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It's been nearly a month since Minnichi's last fanon review - really, one day from now and it's literally a month later. But I won't let myself fall to that all-time-low! Argh! Things in school have just been horrible, yes, but the reviews must go on @_@ Now before some other random 10-page assignment hits me, I'll comment on It All Ends by Mageddon725 - something far more epic and interesting to read than my textbooks.
When I try to think of these random, related-yet-not-really comments about fanons that precede the scores, I attempt to come up with key points to mention. As of now Mage's fanon brings something more like a key word or two. Or more. "Epic," "action," or "creativity?" Hmm, many good qualities in this fanon to choose from!
- Plot - 9.3: This plot is most definitely one of the most complex ones I've seen so far, with the sheer amount of unique elements it's juggling. The Spirit World's incorporation into the series is just genius! However, I do sense a slight lack of balance regarding the antagonist side. The story seems to be protagonist-heavy, and I don't mean that they're talked about more than the antagonists or something. It just feels to me as though the side with the protagonists tends to have the greater amount of detail overall, from character backgrounds, development, to interaction. Mage is one of the few who reflects all important details on both sides, but I would just say to tweak it a tad bit more for the bad guys. Very slight issue, again.
- Organization - 9.7: Couldn't have had a clearer flow throughout the story. Not much to say here! I do feel as though scenes have a tendency to jump quickly, however, especially when the action kicks in. To smooth the flow even more than it already is, I suppose it couldn't hurt to suggest savoring those little breaks between fights just a little more, along with some extra, non-violent character interaction.
- Creativity – 9.0: This little commentary doesn't have so much to do with the plot itself, but with the characters (I see a link to the character development section forming!) While everything is so beautifully creative, there are certain character-related elements that seem consistently familiar, especially when it comes to dialogue. Some of the motives, like the glorification of the Water Tribes or gaining power, are common themes, though the author's twist on it makes up for it largely. However, I would say that Mage could look to see what he can do about his antagonists' lines, which do have a slightly recurring stereotypical tone at times. But the Spirit World shenanigans? I wouldn't have been able to pull that off any day! Bravo to the author for that.
- Writing – 8.9 (x3): I honestly have very little to complain about here. However, the one or two issues I'm addressing do have great importance in my eyes, and as a result the deduction inches up somewhat. Though much of this is conceptual and perhaps subjective, I would say that the author needs to be cautious of his use of suspense and keep a careful eye on it. One of Mage's strongest points in this fanon is the mysteriousness that it never lets up, but there are times when I feel it can be borderline for overuse. Not every chapter, for instance, necessarily has to generate another secret, and I would suggest using only the ones that you are absolutely sure the readers have no clue of. The more hints given towards a secret and the more prolonged it is, the more it loses its effect - so to keep the intensity at the same level, the author could space out a few select and very powerful secrets and reveal them while they're fresh. I wouldn't say that he's not handling them well at the moment, but I believe that improving the current approach could make a significant difference on the effect this story has on readers. The only other issue that comes to mind is some technical visuals that I think could come into play a little more, particularly in the setting. But that aside, this author can really write! Mage definitely has my admiration, that's for sure.
- Character Development - 8.0 (x2) In my opinion, this is a clear standout for the fanon's greatest setback. It's not a major setback, but in comparison to other categories it does fall notably lower. Mages writing is prone to producing a great number of OCs, which I've always been impressed by in his handling of them. However, keeping up with that many can be difficult at times, and there were many instances in which I had to go back to see what their physical appearances were supposed to be. So that makes the first point - appearances should be given to us in little "reminder details" every now and then, with that many characters. But regarding the critical elements, I feel that both the main protagonist and antagonist (Argho and Susanowo) have considerable room for development and growth as people. Their personalities stay very consistent in what they do, in terms of being the good and bad guy, and it's important to keep them well-rounded. Characters like Shen and Moro have wonderful development, but it's the other members of the team that I see a lack of attention to personality-wise. I notice there are also times where non-Avatar team characters will have nice growth, but as things rushed somewhat, elaboration was cut a little short. Improving things like this is the key to making readers feel more emotional connection to the story, and it's definitely something Mage could up a little. Though I must admit...Argho is a pretty epic Avatar.
- Action - 9.2: The author is quite good at writing action. Mage is definitely somewhere up there in my 'epic action writers' list. But I do feel a need to comment on some very technical things, such as the tone of which the action is portrayed. The dialogue, I noticed, can turn more stereotypical during a fight, and there are times when the narration follows that trend too. I think it'd be good to keep a more neutral tone when describing movement, or making sure that any bias towards either the protagonist and antagonist matches their personal feelings and point of view (for instance, a reader should not be able to 'tell' which side the author is rooting for). The only visual issue I'll mention is that there could be a littleee more physical description in attacks. Mage already describes which part of the body does what when attacking, but this is just me pushing for him to strenghen the consistency even more. Nothing else here!
- Believability – 9.0: Only reason for deduction here is that, alas, Mage loves his secrets! They're a good thing really, but since they're still mysterious at the moment, lots of bizarre things are still awaiting explanation. The author will likely convince me why his ideas are plausible later, but right now it's just at a point where one can't do anything other than question the Spiritual phenomena.
Overall Score: 8.89
My advice for Mageddon725: The only thing I think you truly need to tweak a little is your character development. Other than that, your fanon could probably still do fine without taking any of my other suggestions - which were all really just a call for 'more' of something good that was already there. Keep going at it!
Who should read It All Ends? Action lovers! Well - anyone who wants an interesting read, honestly. Mage crafts an intense, unforgettable tale for all. Go for it!