Rin/Kakashi banter is my new favorite thing. :D
2013-09-10 12:01 am (UTC)
Take a Number and After the Tornado
I am looong overdue for a lil’ reviewing, so let’s get to it!
Take a Number
Rin is absolutely brilliant, as is her hyperawareness for her surroundings (and Kakashi). Their relationship is a really nice balance between sweet and quick-witted. And surprisingly open, given Kakashi, but it came together very smoothly. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s just so fascinating and a little warm-fuzzy for me to see Kakashi so relaxed. It’s a really lovely thing.
I’m intrigued to see how long Kakashi is going to keep up the effort of resenting his new team. His reputation certainly has been preceding him, and he rather likes to live up to it.
After the Tornado
I am rooting so, so hard for Minato whenever he makes an appearance; that guy has a will of steel to work through Hokage duties and parenthood. Seeing Minato is like seeing an old friend in a hallway and having half an idea of how they’re doing and hoping they’re doing all right.
I think my favorite thing about this was the way you twined through a couple different perspectives before settling on Raidou and Ryouma. It was like reading a light-to-dark color gradient.
I’ve also really enjoyed watching Raidou settle into his own very unique brand of leadership. He walks some really fine lines between caring captain and drill sergeant and he just makes it work so well. It also says quite a lot that people keep mistaking him for an experienced captain. Full of surprises he is.
I know you titled this After the Tornado, but I can’t help but think it’s just a bit of calm before the storm. Looking forward to what you’ve got in store!
Take care ‘till next time <3
2013-09-18 01:04 pm (UTC)
Into the Breach
Hi everyone! Just managed to finish Into the Breach, and it was so exciting and enjoyable! :D
Here's a bit of what I thought about everything!
Genma and Kakashi had a sort-of conversation! The whole thing about the shimizu techniques and everything was really interesting - i like how much detail there is in the Legacy world, like the how chakra types are almost like the shinobi horoscope.
I love how Kakashi is just striving to be all efficient and professional, against the hilarious backdrop of the Ryouma-Katsuko comedy duo. And how he's kinda radiating disdain all the time, but still never goes too far from his teammates. Also, thawing kakashi!!! I can't tell if it was talking with Genma that was the catalyst or just that missions make the boy happy, but still! :D on one hand, annoying teammates. On another hand... they're teammates. Poor Kakashi.
Is it weird that descriptions of him gutting rabbits makes me happier than I should be? Something about the way it was worded just seemed so... economical. It gave me great pleasure to read about the rabbit-skinning.
And oohhh, Ryouma and Katsuko gossipping about Kakashi is hilarious. Katsuko reads as very endearing, actually. I kept going 'ahh, so cute' at her antics.
And Genma, ever the medic. I really love that they've got blisters and sores from the run, and that Genma thought about it. It's such a thoughtful thing, and the fact that they have to break in their new armour lends so much to the believability of everything. They do superhuman feats all the time, and somehow the detail of new boots needing breaking in and chafing skin just was a really nice touch. Also the competition of manliness. I couldn't help but chuckle because I can totally imagine that between the two rookies here.
Kakashi and his huge put upon sigh is so adorable. Katsuko and her man-rating is also hilarious! I want to sit with her and listen to her ramble all day.
"That was uncharacteristically thoughtful.
No, wait. Genma’d known Hatake Kakashi little more than a week, and under trying circumstances for anyone. It was unfair to decide what was characteristic for him yet."
I really love that Genma thought this. It's fantastic, and it shows him to be such a level, reasonable guy. I liked the judgement, and then the backtracking. I thought it was a very good, nice lieutenant thing to do, to withhold judgement on Kakashi like that, despite how taciturn and grumpy he must have been being.
And oh, the sparring! I want there to be animation of this. Cheating kakashi! Taijutsu magic Raidou! All the different styles must be amazing to watch. I love the bit about Raidou 'making himself bamboo', it reminds me of Wing Chun or some Tai Chi principles, so again, the depth of the world feels really solid 'cause of these details. The whole image of a slightly pissy, superior kakashi getting punched by his captain is wonderful. I really like that Raidou played on Kakashi's assumption that everyone is an idiot. The spar was really fun to read and I confess I read it a couple times because I wanted to imagine the fight scene playing out.
I really like the entire team dynamic so far - I can't wait to see how the relationships mature. Raidou seems like a really solid leader to have. I love how Genma is so chill and quietly competent, and does everything without a fuss. Model shinobi, indeed! And Katsuko and her jokes and her massive chakra! So fun to read. Its nice because she's in between 'rookie' and 'veteran'. Kinda like the teenager, with mom and dad being Genma and Raidou, and the kids as the rookies. Like an embarrassing big sister, I think. Ryouma is... well, Ryouma. I like how easygoing he is and how well he seems to be fitting in with the team, it's a great contrast to errant duckling Kakashi. Can't wait to see how Team Six holds out on their first mission!
2013-09-19 10:49 pm (UTC)
I just caught up on the threads, and I am so excited. I love the building of the team dynamics! My favorite part though is the constant banter. It reminds me that they are all really just college aged kids....then they kill a few demon bugs and I reminded that they are all total badasses as well, haha. I also can't wait to watch the team delve deeper into each others past (oh Katsuko!) Anyway, hope that made sense and I can't wait until the next post! Have a wonderful day!
2013-09-20 04:18 pm (UTC)
Hey, uh, you guys know there's two threads titled "Suffer the Children", right? Just in case you missed it. I did a double take when I was scrolling the thread list, 'cuz I was pretty sure the mission was a couple years after the Orochimaru thing.
2013-09-20 07:46 pm (UTC)
Suffer the Children / Teeth in the Dark
I didn't catch the duplication of titles, but you had me so extremely excited at a new post with the title change that I snuck off to the break room at work to read the new post. Little heart broken, but I can wait and probably kept my job!
2013-09-24 07:57 am (UTC)
Heaven's Got A Plan For YOU
When you gave the heads-up over on Fallen Leaves, I did a beginning-to-end read of Fallen Leaves this summer.
This conversation between Asuma and Ryouma struck me.
"Healthiest people I’ve seen in ANBU are the ones that’ve got someone guarding their backs. Best missions I’ve done are the ones with people I trust. That’s the only way it works. And it’s a damn sight harder to suicide out when you’ve got someone there to keep you in line.”
and now here is that new team structure,a living, functional,carefully blended selection to create effective cohesive behaviors and strong working groups. :-)
I'm really looking forward to how the differing dynamics play out.
2013-09-26 12:37 pm (UTC)
Team Six's Recent Mission
Hiya! A sort of disjointed series of things I loved about the recent mission threads, split into two! :) Firstly, some of the character-related stuff:
“For a man as laid back as Genma, he had an amazing ability to fuss.
On his back.
While being sutured.”
Oh Genma! It makes me so fond to read Genma fussing, because he’s been a mother-medic to everyone since Scarlet Spiral. I also think that him prioritising his team’s healing while having random demon-bits plucked out of him says a lot about him as a man and a lieutenant.
“For a brief, tired moment, Raidou’s mind went blank. He didn’t have broth. Where could they get—”
I also really liked reading this - because here we have an ANBU captain, but this shows how no one is infallible, even the elite of the Hokage’s soldiers. They do superhuman feats everyday, but they have moments, and falter, and make bad judgement calls like every other human being, and I think these details make them so much more human, and that much more relatable.
Also, Raidou’s weariness at his in-field name is so funny. I can’t even imagine how often he must get teased or raised eyebrows at every mention of ‘Moon’.
"Then he straightened, slim and sharp-shouldered in his dark clothes, and visibly drew his thoughts together. It was fascinating to watch the wheels turning in his spiky grey head, but entertainment morphed into alarm when his one grey eye turned its razor-sharp focus on her.
Oh Kakashi. Bone tired, but still so resolutely taking care of the mission and his teammates. I love how you can see him prioritise and sort things-to-be-done so effeciently, never giving himself a break until every last one of them is taken care of, settling each mental objective one after the other. *is full of admiration* Also, he’s such a nurse here. He’s so body-shy and aloof, but once its a mission all that falls by the wayside, and that’s really nice to read. I also love that Kakashi would rather expend more chakra than change Katsuko’s underwear. *cackling madly*
Also, "next on my list" sounds so much like Raidou's first digressing of his burn-ointments! Copy-nin Kakashi strikes again? *laugh*
I also really like the Kakashi-Katsuko interaction. She called him hotpants! I'm wheezing. I love her sense of humour. Her pet names are amazing I don’t even know where she pulls them from.
““You know what, hotpants?” she said. “You’re alright.””
All this while Katsuko has been enjoying bothering the hell out of Kakashi, but I think its only on this mission that everyone has proved their mettle to each other, and they're really coming together as a team. And it felt that first verbal affirmation of Kakashi (for all his previous disdain of Team Six) was the start of something, in terms of their teamwork and team dynamics.
You extreme badass. He melted a demon. FROM THE INSIDE. There are no words. He’s a little bit less abrasive in Legacy, and I really like how he keeps fumbling with his brain and Raidou. He's still retained his lack of modesty, though. It's really funny to see him so unconcerned with general nakedness as opposed to Kakashi.
I also really like how, even bone tired and halfway to falling asleep on his feet, he still manages to do some quasi-flirting as Kakashi tries to get him clean. Tousaki Ryouma, the lean mean flirting machine.
Also him being super grouchy when he’s woken by Kakashi is also hilarious. I love that he must be so tired, but still manages to dredge up the energy to punch Kakashi (it seems to be a theme between them!) I like how by the end of everything he's exhausted and all he wants to do is sleep, he gets just that bit more rough and rude and flings threats at Kakashi.
I also want to hear him growl. >.>
2013-09-26 01:11 pm (UTC)
Take the Heartland, To the Rescue:
The Daimyo’s palace was on fire’
Whoa. What an opening. From the first line, anyone familiar with this universe realises that something serious has happened.
“War had passed through here, and left fury in its wake.” this is such a gorgeous line.
The exhaustion that’s weighing on Asuma is palpable from every sentence, and the grief and numb shock. There’s almost a weight to the sentence as you read them. I found myself reading slower than I normally do; as though afraid I might miss something important.
Minato visiting naruto and watching him sleep until he absolutely had to go gives me aches in my heart. I keep thinking that this is what canon Naruto could have had.
Also Kurenai!! So exciting to see her. I love how calm and professional she is, and how it’s a contrast against all the chaos and Asuma’s on turmoil.
"He was Fire Country's military commander, and he had no time for gentleness."
The necessity and urgency with which Minato interrogates Asuma really drives home the gravity of the situation, and Asuma understands it. The suspiscion drawn on Asuma, and his acceptance of it. Minato’s own reasoning about the Sandaime and his son, it's all really enjoyable to read because it's so real. The threat and security of something so close to home is compromised, and it's really apparent through the writing.
“He took a breath, a moment to center himself, and accepted the pen and scrap of notepad paper Kurenai gave him.”
One of my favourite things about reading Leagacy, and FL was these parts - when the characters have all been pushed to hell both physically and mentally, and you’d think they’ve scraped themselves dry, but then under that, there’s a core of strength that you can now see, once they’ve been tried and tested and tried yet again. Everything’s gone to hell and in this moment when Asuma centers himself, takes a breath, and does what has to be done. The automatic, no-negotiation actions, to me, are what really drives home the fact that they are soldiers. Loyal and strong under fire.
The two threads were dramatic, and so moody. I really enjoyed reading them, and the atmosphere of everything was so stark. I’m greatly looking forward to reading more of Asuma and Kurenai, too! :D
2013-09-26 06:52 pm (UTC)
All of it.
I can never think of anything desperately coherent to say, but I have to say something. You guys write some of the best action scenes I've ever read, then you throw in fantastic plotting and politics and top it all off with humour and emotion and bonding that's just gut-tugging and wonderful. Thank you. Every word is appreciated and enjoyed.
2013-09-28 03:31 am (UTC)
first - can i just say how ecstatic i am that you guys are writing again? i sort of lurked around fallen leaves for a LONG time, and at this point i can say that even after i've left the naruto fandom for the most part, i'm still going to be reading this, and any other iteration of it that you guys write. the sheer mind-boggling amount of worldbuilding, the characters that are so real and present, the quality of the writing itself is all pretty much unmatched imho. plus, you update SO OFTEN. it's like christmas every other day.
okay, first off, kakashi is and always has been my DARLING and it is SO funny to see him still with all of his barriers intact (as opposed to the end of fallen leaves, when he was so friggin adorable and open and melted my heart to mush) :D smh at this boy who actually thinks that he can keep himself aloof from a team comprising of ryouma and katsuko. they will BULLY him into being friends. and every time ryouma and kakashi so much as glance at each other my heart does this little skip-jump-twirl thing even though of course this is a completely different universe so they might not even get together...... BUT MINATO SHIPS IT. I'M SO HAPPY. IF YONDAIME SHIPS IT, IT IS OFFICIALLY CANON AND THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE. (tbh i am rooting for an ot5 at this point because there is already an overabundance of sexual tension and honestly i am forseeing the whole who-wants-to-frick-with-who getting real complicated in the future, so. ot5 solves everyone's problems.)
(a brief note on ryouma/raidou: i was kind of aghast at first b/c ryouma sleeping with anyone who isnt kakashi??? does not compute. but then wow, it was really hot, and wow, i think i may want this to happen though it's conflicting with my ryouma/kakashi and raidou/genma feelings and then there's katsuko who is a whole nother bag of worms and... yeah, ot5.)
speaking of yondaime i am really really pleased that he is alive. and rin! wow, kakashi has so many good influences to keep him from going off the rails in this canon. and his mom! and naruto is so incredibly adorable and i loved the thread where him and kakashi were walking around the hospital and naruto is going to grow up so much better b/c he has his dad and his kakashi and that's all a little ninja boy needs so yeah.
i was so appreciative of the way kakashi took care of katsuko and ryouma after the mission. it was extremely in-character, particularly as you wrote him as being... not particularly warm about it, but quite gentle. i could tell that it was a duty but also that he was starting to actually care for them, which was very satisfying.
i really love katsuko. she is gr9. genma is also. raidou is also. everyone is gr9. i realize i talked about kakashi a lot but i am very tired and i will gather my thoughts about the others later. thank you so so so so so much for writing. i appreciate it every time you post something.
DISCLAIMER: i talked a lot about what i wanted to happen, but i don't want any of you to think i'm trying to somehow influence your writing or something. im just going on a rant here and it's really late where i am so im kind of incoherent and sans filter. sorry!! write as you will!! i love it all no matter who fricks who because the real golden thing here is friendship and happiness and as little ptsd as possible!! <3
2013-10-11 03:16 am (UTC)
I love you all so much.
I stumbled upon Fallen Leaves completely by accident a long time ago, before you started writing the second thread when Ryouma returns to Konoha. I ended up reading it all, start to finish. It's amazing. That's all I can say. I wish that I could elaborate further, but words completely escape me. I love it SO MUCH. Not an exaggeration at all. I would literally talk about you guys and the superb way you write characters and the awesome, thoughtful world-building that you put into each and every single aspect of life in Konoha ANBU and omgzzz kakashi/ryouma and Genma/Raidou and god so much LOVE, to my friends for hours until they read it themselves and fangirled over you all with me or told me to shut up.
You people are all so incredibly lovely. Fallen Leaves swept me up with it's gut-wrenching emotion, it's fantastic writing, and it's beautiful, complex, flawed characters and hasn't put me down since. You do not know how happy I am that ANBU Legacy is starting up, and I already completely and totally love it. The dynamics are so new and creative,the world is so fresh, and the characters have even more dimension.
It's so intriguing to read the way Raidou and Ryouma are apparently already familiar with homosexual relationships at the beginning of the story, (I loved the added dominance/submissive aspect into their one-night stand, it was fascinating.) I am seriously so excited to learn more about the depth and emotion I can tell is linked for these characters, waiting for the right moment to be revealed. The why's and the past's and the details all look like they are going to be so amazing.
It's also different to see Kakashi and Genma getting along, and so much fun!
The idea of ANBU being divided up in teams was so new but so well-done that I already think of them as being a cohesive unit. I just can't wait for more.
Basically, I love you all. So much. It was really sad to say goodbye to Fallen Leaves, but reading ANBU legacy, I am already being swept-up again. I think it is just a trait of you guys. You make amazing worlds. The care and thought and dedication you put into world-building, character development, and quality is outstanding. You are amazing writers and people, and I'm so happy that I stumbled upon Fallen Leaves, and that you are writing more.
I can't wait!
Hi all! It has been a while. I have been meaning and meaning to leave feedback, but I have had such a lot going on. :( Anyway!
I love this team! I really, really do. They are all such a fabulous mix and match mess. And Kakashi and Ryouma are so delightfully green and unprepared. Raidou and Genma are basically herding cats, and I love it. Katsuko is a bit harder to get a read on at the moment, because she's pretty mysterious and also has had so much nasty stuff go down that no one is willing to talk about.
Also. He fainted. He totally fainted. It really made me remember, in the Alanna books, when Alanna is all "I am a knight! Pfft, girly girls have pierced ears, this is nothing to me!" and then faints ridiculously and to the total hilarity of all the other women.
I do like that to begin with this team is really not clicking into place. There is a real goal to work towards, especially because obviously Kakashi has to learn the true meaning of teamwork, or rather has to give in to it because he totally feels it in his soul.
Oh oh! Quick aside, I love that the Asuma/The Twelve plot is back, because it's so interesting and I love it when politics go bad. The way it was written here is so emotive and engaging. The decision to put it at the same time as the team's first mission is fantastic, too.
And also: Kakashi and Rin! How much do I love you all that Rin is still alive? Of course Rin is going to be awesome, and she compliments Kakashi so well. I love their shady ninja restaurant.
Kakashi's porn! I loved waiting for the other shoe to drop for Ryouma, and I was not disappointed.
Raidou was coughing, red-faced, pounding his chest with his fist. "Oh my god," he strangled out, and coughed harder. "It's porn, Tousaki," he croaked, when he finally had enough breath back to approximate human sounds. "He's reading porn." <333333333333
Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. This arc was actually super scary for me, because it was all about the things my nightmares are made of: freaky impregnation. This is why I have only seen the Alien movies once, I genuinely cannot think of anything worse other than zombies. So this arc worked especially well for me, because the stakes felt so high.
Must also add that Kakashi has very little dignity left and I love it.
I was really captured by Kakashi and Genma's story in this, as they went further and further into the deep. It was incredibly tense and claustrophobic. Kakashi's choice to go after Genma felt so significant.
The final showdown with the demon queen was incredible! It really felt so difficult, and Ryouma nearly drowning in his own rot was both horrifying and sort of hilarious. I also like that after she is defeated there is still that thread of terror there - what will happen to the impregnated civilians? They are like ticking time bombs and I actually still feel super tense about it, especially with the dreadful way that the others had to be euthanised.
ANYWAY. Friendship, I am feeling it! I could really track the way the team was drawing together and beginning to trust and care for each other. Obviously it is a lot more obvious in Kakashi because he had further to go, but it is really nice to watch.
I love how Kakashi keeps trying to extricate himself and it all fails miserably.
Also, I wish that Revenge of the Blind Swordswoman was a real film, I really do.
"Sometimes niisan takes baths with me," Naruto said, blue eyes narrowing. "He makes me water dragons."
Too late. Naruto’s tiny face was already lifting like a bloodhound catching a new and interesting smell. “Who’s Katsuko?” he demanded. “Did you moonlight with her, too?”
“I did not—there was no moonlighting,” Kakashi said.
I love them all SO MUCH.
Kakashi and Naruto are so much fun together - I love that Naruto sort of has siblings in this, and it's a nicely balanced relationship. Neither of them are perfect and Naruto, as a kid, is still pretty difficult to cope with. I also really like whenever Kakashi has to try and explain grown up things to Naruto.
Plus, tattoo-ogling. xD
"You like Minato-sensei?" Kakashi said blankly. It might have been blank horror.
"No," Ryouma said. "I mean, yes, everyone in Konoha likes him, but that wasn't— It was just a random question, okay. People have those, it's called having a conversation."
Oh my gosh, boy-talk.
"He's hot, but so's everybody in ANBU. I should probably just get out more. Or, I dunno…" He gave Kakashi a searching, speculative look. "You're hot, and I'm not covered in pig-rot anymore. How many points would I have to earn?"
<333333333333333333333 Oh dear, poor Kakashi. Freaked out and sort of kind of vaguely maybe retroactively turned on. I can't decide how I feel about not getting Ryouma's pov of this, but it does make him more mysterious.
2013-10-20 05:40 am (UTC)
Pretty sure I'm in the great minority here, but I gotta say that I love the (prospect of a) Raidou/Ryouma pairing and look forward to reading about how far you're going to take that arc...or if you're going to pursue it at all, considering the solid Kakashi/Ryouma fanbase you've built over the years. I've always been a fan of doomed (alternate?) ships, the Kakashi/Ginta pairing from the Fallen Leaves 'verse being a good example, but I am not at all opposed to the idea of getting my fangirl fantasies fulfilled once in a while. :D
2013-10-20 02:40 pm (UTC)
Ain't We All Just Runaways
Bitty!Naruto and big brother!Kakashi are quite possibly the cutest thing in the history of things, and Katsuko really needs to get her hooks in on that action. She and Naruto can bond over pretty princesses and the remaking of Kakashi as such. XD
2013-10-20 11:59 pm (UTC)
i usually prefer to lurk (and i suppose posting on anonymous means that i'm still lurking in a way), but i feel compelled to do two things. one, gush about WOW how much i enjoy your writing / characterizations / everything in general (and i'm so glad that you've continued writing after fallen leaves came to a close for you).
two, i was rereading 'Heaven's Got a Plan for You' and although i'm not sure whether my guess is on the mark or not, i think i might also have to compliment your foreshadowing.
(or your ability to make me get ideas that could very, very easily be proven wrong.)
yes, just generally
askldfjal A+ writing and everything
(also A+ original characters and portrayals of canon characters alike)
2013-10-28 11:55 am (UTC)
So, I totally sent a comment to the tumblr page before I knew I could just post them here (without a character cap)....
I'd just like to reiterate how much I love that you guys are, one, still writing, two, still writing in the Narutoverse, and three, recreating your characters in a new setting. Like one of the commenters above already said, there's such a joy and excitement felt when rediscovering new stories about characters you love. Finding out about ANBU Legacy literally made my week. :)
I can't remember which ffn.net author linked to Scarlet Spiral, (Kilerkki, Nezuko? Maybe sna?), but I was in the midst of discovering that there were loads of writers who were busy fleshing out and playing with those minor characters that I wanted to know more about, and who were creating richer and more interesting backstories and expansions on Kishimoto's world than he was, so that RPG was a revelation to me. It was basically everything I didn't know I wanted Naruto to be about, and more. These people are trained from like, 6 years-old to become killers, and they're pretty much all fucked up because of it. Teenage-me dug the angst, man. And then LiveJournal died, and I regretted not saving all of the threads somehow. :P The day I figured I'd take a re-read of Kilerkki's ffn page was the day I saw the link for Fallen Leaves, and I lost my shit.
- I realllllly dig the new approach to the structure and protocols of ANBU, everything from the fact that they use codenames to the fact they wear goddamn combat boots (I never did understand Kishi's insistence on open-toed sandals). Also, Sagara? Awesome new character.
- Alternate universe where Minato is still alive and being insanely badass? I can't contain my excitement. Can't. Contain.
"...but he knows that chakra, and the screaming birdsong that goes with it. Minato's back, with the Hatake boy at his side."
from Burning on the Western Front? So cool.
- While I absolutely adore how Fallen Leaves Kakashi went from broken and closed-off to almost-human, I'm very intrigued to see how this new, awkward, brilliant, not-so-ruined-yet Kakashi is going to develop. Same goes for this new-yet-still-incredibly-familiar Ryouma.
- I wanna be best friends with Katsuko
- Ryouma and Katsuko are canon characters to me.
- Genma and Raidou threads are some of the most comfortable and comforting scenes you guys put together.
- Baby Naruto is the best.
Anyway, that's my 20 cents right there. Please keep writing :) You guys are wonderful.
2013-11-03 03:33 pm (UTC)
Just caught up reading and it was amazing, as usual. Ryouma and Kakashi babysitting Naruto was adorable, and I love the friendship between Raidou and Katsuko! I'm very interested to see what is in store next. There are definitely some dark undercurrents flowing beneath the surface. I feel like you guys are getting ready to break my little heart. Something is afoot in Fire Country.
Also "engage in pork fencing"- I snorted up my tea on that one.
Have a lovely day.
2013-11-03 06:55 pm (UTC)
I've been following you guys since Scarlet Spiral. Decided to check out fallen leaves recently and found out you started a new story.
Ugh, still perfection. I'm loving this new timeline with Minato be alive! Can't wait for the next post!!
2013-11-13 11:06 pm (UTC)
Another rambling review...
I was in the library and my first thought when I found the Naruto volume I was looking for was: "I wonder if Ryouma is in this one...!"
I was so bummed out when I realized he wasn't I almost put it back, lol.
The first mission (and everything leading up to it) really blew me away. Not at ALL what I was expecting! I love that no matter how much of your stuff I read, it never gets predictable.
I'm really enjoying getting to "know" Genma in recent stories. In the beginning, he seemed really enigmatic (probably intentional, since I think someone else calls him that in the story), but I'm getting a better feel for him now. Like his blank-stare reaction to smartassery (usually Kakashi's) or the way he keeps his calm and gets analytical instead of panicking (deducing how the demon venom works and countering it while he couldn't BREATHE, or focusing on injury reports when he heard about the Guardian Twelve attacking the daimyou). Odd as it is, I really liked the way he reacted when he tried to comfort Kakashi in "The Way Home," blaming himself for not reading the situation right, instead dismissing Kakashi as a jerk.
The scene I see from the mission most vividly is one of Genma, too: when he's bitten by one of the demons, paralyzed and dragged off into the dark.
This new, mellow Raidou is still throwing me a bit, and I love it. Instead of cagey and standoffish, you have this guy who does emotional processing and hugs, and doesn't seem one bit less badass for it. I think that really helps him be a good leader, too. The spar with Kakashi the night before the mission especially shows that, I think, and the way he's always thinking about what his teammates need, not only physically but psychologically.
I'm SO happy Naruto and Ryouma finally met! It was just as hysterical as I hoped (Naruto actually kicked him!!). Ryouma's violent reactions to being woken after the mission were really entertaining, too. He punched Kakashi! Again! Also, I love that he tried asking Kakashi's advice on his...situation?...with Raidou.
Kakashi playing nurse during the mission was really fitting. The way his actions (taking care of his teammates, even as far as bathing and feeding them) and words (insulting them the whole time and generally trying not to get involved) were almost polar opposites really worked well. I also really like the small details that show he's not nearly as old or as unflappable as he likes to pretend. Like the way he balks at the idea of changing Katsuko's undergarments, or gets so flustered at Ryouma's flirting he translocates clear across the room.
I really think Katsuko kind of ties the whole team together. She's hysterical to read, what with her "personal space is a shared resource" philosophy, and her incessant demands to be fed. I like how human she is, though, too. For all that she ignores boundaries, she's very perceptive about other people. I also like how she plays the tough-guy routine so often she kind of doesn't know how to be vulnerable- her reaction to Raidou's hug in "As Shadows Grow Long" is pretty telling, and little heart-breaking, I think.
Agghhh, this is so much longer than I intended it to be. Sorry! There was just so much awesome :) Minato was also amazing (the scene where he turns Danzou's power-play around on him was pure genius- and so very Minato!) as was the village woman who made Team Six soup!
Can't wait to see what happens next...!
Genma's dad is awesome. I can't decide if I want him to meet the whole team or not because he's done nothing to deserve Kakashi, but Ryouma and Katsuko will definitely adopt him and show up for free food and parenting by proxy.
You guys have left me speechless in the best possible way. I don’t even know where to start except to say that holy crap, the first mission and its surrounding threads were singularly wonderful and I love them so much. I got chills so many times. And not only was the main mission thread heart-stopping, the interludes with Asuma, ohhh my goodness. Very excited to see where that all is going.
I like how you were able to keep the tension and the seriousness without letting it become something too serious. You guys have achieved such a balance with this whole arc; it never feels too heavy on one emotion or too lacking on another. The pacing and momentum carries so well through each thread. It feels like chapters in a novel. If I tried to pick out my favorite pieces of banter between the team, I’d just end up typing out half the thread.
Regarding Demon Bug Tunnels and Beyond:
I held my breath half the time. DANG I could just feel the dark claustrophobia in this section. I loved that we got to see Kakashi starting to show his ruthlessly loyal side when he and Genma were down there. Kakashi having to fend for himself for a bit and figure out what judgment calls to make (But the civilians were the mission. They were closer. The last hatchling chamber had been unguarded, and they had less time than Genma. If there was anything worth rescuing, Kakashi could send them out with clones, give the demons a chance to settle and disperse, then hunt for Genma.) And then much later, when the team was on the boat heading home, how he had a split second of Maybe I should just go back to—no, I need to stay here really spoke volumes about his development.
It was interesting to watch Raidou processing through all the decisions he made while splitting up the team ("Occurs to me that we might've kept one chakra-sensor above ground.") and later the repercussions (I couldn’t find the exact line, but when he and I think Genma were talking a bit and Raidou said something to the effect of “I shouldn’t have let just you and Kakashi go down there,” and Genma said something like “You didn’t know it was gonna be that bad.”). I can just see gears turning in his head as he tries to run the team as smoothly as he can.
The above-ground grande finale fight with the bug queen was excellent. This was the other section wherein I had to remind myself to breathe periodically: Ryouma getting nearly squished and Katsuko getting flung had me on the edge of my seat.
And this part with Katsuko’s clones:
“Oooh,” said one of the clones, because Katsuko’s personality was alive and well. “The head, definitely the head.”
“Yes,” said a second.
I just loved it. And I loved Katsuko’s emerging layers too. Her and Raidou’s chat and movie watching session once they were back home just tugged at my heart. They have such a strong bond. It says a lot of good things about how close-knit and efficient an ANBU team can become in just a year.
Ryouma meeting Naruto and then doing a little babysitting for Kakashi was one of my favorite parts. They all play off each other so well. Kakashi and Ryouma's dynamic gets better and better as they start to trust each other more. The fact that Kakashi was willing to leave Naruto with Ryouma speaks volumes.
Last but not least: Genma's dad is wonderful. I like that he’s our non-ninja look into the situation; he's got every reason to be panicked, and I love the contrast between how anxious he was and how laid-back Genma was. I love seeing where Genma's religious beliefs stem from too, that was really cool.
SO, this is a fairly vague, all over the place review but I’ve been itching to drop by while we’re still in this first mission arc kinda of place. Super excited to see what you all have in store for next time! <3
2013-12-20 03:01 am (UTC)
Armor Wearing Thin
Oh. Oh, this is lovely. I absolutely adore the idea of Ryouma becoming a field medic. It suits him so perfectly.
Thank you for continuing to work on this. I love the way you tell their stories.
It looks like "boundaries" is going to be the team catchphrase. I approve. XD
The delicious layers of ninja parfait are as wonderful as ever, and Katsuko's pet names grow ever more delightful. :D (Seriously, I adore how fleshed out and complex all of your characters are. It's a genuine delight to read.)