Reviews for Disturbing Routines
Acolrn chapter 18 . 6/29/2013
Sorry, I seem to have accidentally left a blank review on Chapter 19 so now I got leave this here, my bad. My bad. Anyway I haven't been able to read up on this thing in a while so it is nice to read the whole thing through. Once again a very good read, well done.
Acolrn chapter 19 . 6/29/2013
Type your review for this chapter here...
OverMaster chapter 18 . 6/16/2013
Sorry, I just now realized the review had been cut short. Here's the rest:

The second point are the epilogues. I wrote several epilogues for DH. They were very fun to write and I don't regret it. But overall, I dislike Where Are they Now?- where They Ended Up? as a narrative resource. It doesn't even have to do with their being downers or not- the manga's 'the Narutakis married random twin princes pulled out of Akamatsu's ass and lived HAPPILY EVER AFTER LOL LOL' is as bad as 'Four years later, the Narutakis killed themselves and their parents because they were too stupid to realize they were 18 and could have ran together into the sunset had they wanted to'. It has to do with, well, it feels like the author saying how things went rather than THE STORY saying how things went. I think you eventually come to feel this too to some degree, with Mashiro herself lampshading it. It's not as bad either if you're planning to stop there with the characters, but if you're retaking them later, like with Negima and DH Zeta, you take most of the thrill of uncertainty away. It's not the same thing anymore. You probably can tell of many things that happen to Madoka before she dies choked in her vomit or whatever, but it's... still not the same thing anymore. It's not a matter of where the road will lead you to AND how many turns until you get there, only a matter of how many turns.

And... I think that's all I have to say on the subject for now. Sorry if I have offended with anything, since such was never my intention. Congratulations on a long and complex story successfully completed.
rawr chapter 19 . 6/13/2013
Little disappointed with the shiznat ending. They both hook up with some guy and then end up together? What happened to the mainat!? Anyway other than that thanks for the story.
OverMaster chapter 19 . 6/13/2013
I have always hated writing reviews, which may come to a surprise to some after reading my scathing but honest frequent thoughts on the end of Negima and others. Most specifically, I dislike writing reviews for fanworks, both those I like and those I don't. In either case, two things come to my mind, in a hostile and accusing voice that I truly hope is only my conscience, as soon as I think of reviewing others' fanfic. "Like you ever could do any better" and "Don't dare telling others how and what to write!" I tell myself with scorn. In the case of reviewing someone like Darkenning, those doubts come to me twofold. What can I tell him, that someone with his career both with this and his other name hasn't long learned, forgotten, then remembered and perfected?

This is a fine Mai Hime story, let's start with that. It can't be really judged the same way Decadent Habits was, since it's a retelling rather than a continuation, and where some parts of DH didn't mesh that well with the Negima canon it followed despite Dark's best efforts (like Konoka's attitude. I know there was a Stepford Smiler angle there you could buy, but I couldn't find it to be particularly EASY to buy, even if I ended up buying it and the T-shirt), Routines had the advantage of being its own thing, telling its own story on its own terms. (Said by the man who made Akira Sailor Mercury and Joker a Kampfer... yes, that plot point WILL turn up again eventually...) It does a fine job at that.

It thankfully avoids the pitfall of either leaving most of the cast dead like the mostly abominable EXA or cheating with a fucking picnic at La-La-La Happy Land like the anime. Seriously, I fucking hated that picnic. I was all up for reviving the cast, but no one should have followed that rollercoaster of drama and treachery with a picnic where everyone acted like morons who hadn't learned anything. A happy ending doesn't have to equal a Status Quo is God ending.

I know I'm minority here, but I like the first manga a lot. Sure, it's shallow as hell, but it is a lot of raw fun despite how often it plays to the Shonen Lowest Common Denominator. It is honest about what it is, it has a lot of energy, and no manga that has Inspector Zenigata arresting a cast member can ever be bad.

How does Routines stack to those previous works? Well, it's far better than EXA, first things first. The only two good things EXA had going for it were the well made scenes of Mikoto and Reito's childhood and the well crafted and fittingly disturbing freakout of Mai in the bath, and Reito's reaction. Other than that, it was as if someone had told "You know, that first manga was just too fucking cheerful, let's pack as much grim and gritty as we can in a single volume, rhyme and reason be damned." Forgetting the Anime HiME Festival (and Routines') succeeded because the story had its own room to breathe.

Is it better than the other manga? Apples to oranges. I'd say one's strenghts tend to be the other's weaknesses and viceversa. The first manga was good turn your brain off fun but very lowbrow, while Routines is very well crafted but you can't just turn your brain off with it (and this is a bad thing?) Routines doesn't seem to have the same 're-read' value for fun than the manga or DH itself, although I'm sure to revisit it at some point as well.

The anime? Here's the hard part to compare. The foreshadowing and clues certainly work better in Routines, no doubt in part as an advantage of having extra AU material to drink from, and your own schedule and pace without the restrictions the professionals are placed with. The final core revelation with Nagi and Mashiro feels from left field at first until you read back, and it takes a lot to get used to the meta aspect of the final two chapters, but overall the package works. The anime handles some characters and their roles better, but we'll get to that now.

Routines Mai is obviously a very changed person from canon, but thankfully she still works, being recognizable as Mai despite her added vices. Mikoto is, as most often, somewhat forgettable, not aided by how she's a very visual character, and most of her good moments in the anime came from actually seeing her body language in motion and her seiyuu's near flawless portrayal. Otherwise, she's always been sort of bland, so I'm sure you did the best you could. The nebulous antagonists like Searrs and the First District never were properly developed in canon either, so if anything you at least fleshed them out some more. Searrs still smells of Too Dumb to Live/Stupid Evil in the larger scheme, but they at least pay for it with style.

I feel like saying this: My four favorite Hime characters are Natsuki, Haruka, Midori and... Shiho, the one everyone hates. Natsuki is in fine form here (and her scenes with the Negima characters are the only ones where the two series mesh in full form), but I've always been of the opinion it's hard to get her wrong. Even cookiecutter Shiznat fare tends to get Natsuki more or less right (usually, it's Shizuru who gets derailed into the author's views of her, but then, even Sunrise itself did that with Mai Otome). Shiho, despite my usual sympathy for her, works in all her evil intent, since it's clear actual thought and effort was put in her reimagining, and for a reason. She never should be a pleasant person, but in my view, she always has been... pitiable in canon. I tossed her a bone in URAE because it's never been done before to my knowledge, but Routine's take works well. Haruka is great as usual. Even Otome can't screw Haruka up, and while the Hime manga made her to cheat, which is a minus (I can see her as an antagonist figure, but always sticking to her own set of honor), that didn't detract from her. The one who loses here big time in my eyes is Midori, who went from one of my favorites to being perhaps the Hime I disliked the most in Routines. She lost her badass whole-plot turning big damn moment (while powerless!), her sense of fun but keeping her good moral core, and became... just a dog kicking and aimless mess of a character. I hated her unnecessary and cruel abuse and manipulation of Negi the most. While in this universe everyone already screws the 12-year old, she goes the extra mile of blackmailing him and causing him pain with the loss of the love of his life, just to get something she could have gotten some other way with not much effort (it's Negi, after all). At that moment I lost all respect and sympathy for her. I can get why she would be a changed character here. It doesn't mean I have to like it. Sorry.

On a cheerier note, however, Nao became my favorite Hime here, despite my always being apathetic to her at best in canon. She made for a decent antagonist figure, but she never was relatable as a character, either 'good' or 'evil' or 'between'. Here, however, she's rather likable without losing her edge.

(Sigh). Okay. Now for the things (other than Midori) I didn't like. I hope this doesn't give the wrong impression, since I liked the fanfic, so don't take the wrong idea if the dislikes part takes long to explain.

The first thing is related to the second one, tangentially. The Negima characters, for the most part, other than Yuna and Akashi (and Kotaro's priceless cameo chasing Mikoto) didn't gel in with the story (and here's where that voice yells at me questioning how everything else melds with URAE Negima). That has a lot to do with the second point, since by now we know their ends and it feels like they are stalling for time until they meet their fates, but also with how they don't really feel like Negima/Ala Alba anymore. Negima was always, unrealistic as it might have been, a Nakama story, and they... don't feel like that anymore. Even Haruna's rejoining rang sort of hollow. It doesn't even have to do (directly) with how many people they have screwed (although that has kickstarted the rest of their decay), but with how they have changed in a way that makes in-universe sense, but also leaves you feeling like they aren't the same people you used to like (and again, I berate at myself if the wildly varying factors in URAE don't leave everyone far more unrecognizable). With things like Asuna's drama, you kinda fel like most things could be at least straightened out if someone just forced everyone to sit down and talk things through like gorramn adults already or they'll be repeteadly whacked on the head.

Oh, and Shizuna's death? I'm so sorry, but it still is very Women In Refrigerators. Yes, Searrs, yes, we know you are EEEEEVIL and cause SUFFFFFERRRRRING. It'd work better if anyone had remembered her death by the next chapter, though (I might be forgetting something, and if I am, my apologies. I have an awful memory, as I forget if I have mentioned this repeteadly or not before).

The second point are the epilogues. I wrote several epilogues for DH. They were very fun to write and I don't regret it. But overall, I dislike Where Are they Now?- where They Ended Up? as a narrative resource. It doesn't even have to do with their being downers or not- the manga's 'the Narutakis married random twin princes pulled out of Akamatsu's ass and lived HAPPILY EVER AFTER LOL LOL' is as bad as 'Four years later, the Narutakis killed themselves and their parents because they were too stupid to realize they were 18 and could have ran together into the sunset had they wanted to'. It has to do with, well, it feels like the author saying how things went rather than THE STORY saying how things went. I think you eventually come to feel this too to some degree, with Mashiro herself lampshading it. It's not as bad either if you're planning to stop there with the characters, but if you're retaking them later, like with Negima and DH Zeta, you take most of the thrill of uncertainty away. It's not the same thing anymore. You probably can tell of many things that happen to Madoka before she dies choked in her vomit or whatever, but it's... still not the
Breadsticks chapter 19 . 6/13/2013
I just... Can't believe you brought shizuru and natsuki together...why oh god why? Mai and natsuki had SO much more going on for them, shiznat is so bland by comparison. But thank u for awesome story anyways! :D
shanejayell chapter 19 . 6/13/2013
*claps*

Well done. :D I liked the endings for all of them, and I thought it fit the... tone of the series, or at least your take on it.
Bluesphere chapter 16 . 6/5/2013
I too am I fan of MaiNat...and it is awesome that you wrote it in! Woot! I'm liking this story alot, it's wrong in all kinds of ways but it's pretty frigging hilarious too, it was kinda hard reading it cos I've never watched Negima but it's fun all the same. I am so pumped to see this finished!
Darkenning chapter 18 . 6/4/2013
To Breadsticks and Guest - I would be happy to answer your questions by private message if you would sign your reviews, since I don't believe in answering them in the body of a story. Having no other option, I'll answer them here. Natsuki started falling in love with Mai around Chapter Six, after finding out about their other connection and wondering whether it would be so bad to have some sort of bond with her. Subsequent events drew her even closer to her.
Guest chapter 16 . 6/4/2013
I'm loving the MaiNat a lot but when did Narsuki fall for Mai? Just sort of jumped outta nowhere , I'd definitely love to see more of it though :D, will they end up together?
Breadsticks chapter 18 . 6/3/2013
Duuuuuuuude this is like, seriously awesome. I love that there's no shiznat and that natsuki is in love with mai, though I do see that it highly unlikely they will get together...ah well no huge loss. But it's been a real fun adventure to read (and kinda steamy and wrong in all kinds of ways) but fun all the same. Love it, love you, love MaiNat!
shanejayell chapter 18 . 6/3/2013
Oooh.

Okay, that was pretty damn awesome,
Breadsticks chapter 15 . 5/15/2013
Why does natsuki love mai? It totally rocks though, shiznat is so boring and lack any real chemistry! Woot!
rawr chapter 17 . 5/10/2013
Whoa this is getting crazier. I applaud your ability to squish so many different characters and plotlines into your crazy parody and keep it all straight. The pacing is pretty nice too sometimes feels a bit rushed but that is probably just a byproduct of having so many things going on. Whew!
Darkenning chapter 16 . 3/23/2013
To my most recent reviewer: there's enough comments to make me happy, and now that you've posted, there's one more. Pity you didn't have the stones to sign your complaint.
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