Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Guest Poster » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:31 am

If you come across any spelling/grammar snafus, just PM me about them and I'll fix them.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by bhtooefr » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:26 pm

Alright, partial decompression (and a sleep cycle) complete, enough to share my thoughts.

First off, thank you for writing this.

I don't have anywhere near the level of trust issues that Hanako has, and for the most part my anxiety doesn't hold a candle to hers... but the way you portrayed her anxieties resonated perfectly with me. I was in tears through much of this. I've... been in some of the really bad emotional places that your Hanako went, and I also understand the effects of being unable to handle a situation and knowing that I should just know how to handle it or just not be anxious about it, and feeling horrible about it, all too well...

I actually have mixed feelings on the exact implementation of the ending, for some reason, but I understand why Hanako went that way. Besides, the title wouldn't have worked without that ending.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Guest Poster » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:07 pm

Is it because it permanently invalidates your OTP? ;)

To be honest, I briefly considered making the ending more open, but in the end, I felt that if you open the door, you also have to walk through it.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by bhtooefr » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:15 pm

Actually, no, and I didn't think my OTP was going to happen in this timeline anyway. ;)

It just strikes me as burying part of who she is (although she acknowledges that in a way), and quite literally making herself in a legal sense, anyway, a dependent, even though she herself doesn't see it that way (and, to be fair, the Satous would have treated her like a daughter anyway). It's not exactly a rational thing, but I don't think it's what I would've done in her shoes (but, I'm also coming at this from an American point of view, not a Japanese point of view...)
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by brythain » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:49 pm

Guest Poster wrote:Is it because it permanently invalidates your OTP? ;)
I did a double-take because I saw 'invalidates' and OTP and wondered what bhtooefr's one-time-password had to do with anything. :D

But it is, after all, a Hanako epilogue!
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:10 pm

Having read through the story (which was probably the longest piece of fiction that I've read in two sittings since Steven King's The Stand), I can safely say that Sisterhood is still one of the top three KS Fanfics on the Internet. Actually, I'll go ahead say it's the top fanfic, by virtue of being complete :).

I did notice a few spelling, grammar, and formatting errors in the document. However, I expect that with any post from even the best writers, and I expect that they'll disappear as time allows for corrections to filter through (as happens in any good fanfic).

The only quibble that I see content of expanded story itself is the business that the Satous are involved with. Given the nature some of the exports of Hokkaido (beer) and Scotland (whisky), and the nature of Akira :wink:, it has been my headcanon that the Satous are involved in the brewery/distillery business. However, as this is my only quibble, I can say that this is praise through faint damnation, as it were. (Also, I can see why you made the choice of business you did for your story.)

So, two thumbs up!
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Mahorfeus » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:15 pm

I wasn't a big, big fan of the original, but I did think it held up rather well. This however... I'm working my way through it slowly and methodically, but I can't help but worry that you've jumped the shark. The original chapters wrapped up so nicely, perfectly keeping true to the story's name, but to somehow follow everything past that up just feels like too much. Maybe this complaint is premature; maybe I haven't just given it enough of a chance. Once I somehow find the time to get all the way through this, I can offer a better structured opinion. Sorry if that sounded kind of ranty. :oops:

At any rate, I hope when that time comes that I can offer an opinion that isn't totally half-assed.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Guest Poster » Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:03 am

bhtooefr wrote:Actually, no, and I didn't think my OTP was going to happen in this timeline anyway. ;)

It just strikes me as burying part of who she is (although she acknowledges that in a way), and quite literally making herself in a legal sense, anyway, a dependent, even though she herself doesn't see it that way (and, to be fair, the Satous would have treated her like a daughter anyway). It's not exactly a rational thing, but I don't think it's what I would've done in her shoes (but, I'm also coming at this from an American point of view, not a Japanese point of view...)
Final Chapter spoilers:

Well, in the VN Hanako does bring up the fact that she was up for adoption during her time at the orphanage, but was never adopted unlike most other kids there, as a negative so my hunch was that if she had the chance in the past, she would have accepted it. For all practical purposes, the Satous were already treating her like part of their own anyway. Akira, whenever she was in Japan, went out of her way to hang out with her. She was allowed to celebrate New Year with them and sleep over together with Naomi and Jun, even without Lilly around. It seemed in character for me for Hanako to want to repay those gifts by taking up the official responsibilities and obligations that came with making it official, rather than forever be treated as an honorable friend of the family. She says that much in the last scene with Miss Yumi. She's essentially saying: next time you want me to do something like help Lilly with her computer, don't say please anymore. Just ask me to do it. Or, in her own iconic words from the VN: I'm here for you as well.

That said: from a Japanese point of view, the practicality might be enough of a reason already. Instead of having to worry about three social stigma's (orphan, deformities, mental health issues), she'd merely have to worry about two.

The only quibble that I see content of expanded story itself is the business that the Satous are involved with. Given the nature some of the exports of Hokkaido (beer) and Scotland (whisky), and the nature of Akira :wink:, it has been my headcanon that the Satous are involved in the brewery/distillery business. However, as this is my only quibble, I can say that this is praise through faint damnation, as it were. (Also, I can see why you made the choice of business you did for your story.)
Somebody else already mentioned that, but the Satou family business was actually a lucky coincidence. I looked up something about Inverness economy here and medical technology is apparantly a central part of Inverness economy that's, as Lilly's mom mentioned in the fic, been stimulated by the government. It provided a good justification why a Japanese company would get involved in a company in Inverness. Scottish whiskey didn't seem like a good family trade. ;)

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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by dewelar » Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:11 am

Okay, now that some reactions are starting to trickle in, I will post my thoughts. When I found out this was happening (during our exchanges about my use of Miss Yumi, I asked Guest Poster about the possibility of doing a chapter from her PoV, which led to the revelation that this was in the works), I was somewhat skeptical, and in fact warned GP that it was likely to be seen as "messing with perfection," but I also couldn't help but get hyped for it, since the original is my favorite Hanako-centric fanfic, and in my top five KS stories overall. It came out at a perfect time for me, since I'd just posted my chapter and was already intending to take a break before diving into the next one (which, coincidentally, will also be Hanako-PoV), so I dove right in. I finished it at about 7:30 this morning (essentially staying up all night to do so), and have been carrying on a rather extensive discussion with GP via PM.

Overall, my reaction to the new version of this story is that it was mixed, but tending toward generally unsatisfying. My one-line summary for it is "Was this trip really necessary?", so that should give you some idea of what I'll have to say below. Some of the issues I've raised have been addressed to my satisfaction, but some still remain. I will try and keep it relatively short, since GP has already heard about most of this in detail :), and also as spoiler-free as possible.

I'll start out by saying that, as expected, this was very well written. Yes, there were some errors, but nothing too big. So, here's the stuff that stood out as particularly good:
  • The author obviously put a lot of effort into the writing of this story. This especially shows up in the amount of research that is evident, and the level of detail into which he goes in many scenes.
  • The stuff involving Lilly's family. I thought this side of the story came off very well, and quite realistic. It made me want more of it -- I specifically commented to GP that I wish he'd touched more on Mayoi, and...well, I appreciate his response, but it didn't change my mind :wink:.
  • The H-scenes. These were very well-written. Probably the best that I've seen in the KS-fanfic-verse.
Now...for the somewhat longer list :( of stuff I didn't particularly like:
  • Plot contrivances. There are a few, but one of them in particular -- Hanako saving Mr. Satou from a heart attack -- seemed to be...just too convenient, and the setup for it too obvious. I actually predicted a fair amount of the rest of the story based on just this event. As I said to GP, I nearly rage-quit reading altogether at this.
  • I thought a lot of things in this story were made too easy for Hanako. Without going into too much detail, on several occasions plot points were introduced that seemed to be there for the express purpose of greasing the skids for Hanako's development and/or recovery. For me, that kind of cheated me out of being able to take pleasure in said development and/or recovery when the skids did indeed get greased. This was one of the main contributing factors to my "unsatisfying" judgment.
  • Related to the previous point, it really seemed that a number of people (as I put it to GP) bent over backwards so far for Hanako that they looped through their own legs and came out facing her again. The worst offender was probably Miss Yumi, and it bordered on ruining that character for me, but it really applied to nearly every character in the story. It made it feel like nothing that Hanako accomplished in this story was a result of her own agency, and I think that cheapened the ending of the original version where her convincing Lilly to stay in Japan was entirely a result of her own agency, and represented a major growth point for her. I guess that means that in this story -- to me at least -- her character regressed, and not just from the standpoint of her breakdown.
  • The odd feeling that, despite appearing otherwise on the surface, the stakes for Hanako were never as high as they were in the original version. This is something I've been thinking about quite a bit, and I think that while it's partially because those of us who knew the original version knew that things would all wind up neat and tidy at the end, which they did, I think it's also that, unlike the original version, not only was it apparent that Hanako wouldn't lose anything, I found myself thinking that, in the end, it felt like Hanako didn't really gain anything either, or at least nothing she didn't already have. That kind of rendered her portion of the story not particularly compelling to me. Hence the one-line summary above.
  • The incredible disappearing Hisao, who I thought should have played a larger role in the latter half of the story than he did. He seemed to have been relegated to bit player in favor of others, especially Mr. Satou. It just seemed odd given his place in Hanako's life.
  • The frequency of H-scenes. A few too many for my taste, especially in the earlier chapters.
  • An...overabundance of detail, to the point that it sometimes interrupted and/or bogged down the flow of the story. This was especially evident during the time the characters spent in Scotland, but it also popped up from time to time throughout (e.g., Naomi's seizures).
Anyway, obviously this is all my opinion. I'll be continuing to think about this story for some time to come, so that in and of itself is noteworthy. I just don't know if I'll read it again in its entirety (for comparison, I read the original version at least three times straight through, and occasionally read individual scenes or chapters, and I'm not even sure I can do that anymore because I'm not good at that type of compartmentalizing). That may change with time, of course, but for now that's my assessment.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Guest Poster » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:28 am

I wanted to briefly touch on the matter of agency, which I didn't mention in my PMs before.

My view on Hanako's recovery speed was initially based on Cpl_Crud's words that it would probably take several more years before Hanako would be completely self-sufficient and given Hanako's state at the beginning of her route, where she was barely able to function in even an accommodating environment such as Yamaku, I kind of got where he was coming from. That kind of stuck in the back of my mind while I pondered the notion of how Hanako would do once back in "the world outside".

With that in mind, I started placing additional emphasis on interdependence, rather than just independence. In other words, rather than have Hanako leave Yamaku as a completely independent individual, which would have been unrealistic in my mind, I had her start focussing on building a small network of people around her she could rely on and who could rely on her. Relying on others without feeling like a millstone or obsessively keeping score all the time is not something Hanako used to do well. Learning to be part of a network of people and feeling comfortable with it would arguably be a rather significant gain in its own right, especially for Hanako, whose limitations were always more social than physical.

Regarding the main plot contrivance you brought up: I wanted to set it up, only to have it fail later on, setting up the point to Mister Satou that obligation alone cannot carry a family, especially not with Hanako, which kind of referenced back to his own family dynamic which was almost completely built on obligations of various kinds. Ultimately the deciding factor was not an obligation, but the personal attachment he and his wife developed to Hanako. Though I suppose it could still qualify as a contrivance.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by ogorhan » Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:26 am

Oh my as one of my favourite fanfics (and first) around here I kinda have a mixed feeling about it, on one hand I'm really glad that the story gets expanded but one the other hand, where am I going to find the time to read it all :mrgreen: as I have this nasty habit that if I like something or piqued my interest I tend to go through it all in one sitting. Think the longest one I read so far was Scissorlips Suzu route.

Anyway I may have to read it from the beginning as I cant recall much that happened from memory. When the time comes and I finally go through it all, I'll share my opinion.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by dewelar » Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:12 am

Guest Poster wrote:Learning to be part of a network of people and feeling comfortable with it would arguably be a rather significant gain in its own right, especially for Hanako, whose limitations were always more social than physical.
This is a fair point, and one I probably could have mentioned. I just think perhaps it would have been better if it had been portrayed in a way that didn't seem to diminish her main accomplishment in the original. Again, my opinion only, so YMMV.
Regarding the main plot contrivance you brought up: I wanted to set it up, only to have it fail later on, setting up the point to Mister Satou that obligation alone cannot carry a family, especially not with Hanako, which kind of referenced back to his own family dynamic which was almost completely built on obligations of various kinds. Ultimately the deciding factor was not an obligation, but the personal attachment he and his wife developed to Hanako. Though I suppose it could still qualify as a contrivance.
To be clear, the contrivance to which I'm referring was not the heart attack in and of itself, but that Mr. Satou happened to have a heart attack in the presence of Hanako, who happened to have recently witnessed Hisao having a heart attack, and further happened to have recently received training in dealing with heart attacks. Like I said, a bit too convenient and too obviously set up for Hanako's ultimate benefit. As far as the end result, would they have had the opportunity to create the attachment you mentioned without those pieces in place? I don't believe so, thus it eventually leads to the same place. The way it was handled from this point on was for the most part top notch, it's just that the impetus that set off the events felt artificial to me.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Guest Poster » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:46 pm

As far as the end result, would they have had the opportunity to create the attachment you mentioned without those pieces in place? I don't believe so, thus it eventually leads to the same place.
That depends.

A large turning point was Lilly's dad being hospitalized, the buried tensions in the family coming to the surface and the disfunctional family unit falling apart, only for Lilly to start making an effort to piece everything together again in a more functioning shape. If that turning point had taken place, but there had been no obligation towards Hanako (i.e: the ambulance team arrived soon enough to avoid a worst-case scenario and Hanako's role had been limited to emotionally supporting Lilly), things still might have gravitated in that direction. Lilly's mother would have grown attached to Hanako regardless. She mentioned that Hanako gave her a familiar vibe right from the start, which caused her to emphatize with her daughter's friend. Their shared interest in writing would have done the rest. Sor...ugh...Karla didn't accept Hanako's invitation to visit the newspaper club out of obligation, but simply because she enjoyed it. The same is true for her decision to sponsor The Broken Quills or work on a project together with Hanako, Naomi and Jun. Karla's not a believer in the rigidness of "giri" to begin with and her interactions with Hanako are completely unrelated to any obligations.

Lilly's dad would be harder to place. He wouldn't have made that proposal to her just like that. That's not to say Hanako wouldn't have piqued his interest; her love of reading and her dating a heart patient would have raised his interest regardless. He's just usually a proponent of the slow-and-steady approach and tends to focus on long-term results often at the expense of the short term. If his daughter and his wife would have asked him to consider the adoption proposal at some point, he wouldn't have gone along with it, but he would have approved Hanako spending more time at their place in order to test the waters and gently get to know her better. Things definitely would have taken longer that way though.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Okay, now that some reactions are starting to trickle in...
Seriously? Not only one but several people are already done reading this monster?

Ahem... Where was I? Oh yes...

When GP asked me a few weeks ago to proofread his story his exact words were "I feel obliged to mention in advance that my story is not among the smaller stories ever written."
Quite an understatement... It didn't look so bad at first until I noticed that the story had completely broken google drive, and only fragments of it were displayed. Then I got the docs...

I'm sure there will still be a few mistakes left over, because for time reasons I only went over the whole thing once.

As for my opinion - well, obviously I discussed many issues with GP directly, and I dont really want to disclose plot points that were changed from the original - that's for GP to decide - but my view is pretty close to what dewelar wrote:
The level of detail and research that went into this story is probably without equal on this forum. That is especially true for the various facets of Japanese society from the exams to the work mentality. My two favourite scenes are the depiction of Naomi's seizure and that of Karla's early marriage.
I also think the H-scenes are among the best you can find here - and yes, despite that I also think there are way too many of them. (I don't think I'm disclosing a changed plot point when I say that at least one and a half such scenes have been completely removed during editing.)

The plot contrievances are something I noticed as well, but I didn't mind them very much. Yes, Mr. Satou's heart attack was announced several chapters in advance, but this story doesn't live from it's surprises in the first place...
I thought a lot of things in this story were made too easy for Hanako.
I'm not quite certain what you mean by that... My impression was quite the opposite:
Hanako made giant leaps of progress during the first part of the story. Then after the breakdown she regressed beyond the point she was at the beginning of the story. It wasn't "two steps forward and one back", it was "three steps forward and five back". Also, all the trust she had started to show - mostly towards Hisao and Lilly, but also towards Naomi and Jun - was completely gone and her state showed no sign of improving even a little for a long time. That was something that seriously disturbed my suspension of disbelief.

In summary, I think it is a very good story - though a bit too dark for my tastes in some places. Objectively I guess it would be among the best stories here, though as far as my personal enjoyment is concerned, it misses the top three.
A main reason is that it is still in essence a Hisao X Hanako story. The way to the ending is quite a ride, but the fact that we all know how it is going to end takes away a lot of tension.
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Re: Sisterhood: True Edition (Hanako Epilogue) (Completed)

Post by dewelar » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:31 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I thought a lot of things in this story were made too easy for Hanako.
I'm not quite certain what you mean by that...
To clarify, I was talking about external factors, not her psychosocial issues.
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