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Re: Yamaku Book Club (Gamble of Life)

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:01 pm
by Oddball

This time on the bookclub we look at a very special story, special to me anyway. This is the very first Katawa Shoujo fanfic that I ever read.

Gamble of Life by CosmicGhost.

It's not very good.

None of the characters really behave like actual people. What should be several chapters worth of material is rushed through in a single chapter.

Also Hisao is a gambler in Vegas that narrates things like he's a Raymond Chandler character. It's ... unusual.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180803 Gamble of Life)

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:06 pm
by Hanako Fancopter
Yeah this story is.... something.

1. Why is Emi Hanako's friend, to such an extent of traveling overseas for her and such? I'm not sure that they spoke to each other even one time in the VN. Feels like it should've been Lilly in that role.

2. There's no elaboration on why Hanako ended up in Las Vegas or what happened to put her in the hospital. Did she decide she wanted to see Hisao because she's about to die? Then why was she in Vegas already when she got hit by a car or whatever? Was she coming to see Hisao already, and then got hit by a car after landing in Vegas? In that case, the whole "might die" aspect doesn't serve as much of a purpose and seems more slapped in to add an easy drama factor. And we don't even find out which of these is the case, nor whether or not she'll actually die/have permanent injuries.

3. Why is it 6 years later? The story is just Hanako and Hisao making up after Hanako's bad ending.... it could've just as easily happened 6 days later, and would've been more believable that way. Real human beings move on at least to some extent after 6 years, especially when high school graduation is within the 6 year timespan; they're not still obsessed over a potential love interest which basically ended before it ever started anyways (as in the bad end Hanako and Hisao never kiss or, IIRC, even so much as hold hands).

4. There's no point to being set in Las Vegas or Hisao somehow being a gambler, either. These details bear no relevance to the events of the story.

Overall it seems like the author tried to make it more complex than it needed to be, and it feels artificial as a result (or rushed as others have said). If it was just set at Yamaku a short time after the bad end without any of the unnecessary stuff mentioned above, it would've been a much better, if still rather unremarkable, story.

I feel like I'm very lenient reading people's stuff until I'm not, then I'm very critical....

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180803 Gamble of Life)

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:27 am
by Craftyatom
This story was... not all bad. The core plot point - that is, Hanako and Hisao both dwelling on one moment, having something so momentary and specific eat away at them as they try to live normal lives - is good. While I do think many elements of this story were pointless/extraneous, I believe that a setting years in the future adds to this core idea. That said, as Oddball pointed out, this all goes by far too quickly. To say that any aspect of a character hasn't changed at all between the ages of 18 and 24 requires significant explanation, which this story relegated to a paragraph or two. Hisao explicitly mentions not wanting to tell his life story, but that kind of exposition is what would make this plot interesting!

The characterizations really left something to be desired - none of the characters sounded or felt like themselves. Part of that may well be because each character is supposed to have grown since Yamaku, but without any idea how that growth went, we're in the dark. It's specifically stated, for example, that Emi has probably changed since Hisao knew her - but we have no idea what those changes were! Somehow, she got involved with Lilly and Hanako, has had to deal with Hanako being injured (Was she involved? Does it weigh on her?), and is now being asked to track down a boy from their past, possibly as a last request. This could have been so interesting, but instead we just had to sit there and pretend there was a reason for it all.

The ending was also a bit too soft, in my opinion. Emi says that Hanako's on the brink of death, but that's not the impression we get at all. I expected the ending to deal with finality, and the concept that this might be all that Hanako and Hisao get after six years of anguish - they both have to make peace, with each other and themselves. All of that was sacrificed in the name of a happy ending. I have no problem with an ending like that, but don't tease us with one thing and then give us another. Perhaps say that Hanako was injured but is recovering, but her brush with death brought her clarity or urgency. Perhaps have Hisao arrive while she's at death's door, and let their reconciliation give her the strength to recover. Again, this story had the potential to do more, to delve into the intricacies and tug on heartstrings, but it never managed it.

All in all, this downfall of this story was its planning rather than its execution. The decisions to keep it short, to add elements that were completely unrelated, and to ignore key questions readers had all weighed it down. The writing was actually pretty good (except for what I think were unannounced timeskips), but the other facets of the story made it a let-down.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180803 Gamble of Life)

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:31 am
by Mirage_GSM
I only dimly remember this one - I think I can be excused for that given that it's been more than six years.

I just reread it, then reread my comment from back then and found I still agree with it completely... then read the author's response saying they "polished" it to adress som of the issues...

Now I don't usually read stories a second time if someone makes changes (unless I'm asked to edit of course), but in this case either the story was a lot worse than that before or the polishing didn't accomplish all that much...

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180803 Gamble of Life)

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:58 pm
by Oddball
Admittedly, it's been a long time since I've read it myself, but I don't remember it being much different than it is now. No idea what changes they may have made.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (Searching for a Certain Someone)

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:13 am
by Oddball

Everyone loves the book club!

Searching for a Certain Someone by demonix

(pssst. Main character, you don't have to search for her. She's standing right there. Right there!)

In this latest story we meet a character that just arrived at Yamaku not because of a disability (which he does have but it's a minor thing) but to find somebody. It turns out he's the cousin of Hanako Ikezawa. The rest of his family didn't even know she was alive until now. So he's going to find her and let her know that she still has family or something like that.

Now you would think that would be as simple as walking up to a random person and asking "hey, I'm looking for a girl named Hanako Ikezawa. Do you know her?" but no. That would be too simple for our protagonist.

Go ahead. Read it. Watch our character struggle as hard as he can to avoid moving the plot forward at all. He's a special piece of work, guys.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180810 Searching)

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:12 am
by Hanako Fancopter
Apparently he sits right next to Hanako from the start of the story and doesn't realize it's her? Despite noting in his internal monologue that the girl he's looking for probably has burn scars? The writing isn't the clearest but that's what it seems like. As was noted in the thread itself, it's pretty hard to imagine that he wouldn't be able to identify the correct person almost right away. If the author was going to go that route, they would need to set it up such that the protagonist and his own family somehow have no idea at all what Hanako looks like or where she came from, other than the fact that she's at Yamaku. Obviously this is not done.

If I had to do this, I would've used the angle that Hanako was born to a teenage mother, adopted, and never found out due to her adoptive parents' premature death. The protagonist, the son of an older sibling to Hanako's mother who is around her age, becomes curious when he befriends Hanako and learns that her middle name is the same as his last name (with Hanako's adoptive parents giving her that middle name in honor of her true family name). I don't even know if Japanese people have middle names, but it's the only way I can come up with that this plot could sort of work.

I think it still would've been better to just have the guy "find" her in the first chapter or two--there would be plenty of material as they learn about each other, what they have in common and what they don't. The author could've had a lot of ammo with gradually revealing, through dialogue and direct interactions with Hanako, exactly what happened between their parents and what he knew of her before they met, but instead all that is kind of squandered in a big expo dump right away. Instead of actually using his premise, the author uses his first couple chapters to basically re-write the first scenes of the game itself with his OC in place of Hisao, going through the same interactions with Misha and Shizune (who also act a bit weird, as they don't even tell him their names, nor which one of them is really a class rep, until Shizune passes him a note with this info at lunch).

The main character himself is also a bit flat. He doesn't seem to have much of a personality, yet is apparently a girl magnet, making him feel a bit like a self insert, and can also apparently do an age-accelerated sketch of Hanako based on pictures of her as a child (something which makes me think of police sketch artists, not a skill just anyone can do--I would expect drawing/art to be a bigger part of his character if he's this good at it). In the thread, the author says this about it:
The sketch was pretty much his way of getting a visual aid to assist him (he's good at art and such, but that's something that people reading this wouldn't know since I decided to omit the introduction since it can be rather generic and could end up being close to how it looks in the game even if I didn't use the same interests), but he believes that he'd messed things up because he thinks that his mind wasn't as clear as he thought it was.
He could've had the guy check out the art club and meet Rin--introduce the art aspect through things happening, instead of thinking it's something that would have to simply be described in the abstract.
There wasn't any further conversation as we headed for our seats, but there might have been some shocks when I pulled out the injection pen along with a needle and set everything up, primed the injection system and injected myself with a small amount of the liquid.
“Couldn't you have done that elsewhere”, the pink haired girl asked.
This part bothers me, as I don't imagine Misha/Shizune or Yamaku more generally would have any issues with someone needing a diabetes injection.

Also, the writing style which starts a new line on every single sentence is annoying.


I didn't read after the first two chapters, as the author seemed like he was more interested in making up reasons why he had to do everything the way he did rather than changing anything. But, I couldn't help but notice when scrolling through the rest of the thread...
So, without further ado, please brace yourself for the shittiest sex scene ever written along with a story that has likely added more plot holes then removed, and a story that most likely be turning into something that most weren't expecting.
I gotta give him some credit here lol. At least he owns it at the end.
"Can I ask you something", the person asked.

"It depends on what the question is", I responded as I looked towards the door to confirm that the person who walked in was Ikuno.

"Okay", Ikuno said looking relatively nervous "if a girl approached you and asked if you would take her virginity, would you accept?"
Not only does Ikuno present this in the most direct and unrealistic way possible, the affair continues to be treated like a business exchange in the following dialogue, with Ikuno calmly explaining what's going to happen and why:
"Your mother went out a little while ago", Ikuno said "and Suzu is sleeping off breakfast while using the dog as a cuddle buddy".

That's that idea flushed down the toilet, and that is likely to be my only chance to get out of this mess as Ikuno had already started to take her clothes off.

"I also doubt that your condition would have progressed far enough for that to have stopped working", Ikuno said as she removed her skirt "and as for the restrictions, there'll be no intimate contact and stimulation beyond you sticking it in and moving until you've reached your limit".
Since apparently Seiji really doesn't want to do this, according to his internal thoughts, but he never simply presents "I'm not comfortable with this" as a defense, instead resigning himself to railing Ikuno after she deconstructs all of his excuses not to do it. Then he has the gall to describe himself as "not exactly a willing participant" once they're doing it! Fucking kek. Ikuno herself gives no actual reason for this besides that she wants to lose her virginity before she graduates. Also have to relate this metaphor which I found pretty amusing.
"It looks like my theory about you having plenty of lead in your pencil has been proven", Ikuno said
Now after they did the deed I thought that this gold mine had run dry only to keep reading and find this waiting for me.
"What have you two been doing?"

Ikuno turned to look towards the source of the voice just after I quickly lifted myself up enough to look in the same direction, and found Suzu standing a few feet from the bed, very much awake now and looking at her closest friend and the guy she had only known for just under a month naked and in a position that can't be explained away.


"Just how did it turn out like this", I asked after Suzu's virginity went the way of the dodo by my... you know what.
The ride doesn't end yet, it seems. And there is another scene following in which Suzu manages to be even more cold and analytical about the whole thing than Ikuno was, literally doing some kind of sex math:
"Ikuno might not, but I certainly would if the opportunity arises", Suzu mumbled "I would like to be stimulated before you enter me".

"She really didn't give any opportunity for that kind of thing", I said "although it was probably a good thing that we didn't since my mother might have returned before we'd finished".

Suzu immediately started doing mental arithmetic the moment I finished speaking, possibly calculating how much time elapsed between when we'd finished, my mother returning and if any foreplay would have meant the sex being cut short.

"She might have", Suzu muttered after completing her calculations "but we won't know now".

This is why she's called the diva of the maths class even though she can sleep through most of it, along with the majority of any exam in that subject and can come out the other side smelling of roses as long as she knows what we're on if she's called on to answer a question.
And at the end of the whole thing Seiji thinks to himself that he "really wants his old life back." Yeah, the one without cripple waifus eager for you to deflower them with no strings attached, suuuuure buddy I bet you're real tore up about it. Let's note that all this happens after less than 5 scenes total between Ikuno/Suzu/Seiji and Seiji still hasn't talked to Hanako yet either. Unfortunately the ride truly does end with this chapter but hoo boy did this story go out with a bang.

As absurd as this last chapter is, I should note that I actually consider it an improvement over the first two, as at least shit happened. I'd rather people try to do something than play it safe (and boring). Granted the "doing something" part was executed horribly here, but if both are badly done anyways, drama is still more entertaining than mundane slice of life sequences.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180810 Searching)

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:58 am
by Mirage_GSM
I think I provided ample commentary on that story's numerous shortcomings in the original thread...
"She did see us going at it, so it's only logical that you let her get in on the action"
Right. Logical. Completely logical. Inevitable, really. Fate. Kismet. Nothing else he could have done...[/sarcasm]
In general your characters all talk about their feelings with a clinical detachment that would make Mr. Spock proud.

Still, would you believe me if I told you this story was an improvement over the first story that author published here?

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180810 Searching)

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:54 am
by Oddball
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:58 am

Still, would you believe me if I told you this story was an improvement over the first story that author published here?
Was this the author that did several "Hanako's long lost something or other" stories or am I remembering things wrong?

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180810 Searching)

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:01 am
by Mirage_GSM
I don't think so.
I'm actually not sure which story was his first, but I remember it being close to unreadable with no line breaks and sentences running on for up to ten (!) lines...

"Lost Memories" was the first, and I have the example for the run-on sentence in post #2.
It seems there are four stories by demoix other than this one, and he's had problems with reality checks in each and every one. He even managed to get SC to complain in more than one thread, and you know how rare that is...

From my comments:
RE: Lost Memories wrote:Another thing is the scene between Nagisa and Akari:
He just confessed to the girl he's been in love with for two years.
She admits that she's been in love with him as well...
...and the next thing he says is "let's not start dating until after graduation in case we meet someone else we fall in love with? And she agrees?
I don't know if you've ever been in a relationship, but... let's just say, telling a girl you love her and with the same breath telling her you'll keep your options open for other girls is going to put your Social Link in reverse...
RE: Walking Forwards wrote: I guess you probably think you thought of a good reason why Hanako would try to approach a person as abrasive as your OC...
Hanako is betting more than 500$ just out of the blue? And on a bet the objective of which cannot be objectively argued with a tone deaf-person?
RE: Rebuilding a Broken Heart wrote:Secondly, if you ever come upon a person with amputation injuries - I cannot stress this enough - don't drive him to the hospital yourself!!!
RE: Flower and Snow wrote:If her father knew about the history of heart problems in his family, wouldn't he, you know, have his daughter checked by a doctor to see if she also has it before she almost dies?
Reality check please: His parents decided not to tell him that they would send his sister to the same school he would go to? His sister didn't tell him either, despite being - apparently - an obnoxious brat? They'd rather send his sister after him a week later rather than send them together?

Re: Yamaku Book Club (Adventures of Sherlock Hisao)

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:34 pm
by Oddball

This time we look at a story where Hisao and Kenji are master detectives.

No, no that one.

This one.
The Adventures of Sherlock Hisao!by Rocket Royal

It falls heavily into the "zany humor" category and and demolishes the fourth wall on a regular basis. Personally, it's not my thing. It's a little bit too out there, but there are parts I really enjoy.

Except for the last chapter. I don't know that that has to do with anything, or even if it does.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180924 Sherlock Hisao)

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:03 pm
by QuietlySomething
Personally I enjoyed this one for what it was, although I do have to admit it was basically petering out more and more with every chapter. Still, I liked the terrible detective narration and dialogue. Especially in the first chapter. Hisao comes across less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Charlie Kelly doing Sherlock Holmes. Though some of the Kenji jokes were pretty phoned-in.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180924 Sherlock Hisao)

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:05 pm
by Hanako Fancopter
Yeah I have to say, this type of humor is just not my thing. I don't know that I can necessarily say it's bad because I think it's just a style that I personally don't enjoy. It very well may be well-done for what it's meant to be. It reminds me of the "lol so random" type of comedy that you see in something like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180924 Sherlock Hisao)

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:54 am
by PKMNthiefChris
Now I like random humor, I find it genuinely funny a large portion of the time. But I really couldn't make heads or tails of it since even as joke versions of the characters, the only character identifiable by way of actions was Kenji.

Re: Yamaku Book Club (20180924 Sherlock Hisao)

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:50 am
by Craftyatom
I found this one absolutely hilarious. From the very beginning (the whole "supple body" and "thread count" metaphor), I knew it was going to be a laugh. It did get less zany as the chapters went on, which was a shame, as that was really its greatest strength, but I still found myself enjoying it. The ridiculous metaphors, the overused tropes, the possibly-intentional ironic mistakes... it was just a bunch of fun, in my opinion. I hope the author didn't feel trapped after the Iwanako chapter, because there are a million and one ways to jump from that back into the kind of wacky fun the first two chapters had - it would be a shame if they never realized that.
Oddball wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:34 pm
Except for the last chapter. I don't know that that has to do with anything, or even if it does.
Given the title of that last post, I can only assume that it's a short continuation of The Most Surprising Thing (a very good story by Griffon8), centered around a (hyperbolic) metaphorical description of a Scrabble game. As for why it's in that thread, my best guess is that the author decided to collect all of their works in one place.