|Reviews for Seinen Kakumei Utena|
| Guest 5/22/13 . chapter 14
Hey, you're like giving the penguin bunch more and more screen time I LIKE IT!
Lemme guess, the guy with the princess is really Ruka, right? And I bet the Kiga chick sacred o Anthy is no OC, either . . .
The fic is super cool n' original, though the editor comes in kinda late. Still, not a big problem. Can't wait to see what you do next.
| James Birdsong 5/9/13 . chapter 14
| James Birdsong 3/25/13 . chapter 13
Great. Super. Pretty cool. Amazing. Eerie.
| James Birdsong 1/21/13 . chapter 12
Neato. Maybe wonderful.
| Gob Hobblin 1/12/13 . chapter 12
Ooh...magic! I'm a sucker for good metaphysics, and I liked the exploration of how 'magic' in this world worked, as well as the symbolism laced throughout the chapter (I especially liked the insert concerning the existence of the butterfly). At times, it feels like the 'magic' of this universe is less solid and 'real,' and more 'perceived.' At times, it felt like Mrs. Ohtori's abilities were not necessarily adjusting or changing the universe around her, but only the way people 'saw' those things...which compels them to make the changes themselves in order to adjust. I may have misread that, but that was the vibe I was getting. It was a really cool thought, and just (to me) enhances the status of dreams and waking-dreams as being part of this world's day-to-day function and form.
I will say this chapter made me uncomfortable (I get agitated at the thought of children in peril), but that's not a bad thing. I think it made a good setup for why Touga made the choices that he did, and explained the life that had driven him to that point. What's more, you were able to implicate or illustrate a lot of these nasty dealings without being 'pornographic,' or going into overtly gory detail. It was well-handled.
| Gob Hobblin 12/27/12 . chapter 11
The discussions that take place in this story are interesting, and very layered. The one complaint I'm having so far is that the back and forth jump from one time point and set of characters to another is a little disconcerting. Then again, that may be the affect you're going for. Still loving it, though.
I'm dying to see how Utena's situation is resolved.
| Gob Hobblin 12/19/12 . chapter 7
About to start chapter 8, and I have to say, it is really working up a brain sweat! You do an excellent job of weaving multiple story lines together, and you do a marvelous job of creating surreal and complicated imagery. At times, the events taking place almost feel like a fever-dream. Considering the toxic manipulations of Akio, I think this is entirely appropriate. I also like how Akio and Anthy continue to have this melodramatic quality to their words and behavior (almost like a romance novel) while the other characters are very grounded and life-like in their own dialogue (occasionally slipping into that romance language at certain times).
It conveys the sense of the real world clashing with the Ohtori world, and further adds to the confusion these characters must be feeling as they are pulled out of the 'real' world and back into something they had left behind. Loving it, loving it, loving it!
| James Birdsong 11/26/12 . chapter 11
| Kei Masaki 11/19/12 . chapter 10
Excellent fic. One of my favorite non-AU Utena fics.
| Guest 11/9/12 . chapter 10
I'm excited to read your latest chapter! I hope you still don't mind my crazy editing and critiquing. I don't put in this kind of effort for just any fic.
"replied Arisugawa Juri, studying the many vases of lacquered flora lining the hallway with crossed arms." Grammatically, this sentence means that the vases are crossing their arms while they line the hallway. Perhaps make it something like: "replied Arisugawa Juri, as she stood with crossed arms and studied the many vases of lacquered flora lining the hallway.
In your section with Hoshimi and Mamiya 20 years before the revolution, I don't think surreptitious and innocuous are quite the words that belong where you've put them. Surreptitious means secretive and stealthy, but it's usually used to describe something. Like "His surreptitious glances at the smart kid's test paper while the teacher wasn't looking." But a person doesn't just sit there looking surreptitious. As for innocuous, if you're trying to say that past this point, Hoshimi's heart actually becomes harmful to others then the word works. The sense I'd gotten was more of a loss of innocence, in which case I'd describe her heart as "unblemished" or "innocent" or something like that.
Maybe it's because I keep reading this when I'm tired, but I hard a hard time figuring out the action in the section where Hoshimi catches Tokiko and Akio kissing.
Here's what I know is happening (with a few questions mixed in): Hoshimi is standing in a hallway, while Tokiko and Akio are in a waiting hall. Hoshimi is looking through a crack in a door, watching Tokiko and Akio kiss. Then she sees something out of the corner of her eye and presumably turns her head to the side to look at it? She's looking at a "hall exit," but is it the exit from the hallway she's standing in, or the waiting hall she's seeing through a crack? She sees Nemuro, who is also watching the kiss. Then Mamiya is there, for a moment.
Here's what I think is happening: There's a train somewhere? Nemuro somehow also sees them kiss even though he's not standing near Hoshimi? When she turns her head and sees Nemuro, is she no longer looking through the crack in the door, because that's what I assumed. How does he see the kiss? Is there another door to the room they're in? And then Nemuro turns his head, why and towards what? This phrase: "before he was to quickly slip off view" could use some editing because I'm not sure what it's trying to say. Something runs by (runs by what?) and then the "half opened exit" reveals nothing. Does that mean that Hoshimi was actually seeing Nemuro through a crack in another door?
Do both Mamiya and Hoshimi trip over the same railroad tracks? That's kind of funny.
"Crawled" is an interesting word choice to describe the motion of a person's fingers in their hair.
Why is the word "erode" in quotations? Did another character use that word to describe the phenomenon that Mamiya is witnessing? What exactly is he witnessing? Though he is horrified, why isn't he surprised that Nemuro is disappearing? Did I forget a detail from an earlier chapter?
Simple grammar moment: "he must have been gone into shock" He must have been going or he must have gone.
"to empathize the ring" I think you mean emphasize here.
" . . . and all the world shall become my stage . . ." Does that mean something?
Quick little grammar thing: "before the belt was to sent "her" into a dump tray" Sent should be send.
Do the numbers on the tree mean something that I should know about? Are they counting to a hundred apple-tickets? Then why are there three numbers?
"And all people shall watch me dance" does this mean something too, besides following from the other one?
Your Mamiya is kind of reminding me of Utena right now.
The tray of symbols, do you mean the literal male and female symbols which look like a circle on top of a plus sign and a circle with an arrow sticking out of it, or do you mean the stick figure bathroom ones? You mentioned bathroom doors before, but I thought maybe sometimes the actual gender symbols are used on the bathrooms rather than the stick figures. I'm wondering because when Watase pulls out a hand, I thought you meant that there was a hand symbol in there, like the Jewish lucky hand thing. (Google image search those words and you'll see what I'm talking about.) Because if they were stick figures, stick figures don't have hands. They have stick arms. Though there is probably an approximate place on the stick arm where the hand would be.
That earth goddess is Anthy, right? Huh. I'm gonna assume that she didn't do that for all of the other sacrifices, which means that she's singling him out… When I said he reminds me of Utena, I wasn't trying to make a prediction!
I'm not sure what you want this sentence to mean: "I'll enact all your contracts right here and now!" How is lighting the fire putting the contracts into practice?
Oh, is this how she's able to impersonate Mamiya later? What do you mean that he'll make a sanctuary of her heart? Are you saying that Mamiya will somehow be inside of her heart and protected in there, thus making her heart his sanctuary? Or is he going to be her heart's sanctuary? Or is her heart going to become a sanctuary, though not necessarily his?
Didn't the actual Mamiya have brown hair and light skin with freckles?
Who is the young princess whose heart is cracking-WAIT! Is it Hoshimi?
*Whistles* Very intense. A little confusing.
The Mamiya and Hoshimi post revolution part… I have no idea what's going on there. THough I think I'm not supposed to completely understand it yet, right?
Wait, Himemiya re-united Tokiko and Nemuro? Is that what she meant?
Wow, this is a lot of review. Once again, the complexity of the story you're writing completely amazes me. I can't wait for the next part!
| James Birdsong 10/10/12 . chapter 10
Well written. Maybe great or good. Maybe cool or interesting.
| gorgeousshutin 10/3/12 . chapter 1
I have since changed the "coffin called Identity" in Part 6 to "coffin called Role", since that is closer to what I want to convey - that when individuals approve of a social role (i.e., they consider the role legitimate and constructive), they will incur costs to conform to role norms, and will also incur costs to punish those who violate role norms - and such roles become like coffins that keep people unfree/unalive.
Hopefully, this different word choice will lower the scene's chance of being misinterpreted and become potentially offensive.
I have also applied the following warnings across Seinen Kakumei (through all the Utena-mentioned parts) on the many sites I've since put the fic out on:
WARNING: Parts of this work contain depictions of transphobia, controversial shoujo fantasy trans situation that in no way reflects real life trans people, and misogynic magic attack leading to forced masculinization
I hope that now, no one will get shocked/hurt chancing upon this fic not knowing what to expect.
Thanks for your many advices on making Seinen "safe", and the very civil manner with which you've gone through our potentially heat-inducing discussions. I wish you all the best to your own future writings and projects.
| gorgeousshutin 10/2/12 . chapter 4
Thanks for reading the fic and commenting.
Before we go further, let me clarify on something first:
[people who vomit at the sight of a trans body]
Neither Miki nor Tsuwabuki knew that Seinen Utena had a "trans body" back in parts 2,3: they thought she had been magically transformed into a man, and the shock to their Japanese male mindsets induced such a reaction in them.
Seinen Kakumei began as a project I started for In the Rose Garden, where its vast, diverse member-population include trans people, gays, and lesbians. The story had its own fic thread and related discussion threads (yes, thanks to the mods' kindness, there are more than one thread devoted to Seinen Kakumei there), where the plausibility and appropriateness of how I depict Utena's situation within this story had been many times covered (I would post links, but it's forbidden on FFML messages) some months ago.
The posts are many, so I'll just quote the following conversation I had with a very experienced SKU fic writer on the main fic thread:
ME: What I'm concerned about is whether this part in part 4 is offensive to trans persons, and if so what changes should I make in the story's presentation? I can give you the metaplot concerning Utena.
EXPERIENCED FIC WRITER: I can't speak for female-to-male transmen here, obviously, but I didn't think you did anything overtly offensive. You didn't fetishize the transformation, which I think might have been a real concern.
That writer, along with the many others on IRG and elsewhere - especially those who have read past part 4 and see Utena's "moment of triumph" in part 6 - all agreed that the story should come out as it is.
I will state here again that Seinen Utena's situation is completely different from - and is definitely not representative of - real life trans persons in society. Like you've said in your review: Seinen Utena's reason for being trans, along with her methods of getting there, are completely different from the norm in our real world. Real life trans men do HRT in order to empower their own self and feel like the males that they are inside, while the Swords of Hate degenerated Seinen Utena's self by forcing her to self destruct a part of her "self" (her womanhood) that was battered and weakened in duel; the former attains their true selves (as far as current technology permits) through HRT, Seinen Utena loses it.
Again, thank you for reading Seinen up to part 4, and I hope you could have the open mind to continue on with the remaining parts.
| Personal Mythos 10/1/12 . chapter 4
I have to say I am horrified by your treatment of trans* issues. Rampant misgendering, people who vomit at the sight of a trans body, the very fact of Utena being trans* due to sexism-induced self-hatred, the underground HRT clinics...
It's a pity, because an ftm!Utena fic could have been good.
| LEDlorien7 9/19/12 . chapter 9
I was always under the impression that Akio was doing the dueling thing behind that actual chairman's back. Also, if he was around when the chairman was in school, why hasn't anyone noticed that he and Anthy haven't gotten any older?
Watase Sanetoshi has pink hair? Is he related to Nemuro or Utena?
(I got your PMs, I just wanted to finish reading before I respond to them)
Awesome, can't wait for the next bit!