Yamaku Book Club (20191111 Two Old & Colourful Pieces)

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kaserkin
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by kaserkin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:52 pm

Ah, Developments! It's among my favorite fanfics, as well as one of the first I've read, and I hold it in the highest regard, so do not expect me to be objective when I talk about it. While it doesn't have the scope of After the Dream, another of my favorites, it is an epic in its own way. It covers a lot of ground from the point of view of most of the main cast, and everyone is well written, including the OCs dewelar used. The first chapters are a very enjoyable read, with the whole Emi-Hisao-Hanako triangle being set up, but I think the twist of Lilly's return shakes things up and greatly improves the story. Hisao's last chapter is probably the greatest individual chapter I've read on this site. Hisao's past is rarely the focus of the KS fics I've read, and so many interesting insights of it are given in a single chapter. The very original take on the Nakai family, Hisao meeting some of his old friends, the reunion with Iwanako that doesn't go too well,... Everything in the chapter works is awesome!

The only "issue" I have with it is that it ends "too well". I think everyone's story deserves proper (and happy) closure, but I feel the return to "normalcy" is a bit out of place, especially for Lilly and Hanako, who went through a lot of soul searching only to end up very close to where they started. That's the impression I had, at least.

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:03 am

The worst thing one can do to a story is to have every single character end up in a happy relationship by the end.
For one thing it destroys the suspension of disbelief, for another it feels like their lives are over now. It's happily ever after. No moreinteresting things happing in their lives from now on. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Developments did great on that front. It gave every character some kind of closure and still hinted at their stories continuing afterwards. I'd love to see the story of Nori continue, because I feel there is a lot that can still be done with her character. Not sure Lilly or Hanako would even have to be in that story in any major capacity.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Mahorfeus
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Mahorfeus » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:21 pm

Ah, Developments. I recall saying that it wound up being more than twice as long as I anticipated it would, and boy, I wasn't kidding. It started out with a deceptively simple premise, but as its title implied, quickly developed into something far... longer? More complicated? Convoluted? Ah, better is the word I'm looking for. :D

I found myself questioning a lot of dewelar's decisions as the story went on, especially when it came to OCs and blank slate characters. Noriko and Yoshi for example, were characters I initially found extraneous. But now, I can't imagine the story happening without them. There are a few plot points that I still do find a little unnecessary, but as more and more characters got drawn into the web, a lot of them began to feel necessary by default. Regardless, it all tied together very well! I find it hard to put my feelings into words without repeating what the others before me said.

If I had to put forth one major grievance, well...

It might sound weird, but the final chapter felt like a bit of a downer ending to me. It wasn't bad or anything... it just wasn't the kind of ending I wanted for the story, which is stupidly selfish, of course. For all the closure that the other characters throughout the story receive, I felt that the chapter threw in a lot of unresolved, last-minute conflict, which was especially painful for me because a lot of it rested on blank slate characters that, up until that point, had no presence in the story. I understand that "life goes on" and "happily ever afters are unrealistic," but just from a narrative standpoint I found it frustrating. For me it had almost overshadowed everything Hisao and Emi had managed to accomplish, and even the appropriately saccharine epilogue couldn't uplift my spirits afterwards.

But alas! Asides from my being a sucker for happy endings, I think that my feelings on the matter are just an indication of how much I grew to care about the characters. Petty complaints aside, it still ranks as one of my favorite fanfics on this forum. Never have I read a story that ties so many of KS' characters, established or otherwise, into such an entertaining story.
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:10 am

Oh yes, Hisao's parents... On that I agree. starting THAT conflict in the last chapter was unnecessary. It's one thing not to resolve all the conflicts of all the characters in the story, but introducing new characters in the final chapter just to start a new conflict that ends up unresolved is a little bit evil...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Hoitash » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:24 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Oh yes, Hisao's parents... On that I agree. starting THAT conflict in the last chapter was unnecessary. It's one thing not to resolve all the conflicts of all the characters in the story, but introducing new characters in the final chapter just to start a new conflict that ends up unresolved is a little bit evil...
Evil, but realistic (I enjoyed his mother's reactions for their realism, but do agree it seemed a bit late to be throwing in more horses in the race.)

Developments sometimes is a victim of its own web of characters, and as I said Hisao and Emi's relationship sometimes seem like an ancillary part of the story. Perhaps if they were brought more into focus Hisao's parents could have been brought in sooner, but now we're starting to meddle in Dark Places, and I don't like to do that before I've had coffee :)
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Oscar Wildecat
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:09 pm

When the chapter with Hisao's parents came out, I commented over the course of the story "...the relationship matrix of Yamaku has shaken up over the course of the story, and a few major breaks have occurred, what's come out of it seems to be a new and hopefully better whole. On the other hand, back in Tokyo, things have seemed to fallen apart completely, with the exception of Iwanako and Mai." In this, I would include Hisao's sense of belonging.

Now, my feeling is that the point of the conflict was that it wasn't there to introduce a new plot point to be resolved, but to help illustrate how Yamaku and it's environs have become Hisao's true home, and that he's moved on from who he was before that ill-fated winter day. It could been done differently -- maybe, possibility, probably -- but I'll leave it to the experts to decide.

A couple of other random thoughts on the scene (in both senses of the term) with Mrs. Nakai:
- Thinking about it, it is interesting, a bit refreshing to see Hisao's parents disapprove of a Yamaku girl. Usually in fanfics (esp. Hanako fics) the Nakais are unnaturally approving of Hisao's girl of choice.

- As a thought experiment, I asked myself how that scene would had played out if Hanako had been Hisao's girl of choice. (After all she's not "missing anything".) The thought experiment did not go well. In a nutshell, I see this Mrs. Nakai trying to turn Hanako into some sort of Iwanako v2.0, loosing sight of the girl in front of her. [I don't see either Hanako or Hisao putting up with this for too long, though.]
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by brythain » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:51 am

Our colleague Oddball has posted a nice long review of Developments at [this link] in the story thread. I thought I'd save him the trouble of repeating his extensive post while helping readers find it at a later date. Enjoy!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Oddball » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:03 am

I wasn't sure if that needed to be posted here or the main topic. Since I was a bit late to the discussion, I decided to go with the main one.

Oddly enough, I think I might be more critical with the stories that I really love rather than the ones that are just good or decent.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by dewelar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:06 am

Oddball wrote:Oddly enough, I think I might be more critical with the stories that I really love rather than the ones that are just good or decent.
I am very much the same, so I understand.

Responses to come soon. I'm trying to wait until towards the tail end of the review period to respond so as not to influence the discussion too much.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Mahorfeus » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:53 pm

Just an odd thing that sticks out in the final chapter...

The circumstances of Hisao's birth/conception still vex me. In particular, the way he tells the story to Emi. He states that his grandfather was deliberately vague about the details. What convinced his parents to try again after all of that grief?

I have two pet theories regarding this.

1) They didn't actually "try" at all, so to speak - Hisao is actually adopted. That he has a heart condition was just a sick twist of fate that struck his mother emotionally.

2) Hisao's mother made a Faustian bargain. She sold her soul in exchange for a healthy birth. This blasphemous ritual was the real source of the drift between her and her husband. (Okay so I'm mostly kidding about this one.) :twisted:

I am probably reading waaaay too much into this, but when you have crack theories about a fanfiction, well... :mrgreen:
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by brythain » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:43 am

Our colleague swampie2 has posted yet another interesting summary comment up on the Developments thread: [LINK]
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by brythain » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:12 pm

A long time ago, I developed (haha) the habit of trying to summarise every work I read in one sentence. For example, Gajzla's Miki:Fragments is 'more than 30 chapters about Miki worrying about her past', and my own After The Dream is '200 chapters of bleak' (thanks, BM; but no, not really). Developments is '66 chapters about Hisao resolving his love-life while growing up'—or so I would've thought before. On a second re-read, it's a lot about solving, resolving, and re-solving. Those characters enter into conflicts with themselves and others that might seem naive, repetitive, convoluted or silly—but that's what real people do.

I actually wrote a short review of each chapter, most of which I've shared with dewelar. I'm thinking of assembling those short shorts into one big one, but I'm not sure it would make for good commentary or discussion.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Blank Mage » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:14 pm

brythain wrote:A long time ago, I developed (haha) the habit of trying to summarise every work I read in one sentence. For example, Gajzla's Miki:Fragments is 'more than 30 chapters about Miki worrying about her past', and my own After The Dream is '200 chapters of bleak' (thanks, BM; but no, not really).
God damn it, Bry, you're never going to let me live that down.
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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by Leaty » Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:16 am

brythain wrote:A long time ago, I developed (haha) the habit of trying to summarise every work I read in one sentence.
So is MTtB "an incomplete sequence in which Hisao Nakai abandons his girlfriend to a life of eternal suffering"? :P

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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Now Showing—Developments!)

Post by brythain » Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:23 am

Leaty wrote:
brythain wrote:A long time ago, I developed (haha) the habit of trying to summarise every work I read in one sentence.
So is MTtB "an incomplete sequence in which Hisao Nakai abandons his girlfriend to a life of eternal suffering"? :P
That... sounds terribly familiar! :D
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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