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12 December 2005 @ 12:32 am
The Amazingly Multi-Tensed Episode!  
Back in the prime days of Improfanfic, there was a horrible error that could be made, by any author really (myself not excluded), that would bring ANY chapter to its knees. That, my friend, is the error of tense. When you're presenting action in a way that it's either happening, or has happened, it is VERY important to remain consistent in your style throughout the story. Once a style is picked, it should remain as thus, with the possible exceptions for flash forwards or flash backs, when naturally the perspective can change.

Now this chapter was PLAGUED with this problem, so badly so, infact, that it actually seeped into my summary page, and I actually put myself into past tense during the Dan/Johnny fight. I can only hope I caught the errors in full and corrected them. My apologies if I didn't.

Now, other than that, this was a very... interesting chapter. As far as the plot for the chapter went, it was very self contained, each arc not really spilling out into the others... the only exceptions being the ongoing trials and tribulations of Bart & Rico, and our 'controversial' new friend, the mysterious figure with Orochi at the beginning of the chapter.

There's been a lot of work to have Orochi built up as [the] villain of Ultra thus far, and the Orochi fight did a LOT of damage to that in this chapter. First of all, Orochi's motives are revealed to the reader as being quite petty and silly, as opposed to grandiose and malevolent in intention. And then he's... well, to put simply, punked by Sephiroth during his fight. This goes against the entire groove of 'building up' the villain. While it did a lot for Sephiroth, this felt more like a fan's reaction to Sephiroth's Robot Carnival spanking more than actual thought out plot development.

Now, to evoke a bit of Summer's style, I'm going to do a bullet point fight by fight bit.

Fight 1: Iori vs Gambit -

Gambit takes a step towards the 'Official Jobber of Ultra' as he makes yet another competent, but losing showing. Iori was shown as a fierce fighter with a lot of brute strength. I didn't really have any bones with this fight, it was fairly well written, with a small complaint as to the silliness of the whole 'Biggest Badass' title thing. What's next "CUTEST POKEMON OF ULTRA FIGHT!" ??

Fight 2: Lina vs Naga -

This was... pretty sad. This had a lot... a LOT of potential, Lina vs Naga in a bid to free her sometimes ally and friend from the Orochi's control. Instead Lina flails around with Gourry, finds out her magic can't work, and then promptly uses that magic to destroy Naga while Naga taunts instead of attacks. Did Dan suddenly possess Naga or something? And if ANYONE can explain the "My magic doesn't work but now it does" bit to me, leave a comment. This was SERIOUSLY flawed. And the suddenss and totality of Naga's defeat... it was bad, that's all I can say. Another bit of the build-up of the Orochi team dismantled a bit here.

Fight 3: Dan vs Johnny -

I... enh. I dislike that Dan won because he was powered up, but that's the fanboy in me talking. I didn't really care for Dan in this fight. Sure, he was obnoxious and stuff.. but does Dan really need to be 'possessed' to be funny? Sure, it's set up for our CONTROVERSIAL (hint) reveal coming up, but I dunno. Anyway, an alright match, if a bit much on the back to back groin shot attack (the groin shot gets to be SO overused down the line, starting here I wager, that we actually wrote in rules to cut it out).

Fight 4: Morrigan/Team Hentai -

I don't really get Happosai's sudden 'beautiful woman' power, but whatever. It was an alright match. A bit sudden on the uber-power up of Morrigan and Lilith, but I can deal with that. Though one has to wonder why they don't do that every time...

Fight 5: Ken vs Felicia -

... ... ... Well, this would explain why ifritah has been talking like the Orochi when mentioning Aaron's chapter. There was quite a bit of OOC here, as Ken again acted like Dan, throwing attacks about randomly with no target in sight. But even still, he managed to defeat Felicia as the latter 'has no formal fighting training'. Kind of a harsh stance to throw at a new fighter... it might be interesting to see if she can overcome this preset handicap in future chapters... or maybe she won't. Either way, didn't like the way this one played out.

Fight 6: Sakura vs Shingo -

Sakura gets another win due to no fault of her own. Sigh. Either way, this was at least a decently thought out fight in the way it ended, which I can't say about much of the above. Though I wish Shingo hadn't been written as an utter incompetent... is it too hard to show both fighters as skilled when writing a fight?

Fight 7: X-Team vs the Xenogears -

You know, when you're introducing two new characters you really need to SHOW what they can do. Their first fight they shouldn't fall victim to a gimmick win, loss, or (in this case) draw. Bart shows he can use a whip, and Rico shows he can bitch. And umpteen years later I still have NO idea who these people are, though at least now I've *heard* of Xenogears (a Playstation RPG). And Wolverine is constantly being shown as incompetent. Is that the only way someone can lose in Ultra? Suddenly become inept?

Fight 8: Sephiroth vs Orochi -

If anyone can tell me where this fight was set at, please comment away. Greetings Citizen sounds familiar, but that might mean I've seen it bandied about the Internet. Either way, entirely too much of the focus was on the announcers and Tarou's name, rather than the action. The end to that fight felt hackneyed, and Sephiroth even used the wrong friggin spell to win, to boot. Sigh. And I commented above about the plot damage it caused.

Overall, the writing style was rather reigned in, and some of the jokes were funny. But the tense errors, and the rather nonsensical nature of a lot of the fights turned me off a LOT. Also, a lot of energy went into Tarou, but nothing went into 'why'. The author's notes seem to indicate that we'll get a bit more of an explanation of the next chapter, but I can only hope they explain WHY Kasumi wants Tarou around to heckle the fighters.

I was amused at how Shingo thought Sakura was cute. FORESHADOWING.

Sephiroth suddenly having a mega plot was a bit jarring, to say the least. Between his ranting at Kaworu and being put over by Orochi, you can tell that the author was giving him a HUGE push for Villain of Ultra. A bit against the flow, if you ask me, which made it seem a bit disconnected from previous chapter.

Plus, Cryptic Musings. Sigh.

Ultrarage is looming, and that gives things a sense of direction, for once, that I find myself welcoming. And despite how I disliked the ending scene completely, I am curious as to who they are, so that worked at least. (Well, I remember who one of them is).

Still, not a great chapter, but there were things that worked. Sadly, many more did not. Hopefully this chapter will serve as a backdrop for the next chapter, which seems to be a tagteam of authors which will expand on concepts introduced here, strengthening them in the process with any luck.

But still... I can't help being a bit fearful of a continuation of this chapter.
Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Fight Background Music: M-flo - Astromantic : 15-reeeewind (crystal kay) (Armitage's Dimension Jpop/Anime, 16,000+ Songs, Re
Chamelaeonchamelaeon on December 12th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
The Sephiroth/Orochi fight, if I remember correctly, the Paranoia universe (the main site looks down, try http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpg/series.php?qsSeries=19 instead)

Which is an amusing RPG but not a very well-thought-out fight location, really.
sniktchtherat on December 12th, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
The Setting is...
The Sephiroth/Orochi fight is set in the Paranoia universe; it's a very messed-up pen and paper RPG from the late 70's-early 80's, recently refurbished and re-released by Wizards Of The Coast. Basically, the entire world is controlled by an omnipotent, omnipresent, paranoid schizophrenic supercomputer, who assigns teams of citizens to become "Troubleshooters"(these are the player characters) and hunt down traitors, mutants, Communists, rebels, etc. Every person starts with five clones left; when you die, you get replaced within an hour by one. Oh, and the computer can order your death at any moment, since not only are you a Troubleshooter, you're also a Commie/mutant/traitor/rebel-as is every other Troubleshooter on the planet; the Computer just happens to make the mutants and lead the Commies, rebels, and traitors.
Steven Scougallsscougall on December 13th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC)
Two comments:

> Also, a lot of energy went into Tarou, but nothing went into 'why'

I can't remember the plot reason, but a quick answer could be that Blade and Epsilon are, like, the biggest Tarou fanboys I've ever come across. Not to mention, they co-wrote the next chapter. It's been years since I read this chapter, but I'm sure that I saw their names on the queue and thought, "Oh, Tarou'll probably make a cameo or two or five."


> There was quite a bit of OOC here, as Ken again acted like Dan, throwing attacks about randomly with no target in sight.


I would like to bring your attention to various Street Fighter games, where Ken's AI is a little... overzealous, and throws Shouryukens around, with no target in sight. The prime offender I can remember is Street Fighter Alpha 3, where Ken's AI would often do a Light Punch Shouryuken, a Medium, and sometimes a Heavy Punch Shouryuken after that, even though your character is nowhere near him or even in the air. This sequence in the Ultra chapter read as an homage to that.

It's still nonsensical, but it was a fun little homage anyway.