Hey there,here, reviewing by on behalf of the Fanon Review Squad.
When the Gaang meet up four years after the end of the War, everyone has changed in some way - the most striking is that of Toph. What has happened to her in the two years since she spoke to any of them to cause such a drastic change? What was the purpose, and who is pulling the strings? Will anyone stand up and fight for her, or will she be left alone again?
This fanon focuses on the immediate years after the war and how every member of Team Avatar has been adjusting. However, its main emphasis is on an apparent dispute between Toph and Aang that left their friendship in tatters, and the emotion that is portrayed throughout is done excellently. Fruipit, as noted in my past reviews, is able to capture emotion and character interaction in unique and pretty awesome ways, and that doesn’t change here.
Story – 9.2: The story is a great exploration of the interactions of Team Avatar after the war. Unfortunately, I feel like the rest of Team Avatar, beyond Aang and Toph, aren’t given enough weight to be more than a replica of themselves from A:TLA, and that does impact the story as a whole.
Action – 9.6: Action scenes are few in this drama, but when they are present, they are beautifully written, especially the scene with the meteorite blade.
Writing – 10.0: Try as I might, I couldn’t find any real qualms with this element; this fanon was written superbly.
Creativity – 9.0: Unfortunately, the creativity aspect is looked at in multiple parts, and the fact is that a certain overused time period in fanon (after the war) makes the creativity score drop simply because there are so many of these types of stories already that the wiki is oversaturated with them. On the plus side, the emotional impact and the more specific story elements are very creative.
Believability – 7.5: I took issue with several points in this fanon. I loved Aang and Toph’s dynamic; it was believable. But to think that the other members of Team Avatar would truly, it seems, forget about her in the sense that they did is not quite within that realm of believability. It seems that Iroh was the only one who consistently bothered to care; the rest were simply oblivious, apparently.
Character Development – 8.0: I mentioned previously what I had a problem with: the lack of development with the rest of Team Avatar. However, there is another part of this fanon that I felt was…detrimental. The fact that it seems like all of Toph’s emotional development has been the result of an unknown spirit manipulating her for unknown reason—in my mind—takes away from the true emotional weight behind her character. She had such great moments of growth and change, but they weren’t hers, not entirely anyway. Perhaps if more details of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the spirit were known, it would be easier to see why this fanon has taken the directions it has.
Average Score/Final Verdict: 8.9 – Despite my criticisms, I have greatly enjoyed this fanon so far. I just feel a little let down from the lack of true development in the case of most of Team Avatar, and I also feel like the spirit manipulation cheapens Toph’s emotional development. Work on those two aspects so that the development doesn’t feel as hollow. I’m not saying get rid of the spirit; you just have to get around to explaining either its motivation or its reasoning. Show that Toph is capable of revealing this emotional and deep side of herself without the meddling of a spirit.
Who should read When Past Meets Present? Anyone who’s a fan of Toph should definitely give this one a look.