My Ojousan Review

Title: My Ojousan                                                         Author:  vegie kun

Source: Gundam Wing A/C                                         Character(s): Relena P. & Duo M.

Rating:  T                                                                   Genre(s): Adventure / Romance

Chapter(s): 11                                                              Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis:  During a stressful conference Relena meets up with a certain Gundam pilot who brings laughter and chaos into her life.  But the fun ends as quickly as it begins when a new enemy appears, headed by the most unexpected person.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/105035/1/My-Ojousan

 

Welcome Readers, I really needed a good story to read this week.  It’s been a stressful one and I had hoped to find something really good to make me forget about the stress.  Well, this story is not quite as awesome as I was expecting, but it was a great distraction.  I returned to the Gundam Wing fandom and took a look at the non-cannon couples.  It’s always interesting seeing how fans make the non-cannon couples happen and work; stories like this one make me leave saying, “Yeah, I could see those two characters as lovers.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Today I am reviewing one for the few Duo x Relena romances I found on FFN.  It’s amazing how out of all the Gundam pilots Duo is least romantically associated with Relena.  If he’s included in a romance story with Relena it’s normally as Heero’s boyfriend.  The fact that the romance is between Duo and Relena is what piqued my interest.

The story feels like an action movie.  Two friends reunite only to be pulled into an assassination plot and they must stay on the run to survive.  Thankfully the one leading the assassination team is none other than Heero Yuy and he’s doing everything he can to sabotage the assassination with the help of circus clown, Trowa Barton.

Similar to an action movie, this story is fun to read and I enjoyed it; however, it has some weak points.  One such point is the use of a character’s thoughts, I don’t mind it when a story shares character thoughts but they should be used judiciously and should not replace actual dialogue.  In this story, characters have full internal conversations with themselves; conversations that analyze their motives, feelings, etc.  To me there is no need to tell the Reader the entire internal dialogue a character has when it’s just as (if not more) effective to describe the internal dialogue.  It takes fewer words and can convey the message better than having the character argue with themselves.

This is more prevalent in the early chapters as Duo and Relena reunite and the seeds of romance take root.  As the story progresses those type of thoughts are replaced by more effective thoughts such as Heero trying to figure out his former assassin comrades’ plans and how best to protect Relena.  The major difference between Heero’s internal dialogue and the Duo’s is the length and topics.  Duo’s are like devil versus angel arguments to illustrate his confliction over his new found feelings for Relena, while Heero’s are concise and focused on analyzing what needs to be done.  In a way, Heero’s internal dialogue reminds me of Robert Downy Jr’s Sherlock Holmes; the quick, efficient analysis before getting right back into the action.

That’s my only real grievance with the story.  I could gripe on about how Duo and Relena fall in love within a week but since the story is written like an action movie it makes sense.  This story isn’t written to be a serious romance that is built up over long periods of time, it’s meant to be a romance that builds up during the course of a traumatic experience.  So, to me how quickly the romance comes about is not an issue.

In fact, the romance is handled well.  There is the romance between Duo and Relena, which starts off slow and a bit dating sims clichéd but as the story progresses it improves.  Suddenly, the focus is not on making these two seem like a cutesy potential couple, but two people who feel for each other while struggling with their own sense of right and wrong.  Is it right for them to feel these romantic urges for each other?  Isn’t it like a betrayal because there’s the unstated truth that Heero love Relena?  Both of them struggle with these kind of questions while still wanting to maybe pursue a relationship after they survive the assassination plot.

On the flip side, there’s the romance between Heero and Relena.  It’s not a love triangle because Heero’s not fighting with Duo to win Relena or trying to stop the two from being together.  Instead, Heero and Relena’s romance in this one is a mature one; it’s the romance where one party decides it’s time to leave and give blessing for the other party to seek love elsewhere.  Heero quite literally takes the time to tell Relena that she should stop waiting for him and follow her feelings to pursue Duo.   On Relena’s side, it’s that crossroads of not wanting to betray her first love that was never fully realized in order start a new love with Duo.  It’s a beautiful confliction that doesn’t become the focus of the story and is treated as being emotionally complex; as it should be.

How the story handles Heero and Relena’s unrequited romance is part of the reason why I enjoyed the story so much.  It doesn’t linger too long on the topic but it doesn’t shove it into a closet to never address again.  It is there and it becomes prevalent during the moments of calm – the moment when the characters can catch their breathes and their minds distract them with thoughts of “what ifs.”  This is a way to juggle the romance with the action that just appeals to me.

The last part I’ll touch on is the original characters.  There’s not a lot but there are a handful of original characters who fill in the cast and rather than becoming the Mary Sue and Gary Stu type characters, these ones feel natural.  They feel like characters that would have been found in the Gundam Wing world.  There’s the politician who is looking to gain more resources to defend his country from attack even if those resources come at the expense of the Sanq Kingdom, Relena’s life, and the lives of those in the former Sanq Kingdom.  He’s a flaw character and one with misguided motives and means, but he’s very much human.

There’s the assassins who have distinct personalities and ways of handling their missions.  One assassin has so much pride in his abilities that he cannot stomach the fact that the promotion he worked for went to a much younger and newer member of the guild.  Another assassin is a bit more easygoing; appreciative of life but enjoy his work as an assassin because “you should enjoy what you do for a living.”  These are characters who are grounded in reality while being mixed into this extreme, unrealistic situation.

I don’t always like original characters but these were the types that helped to expand the world and fill in the blank spots; they do not take the spot light away from the main cast or allow themselves to fall into obscurity.  These are the types of OCs that help build the story, not steal it.

In the end, I would recommend this story.  I do suggest hanging in there during the first few chapters because it feels a bit sluggish and it is a bit of set up.  However, once the action hits, the story takes off and it is so worth it.  If Readers have the time, check out My Ojousan on FFN.

 

Stars: 7.5 / 10

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In My Head (And In My Heart) Review

Title:  In My Head (And in My Heart)                       Author:  raendown

Source: Naruto                                                           Character(s): Kakashi H & Iruka U.

Rating:  T                                                                   Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 1                                                               Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Ever since he can remember Kakashi has been hearing a voice in his head.  It takes until he is 26 years old before he learns that it’s not just in his head.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12452428/1/In-My-Head-And-In-My-Heart

 

Welcome Readers, it has been a long time since I’ve reviewed anything or read anything.  Life got in the way (again) and now that it’s winding down again, I find that I need this release.  I need a way to convey my thoughts and opinions on a subject (fan fiction is great subject) and just get it out into the world somehow.  So, I’m back.  I won’t make promises to not disappear again – it’ll happen anyways – but I will return to my 2 reviews a week again for as long as I can.

To start my next leg of reviewing off, I am posting an unfiltered and unedited version of this review.  I just finished reading the story and I felt like getting my thoughts on to digital paper as quick as possible.  So, everything that follows is my unfiltered thoughts on the fan fic that got me back into reviewing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Today I will be examining a Kakashi x Iruka romance called In My Head (And in My Heart).  Enjoy the review.

Despite this being a one-shot story, it’s a lengthy story.  This is 47,595 words long.  It should be too because it chronologies major events in Kakashi’s life (childhood through end of Naruto – not Naruto: Shippuden) and this Voice being there beside him.

The story is this bond that between Kakashi and this Voice that builds over years, then one day Kakashi finds out that the Voice isn’t just some entity living inside his head but an actual person.  Turns out that this person has a rare (and a bit obscure, almost useless) Kekkei Genkai that allows him to imprint onto another person, forming a psychic bond with them.  The bond makes both parties empathic to the other, lets them see through the others’ eyes, and even creates a life bond so when one dies the other one dies too (mostly due to the heartbreak of the bond being broken).

However, despite knowing that the Voice is a real person, the Voice is hesitant to reveal himself to Kakashi so it becomes a bit of a game between the two characters; a game where Kakashi is provided some vague clues to Voice’s identity and Kakashi must try to find Voice.  As the Reader, the audience knows that it’s Iruka Umino but Kakashi doesn’t put all the pieces together.  There are a few things that the story does in changing events / character backgrounds that make it harder for Kakashi to pinpoint the Voice’s identity.  One of those things is Iruka’s voice.  In this story, Iruka suffers an accident with a gentle fist user (prior to the series) and it tore his vocal chords.  The hospital staff were able to repair his vocal chords to an extent but now he sounds hoarser than his “true” voice.  There’s touches like that example that help keep Kakashi off the obvious scent.

Eventually, thanks to Naruto, Kakashi does discover that Voice is Iruka and confronts him.  It’s not an angry confrontation but one of joy and a bit of intimacy.  Nothing truly sexual but enough to get yaoi fan hearts racing and hopes floating.  Eventually, they do actually become a couple but there is a lot of “will they, won’t they” build up.

Speaking of that build up, I am a fan of the “will they, won’t they” builds but for this one I felt more often than not it was less of “will” and more “when.”  I say this because never does either character suggest that they should not be so intimate or that they need to lay down some ground rules about affection, instead they are highly affectionate with each other to the point where it’s no longer a build it’s a “just do it already!” situation.  I have less patience for the “just do it already” stories.  To me, these characters had flown by the friend zone and went straight into lovers just without ever establishing that they were lovers.  I really wish there had been more of the “will they, won’t they” build; it could have come from Iruka being more reserved or conservative in his affections – like have him protest to the cuddling or to the affectionate kisses, or have him become uncomfortable about some of the intimate positions he and Kakashi landed in.  Just something to make it apparent, that one of these two understood that some of what they did probably crossed the line from friendship into lovers.

Another missed opportunity was the idea of Kakashi falling in love both with the Voice and Iruka.  The seemed to imply going down that path for a bit by Kakashi befriending Iruka and some of their interactions, but it never went all out.  The story seemed more set on Kakashi figuring out that Voice and Iruka were one and the same, rather than Kakashi falling in love with both manifestations of Voice.  To me this was a missed opportunity and it could have opened the door to exploring other possibilities; like does Kakashi love Voice – the one in his head – or Iruka?  I know they are one and the same but with how the story builds itself as “Kakashi looking for Voice’s real body” this scenario would have brought in the added complexity of the idea – to Kakashi – that he could fall for someone besides Voice.

Again, this felt like a missed opportunity to me.  That and not addressing Iruka’s insecurities.  They are hinted at and I understand that the bond would Iruka greater insight to Kakashi’s feelings / thoughts about him, but that doesn’t make those insecurities go away.  Iruka hints at a couple, like how he thinks he’s average looking and the fact that others tend to view him as not a proper shinobi since he’s a teacher.  Yet, these are really addressed in the story.  I bet that in a few months post story, one of those insecurities would rear its ugly head and get addressed.

Overall, the story isn’t bad as a romance between my favorite Naruto senseis but I feel that it wasn’t taken to the full extent that could have and that it’s not the best romance.  I know I’ve read better romances.  However, it was decent and a good way to get me back into reading fan fiction.  Would I recommend it?  Sure.  It wouldn’t be high up on my recommendation list but it’s there.  I know there are Kakashi x Iruka fans out there who would enjoy reading this story.  It just didn’t impress me.

 

Stars: 7/10

Intricate Relations Review

Title: Intricate Relations                                   Author: Teagarden

Source: Brothers x Conflict                               Characters: Ema H. & All Asahina Brothers

Genre(s): Drama / Romance                              Rating: T

Chapter(s): 36                                                  Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: Ema Hinata joins the Asahina family at age eleven. As Ema grows she offers the brothers support in their dreams, care when they’re down, and cheering when they succeed. The brothers all come to adore Ema, but as time goes on they have to ask themselves: do they love her as their stepsister, or as a woman?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11933610/1/Intricate-Relations

 

Welcome Readers, I felt like I was on a movie kick with my reviews lately and I needed to change things up.  So, I returned to a story a found a couple of months ago when I was on a Brothers x Conflict binge.  It was one of the few stories I found that featured the series’ focal character, Ema, and the multitudes of stepbrothers rather than on just one or two brothers; so, it caught my attention.  Now, after reading this story twice I can properly give it a review that it deserves.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  Today we are entering the world of harem fan fiction – well, reverse harem fan fiction – with “Intricate Relations.”

For those who may have never heard of Brothers x Conflict it is an Otome game, there are manga and light novels available, and an anime.  The premise is that Ema Hinata an only child of a world renowned adventurer, she gains 13 stepbrothers when her father remarries.  Ema begins living with her stepbrothers and over the course of the game, novel, manga, and anime several (all 13) of the brothers come to feel romantic feelings for Emi and vie for her heart.

That is not a typo, there are 13 potential guys for this girl.  Well, 12 in this story because the story didn’t bother with the youngest (thankfully) who is 10 in the anime (13 in Season 2 of the novels).  Still, that is 12 guys to juggle and build potential relationships with in the story.  It’s hard work and the story puts in an admirable effort, however it still has its flaws.  Let’s start there, with the balance of these 12 suitors and their quest for Ema’s affections.

This story was not a slouch in how it handled the brothers.  The brothers each made a different impact on Ema and had their moments with her, and while the balance was pretty well maintained there were still some characters who ended up falling to the way side during the course of the story.  Hikaru didn’t get much of an opportunity to try his luck at Ema’s heart due to the fact that the character moved out of the country and was mostly kept out of the picture; in the end, he became the voice of wisdom to Ema.  Not a bad change.  Iori suffered though.  His potential romance was built as strictly one-sided and his sudden departure then return left no room for anything to potentially take root between him and Ema.  Louis was another one that got regulated to “friend” despite having a decent beginning and would have made a strong contender had his character and attentions been maintained.

Otherwise, the other 9 siblings had pretty solid romance opportunities with Ema.  Each one being cultivated over time from Ema at age 9 to Ema at 18.  The story maintained several of the rivalries from the game / novels / anime and used those to help generate tension between the brothers.  Unfortunately, this made these characters seem narrow sighted for not seeing all their brothers as rivals.  The few brothers who did not have rival to be pitted against normally had to compete with their jobs and the age difference.  Those were probably the most interesting characters as they often acted not out of jealousy (except for 2 instances) but out of the desire to make the most of their time with Ema.

It’s a difference in terms of how the characters approach their feelings for Ema but still the 9 brothers build up strong potential romances with Ema.  Strong enough that it’s hard to know who she will eventually choose.  I will touch on the ending later, for now I want to dive into Ema’s side of this romantic harem.

Ema Hinata is one of those characters who is meant to be the “every girl,” very few defining personality traits and quirks in the game and while she has a bit more in the anime, she lacks a bit of depth.  This story gives her that depth and actually tries to shape her away from the “every girl.”  She doesn’t have a strong personality but she does have one, enough of one that when as her brothers start confessing their feelings to her and (some) becoming aggressive with their affections she reacts.  She doesn’t just take their actions or words; she reacts to them.

Everything that happens as the brothers make moves on her causes Ema stress and the pushier they become, the more she retreats from them.  In the anime, Ema kept pointing out that “they’re family” and in this story she clings to the idea of “Family” even more firmly because she grew up side by side with the brothers then suddenly – it would feel sudden to her – how her brothers feel for her has turned from familial to romantic; it causes her to eventually lash out and say how she sees them as family.  In the anime, it feels like the “family” reason is more of an excuse for her to not analyze her feelings but in this story it makes sense given the history it builds between her and the brothers.

Actually, because of how Ema reacts to the brothers’ aggressive behavior leads to my favorite moment in the story; the part where she leaves Japan with Louis (the brother regulated to friend/family zone) to spend the summer in France.  It’s my favorite part of the story because unlike the anime where Ema tries to family-zone the brothers and they all decide to still pursue her; this story shows that there are consequences to the brothers pushing so hard for her to return their affections.  Ema leaving is also the best point because it allows the character to analyze her feelings and what she wants for her future – a subplot in the story.  It’s the only time where Ema is able to focus on herself instead of the Asahina brothers.

Now, as for the end; much like the game, there are multiple different endings.  There is an ending for Tsubaki, Azusa, Natsuem, Yusuke, Fuuto, Kaname, and Masomi.  While I think this is genius because it allows just about any Reader to be happy with the various endings, it also pisses me off.  Note the number of different endings – 7 – note how many brothers I said had strong romance potential with Ema – 9.  Yeah, two of those brothers did not get an ending, Ukyo and Subaru.  Why I’m mad about this is because the Ukyo had a strong build and was on the same level as Masomi yet for whatever reason he was never given an ending.  Just nothing.  Apparently the story didn’t bother with giving Ukyo a happy ending beyond him just being happy that Ema’s happy.

Truthfully, I’m more upset about Subaru not getting an ending because out of the 9 potential romances his got dropped a bit earlier than the others.  Not completely dropped but enough to signal that the story was done trying to wiggle the basketball star back in.  He had a strong beginning, a weak middle, and then he disappears near the end to pursue his career only to return when Ema returns.  There’s concessions made for the other brothers to try and tie up loose unrequited ends but Subaru gets nothing.  I understand that he’s hard to write – whoever created Subaru’s character did not bother trying to go past “he’s a basketball star who’s awkward with girls” – but this story could’ve given him a bit more potential.  It certainly could’ve – at the very least – given him an end where Ema goes to watch one of his first games in the pro and…well, time makes the heart grow fonder.  This story could’ve gone corny and made it work.  Instead, it ignored the potential.

Overall, the story is very good.  Despite my grievances about certain characters not receiving an ending or a chance at romance, I still enjoy it a lot.  I appreciate how the brothers’ feelings slow eat away at Ema until she breaks down and must literally leave to find herself.  I also enjoy the amount of time devoted to each brother’s feelings and their interactions with Ema.  Personally, my pick would be for Kaname or Yusuke but I’m biased.

I do highly recommend the story, it’s a good one to read and it does a great job of maintaining the harem aspect of the story.  I seriously could see each one of those endings happening and when Ema returned from Japan it was wide open as to who she would end up with.  It was a great story to read and I hope other Readers take the time to check it out.

 

Stars: 8.5 / 10

Chasing Methuselah Review

Title: Chasing Methuselah                                       Author: Sandra E.

Original Source: Inuyasha                                       Character(s): Kagome & Miruko

Rating: M                                                                 Genre(s): Romance

Chapter(s): 13                                                           Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: NA

http://www.continuingtales.com/story.php?name=methuselah&part=1

 

Welcome Readers, I am your reviewing host, Idunwanaprofile, reviewing the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.  What I have for my dear Readers this time is a treasure that I had discovered years ago.  I’ll kind of date myself but I found this story back when Fanfiction.net still had the rating NC-17 and before they said “nay-nay” to stories containing descriptive sex scenes.  I know that stories with sex scenes still get posted but this story I found before the whole drama with the ratings and content.

As anyone can see with the URL I provided, I didn’t link this to FFN.  I couldn’t.  This story has been removed from FFN despite the fact that the scenes weren’t posted on FFN but on a different site.  That’s neither here nor there.  The important thing is that I did find a place where this story still exists and the link above is still good as of August 18, 2017.

As for what drew me to the story, it is a Miroku x Kagome fan fic and when I first found it I was relatively new the world of fan fiction and didn’t realize that fans mixed and matched character romances.  That concept blew my mind at the time!  So when I found this story and it was NOT Inuyasha x Kagome I was pleasantly surprised.  This story was my gateway into exploring non-canon couples.

Enough of my relationship with the story, on to the actual content!

In this story Kagome discovers Miroku’s reincarnation in the form of a transfer student in her class and he has memories from his past life.  In an effort to try and glean as much information as possible about the future from him, Kagome spends more time with the reincarnated Miroku in modern Japan.  However, she ends up spending more time with the actual Miroku in Feudal Japan, setting in motion a series of events and situations that open the characters up to romance.

There are several things that this story does right (and thus set the bar kind of high for other stories), but it does have its flaws.  Flaws that while I overlook while I am reading still need to be addressed.  Unlike A Dangerous Game (see my first review ever), this fic is not the type where I had loved it growing up and now that I have reread it, I find that it doesn’t live up to my fond memories.  Nope!  I am grateful for not having another repeat of that disaster.  Nah, this story still meets my expectations even though I do pick up on aspects of the story that need work.

I guess I’ll start with some of the things the story does right.  There’s so many so I’m going to limit myself a bit otherwise we’ll be here all day.  So I’ll focus on: the romance, the characters, and balance of the story.  Those three areas will be plenty.

Anyone who has read my previous reviews of romance fics have probably figured out that I’m very particular when it comes to romances.  Read some of my previous reviews, I get up on my soapbox quite often – I haven’t lately but I will soon.  The romance between Miroku and Kagome is the type of romance that I can really get behind and believe to work out despite any dysfunction.  It takes its time to shift the relationship between the characters from companions/friends to lovers and when the shift happens it’s not sudden; instead it comes softly.

What the story does NOT do, is make Miroku the rebound guy turned romance.  Nope, Kagome is gradually recovering after Inuyasha has chosen Kikyou and is not on the hunt for her next crush.  Nor does the romance start as some scheme of Miroku’s to get into Kagome’s pants…er, um her skirt.  Nope, because for the better part of the story Kagome is under the distinct impression (like most fans) that Miroku likes Sango.

The romance is a slow build up and is a bit complicated.  I’m trying to think of a way to describe the romance without spoiling the story.  …It’s a romance that buds from an accident.  Remember the synopsis and Kagome discovering Miroku’s reincarnation with memories intact?  Yeah, it all starts because of him!  Kagome realizes that the only way there can be a reincarnation of Miroku is if Miroku died and since the reincarnation nonverbally communicates that he dies sometime before they defeat Naraku, Kagome makes it her personal mission to try and prevent his death.

So, it’s not that Kagome instantly realizes she loves Miroku (in fact she doesn’t realize that until chapter 8 or 9) and Miroku isn’t instantly in love with Kagome; he goes from being curious about Kagome’s sudden attention to his personal health to curious about her life in modern Japan (particularly about this “he” she keeps referring to) to jealous over having to share her with another time and an invisible romance rival.  It’s a slow yet seamless build.  I love it!

Kagome and Miroku (original and reincarnated) make this story.  All of the other characters are great in building out this world and bringing depth to the two worlds Kagome interacts in, but the leads absolutely steal this story.

Kagome is a bit different from the anime / manga; she truly asks as a girl out of time as she brings up science and facts that she would know from the future.  There is a point where she literally explains out a math problem to Shippo while she’s studying – you’ll never see that in the anime.  There’s another point where she uses her knowledge of science and biology to form a plan to take out Naraku; I’m pretty sure the anime doesn’t bother with science in Naraku’s downfall.  Then in her time, she’s brings up knowledge that she only gained from her time in the Feudal Era.  I appreciate this change because Kagome’s knowledge should be slipping into the two worlds.

There’s some other OOC (out of character) quirks and traits that make Kagome different from her anime / manga counterparts, but the essence of Kagome is still there.  She wants to help her friends, collect the shards, defeat Naraku, have everyone find their “happily ever after,” etc.  The core of Kagome is there with a few embellishments.

Miroku (original) is amazing.  The changes to his character are in reaction to changes in Kagome’s behavior.  Like her increased interest and concern in his health causes him to start hanging out with her a bit more.  This in turn makes him unfazed when Sango is engaged to another man.  Instead, he becomes jealous about the unknown suitor from the modern time who has Kagome all to himself.  I don’t normally like the jealous characters but Miroku pulls it off well in this story; he subtly stirs the conversation away from Kagome’s time and to more immediate topics in the Feudal Era.

Just like with Kagome, the core of Miroku is there but now it’s enhanced due to the interactions with Kagome.  The two characters play off each other easily.

Miroku (reincarnated) holds his own in this story.  It would so easy to make this character as someone who just sets things in motion but doesn’t truly make an impact until the end.  That is not this character!  No… This reincarnated version of Miroku actively inserts himself into Kagome’s life when she’s home and pursues her (romantically).  He’s not necessarily aggressive with his romantic advances but he certainly makes it obvious to onlookers that he has feelings for Kagome.  He lets Kagome know enough to set in motion key events while not sharing everything until she finally reaches critical points.

For example, the bath tub scene.  I’m not going to spoil the entire scene but I will say that this scene really shows how much reincarnated Miroku was holding back – emotionally.  Realizing that the past has finally reached point X, he “finally” acts on his emotions.

The reincarnated Miroku is very much his own character.  There is enough that ties him to the original but his past and upbringing is different and it shows in his character.  It’s refreshing and it causes confliction in Kagome as she tries not to think of the reincarnation as the original yet can’t help but feel attached to him like she does to the original.  It’s a great addition and allows for further depth to Kagome and the romances.

Finally, this story has balance!  It’s not purely romance, action, slice of life, etc.  It is a combination!  There are times when Kagome is in the Feudal Era and romance is developing, the gang is attacked, there’s questions about what comes after Naraku’s death, etc.  The romance reigns supreme but there’s plenty of time devoted to action scenes and the characters – particularly Kagome – figuring out what to do after the adventure is over.  Then in the modern era, there’s a balance between school, romance, and more action.  Nothing feels like it’s encroaching on each other, it all weaves into this story.

There’s a bit of everything for everyone.

I mentioned flaws in the story and indeed there are flaws.  I will address the elephant first, the very end.  What the fuck?  It’s not a bad ending but the logic behind defeating Naraku is both genius and questionable.  I don’t want to spoil it but let’s just say that on the one hand the logic seems feasible but on execution is questionable.  It’s the difference between hypothesis and results.  The hypothesis can make sense and seem solid, but the results make you question “how is this possible?”  That’s the final fight with Naraku.  Then there’s the ending after the final fight which makes sense and doesn’t.  Like, it makes sense because why wouldn’t there be demons in modern day, but how they all get there makes zero sense.

It’s a flaw but it doesn’t deter me from reading this story and recommending it to others. Oh and I recommend this story; I recommend it so hard!  Regardless of the end, the journey is amazing and the characters are such a joy to read.  The romance is wonderful and it’s one of those things that when it finally comes together you just want to cheer.  Oh yeah, this story is great and worth reading.

Go check out Chasing Methuselah, it’s worth the read.

 

Stars: 9.5 / 10

Inside Out Review

Title: Inside Out                                                  Author: armlessphelan

Source: Ranma ½                                                Character(s): Ukyou & Ranma

Rating: K                                                             Genre(s): Romance & Character-centric

Chapter(s): 1                                                       Status: Complete

Author’s Synopsis: They say it’s better to have loved and lost. Does that hold true if the love is unrequited?

http://archiveofourown.org/works/577875

 

Welcome Readers, it’s the beginning of another week and to kick it off I’m taking a look at this Ranma ½ one-shot centered on Ukyou.  For me, this series will always hold a special place in my heart because it was one my first animes.  I own and have seen the entire series, OVAs, and movies (anime and live action), and I’ve read the entire manga series multiple times; so yeah, this series has stuck with me for over two decades.  However, what drew me to this one-shot is the fact that it is Ukyou-centric.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.

As I said, what drew me to this fan fic is the fact that its focus is on Ukyou.  When I was much younger I favored Ukyou out of the fiancées but as I got older she fell out of favor; she was a tomboy but would shame Akane for being one; she owned and operated her own restaurant but was always willing to give it up to be Ranma’s wife; she was always quick to call Akane “friend” then belittle her in front of Ranma.  As I got older, I saw her more as a hypocrite than the strong, independent woman I saw as a child.

What does this have to do with the one-shot?  Well, this is an introspective piece on Ukyou after the fight with Safron and it takes its time to acknowledge the flaws in Ukyou that keep her forever in the Friend Zone.

In case anyone did not read the manga or never got to the fight with Safron, it’s the last enemy of the whole series.  Akane is kidnapped and taken to China so everyone joins the effort to get her back, except Ukyou because no one ever tells her that something has happened and they could use her help.  Instead, Ukyou is left completely out of the adventure and wouldn’t know about it until after the party has returned.

The text explains Ukyou’s feelings about this and it becomes the catalyst to the rest of the introspection.  Ukyou examines her feelings for Ranma starting from childhood when she’s bitter and filled with resentment for him to them reuniting when all her hatred melts after Ranma calls her “cute.”  Then it continues until the current events.

I mentioned that this story acknowledges Ukyou’s flaws, it does this by showing that she’s not like the other fiancées in that they only know Ranma as he is in the series.  Ukyou – as the story points out – knew Ranma as a child and recognizes his lack of maturity.  The story also points out how due to Ukyou’s business she couldn’t drop everything and follow Ranma at the drop of a hat (although in the anime and manga she has done so).  It also points out that a lot of Ukyou’s romantic feelings are tied to past Ranma rather than to present Ranma.

It’s this kind of analysis and depth I can appreciated.  I don’t think that this one-shot goes too depth into Ukyou’s motivations and behavior, but it’s a good start.

The writing helps to keep the focus on Ukyou and her reflections by having limited dialogue and guiding the Reader through Ukyou’s muses and actions.  It feels more like a silent movie where the audience sees the impact and emotion from the actors but any dialogue or set up is presented in cue cards.  I thought it helped to keep this one-shot focused and centered on Ukyou.

There isn’t really anything wrong the story to complain.  It’s simple and gets done what it means to get done, evaluate if it is “better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” when the love is unrequited.  In Ukyou’s case, based on the story, I’d say, “no.”

Readers, if you are a fan of Ranma ½ then give this one-shot a quick read.  It doesn’t matter what couple you are a fan of because this is just an excellent introspective look at one of the other fiancées as she realizes that she doesn’t have a chance.

 

Stars: 8/10