Reviews for Counterbalance
BlepLord chapter 11 . 6/11
Alright, I'm not in my account right now, but I've got to say, after reading your most notable works, this certainly was one of the best emotional rollercoasters I was ever on. I didn't even thought you wrote this when I first read it in BBBH but now that I trace the source back, I was a complete idiot to not think it was you (mostly from the complete change in pace than Shortest Distance, I bet).
The way you created Broken and Counterbalance led to me not sleeping until 4 AM because it took six hours to read the entirety, I was tired but so damn satisfied because you really get the reader hooked into the story and emotion from the first paragraphs in each piece.
For Broken, the way you structured the past and the present pieces created a sense of confusion and tension, because as you encounter Naoto's renewed dungeon you slowly piece together why they were there to begin with, and with the pieces forming into place, the tension quickly multiplies. The worst part was how the design of the dungeon seemed so fitting to Naoto's character at that point, being the Emptiness in the triangle while also correlating to her emotions and mental conflicts that led up to it. Kanji seems to be an important inhibitor to Naoto when they find her, which is important because of how he's able to wedge himself into the plans of Izanami by making Naoto have a strong connection with him that could get her out of the ditch she found herself hopelessly trying to climb out of. And yes, Naoto's wanting to repent for her crimes by being in the madhouse seems like a way for her to try to harm herself by closing herself into self-blame and wallowing in pity while not really doing anything to stop it; the true character development starts from there and goes over to Counterbalance. I love Broken, but Counterbalance was one piece that really got me going.
Counterbalance really lives up to the title. You feel so many emotions of hurt, guilt, anger, pain, and in the end you might as well could've slammed a hammer into my chest by killing one of my favorite characters off (hell you even suggested killing Kanji off by sacrificing himself to make her live, the way you structured it made me panic so much), but no you balanced all of those emotions with a satisfying ending. The way you created Souji, Naoto, and Kanji in particular helps get the mind going, for there are so many subtle and small jabs to the reader (mostly clues and hints that a reader should look at, piece together, and then say 'AHAH!' for finally getting it) that it gives depth and/or continuity for each line of dialogue, action, and thought in the smallest to biggest ways. I found myself also enjoying the other characters like Yosuke and Yukiko, because to redeem a villain you didn't simply solve the problems with Naoto and the others with a few seconds, you made them suspicious or unable to converse with her with the full knowledge of what she's done - and even if the audience doesn't feel suspicion or anger they still want Naoto to succeed in redeeming herself. And what I like is the fact that we don't really know if she'll get fully redeemed, because people were involved and you can tell most people will always have that contempt or spite towards her somewhere in their mind even if Naoto tries many times to have them forgive her. I also love the different reactions to Naoto when she returns: some are in contempt, some actually try to talk to her (make an effort to make amends), while others completely ignore her. It gives variety and won't make things mundane because differing opinions leads to conflicting ideals and the drama stirs up pretty good.
The emotions and build-up helps in pulling a reader in, you can't just wave off this piece after a few chapters; the fic mentally pulls your brain to stay because of all of the suspense and tension building and building in every chapter and you can't let go unless you want the feelings of tension to go away. Most fics I've read can't create a huge pull that leads me from Point A to Point B without a break, but you, my good sir, have made a fic that couldn't let go of me until I was finished to the end. Hell, I was surprised the piece was only 48k because it felt like I was reading 100k, that's how powerful your fic really was.
The last few chapters were amazing. Souji's dungeon has some pretty good symbolism regarding his shadow and the intensified feelings of Souji regarding his relationships (tbh my brain tried hard to piece this part so bare with me if I messed up what Souji's shadow is truly about). Souji's dungeon is full of mirrors, the beginning full of fog but slowly getting darker and losing the fog. Souji is an interesting character to create, because he has some different portrayals between spin-offs and before his canon portrayal you can get creative regarding his personality. Souji however is a man who has a personality, but was forced into a position of 'that helping guy' because of long-nosed bird man. The dungeon mirrors his struggles, since he wants others to help him with his struggles, but his position of having to help others and listen to their problems led him to be enclosed in silent pain and suffering. The mirrors show his suffering but no one never seemed to notice fully because of his outward appearance. This is what I found interesting because I finally understood the intentions of the mirrors when the rest of the Investigation Team encountered their supposed Shadows, only to have them encounter 'Shadows' that seem to target their relations with Souji and messed-up interpretations of them. The change in atmosphere with the fog and increasing darkness also symbolizes the IT's slowly understanding the truth regarding Souji's feelings, finally reaching the whole truth of the year's debacle, and you can say that they're going into a darker portion of Souji that they've never seen before until now.
I could ramble on about your fic, but to end this, let's talk about the ending. You almost broke me from that ending, I really thought it could've ended in Naoto dying Minato-style but Kanji got her back, and it killed me. Also I almost screamed when I thought Naoto was actually going to kill Kanji with the sword, the way you formed the sentence felt so clear, and fast. Congrats man, ya get a cookie.
Over9000 chapter 11 . 11/18/2015
Hey! Great fic. Pretty awesome AU.

I like the character development for Naoto. I can really tell her struggle after the Broken storyline. The consequences of her actions really bit her back.

I also like how you characterize Kanji as trying his best to be Naoto's support but constantly having his resolve waver a lot of times in the story.

I keep wondering if what would have happened if Yukiko did not saw Naoto and Souji getting captured. It might probably increase the stakes and tension of the story. But it might also increase the number of chapters in the story. Well, I just think this part is a little bit too convenient.

And also I was wondering if Naoto will every read those letter and why she didn't read it in the first place.

But overall it a great story with good character development. It has a good mix of mystery, action, drama and romance. For the readers, highly advised to read Broken first.
Guest chapter 1 . 10/18/2013
Five people.
Thedarknesswithin96 chapter 11 . 8/30/2013
This was an awesome read.
Ulcaasi chapter 11 . 3/12/2013
Warm fuzzy fluffy and yeah Ma knows. They just know. Its creepy. And cool. -shudders-
Ulcaasi chapter 10 . 3/12/2013
So I went from sad to confused to hurt to positively grinning.
Ulcaasi chapter 9 . 3/12/2013
Okay now I feel like crying. *sigh* Do excuse me while I go to this corner and totally not bawl my eyes out etc.
Ulcaasi chapter 8 . 3/12/2013
Ulcaasi chapter 6 . 3/11/2013
I realise I am easily confused cause I've only ever watched the anime for this, never actually played the game and stuff. /
Ulcaasi chapter 5 . 3/11/2013
Ho man. This story keeps messing around with my head _
Ulcaasi chapter 4 . 3/11/2013
Ulcaasi chapter 3 . 3/11/2013
I realise a lot of the time I'm rather speechless after reading this. It's mostly cause I really have nothing to say besides what I say every other review. S'good fic. Loving it. Yeah.
Ulcaasi chapter 2 . 3/11/2013
You're killing me. Really. This's good stuff... I'm drowning in pure awesome.
Ulcaasi chapter 1 . 3/11/2013
I really like this AU. Especially with how believable the bulk of it is. And then there's the whole flow. And the few heart wrenching moments amongst all that tearing angst and tension etc.
EbonyWeltall chapter 11 . 2/20/2013
Very interesting read. Loved the alternate take through both of these.
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