|Reviews for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Guiding Light|
| SparklingEspeon chapter 13 . 6/5/2020
It’s… been a while since I reviewed this, hasn’t it… Oh well. Nothing to do but press on I suppose.
~Part V – Chapters 10 – 12~
So this is where I reach my first big Negative for this story. I’ll be honest; the first time reading Guiding Light I skipped basically all the ‘special episodes’/meme chapters that I will be reading through this time around. I have a very large distaste for ‘fluff’ chapters and special episodes that aren’t immensely plot important. Guiding Light has fluff chapters and special episodes galore. Some, like this one, are important enough that they could reasonably stay. Others (I remember a few crossover chapters existing in particular as an example) could easily be shoved into their own story and in my opinion it would fix the pacing of this one a lot. Some, like the ones involving Gallian, don’t even need to be special chapters. A few Special Chapters in particular (the ones involving Nicky pre-Necrozma) come to mind that benefit the story if you read them, but they’re offset by the sheer amount of fluff/meme Special Chapters in the plot, and I feel this slowed down and bloated the story greatly.
I will commend you for this first one, though. While it could technically be omitted from the plot and nothing would suffer, true to the structure of a PMD game this first one *does* work as a Special Chapter in the vein of what was made for Explorers. My problems lie more with the ‘bonus’ chapters like Chapter 13. Since it’s relatively small, I’ll cover that first.
It was a fun little thing to read, I’ll admit. But… it doesn’t really have a place in the story otherwise. It’s like a scene from a movie that you like but doesn’t need to be in there, so you cut it. Only here, it hasn’t really been cut or otherwise removed from the main story. It’s just there as skippable content, but if you skip it now and get into the habit you might end up skipping important things later on.
I also felt the battle scene dragged a lot. You fall into the trap that a lot of anime falls into, in that the characters will spend time explaining all their tactics to each other and sending each other fluff taunts and quips before attacking. This unnecessarily wordy, and it invites me to skim all the way down to the action itself, because I know that this is the only thing that will further the plot.
And then it ends, with only the mention of the guild’s upcoming expedition to tie it into the plot at hand. My opinion of this chapter is that the pacing is far improved if it – and other ‘bonus scenes’ on a case by case basis – were regulated to their own story, instead of clogging up the main one like it does here.
As for the larger one…
So, in the first scene, we see that Braviary is getting rid of all Incineroar’s Family’s records by order of the guildmaster. He ponders why for a minute, but doesn’t really think beyond that. And I find that rather strange. The guildmaster isn’t all he appears to be, but that’s pretty obvious from the get-go – his drastic change in speech patterns at the very least should signal something is wrong. If he suddenly wants the records of his predecessor as guildmaster purged, not very long after said guildmaster mysteriously ‘died’ in a thunderstorm, that’s a big red flag. I’m surprised Braviary wasn’t more suspicious.
I didn’t think the first-person switch was very jarring, since this is a ‘special episode’. Had it been a part of the main plot I’d have been a bit more jarred, but here it seems to work fine. (Although, the fact that this wasn’t as jarring speaks to how separate it is, and how it could technically go in another story…)
Prisma having the typical pirate accent was funny and a good clue-in towards her being Human, but it’s a bit offset by Golispod also having a bit of a pirate accent as well (all those ‘me’s in there).
I must say, Rufflet/Braviary was a bit of a jerk towards the end of the chapter. I get why he’d be a bit pretentious about the names, but it honestly seemed a bit overboard to me.
Honestly, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I have too much to say on this set of chapters. It’s mostly setup and background lore for how Prisma joined the guild, and it works as an introduction of her character (It also introduces the no-naming scheme for the pokemon world as a whole). But on the whole, that’s very little for three chapters’ worth. The rest of it is really mostly filler. Feraligator and his crew aren’t important after this, and neither is Golispod the Armored Adventurer (although using the wimpods as foreshadowing was clever). I really think that’s a big reason these four chapters left a bad taste in my mouth. They’re just filler. I won’t go into that again because I’ve already went into it above, but honestly in hindsight I feel like I read nothing, even though this has been the part with the most chapters thus far.
It looks like the part after this is returning to the main story, so next review I should have more to go over, but my conclusion here on these four chapters is ‘essentially straight filler’. It’s not BAD filler, but it doesn’t really advance the story aside from some lore drops, and I honestly feel like I read four chapters of fluff. I should have more to say next time I review.
Until next time!
Listening to: El Matador Del Mar – Geoff Zanelli
| SparklingEspeon chapter 9 . 5/21/2020
It looks like there’s a lot more stuff to go over this review! These three chapters were packed with much more content than the last two were (In my opinion), and the story is finally beginning to advance in a large direction.
~Part IV – Chapters 7 – 9~
The next episode immediately starts off with a bang – There’s a short scene with ‘Lunala’, Espeon and Umbreon, and a poor meowth that happened to stumble upon them by accident, and then we’re back with Shane, Tessa, and the Horizon Guild (or whatever their name is). The guild is planning an expedition to investigate the strange tides, and I can already see the Explorers influence leaking through in practically every facet of this scene.
Interestingly, that doesn’t last - instead of pulling a Wigglytuff and inviting everyone along regardless of rank, when the Horizon Guild says you’re staying behind, they mean it. Almost immediately after being introduced, every Explorers reference/throwback is quickly turned on its head and kept that way. Team Radiance doesn’t get a pass despite being apprentice-rank. The idea of sentry duty being a minigame is dismissed as quickly as it’s brought up. There’s no dumb motto that’s recited after the briefing every day. And I’ve already covered the expansion upon side characters, but I think it’s valid to bring up again seeing that you’ve given another side character the spotlight these few chapters: Null.
I’m going to be honest, this Null is the only interpretation of Null I’ve read that wasn’t a failed Aether Foundation trainer-fic beast (And it’s nice that he was given some character here, instead of being more of the same), but even among your characters I particularly enjoyed his characterization. There was no way that a Null character in any fic was ever going to be a normal pokemon, and I think that was handled suitably gracefully here. Just from his dialogue and the descriptions of his raspy breathing it’s easy to feel how much pain the mask is putting him in, and the fact that he sees himself as enough of an abomination to regulate himself to sentry duty permanently speaks very strongly to his character as a whole. IDK. I just really liked him.
And of course, Shane immediately goes back to be being an asshole after essentially promising twice not to be an asshole. And then promises again. And goes back to being an asshole again. Honestly, I kind of had some irrational hope he would actually do it the third time (Even though I’ve read this and know he doesn’t), since he had that big opening up moment and all. In hindsight, that opening up moment reads like Shane manufacturing a faux emotional moment for himself to LARP, which is… pretty darn toxic, I shan’t lie. I feel like his behavior could be taken one of two ways, or perhaps a blend of both: One, that Shane is just genuinely clueless and too much of a child to grasp that maybe, just *maybe* he’s a bit of an asshole, or two: he’s just insanely selfish and doesn’t give a crap about anyone else’s problems as long as he gets to LARP the Perfect PMD Experience (TM). If it’s the first one I can at least have a little pity for him. But if it’s the second one and all those ‘good’ moments Shane had (like when he helps save Tessa from Espeon and Umbreon) were just fronts he put up for good clout, then he absolutely disgusts me as a character and I’d like to see him smitten into the ground, thank you very much. I’m inclined to believe there’s at least *some* good in him, though. Otherwise, as Tessa states, he’s got the acting skills to make a zorua jealous.
Oh, and speaking of Espeon and Umbreon, I think I’ll cover them now. They haven’t made another appearance since the end of Chapter One, so seeing them show up in their full glory here is a good return entrance for them. Especially since they’re much more involved in these three chapters than they have been for the previous six. Although I wonder what their plan for the meowth was. It looks like Shane leaving the guild door open was a coincidence, but Espeon/Umbreon can’t have just been *waiting* for that. There must have been a plan of some sort, and whatever they turned that meowth into clearly doesn’t have the brains to make up one of its own. The whole thing just seems so random and convenient. I will admit that it was a cute scene when Shane showed up to ward them off later into the chapter, but was Espeon and Umbreon’s whole plan seriously just ‘wait around in town and hope we get lucky’?
Exposition Mode, lol
So, with the context of spoilers I half-remember, Magearna’s story about Ho-oh, Lugia, and the ultra beasts is almost completely false. Likely propaganda made up/altered to become so by Arceus, who I imagine had a hand in (re?)programming Magearna, and also why some information is so confidential that she can’t tell Shane. Who does she answer to, if not the Horizon Guild? And why would the Horizon Guild want to cover something like that up?
And, with the context of spoilers I half-remember, that vision of her mother Tessa sees in her dream is also false. She’s trying to manipulate Tessa into leaving Shane because he’s the Human (likely she was there to see ‘Lunala’ pull Shane into the PMD world), but I doubt she’s doing it with the context of who Shane and Nicky are in this world – she’s just vengeful and crazed at this point.
I think I may have mentioned at some point that for me, re-reading Guiding Light would be like a twisted horror story? Well, for me, that starts here. For now, it’s just trickles and drops and little bits hinting at a larger plot where Shane’s happy-go-lucky asshole story kind of ‘breaks’ for a moment, but as the story goes on it’ll get worse and worse and worse – everything around them is either evil or born of ill origins, and re-reading with future context all of that will rear its ugly head plain as day. Because, in hindsight, this story is pretty darn twisted. Only now the cover’s been thrown off completely.
On the strange tides (I genuinely do not remember how/if that was concluded lol), I wonder if that has something to do with the Tapus, who are apparently responsible for maintaining the Horizon Continent. That seems like the kind of thing they’d be managing.
I’ll have more to say about the Prism Virus later, when that’s a bigger thing. But for now, I’ll just say that disease things in fiction like the Prism Virus make me very squeamish. As goofy as it is here, it’s a bit hard for me to stomach, especially considering what happens to the victims at the end. It’s not like those munchlax and that meowth were wild animals; they had lives and then Espeon and Umbreon stole all of that from them just so they could have another ultra beast mashup soldier for their army. And given that they die immediately after they’re beaten… that’s on the outer fringes of what I’m willing to read, and if it were to continue all throughout this fic that would have been a more likely cause of me putting it down than Shane’s assholery would be.
So… I’m gonna be a downer for a minute and ask The Question: What is Light? All throughout the fic, Nicky/’Lunala’ goes about his grand mission of re-collecting all his ‘Light’… except it can’t be *light*. At least, not by the scientific definition. It doesn’t make sense, because if all he needed was just normal old light he’d always be eating. He’s surrounded by it, so why does he need to hunt pokemon down for ‘light’? Even if he’s the Guiding Light and all light in this world came from him, there’s still a sun he could leech off of. That seems like a *much* more stable income of light than hunting down pokemon for it. And how would you get ‘light’ from pokemon, anyway? I’m inclined to believe that the ‘Light’ Nicky’s after is in fact some other form of energy, and furthermore it’s not something he’s replenishing – he’ll never get enough of it. It’s not the answer to his plight; it’s not what he’s missing. It honestly feels like there’s a whole layer of science underneath here that – sadly – remains untapped. Which is a shame, because I love science ;-;
But overall, these were interesting to read. As for if it feels like a PMD game episode over all… Well, Chapter Seven reads as pretty self-contained (if short), since it had the story structure to count as its own episode, but overall I felt that it held together well as a game episode.
Until next time!
Listening to: Chase/Rainbow Zeppelin – Mark Mothersbaugh
| SparklingEspeon chapter 6 . 5/16/2020
These next two chapters were smooth and well-paced, but if I’m being honest, I feel like not so much happened in them compared to the last four? I’ll elaborate, obviously.
~Part III – Chapters 5 – 6~
What I mean is that a lot things ‘happened’ in Chapters 5 – 6. There was an expedition to Clayback River, some interesting battles, and an outlaw was bungled. But not much ‘Happened’. Teams Specter and Captivate were introduced, Shane begins to get weird dreams, and Jangmo-o and Sneasel showed up again (along with some more snooping into Tessa’s backstory). Which sounds like a whole bunch of stuff on paper, but in practice all of these things were just things that were introduced. Team Captivate isn’t important yet, and neither is Team Specter. They basically get cameos and then we move along. Jangmo-o and Seasel (or ‘Team Fang’) signal that they’re going to be recurring characters and most likely filling the Bully Team slot for this story, but they don’t really do much of consequence. And Solrock was essentially a monster of the week. Even the most interesting things (Shane’s Dreams and Tessa’s backstory) take place at the very beginning and very end of the episode, respectively. There’s not much introspection on either of those things in-between. Which essentially leaves us with the stretch in between that – if this were a game – would be the large, story barren gameplay part of the episode. That’s not to say that it’s boring, because it wasn’t. But when I really stop to think about how much of these two chapters really had substance, my mind totals it all out to… not all that much. Just something to be aware of for the future. That said, there’s still a whole bunch of stuff to go over anyway!
I remember reading this the first time and *reeeaaally* not liking Solgaleo. Something always felt off even from the very first conversation (Not to mention the red eye in the prologue being a pretty large giveaway that whatever yeeted Shane into PMD probably didn’t have good intentions and most definitely was *not* Solgaleo), and now reading it over again I can see all the cracks plain as day. ‘Solgaleo’ apparently is on a clock, but wastes time berating Shane with useless diatribes like ‘Yooooouuuu FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL’, he comes off as extremely selfish and disdainful despite supposedly being a benevolent legendary, and overall the scenario just feels way too contrived and exactly the kind of thing Shane would wish for. Which Shane is obviously jumping at because he’s living his dream right now, but like… how blatant can you be? Lol
I can see another side to it in that even though it’s so obvious, Shane is willfully ignoring it to be selfish, which is putting everyone else in danger as a result. Which is an interesting double side to it. I imagine first read-through readers are meant to be fully aware something is wrong but not sure what it is, which is a nice middle ground between ‘things are so obvious catch up Shane’ and ‘spooky plot twist’.
I’m aware that Teams Captivate and Specter become more important later on (or at least Haunter gets more storytime?), but as of now I don’t have much to say on them. Milotic seems to have some sort of history with Tessa (or at least Tessa’s family), but I don’t remember if that gets covered before Team Captivate is compromised or not. Hopefully it will?
Haven’t got much to say on Tessa/Shane either since you just seem to be accelerating the ‘Shane is an ass and makes life hard for everyone’ plot. There isn’t really much new ground covered until the end of Chapter Five, where Shane promises to be better… except he’s already basically broken a similar promise before. And he makes it clear afterwards that he didn’t really take it to heart all that well. And a relatively calm day afterwards is still making me skeptical. Just because Shane managed to regulate his devastation to himself one time doesn’t mean that he’s improved any. So, for the time being: Still the Asshole
You have to admit, Solrock’s plan is pretty clever, assuming she’s taking advantage of general confusion all around. There’s an easy way to bust it wide open – if she’s really the pokemon that was stolen from, then why didn’t she report it to the guild like a normal civilian would? However, I imagine that she’s purposefully accelerating the situation so that logic gets left behind in favor of emotions and rash decisions. It doesn’t work out for her long-term (She’ll end up on wanted posters and get a bad reputation soon enough), and that leads me to the next point of interest: The strange changes in the tide that Team Specter mentions. Obviously they aren’t natural, so I can only imagine they’re being caused by a legendary – or the lack of one. Waiting to see where that goes.
I haven’t played Kirby, but the boss description at the end reminds me a lot of the Tattles from Paper Mario. There’s also a bit of Pokedex in there too, since I remember they got progressively more and more horrifying as the story went on.
Oh god that Null pun at the very end made me die on the inside
One thing I should give you props for is that even though you’re mostly focused on Tessa and Shane (as you should be), all your other cast of characters seem like they have lives outside what the story requires of them. Something that bugged me a lot in the canon PMD entries is that all the character basically didn’t have lives outside of what the Player and Partner saw. They would just be doing something silly like running around and circles or humming, and then there would be some dumb one-liner about ‘always staying positive’ or whatever and they’d go back to whatever they were doing. Here, Braviary takes a day off from the guild for whatever reason, Togedemaru is busy testing her gadgets when Shane stumbles upon her, and the minimal guard character Growlithe hunts down a renowned outlaw in his free time for (presumably) bragging rights. Even the non-guild characters like Lunatone don’t disappear after their major starring spot in the story is done, and you bring them back to use in creative ways (Off topic, but I just realized the symmetry between Solrock and Lunatone and that’s clever). It reminds me a lot of Harry Potter in its execution, which had a whole cast of different characters and juggled them much like they’re handled here – not very in-depth at first, but glimpses and glimmers of outside lives are shown and the readers fill in the blanks. PMD: Guiding Light wouldn’t feel nearly as lively if Tessa and Shane were the only characters in a town and guild full of cardboard prompts, and I think that’s a part of this story that tends to go fairly unappreciated. I just wanted to call attention to that.
…Actually, there is one more thing I’d like to talk about before I cap off this review. I believe that you’ve mentioned the ‘episode’ dividers for this story on your profile are meant to emulate the story episodes of a PMD game, and I went into this story with that in mind. And, so far… I think it’s been relatively hit-and-miss. I can see how some of them work as their own mini-arcs a bit, but others kind of succumb to building the broader narrative as a whole, and make the mini-arc look more like filler than a true mini-arc. (This Episode is a good example of that, in my opinion). Another thing that I think works against it is that you split these up into smaller chapters, and each of these chapters are kind of like mini-arcs of their own. Chapter One and Chapter Two are fairly cohesive, and so are Chapters Three and Four, because they end half-open. There’s no closure when Shane is running after outlaws to get Tessa’s scarf back or when they’re both fighting Yungoose and Trapinch. But Game Episodes in PMD (or at least the early chapters) technically last a day and no longer. When Chapter Five ended with Tessa and Shane going to sleep, I felt like there was closure, because it ended on a calm note. So even if Chapter Six wrapped up what was in Chapter Five, I still feel like they would be classified as two separate ‘episodes’ in a PMD game. But that’s honestly a nitpick in the scheme of things.
I don’t have any broad comments yet, and given that I’ve currently covered about 1/41th of this story I don’t think I’m going to have any for a bit. But overall, it seems well-paced, and the characters are handled in a similar way to Harry Potter – which is good! Still waiting for the larger plot elements to seep back in, although that might take a bit, if what I remember of this story still holds true.
I shall hopefully return soon! :D
Listening to: Dialga’s Fight To the Finish (Remix) – Hideki Sakamoto, PokeRemixStudio
| SparklingEspeon chapter 4 . 5/16/2020
I’m back! :D
A lot of these two chapters just seems to be exposition setting up for the story at large, so most of my comments are going to be on that. I feel like on the whole, it was done well! There are a few things that bothered me a bit, though, and (obviously) I’ll go into them below.
~Part II – Chapters 3 – 4~
Usually, when I have a review that covers a broad spectrum of things I like to separate them into Negatives, Positives, and Neutral Speculation, in that order. First, because bad news first is usually a good rule of thumb, The Negatives:
So right off the bat the biggest thing I have a problem with is your prose. Or rather, the way that you describe things. A very good instance of what I mean is the part where you describe Crabrawler’s Café. It’s very spartan in its description – there are a whole bunch of simple sentences, but nothing more than that. I feel there’s two layers to this that I take issue with: Firstly, when the story stops to describe something, that’s what it does. It just stops. We get a description of the Crabrawler Café, but we don’t really get Shane’s reaction to it until the next paragraph. This is made even more potent by the fact that you’ve got a lot of fast-moving banter going on.
The second thing is that the descriptions themselves are rather boring to read. There’s no fancy verbiage or lush adjectives; the Crabrawler Café is just ‘purple with large blue protrusions coming out of its side and uneven windows’. Both of these things turn my brain off a bit when I read them. Because the story halts whenever description begins, that breaks my immersion. But because the descriptions are boring, that encourages my brain to skim (moreso when a conversation between characters is being interrupted). In practice, what happened was that I would read the fast-moving banter between Tessa and Shane, then read the first section or so of the paragraph, then my brain caught up, realized the banter had stopped in favor of description, said ‘WTF you’re stopping me to read about a building?’ and skipped the paragraph. I had to catch myself and go back and consciously re-read it. It’s a problem I encounter fairly frequently, where the banter and the prose aren’t blended together very well at all, but I thought I’d point it out here.
I think the usage of ‘Moves’ in the cartoony way pokemon does it is a bit ‘eh’ in my book. Namely, because none of it makes sense – if these are recognized techniques performed with pokemon powers, that’s one thing, but it seems like moves here work essentially the same way they do in the games (With the exception of the four-move limit, which I have not seen yet). It’s not story-breaking, but I always get my head in a twist trying to figure out how characters like Shane can wake up, create random crap with their pokemon powers, and somehow this is the exact move without any faults or defects.
And now with the bad news out of the way…
:D Shane is apparently a Doctor Who fan! Which is a hard positive in my book and also this review.
Again, I like the battles. They are *so* goofy and over the top, but the important thing is that I never got bored reading them. I think this is where the shorter sentences that form much of your prose come in handy, because you’re able to write them snappy instead of creating a text wall of DeAtH that narrates the fight in Zack Snyder slow-motion.
Something else I enjoy a lot is the banter and dialogue between the characters. It’s very easy to get a grasp on Shane and Tessa’s character dynamics and relationship, and the other characters like Braviary and Magearna all have their own unique speech style as well. If I were to look at all the dialogue without he context of the prose I think I could say in all reasonability that I’d be able to tell them apart. Which is good!
I feel like the pacing is overall done really well. This felt more like an ‘episode’ of a PMD game than the last one did, and I could actually imagine this being something that could be in a theoretical PMD game. Which, considering the general direction that PMD Fanfiction has gone in compared to the Canon Games, is quite an accomplishment tone-wise. It honestly reminds me a lot of PMD Explorers, but that’s also the only canon game with a proper Guild so that might be why.
A lot of your side-characters are rather one-note, but thankfully they aren’t the dull slog to read that is literally any side character in any PMD game. Yours each have their own unique flair to them that gives them life in a way that peppy one-liners and one-note pieces of dialogue can’t.
Accents in dialogue – usually those can really bug me because it’s just not easy to get across an accent in writing (Some written accents have been so thick I end up playing the guessing game as to what “‘wr’reff’’’sdfsdfr’trghgegdw24” means), but the ones here are surprisingly tolerable. The only one that kind of bugs me is Braviary’s “if’n”, but otherwise they were easy to understand and got across their intended accents quite nicely.
So the first thing I notice is that the Kecleon Shop in Aeon Town is essentially set up the same way that Sylveon’s House is – it’s a large tent/building designed to look like a Kecleon. The same thing goes for Crabrawler’s Café. Given the running theme of the buildings in Aeon Town I’m honestly surprised the Guild isn’t a large metagross face or something. Lol
I read Yungoose and all I hear is Meowth
Something I wonder about is the looplets/emeras. Emeras outside dungeons can be handwaved by ‘Horizon does things differently’, but I wonder how the looplet economics in the guild work. Braviary says they’re valuable when he sends Tessa and Shane on the guild test – and I’m inclined to believe him, because if he lied, he did that deliberately, and it doesn’t make sense to deliberately say. But if so, then why is the Horizion Guild so… lenient with them? I’d assume the Cook ranks fairly low on the guild hierarchy scale, so why do they need one? Tessa and Shane get one as soon as they become Guild members, but if apprentice teams who don’t have a good track record from their one and only mission can get looplets without any trouble, then how can they be valuable? It’s made very clear early on that mystery dungeons are basically child’s play in Horizion, so you don’t *need* one to enter. It honestly just seems like the Guild has a whole bunch of spare looplets lying around on demand.
I honestly wonder what Yungoose and Trapinch would have done if they had gotten a pair of recruits that were crafty enough to actually steal the chest with their gear in it and then yeet out of there, lol. I imagine a better scenario would probably just be to put the new team’s potential equipment in the box instead, so if on the off chance a team actually does get away with the box the Guild still keeps everything from devolving into chaos.
So, what separates a mystery dungeon in Horizon from a random wild spot out of town, if they don’t do the Labyrinth thing? You could argue ley-lines, but all of Horizon is made from those. Is it just literally any spot that’s not colonized by a town?
I wonder why the Guild uses the same metal rankings (Gold, silver, bronze) as the humans do. Horizon is far removed from the other continents, so I doubt they got it from cultural osmosis.
So Shane is an arse, and I believe that was intended at this point in the story. But what kind of gives me pause is that he does not have to deal with any meaningful consequences. Braviary makes it clear that he doesn’t appreciate Shane’s mouthing off, but like… he gets smacked around some by Togedemaru and the pikipek and that’s really it. Some of the things he does are just outright disrespectful (like when he suddenly grabs Tessa out of nowhere and shakes her) or even perhaps illegal (when he physically makes Tessa sign the guild registration papers), but aside from Tessa’s horror he gets off scot free for the most part. It honestly feels like others should take more issue with his actions instead of just saying ‘lose the lip’ and moving on.
Overall, these two chapters kept well in pace with the last two. The first two were the beginning, and now these two are the start of the mandatory exposition. There’s a lot flying around regardless, however, and on the whole it’s very entertaining! The larger game pieces like Espeon and Umbreon seem to have taken a break for now, but I imagine they’ll make another appearance fairly soon. Will try to keep up in the future!
Listening to: Welcome to London – Tom Holkenborg
| SparklingEspeon chapter 2 . 5/13/2020
~Review of the Prologue~
I haz return to review once more :quilaree:
I remember reading PMD: Guiding Light back in November of 2019, and reviewing it shortly after. BUT… I’m not really satisfied with the review I left, which covered the broad strokes, made some dumb comments, and wasn’t really helpful at the end of the day. So now I return with an in-depth look! :D (I barely remember any of the details by now, so I should be good, I think?) I’ll be going by the parts listed on your profile, since that breaks the story down into fairly manageable chunks of 2 – 6- 8 chapters. Obviously, starting with
~Part I – Chapters 1 – 2~
Already, the prologue reminds me of the opening to PMD: Defenders of Warmth. Which… I’m not really sure whether that was intentional or not, but it’s probably in that italicized monologue about what Life is, which is structured very similarly to DoW’s. Narration aside, this prologue is actually one of the large talking points I have for this story, but since that relies on context that comes far, far later on I shall hold off on talking about that in-depth until later. The only thing I’ll say about that subject currently is that it does seem fairly obvious what happened in hindsight, and with all the clues he got over the course of the story Shane really should have been able to piece together a better idea of what happened beyond ‘I’m Solgeleo’ (which he only knew because of the weird visions he’d been having).
I get that Shane’s supposed to be an ass at this point in the story, but to be frank a lot of his gripes (like the Bulbasaur Riolu thing and getting left behind in the RP thread) sound fairly reasonable? Granted, they’re pretty petty, but I think it would be lying to say that no-one ever has those monologues running through their heads every once in a while. Especially if Shane isn’t particularly enthused about his job, which he isn’t.
I like the imagery with the rain. For some reason whenever a storm happens in a story everyone tries to describe the actual *rain*, and… what gives? Rain is the last thing I want to read about; I’d rather read about how it affects the story. This prologue is quite minimal with the rain description, instead describing things like how Shane experiences it when he pulls his car out of the garage, or how it’s so heavy that he can’t see a thing. I think it works extra well here because it’s limiting Shane’s sight and poses an actual threat to him, since he’s driving. It’s a very creative use of rain that I almost never see, so thank you for blessing us with interesting rain!
…Yes that sounds bad out of context
So Shane is crashed into, gets yeeted into PMD, and then Chapter One begins.
My first thought when reading Chapter One is ‘OMG, this reminds me so much of the beach scene from PMD Explorers. How did I not realize that before?’ Although it seems to work more as a subversion of that scene more than a reskinned retelling. While it has the same structure, there are lots of little things and derailments that ultimately work against it being a cookie-cutter retelling (like Eevee’s brief appearance and Growlithe’s offer to lead Tess-uh into the Guild). I also notice you’ve used it to slip in little bits of fleeting exposition, like Tessa’s heritage and how having names here clearly isn’t a normal thing.
All of it leads up to the ultimate subversion of the scene, where Tessa whacks Shane over the head and knocks him unconscious on the pretenses of being a ‘thief’, instead of saying ‘ok i believe you’ and then getting robbed by actual thieves. I’ve seen the Beach Scene (and it’s many, many variations) so many times in PMD fanfic that it’s almost always one of the largest turn-offs for me, so seeing a story that subverts the beach scene in a serious way (Whether intended or not, although it looks like it was?) is a nice break away from that.
Sylveon’s house is obviously a reference to the Team Bases from PMD Rescue Team. But she also lives on the fringes of town, not in the heavily populated sector where the Guild is. Are all the houses like that, even downtown? If they’re redecorated to look like the pokemon living there, what happens when they move out? Does it get remodeled for free, or does the pokemon have to pay for that or do it themselves? What if it doesn’t work? What if the pokemon doesn’t want to remodel? Is this even a viable housing situation? Or does Sylveon just have a custom house on the outskirts of town?
I know it’s important for later, but I positively *hate* it when things get ‘stuck’ to a character, like Shane’s Z-Bracelet. I mean, it’s not really a part of him, there’s just some enchantment holding it there. And it always sets off my OCD because I always imagine there’s like a whole bunch of gunk that builds up under that object that never gets cleaned off because the character can’t clean themselves there. One day Shane is going to find a way to take off that bracelet, and his fur will be dyed black there from all the dirt ;-;
Espeon, Umbreon, and the Ultra Beast Mutation plot thread they’ve kicked into action are another one of my large talking points, but I don’t have much to say on them yet either at this point in the story. One thing I appreciated was that you managed to give them the proper weight of how two pokemon as powerful as they are should feel – Tessa doesn’t stand a chance against them, and would be dead and gone if not for her scarf. I think showing a character overpowered like that is hard to get across in writing, and it was done well here.
I find it very interesting that Sneasel and Jangmo-o ‘stole the scarf fair and square’, because last I checked theft was neither of those things.
Thou shalt not insult frozen pizzas
I liked a lot of the mid-battle banter. A problem that I have with a lot of written battles is that characters can have lengthy monologues in the middle of a fight and the fight just ‘stops’ for them. Granted, there’s a little bit of that here, but it can kind of be handwaved because no-one in that fight is really an experienced fighter or knows what they’re doing. I also appreciated that it wasn’t ‘fluff banter’ like “We can do this!” or “Just one more hit!”; the character dynamic is very clear. Shane makes dumb comments because he’s not taking any of this seriously, Tessa is annoyed with Shane for not taking anything seriously, and Sneasel and Jangmo-o are too busy being smug cringelords to get a grip.
One thing that kind of bugs me, however, is the weird ‘laughs’ or noises that follow a pokemon’s sentences (“kweh-he-he”; “yup-yup”). I know that canon PMD does this, but it just reads weird to me, more like it’s a catchphrase than a sound a pokemon would actually make. In Sneasel’s case in particular, I feel like it’s just the standard evil laugh, and that broke immersion for me a good few times because I’d stop to cringe at it. (I mean granted both of those thieves seem to be cringey by design but still)
I’m not sure whether Tessa’s scarf having a sun and moon design and then getting split into a sun scarf and a moon scarf is symbolism of some sort or just a ‘wink wink’ reference to Pokemon Sun and Moon. It’s *probably* safe to assume that Shane got the sun half, which would match up with his connection to Solgeleo throughout the story (And Tessa would match with Moon since her mother is affiliated with ‘lunala’), but not sure whether that was intended or not.
Haven’t got much to say on Eevee and Sylveon yet, as they are barely present in this story from what I remember, but so far I think the prologue and first two chapters hold up relatively well! I noticed some typos throughout, but nothing that detracted from the enjoyment of it as a whole. I know that they were two chapters, but honestly it felt to me like they were just one large chapter split in two due to length. When I reached the end of Chapter Two I felt some closure, but it felt to me like the closure of a chapter of a story ending, not a chapter like one of the Chapters in a PMD Game. But either way, the beginning holds up really well! Looking forward to coming back and doing the rest.
Listening to: Mina_Dracula – Wojciech Kilar
| GenesisSupernova chapter 124 . 5/6/2020
Wow. Finishing this fic was a monumental task so I can only imagine how much effort and passion would've gone into writing it. I'll admit, the wholesome ending wasn't what I expected but that doesn't detract at all from the amazing story arc you've created. The ending was very fitting considering the recurring theme of teamwork, and I'm very glad I got to experience this fic through all the highs and lows.
I wish you the best with your life. I do wonder what you meant by that chemotheraphy comment considering your medical background, but it's not my place to pry. All I can say is, you're either doing good work or you're incredibly strong :)
| GenesisSupernova chapter 111 . 5/5/2020
Pokemon Insurgence fan, or just someone who did their research, I wonder? Good stuff with Silvally's new omnityping anyhow
| Zier chapter 42 . 5/4/2020
Confirming one bomb, then dropping another. Holy c*** man, you really got a way of making a story immersive enough to love and hate it at the same time. I love-hate your characters to death, and they got me rolling around the bed with either enmity or admiration for what the heck you're doing with these characters! Augh, if this is how much you can make a reader feel in a story, keep it up! its awesome work, and I'd definitely love to keep reading more.
| Platinum9732 chapter 3 . 5/1/2020
Time to start reading this one million word monster. The first few chapters have intrigued me, but I hope Shane gets some development to be less... dumb.
| Neirdae chapter 46 . 5/1/2020
I was looking forward to more lewd jokes at Shane's expense. That ship just died.
| Neirdae chapter 44 . 4/30/2020
Evil Overlord List, point 8:
I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
| Neirdae chapter 42 . 4/28/2020
That's going to mess with Team Radiance.
Going to see some serious BSOD
| Neirdae chapter 41 . 4/28/2020
Oof. Character death sucks.
You really make these battles dangerous.
| Neirdae chapter 40 . 4/28/2020
I'm surprised Shane didn't complain about the Reviver Seed nerf.
Poor Tessa, that description of dislocation hurt me by proxy.
| Neirdae chapter 39 . 4/27/2020
Tessa needs hugs and cuddles. I volunteer as tribute!