Today, we're giving you another fine effort from ficbitch follower Voidstar, for a title from one of the more popular fandoms as of late.
But first, special request from moi: I finished Tales of Symphonia a couple of weeks ago, and enjoyed it a lot. Of course, like any semi-popular RPG, it's bound to have tons of mediocre-to-gawdawful-terrible fic for it. I am tempted to see what's out there, yet at the same time I am wary to have to wade through mountains of wackyrandomfun crap and angsty character poetry to find the really horrible ones. So if you know of any abyssmally bad Symphonia fic for me to savage, give me a link. Conversely, if you know of any *good* ToS fic that is Regal-centric, point me right to it.
I'm expecting a ratio of about 100/1 for these requests.
OK, on with the show!
EDIT: Velvet Venus here to just let you know that we've changed our email, you can now reach us at healingcock (at) gmail (dot) com!
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST :: Best Birthday Present Ever
Guest-Reviewed by VoidStar
SCORING: PLOT: 1/5 (Poorly thought out post-series scenario)
CHARACTERIZATION: -1/5 (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA SCAR/ROY, although it's mainly about weird OOC Ed and Al stuff)
WRITING: 1/5 ("We laid on the bed correctly"; plus, lots of random Japanese thrown in)
BENDING THE LAWS OF SPACE AND TIME FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES: 20/5
VoidStar here again. And I've brought more horrid slash! Aren't you all thrilled? Well, AREN'T YOU?
Aaaah, Fullmetal Alchemist. The Next Big Thing. The tale of the amazing Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, and their quest for the Philosopher's Stone. A fine, fine series indeed--one of the finest I've ever had the pleasure to encounter, really.
Too bad you really can't say the same for the fandom.
FMA has a big slash/yaoi fandom. This is not, at least in my opinion, what makes it problematic; I'm not opposed to these things in principle. (Quite the opposite.) The problem, as is so often the case, is the execution. These people just don't try.
Case in point: the story on the block today. It's an Al/Ed piece. Yes, they're slashing the brothers. Another disclaimer, and I swear I'll stop going off on tangents: this is not, in fact, what makes the story bad, in my opinion. If the incest slash thing squicks you, be forewarned that I won't really be offering any complaints about that aspect of the story in this review. Ed and Al are actually pretty slashable, if you ask me.
Right, so! Let's move on. Here's our setup:
It was my 17th birthday, it had been a week and a half since I had become human. Niisan is really a genius to figure out a way to turn me back, Scar-san helped being as he had half of the unfinished Philosopher's Stone in his arm. So in my honor I was having a party, it was in Scar-san's building, a few streets away from my and Niisan’s house.
So Al (who is our narrator in this sordid tale) has been restored to a body of flesh. For those of you not down with the FMA, Al is an empty suit of armor to which a human soul has been bound, his real body having been lost in a botched alchemical procedure. The driving goal of Ed, the older Elric brother, is to restore Al to a proper human form, and a lot of FMA fanfiction assumes that he is successful in this purpose. Which is all well and good, unless you're only making that assumption in order to make smut more convenient, which is (so far as I can tell) the only reason the author of this story does it.
Also, let's play a quick game of "count the things wrong with this paragraph!" First, there's that "niisan," sticking out from the English around it like a sore thumb, or perhaps an AIDS-induced sore on the body of a leper. I want to overlook it, I really do. I remember when I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to stick Japanese into the middle of English sentences. I've been there. But, perhaps, that's exactly why I lack sympathy. Long story short: ONE LANGUAGE AT A TIME, PLEASE.
Second of all...hahahahahahaha...Scar. Scar is living in Central. Freely, openly, and no one gives a damn. That's tremendous. That's also the reason I chose to give the story a negative score for characterization, even though Scar's presence is minimal--the very idea that Scar would want to do that, and that the military government that resides in Central would just let him...Jesus. To say nothing of the idea that Scar, fanatical adherent to a religion that denounces alchemy as evil, would willingly help Ed perform the procedure to restore Al to normal.
Third, Al's throwing a party in his own honor? What?
At any rate, it was nearly one o'clock and the party was dieing down. Havoc-san had already left, along with Riza-san, Winry, and her friend Paninyo.
So Al's on first-person terms with Hawkeye (Riza) now? Okay, overlookable, but...Paninyo? PANINYO?!Her name is PANIÑA, dammit. (Sorry. Moment of overreaction there, she's one of my favorite characters.)
Aaaanyway. The party's breaking up, people are going home, professional jackass Roy Mustang is acting really, really odd around Scar--another amazing innovation of characterization from this author; he hints at Scar/Roy, which is just about the most hilariously awful pairing you could possibly arrange in this series. I know some people like to say that "any pairing is possible if you do it right!" You know what? There's no way to do that pairing right. I'm declaring this firmly right now: there's no way anyone could ever convince me that Roy and Scar would ever want to touch each other. Unless Scar was planning on exploding Roy's skull, that is.
Anyway, Scar and Roy eventually stagger off together, leaving Ed and Al alone. Ed is inexplicably worried about Roy's safety. Well, it's not like he wouldn't have reason to be worried, given that Scar is a serial killer who targets National Alchemists (which is what Roy is!), but in the series, Ed's attitude towards Roy isn't the greatest. He probably wouldn't wish death on Roy, but he wouldn't be quite as concerned as the author wants us to believe that he is, either.
Ed and Al head back to their place (gee, I hope they locked up for Scar or something). The trip home somehow manages to be both brief and too long, packed tight with useless, inane detail:
It took about 10 minutes to get home, I opened the door and let us in. He walked over to the couch and sat down, soon after I walked over and sat down next to him.
This is really one of the great hallmarks of the author's style. There is no reason for us to know these things, but he (yes, you read that correctly--he) tells us about them anyway. The other hallmarks are a tendency to recycle vocabulary to excess, often within a single paragraph, and the old familiar plague of tense changes. These combine to create a potent three-hit combo of extremely dull, annoying writing. Indeed, if it weren't for the hilarity of the smut, this story would probably be too boring to read through completely.
Speaking of the smut, it's about time for the author to start moving in on all of that.
"Ne… Al, I didn’t give you anything for your birthday..." he glanced up at me. I blushed and answered, "No it's okay Niisan, you gave me back my body, that’s good enough for me!" I smiled down at him, noticing he blushed also.
Every time I see the word "Niisan" pop up in this story, my brain tries to tell me that Al is talking to a Japanese car.
Having seen what the title of the piece is, I'm sure you can all guess where this is going. But first, we need a little Al introspection on the progression of their relationship up to this point. Abandon hope, all ye who read the following paragraph.
I thought of something he could give me, but didn’t say anything. We had talked about it for a while, since I had been in that Armor, it was when he was 15 and he admitted that he loved me, more so than a brother. I also loved him that way, so I thought maybe I could help him get his sexual frustrations out, but he told me no. He felt so guilty about the fact I couldn’t feel it, because I had nothing for him to touch and couldn’t feel it the way he could. So we decided to hold out until I became human. I spent a week having to be tested to make sure Niisan did everything right, and so we'd been waiting. We wanted it to be special. Of course we had made out heavy-like, and even dirty-humped once, but nothing more.
Okay, I need to get something out of my system before I can continue.
WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?
Right, I'm better. Oh wait--
I leaned over and kissed him on the lips, he kissed me back, his mouth was half opened, causing me to run my tongue over his bottom lip. That made him shiver, I grinned, and moved back to look at him. "Ne, Niisan lets go lay down.." I said.
Scratch that. Although that paragraph doesn't have anything quite as mind-shattering as "dirty-humped," it does have Al being rather bizarrely adept at the minutiae of making out. See, this is why I think the author just put Al back in his human body for the sake of smut: he totally ignores any of the potential mental and physical consequences involved in the change. Al got attached to the armor at age 12, becoming a mind trapped in an unchanging metal body that more or less lacked a sense of touch. He reached the age where he would've normally been entering puberty while stuck in this body. Hell, according to the author, he went several years beyond that age while stuck in this body. So after five years of this, he's thrust back into a body of flesh and he's just fine? Shouldn't he be experiencing all those fun fun mental changes puberty brings about? (And all at once, too, instead of spread out over time--his brain should be boiling in its own hormones right now.) Wouldn't it take more than a week and a half to reacclimate himself to living in a real body, after five years of having an artificial one? This lack of concern for consequences, the inability or unwillingness to follow things to their logical conclusions--that, beyond any problems of style or even characterization, is what really sinks this fanfic in my eyes. The problems of style and characterization are just excessively thick icing on the poorly baked cake.
So now it's time for our taboo-breaking pair to go to bed. Highlight of the next paragraph:
I was touching his chest, as he touched mine, his left hand slipped under my shirt… rubbing the circle binding my
soul to my body, and I shivered.
Fortunately, this one isn't drawn in blood like the one Ed used to bind Al to the armor. If it had been, rubbing it like
that would've turned the story into snuff.
They say that everything an author chooses to include in a story, they include for a reason. Bad fanfic makes me doubt that adage sometimes, but rest assured, the author mentioned Al's alchemy circle for a very specific reason. Keep that in mind--you'll understand soon enough.
Making out commences, blah blah blah Al licking Ed's nipple blah blah blah "noticeable bulge" blah blah blah more of Al being too experienced than he possibly could be blah blah blah fishcakes. The author would like us to believe that things are getting hot and heavy, but they're not:
I crawled over him again and kissed his chest again… looking up and I kissed him again, his arms went around my shoulders and I felt his tongue enter my mouth, gasping I sucked on his tongue. He moved it in and out of my mouth...
See what I mean about the vocabulary repetition?
At this point, I can say one (1) good thing about this story: it doesn't get into the cheesy business of describing penis lengths in precise numbers. That never, ever goes over well, especially when it's done by smut writers who don't have sufficient experience to realize that twelve inches is absolutely freakishly big, for one thing, and for another thing would almost certainly be intensely uncomfortable for the other person, especially if we're talking anal sex here. That faint praise doesn't do much to outweigh everything else that's wrong with the story, though. As the sex scene progresses, the author descends into a maddening abyss of unintentionally hilarious writing and impossible positions from which the mind recoils in horror. At this point, nothing I can say will sufficiently convey the effect this story has on a reader. Only direct examples will suffice.
I pouted and whined a little, and then he kissed the tip, making me moan again. He grinned and sucked my tip, nearly making me cum right then and there, but I did all that was in my power to hold it back. I grinned and stuck my index finger into my mouth making it all wet and drool-covered. We were still breathing hard, I reach my hand over my brothers back and down in between his buttocks, grinning as I pressed that wet finger against his butt hole. He gasped and moaned, I had caught him off guard and he had to stop and look up at me, and god when he did that, I had never been so hard before.
EROTIC! Also, for this scene, the roles of Al and Ed will both be played by Martel the snake-woman.
His eyes were half closed, hair all in his face, drool running down his chin, cheeks flushed.
God, Ed, wipe your chin.
I pulled my fingers out, they were wet, don’t ask me how butts get wet inside, but they do.
I...shit, I got nothin'.
He moved and pushed me back on the bed, moving and straddled my hips… he leaned over me, grinning, I let him take it over. He put his hand behind himself, grabbing me and making me gasp, then moved it to the right angle… He was careful not to hurt me as he started panting harder, pressing his hips down and making me blush more, trying hard not to thrust into him. He moaned louder, "God… damnit Al… you're big." I blushed worse then replied, "Gomen... Niisan..." I stayed still until he got it all the way into him. He grinned, hair all over, putting his left hand around himself. I put my hands on his hips, and he held himself up with his automail hand.
Okay, okay. Let's get this straight: first of all, Ed just grabbed Al's penis and yanked it perpendicular like it was a joystick or something (lol joystick). Second of all, the position they're doing this in: facing each other, with Ed straddling Al's lap. Assuming that Al's erection is now pointing straight forward, instead of up...no, no, I drove myself close enough to crazy trying to figure this out the first time I read it. I leave the task of interpreting the geometry of this scene to you, my friends. Attempting to understand sex in this fanfic is something akin to trying to understand the supernatural in the world of H.P. Lovecraft--the only reward is madness and a horrible, shrieking death.
And it only gets worse.
I leaned my head back as I started half pulling my erection out, and then pushing it in, moving like this for a while. I had to let go of his hips to lean on my palms… and then I ran my tongue up his neck, he was leaning back in the bed as our love making went on.
Holy shit. Al has secretly been Orochimaru from Naruto all along!
Because, as the writer makes eminently clear, Al and Ed are both leaning way back from each other--and while they're both doing this, Al licks Ed's neck. That can only mean Al has the ability to stretch his tongue to a length of several feet, and else who could do that, while disguising himself completely as another person and acting all sleazy? That's right.
Let's not dwell on that too long, though, there's something coming up you'll want to spend even less time dwelling on, but which you have to. Remember when I told you to keep the circle in mind? Well, its moment in the sun will soon be at hand...
Ed and Al continue to fuck outside the bounds of the laws of physics for a while, until it's time or orgasms! And with orgasms come spooge!
He had his back arched, his left hand lightly squeezed himself as he let himself go right on my circle.
That's right, folks. This fanfic doesn't just have a money shot. It's got a money shot with a bull's eye. Ed must've spent a lot of time practicing to attain such accuracy.
Our trip through the horrifying far reaches of the Yaoi Cosmos is almost over, but before we return to safer shores, a little more inane detail:
Out of both of us he seemed to cum more, I cummed a lot myself, but he cummed more.
Again...why do we need to know this?
"Ne, that was nice, Al…" He said, smiling and squeezing me a little in his arms. I nodded, feeling very tired. "Hai, it was..." I answered, then grinned, "Ne, Niisan, that was the best birthday present ever…" I grinned more and kissed him on the lips and he blushed, grumbling a little. "Yah, I gave you my virginity…" Then he looked up at me, and kissed my chin, "Happy Birthday, Al, daisuki da yo." I grinned and kissed his cheek, "Hai, Daisuki mo!"
We have a title! And quite inaccurate Japanese!
And we close, beautifully, with the following.
We laid there, I had almost fallen asleep when I heard his voice again, "Oi Al, give me lots of head for my birthday…" I laughed a bit and nodded, "Okay Niisan, Okay..."
I think...I think I've got a tear in my eye. So touching! So...gross. They don't even take showers after splattering each other with their hot hot manjuices?
(Well, okay, there's them saying goodnight blah blah but that's the real ending, as far as I'm concerned.)
This is one of those smut pieces where the author's lack of sexual experience is very much on parade. Now, I'm not claiming to be a Living Kama Sutra here, but frankly, I don't need to be to point out how many mistakes this guy makes while writing sex. They're so obvious that I almost wonder how the author himself managed to miss them. I mean, the tongue thing. The tongue thing. Come on!
In conclusion, dirty-humping. Thanks for reading!