Reviews for Avatars
xfbuffyfan13 chapter 5 . 4/17/2005
yet another really good, and unique story. gilgamesh was one of my favorite stories from world lit. hope you come back to the w/b pairing...haven't read any of the spiderman stuff yet.
Lyle Brown chapter 3 . 9/12/2003
DAMMIT,

Sorry about the double review.
Lyle Brown chapter 2 . 9/12/2003
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Title: Avatars

Author: Kirayoshi

Genre: Action/Adventure (yawn...)

Canon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rating: R (for the occasional act of violence; plus the images that will run through your head every time Xander speaks)

Budget- High

Format- Widescreen (the words fill the entire screen)

Running Time- Approx. 105 min.

Mini-Review: Magnolia meets Titan A.E.- Stylish and packed with great visuals, as well as an excellent grasp of the English language. But that just barely saves this from being endlessly talky and repetitive, with annoyingly hip dialogue and some characters that are down-right stupid.

Full Review:

Do you know the difference between having style, being hip and being cool? 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' was cool, but not hip or stylish (except for that classic puppet scene with John Vernon in the police station). The 'Scream' trilogy was stylish and hip, but only the first one was really cool, with some truly inspired moments in the first sequel. 'The Evil Dead' trilogy is stylish and cool, but only 'Army of Darkness' was hip. Dario Argento is the motherloving king of style, but you have to be a gorehound to think he's cool, and he's never been hip to my knowledge. 'Garbage', Quentin Tarantino, the 80's and 'The Bloodhound Gang' could pull off being all three, and so could 'MDK' 2 when I wasn't screaming at my Dreamcast. And the 'Friday the 13th' movies aren't hip, stylish or cool. They're just damn good entertainment!

What I'm getting at is this; Hip is in the language, Style is in the moves, and Cool is in the overall presentation. Kirayoshi, the author of the BtVS story Avatars, is all about the language and the moves, leaving the overall presentation somewhat lacking.

Avatars is the story of Tiamat and Marduk, two mean old Sumerian gods who reconvene every once in a while to reak havoc; you know, tearing holes in the ozone, throwing Molotov Cocktails into pre-schools and writing scripts for Charmed. Mardy likes Order in the world, which he somehow feels will be brought forth with destruction and fire and whatnot. Tia, as you've probably guessed, prefers Chaos. He's the kind of Dark God who listens to 'Buck Cherry' at odd hours of the morning and throws huge keg parties every time the stock market crashes.

Only now, in the present, these guys are tired senior citizen Gods who like using other people to do their dirty work for them. So they get themselves some lackies; jackass entities known as Entropy and Discord (though later on in the story he's referred to as Dischord). These guys (well, this girl and that guy) are supposed to possess two living people who will then get close enough to two other living people, to transfer the spirits of Mardy and Tia into those people so that they may fight in the place of these Dark Gods. Are you still with me?

Don't worry about it. If you read Avatars, which is unfortunately, due to some great writing, a very easy thing to do, you will have this plot imbedded into your skull over and over and over again. Basically, this whole shebang is Kirayoshi's ingenious plan to recycle the cliched formula of getting rid of the two people (in this instance, Riley and Tara) dating Buffy and Willow so that Buffy and Willow may fall in love and live tritefully ever after.

Now don't get me wrong, Buffy/Willow is one of my favorite pairings. They're the best for fluff and sex fics. But Avatars spends so little time with Buffy and Willow interacting (all that mushy gushy stuff is reserved for the last two chapters) that you don't get that great-relationship-forming-here feeling. Instead, you've got lots and lots of wonderful dialogue to read, and I say that in both sarcasm and sincerity. Like the great conversations between the dieties as they argue over the value of humanity, opposed by a constant stream of one-liners and stupid comments from Xander Harris every time he's in a scene.

"What's the up?"

"Hey, don't sweat it, G-man..."

"On it, G-Man."

"Avatars? Aren't they a new brand of luxury cars?"

"This is getting freaksome..."

He and Joyce simply can't seem to grasp the situation. Like those characters in old B movies and video games, they're both portrayed as incredibly dense so that other, more knowledgeable characters can explain in detail what the audience already knows. But, to his credit, the author does this well enough to keep me reading.

Either Kirayoshi is in love with his Thesaurus, or he simply doesn't need one. The same plot lines are repeated many times, but each one sounds different from the last, so that even the most suspicious reader can be fooled into believing they're reading something new the first six or seven times.

And don't get me started on his sense of style.

Thespia stepped closer to Willow, her small hand smoothly alighting on the side of the blade, and pushing it away as Willow stood, transfixed by her measured words. Xander slipped out of Willow's hand, and rushed to where Giles was standing. The two men looked on in awe, aware that what they were seeing was nothing less than a confrontation between powers beyond any they have ever known. Between gods.

He knows instantly what words will come together in the right way and avoids the ones that won't. His imagery is detailed and sometimes beautiful, and he isn't afraid to go over the top, which more often than not works in his favor. When he actually decides to write an action sequence (there are about two in the story) they are brisk and well-paced, with passages like this-

(T)he fireball split the ground in front of (her), sending up a wave of dirt, rock and sod twenty feet into the air.

and this-

She raised her arms over her head, her hands glowing white with unearthly energy. She prepared to smite the humans who dared to stand against her, only to have Thespia stand between her and her prey.

To be brutally honest though, this story has just enough action in it to pass for mildly thrilling or excitingly dull in the overall view. Situations are mostly resolved with chatter rather than might.

As a side note, the evident red-hot hatred for Riley Finn in this fanfic is felt a mile away with my computer shut down, but so many fans feel that way that this isn't a complaint as much as it is an off-hand remark. By the climax I was half expecting him to pop up shouting "I'll swallow your soul, I'll swallow your soul" and start spurting green blood on people.

And no, Kirayoshi's writing isn't perfect. His lack of many grammatical or spelling mistakes make those that are there stick out all the more.

The sword slashed cleanly through the joint, severing the arm cleanly.

As Giled drove Willow, Xander, Anya and Thespia to the final site of battle...

They were not so much seperate beings, but different aspects of the same entity.

"Behold," Buffy anounced, "the Princess Buttercup!"

But this is nit-picking. The writing is exceptional, and worth reading this fairly short story for. The beginning grips you, drags you through a lot of talk in the middle, and lands you in an ending you'll probably enjoy.

As I finished Avatars, I came to realize how important being cool is when you emphasize style and hipness so heavily. Cool isn't something you can just choose to make, it's something that happens as a result. I think if Kirayoshi had pandered to my tastes a little more, I would had praised this fic as being the coolest thing since perforated edges on toilet paper. But then, that's another thing about the coolness factor. Unlike style and hipness, ultimately cool is in the eye of the beholder. Which, in this case, dear reader, is you. Check out Avatars and decide how cool it is for yourself.

FIC RATING: 3 out of 4 *'s

SOUNDTRACK: For the first four chapters, download the John Williams' score from Excalibur, "Carmina Burana: O Fortuna" (The Extended Version) if you don't already have it. In the last chapter you'll want to play Eric Clapton's "Change the World" and Hullabahoo's version of "Take on Me".
Lyle Brown chapter 1 . 9/12/2003
-

Title: Avatars

Author: Kirayoshi

Genre: Action/Adventure (yawn...)

Canon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rating: R (for the occasional act of violence; plus the images that will run through your head every time Xander speaks)

Budget- High

Format- Widescreen (the words fill the entire screen)

Running Time- Approx. 105 min.

Mini-Review: Magnolia meets Titan A.E.- Stylish and packed with great visuals, as well as an excellent grasp of the English language. But that just barely saves this from being endlessly talky and repetitive, with annoyingly hip dialogue and some characters that are down-right stupid.

Full Review:

Do you know the difference between having style, being hip and being cool? 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space' was cool, but not hip or stylish (except for that classic puppet scene with John Vernon in the police station). The 'Scream' trilogy was stylish and hip, but only the first one was really cool, with some truly inspired moments in the first sequel. 'The Evil Dead' trilogy is stylish and cool, but only 'Army of Darkness' was hip. Dario Argento is the motherloving king of style, but you have to be a gorehound to think he's cool, and he's never been hip to my knowledge. 'Garbage', Quentin Tarantino, the 80's and 'The Bloodhound Gang' could pull off being all three, and so could 'MDK' 2 when I wasn't screaming at my Dreamcast. And the 'Friday the 13th' movies aren't hip, stylish or cool. They're just damn good entertainment!

What I'm getting at is this; Hip is in the language, Style is in the moves, and Cool is in the overall presentation. Kirayoshi, the author of the BtVS story Avatars, is all about the language and the moves, leaving the overall presentation somewhat lacking.

Avatars is the story of Tiamat and Marduk, two mean old Sumerian gods who reconvene every once in a while to reak havoc; you know, tearing holes in the ozone, throwing Molotov Cocktails into pre-schools and writing scripts for Charmed. Mardy likes Order in the world, which he somehow feels will be brought forth with destruction and fire and whatnot. Tia, as you've probably guessed, prefers Chaos. He's the kind of Dark God who listens to 'Buck Cherry' at odd hours of the morning and throws huge keg parties every time the stock market crashes.

Only now, in the present, these guys are tired senior citizen Gods who like using other people to do their dirty work for them. So they get themselves some lackies; jackass entities known as Entropy and Discord (though later on in the story he's referred to as Dischord). These guys (well, this girl and that guy) are supposed to possess two living people who will then get close enough to two other living people, to transfer the spirits of Mardy and Tia into those people so that they may fight in the place of these Dark Gods. Are you still with me?

Don't worry about it. If you read Avatars, which is unfortunately, due to some great writing, a very easy thing to do, you will have this plot imbedded into your skull over and over and over again. Basically, this whole shebang is Kirayoshi's ingenious plan to recycle the cliched formula of getting rid of the two people (in this instance, Riley and Tara) dating Buffy and Willow so that Buffy and Willow may fall in love and live tritefully ever after.

Now don't get me wrong, Buffy/Willow is one of my favorite pairings. They're the best for fluff and sex fics. But Avatars spends so little time with Buffy and Willow interacting (all that mushy gushy stuff is reserved for the last two chapters) that you don't get that great-relationship-forming-here feeling. Instead, you've got lots and lots of wonderful dialogue to read, and I say that in both sarcasm and sincerity. Like the great conversations between the dieties as they argue over the value of humanity, opposed by a constant stream of one-liners and stupid comments from Xander Harris every time he's in a scene.

"What's the up?"

"Hey, don't sweat it, G-man..."

"On it, G-Man."

"Avatars? Aren't they a new brand of luxury cars?"

"This is getting freaksome..."

He and Joyce simply can't seem to grasp the situation. Like those characters in old B movies and video games, they're both portrayed as incredibly dense so that other, more knowledgeable characters can explain in detail what the audience already knows. But, to his credit, the author does this well enough to keep me reading.

Either Kirayoshi is in love with his Thesaurus, or he simply doesn't need one. The same plot lines are repeated many times, but each one sounds different from the last, so that even the most suspicious reader can be fooled into believing they're reading something new the first six or seven times.

And don't get me started on his sense of style.

Thespia stepped closer to Willow, her small hand smoothly alighting on the side of the blade, and pushing it away as Willow stood, transfixed by her measured words. Xander slipped out of Willow's hand, and rushed to where Giles was standing. The two men looked on in awe, aware that what they were seeing was nothing less than a confrontation between powers beyond any they have ever known. Between gods.

He knows instantly what words will come together in the right way and avoids the ones that won't. His imagery is detailed and sometimes beautiful, and he isn't afraid to go over the top, which more often than not works in his favor. When he actually decides to write an action sequence (there are about two in the story) they are brisk and well-paced, with passages like this-

(T)he fireball split the ground in front of (her), sending up a wave of dirt, rock and sod twenty feet into the air.

and this-

She raised her arms over her head, her hands glowing white with unearthly energy. She prepared to smite the humans who dared to stand against her, only to have Thespia stand between her and her prey.

To be brutally honest though, this story has just enough action in it to pass for mildly thrilling or excitingly dull in the overall view. Situations are mostly resolved with chatter rather than might.

As a side note, the evident red-hot hatred for Riley Finn in this fanfic is felt a mile away with my computer shut down, but so many fans feel that way that this isn't a complaint as much as it is an off-hand remark. By the climax I was half expecting him to pop up shouting "I'll swallow your soul, I'll swallow your soul" and start spurting green blood on people.

And no, Kirayoshi's writing isn't perfect. His lack of many grammatical or spelling mistakes make those that are there stick out all the more.

The sword slashed cleanly through the joint, severing the arm cleanly.

As Giled drove Willow, Xander, Anya and Thespia to the final site of battle...

They were not so much seperate beings, but different aspects of the same entity.

"Behold," Buffy anounced, "the Princess Buttercup!"

But this is nit-picking. The writing is exceptional, and worth reading this fairly short story for. The beginning grips you, drags you through a lot of talk in the middle, and lands you in an ending you'll probably enjoy.

As I finished Avatars, I came to realize how important being cool is when you emphasize style and hipness so heavily. Cool isn't something you can just choose to make, it's something that happens as a result. I think if Kirayoshi had pandered to my tastes a little more, I would had praised this fic as being the coolest thing since perforated edges on toilet paper. But then, that's another thing about the coolness factor. Unlike style and hipness, ultimately cool is in the eye of the beholder. Which, in this case, dear reader, is you. Check out Avatars and decide how cool it is for yourself.

FIC RATING: 3 out of 4 *'s

SOUNDTRACK: For the first four chapters, download the John Williams' score from Excalibur, "Carmina Burana: O Fortuna" (The Extended Version) if you don't already have it. In the last chapter you'll want to play Eric Clapton's "Change the World" and Hullabahoo's version of "Take on Me".
Franger chapter 5 . 2/6/2001
Well it would be good except for a couple of things. Firstly I am pretty sure that Tiamat was female in every single mythical story/tale I have ever read. Secondly I find it really doubtful that the God of Order would have an underling called 'Entropy' which actually means 'Chaos'. Nice song in the final chapter though.
Squall Leonhart chapter 5 . 2/3/2001
Pretty good, dude. I liked the ending, but that may have something to do with the fact that I've been reading Buffy/Willow stories nonstop lately. Keep up the good work!