Reviews for Shift
Bickazer chapter 38 . 8/2/2011
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 chapter 37 . 8/2/2011
Well, intense!

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.

Reading on!
Bickazer chapter 36 . 7/25/2011
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 chapter 35 . 7/25/2011
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 chapter 34 . 7/25/2011
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 chapter 33 . 7/25/2011
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.

Reading on!
Bickazer chapter 32 . 7/25/2011
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.

Reading on!
Bickazer chapter 31 . 7/25/2011
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.

Reading on!
Bickazer chapter 30 . 7/25/2011
Ooh...cliffhanger.

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 chapter 29 . 7/25/2011
Holy shit.../intense./

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!
Bickazer chapter 28 . 7/25/2011
The first thing I noticed is that this chapter seems to have a few more mechanical errors than some of the others; not too much to be distracting, but still, somewhat noticeable. *shrug*

With that out of the way, though, I must say I really do enjoy it! The previous two chapters were more or less school/character drama, which I enjoy, but it's refreshing to get a look back at the story's overarching plot - especially the powers. I always love it when you explain the powers, you know? It's so clearly well thought out and makes perfect sense, too. I love that Ayumi has Yuki do sudoku to help him improve his mind; it's very rare in shonen to have the main characters practice arduous mental things instead of doing insane physical training. It somehow seems more realistic that way.

To that end, I love Ayumi and Yuki's student-teacher dynamic. It's completely unlike any I've seen in shonen before, and in a good way. I love how you convey Ayumi's desperation, too; she really does act like someone who's on a tight schedule. And Yuki can't be the easiest student to teach... I admit I don't much enjoy the idiot hero stereotype, but you do it well with Yuki, and I like Yuki anyway, so I can't complain.

I see that Seiji and Hiroshi are about to get involved in the main plot...fasicnating! I like the way you've been doing it, by the way, introducing a few of Yuki's friends at a time to the whole world of powers and assassins. It feels very natural.

I'll keep on reading~
Bickazer chapter 27 . 7/25/2011
The story is moving rather slowly at this point, and I admit - I am getting antsy! I'm hoping for some action soon, because fun as this character stuff is, it's not exactly the main reason why I read shonen. XD

I am a little curious as to what a "shinto technique" is, exactly? I am imagining martial arts, but that seems wrong. Monks who perform martial arts seems more like a Chinese thing. *shrug*

I must say, you are wonderful at creating atmosphere. Throughout this entire chapter, there's this pall...a melancholy aura, almost, or of...I can't really explain it. But it really does feel depressing, very heavy ,and maybe that's part of the reason why I'm having a hard time reading. Not through any fault of your own, but because it just becomes a bit /much/ especially all at once. And there's the feeling of flux, too...of an uncertain state that /needs/ a spark to jump into it, to set it on fire or else nothing will happen, and...

Yeah, I'm babbling. But I can't really explain it. For whatever reason, though, your writing has become very powerful here.

I appreciate more insight into Seiji's character, but now I am /really/ wondering about him. A lot. What role does he have to play? How will his story arc get intertwined with the main plot? I see a lot of parallels between him and Saki, actually; both are (or were) Yuki's best friend who now feel that Yuki is slipping away with them. This may even tie into one of the story's main themes, which is that Yuki must become more independent. As a necessary side effect of that, he has to drift away, somewhat, from his friends.

And I love Shoji. He's so adorable. :)

I'll definitely keep reading.
Bickazer chapter 26 . 7/25/2011
Hmm, well, I admit that the conversation with Saki and Ayumi is frustrating me a bit because everyone just keeps beating around the bush and won't be direct, but hahaha, I'm guilty of writing that kind of conversation too so I shouldn't complain too much about it.

There's a lot you aren't telling us at this point, though ,and I think we need some revelations soon or else I'm just going to become impatient. I don't think I have to worry too much about that, though, since it seems answers will be coming in the next chapter. In any event, I am not entirely sure what to do make of all this, except that I'm always glad for more Yuki backstory and Seiji is quite an interesting character; a bit of an enigma at this point, really ,but I get the feeling that he is connected to the whole assassins and fields deal. I'd love to see much more of him.

Reading on!
Bickazer chapter 25 . 7/25/2011
I'm so sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I really have no excuse.

I admit this chapter feels a little slow, and indeed it feels like it's laying a lot of future groundwork. Not that I mind - these types of chapters are actually my favorites. A breather, almost, after the intensity of the previous arc. I'm glad that I chose to leave off at the end of an arc, too, because it feels a lot more natural getting acclimatized to a story when a new arc is beginning (if this makes any sense).

Right now, quite a bit is being set up and I'm not sure what to make of it. Yori, the watcher, Seiji, the mysterious figure at the end...I am really not sure what direction this story is going to go, and that's exciting to me. I hate it when twists and future directions become too predictable.

So I guess I'll keep on reading.
Bickazer chapter 24 . 6/23/2011
After the exhilarating rush of the last chapter, this one feels a bit underwhelming, to be honest. Arggh...I don't want to be mean, but something about this chapter really didn't /do/ it for me, if you know what I mean...

I really did like the beginning scene, but I'm starting to think any scene that has significant Ayumi and Saki interactions earns an automatic like from me. It's wonderful how much their relationship has changed after they've fought together. And I couldn't help but gigglesnort when they both decided to kick Yuki to wake him up. Those two are both a good influence on Yuki, I think, especially when they're working together. And it was totally heartwarming how Saki thought how she had fulfilled her promise.

It was also creepy in a wonderful way to see how traumatized the prisoners were...made me think the plant-man was doing more than just mind-raping them. He really is a creepy villain...

In fact, that may be why I feel the ending of this chapter doesn't quite work. The prisoners are so damned traumatized, and the three friends are also shaken from their battle, but they all just go off and hang out and make casual jokes like it's another day...I don't know, it doesn't quite work for me. After such an intense battle, I think there needs to be some quieter, more solemn moments of contemplation. I'm also wondering - it's nagging at me - what the freed prisoners are going to do now. Nobody can recover from such a traumatizing incident so quickly, but at the same time if they tell people it will ruin the whole masquerade Ayumi is trying to preserve...

I don't know, maybe you were trying for a happy ending, but I think you were trying too hard. In any event I'd've preferred a more solemn ending, but that could be just me.

This story's still great and really riveting, and I'm 100 percent invested in all the characters, so I'll keep reading on.
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