Reviews for Cicadas, Volume II: Dirge of the Furthest Future
Taiboss chapter 26 . 1/20
I have not much to say about this story, I am not the person to write endless paragraphs that in the end have as little content as possible, so I'll just say it:

This story, and it's predecessor, are really, really good.

I could go on and on of how unusual but still recognizable the characters are, how well done shout-outs and references are done, how thrilling it can be at times, and how, by the end, you still think to yourself, "So what is actually going on now?".

I particularly loved Battler's appearance in the Wrap party, as I very much like human Battler as opposed to Witch Battler (Or at least, how he's portrayed here.), so if you ever decide to do Volume III. after all, please more of his interactions with... the Sonozaki girl. (This is one of the things I didn't really understand at the end.)

On that topic: I can clearly see the reasons. This is a monster of a project, and as a self-proclaimed bad author I can only imagine how much work that must have been. I came across this on the Higurashi TvTropes recommendation page, and since you mentioned Return to Hinamizawa, which has a page, I suggest maybe you, me, or someone who actually edits on tvtropes creates a separate page for this fanfic/universe, as this deserves far more prevalence than it has.

I hope for the best.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 26 . 7/15/2013
The most striking thing that caught my attention about Chapter 25 was how it offers some noticeably unconventional answers to the questions it has been asking for the entirety of the story. For example, take what happens with Miyo Takano, Higurashi's true antagonist who literally had a non-existent role in the story up to the second to last chapter. After once again - presumably - damning Hinamizawa to destruction once more, we get an unexpected out-of-left field, but not unwelcome, sudden Rena appearance, Rena proceeds to utterly ruin Nomura's day in a most hilarious and grim manner, and grants to Takano the chance and resources to give herself a completely blank slate and to never have anything to do with Tokyo ever again and life and for once live truly for herself.

Can this considered, putting it mildly, "rewarding bad behavior?" Does a crime deserve punishment, "justice" dealt to the "guilty", even if in doing so the cycle of violence and ultimately despair will continue onward? Is there merit in the concept of "die and let live?" Likewise, concerning Ivan Furude's epiphany, is it okay to NOT reveal the truth? Is "the truth will set you free" sometimes a bald-faced lie that hurts more than it helps? Is there no shame to be found in forgoing the pursuit of truth in order to live selfishly, but happily?

I had to think about what I read for a bit after I finished before it sunk in, but when it finally did I found myself liking what chapter 25 had to say. Most stories aren't highbrow or thought-out enough to actually try to bring up a point and make the readers think, and for that I really dug the penultimate conclusion to Cicadas II.

By the by, the reason Rena isn't belly up like the rest of village (again, going on assumptions here) has to do with her nature and former but still(?) influential link with Nebiros/Saya/The Frozen Flame in Volume II? At least, that's what I got out of it.

Aaaand that's one, two, two Dangan Ronpa cameos! Aahaahaa. (This observation is best read with the voice of The Count from Seasame Street for maximum effect. Good to see that Togami is still an asshat. What would Shion quality as if wound up attending Hope's Peak? SHSL Observer? Almost-a-Yakuza Heiress? :P)

Moving on, chapter 26 addresses, among other things, while raising plenty of questions of its own, the true nature of the one who called himself "Kaworu Nagisa," as well as answering plenty of remaining questions regarding Cicadas II's metaphysics/why things was the way things is. At the same time it throws *one* more curveball in the form of the reveal that the culprit wasn't actually who we were meant to think it was. That dang Keaton mask, among other things, such as the basic natures of certain characters - which as you yourself have admitted to are played with fast and loose and occasionally intentionally butchered in this story - should've been a bigtime tip-off. It's also a matter of discerning what constitutes as "the truth" and reading between the lines of what is-is not implied, which is always present even during periods when the point-of-view is decidedly less than reliable. Kudos to you for once again pulling the wool over the collective eyes of many a reader.

So at the end, Rika (not Bern 2.0, important to note) IS pregnant with ED's unborn child? That's what I thought I read, but the nature of the multiple universes and the metaphysics that come with the territory have a tendency to throw everything into suspicion.

My gut also tells me that BATTLER (mostly how a red-headed protagonist becomes a transcendental being stronger than his previous form and has white hair and has their douchiness cranked to max - moreso than usual) is a sly reference to a certain Fate/stay night character. Just putting that thought out there.

Re: Your Reasons as to why in all Likelihood there will NOT be a Cicadas Volume III Anytime Soon

To be honest, with the way Cicadas II ended up written it is still all fine and well even if it never ever does get a followup. After all, the multiverse at large and the thirsting gods and worse that rule over it are not matters to be understood by base humankind. Leaving it on a note of grand scale and mystery would be something I would totally expect from something set in the greater Cicadasverse, so on that note it works.

I can also understand the further reasoning to not putting in the effort to write a sequel perfectly well. While a few good and loyal readers are absolutely appreciated, and I can say with experience rightfully a million times more than a dozen other casuals ever will, what is fanfiction written for? Not only for the joy of the author, but also for the appreciation of and fostering the community of the fanbase of a series or franchise. If you work your butt off for a magnum opus of a fan-story, and get one-to-two reviewers per chapter, lengthy and in-depth and meticulously thought out chapters at that, would you feel shitty? Hell yes you will. That's downright unfair and a shame for a story a cut above the rest of its pack. We can't all be Gregg Landsman or Gabriel Blessing or Third Fang or Kieran or what have you, but a decent following is at least something to reasonably expect. I get that. The fandom simply isn't what it used. Would Cicadas I and II maybe have benefitted from being posted in other corners of the internet (note: I don't know if you actually did do this or not and I'm just wasting characterspace, so by all means correct me if I'm wrong) where it might have garnered further interest and helped encourage a Volume III? Maybe, I 'unno. Right now this is mostly just me pondering and rambling and considering what-ifs.

Anyway. I've not read a good Code Geass fanfic for some time (rather, a Code Geass fanfic PERIOD). I'd certainly be curious to see how you'd tackle it and would vry much like to see what sort of surprises you'd have in store for that series, since Geass-fics tend to be generally on the formulaic side. A Nanaya-centric Nasuverse one would definitely also be greatly, greatly appreciated by a favorite fandom of mine in desperate need of real storytelling innovation in light of a surging wave of popularity. Honestly, if you were to do something not-Cicadas III that'd get my 's also the fact that the guy is also a BAMF with a capital 'B' and I can already see the episodic adventures of him and White Ren/Len playing out in my head if that's how it ends up, so that's another point in that idea's favor. And hey, if by some chance of fate you feel the urge to sate your hungry, demanding muses and against your better judgment end up getting into writing Cicadas III anyway because sometimes a story just *FEELS* like it *NEEDS* to be written, and if it retains the same quality of work that its two preceding prequels had, then you can be damn fucking sure that I'll be gleefully following it all the way from start to finish.

Point is, whatever you decide to eventually work on, whether that something is new or back once more into the hope-obscuring darkness of Hinamizawa for one more last hurrah with the fate of the multiverse at stake, if your work is as enjoyable as what I read through Volumes I and II then count me in as a continually faithful reader.

P.S. : If you do end up writing that Nanaya story, I recommend that you also post it on the Beast's Lair forum. I can tell you that it would definitely get a good and loyally following. Cross-exposure never hurt a fanfiction's publicity, though I'm sure a couple of egos might have been bruised during some kind of in-thread crossfire. :P :)
Isae chapter 26 . 7/11/2013
Wrap Party:

Wasn't expecting Rena to appear there!

Anyway, I enjoyed the Wrap Party. The dialogue was very good, and it was interesting to watch things be resolved.

?:

You shouldn't underestimate your readers so much...not that I saw it coming. :P Maybe one of the silent readers got it. My reaction has pretty much settled onto "If you say so." I guess I'll have to re-read the story to try to understand. (Not that I mind.)

I'm sorry to hear there won't be a Volume III, but I understand your reasons.

And I'd like to thank you for sharing Volumes I and II with us. Thank you.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 24 . 7/4/2013
That was certainly a lengthy and epic brawl. Guess it's just Astaroth's fate to ultimately get his tail kicked by Furude women in high stakes, single combat. Well, technically speaking, considering that Hanyuu's not one by blood as was revealed in Cicadas II but no matter - the point still stands.

Still waiting to see what if anything will become of our pal Battler, find out if Kaworu is going to bop around back to the Evaverse or not, and hoping for more dealing with various other loose ends and odds.
Isae chapter 24 . 7/4/2013
That was quite a spectacular final battle! I was very surprised and glad to see the End Dreamer again. And I particularly liked the entire last section.

I'm curious as to what the Wrap Party's going to be like...
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 23 . 7/3/2013
119 despairs, one of which is a typo misspelled as "despiar", and 5 Zetsubos, which all comes to a grand total of 124. That's a real boatload of desperosity.

Now, this might just be me because I'm currently going through a Dangan Ronpa high right now but all the gratuitous DESPAIR is causing me to flashback to those games. Here's hoping that someone like Atlus or Aksys will localize the upcoming Vita remakes. But I digress.

So, what to say? "Thanks for the fascinating introspection and reveal into Keiichi's twisted mind." seems good. That and "the twist regarding the truth about the Hinamizawa Syndrome was unexpected but logical in Cicadas II's context, GJ on that." is also appropriate. It was enlightening to see what went down for each arc's murders, especially the bits that went on REALLY behind the scenes - IE the ones that the readers would have no idea about until those scenes in question were actually written. Like the mindblow that was Satoshi Yatagarasu, Irie being in on this whole 'uber-duber despair will remake the world' thing, The metaplot here is...whoa.

Good stuff. Good, good stuff.

And yes, Keiichi is now officially an ass. A vaguely sympathetic and understandable ass, but still undeniably an ass.
Isae chapter 23 . 7/1/2013
I counted 118, not counting the one in the author's note. Plus 5 'Zetsubo's. :P

Having established the 'who', I figured we'd be exploring the 'how' and 'why', and this chapter didn't disappoint in that regard. There were also plenty of surprises, though.

The whole HSdespair connection...actually made quite a lot of sense, I thought.

And the conversation with Satoshi and Irie did a good job of knitting together the 3 storylines. I mean, they
were already sort of linked, but it's much more cohesive now. One of the things I like about this story (and Cicadas I) is how convoluted it is.

Also, can't say I saw Satoshi's true identity coming. But then, I don't think you're really supposed to figure that one out.

As for the third arc...I'm the type who can appreciate a gigantic red herring.

Anyway, I'm kind of sad it's almost over, but at the same time I'm eager to see how it ends.
Isae chapter 22 . 6/26/2013
Hey, new-ish reader here. I just had to pop in and say how much I'm enjoying this story. I think I like it even more than Cicadas I. And Cicadas I was pretty damn good!

As for this chapter...

I liked Shion's journey through the fragments. The video tape-like aspect of it was interesting. I hadn't noticed the 3 stages Mion went through in all the fragments.

Very nice end reveal scene, too! I'm looking forward to reading more.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 22 . 6/26/2013
Woah. Things got mighty trippy in this neck of the woods.

Heh. Geddit? Woods. :P

First thing's first and we kick off with a mysterious narrator doing a mysterious narration. If I was a gambling man I'd put money on it being Astaroth/Yatagarasu, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually someone else who I've overlooked. Still, the *who* does not matter so much as is the *what is being said* and what it means in the context of the story so whatever.

Another Cicadas landmarks in this update: the detective actually getting a readable perspective this time. What was unexpected about it was how Shion was relegated to strictly being just an observer who could only get by using minimal information. I liked that because even though this is still the Answer Arc that by no means indicates that the story is giving up its secrets that easily. Even though Shion (or rather, Mu(?)) is learning the truth about the murders there's still a foreboding secretive, suspenseful atmosphere that does wonders at keeping the tension going and preventing her POV from turning into a massive infodump of "X happens which leads to Y etc. etc."

Igor came out of left field. But not in a bad way. Time to see if I can pick up on any symbolism. This development plus how the culprit seems to be a whole, separate entity of their own a la the multi-personalities of Umineko has got me hype. If this is all we get to see of this being and what the significance of this means remains unsolved then that'd be a bit disappointing. Here's to hoping and waiting with bated breath.

Furthermore, with regards to the culprit, Keiichi is basically confirmed? Didn't see that one coming. Makes me glad that Cicadas is still able to keep me surprised. Not being privy to all of its secrets until things happen in earnest is a perk of being a reader. Speculation that leads to ideas either being confirmed or denied *is* my favorite thing about reading fanfiction, after all. I'm personally looking forward to seeing more of how Cicadas' two parallel storylines relate closely with each other now that it is apparent that there's much more connecting these fragments beyond what was originally apparent, backstory wise and more.

And Steel Ball Run. 1 references caught.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 21 . 6/24/2013
Chapter H: In which Mion isn't quite dead but soon is, ED has a not so heroic but still arguably selfless to a degree sacrifice, Serika becomes Hawkgirl and fights Saya-Nebiros, ice wolves, a crow, (obviously some symbolism here what with the wolves in the forest in Cicadas Volume 1 and Yatagarasu's importance in the backstory) and Hanyuu is just as darn guilty as the rest of 'em.

That and Astaroth is Keiichi Prime, which is new info even though readers knew from the end of Volume 1 that he is a manifestation of all of Keiichi's bad Keiichiness. Here's hoping the Answer Arc elaborates more on that, among the other things that are still mysterious and enigmatic and shit about Dirge.

What else, what else...Eh, nope, got nothing. Nothing to do but look forward to more of it in the further future, I suppose.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 20 . 6/19/2013
While I had, with no small amount of certainty, ascertained that Shion could not be the murderer across the arcs I didn't expect her to be the one true detective. That explains so much and also brings up new questions with regards to Cicadas II's Cicadasness. The issue of who the true murderer and the assistant are is still up in the air, but I'm a patient man willing to wait to see if any theories he has pan out. I have to admit, Mion's spontaneous existence failure was both amusing and confusing (as opposed to ED's desire to apparently go Third Impact on the Fragments, which was amusing and enlightening for just as many reasons). ED, like Rika before him in the previous chapter, evidently caught on to something that I haven't yet, so naturally I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of that.

Apparently it was all a matter of time until a proper Red Truth battle happened in Cicadas II proper.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 19 . 6/10/2013
Uhhhh...huh. Right-o. Where to start? So in this chapter we've got what appears to be some storyline intersection. There are Episode 2 things going on, courtesy of Saya's narration, and at the same time we've got Serika!Rika (as opposed to just plain Serika) and FFTJudge!Dreamer , having to deal with the equivalent of a point and click adventure game like Myst meets Saw meets Zero Escape. How...fitting. I guess. Even though the significance of some of the puzzles and messages were lost on me.

Knowing you this is likely intentional. Though there were some things that I did catch that I'd like to jibber-jab about in a bit.

I like what you did with the newly introduced "OC" resident of the closed space. He's a character that behaves and resembles Kaworu Nagisa and people are going to immediately liken him to Kaworu Nagisa anyway so might as well cut out the middleman and just outright say it's goddamn Kaworu Nagisa. Whether it actually is the boy Tabris or not remains to be seen, if anything comes of it at all beyond a guest appearance for the sake of a guest appearance or it is just an alias. Still ballsy and refreshingly inelegant.

Saturn Anne's/Ivan Furude's backstory was certainly appreciated. Anything that gets The Great Game involved in whatever story I'm getting into always seems to be a positive and enriching element in my book. It clarifies more about his character, but at the same time I'm positive that that's not all there is to his contributions to Cicadas II. As to the puzzle itself, well, I personally have a terrible sense of direction when it comes to written directions, so I cannot comment on the pitch-black maze segment. Moving along.

Word puzzle was mind-bending. No way I would've been able to figure that out by myself.

The deal with Irie kidnapping Saya and(?) Yoko's sparked my intrigue. Had me wonder what the purpose of doing so was. Especially considering the storytelling and thematic implications of how the Saya from Cicadas I is his biological daughter and she and Yoko were friends during the events of that story. And now I'm wondering what the deal with Yoko is (something something HS?), and if she and "Kaworu" have some connection going by their similar features that merited Saya's narrative to point them out.

It was when the final puzzles reared their ugly heads that I was reminded that this arc depended a good deal on reader input. Rika's solution to the burning room was evocative to what I suggested as a possible explanation for how the murder shenanigans of Greatest Fear could have been pulled off. "Can't use an entrance? Use something else instead as an exit. WORDPLAY, MOTHERFUCKERS." Then of course was the part involving the "Riddle me this: only two human elements in the room, the body and the witness, but the killer is also in the room. If you think you're hot shit (pun fully intended, considering what Rika went through literally no more than a minute prior) then solve this. Murder demon or human?" . I still haven't figured out how to make that one make sense, as you already probably know, but apparently Rika caught on to something involving a number loophole. Which I didn't get and am probably not supposed to get until the requisite Answer Arc(s) if I haven't already figured it out by now. Ho hum.

And...yeah. That's it. I guess. No idea what's going to happen now to either POV party in Empty Skies. Can't wait to find out.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 18 . 6/8/2013
Oh hey, look at that. Another one, and so soon. Just like you said.

Remarkable choice of viewpoint character this time around. Certainly wasn't expecting Nebiros/Saya to be it, though I guess it probably was Rena's turn to have some time in the spotlight when you get down to brass tacks. Some of Nebby's thoughts were a bit difficult to follow on the initial uptake this isn't unexpected, given how she's a funky hybrid and all that. I think the one thing about this that I'm looking forward to the most is seeing (and naturally, trying to figure out for myself) how these new details will affect previous and future arcs.

So yes. More please, keep 'em coming, etc. etc.
Michael S. Repton chapter 17 . 6/5/2013
Yes, this helps a lot. By the way, I've read the manga volume with Natsumi's story now :)

I hope I'll have time to give your story a proper re-read very soon.
ItsaRandomUsername chapter 17 . 6/5/2013
On one hand, it's not a real chapter so that's a bit of a bummer.

On the other hand, a timeline-recap of events is just what this story needed. It was also surprisingly enlightening. The bit about the siblings looking for the Frozen Flame was something that I could not have foreseen nor expected, for instance.

Nothing really much can be else said about it. Cicadas II is better off for it, at least.
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