|Reviews for Hakujou na Enjinsha Black Jack|
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 8 . 12/15/2013
Build up the tension a bit more. Things feel like they move quite fast, and slowing it down will really help draw the reader in more. You could do with building on Akina’s emotions and thoughts more, too. Like I said, it’s a little too fast in places and I feel like we still don’t really know her as a character. In places here, she seems a bit dense, too – the end bit with the officers is a great place for some dramatic tension, especially as she’s already found the artefacts lying around and is starting to piece things together. With that end scene, maybe just have a moment where she figures out why they’re there. You could build a bit more on her conflicted feelings, too, her struggle to accept or realise what’s going on with Jin. There are some great moments where we could really feel for her and what she’s going through, but I feel like you sort of skim past it to try to get in more action. Good luck and really hope this helps.
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 7 . 8/8/2013
[I'd been keeping a close eye on Jin ever since he had collapsed a few days ago; every moment I wasn't engaged was spent watching and observing his behaviour.] Feel like this could be two sentences. ‘few days ago. Every moment I wasn’t…’ Like I said before, shorter sentences are usually better. [Moreover, he still refused to meet my eyes and was quieter than usual, which was a problem.] Again you could cut this down. Drop the ‘moreover’ and ‘which was a problem’. The last bit is more telling, and you can show it to be a problem. How is it a problem? Is it because it makes her uncomfortable, is it because it means he might be hiding something? Expand on her thoughts around that, show why it’s a problem rather than just stating that it is. [What person with a shred of decency would attack their colleague for whatever reason?"] As dialogue, it’s a little too lengthy; maybe cut out the ‘for whatever reason’. [and all he wanted to do was confirm Jin's ability was less than it was reputed to be.] I feel like you could reword that and make it shorter; the reader is already aware from what has been said that that’s what he’s trying to do. Doesn’t need the repetition. There are a few more instances of things along similar lines throughout, so just look out for things like that.
Plot wise, like I said before, you’ve got a really interesting plot here and you’re building it up well. I can’t help but wonder what the link is between Black Jack and Jin and whether Jin actually is Black Jack, or if there’s something else going on. You have nice hooks to keep the reader wanting to read, just work on the sentences a little – remember, shorter, snappy sentences help build tension, and you can always use the characters emotions and actions to build the scenes up more – and polish it up to make it even stronger.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 15 . 7/7/2013
I'm sorry it's taken me a while to review- I've been really busy.
I really liked the opening with the dream- dramatic and exciting!
It was fascinating to really see Black Jack close up here. You'd really effectively built the story up to this point, maintaining the reader's curiosity. It really shows some careful plotting and very effective tension. I do like that you've still maintained plenty of mystery, too.
"I was there," he whispered [I found this particularity chilling. You've demonstrated that Black Jack is scary so this works very well.]
It was sweet to hear Jin's worries about Akina. I think that Black Jack has underestimated her, though.
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 6 . 5/6/2013
I feel like Jin is too perfect. Or he comes across as such, anyway. It makes it kind of hard to like him as a character. [I realised it was Kana.] With first person, you want to try to watch out for redundant uses of ‘I’. This, for example, could just be “It was Kana.” [The hem of a cloak of some description flapped about his legs in the wind.] Don’t think you need ‘of some description’ there. It doesn’t add anything to the sentence, and shorter sentences tend to make for better action/tension scenes. I find it odd that the car drives off, then stops and it feels short enough that the girls can get there in almost no time. It really stuck out to me – why get him in the car at all if he’s just going to jump straight back out? Just a small plot thing you may want to consider. Maybe slow the girls down, so it feels like it takes just a little longer for them to reach the car. ["That has yet to be confirmed," I told him. "Once the fires are completely extinguished and the general area is safe to enter, we'll be able to ascertain that."] First part feels awkward. Maybe just “Yet to be confirmed.” As for the second part, surely as an official he would know that already? Just feels, again, a little redundant.
[especially since Black Jack managed to escape with the Karcharias Dagger."] again, feels a bit lengthy, and those present are aware of this – you could cut it down to just “since he escaped with the dagger.” I feel like that’s the main thing with this; in some places, you could really heighten the tension by dropping certain words.
The plot is really interesting, and I think you’ve created a nice situation with the dagger going missing and them having to move on to the new object. Good luck and, as always, hope this helps.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 14 . 4/14/2013
Blood. [Nice dramatic opening!]
It all happened very quickly. [Jin's POV is good here. I think you could skip the bit where you repeat what happened, though, and go straight into the bit where he hits the ground- that might have more immediacy, if that makes sense.]
the voracious darkness tugged at me [I like this description.]
It's very interesting to see more of Black Jack close up. I'm wondering if Jin is going to find out some of the mystery soon. The description of Black Jack really works- it definitely conveys someone mysterious and sinister, making me worried for Jin and giving good context for Akina's worries.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 13 . 3/3/2013
Some great action here and I like how you describe it- you use just enough description to immerse the reader fully into the scene without slowing it down. I really got a good sense of the moving train.
In terms of characters, I think Kana was particularly interesting here. So far she hasn't had many opportunities to demonstrate her abilities so it was interesting to see her shoot Jack and then look after Akina.
One thing I wasn't sure about:
"Can you identify him with any particular ethnic group?" [This seems like too much of a leading question- like they expected him to be Anglian. It might be that they know more than they let on, but I think the dialogue here would be more natural if they just asked for a description of him.]
Overall, an exciting chapter. I'm interested to find out about the cliffhanger!
| Dreamers-Requiem chapter 5 . 3/2/2013
I feel like a lot of this is very dialogue heavy. You have a tendency to tell, rather than show, especially when it comes to the character's and their reactions to each other. I can't help but feel that at times, she is a bit too hard on Kana, and Jin is just a bit too easy. In some ways, he just comes across as way too perfect. You may want to change it so it's all past tense; you sometimes switch between past and present, and unless done really really skilfully (as in, there's very few people who can pull off present tense well) present just comes across as stilted. It can drag the story a bit. There doesn't seem to be too much going on here, either, and the plot itself...maybe you could speed it up a bit? Although I'm enjoying the story, I don't feel as hooked into it as I would expect to feel by this point.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 12 . 2/4/2013
I love that this story isn't at all predictable. I was really surprised when Jin turned up!
I liked the bit of scene setting and description about the landscape here. It was interesting to see how Kana really isn't familiar with the countryside at all- I'm guessing quite a few people are like that, as they don't seem to be surprised. Anyway, it adds some interesting touches to the depth of the world-building/society.
The contrast between this nice bit of scene setting and the drama of the action scene is great. It helps the action to seem even more fast-paced and exciting. Good cliff-hanger too! I'm wondering how they are going to find Jin again.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 11 . 1/19/2013
I like the conversation between Akina and Jin, where Akina questions Jin. The way Akina speaks and the questions she chooses to ask really reveal her state of mind. It's clear that she at least wants Jin to be innocent and is really worried about what could happen.
It's interesting to see that Seiren are incredibly suspicious of Jin, despite some evidence that should give them doubt about that, e.g. the fire incident in Alemanya. They don't seem to be treating him well either, and that raises questions about the real agenda/integrity of the organization. I'll be interested to see what happens with that in future chapters- I do wonder how Akina is going to react to that in the long term.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 10 . 1/6/2013
I really like the flashback here- it gives a lot of insights into Jin and Akina's personalities and I have to admit I was curious about how they met. Only one comment- there were a lot of unnamed characters in the section where they do the assignment- it might be clearer to reduce the number of students in their group, maybe just to one extra student beside themselves. Other than that though the section was great.
The second part of this chapter was also very interesting. You've kept up the suspense re Jin's identity- I really can't predict the final truth at all, so I'm fascinated.
| Loraine Wentworth chapter 9 . 12/16/2012
Sorry this review is so late- I've not been on fictionpress for a while.
Anyway, this was another enjoyable chapter. There is some really clever drama here. I really find myself wondering whether Jin is guilty or if he was setup- this adds some really exciting depth and mystery to his character.
The way you deal with Akina's feelings of betrayal and confusion here works well. She's disarmed by it, which makes a lot of sense, considering that Jin is her closest friend. It looks like she believes Jin to be innocent- I'm wondering whether she is right or in denial?
Keeping Kana quiet in this chapter as also a good idea, because it meant she didn't distract me from the important events that were going on.
| Pallakis chapter 6 . 12/1/2012
All previous chapters were completely rid of any grammar mistakes, as much as my flawed eye saw. I'm not much of a grammar person, you see, however, in this chapter I noticed:
"I glanced at Jin, who immediately averted his eyes, as if by instinct."
I think the correct one would be:
"I glanced at Jin, who immediately averted my eyes, as if by instinct."
Another one I saw at the end wasn't much of a grammar mistake, just a bit clumsy style.
"[..]Jin was rarely wrong. I hoped he wouldn't prove me wrong."
Those two 'wrongs' bite in my ear. I think the correct way would be:
"[..]Jin was rarely wrong. I hoped he would prove me right (about that)."
Overall the story is very interesting. The plot has quick pace, it is quite intriguing, however, for my taste the thing about Jin being the Black Jack is too blatant. (if he isn't, then you're doing everything right)
Sorry, I cannot say much about plot. Any plot, not just yours. I really like the story, how it flows.
At first I outright hated any character that wasn't Akina. Why? Because Kana was damn annoying, her bubbly nature and stupid thinking made me want to slap her into the next century. See, I really hate her type of character, those stupid, yet cutesy, sweet and bubbly characters always make me want to puke. However, in this chapter she grew. I saw her growth. We see her being useful, pulling Akina out of danger, there she has the common sense. She is the one who spots not-Jin and shows it to Akina. We see her cleaning her weapons, which indicates that there IS some use of her, that she is actually maybe good at what she does.
I at first had strong dislike for Jin too. I disliked everything but his name - it made me think of Gin, both the alcohol and the bottled spirit. However, I disliked him, but didn't want to kill him like I did with Kana. He seems like a kind of a Marty Stu. He is hinted to be the best of the best, he does everything for the good of others and blah blah blah. Also the way Akina always says 'but he was better than me at this or that', it just makes me think - whether it's that Akina idolizes Jin (which makes her shunning Kana for idolizing Jin ironic) or that Jin really is very close to a Marty Stu. I'll only see if I prove right through the next chapters, that is, will he grow or will he not - that is the question.
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 3 . 11/30/2012
Jesus Christ, Kana lays it on thick, doesn't she? She's so disgustingly obvious it'd make my jaw hurt from the teeth grinding if I had to deal with her in real life. I *hate* women (girls?) like that. Makes me want to drop kick her every time she "shrilly" says anything or "gushes", and the "ooohhh, you're soooo strooonnngg..." comment. *gnashes teeth and restrains desire to slap fictional character* Blech.
[It was all I could do to stop myself from repeatedly slamming my head against the side of the aircraft.] Heh heh heh.
["Looks like I'll be needing it," she muttered as her seatbelt clicked securely.] What a bitch.
[She glared at me. "Clearly, your flying is giving him motion sickness."] I hope she dies. Seriously. Waste of breathable air.
Eh. Most of my commentary this chapter is related to my disgust for Icky Goo-goo Miss Sh*t-for-Brains, my apologies. But I feel like the majority of the chapter was me hating her, so. Maybe that can't be helped.
I feel like it was laid on very thick, but then some people are like that and you certainly did a fantastic job of making her a hate-able character without actually making her evil, so that's good. I think this chapter did a lot for setting up the character dynamics and personalities. I look forward to seeing what Jin has planned to help them 'get to know each other'.
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 2 . 11/30/2012
I like the sharp contrast in tone between the prologue and the opening chapter. It sets them nicely apart and makes the transition from scene-setting third-person to storytelling, day-to-day life first-person much smoother.
I also especially like the way you handled the 'mediocre' details of the opening scene. In just a couple paragraphs - not too much dawdling - you do a good job cluing us into who this narrator is, where they are in life, and what makes them tick. Even just this sentece says something [I grabbed the first shirt, sweater and jeans I could reach from the pile of clean clothes and went to the bathroom to change.] - clean and presentable, but practical and not particularly concerned with appearance. So nice job there.
I feel like the presentation of the rookie girls getting excited about how 'pretty' the jeweled ring was was a little irritating. Yes, many girls are like that and it's eye-roll worthy, but isn't this supposed to be a professional academy for bounty hunters? Would girls who are in that profession in the first place really be like that most of the time? I'd think that those who ended up there would *mostly* be of a more down to earth type, and presenting them en-masse as floosy seems a little cliche. Mostly it strikes me as an effort to set the narrator aside as special due to her sensibility, but since this isn't a normal academy, it comes off a little superficial.
I like Jin's character, though. Intelligent but shy is an awesome combo in a guy, and I kind of want to clobber "Kondou-san" over the head or spit in her cereal or something. Seriously, she's an embarrassment to women everywhere.
| Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 11/30/2012
I like the details you use to set up the scene in your opening. You do a good job painting that starting picture and setting the mood so that it opens with a mental image almost like a mystery/suspense comic book. Noir-esque, if you will.
I think the opening prose could have been strengthened if you condensed some of the details and eliminated dead verbs where you can (dead verbs: is/was/were, be/being/been, has/have/had, etc. - i.e., verbs that don't actually denote action), since when there's a lot of them in a condensed section it bogs down the writing.
I enjoyed the snippet of dialogue at the end. Though you used it sparingly, it's used well and not only sounds realistic - bringing up the possibility of a lesser criminal faking Black Jack's trademark as a way to divert attention off of oneself is interesting and not something I'd have thought of on my own - but it also reveals to the reader some crucial information about Black Jack. You also leave us with a hook, which is always good. It's not the most heart-stopping page turner ever, but it definitely has impact that makes an impression, and I think that's the goal there, so good job.
- Moonstar, through RH