Length: 7 Chapters, Complete
Sources: Ranma ½, Oh! My Goddess, Sailor Moon
The Good: Uncommon crossover, Draws me to re-read it again and again despite it’s flaws, Old enough and good enough to have possibly created the clichés it uses, Lots of great quotable bits
The Bad: Has quite a few plot elements which have since become clichés, The ending doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as in many modern fics and some people can’t get over that
The Ugly: Akane-bashing
Ok, today’s review (A.K.A. my excuse for relaxing with some fanfiction as a reward for getting some work done 😛 ) is for “Chaotic Future” by Cloud Dreamer. This one has been around since before I started into fanfiction (some would call it a classic) and this is probably my third or fourth read of it, so I’m surprised I didn’t get around to reviewing it already.
Anyway, the story is a lockfic and a Ranma/Oh! My Goddess/Sailor Moon crossover. Ranma insults Skuld and she decides to get back at him by locking him in female form. Ranma’s foot-in-mouth disease then proceeds to send things to hell in a handbasket and Kami-sama punishes Skuld for injuring Ranma by turning her male and locking away her powers until Ranma names Skuld’s firstborn child. Naturally, Ranma freaks out.
Now, at first, this may sound cheesy and clichéd, but it’s the details which make it work. It all starts when Ranma sees Skuld’s debugging mallet and makes an offhand comment about “tomboys everywhere”. Goddesses are beings of order and are mildly allergic to chaos magic by nature. Hence, Ranma’s Jusenkyo curse makes Skuld irritable and confrontational without her noticing or knowing why. Cue “Ranma insults ‘tomboy’; ‘Tomboy’ gets angry” scene. This time, Ranma almost gets away with it, but anyone who knows Skuld will remember that her hammer has a telescoping handle.
Belldandy proceeds to explain Ranma’s curse to Skuld, both as the reason she’s feeling irritable and so Skuld knows to refer to Ranma as “he”. This gives Skuld the idea to lock Ranma’s curse and, after a short break for Cologne to explain to Ranma that he’s just insulted a goddess and that is why she can lock and unlock his curse so easily, he asks Belldandy whether she can unlock the curse.
She tells him that she can, but as a matter of honor between her and her sisters, she won’t without Skuld’s permission. Ranma’s reply is in the form of a comment
So it is true. The gods and goddesses really are cruel and petty. They use false honor to justify harming others, just like Saffron did. and Skuld loses it. Ranma almost dies from the divine hammer blow and, as punishment, Kami-sama seals Skuld’s power and turns her into a boy. “He” is also on probation and bonded to Ranma to ensure that they can’t kill each other. Skuld proceeds to faint… not that they get along any better when “he” wakes up:
“Wait!” He yelled; having gained Ranma’s attention, Skuld hesitantly continued, “Ranma, what about me? You heard what the message said, unless you name our first born child, I’ll be locked like this forever.”
Ranma absently scratched her head and said, “What’s the problem with that? I think you’d be glad to be a guy now.” She smirked and added, “That’s one way to avoid being called a tomboy after all.”
Skuld stiffened in anger and hissed, “Really? So you don’t think there is anything wrong with being frozen in the wrong gender?” The young god then yelled in Ranma’s face, “Well, in that case, you can stay a girl for all I care.”
The story has a fair number of clichés, but keep in mind that this is old enough to have started some of those clichés and it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. Besides, clichés aren’t as bad somehow when you’re seeing them in stories written before they became clichéd. (Don’t believe me? Watch the Fushigi Yuugi anime) It’s probably because bad writing makes any flaws grate on your nerves. Besides, good authors mix them with quotes like this one:
Pay? Where did this bill in my hand come from? The Pig-tailed-girl ate THAT much? No, don’t accuse a goddess like that of thievery, obviously she entreats me to succor her from her companion’s gluttony. You do take plastic do you not? Good, here’s my Samurai Gold card; what do you mean you’ve never heard of it. Peasant!
That kind of creative quality continues throughout the story. My only real complaint about this is the hardcore Akane-bashing and I’m not defending that. I think the main reasons I tolerate it are:
- Cloud Dreamer has Akane realize that she has a temper problem in the third chapter.
- With enough quality, one can sometimes get away with being out of character. I suspect it’s related to the difference between an out-of-character story and an alternate universe story being one part quality and two parts presentation.
On the plus side, the story has been proofread very well by today’s standards. I’ve only noticed two typos (“shown” instead of “shone” in chapter 6 and “Kanatsu” instead of “Konatsu” in chapter 7) and, though I’m less likely to notice them while reading casually, I haven’t noticed any grammatical errors either.
Of course, the biggest indicator of quality in the face of cliché elements and Akane-bashing is probably the number of times I’ve re-read it. I can count the number of stories I’ve re-read more than once with my fingers and that’s including the professionally published stuff. (More than twice on one hand) It’s a rare story which balances length and quality this way (Too long and I won’t re-read things because it’s too much effort) and, even if I’m not entirely sure why, something keeps drawing me back.
Read it or don’t read it. I liked it and I’m sure I’ll re-read it yet again eventually.