Obligative reviews

ABO RPS and Mewtwo fic.

Natural Instincts

Hm.

Jensen had him pinned against the wall and he was kissing Jared like he’d wanted to for a while.
Suddenly, Jensen pulled back to look Jared in the eyes, probably expecting a punch in the face like any alpha would give him, but instead, Jared just melted under him, grabbed his shirt and pulled him in again.

So, I like the idea of doing a ABO fic that’s pairing alpha to alpha, but in practice you’re still writing the same alpha/omega dynamic. I guess you could do something about the physical differences not matching up with mental, but there isn’t much focus here on that here either. Nor is there any sense it’s a taboo relationship – they start kissing in public and seem to leave for practical reasons, not any sense of concern about what people will think – or that he’s feeling any strain between how he should act as an alpha and how is wants to act, he’s just pleased he figured it out and feeling great letting someone else shove him around. Aside from the fact you say Jared’s an alpha, the relationship is playing out exactly the way of any alpha/omega pairing.

I’d suggest thinking of what the point of an alpha is in this universe and putting more of a focus on that. Either avoid writing one of them as submissive and have them both behave like alphas, or make the core of the story how Jared feels about not behaving like an alpha and what society expects from alphas.

Or to put it in more arty terms, the fic needs to decide if it’s using ABO to tell a gay story or a trans story.

Human

[Humans were so cruel, both for abusing him and for ever creating him in the first place.]

This doesn’t seem quite right – Mewtwo wasn’t abused, just used. He blows up his birthplace because the people there viewed him as a thing, and does the same when Giovanni says he isn’t an equal.

[Misty realized that automatically, she had been referring to Mewtwo in her thoughts as “he” and “him”. Being a genetically unique, one-of-a-kind superclone, it made no sense that Mewtwo would have a gender, but it felt wrong using “it”.]

This is something that seems to happen in every Mewtwo shipfic, and it’s always various degrees of awkward.

The reason we say Mewtwo is a “he” is because he’s got a male voice, which is as valid a way of determining gender as anything. (People are as likely to say “he looks like a girl” as “she sounds like a guy”.) There’s also no reason to assume the fact he’s unique means he doesn’t have a gender – that smacks of game knowledge that the legendaries are usually listed as genderless. Even in the event he was sterile, there’s no reason he couldn’t also be considered male, since gender does encompass more than just which gametes you produce.

This also isn’t something anyone should be stopping to examine in detail. It’s not that it sounds wrong to use “it”, it’s that we automatically pick pronouns to match the signals we get and don’t really think about it.

This seems to come up as some sort of roundabout defense for shipping a human with a pokemon, but by immediately going for insisting he’s definitely male, it actually just serves to make this seem overly concerned with sex, like the crucial issue is establishing that Misty isn’t gay.

This sort of internal discussion really belongs much further into the story, when she’s actually got feelings for Mewtwo and is getting weirded out by them.

[“I wish that thing would just kill Mewtwo,” said the female trainer next to Misty angrily, watching attentively as Mew and Mewtwo fought. “He shouldn’t have ever been created! Scientists are supposed to be smart, but they do such stupid things, like making a psycho clone that wants to destroy us!”

Somehow, that comment bothered Misty, but she didn’t fully understand why. She couldn’t bring herself to feel anger towards Mewtwo, only sadness. Maybe it was because she realized that as powerful and intelligent as Mewtwo was, it meant he was matchless— forever alone, on a different plane than all other life on earth]

And this is really forced. The other trainer should hope Mew kills Mewtwo because Mewtwo has loudly and repeatedly explained he’s going to kill absolutely everyone. Misty should be busy being worried about the killing absolutely everyone business as well. Having her start off just knowing that she should be busy sympathizing with Mewtwo is cutting out her character development, and it’s also poor writing right this moment – you write about her thoughts at a weird step removed, so you’re not really showing her thinking them, you’re just telling the reader what you want her to think.

A better way of doing this would be to have them hoping Mew wins because they’re neither suicidal nor in favor of omnicide, and Misty feeling bad that it’s necessary and wishing there was another way.

And Mewtwo does not display intelligence above a human’s, so it’s not his super awesomeness causing him to be alone because there’s just no one as great as he is. And considering his insistence he’s so super awesome is what’s currently being used to justify destroying the world, I don’t think anyone there would be thinking he’s right about how he’s just so peerless.

[ Also, Mewtwo looked so dissimilar to other pokemon. People, and, probably, other pokemon as well, would be terrified of him just because of the way he appeared. ]

Pokemon are pretty varied. Now, unlike other pokemon he’s the only one who looks like himself, but still, we know pokemon aren’t terrified at the sight of him and she knows he claimed to have raised pokemon of his own as part of his weird proving-he-can-do-anything-you-can-but-better thing.

Basically, you’ve got to tone Misty’s sympathy way, way down. It doesn’t make any sense here. She has bigger, more pressing issues, like the fact the world’s going to end and her pokemon are slowly dying in front of her as they fight their clones.

…also you really don’t need her to then get into if she has feelings about Ash. They’re watching the battle for the fate of the planet. She has bigger concerns.

[Mewtwo physically could not continue this much longer, but backing down was not an option. If he were to fall to the cold ground, there would be no one there to catch him. Because of what he was, and what he planned to do, all these humans despised him as he did them. He was alone in this fight, in complete solidarity. ]

This doesn’t particularly seem like how he’d view things. Mewtwo is very self-reliant – why would he be focused on the fact there’s no one to save him? I mean, if nothing else, what good would someone else be able to do to protect him against opponents who did beat him? Even if Mewtwo would like to have other people on his side, that desire must be buried really, really deep by now.

Plus, currently he’s fighting a wild pokemon. Remember, Mewtwo’s issues aren’t just with humans, he’s also decided to hate all non-clone pokemon. It isn’t necessarily the humans he has to fear – Mew might just finish him off, or one of the other pokemon.

[Mewtwo didn’t seem like a pokemon at all. She could sense his profound intellect, his powerful psychic abilities, and, most of all, his anger. Never had she sensed such human emotion in a pokemon.]

Misty isn’t such a poor trainer that she’s never noticed pokemon feeling anger before. It’d make a lot more sense to build on general sympathy for those injured, instead of her basically explaining here how if it was any other pokemon on the planet she wouldn’t give a damn they were hurt.

And you keep relying on having her “somehow” just hold the opinions you want her too, which is very lazy writing. Look at Misty’s character. She’s a caring person – if anything she’s more likely to be worried about an injured pokemon than a human, I mean, she does pull Ash and Pikachu from the water only to focus on Pikachu. It’s not hard to believe she’d feel sympathy for someone injured even if they were otherwise bad, and it’s a lot easier to swallow than her saying that she just knows Mewtwo should be the exception.

The escape scene is awkwardly written – they have their pokemon again, they wouldn’t just leave Misty because a door’s closed. You could have them agree to this – Misty says she’ll stay here while they go alert the authorities, for example. Or you could have Mewtwo take a more active hand in this and start blindly teleporting them away to try to protect himself, and happen to run out of energy before getting to her – kind of contrived, but if you had the other trainers try to attack him when he got back up, you could say he was focusing his energy on the immediate threat and missed her. To have her staying here for any length of time, you’d need to work in some explanation that they’re getting their memories erased, though, or something else along those lines. The trio braved a deadly storm to get there just because it was some invitation, there’s no way Ash and Brock wouldn’t be willing to risk a lot more with Misty trapped there.

[But she was too weary to do anything now; a wave of exhaustion had come over her the moment she stopped to think. With no ideas of anything better to do, she lay down on the hard ground next to the fallen Mewtwo and fell into a troubled sleep]

And this seems like a cop-out. Weary from what, watching pokemon fight? She sees Mewtwo’s really hurt, she’s super concerned about him, and yet she doesn’t make any attempt to help him but passes out instead? I really don’t see why she can’t try to bandage him up or something, then lie down.

Also, where are all the other clone pokemon in this? Or Mew, who must be in even worse shape than Mewtwo if she’s not outright dead?

Human Ch2

The plotting of this just really isn’t very well thought out. Misty not only didn’t get her pokemon, she didn’t even think to look for them before now? And there were backpacks full of potions and revives just lying around, but she decided to take a nap instead of getting them when Mew and Mewtwo were both knocked out and horribly injured?

And she’s doing the annoying romance novel fumbling over why she’s helping, when last chapter she was perfectly clear that she felt unreasonably sympathetic for him, and Mewtwo is doing the standard being confused by it, even though he already has a perfectly good box to put “human displays kindness” into – namely, that they plan to use him.

Both characters seem badly constrained by your plot. Things are moving way too fast. Last chapter Misty had already decided he was just sad and alone, and now this chapter Mewtwo is already attached to her and deeply hurt she says he’s done bad things.

[SLAP! Mewtwo’s eyes widened. This tiny human girl had dared to challenge his power… by simply slapping him across his pale face, although she had to stand on her toes to reach him. She had caught him off guard, so he had not raised a barrier, and he felt the full sting of her assault. Not that it was particularly painful, but the action itself was so bold, and shocking.

The girl glared at Mewtwo.

“You’re just a big… a big… bully! First you trap us all here and take advantage of us and our pokemon, and then I decide to take care of you, out of the kindness of my heart, and you just force me to leave and forget all about you? And don’t go around calling me ‘human’. I’m not just any human. There are billions of us on this planet, and we all have names, and mine’s Misty! Mis-tee. Got it?” This human girl… Misty… appeared irate. Mewtwo obviously didn’t consider her a physical threat to him, but she was brave, or delusional, perhaps, to stand up to him, not with her pokemon to protect her, but alone.

Mewtwo did not reply for a moment. Fine then. Stay, if you wish, although I do not understand your desire to. It means nothing to me. I will carry out my plans, and you will simply observe, and will notattempt to interfere. Is that clear, human?

“Rrrrr! It’s Misty! And fine then, maybe I will stay. Humph.”]

It’s basically standard anime romcom now.

This is one of those ambitious stories I’d really like to like, but what would make it a good story is that getting these two characters together in this circumstance is extremely difficult. So instead the characters flatten and the plot contorts until it’s the exact same badfic written in every fandom with various names.

Resistance

[Hate to break it to you, Pryce, Clair thought, but no pokemon is going to save you from 150 mile an hour winds ripping the roof off your house and taking you with it.]

That really seems a weird concern. The thing about blizzards is the snow, not the wind speed – even if there is crazy wind, if it’s a mega snowstorm, his house will be safely buried. The worry should be the roof collapsing. (And pokemon could save him from that well enough – he’d just need them to burrow into the ground to protect him.)

Plus, I’d expect the ice type gym leader of all people to be better able to judge winter weather. If anything I’d expect the worry to be about him being cut off from everyone else, or loss of power or something.

[“Why the Lake of Rage?” Pryce inquired, and Clair wondered if he was softening to the idea of evacuation. Of course, she thought, he’ll listen to Lance, but not me.]

Why, though? And if he normally completely disregards her but takes Lance seriously, why did she bother coming out to try to convince him instead of just telling Lance to go, and more generally, why does she view him so positively?

And aren’t Jessie and James pretty good at their odd jobs? I mean, they do raise enough money to keep building giant robots when they meet Ash in Johto.

4 Comments

  1. Pfft says:
    I’m going to disagree heartily here and say being used or thought of as a thing is emotionally harmful. ‘You were just created to be a tool/experiment/thing!1111!’ is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is still abuse. Are you seriously saying if two parents have a baby, and then tell that baby as it grows up that it is just an ‘it’ to them, a ‘thing’, that’s not abusive provided they don’t do anything else harmful to it?

    …and this review is like, 5 years old, so, I have no idea if you still think the same way. But thought I’d put the correction here anyway for people who stumble upon this. A review of your review, so to speak.

    1. Farla says:

      as it grows up being the key point. Mewtwo decides to murder everyone seconds after he was born. Meanwhile, every other pokemon across every canon gets treated as a tool from start to finish, complete with being called “it” and usually not even getting a name. Are you insane, or do you just know nothing about canon here?

      1. Pfft says:
        Um, okay, first, Mewtwo being nutso has nothing to do with him being abused or not. I fully agree that him deciding to murder every one is not okay. That has zero to do with whether or not he was abused a bit though. I’m not a personal fan of this fanfiction, I’m just disagreeing with the premise that someone calling someone else a tool, particularly a parent figure calling someone else a tool, isn’t abusive.

        Let’s retry the analogy without the ‘grow up’ part.

        You meet someone. They tell you you are subhuman tool. Is this abusive, or is it perfectly unharmful behavior?

        Scenario two. The only people you have ever met, think you are subhuman, and a tool. Same thing.

        Attacking my mental health for disagreeing with you is… charming. Especially your assumption that I either must be ignorant or crazy, it couldn’t possibly be that I have a slightly different perspective, or maybe that we’re using different definitions, or maybe that I could be mistaken due to any of a number of common, non-insane human cognitive errors. No, it clearly must be that I’m nuts or have no familiarity with the movie and have no idea it involves Mewtwo being a murderous asshole two seconds after waking up. You will note I never said ‘and the abuse caused Mewtwo to go mad!’ or ‘the stupid oversympathizing here by the protagonist Misty is correct’ or ‘this thus justifies every murder!’. My /only/ quibble, here, as stated, was your idea that being used (esp. by the only people you’ve ever known) does not count as abuse. It changes absolutely nothing about 99.9% of your review. It doesn’t invalidate it any way. I have no idea why you leapt straight to personal attack as if I was trying to rip your review to shreds.

        Since ad hominems pretty much destroy the ability to have a civil argument, I say, goodbye.

        It’s a shame, I was actually enjoying your website and considered this a very minor quibble. I also swear I remember you being more polite when we last spoke civilly 5+ years ago on FFnet, although my memory of those conversations is severely faded now I’m pretty sure you never called me insane simply for disagreeing with you.
         

        1. Farla says:

          It’s almost like I’m really sick of people saying, “But would feel this way about a different situation, therefore who cares that this didn’t actually happen, you are erasing the totally real abuse that this different situation would be when you say that situation didn’t happen!”

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