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Tales of Symphonia :: Just Let Me Fall
Ficbitches
ficbitches
My god, you must have thought we were all dead. It's been something like fifteen months since the last post! I'm not going to make excuses for the hiatus, because I think I made them the last time I posted...in 2005. Well, shit.

As usual we were just sitting around, shooting the shit, when someone wondered why the hell we hadn't posted a review in so long. Rebel Toy and I went back through the archives and spent some quality time laughing our asses off, and then emerged convinced that the reason was that we just weren't funny people anymore. How terrible, to be so young and so unfunny! Also the problem is that nowadays the internets have become SUCH SERIOUS BUSINESS that I bet that instead of just calling us Bin Laden or threatening to sic their internet lawyers on us or just simply fandom-wanking us, I'm sure we'd get a couple of pseudocides and that's just messy and too much hilarity for the newly sober-and-serious ficbitches.

Then Rebel Toy ordered me to check the ficbitches gmail account since she was too lazy to. That way, she doesn't have to feel guilty that there are emails from February that haven't been answered! However, the bonus is that we found some guest reviews. And here's one! Thanks, Queen of Provocation!

But because I don't know a damn thing about Tales of Symphonia, I ran it by the esteemed Magnetic Stain. Judging from her involuntary shudders, this must have been a pretty horrible fic. She would also like me to make it perfectly clear that this fic and review contain some pretty hefty spoilers for Tales of Symphonia, especially for Kratos. So please, don't come crying to me if you didn't read the bold red text. Are we ready?

Hey, maybe this will restore our mojo! You never know! :D

~ Leather Daddy, who still loves you all and might actually answer comments and emails for the next few days!

Tales of Symphonia :: "Just Let Me Fall" by Amazon Bunny
Reviewed By: Queen of Provocation


SCORE:
CHARACTERIZATION: 0/5 (The characters are barely sentient beings, let alone themselves.)
PLOT: 1/5 (Remember kids, suicide is painless!)
WRITING: 2.5/5 (Not disasterously bad in technical terms, but it's definitely not good.)
WILLFUL IGNORANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS: 5/5

Back when Gunstar Heroine requested either bad "Tales of Symphonia" fic in general, or good Regal Bryant-based fic, she predicted that there would likely be a 100:1 ratio for these requests. I'm sad to say that this request falls into the former category.

It's not that "Tales of Symphonia" doesn't lend itself to good or interesting fic ideas, in fact, just the opposite is true. All of the main characters have the requisite set of Tragic Life Circumstances that can make for good character-introspection fic, and their in-game interactions with each other are full of comedy, rivalry, silliness, sadness, and everything else that should make good character-driven fic fun and simple to write. Hell, if one is feeling ambitious and just a bit crazy, one could write about the plot itself.

This fic utterly fails to take any of these possibilties into account, and goes straight for the tried, tested, and true formula for lots and lots of reviews. The completely ludicrous romance fic, starring two characters who may or may not actually be romantically interested in each other, who are almost always out of character anyway.

The characters in question this time around are Kratos Aurion and Raine Sage, who are not-so-coincidentally the only adult characters for the first few hours of the game, making them destined for fanon pairing greatness. What do they have in common? Well, they're both the "mature ones" of the group, they both have younger characters that they would do anything to protect, and they both have their share of personal tragedies. Oh, and as both of them are depicted from here on out, they very nearly deserve those tragedies, and more.

Oh, and there will be spoilers. Plot spoilers, not just lunch-spoilers.

Now, this story technically has a prequel, entitled "Teacher's Pet," which supposedly sets up the reason for Raine's utter and total brain-death and dependence upon Kratos. To provide you with this context, I will summarize it in the briefest and most sanity-friendly way possible. Kratos hires an assassin who abducts Raine and accuses her of a crime that directly contradicts canon events, and after about two minutes of battle, Raine becomes ill with Plot Device Disease. Kratos then sweeps her off her feet and to the scenic Meltokio Slums, where she is then raped by some random bandit. Kratos fights and kills the bandit because Raine is "too weak," and a Healing Make-Out Session ensues. Raine somehow regains the virginity she'd lost before the game's events ever happened. The other characters act like complete imbeciles and fail to matter to the plot. True love ensues.

Sample clip: You stole my heart, and I doubt you'll come back and return it. But honestly, I don't care...I wouldn't mind...Keep it with you, Kratos...Your name...I love saying your name. Kratos, Kratos...Kratos.... Banana-fanna-fo-Fratos... Whoops! Sorry.

The author's characterizations of Kratos and Raine in a nutshell? It's as if she took a good, hard look at what the characters are like, why they act the way they act and do the things they do, and then decided to write the complete opposite of what she found. If this were a parody fic (instead of just the fic that launched a thousand of them), it would be simply brilliant. As what appears to be a serious and earnest fic, it's something... less than that.

Now that that's out of the way, we can dive into the scintillating text that is "Just Let Me Fall." Fasten your seatbelts, kiddos!

The story opens with a bang, as Raine sits in the bathroom, crying and slitting her wrists. Possibly because Kratos ditched her, or possibly because she read ahead in the fic and discovered the indignities that lie ahead for her. Guess which theory I like best?

The blade slashed her wrists again and again. She cried out in pain with every cut. Blood roiled out on the tiles, staining them with a bright red. She gritted her teeth as she saw the gruesome scene. Blood pooled around her, and she whispered in slurred words:

"I'll find you, one way or another...Even if I end up in hell..."

Her clear eyes fogged up and slipped out of focus. She was losing consciousness...Raine Sage fell to the bathroom floor with a thud. And she blacked out.




"Raine?..." Genis knocked on the bathroom door timidly. He knew what a bad temper she was in then. But she was falling into depression...When there was no answer, he decided just to open the door.

CREAK...

"God Raine!!" Genis stumbled backwards and collided painfully into the wall. "Oh Martel!" Tears welled in his eyes. His sister was dying in a pool of her own blood for some stupid Angel that left her because he couldn't get over his loss of Anna! Martel just damn it all!

The young mage grabbed a clean white towel and pressed it firmly against her slit wrists. "God no..." He whispered, then, as the color faded from Raine's
cheeks, he screamed, "RAINE!!"


The first time I read this, I laughed so hard that I probably woke up the entire neighbourhood. My brother and I now pantomime this scene at every opportunity, complete with the wrist-dabbing and the no-doubt-tragical facial expressions. I still laugh and laugh every time, proving that I'm a horrible person. Of course, I suppose the very fact that I'm ficbitching this story doesn't make me a very nice person anyway.

For those of you keeping score, this will be the first, last, and only time Genis or anyone else besides Kratos will show any real concern over anything that happens to Raine in this fic.

To Genis' credit though, he must eventually call for help at some point between wrist-dabbings, because Raine is flown to Flanoir for "expert" medical treatment. At this point in the story, I wonder if the author will pull a George Lucas and claim that there's nothing that can be done for her, because she's LOST THE WILL TO LIVE!

Lloyd and Genis have a letter delivered to Kratos on Derris-Kharlan, mostly as a plot convenience and as a way to give Yuan a shout-out in the fic.

Kratos,

It would be our greatest displeasure to tell you that Raine Sage is dying as you are reading this letter. She slit her wrists several days ago, and has remained in critical condition. We have used all our medical technology to try and put her in a state of better health, but her situation has not improved, so she has requested that you be at her death bed, at the very least.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Boltzman

Ancestor of Master Boltzman


I love that last part. AT THE VERY LEAST! DO YOU HEAR THAT KRATOS?! COMING BACK TO HER SIDE IS THE LEAST YOU COULD DO, YOU CRETIN!

Needless to say, Kratos immediately changes the course of the entire planet to speed back to Raine's side. Lloyd immediately latches onto his father in a futile bid for paternal affection, but he is quickly brushed aside as Kratos speeds to Raine's side. Apparently Lloyd has better things to do than see his dying friend and teacher one last time.

Kratos gets to Raine's room and sees her at death's door, alone and hooked up to anachronistic medical technology, IV's a-dripping and monitors a-humming. Apparently Genis has better things to do than be at his dying sister's bedside. His sister who raised him since infanthood, who just happens to be one of the most important people to him, ever. Did Mithos Presea show up for a booty call or something? Screw that, that's still not a good enough reason. There is no way that Kratos would be there and Genis would not, you cannot convince me of anything otherwise.

After a conveniently-timed deterioration of Raine's condition, Kratos works his Magic Healing Mojo once again and Raine immediately stabilizes. The doctor does not think this is suspicious, and still no one comes to see Raine in the hospital, as they prefer to go out to the bar to celebrate the happy news, instead. All together now... What the fuck?!

Then one of the worst things I've ever read happens.

"Why'd you do it?" He asked her. Raine sunk back into the bed and looked out the window.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she said, her tone frosty and cold.

Kratos seethed at himself. God, he was just so stupid! "You know what I'm talking about. Why'd you try to kill yourself?" He tried again. "That's not the answer...You know it, I know it, Martel, you were there at the Origin Seal when it happened! Were you just going to give up, were you going to throw everything away? Cheating your way out..." He never finished that sentence, as Raine slapped him as hard as she could across the face.

"Shut the hell up!" She screamed. "Why would you think...You wouldn't know!..." She couldn't get the words out. She grabbed the bottle of painkillers on her nightstand and swallowed several before Kratos could stop her. Tears streamed down her cheeks.


Okay, so I laughed really hard at this part too, but that's beside the point. Suicide is not the catch-all plot device for any kind of fic. Suicide will not make your fic better just because you include it in the plot. Content is generally neutral until it's shaped by the approach, but the way 99.9% of fanfiction handles it is not the correct approach. The correct approach has to be in a fic that is not primarily a romance fic, and the character attempting suicide must actually be a character for whom suicide is an appealing option. Raine Sage is not going to commit suicide because she's been jilted by Kratos, or because someone called her a bad name. Quite frankly, she's had worse, and somehow, her wrists remained unslit. It must have been a miracle, or the fact that in canon, she has an actual spine!

Also, I think Kratos' monologue is supposed to refer to how his end of the whole deal with Origin went down, but the way it's phrased is just odd. Now, I could buy a fanfic in which Kratos tried to commit suicide, but it would have to be a good fic, with an actual buildup to the act, and the consequences of said act afterward, if the fic was not primarily in his point of view. In fact, that's another bit of sound advice for suicide fics in general. Contrary to what we learned from "Waking Ned Devine," a character does not necessarily have to attend his or her own funeral for it to be a good funeral scene.

Anyway, as I'm sure you're all dying to hear (Har har!), Raine "coughs up" all of the pills she swallowed, and she freaking apologizes to Kratos, of all people, for what she put him through. At no point does she apologize to Genis, (who, you know, might have been scarred for life by this in a better fic) or to the doctors or the nurses or anyone else who bothered to save her sorry ass. Kratos is the one who feels the most hurt! Kratos thinks about Anna, and about how Raine smells like rain, and about whether he remembered to set his TiVo. You know, deep and symbolic things like that. I utterly and totally buy his deep love and concern, don't you?

Meanwhile, Raine has been released from the hospital in a matter of minutes after recovery, after being in critical condition, and after trying to kill herself twice. What kind of hospital is this?! Shouldn't they hold her overnight, or at least until someone gets his ass out of the bar and goes to collect her? Do you think Genis even bothered to mention that all of this was brought on by a depressive episode, and that their family doesn't exactly have a pristine mental health history? No, of course he didn't. Genis is in this fic to be a cheerleader for Kratos and Raine's True Love, and nothing more.

In what turns out to be a completely throwaway plot event (Oh no! I spoiled it for you!!), Raine goes in search of the Sword of Destiny, which can apparently allow the user to travel to the past to fix things that have gone wrong. I mention this because it shocked me out of my chair the first time I saw it, because in the game, there actually is a Z-Skit that references Raine's being tempted by Lloyd's Eternal Sword. As you may have already gathered, references to events and points of characterization from canon in this fic (non-sequitor flashbacks in "Teacher's Pet" aside) are pretty darn rare. However, the fic, unlike the game, makes it quite clear that Raine wants the damn sword so she can go back and change her relationship with Kratos. Apparently nothing else in Raine's life is worth fixing or changing so that it could happen differently. She regrets nothing except the fact that Kratos doesn't love her single-mindedly and think constantly about how much he likes to say her name over and over again.

...I hate the Raine in this fic, almost as much as I hate the Kratos in this fic. I wish plagues upon them both.

Anyway, for no reason whatsoever, the entire group decides to go to the hot springs, about a day or so after Raine has just gotten out of the hospital, where she was in critical condition and tried to kill herself twice. Still, no one particularly cares. Why should they? It was only a depression-related suicide attempt, followed shortly by another! Why, it's not as if she was really sick, or anything like that...

"Aah, yeah, now this is what I call a good bath," Sheena sighed as she slid into the tub, a towel wrapped around her. "Especially after a long day of traveling."

I wouldn't get in that hot spring with Raine if I were you, Sheena. What if she jumps in with a plugged-in toaster and takes you to Hell with her?

And now, for another worst thing I've ever read:

"Haven't you noticed some of the boys aren't really noticing us anymore?" she shot a stealthy glance at the wall. They all knew they were eavesdropping.

"Yeah, especially Zelos," Sheena caught on first. "He seems to pay more attention to that lady in the casino than me." The ninja made sure her voice cracked with emotion. "I mean, he never really pays attention to me, just the other ladies walking around on the streets. The next time I walk into Altamira and that man comes up to me again, I'll accept his proposal!"

Outside, Zelos' jaw dropped. "What the hell is she rambling about?" He whispered.

"Yes, I bet he was handsome, rich, and wasn't nearly as flirtatious as Zelos," Raine commented.
"Yeah..." Sheena said in a fake, dreamy voice. "And what about you, Presea?" She turned to the pink haired girl.
"Well...I'd been having a lot of people in the Altamira Amusement Park asking me if I wanted anything, and they said they'd buy it for me." Presea lied.
"Really?" Colette giggled. "I'd have to go there sooner, then!"

This time, Lloyd's jaw hit the floor. "No way!" He argued. "Colette's not that kind of girl...or is she?"


Men of the Ficbitches reading audience (all four of you), allow me to offer my deepest apologies on behalf of the rest of my gender. I too, cannot believe that a female wrote this.

Just an aside here, but everyone in this fic is so mean to Regal. Not in itself unsual for ToS fic, but the thing is, Regal is as annoying as any of them here, so my sympathy is not quite as strong as it could be right now. Still, all would be forgiven in an instant, if he would flip out and kill them all.

The author hints that the next chapter will be a songfic. Oh boy, just when I was thinking that I was getting uncomfortably close to the bottom of that barrel... My only comfort is that it's not "Chop Suey" or "Angel" or "Iris" or any one of about a million songs that have the word "angel" in it that fandoms in general love to abuse to no end whenever a character is "angelic" in nature. I'm sure everyone can think of an example or ten.

Anyway, the group moves on to Sheena's house, where Sheena ever-so-conveniently points out that there are only two guest rooms! If you think that they're going to split the two rooms up by gender or something, you've got another think coming. Don't worry, pairing enthusiasts, since Regal is a shameful wretch who has no love interest, he gets to sleep in the porch! Like the dog he is!

Everyone gets paired off, children conveniently vanish into the ether, Brian McKnight's "One" is typed, and Raine finally harangues Kratos into sleeping with her. I guess Kratos doesn't want to anger the crazy lady and trigger another of her "episodes." You know, the ones where she tries to kill herself and NOBODY THINkS IT'S IMPORTANT OR AT ALL WEIRD AT ALL OH MY GODDD. ahgo[hgagb

Kratos wrapped one arm protectively around her slender waist. No words could express how he felt at that moment, happy, like a big balloon swelling inside of him...

I don't think this sentence quite puts forth the image the author was hoping for. She's thinking "true love," and I'm thinking "mpreg."

More Regal torture, and some throwaway scenes of the other "couples" of the fic. Despite what the last chapter implies at one point, Lloyd and Genis are not one of the couples. Regal justifies his inclusion in the fic with a scene of not-quite-comic relief, and we enter the home stretch.

The next chapter informs us that two years have passed. Everyone has gone off on their own and is doing their own thing, which is the same thing that everyone always ends up doing in every other ToS fic ever. Kratos and Raine are having a baby, and they're having it RIGHT NOW.

(A/N: Due to the PG-13 rating, the next painstaking 46 pages of details in this story will be cut.)

For once, an artistic decision that I can agree with. Yay!

"Congratulations, Raine," he whispered and planted a soft kiss on the mother's temple and a kiss on the top of the newborn's head. "Think of a name for her."

There was no question to what name Raine would choose for the child. "I'll name her Anna. Sound good?" She stroked the soft, small blanket wrapped delicately around Anna. Kratos nodded.


NO. NO IT IS NOT GOOD. Who the hell does this?! Who the hell willingly and enthusiastically names her baby after their husband's ex, especially if her husband is still obsessed with said ex?! More importantly, why does this happen in every Kratos/Raine fic?! Here's a crazy idea... Why don't they just name the baby Timmy or Alice or Steeplechase Airplane?!

Raine apparently sent Genis off to live with Lloyd and Colette. Yes folks, it means that she's living every woman's worst nightmare: She's become her mother.

Then the fic ends with an excruciatingly syrupy "Typical 1950s Family" domestic scene that I refuse to dignify with a comment, and a song from some anime that I don't know. Truly, it was aggravating to the bitter end.

Kratos/Raine fans... I'm not saying that you can't do this pairing. I'm just saying that you really need to stop doing it like this. Why can't Kratos sit in the bathroom and slit his wrists, and need Raine to use True Love to heal his emotional wounds? Or better yet, why don't you write about the real Kratos and Raine? The ones who are kind of emotionally messed up, but also kind of cool and interesting? Do you guys really want to be the That Pairing of the fandom?

I try to say something nice about each fic I read these days, so I guess... Well, as I mentioned before, the scene with the Eternal Sword might have been inspired by something that actually happened in-game, and Yuan's speechless, tell-not-show mention made him the best and least ruined character in the fic. I also like the fact that the fic was readable in a technical sense, because spell-checking is becoming a dying practice. So all in all, there should be a decent author here somewhere... just as long as we scrape through a few layers of unrepentant Kratos Fangirl to get to her.

I don't think this sentence quite puts forth the image the author was hoping for. She's thinking "true love," and I'm thinking "mpreg."

Sporfle. I agree. What utter crap (and I don't even know the series!)

>Did Mithos Presea show up for a booty call or something?

Hahaha, yes.

I do so hate stories that completely neglect a character's ties with other important characters in order to get some snuggle time in with their chosen pairing. I could see Genis and Lloyd hovering worriedly at Raine's bedside, and then respectfully (read: after much protest and argument) bowing out for a while at Kratos' request, but that? That's just shameful.

Don't know the series, but this review was still a hilarious read.

Welcome back, guys! ^.^

Everything else aside, no love for Regal haters. >:(

Aaaah. ;o; ♥ Missed you!!

Then the fic ends with an excruciatingly syrupy "Typical 1950s Family" domestic scene that I refuse to dignify with a comment

I'm not familiar with this game at all, but in my experience that's pretty much spork-worthy no matter what fandom it's in. I'm all for happy well-written little domestic scenes, but OH GOD NOT LIKE THAT.

And I'll join the crowd in saying it's nice to hear from you guys again.

You treat Senator O'Bama as if he's God…come on be fair and not so one-sided. We Americans all understand and know that the media is to the left, but when it pertains to reporting the facts and/or discussions with your viewers, try to be fair in the future or you'll begin to lose your audience.

Ow Ow Ow and OW to the fic. ROFL to the review. XDDD I could use a hot tub and an electric toaster too...

I missed you guys. The world needs Ficbitches. XD

(Deleted comment)
Dr. James Boltzman

Ancestor of Master Boltzman



It's the fic that sees into the WORLD OF TOMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOROW!!!

Why don't they just name the baby Timmy, or Alice, or Steeplechase Airplane?!

I think you've just jinxed Little Steeplechase Airplane Roberts into existence for 2007.

Excellent ficbitching.


I didn't really like the game, but this is a great bitching. I hope to hear more from you guys.

Wow, I'm slow on the uptake XD

So in essence, this is Every Angsty Romance Fic Ever Written v100043.5?

I'm not even that familiar with ToS, and I know Raine is sickeningly OOC here.

OH MY GOD, YOU'RE ALIVE.

And you've finally given me motivation to play this game! Thanks, Ficbitches!

(And thank you for the spoiler warning, so that I know to read this later)

Yay! Ficbitches is back, and with a story from my Main fandom! About time :D

Neh, this stuff is par for the course in the Tales of Symphonia fandom. At least there's no vore yet....not that I haven't checked.

I don't think this sentence quite puts forth the image the author was hoping for. She's thinking "true love," and I'm thinking "mpreg."

OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU.


Wow, the retard got out of the hospital.

?

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