Reviews for naturally
imaginair chapter 1 . 2/16/2020
Interesting set up for the story where N comes from the PMD universe. If I were N and originally a Pokemon, I'd definitely want to change the world back into the one I came from. I loved how we see N's journey of self discovery and the ferriswheel scene where he points out what's wrong with Pokemon battles. I love that you had Hilda defending it because that's what she's raised to believe. I think its interesting that N's sad that the world will be split because it ruins this one, but at the same time he's willing to go through with it. This was really cool, but I'll admit that I was a little disorientated reading it backwards, but that's the point!
WildBoots chapter 1 . 2/8/2020
Funny enough, I’ve had this open in my browser for weeks. After your review yesterday I was trying to remember if this one was yours or not — scrolled up to double check after I finished reading, haha.

I really enjoyed your characterization of N. His thoughts and mannerisms are spot-on. Loved the scene where he addresses his team (with the joltic) after losing a fight — very compassionate. Makes Spur’s statement hit hard.

[This is why it's so hard, playing by their rules to try to convince them. If he made them feel bad about their bad actions, they'd blame him for attacking them. As if holding them accountable for their abuse was just as bad as the abuse itself.]
Woof, hits hard too. This is something that’s really hard to grapple with in real world anti racism work.

Best line: “Surely the species that invented slash-and-burn understood that sometimes the only fertile ground came from the ashes.” Brav .

Also a contender: “Humans name themselves after their dead; he was named for the living.”

Hilda was also handled well. Her dialogue is good, that glint in her eye sizing N up.

I was confused in places — the opening scene, the conversation about the hydregion having helped him save the world once. At first I was thinking it was because you were drawing on B2W2, which I skipped. Now I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t play to the end of PMD haha. (Oops.) Took me a little while to get into the piece. I think I wanted just a bit more clarity in the opening scene — not of N’s origins, but of the facts of what was happening in that room. Where people are standing, etc.

Obligatory grammar/word choice nitpickery corner:

[Her neck strains up the staircase to Dragonspiral Tower; ]
Awkward — suggestion: “She strains her neck to see up the staircase...”

[He isn't making her do anything. ]
I feel like this should come directly after her saying, “Don’t make me do this.” Breaking up her dialogue with his thoughts — many tiny paragraphs — is totally allowed. In fact, it would slow the conversation and make it feel even weightier.

Seismitoad is part ground-type — not sure the joltik is the one you want for that fight.

[dangling on the coin toss of this outcome.]
This one doesn’t work for me. I feel you on the tenuousness of the moment, but the wording here is awkward. Too many metaphors intermixed.

Overall, the arc of this was quite satisfying. I didn’t expect the backwards timeline to work so well. It’s really lonely to think that N is the only “human” ally in this fight... except he’s not. Turns out none of those in power were standing up for the oppressed here.
An Author's Pen chapter 1 . 2/2/2020
[ He brings his hands down and cleaves the two worlds apart.]
This opening sequence was very tense and epic.

[ (or is it ideals? the line between them blurred long ago)]
The meta-touch here kind of detracted from the flow for me.

[N responds with a bitter smile. Idealistically trying to explain the truth to her until the bitter end. ]
Repetition of bitter here doesn't entirely work. Could be "to the very end."

The exchange between N and Zahhak made a lot more sense on second read. On first read I didn't really know what to do with it.

[ The joltik was never very good at asserting himself. Even now, his mandibles are quavering; the bristling fur on his thorax cannot cover the way his entire body shivers]
Loved everything about N's conversation with the joltik, particularly [No, this fear is the worst part]

[Only Spur choses to stay. N wasn't expecting that.]
I like this too. Choice is unpredictable.

[The freak without a human heart, versus the true king of Team Plasma?"]
Confused by the timeline here. Does N really challenge Ghetsis so early, with a joltik? And then afterwards, he ends up back in the castle?

{"Our teachers."


"Humans, of course."

Oh indeed

[ There's no way he's going to get out of this without a fight.]
Why? Because he's so angry? But that means he's choosing to put his pokemon through harm because of his feelings? The way this plays out makes it seem like N initiates the fight here and that seems a bit out-of-character.

[{It's my native tongue.}
There's an excruciatingly long silence, the kind that N knows he needs to fill.]
All the interactions between N and other pokemon are brilliantly done. Maybe my favorite part of the fic. Nice to notice on second read that Polaris goes with N.

[They have the coloring of a ralts, leaf-green hair with the crimson eyes to match.]
[between a purrloin about to filch a full hoard of apples and a weavile aiming for the throat.]
Great poke-centric description here.

[a tear in the fabric of reality that screams to be corrected.]
So yeah, Ghetsis is an abusive asshole, but this seems slightly hyperbole? He's not all-powerful, just decent at organizing and battling.

[And just like that, he and Zahhak are suddenly owned by a human.]

[It's only Natural, isn't it?]
Not sure why this is capitalized. This sentence seemed a bit unnecessary to me. Could have ended strongly with [He saved the world once. He'll do it again.]

It's an interesting idea that N, just because he's incarnated in human form, gets different treatment and at first is more open to 'live together in harmony' arguments, but beyond him telling Zahhak to calm down initially, I don't see other instances of him reacting to the current universe with anything but disgust and dismay. This phrase ["I would. I'm not one of them," N lies confidently.] implied to me that N does believe somehow he's been fully assimilated and betrayed his kind, but I don't see too much evidence of that. Unless . . is the idea that he is the PMD hero in the full sense, where he's a human from our world, sent to PMD world, who then ends up in Black/White world? That's a whole lot of universe hopping!

It's also pretty weird to me that he never wonders what happened to his partner? Wouldn't that be his first priority once he got any sort of freedom? If he did know Ghetsis was training Zahhak why would he accept that?

Loving all these N/PMD takes! Though there's a part of me that thinks the really crazy, radical idea of N is most fully realized when he belongs fully to the Black/White world, when he doesn't know what it would mean to realize his ideal, but follows it anyway.
Farla chapter 1 . 1/31/2020
Hm. So the backward format does let the final pieces have a lot of emphasis and those are really strong (I particularly liked ["We. We're sorry for trespassing." The human syllables. How did they manage to do this all day? His tongue is flopping in a thousand directions at once; his growls are dead in his mouth. It just doesn't make sense. "Please let us leave your lands."]) but given how N's assimilated enough to say "people" and work so hard at playing by the rules, I think it might've been better to have to be chronological and put the focus on how much he's changed and how badly he's compromised up to that point, and why he tried so hard to be accommodating to the human side of things. (I was wondering a bit if he doubted his own memories of there being another way things were, which would be a reason to hesitate, but it seems he always knows the other world was real.) His former partner being Ghetsis' hydregion is horrifying but it's hard to understand how it happens – they're presumably separated, but it seems like N would have ample motive and opportunity to try to find Zahhak again, and if it was truly impossible and the first time they met again is in the battle, it's strange Zahhak would fight against him or talk later of how N's been sitting around doing nothing letting Zahhak suffer the consequences of his indecision. And the level of abuse and control makes N to be trying so hard for a peaceful resolution and only going for the world-splitting as a last resort harder to understand.

Also, I feel [watch the birth of a new world where pokémon are free from people.] is a missed opportunity to put a twist on the phrase - [watch the birth of a new world where pokémon are free to be people]. Because going with the PMD setting, it's the removal of humans that allows pokemon to have a society at all.
St Elmo's Fire chapter 1 . 1/31/2020
[surely battling was what was truly what pokémon wanted]

There appear to be repeated words here.

[If you couldn't change the rules legally, you had to break the rules.]

The wording here feels odd; the "legally" throws off the parallel structure.

[Surely the species that invented slash-and-burn understood that sometimes the only fertile ground came from the ashes.]

That is a beautiful and cutting line.

[{That's the funnies thing.}]

[Go wherever feel is right.]

[The ferris wheel makes is almost to the bottom.]

[callously studying every inch of him and taking it all in without a second though.]

[Sometime there are rumors]

[Of course it else.]

Typos here?

[There's a lot to unpack there. Quite a lot. Better to throw out the entire suitcase. N didn't bring any of his charts and he doesn't really know how he'd begin to explain systemic injustice versus individual responsibility anyhow.]

Ha. Oh, if this whole conversation isn't a mood...

[The human gives him a new name without a second thought. Does he even realize what—]

If this is referring to Ghetsis, you refer to him as "they" everywhere else in this passage.

[Releasing one back into the ecosystem, especially as one as… lively, one might say, as yours… the effect would be catastrophic."

"Zahhak isn't mine," he blurts back immediately.]

The length of the dialogue undercuts the "immediately" here - N waited the length of an ellipses and another clause before responding to the "yours" part.

[This is why it's so hard, playing by their rules to try to convince them. If he made them feel bad about their bad actions, they'd blame him for attacking them. As if holding them accountable for their abuse was just as bad as the abuse itself.]

It is so refreshing to see stories that talk like this.

It's so great to see a more assertive N who pursues his goals farther, and this is such a clever idea.