Thank god for C/P...
Reviewed by: Leather Daddy
PLOT: 1/5 (Ryu sits on a step for a while until Ken forgives his sorry ass and lets him back inside the dojo)
CHARACTERIZATION: 0/5 (Ken got a back-alley sexchange courtesy of Shadaloo, probably, and Ryu's masculinity is in question as well)
WRITING: 4/5 (Not bad, gotta admit that much.)
MARTIAL ARTISTS ACTING LIKE HYSTERICAL DIVAS: 6/5
Before we begin, a sample conversation between the FicBitches.
* Leather Daddy is getting so tired of reading these snape-apologist fics
[Leather Daddy] especially when he all of a sudden is a handsome vampire.
[Velvet Venus] or just randomly attractive? despite him being so NOT attractive in the movie and deliberately described as unattractive in the books?
[Rebel Toy] maybe some people think "greasy" means "shiny with love."
[Rebel Toy] like fabio.
[Leather Daddy] that's why! XDDD
[Gilded Fantasy] We figure Snape's scalp secretes lube
[Rebel Toy] o.o
[Leather Daddy] So next are going to be the scalp-fucking fics?
[Velvet Venus] XD
[Gilded Fantasy] XD
[Leather Daddy] well, I mean, you could hold onto the hair, and...
[Rebel Toy] so when he's having sex with hermione he rubs his head in her hair pie?
[Leather Daddy] wait, let's just not go there, okay?
* Leather Daddy snorts mountain dew out through her nose, OW!
[Leather Daddy] goddammit, [Rebel Toy]!
There's something wrong with us.
Recently I've had such trouble trying to find fics to review. There was a beautiful Saiyuki Mary-Sue that had been suggested to us, oh, a year ago or so, but by now the entire Saiyuki fanfiction archive was down for the count. I tried sifting through the Saiyuki section of the pit of voles to see if it was there, but all I found were such gems as "Gojyo, HIV Positive!" (A friend couldn't believe that I couldn't find ANYTHING worth reviewing in the Saiyuki section, but fics written like Goku had banged his fists on the keyboard are too easy and plentiful to be worth reviewing!)
So I was a bitch, naturally, and swiped a fic that I think Pink Freak was thinking of reviewing. Whoops, heh heh. Sorry!
This is a Street Fighter fic by Silver Rayne, entitled - now let me get this right again - "Bóku wa yuku nó wa iyá da". Due to the nature of this fic, and the spicy accents in the title, I will be reviewing part of it in "Lopez-vision," with Ben Affleck as Ryu Hoshi and Jennifer Lopez as Ken Masters. Don't laugh, it makes it so much less incomprehensible.
First of all, a little background on the Street Fighter games. Your basic 2D fighter, with Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, M. Bison, and so on - these names will hopefully ring a bell. Ryu and Ken had the same martial arts master, and are eternal rivals. Now, I will admit that Ryu's last name - Hoshi (Star) - is pretty damn gay. And they act really, really gay in Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie. Boys, I know you're attached to each other, but when Chun-Li's getting killed, maybe you should pay attention to that instead of to each other, mmmkay?
BUT THEY JUST AREN'T THIS GAY.
I have probably ranted about feminization of male characters thousands of times, but it really gets ridiculous when you're dealing with "street fighters."
Those aren't BREASTS bulging out of their gi, okay?
(all images from Gex's Streetfighter Dojo, sorry!)
Well, okay, if you look at those bust-ups, they look more likely to indulge in nonstop happy buttsex. But still, Ken's neck is probably as big around as my thigh. Good lord.
Why am I making such a big point about this?
This is another fic where the writing is quite decent, but the characterizations are laughably off, particularly in the case of Ken. It's also filled with amusing yaoi fic cliches and a plot worthy of a bad soap opera.
Imagine, if you would, that you read a Slayers fic where Lina Inverse was a shy, quiet, delicate girl who was reluctant to use her powers to get what she wanted, and got upset at the prospect of property destruction. You'd wonder what crack the author was on, right? (No, PLEASE don't point me to fics like this, I don't want to see them!)
Why is it that people can write fics with characterizations as off-base as the example I gave above, and they can defend themselves with "well, it's MY vision of the character! You just don't understand! Stop picking on me and be more open-minded!" If a character tends to behave in a certain fashion (except in certain extremely specific situations), wouldn't it be safe to assume that that's how they should act in most fics? If you want a character who would act differently, shouldn't you be writing original fiction?
Because the writing itself is fine, the only thing I can take cheap pot-shots at is the characterization and content.
This fic starts out promisingly; Ryu is sitting on the steps of his dojo, brooding and being annoyed at all the cameramen snapping pictures of him. He says that he and his beloved Ken can't go anywhere without these vultures trying to make money off them. It's a bit overdone, but hey, he still sounds like a guy here.
I can’t sit in the yard without someone trying to capture me on film. They treat me like a celebrity and grant me even less privacy. I have Ken’s parents to thank for this. Bringing their son up in an atmosphere that reassured him of this fate. They are wealthy and successful, more than us in some cases and I don’t need to deny that Ken doesn’t care. My beloved cares very much about ambitions and striving to be all you can be. The great American dream. There’s nothing wrong with it, in fact I think it’s wonderful that he feels that way. But when it rules his sleeping hours with nightmares and tearful approximations of failure; that is when I have had enough.
Okay, it's time for Lopez-Vision.
[Ben] Jennifer! Jennifer, what's wrong? Were you having a nightmare?
[Jennifer] Oh god, Ben, honey! I dreamt that I was a big failure, and, and...*sob* I had to move back to the Bronx...and my parents called me a failure....and the media said my ass was too big! *SOB SOB*
[Ben] Okay, that's it! Those bastards have gone too far! They made my baby cry!
[Jennifer] *sobsob* Ben, honey...hold me...
[Ben] There, there.
[Jennifer] Did I mention I was sobbing?
[Ben] You did, in fact.
[Jennifer] Just checking.
This is also really strange to me; it's true that Ken is afraid of failing, but he's afraid of being second-best to Ryu, not about having a "medium-sized" mansion and only seven cars. He gives his soul to become stronger than Ryu in one of the games, as I recall. So we'd only have his massive inferiority complex kicking in if Ryu beat him repeatedly in training fights, and even then, I doubt he'd sob into his pillow.
So, what did awful Ryu do this time to upset his love? Damn, you’re going to laugh at this. I asked him to leave his job and career, to move back to Japan with me. Maybe you’d better not laugh because it isn’t so funny now that I think about it. I implied that his aspirations meant nothing to me, not even the sacrifices he has made. It was not my intention to belittle him but my mouth does not interact with my brain much. Ken keeps telling me about tact and various ‘nice’ ways to approach touchy subjects. What he failed to mention is what qualifies as a ‘touchy’ subject.
[Jennifer] Ben...honey...is my ass too fat? Be truthful.
[Ben] Um...of course not, my love!
[Jennifer] YOU DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE ALL THE WORK I PUT IN TO MAKING IT SMALLER! YOU DON'T LOVE ME OR APPRECIATE MY SACRIFICES!
[Ben] Wow...I didn't know this was a touchy subject! It's true! I am an awful person!
Just last night we had been holding hands, freshly exhausted from making love repeatedly after the evening news. As I moved my fingers over his, I began to truly appreciate my luck in finding this wondrous man. The feeling of warm gold beneath my thumb truly hung over my heart. An engagement ring, plain and simple but a symbol of my love for him. I can still remember our wedding as if it were yesterday. It didn’t make my proposal to him any less special. Both events have equal value in my recollection of how our love came to be. His wedding band is a lot heavier on his slender finger, crested with diamonds and bearing two small loops forming a heart. I could not have been more eager in my life to part with a material object. Usually I couldn’t care less about what underwear I select for the day. But this was different. I needed to see the wedding ring on Ken's finger, not in a box which was pale in comparison to what it housed.
Okay, let's just stop for a second. Go back and take a look at those images of Ken and Ryu up there. Now reread this paragraph.
Now imagine them holding hands in bed, with a golden wedding ring on Ken's "slender finger" - a gold ring with diamonds and a big heart on it.
Let me know when you're done laughing.
[Pink Freak] how erotic is that, man, the fucking EVENING NEWS
[Pink Freak] "wow...those are some sexy high-pressure areas in tomorrow's forecast, Ryu..."
[Pink Freak] "but I detect a high pressure area right now, Ken...in my pants!"
I refused employment in his overseas corporation because it isn’t what I’m interested in. I teach martial arts and self defense to underprivileged kids and single mothers. It’s what I enjoy, helping others.
So...essentially you're sponging off of the Masters fortune. I don't care how noble you are, get a job, you bum!
Then it describes how the two of them play peekaboo through their dojo, giggling and hiding until it comes time for the wild monkey-sex. Then it talks about how the media gave Ken crap for marrying a man, a poor, unknown, Japanese man, and how Ryu got so annoyed that he pulled a Sean Penn and went after the photographers with his Hadouken. Then he angsts about whether Ken's parents still hate him.
Then he starts waxing poetic about how "cute" and "adorable" Ken is. Those rippling muscles, those thighs as big as sides of beef, those...oh, wait, sorry. I keep reminding him that he’s incorrigibly sexy and cute when he gets mad. Those cinnamon brown eyes of his become darker with the force of his emotions and his eyebrows furrow together in the most adorable fashion.
On one occasion, Ken had me called home from work during one of my lunch breaks. The butler told me that my love was experiencing headaches and vertigo. It nearly stopped my heart because the night before we had argued and I let him sleep on his side of the bed, alone. Usually I have my arm draped over him, keeping him warm and close during the night. I get cramps on one side sometimes because I refuse to turn onto my other side. I don’t want to let him go, not for the briefest of moments. He can shift around and cuddle against me, or curl up with his back pressed to my chest. But I won’t move, not unless I become extremely uncomfortable. I’ve had worse sleepless nights of insomnia back in Sensei Gouken’s dojo. And it’s all worth it in the end to be rewarded by the presence of this beautiful man trustingly resting with me as his bodyguard.
So, let me get this straight. They had a fight, Ryu slept on the couch, and Ken slept alone without Ryu-chan to cuddle him. That means that Ken-chan has the vapours in the middle of the day and has to call his honey home from work...er, wait, Ryu doesn't have a job, he helps the underprivileged. So cute cute Ken-chan lies on his bed with his hand pressed to his forehead...
What the hell is this?
Now, if you were wondering what was making the two lovebirds fight like this...
Back to the argument; Ken accused me of being insensitive due to the fact that I discarded what I presumed was a pile of rubbish under our bed. Turns out that those bits of paper were keepsakes from our wedding. I hadn’t taken a good look at the newspaper clippings and thought (like any good husband would) that someone had forgotten to pass them onto the recycling bin...
Anyway, the other night was terrible and I spent it tossing and turning without the feeling of warm skin under my hands. No long hair to stroke, or cheek to kiss good night, not even a gentle hug underneath the blankets. When I got out of bed, Ken lay there and mumbled something about me being a… I won’t repeat it. The day went by miserably with me lingering on how wrong it had been for us to fight like that. I felt bad for not apologizing and even for tossing those clippings in the first place. Sometimes I need a good kick in the head to get my emotions in gear. But when I got that call, there wasn’t one emotion that wasn’t functioning.
Well, when I got upstairs and to my bedroom, there he was. Apparently he had intended to seduce me in order to make up if the sheets he was wrapped in were any indication. They hung a little too snugly to his exquisite frame and I forgot my fear and anger in a second. But he had changed his mind because that look turned to guilt and shame for what he had done. What he had resorted to just to get my attention. It made me feel so low and despicable, for having my beloved grovel in this fashion because he was afraid of me leaving. Of losing me. How could I be so selfish?
Ahem. Okay. So Ryu is a big jerky MALE and tosses out their old wedding crap, Ken screams and throws a hissy fit, Ryu promptly emasculates himself and sleeps on the couch, and Ken shows a little leg to remind Ryu that if he leaves, he won't get sweet sweet ass-loving on a regular basis.
Ken is deathly terrified of me leaving him, of me just walking out one day and never coming back. I did it once and lived to regret it. The damage I had to repair was so great that I thought he would never learn to trust me again. Those were the old days, when the idea of fighting another world champion martial artist would have me vacating the country for that opportunity. I disappeared plenty of times as his friend but only once when we were dating. Big mistake! Believe me when I say that there is no battle greater than with that of your beloved. No level of Shotokan training could have saved me from the mental thrashing he unleashed. His words hit so hard that he nearly made me cry. Nearly. I’ve cried less than four times during my adult life, all of them included some injury to Ken or the fear of losing him.
MEN THREATENING TO CRY. Have I mentioned how much I hate this cliche?
Aha, now we come to the latest event that had disturbed their peace...
Two days ago had been the last straw for me. We were eating outside a tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere, halfway through the meal and enjoying it. Ken mentioned that the evening had been one of the more romantic ones in a while. It was quiet, dark, and peaceful with no disturbances to spoil the mood. Like all good things, it did not last. I got up to use the bathroom and had barely reached my destination when some flimsy dark airhead had sprung out of nowhere. What was I supposed to do? My first instinct yelled out for me to push past her because I recognized that look on her face. But I froze and that was when she did it…kissed me squarely on the lips. I wanted to slap her, to grab her by the shoulders and curse her for being a lousy whore.
[Jennifer] OH MY GOD, BEN, WHO IS THAT LITTLE TRAMP WHO JUST KISSED YOU?
[Ben] I don't know! I swear I've never seen her in my life!
[Jennifer] Liar! You think you can cheat on me and LIVE?
The media is still filled with stories of how the poor husband of Ken Masters Hoshi is having an affair.
Oh my god, they have hyphenated last names. That's hysterical. Ken Masters-Hoshi and Ryu Hoshi-Masters, no less. To go with their HEART-SHAPED GOLD WEDDING RINGS! So Ryu decides to go inside and apologize to his honey, hoping that Ken isn't too mad at him still.
He approaches me from behind the staircase, still upset like the way I had left him. But he isn’t angry anymore. He’s sad. I can see it in his eyes, the way he walks, how he pronounces my name. And it’s a really bad thing when there are only two ways you can pronounce ‘Ryu.’ Either with a excited pitch to the ‘u’ as Ken always uses or with a bored tone to that exact vowel. He sounds exasperated since he chose the latter to work with. This won’t be easy.
[Ben] (Okay, so was that the "happy" Ben, or the "angry" Ben? Oh god, I should have brought flowers!)
Now there's an extended passage where Ryu grovels and cringes and begs Ken to beat him for being bad. Then Ken forgives him and they dry-hump against a wall, which is symbolic of their....love, yeah, their love.
As I said before, the writing in this fic was reasonably good, and I'll leave that alone. It's really refreshing to find a ficcer who already knows the difference between "your" and "you're" and "there" and "they're" and "their." But the choice of plots and characterizations in this author's fics is, um....questionable, if you're the picky type like me who likes their characters recognizable. For example, another of this author's Street Fighter fics is a charming fairytale about how Guile, the hulking American Marine, decides he wants to go ice-skating when he's off-duty. (Funny habits these Marines have....) He gets to the pond in the middle of the night, and Vega, the enemy Spanish bullfighter/ninja/narcissist, is already there skating. So they have a skating race, which obviously leads to sex out in the snow, which obviously leads to true love through a load of spooge in the ass.
All other characterization issues aside, I must admit I'm annoyed by the constant feminization of at least one (if not both) men in yaoi and slash fics. When you have a gay relationship, it doesn't mean that one becomes the "man" and the other becomes the "woman," or that one is the "husband" and one is the "wife", or that one prances around naked except for an apron while the other can't even be bothered to take off his pants to screw. No no no! Think about the characters that you're writing about! Some fictional guys do indeed fit nicely into those roles because they originally were the supergirly domestic type paired with a manly man, and have been known in canon to act like girls (mostly because they were the incredibly stereotypical "gay" fanbait to begin with). But we're talking about Ken and Ryu here, rivals, best friends and street fighters! There's no way in hell one is going to wuss out for the other one!
If you want to write a fic where you have a certain set of behaviors happening (in this case, crying, codependency, and cutesy pet names), wouldn't it be a better idea to pick a series and set of characters where that sort of behavior isn't out of the question?
Another note for all you ficcers out there: apparently in real life it's much, much easier to find an uke than it is to find a seme. This surprised me too, but hey, think about it this way: The seme has to do way more work, and it requires more skill/experience to make sure that both of you get your rocks off. So it's not just a matter of "Insert Tab A into Slot B, grunt a lot, the end." Of course, reality has very little influence on fic, but maybe keep that fact in mind when you're considering making two characters auto-seme and auto-uke?
Oh, who the hell am I kidding, what I say isn't going to change years and years of ingrained characterization and ficcing habits. But if even just one person listens to what I'm saying and stops trying to put Solid Snake in a skirt, or making Flik cry, or, shock of shocks, lets Heero be the uke for once, I'll consider my job as a Ficbitch done.
I'm sorry that this review wasn't too funny, but I think most of the humor comes from reading the fic itself. ^_~
[Kennifer] If u had my love and I gave u all my trust, would u comfort me...o/~