|Reviews for Out of Time|
| Tzarista 7/22/07 . chapter 31
| Clorinda 7/14/07 . chapter 31
Oh, yeah, this story was definitely strange, but very, VERY interesting kind of strange. Distinctly original, and it's infinitely better than even a non-run-of-mill time travel story, because the basic storyline is intelligent. I like the idea you're projecting here: how Kenshin will survive in the Revolution and how Battousai will survive in times of peace.
I liked the plot as well.
But first off, I should warn you this review is going to be uncensored-ly long, and patchy. Sorry about that, but this story is so long, I'm writing as I read.
Sano's etched out marvellously, and all of them are in perfect character. I particularly liked Misao — you've got her down to pat — and you actually made me like Yahiko! The way he realizes Battousai isn't Kenshin is SHARP.
However I am too deeply ingrained into prejudice; read: didn't like Kaoru. After Battousai hallucinates, imagining she's Tomoe, I really like how Sano describes her: how she's "tough," but "goes to pieces" when Kenshin's hurt. But she does seem to be in a permanent state of catatonia and nail-biting worry around Battousai in the beginning, which makes her a bit annoying. (I like the explanation for it, though.)
I like Megumi's characterisation here a lot. She's not overassuming, overbearing, thieving, scheming, nothing. You've got her professionalism neatly in a bottle. "They worry because they care."
Battousai's reaction to the pink was so utterly prosaic from Sano's belief in machismo, it had me choking in fits of laughter.
Hiko was brilliant when Kenshin appears in his shack in 1865. He was perfectly in character, and the entire Hiko-Kenshin dynamic was completely believable.
"And he’d never admit that the reason he’d drunk so much sake last night was because for the first time in several years, it had tasted good again."
That was sharp, and stung. The Hiko you've portrayed is both tetchy and cynical, and poignant at the same time. That he would never turn Kenshin out, made him very human. Simultaneously, stuck in 1878, Battousai's yearning to see Hiko again, his calling the "weird old hermit" a somewhat "father,"— well, in a very limited number of words you've captured that relationship without saying a thing explicitly.
Even aside from the parental tendencies, it was brilliant to see Hiko fed up with Kenshin's "obsessive humility." Just the kind of thing I was always waiting for him to say in the anime, but he just somehow never did.
Saito in 1865, conversely from Yahiko, is SERIOUSLY slow on the uptake. I completely cracked up at the part in the sixth chapter:
["Was this Himura Battousai’s father? It would explain a lot."]
"But there were times that it was difficult, even for Saito Hajime, to tell who deserved to be at the other end of the blade."
Ouch. "... even for Saito Hajime" seems to take into account both of Saito's past and present selves: the honour-driven soldier, and the side of him that's hell-bent on making harmless Meiji-era Kenshin turn into Battousai.
I definitely liked how you're using the historical version of Okita, especially by incorporating the sandanzuki move; the guy in the anime really doesn't fit into a war scenario.
Sano versus Yahiko:
[“Do you have a one-track mind or are you really that stupid?”
“This coming from you…”]
(But seriously, once one hears that Yahiko believes Battousai is a long-lost brother out for blood, 1865-Saito really isn't so dumb after all...)
Definition of "probing analysis":
[He paused, forcing thoughts of Tomoe from his mind. No. This is Meiji, not Bakumatsu. I won’t be ambushed here. Kaoru-dono won’t be kidnapped. No one will try to use her to get to me. Those times are over.
Then why do I carry a sakabatou in Meiji?]
I loved that bit.
I also loved that conversation between Kenshin and Katsura in the latter's room at the inn, where Kenshin finally finds the courage to tell Katsura what he really thought of those years of selfless service that corrupted him.
[“But sending a child to kill, turning him into a drawn sword… Even for the noblest purposes… That is not right.”]
The last part is so simple, yet it stings.
["But I now see that a sword can also protect. I am still a drawn sword, Katsura-san. That will not change."]
Ouch. That's fatalist-cynical but somehow, it seems to sum up Kenshin nicely.
Kenshin's dream was good. Normally, dream sequences annoy me, but this was neither prophetic nor bumbling. Kenshin's mind knew exactly where he was going, and the precision of each location made it stand out. Particularly I liked that exchange:
[“Why are you doing this, Saito?” Kenshin asked darkly, prepared for the next blow. “You aren’t one of my demons.”
“Perhaps, but you’re holding one of them in your hand.”
Kenshin’s eyes turned to his drawn blade. A true katana.]
Saito's being sentinel of "Aku Soku Zan" to the extent that he tries to exterminate evil even in Kenshin's sleep, well, while I appreciate the gravity of it, the effect is a little comic. (I keep imagining Saito going around the place with a can of bug spray.) Also, it's interesting, how even if Kenshin wants *Hiko* to kill him if he loses sight of his vow, Kenshin's subconscious mind makes Saito take up that responsibility.
Battousai's hurt when Sano believed he killed the thugs in the marketplace was sad. Here comes Sano implying he'll stick with him through thick and thin, and at the sight of an unsheathed katana shatters Battousai's attempt at adjustment. The latter was probably too dignified to say, "Life sucks if people think you're a murdering creep."
It was both intelligent and interesting to note Kenshin's wounds acquired in 1865 appears on Battousai in 1878.
The revelation that the boy on the bridge was Sano, was a little trite. Unexpected, definitely (I thought it would be the Ushiro guy, but in retrospect, that's illogical, since Kenshin would've recognized and remembered him), but did it *have* to be one of Kenshin's nearest and dearest?
*But* I like how Kenshin ultimately goes back home.
The description of Kenshin waking up on his first morning in 1865 was particularly good:
[The clothes felt heavy, as though the weight of a hundred deaths clung to the material as well ... With each action, his movements became more automatic, until he put on his sakabatou and suddenly caught himself reaching to where his wakizashi normally would have been.]
Regardless of what I feel about Kaoru, I really, really like what you've done with her character in places. For example, Kaoru and Battousai:
"She felt as she had when he’d left to face Shishio. Like he wasn’t really here with her."
It's a whole new perspective (for me, at least) since I never really thought that while Kenshin was gone, Kaoru was preserving a part of him in her heart. And now, to project those feelings to explain her relationship with Battousai ... well, it's both ironic and good.
[“What’s wrong with you?” She blushed, realizing how that must sound. “I mean, I know you’re sick… but you aren’t yourself. You left me in the marketplace.”]
Ouch. That last part makes Kaoru sound less concerned for his emotional stability, and more needy.
That moment where Battousai wipes away his blood from Kaoru's hand was soft and poignant. [Finally he spoke. “Your hands have never been stained with the blood of others, have they?” he asked gently.]
I've noticed how, in your writing, you constantly try to fit "Kenshin" into one of his many personas. It's interesting to note that around Kaoru, he's "Shinta," pure and devoid of bloodshed, and not "Kenshin" who put bloodshed behind him.
The short, brief description of the Ishin Shishi's reaction to Battousai spoke volumes of insight:
[He could feel their relief as he passed. Relief that their protector, their guardian, was alive and hadn’t left them. But they were still afraid of the demon he had been not so long ago.]
[Nozomi blushed at being called “dono” and lowered her eyes.]
Since I've watched the anime in dubbed English, I've never actually heard what suffixes Kenshin uses. Could you please explain the "-dono"?
I like Ushiro. He's nice and friendly. I like how you describe his top-notch quality, saying he's not a hitokiri, but just as good because he can hide himself and others. It shows a different side; how you don't necessarily have to be kill-with-one-slash-only to be considered "top agent." Methinks there will be romantic liaisons between Ushiro and the serving girl, Nozomi, since they're the only two OCs who've been given names and fleshed-out characters.
I like Katsura's pragmatic professionalism that overrides his emotions and qualms. He's a leader before he's a man, and will use Kenshin to whatever extent he can for the sake of the Ishin Shishi, regardless of what his morals are screaming. Cold, but *that's* a leader *and* a man. Kudos. I really like his characterisation.
I liked the Shinsengumi interludes (yes, I was one of those people with fingers crossed for Saito's appearance.) I didn't *quite* like him in this story, but I like the way his mind works. Assuming Shishio is a ruse to take attention away from Battousai is just so *military*— it's like you're reading their minds. Kondo and Hijitaka work well and logically for people who don't know for sure the story behind the scenes. I like their idea that Shishio's defence line is low, and Battousai is his rear guard.
"But Sano was different. And Battousai wasn’t sure how to deal with it."
Battousai's solitary reflections were deeply psychologically revealing. It seems to show that without orders and without a mission to kill, he *believes* he's no one, and that's how he loses his way.
I like how he warms to Yahiko so instinctively:
"Yahiko was just a kid with an overactive imagination. Battousai smiled a little. But he’d always liked kids. Kids could see things as they really were, and it was one of his only comforts to know that they would still come to him."
Given his circumstances, Battousai *does* seem a little messed up: his only "friends" are people who have no expectations of him.
His mind seems to run to Tomoe wherever he goes, rather consolidating my aforementioned belief. It's touching and poignant and sad, his puzzlement with the flowers, his not knowing where he stands.
"Where had he found flowers in this weather? Had someone grown them indoors? Or had he grown them himself…?"
"As his soul cried out for justice… and a part of his heart died."
That was like an icicle, shooting straight through.
I like how he finally gathers his wits and puts some steel in his spine instead of moping:
[And he suddenly thought of Kaoru. “I’m doing it to you, too,” he whispered. “It isn’t me you love, but someone I could become. And I’ve stolen that from you ... I won’t make the same mistake twice.”]
I always keep forgetting how and why Kenshin's attached to the Kamiya dojo and its mistress. I like what she says:
[“What if he thinks I don’t trust him anymore? The only reason he ever stayed in the first place was because I didn’t care about his past.”]
I like all the military-style meetings cropping up. The Oniwabanshi one was particularly good. I like Okina's spirit; he looks more like a leader than the ribbon-bearded one in the anime, even when the latter gets serious.
And just when I thought the self-pity was dissolving, it got transferred to Kenshin. It's the timeline, isn't it? Regardless of who you are, you'll get stereotyped.
But honestly, it's probably not Kenshin's fault the way he's reacting to the situation, but he seems to be *over*reacting. From what I've seen in the anime, Tomoe is a ghost he's laid to rest. He's not forgotten her, but she lingers at the absolute back of his mind. So it doesn't seem very credible to me that the moment the Kano fellow starts libelling her, Kenshin snaps back to thinking he's a "sword."
To be honest, it's how I envisage Battousai reacting, not Kenshin.
However, I liked Ushiro in that scene. I like how he apologises for Kano's crassness, but is fair and backs him up at the same time.
(Love Ushiro's letter about Battousai's "statistics" and the ensuing conversation about it— the whole thing was terribly sad.)
But I like how the memory of Kaoru pulls him back to reality. Funnily enough, I don't mind Kaoru as long as she's intangible to him. In fact, I actually like her. The way he carves her name into the wall to be his rock in the sea is touching.
Once again, it was intelligent and interesting when Hiko finds Battousai on the bridge. Time travel ... he actually remembered when a thirty-year-old Kenshin came to him in 1865. And I like how you've written that exchange; I like that Battousai is still as arrogant instead of being reduced to tears (or at least, some semblance of humility, now that he gets to see Hiko again.)
Hiko's pep-talk in his hut was good. *Very* good. Definitely a highlight.
I *loved* the last two scenes in Chapter Sixteen. You make me revise my opinion of Kaoru every two minutes, because I really liked her in this one. It was soft, good, and romantic. One of the reasons time-travel is a good (albeit unusual) element you need to have if you want a good love story.
Harada versus Kenshin in the streets of Kyoto was good. The Juu-ba-ta- Kumichou is another favourite character of mine. Kenshin's brief "encounter" with Captain Sagara was touching. Was there really a notice hung there?
I liked how Hiko's everyday life brings a bit of humanity into Battousai. He hasn't philosophised in so long, I should have seen it coming, but it wasn't bad philosophy. The ceramic seemed to fit Shinta-Kenshin-Battousai a little *too* perfectly, so I had a hard time figuring out if he was telling the truth or not. I *adored* Battousai's utterly prosaic reaction.
Chapter 19 was distinctly confusing in the beginning. Why did Kenshin act as if he'd not gone to see Hiko as soon as he arrived?
[“Don’t make her haunt you, Battousai. Don’t condemn her to wander at your side and force her to see your pain. ..."]
I have figured out by now, is that the strength of your writing lies not in your plots (which are definitely better "than average") or writing style (with regard to prose alone— it's so-so; what one basically expects from a talented writer)— but in the one-liners and the observations. You are an amazingly perceptive person. Whether it manifests itself in everyday life or not, I don't have a clue, but it sure as hell emerges in your writing. Looking at your prose, one would say: "she's an okay writer; nice plots." Looking at your "one-liners" the only thing one manages to say, is: "genius."
[“Shit,” Hijikata growled. Hajime. The one who claimed that it wasn’t Battousai at all. Even better. “Come in.”]
Loved the beautiful Nagakura-Saito contrast. Nice to see the Shinsengumi isn't either kow-towing or being dead scared of him.
As a massive Saito fan, I am touched and whooping with joy that he would risk his life to bring back Kenshin Himura. I LOVED the entire exchange (one for the history books of fanfiction, if you ask me) and I like the finality of that statement:
["For Japan. Always for Japan."]
(I wonder how much of it he really meant— Battousai's not been killing in the Meiji, and Kenshin in the Bakumatsu could always lower the death count.)
Before Battousai goes to fight Saito, I really like his conversation with Kaoru, especially where he *wants* to hurt her to take away his own pain. And when Tomoe comes into the conversation, although Kaoru sounds like a petulant child, I really like how Battousai asks for until the Meiji to heal his scars.
Loved the double-edged-sword comment when he promises Kaoru (as he's going) that he'll come back.
I like how Shishio unexpectedly comes out of the shadows to help Kenshin. (Usui was an unexpected twist— and so was your take on how he was blinded.) I like Shishio a lot, and the multiple contrasts brought up at the end of Chapter 26 are amazing and ironic— *that* is talent. Or is it genius?
Saito's ego is unbelievable and brilliant:
"There would be no real point in defeating this boy, except to show that even at thirty-five, this wolf was still deadly. But that wasn't the point. ... He needed to fight the older Battousai, because he needed to prove to himself that Meiji hadn't destroyed everyone he'd known. Needed to know that Battousai at least had remained the man from his memory.
... That was why he had to win now. Because if this boy didn't go home. If that man died in the past, Saito would never know.
And that was unacceptable."
I liked the two fights: nice and simple, easy to follow. I LOVED Saito when he threw Kenshin into he river "just as he had done thirteen years ago."
More examples of supreme insight: “I may regret my choices, but I remember my reasons.”
Now this is one thought involving the word "choices" that I very much agree with, probably because it doesn't involve that other word "consequences," LOL.
In Chapter 29, I really like how Kenshin corrects himself:
"The familiarity of the ki. Of his surroundings. Of the *voice* woke him up."
In the same chapter, there's a typo:
"He also never brought up the river or the bridge. Kenshin still wasn't quite sure how to breech that."
It should be "breach," because "breech" is normally used in the plural to denote something else altogether.
The last meeting with Hiko was so typical of him— really cute and funny!
Chapter 28 was very, VERY intelligent. I thought I'd figured out the point of this story: could Battousai survive in times of peace, but I realize now it all runs so much deeper. At first, I didn't completely understand what Ushiro was saying, but when Tomoe says: "It's alright to love her. Go back to her. This time... just go back to her. Don't stray from the path looking for me...”
I get it now. It's a little difficult to coherently explain it in words, but I definitely get the essence of this story, and strip away the drama, the dialogue, the plot, the writing style and the one-liners, and what is left is very, *very* unique. Kudos. This isn't some average rendition of "Back to the Future" AT ALL.
| HeadingNorth 7/3/07 . chapter 31
This was the strangest story I've ever read, in a good way. With other time- alternate stories, I seem to like one time better than the other. So, consequently, I find myself skipping the time that is boring or poorly written to read the more ecxiting, suspenseful time. But this fic was different. I found that both times were exciting and suspenseful. I also love the way you put a little Battousai/Kaoru romance in there. It had a very nice touch. So, to close my lengthly discussion off, this had to be the best written, most planned out story I have ever read, if not the strangest. I am expecting more of this from you. So, be pal and don't let me down.
I Ain't Lyin',
Majerle Howard, The Seemingly Unknown Beta
| ojuzu 6/11/07 . chapter 31
This beautiful, wonderful story has made me both very happy and very sad. Especially sad that younger Kenshin doesn't remember, and that Ushiro died. (Please, in the future when you create OCs that end up having a large influence on the story, make their life spans longer!) There were several parts where I both laughed and cried. I shall now spend what free time I have reading /all/ your stories. *laughs* This is another one that I'm going to cry whenever I reread it, I suppose. Thanks!
| hikaranko 6/5/07 . chapter 2
O_O ... this is awesome. i don't have time right now to get more out than that, and i will continue reading later when i do, and then i'll give a more comprehensive review. but for now... this is AWESOME. and i can't wait to finish reading! :D
| Shadewolf7 5/27/07 . chapter 31
Very well written.
| Scarred Sword Heart 5/8/07 . chapter 19
So Kaoru's dumb enough to throw herself between Battousai and Saitou as they fight? Go Kaoru...
| Scarred Sword Heart 5/8/07 . chapter 16
The scene where Kenshin and Kaoru are in the same room in different times is so heartbreaking, yet hope inspiring.
| Sailor GaOn Donut 4/13/07 . chapter 31
| Le'letha 4/7/07 . chapter 31
You probably get this a lot, but this is really good! Switch-stories often sound forced, but you've done well to make it plausible. I'm quite impressed. I can't remember everything that made me laugh or point out specifically for being clever, but I know there were a lot.
P.S. If you're still collecting RK switch/time-travel stories for your C2, I have one on my profile that I wrote called 'The Stretch in the Strings'. It's not, I think, as good as this, but it's an author's place to shoot down her own work. It's quite different from 'Out of Time'...shorter... If you have a couple of hours sometime I'd love to get your opinion on it!
Congratulations on a great story!
| Randa-Chan 3/31/07 . chapter 31
Way to go! That was an awesome tale and highly imaginative. It was very well written and obviously a lot of time and effort went into it.
My only one critism is that both the Kenshin of the past and the future seemed to have no faith in themselves. Maybe that's true of Battosai but Kenshin definately doesn't come across as ever doubting his abilities in the anime anyway. He always seems in control and never wavers from his path and the oath he took not to kill. I can see that the Battosai would have reason to doubt himself but Kenshin has had thirteen years of something to grow into his own. Anyway, Kenshin just seemed to have lost a little of that spark that makes him such an outstanding character.
However, that is not to say I didn't enjoy your version. I found it a truely inspiring read and was so pleased to find it complete so I didn't have to wait for you to update.
Congrats and I look forward to more of your work. (It's 2 in the morning if that helps prove how great a story this is. I couldn't stop until I finished it!)
| Sword On Fire 2/8/07 . chapter 31
I loved this fic. I loved the sword-fighting and the time-travelling and the really, really great insights into Kenshin's head. Oh, and Hiko's head. That was awesome, and not something you see every day.
My only complaint is that you kept spelling "breach" with two "e"s. Otherwise, your story was a complete and total gem, all bright and shiny with good spelling and grammar and punctuation.
| reign1990 2/3/07 . chapter 31
great story i enjoyed reading it
| Caramello Kennedy 1/23/07 . chapter 1
you took a lot of tha glossary from the manga didn't you! awsome fic
| lily 1/21/07 . chapter 31
a very great RK story i must say! i just sat here and read this all in one day when i actually shud be revising for a big exam! ah! i love ur portrayal of the two characters; kenshin and Battousai! love it! tho one critism is it shud have more kaoru and kenshin moments! tho i can understand ur reasonings why that was kinda impossible! i love the part with the kanji kaoru name carved in the wood!- that was a very sweet part! u shud have put in that deleted scene in the final epilogue! anyways just want to thank you for a great story- a great find on my behalf and i will be checking out ur other stories!