The LifeBand™ was an incredible invention, and its creator Isato Haruki a peerless genius. Never before had the world seen such brilliance in a device that looked only the slightest bit different from a digital wristwatch, and the heavens themselves only knew when something even a fraction as amazing as it would come along again.
It started as a passion project, in the garage of Haruki-san's parents in their small hometown of Kuzuryu, somewhere outside of Tokyo. High school, college, graduate school and on were mere roadblocks to schedule around—the LifeBand was what was truly important.
And when it was finally finished… God, it was all worth it.
The original model of the LifeBand was rather plain, a small boxy display screen attached to a gray rubber strap that wound around the wrist, again, like a wristwatch. Yet, despite its unassuming outer appearance, the device truly lived up to the old adage of true beauty being on the inside.
It could track movements, brain waves, speech patterns, practically anything that the body was capable of could be recorded and stored by the LifeBand. These every day functions were catalogued in the device's inner storage, and assigned points a la an experience system from a video game. Once the wearer built up a sizable amount of these experience points, they gained a level, which then gave them a different set of points called "Attribute Points," or AP.
AP were what truly made the LifeBand special. They could be applied to any number of proficiencies, from basic skills such as writing and reading and math, to athletic skills like running, swimming, or lifting, or even inner functions like reasoning and problem solving or speech.
Now, one might assume that these Attribute Points and proficiencies were all a part of some big game, not actually worth anything.
That one assumer would be wrong. Very wrong.
The true genius of Haruki-san's invention lay within the deepest depths of the LifeBand's jungle of wiring. Somewhere within that mess, a tiny speaker was embedded, and it was the only component in that device that performed exactly one job—and it performed it well.
When Attribute Points were assigned, an electrical pulse was sent through the watch and into the tiny speaker, causing it to begin emitting an ultrasonic wave at frequencies undetectable by any living creature, but these waves had an… effect on the wearer. Haruki-san has refused to reveal such secrets himself, personally placing the finishing touches on all LifeBands coming through his immense factory in Hokkaido, but somehow, these waves caused changes on the wearer.
AP assigned to the lifting proficiency could indeed give the wearer the ability to lift objects, more and heavier than before! AP assigned to mathematics enabled the wearers to solve complex problems with little difficulty! Speech AP could even defeat the fear of public speaking, provided enough points were allocated.
It was incredible, and within days Haruki-san became impossibly wealthy and famous, and he had all the time in the world to devote to further development.
At first, the revolutionary watch was only available in Japan, mass produced so that every single person in the country was able to own one.
In time, it became a part of every day life—government mandated, in fact. Babies were given them so that they had the added boon of building experience from birth; the elderly were able to will out their points to be divided amongst their inheritors; and businesses began to offer experience points for the completion of various tasks. Schools assigned varying levels of points to be properly doled out with completed homework and tests, with huge bursts of experience granted upon the completion of a whole year; restaurants that had eating challenges gave out experience in massive numbers for the completion of their suddenly even more ridiculous contests; shrines offered somewhat more meager amounts, but the only requirement was to visit and pray, so that was to be expected.
With permission from Haruki-san, clothing and other items were created that had the capability to react to wearers of the LifeBand, offering improved stats. Shoes gave boosts to agility-based skills, shirts and gloves to strength and dexterity; the only ones that Haruki-san refused to permit were objects that improved intelligence, as it was his philosophy that one could not buy intelligence, though ironically enough if one grinded enough AP, they could rapidly boost it without having to buy.
In short… the LifeBand was a hit.
However, this is not the story of LifeBand, though it does heavily involve the amazing device.
Rather, this is the story of Samwise Hale, an American boy who came to Japan as part of an exchange program and was given a LifeBand upon arrival—and how that simple gift made his first year in Japan go horribly, horribly wrong.