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The Thread Review Thread: A thread where I review other threads

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Post  Aleister Crowley on Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:17 pm

So a few weeks back I took it upon myself to review the ongoing Arc 4 thread Between the Lines. Since then I've been requested to do the same for some of our forum's greatest 'hits'. I'm going to do these one page at a time because trying to do the whole thread last time was a fucking killer.

I'm not sure why I decide this was a good idea, but it's happening and nothing can really stop it now, so...

Chasse au Lapin

It's been explained to me that the plan was to have each thread title in a different language and I do have to wonder why.

Futility Within the Infinite Maze. Labyrinthine_Fugue.

I do appreciate that Kohaku and Iva always put a lot of effort into their threads. With like, chapter names and stuff formatted to resemble the Light Novels.

We begin in media res, following a young lady who's running from something unspecified.

The suited, above-average looking young woman named Hinomiya Ayumi could already feel the build-up of lactic acid in her legs.

Her hot breaths were moving in and out at rapid frequency, trying in futility to take in enough oxygen so that her body could efficiently produce energy. 

In the end, fear for one’s life and a strong adrenaline rush made for a wonderful mental counter to any pain she had gained.

Sweat seemed to drench every part of her body as even her suit’s blazer and her torn skirt were wet with that mineral-filled liquid.


I have to admit, I really thought you were going somewhere with this. The dry, clinical sounding descriptions seemed to be leading somewhere but instead it just makes the post kinda unwieldy and makes it difficult to really get into the scene. This is the sort of thing that I've spoken to Iva about in the past too, in regards to his flowery Misaki posts. We often get told it's best to be descriptive in prose, but too many words can kill the pace of a scene, especially when it's supposed to be something fast-paced like a chase.

Ayumi breathed a deep sigh of relief. They can’t chase me out here. I just need to—

*THUD*

Her thoughts were immediately interrupted as she slammed face-first into a wall and fell back on her butt.


When I first read this, I read it as her just being caught by surprise by a stationary object. But that's not the case. Her path is being blocked by an invisible barrier of some sort.

The feeling of a blade rapidly piecing her back and going through her chest was the next thing to register in her mind. As she looked down, she saw a what looked like a spear or harpoon sticking out of her chest with what looked to be a small part of her pericardium attached to it.

That seems bad. I'm no doctor, but I think you need that to live.

Overall a strong opening. We're not even to the end of the first post and we've got a bit of mystery and a body count to go along with it.

***

The next part of the post continues the scene from (presumably) the perspective of the killer. She's wearing an awesomely impractical sounding pink and orange combat armour like some sort of MLG Counterstrike player so when she dropped the speargun I was half expecting her to start teabagging her victim.

It turns out she's got a couple of lackeys with her, all sharing her appropriately gamer-esque flippancy to murder. Already I'm wondering what their all-caps group name will be.

The girls check out the info on their next target. A 'succulent white rabbit unaware of the wolves ready to feed on it.' And the next post starts with...

Frenda. Everyone's favourite little mad bomber. I'm guessing this was intentionally designed to lead people reading to believe that our loveable Frendy's the next target?

It was said that the first move was all that it took to change the course of any form of contest. From the beginning, if the one who made the first move gained an indomitable advantage from it, their victory would be all but assured. On the other hand, if the big first move failed, the disadvantage from it would be drastic.

I'm a sucker for these sorts of opening paragraphs. I'm not sure if there's a term for them, but when used well I find they're really good for establishing the atmosphere of a scene.

Eyeing the target, Frenda placed herself at the optimal angle and readied herself for that first strike.

This sort of thing, too. Drawing obvious parallels between a (presumably) innocuous activity and something more dramatic is a good set up for a punch line.

She lightly gripped at the handle of the long tool in her hand and caressed the shaft of it between her index and middle fingers. With a single quick motion, the tip thrust forward and--

I'm not going to make the obvious joke. I won't do it. It's low hanging fruit. It's crass. I won't lower myself to that level.

Wait.

Oh.

Oh no...

It's the pool scene. I've been told about this. I've been warned about this.

The next 21 posts until the end of the page involve a blow-by-blow account of a game of pool.

21 posts.

Initially I thought it might make my job here easier. After all, I could just skim these posts right?

Wrong. Because when I do something I do it properly. No half-assing. Because I hate myself and have no respect for my own time.

I read each and every one of these posts. At some point it stops being clear who's actually sinking balls and I honestly stopped caring. There's some good stuff in there. Some fun character interactions. Some memorable phrases and word-use that makes it clear some effort was put into these posts.

I'm just not sure why.

Some highlights:


  • Mugino decides 'fuck it, I don't know how to play pool' and just bombs the ball down the table like she's trying to send it into orbit.

  • In the last review I mentioned that Atsa was the most relatable character because he seemed as utterly confused at what was occurring as I was. In this thread, that honour goes to Takitsubo because at one point she gets so bored she just falls asleep mid shot. I envy her.

  • Frenda apparently forgets the rules of pool, because after sinking a ball she immediately hands the next turn to the other team?

  • Mugino continues to hit the balls like they owe her money and narrowly avoids braining Frenda.

  • «So you choose death?»

    A smile was lingering on the brunette beauty’s lips. A smile so devoid of the warmth of enjoyment or happiness. It was not a smile of praise, nor was it the smile of a friend. If at all it was the smile of one who would savor the other’s ruin throughout each of its slowly progressing phases.

    The smile of one who isn’t made for losing.


  • Frenda and Takitsubo make the (probably wise) decision to surrender after witnessing Mugino literally crack a fucking cue ball in half. And we get an allusion to Frenda losing her legs which made me chuckle sensibly.

  • Only Mugino doesn't let them quit. Because she's out for blood and we all know Iva's a masochist irl. So the scene continues.


By the end the impression I'm getting is that some of the players here are really struggling to find anything to actually write, so they resort to stretching out posts with lots of inner monologuing and dry descriptions of their plays. It's a shame because a scene like this could be great for character interactions. You just have to ignore the specifics of the game being played. Make it more about those moments that display a character's personality and how they relate to each other. They should all be cheating like bastards, trying to use their abilities or psyche each other out by pulling power moves like Mugino trying to assassinate Frenda with an intentionally missed shot and Kinuhata panicking because she knows losing will get her on Mugino's homicidal bad side.

Thus ends page 1.

In summary: A strong set up and then a game of pool happens. Also Takitsubo continues to prove she's the most boring girl, to the point where not even complete freedom from the original canon can salvage her character.
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
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Post  Aleister Crowley on Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:45 pm

I'm back for round 2. I read threads so you don't have to.

The pool game isn't done yet, but my will to live is.

I think Frenda tries to throw the game intentionally.

My already limited attention span is nearing breaking point. So little is happening it's almost incredible. Like nearing the event horizon of a black hole, time is distorting and a second lasts an eternity.

Takitsubo clearly didn'r get the memo, because she sinks the last ball and wins the game.

Finally. The pool game's over and we can carry on with the plot.

Fortunately for everyone, ITEM's handler calls in with their next assignment. There may be a day where Fre| nda references stop being funny to me. Today is not that day.


«I’m busy. Try again later, you old hag.»

Unfortunately though, Mugino's as tactful as ever and returns to revving herself up for a rampage.


Without any signs of life, even; looking at her, one might question if she really was still alive or if she was just a corpse which had already entered rigor mortis. Staying like that until the storm passed, off to the side unnoticed, was truly the best path.

Apparently Kinuhata's been acting on the assumption that Mugino's a T-Rex and if she doesn't move Mugino won't see her. She decides to use the call as an excuse to remove herself from the situation.


I have a job for you all. The faster we get this all over with, the faster we can move on with our damn lives.”

Never before have I witnessed a person channeling their real-life feelings so hard into a single post. The handler knows what's up.

We get more slapstick with Frenda getting knocked around by Mugino in the background while Kinuhata continues the call. Takitsubo meanwhile has apparently become so 2 dimensional and boring that she's faded out of existence entirely. No one notices.


 Unconsciously, her grip on the phone tightened, but she knew better than to release her strength there. Not when there was a much better target to release her frustration upon.

With an emotionless smile, Saiai calmly gripped Frenda's head with her free hand and squeezed. And squeezed. And squeezed. And squeezed. She squeezed until it seemed like she might crack Frenda's skull or squeeze her brains out through her ears. And try as she might to find release, Offense Armor would stand unmoved.


Kinuhata decides to join in bullying Frenda, which calls to mind an old stand up comedy bit about bullying being a good team building activity.


Mugino Shizuri for her part grinned like a hyena, as she sat there on the floor, entirely ladylike, savouring the agony driven squeaks of her absolutely defenceless victim, all the while seeking the top spot in a new kind of competition. An entirely sadistic kind of such.

Knowing Iva's tendency towards masochism does shed a slightly different light on his post here...


The team get their orders. They're to track down and eliminate some industrial spies who stole data on the Dark May Project. Those of you more familiar with the series' canon will recognise this as the project that gave Kinuhata her abilities. Or at least made them what they are now.

Mugino hears the word kill and drops Frenda like a dog that just heard the word 'walkies'. That's a pretty convenient off switch, at least.

Takitsubo phases back into the thread briefly but does literally nothing. Sorry Alex, I'm sure you were trying your hardest.

We get an interlude with some guy being tortured for info by a girl. The problem is that without any real context about who these characters are it's kind of hard to really get that into the scene. All we know by the end is that it's relating to the Dark May Project, so presumably this guy was one of the spies and the girl torturing him is on a collision course with ITEM. She may or may not be one of the ALL CAPS GROUP NAME from the prologue, but it's not exactly clear. The scene ends with  the spy's fate left ambiguous (read: he ded).

The next couple of posts nearly made me delete the thread and the entire forum out of principle.  Because you see, our band of merry degenerates have decided that ITEM's plan for infiltrating the building housing the spies is apparently to dress as call girls.

I don't know which one of you was responsible for this, or if all of you should share equal blame. I don't want to know.

So Mugino's dressed as a dominatrix. Takitsubo is wearing a classic flasher's favourite, the trenchcoat. Kinuhata's dressed in rags (is that a fetish? That's a rhetorical question btw. I don't want to know). And Frenda... poor Frenda... is walking around wearing a micro bikini. Now leaving aside that compared to her regular swimsuit that's practically modest, she doesn't strike me as the type to get flustered about walking around in next to nothing.

So remember all that, because I'm going to actively forget it as best I can for the rest of the thread.
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
General Superintendant of Academy City

Posts : 260
Join date : 2012-06-11
Location : The Windowless Building

https://academycity.forumotion.co.uk

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