|Reviews for Of Loss and Discovery|
| Guest chapter 8 . 8/27
A much needed moment of levity and hope in such a dark story. I appreciate seeing that, although their past experiences have changed them, Nishir and Takari’s lives aren’t dominated by their shared trauma. While they can be drastically more mature than other children their age, as exemplified by the previous chapter, they’re still fundamentally the same people and can express that light hearted side of themselves in casual situations. After everything that’s happened to them, it was nice to see that their status quo of friendly teasing survived.
I also enjoyed seeing how the various relationships in this story developed in the chapter. While this includes the romantic development between our potential couples, it also extends to familial bonds. Nishir and Raver truly felt like believable brothers during this conversation in the way they were asking for advice about their crushes. Although I hesitate to call it a full redemption arc, as Raver never really became an antagonist, you’ve done well with his character development.
Ultimately, it ties back to what I was saying earlier. Trauma has changed Nishir and Takari, but they’re still fundamentally the same people since they didn’t allow it to dominate them. Neither Of them have forgotten what happened, but it doesn’t stop them from living their lives, rebuilding, and having fun. More than I expected to say about a hot springs episode, but it had some excellent developments.
| Guest chapter 7 . 8/14
Much like the previous entry, this chapter excellently demonstrates how tragedy, both directly and indirectly, can drastically change people. Upon my initial reading, I was under the impression that the present scenes took place after a significant time skip. Making Takari and Nishir in their late teens as opposed to preteens like in the flashbacks. Although this turned out to be untrue, the fact that I had this misconception at first is a testament to how quickly their trauma has forced our leads to mature. This is seen to an extent with the gang in the original LBT. Despite being canonically 5 years old during the first film, they express emotional maturity beyond their age. Still childish at times, but better than what’d commonly be attributed to 5 year olds. However, unlike the gang, Nishir and Takari were never able to fully regain their childhoods and this heightened emotional maturity continued.
Although Raver’s intense hostile reaction towards Greenie was terrible, and Takari’s anger what he said was completely justified, I can nonetheless sympathize with Raver to a certain extent. He’s not a malicious person and he clearly cares about Greenie, but every positive action he’d tried to take up to this point was completely ignored. Honestly, I can see many adults cracking under similar emotional pressure, considering Raver is trying to deal with this situation as an adolescent I can understand why he’d snap. It doesn’t justify what he said to her, but he can be understood from this perspective.
I’m glad that Raver felt remorse for what he said and that this experience, along with the help of Nishir and Takari, was ultimately able to help rekindle the friendship between Reaver and Greenie. Greenie will still need more time to recover, and may not be the same as she was before, but it’s a step in the right direction towards a better life.
In all, I think you did a very good job of balancing the darker elements of this chapter with moments of levity. It’s still dark, but it’s more hopefully than the previous chapters. Conveying the emotional scenes whilst preventing the reader from becoming mired in negativity.
| Guest chapter 6 . 7/31
Due to the dark nature of this chapter, even by the standards of this story, it was very difficult to adequately describe for a review. Although I don’t normally condone the use of the M rating, in my experience it’s often used by edgelords to justify gratuitous violence for shock value, in this situation you did the right thing by changing the rating.
Depression seems to be a common theme in your work, and I appreciate how you neither demonize nor romanticize this issue. This chapter also demonstrates how individuals can respond to trauma in drastically different ways. While Takari becomes suicidal and displays psychological regression from her grief, Nishir is concerned with escaping and keeping his only friend alive even though both suffered from the same traumatic experience. It was interesting to see the characters’ thoughts about the afterlife, since we as the audience know ghosts and by extension the afterlife exists, as well as how Nashir used this conversation to talk Takari down from wanting to kill herself.
This is the darkest thing you’ve written so far, but it was nonetheless handled tactfully. Good work Evil Swimmer, I hope things improve for our protagonists.
| Anagnos chapter 6 . 7/27
Okay, to start this off it is good to see that your long hiatus due to exams is finally over and you've certainly made up for lost time quite fine. I hate to be that guy, but there's a lot we need to go through with this new chapter and not all of it is positive. For politeness sake, I shall go over the good things first and then move to the things I found to be lacking. I would like to add that there's no need to take any of this personally. These are just my honest opinions I wished to voice.
You warned that this chapter would be considerably darker than its predecessors and I don't think you were wrong in that assumption. While the insipid part roughly halfway through the conversation between Nishir and Takari relating to dialogue and narration could have been cut short in creating this dark atmosphere, I believe you've created a fine example of how a person may feel when they've lost everything dear to them. This, of course, comes as a shock to Nishir, but we as readers would have been expecting something bad to happen sooner or later. I have to admit that some of the things Takari said, mainly about how cruel the world they live in truly is, are rather valid points about the circle of life and you hardly can blame her for feeling this way, which only adds in to the realism. However, she was essentially very selfish here, not even considering to stop and ask what Nishir feels about it all, but this all plays into her state of the mind being in shambles.
Time for the less positive things. I know this may sound a bit rude, but I honestly could not find a better way to voice these feelings without sounding at least little bit captious. You've been reminded that some of the paragraphs have been way too big and I hate to bring this problem up again, but I would suggest you use three to eight sentences in a paragraph. This might feel like a relatively small problem but I like to believe that less is more. It is likely because you haven't written fiction in a while, but I feel like there's a considerable gap where the quality has dropped down little from the previous chapter. The best way I can try to explain this is that it feels like you overcomplicate it by making the chapter as long as possible, relating to my previous point about how less is more.
Once again, these criticisms are not to be taken personally. I'm merely trying to point out in where you can improve on. If at any point you feel like I've overstepped my boundaries, then please excuse me. You're more than welcome to contact me so we can hash it out if you have any questions. All in all, I'm happy to see that you've returned to writing fanfiction and while we've been dealt a cliffhanger to keep us in suspense until the next chapter, there are some things I look forward to exploring more, particularly how Greenie's past is going to affect the story. The characters have been pushed to the breaking point, but their road of misfortunes likely isn't over yet.
| The Rhombus chapter 5 . 2/3
This chapter to me is where your understanding of these two characters really shines through. Both of them are struggling to deal with their loss in their own ways, but with Takari is clearly having a much more difficult time coping. Her previous carefree world has been utterly shattered with the loss of everything she cherished, apart from one friend. A loss can be more devastating to an optimist due to them never considering such a dark possibility, and this is well illustrated here. It also puts Takari's mannerism into perspective. She may act annoying at times and tease her friend, but now these antics seem like a manifestation of resilience despite loss as opposed to an annoying character trait. Now that Nishir and Takari are with each other at this, the rock bottom of their lives, it will be interesting to see how they overcome the challenges that await them and eventually arrive at the valley.
I must also echo Owls' words here. The Greenie aspect of the present story is a promising one indeed. It has some promise to help another deal with her loss, while also being an additional element which unites the past and present stories together.
I look forward to seeing how things develop from here. :)
| The Rhombus chapter 4 . 2/3
The third chapter begins with the horrific scenes of our two protagonists watching the desperate final battle of their herd against their inevitable demise. Here we see both the swiftness of the battle, and the growing horror of the protagonists as they see their families disappear before their eyes. This is a difficult balance to maintain in writing a scene (as the quickness of an ambush can sometimes mute the emotional impact) but I think that you have done well here. Afterwards, we now see a distinct change in the mannerisms of our protagonists as Takari, who is usually the outgoing one, is now frozen with fear due to both the horror of their loss, but also the instinctual drives of her kind. Between the instinctual drives of fight, flight, or freeze, she is right now stuck in freeze mode. It says a lot about his character that he is able to keep his wits together during this time; only breaking down some time later when the full reality of the situation sinks in. The swimmers finally saying their goodbyes is a poignant moment and one that hopefully will allow them to accept the journey that they now must make. They are all that remains of their old herd... so it is up to them to go on.
| OwlsCantRead chapter 5 . 2/3
Now that the horrifying climax of the attack has passed, this chapter focuses on the more low-key emotional impact of... well, depression. Takari is really dependent on Nishir, a huge role-reversal that really forces Nishir to take charge and put aside his discomfort.
I do like that how the flash-forwards are used in this chapter: it really shows the difference in Takari's mindset then and now. Her spunky behavior, which could be misconstrued as annoying in the earlier chapters, now almost seems like a relief. I did predict the withdrawn and traumatized behavior exhibited by Takari from clues in the previous chapter, but personally, I kinda expected for Takari to remain silent and suppress her feelings due to her personality. I also expected Takari to lash out more considering that Nishir seemed to have her somewhat in control considering that she lost her whole family, but I suspect that she is still stuck in the denial shock stage and will be doing something reckless in the next chapter.
The other thing I like is the present-day plotline with Greenie. It is interesting to see that the two friends' story is helping their new family possibly save another family from self-destruction. Again, I'm interested in Takari and Greenie's plotline in the future. :)
| Guest chapter 5 . 1/27
Chapter 3: You handled the attack in this chapter as well as in your novelization of the original film. Rather than it being tonally jarring, the light foreshadowing and speed of the attack is reminiscent of just how fast tragedy can strike in real life. I like how you handle dark subject matter in your stories; relying primarily on tone and the emotions of your character while providing just enough visual information so readers can picture the scene themselves. Furthermore, the change in Nishir and Takagi’s personalities felt very natural. They were still recognizable as themselves but thrust into a deadly situation where they are completely helpless without one another. A theme you elaborate on perfectly in chapter 4.
Chapter 4: this chapter truly shows the depth to which you understand your characters. It was heartbreaking to see them break down after the massacre in a sequence that could have come from the original film in regards to tone. Everything you wrote here is relatable from their mixed emotions of despair and anger to more subtle things like the feeling of not wanting to ruin the mental image you have of someone you love by seeing them deal with trauma. This chapter was marvelously executed and I cannot commend you enough for how you handled these two characters finding solace in one another during their lowest point. Now that Nishir’s veneer of embarrassment towards Takari is gone, it will be interesting to see how they survive the aftermath together. Both physically and emotionally.
| OwlsCantRead chapter 4 . 1/29
It feels like a gut punch to have everything taken from our main characters at the drop of a beat. The scenes where both of them witness their families being slaughtered firsthand are very well done... and cruel. I could feel the despair and emotion emanating off of the two as the knowledge sunk in. If anything, I feel the buildup to the attack was lacking as it seemed to happen immediately.
The juxtaposition between playful Takari and her more vulnerable distraught side in this chapter is startling. If there's one thing of note, sticking with Nishir's POV means that we once again only have a superficial view of how Takari is reacting to the loss of her family, especially as Nishir's thoughts in the future scenes (and minor fourth wall breakage) imply that she ended up emotionally traumatised from the experience. With more focus on the present scene also leads to the establishment of the fact that our two orphans have been adopted by a new family. I do wonder how they managed to attain this goal.
| Anagnos chapter 5 . 1/26
And here is the other review that was promised. I concede that the pun in the chapter was rather great way to relieve the tension in this chapter. Points for that. :p
Chapter 4: There certainly was a lot more drama in play throughout this entire chapter, and it did a decent job fleshing out this frantic situation Nishir and Takari find themselves trapped in. Furthermore, I believe you managed to sell the idea of them being completely lost better in this one compared to the previous chapter, but since that was merely the starting point of their rather harrowing point in life, it proved to be a welcome extension of their torment. Nevertheless, there was a slight impression lurking behind the scene when Nishir’s short-lived hatred for the sharpeeth outweighing everything else didn’t exactly feel like raw anger, but rather mild annoyance. This was likely due to how you decided to demonstrate this particular moment, rather than the cause being the writing. This could’ve also provided you a rather great chance to explore how exactly it affected Nishir than merely stating how he felt at the moment.
But the sincere and heartfelt moment these two shared prior to Nishir’s mission to find them both required nutrition to stay alive was one that gave us a bit more insightful information in exploring their relationship after the dreadful event that has made them seek solace from each other. Although, Nishir’s personal feelings for the female might make things rather awkward in the future, they definitely require moments like this in order to cope with the loss and pain. Though, certain events in this chapter seemed to be quite contradicting to what has already been revealed. I’m trying to wrap my head around a particular moment with Takari’s incapacity to sleep alone, why then have her sleep alone in the first place? And the reason for this was rather silly and lacked key elements, albeit they are just children.
I don’t think there is a need to worry about what Takari might cause to herself, as she seems to be rather fine in the current timeline, but it will be interesting to see what could have brought this change in her personality, but it certainly will not be fatal as that would present certain continuity issues in the story. That being said, Nishir’s reaction to this revelation (or rather lack thereof) wasn’t handled with the most success as it is hard to believe he would allow that to happen without expressing opposition. For sure, this will allow you to explore these developments in clear light and present a genuine response to this issue in the following chapters. :)
| Keijo6 chapter 5 . 1/25
These two chapters certainly provided a change in this story’s direction. Nishir and Takari’s fun days were cut short in the worst possible way and also put this fic on the track towards the situation the duo are in in the current day. The latter chapter certainly was a depressing one but one can hardly blame Takari for her extreme reaction even if it only makes Nishir’s situation even more unbearable.
Chapter 3 was truly a chaotic one and it was more than easy to feel bad for everyone involved. The two friends’ fear and peril was very tangible as was their fear for their loved ones. The moment they realized the truth was a very sad one and it was very hard to even start to think how they feel and you did a good job there. That was certainly a difficult chapter to read but it was necessary to make this story move forward.
As for the second chapter, it was a slower one but that was more than understandable considering the circumstances. It was interesting to see Takari giving up considering that she was more confident and brash than Nishir which made her character much deeper. It was clear Nishir wasn’t feeling any better than she was but on the other hand, it seemed his feelings for her were forcing him forward.
The future looks bleak for them but we do know that Takari is not going to meet her end here.
There were a few things that bothered me, though. The first was that chapter three seemed to start too quickly and even if I understand you might have wanted it to add to the shock value, it felt a bit awkward imo. The second is that in both chapters there were many long paragraphs that were quite heavy to read. And finally, I don’t know if it was intentional but Tamari’s plea for death sounded very much similar to that of Jordy’s character in the rp.
But even then, these chapters were a welcome change to this story and changed it into a tale of survival and mutual help to overcome the looming starvation. It’s clear that both of the young swimmer’s will learn a lot in the days to come and it’ll be interesting to see just what happens from now on.
| Anagnos chapter 4 . 1/25
Just to let you know, I will be releasing these reviews separately rather than putting them in one post. :)
Chapter 3: I’m very much in favor of the more darker approach in this chapter when compared to the small hints we have been given throughout the journey thus far. The past pretense that this would merely be a slice of life kind of story has now been swept away just as Takari and Nishir’s entire life with their herd. For the most part, I did find the impending calamity to have been executed decently, my main issues with it lay mostly on how you decided to approach it. Rather than immediately revealing that something was amiss, more preferable option would have been to ease the reader into the dark condition by giving small hints before the ultimate reveal.
But I must confess, that your approach in introducing what is lead to believe to be the tragedy shaping up the duo’s relationship between each other was done rather well, and the death of their families likely shows how such close bond eventually came to be as both of them have now lost something very dear to them. The overall mood of the chapter was mostly a rather tragic one, but the way Nishir began to tend to his last remaining acquaintance of his old life helped set the atmosphere into a hopeful direction. This act of kindness from the male likely is one of the reasons why the two of them end up becoming so close. Though, her short-lived state of shock did not last very long, even after witnessing horrible sight after another did manage to lower the quality of the moment.
In terms of emotional impact, the overall quality of the writing was handled suitably, but lacked the emotion that it required. In spite of my comments, I think the chapter still managed to do its job in introducing the reader to the darker aspects of the story, which will be instrumental in going forward.
| OwlsCantRead chapter 3 . 1/8
Perhaps the funniest part about Nishir's antics is how much of his thoughts is being suppressed and how he often says something completely different than what is on his mind. Usually I would never go this in depth into a character's introspective thoughts and thus I had my apprehension about the italics and bold formatting choice, but I see why it's needed now - Nishir's thoughts often contradict his words.
The mutual pining (and refusal to broach the subject directly) between Nishir and Takari is very thrilling to read, and in a way I think Nishir is being willfully ignorant and actively denying what his heart is telling him when Takari hints heavily to him that there is a reason he is her favorite target: "a family with you would be loads of fun", "figure out who I'll take with me", and "if I want you to like me" come to mind. In a way, you nailed the tenuous yet heartwarming friendship between the two very well, and it's probably the best part of the story.
But other than that, I do enjoy how down-to-earth Takari is in this chapter while still retaining her core personality traits. It really sells why Nishir still maintains his friendship with her despite his love-hate relationship and crush on Takari. It will be interesting to see how the status quo will shift as time goes on. :)
| Guest chapter 3 . 1/1
This chapter shows that Nishir has quite a flair for the dramatic. Although he describes Takari as a bully in both chapters, and how her teasing embarrasses him, none of her games are performed with malicious intent. While he claims otherwise, this mutual enjoyment of their games is even backed up by Nishir’s dialogue when he says losing Takari would be bad. Furthermore, all of the descriptors Nashir used for her at the beginning had a positive connotation. If she was truly as horrible as he told himself I’d imagine he’d think of her in a more negative light and want her gone rather than valuing their status quo enough to tell her that he wants her to stay.
Despite all of his talk, this chapter shows that their relationship is far more complex than its outward appearance. Takari saying it’d be fun to be in a family with him also alludes to her having deeper feelings as well. The rivalry between these two is more than likely just a facade to help them deal with new emotions brought on by adolescence and, since Takari is always one step ahead of Nishir, I think she might be trying to use these games to make him accept his emotions rather than rejecting them. Unlike the shouting matches between Littlefoot and Cera that occasionally become physical fights, despite them being friends, Nishir and Takari’s competition has potential to develop into a stable relationship depending on what happens to these swimmers.
It will be interesting to see how Nishir and Takari’s friendship develops over the course of this story. I’m impressed how you managed to create complex characters with deeper motivations and a unique dynamic in only the first few chapters. Excellent work Evil Swimmer.
| The Rhombus chapter 3 . 12/31/2019
I quite like how this chapter allowed us to see more of the Takari and Nishir relationship. Though there is something to be said about having a story immediately jump into the action, I think that allowing the readers to get a good feel for the characters and their relationships is a better first step even if it slows down the narrative. In particular I like how this chapter allowed us to get a more nuanced view of Takari's personality. We now see that her recklessness and assertiveness is combined with a sympathetic side, which makes her much more well-rounded and interesting as a character. Though the humorous mismatch of personalities between the two main characters is still on display, which adds much to personality of the story. :)
Though not much in terms of major plot developments happened in this chapter (with the exception of a hint of something to come) I quite enjoyed the chapter nonetheless. A good story requires a good foundation, and we are certainly seeing the laying of the foundation here. :)