Reviews for Windows of the Soul
The Quiet Place chapter 25 . 4/19
One of my favourite things about this story is that you don't shy away from how deeply flawed and sometimes downright evil Shizuru is, but somehow manage to make her sympathetic too. It's something I've been missing from every other Shiznat fic except one (think it was by Veg3ta if I've got their name right, they wrote the fic Fake about Marimite, which is amazing). I also like how you keep pushing through every detail of their relationship. It's very thorough but also enjoyable. Anyway this is one of my long time faves and well worth a re-read. I really like your Madoka fic too! So yeah, thanks for your work, fantastic bit of writing.
Guest chapter 77 . 3/22
Wooow! Bravo! Very impressive and realistic in its sense.. It's one of the magnificent works i've read so far.. I'm glad i've stumbled upon your story author-san.. I very much enjoyed it indeed..
SoldierG65434-2 chapter 77 . 2/27
I know how much writers like to have their works from seven years ago dissected, but in order to justify the time I spent chipping away at this behemoth, I feel compelled to articulate my thoughts on it.

First, some background; I was only vaguely aware of "Mia-HiME" and ShizNat back when I was actively writing for YoruSoi circa 2009. I had a few people ask me to write for them, but all I really knew was that you couldn’t move three feet in any direction in yuri circles without running into them. It wasn’t until this month actually, after hearing tales of how terrible Shizuru was from an associate, that I finally decided to finally watch the series. Though she’s pretty awful, she’s not as bad as Chikane from "Kannazuki no Miko," which is what I had been told, though it’s not for lack of trying on her part, that’s for damn sure.

Since I finished the series (well, actually after "Otome" really but the less said about that the better) I decided to take a trip back to the mid 2000’s and start combing through the fanfiction for those these two, mostly academically. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and what I had missed.

What I found is what actually made me read this story in the first place; yours is the only story (that I’ve found this far, to be fair) that actually addresses the problems with Shizuru and this ‘ship directly. Your Shizuru is spot on; she is a self-absorbed, destructive, selfish narcissist that for all of her platitudes only truly cares about herself. She the guilty she feels and her self-imposed penance is only to serve her own vanity and has nothing to do with repenting. I fucking hate her, as I should. I hated her in the show too. So much of what I’ve seen people wrote about her either refuses to address her properly or whitewashes the things she does because it’s 2006 and being unequivocally gay lets you get away with literal murder.

Speaking of, this is probably the best use of gay angst I have ever seen in a fan work. Shizuru’s sexuality is intrinsically tied to the atrocities she’s committed, which makes her angst much more effective and rung much more true than they typical “B-but we’re both girls!” nonsense that get’s a pass the first time you run into it because you’ve never seen it before but quickly overstays it’s welcome.

You’re Natsuki, on the other hand, felt much less genuine to me. I know the central premise of the story gives you some flexibility with the characters, but Natsuki didn’t feel as on point. In the series, she was a child playing at being a professional; competent, but ultimately trying to act older than she actually was. Here, without the pretense, she just felt like a prototypical tomboy. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it was a bit of a bummer.

The rest of the cast was very well done, though. Your renditions of the rest of the core characters from the series was mostly well done. The only real sore thumb was Shiho, who you seemed to acknowledge from beginning had no real reason to be in the story anyway. I’m willing to forgive her though because who cares about her anyway? You’re original characters, however, were excellent. Perhaps not the most original, but they were fully realized in their own right and capable of carrying their weight. Typically, original characters are a death kneels for fanfiction, especially when they are a major component of the story, but here they were almost the main attraction.

However, my principle complaint is that this story is thirty to fifty chapters too long. While you’re premise is solid, I was ready to drop it at chapter 5 or so. But then I checked the scroll bar for chapters and it kept going, and going. To be perfectly honest, the only reason that I kept reading is because I had to know how. How? How could this story possible be this long? To your credit, the fact that you kept this story (mostly) coherent that long is truly impressive. But that doesn’t stop the front 30 or so chapters from being filled with the same tired, circular conversations that accomplish nothing.

Overall, this was a pleasant surprise for me. I’m almost willing to give this entire monstrosity a pass just for your willingness to say in no uncertain terms that Shizuru raped Natsuki. This story’s not perfect, but it far exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations to the point that I don’t regret my time with it.
dayumbro chapter 77 . 8/17/2014
Wow. I'm speechless. It's 5:20am in the morning. This story has changed me as a person, and my view of the world. And for that I am greatful.
Thank you for such a lovely story.
Lotte-oc chapter 77 . 8/9/2014
Still by far one of the best stories on this site, and certainly my favorite. I just wish I could experience reading it for the first time more than once.
Theralion chapter 77 . 5/28/2014
This was a highly enjoyable fic. I've heard that many ShizNat fics, and to some degree, the series itself, gloss over Shizuru's actions in the series, while others write off Shizuru as a terrible person who doesn't deserve to be with Natsuki. This effectively avoided both those pitfalls, helping effectively and realistically show Shizuru's feelings about what she's done, how Natsuki feels about Shizuru after everything she's done (you seem to take it for a fact that Shizuru raped Natsuki, when that was relatively ambiguous, but doing so works well for this story), and how they could get together after everything that happened.

The alternating POVs of Shizuru and Natsuki were excellent touches, and you could see a great amount of their personality in them, with Shizuru's expressing the angst that she conceals behind her perfect facade, Natsuki having a fair amount of bitterness and brutal honesty, and both grappling with their complicated feelings for each other. I believe first person perspective is best used for showing things as a character sees them, and this is one of the better uses I've seen in fan fiction.

The characterization was quite strong, and it was nice to see such detail applied to the large cast, even if it occasionally got difficult to keep track of some of the minor characters. One of my favorite touches was Natsuki pondering Umi's motivations, and realizing that Umi, not unlike Natsuki, is motivated by revenge, which Natsuki can't let her have because Shizuru, in spite of all she's done, is precious to her. Not only was that a good way of showing why Natsuki opposes Umi and the other survivors of the First District without making Natsuki look like a hypocrite, but it's also a good look at how nuanced the morality is in this fic.

In any case, I didn't find the characters to be too OOC, or at the very least, OOC to the point at which it strained believability or made them unrecognizable. They were affected by what happened to them in the anime, and their development in the fic seemed to be natural. I tended to think of it as the next step in their development, rather than them being reworked into something else entirely.

I liked the story looking at the lingering consequences of the Hime Carnival, such as the Himes being forced to consider the consequences of their actions, and possibly being targeted by the remnants of the First District. It's hard to see life just going back to normal for all the students, as it did in the final episode, so this was quite realistic, in addition to making for a good story.

The ending was slightly abrupt, albeit with a nice call-back to Midori's letter about Sailor Moon, but I found that it worked. Shizuru and Natsuki's lives will go on, and they have mundane challenges to deal with (Natsuki having to make up for her missed classes going from a mere joke at the end of the story to a minor plot element was a nice touch), even on the off chance that they don't have to deal with more lingering repercussions of the Hime Carnival. Perhaps it might be nice to see more of how they deal with those, but that might be another story entirely.

On a minor note, it might have been better to have Shizuru call her parents "Mother" and "Father", as she did at at least one point, rather than "Otousama" or "Okaasama" (and I think those terms have a hyphen before the "sama"), but the very formal address was fitting for Shizuru.

All in all, this was possibly the longest fanfic I've ever read, and quite possibly one of the best.
DancingFireStar chapter 77 . 12/26/2013
Amazing! Absolutely wonderful! I loved this story I can read it over and over if there was more shiznat action though. But besides that it was pretty good.
Reservation Red chapter 77 . 12/1/2013
I cannot express how wonderful this story has been read and experience. It has brought so many wonderful and equally terrible elements from Natsuki's and Shizuru's relationship which all needed to be faced for there to be a healthy relationship. Your hardwork and diligence in finishing this story is remarkable.

It's sad that it's taken me years to find a story so moving. I can only hope my sincerity, happiness, and awe reaches you years from completion.
TweekinTinkaToy chapter 8 . 10/18/2013
Finally Natsuki takes some damn initiative! It's hard watching Shizuru break herself down like that, and Natsuki not realizing...god, I hope she finally finds out about and corners Shizuru about all her masochistic behavior. I would love to see how Natsuki would react to that, and I'd love to see Shizuru break down in front of her, girl needs a good cry and a hug. No man's an island.

One thing that has been bugging me about this story is I'm pretty sure Natsuki's eyes are green, not blue...but this store is 5 years old now, so I don't see you as the author going back and revising. :P
HowlingSilverWolf chapter 77 . 6/25/2013
awesome story it been really interesting i enjoyed it :)
BlackRockShooter chapter 77 . 5/23/2013
WOW ! it's really , really amazing ! it's the most unique shiznat fanfiction i ever read .. thanks for this story .. and thanks to you too .. two thumbs up ... :) i hope , you created also a mai-otome fanfiction of course the main cast , shiznat ...
Darth Luffy chapter 76 . 4/27/2013
Amazing story, I could write an entire essay on this but it is rather late and I need sleep so I won't be doing that. Besides as much as I loved it there are some things pertaining to Shizuru that would put me in a bad mood if I were to try to discuss them at length, issues that you handled remarkably well. I wanted a story that would expand upon what happened after the carnival in a realistic manner, contextually speaking anyways, and your story delivered that and more. Easily on of the best stories I've read in a long time.

While it's been several years since you finished this I doubt I'd be alone in hoping that you might decide to write a sequel. A story set after Natsuki enters college would be interesting and would give you a chance to expand upon some of the plot points that weren't concluded, like Alyssa getting involved, and to of course showcase Natsuki and Shizuru's relationship further.

Anyways, it wasa great read and enjoyable way to pass the last day or so. I'll have to take a look to see what else you've written if this is a sample of what I can expect.
Darth Luffy chapter 6 . 4/25/2013
So you should definately change the charcater filters to Shizuru and Natsuki, alot more people would probably find this then.

I wouldn't normally review so soon when the stories already finished but I wanted to compliment you on how well the characters are so far. I've been looking for a Mai Hime story that did an accurate portrayal of how life after the carnival would be and I think yours is the best. You don't shy away from exploring the darker aspects of what the girls did and even address a few issues I've never seen anyone else bring up, mainly Mikoto being both an innocent child and heartless killer, but still have lighter moments as well that are fun. Shizuru is well done with how she struggles with her feelings and the way you explained her actions in the carnival, also like the fact that she is interested in girls in general and not just Natsuki.

Natsuki's character is probably the best of all as you manage to showcase her personality, desire to be with her friends, that she cares for Shizuru while still being somewhat fearful of her. Add in that she's not the innocent she is portrayed as sometimes and she's great. In particular I like the way she describes how she isn't the girl to try and save everyone, it reflects my own idea that if you can't save everyone then save the ones you love first. Although like me, I doubt Natsuki really wants to have to put that mindset tomthe test
Zen chapter 77 . 1/28/2013
I really like your story. I read it twice and, even if some part are a little to full of thinking, i love your SHIZNAT and the plot.
Thank you
equastar chapter 1 . 9/10/2012
the new video is fantastic, bloody
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