first time. Ends up spacing out, almost literally sparkling while hugging the pug to her chest before Kakashi snaps her out of it.
  • For Want of a Nail: Considering our main lead's main motivation to help as many people as she can, this is expected.
    • Even though Sakumo's mission still ends in failure, Tomoko was able to reach out to him with her family so that he is still alive by the time Team Minato even start Kannabi.
    • Kakashi Took a Level in Kindness way earlier than his canon counterpart because of the above spoiler and Tomoko being there for him, to where in Chapter 43, he doesn't even think about using Chidori against Mahiru in Kannabi, instead serving as backup to Minato and later narrowly avoiding the ninja who kidnapped Rin with his focus on teamwork and bringing everyone home.
    • Rin is shown to use weapons other than what was shown in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, getting a speciality in senbon thanks to Tomoko recommending Jim's weapons shop to her.
    • Because of Tomoko's presence mellowing out Kakashi, Obito's not as irritable as his canon counterpart, even warming up to Kakashi as a teammate and friend.
      • It's because of this friendship that Obito opens up about his fears during the Kannabi Bridge Mission, helping finalize the team's decision to take a different direction - so Obito doesn't end up under the rock.
    • Everyone comes home from the Kannabi Mission, mostly in one piece.
    • In the CYB-Crossover spinoff of The Sea and Stars, Gekkō Wataru is able to narrowly avoid his original fate of dying while out on a border patrol, and serves as another True Companions to Judai and Sakumo.
  • A Friend in Need: Tomoko's intentions in a nutshell. Because of her memories of Leo, Josh, and her family, she tries her best to reach out to anyone who needs help. Shown best in Chapter 13 when Kakashi broke down in front of her about Sakumo's withdrawal. Without even questioning it, she went on to comfort Kakashi and come up with the concert idea that ultimately saved him. Also shown in Chapters 35 and 36, when Team Minato got traumatized out on the battlefield - Tomoko didn't even outwardly panic and invited them into the house for a warm dinner.
    • After Sakumo is saved, Kakashi returns the favor to Tomoko many times. Even though the canon Kakashi was the biggest jackass ever, this Kakashi expanded his heart of gold through Tomoko's influence enough to be more open-minded to Obito and Rin and sensitive to Tomoko's own troubles.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Discussed in regards to the moral support Tomoko supplies as a pianist; no way one herself but the support she gives to the shinobi of Konoha makes her a key part of the war effort.
  • The Glomp:
    • Tomoko, personified. Knocks THE Hatake Kakashi down to the floor on her second attempt, and goes on to establish her own 'tackle-hugging' spree when meeting the rest of Team Minato.
    • Obito also does this to Minato at least on two occasions thus far in the story, usually after an announcement that leads up to a possible new change from the 'D-rank chore' routine.
    • Also done by Kushina in her first meeting with Tomoko. Being the hugger she is, Tomoko already knew that there was no point in resisting.
  • Group Hug: Once again, mostly done by Tomoko, due to her being Cuddle Bug personified. However, her parents have initiated some on occasion.
    • Also in Chapter 42, between Tomoko, Team Minato and Kushina before the Kannabi mission.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Actually happens for characters in-universe when secrets come out in Chapter 52. To summarize quickly, many of the surrounding ninja were starting to doubt Tomoko's intentions, only for her crying and confession about wanting to help everyone set the record straight.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Even when discovering her piano abilities for the first time, Tomoko writes it off as nothing more than a byproduct of her reincarnation, not really something she considers too special initially. This in turn plays into her somewhat low self-esteem. The Sea and Stars version of her puts it like this:
    Tomoko: "Reincarnation was already weird enough. But being able to play any song from pure memory alone on the piano without any instruction? Even with tiny, three-year-old hands? I still find it to be contrived spiritual bullshit, if I could be so generous."
  • Holding Hands: How Tomoko first makes contact with a 6-year old Kakashi during a D-Rank mission at Nagareboshi Cafe. Later expanded on in Kakashi's Interlude with how much the gesture affected him.
  • Home Sweet Home: How Sakumo and Kakashi found better lives. After the whole concert in Chapter 13, Judai actually offers to house the two in the Hoshino Family home so that they can avoid all the drama that came with the White Fang's failed mission. By the time Kannabi Bridge comes around, the Hatake father and son are still living there, leading somewhat happier lives with the Hoshino Family. It's also hinted at being one of the reasons why Kakashi started to fall for Tomoko.
  • Identical Stranger: Hitoshi Satoru to Tomoko. Who resembled her boyfriend in her previous life, Leo. As expected, this didn't go over well.
  • Implied Death Threat: The Third Hokage to Tomoko when he finds out the contents of her memories.
  • Improv: How Tomoko goes about her job as Nagareboshi's Pianist. Someone comes up to request a song, and then she comes up with one on the spot specifically for that customer based on her past memories. Also hinted at how Judai and Hikari are able to keep up with Tomoko's music muses.
  • In-Series Nickname: Despite no one actually calling her this, Tomoko refers to herself as the titular Civilian Pianist on occasion, whether on the stage or in her thoughts.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even with the changes that Tomoko and her family brings, some events from canon still happen despite major differences in how they occurred:
    • Sakumo still goes out on his failed mission.
    • Team Kakashi still is sent out to Kannabi Bridge.
    • Kakashi still gets his Sharingan in his left eye from Obito. Obito himself loses a part of his body, but not to the extent of his canon counterpart. Unlike his canon self's loss of his entire right side, Obito only loses half of his left arm.
      • In a way, Kannabi Bridge still ended with a Bittersweet Ending, with Kakashi losing his eye and Obito losing his arm while giving up one of his eyes to Kakashi. Rin is hinted to be emotionally suffering from what happened, while Tomoko is trying to help pick up the pieces.
  • Irony: Can actually be found in the literal meanings of some names.
    • Hoshino Tomoko, when written out in Japanese (星乃 朋子) can actually become 'friendly child in the star field' , which makes sense in context. The Irony comes from her friendliness having less-than-stellar effects in the ninja world as time goes on. A big example is her open-minded, emotional nature actually leading to Yamanaka Inoichi seeing the Nine Tails Rampage during her first therapy session after the whole 'drunk-man-incident'. Tomoko was far too open and vulnerable to realize that he saw it before the damage was already done and the Third was informed of the matter.
    • Hitoshi Satoru, the Leo-lookalike has a name that translates to 'even tempered wisdom' (仁智), which is ironic enough considering how he acts in the story.
    • Hisako (久子), Tomoko's split personality has a name that translates directly to 'long-lived child' , which is ironic already considering her taking the appearance of Tomoko's past self, Vy, who died at the age of 18.
  • Irrational Hatred: Hitoshi Satoru's insults and many jerk-y actions come from him blaming and hating Tomoko for ruining his family life, since his father is the main perpetrator of the "Drunk man incident". The irrational part comes from the fact that the punishment on his father is justified because he went against the law by attacking and almost killing a civilian while drunk, but Satoru still held his hatred on Tomoko.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: The phrase isn't actually used for these moments, but they happen nonetheless. Tomoko calls them 'meaningful' or 'awkward silences'. She quickly encounters them the more she interacts with ninja, and for Tomoko, who used to like silence, she quickly grows to hate it because she doesn't know what to say.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: To no one's surprise, Hatake Kakashi himself. Softens to show more of the gold than the jerk thanks to Tomoko's influence.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Hitoshi Satoru, the Leo-lookalike that was originally assigned to Team Minato to replace Kakashi for their Chunin Exams. It was bad enough that Tomoko mistook him for being a reincarnation of her old boyfriend, but this guy goes on to insult her right in front of everyone in Nagareboshi Cafe for the misunderstanding. Satoru later ended up being too much of a jerk for even Obito, Rin, and KAKASHI to handle before a final fight pushed him off the team.
  • Mental World: Explored with Tomoko Chapter 21 and onwards. When Hisako shows up for the first time, we see that Tomoko's head is built out to resemble a library tower, with specific books playing different memories. On the other hand, Hisako's side of Tomoko's mind is a reference to Library Island from Negima!, with its boundless nature. Tomoko's mind also brings references to Yu-Gi-Oh!, with Inoichi falling down an endless pit a la Shadi from the original series.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Not explicitly said, but hinted at for Minato. He's the one having to deal with the main revelations of Tomoko's memories, which, as expected, weighs on him. The Yellow Flash even chews out the Third Hokage beforehand for even thinking of spying on a civilian girl for the sake of figuring out if she's a threat. Tomoko even notes in her perspective that Minato seems to hold a pitying, almost remorseful gaze when turning to her on occasion.
  • Odd Friendship: How Obito and Rin initially saw Tomoko's relationship with Kakashi. Justified considering the last time they saw Kakashi, he was a stand-offish jerk in the Academy and Tomoko, to them, was one of the nicest civilians they ever met. Led to a Funny Moment on Obito's part when he first saw Tomoko tackle-hug the silver-haired Chunin.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Hoshino Hikari was actually said to have walked up to the Third Hokage himself to chew him out and let Judai retire from the shinobi forces. To everyone's surprise (Tomoko and Judai included), she actually succeeded. Hinted at in Chapter 5, and later expanded on/hinted on by Judai himself in Chapter 23 in a story to Tomoko.
  • Original Character: Expected due to the time period. Many of Naruto's trusted adult figures are still children as of right now.
  • Past-Life Memories: The main source of Tomoko's music and her knowledge of Naruto canon. Unfortunately, it has a lot more trauma than someone would suspect of her.
    • It's hinted at throughout the story, but it becomes increasingly obvious with each new chapter how much Tomoko's past death really weighs on her. Made worse when snippets of flashbacks hint at the last things Vy saw before passing was her FAMILY having just discovered her bleeding out on the pavement. More specifically, Vy seeing her Mom begging her to hang on and live a little longer for the paramedics to get there. Ack.
    • Chapter 21 actually has the reader get into a flashback coming from Tomoko's past, which in turn was an event that ACTUALLY happened to the author, and as a result, it's pretty dark. Even Tomoko, who rarely curses in comparison to other Self-Insert OCs such as Kei from Catch Your Breath, ends up saying "Holy shit".
  • Pep-Talk Song: What a lot of Tomoko's singing in-story boils down to. Innocent Starter from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is all about finding a place for yourself, Let's Just Live from RWBY encourages others to keep living on despite the pain, and Credens Justitiam from Puella Magi Madoka Magica becomes a lullaby for others to believe in something better.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: A subversion in how Tomoko never truly says the words out of courtesy towards her ninja friends, but she feels this almost constantly. It's implied in both Civilian Pianist and The Sea and Stars that after Vy's death, she was alone for a long time as a wandering soul before being reincarnated. The memory of Vy's death doesn't help, because she knows what it's like to die before. It's why she is so emotional when it comes to Team Minato going out on missions that she knows are dangerous, because she's afraid of them meeting similar fates. The trope also serves as a Cruel Subversion of the Ninja World established in the original Naruto, because as a civilian, Tomoko can't be where her friends are, and she knows it.
  • Overprotective Dad: How Tomoko initially saw Judai when Minato started involving her in Team Minato-related events. Later justified with the revelation that Judai was a former ninja himself.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Played with. Hikari has this trope in full swing, but Tomoko in story comments about keeping her hair short for Practical Reasons. Still, the author draws Tomoko with this Hair sometimes for more Symbolic Reasons.
  • Rearrange the Song: All the songs that Tomoko plays in-story are actual piano covers that were rearranged by YouTubers. All credit is given where it is due in the Disclaimers and in the official CP OST playlist moderated by the author, with Tomoko in-story occasionally remembering said musicians' names and playing the songs in their memory.
  • Reincarnation: The way in which Hoshino Tomoko was born into the Narutoverse.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Played with and horrendously subverted with Tomoko and Satoru. Satoru is described to be the spitting image of Vy's boyfriend Leo, with the voice, figure, and everything. Tomoko couldn't help but hope for a second that it was Leo, who died and joined her... And then Satoru started to talk.
  • Running Gag: Tomoko's 'tackle-hugs' to a majority of the cast.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Something that Nagareboshi Cafe strives for. In earlier chapters, Tomoko mentions some of the rules that she has to abide to when working there with her family, and that it's thanks to her past experiences that she's completely okay with them. Probably helped by her heart of gold. This is why the 'Drunk Man incident' was so bad because the drunk man in particular violated this unspoken principle.
  • Self-Insert: Tomoko is a reincarnation of the author. So much so that a lot of Tomoko's mentioned past as Vy does come from the author's own life.
  • Shout-Out: There's a lot, considering Tomoko's piano abilities stemming from her past memories, as well as other factors.
    • Due to previous fanfiction ties/ideas, Tomoko's parents are clear references to Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, with Judai himself being a retired-ninja version of the GX protagonist. Hikari is actually an alternate version of the author's first ever Original Character, created originally to be paired with Judai.
      • A blacksmith/retired ninja version of Jim Crocodile Cook also shows up in Konoha, being one of Judai's former teammates and a person Tomoko later on goes to when she's feeling down.
      • Chapter 42 also shows that a version of Bastion Misawa/Misawa Daichi and a ninja version of Jesse Anderson/Johan Anderson also exist, since Judai mentions them.
    • The first song Tomoko ever plays on the piano is Ventus's theme from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. She then goes on to play other songs from the franchise.
      • In Chapter 20, Tomoko even wears a full cosplay of Naminé's white dress and blue sandals (just minus the blonde hair) when heading out to the Yamanakas with Judai, the outfit symbolically representing her uncertainty when dealing with her past memories. Memories, in turn, being something Naminé is well-remembered for in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
      • In Chapter 42, it turns out that the request that Tomoko forwarded to the local blacksmith Jim, was actually ninja versions of the iconic Wayfinders, with designs taken from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. The Wayfinders were also made in a way to act as chakra blades, a weapon featured in Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Lost Tower.
    • Final Fantasy also has representation when Tomoko plays "Aerith's Theme" from Final Fantasy VII.
    • The first song Tomoko plays for Kakashi is actually "This Game" from No Game No Life.
    • Digimon Adventure is also referenced with Tomoko playing Brave Heart for Guy and Butterfly being used as a chapter theme.
    • Disney works such as Frozen and Mulan are also referenced with themes such as First Time in Forever and I'll Make a Man Out of You. Tomoko at one point even wears a skirt rendition of Rapunzel's dress from Tangled.
    • Pokémon also has its fair share of references, with Tomoko playing the Pokemon Center Theme on occasion and two of her work kimono dresses being specifically based on Sylveon and Leafeon.
    • On two separate occasions, Tomoko has compared some characters to that of the Ace Attorney games, specifically calling Obito a younger Apollo Justice and her dad an angry looking Miles Edgeworth when pissed.
    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica also has a strong foundation in the story, with Tomoko playing a medley of the soundtrack for the Third Hokage when he visits, and the pianist actually singing "Credens Justitiam" for Kakashi.
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is also referenced when Tomoko sings "Innocent Starter" one early morning. Songs such as "Snow Rain" and "Phantom Minds" have also been used as chapter themes.
    • Even Sailor Moon isn't exempt from this because Tomoko wears a Super Sailor Moon-themed kimono dress for special events at Nagareboshi.
    • Magical Girl Raising Project also has a piano cover of its ending theme, "Dreamcatcher" by Nano, used for a chapter theme.
      • The way Obito kills Kakko in Chapter 44 is almost an near Echo of how Ripple kills Swim Swim in the anime.
    • Haruhi Suzumiya, with Tomoko playing "God Knows" for Minato.
    • K-On! with Tomoko referencing the almost-infamous "Moe-Moe Kyun" and her playing "Go-Go Maniac" in Chapter 20.
    • RWBY, without question. Since it was one of the last shows Tomoko saw as her past self, it held its mark on her mind for quite a while. She plays For Shadows for Kakashi, Red Like Roses for Kushina, and so on. Tomoko even wears a kimono dress version of Ruby's original outfit from Volumes 1-3 as a winter uniform for Nagareboshi Cafe.
      • Tomoko's entire family goes on to play all four main character themes and "Let's Just Live" for Hatake Sakumo, which inadvertently prevented his untimely suicide.
      • In Chapter 52, Hikari's What the Hell, Hero? moment to the Third Hokage takes many cues from Yang's own talk with Raven in the finale of Volume 5, with some lines taking direct inspiration.
    • Because a lot of the songs in the story are actual piano covers on YouTube, the author always makes time in the Disclaimer section of each chapter to give credit where credit is due to the many musicians and YouTubers referenced in bringing the themes together for the playlist. Highlights include Kyle Landry, Animenz Piano Sheets, Thieshter, Jeff and Casey Lee Williams from RWBY fame, and The Piano Guys.
      • Most if not all of Tomoko's clothes (excluding hair ribbons) are also actual cosplay dresses made by Darling Army, which the author credits with much enthusiasm in the Disclaimer section as well. Highlighted dresses include the Sylveon kimono dress Tomoko wears on default, the Leafeon dress that Tomoko wears in the spring, and the RWBY-themed kimono dress she dons in the winter.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Hatake Sakumo, BIG time. He ends up not committing suicide thanks to the Hoshino Family, and goes on to become an Academy teacher. This also applies for The Sea and Stars, where Gekkō Wataru avoids his CYB-death and goes on to retire from his ninja position to work with Jim Crocodile Cook, all to help support his family. As of the current chapter, Kei still has both of her parents.
  • Split Personality: Defined best by Hisako, Tomoko's other self that forms after the 'drunk man incident' which caused Tomoko to initially lose her ability to play piano perfectly. Acts as the main control booth/instigator when any Yamanakas come in without warning - both to protect Tomoko's memories and to look out for Tomoko herself when she can't handle enough.
  • Stellar Name: Tomoko's last name, Hoshino, literally translates to 'star field' . Her mother, Hikari, has a name that translates directly to 'light' , making her full name (Hoshino Hikari) become 'light in the star field' , and Nagareboshi Cafe is a pun on both the Hoshino name and ninja stars, or 'shuriken', because of its literal meaning of 'shooting star' . Only Tomoko's father, Judai, is exempt from this naming scheme, his name taken directly from his Yu-Gi-Oh! GX counterpart.
  • Switching P.O.V.: A constant when it comes to the story-canon Interludes and ANBU reports, and occasionally in various chapters. The Interludes are in Third Person, exploring the perspective of the starring character, while ANBU reports are professional character bios done by an ANBU team.
  • Talking to Themself: Tomoko and Hisako after Hisako officially materializes in Tomoko's mindscape. Usually caught between borderline mother-daughter interactions and stubborn bickering.
  • There Are No Therapists: One if not the main reason to many of Tomoko's actions. Her piano has shown to be very therapeutic, both for ninjas and herself, so she uses her newfound skills to help anyone who comes her way. To Tomoko, playing piano is her "ninja way".
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Subverted in how these occur whenever Tomoko has been, unfortunately, triggered, but use only flashes of dialogue and not full-out descriptions.
  • True Companions: What Team Minato, Tomoko, and Guy all become by Chapter 42.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Judai AND Sakumo to Minato about letting Team Minato out onto the front lines. Earlier examples also include Minato getting chewed out by Judai for putting Tomoko in danger. Hisako even lampshades this.
    Hisako: … It is usually that Jounin who seems to be bringing out the bad guns without meaning to.
    • Also, Minato to the Third Hokage with Team Minato getting closer and closer to the front lines in the war. Brought to a head in Chapter 43, where he outright has to hold back anger at the Third's orders of Team Kakashi still going out to Kannabi Bridge despite Tomoko's memories showing the worst case scenario.


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