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What Was The Best Arc?

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Author Topic: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)  (Read 141946 times)

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Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #555 on: January 11, 2022, 07:28:56 AM »
indeed, an upgrade to an older piece of work can certainly make it more fresh again, with usually a bump up in quality due to the skill you've gained in the meantime.
man I really should get round to doing more reading of everyone's stories....one day I'm sure....
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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #556 on: January 13, 2022, 04:31:36 PM »
Oh, thanks Op and Suuper! Retouching these stories has been a great experience, despite all the tiring, hard work.

Actually, I kinda wanted to get some opinions on some rather spoilery topics regarding the story, as well as the moral/ethical implications of this specific aspect of the story, I suppose.  :clapping:

Just to highlight how much Death by Ex-Girlfriend has changed because of this retouching, I am currently in the middle of rewriting the final entry, The End of Osamu Ashikaga. It's the scene where Osamu and Hima are discussing plans for the Third Great Holy War in the bath.

It was a generally light-hearted scene in the original draft posted here. In the new version, Osamu is laying out his philosophy on war and your boy is currently justifying his plans to commit genocide against the Shinto pantheon.

Originally, the Third Great Holy War was something Hima kinda just dragged Osamu and his family into, but now it's something that both Osamu and Taeko have masterminded together while keeping Yoko and the girls almost entirely in the dark. As paradoxical as it may seem, the goal of waging this war is to create the conditions for world peace.

He has a three-point plan. First, ensure the Third Great Holy War is burned into the cultural memory of Japan and the world at large.

Osamu firmly believes that if the Third Great Holy War becomes the most destructive and vicious conflict ever witnessed in history, it will inspire the societal upheaval necessary to renew a global aversion to war (think how the horrors of the holocaust inspired the mentality of "Never Again" and the kollektivschuld of the German people, even for generations that didn't have anything to do with WWII).   :hmm:

To create the conditions for this, he and Taeko masterminded an attack on Kyoto that specifically targeted civilians as well as exorcists.

Second, shift the power of balance between the nations involved. This really just comes down to helping Hima establish the New Vampirical Monarchy and uniting the scattered, vampire race under its banner. There's also the whole thing with Osamu having Inari's blood and heart. That aspect hasn't changed and is a crucial part of his third point.

His idea is that if the New Vampirical Monarchy emerges as a superpower, then facilitates the rebuilding of the Shinto pantheon as a superpower led by Tsukiakari, those two nations can form an alliance. External forces and splinter cells wouldn't stand a chance against such an alliance, and the threat of mutually assured destruction keeps the vampires and Shinto gods from warring against each other.

The third point is what ties it all together and might be my favorite ethical conundrum of his whole plan so far.


Major Spoilers.
Originally, Osamu gave Hima his blood and heart so that she could absorb Inari's blood magic and become powerful enough to swiftly win the Third Great Holy War. That's still part of the plan, but...

Spoiler
Osamu's keeping it a secret that he has already learned to use Inari's blood magic himself. The third step of his plan is to use that power to manipulate Hima into accepting a vow to renounce war. People manipulated by blood magic never even know that they're being controlled. They truly believe their thoughts and actions are of their own free will. He also commands Hima to make the vow a decree in their new nation, and to pass the vow down to heir descendant(s).

By manipulating Hima right before giving her his heart and blood, he achieves a few things. One, of course, Hima accepts the vow. But when she moves to make the vow law in her nation and within her family, she'll unknowingly be using blood magic to brainwash everyone into also accepting the vow. Osamu's ideology doesn't just become law, but the nature of all living things on the planet to abstain from war.

He's going to brainwash everyone into accepting his vision of world peace.

And see, that also raises some questions about the Inari Standoff. How do we know Osamu was acting of his own free will when he heard Inari calling out for help? How do we know her cries for help didn't manifest as a vow to fight by her side, which ended up getting him into this huge mess to begin with?

Is his obsession with creating world peace his own will, or the will of Inari, who lost her friends and family as a result of war? Just whose will is he actually carrying out? His own? Inari's? Some weird combination of both?  :ohmy:

It's been a long time since I've been this invested in my own story lol

Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #557 on: January 14, 2022, 11:50:33 AM »
I mean, morally and ethically, the plan is f*cked, obviously. I would take time to drill that home if that's your main concern. There's no real way to sugar coat it. You gotta get real up front with it, because the characters are no longer thinking in human terms. Not to call them "ascended", but definitely "apart". It's pretty comparable to Leto II's plan in the Dune series to jump start humanity by first locking them down for centuries in religious dogma (and by literally getting rid of their ability to travel through space).

That being said, I think leaving the exact thoughts of the characters open for debate isn't a bad thing. It's one of those spaces where you can leave the question hanging around forever. It's the kind of thing that you want to contemplate and draw your own conclusions on. You have the opportunity to actively ask your readers to ponder the meaning for themselves.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #558 on: January 14, 2022, 01:22:21 PM »
I think perhaps how we *know* if it was her magic controlling him or not is down to how much we trust the character from what we know of them and their motives, like if they are known to be manipulative then there's definitely a chance they were controlling him.
If you the writer say she didn't, and it's more a question of how do you prove to the reader that she wasn't controlling him, then in-story we either have to know she physically didn't do it (i.e. scanning him with magic to determine it), or seeing the type of character she is through interactions or dialogue etc, perhaps an off-comment about how she never expected him to come to help her or something that implies that he was acting of free will. Like if she's grateful for his help, that implies she didn't control him, otherwise why should she thank him. Something like that?

but as Coryn says, leaving it open is equally feasible, it gives readers something to debate and wonder over, and adds more depth somehow compared to open and shut explanations.
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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #559 on: January 14, 2022, 04:07:43 PM »
Hmmm. Yeah I think I agree with that. I think it would be more interesting to leave it up to interpretation. Osamu insists that his actions and thoughts are of his own free will, while the exorcists believe that his dark shift in personality and ideology is because he's still being controlled by Inari's will. Yoko, Izanami, Tsukiakari, and the rest of the girls are all mixed and no one can come to a clean conclusion.

Perhaps letting be ambiguous ties better with the themes of the story, too. The last book really touches on the cause and effect of war, from the perspectives of Osamu, Taeko, and Amaterasu. I think I'll also lean heavily into the moral/ethical issues of Osamu and Taeko's plan.

Osamu doesn't even believe he's good or evil here, but that he's simply doing what circumstance has forced him to do, and that the same is true for the other side.  :hmm: I have to think about how the girls are going to respond to his plan once they're filled in on the details. None of them are going to support genocide, terrorism, and mass brainwashing, of course. Might serve for some very interesting conflict considering how much these girls really love Osamu.

He really hopes it doesn't come to this, but he's already implied that should his wives try to stop him from executing this plan, he'd either manipulate them into accepting his ideology, or he'd just have to kill them  :noidea:

The way it's going, Osamu doesn't care about the human or personal cost of the Third Great Holy War if it means he can successfully create the conditions for world peace.

Hell, would you wage a war this horrible if you had the power to ensure that no more wars could happen after it? It's a hard thing to think about  :hmm:




Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #560 on: January 14, 2022, 04:17:48 PM »
Also the journey from the first volume to final volume is so deserving a galaxy brain meme lol

1st volume: "Haha whacky yandere harem antics with some serious notes about love and suicide"





8th volume: "War is promulgated by generations of dogmatic ideologies and decades of lopsided power balances between nations. I can stop this generational suffering by cleansing the world with fire and genocide, using the resulting horror to scar society enough to push them to avert all future wars"


Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #561 on: January 15, 2022, 10:55:28 PM »
Yeah OhGod, you're definitely an MVP for the way your story develops, lol.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Suuper-san

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (Book of Revenge soon, comrades!)
« Reply #562 on: January 18, 2022, 08:31:29 AM »
ahahaha I guess stories and writing style develop through time XD
With my own stories I feel if I went back I'd write them very differently so perhaps the style you ended up with is your final ultimate style :P
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