The 173rd Suggestion: What Is a "Song"? (歌とはなんだ?, Uta to Hananda?) is the one hundred and seventy-third chapter of the series Medaka Box.


Kotobuki playfully asks the babies where Medaka is. Of course, the babies do not have a coherent answer. Seeing that Zenkichi looked away from the vent when she asked, Kotobuki pulls out a submachine gun and blows out the vent. Expecting Medaka's dead body to pop out, Kotobuki is surprised to see the vent appears empty. Inside the vent, Medaka breathes a sigh of relief as Kotobuki's gunfire ends, having learnt to catch bullets in her mouth from Kamimine. Out of weapons and ideas, Medaka prepares to fire a rubber band at Kotobuki, but her age suddenly drops as Kotobuki starts singing again. Medaka backs farther into the vent to prevent further reverse aging. Zenkichi notices that they won't become any younger than toddlers. Kumagawa believes Medaka cannot come out with Kotobuki still singing, though Tsurubami says Medaka can cancel styles using her War God Mode because she loses the ability to hear words. Medaka goes into War God Mode and returns to her normal age, though she is frustrated that she had to use this mode even when she came to learn a style.

A flashback: sometime after the school festival, Sukinasaki (topless) and the rest of Kiyoterae perform their song "Toy-Box" at a concert. Afterwards, the trio meet up with Medaka and Kikaijima in their dressing room. Sukinasaki tells the pair that, since Hakoniwa, Kiyoterae have always performed together. Medaka asks Kiyoterae what a song is. Sukinasaki thinks hard about it, then smiles, saying Medaka thinks about some good things. As Medaka questions why her singing lacks passion, Kikaijima also wonders why Medaka's singing is like that, since she usually influences people around her all the time. Hachiningatake proposes that it might not be because Medaka is bad at the arts that she lacks ability in music, but because Medaka might lack in communication skills. Furousan believes Medaka to be a truth-seeker type, a type that strives to reach perfection and goals. She adds that this is a good thing though, since Medaka is able to do things others cannot. Sukinasaki adds that a song, whether imperfect or not, is like a style to convey feelings between one's self and everyone else.

Not seeing any trace of Medaka, Kotobuki gives up the search. She smiles, thinking that Medaka went ahead alone, which would give Yuzuriha, an easier job. In the middle of Kotobuki's monologue, Medaka punches through the floor and jumps out behind her, having moved through the ventilation system. As Medaka is about to attack Kotobuki, she finds the babies are strapped to Kotobuki like a suit of armor. Medaka pulls back, cursing Kotobuki. Kotobuki challenges Medaka to attack her and harm her friends. Nienami knows full well that Medaka would never take a chance to harm her friends, while an aggravated Zenkichi tells Nienami that she talks like she knows everything about Medaka. Kotobuki accepts her victory, and thinks back on how the other suitors relied too heavily on their styles, or not enough. Medaka relaxes, and starts to sing the song she heard at Kiyoterae's concert. Kotobuki loses her cool, and attempts to shoot Medaka. With her eyes closed, Medaka gracefully dodges the bullets and slides closer to Kotobuki.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  1. Saki Sukinasaki (flashback)
  2. Zomeki Furousan (flashback)
  3. Jyuujika Hachiningatake (flashback)
  4. Medaka Kurokami
  5. Mogana Kikaijima (flashback)
  6. Joutou Kotobuki
  7. Zenkichi Hitoyoshi
  8. Namanie Nienami
  9. Kamome Tsurubami
  10. Misogi Kumagawa
  11. Sui Kanaino (flashback)
  12. Mogura Kugurugi (flashback)
  13. Momo Momozono (flashback)


v  d  e
Volume Twenty
Chapters 168. The First and Only Bias Action • 169. Hakoniwa General Hospital Ruins • 170. Tsurubami Fukurou • 171. I Lied Too Much • 172. Sleep My Baby, Sleep ♪ • 173. What Is a "Song"? • 174. I Hate Lies • 175. Real Eater • 176. You're Forgiven