Oddball wrote:For the most part this is a very strong story. I think I actually like Shizune MORE here than in the actually visual novel as odd as it may seem. Much of that has to due with how her bad behavior is actually viewed as bad behavior and has consequences. She doesn't just say she'll change and everything else gets swept under the rug. She feels more human here without any drastic changes to the characters.
That's interesting, because I feel the same about Shizune's portrayal in her route in general. Of course, all of the main characters are fleshed out quite well in the game, all of them have their good or less fortunate traits, but because Shizune is such a strong-willed, driven character, everything about her, good or bad, comes across more strongly. When she does something questionable, it can really make you wince. (Not to say that Hisao the narrator actually notices all of it, but given his position I can sort of see why he doesn't.) This leads to most people either really liking her or really hating her from what I've seen, with little middle ground.
Now the story does seem to wallow in melodrama for a bit here and there. The car accident and heart attack felt a bit too over the top and Shizune deciding to transfer all the sudden with no complications felt extremely unrealistic.
Now that some time has passed since I wrote the story and I look back at the car accident plot device, I'm no longer really sure why I thought it would be a good idea. I probably figured that even if it feels cliché, a story of this genre can probably take some
over-the-top drama. Now I'm less sure, but I suspect this shall always remain a matter of taste as well.
I don't see why the school felt the need to bend over backwards to force the voting to take place before she leaves when as far as anybody knows Hisao and/or Misha could have just as easily stepped up and took over for her when she was gone.... but I suppose there's less drama that way.
My impression was that the teachers, while not being completely up-to-date on Student Council matters, did see that Shizune was the leader figure who usually got things done - they might have even overestimated her contributions to an extent. So her request to let her take care of the elections before she leaves could have been seen as reasonable.
I think my favorite character in the story was actually Kenji. You did a very good job with him. He's not just mad ranting about conspiracies and femminists like many authors want him to do, but he's actually perceptive enough to know when something is wrong with Hisao and not be easily manipulated by Hisao using his delusions against him. He's also able to keep up a charade around the female cast by acting nice and polite, which is something that's missing in a lot of people's works.
I often fear that my portrayal of a character might come off as one-dimensional, so I'm very pleased that you enjoyed Kenji's. Writing him was great fun.
Hisao... Hisao is something altogether different. At first I liked how you handled him. It was obviously bad ending Hisao who'd picked up some of Shizune's worse traits, but he goes right past self centered and competitive to vile and vengeful. I was expecting at some point to find out that maybe his spell when Misha got hit by the car was much worse than anybody realized, but no. He was just being bitter and vicious. Really, when your lead character is that unlikeable, it's hard to get into the story completley.
I did anticipate this one. The protagonist being unlikable can easily distance the reader from the story, especially
if the protagonist is also the narrator. That said, it was
still my explicit intent to make Hisao "bitter and vicious" in the "bad end" route, so I took a gamble and hoped that by that time the reader felt invested enough in the story not to drop it entirely. Sorry about that.