|Reviews for Kung Fu Panda: Book of Changes|
| nievelion chapter 36 . 9/22/2014
First things first: in re-reading the previous chapters to refresh my memory, I came across a nice bit of subtle symbolism I didn't notice before: when Vachir was talking about Tai Lung being like his hammer, that his skills and strength not being used for good was as wasteful as his hammer hanging unused on a wall, I recalled how you drew attention to said hammer having been lost in Chorh-Gom at some point during the escape. And then I realized your wonderful parallel you drew: like the hammer, Tai Lung too was lost, in more ways than one, to himself as well as to Shifu and Vachir. Which also means that Vachir isn't just adamant to save Tai to make use of him-consciously or not, he's using him to replace the weapon he lost. Very well done.
But really this whole chapter is well done. The beginning is especially poignant and traumatic...I was hoping we'd get to see Tai Lung's side of what happened when he faced Po, and if we did I knew it would be painful, but...wow. My heart is hurting for him more than ever, you had me in tears-especially after the confrontation with Tigress. There's also so many intriguing points, callbacks, foreshadowing, grace notes being struck... I found it both interesting and important that you had Tai mention how he had *always* had an inability to control his temper, and that there had been times before where he went too far and was too dark and savage. You had commented in response to my fic that Oogway and Shifu's reaction to the rampage suggested this was out of character for Tai, but having him always having struggled to control the beast inside him makes a lot more sense-it still works, since all those moments were either internal and so no one else was aware of them or, as he himself thought, they dismissed it, thus explaining the shock when the rampage happened. But in retrospect it makes the rampage fit into a larger pattern, one that while no one else saw it coming they could realize it was inevitable looking back.
Other thoughts: Tai wondering why he was drawn back to China and thinking it was to die for his crimes-he had similar thoughts about why he'd come back to Yunjiang and then just stayed there, waiting, until Po found him. I think it's quite clear that as much as Po is in the grip of his Dragon Warrior nature and powers, Tai is caught in them too-because he needs to deal with his past once and for all, and because destiny/karma knew he was needed as well to help Po and the others. There's also such painful dramatic ironies here-that the reason he went mad was to protect Po from Akshatha (which I should have figured out but makes perfect sense), only to end up almost attacking Po instead; Akshatha being a foil to Tai, a way for him to expunge the darkness from himself and yet in doing so he keeps falling back into it; him being so worried about Po having to kill, yet it being a distinct possibility that if he doesn't pull himself back in time he'll force Po's first kill to be himself (as everyone originally thought it was!); the things Tigress was accusing him of which were identical with Tai's own self-recriminations (yet of course she could never think he could possibly feel that way...) or equally as bad...
I was furious with Tigress for some of the things she said, even if I understood why she felt as she did and even if she was absolutely right about all of them. (Case in point, her noting that he never bothered to take stock of what he does in battle is proven by how he had to note that he was stopping "for the first time" to really see what he'd done to the men outside Akshatha's tent.) And she's especially right that his major problem, other than not being able to control himself and thinking too highly of himself, is that he doesn't consider the consequences. The irony again is that he actually is doing so no, but Tigress can't or won't see it...and if she could, she'd actually agree with Tai that it's too little, too late. Still...I couldn't help wanting to give Tai a hug there at the end. :(
Speaking of Tigress, I was quite interested in Crane's thought about her species and about how it and Ta's rampage factored into why she was treated the way she was at Bao Gu. Not only did you do a nice job of covering how else tigers had figured into the empire's history (and nice shout-outs to me and Luna in our usage of royal/military tigers!), but the contrast you describe between tigers being seen as noble and worthy of respect, and being seen as dangerous, deadly, and not to be trusted dovetails with how tigers actually are seen in China and East Asia even today, this dichotomy in their nature as both awe-inspiring beautiful animals and scary, fearsome predators. It's something I think we all were tapping into in how we used tigers in our stories, but you're the first to come right out and state it, or at least imply it.
Crane's rejoinder to Tigress was spot on of course, and shows how insightful he is-because whether Tigress as doing it for herself, for Shifu, or to show she wasn't Tai, in the end all she is doing is showing she doesn't see value in her own accomplishments, even when others praise her for them.
It was really great to see Jifeng again, and I love his attitude. Also cool to see Irwan and Chay again, to finally meet Deshiyn, and to see the Anvil all finally reuniting. But why do I have the feeling Chay is tempting fate and at the very least he isn't going to make it through this? I also have to note in amusement that Anguo having taken an arrow to the knee sounds a lot like a familiar Skyrim meme...and that while the idea of using Shen's cannons against Akshatha has a lot of merit (and foreshadows how important gunpowder will become to Chinese warfare), the way they were used so wickedly and horrifically in KFP2 makes me rather glad the Anvil doesn't get to have them.
Shifu showing up has me scratching my head in puzzlement; if he was going to appear in the story again at all (save for near the end in some final scene with Tai, hopefully), I was expecting it to be because he found out Tai didn't stay in the Valley. Instead, not only does it seem Tai managed to slip out without *any*body knowing except Po and the Five, but he's there for...some other mysterious reason? Inquiring minds want to know!
Finally, I'm glad you at last brought out into the open what you've only hinted at before now, that besides Ushi, someone else in China is working with the invaders and has passing on information. While there were hints beforehand, the fact the Emperor just happened to be out of the capital on a sacred pilgrimage when this all went down was what immediately raised red flags in my mind. At this point there really seems to be only two possible candidates for the traitor, assuming it's someone named we've already heard of or met, I mean. And while I already know he's going to be an a$$ and I'm going to hate him for how he'll treat Vachir (and by proxy, Tai), I suspect Yuan is not the traitor. (Though I do hope he dies in battle, that would solve a lot of problems.)
No, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest it's Kuang-something just seemed off in his scene with Crane; the fact the Emperor's entourage is out of position, moving so slowly, and not even seeing to be heading out after he said he'd get them departing is all very suspicious; and he just seems too nice and competent. If it is him, great job on making me like him at first so I can feel bad for doing so; if it isn't him, my apologies to him and I will bite my nails waiting to find out who it is if it isn't Yuan...
| Darkwysper chapter 36 . 9/17/2014
Your story is so amazingly well written that it just sucks me right in and I'm always sad to see the end of the chapter because it always seems so soon! Even though your chapters are fairly long compared to lots of fics, it still seems so short because of how fantastically written it is! :) I give you a gold star! I look forward to many more chapters to come and eagerly look every day for an update!
| North Hayward chapter 36 . 8/31/2014
YES! Finally the next chap in my favorite KFP fanfic ever! (Seriously, its my favorite) Wow, what an emotional chap! I love the extent of your description of Tai's thoughts and inner turmoil and how that plays out in the rest of the characters around him. You do a great job at really getting the reader to see what Tai is dealing with and just how much it is eating at him. The conversation, or rather fight, he had with Tigress was crazy! I was like, "wow, Tigress is showing emotion? To TAI LUNG!? This is insane!" And the way he felt so bad for truly ruining her child hood was great and the fact that he tried to apologize to her even though it was something he knew wasn't easily forgiven.
And Im soooo glad that the anvil is back up to full strength! Seriously! I let out a sigh of relief when the were reunited. Now we just have to see where this whole thing with Vachir wanting to keep Tai will go!
Lastly the thing with Shifu randomly appearing! What was that all about! I mean Im glad he's here and all but its all so strange! Plus everyone besides the five thinks he's back in the valley! I suspect that the s #t is going to hit the fan some where down the road soon.
So I loved the chapter and I cant wait for more! North Hayward, out
| ConstantReader76 chapter 36 . 8/19/2014
Whooo-yeah! an update! I am SO glad that you were able to continue this story; I have been so anxious to learn how our heroes will deal with Akshatha and how Po's conviction that things WILL work out for Tai Lung will play out.
The deck is certainly stacked against him, though; even with Vachir on his side, even if they can go over General Yuan's head, the Emperor still has to be won over and he may feel that Tai Lung has used up all his chances, or he may feel that it is more politically important to sooth Yuan' s ego and keep his loyalty than to defend a condemned criminal.
Hope that you can update soon.
| Long262 chapter 36 . 8/18/2014
Failure of a story. A big one if I might add.
| nievelion chapter 35 . 6/24/2014
LOL at Po complaining about the noodle shop cutting into his hero time! But also, as always, his testimonial to Tai is so heartfelt, so loving and proud, it just makes my heart ache for him. I understand why Tai can't agree or believe him yet—both the in-character reason and the story reason—it's not realistic under either reason for him to just get over what he's been through and what he's done, these things take time. But I really hope eventually Tai will see, and believe. It won't be easy, no, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Oogway would certainly agree it's not. ;)
Brilliant way you had Tai use the "cut off the head and the body dies" analogy with a serpent right when Viper showed up. And while there was a serious and important undertone to the whole thing about Tai needing to learn to work together with them as a team, I had to laugh at Mantis's quip about Tai needing to do everything in China by himself. Also I have news for Tai, it's not very monstrous to be jealous of Viper enjoying Po's warmth more, or to be teasing Mantis for not having the good points Viper does. :P
I love those flashbacks to Tai's past! Especially the one with Oogway, you captured his character and philosophy perfectly. And while Tai didn't get, as Sun Tzu did, that often the best and greatest victory is the one where you never fight a battle, I have to say it still heartened me to hear of him defending that fruit vendor. If he'd just focused on that, on doing the right thing, helping the helpless, instead of focusing on the fighting, losing control of his temper, he never would have lost his way… Nice reference to Fenghuang too. As for Tai's thoughts on Po, you really have encapsulated what makes Po so special and different, too. Tai is so close to getting it, to seeing that what matters isn't his skills and training, or the fact he has flaws, but his virtues…that his greatest power is only and ever has been within himself, the power to choose to do good, whether through action or inaction. Seeing him thinking how things could have been different, how he could have helped train Po and all the others, how Tigress and he could have been proper siblings, is so very sad. What's also sad is seeing him dismiss himself as having any value—once again he's focusing on the past, forgetting that it doesn't matter what he wasn't able to do or give then, but what he can do now. And he does still have so much to offer—not just his skills (I highly doubt there's nothing he knows which wouldn't be of use and value to Po and the Five) but his very example. The simple fact he had fallen so far, but can come back from it to do good once again, is the greatest lesson of all, one he can teach every day simply by existing, refusing to give up, and continuing to help and protect.
It's a hard road, but everyone has to start somewhere. And if Tai has to begin with doing it simply because he doesn't want to hurt Po, wants to protect both him and his optimistic goodness (beautiful and simple way you describe his Morality Pet/Living Emotional Crutch nature, by the way), well at least he's doing it. And eventually he can grow beyond that, to doing it because it's right, doing it because his heart compels him to.
…that is, of course, if he can keep from slipping into the same old habits of ferocity, rage, and madness. Damn, you handled this so very well too. It’s so realistic Tai would fall into the same patterns, as much because of his frustration and despair about himself and his fate as because of his righteous anger at Akshatha, and the way you describe how he sounds and looks while fighting, especially that image when Po confronts him, is absolutely terrifying. Kudos on displaying the side of Tai which is so scary and disturbing. As we all know, until such time as Tai gets full control of himself, there will always be the danger of becoming that beast, and even once he does, it will always be there inside him. But there is hope, because of the way Po is able to get through to him. Just…wow, so many emotions and ramifications there! I especially loved the moment when Tai came back to himself—I could totally see that expression of rage turning to one of horror as if it were animated.
Also as always you have an impeccable balance of comedic timing—the bit before this, where Po was thinking he needed to not use “taste the feet of justice” any more was absolutely hilarious, and while the context wasn’t very funny, having Tai reprimand Mantis for not knowing his bear anatomy seemed like a great call-back to the acupuncture scene with Po in the first movie. Also, the ending of the chapter. :P
God, I hope you can find the time and get over your writer’s block soon so you can write more—now that I’ve finally caught up, I’m dying to know what happens next, you’ve left us with so many unanswered questions and worrisome developments/dilemmas!
| nievelion chapter 34 . 6/24/2014
Mantis jumping off the bridge because he can fly, Tai being so worried about him, Monkey getting a taste of his own medicine—all alternately funny or heartwarming. And speaking of that, Tai's pep talk to Po was wonderful.
The part with finding Mr. Lu and how he was Ping's friend: this reminds me of Shing Fai and his dead goat friend from Yunxian. The whole situation was handled very well, with the right amount of detail and gravitas, it really drives home how awful Akshatha and his men are, and it's another great example of a minor character having history and impact beyond the story, showing there are many more people, real ones, besides the heroes.
Nice geographical descriptions, as always!
The whole bit with the lead-up to the village was superbly well done. The mention of woodsmoke was so subtle it would be easy to miss or dismiss—though knowing you and what you've done in the story so far, and with Mulan and Shang Yu in the back of my head, I knew right away it wasn't something innocent. Of course I thought Akshatha had actually completely destroyed and slaughtered the village, so that was a nice subversion. Still, knowing something bad had happened, waiting for that other shoe to drop, while meanwhile Monkey, Viper, and Po were being predictably silly and genuinely funny even as the reader is on tenterhooks for them to find out what happened and provide aid…very well done. The reveal with Akshatha's footprint was also nicely chilling.
Tai's reaction to the village was very well done too (love the flashback to the past and his last visit there, you really captured young Tai's heroism but also his unfortunate love for and addiction to the accolades that came with it—as usual he was so close to being right, and yet so far). And while it's good he knows better now than to be selfish, I have to say it's only understandable that returning to a place he'd been to before would cause him to flash back to past memories and compare that to the present, and to his own path. Great detail too that he had been focused on Vachir and the Anvil so as to keep from looking at what he had done to the Valley—it really shows how he could be the hero he was, yet still do what he did.
So many great moments here…the brave young falcon…the old rabbit woman begging for vengeance, and Tai thinking it wasn't right…and Po's speech, both the awesomeness of it and how Tai and even Po himself are so taken aback by it. I get the feeling this is something the Dragon Scroll gave him, a charisma, a power that shines through whenever he is sincere and determined, so that even when his words are not the best and he doesn't know what he's doing, the enthusiasm and goodness in him make them inspiring anyway. And I love how his speech is essentially turning this village, and all others along the army's route, into an impromptu messenger service, sort of a more primitive and yet more direct version of the signal fires of Gondor. It's definitely something to stir the blood and heart. But I suspect Tai will get the chance to prove he can inspire, too.
Vachir's thoughts are very interesting. On the one hand he is finally acknowledging that Po got through to Tai and has changed him; that he himself had hurt Tai, more than he should have, and that ironically he now has to undo some of that damage if he expects Tai to trust him, work with him, and do good. And also ironically, Tai's worries that Vachir is setting him up only to pull the rug out from under him are unfounded. In fact his plan for what he'd do with Tai back at Chorh-Gom and how he'd build him up to becoming a loyal ally actually makes a lot of sense, and if it weren't for the brighter alternatives of living and fighting alongside Po, Mantis, the rest of the Five, and even Shifu, I'd actually endorse his plan. On the other hand he still views him as only a weapon (something I had said the people of the Valley saw him as before his rampage, and to some degree Shifu did too) and a possession, not a person, and that needs to change.
The revelation at Fangcheng was also well done—both the fact there was a battle at all and the suspenseful approach, not knowing who was in the city, who was fighting whom, or if the Anvil would get past safely. Nice to know that at least some of the people there were appalled by what Ushi had done and turned on him, and the fact he stayed to punish them is both stupid and perfectly in character. Though I don't blame Vachir about wanting to stay and attack, I'm glad Chang turned down his offer and instead helped them get past the siege and on toward the pass: if Vachir had stayed, this would have allowed the rest of Ushi's army to join up with Akshatha's and any other possibly traitorous forces before Po, Tai, and the Five can catch up, as Vachir himself realized.
LOL at Qorchi's plan with the straw rhino dummies! Not only was it funny and clever (and again rewarded the reader for paying attention to odd unexplained details like the men hanging back longer than they should at that village, and their bundles), it was even better than I expected—I thought they were just trying to distract Ushi's men so they could get past, but using the dummies to actually harvest more arrows for their archers was absolutely brilliant. Talk about thinking outside the box!
Also: "What is it with him and tigers?" Did I miss/forget something, or have you not yet revealed this bit of Ushi's backstory?
| North Hayward chapter 35 . 5/21/2014
Please, please, please, I beg of you! Don't give up on this story! I really love it and I would love to read it till the end. I know life is probably really busy, but if your planing on quitting know that you will have some very sad readers!
North Heyward, out.
| Kitty9167 chapter 35 . 1/18/2014
please update again soon I love this story sooo much. you've done a great job and I can't wait for Tai Lung to encounter his dad again. love that little red panda hahah
| Aronim chapter 19 . 1/16/2014
Well, good chapter, though I keep really hoping for that arrogant ass of a tiger to get his ass handed to him. If you end up validating his arrogance, I'll be disappointed. Not that that has any influence on you, I guess, but had to say it.
And why does it seem that Crane just has to get hurt badly in every single KFP fic I find? It's getting somewhat old.
Well, rant over, your writing is solid and the plot is great. And pretty balanced in tone and that is a big compliment. Taking a, all things considered, lighthearted and bloodless source material and taking it into something like this is hard to do right, often either falling flat or becoming schizophrenic in tone but you handle it pretty well.
| Aronim chapter 16 . 1/15/2014
This was a great chapter and Po is being quietly awesome here. Good job.
| Aronim chapter 14 . 1/15/2014
I really, really want the bad guys to have a rude awakening about just what they are up against at some point. I can't stand their constant condescending remarks about the good guys.
Good chapter. Just one thing, you don't quite get across just how big the riverbed is, it has to be a big gorge for the Kung Fu Masters to act like they do, otherwise it should be as simple as "grab kids, jump", particularly for Tai Lung.
| Aronim chapter 12 . 1/15/2014
I really like this story. I don't have the kind of really strong reaction to Tai-Lung, as I neither hate nor love him and don't mind him dead or redeemed. However, I have to say, I'm not sure you quite hit his character perfectly. Don't get me wrong, I think you are writing a very good character when he interacts with Po, but it doesn't quite hit me as necessarily Tail-Lung, the way Po and all other characters pretty much feels like themselves.
Then again, having Tai-Lung display anything but anger, smugness or fear is kinda out of canon territory, so I guess you almost can't avoid having that character feel a little off, when there is no reference for any positive emotional states. Or for regret.
Still, great chapter.
| Aronim chapter 11 . 1/15/2014
Oooh, backstory. Well, middle-story.
Oooooh, world-building. Nice touch to use the concept of "wandering warrior". Great chapter.
| Aronim chapter 4 . 1/15/2014
Small note. I'm pretty sure you wrote "few or no survivors" in the bit in the previous chapter with the ruined village. You might want to make that the more certain "no survivors", because that both makes more sense and is what is said in this chapter.