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The hurt that keeps on giving.
Velvet Venus
Fake :: Shame
Reviewed by: Velvet Venus

PLOT: 2/5

Fake is a manga that will always have a special place in my heart. It was one of my first true yaoi-oriented fandoms and I've always loved the series. Not only was the developing romance interesting, so was the plot. So, every so often, when I feel like abusing myself, I'll wander back over to Fake archives and find horrifying things to read (think of Leather Daddy's relationship with TPM, only with no mpreg). Now, there is one particularly prolific author whose stories seem to have become rather popular among Fake fans. I had quite a time trying to pick just one specific story to ficbitch. She's written so many and it's like a field of gold. There was the Mary Sue tries to rape Ryo story, the Cal becomes an all-knowing sex advisor for Dee and Ryo story, or the story with the satanic homophobe detective. I was really tempted to pick that last one; it had some spectacularly bad lines like, "Too fast for you, Baby? S'okay. Don't worry. I shouldn't have given you a taste of sex college when we're still in sex elementary," and "Dee's cock was in seventh heaven, drooling, begging, pleading for a good hump in the ass it was buried in."

So you say to yourself, Fake is a canonically yaoi series, you can't bitch about how out of character the pairing or characters are!

Like a moth to a flame, I seem to be drawn to fandoms that can't produce good in-character stories about relationships even if it's handed to them straight from canon. My biggest problem with the characterization in this story (as well as all the author's other stories) is that every character seems to have become a caricature of him or herself. Most of the main characters in Fake are detailed and complex individuals that have more than one defining feature. For example, Bikky is generally a smart-ass little brat to everyone except Ryo. However, when things go bad or Dee gets hurt, Bikky is right there, willing to help or offer comfort. Their fights are generally more for show than because they really hate each other. In reality, they act very much like siblings. He's a street punk but he's also caring and generous towards those he's close to.

I finally went with Shame, because although it's not the worst fic of the bunch, it's an excellent example of what drove me to tears about most of the stories. So let's start the fic.

"Idiot! Stop being such a pig!"
"You're the pig!"
"You are!"
"No, you are!"
"Boys!" Ryo cut in, exasperated. Ryo and Bicky paused in their fighting, food poised on forks to fling at each other. "I just want a quiet meal, okay? Dee, act your age!"
"He started it," Dee grumbled and dumped his forkfull of noodles back onto his plate with a clatter. "I don't know how you put up with him, he's so obnoxious, selfish, irritating...."
Dee had just described himself. Ryo hid a smile, not really angry. He liked the bickering, though he would never admit it. It made him feel like he was part of a real family, something he hadn't had since leaving his aunt's house to work in New York. Yes, the noise was comforting. He liked the small apartment to be full of life.

This last paragraph is a good example of the stylistic problems Kracken has throughout all of her fics. The paragraph reads almost like a digest summary, not the story itself. A short and choppy style can be effective if used well, but that's certainly not the case here. It feels very much like there should be more thoughts or descriptions included to help put context around what's being described. Because I doubt the author literally meant Dee was trying to describe himself, more that she was trying to highlight the similarities between Dee and Bikky (really? No way!). But I could be wrong, perhaps Dee does think of himself as a twit.

So Ryo gives Dee a secret smile to tell him he's not really annoyed and this causes Bikky to start wondering about the security of his living situation. Random? Out of left field? I thought so too.

Bicky watched the exchanged looks with anger and resentment. … He felt threatened, pure and simple, by Dee and Ryo's budding relationship. He had grown up on the streets with violence on every corner. Ryo had given him a clean home, a firm hand, and hope for the future. Dee could all too easily end that, Bicky thought. The man disliked him. If Dee were to have his way with Ryo, the next step would be for him to move in with Ryo. The step after that was obvious. Two's company, three's a crowd. Bicky didn't want to live on the streets again. He was determined to fight for his place with Ryo and thwart Dee's intentions any way he could.

Sure, Bikky and Dee don't get along, but that's because Bikky doesn't like Dee making moves on Ryo, who is very much like a father figure to him. It's like how most kids would scream in horror if they saw their parents start groping each other or making overtly sexual advances. After all, Bikky is probably 15 at most around the time the story is set and more likely he's closer to 12. Deep down Bikky doesn't really disapprove of their relationship; he just doesn't want to be a witness to it. If Bikky really hated the relationship as much as fanficers tend to think he does, then why would he allow himself to be bought off by Dee to go see a movie or not go on a trip? He wouldn't make bets with Cal about the status of Ryo's virginity either.

They all finish dinner and Dee goes to laze about on the couch while Ryo does his wifely duties and cleans up the kitchen. Now, in the manga, Ryo cooks a lot, but time and again we're shown Dee doing the dishes afterwards. Ryo is by no means pushed into the housewife role. Sanami Matoh (the author of Fake) goes out of her way to show how Ryo and Dee's relationship is very balanced; there is no "woman" of the relationship. Yet ficcers think that because Ryo is pretty looking and slightly effeminate this obviously means he's the housewife/woman!

"You'd better not try anything or I'll- I'll have you arrested or reported, or something!" Bicky stammered.
Dee frowned, suddenly serious. "We're adults, Bicky. You're sticking your nose in our business. All you need to worry about is bubble gum and report cards."

When Dee and Ryo met Bikky he was (and still is) a little street punk. We're talking about a kid who has effectively grown up alone in the slums of New York. I don't think "bubble gum and report cards" were ever one of his worries, and given the glimpses we're given of older Bikky in the chapters at the end of each volume, I doubt they ever will be. And Dee, of all people, should understand that because he grew up in exactly the same kind of situation.

"I'm going to kill you someday."
Dee grew very serious now. "That's not even a joke, kid. Don't say that ever again. I know you're mad at me for trying to be with Ryo and I know you don't like me personally, but that's stuff you have to learn to deal with. Hell, what's wrong with ending up with two 'Dads' instead of one?"

Dee threatens to kill Bikky more times than I can count in the manga, just about every time they get into a fight, so for him to have that kind of reaction is so very out of character. That would be kind of like Ryo suddenly making lewd comments and giving JJ a hand job in the middle of the police station. Bikky says it's because he doesn't trust Dee, which is just silly, since Dee has gone out of his way to protect Bikky from physical harm since almost the first time they met. Bikky is also pretty homophobic before Dee and Ryo's relationship solidifies, so he's far more likely to respond with something like, "OMG, STFU, YOU HOMO LETCH," than "I have doubts about your moral character."

Ryo was a true beauty, a mixture of American apple pie and Japanese porcelain. His eyes slanted, just slightly, and they were as black as midnight, but his hair was a russet brown and his eyebrows looked like they had been made with a fine brush stroke. Those features were almost feminine, Dee thought, yet his body was definitely masculine.

This just needs a heaving bosom, glistening cherry red lips and heaving sighs to be straight out of some romance novel. Perhaps it's just me, but the image of some apple pie on a porcelain plate makes me hungry. It does not make me think, "Damn, he's one fine looking man." The closest I can get is "attractive piece of ass," and that just leads me right back to food again. If the author had described him with chocolate brown hair I'd have been convinced he'd been turned into a giant Ryo shaped food product at some point that was lost in the editing footnotes.

He was everything Dee had ever dreamed of, both of his desires satisfied in one man. If only Ryo could understand how he felt, Dee thought, things would be so much different. Dee had never been good at words. His attempts to show Ryo physically always landed him outside the locked door of Ryo's heart.

Now, I know this was just me, but combined with the previous description of Ryo having both manly and girly traits this made me think, "Dee's ideal person is a hermaphrodite?"

Dee has never had a problem with words. End of story. Sorry, you missed that train, sister. He spends most of his time verbally sparring or wooing Ryo and within the first volume of the manga he tells Ryo that's he's serious about pursuing him. At one point in the manga he spontaneously starts spouting (bad) poetry to Ryo. Whenever Ryo starts to seriously question the motives of Dee's overtures, the man in question is not at a loss for words. Granted, he's not your romance hero with the flowery language that comes from the bottom of his palpitating heart. But there is something of a middle ground between the two extremes.

Dee continues reflecting on his partner, thinking mostly why the boy isn't putting out. He finally decides the reason isn't because Ryo doesn't like him, it's because he's scared of sex. Really, Sherlock?

"What are you thinking, Ryo?" That's not what he had wanted to say at all! Damn his slow tongue. He was just too stupid! Why couldn't he just... say it!

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't generally find myself saying complete (and coherent) sentences that I didn't intend to say. Who knew that Dee's tongue had a will of its own? I'm also not entirely sure what exactly he was supposed to be saying, since the previous paragraph was talking about Ryo's reluctance to have sex, but I'm guessing it was probably a confession of some kind. I guess that's just one more thing lost in editing the digest version.

Ryo looks up and stretches "until his bones popped." That sounds like it hurts, man. Your cartilage and joints can crack or pop, yes, but as a general rule bones popping is not a good thing. Ryo says he is thinking about work but Dee sees through this crafty façade and realizes he's getting ready to propose! Wait, no, I mean confess! Again, left field?

"It's nice having you here most nights, having dinner, talking."
"Yeah? I like it too," Dee replied and cursed himself again. What a stupid thing to say! Stupid! Stupid! He should have said something slick, like, 'I just want to be close to the man I love.' or something like that!

For possibly the first time in the fic, I think Dee's right. He should have said something like that. Dee Laytener might be a lecherous hornball, but he's a suave lecherous hornball. This is the guy who will tell Ryo that he's bisexual, talk about what his ideal woman is then say "and my ideal man is you. Just you and no one else."

"Me too." Dee winced. His voice had almost cracked. What was he, twelve?

Dee has now started reading my thoughts. I'm in awe. Ryo eventually breaks the big news: Auntie is coming to visit and he's afraid she's not open minded enough to handle Dee being around. What he really means is he doesn't anyone in his family to find out he's been fooling around with another little boy. Aww, I guess the family doesn't like sweet little homos. Dee, of course, sees through this and realizes what's really going on and has to struggle to hold back tears. Because Dee is really the break down sobbing sort. We're talking about a person who didn't cry when he got shot, beaten up or even when he was worried his Mother was going to die. So obviously he's going to start sobbing when Ryo reveals he's not ready to be outed.

Now, who can guess what kind of weather New York is having as Dee storms out? (Yes, that pun was intended.) Dee decides the only way to help his problem is to drown his woes in alcohol. I'm starting to feel the same, myself. I might need a drink to get through this review.

Dee eventually decides to just buy alcohol instead of going to a bar, because he doesn't want the other patrons to see him break down like a little bitch. I have to say that's unusually considerate of Dee, since there are few things worse than having to watch someone sob into their drink at a bar.

Slick with rain and a slight, persistent drizzle, the city looked stark, bleak, and cold; just how Dee felt. It was almost comforting as he strode along the sidewalk to the subway. He felt that he was hidden in the low light and the rain, safe from any stranger's scrutiny or judgment.

Okay, rain and drizzle is kind of redundant, I think the reader has started to get the idea that it is raining. But the author is going to point this out several more times, JUST TO MAKE SURE. The second part of that paragraph gives me this mental image of Dee moving along leaping from shadow to shadow, cackling to himself at his crafty l33t ninja skills.

"D-Don't, please!"
Ryo stopped and fumbled for his shoulder holster. He snapped off the safety of his gun, as he put down his bag of liquor, and then slowly approached a dark ally. Two shadows were struggling.

And suddenly it's Ryo on the sidewalk now, and not Dee. When I first read this I had a sudden fear this was going to turn out to be a Birdy the Mighty or Cinderella Boy crossover where two people got stuck in one body that kept randomly switching. But then I realized if that were so it'd be a pretty boring fic... Dee would probably just spend all his time touching himself. So now I'm wondering if there was a scene change I missed. Another thing lost in the editing digest.

Dee hears someone yelling "D-Don't, please!" and rushes over to the conveniently nearby alley to find Ryo about to be raped by some random evil man. I bet you never saw that plot twist coming! Ryo successfully fends off his would-be rapist just as Dee comes around the corner. Dee is shocked to discover Ryo half naked and standing over the assailant. Sometimes I really wonder where the hell Ryo shops, man. Because he's got some clothing that's ridiculously easy to remove. You would think he'd learn not to wear shirts with zippers on the front around Dee after the first time that got him molested, but apparently not. (An amusing side note, it's insanely easy to tell when Ryo is about to get jumped in the manga. Every time he shows up in a shirt with a zipper he gets felt up.)

Dee felt himself boil. He was almost blind with rage. "You- You piece of shit! You tried to take, by force, the greatest gift Ryo has to give besides his heart; the gift I've waited more than two years to have!" Dee didn't realize that he was shouting those words out loud as he kicked the prostrate body of the rapist, hard, twice, before Ryo managed to pull him off.
"You're a cop, Dee!" Ryo shouted at him. "Do that again and I'll have to arrest you too!"

Apparently Dee's huge problem with words doesn't apply when a would-be rapist appears. Now, Dee is totally the type to kick the crap out of someone who tried to attack Ryo, but he certainly wouldn't spout poetic nonsense while doing it. Dee is more the practical sort to just threaten the guy's life. Ryo is certainly not the type of person or partner that would arrest Dee for kicking his attacker. He's helped cover up other instances of police brutality when Dee lost his cool before, so I find it highly unlikely he'd do any different in a situation as personal at this.

Rebel Toy also points out just how shallow the line makes Dee look. He's like "I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE A RAPIST, BUT THIS ASS TREASURE IS MINE! MINE! I'VE PUT UP WITH BLUE BALLS FOR TWO YEARS TO HAVE IT SO BUGGER OFF."

Ryo calls for backup, Dee threatens the rapist some more and then Ryo cuffs him. After all of that happens, then Ryo decides to try and pull his clothes back on. Right.

It took a long while to give the arriving police officers their statements, to hold still for evidence to be collected, and to have the usual conversations with men and women that both Ryo and Dee knew. They were all concerned for Ryo, but procedures had to be followed. They apologized again and again for the time and the questions, but Ryo was a professional. Dee ached for him. He completely forgot that he was supposed to be angry with the man. After what had just happened, that sort of thing didn't matter anymore. Even if Ryo was ashamed of him, Dee thought, they were still partners and friends.

I don't know a whole lot about police procedures (mostly gleaned from obsessive watching of Law & Order), but New York is a pretty big city. I would imagine that Ryo and Dee don't know every cop in the city (especially since they're detectives, not cops on the beat). I'm also pretty sure that cops don't always take exhaustive statements from victims right after particularly traumatic events. I really have no idea what "to hold still for evidence to be collected" is supposed to mean, either. Ryo wasn't actually raped, so it's not like there's any forensic evidence. Perhaps the NYPD just likes doing random full body cavity searches!

Dee is now horrified at the thought that he could have ever been mad at his wonderful little Ryo. Ryo is suddenly all about his civic duty and glad he helped put a rapist in jail. He insists he's just fine, thank you. If anything, he's upset because he wasn't able to kick the guy's ass sooner. Right, because being assaulted and almost raped isn't traumatizing in the slightest. We find out that Ryo had been running around in the slums looking for Dee because he felt bad about what happened earlier.

Ryo begs Dee to come up to his apartment and comfort him and suddenly Dee forgets all about the assault and gets angry again. Way to go comforting the traumatized there, boy. Dee decides to make a scene at the door about being forced into the closet. Ryo insists that he isn't ashamed of Dee; he's ashamed of himself. He doesn't want Auntie to know her sweet little nephew actually enjoys getting felt up by the other boys. I'm really not sure what the difference between these two things is, six of one, half dozen of another. When that doesn't work and Dee starts shouting, Ryo insists they come upstairs because he doesn't want people to think Dee is drunk.

"Of course, sweetie, sure I want everyone to know I'm gay, but why don't we talk about this upstairs where no one can see, so that...uh...no one thinks you're drunk! THAT'S IT!"

I think the only person buying this is Ryo himself. The two move into the apartment's lobby and continue bickering. Ryo finally admits he doesn't want Dee around because he doesn't want to have to admit to his Auntie that he cares for another man in that way. Dee realizes that's some kind of half-assed confession and says, "aww, that's so sweet!" then tells Ryo that he has no intention of having an in the closet relationship. Let's be honest for a moment here -- I don't think Dee is even familiar with what the inside of the closet looks like.

"Relationship?" Ryo reached up slowly and brushed off Dee's hand. Dee let it fall to his side reluctantly. "I was talking about- about friendship, Dee. You know how I feel about-"
Ryo wanted to back track now, deny what he'd just said. It had made him too uncomfortable and afraid. Dee clenched his fists and turned away. "Thanks a lot!"
"Huh? Dee?"
"You just kicked me in the gut again, Ryo. How many times are you going to do that tonight? Are you trying to set a record?"

The melodrama in this story is random and horrifying, once again. Now, I understand that some people say "why don't you just kick me in the gut again?" or some authors will describe the reaction as similar to being kicked in the gut, but I don't think I've ever seen someone use that turn of phrase in quite that manner. This moves Ryo (in painful, horrifying ways), and so he starts talking about the things Dee shouted at the attempted rape. You know, all that blather about Ryo having special secret gifts that he was waiting to give to someone special. This is starting to look like the introduction to some bad romance RPG where we find out Ryo has the power of some long lost kingdom hidden inside his ass soul.

Ryo tells Dee that he doesn't want any ultimatums and if Dee tries to force him into anything he might just leave. I need to take a moment to laugh here, since that's exactly what Dee did through the entirety of the series. Dee doesn't take this too well and points out that he's been horny for 2 years, god damnit! And why is it so hard to get a hand job around here?

"When I'm comfortable with letting a man fuck me in the ass and everyone knowing about it!"
Dee went white as a sheet and turned, completely stunned, never having heard anything like that from his partner, even in the worst situations.

Left field, anyone? Really, what the hell? Ryo breaks down into a sobbing heap because he's just so disgusted with himself. Sure, Ryo has some issues, but I don't think self-loathing is one of them. He goes on to explain, between sobs, that he's afraid to let a man "have him like that" and that he doesn't want to be just another fuck for Dee. Which is pretty accurate to canon (minus the sobbing routine), I'll admit. But I don't see how that translates at all into "OMG, NO ONE MUST KNOW ABOUT US!" Because to really have that kind of problem, there has to be an "us" in the first place. Which is what Ryo initially has a problem with.

Dee asks Ryo if he's drunk and Ryo admits that he got pretty sloshed at a bar while looking for Dee. And what the hell is with all these complete non-sequiturs? So now that we know Ryo's piss drunk it obviously explains everything, he starts swaying and slurring heavily then throws up.

Okay, someone explain this to me: How is it that he fended off a rapist, called the police, restrained Dee from killing the criminal, gave his statement on the assault and got all the way back to his apartment and NO ONE NOTICED THAT HE WAS DRUNK?

"La, la, la! I'm as sober as a drama queen can be! Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be drunk! Tee hee! *Falls over and throws up*"

It's been my general experience that anyone drunk enough to throw up generally has a REALLY DIFFICULT time passing for sober. Or standing up and walking straight, for that matter.

"So, you didn't come looking for me," Dee said with a sigh as he hooked a hand under Ryo's arm and helped him to his feet. He wrinkled his nose at the smell. Ryo hadn't managed to avoid all of it. Some of it was on his jacket. "You went out to experience your first drunk. It is your first, isn't it, Ryo?"

Experiencing your first drunk, huh? That sounds more like Ryo went out to get some ass at the bar than getting piss drunk. So they go inside the lobby (this is now the second or third time they've walked into the building, does this apartment complex have a rotating door or something?) and Dee admonishes Ryo for being a nasty drunk. Funny, he seems more like a moody drunk than a nasty drunk to me, but the way this story is going he could have very well murdered someone on the way home and I didn't even notice. Ryo is now having trouble forming complete sentences and thinking clearly. Apparently pretending to be sober when you're piss drunk stops working when you admit you're drunk! I get the distinct impression that perhaps the author has never actually been really inebriated. Keep in mind that at this point, Ryo has to have stopped drinking for at least a couple hours (from all the time they spent in the police station giving statements) and just threw up. Unless Ryo has a hipflask he's been hiding this whole time that he's taking swigs from whenever Dee isn't looking. Perhaps another thing lost in editing the digest?

They get up to Ryo's apartment and Dee decides to give Ryo a bath.

Wetting a washcloth in warm water, Dee took up bar of soap and began washing the sickness off of Ryo's skin.

Earlier, the author made a point of describing how only Ryo's jacket had gotten anything on it when he threw up, which is kind of incongruous with Ryo having a "sickness" all over his skin (Rebel Toy: "OMG RYO IS A LEPER"). I can only guess the author is referring to some other kind of sickness. Perhaps Dee is using Gay-B-Gone, the anti-Gay soap of choice?

Ryo watched him intently, despite his drunken state, and shivered a little whenever Dee ran the washcloth over his sensitive nipples. They quickly turned rock hard and red. Dee tried not to look. He tried to keep his mind on helping his partner, not on the fact that he was doing what he had filled many wet dreams with, touching Ryo's bare chest.

I'm not really sure I wanted to know that many of Dee's wank fantasies involve a piss drunk Ryo covered in "sickness." Now, I don't know about everyone else, but when I have to take care of some drunken person, I don't find trying to get him or her clean strangely erotic even if I am attracted to them normally. There's just something about having to try and take care of truly drunk people that's very un-erotic.

If your boyfriend stumbles back to you piss drunk after an argument and throws up outside, you're not thinking "heeeeeey, you look kinda sexy tonight," as you try and clean them up for bed. You're probably thinking something like "So help me God, if you throw up again on this carpet your hangover tomorrow is going to be nothing compared to what I will do to you tomorrow morning."

Dee puts Ryo to bed, all the while hoping that our young drunken friend doesn't remember the night's events come morning.

The next morning comes and Ryo tries to apologize to Dee. He remembers very little and tells Dee he felt bad for treating him the way he did.

"Hey, that argument we had yesterday? It really had nothing to do with you, it was all about me."

And for some reason that I can't fathom, Dee is relieved to hear this because that makes it all better. He tells Ryo that he'll lay low while Auntie is around and that he can wait like a good little puppy dog. Ryo is just about to confess his love when he has to throw up again. Dee won't let him off the hook and finally Ryo admits he loves Dee. They're about to kiss but then Dee remembers that Ryo has just been THROWING UP and that would probably be rather disgusting.

Ryo starts crying again and thinking about his two precious secret gifts and I swear I can hear BGM playing just out of earshot.

One of the bigger problems I had with this story is how Dee and Ryo's relationship is characterized. In this story (and so many other Fake fanfics) Ryo is in denial about being gay and afraid of what others will think of him. He pushes back every advance of Dee's while thinking to himself "OMG, I'M NOT A HOMO!" Ranmaru, from Kizuna (another canonically yaoi series about a developing relationship), certainly fits that mold, Ryo does not.

Let's take a moment to revisit that fun little thing called canon, when Dee starts flirting with Ryo in the first chapter of the manga, Ryo doesn't scream and proclaim his heterosexuality, he thinks to himself, "if this keeps going I might have to come to terms with certain parts of myself." By the end of the second volume Ryo has even initiated a kiss with Dee in a private moment. The only time he really starts protesting wildly is when he thinks Dee is about to violate his ass. Which is understandable, sometimes the buttsex just isn't what a boy's looking for. In fact, Ryo does very little to resist Dee's advances in the beginning until JJ shows up. And that's only because he begins to think that Dee isn't serious about his advances and is just a playboy. It's not that Ryo is afraid of the homo-gay part of the relationship, it's that he doesn't want to be a conquest or a one-night stand. Ryo is very much afraid that Dee is just a playboy who has no long-term interest. Ryo is also the type of person who frowns on casual public displays of affection (or lust), but that doesn't equal vehement homophobic denial of his sexuality. When Dee kisses (or gropes) him in public his reaction isn't "OMG, I'm not gay, die, kthnx!" it's more along the lines of "not in public, you ass!"

The closest I can remember to Ryo ever doing anything like that in the manga is when someone attempts to stereotype him ("Well, what can you expect from a fag/homo/weirdo?"). And when he objects it's more about the stereotyping than over his supposed sexuality. Dee is the person who vigorously denies being gay when asked, always insisting that he's bi.

There are a lot of things that could really help this story; a good editor or beta reader is one. There are lots of random grammar mistakes that made me cringe. Now, my spelling is atrocious and I abuse commas like no one's business, so to have me noticing grammar mistakes is pretty bad. Most of the problems are just structural errors or sentence fragments. The rape seemed really unnecessary for the (vague) plot of the story; the same result could have easily been achieved with Ryo just acting drunk from the beginning.

NOTE FROM LEATHER DADDY: Sorry for the long hiatus. This is a shameful confession, but, uh...we have lives. However! I am working on my next review. O-tanoshimi ni, to give you your fangirl Japanese for the day. As for the ficbitch t-shirt designs - no, we haven't forgotten about them, and we're still collecting them!

And one final note:

Leather Daddy: what is it about the greyarchive? is it like a silent dog whistle for deviants?
Velvet Venus: that would explain why you're going through it XD

Thank you for reviewing this story!

Kracken's stories are of the most insidious type. She should be required to type in netspeak just to warn her readers about the qaulity of her plots and characterization.

Yes, indeed. I was quite horrified when I was poking around the archives and found a link to her fanfiction mailing list. The thing has over 500 members, which is a concept that just blows my mind.

I just read one of her more recent pieces that she posted in her LJ and I'd say your concerns are pretty spot on. While her technical writting skills have certianly improved since whenever this story was written, the plot and characterization are just as bad.


i used to think kracken's fics were pretty good -- then again she made up most of the FAKE section of ff.net herself. but even i noticed the trends she put in her fics with ryo and dee. got a little sick of sobbingangstyalmostraped!ryo after awhile.

.... found the random japanese amusing, however.

and then a few weeks ago i read the very fic you reviewed again and nearly broke something laughing. XP

and oh GOD the 'mary sue almost jumps ryo' fic.... ahahahaha....

one thing i like about ficbitches is that all the reviews do point out, in a coherent manner, what is going wrong with the story in question. kudos for a well-thought-out and extremely entertaining review. ^_^

When I was writting out that little list of other stories I noticed that very thing myself. "Woman from Ryo's past shows up and tries to rape him, check. Random man tries to rape drunked Ryo, check. Psycho homophobe attacks a naked and vunerable Ryo, check. ...HEY, I'm noticing a trend here!"

The truely horrifying part about that story with the female rapist who drugged Ryo is that she comes back in later stories! I was looking at her webpage and realized all her stories are listed as part of some larger arc, so there is supposed to be some kind of sequence to them. And when I wandered by her livejournal later I noticed a couple of the comments on a Fake fic she'd just posted and apparently Mary Sue is back! And not surprisingly she's still stalking Ryo. And he was cowering in the corner like the little girl he is. *ahem* >_>

I completely forgot to complain talk about the random (and really bad) Japanese Ryo uses in a lot of the fics.

I was talking with Leather Daddy about that very issue last week and she had a rather good point. Most children of immigrants either speak their "native" language fluently or they don't speak it at all. None of this "Well, I only speak a little" business. And of all the kids I've ever known that are fluent in their native language, not a single one of them ever had a habbit of accidently slipping into other languages when talking to English speakers (unless they deliberately didn't want to be understood). And it certianly wasn't for common words and phrases like "hello" or "I'm sorry."

Re: *laughs* (Anonymous) Expand
Re: *laughs* (Anonymous) Expand
Ryo and Bicky paused in their fighting <-- but didn't Ryo cut in? Musta been Dee. Baaaaad editing....

Heh, the 'Ryo pie on a plate' remark reminds me of something I am one day going to write.. when I have time.

Re: ooh, update...

//the 'Ryo pie on a plate' remark reminds me of something I am one day going to write..//

Actually, that remark brought horrible flashbacks for me. Hands up, who remembers the TMFFA? 'Ryo pie on a plate' made me think of "Tenchi On A Plate Of Sashimi." Anyone who ever read that atrocity will understand why I screamed like a banshee.

Don't you hate it when a writer is POTENTIALLY very good, but then you read their story and go, "...wait, who are these people are why are they using the main characters' names?"

"If the author had described him with chocolate brown hair I'd have been convinced he'd been turned into a giant Ryo shaped food product at some point that was lost in the editing footnotes."

Well, "russett" also describes a variety of potato...

Dee's cock was in seventh heaven, drooling, begging, pleading for a good hump in the ass it was buried in.

Drooling? Begging? I think Dee might need to have that looked at. It does not sound pleasant.

...Wait, I thought Leather Daddy's self-torture of choice now was PotC fic instead of TPM.

My thought when I read that was, "Down! Bad penis! Sit!"

And yes. We will not speak of the evils of both bad Jedi porn and bad pirate porn. Or wait. We may indeed speak of them, but at a later date.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
This was an excellent review (I'm so addicted to the Ficbitches since last week-end, you won't believe it.)

I haven't read this story of the author, but when I looked for FAKE fanfiction a while ago, i found lots of hers at ff.net. And I think my growing dislike of the series is partially caused by such fics.

I have to admit that I see a trap for stereotypes in the series itself, but the character development is still very decent (and ways better then kizuna, I think). Though, in fics like the one you reviewed, all the stereotypes turn into real bad things, and I deeply dispise Ryo in such stories. In the worst, he is also subdued to the magical effect that turns nice men into weeping girls when being at the receiving end of sex.

Anyway, sorry, for English errors in this message, I'm not a native speaker, and thank you again for this wonderful review.


the fics hurt. but the reviews hurt so good. :o

Oh geez... this fanfic you reported reminds me of a badfic I'm MSTing. Basically, the author had potential to be a good writer, but the way she characterizes the characters and sugar coats practically every single thing is vomit reducing. Mary-Sue attempts to rape Ryo in several of these stories? Right, what a perfect time to jump into bed with Dee later. *rolls eyes*

"La, la, la! I'm as sober as a drama queen can be! Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be drunk! Tee hee! *Falls over and throws up*"

*cackles* That's so true! I think your review was what made me survive through this badfic. Thanks for the laughs and sense of logic!

Perhaps the NYPD just likes doing random full body cavity searches!

Well, given the way some people portray the 27th Precinct, they probably do. Imagine trying to flirt your way out of a ticket then?

"Oh, officer, you're so big and strong and authorative... couldn't you just let me go with a warning?"

"I don't think so, ma'am." *sound of rubber gloves snapping* "Kindly get out of the car sir..." *smile*

Too much ficbitching?

Oh god, I think that I've read so much of this site that, at most, I go into one convulsion per ficbitching. Probably didn't hurt that 'Chocobo Nights' was the first one I read (via suggestion of a 'friend').

Good stuff though. Been reading for a few months. You guys are brilliant.

Oh, I love you so much. It's refreshing to hear something other than "OMG, how can you insult Kraken like that, she's the best FAKE author EVAR!!!11."

Great review. You've really pegged the major problems Kraken has with her fics, and explained them clearly and intelligently.

(Deleted comment)
Fics like that are the reason I've always stayed FAR FAR away from FAKE fanfic. I love the series, but I also see it clearly enough to know that it's like a bug light for character-mutilating yaoi fangirls. (If only it would *ZAP!* them as thoroughly.)

And I must say, between your deliciously snarky review and Rebel Toy's hilarious interjections (the "OMG RYO IS A LEPER" thing still has me giggling), I'm glad the Ficbitches are updating again. It's always a nice thing to come home to on your Friends page. (In a rather twisted way, but still...)

You think THIS is bad?

Oh dear Ficbitches you haven't even seen the TRUE evil of FAKE fanfiction.

I give you: http://www.angelfire.com/anime4/korin/fakeficsW.html

Some of the WORST Fake fanfics I've ever read, you have a choice between Ryo being a rape victim, Ryo becoming a heroine addict, Dee being blinded and therefore utterly helpless.

After these fics this fic'll read the DaVinci Code.


Re: You think THIS is bad?

Oh yes, they would be worht a review. It's been a while I found some of them on Mediaminer, and I tried to read Randy's Addiction, but I never could it make to the end. It's just so wrong!!!!. Unlike the ficbitches, I have only a little tolerance for such stories.

Oh, ICK.
I've only read volume 1 of the manga, but I like it. A LOT. Ryo is sensitive without being a wuss, and Dee is strong, yet a bit of a bumbler...it's a very nice contrast, but the fic made it into a bunch of stereotypes. >