|Reviews for Shift|
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 43
Yet another cliffhanger ending! You certainly enjoy torturing your readers, don't you? XD
I...actually don't think I have a lot to say about this chapter, because I liked it so much. It wasn't intense or particularly emotional, like some of the other high notes in this story, but it just unfoldeed in a very satisfactory way. Satisfactory...that's the only way I can describe it. Just a joy to read, with the plot and character progression flowing seamlessly, as well as the dispensing of information and the seeding of new mysteries. Sorry, I'm not making much sense, I know...
Right now there's a lot I don't know, ranging from what happens at the very end to why Masahiko was so interested in Yuki and friends. So I feel like I can't exactly comment on that stuff, because I know it will be revealed soon (but I'm impatient! XD). I do enjoy the character development in this chapter, especially Chiharu's. It strikes me that you're using Chiharu as a bit of a foil to Saki; both are girls who are very physically strong and good at fighting, but their outlooks and personalities couldn't be more different. I really do adore how you play around with traditional shonen roles, especially in relation to gender. In any other shonen manga, Chiharu - the emotionless fighter - would be a guy, and Saki - the childhood protector - would also be a guy. Instead, you made them both girls, and that changes quite a lot of the dynamics between them. It's fascinating. I love their conversation, how awkward and strange it is and how they both clearly come from completely different worlds, and can therefore barely understand the other.
And of course, Yuki is classic Yuki, and I love seeing him like this. His good cheer is a nice contrast to Saki's anxiety, which permeates the entire chapter - I think you made a good decision making Saki the focus of the chapter, because not only could you build on the contrast between her and Chiharu, you gave us a viewpoint that readers could more easily relate to than Yuki's carefree wonder and Haruo's...well, mysteriousness. By this point, I am certain there is a lot more to Haruo.
I am starting to notice that the number of characters keeps increasing. You're doing a good job juggling them so far, though some (Seiji, Hiroshi, Yuki's family) have been out of the story for a rather long time.
Turns out I had a lot to say anyway...well, I'm reading on!
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 42
Hahaha, well, if there's one thing I've come to expect from Shift, it's the unexpected! Seriously, you are taking this story into directions that I never would have fathomed. And it's awesome.
At first we have a confrontation that quickly ends thanks to Chiharu (who is sheer unleaded badassery), and then MEN IN BLACK SHOW UP. MEN IN BLACK, WTFFF! WTF in a completely good way. And then they kidnap Yuki and Saki and the other boy and yet they bring Yuki's manga with them and at that point I gave up trying to figure out what was going on and just went along with the ride. It helps that the three's reactions are so different - Saki is panicking as a normal person would, Yuki is being nonchalant daydreamy Yuki, the other boy doesn't seem to really have an opinion at all (I am mighty curious about him still, I must admit).
You just masterfully build up the tension while everyone's stuck in the house, interspersed with comic relief from Yuki (yakuza, really? Loling forever). And then you end with that massive bang. Beautiful. I mean, I knew Chiharu was connected to all this, but being from some powerful traditional wealthy family? Given the way she acts, I hadn't suspected it at all.
I'm super excited to find out more, so I'll keep on reading.
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 41
Hell of a cliffhanger!
Well, this was a fun chapter. A nice lighthearted ride, which I think is meant to mostly explore Yuki and Saki's relationship. You seem to like doing that, but I don't mind because I find their dynamic fascinating, too. I especially love the paragraph at the beginning where Yuki muses on what Saki would do to him if he spends too long in the bookstore. These two really do have an easy rapport and it shows in your writing. You know them quite well; nothing about their relationship feels fake or forced.
And lol, once again Yuki gets the completely wrong impression of a situation. Poor Saki...
Chiharu's single-minded pursuit of strong opponents is a pretty common trope in shonen manga, but it usually belongs to hotblooded men, not middle school girls. Another way where you like to subvert common stereotypes. I like her a lot and I hope she has a bigger role to a play. You could do a lot with a character like her.
The big, silent guy hasn't spoken yet, but I get the feeling he's going to be more important. In any event, I'm curious to see more, and definitely itching to see how this cliffhanger will resolve itself, so reading on!
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 40
Well, this was an interesting chapter. Quite different from any chapter so far, but in a good way.
I like that you're focusing on Saki here, because she's always been one of my favorites. And the opening of the chapter...well, it's a real doozy. I don't believe that the psych ward of a hospital actually works like that, though it makes for dramatic images (and I'm wondering why Takako's parents don't have her see a therapist; that seems like it'd be more effective than keeping her in the hospital, but those are mere quibbles), and I'm glad that you're exploring the ramifications of Yuki recklessly using his powers. Most shonen stories (or action in general) generally ignore the collateral damage, because who cares, cool fights! But they would have a toll on innocent bystanders, so it's good that you're acknowledging it.
After Saki leaves the hospital, the tone noticeably changes. I wouldn't say it becomes comical, but it does become much lighter. And much more bizarre! I lol'ed at Saki protecting some random boy because she thought he was Yuki; that seems exactly like the kind of thing she'd do. And then this little middle school girl obsessed with strength, and a big silent guy... I barely know these characters, but they already seem fascinating to me, so I'm dying to find out what's going on with them! Definitely reading on
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 39
I must admit, the fight ended a little more abruptly than I expected. Especially considering how much trouble the assassin gave Yuki and friends in the previous chapter...it seems strange that Ayumi would suddenly just defeat her like that with some unexplained light-and-wind power. I don't know, feels a bit too convenient.
And...I don't want to sound mean or anything, but it's pretty obvious that you're following a fairly standard pattern for these mini-arcs and, to be perfectly honest, I am getting a little tired of it. Not enough to stop reading, but enough to make me antsy...I'd like something major and game-changing to happen soon, I suppose. Maybe it's because at this point the stakes are still a little low; I mean, the battles are intense, but once they're over there's really not much in the way of an aftermath. I think this might also relate to the whole thing with the interchangeable, uncharismatic villains who don't have names. I'm a bit sad that this assassin was killed so soon because she seeemd quite fascinating, and potentially a strong enough character to act as a recurring villain.
Perhaps at this point that's what you need - a recurring villain to act as an increased, much greater and more personal threat to Yuki.
I don't want to sound like I hate this story, because I don't. I really do love all the characters and their interactions and the battles are as intense to read as always. I just feel that sometimes you focus more on the character development side, to the detriment of the plot side. I love character development, but in shonen manga I'm looking for as much plot as character development (if that makes sense).
But it's your story and I have faith that you know where it's going, and that the stakes will keep on rising. Perhaps I'm complaining for nothing; I don't know, since I have many more chapters to read. So I'll keep on reading.
And I do love that Yuki and Saki wre finally able to talk things out, plain and clear and one-on-one, and they worked everything out between them. And Yuki-Fumiko nerding for the win. Mostly I just love Fumiko, though. XD
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 38
This has got to be my favorite fight by far. It's intense and desperate, the villain is the most powerful yet, and Yuki's discovering new powers. What's there not to love?
About Yuki's new powers...I'm really loving them, and I love how they're so video-gamey. It makes sense for someone like Yuki. Normally I would complain about a main character having a power like Yuki's, since it would allow him to pretty much create anything he imagined, but it's working well so far because Yuki himself is confused by his power and his power isn't completely godly, either. It's clear that even with his arsenal of videogamey spells, he can't defeat this assassin.
This assassin, too, is a fascinating villain and her powers seem dangerously mysterious (I feel like I've almost got them figured out, but not exactly...I am desperate to know what is going on with them!). I like that she can hold her own against Ayumi, and is even more powerful than Ayumi. Ayumi so far has been able to handle herself well against the assassins, so it's nice to see a villain who poses a challenge. I'm interested in knowing more about this assassin. Maybe even her name will be enough, since it's plain that she and Ayumi know each other.
The descriptions of her costume changes, as well as of Yuki's spells, are quite vivid and evocative. I think it's clear that you are a visual thinker, and that really helps give this a manga-ish tone.
I'm reading on!
| Bickazer 8/2/11 . chapter 37
This may be my favorite fight so far. We get a sense of two equals matching up, instead of the David-like heroes struggling against Goliath-like villains, and I think that by this point, a fight between equals is kind of necessary. And this new assassin seems quite interesting...for one thing, she seems to have a history with Ayumi. So Eudokia is Ayumi's real name, hmmm...
You are right that the villains are growing more charismatic, and I hope that this trend continues. For me at least, villains can often make a shonen manga (cough the only reason I stuck with Bleach as long as I did was because I liked the Espada cough).
And the scene with Yuki and Fumiko! I think I was waiting for something like that for the longest time. A scene where Yuki uses his power to all its potential, /deliberately/. Well there was some desperation involved, but the fact remains that he called forth the power on his own and knew exactly what he was doing, and I don't think we've seen Yuki use his powers like that yet. He really is growing as a person. I really do like him, which is unusual because I normally am not overly enamored with the heroes of shonen manga; they're often a bit bland and colorless to me and I never find their desire to protect people very genuine. Yuki is different, though - he's a complicated kid with a lot of layers, and you've characterized him and everyone else well enough that I find myself really /believing/ that he wants nothing more than to protect the people around him, and it doesn't come across as cheesy. It's powerful.
And Fumiko joins the fight...I'm loving how you're introducing characters, by the way, and having them get involved with Yuki's adventures. It's just quite natural and easy to follow.
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 36
Ahhhhh some ending!
This chapter is really just a single rush, building and building until that climactic moment at the very end. I love how at first we're not sure who's right - Yuki or Fumiko - but then it becomes clear as we get closer to the end that something is definitely off about that girl. And then, BAM! Wonderful impactful way to end a chapter.
But Yuki...agggh, Yuki's an idiot. I feel sorry for him, but come on, he really just needs to sit down and talk with Saki nice and long! Instead he goes off and runs away, and he can't even prevent Fumiko from getting hurt. *shakes head* He must be feeling pretty terrible right now.
I'm wondering if this mysterious girl is the one who Ayumi was talking to earlier. Well, I can only find out one way, so I'm reading on!
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 35
Hmm, Fumiko is quite interesting to me. She seems a bit like a knight/prince type of character, and I love that character type - only when they're girls, of course. (coughUtenacough) And Ayumi's crush on her is just plain adorable. XD
As for the rest of the chapter, I'm glad that Yuki is finally moving. This has needed to happen for the longest time, and it makes perfect sense that Ayumi is the one who pushes him into moving. At this point, I really don't feel like I ship Yuki/Ayumi; rather, I prefer them like this, with Ayumi being the one who pushes and motivates him, even if she can be forceful and tactless - that's often the only way to make Yuki move. And I feel that Yuki needs someone like that, but he's not someone who will move on his own except in the most extreme of circumstances.
And yeah...none of this is making any sense, sorry.
I'm looking forward to seeing Yuki and Saki air out their issues with one another. They've needed to do this for the longest time already. So I'm reading on
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 34
Well, this was interesting...
I do wish that Yuki and Saki could just sit down and talk. They can't stay like this forever! It's getting frustrating, to tell the truth, but I have faith that you won't try to artificially extend the drama.
I am wondering why Ayumi bothers maintaining the act. Is there a reason behind it, besides her wanting to deflect suspicion from herself or something? It seems a rather inconvenient act at times. I'm sure Ayumi could have taken all those boys with her eyes closed, but maybe having a reputation as a fighter would not serve her purposes well.
Fumiko...is interesting. I'm unsure what to think of her, except I do believe that she must have something to do with the main plot. I could be way off mark, though, considering that so far Yori and Yumi don't and I was expecting that they would. *shrug* Nonetheless, I do like the reaction Fumiko's inspired from Ayumi! Hahaha, Les Yay, isn't it fun? And kind of adorable, too.
I'll keep reading!
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 33
Hmm, again I'm not sure what to think. It seems the story's getting a lot more character-driven at this point, which wasn't what I was expecting. So I'm a bit surprised, but again, not in a bad way.
Throughout this entire chapter, I couldn't stop aching for Yumi. She just...I mean, I don't want to get too personal, but I do identify very strongly with her. Maybe others would find it ludicrous that she'd faint because of that and agonize over something so intensely, but I can understand that too well. I just want the poor girl to be happy... Although I was lol-ing over her overdramatized mental image of Yuki carrying her.
I really love Yuki in this chapter, too. I always love it when the main character of a story is the 'Messiah,' the type who's able to inspire all the other characters. We haven't seen much of that part of Yuki so far, although it's implied that there is a reason all his friends are so protective of him, and now that we get to see him being wise and dispensing advice, I can understand why. And I really do like it. I feel that Yuki is a lot more mature than he appears to be.
I'm not quite sure what that decision he made is supposed to be, but maybe I ended up forgetting something. *shrug*
I also do feel that Yori acquiesced a little too easily, but at the same time, Yumi was probably making a mountain out of a molehill. It's clear that Yori respects Yumi and will let her set her own boundaries and make her own decisions, and Yumi's overreacting a little because so far she hasn't ever really gone against him. I guess it's the sort of thing that could be interpreted a few ways, though.
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 32
Well, I don't really know what to say... This is quite a different chapter than all of the other ones. I'm not sure what it has to do with the overarching plot, but I did enjoy reading it.
You do an excellent job with characterization - both at giving hidden depths to characters we already know, and building up strong, convincing personalities and backstories to newly introduced characters. So it makes sense you'd take a chapter to deepen the characterization of someone who so far has been incidental at best. I get the feeling that you're delving this deep into Yumi's past because you intend on her playing a much bigger role, and I'm curious as to what role that might be.
And Yumi's backstory itself...oh God. So depressing, without being cheesy. And it makes perfect sense given her personality. I really have nothing to say on it, except that it's powerful in an understated way, and I can totally see it occurring in an actual manga.
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 31
Well...that was completely different from what I was expecting. Just goes to show I shouldn't have too many expectations when it comes to Shift, I guess. *shrug*
Not that I didn't like it. I've noticed that you seem to like following intense battles with calmer, school life chapters, and it is a good way to create a nice breather after such dramatic action. And a good way to get us to know the characters better. Indeed, despite being a shonen manga, I feel that this story is very character-driven. In a good way.
I admit I was a bit confused as to who Yumi was, since she didn't have much of a presence in previous chapters, but I remembered well enough and this chapter feels enough like an introduction to her character to keep me from getting too lost. I quite like her, too. Her relationship with Yori is quite interesting, and her crush on Yuki is so adorable. :) She really is a completely different kind of character from the other protagonists so far, and it's like a nice breath of fresh air.
I can't help but shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen to her...I surely do hope I'm wrong. But I also appreciate the look into how Yuki's other classmates, outside his circle of friends, view him. His reputation does appear to still create a lot of trouble for him.
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 30
Oh, right, the rest of the chapter. Well! The fight ended up being much shorter than I expected, and I thought that Hiroshi would get involved, but I really do like the way it turned out. Seiji in a priest uniform using priest powers is a particularly awesome image, and I'm glad you didn't wait to explain it - and it makes sense that Yuki's powers would have an impact like that. I like the nature of Seiji's powers, too, but I've always had a weakness for barrier warriors. And I particularly adore how you use teamwork in fights - it's not just the main character and a sidekick that exists only to make the main character look cooler; it's real synergy between two equals. Just love it.
I'm hoping Yuki gets to be able to control his power soon. He won't show much significant growth until that happens, I feel. I have to admit that his current nature, unleashing his powers only in desperate situations, is getting a little old.
Speaking of the cliffhanger, I get the feeling we're about to see a more charismatic villain, just as you promised. I have my suspicions about who it is, but I'm not going to make a fool of myself guessing. So...reading on!
| Bickazer 7/25/11 . chapter 29
That's the only way I can describe this. It just...I really have no coherent words. This is just so...so damn...you know, you have such a way with fight scenes. A way of combining action and drama and character development and relationships, all in one, and turning what could be a dully written action scene into a breathtaking experience. The best thing is, I could see such fights occurring in an actual shonen manga. And yeah, I know I've said such things a billion times before and you're probably sick of hearing them, but it never ceases to amaze me how much of a grasp you have on shonen manga, what makes shonen manga tick and what makes it exciting and worth reading. I don't know, I feel like a lot of the stories in this site's manga section only follow the surface conventions of manga - crazy hair, bloody fight scenes - without any of the soul. Without any real /understanding/ of the genre, I mean. You have that understanding. It's not about the battles, it's not about the hair, it's not even about the sexism. It's about heart and soul, tying action together with character development and genuine emotion. And you do that so brilliantly during this fight. This may even be my favorite fight so far. It's just...the intensity of Yuki's and Seiji's feelings, the flashbacks that you weave into the action (exactly as they would be in an actual shonen), and the sheer badassery of facing off against a powered opponent with just their bare fists...it's enough to get your blood pumping.
And especially considering that we've only known Seiji for what, three, four chapters? And you make his history with Yuki, and his feelings for Yuki, come across so clear that we can't help but root for him. On that note, I really do get the feeling that you are deliberately paralleling Seiji with Saki, especially with the desire to fight for Yuki since Yuki can't. Oh God, I may even be starting to ship Seiji/Yuki to an extent...hahaha, ignore me, I'm an unrepetant slasher.
And you have a real way with cliffhangers, you know that? There's no way I can stop reading now. I /need/ to find out what happens next, and now!