Reviews for Yamihime: Wings of the Butterfly
Spikesagitta chapter 5 . 9/10/2014
Cool. Did mention meeting them in the first Yamiberry book, nice to see this story told.
DrYuriMom chapter 5 . 11/25/2012
"Note to self...bookmark" - for the win!

I may have to go back and re-read stories now that I have the Yamiboushi and Yamiberry context. Too much good stuff to read! :-)
DrYuriMom chapter 3 . 11/25/2012
The force of style, eh? Oh that is such an anime trope. And so true it is.

While I don't know the crossover property opposite Yamiboushi, as usual you're descriptive enough for me to follow along nicely. Obviously you had referenced this one in Yamiberry; I am enjoying the backstory. This is really helping to develop Hazuki as a warrior. Finally recognizing the gruesome inhumanity of combat. Acknowledging she's a killer and they really are trying to kill her. You're only badass until you encounter a greater badass. Or you have an ill timed bad day. No matter how many times you win, in this line of work you only have to lose once...
yurimylove chapter 5 . 10/1/2012
A perfect intermission! I hate to use the word ending here, because I really want to continue reading more of your Yamihime stories. I'm sure there're more to be told about these lively characters under your pen. As always I love the dialogues, so well written and fun to read. Chinkyuu scene, one of the few truely touching scenes from Koihime, fits perfectly here. You also made good use of the prehistoric Yamibou world in the conversation, as well as the innkeeper scene in the end - with your nice added twist of Aaya's presence leading up to it.

I've always loved the childish, air-headed flirt that is Lilith from the Yamibou series. You mentioned at one time that she was a harder character to write than others. However, it must no longer be the case for you, as she is handled really well here. She is just like how I imagined she would be, plus you revealed a bit of her hidden depth near the end there. Therefore, I like your Lilith. I also like the later, more matured Lilith in Yamiberry, but by that time you can definitely see a difference from the original Yamibou one. A sensible character growth, I think.

A "fantastic groper" indeed. Sei MUST come back! I know I'd suffer "Sei-withdrawal syndrome" if there's no more story about her. Onegai shimasu, author-san!

As Lilith would put it, "bookmarked."
ninemil chapter 5 . 9/6/2012
Questions, questions. I’ll have to make this frustratingly brief, rather than one of my more epic contributions, but rather than wait for a future opportunity, (that may, or may not come, let’s face it) there’s a few things I wanna spout before I lose them. As always, forgive my ignorance of Yamibo and Koihime canon.

You’ve already explained the little girl – my thanks for that, although I do wonder about the timing. Everyone here is suffering a sense of loss; Ren, Sei, and Hazuki. Given we see Aaya working to console Sei, (or perhaps thank her?) surely Ren’s encounter with Chinkyū is also his work? Which leads me to the question of whether or not he can do that without Lilith’s help? I get that he’s ‘something else,’ but can he alter their creations without the Sister’s aide? Again, apologies for my ignorance of Yami canon, but essentially what I’m getting at, is whether or not this is part of Lilith’s failed attempt at an apology?

And speaking of Lilith... jesus that woman is childish. In some respects, I’m glad of that too, since I remember noting a shift in her (and Eve’s) behaviour later on in your canon, following the Library incident. To have anything but the brattish response we see from her to Hazuki’s anger here, would I think, have felt out of place. It does resolve the situation tidily tho, as well as giving Sei her moment to shine. But it reaffirms my hatred for the early (and Yami-canon) Lilith. I detest her absolute detachment from the consequence of her actions. Sure, she came back this time, but I can’t help but feel, (given his intervention with Sei’s search for Kan’u) that this was at Aaya’s urgings, rather than as a result of her own impetus. I get that the pair of them live a very detached existence in the Library, but still... Lilith is not the center of the universe... grr :p

Anyway. Sei shining. Which she did, lol. I must admit, at first I didn’t entirely follow the chain of events, or Sei’s intention, but as soon as she delivered that aside to Hazuki regarding Hazuki blowing her chances, I knew that was our good old Sei talking. Sharper, quicker. Makes you realize what a shit ‘deity’ Lilith makes :p (Or just how awesome Sei is. Notable that of such a small handful of people in my experience to have outwitted Lilith, Sei and Kaname feature amongst them )

Going back to your concerns elsewhere, honestly, I think your great adversary here is the classification. I can’t honestly see anyone making the connection without that carrying a fair degree of weight to it. We’ve all seen what Hazuki went through here, and more importantly, the heavier tone of the piece her meeting with said party was encapsulated in. The only real problem I see, is whether or not the Strawberry Panic derived readers will have stepped out of the box for the added information. And if they haven’t, then it really is their loss. An excellent little aside this one – in keeping in quality with the previous jaunts.

And I repeat – you must, *must* return to this setting, at some point. You write it infinitely better, and infinitely more maturely, than the guys who created the damn thing. You give it a flavour and a tone that’s turned a shit ecchi parody (of god knows what) into something atmospheric, compelling, and engaging. Seriously, do not leave us without Sei exposure for too long, or there’ll be consequences :p

Another awesome ride, Fletcher. While I’m as eager as the others to return to Strange Fire, I’m just as sad to be leaving Ren and Sei behind. Thank you for the insights.
shanejayell chapter 5 . 9/3/2012

Good update. VERY good. Nice combination of fun dialog and story, and you wrapped things up quite nicely. Several very funny bits this time too, made me smile quite a bit. :D

Now get back to Strange Fire. *lol*
Condorgreen chapter 5 . 9/3/2012
Returning to Strange Fire would be nice, but honestly...
I'll read anything you write as long as you're writing :)
ninemil con'd chapter 4 . 7/29/2012 Sei, ends up being the spiritual and sexual compass that allows Hazuki to guide both our beloved Tamao, and Chikaru, away from the solitude and/or self-conflict that the original product left us with. After this recent run, I struggle to think of a better qualified character to fit that role.

Good stuff, Fletcher. I’ll be sad to see the back of these characters, when you return us to Strange Fire more permanently. While I’m hungering for more Dark Samurai, and everything that I know you’ve got in store for us, I must confess to having really enjoyed watching you fix yet another horribly broken franchise, moulding it into something that someone as cynical and dry as even me can enjoy

Err, moar? :p
ninemil chapter 4 . 7/29/2012
So much love in one place As I’ve already made you aware, I’ve already finished both this and Tessellation, so apologies if I drift between each in explaining myself. Given the inherently linked nature of this entire foray into the Koihime world, it’s difficult to discuss anything in isolation, so I’m not yet sure that I’ll be able to submit separate reviews. I may just end up rolling everything into one.

Thanks for reminding me that I can’t draw straight lines, straight, btw :p I’m fixing it, I’m fixing it ;)

I’ll dispense now with the usual commendations and compliments with regard to your writing style, descriptive, narrative-flow etc etc... Given the amount going on in these chapters, (and the mental imagery on hand, at times :p) I must confess to having paid much more attention to the detail, than to the window through-which I was viewing it. Certainly, there were no imperfections or bubbles in that pane of glass, and the story skips along merrily with your usual deftness and ability. Of particular note, was that long dialogue-less narrative at the beginning, (which you mistook me for mentioning the other day,) that provided a perfect example of barrier-free viewing. Great stuff.

I loved the air of detachedness in Hazuki’s account of the battle’s aftermath, and way you’ve conjured the fuzzy haze to the page edges while her monologue tells it. Her vulnerability, as well as Ren’s continued pawing at her, leaves me endeared to one, and continuing to draw threads through to the other’s return appearance in Red Bows. The characterization differences in Hazuki have been marked between this and other era’s, and with you having slowly built up the air of despair and self-doubt since opening Yamihime, this felt like a real turning point back in the direction of the individual that shows up at Chikaru’s dormitory door. Hazuki’s very much still a lost little girl at times in this chapter, but the balanced-air we see later in Downs and Strange Fire is already creeping in, particularly when she plays councillor to Sei. I found it interesting that much of this strength seemed to play on her heady idealism from the time, where later, the same strength instead seems more rooted in realism and experience than idealism, presumably due to events in between with Eve in the Garden that Hazuki later confesses to Tamao. The differing shades of Hazuki Azumi are all very tangible from this point in the canon, be it looking forward, or looking back. Very polished indeed.

In general, not just in terms of Hazuki, the symmetry in this chapter, and in Tessellation, was a beautiful thing, with much enjoyable closing of loops. I loved the use of the ‘falling for an angel’ quote, tying back to the early scenes of Bows, as well as the ‘stairs to heaven’ quote, tying back to Hazuki’s discussions with Chikaru regarding celibacy, but neither as much as I loved the implication that Hazuki’s seemingly watershed urge for sexual release was triggered by a memento from someone who’s own sexual awakening Hazuki then goes on to bring to a close, later. Very amusing, and underlining that with the ‘stairs’ quote really brought it home to me, the influence Hazuki’s process of coming to terms with her feelings for Eve has on the rest of the cast. Her quest for happiness inspires Sei to find hers, her acceptance of her own homosexuality allows Tamao and Chikaru to find peace with theirs, etc etc, all within which, the same personal influences and wisdom are batted back and forth, each character influencing the next in a roundabout way. That being said, it does carry with it the amusing, and perhaps slightly negative connotation, that almost all cases of core cast members finally accepting ‘Teh Ghey’ can be traced eventually back to Eve or Lilith’s ‘taint’ :p It’s almost as though Souma is by rights, a homosexual entity, lol, and that anything it touches gets rainbow stripes (Tho, perhaps there’s some truth in that, given it’s the energy of creation, and the parental unit weaving it to give birth to the worlds these characters inhabit happens to be a single sex one... :p)

Either way, the linkage in these two instalments was nice. The Yamihime instalment, did, to a degree, feel like an aside, purely aimed at giving the run of fragmented Koihime shorts cohesion, whilst deviating from the previous focus of recounting Hazuki’s history with Ren, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one, that makes me very much wish for an appearance of all of these characters on the Hill, at one point or another. I know that’s incredibly unlikely, but I’d love to see Sei and Chikaru sit down and compare notes sometime, lol. ‘So, hi there Chikaru, I’m the woman that taught Hazuki all she knows about accepting one’s sexuality. Btw, doesn’t she make the most amazing faces when she’s about to cum...’

That’s probably a good place to take a moment to praise the skilfulness with which you handled the sheer volume of nudity in both pieces, and the more sexualized tone. It never once detracts from the story or over-sexualizes a particular moment in either piece, despite the need to use it to get the job done. The air of want is there, but it doesn’t saturate or disrupt the flow of story. Hazuki’s embarrassment when she’s caught by Sei, for example, is tangible, and her mortification and the way in which she shies away from Sei, very realistic. Aisha’s undermining awe at Sei’s naked body isalso compellingly tangible, without coming across as crass or unwontedly sluttish. All in all, you’ve done an amazing job of living up to the sexual Mary-Sue that is the older Koihime cast, without reducing the tone to trash the way the actual product chose to. These are sexy, sexy women, but there’s none of the otaku creepiness about the writing that the shows and games decided to adopt. Strike one for mature writing of mature content

Unwittingly opting for a blatant pun, between these two latest instalments, Sei really is incredibly fleshed out now. I’m not sure if it was intended as such, (the chapters, not the pun) but the transitions throughout this Yamihime story really have felt like mini-case studies on each cast member, on the way to explaining the connection between Hazuki and Ren from the past. The beginning was a ‘Hazuki from the Yami era,’ the middle ground an evolution of Ren, and now this (closing?) instalment and the shorts flying around in the background, the solidification of Sei. It’s there, intentional or not, but makes a nice variation of focus on what might otherwise have been a join-the-dots session for what comes next in Strange Fire. Instead, rather than just lead us on sterilely, you really have flooded the journey there with character detail and explanation, past history and mythology. Hazuki, the Hazuki from Downs and Fire that is, makes a lot more sense with the influences you drew from in creating her (presumably?) now penned for all that behold her to follow.

Sei, herself, is a joy to behold. Her outrageousness in the anime, as well as the somewhat crass behaviour in earlier instalments of the Yamihime/Koihime-only shorts is now suddenly given context. I got the whole moment of self-realization in the mountain story, but the concept that she’s actually too scared to bare her emotional soul to Aisha was never really underscored for me before, the way it is now. She’s honourable, despite the rogue-ish facade, and unerringly loyal to her love interest – so much so that I truly believe she’d have lived through the torture of fighting beside Aisha to fulfil her pledge, even if Aisha had rejected her. But really, deep down she’s just as scared of the damage that opening her heart might bring as anyone else is. The moment where the dominance flips, and Hazuki ends up being the mentor, worked very well imo. As unexpected as it might have been for Hazuki to find herself in a position of emotional compass, it was great to see Sei schooled in her own well-being, and unable to use humour or flirting as a successful diversion from her internal feelings, the way she obviously has been doing so in the past. The whole shifting balance of power worked well, indeed.

Speaking of humour, lots of soft chuckling to myself during these two, yet without any of it punctuating the mood, the way it perhaps does with, say, the Lulim youngsters, sometimes. You really nailed the kinda cute awkwardness of some of these discussions on the head, and I could practically see the rosy cheeks cel-shaded onto the character’s faces, lol. Hazuki’s indignant snort on lights out, or Sei’s side-stabs as she tries to undermine Hazuki’s resolve. All good stuff, and never once awkward or jolting. I think this really grinds back to something that’s always struck me about the way you write yuri – the good, clean flirting. The electricity between characters. Gravity, and consequence, and everything else we’ve had beside in the mean time; (and I must stress, these scenes are so much better for that,) it was nice to return to moments of fun and tenderness for a weekend

So, anyway. I’m running out of time to delve. We’ll have to meta the rest, but for me, this weekend’s reading felt very much about closing circles, and drawing back to past events by way of a chance to illuminate them better. I feel like I understand Sei now, and will perhaps enjoy her silliness more in the future than I could before as a result. I also feel like Hazuki has a complete path of progression, whereas before the gap between chunks of joined-dots might at times have been too big to draw direct parallels, given where you’ve been going in Strange Fire. I think we needed this, to counter-balance some of the recent stuff you’ve discussed with her lately, such as the Garden incident. I think we needed to see the change of nature, so we could believe someone so young could take an encounter like that and build balance and experience from it, rather than becoming further damaged. I find it very fitting that someone as balanced
yurimylove chapter 4 . 7/25/2012
This story is so good! I absolutely love it. You've turned this cosplay menma-addict into a real person. An incredibly likeable one. I almost forgot she's originally an anime character. Poor Ren... her backstory may have been darker than koihime's setting but it does actually fit here.

In addition to Hazuki's adventure in the Three Kingdoms, what I also really like about this story is the complex emotional journey Hazuki is traveling on her quest to find her love. Now we all know how that journey eventually ends, and having read the Yamiberry series I'm also grateful that she's finally able to move on and find true happiness (in the arms of not one but TWO wonderful women!) but I still greatly enjoyed reading more about the relationship between Hazuki and Hatsumi. That is the main strength of the original Yamibou series, and I feel that your story even surpasses it in how emotionally moving it is for the readers.

I eagerly look forward to the epilogue!
Guest chapter 4 . 7/23/2012
And so we're back... Hm where to begin. To be honest, I have to say that the part with Hazuki touching herself felt a bit tacked on. Basically it's 'Let me remind myself of why I'm putting myself through this by wanking off to my beloved step sister!" But I will ignore the how and focus on the why I suppose.

Where to go from here. I have to admit, I don't have much to comment on at the moment, not because I didn't like it, but I just don't have a whole lot to really say here. I do wonder if say Hazuki's sword or the other relics are what have kept her going because they possess a piece of Hatsumi? If not then it might explain our little moment of weakness earlier.

But what I also want to know about is Cho'uun's falling out with Kan'u. But that's an answer that will come in time.

Anyway, I'll take a gander at the other story you posted, so you'll hear from me again soon.

shanejayell chapter 4 . 7/23/2012


Great chapter. You really make me love these characters, and your take on them is terrific. Keep up the good work!
deathcurse chapter 4 . 7/22/2012
Very sweet and racy :). I could see where it ties into your other stories, but the chapter itself stands alone well. The last 2 scenes were really sweet (also hilarious), and it was a nice way to show Hazuki being lifted out of her despair while providing great characterization for Chou'un. Now I really want to see Hazuki help Chou'un get her girl!
ninemil chapter 3 . 6/22/2012
I walk away from this chapter with a theory, based on your production feedback, and that of previous years, and I’m kinda hoping that sharing said theory with you will put your mind at rest to a degree. I could, of course, be barking up com...pletely the wrong tree here, so feel free to shush me if that’s the case, but on the off-chance that I’m not, here’s my 2c.

Would I be right in inferring that this installment has one of the highest narrative-to-dialogue ratios of your current works? Certainly, at least the final 40% is practically word-less until the closing paragraphs. Moreover, not only is it sparse in dialogue, but it’s also very much leaden with action sequences and on-screen movement. I read these sequences, following as the plot and atmospheric shift unfolded, and found your comments from past conversations popping into my head... comments pertaining to a discomfort with scenes requiring a lack of dialogue and lots of narrative, or long action sequences with lots of on-screen movement. Therefore, I find myself then wondering the following with regard to the disquiet you’ve been vocalizing during the writing of this piece - was it really the darkness of the content that gnawed at you, or the tools with which you were required to shape it?

You see, I find nothing in the plot mechanic or characterization extrapolations here that stands out as penned with a noticeable degree of awkwardness, or lack of proficiency. I see no broken suspension of disbelief, no awkward or out-of-place dialogue that rips the reader from the story, nor any character interactions that feel forced, or shoe-horned in for narrative convenience. In Ren, I see quite the opposite – I see an extremely effective and well-realized back-story, that not only links the original material to the cross with an air of purpose and simplicity, but also explains the otherwise decidedly odd character design she has in the original Koihime anime in a potentially much more plausible manner than the series owners ever managed themselves... I see nothing here that screams poorly-written or troubled during production at all. It all fits, fits well, and sets up the air for Hazuki’s fall exceedingly perfectly.

What I do see, however, is a very large amount of content that includes the two things that you’ve repeatedly stated that you hate using. Dialogue-less narrative, and long action sequences. So my theory is thus – it wasn’t actually the darkness that caused you the grief here at all – it was the mediums with which you had to shape it. You voiced discomfort about the Miyuki chapters, then they rocked. You voiced discomfort about the Kaori chapters, and then they rocked... And then – well you get the picture. You obviously carry a lot of apprehension about your darker sequences, yet they’re as flawless as your gag-a-minute, your drama and consolation, your plot weaving and your cross-pollinations. Essentially, I absolutely believe you’ve just been unlucky with the fall of plot mechanism and scene-type here, producing the mental hurdle that you, in your own words, ‘had to hammer out’ to get past. The darkness provided the apprehension, and then the narrative mediums stripped you of the usual feedback mechanisms you would have otherwise used to get past that, making the experience so much more painful - a compound problem, if you will, not an issue in its own right? Yet, regardless, it rocked, and once again you’ve proved you can stage a fall and execute it flawlessly. And tbh, even then, if chapters like this, (which feature lots of the scene types and atmospheric airs that you dislike writing the most,) are the chapters you really struggle to pen, then you do a fucking good job of covering it up :p It didn’t show at all in the text

Either way, let me put one matter to rest with an air of authority – you write dark shit good ;)

So – putting that train of thought to one side, I’ll repeat for clarity - Ren was awesome. I love what you’ve done here. Sure, it’s never nice visiting uncomfortable events onto existing characters, particularly when those characters aren’t your property... But the results are succinct and palatable – her quietness, her directness, her seemingly hollow detachment, despite her obvious depth and mental awareness… It all fits with the victim of past abuse, and a forced visitor of violence upon others that you’ve provided here. The feral edge, the muted canine mannerisms are there, yet through your additions we can feel her human emotions underneath, understand them, and rationalize the mix. I particularly liked her softness and neutral sexuality, and her lines regarding family and the commitment to those you love. Pack mentality, but very much with a human being in the middle of it. Was good stuff. And tying in the tattoos to Hazuki’s search, or using the dogs in a military utility sense when they act as an alarm? Nice touches on top. All round, easily one of the strongest character extrapolations you’ve presented, and definitely my favourite from this setting. I’d love to see her and Kaname in the same room some time, just to see what falls out of the dialogue, (and add to that our psychotic notable-other, and you get instant nerdgasm.)

Hazuki was wonderfully pitched, and while I kinda saw it coming, dropping the floor out from beneath her following the mythology/gamer references prior to the battle was great. That moment where you taste the grit and blood in your mouth, and realize it wasn’t a game to begin with. Feels a lot like a potential characterization shifter, and real enough to bring her full circle. Sure, she’s sharing mana with the Generals of Legend, in a world of adventure and heroes of epic proportion, but she feels so ridiculously out of her depth here. And not just because she doesn’t have or sword, or because Lilith has abandoned her… They all just seem… more than she is. More epic, more capable, more appropriately placed within the blood bath action that is the Dynasty Warriors series, which I couldn’t help but picture as you opened up the fight scene – walls of faceless opponents being pushed around by the flashing steel of battlefield-dominating individuals. When the mask came off, so to speak, the fear of death segment was a real grounder, and while I don’t know the Yami canon as well as most here, it did stand out to me within her catalogue of close-calls. Little girls don’t want to die, even if the weird green shit has turned them into a comic-book superhero overnight.

Speaking of which – the opener with Ryofu curled round her? Very touching. Not just Ren doing her pawing German-Sheppard impression, but also Hazuki, in the way she accepts the warm cocoon. Almost like the little lost school girl underneath had already started slipping out from beneath the mask, long before her experience on the ramparts.

So I’m left wondering how much of the little details I’ve missed, given my lack of experience with the Koihime world, or the Yami base canon, but did felt like I came away with much more here than Hazuki jumping into battle, before realizing she was out of her depth. The otherwise much less plausible Ren now feels like a human being, you got the Kachou Kamen longer-runner in without eliciting a groan, or breaking its future delivery… You got the menma in, the mana in, dangled us a potential future plot link, and out for Hazuki via the concept of a sorcerer… You’ve even drop shadowed Lilith’s pride, (or her negligence, or perhaps belief in Ren, depending on which it turns out to be :p) It’s all shaping up very nicely indeed. I guess all that’s left for me to add, is the obligatory demand for MOAR! :D
World of Dragons Productions chapter 3 . 6/21/2012
And so we're back. Before I say anything I'd like to apologize for my lack of... Well ANYTHING as of late. Graduation, job-hunting, my graduation, more job-hunting, work, more job-hunting, meetings with school, even more job-hunting have kept my occupied and I simply haven't been able to really write anything fanfiction-related.

Hell, even now I'm working on an original series akin to the likes of Hey Arnold, Recess, Kids Next Door, EENE, etc. with the main premise of three boys fighting an organized gang of school bullies with high-tech gadgets, larp swords and airsoft guns..

Also on that note: Everything looks a lot different than I left it...

But enough of my mad musings, let's see how our favorite bishoujo sword-swinging lesbian's been doing! I'm still going through some bits of... I think I'll call it shock. Yes, Lu Bu, or Ryofu or 'Ren' is indeed in fine form ripping apart scores of... things. But I'm used to Lu Bu either being a loud boiderous prick, that everyone only puts up with 'cause he's the ancient Chinese equivalent to a nuke... Or by Ikkitousen's standards a... I'll use the word 'tart' whose involved with a girl and (I think used to be)involved with a lechorous ass... And the equivalent to a nuke.

NOT a quiet girl with a thing for dogs whose very gentle with loved ones and seems to relish having an onee-chan again... And the equivalent to a nuke.

Chou'uun is in fine form and it was funny watching Hazuki bust her cover as she did... But let's move on. The main thing to thing on my mind is the battle itself.

I will-for the sake of things-ignore that Hazuki's weapon somehow morphed (also you MUST show me that picture you mentioned!)into something else and just move right along. Let's see Chou'uun talking trash, being flamboyant and choppin' heads, check. Ryofu laying waste to everything we can see, check. Hazuki doing her thing and choppin' heads... Then getting knocked the f(bleep)k out che-... Wait, WHAT?

Okay, that was the biggest suprise that Hazuki got taken down as she did. It would go to show that she is perhaps not as invincible as we would like to think, but damnit man that was just... If I knew a word for 'messes with your head', I'd use it.

But what irks me is that Lilith seems content in leaving Hazuki stranded and probably to DIE just to prove her point... I don't know about the latter that statement, but I would certainly like an explanation.

Anyway, that's all for now. Peace.
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