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Messages - NO1SY

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Develop Your Story / Re: Is my story direction okay?
« on: March 08, 2023, 07:38:48 PM »
First off, it's nice to see a fairly in depth plan, but more importantly, I think, is that you've put some thought into a couple of themes that you want to explore with your story. I am finding that themes may be the best driving force when actually writing a story, as they give figuratively 'tangible' goals for what needs to be portrayed in a chapter or arc. I don't think the structure and context themes give when planning and writing is appreciated enough.

That all being said, I'm a little worried about the angle at which you are looking at the combinations of the Ashi/Shion ship of Theseus and the "hero for the wrong reasons" theme, only because, from what you've written about here, it seems result in Ashi not developing (although this may be because you only lay out one scenario and have plans for him that you have not yet explained). The typical character arc to explore these themes would be to have Ashi start as a complete self interested character that doesn't even bother trying to emulate Shion because he knows he can't, but then gradually learns to be heroic in his own right somehow. Another angle for this could be The Batman: Dark Knight antihero approach, where Ashi is not the hero that the world wants, but he's the one that they have and maybe need. If I'm being honest though, I don't even know if Ashi is required as a character, because at the moment Raine seems to explore the themes you lay out for Ashi already... this relegates Ashi to the role of the exposition character as a stand in for the readers, which is fine I guess...

Aside from this, I am also of the opinion that the magic girls are maybe too powerful individually to be entirely compelling. If you end up agreeing at all, you already have a baked in solution that doesn't require major re-working of your idea: You have laid out how when the magics cooperate, they have a multiplicative effect on their power. Hence, when Shion wields all six magics together, he becomes supremely powerful. However, when the magics split, they become much weaker by themselves. Only through cooperation can they achieve powerful effects again.

As it is, I read the "Raine is trying to blow up the sun and kill everyone" line and kinda felt it was ridiculous... Moreover, it comes across as petulant to the point of evil, which I thought you wanted to avoid?

That said, I do like the idea that each Arcana is unintentionally destroying the world, each in their own way, just by existing without care for having great power. More like they are forces of nature. The issue with this at the moment is that I don't see ideas/plotlines for resolving and preventing these apocalypses in the current plan. For a case study of this being done well, in my opinion, maybe check out the plot surrounding the character Mikoto (The Red King) from K Project.

At a glance, it seems like everything would be more cohesive if all of the girls were compelled to hunt all of the 10000 demons, even if they hate that compulsion, and their indiscriminate use of their power towards that goal is slowly destroying the world around them. The antagonism of the girls, and that antagonsim of the demons seem a little too disparate at the moment. You don't seem to want to go for a pokemon-style Ashi's gotta catch them all approach to Vaccuuming their powers to deal with a demon of the week though, so I'm almost left wondering what the point of having the demons in the story is at all? In my opinion a more refined focus is usually better.

So if we were to go the other way, with the girls becoming the primary antagonists, another question I have is: with all of them ending up so self interested and unruly, why haven't they taken over their own regions and started ruling over everything themselves? Something that is missing from this outline (quite surprisingly) is world-building. I could imagine Memento sitting on a skull throne in a Necropolis kingdom. Hera being doted on by serfs like Cleopatra. Agyros at the head of some fight club or horde. Darkstar as archmagus of a cult or order of arcanas. There just isn't much world around them all yet and it makes it hard to imagine the context of their current existence and, more importantly, the stakes of the story. At the moment, the Arcanas seem to be clashing with each other in a bit of a vaccuum, and it makes it kind of hard to care about the outcomes.

I don't want you to feel that this is all overly negative... these are just off-the-cuff critiques and my opinions/questions meant to offer you some food for thought. Despite waifus really not being my thing, I think that you have some good ideas to work with here, a pretty solid premise, and you definitely are thinking things through with a decent level of depth. I also recommend just sitting down and actually writing some story at this point so you can get a first draft done. Planning can be good but it only gets you so far, and sometimes it's not a good enough representation of the actual story experience to be able to get effective feedback.

Good luck :)

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: March 06, 2023, 05:19:56 PM »
Hooooo boy I have been waaaay too busy these last few weeks... But about a month ago I finally had the pleasure of seeing Katatonia (one of my all time favourite bands) live at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London, supported by SOM and Solstafir. It was phenomenal! I had such a great time and both Solstafir and Katatonia were particularly fantastic! It was also really cool to see such a mix of people in the crowd: old and young, goths and normies, prog nerds in flannel and metalheads with denim tops covered in band logo patches.

Katatonia / Solstafir

Anyways, since then, Katatonia's return, in some respects, to a more goth-rocky sound reminded me of another band that I hadn't listened to in a while, and it has got me listening to them pretty much every day at the moment:

Unto Others play a really cool combination of goth-rock and post-punk, interlaced with some classic heavy metal elements. To me they are basically a more modern and slightly heavier version of The Clash (something I did not know I needed in my life, but am glad I found!). I think their albums and EPs are best approached in reverse order for new listeners though, as they have tipped more towards the post-punk over the heavy metal recently and it is more immediately approachable.

"Strength II - Deep Cuts - EP"
A really nice, short and sweet EP that kinda displays a bit of everything that the band does. I really love the first 3 tracks in particular - 2 that are quite post punk, and 1 that still hits on that classic heavy metal vibe, and all nicely catchy.


This full-length album is beautifully eclectic beneath the consistent goth-rock aesthetic. The opener is blistering and punchy, and "No Children Laughing Now" and "Just a Matter of Time" bring in some of that heavy metal sound. "Downtown", "Little Bird", "Why", "Summer Lightning" and "Instinct" are all even more melodic, but bring varied tempos and styles. "Strength" may even be considered progressive, doing really cool stuff with vocal layering and rounds. Such a cool record.

This was their first full-length and it is absolutely killer! The classic heavy metal elements are much more prominent on this record than their follow up, primarily in the guitar composition and drumming. Once again the songs still feel wonderfully varied. Another banger to open, followed up by the very anthemic "Jackie". "Don't waste your time" helps offer a thoughtful reprieve in between the two fun tracks "Cosmic Overdrive" and "Give Me to the Night". "The Blade and the Will" has an awesome dual guitar lick. "Dragon..." once again verges on progressive and "It'll Be Over..." is beautifully solemn. But it is the epic title track and album closer "Mana" that really steals the show for me.

"Don't Waste Your Time - EP"
Lastly we have Unto Others' debut EP. The vocals are a touch more raw, but the production on this thing is insane for a debut EP! "By Way of Kingdom", "Time Crushes All", and "I Feel Nothing" lead really nicely into the full-length Mana, although they feel less goth-rock and even more heavy metal - which is not necessarily a bad thing as they feel quite unique in the whole discography, and definitely kick ass!

Fantastic band and super glad I was reminded to check them out again :)

break Room / Re: What is the post length limit you can make in a topic?
« on: February 13, 2023, 07:36:18 AM »
Without meaning to plug my own work, this is an example to illustrate what Op is suggesting. I think you can use the “Quote” button to have a look at how the links are formatted in the post if you want.

break Room / Re: What is the post length limit you can make in a topic?
« on: February 12, 2023, 08:00:52 AM »
Spoiler tabs do not change the character limit (in fact, they use up characters).

MR Pub / Re: Chit Chat 2023
« on: February 02, 2023, 01:34:17 PM »
Best of luck Slammy! Honestly, planning your time with some sort of calendar or timetable and forcing yourself to stick to it is just about the only way I know to get through lack of motivation. And also forcing yourself to write or draw in that time even if the inspiration is really not there. It's usually always better to have something on the page by the end than nothing at all - it's also much more useful later on to come back to and rework things, as opposed to starting from scratch. Set yourself some very reasonable and achievable goals to complete in the immediate, short and long term - think of some specifics about what you want to learn or what you want to improve, and make sure that you are working towards those things.

General Manga writer discussions / Re: The Strength of Simple Powers
« on: January 30, 2023, 07:06:10 PM »
Doing experiments to test out your systems can work, it's just a bit time consuming. I do like doing small writing exercises anyway though, because often it results in small pre-written bits that work well for backstory, flashbacks, or historic events.

Ooooh you are writing a bit of MR Canon eh Suuper!? Fleshing out the back story of the Yellow Raider? Sorry for abusing you a little towards the end of Sentai Revival...

Overlord is just about the only isekai I have watched since SAO and Log Horizon season 1... It's actually not a bad example of a completely overpowered character who's strength is completely tied into and justified by his place in the setting.

A couple of other examples of interesting power/magic systems that are now coming to mind are:

K Project - Seven "Kings" are bestowed power by a magic stone. Each has their own coloured aura, representing different "forces of the natural world". When they use their aura, a giant sword - dubbed a "Sword of Damocles" - materialises in the sky above them, which can degrade and fall if they overuse their power, causing massive devastation. The Kings can share their aura with members of their clan, and the clan member can manifest powers that are derivative of that aura, generally much weaker than the King. For instance the Red King's aura is fire-based and destructive. His clan members each have a slightly individualised fire type ability - launch small fireballs, wreath weapons in flame, jet-power a skateboard etc. The other clans' auras are actually a little more vague and less straightforward, but I think that this is a strong way to organise a magic system overall.

Gideon The Ninth - I haven't gotten around to reading this yet, but as I understand it this is a story about necromancers in space. There are nine Houses, each practicing a different School of necromancy. The Second House specialises in draining life energy from the living; the Third in drawing death energy from corpses; the Fourth focuses on "exciting" death energy and turning corpses into bombs; the Fifth are spirit magicians able to commune with the dead; the Sixth can read the histories of the dead from objects; the Seventh specialise in preservation of the dead and death-like stasis; the Eighth can siphon souls and use them for casting spirit magic; the Ninth raise skeletons. This is a masterclass in taking a single broad concept (necromancy, creation, elements, nature, Kendo, music) and splitting it into individual and distinct aspects, to build a collection of simple systems.

General Manga writer discussions / Re: The Strength of Simple Powers
« on: January 30, 2023, 01:09:05 PM »
So... I've never really got into Dragonball... Z or otherwise... I know I know, shame on me... But, while Goku seems strong and does seem to get overloaded with different powers that cover many bases, to begin with his powers just seem to help him attack and defend in a fight. He can he is super strong so he can give and take super hard punches. He can move super fast so they can box and block in super-speed. And he can fire a big laser. So he has a lot of destructive potential, but he is also in a setting and up against other beings that can withstand him, so the conflict and tension can remain. Later on, I understand that things escalate to insane levels of power and destruction, plus he like dies a couple of times and comes back to life, and he learns a bunch more abilities that cover even more ground... It sounds like he's stronger than superman and without the weakness of kryptonite (and I already find superman pretty boring...), so for me things start to break down from a perspective of writers using Goku as inspiration. It seems that a story involving Goku can only really be about who wins in a fight between him and another DBZ character, because he can basically destroy every other obstacle in the universe, go anywhere he wants and make or take anything he wants. The only other thing to write about would be romance and interpersonal drama - things that cannot be solved through might alone... but then there are other series that explore those kinds of concepts way better.

Personally, when I think of DBZ and its head-to-head fight plot-lines, I'm pushed in the direction of other martial arts series like Gamaran, Kengan Ashura, Baki, The Breaker etc. These are somewhat more grounded/physics-bound and give more space for the focusing in on the techniques they are using as they happen, as opposed to the effect afterwards. The story-lines will focus on the motivations and growth of the characters involved of course, and who has the nerve, will, creativity and ability to win, but the moment to moment action is generally more engaging to me, in these kinds of stories, when it can be zoomed in on rather than zoomed out from.

Talking about overloading Goku with powers actually jogged something for me. In a recent Guild Wars 2 development livestream they outlined their principals when designing and balancing classes, and a couple of them are particularly pertinent I think:

"The following are a few key ideas that we consider when balancing skills and traits. This list isn't intended to be absolute in all cases, but there should be a strong reason when a skill breaks one of these rules.
Purity of Purpose

Purity of purpose is the idea that a skill (or trait, or weapon, etc.) should have a well-defined identity. In other words, skills should not do too many different things at once. Some common skill identities include damage, defense, support, control, and mobility.
Holes in Roles

This is an idea similar to purity of purpose, but applied to builds or professions. As we touched on when discussing identity, we want every profession to have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Professions should have things that they excel at, things that they are less effective at than other professions, and some things that they simply cannot do. If one profession does everything and has no holes, there's no reason for players to play anything else.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: January 29, 2023, 01:22:14 PM »
Ok, I've gotten my gushing about Katatonia and HFTS out of the way, so now I've managed to catch up with some other new albums.

Riverside - "ID.Entity": A pretty cool prog-rock album reminding me that it's been 5 years since their last!? Stand outs for me are "I'm Done With You" and "Landmine Blues" because they have teeth, but if anyone's been missing the 80's then "Friend or Foe" will put a smile on your face, and "Self-Aware" is a pretty fun rock 'n rolly track with reggae post-choruses!? Overall and enjoyable progressive romp, although I think I'll find myself going back to the bassist's Lunatic Soul project more often.

Sleep Token is kinda blowing up a bit at the moment! They've released 4 new singles, each with awesome Sci-Fi/Fantasy RPG-esque artwork: "Chokehold", "The Summoning", "Granite", and "Aqua Regia". Vessel's soulful voice is obviously a huge draw, but honestly the composition and musicianship on display in these songs is a pretty fantastic continuation of the sound they've been honing for two albums now (especially the drumming). The melancholic keyboards in "Chokehold" are perfect; we are treated to a guitar solo of all things in "The Summoning", which is a song that could've been of a Deftones record (interesting switch up for the outro too); Granite is like a throwback to their old singles with a big climactic ending; and Aqua Regia brings the pop sensibilities for a bit of a palate cleanse. Exciting young band with a bit of something for everyone.

Was checking out the J-Rock section of Apple Music yesterday and stumbled on this little EP from a band called Crisis Code - "Invoke Your Spirit - EP". It brought a smile to my face because it reminded me of old school Crossfaith! It's a little raw at the moment, but I think there is potential. I'm ready for Synthcore to make a comeback!
Another band that caught my attention is RED ORCA, with their new singles "Beyond the Wind" and "Buddhism (The Shine Will Come Back)". They really reminded me of FACT, which is great, but then listening to their 2020 album "Wild Tokyo" showed me that they are bringing their own unique energy to things in a very exciting way. Looking forward to hearing more!
For those of you that like Babymetal and are looking for another Metal Idol Group, maybe something a little heavier, Passcode may have you covered. The released an EP "REVERBERATE" at the end of last year. Some pretty high-octane stuff with a harsh vocalist that has decent chops.
Jyocho released "As the Gods Say EP", which is packed with 4 pretty and slightly mathy J-rock songs. The use of a flautist for an additional layer in the mix, and to back up the guitar, gives a really nice round and smooth sound to things.

General Manga writer discussions / The Strength of Simple Powers
« on: January 29, 2023, 12:18:19 PM »
Another essay. This is the 3rd time I’m rewriting this because I never felt I was quite getting across the point I wanted… let’s hope this is good enough because I’m not doing it again! Hopefully others can pick up the slack for whatever slips through the cracks in further discussion on this thread.

The Strength of Simple Powers

I have reviewed quite a few written pieces in my time on MangaRaiders, and given input towards several concepts. A common theme I’ve seen from amateur writers, particularly those inspired by shounen manga and anime, is the desire to write a super powerful, badass main character. This is quite reasonable. Even I have ideas like that. However, the way that many seem to want to go about this is by giving their character a really awesome superpower that can do EVERYTHING (or just give them a power that sounds cool but if they thought it through could practically can be applied in such a broad set of ways that they can achieve absolutely anything with it). “The power of creation” is a big one, but unlimited powers of entropy and energy, life and death or immortality, time travel or manipulation, and even complete control over one’s body to an extent are all examples of what I would say are powers that are too broad in scope if this is the level at which they are presented.

I have spoken of my views on power fantasy in a past discussion, but another issue exists for writers, outside of problems with generating tension and delivering satisfying conflict resolution, when dealing with broad powers: a sort of conceptualisation paralysis - the powers can do so much that it becomes hard to imagine absolutely everything that they can do, but also, without knowing, you risk obvious plot holes in your storytelling that could have been solved by the powers in a way you didn’t realise. So in the end it becomes another hurdle to get over when it actually becomes time to sit down and write.

The irony is that very few of your favourite series have main characters with powers like this. My inspiration for writing this essay was going from reading Solo Levelling to watching Fire Force and just revelling in the clear cut nature of the powers in the latter and how well they tie into the setting as a result. But let’s just think about the “Big 3” and think about their powers or ‘magic systems’. You may be tempted to say “Devil Fruit, Jutsu and Bankai” and “these can do just about everything right?” Well, you are only half right. Looking top down, you may be correct, however flipping the perspective to look at the character level and you will see that each of these are actually large collections of individual, simple, and limited magic systems uniquely used by single characters (for the most part). Luffy has Gomu Gomu powers specifically, Naruto specialises in Shadow Clones and Rasengan, Ichigo… well I think his bankai is just to basically go super sayan and fire off progressively more powerful getsuga tenshos (more obvious with different bleach characters)… There can also be generalised magic systems in each too: Haki, basic ninja techniques, and reishi, which either add a foundation of power or stack on top to escalate power, but the character defining powers come from the individualised magic systems.

So how can you achieve something similar in a satisfying manner without getting carried away? I have a few points to cover here: Start small and grow, add costs and/or constraints, tie the powers into your setting.

Start small and grow: Natsu starts out with basic fire punches and kicks. Naruto can only summon a few shadow clones at the start (by himself). Luffy starts out with basically just Gomu Gomu no Pistol, Gatling and Rocket, before adding more techniques to his repertoire over the long course of the story. Each new technique usually comes about in response to having to learn to use his Gomu Gomu powers in a new way to overcome a new enemy that his current techniques do not work on. This can either be by working out how to make his elasticated punches more powerful, or a more creative solution combining his elasticity with the environment or another character’s techniques. In all examples, starting small allows you time to establish the rules about their powers in a manageable way for you as the writer and for the readers. It should be easy to see why the magic can be used to create the effect. At this small scale and level, there is less crossover in effect also, so you have the benefit of the powers being distinct and identifying for your characters. (These principles can be applied to power fantasy stories, however the power level of the main character just starts higher than other characters’.)

Add costs/constraints: Devil fruit users sink in water and Luffy can be cut by slashing attacks. Notice how one of these weaknesses is imparted by the generalised magic system whereas the other is specific to Luffy and his Gumo Gumo powers. Anyways, powers always become more interesting in and of themselves when there are trade-offs involved. This can really be anything from requiring rituals or somatics, which can be interrupted, or limiting the number of times that the powers can be used (or the amount of time they can be accessed for/the amount of energy they can draw upon), which builds tension when they are down to their last try and everything is riding on it. On the more extreme end of things I think of Code Geass, where the power itself is very unwieldy and one slip up can lead to tragedy, or Darker Than Black, where people have the compulsion to do strange and very specific things after using their powers. Following this, sometimes we see powers driving the users insane if used too much or if they are unable to pay their costs. Even in Harry Potter, wands have to be used as conduits for the magic spells, combined with specific “swishes” and “flicks” and generally reciting the words to the spells with the correct intonations and inflections - some powers can fail if not accessed correctly. Perhaps they have to have access to an energy or power source like the sun or a lodestone or lots of food. An interesting power is not just defined by what it can do or be used for, all of these things add into it, meaning that when it comes to power level, less can be more whilst still drawing readers in.

Tie the powers into your setting: Superhuman abilities and magic fundamentally change how societies function, how they would be organised and built, and how people would interact with one another, the environment and the natural world. That’s a lot of world building to get lost in, but, thankfully, the more straightforward your magic/power system, the easier it is to apply it to your world. Fire Force is the best example of this for me in recent memory. It’s nothing groundbreaking conceptually, but I was constantly in awe of how seamless the worldbuilding of that series was on account of a very tight magic system at the bottom of it all. Honestly, I don’t think I could recommend a better case study. And all that centred around a main character whose power it is to blast fire out of his feet! Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and Reckoners series are probably other good examples. When the magic/powers are connected to the setting/worldbuilding, once again they become more than just their strength, and can take identity from the full breadth of your world and characters’ places in it.

Finally, ok, so some of us may just want to write a character with just completely overpowered abilities for the sheer spectacle of it, and well, that’s fine too. But once again, unless you want to write a story about a literal god presiding over some sort of creation story, or total annihilation story, keep the powers straightforward and sensible. One-Punch Man is great at this (although it is all ironic). Just remember that the true conflict and tension and other things that grip the readers will more often have to come from elsewhere. If a character has a power that can do anything, they can solve everything, and plot holes will arise when they cannot (although this might be a more interesting concept - a Moriarty type character trying to find the one thing that a superhuman character cannot solve with their powers).

I hope all of this has made some kind of sense. There is definitely stuff that I have forgotten to include, or that I just could work out how to say, but maybe they’ll be teased out if some discussion is generated. Let me know your thoughts about superpowers and magic systems, and their complexity vs. simplicity. Do you agree or disagree with me? What are examples of powers that you find cool? Are there examples of really overloaded powers that have been done well? Any other advice for writers?

Cheers for reading

Manga Creations / Re: MR War Arc: MR Sentai Revival!
« on: January 29, 2023, 05:22:59 AM »
Nice to have you around again Lego, and cheers for reading :)

Super glad that you feel like I did Legoc justice, always a relief when the original creator gives their blessing. I hope that everyone whose avatars I have written gets a chance to read and give their feedback.

When I was reading through the Canon stories to learn the ropes and gather foundational information, and just as my story developed, I noticed that there was a lot of space to clarify, expand on, or input concepts and more little details into the Canon. Some of the stories were good about explaining the more minute things, but (and this is not a knock on them) some focused more on the macro storytelling than the micro, or, their focus was more on a comedic situation or something tangential to any actual world building. So I really wanted to make things feel a bit more solid and defined, especially so that someone could pick up after me and kinda know what rules to write by. Then it’s all about coming up with cool and interesting details that fit.

I look forward to reading anything you drop man, been too long!

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: January 24, 2023, 05:30:02 PM »
So last Friday, Katatonia released their 12th studio album "A Sky Void Of Stars", and I have been listening to it everyday. I've heard it said that, for many, this is a return to form for the band, following a slightly self-indulgent album in "The Fall Of Hearts" (which I absolutely love but is not a fan favourite), and the unfortunate "City Burials", which got lost in the years of covid... Honestly, I think that people rag on these two albums in particular because they veered very squarely into prog-rock territory, compared to the alternative metal sound people had been enjoying since the early 2000's, which even then was a change from their much beloved gothic doom sound from the 90's. Perhaps people had PTSD from Opeth...? Regardless, I think that people are enjoying a "Sky Void Of Stars" because it brings together elements from many of those favoured points in Katatonia's sound, and ties it all together in a very thoughtfully composed and wonderfully produced package. In particular, the gothic aesthetic has made a return to the forefront, just building on top of their sound that has matured and become more rich and complex since the days of "The Discouraged Ones". The pre-release singles were all great and showcased a great variety in style and feel, but I am now particularly impressed by the middle three songs on the album: "Drab Moon", "The Author" and "Impermanence". Super excited to be going to see them live in London in a couple of weeks time!

Also, towards the end of last year, Harakiri For The Sky re-recorded their first two records: their 2012 "Self-Titled", and 2014's "Aokigahara". I had not really listened to the originals much, on account of the drums sounding programmed and the vocals just being a touch too raw and shrieky (yes... even for me...). These re-recordings see the absolute monster Kerim "Krimh" Lechner return as studio drummer, breathing life into the drums with feel and some signature flare where appropriate (and bringing a properly produced 'real' drum sound...). The guitars have been rounded out in production to sound a bit more full, and the vocals are the semi-emo post-hardcore wails that I have come to love from JJ. Honestly, the only track I didn't really dig was their new rendition of "Mad World" by Tears For Fears, which just lands nowhere near as well for me as their cover of Placebo's "Song to Say Goodbye", or Graveyard Lovers' "Manifesto".

MR Pub / Re: Chit Chat 2023
« on: January 20, 2023, 08:14:06 AM »
Is it him? Is it truly THE legomaestro gracing these threads!?

Manga Creations / Re: MR War Arc: MR Sentai Revival!
« on: January 16, 2023, 06:14:51 PM »
Cheers! And honestly couldn't have done it without you. And just to expand on your points, I think sometimes it can get a little hard to see the forest for the trees when you are in the middle of writing something, and just having some other eyes on it from the outside can be really helpful to get out from inside your own head. As the author, you have the clearest picture of how you imagine the story playing out, but that doesn't always translate onto the page through your writing, no matter how hard you try sometimes. That's the job of alpha readers - to read through a draft and go "I really didn't get what was going on here", or "That joke just fell a little flat", or "It was really not obvious that there was a time-skip here", "You keep using britishisms" :P etc., so you can go back through and make sure that the story is making sense to more people than just yourself.

Ah! Something I wanted to do but forgot:

Will the Fighters Division save Eukocar?

What has become of the Resistance?

Can anyone stop Major Narcissus' plans?

Will the Sentai Raiders Team ever be complete?

Find out all this and more in the much anticipated concluding season of MR War Arc!
(and maybe a few short stories in between...)

Better get writing Coryn! :biggrin:

Manga Creations / Re: MR War Arc: MR Sentai Revival!
« on: January 15, 2023, 05:01:20 PM »

NO1SY felt empty. Or maybe hollow. Or probably just damned tired. No kidding, he thought, we were fighting for what felt like forever. And then that big, ugly b*stard came and beat the crap outta us like we were C-class heroes from One Punch Man. It was just about to blow Legoc away…
      “Legoc!” NO1SY awoke with a start and a gasp that he instantly regretted, “oh dear lord that reeks.”
      “Right here, cub,” came a melancholic response from within the murky darkness. NO1SY squinted to make out a shape in the gloom, slumped against a wall opposite. His internal HUD was glitching out in a way that made it difficult to concentrate. He flinched as something wet splattered onto his helmet visor, joining the multitude of other unnervingly viscous dripping sounds echoing in the dark. Dust trickled from small cracks overhead, but the tiny amount of light that peeked through seemed as put off by the rancid stench as he was.
      “Guh… Is this hell?” He asked, sincerely.
      “Not quite.”
      “Sure smells like it…” He tried not to think about wherever just brushed up against his leg, “uh… what happened?”
      The Green Raider slid off his helmet, letting his mane spill onto the shoulders of his Sentai suit. The usually contrasting colors were all but completely muted by the dark of… wherever they were. “You mean to say that you don’t remember the unimaginable being of pure horror spilling out from inside you and engaging in WWE: War of the Monsters throughout the Artist’s District?” Legoc inquired, possibly with sarcasm.
      “Hmmm, well I have been surviving on canned rations for a while… No! What on The Net are you talking about!?”
      “We got lucky.” Legoc said. NO1SY could just about make out that the Green Raider was giving him a puzzled look. “You were out cold, and I ended up dragging you down into the sewers to safety. The troll… exploded. I don’t know what happened to the others, but the blast was big… I hope they are safe. Heck, I’d take them just being alive. But we have another problem.”
      NO1SY slumped further down against the wall, struggling to process all he had just been told. Every time he felt like he was about to remember what happened, a horribly uncomfortable feeling washed over his body. He decided that focusing on ‘another problem’ might be preferable. “I think I’m bottomed out, so may as well lay it on me.”
      “When we have to fight another foe like that, empowered by Dark Net material, we will die.” Legoc sounded so matter of fact.
      “I was wrong, now I feel worse,” NO1SY sighed. “Hey! Where’re ya going?” Legoc pushed himself up off the grimy wall, and tiredly trudged down the dingey sewer tunnel.
      “We are incomplete.” He said without turning as NO1SY stumbled to his feet and tried not to slip in the filth. “To reach our full potential, to be at full power…” a galloping twang echoed as if distant “… We must find our Red Raider.”

Later that afternoon
      NO1SY and Legoc came to a panting halt in an alleyway on the edge of the Music Quarter, finally feeling like they had traveled enough distance and wound enough corners to be safe. Then they both winced as an electric guitar solo pierced the quiet from behind them.
      “Heck yeah!” beamed Manimal, “I’m free my dudes! I can finally stop playing those same three, stupid, 4Kids anime openings on loop!”
      “Yeah, no sweat man,” replied NO1SY, “those 4Kids mooks cleared out of the pub real quick once they got a whiff of us.”
      “You are ripe, for sure,” Manimal agreed.
      Legoc finished scanning around the alley corner and turned back to them both. “We had a reason to break you out. You see our suits, we ne-”
      “Do you always have that sweet backing track playing?” Manimal asked, before chugging along on his guitar. NO1SY and Legoc leaned back and listened as his performance swelled with electric vigor. As they watched him shred over the cheesy romp of plucky guitars and tinny drums, breathing fresh life into the tune, it was hard not to feel a kick of inspiration. Manimal finished in a power stance with one final glorious strum. Rather than receding back to a timid background noise, as it had been all day, the tune retained some boldness and energy.
      “Yeah,” said NO1SY, “but I’m kinda digging it today.”
      “Ahem,” Legoc resumed, “Manimal, we need you to join the Sentai Raiders.”
      Manimal gave a few unsure strums. “Do you get to control giant transforming Mech Suits like Gundams?” He asked. NO1SY gave Legoc a look that he hoped conveyed: “See!?”
      “Erm… no…” Legoc conceded warily.
      “Mmmm… I dunno…” concluded Manimal, non-committal.
      “Plan B?” Asked NO1SY, already rummaging through a small duffel bag slung around his shoulder.
      “It’s a dumb idea.” Stated Legoc.
      “Work with me, cat-man. Ah!” NO1SY pulled out a mobile phone and a piece of paper. He hit the dial on the phone and thrust the paper in front of Manimal’s face. “Read this out loud,” he instructed, holding the phone out to capture the bemused musician’s voice.
      “Sentai 001. Ready to batto.” Manimal recited.
      They stood in silence for a few seconds, looking around for signs of flashing lights or a change. Anything.
      “Told you it was a dumb idea,” remarked Legoc as NO1SY checked the mobile’s reception.
      “Maybe we need to find a phone box.” countered NO1SY

1 hour later
      “I just don’t get it man, that was three phone boxes…” NO1SY groaned, “It worked for me. Why not now?”
      “The Tan power works in mysterious ways…” replied Legoc as he opened the door for Manimal, who, to his credit, had just gone along with it while they jostled him into the nearest boxes they could find. The Black Raider’s enthusiasm for this idea had finally waned however. “Well Manimal, we couldn’t force you to become the Red Raider, which means we still have to search for them. You may join us on our mission if you wish, there is a resistance somewhere in the city that would probably take you in.”
      Manimal strummed a Duhnuh DAAA on his guitar. “Nah man, think I’m gonna wander a bit, find some inspiration for my next album in all this chaos, ya know?” and with that he turned and ambled off into the sunset.

      It was the next morning and Manimal sat on a breezy hill, breathing in his freedom. The sky was a wash with pink hues and a fine mist had settled in. Walking through the ruins of the city at night had filled him with a wistful tune, but glum had never really been his style, so he found some chords that were a little more hopeful.
      “Ohhhhhh-oh-oh, can you find meee…” he sang quietly on top of it.
      Suddenly, something dropped lightly on his head. It bounced off and rolled about a foot along the thin grass. It was a balled up piece of paper.
      Manimal, perplexed, looked up. But there was nothing in the sky above him. He looked around him, but he was alone on the hill. Then, somewhere not too distant, a telephone rang. “Hmmmmm.”
      He stood and swung his guitar onto his back, and dusted himself off.
      “I’m gonna go find some instant noods...”


And there we have it, finally this project is complete! There was an unfortunate, year long hiatus that kinda took the wind out of the sails a bit, but we got there in the end. Now I can hand the reigns back over to Coryn and the other MR Canon writers, happy and content with my own contributions. I may write a little more for Canon here or there, but as full projects go, I've no more plans. Anyways, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read the whole way through, I hope you enjoyed.

I said I wanted to do a little retrospective on writing this project, and I think I'm just going to dump a few thoughts I've had here at the end:

1. Having just watched the 2017 Power Rangers movie for the first time, I feel happy that I can at least write more convincing dialogue, if not a more compelling story and Sentai-esque characters. If I’m being honest, this whole project was just Power Rangers fan fiction… doing 'research' for it has flooded my YouTube recommendations with Power Rangers lore videos from a fandom that I can hardly believe exists, but it has been quite a nostalgia trip. I also have a confession to make, I have barely watched any Super Sentai whatsoever, or any other Tokusatsu style shows, and couldn't even get into them after all the 'research'. It is pretty difficult to write what you don't know, and I don't necessarily think that I ended up capturing the feeling of Super Sentai all that well. Still, I think the story turned out alright, especially with Coryn's guidance.

2. On top of this, some things are just very difficult to convey through prose. For me, I just don’t think I captured the true feel of a Tokusatsu kaiju fight - that jankiness and weird WWE-like choreography (or lack thereof…). I would be interested if anyone has an example of this being done well in purely text form?

3. Writing in a universe that isn’t my own, that already has established lore and rules, and that is a collaborative endeavor, was a double edged sword. I had people that I could ask clarifying questions to (mostly Coryn), and I could mostly just get on with writing a story without getting lost in world-building. I also was fitting into a pre-established timeline and overall plot, so I had a pretty clear end point I was aiming for in my story, which made it much easier to plan and plot things out than I usually find it. Something that felt cool was when I was able to poke around and prod at the edges of established canon, to find bits and pieces that could be filled in or bulked up, or to expand at the edges and lay my own foundations a bit. It really felt like contributing to a shared idea. Nevertheless, there were minor limitations and restrictions based on all those established foundations, so I found myself sometimes having to conceptualize or write things in a way that is different to what I would have chosen had I had full control. But then the nature of collaboration is to compromise to create something that is a greater whole.

4. Writing avatars of real people is difficult. I was constantly worrying about portraying them correctly and not making wrong assumptions about how they would act or speak, even though I had some info to go off of. It is much easier to write characters when you have full ownership and creative control over them.

5. I did try to put effort into giving each character their own distinct voice - to paraphrase Sanderson’s lectures: “You will make it as a writer when readers can know a character just from their dialogue and actions, without you as the author telling them who it is.” I was happy in some instances, but feel like I could have done a better job in other places, particularly in trying to give each character a different feel in their 3rd person limited narration. Compounding this, the description of how Legoc talks is actually at the end of the previous project "MR War Arc: NO1SY", and I never really re-established it in the new project, so I am relying a lot on readers' memories.

6. Alpha and beta readers, an editor, or at least one person to provide feedback and bounce ideas off of, are invaluable to improving the quality of the story and writing. This should surprise no one, especially since I've been harping on about it over the course of this project, but I really cannot impress upon you enough, just how useful a writing group, no matter how small, can be.

OK! That's all for now folks. Cheers once again!

Welcome Center / Re: Hey, I... may give a little introdution of myself
« on: January 15, 2023, 04:18:25 PM »
Welcome to MangaRaiders :)

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