Before I begin reviewing random people, let’s get the stuff I was actually supposed to do out of the way.
These are cute line breaks.
I love Jenny and how enthusiastic she is about the ruins. You really make them sound interesting, even as you explain the actual text can be kind of tedious – that just makes it more of a mystery why so much was written down. And I like how much personality you gave Freya rather than having her just there for plot’s sake.
[ Freya whined in return. As she heard Jenny’s running become fainter and fainter, she ran through her mind all the countless times she had used that stairwell knowing it was the safest.]
I can see why you wanted to include this, but it seems out of place when the whole thing’s from Jenny’s POV otherwise, and for a few seconds I was trying to read it as Jenny thinking this. Having more bits from Freya earlier would make this less jarring, or else just have Jenny think about how she was told the guide pokemon know the safest routes and so it’s shocking the stair collapsed.
I’m also curious what happens to Freya, since she’s not included in the list of victims. Did they just not mention pokemon corpses, or was she found and rescued at the time, or is there some second pit where the dead pokemon are?
[They’d used to rent out pokemon, she’d been told earlier, but the rental service was shut down when it was determined the pokemon were miserable.]
This makes me wonder if that’s general problem with rental pokemon or if it’s a sign of something being really wrong that they’re otherwise unaware of.
[They really should have brought George (why did she let her husband name him, seriously) with them. The spunky little poochyena would have been such a comfort on a long trip, and he certainly would have been thrilled to be included. But then it became difficult to find hotels that would take them and didn’t she really want a break from responsibility while on vacation? So he got left behind. God knows the sitter would have her hands full. Ideally, one day, George would be able to watch over the house by himself, but right now he was just a pup, and he tended to encourage the kids’ bad behavior more readily than diffuse it. “George, will you run out and meet the mailman?” And then he wouldn’t return for a half hour and she’d look out the window, worried, to see him rolling in the dirt with little Danny, the youngest of the four, with the mail nowhere in sight.
He tried hard, though, and they loved him dearly. One day he’d be a big mightyena who could be left in charge alone for three weeks and they’d say, “Remember when he was such an unruly pup?” just like with the kids.]
This is great.
I also like Clare’s meltdown over the ground collapsing. I’d probably do the same.
[No matter how many times Blue approached him, no matter what he said, not even the one time Blue would rather forget when he had all but begged him to say something, anything, had he spoken to him. Sometimes, he’d stare at Blue for a moment, intently and without blinking, but right after he’d sigh and leave once more. For the most part, he remained cooped up inside, playing games, and those few times Blue caught him wondering outside, he seemed to do nothing but walk around aimlessly, staring at trees.
Months later, Blue sat aimlessly on the fence as red leaves cascaded down from the trees around Pallet Town. The last rays of sun had just vanished under the sea of deep blue sky, and he shivered slightly without his jacket. A whole season had passed, and not once had Red uttered a single word at him.
The weirdest thing, however, was that no-one else seemed to notice anything. Oh, they realised Red and Blue were no longer on speaking terms. They even commented on what a shame it was, the two of them had been like a ray of sunlight together, but in the end they simply took it as a sign of differing interests. Red’s mother would sigh and Daisy would encourage Blue to reach out for Red one more time.]
Hm. What’s not clear here is if Red’s saying anything to other people. If this is a mute protagonist possession deal, then he shouldn’t be talking at all, and initially his mom says he was silent at breakfast, but if they otherwise act like it’s normal, then presumably he’s still capable of speech. So maybe the possession only kicks in around Blue? But what Blue sees suggests he’s acting different in general
[but to Blue’s glee, charmander was barely staying on its feet, whereas squirtle, although tired and battered, still had more stamina remaining. ]
You’re saying Charmander and Squirtle as their names here, so it should be capitalized. It’d need to be something like “Red’s charmander” or “his squirtle” to be lowercased.
[Blue’s jaw dropped. “You’ve already been to Viridian Forest?” he asked incredulously before he caught himself and twisted his lips into a haughty sneer. “Not that shortcuts are going to do you any good in the face of all the training I’ve been doing.” Still, behind the mask of confidence lay a seed of worry. It wasn’t that Red had scampered off to Viridian Forest and returned with a new pokémon, Blue had already suspected as much, after all, but that the new pokémon had already evolved into a butterfree.]
So is this a sign that victory is impossible because “Red” knows where Blue is and with what pokemon and all the other player tricks? I wonder if reloading is an option, as that’d really make attempting to win futile.
[ my Mom said]
It’s not used as a name here, so don’t capitalize.
Anyway, this is all sweet and painful.
[“It’s just that I’ve had an idea, Champ. You beat that blitzle so easy because it was already weakened, right? And that was because it had already fought. And, well, these routes have lots of trainers. So I bet trainers are always fighting trainers. So what if we waited till one trainer fought another and left them weak, and then we would fight then, and then we’d win every time!”
“Tat-tat-tat!” Like Champ’s sharing my excitement, his ears perk up and his whiskers twitch.
I sit on the sand petting Champ and thinking about my plan.]
That’s really clever and I hope it doesn’t get her in trouble somehow. It seems like most people simply don’t care very much, so maybe it’ll be okay? It’s not clear if the proper/fake trainer divide is particularly enforced or if it’s just a matter of being hard to get a first pokemon if you’re someone like her. Hoping it’s the latter.
[“Disease isn’t common,” she says. “Most diseased pokemon don’t go near enough to trainers to be caught. I wouldn’t worry about your rattata. In fact, it looks like the check-up is over. Your rattatta should be brought out in a few minutes.”]
Hm. So is it just like how animals try to find somewhere to hide when they’re sick, or that pokemon that do go near trainers do it on purpose for fights/capture?
I really like how every detail is so new and alien to her.
[“Not rattatas, that’s for sure,” says another boy with a short laugh.]
That’s impressively mean given Champ is standing right there. I hope they show them all.
[“Your father’s daughter indeed.”]
Probably too much to hope that means he’s not actually screwing pokemon, but even just moderately rapey is probably better than we’ll be getting from most people here.
[“I want whatever you want!” Cecily said quickly. “Only… I thought, since it’s our first night together, it would be more romantic to spend it out under the stars. Just the two of us.” She leaned in against Hester and looked up at her with a nervous smile, her golden eyes warm and shining in the cold, pale light of evening.]
Wow, she lives up to other Cecily well. At least she’s got opinions buried in there.
[Without predators, everything else would overpopulate and starve. Even she knew that — it was basic biology.
The Zigzagoon and Poochyena she’d seen on the Route 101 didn’t look like they were starving, though. Maybe humans were sufficient predators? Just how many Pokémon did trainers take out of the wild?]
Hm, that seems to suggest some sort of mortality rate for battles or else huge numbers getting stuck in PCs and forgotten. Might be workable if the pokemon have really low birth rate, though. (Or the other way around, if pokemon don’t reproduce among themselves but trainer/pokemon pregnancies produce pokemon that are usually abandoned.)
I wonder what happens if there actually is no real answer and it’s possible for a wish to generate a world that just manages it like a computer sim, where it’s impossible for them to reproduce if they’d outstrip the food supplies.
[“But that was only to be expected, because I was arguing with you.]
Everything she says is so sad.
[“Sorry if it sounds like I’m complaining,” Cecily continued. “It’s just… you said you wanted to challenge the Pokémon League, and you’ve got to know I can’t do that on my own, right? I mean, not that I’d be on my own,” she corrected herself quickly. “You and I can’t do it on our own.”]
So presumably just being the protagonist isn’t enough to get you the rapid leveling you need to win with basically anything. For that matter, if this world runs on more realistic rules there’s nothing to say she’s even certain to beat all the gym leaders – although that she’s not compromising her team by also trying to build a harem from it should probably give her an advantage.
And hm. Fedora wearing “how dare you call me an indiscriminate rapist I will have you know I am extremely racist in my choices” guy who says to not listen to another female character and won’t explain himself properly. It seems too obvious he’s not to be listened to.
So, some possible factors – not clear if time is progressing the same here as elsewhere, but it seems like maybe Jirachi isn’t just pulling in qualified people but pulling them in when the protagonist slot opens up. And the fact the world’s been resetting so that Norman’s family moves in over and over suggests that maybe once you get to the top, the only way to stay there is to keep beating new people who enter, which seems to be fatal…although it could just be that Basil’s evil.
(The most innocuous thing he says is to take her time and enjoy herself – so who knows, maybe that’s how you screw yourself over in this place.)
They tried to rescue their friend and failed and that’s awful.
[“Maybe we should call her that,” Cecily said, sounding just a bit smug. “Screw You, don’t you know you can’t hurt the trainer you’re registered to? The same thing will happen if you go too far from your Pokéball,” she added quickly as the Wingull turned to fly in the other direction. “So don’t try it.”]
Because it really wouldn’t be moemon without the extra controlling creepy.
I wonder if she could get better results if she could promise to fix things for them with her wish? I’m not sure if changing the world so they might not exist is going to get many converts, but given how much of a departure moemon already is, she could probably alter things in all sorts of other ways rather than just fixing the current mess.
It’s doubtful that’d convince Ate All in particular, but she might be able to find someone.
[“Well, that’s a problem,” said the grunt, frowning. “You’re going to have to get a lot stronger, hero.”]
So she’s doing rather worse than usual. That’s ominous and also a bit curious – you’d think plenty of her predecessors would have had similar problems.
[“Here’s a little something for you to chew on until we see each other again: what does it mean if you’re in Hell with the Devil and the Devil wants out?”]
Jirachi is evil and the cycle of wishes is powering it up?
[“I don’t see how I can even fail. I’ve been given so much power. Pikachu is a god, My maximum number of pokémon was increased on a whim, and the author… I mean Arceus will just keep giving me advantages over everything even when I can do everything with ease.”
“Don’t worry Ash,” Arceus said, “I will support you in all your times of need, as I always have.”
“I was the most powerful trainer in the world before I even finished Route 1. What times of need have I been in? I didn’t overcome anything. There’s not even a point of taking on the Pokémon League. I might as well leave Pikachu with Mom and start over.”
A stone was summoned from the sky.
“This is the omni-stone,” Arceus said, “When you start over your adventure, use it on Eevee to create the most powerful eeveolution.”
“STOP HELPING ME!” Ash said, “Fine, I finally quit this whole pokémon master thing.”]
This might’ve made for an interesting idea if it was happening at the beginning and not the end.
What you’ve written isn’t really a parody. It’s the same stuff as usual, but writing extra lazily because you know how stupid the ideas are. This comes only after boring battle after boring battle that Ash is apparently fine with, and it doesn’t actually matter anyway. Similarly, the idea of Ash going against the railroad plot by picking Gary is immediately followed by Ash changing his mind again to no homo and hopping back on. All you’ve really done is make a worse version of haremfic, then point out how bad a job you did of it. There’s really nothing that makes this better reading than the original terrible stuff.
A story where Ash actually goes off the rails of the story and stays off would’ve been far better than this one where he’s just dragged along. Refusing to use the ridiculous overpowered stuff (going through all the normal battles just using regular pokemon he caught and only using Pikagod for the chosen one stuff he can’t avoid) and being gay would both have been interesting, and it’d have helped if the weirdness was centered around Arceus and other people were just as confused by this instead of cutting out the personality of most of the female characters so they can focus on hitting on him. And that’d have given you an actual plot and characterization to work with, which would’ve been a lot better than the nonstop wacky and random that’s all that you have here.
Also, what the hell was up with bashing Erika and then going out of your way to say female gym leaders are incompetent? LOL AT MY SEXISM EVERYBODY doesn’t become non-sexist parody because you point out you’re doing it.
Well. You said you know the profanity excess is stupid and did it to keep people who are bothered by that out, but what that amounts to is you spent your first chapter writing badly and that means it keeps out anyone with standards as well.
[My name is Zane. Yes, that’s my name. Yes, actually. Zane isn’t my real name. It’s the name I chose for my Ranger’s Badge. And it’s the name written on my Trainer’s License. My real name? Unimportant. Everything I was before Zane was only something building up to him. Whatever I was called before Zane… No value.]
Then why is he talking about it at all?
The whole of this reads like you don’t expect much from your readers. I know that an interview where we only hear one side is hard to write, but you either need to be able to handle it or you need to do things a different way, like including what the interviewer is saying rather than clumsily having the character repeat it.
[ competing in Pokemon battles. That clause doesn’t apply to me. Sure, my mon may be trained to kill other mon, but I can keep them restrained.]
And while you’ve presumably seen my general statement on this, I’d like to point out it’s extra wrong to say the word should be capitalized but somehow the shortened version isn’t. Shortened proper nouns are still capitalized, non-proper nouns are never capitalized in the first place.
[Run? From a pissed off Nidoking? You fucking with me? No. You die. And get eaten. Not in that order.]
Also for a supposed super competent smart guy he sure is unable to interact with nature in any capacity other than his own pokemon beating it and is apparently unaware anyone else can. Pokemon just randomly “rampage” and the only solution is more violence.
[Made Warrant Officer at sixteen years of age. I was a Goddamn prodigy.
Sixteen also happened to be the age where I could apply for my PKMN Trainer’s Licence.]
[Great idea, Indigo. Let’s give every stupidly naive sixteen year old the opportunity to make friends with a fucking homicidal monster, and then send them out into a world full of even less stable fucking homicidal monsters.]
So it’s totally sane and reasonable to have fourteen years enlisting but ridiculous to let kids have pokemon at sixteen.
[Vauban. My first mon. Bred by Chimera Industries’ Waterloo Division. Same fucking state of the art facility that the Military gets their war mon from. She’s a sixth generation High-Offensive Bulbasaur, hereditarily superior to every other Bulbasaur in the Indigo League’s Registration Archives. She’s fed a Top-Secret, Toxin Homogenized, Pokeroid Infused Fertilizer that you can’t even buy on the black market. Starting on the very first day she shucked off her eggshell, she’s been mentally and physically conditioned to engage wild pokemon with extreme prejudice and deadly force. Genetically altered chloroplasts for increased metabolic rate and enhanced neural reactions when exposed to ultra-dense UV rays. Taught battle techniques explicitly outlawed for use in restricted competition by the League Legislation for being too “Reckless” and too “Endangering.” And ready to lay her life down for the piece of shit Greenback who shares an exact replica of her G.I. barcode tattoo, right on the exact same shoulder that she anatomically reflects.]
This really is just shooting downhill.
[Vauban was an irregularity. She was the first Bulbasaur to ever be dispatched to the Rangers. She was meant to go into Military service as a Saboteur unit, but lucky for her, the Military withdrew her requisition. Vauban is too good to be a Saboteur. And even a mon hater like me clams up when I think about Vauban being deployed as a single-use bio-bomb. Vauban is way too good for hypermetabolism therapy and septic overload stimulation.]
So not only is his pokemon super special military stuff, but also the military is so incompetent they spend tons of energy making super special pokemon capable of all sorts of things just to use them as explosives, because grimdark.
I don’t even know if this is supposed to be some sort of really elaborate and not actually entertaining joke about this whole genre or what. Like, you are aware that fanfic of a grimdark version of canon with GUNS and DEATH and SUPER COMPETENT MILITARY SUE WHO IS ALL GRIZZLED AND MAD has been here since like five minutes after the first regular fanfic was written, right?
So, I guess something’s up with Neil, maybe?
I liked all the business with his machop.
This is shaping up to be quite cute. Everyone seems so nice, and Hattie makes for a nice window into other chunks of the setting. And Morgan sounds adorable.
[“Where – you didn’t – I didn’t-” he gasped.
“I was hanging out with my roommate,” I said. “You know, the girl you made sure I’d be staying with?”
Neil was panting, but his words were coming out in longer strings. “Of course I did- it’s only polite – the chivalrous thing to do-”
I tried not to roll my eyes at this. “Whatever. But I’m fine, see?”
“I- I see that now, yeah,” Neil said, his breathing easing into natural rhythms. “But, from what you’ve said, every time you go to a Pokemon Center, something goes wrong-“]
Though Neil is either naturally given to panic or he’s used to things not being quite so idyllic all the time.
I was dubious originally how well you could make this setup work, but I think you’ve done it well. She’s able to compromise a bit on doing everything all by herself, which is smart, and you seem to be setting up that there’s more going on with her escort, so that’s not going to be the end of her problems.
[But enough information has been gathered, and we’ve discovered the mole. It is-
A loud THUD echoed down the hallway.
The man stopped typing.
Pulling out the USB, he dropped it on the floor and crushed it under his leather shoes. He crumpled all of his files, and set them on fire.
Footsteps. Nearing his door, second after second. There would be no time to finish his email. But there must be a way to get a message to Nathaniel.
He will not fail this quest. Their mission must succeed.
The door to his room shuddered.
He ripped a paper out of a notebook and buried it inside his shoe. Then he tossed the notebook into the flaming pile of other documents.]
This is absurd. He’s written a longwinded email right up to the point of the name but then he only has time to do all that other stuff but can’t manage to type a couple letters and hit send.
Look, if you want something to happen, think about how you could accomplish it. For example, if instead of it starting with someone breaking into his house, the first thing that happened was for the power to cut out. He’s now actually unable to send the email, explaining why he does all the rest instead.
[I’m gonna need lots of different kinds of OC’s, like students (from that secret school, duh), staff, and even a few villains, so hit me with everything you’ve got!]
While this is always a terrible idea it’s an astounding one in this circumstance. You’re writing a mystery. The readers not knowing vast components of the story is a required feature. Any OC you get under those circumstances is going to result in garbage.
Much as I appreciate this chapter starting with something happening, it doesn’t save the fact that it then goes into the standard wakeup/breakfast boredom.
If you want to show some of ordinary life, work out a particular scene that’s able to pack as much of that in as possible, don’t just wander about having nothing much going on. The park scene is a little closer to this – it shows him doing stuff that’s generally supposed to be done by the parent, and most importantly it’s not yet another scene of people eating breakfast.
[“Um, the best student of the year, he or she earns the scholarship prize; five hundred thousand pokedollars.” Nathaniel explained slowly, as if testing each word before he said it.]
This is a ridiculous contrivance.
Here’s an example – say he’s currently going to a school that costs money, but because his father’s now out of work, they can’t afford it, but this place will give him a scholarship. See how that’s something that could possibly happen, while “we throw half a million dollars at a kid per year” is not? And see how it’s something that’s plausibly a solution, while just hoping really hard he’ll win is not?
And a bunch of guns. See, the thing is, this all feels so cartoonish. A father losing his job means the kid has to go to mystery super school to win infinite riches, but on the way people are trying to shoot him. This is all over the place, which makes it hard to care about any of it. The only grounded bit to it is his concern for his little brother, and even that’s not particularly well supported – we know he’s concerned about it but haven’t seen his dad actually demonstrate he’s not able to handle things.
The problem with this is it’s almost entirely summary. Drabbles are hard to make work for an extended idea because you really only have enough room to tell people rather than show it. I think this’d have been stronger if you’d extended it instead.
Also, Homura’s powers don’t activate upon Madoka wishing, they activate on Madoka dying. Homura successfully beating the thing that usually kills Madoka followed by Madoka to reviving all their friends is actually a good outcome.
Still need to review Negrek’s Salvage but I think I’ve gotten everything else.