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  • A surprising lack of people waking up in the morning. There’s some uncomfortable childishness tied to gore and porn, some quality grimdark, and some apparently inadvertent grimdark […]

    • So, this is the sort of fic I feel people have in mind when they say stop criticizing children, and the author’s note talks about being in college.

      What do you mean by this?

      Following up on the above, this person may well be in college or even older! But even if they are it’s still squicky that they apparently have all the coherency of a middle schooler.

      I was going to say “Well, ‘What!? No!’ would literally be my response in that situation”, but than I thought to see what happens in literally the next sentence after your quote, and… yeeeeeeeeeeeah.

      Literally my first attempt at writing porn ever was better than this. I wouldn’t be able to imagine this person being in college or older, even if I hadn’t checked their profile and found Lego Ninjago porn.

  • Today, a story focused around battling that runs into the usual problem of trainers not being half so clever as they’re supposed to be, Steven Stone being unhappy about Devon, someone is into giant bunnies, and a […]

  •  

    Some variety today!

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13477007/1/Waiting-for-Them-to-Leave (0)

    Semicolons should only ever be used when connecting two complete sentences and even then almost […]

    • [ I WILL TRY TO KEEP IT NON – LEMON, BUT IF YOU WANT LEMON TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS ]

      The title’s “Loving Charizard” so I’m just gonna go ahead and say “I don’t”.

  • Ah, the ides of January. Let’s check in on these idiots.

    The Merlin’s evil anti-Harry plan is accurately pointing out that they need a full Senior Council even more now that the wolves are at the gate.

    “Let […]

    • I’m pretty sure he wants to fill the opening because the previous guy is dead and the wolves are at the gate, Harry.

      To be fair, he can (and should) want to do both.

      But that’s assuming we’re dealing with a person who functions in person ways

      That always is a tricky assumption in the world of Harry D-

      , and that may not be true, because what Ebenezar says next is some certified fae stuff:

      Oh.

      This sequence of do it for you/help you halfway/it’s all on you? That’s something you get in fairy tales, because it’s a pleasing pattern. It’s not how things actually go between human beings.

      It would actually be a cool twist if, due to the magical nature of, um, magic, Ebeneezer could do all three things, but has to do it this way, because otherwise something will go wrong with something. It could also imply there’s something nonstandard about Ebeneezer’s magic, which could do a lot to explain why he only taught Harry the lessons he did, especially if Ebeneezer’s also keeping it a secret from the council. They sent Harry to him because they didn’t know he couldn’t help Harry in the first place. Harry doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know, because then the White Council might find out.

      the Merlin’s phrasing here is that the Senior Council is literally just made of the most senior wizards who didn’t refuse the seat

      It also seems like ability could make up for lack of age, given his mention of “the Art”. If you’re half as old, but three times as powerful, as the next guy, they’d be making a possibly dangerous enemy by passing you over. Maybe it works on strongest magical ability (which is directly correlated to age because you have more time to get powerful), and defaulting to actual years afterwards if pure talent doesn’t settle it?

      And yeah, that’s presumably the intent, but god is it not being pulled off well.

      Going back to my “assuming we’re dealing with humans who act in human ways”, it does kinda seem like Eb was certain he could beat Merlin’s first plan because Merlin’s first plan is just baldly demanding what he wants and hoping everyone goes along with it. It doesn’t take a lot of political acumen to see what he’s trying to do.

      …Also? Why English? The whole point of the accusation is for the rest of the wizards to hear it.

      I imagine he wanted to make a point by not saying it in Latin according to the Merlin’s rules, and English is probably the most commonly spoken second language among the wizards. If he didn’t want to say it in the lingua franca of the court, what better language than the lingua franca of the entire world?

      Anyone with any ounce of sense should be sticking to the high road right now.

      Politicians, amirite?

      Ebenezar being a Scottish-born dude

      Is it actually explicit that he’s Scottish-born and not just descended from Scottish people? Scottish colonists to the New World predate him, if I’m recalling his age correctly.

      This is all a great eldritch touch the books could have used more of.

      This feels like it could be something out of Ars Magica. Vampire War threatening to undo our entire society? Sorry, I’m busy with more important research.

       What if instead of the threat being Harry getting executed by the council, it was getting dragged off for another trial

      Oh my god. The only thing worse than the Speed of Government. The Speed of Government Of People Who Don’t Die Of Old Age.

      See, this does not exactly scream “hand-picked yes-man”.

      … Maybe… this is why Eb thought he had the first plan in the bag? Because he had turned Schneider against the Merlin and knew he’d refuse the position in favour of Eb? And everything before it was just to establish that he was the most senior except for Eb, so… by refusing… he’d force the Merlin to make Eb a council member?

      And… maybe Harry is just too politically dense to realize that Eb isn’t nearly as uninterested in politics as he claims?

      And… I probably just thought more about this than Butcher has, haven’t I?

      “Bah,” I said in English.

      I wonder what “Bah” in Latin is.

      it’s way past his cutoff date for safe technology use

      Wouldn’t movie projectors and televisions actually be within his pre-war cutoff?

      We also learn Morgan’s Latin is “rough”

      Makes sense. Morgan’s a man who likes to talk with his sword, and his job probably doesn’t end in a lot of trials which would require speaking Latin. Because Morgan’s a man who likes to talk with his sword.

       like there’s a literal hidden castle they do their vampiric rituals at

      … Do you honestly expect there isn’t? Probably made out of some old Aztec pyramid, considering they’re in South America, and that’s where Butcher thinks the Aztec Empire was located?

      She had delicate features only lightly touched by the passage of years

      Men get wrinkly, wispy, and fat. Women get put in the “Mature” category on PornHub.

      I’M NOT A MURDERER AND I WILL FUCKING MURDER ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE, screams local hero.

      He’s not a willing murderer. You can’t blame a man for what happens when his temper is flared, can you? Surely not.

      • I wonder what “Bah” in Latin is.

        Maybe he was going for the sheep sound. Taking the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” thing very literally.

      • I will grudgingly give Butcher credit for not going full-on 700 year-old child-woman, like anime would. Though maybe he didn’t yet know it was an option. I’d have to check the publication date.

        What really would have been funny was if all ancient wizards ended up indistinguishably old, with only beards to tell them apart (if that).

      • This feels like it could be something out of Ars Magica. Vampire War threatening to undo our entire society? Sorry, I’m busy with more important research.

        To be fair to the Order of Hermes (Ars Magica version), when House Tremere fell to vampirism en masse, they did get off their collective keisters to just exterminate the lot.

        • Oh, sure, collectively they did, but I’m sure there were at least a few individuals who were otherwise indisposed by things that were definitely more important. The White Council is mobilizing here, isn’t it?

    • Is it just me, or is there a real power creep problem here? I mean, we’re on the fourth(?) book, and we’ve already gone from “detective doing local cases that the authorities don’t care about” to “a worldwide vampire/wizard war and international poltics by ancient immortals.” Could Butcher not keep up the original premise for even a little while? Or is this an ALPHA thing, where he needed to prove Harry was the best ever and only massive world-spanning conflict could cement that?

      • This is the intersection between ALPHA and “underdog”. Obviously a single schmuck wizard, no matter how industrious, isn’t a credible threat to Harry, so the powers at play need to bloat considerably so he can woe-is-me.

        Mebd, I thought, was well-done. We’ve now slipped back to the usual Sue issue, where the world is falling apart, with Harry as its last hinge.

      • Actually, the power creep didn’t even start yet. Harry becomes a literal agent of God in the future books, complete with Godly magic that burns out your soul when used.

    • I wonder if it’s a sign of Sueness that important events and deliberations just can’t happen off the protagonist’s screen. I remember appreciating, in ASoIaF, that perspective characters get forced out of the loop sometimes, dealing with the fallout of events they had no control over. Tyrion, for instance, got wounded at the battle with Stannis and returned with his power base evaporated. It was a good way to set up new challenges for the character, especially one who relied so much on his network of support.

      This whole council meeting could have used a good dose of that. Any and all backroom politicking was resolved to Harry’s favor or, in the last case, was held back for drama. We’re once again in video game land, where the dramatic cutscenes wait patiently for the hero to arrive at the quest marker.

      • One of my favourite parts of reading ASOIAF, especially after a big death, is keeping track of when dead characters are mentioned by other characters as if they’re still alive, because the speaker doesn’t know the character has died. Characters probably learn of distant news a bit too quickly, but it’s definitely not instantly.

         

        As for Harry… this whole scene would’ve gone a lot better if Eb showed up to his house unexpected to just tell Harry the results of what went on in the White Council’s meeting. Forget not letting Harry in on it, don’t even let Harry know it happened until after it did. Then anything could happen and Butcher wouldn’t be strained to have the politics make sense. This is definitely an instance where telling would be better than showing (especially since he kind of is just telling the reader what he wants them to think).

        • Yeah, character deaths were funny that way. “The Wall is always the last to know,” it’s said. Another fun thing was the difference between people’s knowledge of history. I thought it was a neat way to keep the voices rich and diverse. That, and a good gag or two came out of nobody being able to keep track of all the Aegon Targaryens or Brandon Starks.

          • The one that sticks with me, as someone who has no more trouble keeping all the Aegons apart than any noble born person should have because c’mon people, is when Robb refers to Beric Dondarrion as “Derrik”. The best named characters are the ones that, far from having fantasy names, have totally normal and downright common names. Yeah, sure, Walter is a regular name, but you don’t see it that much. Kevan? You can’t have a Kevan and a dragon in the same setting! That’s just silly!

  • A fic engaging with pokemon treatment and ethics! Also, Ash and girls, but one of them is weird because the girl’s side of things is the actual story and yet for some reason the narrative keeps drifting over to […]

  • Farla wrote a new post, NaRe 2020 Day 10 1 week ago

    A fic that does the “scary monster pokemon that must die” but without being obviously terrible, sexism sexism sexism, a particularly ludicrous retreading of the anime opening now with magic rocks, and talking […]

    • the “scary monster pokemon that must die” but without being obviously terrible, sexism

      My first skim of this had me read “the scary monster pokemon that must die but without being obviously terribly sexy

      You must be reviewing too many pokefucking fics lately.

      I like what you’re going for with the description, but at the same time it’s too much.

      It’s also too much just in terms of length. You could get the same effect with half the length, and not come off like you’re waxing poetic about the terrible monster.

      I’m mad the anime shunted the girls off into non-battle pokemon stuff, but then I hit these kinds of things and remember it never even mattered in fandom 

      I can see why you’d be bothered by this, but I’d rather they get substantial non-battle stuff than insubstantial battle stuff. Of course, given how substantial non-battle stuff has been treated to extremely varying degree… it’s not much of an improvement than Misty not doing much else than just following Ash around.

      Have you ever actually seen a good fic where a girl does one of the non-battle pokemon things and it’s treated as seriously as the boys doing the battle things?

      So, this is not really adding up right.

      [District 13 Flashbacks intensify]

      Yeah, it’s as if the most sensible setup would be that Clair is acting on Lance’s behalf to subjugate prefectures that were causing trouble.

      When even The Hunger Games does provincial revolt against a central authority better than you…

      I could possibly see an interesting story out of this if Lance is busy being an absentee king and it’s all left to Claire to fix everything his inaction has allowed to spiral out of control on her own initiative, but… boy, that’d be a level of the protagonist’s initial impression being wrong that I just can’t see from the typical fanfiction.

      I wonder why it was more important Clair give blowjobs than anything about the worldbuilding make sense.

      Sad that my first thought was “at least it’s not his Dragonite…”

      let’s pause to discuss how terrible this next female character is

      This the most bizarre part of the story. They don’t even explain why he finds her insufferable, just that he does, and is apparently right for doing so. But it’s not like it matters, she doesn’t even seem to appear. She’s not even a character in this story.

      But she is insufferable.

      Why do the people here have a fetish for nameless girls telling you how thrilled they are to get one from you?

      I can kind of even see an argument that a froslass, being the pokemon world’s equivalent of a yuki-onna, would be far more suited to telling a touching story about a nameless girl with no sense of self bonding with the first human who showed her a sense of warmth than the usual suspects of pokefuckers… but yeah, that’s… prooooooobably not how this story is gonna go. This could be an interesting pokemon world spin on a yuki-onna story, especially if you demonstrated that most pokemon have unique names and she’s unusual even by the standards of the setting, but… it’s probably another spin on the fucking a pokemon story. Unfortunately.

       Maybe Team Rocket is running an eeveelution puppymill and find that no matter what they do, this one eevee won’t evolve, so they dump her.

      I’m surprised you don’t have a puppymill copypasta for eeveelution stories. You seem to be quite fond of that idea.

  • Hey everyone! A game I’ve been following for a while just got a demo release, so check it out maybe.

    Coromon is a shameless Pokemon clone, warts and all. Random encounters? Yes. Glassy characters combined […]

    • Why are there no pictures of the mons here. Pictures. Pictures.

      • Okay, done. The mons in the logo are the three starters. (It uses a fire/water/ice triangle instead of a fire/water/grass one.)

         

        Also, Steam won’t let me post external pictures so you will have to enjoy this here:

        A little too bushy-tailed and bright-eyed, and the shoulder mod is on the wrong side, but the appearance is otherwise amazingly on point.

      • Their eyes make me think of Digimon. Especially the shark guy. That’s a hella digimon design.

  • The usual, right up until it isn’t.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13474208/1/Working-Kalos-With-Skill-For-Real (1)

    You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or dragon, so you shouldn’t capitalize words lik […]

    • Yeah, it’s also the umpteenth time this opening’s been used in fanfic, and unfortunately it’s not half as entertaining as the battle apparently is to Red.

      Isn’t that literally the exact same opening as episode one of the anime?

      the point was just that you wanted it to be someone in a Team Magma uniform fucking pokemon

      Way to bury the fucking lead.

      • The opening of the anime which is in turn copying the opening of the original games. There are so many layers to how overdone it is.

        Way to bury the fucking lead.

        Well now you know how I felt! “Oh now that you bring it up, it is an interesting question what Team Magma actually would get up to if people demand the NPCs have to stick around being buddies but also have to stop being evil, and environmentalism itself is a worthy cause but does Team Magma actually know anything about that and oh you’re having sex with a bunny alrighty then.”

  • An oldschool edgy badass sue that hints at a more interesting oldschool edgy badass sue story, a pair of pokemon vs human fics that make slightly more sense than usual but still have issues, yet another fic that […]

    •  Princess Assassin would be more likely if there was something princessy about her bearing so that her actions were princesslike – having a very girly but fancy style, being considered “refined” or “noble”, etc.

      “So, we need you to assassinate this enemy general.”

      “Are they the daughter of a royal monarch?”

      “No?”

      “Sorry, no can do.”

    • [Super assassin girl who’s killed hundreds just wants to go on a walkabout with some L5 fluffball. Her family sends wave upon wave of ninjas after her to force her back into the family business and she has to fight them off with her 1337 skillz and many throwing knives in time to get to her first gym battle!]

      Thanks for the plot-bunny! Behold what you have wrought.

      The Saga of Kali, Star Destroyer, and the Lily of Death (part 1)

      Professor Birch blinked in confusion at the young woman standing outside his lab. She was somewhere in her mid-teens, draped an over-sized leather jacket that Birch vaguely recognized as designer. Her dark-washed jeans were tucked into knee-high red boots. The buzz-cut that stretched over half of her head was either a serious razor mishap or the latest fashion. Recalling a recent commercial for Devon’s Mark X PokeNav, Birch guessed the latter.

      “Are you sure you’re in the right place, Ms—” He tried to remember the short, plain-text email “—Mortis?”

      The girl nodded, a broad smile on her face. “I am, Professor Birch. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”

      Off-balance at this pleasantry—Birch spent most of his time with ten-year-olds on the verge of temper tantrum—he stepped aside to let her into his laboratory.

      She took in the disordered desk-space with a sharp, evaluative glance, eyes darting up to the windows around the lab.

      “It’s just a little unusual, choosing to get a lab starter this late,” Birch continued, following her in. “If you’re looking for a more, erhem, high-powered Pokémon to catch you up to your peers, a breeder would be your best bet or a commercial reseller—”

      “I want a lab starter,” the girl said flatly. “It’s traditional.”

      Traditional for trainers who lacked the money to pick up a more advanced or exotic starter, Birch didn’t say. By the look of her clothing, she certainly had the option.

      “Excellent,” he chose to boom instead, “you’re right, of course, Ms Mortis—”

      “Please Professor, call me Lily.”

      “Lily, right, well you see, it’s the off-season, and I’m afraid I don’t have much of a selection to offer you. All I have left is a single torchic, and she’s a bit—”

      “I’ll take her,” the girl said instantly.

      “Right, right.” Professor Birch fumbled around his desk, until he found the pokeball. He stared for a moment at the yellow post-it note affixed to the ball, which read, “Spoiled little bastard. Save for coordinators.”

      Birch looked back over to the girl, who was following his movements closely. Something about her posture struck him as strange. She wasn’t slouching even a little. Well, a more mature trainer should be able to handle a badly-behaved starter . . .

      Birch clicked the release mechanism. Well-informed by past experience, he made sure to aim the light well away from either of them. The torchic that emerged dove forward, its beak tensed. Finding no target for her peck attack, the torchic chose instead to direct a glare at the two human occupants of the room.

      “Meet Torchic,” Professor Birch said, “She’s, er, got a lot of personality.”

      “Look at you!” cooed the girl. To Birch’s amazement, she managed to lift the torchic without getting pecked and squeeze it to her chest. “She’s perfect, Professor.”

      “Wonderful, wonderful,” Birch murmured, still feeling off balance. He could see the torchic was squirming frantically, but the girl’s grip was iron. “Now, let me walk you through the starting essentials.” He stared at her small, silver backpack, which bore the bright gold logo of MiniMex. “Sleeping roll, tent, rations, don’t forget potions…”

      “I have all that, Professor,” the girl said patiently.

      “And don’t forget antidotes. The poison types in Petalburg forest have quite the sting!”

      “Not really,” the girl said. “If you mean shroomish poison, it’s only fatal once it’s been heavily distilled.”

      Birch and the girl stared at each other. The torchic gave up its futile struggles and settled on a piercing glare that promised fiery death for both of them as soon as she properly perfected ember.

      “Is that so,” Birch said in a distant voice. “Is that so. Are you—are you looking to go into research, Lily?”

      The girl shook her head. “You’ll be wanting your fee,” she said after a moment.

      “Yes.” Professor Birch blinked when the girl held out a 100,000 yen note. “Er, give me a moment, I must have change somewhere…” He glanced helplessly around the messy lab.

      “You can keep it. Is there anything else?”

      “No,” Professor Birch said. “Nothing else…”

      Three hours later, he had almost managed to forget the whole encounter. That is, until the door of his lab exploded inwards, and a band of masked men strapped him to a chair, demanding to know what, exactly, his business had been with the Lily of Death.

       

       

      • This gives me the idea of a character who exists in an original and unique take on the pokemon world, and just absolutely insists on following the cliches to a tee no matter what happens, with a constant :| on their face.

        • Ooh, what take?

          • I dunno, just something that isn’t the stock cliche near-rote-repetition-of-the-opening-of-the-anime formula and unnecessary injection of video game tropes that most Pokemon fanfic uses. Not, like, original original, just like original enough by the standards of Pokemon fanfiction to be called original.

    • Kali, Star-Destroyer, and the Lily of Death (part 2)

      Kali, Star-Destroyer, was having a miserable day. It had been a project of many months to get the loud-mouthed human to keep his hands to himself. But in the last hour she had been poked, prodded, and squeezed to her limit, until at last the human girl had set her down on the ground and continued down the road, humming. Kali had followed out of a lack of better options. She had no idea where food could be found in this damp, unpleasant forest. Humans, despite their myriad of failings, were at least a reliable source of food.

      Kali made a point of keeping her distance, her gaze fixed on the surrounding trees, not the human. It took her a moment to register that the human had come to a stop and was conversing with another human.

      The other human was a little shorter, with hair the color of mud. The mud on her clothing matched her hair.

      “Wait,” the other human was saying, “You just, you just have a torchic? Are you kidding me, or ..?”

      Kali’s human smiled broadly. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to be bothering an experienced trainer like you. It’s just, you see, my family would never let me go on a Pokémon journey. I mean, they’d literally kill me first, you know? So this is my first day as a trainer.”

      “Oh.” The other human’s face crinkled in sympathy. “No, I get it. That sucks. Hey, I just caught a nincada to train up. He might make a decent match for your torchic. How about we have them battle?”

      Kali’s human bit her lip, her eyes glittering. “Are you sure? That’s so sweet of you.”

      Kali observed with interest the way the other human blushed a pleasant shade of red. “S-sure, it’s no problem. Come out, Diaspa!”

      “Torchic!” Her human called. “Time for our first battle!”

      Kali, Star-Destroyer, eyed her opponent unenthusiastically.

      “Start off with peck!” her human bubbled.

      Kali supposed it would be unbecoming to do nothing. She wouldn’t want to appear frightened of such a dirty, ugly little bug. All the same, this hardly called for her full strength. She jogged forward to make a half-hearted peck attack.

      “Harden, and then use sand-attack.”

      Kali coughed as a flurry of dirt was flung in her face. She shook her head back and forth, her eyes squeezed shut, trying to get herself clean.

      “Great! Follow up with scratch.”

      Those claws hurt! Kali fell to the ground, feeling miserable.

      “Uh, I guess that’s it,” the other human said, sounding sheepish. “Seems like you and your torchic aren’t really in sync yet.”

      Kali’s human laughed. “I guess we have some work to do!”

      “You know…I caught a surskit today, on my way down. I think I’ll be sticking with nincada as a bug type, so if you’re looking to build out your team…?”

      “You want to give it to me?” Kali’s human said flatly. “Why?”

      “Uh, well, I don’t need her and I figure, it’s not your fault you’ve had to start so late…”

      “You’re a kind soul, aren’t you,” Kali’s human said after a moment of silence.

      “I-I don’t know about that…”

      “Thank you, but I want to catch my second pokemon on my own. That’s the traditional way, right? But thank you, Sweet-heart, and keep safe!”

      “I wonder if all pokémon trainers are like that,” Kali’s trainer mused as they walked along. “So naive. And you—” Kali realized she was being addressed and narrowed her eyes “—you don’t like me, huh?” The human sounded amused. “That’s okay! We’ve got time.”

      The human slowed her pace suddenly and Kali almost tumbled into her. She was peering at the path up ahead with a frown. “Hm, I’d better check that out.”

      When Kali looked back up, the human had vanished. Kali swiveled her head around, searching, but there was no trace of the human anywhere. Kali hadn’t realized they could move so fast.

      Well, good riddance! Kali thought, but the grumble of her stomach reminded her that she was very hungry. Still, did she really need the human for that? If she just followed the road, surely she would come to another human place where they would feed her. Mind made up, Kali strutted forward.

      How nice, to walk alone, owning the road. A torchic in full control of her destinyyyyy—

    • Kali, Star Destroyer, and the Lily of Death (part 3)

      “T-chik-aaa!” The ground erupted under her and Kali was thrown into the air. She squirmed from side to side, trying to get free, but horrible plastic netting blocked her on all sides.

      “Hey, we’ve got a hit! Oh damn, it’s just a torchic.”

      “Hang on, torchic don’t come wild around here. And remember what the old prof said?  Bet you anything that’s the Lily’s pokemon.”

      “Hey, not a bad thought. But who cares if we got this little stinker—the boss wants us to get the Lily back, not her dinky starter.”

      “Use your head, Phil. If we have the pokemon, the Lily is sure to follow.”

      “What, for a little pipsqueak like this? She could grab a blaziken off the black market in no time.”

      “Yeah, yeah, but it’s principle right? The top-tier assassins are weird that way. Doesn’t matter how weak it is, long as it’s hers.”

      “Sounds crazy to me, but it’s worth a try, I guess.”

      When they hauled the net down, Kali was ready. She struck out with avenging fury, her steely peak tearing into their weak skin—

      “Ouch! Mouthy little thing. You got a shock collar handy, Phil?”

      “Must have one somewhere. Hang on.”

      A dark, foul-smelling strip of plastic clicked around Kali’s neck. When she tensed for another peck attack, a horrible bolt of pain raced through her body. She fell limp.

      “That’s the ticket. Now come on, let’s get back to the others. I feel exposed out here.”

      Misery, Kali thought hazily. Hah! She hadn’t known what misery was. This was misery, every pinion aching and her head a cloud of painful fog. The swing of the net made her stomach roll. She kept her beak clamped shut, fearing that at any moment she would retch up over herself.

      “Hey team, we made a catch!”

      “What, that little fire chick? That’s nothing. We found a trainer who actually spoke with her! Said that torchic’s really the only pokemon she’s got.”

      “Here now, if we’ve caught her only pokemon, where exactly is she?”

      A troubled silence fell.

      “You don’t think she’s been—”

      Something crashed through the window. Kali strained to see what was happening, but all at once the air was filled with thick smoke. Kali pressed her eyes shut against its acrid sting. Guttural cries of pain rose into the air around her.

      Then Kali was being swung off the table and out into the open. Kali gulped in the fresh spring air greedily. Strong, but gentle hands untangled her from the netting and clipped the collar from her throat. Kali flinched as cold spray hit her wings, making them sting, but the sting only lasted a moment, and almost instantly, the ache lifted. Kali opened her eyes slowly to find her human studying her.

      “How are you feeling?”

      Kali didn’t know what expression her face twisted into, but it must have made her feelings clear, because the human chuckled softly. “Okay, stupid question. You’re just a little thing, aren’t you?”

      When the electric-shock men had called Kali little, it had made her want to fight. But the strange note of sympathy in the human’s voice undid her.

      To her horror, Kali found her body beginning to tremble. When the human held out her arms, she pressed herself into them, comforted by the warmth and the firmness of the human’s grip.

      “I’m sorry,” the human said after a moment. “I could have grabbed you back right after they netted you of course, but I wanted to see how many goons Ma sent after me. These low level grunts are like rattata, you know, they’ve got a herding instinct. Best to smoke them out together. I didn’t think—you’ve never done anything like this before, have you?”

      Kali shook her head, still trembling.

      The human let out a sigh. “Right. I guess I didn’t think this through so well. Look, this is my life. Ma wants me back and I doubt these goons will be the last she sends after me. I thought a traditional pokemon journey would be the best way to start fresh, you know? But maybe I should just nick a couple of power fighters. Maybe that would be best. Listen, what do you say? I can drop you back off with that professor today. He’ll find you a place with a more normal trainer.”

      Kali opened her eyes, her mind whirring furiously.

      This human had saved her. She had saved her because she was strong and Kali was weak.

      Was she going to trot home with her head lowered, in defeat? Or was she going to become strong—strong enough to fight off every miserable electric-shock human?

      There was only one choice that was worthy of Kali, Star-Destroyer.

      The human set Kali down on the grass, next to her pokeball.

      “Stay by your ball if you want to go back home,” the human said. She didn’t give another option.

      Kali frowned. The human was that sure how she would choose? She stepped forward, away from the pokeball, until she was back at the human’s feet. She let out a loud, indignant squawk.

      “You still want to come with me?” Surprise was bright in the human’s voice. Kali nodded, fluffing up her fur. She worried, suddenly, that the human would reject her. Say that a little fire chick had no place at her side.

      “In that case, can I give you a bit of advice?”

      Kali looked up to find her human smiling.

      “Next time, aim for their eyes.”

      ~thus began the adventures of Kali, Star-Destroyer, and her human, the Lily of Death . . .

    • I obey the will of the people: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13478109/1/

      Next chapter should be up within the week.

  • Vlogging story that’s quite nice except for how the character has every reason not do so, a reminder of the failings of sex ed, yet more older trainers, and a return to my old favorite of people being completely […]

    • I admire your effort to educate people on proper camping in what looks like impending pokeporn.

      • This could be the blog’s tagline, honestly.

        • It’s definitely a nice callback to Hunger Games.

          Suzanne Collins: Will Katniss ever be together with Peeta? Or will she elope with Gale?

          Farla: You won’t find water on the high ground, dumbass.

          • It’s a good thing Katniss is the Girl On Fire, because she apparently still can’t make fire from nothing despite years of being a professional outdoorsman.

      • Well it’s an ice/steel type, so if you’re going to successfully fuck it in the middle of winter you’d really better know your camping skills.

    • Vlogging story that’s quite nice except for how the character has every reason not do so

      Huh. This is interesting, because I’ve actually made characters who have done things like making videos for the internet before, but I never actually specifically featured it, because I didn’t know how I could convert basically watching a video to the medium of text (except for, like, writing a story about them making a video, I guess? But even then…). I guess I was kinda turned away from the idea because of all the people who basically write stories like they’re writing TV shows instead of books (with characters in fanfic “turning to the camera” and stuff like that), and that kinda felt like the inverse of this. It’s interesting to actually see someone (from what I skimmed) who managed to more or less capture the right mix.

    • I’m pretty sure I found this blog because I was reading The Hunger Games, and I got to the scene in the third book where they shoot down a bomber with fucking bows, and I wanted to see what people on the internet had to say about that, and I eventually found this blog through that.

    • “It’s such an accurate depiction of starvation level poverty.”

      Farla: THEY HAVE ADULTS PIGS IN THE SPRING AND A WINDOW FULL OF CAKES ON DISPLAY.

      The Hunger Games is such an accurate depiction of what someone who has never lived in poverty thinks poverty is like.

      • You know, in retrospect I wonder how much of the weirdness was that as an American it’s ingrained in us that there’s always a 1% there for the economy to revolve around? That you may not be able to walk across the street without stumbling over emaciated children but it’s inconceivable there won’t be someone around to buy gold-leafed cake.

      • Eeeeh, I don’t think it’s really so much that, as it is that the author had no clue what a bakery would look like outside the context of a modern capitalist economy. I don’t remember Peeta’s bakery being that inaccurate a depiction of a bakery in and of tself… except for the fact that it’s not my local downtown cakeshop and is actually situated in an extremely poor poverty stricken post-apocalyptic coal mining town.

  • Somebody else is going around saying similar things. Not sure why now in particular.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13471636/1/Milo-Does-His-Best (0)

    Hm…

    So, I quite like the idea of this, but what y […]

    • …okay, so, this is clearly AU and all, but it’s jarring to keep the name of the place and yet somehow the location has nothing in common.

      There actually is a lighthouse near Cerulean City in the anime, though. It’s where Bill lives, remember? They met the Totally Not Godzilla Dragonite there?

      You should not be putting comments in the middle of your story at all, let alone with such frequency that you include it in a dialogue key.

      (You also shouldn’t be including dialogue keys.)

      Also, one thing to keep an eye on is your capitalization. English capitalizes names, not adverbs like “there” or descriptions like “buffoon”.

      I also think that should be a “there are”? Which, further confusingly, shouldn’t be “they’re”, unless it’s someone talking, and slurring the words.

      • “Near” is putting it much too strongly. It’s chronologically after Ash reaches Cerulean, but it’s also the middle of nowhere with it being a plot point that Bill didn’t expect anybody to be by, plus the general lack of any connection between the water gym Misty’s family runs and the actual ocean. Here, Cerulean appears to be a seaside location where the mermaids are just a short walk away.

  • With Special Guest Stars I-Totally-Forgot-Halloween-Whoops-Sorry. Also, apparently there’s coding changes and now neither Chrome nor Firefox will let me copy chunks of formatting off FFN.

    re: Your review to […]

    •  First and foremost, I’m simply not as interested in writing about ten-year-olds. I teach kids age 5-18, and the littler ones by far take more effort for me to engage with.

      This is kinda a fair point. Not even the anime writes its ten year old characters like they’re ten.

    • The second and third paragraphs are just retarded and incomprehensible though.

      Oh, Farla, what if you scared this poor person off with your mean reviews? However will the fandom survive their loss.

  • Farla wrote a new post, NaRe 2020 Day 5 2 weeks ago

    A nice bunch of unusual OT setups for once, a fic about how Ghetsis was abused as a kid, and a remarkably stupid professor who invents a remarkably overpowered piece of tech and thinks it’s not going to be used […]

    • he’s been running around talking to any stranger he can while looking for sad pokemon who’d like an egg

      Yeah, but…  on the other hand, it’s a trapinch egg. Not even I’d take one of those, and I’d take a dunsparce.

      It’s so, so nice to run into a fic with this sort of typical military banter that’s gender egalitarian.

      “We don’t mind girls, but fucking jumpluff? Get out of here with that shit.”

      … I… guess that counts? It seems kinda “she was an exception who earned our respect despite the handicap of her gender” situation to me, but eh.

      • The guy giving her shit comes after the first person in the room is female, and he’s disparaging her as not seeming as great as woman who had her position before. So, the rangers appear to be relatively equal in gender representation, and that’s really all it takes to not come off as “girl getting shit because she’s a girl”.

        (And while the jumpluff thing could totally be an ew cute girly pokemon thing, having raised one of the damn things, my hatred could power suns.)

        • That’s what I was assuming about jumpluff, actually. It didn’t even factor into my mind that it was also an ew girly pokemon, because it was an ew girly pokemon that absolutely sucks.

  • This one needs some context:

    My final project for one of my classes this semester was an annotated bibliography of recent critical works I thought were useful, so I basically wrote a quickpost in Academese for […]

    • Valente, Catherynne M. The Refrigerator Monologues. Saga Press, 2017.

      Yesss, this one is good. There isn’t much to say about this book: it’s a very concise, very evocative, and very acerbic critique of the way female characters are used in comics.

      Kröger, Lisa, et al. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror & Speculative Fiction. Quirk Books, 2019.

      Shame it fell short of your standards. I would be interested in reading a more comprehensive overview of women’s role in horror genre.

      Here in 2019, people are still trying to wrestle authorship of Frankenstein away from Mary Shelley in favor of her husband.

      Oh yeah, I remember this theory. What a load of bullshit.

      Zuckerberg, Donna. Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age. Harvard University Press, 2019.

      This one looks intriguing. I should check it out.

      Also, on topic of women and afterlife, here is something you may like:

    • Huh. Please don’t take this as a criticism, but the writing is much more personal, even informal, than I’d have expected from a class assignment. That actually makes for much better reading, though!

      She also criticizes classicists for their propensity for allowing texts to become decontextualized (no pun intended) under the assumption that those interested in the texts themselves will seek out the context.

      Both medieval and classical academia have been trying to deal with the same issue for years now, particularly in light of the continued reappropriation of classical and medieval themes and imagery to serve conservative and white supremacist agendas.

      • At this point, a straight telling of the story of King Arthur would be more shocking than a gritty reimagining of it. I can’t think of one western property, that has done King Arthur more justice than the Fate franchise has, from the last few decades. And they made Arthur and Mordred girls!

        • Sorry, I was thinking more along the lines of, say, “papers and books about King Arthur” than “works based on King Arthur”. :-) Or, to put it another way, it’s an issue of “why classicists should care that conservatives ignore the widespread racial diversity in Imperial Rome”, or “medievalists should care that white supremacists and various public figures are coopting crusader imagery”, and so on and so forth.

          Fun academic fact of the day: there are white supremacists to this day who employ imagery of Saint Maurice’s eagle without knowing he was, in fact, a black man.

      • Huh. Please don’t take this as a criticism, but the writing is much more personal, even informal, than I’d have expected from a class assignment. That actually makes for much better reading, though!

        Part of that is the nature of the assignment, but I also think that part of the point with Lit Crit writing is to give your opinion on things, so I tend toward a more personal style. It’s definitely different than how I write, say, here, but it’s also still my voice, which I think sometimes isn’t true when people try to transition from casual writing to academic. Trying to maintain one’s own perspective is something I actually try to teach, because I think it’s important.

    •  Showalter is also weirdly beholden to the idea of literary canons as institutions, as well as the idea that texts seem to have some objective literary value that The Learned, like herself, can be the true arbitrators of.

      Isn’t this just Academese for “she’s an academic”?

       and in one particularly baffling case suggested two writers were friends because they both had “bizarre names,”

      … My morbid curiosity forces me to ask what they were.

      (did she expect anyone to deeply identify with the Wii Tennis Miis on an emotional level?)

      “They’re literally called Miis! Don’t you see the symbolism!?”

    • The Literary Witches book sounds really interesting! I find teratology stuff fascinating, so to see that applied to female authorship sounds awesome. Plus I love Agatha Christie.

      Your concluding paragraphs really spoke to me:

      “I believe with a deep conviction that the stories we tell each other matter. They are not just a reflection of who we are, but an agent of who we will become. They say more about us than our history, our science, our math”

      I agree :)

      (ps: admin issue, but for some reason I can’t input text into the comment box while logged in. This happening to anyone else?)

       

       

      • RE: Comments: I’m not having any problems — could it be an adblocker issue?

        • I recall seeing a similar issue when I was not logged in: the comment box appeared as an unclickable black box. It’s gone now, though. Could be tied to browser update.

          • Hm, the text-box seems to work fine on Chrome. Still non-functional on Mozilla, though.

            • Found it again. The box appear black and unclickable on Chrome for me, when I’m not logged in. On Mozilla it functions always.

    • Chrome: it won’t load unsafe scripts unless you tell it to. If you look at the area next to the address bar, there’s a shield icon that you can click to fix the box.

  • Idiot assholes, more people who can talk to pokemon and don’t care, weird porn.

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13469354/1/Truth-of-a-Champion (0)

    [Everything else was irrelevant; height, weight, ability, […]

  • Today, being a charizard cannot outweigh the need for women to be helpless victims, someone wanting cookies for only mildly neglecting their pet, and yet more of everyone hating on […]

  • A slightly different Ash-betrayal fic, another one of people thinking “understands pokemon” is a great thing to throw in, and a particularly awkward all-pokemon fic where there’s pokemon pulling the carts and […]

    • Nah, it’s fine. Most people around here who’re interested in NaRe are somewhat familiar with Farla’s work, so I kinda assumed you were as well. Sorry, my mistake.

      Anyway, Another Verse is pretty good at exploring various uncomfortable questions born out of pokemon intelligence. You may want to check out Farla’s let’s play of Pokemon Moon here (see the tags) for context of the story’s creation. It does contain some spoilers, though, so you may want to leave it for after reading the story if you’d rather puzzle out the mysteries yourself.

    • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

      It’s a topic I’ve given a great deal of thought to!

      The most hateful character I’ve constructed for this is a special-destiny brat who does everything he can to avoid the issue, down to building his team around pokemon that can’t emote well so he won’t feel as bad. But there’s more to it than just not caring – because pokemon don’t just lack protections, they’re owned things, and to get in the way of that is an actual crime. If he tries to do something, he’s taking a risk himself. (And thank you to BW for establishing that canon society actually does have a way of handling kids who think they hear pokemon, and it’s “well, maybe you’re not a person either”.)

      The most functional character I made is Raven, who says, “I will do actual crimes then!” but who is still terrible conscious of having to pick her battles, and whose decisions marginalize her and make it progressively harder for her to do anything. Each conflict she gets into is just another chance for society to imprison or kill her, which in turn risks those pokemon who are relying on her for what protections her ownership can give them.

      Another fic (of the many I really must get back to) has Miki, who is someone trying to help from a very privileged position and someone young/sheltered enough that she isn’t aware of just how pervasive things are so she’s largely trying to do good within the bounds of society…but even with all that she still ends up breaking rules, it just means most of what she ends up doing is on the perjury/evidence-tampering side.

      But all of these are starting from the premise that personhood is a sort of obvious fact that you have to react one way or another to once it’s made clear, and that’s probably not reflective of the most pervasive problem where the character does, technically, care about the pokemon they personally own but just not in the sort of way where it makes them think about the broader situation, or even consider those pokemon’s own opinions. There’s other canons where there’s things that look like people and talk like people and beg like people and are also straight up literally human beings, and the fandom is still fine going, “But they’re not like, people.” (A friend is very into Dragon Age and she has not had a good time of it.) And there’s moemon. If making pokemon talk and also be little girls didn’t make anyone rethink things, I don’t know what would.

      • A friend is very into Dragon Age and she has not had a good time of it.

        Wait, what’s up with DA? It’s been awhile since I’ve played the games, but off the top of my head I don’t recall anything that would trigger the “is it a person?” reaction. Maybe darkspawns, since they were portrayed as a mindless horde throughout the first game and only got personalized in the DLC.

        • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

          No, mages. The discourse is…indescribable. She’s probably blocked half of tumblr by now just so she can post about DA to her friends without getting drowned in a sea of “yeah killing kids is wrong unless they’re weird kids“. It’s apparently pretty dire with the elves too.

          • Huh. Admittedly, I was on the periphery of the fandom and specifically not on tumblr, but last time I checked, people were generally in favor of mages and critical of DA2 for going way overboard on how mages are dangerous just so people wouldn’t automatically side with them as a clearly superior moral choice.

            No idea about how it could get dire with elves since they’re very clearly portrayed as unjustly persecuted second-class citizens.

            • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

              Well, third game had love interest Cullen and “so we could unTranquil the mages but like, they might be angry about being Tranquil once they got feelings back, and also angry about everything else we did to them, and also all that aside, they’d be mages capable of making decisions again. So yeah, let’s not.” and such, and now fandom’s lousy with “well sometimes Circles need to be wiped out to the last child because possibly there was a demon or maybe there wasn’t, look, we can’t take the risk of actual people getting hurt”.

  • https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13466763/1/Fresh-Start (0) Yup, story up almost a day, zero reviews, not a good start to this.

    Write out numbers with letters.

    You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or d […]

    • It begins!

      Nothing too interesting yet, but as always, hoping to see some good fic this month.

    • Reeds of Enki Has been making rounds, so maybe there’s something interesting there.

      • Nothing of especial notice, but I’ll let you know if I do find something. I’ve been absent this past week, but I was planning on resuming soon. I’ll just have to make sure there’s not an overlap with Farla’s stuff, that’s all.

        But yes, I’m hoping we get something good this round! I think this is how I came across Your Shadow at Evening/Handfuls of Dust, which I liked.

    • Glad you’re keeping up this tradition! I’ve been squirreling a few fics away for January in anticipation.

      Also, if anyone’s looking for a good Pokemon story to dig into, let me recommend Spring by OldSchoolJohto. It’s very well-written, with solid world-building and interesting exploration of pre-modern Johtoan religion and customs, mixed with a real appreciation for natural spaces. And criminally under-reviewed!

      https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13067509/1/Spring

  • I checked out The Witcher on the basis of random gifs showing up on Tumblr and Act’s comments that the books had been surprisingly non-misogynistic after the miserable disaster that was the games.

    It has a lot […]

    • With The Witcher, I kept expecting the worst. It’s an American show. It’s live-action. 

      This is an important part, and I think it’s ultimately what happened to the games as well. When you portray naked women, you draw an audience and creators who expect other, worse things out of the portrayal of women. There might be exceptions, but that seems to be the trend.

      I don’t remember as much about the books as I should, tbh. Didn’t re-read them. I do know people have complained that the show is not enough like GoT for them. That’s a good sign.

      •  I do know people have complained that the show is not enough like GoT for them. 

        There’s been a lot of on-screen sex but it’s all been consensual, with rape being limited to dialogue or a threat that was avoided. And nobody’s been tortured either.

    • My first thought was, “Wow, was this someone who actually understood the books?” And then I wondered about something else, and found an answer:

      This is the creator and writing staff. It was created by a woman, and the writers are a 50/50 split.

      It’s almost like it matters to have minority writers!

      • Oh, that explains so much. I went looking to the books and, they’re good, but I expected the show to have been dialed down the female characters and instead it’s dialed them up even more. But not only is that a female showrunner, but they were in charge of Umbrella Academy, which I also loved, and which came from source material that was vile garbage even by comics standards. (Oddly, it didn’t trigger the same anxiety for the female characters, I think because it’s a modern setting. I’ve become one of those people who can sooner believe in a medieval setting with dragons than with female agency.)

        • It is honestly pleasantly surprising how much the series went out of its way to give female characters big roles. Like, it would’ve been easy to just adapt the first book since it has a very series-friendly episodic structure, but then Yen would have appeared, like, once, in a story where she sorta fucks over Geralt without much context given to understand what’s her deal, while Ciri just wouldn’t be present on account of not even being born yet.

          The series had to drastically alter the underlying structure of the story so all three of them could be co-stars, which is pretty cool. It also allowed the show to do some interesting things with converging timelines and providing context at the dramatically appropriate moments.

          which came from source material that was vile garbage even by comics standards

          Do tell.

          (Also, on topic of shows made by women with a lot of female characters with agency, I would recommend Russian Doll if you’re into character drama/exploration with mild fantastic elements.)

          • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

            The Umbrella Academy comics are actually so bad I can’t even rant coherently about them, and I can’t compare how the show handled it because the show took the most basic aspects of the premise, lit the rest on fire, then redid everything while watching it burn.

             

            Half naked women constantly, but the art is absolute shit so it’s like, no one can even be enjoying this! They’re being objectified as just a personal fuck-you to any woman who tries reading it I guess? The characters…aren’t. Just aren’t. Also it’s taking place in a generic superhero setting and there’s random supervillains and space aliens and shit and they have anti-gravity belts and it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, it’s just there because comics “writers” are just cargo cultists, but like, some incredibly incompetent cultists that the rest of the cult kicked out years ago.

            Oh also nobody in the comics is gay and God personally hates gay people.

            • God personally hates gay people.

              Wait, what? Is it a hyperbole or an actual stance the comic takes? I kinda wouldn’t expect such open vileness even out of comics.

              The rest is… yeah. COMICS! to the max.

              • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

                Literally God calling someone a slur, from what I was told – it was in the second or third comics storyline, and even I couldn’t justify reading past the first.

                COMICS

          • The timeline is pretty neat, yet I have seen some people point to it as the reason why they don’t like the show. I think some people think the order of the scenes is random, and don’t realize it follows a certain logic (ie, for each of the three main character, the scenes are actually in chronological order).

            • I’ve seen that too, and, like, it’s not necessary invalid: if you couldn’t follow the show because of it, then you couldn’t follow the show, no amount of talk about artistry would fix it.

              But it did work for me, and I think there is a place for more experimental shows that play around with narrative conventions, especially now that we have a fuckton of shows that cover a wide variety of genres. They don’t have to work for everyone to justify their existence.

            • I really think people are obsessing about the timeline too much. As far as I could tell, it doesn’t actually matter if you can’t line up the pieces in a given episode, you can just treat it as three different plotlines. And given some of the transitions did everything they could to hide the fact they were transitions, I think the show was fully intending for people to only realize things are happening at different times about halfway along.

    • When I first read this story as a kid it looked like a textbook example of manpain, tbh. In part, it still does to me today

      I’d say it’s the standard being about the protagonist, who as usual is male and so plays right into the broader problem of these stories revolving around guys. (And that’s extra uncomfortable tied to a story where the background is a lot of girls having guys imprison and kill them.) But he’s not, for example, specifically sad that her being dead means he can’t keep having sex with her, despite what TvTropes apparently thinks.

      How is infertility angst dealt with? Is the topic dealt with respectfully or are we getting something like Joss Whedon’s Black Widow? 

      So I haven’t played the games (or read the later books) like Act, but the show changes it from “sorceresses are just like that” to “that gets hacked out to fuel the cosmetic surgery spell” which I was ambivalent about, but having seen the full season, I think it actually worked out incredibly well.

      Yennefer doesn’t specifically care she’s infertile. It’s that she gave up things with the promise she’d be happy and accomplish things, and then she didn’t get either, and so she decides fine, I want everything for nothing because trying to exchange one thing for another has blown up in my face, and also I will refuse to accept any help doing this because I’m a mature fucking adult and mature fucking adults don’t half-ass their mental breakdowns, and I have chosen “baby” as the shorthand for this but by god if you dare try to actually talk to me about it you are going to realize very quickly that the problem is way bigger and also double fuck you for daring to offer a solution to the thing I claimed was my problem and triple fuck you for the very concept of “help”.

      I love Yennefer so much.

    • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

      No, I know it sounds awful but it actually really, really works, and thinking about it it really is so much better than sorceresses just not being able to have kids because it’s how magic works. (Especially since I don’t get the impression this is such a thing with Polish culture, but America at least is really big on the specific idea that powerful/monstrous women automatically lose the ability to have kids by divine decree.)

      Unlike her peers, Yennefer actually bullies the guy into taking her womb and doing the spell, and she suffers horribly which she also very explicitly chooses, all because her life experiences up to that point have been telling her that if she just suffers enough now she’ll be happy later. And because of it, she does manage to get exactly what she wants. Cut to thirty years later when she’s miserable and a bunch of rapidfire traumatic events convince her that she is desperate to matter in any way, absolutely nothing she does matter no matter her power, she is completely disposable, and that the only thing that’s obligated to care about you is a baby.

      Geralt is still sterile but not only that, their conversation is just great. “Look magically getting a womb will not magically make you a good mother,” Geralt tries to reason. “You are literally running around a mountain trying to murder a dragon because it maybe has something you want and we both know a baby will not change that about you. Have you actually thought about what a baby means besides that someone prevented you from having it? Please please please can we have a sane and adult conversation regarding how just being a woman doesn’t mean the solution is babies. I will even open up about my feelings. Please.”

      “You have confused the fact I am very smart for the idea any of that intelligence is emotional, so no, we cannot,” retorts Yennefer. “I have decided I will be having this mental breakdown and if I wasn’t going to let God stop me I’m sure not letting you.”

      • Yeah, that’s Geralt and Yen alright. Man, I gotta watch the show. I was going to start with a friend yesterday but we went to see Knives Out instead. Btw, Knives Out is pretty good.

    • Expanding on the Brokilon thing, like, I seriously appreciate how difficult a situation that early meeting between Geralt/Ciri put the show-runners in. The way the show/season was structured, Geralt and Ciri just can’t meet that early. That might work from Geralt’s timeline, but we really are supposed to be following teenage!Ciri through her own adventure, and it slights those trials to ignore them for an episode and go back in time.

       

      Geralt meeting Yennefer for the first time was done perfectly, at a crucial point in their individual storylines. It worked because everyone’s storylines, running in different timeframes, parallel and internally consistent, were finally allowed to intersect after decades in-universe. The characters aren’t supposed to meet until they’re ready to meet. On the one hand, Geralt rescuing Ciri from Brokilon would break that really good structure, but on the other hand, it was actually really important from a character perspective. Yennefer criticized Geralt for neglecting his Child Surprise, which would have a lot more meaning to it if we’d literally seen him abandon her, the way it happens in the books.

      The Brokilon short story showed that destiny isn’t everything: there is ‘something more’ that’s required to really make it work, and Geralt and Ciri had it. Geralt running away from that was a huge low point for him. He abandoned an orphaned child that had instantly become so dependent upon him that she only slept well at his side. He deserved to get shit on for doing that. Instead we got… what was the Brokilon episode even about? Just demonstrating that Ciri was too powerful to be swayed by the Waters? Giving some character depth to the elf kid? It ultimately seemed to just be an elaborate cameo for the dryads. A waste.

    • Just finished watching the season, and wow that was some good stuff. Yennefer’s expanded backstory was 100% the best addition. Her clashes with Geralt and her teacher had the best dialogue of the show.

       

      Ciri’s not as much, sadly. Not that I didn’t like her, but half the time spent on her felt kind of pointless; at best it was a clumsy primer for her later prominence. Brokilon Forest for instance fell utterly flat in the show, while it was meant to establish the bond between the future dad/daughter witchers in the books.

      Like, I get they probably didn’t want to get an even younger girl for one very action-light, character-building episode, but a) they should have just cut Brokilon outright in that case, and b) their meeting at the end doesn’t have the same impact as their reunion would. Calanthe and Eist were fun, though. It’s not spelled out, but Calanthe spent like thirty years fighting off both internal politics and border incursions to protect her throne. What a beast.

  • I watched Kill la Kill, or, that anime where the magical girl costumes involve stripper gear.

    Note neither character is transformed here, because their actual outfits are Not Safe For Work.

    Here is what […]

    • Yeah, that about mirrors my thoughts: good anime, shame about the rape stuff, could definitely be a deal-breaker to some.

      Also,

      “here’s a cool girl but sorry, Sir Boring is our protagonist so deal”

      Here’s something you may like: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/general-exalted-thread.44/page-876#post-5836179

    • Kill la kill was a weird anime to watch, because as you said, it’s all semi-pornographic/exploitative, but the actual story is about female characters, from the perspective of female characters, and the relationships between them feel really genuine. And I always felt the anime had a point to make, but it’s so bizarre and out-there that I could never really synthesize it into any kind of concrete thesis. Kind of want to re-watch it now.

      • And it’s incredibly blunt about pretty much everything, it’s just I can’t put the pieces together!

        1) So we open with a lesson about Hitler, and the school is clearly about fascism, and they also pause to explain school uniforms are based off military uniforms.

        But also the second half is revealing that when Satsuki turned the uniformed schoolkids of Japan into a literal army, it was actually to rebel against corporations/Japanese culture as a whole. Which seems like it’s less “the military/fascist bent of Japan is the problem” and more “hey kids, realize your oppressors have given you the weapons to fight back”.

        Also they both specifically reference “sailor uniforms” as the most blatant of the military wear on schoolchildren and that Senketsu is a sailor uniform, but also that has to burn up to free her to wear something else.

        2) The pigs in human clothing thing/people are nothing without clothing/the wearing vs being worn thing.

        3) The Nudist Beach thing seems like it’s about rejecting shame/societal control, and certainly the end is everyone naked in a pile of friendship and unity, but also, they were pretty irrelevant and it was only those who harnessed the power of clothing who accomplished anything.

        I think the key is them assaulting Ryuko to strip her, which they were clearly in the wrong about. Maybe they’re metaphorically the “stripping is empowering! here let me help!” faction. Being ashamed of your nudity is a mistake, but so is policing what people wear at all.

        And that would fit with Mako’s ending bit about how Ryuko is fighting for their rights to just wear what they want.

        4) Definitely a whole lot about class. Obviously there’s the tie between doing well in school = your family now is in a mansion, but I wonder if the extreme social mobility reads more or less weird in Japan than it does here? And there’s how Ryuko wearing the outfit makes her a skank but an even more extreme outfit on a rich girl is stylish, etc, and multiple characters just straight up saying you can’t wear that because you’re not rich enough for it to be classy.

        5) Is the aliens thing a metaphor for the unnaturalness of clothing or is it because aliens are cool?

        6) The last few episodes involved a lot of shouting about incomphrensibility as a virtue, which I think is also about uniqueness and how uniforms stifle that, which you’d think would tie into the rest of the show but not really.

    • I haven’t watched KlK, but I’ve also been finding lately that I care far, far more about women being meaningfully involved in stories than I do about costuming. I think it’s at least partially that crappy costuming is so rote and samey that it’s ignorable if the camera ignores it — as long as, say, a game doesn’t linger on upskirt shots (hellooo, Atelier Totori), it’s easy to ignore a weird costume, and if the game is otherwise fine about women, I find myself not really caring if on the character stat screen the costume is stupid.

      Like you, I’m not sure if this is a sign my standards have gotten stupidly low or I’ve just been Stockholmed into accepting it or what, but I do feel the same way.

      • In the later episodes I remember getting the impression that there would be one or two fanservicey shots, like, “here it is you sack of crap”, and then the rest would just be ridiculous animation and action and whatnot. It’s certainly far more fun than the usual upskirt parade.

        But yeah, super rapey. An early implied rape fakeout almost made me stop watching it but luckily I powered through.

    • KlK is often brought up in conversations of “good story/characters but loaded with fanservice”. I’ll assume it cleared that (relatively high for anime) bar, going by this post.

      I was thinking about this in other media, namely Tales of Berseria, because while the main character is dressed in literal rags, she’s the main character, with a vengeance-focused character arc you don’t see much for women unless rape is involved. It’s almost like it’s easier for the writers to make progress on female characters than the visual designers. Which makes a kind of sense, I guess.

      • Wellll, yes and no. You can’t really cleanly separate KlK into “good characters/plot” and “bad extraneous fanservice” because fanservicy outfits are interwoven into the plot and clearly serve some thematic purpose, so a more appropriate conversation would be about the validity of using loaded imagery in service of artistic goal.

        The problem here, however, is that while everyone is confident that KlK is saying something intriguing, nobody (at least outside of Japan, and even then I have my doubts) is quite sure what, specifically, it’s saying.

        • I’m not really suggesting that fanservice and the like are always divorced from the characters and story, or even that they must be separated to tell a good story. Just that it’s how folks usually describe a quality work that contains fanservice.

          • There’s an inherent problem with approaching KlK that way, because they absolutely can’t be divorced, even if you want to. The fanservice is definitely meant to serve a deeper thematic point… but it’s also 100% absolutely also there to be fanservice. The surface level analysis of the story is still a 100% valid and intentionally correct way to analyse it. It is simultaneously a series using loaded imagery to tell a deeper story… but also totally blatant and upfront with its desire to be a fanservice medium… which itself kind of ties back into its themes of self honesty… Satsuki’s suit is there because themes, but it’s there just as much because sling bikinis are hot.

            • I mean… I get that… I said that I got that… I said that I’m not suggesting the fanservice is always divorced from its story and characters in the comment you replied to. I’m strictly saying, among people who frequent anime and manga, that there’s a category of “fanservice, but good characters/story” that KlK fits into. I guess maybe I’m wording this all wrong or something, because I could swear I clarified it in response to illhousen’s comment, which is basically the same as yours.

              I’m both drunk and tired right now, so idek.

    • It’s okay, it’s very confusing. It’s like trying to watch Lily Bear Storm (watch Lily Bear Storm) without the contextual backgroup that it expects you to have to understand the message.

       

      Also relevant to Ryuko and Mako, I ended up with a pair of characters in this story I’m writing who mimick them a fair deal. One is an uber-practical orderly mercenary who dislikes frivilous things and seems like no-fun incarnate, but she ends up being (nearly against her will) befriended by a tiny fairy who loves chaos and pranks and being silly ends up teaching the mercenary a lot of things and helping her become a warmer, more fun person through being able to sell her on the practicality of basically anything, even incredibly stupid things.

      •  It’s like trying to watch Lily Bear Storm (watch Lily Bear Storm) without the contextual backgroup that it expects you to have to understand the message.

        I’m pretty sure watching Ikuhara without context is just pure masochism. In his quest for subtext, he sometimes forget the text.

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