The problem isn't the twist itself; the problem is that it's a death
twist. Particularly in this fandom, writers have a problem with springing death on us like it's an idea powerful enough to make up for any shortcomings in the narrative. This is lazy microfiction. It presumes the last sentence justifies everything that came before it, and... it doesn't. At the end of the day, it's the fiction equivalent of this prank:
You pull out the "gum," and your finger gets snapped. It's slightly painful. Truly, the height of comedy.
And though this is a technically a "story," and a dramatic one, it actually is
rather joke-like in structure. This is a pithy story—only 1300 words long—and the last sentence is a punchline. Annnnnd... that's it. Yep, the author sure did trick me. I sure did give this person my attention for a few minutes. This sure was a thing.
There's a reason why "major character death" is a filter on Archive of Our Own: more often than not, death is just a hackneyed, lackadaisical attempt by the author at grasping for a few moments of relevance. That's, I think, why this story bothers me so much: Functionally, there's not a whole lot wrong with it, but it certainly couldn't have been challenging
to write. It's like if somebody microwaved me a plate of plain hot dogs—thanks, I guess, but I could have just stuck the dogs in the buns myself. If you're going to set out to write a story like this, you have to commit to more than what the author committed. And, no
, you don't get to end it on the swerve—that's the height of laziness. Even twist endings need a denouement, otherwise you're just R.L. Stein.
And by contrast, look at Reconciliation
—it plays with the premise a little, but that's basically the gold standard for dyed-in-the-wool Death fics in this fandom, and you'll notice that the first three chapters of that story are not dissimilar to this story! And yet it goes on for another seven. It's not an epic story, but it is
a rather long story by fanfiction standards. If you're going to kill off a character in this universe (and I like
Death fics—I don't
like Haha-I-Played-a-Trick-On-You-Now-Have-Feelings fics) you have to do it at least as well as Robnonymous did. At least, you do if you want me to care.
Some other stuff:
• Sorry, I don't believe any school (or any parents
, for that matter) would let a student transfer out four months prior to graduation. it's just absurd.
• I don't know why people are saying the letter seems unrealistic—that's one of the few things in this story I don't have a problem with. It's not at all unusual for people who've decided on suicide to assume a bubbly, ecstatic demeanor, having finally found a solution to their problems—it's why sudden improvements in the attitude of depressed people are often a serious warning sign. Personally, I've read more than a few suicide notes that had a similarly chipper tone. I mean, I've actually attempted suicide myself (it was like a decade ago and it wouldn't have worked anyway, nobody panic) and it looks fine to me.
The only line that really
seems incongruous is "Anyway, I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how I was getting on."
• I know Misha said a lot of vaguely suicidal things in the VN, but... I'm going to have to take some offense at the idea that she's going to off herself because her unfulfilled love grew distant. It feels like a reinforcement of the "queer people be killin themselves lol" stereotype, and... Bleh. Like, there's literally
an old trope called Dead Lesbian Syndrome. If the topic of suicide had
to be explored in a fanfic, couldn't it have been a different character? Misha Dies Because Tragic Lesbian is, much like the concept of character death in general, way too easy. If I were to write this fic, I'd have killed off Hisao
. It would have made for a slightly more interesting story.
• Sad Hisao Drinks Whiskey might not have been a cliché in 2012, but it certainly is now.