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[sticky post] Fanfiction Up and Done

I have completed my Naruto Fanfic, Within The Mist, after a lengthy hiatus. It's long, at 24 chapters, but I hope that someone enjoyed it.

Within the Mist
A young boy who is plagued by weakness; a woman who cannot love. Shikamaru is given a secretive mission to Kiri by the Mizukage who hid his true intentions beneath a mantle of friendship. It is there that four paths will intercept and forever alter.
Naruto - Rated: T - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 24 - Words: 181,664 - Reviews: 68 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 19 - Updated: Aug 15 - Published: Feb 23, 2008 - Shikamaru N. - Complete

I also rewrote my World of Warcraft Fanfic, Ganked V 2.0, because the original was deleted by Fanfiction.net without warning. I am still angry about that. The rewrite is different in tenor from the original, being more serious and less satirical. It is also a three times longer, at sixteen chapters instead of five. But I am satisfied with the result.

Ganked V20
An orphan girl meets a mysterious green eyed elf as a child. He shows her kindness and gives her two gifts: a small pendant and a future. She vows to find him one day and express her gratitude. When they meet again, she does not know he is the same elf and he does not remember her, but they are drawn to each other. Yet his hatred proves stronger than love, leading to betrayal.
Warcraft - Rated: T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 16 - Words: 72,931 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 12 - Updated: Aug 13 - Published: Jun 28 - Blood Elf, Human, Orc, Dwarf - Complete
I won't be writing anymore Fanfiction for Naruto or World of Warcraft, since I no longer active in those fandoms. But I do have some Dr. Who and Skyrim Fanfiction in the works. I am also happy to announce that I am in the process of writing a short, original story that I will post on FictionPress once it's done.

~OP 
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Feng Shen Ji is Boss

Feng Shen Ji: The Boss of Manhua

Ever want to read a manhua/manga that was unapologetically macho? Tired of the power of friendship? Tired of the pretty boys, the glasses girls, and the generic stupid, spiky haired hero?

If you answered yes to those questions, then I have the manhua (Chinese Comic) for you.



This manhua is so awesome, it blows nearly everything else out of the water in unapologetic testosterone fueled furry and over the top theatrics. Big dudes aren't afraid to be big dudes. Even pretty boys kick some ass. And when it is time to unfurl a special move, call it a gloriously long name and make it a full page splash.



Oh, and did I mention it was in color?

Plot? OH yes, plot...I was so entranced by its awesomeness that I forgot about plots.

The story revolves around a young, spoiled prince (Wu Geng) whose world is turned upside down one day when his father dies in a futile battle with the gods and his mother self-immolates herself (and his body) in an elaborate funeral pyre. Lucky for him, his mother turns out to be a god as well, making him a demigod. She may have killed his body in a fire, but gifts his soul short term autonomy allowing his soul to switch bodies, saving him. He chooses the body of another boy, (Ah Gou) recently killed but otherwise intact. Provided with a new name and face, the gods believe that he died in the fire along with his mother. Believing their victory over the rebellious immortal and her mortal husband are complete, the gods forget him.

Wu Geng, in his new body, picks up a fiancee (Bai Cai - who was betrothed to Ah Gou) along with it and they both are sold into slavery, doomed to mine until they die. But he does not give up. There, he meets some friends, a renegade god, and a few villains that become important later on. He also becomes increasingly bad ass, so when he finally is able to meet the gods to get his revenge, he triumphs (at least initially).

He is also very selfish and craven and likes doing things on his own. He does have spiky hair though.



I suppose the hair can't be helped.

But his story doesn't end there, which is fortunate for us who enjoy a good drag down, beat up manhua in all its glory. The wiki is here for those who want more details. Since it's not been picked up for publication in the US, one can go to any scanlation site and read it without feeling an ounce of guilt. But, if it is ever licensed this one of those series that is definitely worth the buy!

littl3x gives this manhua
XXXX out of 4.

The Space Between the Stars - Original SciFi

I am in the process of writing a story, The Space Between the Stars.

The first three chapters have been posted up on Fictionpress and can ben found here:
https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3238554/1/The-Space-Between-the-Stars

The synopsis:
Despite growing in separate parts of the country, orphans Artie and Laz shared a connection that neither could explain - a mysterious power that set them apart. Along with their explosive friend Hash and the silent but blunt Modi, they go on an adventure to discover the source of their powers the secret behind their birth.

Rated "T" for language, mild violence, and adult themes.

The story was conceived about ten years ago, but due to my lack of experience and motivation,  it never took off. I don't expect this to be a classic, and I have no illusions of getting it published (self or otherwise), as it is still a "practice" story. Most authors write a great deal that never sees the light of day.

However, the creative process cannot be stopped, and I wish to share my first long forey into original fiction to receive constructive critisism and improve my craft.

I hope you enjoy it,

~OP

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A Tale of Two Cities - Thoughts

Originally posted by littl3x at A Tale of Two Cities - Thoughts
There are some books that stay with you long after they've been read, like a delicious meal savored hours after its been savored and its plates washed. The feelings and ideas invoked in the story linger on long after they've been fully digested by the mind. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens is such a book.

Despite the fact that it has many Dickensian elements that are quite easy to spot, such as contrived coincidences, the book has a great deal more depth and nuance than any of his other works.

First of all, the characters are not completely one dimensional walking ideals. The true hero of the story, Sydney Carton, is an anti-hero, who doesn't realize his true potential until the end. The villain of the story, Madame Defarge, is also a somewhat sympathetic creature. She was made the ruthless tigress, as she is described, by circumstances.

This is a little different from some of the other, earlier tales, in which characters were either totally good, to exemplify everything that is good in the world, or utterly corrupt, to exemplify that which is evil. I don't fault him for this. It was a literary device that he used at the time in order to explore issues of the age, but it is refreshing to see something a little different.

Second of all, the themes he uses of duality and redemption are multifaceted. Charles Darney was willing to redeem the sins of his fathers, despite the fact that he was not responsible for them. This noble act of redemption, which meant facing the guillotine, was foiled by Sydney Carton, who died in Darney's place. This act served a dual redemptive quality. In it, not only did he redeem himself, but also the name of a family he had absolutely no connection to.

Some have likened his act of redemption to Jesus, but I think that there is a problem with that analogy because he was not just dying for the sake of another, but also for the sake of himself. It is an imperfect allegory. This was done purposely to humanize the redemptive act. In short, the final famous phrase has more impact because it he is it is done by someone who is so fallen, that losing his life is his only salvation.

Dickens is, despite his revulsion for the baser acts of the revolution, sympathetic to it and it shows. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Manette's testimony, written during his time at Bastille, is read. In it, he gives an account of the events that led him to be falsely imprisoned in the first place. The description of the treatment of the serfs is pretty bleak, and surprisingly explicit considering the time period in which it was written. But, my favorite line in the whole book can be found in it, as Dr. Manette leans over to treat a young man who is mortally wounded.

The young boy tells Manette, "We common dogs are proud too, sometimes."

It contains some powerful imagery and interesting characters. His wordy, overly descriptive Victorian style, which is sometimes a hindrance, works very well giving us a sense of the period through language. The dialogue was impressively handled, nuanced and consistent with the individual's characterization. Darney, for example, is properly reserved and aristocratic, despite his humility, while Carton is properly roguish and snide.

This isn't a real review, because I am not qualified enough for such a task. But I hope that my thoughts on the subject will encourage someone to pick up the book and read it. It really does deserves the title as one of the great English classics, but that has already been determined by those much greater than I.

~OP
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How not to ruin a character: Naruto edition

One of my favorite characters in Naruto became Sakura because I liked that she was flawed but was trying to better herself. This is a bit of fresh air when it comes to heroines, who are oftentimes portrayed as nearly perfect but with a few quirks.
However, I have to admit that the way that Kishimoto has treated her has made it difficult for me to continue to like her now that the series is about done.

This should also be titled, "What not to do with romance."

So, on to my rant.

  1. If Sakura is supposed to be the main character's romantic interest, which she has been since the first chapter, then why is she portrayed constantly fawning over some guy who doesn't care about her?

  2. If Sakura is supposed to grow throughout the series, why is she still pining for a guy who doesn't care about her and has treated her like garbage throughout the series?

  3. Why did he have to write the fake confession? That is one of the most character and pairing damaging scenes I have ever read. The scene made her appear callous and conniving I noticed that there was a sharp increase in Sakura hate after that and NaruHina love. Is there any question why? The same scene could have been done if she had spoken to him in private instead of in front of everyone, and without a fake confession.

  4. Why, only four chapters ago, did Sakura have to cry and beg Sasuke not to go using almost the exact same wording she used at the end of part 1.

  5. If she is supposed to end up with Naruto, why have her confess her love once again right before the series ends?!

  6. If she is supposed to end up with Sasuke, why did she end up getting rejected so nastily? Why has there been no real indication that Sasuke loves her back? There have been no flashbacks of any kind that imply that he cares about her more than Kakashi, i.e. an extension of his new familial ties.


The whole thing has just been completely bungled starting with the fake confession on. I am still confident that the end pairings will be NaruSaku/SasuKarin, but it's not been a good ride. If I am right, it will just be an empty "victory" for me. It will not even be a victory, but rather just an indication that I know how to read through a narrative, no matter how badly it may be.

Although other elements of the story remain pretty good, and I am glad to have started the series and I will miss it now that it is over, overall Sakura's character has been demolished. Kishi has taught me what not to do with a character or romantic subplot. It has been an very instructive lesson indeed.

~OP 
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Naruto: The Last thoughts on Hinata

I have a few thoughts about the movie that is coming out. Although I am not as invested in the manga as I used to be, I am a little excited about the movie coming out because it will serve as the epilogue to the series that will end in about five weeks.

During the past several months, we have been getting teasers about the upcoming movie. The latest one has me a little worried for reasons that some may not have noticed.

As many have pointed out, we haven't gotten Hinata's new design until now and even that is vague. This has lead many to wonder if she's somehow crucial to the plot and even a love interest. I don't know about that, but I was a little concerned when I finally got to see how she was portrayed in the poster.

At any rate, I just noticed something that I'd like to point out:

the-last-movie-hrjcjuz

While everyone pictured -Sai, Shikamaru, Sakura, Kakashi, and Sasuke- face forward, looking determined, Hinata's entire demeanor is the opposite. Everyone is facing the future, ready to fight, while her eyes are downcast and sad. She is looking into the distance but also inside herself. Her focus is entirely inward. The wind which ruffles her hair is blowing from the right, as it is with everyone, indicating that she is facing away from them.

This is even starker when you see the entire poster:

the-last-naruto-movie-16yejkr

The scarf, which everyone's making a big deal about, is blowing in the exact same direction. The implication could be that they are all standing in the same area, at least metaphorically speaking. This means that she is facing away from Naruto.

Now why does Hinata look so downcast? Why is she sad? Why is she facing away from Naruto?

This worries me about Hinata's character because this looks like the standard "tragic Heroine" look I've seen in anime/manga posters before. To give an example, here is one from the Kenshin OVA.


216177

Although not downcast, Tomoe's face has that same faraway, introspective look as Hinata's. She's also facing away from Kenshin, who is looking directly at the audience.

Inuyasha's official art is also littered with a similar theme. Although not always portrayed the same, Kikyo is generally modeled in similar fashion. She is almost always facing away from everyone, looking up with a faraway, sad expression.

08hvjsjocyzekhr-jpgInuYasha-Poster-C10285334inuyasha01_a

This is also true of Sesshomaru, but rarely ever of the heroes (and at times the villain, but that seems to depend on the poster), who all face forward with determination.

At any rate, looking away from the audience and the main characters, while the wind blows her hair, is standard fare for tragic heroines. I don't think that Hinata will die, since this is supposed to be for kids, but it does have me somewhat concerned and may reveal hints concerning the plot and why she has not been shown until now. Perhaps she will have a very important role to fulfill in the movie, but not one that most people are expecting.

At any rate, that's my .02.

~OP
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badass

Reaction Naruto 693

After reading the latest chapter, I have a few thoughts.

First, let me start off by pointing out that this was a terrible chapter for Sakura's development. I had honestly thought she had been moving on from her childish crush and into a more clearheaded understanding of Sasuke during the war. This was reinforced by Kakashi's comments and her own "ugly" smile when she realized that Sasuke had his own motives for fighting the war.

She also had the most interaction with him since part 1 that she's had in years. And what does she get? Ugly words, being ignored, being told that she's worthless, and having Sasuke command Naruto to leave her for dead. Neither she (nor Kakashi) were important enough in the fight and therefore would only serve as a distraction, he said, which devastated her. During almost the entire time she was with him, she had this "kicked puppy" look on her face.

So when I start reading the chapter this morning, I see her make this glorious face of righteous anger at Sasuke while he was threatening her teammate and friend to death, my heart swells with hope.

I think, "Oh boy! She's really going to tell him off now! She's really going to show him that she's not his doormat." But what do we get? We get the exact same confession she did back in chapter 183, without her begging to go with him. It was the most pathetic display I have ever seen from any character anywhere. It made me want to hurl.

Where does she get the idea that he has any feelings at all for her? What are those small feelings, whatever they may be, that could possibly keep him there? She begged and cried the first time for him not to go, and what did he say? No. This time, he not only calls her pathetic, he figuratively kills her. Let me be blunt, there is no forgiving what he did. Even if it is genjutsu, he still actively made her believe that he killed her and he did it out of spite. He didn't have to do that.

Secondly, this chapter was also bad because no one called out Sakura for her foolish inclination. "Love is a complicated thing," says the sage. Kakashi scolding Sasuke over his refusal to cave in to her crying and begging doesn't help. As a team leader, he should tell her to STFU because she's being stupid.

And where was Tsunade in all of this? She mentored her for years and never once did she have a talk with her? She never said that her crush was a bad idea? Did no one sit down with her and point out that this guy is an abusive jerk who doesn't like her at all so she should move on?

This comes to my third point. Not a single person treats this nasty, unhealthy obsession of hers with the contempt it deserves. No one in the manga is telling her to quit it. Everyone is understanding and sympathetic, instead of telling her to be strong and get over a guy that's tried to kill her literally and figuratively.

Right now, Sakura is a pathetic character. It makes me sad to say this because I don't hate Sakura. I actually like her character, but she has disappointed me in so many ways.

This is one of the reasons that I like Shikamaru so much. He isn't the only character who isn't riding Sasuke's junk. He disapproved of Ino's feelings for him, and told her so. This is what real friends do.

As an aside, I really can't stand Hinata either. Her "Naruto-kun's" get on my nerves. She needs to find another reason to live that doesn't involve Naruto. Any female in this manga is better than the two supposed Heroines. I don't care who you present to me: Ino, Temari, Mei, Shiho, who showed up all of three chapters. They are all superior.

Sad.

~OP 
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7 Seeds, Revisited

When Iast wrote about 7 Seeds, I had just finished Winter Team's introductory arc, which I still count as one of the best arcs in the entire series. I think it's because I have thing for beautiful, quiet tragic events as opposed to the more dramatic Team Summer A background arc, which came soon after and showed the horrors that the team members had to endure in order to be picked.
At any rate,I spent half of the review complaining about Hana, one of the main female protagonists in the series. The fact was that I wrote about Hana a great deal because she was a Mary-Sue. At least she was one at the time. Let's review for those who didn't realize she was Mary-Sue:
     

  • Was liked by everyone

  • Showed few, if any, character flaws

  • Was smart, athletic, and brave

  • Her boyfriend was somehow also a part of the experiment

  • Was very pretty, something that was emphasized in the introductory artwork

  • Had two men (one of them a 30 year old virgin) at her beck-and-call, slavishly helping her find her boyfriend instead of doing what normal guys would do in that situation, which is actively woo and then loose interest once it was clear she was unattainable

After seeing so many flawed, realistic, and sometimes unlikable characters in that manga, she was so obnoxiously perfect that I almost quit the manga all-together. At the urging of a reader of my last essay, that it would "get better," I decided to give it another go. That's when I got to the Team Summer A arc and the "Underground Bunker" arc, that spurred me to love the series once again.
But when I got back to the adventures of Hana, I expected more Mary-Sueness and general assery. I figured I'd gloss over things and make the rest of the story more tolerable. At once, I began to see a difference in how her character was treated. Although she was still herself, she began to show more faults, insecurity, over-confidence, reckless behavior and even jealousy. It's almost as though the author decided to present us with the stock "heroine" and then deliberately deconstruct her before the reader's eyes. It was a pleasure to see. This doesn't make her weak or evil, she's just a normal person who happens to be beautiful and really adventurous.
Of course, this hasn't gone very well with some of the readership, who liked her being "perfect," even if they aren't willing to admit it. And to be honest, many heroes in our stories are nearly perfect because they are a reflection of our idealized self. Even if they don't start out that way, by the end of the tale, they blossom into a near-perfect illusion of what we would want to be.

The second reason that I have completely changed my mind about the necessity of the character, who I once viewed as a derailment of the story and its themes, was that I realized that she was needed to balance out Natsu's character. As I am reading now through the newest arc, it seems increasingly apparent that I missed what should have been obvious from the start: that in the beginning there were supposed to be two main heroines. In order for it to work, the characters must contrast each other. The contrast helps offset the characters, as well as create different perspectives. Although Hana seems to be a flawless, Mary-Sue at first, some of her strengths are actually weaknesses, that have landed her in trouble in the past: her impulsive nature lead her away from her group as to "not to be a burden," when in reality, leaving would cause her teammates to worry.

At any rate, that is about it.

I know I haven't written anything in years and I don't expect anyone reads this anymore, but I really didn't have the time. Now that I have the time, perhaps I will start up again.

~OP

Games I Miss Playing: Descent I and II

One game I really liked playing as a kid was Descent. Descent was a first person shooter/flight simulator hybrid released in 1995 by Parallax Software. The plot was fairly simple to follow. In the game you played a mercenary, hired by the Post Terran Mining Operation to kill off all of the Robots in their mine which were infected by a virus that made them rebel. Called the "Material Defender," you were go into the mine while picking up various weapons and shields and the like, kill each robot encountered until at last you reached the generator, which was also bent on killing you. Then at last, the whole mine was destroyed while you escaped the carnage through a conveniently placed exit.


The reason we got the game in the first place was because Dad was in the mood to shoot and kill things on a computer. He got the Wolfenstein 3D demo disk and loved the game. We all loved the game. I played it even though it made me dizzy (a problem that's kept me from playing fps even to this day). But that guy's face in the bottom of the page was so funny. Besides, what's better than killing Nazis? However, my mother was horrified. Look at all that blood! Look at all that violence! So, father was forced to find other means to quell his hunter/warrior instinct.

Then entered Descent. I remember the day we got it too. We were at a shop that sold computer stuff, and there were several games in a bin. One of those games was encased in an attractive dual-colored box, which had a shine to it, stamped with a blue sphere in the center that was covered in lighting. It was all very inspiring and dramatic. The best part about it was the title, which was typeset in big, bold, white font a cross the top.

DESCENT.

It made one wonder, descend into what, into where? What would we find once we descended? What mysteries would be discovered? Was it into a hole? Into a deep cavern?

Dad read the description in the back of the game and discovered that it was all about hunting robots. Mom approved! So off it went home to be installed. It ran on DOS. Yes, it's that old. While all the kids watched (back then my younger brother was about eight. I'm sure it changed his life forever), dad broke it in and played the first level. It must have been funny to observe as we all tilted our head forward and back, mirroring the ship's moments as he navigated it through the 3D environment.

From then on, it ended up being a family staple. I played it for hours; dad played it for hours. Sometimes the little brother would play for hours too, after he got tired of just watching. Even my sister, who didn't play it, would watch. Soon, all the robots had pet names: the roach, the scrapper, the Red Kahuna, the Big Kahuna, the Kahuna King- lots of Kahunas.

Besides the nostalgia, the game itself was excellent. The environments were clean, but not too bad for their time and the maps were large and expansive without being confusing. It was easy for me to get lost, but I've gotten lost in every game I've every played, so it almost doesn't count. The upgrades and challenges were layered on well. The game didn't allow you to rest on your laurels, but neither did it rush you.

I also liked how the levels were set in different planets or moons. I believe the first level was in our moon, with the second level being in Mars and so on. Since I would never travel to those locations, being there in a game and exploring them from within sparked my imagination.

The music was also pretty cool. I consider it my introduction to aggressive electronic music.

Descent II was also fun with a cute guide bot to help you out and lead the way, but overall, I've always preferred the first one.

This is a video of someone playing the first level of the first game. Watching it now, I can't believe I forgot that part of it involved rescuing captives.


What a great game from a by-gone era. It's rather underrated nowadays, almost forgotten. Despite it's rather obscure state, it stands as one of the best classic games from when the PC was gaming king. 
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Games I Miss Playing: SimCity 2000

One of the games that I really miss playing is SimCity. I’m not talking about SimCity 3000 or any of the new fangled additions to the franchise, which are all great, I’m sure. NO. I’m talking about the second game of the series, SimCity 2000, released in 1994 and one of the first games I ever truly enjoyed.  

The whole game was genius, beginning with the introduction, which has to be one of the best intro middies in the history of intro middies. But the actual game play, simple and addictive as it was, was what actually kept my butt on the chair for hours.

Everything was easy enough to do, from laying down roads and electricity, to selecting zones. There were a lot little things that presented satisfaction, from watching the plumbing connect and become blue with rushing water, to filling out random empty squares with small parks and windmills. 

Another appeal to the game was the godlike powers it gave you. Not happy with the road? Well, I’ll just erase it.  Tired of the complaining about “new roads” and “fire stations” from people who don’t appreciate the time and effort you took to make the city (and refuse to pay taxes)? Well, there is always a tornado or two that can take care of that.

Some of the more frustrating aspects of the game had to do with trying to lay down roads or electric wires up/down awkward terrain. That is when I began terraforming before even starting a new city, and it became a passion. I made dozens of different terrains, from rocky mountains, to level green pastures, and even a series of islands in the middle of the sea. All of these held a different city with a unique appeal. But my favorite cities were always the ones with busy ports and lots of water for beaches.

As the game progressed, I began to care about my pixilated people. I did! Even though most of the time they were simply in their blue cars, moving from place to place like ants, ignorant to the fact that their all-seeing major was watching over them. I cared for each and every need like they were each my own little child.

 

Nah.

 

The fact is that making a city is easy, but once the city is made, trying to keep it profitable is something else.  Inevitably, my cities would descend into chaos, riots, and protests before I finally got tired of the whole endeavor and blew it away with several acts of god.

But that was the fun part. It was the destructive element after everything was created. I loved it. I loved the whole process. I loved being able to create something so complex and beautiful and the have it crushed and burned at a whim. It gave me a god-complex, but only while playing the game. :cough:

Watching the city go, growing and moving on its own was one of the best part of the games. After all that winding and preparation, it breathed a life of its own, evolving and mutating into something that was never quite like any other city I had seen before. It was magical in its own way, although I could sometimes tell when I city would turn into a dud. Those cities didn’t even get a respectable, fiery end. No, they were simply erased from existence, into the void of unsaved cities, never to be seen or heard from again.

SimCity 2000 and SimCity 3000 were the only two games of the franchise that I played. By the time SimCity 4 came out, I was in college and couldn’t afford it.  All other SimCity games that have come out since then have gotten lack-luster reviews, so I’ve stayed away. After all, there is no need to go out and soil something good. At any rate, out of the two, I preferred SimCity 2000 and miss playing it to this day.  

  • Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic