Reviews for Spiral
ghikiJ chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
Finally, some time to review this chapter.

First and foremost, why is pre-story AN so long? It's nice to have some background information to help the story along but you should have placed this at the end of the chapter. When I first reading this (read it three times), I kept reading the AN and wondered when the chapter started. Lol. Not being mean/strict here but I advice you to put lengthy ANs at the bottom/end of the chapter, especially since for this story, you WANT to surprise the readers. It's up to the readers if they can tolerate your AU enough to keep reading. Then you may kind of ease them out their cranial overload with information. I know you wanted to explain to the readers that since this an AU, characters would be different but you've already established that in chapter one where you briefly described each of HTT members' charms and the strawberry scene.

I've read another reviewer who already said this but I might as say it too. Don't apologize. This is your story (Auron line...ahem), write it the way you want to. You're not being paid to entertain us so don't apologize to us if you think we'll be offended. We, the readers, can just kindly press the "Back" button on our web browsers if we don't like your story.

Okay, onto story theme analysis...

You've said so yourself that one of the biggest themes in this story is that fine line between lust and love. In this chapter, you've shown us one of those sides. Lust was everywhere in this chapter and one has to beg the question as to why? Why are these girls so lustful of each other? Being celebrities is hardly a reason for being so promiscuous of your own bandmates. All female bands are rare, you don't see them around as much as all male ones. I doubt that they are all over each other backstage. Bare in mind that this isn't a flame, I'm merely stating assumptions. There really could be an all female band out there that do pounce on each other during their off hours.

Another theme is friendship. Now, I'm not quite sure how you will show us this theme. So far the 'friendship' that you've shown us in this chapter can hardly be considered friendship. At least, not yet. I understand that this is the first chapter and you consider this as introductory but what I want to point out is the fact that HTT seems to be friends because, one, they're in a band together (a very successful one at that), and two, they have benefits. Aside from the fact that you told us that the original four went to the same high school, there isn't much friendship in this chapter. They were just pouncing on each other. I really want to know what kind of friendship you will show us here because I find it hard to imagine what it could be. I'm not saying that it is impossible, I'm only saying that it will be a...surreal type of friendship. Mugi obviously cares about her bandmates and she had displayed that through her comments. Mio and Ritsu aren't quite... exposed yet. I still don't know how they really view their relationship with everyone else. Yui... I'll write her own paragraph soon enough.

Another theme I noticed is the "Dark Side of Living Larger than Life" thing you have going on. Here we have very popular and influential musicians. They are glamorous, they are filthy stinking rich and... they're jaded. It's an illusion to us mere mortals. We always these celebrities partying hard and think their lives are perfect. They have money. They have influence. However, they've sold a part of themselves to get those. They also lose something. This theme is perfectly depicted by Yui so far. The small scene where Mugi looks at Yui's photograph foreshadows a less than perfect past. I'm going to guess that something happened to Ui, if not that, then something happened to her and Yui when they were younger.

This perfectly takes us to Yui. You truly surprised me with how you wrote Yui in this story. In my first reading, I thought she was out of character. It was as if you just named an OC Yui and stuck her in the story. My second read, however, changed my mind. The Yui we know and love is still in there but her eccentricity, her child-like interest in things that intrigue her, and her erratic mind processes were somehow twisted. She's still Yui but she's one jaded Yui. She's a rockstar but she seems detached to the world, as if longing to do something else or reminiscing about her past, one that she would like to be in instead of the one she's in right now. Just the fact that she wanted to "corrupt" Azusa's naiveness made me think that Yui herself wants that innocence for herself. This is a long shot but at the same time, this is only my analysis. I'm gonna have to see more (duh) to further my understanding (duh x2).

Moving on, another facet of Yui that I really liked was her dominance. And, no, I'm not talking about her dominance in bed. You've referred to her as the Alpha Wolf, the epitome of dominance. But how and why? Why does she keep such control over her friends/bandmates? Is she doing that on purpose? How was she able to dominate the other girls? Ritsu doesn't exactly strike me as a submissive person, Mio as well, even though she does usually end up giving in to peer pressure. Now, I understand that everyone isn't exactly themselves here but I'm still sort of hanging into a belief that they've completely lost their canon selves because, if that's the case, then you should have just wrote this as an original material.

Back to Yui. I think in that scene where she answered Azusa's mother for her was a stroke of genius. You kept describing Yui as this enigma, this alpha wolf who devours lesser mortals in her wake. You've written that she's beautiful and dangerous and yet she pulls innocence and warmth in a split second. This adds mystery to her character and makes me think that maybe she was like, really, genuinely innocent and warm before the even that made her change to who she is right now. It must have come from something.

Furthermore, I think one of the biggest questions about Yui in this story is how did she become so sexual? Why is she so sexual? I have an inkling (especially after she told Mugi that she wanted to tame Azusa) that Yui is partly responsible for the others' sexual drive. Maybe she was the one who made them so sexually active, as a way of 'taming' them as well. I might be wrong but there is still the rest of the story to be told.

I'm going to move on to the other characters now. The very first character mentioned in this chapter aside from Azusa (reader insert) and Yui (main enigma) is Ritsu. You've told us that she just "sits back and enjoys the show". This is new to me because in canon, it's usually Ritsu that starts things. She's the heart of the band, the one who pumps energy to everyone and keeps them moving. A passive Ritsu is new to me. Though I think you won't keep her passive in the later chapters, it'll take me a bit to accept the fact that Ritsu and Yui's roles are reversed here. In canon, it's usually Yui that follows whatever Ritsu started. Here that is not the case. It'll be interesting to see how you handle Ritsu without her being the action starter. I can already see some tension of dominance between Yui and Ritsu here with Ritsu's comment of not letting her take control for once. If not for the statement you made about Yui owning everything, I might thought that there will be a serious clash between these two in the future.

Aside from Yui, I think Mio is another character that you drastically changed for this story. She's very sensual and seductive, a dangerous queen indeed. She's not embarrassed by her sexuality, the total opposite of what canon Mio would have been. She seems to be a very dominant person in this story as well but in a different way. Ritsu, for example, might be the type to use physical means to get what she wants. Mio, on the other hand, plays with your mind and perhaps also your fantasies. Maybe that's the reason why Azusa's head was spinning when Mio was toying around with her. Needless to say, I'm intrigued with her characterization so far. I think you've just fulfilled the dreams of a multitude of Mio fanboys and girls out there. I'm excited to see her development through this story and how her relationship with Ritsu works. They're obviously in a sexual relationship at this point but what is really going on in their minds? I can tell that Mio already has some emotional attachment to Ritsu when she said that she's "adaptable" with "a hint of pride and possessiveness in her voice". As to how much that attachment is is still up in the air. She certainly doesn't mind sharing Ritsu with Yui. Whether that is natural for her or she just has not choice but to share her with Yui, I don't know yet. I'll just have to wait and see...

Finally, Mugi. Your portrayal of Mugi is good in a way that she still has a lot of her canon qualities, more so than any of the others. She's still insightful, caring, and her reaction to female bonding is still the same. In spite of that, you shown us that she also has a dark side, referring to her banter with Mio. Also, she's the reader insert in the in-group of HTT. Her perspective in that last scene with her and Yui in bed gave us an insight as how she, a member of HTT, feels about Yui. I can sense some fear in there and perhaps some love. Mugi cares deeply for Yui but the way you've worded that last few lines implies that there is some negativity floating around. There might be fear, worry, anxiety... we don't know yet.

I'm pretty sure you've noticed that my reviews aren't really reviews, they're analyses. There isn't much to 'review' because you already write so well that the mistakes just passes over me. So instead of giving you a "Great job! Can't wait for the next one!", I'd rather give you a reader's perspective of your story. I'm sure there are a lot of writing polices out there to advice you about grammar and spelling.

Out of space again... damn. Ca
Fate-chan chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
kyaaaaaaaaaaaa *dies*

you nearly killed me you know 8D such a hot chapter! usually I'm strict to standard pairing but... the way you wrote was...*nosebleed* I think I'm starting to like YuixRitsu XD and strangely MugixAzusa...? Yui is so hot and so evil xDDDD well, not evil evil but, evil in a very sexual way...? *nosebleed again

i think this is M for sure also make M means we get more good stuff later 8D *shot

oh oh oh oh i've looked at your pictures! Mio looks like she's going to enjoy eating Ritsu XDDD and Ritsu seems rather eager? omg a blushing, M-Ritsu?

that picture of yui and azusa is so pretty! i love how you drew them so they are kind of oriented like a...spiral? kyaaaaaa! their expressions are awesome! as if there are FEELINGS THERE xDDD

omfg i can't stop squealing! update update kya kya kya!
birdhymn chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
O.O Not M, but fingering the line. More like pounding it actually. Do you know how confused my mind gets when reading this, and listening to U&I? GAH.

Anyway, definitely a new gear (or one unknown before) in your writing. I like it.

Seems like something twisted up the characters. Maybe Azusa can help bring out some good things. Because, you know, reality isn't just dark. It's... keeping in mind the good things. So hopefully we'll get to see more facets of their new personalities...?
angel0wonder chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
NYAAA~!
SalemXYZ chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
lol, you sure update fast don't you?

I certainly did not expect the story to take this direction, but I'm quite intrigued with this theme you're challenging yourself with. The line between love and lust. That is quite a difficult theme to handle, and so far there is only the 'lust aspect' but since it's you, I'm sure you've got everything planned out, so I'm not worried about that. I can't wait to read on how this story works out because, like you said, it really is quite different from No Thank You.

Here we have characters who freely do whatever they want while their thoughts are mostly closed to us. You are pretty much putting us, the readers, in Azusa's shoes, just starting to get to see what Houkago Teatime is like off-stage (even though I think they are pretty...'different' already on stage, at least in Azusa's eyes)

Now, I'll go into my Yui fanboy mode:

I love what you did with her character. I love your characterizations of Mugi and Mio in No Thank You but we didn't get to see too much of Yui yet.

Now, here, we have this 'enigma', as you said, who seemed to be really spontaneous yet there seemed to be some sort of ulterior motive behind each of her action. Like, how she was able to 'dominate' Ritsu, Mugi and even Mio. The three of them just 'let Yui do whatever she wants', as you said, and they all seem to be quite fond of Yui, fond enough that even with the physical relationship (or maybe there's something more?) between Ritsu and Mio, they are still willing to 'share' each other with Yui.

How Yui handled Azusa's mother was quite a shocker too. It showed Yui was perfectly capable of being the canon-Yui, pretend or not. Yet, what keeps Yui from just staying like that? Why is she the way she is now? Gah, I want to read more!

That photo of her and Ui when they were little appeared to be the key point of all this. My guess is something bad must have happened to either of them, or something had happened to Ui to make Yui the way she is.

...You definitely need to update this soon.

Oh, one more thing. Azusa's memory of learning the guitar. She said she saw some girl with a ponytail playing the guitar...I'm not sure who that is. From you other story you've stated you dislike using OCs if avoidable, so I'm guessing this girl is a 'real character'? I just can't think of a name.

The rating should be upped to M if you go further. This chapter is not that explicit, but it's borderline, so you might want to watch out for that.

This allxall is really...well, I'm going to stop talking in case I sound too silly or horny, ha. Dang, you're really getting me to like Azusa now.
Wingedswordyunagi chapter 1 . 10/20/2010
Please Continue! I really like this story~!
yojimbo89 chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
That Was Freakin' GOOD I LOVE IT MORE MUST HAVE MORE anyway I'm gunna' say yes the girls are OOC but the way you do it WORKS
LazyItalianGirl chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
WOW! This is great! I liked it!

Sex and lust all over the place.. The only thing left is the M rate... And the things in it! :D

Please, continue! And the allxall thing is awesome!
Athyra chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
Call an ambulance, now! *excessive nosebleed*

Really, Mei-chan mei-chan mei-chan mei-tan (wtf) I totally did not expect you to write this...I'm surprised, in a very good way XD

The tension was high the entire chapter. Putting aside my own fantasies (cough), all the interactions are well-done. I think you've managed to convey what you're trying to do here.

So, we've established Ritsu is usually an M, yes? *shot

And wow, Yui, seriously, all four of them in one chapter? (well, Azusa didn't really count but our moe-champion is still in lala land so that counts for something )

I love it. I love it love it love it!

Although, I may have to blame you if I get a bad mark on my midterm...I was studying for it and then I read your story and GAH I CAN'T CONCENTRATE NOW!
Reiko chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
Wow.

Wow.

I've read all of your other stories and I admit, this certainly is quite different, in a very good way.

Putting aside the obvious...tension in the air, your portrayal of characters is still amazing, as usual, but in this story you've done it in a different way than No Thank You - you used their actions and dialogues predominantly.

Only an 'introduction' to the characters? Well, I'm hooked already. I'm not sure how the plot is going to go, but I definitely look forward to it.

I just gained more respect for you.

P.S. ...my secret favorite pairing, YuixRitsu...that was really hot...oh right, just in case, you might want to change it to an M. I'd hate to see such a wonderful story being taken off the site for something as silly as 'wrong rating'.
werewolf242002 chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
Oh...my...god. I love you so much right now! The way you portrayed this seemingly innocent characters just blew my mind away! I'm an artist and I want nothing more then to draw scenes from this story just for you. I'm serious, I love this story to death, the planning and detail that went into it is so amazing and I hope you keep up with it, though I love No,Thank You as well, but this story is just...I can't even describe how it makes me feel. It's just that good! Can't wait to read the next chapter! 3 3
dsmirnoff chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
OH, THE HOTNESS *-* Nice chapter, I enjoyed it!

Even though you managed to write something like this without reaching the M-rate, I think that if you wanna go further, bumping the rate up would be a good idea. You're currently in the borderline.

Not that you're being too explicit, but enough suggestive :P

Anyway, just my opinion ;)

Keep up the good work!
a.ragdoll chapter 1 . 10/20/2010
Awesome, please continue! :D

I hadn't even considered the ending-credits version of the band as an alternate universe, very cool idea.
orangefispop chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
oh this was a good chapter! Pretty interesting, and poor Azusa getting all confused... I look forward to another installment. Also, if you plan to have the hidden thing in Azusa come out and Yui to tame it, you will probably have to change this to M. The chapter was like border line.
11133322 chapter 2 . 10/20/2010
this seems to be shaping up to be a good story, I was intrigued by the first chapter and the second one certainly cements that impression. And the amount of reviews you got show you seem to have struck a nerve, so by all means continue.

Don't worry too much about OOC. Of course, that doesn't mean writing what is basically an original story with original characters (that just happen to have the canon names slapped onto them) may not be considered 'good fanfiction' per se, but what matters is just that the story is good; so rather the point is to make the change of the character believable and understandable for the reader. Often in the end of a long fic the character is different than at the start, and that's good because it imparts a sense of journey and growth when it's described well. What you did (and where your squeamishness about ooc may come from) is that you had the characters already changed at the start, and now in the course of the story have to retroactively explain how it came to be. But I'm confident that you'll do that well, as symbolism like the picture frame already hints at a backstory. You have a divergence point from canon in the past in mind which set in motion a chain of events that shaped the characters from thereon differently to their current state. So, in the course of the story, relate that chain of events back to us (maybe having it discover and unearthed piece by piece by Azusa, our audience stand-in). If it makes sense and is well described, the reader will follow. So that's what I'd say to the band members' characterization. As for Azusa, she's done well and for me basically keeps in canon, a teenager struggling for her personality. In the series, the band, with their different world they show her, is the instrumental reason for her growth, and I guess the same thing will happen in the story (even more, because both the repressedness of Azusa and the outlandishness of the Band are taken further). In the series we also see her tsun/strict side, but it makes sense that this hasn't come out here, because she isn't in a position to order anyone around.

Your dialogue writing for the most part is good, the exchanges are timed well and meaningful and it conveys the unique personality of each character (I know, Azusa keeps mostly stuttering, but I guess that's kinda the point in that part. Yui's voice reflects well the character you want to portray, mysterious, elusive and in control). You also seem to have a well enough command over literary devices such as metaphor etc which makes the scene descriptions more engaging to read than mere plaintext, a skill that will come in quite handy in a fic that focuses on aspects of the sensual.

I am intrigued by the rare hedonistic portrayal of the HTT and look forward to reading more tales of debauchery and decadence, it's a rather unique setup that will be enjoyable to explore. I also appreciate (as a musician) that you alluded that also the music (and industry) will play a role in the story. Pesky producers, eh ? I imagine they already had a fixed guitarist candidate in mind, were pushing for the random strawberry draw just as a meaningless rigged PR-stunt, and Yui (being Yui) now plays by her own subversive agenda. Suspenseful. On that sidenote, I like the pretty open and confident attitude towards sex and sensuality that the band for the most part displays. Contrasts nicely with the usual repressed "oh it's so wrong but it feels so right"-squeamishness, which I find rather unhealthy and the source of much frustration in our lives, but hey I could write an essay about what's wrong with societal sexual mores, anyway..

I'm interested to see how you'll develop that, as the story threads are: what Azusa will become to be, and how Yui came to be the way she is. Two contrasting types and this is about their interaction and growth. That promise of "taming", for example, was a nice impact, and I'm guessing Yui will, in the process, also discover things about herself. Alas, I see the potential is there, keep up writing and realize it. Cheers!

PS: I appreciate your authors' notes, and I like it when the writer talks to the audience directly. But how about putting them all at the end instead of some at the beginning ? So I don't have to scroll through two pages of AN (some of which may border on spoiler) to get to the story. And show some confidence in your work! It deserves that. Having to explain/justify your characters personality in an off-story note is rather bad form, and rightfully so because it usually means that a writer thinks s/he hasn't portrayed the personalities convincingly enough in-fic. But you did that well enough, I already got that Yui is cool and mysterious here, no special announcement necessary. How about doing character-bios in a creative way, say like having Azusa read magazine clippings, etc. I also think it's better to incorporate backstory (like Azusa's parents, for example) into the story itself in bits and pieces rather than infodumping at the end. Remember, everything that you don't do in-story will take away from the readers' immersion. And don't warn or "apologize" about anything you're going to write (especially not in a way that may spoil what's to come). Trust the reader, and don't be afraid to let them figure out some things for themselves. And, in a certain way, forget about the reader anyway - write for yourself, about what you want to read, think "do I like this?" instead of "oh, how will other people like this?". And if you want to see what constitutes a mature-rating for fanfic, all those stories are just a few clicks away. Though I wouldn't advise taking much influence, since most are, well, of course not that well written. Sensual writing is not easy, but you already write well enough as to not do the most common beginner mistake of thinking a mere technical description of the act will take care of the excitement. Instead, it should be about the feelings (and about feelings we best speak in metaphors). Like in your Azusa-kiss scene, you've spent as much time describing what they did and how it made her feel, that's good. And the mere act of eating a strawberry in the prologue was probably more engaging than many direct sex scenes I've read. Sensuality isn't about constantly rutting like rabbits, it's an attitude and a way of handling yourself, the true measure of a sensual character is to infuse excitement and arousal into even the most mundane things.
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