|Reviews for Fighting Nature|
| Demiurgic Pen chapter 5 . 10/7/2020
Hm. Organizing a highly illegal fight club is a pretty risky move. Better make sure nobody involved has any reason to interfere with things. Gee, I wonder if there will be any repercussions that come about from Lyco being so dismissive of an opportunist like Tyler. Probably not. Everything should be fine. Let's get ready to rumble!
| Flyg0n chapter 5 . 10/7/2020
Oh boy things are heating up! Raskin and Sid are gonna commit to Fight Club, which is thoroughly exciting. I'm glad it didn't take them too long to reach that conclusion, given it was the only reasonable one to reach.
But I definitely sense something very suspicious and corrupt going on. Like all these new computerized systems being installed. The post office computer is new too. Makes me wonder if there's even more to them being fired than meets the eye, even if the main reason was rumors.
Anyways, I really liked Lyco's 'rant'. The whole time I've been reading this I've been thinking about how fighting is in a Pokemon's nature. Seeing this society the way it is now makes it almost dystopian. Its sad to see.
This story is like a really good anime or something, because the chapter are like short, really good episodes. I'm always looking forward to the next one!
| Ralmon chapter 5 . 10/7/2020
Such a weird concept for a pokemon fiction.
Fighting is illegal? I mean, we humans aren't build around fighting like pokemons are with our rather pathetic physique but we don't make fighting illegal. Throughout history we actual revel in fighting in various forms. Even now we have professional fighting and make sports out of fighting.
Though, the description/blurb doesn't really say that the effect would be negative. Alter the very fabric of society doesn't mean turning into a dystopia.
I do really hope that the changes are positive, there might be opposition and rough transition, but in the end the result is for the better.
| TheG0AT chapter 4 . 9/21/2020
— Maybe Raskin isn’t all that foolhardy. It’s good that he’s being vague about his answers because that would mean he could blow it off later… but, ah, we both know he probably won’t be so lucky. Haha
— Nice fake-out with the letter. I thought they were goners for a brief moment.
— I was expecting a more awkward, tension-filled interaction between Raskin and his dad. But honestly, this works. If nothing else, it gives Raskin more motivation to chase a bag
— I like the descriptions you have going on. The little movements and subtle actions that characters take to indicate how they feel. I think it’s one of the big reasons I’ve had no trouble at all reading this story and remaining engaged all the while. The prose is typically spot on.
— Ah, there goes Raskin mouthing off again. I was kind of puzzled this time; why on earth would he tell his dad about organizing a street fight? In all honesty, the stigma against fighting comes off as having less weight when it becomes such a discussion point with the main character. If it’s going to continue to be an overarching threat, you’d think he wouldn’t have been so vocal about it, even (and perhaps especially) when advertising.
— [It was just a shame that weekends ended so soon.] Liking how relatable this story tends to be, referring to the mundane state of life that can sometimes affect people irl. Is that your intended angle?
— Raskin getting fired the way he did is super suspicious. What he was told about having the worst numbers isn’t consistent with the introduction to his job in chapter 1. Good thing Raskin seems to have caught onto this, too… not that it’ll help him much right now.
— Poor Sid. Sid is based.
— I can’t even complain about the fact that they both got laid off on the same day, because if this is meant to be a relatable story, I think it perfectly nails how mind-numbingly unlucky you can get even in real life. Those situations where it seems like it can’t get any worse, and then it does… yeah. It sometimes be like that.
— Anyone paging attention so far knows what comes next, which is why I love the ending to this chapter. The obvious solution to their new set of problems is sitting there waiting.
| Flyg0n chapter 4 . 9/20/2020
OOOoo Things are heating up. Gotta say, this story is really awesome! It's such a unique setting you've built up, it reminds of Detective Pikachu, but with only pokemon. Really loving it.
I can't wait to see where this goes, what with both poor Raskin and Sid losing their jobs. More secret fights hopefully.
I bet Locki had something to do with it, or someone else. its too big a coincidence for both of them to get fired at the same time.
| Demiurgic Pen chapter 4 . 9/20/2020
I'm very pleased with this chapter. Of course it's always good to fill in more character details, what with us learning more about Raskin's father and the circumstances that led to his arrest. But beyond that, what I really like about this story progression is that it demonstrates another side to "fighting nature". Now we have questions about whether Raskin really could ever actually climb up the ranks of this society, if he ever really could get a better job and make a better life for himself. We see his meager holdings evaporate beneath him in such rapid succession, and not over anything particularly egregious. We learn that it's something of a pattern for his family, given what his father had tried to do, and what happened to him as a result. We see that the other people in his life also have to deal with that sort of thing, too, as Sid gets laid off. So not even the "settle for factory work" is a sure thing. And then, over there, is this tempting indulgence, this money-making venture that EVERYONE seems so interested in. Only, it's dangerous and illegal, and there's probably some societal reason that Pokemon were required to stop indulging in it. But should we heed that societal reason if the same society that made it is the one pushing us ever further down, until we're at rock bottom?
These are what I consider to be "good story questions". They aren't things meant to string you along, but things meant to have you think and reflect on what you've just read. Things that aren't necessarily limited to just the fictional world the story takes place in, and might have something to say about the world beyond it. I'm glad to see this chapter, and very interested to see what comes next.
On a minor point of critique, on the section where Raskin and Haikos are talking, I felt the description of the way Haikos was sitting (and then how he adjusted his posture) was a little difficult to visualize. But that's just a minor issue.
| TheG0AT chapter 3 . 9/20/2020
— “Battle of the Bakers” lol. I like how lame it is; it makes the organized fight feel much more archaic, which is appropriate for their first one.
— Sid is a cool dude. I know I already said he was based, but I think I can safely conclude this now. He’s kind of a moron, but in a super endearing way. I want him to succeed.
— I like how the crowd reacted. Good job showing (without telling) how starved they are for a fight. I’ve witnessed crowds like this before and it’s truly exhilarating.
— Oh, a fight in the crowd. Good on Sid for stopping it, but sheesh, if a riot broke out…
— A good fight? That was a disaster if you ask me, lol. But maybe that’s just a testament to how little often the townsfolk get to witness combat. To them, the disaster was probably pretty darn cool to watch.
— But still, it would’ve been nicer to have a longer fight. When the summary and previous chapter had been spent building up to it, I was expecting more than just a couple of attacks exchanged. The fight getting called off before any knockout blows were thrown was a bit anticlimactic.
— I wonder how Lyco is gonna pop up again. It doesn’t seem like either party has interest in the other right now; her venue was damaged so she’s not happy, and Raskin’s not happy because he lost a ton of money. Judging from the somewhat impoverished, mundane state of their lives, I bet that one stung.
So far, I’m enjoying what you’re doing with Raskin. Back to the Breaking Bad parallels: Walter White, besides his library of chemistry knowledge, was a massive novice at the drug dealing game and it took him a little while to get his wits in order and start using his smarts to become a kingpin. And Raskin… well, there’s clearly a reason he ran to the back of the crowd to watch. And a reason he didn’t fend off the Nidoran very well when it had attacked him last chapter. The battlefield doesn’t seem to be his natural habitat, regardless of police presence or overarching legislation. Which means Raskin has a ton of room to either develop into his new self-appointed role, or to spiral further down as the stress and unfamiliar territory consumes him. Either one would strike my fancy, so I’m looking forward to it!
| TheG0AT chapter 2 . 9/20/2020
Howdy! Some more quick thoughts.
— Didn’t mind the slightly expository worldbuilding much. It was interesting stuff. I’m already wondering what kind of symbolic or logistical role the Founding Oak will serve.
— Outlaw Lycanroc seems shady. I say she’s an outlaw because of the fake name, and what other reason could she possibly have for not making that noise complaint. That, or those ‘loud neighbors’ were a street fighting ring of her own?
— It’s pretty interesting how Sid is with his fire. He’s got it, he just isn’t very good at wielding it. And Lyco, who seems pretty strong, even had to catch her breath after using a rock-type attack. I love the depth you’ve added to the anti-combat culture of Deepden; over time, it seems to have affected the Pokémon’s abilities in a deeply-ingrained way.
— Loved the worldbuilding at the end. You established very clearly how Pokémon moves work through dialogue alone, and it was super smooth as a result.
Raskin and Sid didn’t even have a location prepared before asking people if they wanted to come? And this misstep didn’t create any direct consequences because they happened to find a spot anyway? Ehh. Could just be a lucky break, but back to Raskin being not as smart as he thinks he is: I really hope little stuff like this comes back to bite him in various ways.
Not a lot else to comment here. The action is coming in the next chapter (I’m assuming), so I’ll have a breakdown prepared for that in my next review.
| Flyg0n chapter 3 . 9/7/2020
I really am enjoying this story. You've got such a neat set up, with this world of pokemon, but its not really PMD either. I like the characters a lot so far too.
I can't wait to see where this concept goes. It seems like the pokemon have forgotten how to fight, yet fighting is so intrinsic to them and their culture too.
Great chapter, exciting fight. Keep up the great work!
| Demiurgic Pen chapter 3 . 9/6/2020
First thing I want to comment on is that I think you did a very good job in this chapter of creating the atmosphere for the fight. Just the right amount of details to paint a really good picture of what the scene looked, sounded, and felt like. It's easy in these sorts of scenes to go overboard with description, but I think you managed it pretty well. I also liked the comparison drawn between how these Pokemon reacted to the fight vs. how they react to usual sporting event type things. You're doing a good job of illustrating what lies under the layer of artificiality that these Pokemon currently live in.
One thing that stuck out to me in this chapter was the sort of rapid-fire set up of "oh no, this is a problem", immediately followed by "actually, naw, it's fine". Sid's late and we need him to light the fire? Oh, no problem, we find him and he's got an even bigger crowd than expected, AND he lights the torch and everything even easier than expected. Bushu brought a drum? Yikes, I bet playing that is gonna draw attention- pssh, naw, we're far enough away, and it's just one drum. Aster's maybe getting cold feet? Actually naw, just some pre-fight jitters. His girlfriend has a few reservations about the whole thing? Wait, look, now SHE wants to fight. The Arcanine transportation took note of the rather large group all going toward the outer edge of the city? Ruh roh, maybe there'll be a problem with people getting back- oh, actually it's fine, everyone just needs a gentle reminder to go back in staggered order to avoid suspicion. Oh, shit, Chaka and Aster are getting really intense here. Maybe one or both is going to go too far- nope, they're totally cool with one another and had a good time. Gasp, Aster and his girlfriend are being questioned by a police officer, sigh, it's just light questioning that they easily explain their way through.
I don't want to belabor the point here, and it's clear that some of this is for the purpose of establishing certain other things. Like demonstrating a paranoid mindset in Raskin as he's doing something illegal despite his father having an unpleasant history with the police. Or elaborating on a Pokemon's true nature such that they can be willing to tear into each other one moment and yet be perfectly civil toward one another in the next. But I dunno, when you have a lengthy string of "Uh oh, this isn't good. Oh, wait, it's fine", it starts to undercut things going forward. The reader begins to dismiss problems raised as being all that serious, and it's difficult to make an impact when you actually want something to go seriously wrong. You still CAN make an impact, but you have to navigate it carefully, or the reader feels cheated, like "Wait a minute, this isn't consistent with how you've been doing this before." This isn't necessarily a huge problem this early in a story, as you're only three chapters in. But it's something to keep in mind going forward.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the chapter, and the deeper look into Raskin's character. I'll be interested to see more about Lyco as well, as she's clearly got a deeper understanding of battling, and of how other Pokemon react to it. I'm curious if she and Raskin are going to eventually throw down; there's already a bit of a wedge driven between them, so we'll see how that develops.
| TheG0AT chapter 1 . 9/3/2020
Howdy Cynsh! How’s writing been? This is a neat-looking story you’ve got here.
— Summary is better than adequate. Drew me in straightaway.
— When it comes to hooks, I’m usually ultra critical of the opening and progressively less critical from there. And to be frank, the first sentence almost strikes me as an anti-hook. It’s very purple-prosey for something so simple and stereotypical as waking up in the morning to begin a story.
— “Tiresomeness” is a mouthful; I think a word like “exhaustion” or “grind” would read smoother.
— I do want to briefly mention that mixed in with some of this awkward phrasing and unnecessarily strong words is some truly excellent prose. When it doesn’t read like you’re trying too hard to be descriptive, it’s very pleasant! And it becomes far less of a concern further into the chapter too.
— Third paragraph, first sentence: I noticed you refer to the nickit with gender-neutral and male pronouns in the same sentence. Just a small consistency nitpick, but in case it’s an error I figured I’d point it out. Alternatively, if “their” was referring to both Sid and a Raskin, it reads especially weird since only one character’s existence had been acknowledged up to that point.
— Excellent worldbuilding. Reminds me of how some TV shows and movies will pan the camera around town and play intro music near the start.
— You do a great job of showing vs telling. In the summary you make it clear that Raskin and Sid aren’t pleased with their position in the societal food chain, but in the story itself you ease the reader into agreeing with that themselves instead of outright stating. Very immersive stuff!
— A passing “oh shit” thought I had (when Raskin was thinking about how he was still young) was that he’s gonna be putting that youth and freedom on the line based on what I know from the summary. Setting the stakes early, I see.
— Are you a Breaking Bad fan? The scene with Raskin watching the street fight draws a bunch of parallels to the scene where Walter White was watching a drug bust on TV that ended up convincing him to start producing drugs. Just wondering.
— Half poké for a cinnamon roll? Talk about a lack of inflation. lol
— Sid is based.
— Woah. That was fast. I suppose it’s better to skip straight to Raskin and Sid agreeing to the formerly jdea rather than have them deliberate excessively, but… still. It’s kinda jarring that they were regular working ‘mon one minute and unironically conspiring to create an organized crime ring the next. I feel like it would’ve been a smoother transition if they explored the stakes a bit more, especially since Raskin has literally witnessed his father suffering the same capital punishment that he’d be receiving if he got caught. Regardless, I’m excited.
— The ending one-liner alludes more to the legal ramifications I just talked about, but again, it doesn’t really touch on it in any meaningful detail. I’m hoping there’ll be more of that in the coming chapters.
Overall, the opening scene fulfilled its purpose of introducing the characters, but didn’t do a whole lot else for me. But it didn’t last long, instead jumping straight into the worldbuilding and daily routine of Raskin, which was where the real first hook was for me.
I think you deserve credit for establishing quite a few characters this early on. Even though you can only fit so much detail into one chapter while covering other necessities, I still already feel like I have a basic understanding of several seemingly important characters. It will make picking this book up again to read more chapters easier, I imagine.
I’ve stated it already, but the summary may be one of the best I’ve ever seen just as far as function goes. It’s rather simple, perhaps even a tad spoilery, but it has the rare quality of spoiling specific details that make reading up to them even more interesting than they would’ve been otherwise. You know I’m a pretty spoiler-proof guy anyway, but still, it’s how I felt. And the summary also acts as a good hook in and of itself, so overall, kudos for that. Summaries are hard and I think you’ve nailed it.
Immediate thoughts on Raskin: he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. One thing that caught my attention in particular is that he dismissed the notion of someone snitching on them by justifying it with a generalization. “A lot of Pokémon are crying out to see a street fight,” he says, but you don’t need a lot of Pokémon giving them police tips; it only takes one.
Anyway. I’m looking forward to Raskin’s decisions catching up with him, as well as how the planned crime ring affects his immediate livelihood. Consider me hooked!
| Demiurgic Pen chapter 2 . 8/21/2020
So, there's something I noticed about this chapter that I want to point out. It's not necessarily a problem, so to speak, but it's maybe something to think about going forward. Two times this chapter, you kind of have a "sum up" paragraph where you quickly go over information or events that the reader already knows, but you feel is necessary to go over to preserve the integrity of events. First one is at the start of the chapter, going over Raskin's approach to setting everything up with Chaka and Aster; second one is toward the end, detailing Lyco and Raskin (and later somewhat with Sid) setting up the combat area. Both of these moments are fine in terms of transition. They cover the essentials and move you from what happens before to what happens after. But I look at these segments and can't help but see missed opportunities. I wonder if there were things you might have done to dig into these sections and flesh them out into proper interactions that might show a little more of the characters, the setting, etc. Particularly that second segment with Lyco. This really cool, enigmatic character we just met having a cheeky moment where she's subtly making Raskin do all the work under the guise of giving advice could have been really neat. Instead, we just get the summation that Raskin suspects Lyco enjoys pushing him around. Like I said, it's not really a problem, but it's something I think you could benefit from keeping in mind for future chapters.
Overall, though, I liked what we saw here. As I mentioned above, Lyco is pretty cool. Interesting implications here and there about what society is doing to Pokemon. Now for this carefully laid plan to go horribly wrong next chapter.
| NebulaDreams chapter 1 . 8/14/2020
(Crossposted from Thousand Roads)
Alright, so when you first mentioned the premise, I was already interested in reading this fic, and I'm glad I did because this is a very solid opening chapter. It establishes character motivations quickly (also hinting at Raskin's backstory in a tantalising way), already has me asking questions about the world (in a good way), and I'm hooked to see how Raskin and Sid's schemes will develop throughout the course of this story. On that topic, you've provided a good hook in terms of showing how Pokemon have to cope with their fighting nature and potentially hinting at what happened to make fighting outlawed, as well as how these two will get around that by running an underground club. A fight club, if you will, hehe.
The prose, for the most part, is also solid. I've read a few first chapters lately that've gravitated more towards being flowery and wordy, but this flows nicely and doesn't linger on a scene for too long. Similar to what Canis said though, I would've liked to have seen more description about the setting (particularly buildings like the apartment, the streets and the office) since there aren't a lot of modernised PMD stories, and I imagine it would be somewhat different to what a man-made urbanised area would look like. I like the attention to detail in some places (like the nature of Raskin's work, the logic puzzles, the clay fittings again, etc.), but I also wonder how certain things would work (like how the infrastructure would be designed for Pokemon of all types), since it gives off the impression that the city looks exactly like something if it was built by humans. Then again, it's not something that has to be answered straight away.
I have one nitpick when it comes to adverbs. Adverbs in dialogue tags are a bit of a peeve of mine since they redundantly express the emotion that's being inferred in dialogue. Stuff like '“Don’t do it, Sid,” Raskin said wearily' could just easily stand on its on without the 'wearily' part. The same could be said about the thoughts Raskin's narration expresses in phrases like this, 'Rich show-off, Raskin thought bitterly', where the 'bitterly' part wouldn't be needed. What else is he going to think about the whole matter?
Ah well, this is a really small gripe that doesn't affect your story. It's just preference on my part, and as I said before, this is a strong first chapter. Thanks for sharing and I hope to read more chapters of it in the future when they come out. ;)
| Demiurgic Pen chapter 1 . 8/13/2020
Howdy, Cynsh. Decided to give this a read. Pretty good opener. There's a nice cross-section of other works that this reminds me of (most prominently: Office Space, Zootopia, and Fight Club). It's an interesting premise, but I'm curious where you intend to take it. I don't really have too much to comment on, critique-wise, other than what felt like a slight discrepancy in Raskin's monetary concerns. For someone who is constantly hurting for money and owns mostly old, battered things, I have a hard time buying that he wouldn't see the appeal of saving every poke by running to work himself, even if the public transportation isn't that expensive. But then he still resents someone willing to pay for the pricier transport option anyway. I feel like it might have worked a little better in establishing part of why he doesn't like Locki if she had been the one wanting to take public transport and he declined so he could run to work himself. Then those resentful feelings could have been directed at a named character instead of a random person. But it's not an especially big issue. Just a minor niggle.
Overall, this was good, and I'm interested in what comes next. Keep at it.
| Dr. Glutamate chapter 1 . 8/12/2020
This is a fascinating premise. Take Pokemon, deliberately remove everything that makes it Pokemon, and make a story about how much dissonance that causes.