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Canon Fodder

Sep. 22nd, 2003

09:54 pm - Prince of Tennis -- Be My Guest

Series: Prince of Tennis
Author: Ilya
Genre: Drama, Humor
Characters: Yuuta, Mizuki, Fuji (and a few others: Ryoma, Shinji, Momo, Kamio)
Writing: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Characterization: 8/10

Summary/Review: To help Yuuta study for his third year final examinations, Mizuki invites himself to stay over at the Fuji household for the long weekend, where he gets to know Yuuta's older brother better.

The summary does a good job cutting to the chase. It's set a year later in the series, and it's a reuniting of Fuji and Mizuki and this time there is dialogue between them. *nods* It's always a pleasure to find a fic that does it well. Ilya takes enough basis and references from the pertinent episodes of the anime but not overly so. There is never the sense that she's only rehashing what's been done before.

The fic treads the fine line between being amusing and being dramatic and does it well. Most of the actions (except for an odd Shinji-Ryoma-Yuuta tennis ball joke) are justified by the characters. Take for example: Mizuki getting caught going through Fuji's underwear drawer. He's looking for the dirty little secrets, but instead, he's caught in the act, holding cacti patterned boxers.

The insight into the characters happens to be one I agree with. Fuji continually forgets Mizuki's name... or does he? [Mizuki] loved to be out there and in charge. He thrived under the spotlight and craved recognition. So for him to be so easily dismissed from Fuji's mind as though the former Seigaku player saw him as insignificant was a big, big blow to his ego. It amused Fuji to see the flush of anger rising in Mizuki's cheeks.

And on the same token, Mizuki does the same favor of analyzing Fuji for the reader:
Mizuki began to enumerate Fuji's unsavory character traits, counting them off on his fingers. "You're pushy, and manipulative, but in a subtle enough way that most people don't even realize that they're being toyed with by you. You're arrogant, you're so self-confident and cocky that you're even worse than that Echizen kid, and you can't stand it when you don't get your own way. You hate it. It eats at you, because you're such a domineering bastard."

There is mud slinging at points from the characters, and a few low blows. The confrontation, as expected, escalates into something more. Fuji grants Mizuki the benefit of the doubt, only to get revenge by destroying Mizuki in tennis, thus reaffirming aforementioned character analysis.

And then there's Yuuta, caught in the middle.

Yuuta rolled his eyes as he watched the two try to stare each other down. He felt as though he were stuck in the middle of a game of tug of war... Only one day around these two and already he was tempted to throw both of them out of the house, had he been able to... Being around them was like waiting for a ticking time bomb to go off. Yuuta was dreading the moment when one of them would finally overstep the boundaries and push the other over the edge. It wasn't going to be very pretty.

My favorite thing about this fic, even though you know what the conflict will be, it is still interesting to watch it play out. Ilya also does a grand job of interspersing quiet moments (Late night snacking) and (Mizuki waiting for Yuuta) with the overall plot. There's no point of the story that stagnates, and you're not quite sure how it's all going to turn out in the end.

... Unfortunately, we might never know. It's been hovering in "To Be Continued" land for over a month. *sigh*

( Prince of Tennis -- Be My Guest )

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Pearl Jam - Baba O'Riley.mp3

Sep. 21st, 2003

06:58 pm - Weiss Kreuz -- Scarlet Ribbons

Series: Weiss Kreuz
Author: Jessi Albano
Genre: Romance
Characters: Schuldig+Aya-chan, Ran, Ken, Omi, Youji
Writing: 9/10
Plot: 10/10
Characterization: 9/10

Summary/Review: I am so glad I am spying on fandom_recs, because someone was kind enough to rec this fic. The pairing is what caught my eye, so I skimmed it briefly to see if it was worth my time, and then gave it a more thorough read-through when I saw some things tha perked my interest. It takes place following the series and flashbacks often to the series itself, and is told through the point of view of Aya-chan, and done in a good point of view of Aya-chan, something Weiss fiction severely lacks.

What Weiss Kreuz also severely lacks is any really appealing canon het couples. There is of course Ran and Sakura, but anyone with two eyes will look at that pairing and just... not see something worth any time of day. Nagi and Toto was a forced, out of the blue relationship that really had no point at all, and aside from that, Toto is obnoxious. Ken's brief romance with Yuriko was adorable, and it made me love Ken to pieces, but it ended in failure. Youji of course will always be hung up on Asuka, making it difficult for him to have another serious relationship.

So, of course, as it always happens, you stick four attractive characters into a series, doom all their female counterparts to pitiful relationships, and the fan girls will slash them up. Making Weiss Kreuz a dominantly slash community and anything het that is not a Mary Sue about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

This fic takes an illogical pairing and does it good. The writing itself is great, and the way the story flows is really unique, how it transitions from present day, to what Aya-chan was experiencing while in her coma. The characterization of Aya-chan is a great one, too. You don't really get a good feel for what sort of person she is from the series, aside from hey, cute little girl that likes to tease her big brother, i.e. every single younger sister in anime. This fic makes her strong and independent in her own way, with a mind of her own.

Schuldig is also a characterization that fandom generally has their way with. You can see from the series he's a bit on the sadistic side and definitely takes great pleasure in screwing with people, and in this fic that remains true. But there's a certain underlying amount of humanity in him. From what I have observed, when it comes to Weiss Kreuz fan fiction and the characterization of Schuldig, you either get twisted, sadistic, sex-driven, drunkard Schuldig with no remorse at all for what he does, or you get a slightly toned down version of this, typically with a dark, bitter past and a more humane side. This fic goes for the more humane approach to Schuldig and yet still keeps him so much like how he is in canon I just adore the characterization.

Also, randomly, I just love how Aya-chan interacts with the boys. I really like the scene where she and Ken are doing the dishes and he gives her that cute, half-little hug. It's just a really good relationship she has with them, and the nice thing is none of it is based on romance or physical or anything like that, and it can't be taken that way, either. She does seem to kinda crush on Youji a bit in some ways, but that of course can be blamed upon how he reminds her of Schuldig.

The plot itself is really just too cool and unique as well. Schuldig communicating with Aya-chan while she's in her coma just seems like such a unique idea to me.

And eee, there is fluffy romance and the ending is just... so perfect. So very Schuldig. Wah. Just go read.

( Weiss Kreuz -- Scarlet Ribbons )

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Weiss Kreuz - Shadows and Lights

Sep. 16th, 2003

06:51 pm - X/1999 -- Tenshi no Shimei

Series: X/1999
Author: Xandra and Krystal Rose
Genre: AU, Romance
Characters: Seishirou+Subaru, Hokuto, Kakyou
Writing: 7/10
Plot: 8/10 (I just think it's so very cute.)
Characterization: 6/10 (It gets this because it is AU, and the characterizations do not follow canon that faithfully.)

Summary/Review: God, I never thought I would return to this fandom. But for a few certain reasons that shall remain between me and a few scarce people, I promised to give this fic a go and see what there was to be seen. Basically, this fic is AU, and most of the time AU hardly appeals to me unless done amazingly well. But sometimes a good AU concept can hook me. Unfortunately I have this little obsession with angels, and the concept of Seishirou and Subaru as angels is like crack on a stick to me. (Wings! Wings! Ohmygod they have wings!)

The writing is not bad, grammer and spelling are correct and good, and one thing I like is just an expansive use of vocabulary. Some fics get locked into this habit of not using much expressive language or a broad variety of words, and so it starts to read more like an instruction booklet than it reads like a story. At times this story can be somewhat stiff in its writing, but most of it is easily overlooked.

Subaru gasped at the importance of the task that he�d just been given. His heart pounded fast with concern for whether he could be able to do it well and properly. Reverently, he took the box with the magic accessory. Bowing deeply to Kakyou, he quickly made his way out.

In example of that, this could have been broadened a bit further. Rather than just gonig through the motions of what Subaru is doing, and just briefly expressing his feelings, it would have been more interesting to maybe dive a bit deeper into his thoughts at this point and indulge the reader some. Instead his actions just read rather quick and bluntly. As I said, just a small problem, but it does not make the writing bad in the least. I, for one, just would have liked to see more of Subaru's thoughts shown at this point.

Regaining some of his composure, he thought the first thing he was going to have to do was get down. Gingerly he extricated his limbs from the branches of the tree that was so eagerly tangled around him. Too late, he realized it didn't leave him with any anchor and he was unable to stop himself from once again, tumbling the short distance to the grassy lawn of the park. He landed hard. He yelped and rubbed at his sore bottom. That really hurt.

Seishirou couldn't help himself and laughed out loud at the comical scene unfolding before him. This angel was certainly wet behind the ears. He stepped out from his hiding place and withdrew a pack of cigarettes from his trench coat. Lighting one, he walked over and looked down at the injured angel. "Having problems?" he asked, half snickering.

Subaru was totally shocked to be thus addressed by someone who had suddenly come up so close. He looked up and blinked at the shadow looming over him. His jaw dropped as he did a double take. That particular aura was unmistakable.

In this case, the He looked up and blinked at the shadow looming over him. His jaw dropped as he did a double take. is another example of blunt, quick, and to the point. I'm not sure how anyone else reads, but to me, two straight sentences without much variety (comma, semicolon maybe) of straight action or movements just does not seem to flow right to me. But in this case, it does not disturb the flow of the story.

While it should be kept in mind that this story is an AU fic, and of course will not be an exact representation of the character, one thing one must come to understand when reading X fan fiction is that generally every character has taken on a "fandom personification" rather than the actual canon personification. In my days writing and reading fic there, the trend was to make Fuuma a sex-craving fiend that would do anything to get laid. The manga shows him being extremely physical with Kamui, but rarely with any other character. His time with Kakyou seems to be more of a gentle affection, not a "fuck me now" relationship. In all honesty, the only one Canon Fuuma seems to want to have in bed with him is Kamui. Fandom thinks he wants Kamui, Keiichi, Seishirou, Kakyou, and Subaru all at once.

In case of this story, however, the characterizations seem to be from the making of the authors, and in an AU setting, rather unique. I find myself enjoying this snarky, smirky type of Seishirou they have going for them. And while, admittedly, I am biased to bitter, resentful, hating the world Subaru as shown in the X manga, seeing him being his cute, naive self from Tokyo Babylon is at times amusing and refreshing.

"We shall eat, drink and make merry," Seishirou proclaimed, giving Subaru's nose a good tweak before releasing him. "I know a good place to get chocolate cake. Now that's something you can't get in Heaven." He smiled sweetly, doing his best to convince the youngling that his intentions were pure.

Again, something is just so endearing about this characterization of Seishirou, and being AU, it's forgivable. Would Seishirou do this in Canon? Hell no. Do I want to read him doing this in a Canon Setting? Hell no. I myself favor the emotionless Seishirou that will never feel guilt for what he did to Subaru, and never come to terms with who he is as a person and because this lovable pile of fluffy goo. (See Sakura and Snow by the wonderful Natalie Baan to see the Seishirou I adore.) So could I take this seriously outside of this setting? No. But in this environment, in an AU with new twists and relationships, it works.

One small thing is that at times, it's easy to notice the transition from author to author. I've co-written stories with people various times and sometimes, we can make smooth transitions that don't have the reader stopping and wondering what the hell just happened and why the entire tone of the story just changed. Other times we can't quite accomplish that smooth of a transition and it can come off as choppy. This fic only has a few small moments like this, but is easily fixed if the authors go through and adjust a few things.

Seriously, if Seishirou+Subaru is your thing, then check this story out. It has fluffy and angels. What would a fan girl want more than fluffy and angels? If you want some angst-driven, Seishirou/Subaru killing one another fic, bitter and loathsome of one another, then this is not the place to go. Go find something else.

( X/1999 -- Tenshi no Shimei )

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Counting Crows - Colorblind

Jul. 31st, 2003

01:13 pm - Radio Fader

Series: Gravitation
Author: Bianca
Genre: Romance
Characters: Touma/Suguru, Yuki/Shuichi, Hiro/Ayaka, Touma/Mika, OC/Suguru; implied Touma/Yuki, Touma/Ryuichi; mentioned Ryuuichi/Shuuichi
Writing: 9/10
Plot: 6/10 (There isn't one, really.)
Characterization: 8/10

Summary/Review: Suguru will take what he can get.

This fic is an odd little bundle, taking a pairing that would squick many, a writing style that reminds me of Serial Experiments Lain, and an usual angle at everything that is so close to poignant, if only the few remaining bumps were smoothed over.

The following review will contain spoilers.

Read more...Collapse )

Overall, this is a well-written work that explores Suguru from his perspective, and delves into his relationship with Touma with amazing insight. Unique writing technique sets it apart from other fics. Strongly recommended.

(Gravitation - Radio Fader)

edit: link removed at author's request.

Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
Current Music: Shrek - True Love's First Kiss

Jul. 25th, 2003

08:10 pm - The Sentinel -- Enough

Series: The Sentinel
Author: Sharon
Genre: Hardcore angst. Deathfic. Het.
Characters: Jim, Blair, Simon
Writing: 9/10
Plot: 8/10 (some of her stories lack definitive plots, looking like gratuitous angst but the earlier stories are more well rounded and the newer stories tie in with canon... eh, I like gratuitous angst)
Characterization: 8/10

Summary/Review: (None given). Blair's world comes crashing down and he struggles for a reason to hold on.

Sharon is one my favorite fan fic authors. Ever. Her work is clear, concise, and incredibly detailed. She writes in an alternative POV, segueing nicely even in the middle of parts. Also, she's the author for angst. In any fandom. No one else's work I've read comes close to moving me as strongly as hers. Every time I say, I won't give in and shed a tear, because the work won't get the better of me, the ending just rips my heart to tiny, little bitty shreds.

More than plot, which she does well, her stories, even the similar ones, go off on interesting tangents. Her characterization is justified by the gamut of emotions established in the fic, but what I adore the most is her way of writing stream of consciousness. Her characters are human, fallible. They don't always make the right decisions and they can't always see the most obvious things. She writes what people think but are afraid to voice. Take this stint on depression for example:

"I remember being happy. It hurts so much sometimes, remembering being happy and realizing I'm not anymore, and knowing there's no reason to believe I'll feel that way again, and not having any idea how to make myself feel that way again. It's not just an illusion of helplessness; I can't change any of this, and there is no hope that things will get better somehow. So what am I supposed to do?"

If you have ever been there, and had similar thoughts, I just admire this woman so much because it makes me realize that everyone is capable of feeling depressed/down/etc at times, and she just expresses those feelings in the most honest way.

A typical Sharon story contains Blair being shot/hurt/rejected by Jim/seemingly rejected by Jim and then the angst that it ensues and eventually there's reconciliation, sometimes there's not. Sometimes the characters don't come back to the brink, sometimes they do. Even so, I admire her story telling skills to convey so much sometimes using only dialogue. To not give original characters names half the time, to keep the focus always on Jim and Blair. I love how she uses the supporting characters weaving them into a wonderful backdrop instead of plot points. An all around solid writer, coupled with the ability to convey raw emotions, I stand in awe in her ability to make me cry at the end of each of her stories.

If you ever want to read anything Emotionally Gutting and Depressing as All Hell, Sharon's your girl.

( The Sentinel - Enough )

Current Mood: awed
Current Music: artist - Track 07

Jul. 16th, 2003

09:03 pm - Get Backers -- Cold Comfort

Series: Get Backers
Author: Keiji
Genre: Lemon! Nothing but the smut.
Characters: Ban/Ginji; Shido/Kadsuki (Yes, I got that pairing right); Akabane/Ginji (Or at least some voyeuristic spin of such)
Writing: 7/10
Plot: 3/10 (Um... there really is none.)
Characterization: 5/10

Summary/Review: A PWP involving Ban, Ginji and their car. YAOI.

Review contains spoilers!

So the story starts out innocent enough. Ban and Ginji's car gets impounded again and because they don't want to sleep in the streets and they don't want to break it out of impound, they decide to break in. Heh. Seems like something they would do.

Unfortunately, Ginji's cold and suggests sex to get warmed up. "You knoooooooow," Ginji whined. "Please, Ban-chan. It's the best thing for getting warm; you know it is." And for the rest of the fic, Ban seems to comply. I must say this: If those boys only get to have sex in their car. I feel bad for them. As vulchu said, "They've probably smacked their heads on the door or broken a few windows."

However, the fic takes a very weird spin. In the middle of spiffy Ginji and Ban sex, Ginji looks out the window... and random sees Shido watching them. Insert your "What the--?" reaction here. Wait! It gets better. A bit later, Ginji realizes that Kadsu's there too. Kneeling on the ground. In front of Shido. Oh my. Yep. The author went there and did that. (Ironically, I really wanted this pairing to show in fic sometime as nice comfort just out of Mugenjou sex. I take it all back though. It's just too odd.)

The sex is written halfway decently, far from bad (however the language used for it is very crude "milking", "dick", "live-action porn movie".) And really, lines like this: Ginji came profusely, coating the car's back seat as liberally as Shido was coating Kazuki's throat, and as copiously as Ban was coating his insides." just hurt my head.

However, nothing beats the naked Akabane showing up looking down upon a post-sated Ginji.

But... (ending spoilers)Collapse )

Regardless, the author's definitely achieved the shock factor that she was probably going for. And the fic seemed so damn innocent and cute too. And I do believe it's my first Get Backers smut. *shakes head* I'm not even sure if I'm happy that Shido was in it. Just too weird.

( Get Backers -- Cold Comfort )

Current Mood: bitchybitchy

Jul. 14th, 2003

07:42 pm - Weiss Kreuz -- Blind Faith

Series: Weiss Kreuz
Author: deadxdreamer
Genre: Drama, romance, Alternative Universe! It tries to be Angst but fails miserably.
Characters: Ran/Ken, Schu/Aya, Brad/Schu, Ken/Omi, Omi/Nagi, Yohji/Aya-chan, with hints of Kase/Ken. (I'm feeling gypped at the lack of the YoKen-ness, but considering that they're brothers in the fic, I think I'll live.)
Writing: 5/10; (Grammatically it pulls in about a 6, but for the style and execution it gets a 3)
Plot: 5/10
Characterization: 3/10

Summary/Review: Supermodel Aya/Ran, runs away from stardom to reclaim himself. Ken Hidaka tries to find love in all the wrong places. Will the two find each other? **NOTE!** R rated for Chapter 12 ONLY!!

The summary is scaringly accurate, and doesn't even cover the huge plot point of Ken being blind. Why someone would ever envision a scenario such as this is beyond me. Even so, I didn't hate it, even liked a few parts quite a bit. The only thing I can't understand is why the author felt the need to do this to characters. I know her metaphorical goal is that of 'love goes beyond looks and appearances, et cetera' but to make it literal just baffles me. It's not even gratuitous angst, that I would have understood.

So Ran is a supermodel going by the name Aya Fujimara [sic], Brad is his manager, Schu is Brad's fucktoy, achem, boyfriend. Ken is the love interest, Yotan is the love interests brother. And... that's really it. Ran runs away from the superficiality of his picture perfect (pun intended) life, and smack dab into Ken.

Enter the romance, which gets fairly glossed over. The story's plot is hinged on the budding romance and Ran's legal troubles about ditching his contract, not that we ever tend to care about that side story at any point in time. Brad is underdone. Schu is overdone to the point he becomes a plot device, and instead of being vindictive he comes only comes off as manipulative and jealous.

Ken is a woman in every since of the world, complete with PMS. Either that or he's just very whiny and moany. Not that women are whiny and annoying... uh. Hole. Deeper. Digging. :-/ Seriously, don't go looking for your nice irritable confident Kenken in this fic. This one throws tantrums, whines, mopes over situations he creates. Probably one of the most classic scenarios in real life or fic world. Character A yells at Character B to leave. Character B protests. Character A reiterates that Character B leaves. Character B leaves. Character A then feels when Character B doesn't come back to see him. Mixed signals anyone? Someone needed to remind Ken that Schu's the telepath not Ran. And sometimes, he just seemed entirely too bold, like "Cut the crap" Ken. I nearly almost gagged when Ken confesses, "I remember there was this one spread in Vanity Fair. I think I jacked off to those pictures so many times that I can't even count"

However, I do believe Ran's suicide attempt takes the cake. Wait, Ken had a mention of one of those too.

I really thought the author did a good job writing, but the structure made me gag. From third person omnipotent to first person limited, to third person omnipotent complete with random character thoughts. And we'll not forget the stroke of genius that for some reason put "I'm a Believer" throughout an entire chapter in the fic. Excuse me, no one gave me my song fic warning label. (I really adore song fics too, even bad ones, so it did make me smile, albeit while going "What the hell, why is this here?")

And Ken being blind, just didn't make sense to me. It was explained as J-League related accident, and at times I get the sense that the author just wanted to give readers a sense of what it was like living without sight. However, I didn't think it was well done, there weren't enough details and little things for me to nitpick. So I guess it was supposed to be a plot device for Ken angst and one more thing to stand in the relationship of Ran/Ken.

Despite it all, I did like a lot of little things, like how all the characters got worked in. And I did enjoy the argument about Yohji dating Aya-chan. But the fact that the story hits every feminization clich�, the boys get married. Crawford calls Schu "babe" among other things just make me wince.

The ending/epilogue feels rushed, even more so because it's an entry in Ran's journal (never mentioned before in the story) and its supposed to give you the happy ever after vibes, but I can't help getting the feeling that the author just wanted to end the story.

That being said, I'm off to start the sequel. Glutton? Punishiment? Yes.

( Weiss Kreuz -- Blind Faith )

Current Music: Sugarcult - Stuck in America

Jul. 11th, 2003

05:11 pm - Weiss Kreuz -- The Color of Roses

Series: Weiss Kreuz
Author: Amet and Sephy (both of them, right? right? I don't wanna mess up!)
Genre: romance, wee bit of comedy, some angst, a nice balance
Characters: Aya+Omi, Ken, Youji, with appearances by Ouka and Manx
Writing: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Characterization: 8/10

Summary/Review: This is a contiuation of Nice To Know You, which I already reviewed and can be found here. And I meant to read it quite a long time ago, but my attention was stolen away by Gravitation and Gundam Wing, but I was talking with Sephy and realized it was about time I gave it a read. And woohoo, I am glad I did, because though Amet and Sephy have just recently began to write for Weiss Kreuz, they definitely have the potential to become some of the greatest writers for the fandom out there, and in a series like Weiss Kreuz, we need our gem writers. (Especially with the hideous amount of Mary Sues I seem to find... ^^)

What I truly and honestly appreciate about this story is simply the characterization of Omi. He differs quite a bit from his canon incarnation, but given that all the characters in Weiss Kreuz are rather painful cliches of the typical character type, I find his characterization to be logical, not to mention refreshing. Considering that Omi has always been my least favorite of the Weiss boys, it's really great to find a characterization of him I just adore. He acts like a teenager, but nonetheless a teenager with quite a bit of responsibility on his shoulders. I find that fandom typically portrays him to a painful extent of how he is seen in the series, as a very happy-go-lucky kid with just a small mount of angst to keep him well-balanced. I always felt that his past did not affect him nearly as much as it should have affected him, but in this he really does think on his upbringing and his rather painful history, and it does bother him and I appreciate that. I really find it to be illogical for him to be so relaxed and happy about everything.

Another thing I really like about this story is the fact that while it definitely focuses on Aya and Omi, given they are the main pairing of the story, it still gives attention to Youji and Ken. Neither of them are exactly featured very much, but it still keeps it clear in your mind that hey, there are two other members of Weiss, and sometimes fan fiction seems to forget that. (Something I am a victim of as well, but I blame that on my absolute inability to write Omi.) Both are characterized in a way I appreciate as well, given them just enough of the authors' own quirks, as well as keeping as faithfully to canon as possible. And being a canon beater, I like to see canon given its dues, but I also appreciate to see an author keeping things canon but adding more depth and feeling to a character.

I thought as I was reading for a moment that great, Aya was going to be nothing but his canon incarnation, being the grumpy person he is, but then the story progressed and focused a bit more on him, and as he spoke more with the other Weiss members, I was really glad to see he wasn't going to be the cliche "..............." Aya that fan fiction sees so often. I definitely think Aya is a bitter person, which was portrayed here, but bitterness and revenge isn't what he's all about. He did some kind of perpetually grumpy in this, but given how he and Ken and Youji seem to be prone to bugging the hell out of each other, it made sense to me.

Which leads me to the fact that the boys acted like boys. One of the things I really loathe to see in yaoi fan fiction is when a male character is turned into a sniveling pile of feminine goo all for the sake of slashing him with another male character. I maintain that a man does not have to sacrifice his masculinity when engaging in a relationship with another man, and I feel that sometimes fan fiction really does not keep that in mind and really butchers the characterization of a character all for the sake of slashing them up. You can see some concern and caring going on between Aya and Omi, but even so, they still act like themselves. Omi never sits and thinks, "Oh, woe! Aya doesn't love me! Whatever shall I do!" He acts like he should act and like the authors have portayed him thus far, and that's great.

I also rather liked this: "Not what?" Yohji chirruped, pushing his way into the room, juggling with the huge base of a potted willow sapling, Aya sidestepping to help him before man and plant overbalanced and toppled to the floor. His voice sounded wet and thick, muffled around the white stalk of a lollipop, a courtesy to Momoe who was continually chiding him about smoking around the flowers. Anyone else and Yohji probably would have told them where to shove it but there was something about the old woman, wrinkled face placidly grinning at him as she stroked her cat that seemed to confound the playboy. She was probably the only person Omi knew who could get Yohji to behave with little more than a well-placed request. In fact there were times when the man seemed almost�afraid of the woman, nervously slicking back his blond tresses. Which Omi found amusing, seeing the way he treated every other woman in his life.

The fact that Youji can be swayed by Momoe really amused me. But not only that, the fact that Momoe was even mentioned, which is definitely something fan fiction lacks, as well as the series. She is always there, but she never really has a moment with the boys until they send her away during the series for whatever reason -- the actual point escapes me now. But they were definitely expressing some concern for her and I thought it was incredibly sweet. I really think the boys would be protective of this little old woman, and it's really endearing to see her actualy given attention.

Ouka as well made an appearance in this. Ouka was always more of "just there" character to me until she and Omi actually had a little more depth and a few more Tender Moments between them, but I think the whole love factor had a lot to do with the fact that Omi was going through some rather rough things at the time, and she was the person he latched onto to be a kind of security to him. True relations entirely aside. I think that Omi did care for Ouka, but I doubt that he loved her in the sense of being "in love" with her. I really liked his attitude toward her in this. He was somewhat irritated and all, but definitely concerned with her well-being, so I thought his characterization was dead-on.

"You said there should be pizza," If he hadn't known better, he might have thought Aya seemed skittish, almost spooked. Aya, who was afraid of no man, who leapt into the fray without a thought for his own safety, and killed without hesitation. Aya "I thought -- Here."

The box was shoved into his limp hands, the Abyssinian withdrawing a step, straightening the cuffs of sleeves, replacing his customary nonchalance like a well-worn pair of gloves. Omi couldn't help it, gingerly fingering the container, gaze darting from it to his partner. Somehow the natural order of things had just upended like a giant Etch-a-Sketch and the picture he was left with was less clear, definition made hazy and open. The script had been taken away and he was treading into uncharted territory, the moment longed for but unlooked for even in his most private of desires.

"It's cheese," Aya spoke again, mouth pursed, "Everyone likes cheese. I mean, it wasn't like I knew what kind of toppings you wanted. I could have just gotten pepperoni but some people like sausage." Pause. "The crust is doughy. Because this is pizza and not a giant cracker with sauce and I hate how dry the dough can get when it's paper thin. That�s not a problem?"

Little babbling moments like these really make me just want to coo over Aya and pinch his cheeks, and really appreciate the cuteness that is the Aya+Omi pairing (despite the fact I am so dead-on in love with Aya+Ken ^-^). It was amusing to see him rather out of sorts, considering Aya is so often a calm, laid-back, always in control of the situation character. He would definitely need to be in a relationship with someone that can ruffle him up.

"Aya," He paused, feet shuffling as he craned his neck back to where Omi sat, bathed in split shadow, corn silk hair touched with darker highlights. "The pizza was � It was good."

He paused before nodding his assent. Omi looked heartened by that silent assent, venturing further. "Maybe we can do it again? Eat pizza? If you want?"


It was amazing how one word could crush someone, make them look so defeated without a single blow being made. "Why not?" Omi's voice was small, weary and he could almost see the youth going over the entire evening in his mind, searching for some offense he had made.

"Because next time I want Thai," Aya answered and left before he could see anything beyond the swift rise of a blond hair towards the spot where he had stood. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he climbed the stairs, tarrying on the landing to listen to the muffled blare of the television, white and blue lights flashing from the darkened doorway. Then he shrugged, hoisting himself with a vicious yank on the banister up the stairs.

*squee* I just adore that last line. Aya amuses me so. And then...

Catching Omi's eye, he raised his free hand, ticking off with his fingers, "Sorry to burst your bubble, kid but he's queer, he's gay, he's flaming, he's a ponce, he's -- Oh hi, Aya."

Oh, what a wonderful way to end this fic.

I am going to stop singing its praises now and just tell you to go read. Amet and Sephy could really sell me to Aya+Omi, wah, the meddlers! (Randomly, I adore that picture of Heero and Duo on the page...)

( Weiss Kreuz -- The Color of Roses )

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Ronan Keating - When You Say Nothing At All

Jul. 6th, 2003

05:04 pm - Yami no Matsuei - Of Ryujin Blood

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Author: Lady Nightshade
Genre: Listed as Supernatural / Samurai / Romance / Occult / Drama / Adventure / Action
Characters: Tsuzuki, Hisoka, the Ryujin family
Writing: 5/10
Plot: 4/10
Characterization: 6/10

Author's Notes: I know this is a yaio series it still puzzles me has to why I like it since normally that thing doesn't appeal to me. I guess my love of the supernatural and action kinda overpowered that. Anywho even though I know this is a yaio I decided to write something different. I decided to write a romance between Hisoka and a chick. So if you don't like changes then I suggest you don't read this. That is just a far warning and if you flame me for writing it then I will ignore you since I have warned you before hand about the story. But despite that I do hope you guys read this and enjoy it.
This does not make me look forward to the rest of the fic, because it already has signs of trouble. Fangirl Japanese, Mary Sue, and OOCness are likely cullprits to turn up again. There's a difference between "writing something new" and "remaking the series into something I like." Especially with the anti-gay disclaimer. The series has gay. Hisoka is very likely gay himself (See Starza's rant on his sexuality) and he's had a rough time in life. To fall for a new girl is unlike him, as his only possible love interest is Tsuzuki. It's not something that can be conveniently ignored by the author. If one doesn't see this, please (re) watch the Kyoto Arc. There's also the fact that Hisoka and Tsuzuki are immortal, the girls are not. Currently they're conviently aged near the Shinigami, but in the future, this will change.

The prologue begins with Sue symptoms galore. The focus is a green-haired, red-eyed girl (Christmas!) who is from a highly revered line of miko and samurai on each side. (If this is intended to be present-day, which is unclear, it isn't succeeding. After the Meiji era, samurai died out, and it's unlikely any family would still be this rigorous in traditions.) After the description, a mimicry of Hisoka's rape scene ensues (oh, a pun!), making the entire affair unbearably trite and re-enforcing my guess that this is a Sue. The villian, if it is Muraki, is inaccurately described as having purple eyes.

She looked over her should and saw the man was getting closer ... "But kassan I'm scared," whimpered the little girl. ... she felt a arguing pain go through her chest "

Spelling and grammer are spotty, sprinkled with fangirl Japanese. Spellcheck should clear most of this up, and I'm dissapointed it wasn't done beforehand. It's careless. Most of the sentances are correct, but the desciptions lack style and everything remains simplistic. Last but not least is that it's "miko," even if it's plural!

Many of the names don't sound like real Japanese names.. Yuki and Kagame are normal, but Magame, Okibi, Mage, Korania, and Yasiko; azemanjin, ryujin, and Kharandha'I stick out from the Japanese theme.

In the next chapter, the quotation marks disappear and repetitive sentances increase. More fangirl Japanese, but Tsuzuki and Hisoka enter into the scene. Their interactions are fairly well done, mostly in character if a bit bland. Still, things are garbled (Zeus merges with Jesus to make Zesus) and too flat.

The Sue(s) is a miko, and not seeking a boyfriend. (I'm assuming this was done to make her have a similar lack of social skills with Hisoka) She recognizes the Shinigami for what they are this second time around (Why not the first time, I'm not sure. I suppose miko are all-knowing when convenient.) and still outwits the mean teacher.

The Sue later saves the Shinigami from a werewolf, as both of them are apparently too incompetant to handle a demonic doggie. Her bow string was on the outside of her wrist (think the style Kikyo used to seal Inuyasha to a tree). References like that are a big no-no, coming off as unoriginal and tacky. Sadly, she also falls into the cliche of too many people having empathy. The gift is rare, and Hisoka is rarer still to have it so strong. To give the OC what Hisoka has is unoriginal.

She's friends with the Goddess Shinigamis from "Of Demons and Angels." Not a surprise, that's how Sues usually run. They should be left within the group of friends instead of put up as fiction, because nobody wants to read a fangirl's fantasy of the series, to be blunt. It also saves the author from harsh criticism. Almost every writer has a self-insert somewhere in the old works, but most never show theirs beyond a few friends--this is ideal.

The author also makes the mistake of being rude to reviewers in her commentary. When giving constructive criticism, people devote their time to help the author, and just because it isn't mindless praise doesn't make it a bad review. Multiple talented authors left advice, and they should be listened to so the story will improve. This post included, as I don't think Kira would want me to incite a flame war on her community.

In conclusion, this story lacks sophistication (which comes with effort and experience,) believability, originality, and correct English. A beta not related to the author would be best to give an honest opinion, and spellcheck is essential.The Ryujin sisters are both Mary Sues, and they are put above the cast in several ways. This is the #1 law in separating a Sue from an OC--if they are ever placed above the main characters. Canon should be dominant, unless one has a very good reason for it. (An example of this is RubyD's "Things We See" fic--it uses original characters to expand the Yamiverse and be very creative at the same time.) Also, don't ignore canon things like the gayness, like it or not, it's there. This would fare better were it made into an original story, so you could use the creativity to develop it as you wish, instead of interfering with the canon fans are so rabid about.

( Of Ryujin Blood )

Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Nobuo Uematsu - The Legendary Beast

Jul. 2nd, 2003

09:08 pm - Get Backers -- Osanai Koro

Series: Get Backers
Author: Souma Momicchi
Genre: WAFFy shounen ai
Characters: Kakei Jyub� and Fuchiyouin Kazuki
Writing: 6/10
Plot: 5/10
Characterization: 8/10
Summary/Review: Jyube just met Kazuki and just couldn't think about anything but him. He even sneaked out of the house to meet Kazuki. Essentially, this story can be summarized as thus: Jubei meets Kadsuki. Jubei falls in love with Kadsuki. One week later, Jubei confesses love for Kadsuki, watches Kadsuki strip (twice), kisses Kadsuki, and then jacks of thinking of Kadsuki while he's in the other room.

I do think this story is a good start for a writer...but there's a lot of room for improvement in quite a few different areas. One of the biggest problems is that the entire story seems to be rushed. You get a lot of paragraphs that consist of about four different actions just so the writer can get to the place where she wants to be. Also, the time skip of just one week seems a bit awkward, and it would have been a lot nicer to see the full development of Jubei's feelings with all those wonderful tingly fluffy moments. :)

Overall, I think the characterization in this fic is actually very good. The author manages to write Jubei for who he is (totally obsessed with Kadsu) but this kinda gets bogged down in a few canonical errors. At one point in the fic we get Jubei's father warning him that he shouldn't be friends with Kadsuki because Kadsuki is from "a rich and deeply cultured family." Now...I was under the impression that the Fuchion family and the Kakei family were both very distinguished clans. I'd almost put them on equal par, socially, considering that I don't think the Fuchoin clan would trust some lower-class healers to protect their heir. There's also the problems of slight spelling errors on Kadsuki's last name (Fuchiyouin) and Jubei's first name (Jyub�).

Aside from the glitches with the canon, there's a lot of really stilted writing in this that betrays a need for a bit more practice on the writer's side of things. Tense occasionally changes, (though I only noticed it about once or twice), and there's the problem of a few patches of untranslated Japanese floating around the fic (including the title).

There's also some grammatical errors like Kadsu saying "fishes," sentences starting with and, and the like. The words selected often tend to be a bit off as well. Saying that Jubei "threw off his attire" and Kadsu was "dancing happily to himself" sound a bit awkward. (There's also the fact that Kadsuki is most often referred to in this fic as "the pretty boy")

Overall, it's a good fic. I would have liked to see a bit more plot development focusing on Jubei's feelings for Kadsuki and a little bit less rush as far as the physical part of the relationship goes. (As I said, one week after meeting Kadsuki, Jubei and he have been naked together, kissed, and Jubei's gotten to third base. After one week.)

( Osanai Koro )

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Tezuka Kunimitsu - Yokogao (Remix)

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