Sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.
Update March 10th, 2013:
Fanfic Challenge taken!
Undead Naruto: Badsy - Remnants of Life: A Dead Man's Chronicles
Update March 28th, 2011:
New Fanfic Challenge!
The Joy of Destruction
Update November 25th, 2010:
"You are Banished!"
New Fanfic Challenges!
Team Seven is blinded
Updated Fanfic Challenges:
Fleshed out the challenges as a whole, added some overall guidelines and some more thoughts to each.
Update November 14th, 2009:
"Mob Mentality" and "Eyes only for you..."
Since I really do not know what else to put here, for your viewing pleasure (or not) are a list of various fanfic challenges as I think of them.
Update November 25th, 2010: I've decided to give these a little more structure and flesh them out a bit.
General Rules: Basically the following rules could be applied to any and/or all of my challenges unless otherwise stated in the specific challenge:
1) No Character Bashing. There is no value in it at all. It only detracts from a story.
2) No Naruto/Hinata. There are already plenty of Naruto/Hinata stories out there and seeing something different would be nice. Naru/Hina would only be acceptable if Hinata has a radically different personality from canon.
3) Epic Length. One shots are nice and all, and little novelettes can be fun. However I just feel unless you have a story be epic in length you simply cannot explore enough of the world for it to be truly satisfying. How many of you always remember the one shots or novelettes you've read? I certainly do not. The ones I remember are the epic stories, with lush vibrant worlds, deep characters, and stories that just suck you in. So all stories should be of epic length.
4) No Breaking the Fourth Wall. I read to go to other worlds and immerse myself in them. Having that broken by breaking the fourth wall just kills a story for me.
5) Serious Business. Comedy in moderation is fine, comedy where every other line is a bad joke is not. I prefer stories that are more serious overall than they are humorous. As such stories should not be comedies.
6) Good Grammar/spelling. Stories are more enjoyable when you can follow them. If they are written in such a broken fashion where it's painful to read then they're just not worth it. I do not expect perfect, but above average for what we see on ff.net would be nice. (Good) Betas are your friends!
7) No Yaoi. There is more than enough of that for you pervs out there. I'd rather see no romance or porn at all then put up with another badly written one.
8) Chuunin Exams once every Nine Months. This is probably a strange one for people. The reason is simple. If you do them every six months, then they would always be held during the same seasons. Either summer/Winter, or Spring/Fall. By doing them every nine months, it's always a different season each exam, which adds another element for those taking the exams. I personally always felt once every six months was a bit too frequently to.
Summary: The Sannin, the Three great ninja of the Hidden Leaf, each have their own quirks and problems. But they turn out in a way no-one ever imagined.
Other Thoughts/guidelines: The challenge is "simple". A Naruto fanfic where the Sannin have a bit of a role reversal. Jiraiya is a traitor, Orochimaru is still loyal, and Tsunade is a pervert. Their personalities are otherwise as close to canon as you think is workable. Preferably Naruto/Team Seven centric and how this effects them. I think this would lead to a whole interesting series of changes within the story of Naruto.
Orochimaru is still loyal to the leaf and the Sandaime. He is still experimenting on people, though likely on a much reduced scale and using those already sentenced to death by either Konoha or the Land of Fire, or perhaps captured bandits. He's still interested in immortality though perhaps not necessarily just for himself. His childhood was unpleasant not unlike Narutos due to his appearance and his parents apparently passing when he was young. With Sarutobi Hiruzen the Sandaime getting up there in age perhaps he seeks a way to keep the one person he looks up to alive. Given Orochimaru's differing goals and beliefs, would he still be interested in Sasuke for his eyes? Or would he take more of an interest in Naruto, given how both of them had less then ideal childhoods based on things beyond their control? Honestly I can see parallels between their younger lives there, and it genuinely could be something that Orochimaru would pick up on.
Tsunade is still disgruntled and not within the village, and still drinks and gambles too much, though having a serious perverted streak. Perhaps in the beginning she began writing her own novels to help pay off her gambling debts and discovered she liked the stuff she was writing more than she originally thought.
Jiraiya for reasons of your choosing has betrayed the leaf and gone off on his own. Perhaps he was bitter over the death of the Fourth. Perhaps it was something else. That's your call. He can still be a womanizer and author if you think it is workable.
Again overall preferably Naruto and/or Team Seven centric. Probably best suited as an adventure/drama.
Summary: Sasuke was not the only one to awaken the Uchiha bloodline at the Battle of the Bridge. Why does Sakura have the Sharingan?
Other thoughts/guidelines: Sakura is the child of a drunken night between Sasuke's father Uchiha Fugaku and Sakura's mother in the wake of the tragic events of Kyuubi's attack. Fugaku was never told of his illegitimate child and it is only after Team Seven confronts Sakura's mother that the truth comes out.
Overprotective brother Sasuke! Realizing he has a living relative (even if only a half-sibling), and a younger sister at that, Sasuke's personality begins to change. He takes on qualities of a very overprotective brother, to the point of annoying Sakura with it at times. He begins to train even harder not to avenge what he's lost, but to protect what he has left. He also begins training Sakura, hard, so that she can protect herself.
Sasuke leaving the village? Less likely, unless Sakura comes with so he can protect her (and perhaps Naruto too).
Suggest Naruto/Sakura. If Sasuke will come to recognize one thing, it's that Naruto will do anything to protect what's precious to him. He will be one of the only ones that Sasuke will allow to approach Sakura. And besides, can Sakura still be all fan-girly for Sasuke after learning he's her brother? Not likely.
Team Seven-centric. Probably best as Adventure/Drama or Drama/Adventure.
Naruto is Blinded:
Summary: Naruto had dreams, big dreams. He would be Hokage. Now a tragic turn of events has left him completely blind. How can he still reach his goal?
Other thoughts/guidelines: It has been done before, but it is not often that it is done well. Typically the method of blindness is "Angry village mob" or some other such stupidity. Lame. Not for this challenge. I would rather see a story where poor Naruto is blinded accidentally. Perhaps a prank goes horribly wrong. Maybe he jumps in front of a team-mate to protect them and is blinded as a result. From there the focus should show the trials Naruto must now face. How he deals with hearing the news, how he comes to terms with his own blindness. How he works begins to work around it and continue forward. He will continue to be a ninja and adapt to his disability as best he can. Think about your own self and imagine what it would be like not to see again. Never see those who love you, never know what new people you meet would look like. Seriously try to envision what it would be like to suddenly not be able to see. Character changes and development are your call.
Team Seven is Blinded:
Summary: The battle of the bridge ends in tragedy when all three genin lose their eyes. Can they continue their shinobi careers or will they lose hope and give up? Not if Naruto has anything to say about it!
Other thoughts/guidlines: This little plot bunny/idea/mutant-thing has been gnawing at my brain for a while now. I had to get it out of my head. Not just Naruto is blinded by a tragic turn of events at the bridge, but Sasuke and Sakura are as well! How do they cope? How do they survive? Sasuke embittered by the loss of his family legacy so shortly after attaining it does not take the end well, and Sakura is feeling useless and helpless. Naruto himself is feeling lost in his way, but he will not give up on his friends! As he helps get them back on their feet and they all go into the world, together, they grow closer than any of them ever thought possible, and face the challenges the world has for them, together!
This story should be a threesome! Yes, you read that right. No, this is not "Naruto/Sakura with Sasuke on the side", "Naruto/Sasuke with Sakura on the side" or "Sasuke/Sakura, with Naruto on the side". This is a true loving relationship between all three of them, equally. Together, all three are as one. No "adult scenes" are needed, but the implied loving romance between all three should be there.
Probably best fits as a tragedy, adventure, drama, some combination thereof. Maybe romance...
Obviously Team Seven-centric.
Summary: Naruto dies, but he doesn't stay dead. Brought back to a half existence against his own will, how does he cope? How will his friends?
Other thoughts/guidelines: What can I say? I am a reader of peculiar taste. And I happen to like the idea of an Undead Naruto. I have only ever read a single story where Naruto was undead and I really rather enjoyed it. Sadly it has not been updated in years. That being said, I have liked the idea ever since and have wanted to see more takes on it.
This one will probably be a challenge. Ideally, it is not his choice to become undead. It is forced upon him and now he must "live" with the consequences. He will no longer be able to grow. Conventionally at least. I suppose surgical alterations or strange jutsu could help him in this area. He will no longer be able to have a family of his own. While he won't necessarily lose any fingers or whatnot, his body will probably experience rot, leaving him to needing to cover up most of his form and probably wear a mask. Will he still have a sense of taste? Can he enjoy Ramen anymore? Can he sleep? Things like that to take into consideration. Things most people take for granted and enjoy or experience on a daily basis that Naruto would be unable to experience anymore. Really quite a tragic existence.
To keep from decaying too much, he would likely need to do something involving killing others. Be it a jutsu or ability that drains life from his victims and leaves them a shriveled husk, or cannibalizing their corpses. Is his will entirely his own, or does what caused him to be this way still have an influence on him he cannot entirely ignore and no-one else can detect?
Others an be aware of it, and likely slightly set off by it. It is quite unnatural even if Naruto is mostly the same. I do not expect him to be a hyper happy ball of energy after such an occurance after all.
Perhaps at some point Sasuke will be interested in it, as it would give him the ability to kill Itachi. However Naruto would need to discourage him, reminding him quite bluntly that if he was like him now, the Uchiha clan would die with Itachi, not Sasuke. Sasuke would never be able to revive it or have children. And after Naruto's own revelations about that facts, it will be something he will do his damnedest to ensure no-one he cares about will ever have to go through.
Probably best suited as an adventure/drama/horror, or some combination thereof.
Badsy - Remnants of Life: A Dead Man's Chronicles
Badsy is the first person to take on any of my challenges, and I am pleased with his take on it thus far. I find it a worthwhile read and encourage anyone interested in the challenge to take a look at his interpretation.
Other thoughts/Guidelines: This is one of those things I have seen done a couple times, but never done well. It is a slight crossover idea, but I have become intrigued by the idea of Naruto becoming a Homunculus like those in Full Metal Alchemist in some manner. Either having been one since before he can remember and later discovering the fact, or somehow getting into a situation where he is made one. Alterations to Naruto's personality are at your discretion. Make him strong, but do not make him super or invincible. The Homunculus may be tough, but they are far from invincible. Focus should be on Naruto of course. Must be longer than a one-shot. Good grammar is also required, as always.
The Joy of Destruction:
Short Summary: Naruto raised by Kefka from Final Fantasy VI!
Long Summary: After his defeat atop his tower, Kefka did not die. His vast acquired powers allowed him to tear a hole in the dimensional walls and he was hurled into the world of Naruto. Fuming over his defeat and trying to understand why it happened, he thinks back to what the heroes said to him before the final battle. Wanting to see for himself if there was indeed merit to their words, he decides to raise this little blond rat he finds until his powers have replenished themselves. The result? Kefka learns one thing: Destruction is even more fun when sharing it with your legacy!
Other thoughts/Guidelines: It's another brainchild/tumor thing that's been lurking around in my mind for a while now and I felt the need to post it. As stated above, Kefka was defeated atop his tower but did not die. Hurling himself into a new dimension to lick his wounds he ponders his defeat and decides to see if there actually was something to the Returner's words. Still bat-shit crazy, nihilistic and genocidal for the most part, but it's curtailed for now while his powers recoup and he tries to figure out how the hell he's supposed to take care of this blond brat he grabbed off the street. Though he does learn he finds it fun teaching him the joy of destruction. Naruto in the end becomes a "Dark Grey" character. The Light of Judgement should make an appearance at some point!
Anyone up to a challenge? If you are, please be sure to let me know!
And now, an entirely pointless list of:
"Things that piss me off in Naruto fanfiction or fanfiction in general"!
Presenting a list of things that piss me off (or otherwise irritate me) in Naruto fanfiction and/or fanfiction in general. It is posted, edited, altered, updated, and dressed in pretty pink bows in no particular order, for your viewing "pleasure" (read:annoyance). Written in a crude fashion and more for me to just blow off steam.
Danzo and his "I want to be Hokage" routine
Let us get real folks. Danzo is just as old, if not slightly older than Sarutobi. As far as the rest of the village knows, he is missing one eye. He is missing one arm. He uses a cane to walk. ...And how long has it been since he was an active ninja? He might have the experience but he is NO WHERE NEAR physically fit for the job!
Danzo is either suffering from dementia brought on by old age, a brain injury brought about at the same time he lost his eye, or both.
It is a pity that Danzo is portrayed like this so often and so badly. Honestly, as a character he has a LOT of potential. When done in the right way (as exceedingly rare as that is), Danzo makes an excellent addition to a story even as an antagonist. Just alter his goals a little. From "Be Hokage" to along the lines of "Protect the roots of Konoha at all costs" and he can become a very intriguing character.
Really is a shame that is not done more often in fanfiction.
As an afterthought note based on manga chapter 450, I would also like to state that Kishimoto is an idiot.
This is one of those things that is really overused in fanfiction. Kyuubi referring to Naruto as "kit". Now while I do not actually hate this, most of the time when it is used it just seems so out of place. I personally think that if Kyuubi is using "kit", a term (as I see it) essentially meaning fox child, to refer to Naruto, it is either a sign of endearment or respect to Naruto. So for Kyuubi to be referring to Naruto as a kit would mean he/she either sees Naruto more as a young fox than a human (and more worthy of respect) or sees Naruto more as his/her own child in a way. The thing is that when "kit" is used in fanfiction, it is most often before Naruto has ever wormed his way into the Kyuubi's heart or earned Kyuubi's respect in any fashion. In such cases it just seems so out of place and just reads rather badly. In ways I think it is better if Kyuubi refers to Naruto as "brat" or any other selection of insulting terms.
"Instant" Strong/Super Naruto
Now this is not to say that I am opposed to the idea of a Strong/Super Naruto altogether. On the contrary, some Strong/Super Naruto stories can actually be quite good. However the ones I have problems with are where Naruto is instantly/magically granted super powers with no effort put into getting them, or not sacrifice to attain them.
What is the point of granting a character superpowers that change who they are in an instant? There is no buildup to them, there is no character development as they struggle and work towards bettering themselves. There is no pursuit of any goals. It is just poof "I am supar! Phear me!"
Lame and boring.
Not only that, but when a character becomes instantly strong like that, where is the challenge for them? If they are to have any challenges the authors typically have to resort to fabricating unbelievable conflicts and situations that just read poorly.
What you typically end up with is a story where Naruto or another character become strong/super overnight with an explanation that just is not believable even with Suspension of Disbelief, where because of their new powers their behavior and personality changes. The interaction with other characters shifts radically and changes all the dynamics present. Artificially manufactured foes and conflicts appear out of the blue just so the character can have some form of challenge. (It is Deus Ex Machina in reverse!) It just does not read well and makes for a poor story overall.
If you are going have a Strong/Super Naruto (or other character), then do not just make it magically happen. Have them work for it, and work for it hard. Blood, sweat, tears, years of effort, sacrifice. Give reasons for them becoming strong, take the time during their training to show character development. Done right, it can become a very good story.
Ugh. Just... Ugh. If there is any one thing that has been done to death more than any others, it is the council. The Council of eternal bigotry and idiocy. I have more trouble remembering stories without a council than I do stories with it. It seems like it is in the vast majority of Naruto stories out there and in all of them the council is somehow inept, full of biggotry and idiocy... The near-fact that whenever it is portrayed, it seems to make it's entire existence focused around either making Naruto miserable and/or hoisting Uchiha Sasuke up on a pedistal and forcing everyone to power to him. How the hell are such blind and stupid people supposed to manage a village the size of Konoha in a successful manner exactly? Seriously this has to die.
By this I mean the "Angry villagers/mob decides to beat upon/torture poor little Naruto", typically accompanied by such things as "It is no less than you deserve demon!", or "You killed my wife/husband/sister/brother/daughter/son/second-cousin-twice-removed!" Ugh.
This is another one of those things that has become such an utter cliche in fanfiction anymore that I cringe just at seeing it. Anymore I nearly stop reading a story altogether when I encounter it. I am utterly sick of it.
I swear people have come to think of this type of thing as actual canon when it is NOT. I have yet to see any evidence in canon that Naruto was ever beaten, tortured, chased by angry mobs, etc. Yet this stupid cliche keeps appearing over and over and over in Naruto fanfiction.
To people honestly think that Sarutobi would have so poor control over the populace as to stop a mob? He is a military commander and Konoha is effectively a military base. I highly doubt any military commander would allow this type of thing to go on under their noses and do nothing about it. People would be arrested and heads would roll, literally. As for ninja participating in such mob events, should Sarutobi ever get word of it they would likely be punished even more harshly than civilians would. Disobedience amongst military troops (and that is exactly what Ninja are, people) is typically severely punished, particularly when it comes to ignoring the orders of a commander.
So MAYBE a mob would happen once, but after Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, God of Shinobi, brought the hammer down upon those who participated in it, do you really think it would ever happen again? Highly unlikely.
To those who have used the "Beaten by a mob every birthday" cliche... JUST HOW STUPID ARE YOU!?
Sometimes I wonder which rampantly overused cliche is worse. "Mob Mentality" or "The Council".
Sasuke gets the Cursed Seal
This is one of those points that is almost always the same in fanfictions out there. The mission to Wave can vary or even not be the mission to Wave. The Chunin Exams can have various differences. The Genin teams themselves can be different. But for some reason, virtually always, Sasuke gets the Cursed Seal. Somehow, he always gets it.
Seriously, why does it seem to be such a taboo idea for someone else get it for a change and him to not?
At the very least you could try and make the effort behind getting it onto him more interesting rather than: Bite "You are mine now, bitch!"
"Eyes only for you..."
A bit of a tie-in to the "Sasuke get the Cursed Seal" rant above. Wondering what the heck I am talking about? I am talking about people over-doing Orochimaru's obsession for the Sharingan.
I swear people have him so focused on the Sharingan when writing stories that he has developed tunnel vision that prevents him from seeing anything else. No matter how much promise other fighters may show in their encounter with Orochimaru, no matter what other Kekkei Genkai they may display, he ignores them. He puts all his focus on Sasuke even if others in the story are shown to far out-perform him. Hell, you could probably put a chest with the secret of immortality right beside Sasuke, label it as such, and Orochimaru would still ignore it in favor of giving Sasuke his hickey. It is that bad at times in some stories.
While the Sharingan is a very impressive bloodline, it is not the be all, end all of bloodlines or abilities.
People seem to forget one very important thing. Orochimaru comments that if Kimimaro had not gotten sick, he would have preferred his body even more over Sasuke's. As such, if there is someone showing far more potential then Sasuke during the encounter (most often in the Forest of Death), why would he not pursue them as other potential servants or host bodies?
"You are Banished!"
This one has been pissing me off more and more as of late. I keep seeing dozens (if not hundreds) of stories where Naruto is banished from Konoha. The concept is, to put it simply, outright stupid.
Think about it seriously for a moment people and take in the "facts". Shinobi are troops and officers in a military organization. They know secrets and vital information about said military organization. Why do you think there are Hunter nin to seek out and eliminate missing nin? It is specifically stated as "To protect the secrets of the village".
Continuing: The Jinchuuriki are, bottom line, weapons for their host villages. They are the rough equivalent of Nukes, Stealth bombers, etc. Weapons that can cause either very large scale devastation, or be very good about thoroughly eliminating specific targets.
When you banish such a shinobi and/or Jinchuuriki, what you are doing is essentially granting that person free license to go to other villages and offer their knowledge, power, and skills to your enemies.
Think long and hard about that.
By the point Naruto is normally banished, it's right after the failed Sasuke Retrieval arc. By that point Naruto can tap into the Kyuubi's chakra on command, he knows the Kage Bunshin, he knows the Rasengan, he can summon the Toads. When you banishing him, you are putting all of those skills up to the highest bidder. It could very well lead to Naruto teaching those skills to Konoha's enemies, or attacking Konoha himself.
That is the mother of all military fuckups.
If Naruto or any shinobi were to be punished, it would never be through banishment, especially for Jinchuuriki. Many Jinchuuriki are already bitter towards their homes and would have very little reason to remain loyal to them. They would likely be locked into the darkest dungeon imaginable or sentenced to death.
A weapon thrown aside is a weapon your enemy can pick up and use against you. A weapon destroyed or buried so deep it cannot be retrieved is a weapon your enemy cannot wield against you.
"I deserve it because I am an Uchiha."
This includes all similar lines and thought patterns typically exhibited by Sasuke in fanfiction. Including "wonders" such as:
"I demand/order you to teach me that."
"Make them train me."
"He/She has to do it what I say, I am an Uchiha."
The list of crap goes on and on... do not get me started... Seriously these lines and similar lines piss me off. Sasuke may be an arrogant ass but I do not recall him ever reciting this kind of crap ever in canon. It reduces his appeal as a character (and I am already not fond of Sasuke), so why are you going to do something that makes him less appealing? Use of these lines in fanfiction just do the story and the author discredit because they are so freaking bad.
Honestly every time I read Sasuke muttering lines like this in a fiction, it is very nearly a story killer for me. I can only groan and think: 'Oh god, not another one...'
More on this kind of thing below.
This is not necessarily limited to Naruto fanfiction but it is a prominent problem, particularly with characters such as Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura. Seriously, WHY the hell do you do this? I see absolutely no value in character bashing!
What is the point or value in writing characters so badly that they are hard to read or take seriously? I personally like using a Suspension of Disbelief when I am reading fanfiction and just immersing myself into the story. However when the characters are written so badly and one dimensionally it is impossible to see them as "real people" that just ruins the whole story. You cannot believe in it if the characters read as badly written one-dimensional stereotypes or the epitome of all the arrogance of the entire globe condensed into a single human form.
Bashing never adds anything of interest to a story and only detracts from their value. Bashing reduces the appeal of a story.
The only reason I can see authors bashing characters is to display their own personal dislike of a character. Why bother?
If you dislike a character so much based on canon or for whatever reason, WHY are you going to go and write them in a way that removes whatever redeeming qualities they may have and then amplifies all their faults a hundred fold? It certainly does not make any sense to me.
Frankly authors only serve to discredit themselves by bashing.
What I do not understand is if an author hates a character so much instead of doing the above mentioned bashing, why not write the character in a way that appeals to you and makes them more interesting? Something to make them a richer, more diverse character.
Let us use Sasuke as an example.
Sasuke is cold and arrogant? Okay fine, that happens often enough... But how about instead of inflating those facets of his personality, why not introduce another side? Does he have nightmares about the massacre? Does he hear voices of his family demanding revenge? In private, does he ever just break down and cry because he cannot seem to get any closer to avenging them? Those kind of little things add more depth to the character and make it more worthwhile to read them. Instead of bashing try adding other things like these instead.
All characters, even villains and other antagonists should be interesting, add value to a story and make it more appealing overall, not make you question why you are reading it.
Oh goody! A new thing to rant about! I am honestly sick and tired of seeing Naruto/Hinata pairings. One reason because they have been done to death, revived, then done to death again, then resurrected as a zombie, and done until it falls apart. Another reason is because 99 percent of the time Hinata is portrayed in the exact same way. It scares me to say this, but I have seen more variation in the portrayal of Sasuke than I have in Hinata's portrayal! She is almost always portrayed as the quiet, reserved, stuttering, closet-stalker of Naruto. This portrayal while accurate to canon, after reading the same damn basic portrayal in a few hundred stories it becomes... so... incredibly... BORING!!
Why the hell can we not see a sultry Hinata, or a bloodthirsty sadistic Hinata? Or a Hinata that is pining for Sakura or Ino? Come on people! Let us see something different for a change!
The "Sewer/Dungeon Mindscape"
This is a place I am seriously irritated in people. Why is it, people, that it always has to be a sewer or dungeon-like mindscape? It is a MINDSCAPE people! While changing physical places or people may be difficult, there is nothing physical about a mindscape and it is one of those places that your depiction of it is only limited by your imagination. So... why is it that the grand majority of stories where a mindscape is present, there is almost zero variation in it? That is so disappointing.
I can count the number of times I have read the mindscape be something different than a sewer/dungeon initially on one hand. I read it once as a Graveyard, and once as a forest.
Now granted, after the initial sewer/dungeon mindscape, Naruto will learn to alter it into something different, but sadly there is not that much variation in that either. It is typically some variant of a lush field surrounded by forest, a cozy cottage, perhaps a stout home or mansion. Honestly when people change it there is once again not that much variation...
Why can we not see something like a labyrinthine cave system? How about a desolate castle on a lonely mountain peak? What about a bloody UFO inspired by nightmares caused by expired ramen? Seriously this is one area where the author is truly free to portray something in any way they can think up. They are only limited by their own imagination.
Sigh. Sadly this is one area where people rarely exercise their imagination even a fraction of what they could if they chose to...
Yaoi/Yuri, and lemons in general
Do not get me wrong, I have no problem with same sex relationships, be it male or female. If they are well written they are actually just as enjoyable to read as any straight relationship.
My problem comes from the fact that 99 of all such Yaoi/Yuri relationships in fanfiction are simply poorly written porn. Yaoi relationships in particular are bad most of the time. There is no genuine development between characters or bonding, or romance... it is just very poorly written porn.
In fact there seem to be more Yaoi stories in Naruto fiction than there are straight, Yuri, and bisexual stories combined. I swear it is that bad. The fanboys write it, the fangirls write it, and the perverts in general write it.
Let me just say this: I AM SICK AND TIRED OF SEEING HUNDREDS OF POORLY WRITTEN PORN STORIES!
I do not know about other people, but I much prefer reading about the growth of a relationship, the interaction of the characters, the romance, and the emotional/spiritual bonds they share than I do about sex. Call me old fashioned but I could care less about reading about sex so long as the romance/relationship/interaction/bonding between the characters is well written.
So if you are going to write a Yaoi, Yuri, or hell any type of sex scene, at least make sure you put in a serious amount of development between characters involved first. Make it more about the bond between the characters and less about the sex.
If you are just looking for a reason to J# off, go find your jollies elsewhere and leave your poorly written crap off the site!
One-word and one-line reviews
Another one not limited to just Naruto. And one that is actually not even aimed at written stories at all. Rather, I am talking about the "fans" here. Our jolly reader base. To those who post one-word or one-line (sometimes less) reviews, I have something to say: What the hell is wrong with you people!?
These things honestly piss me off. Posting a review that consists solely of "great!", "continue!", "Awesome!", or even "That was fantastic! Please update!" are in my opinion worthless. The only thing you are doing with such pathetic "reviews" (and I use that term loosely) is wasting everyone's time and bandwidth. Your review does nothing for the author. It does not tell them what they are doing right. It does not tell them what they are doing wrong. It does not give them any clarification about things that they may or may not have right. It does not point out any potential plot holes or continuity errors they may have made. It does not give them any ideas that may help them continue with their story if they are stuck. It gives them nothing that could potentially give them a moment of inspiration. Such reviews give the authors absolutely nothing of value.
Such reviews also do not give other readers anything of value. No way to see if something a potential reviewer wants to point out or ask has already been spotted by someone else when they have to scroll through 10 pages of one-line and/or one-word reviews. It does not point out to other readers some things that they themselves may have missed.
If you are not going to post a review of at least some merit do not bother posting one at all, because that is effectively what you are doing anyhow. At least if you post nothing at all you will save everyone a little bit of time and bandwidth.
On the Nature of things
A section dedicated to my ponderings/ramblings on the nature of things. This section will probably be mostly Naruto-oriented.
Is Henge is just an illusion?
Some people think it is just an illusion but look at the examples from canon material. When you look at the canon examples of Henge, particularly those of Naruto, a simple illusion just does not make sense. When he Henge's into a Windmill Shuriken during the Zabuza fight at the lake, his clone was able to pick him up and throw him like an object one handed. If Naruto is throwing himself with clones normally, there is typically two of them to slingshot him towards his target. Then there is the properties displayed under henge. For example, when Sasuke catches the Henge'd Naruto and throws him at Zabuza with his own Windmill Shuriken. Naruto under the henge behaves exactly like a Windmill Shuriken is expected to behave. He flies horizontally through the air for some distance, and falls into the water immediately after breaking the Henge. Then there is the encounter with Gato's two goons when they attempt to kidnap Tsunami. Naruto takes the two henge'd clones out of his pouch and throws them at the thugs. They make a distinct metallic ting when they are deflected off of the thug's swords. That should not happen if it was a simple illusion.
The Coop de Grace of evidence though is during Naruto's fight with Shukaku. Gamabunta specifically says to Naruto that he does not have any fangs or claws to stop or hold onto Shukaku with, and tells Naruto to Henge them into something with claws and fangs. If Henge was a simple illusion, such a Henge would not do a damn bit of good now would it? Yet when Naruto performed it, those fangs and claws certainly seemed to be put to good work. If you take the Anime extras into account, they were even able to rip up trees with their tails.
So I think Henge must be some form of true transformation, and not some simple illusion. What is displayed by those using henge in the manga and anime does not make sense if it were simple illusion.
Strong/Super Naruto, is it possible?
I suppose this is one that other people wonder about too. With all the Strong/Super Naruto stories out there, I figured I might as well do some thinking about this and judge if it is actually possible based on what we see in canon from Naruto.
Looking it over and thinking about it, I think that Strong/Super Naruto is entirely possible.
Just examine what canon examples we have.
Be Warned, this will contain spoilers from canon for those of you not current with the manga.
1) Naruto has the strongest of all demons sealed within him. He may not like to use it, but the powers that it leaves at his disposal are very impressive indeed.
1a) Thanks to the regeneration the Kyuubi provides (And that is exactly what it is folks... You do not regrow a lung in seconds with no visible scarring after having a Chidori rammed through your chest with "advanced healing". You are only going to get that kind of recovery with regeneration.) He can take far more damage than anyone else has a right to and still be able to continue fighting.
2) Naruto was an orphan, who has been living on his own for who knows how long, he had no family training unlike the majority of the Rookie Nine (Sakura being the only other one not to come from a clan).
2a) Yet he was able to paint the Hokage monument in broad daylight without anyone noticing for who knows how long, avoid chase by (presumably) chuunin-level ninjas before even graduating the academy.
3) He mastered the Kage Bushin(Shadow Clone) within a single night.
4) Despite graduating "Dobe"(Dead last) of the academy, within six months he was able to defeat Kiba, Neji, and Gaara.
He fought Sasuke with his cursed seal at level two to a near stand-still. (I frankly believe Naruto could have defeated Sasuke if he went with the intent to kill but he just could not bring himself to do that.)
5) He mastered the Rasengan in about one month's time, compared to how long it took the Yondaime(4th) Hokage to make it (Three years was the figure I believe) and for Jiraiya to master it (I think the stated figure was like 4 months).
5a) He took the Rasengan and incorporated elemental manipulation into it, something not even the Fourth Hokage could do.
6) While I am not fond of it, he mastered Sage training among the toads in a very short amount of time and proved himself better at the sage arts than even Jiraiya.
7) He has shown amazing on-the-fly battle tactics and the ability to plan ahead during an engagement. The stunt with Zabuza during their first encounter. His fight against Neji during the chuunin exam finals. His fight against Pein during Pein's invasion of Konoha.
7a) On that note, he defeated all six bodies of Pein. No small feat.
There is a ton of potential there, but Naruto went as an undiscovered genius, a diamond in the rough.
When you look at it, Naruto's biggest issues are simply due to the fact he had no one to raise him or guide him, he is socially clueless and emotionally retarded. No-one to scold him and teach him good manners. No one to tell him why people behave like they do or act like they do. He genuinely does not really know about what is or is not socially acceptable behavior, and by this point in this life he probably does not care. He has trouble relating to other people or even understanding why they behave like they do. coughHinatacough
As far as being a ninja goes, Naruto has the potential to be a true genius I think. Has displayed the potential. The finer points of social interaction and emotional understanding though are debatable.
For what little proper training he got, early on, Naruto has shown immense potential.
He is the child of Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime(4th) Hokage, and Uzumaki Kushina. Being the child of the 4th carries it's own good traits. Since we know so little about Kushina, she leaves open things for authors to play with, and the potential for Kekkei Genkai (Bloodline limits).
In conclusion, yes, I think Strong/Super Naruto is entirely possible. If he had had something akin to a mentor early on in life or been raised in a clan, he could have easily graduated earlier. He could have been much stronger than he was by the time the Chuunin exams rolled around. There is the potential to give him bloodline limits since his heritage from his mother is mostly unknown.
All that being said, I would also like to reference to my rant on "instant" strong/super Naruto above. If you are going to write a Strong/Super Naruto story, please do not do an "instant power" deal. Make him work for it, make it a journey for him that helps him develop and grow. Those types are so much more enjoyable to read than any "instant super" stories, which anymore have become hard to stomach for me.
Well if you have read all of that, props. I am honestly surprised anyone finds my rants and ponderings/ramblings worth the effort.