DEADLiNE_18

28th December 2020

DEADLiNE_18
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>author

Thank You For Reading

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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[insert credits for heavily referencing the entrance to DX’s Mt. Freeze here]

Mechanically, DX is the best PMD. Story wise? I was disappointed that DX didn’t give the plot the same treatment. What Team ACT is for the story is fine. What bothers me is the complete brush off of exploring what was suggested. Almost the entire town proved that they would rather see you dead than seek the knowledge to prove the claim. They push the burden of proof on the accused despite having done nothing themselves to prove their own choice of actions.

Everyone respects Team ACT. A team that has done many missions of bravery and sacrifice. They are rescue and disaster responders. They who believe they can easily outpower your team chose not to-

1) Calm the villagers
2) Take Player under their custody
3) Find out if the fairy tale is actually real
4) If true, learn if the Player is that human
5) If they are THE human, find out if killing them is even the solution.

I realise that despite the links given in my comments for reference people may not have looked to prevent spoiling. But please take note that while for obvious reasons after page 10 I had to divert from the original game script- this line, "The legend... it was real!" was said in shock when Ninetales showed up in game. So why were they doing this if they didn't think the legend was real?

Even after no one shown they’ve learned their lesson. Only that they can afford to brush off responsibility. No one will hold them accountable. And they won’t because 90% of the village would have to admit they contributed to that.

In that way, Pokémon are very human.

Everyone please thank ThatOneSpriter for this request! If you think my work is worth a few coin, please consider my Kofi.

The Guardian of Mt. Freeze got some fanart!

Story 11, Couple of Cards, will start in late January. I plead that next year will be better. Be safe everyone.



>user comments

Final Notes for those who Never Played PMD Rescue-

borzoiteeth on 11th Dec 2020

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In this game the legend (as most understood it) of the world ending comes from a cursed human who abandoned their Pokémon who protected them from a foolish action (grabbing the Ninetales' tail). They ran away only to become a Pokémon themselves.

You, the player, get blamed for being that human.


What was the deadline?
Alakazam gives you and your partner the deadline before you flee the village. If you can find Ninetales in time and learn that you are not the cursed human- you win. If Team ACT catches you before then, they kill you.

When Team ACT catches up with you instead of a boss battle you get a cut scene- implying there was no winning when Ninetales comes in time to interrupt.

Why does the partner say, "I trusted you"?
Your partner greatly respected and honoured Team ACT. When given the deadline they try to cheer you up by saying Alakazam believes in you because why else would they give you that chance in the first place?

As I explained above, there are countless inconsistencies that clearly show that Alakazam doesn't believe you in the slightest. But a child who suddenly had their entire world flipped wouldn't realise the depth of that.

Now for the 3 readers who don't play MD games-
When you linger too long in a dungeon a mysterious wind begins to blow. If you do not get to the next floor of the dungeon in time the winds build up and claim you. Mechanically it's to prevent the player from staying on a floor too long and is recorded as a loss. What the winds are in the PMD world is left vague.


Anyways, Thank You for Coming to My TED Talk. If there are any questions I missed, feel free to poke me.

PS, PS

borzoiteeth on 15th Dec 2020

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Not that I don't enjoy "Chatot is the worst" memes once and a while, but wow wouldn't it be nice if the hate train was on characters who earned it.

GreyCorsola on 28th Dec 2020

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Absolutely splendid work on this story! Honestly I had forgotten how team act had well- acted and re-living it now as a more mature adult with more critical thinking skills... Man these pokemon... dark as heck.

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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Thank you so much!

Flavia-Elric on 28th Dec 2020

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If you stop to think, there are other rescue teams that are also really jerky. Only doing jobs for status? Only rescuing if there's money?? No wonder Team Meanies are an official team, the difference is that they're just more honest with their motivations. xD

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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I know right? Thank you!

TheStratovarian on 28th Dec 2020

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An interesting take on one particular figure being one behind the winds.

Sad that it ends as this, yet it was a good journey. Thank you for giving it life.

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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Believe me, this was one of the few stories that I really struggled with wanting to keep going. But thankfully I have the reminder of all of my WIP-forever long scripts to keep me in check.

Thank you~

noblejanobii on 28th Dec 2020

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I loved this take on the story. The Fugitive Arc has always been one of my favorites but the fact that only Team Meanies gets blamed has always bugged me. Everyone else just gets to laugh it off. Sure it's a kids game but man I love seeing a more mature take on it all.

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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Thank you so much!

Lightsideluc on 28th Dec 2020

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Well, it seems as if I correctly predicted the mysterious wind thing.

Is this the end of the current storyline as-is? It feels a little... lacking, to be perfectly honest. If the story was distinctly following Team ACT from the beginning, going through their justifications (flimsy as they might have been) before committing the act (huehue), then the story ending at this point (with maybe another page of reflection or the results of their actions) would have been fine. However, it seems to follow the human and his partner, then ends with Team Act separated from things rather suddenly, without answering either question, thus we end up with the two halves of the story that *aren't* really engaging.

The art was excellent and I was onboard for the potential of the scenario, but unless this is going to be continued in some capacity I'd have to say as-is this is one of your weaker entries, unfortunately. Still, looking forward to the next chapter, as always!

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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That’s just fine! We clearly have different goals on this idea. For me the only question I wanted answered was “what if Ninetales didn’t show up in time?”. It might be cultural differences, but there was no set main character for this. So for myself I’m very proud of this piece. But hey, what thrills me isn’t for everyone.

Thank you for tolerating it even though it didn't end as you wished!

Lightsideluc on 29th Dec 2020

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It's a really interesting question to ask, the problem is that it felt half-answered. The human was supposed to bring an end to the oncoming calamity, their death is but the first step in the question of 'What-if?' There's at least three pages of Team ACT being dressed down that, I feel, would have been better spent seeing the ramifications of what they had done via a vision or something of the like.

But that's me being a stick in the mud.

borzoiteeth on 29th Dec 2020

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Ah, I see what you mean! For Anamnesis though, your half answer would be my 2nd question that would be its own story. And it is somewhat written out, but honestly, may not return as I have other finished scripts to draw out and I will very easily boot every one of them if I ever complete one of my longform PMD scripts. I have some very old OCs I would love to see the light of the internet.

You are fine! Thank you for explaining.

Lightsideluc on 31st Dec 2020

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Fingers crossed, then. Looking forward to what you make next!

moffett on 28th Dec 2020

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I will say, I was previously hoping that this story would play out as a "fall from grace" for Team ACT---where for the first time in their lives, they have committed a "mortal sin" on the same level as humans, and are unable to deal with the ramifications of that.

But as soon as they started bickering, I realized, no... they lost their innocence long ago. We're just seeing the latest iteration of their moral frailty.

Personally, I'm not a fan of (broadly) giving Pokemon the same moral capacity for evil as humans. Partly because a world of possibly-evil beings with superpowers is pretty scary, and would likely not remain a peaceful place for long. But also because if you make them equivalent to humans in this respect, then you're giving up a way of making an insightful contrast with our lot---and by that token, defeated somewhat the purpose of using Pokemon characters in the first place instead of human ones.

borzoiteeth on 29th Dec 2020

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Just because a different being shares a trait associated with humans doesn’t make them human- it just means said trait isn’t unique to humans. Other animals can have favourite colours too!

Even if I did decide to 1-to-1 compare, I don’t see how it would defeat the purpose of using these characters. Anamensis is largely deconstructing isekai- one of the purest genres of escapism. And what would be more deconstructive than realising that not all terrible actions are unique to humans?

moffett on 29th Dec 2020

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It's not so much about making the fantastical creatures "human" or not human, but in setting up an interesting contrast by making their brains work differently from ours. For example, it's common to posit that evil is unique to humans, because animals [supposedly] only kill for defense/food/survival, not malice. You could buck this and say that fantasy-animals can and do kill out of malice, just like humans. But then you've deprived yourself of a contrast that can be drawn between the human and non-human groups. Things become a little bit closer to the normal non-fantasy situation where it's one group of humans that gets compared to another.

None of which is to say that the contrasts need be strictly drawn (e.g. some creatures can be more like humans than others), nor that giving the creatures similarities to humans is bad/wrong/undesirable in itself. Indeed, you *have* to have some similarities, or else you end up in alien/xenofiction territory. It's just a matter of being aware of the tradeoffs. (I would do things differently than you did, but I'm not faulting your approach here. This is a sliding scale where every fantasy author has to make a call.)

Deconstruction is a fine artistic goal. And part of that may be the idea that this romanticized fantasy world can be broken, too. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be broken in the same ways as ours...

borzoiteeth on 30th Dec 2020

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Here we are talking cultural differences again. Humans as a whole can’t agree on where the line of evil is drawn. Some cultures don't think evil is a thing at all, let alone set to one species. I have friends who work and study animal behaviour. I’m more than familiar with animals pointlessly murdering each other that have nothing to do with defense, food or survival.

What gets chosen to be the line of differences can get oddly arbitrary even before we get to the “this is my interpretation of a fantasy creature”. What you’ve chosen to be “too human” isn’t for someone else. I’ve expressed how I feel about Pokémon before. I write them like fae and yokai. And fae and yokai do share a lot in common with humans. They have personal laws that have bizarre punishments that commonly do not match with the action committed.

I'm sorry, I don’t understand “broken in the same way”. Anamnesis isn’t here to romanticize or empower, which is usually the approach even in deconstruction in isekai.

moffett on 31st Dec 2020

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Oh, "evil" can certainly have differing boundaries, and as a concept it has its downsides as well (e.g. painting rapists as "evil" makes it harder to teach young people about consent). I don't think there's much ambiguity in the sort of situation presented here, however.

As for animals, my understanding is that the "malice" argument is inconclusive when it comes to primates (not surprising in light of all their other similarities to us). But in most other species, behaviors like infanticide, killing of outsiders, and so on are selected for by evolution, in a "selfish gene" sort of way---which makes them a lot harder to chalk up to maliciousness. (By the same token, a lot of altruistic animal behaviors can't automatically be ascribed to Good-Samaritan tendencies, either.) If you have any references that have managed deeper insights into this aspect of animal psychology, I'd love to see them.

I think you've mentioned the fae/yokai angle before. It's curious; now that I think of it, I've never really gotten that vibe from your work. Your (Pokemon) characters have usually been quite humane and relatable, not at all like the dangerous tricksters that yokai and (some) fae are known for being. Heck, the Ninetales that inflicted the curse is probably as close as any canon PMD 'mon has come to acting like a yokai, and you nerfed it, by explaining the curse as a rookie mistake and having NT provide comfort and protection. (Don't get me wrong; I like the way you write these characters---it just doesn't seem to line up with the approach you're describing.)

By "not broken in the same way," I mean that the pathologies of the PMD world that you're presenting don't necessarily have to be the same as those of our own world. Which I'm hoping is something that you've made an explicit decision on, one way or the other. I bring it up on the off-chance that you haven't.

Tehpikachu: Don't confuse being opinionated with being critical. I have given criticism on this story, but not in this thread. I consider the discussion of different belief systems, in a reasoned and respectful manner, to be a high point of online discussion. Do you?

Tehpikachu on 31st Dec 2020

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that loaded question means nothing to me. i know that you mean well and that you do truly love borzoi's work, but getting on them over trivial details is unhelpful. if you do not view your phrasing in this way, then perhaps it would be worth your time to reevaluate how you construct these mini-essays, and what the words within them actually mean, as you find yourself going in circles in the comments like this strikingly often.

moffett on 1st Jan 2021

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(Apologies for screwing up the comment-post order here; I need to be more careful about which "reply" link I use)

I'll admit, I'm a sucker for tangents, and have a tendency at times to get lost in the weeds. But I'm mindful to keep off-topic chatter to a minimum (as this is).

As a writer, I place value in choosing the right words and phrasing, so if you're willing (in the future) I would appreciate seeing examples of where I could have done them better. And I can certainly do better; comments like these can only be curated so much before posting. I just hope that the values of respect for others and for the artistic process still manage to show through.

borzoiteeth on 1st Jan 2021

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Ok- here we are getting into real world stuff which I said I wanted avoided in my chat. I admit this is my fault for adding to it. Since I’ve brought it up I’ll point you to The Body Language and Emotion of Dogs by Myrana M. Milani DVM for you to start with. For intro cute stuff on the side I can recommend looking up Moses the Crow and Cassie the cat for interspecies relationship and Alexis Devine and Bunny for modern communications. For something very recent that has animal behavior people say, "well no shit" because the people who are in charge of saying what is allowed to be taken seriously scientifically finally admit thanks to the University of Roehampton that Kangaroos can intentionally communicate with humans.

Of course you don’t get that vibe from my work. For some reason you relate so hard to these characters you constantly ask why they don’t do things you would do. And I find myself yet again having to remind you- we clearly come from different cultures. But before I dive any further, I’m just going to pull the cover off of this elephant in the room-

While TehPikachu was blunt, she is right that you have been confusing critique with opinions. A proper critique keeps in mind if their personal preferences clash with the goal of the work. Aside from your spelling corrections (which are appreciated)- your attempts at critique ignore that the end results you want are not the end results I want. All of your ideas, as interesting as they can be, have been opinions.

What then confounds me further (and why most readers have stopped trying to converse with you) is when you disagree with something and bring up facts to explain why it is wrong they aren’t canon facts. They are things from your personal culture. They are things from your personal headcanon. You tell other people their headcanons are wrong with your personal headcanons.

It would have been fine if you prefaced your comments with, “If I decided to do a take on this idea, I think I would do A and B because my interpretation of the game was C” or, “Since your goal for the piece was D I think you could have pushed the theme harder if you did E.” But that’s not how you phrase your comments. I know I sometimes misread, but when double checking with friends they told me that is how your comment reads to them too.

I hate that I had to write this comment on my site. If you had an account I’d be sending this via PM because I think this is massively inappropriate to be talking about on my comic. But you don’t so this is the only way to converse with you.

I don’t know where you live. Perhaps where you live critiques are built on opinions. That’s fine. I do not mind your comments. When they are focused on different takes of how to explore different PMD ideas I am thrilled. But if you think you are giving me a critique, I’m sorry to say it reads like a passionate foreigner who keeps forgetting other people live outside of their country.

Please have a fruitful New Year.

moffett on 2nd Jan 2021

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I was not aware you wished to avoid discussing real-world matters here (is this elaborated anywhere?). I appreciate the references, though these are more general to the areas of animal cognition, communication, and relationships. I hope that research of this nature will progress despite the skepticism.

As far as differing cultures are concerned, I should reveal some of my cards as well. Many years ago, back when I was a mini-moffett, I minored in Anthropology. I can talk about ethnocentrism and cultural relativism, and still remember reading (and appreciating) Body Ritual among the Nacirema. Most recently, I've been fascinated by the NPR.org article How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger. You won't find many readers more receptive to a PMD setting that is authentically informed by non-dominant cultural elements.

However.

Anamnesis is built upon PMD, which in turn is built upon the Pokemon franchise, which originated in Japan but has for many years been aimed at a broad international audience. It incorporates many elements of Japanese/Asian mythology, but also many Western elements as well, not least thanks to its position as the largest media franchise on Earth.

Fan works based on a franchise are typically intended to present an extension of that franchise (world/characters/story/etc.) that canon material neglects. It is thus natural for a fan reading these works to expect them to be written from a cultural perspective similar to that canon. That need not be the case at all, of course, but it is the (quite reasonable) default.

You've said in your commentary that your work reflects a different (presumably non-Western) cultural perspective than the one I've been reading in. However, in the actual text of your work, I've found very little indication that this is your approach. I've seen some unusual name choices ("Hasna" was new to me), and I've seen you incorporate some LGBTQ+ themes (which are becoming increasingly common in Western culture, a welcome development). I have not seen much effort placed toward building up a culture of this world that is distinct from my expectations given the Pokemon/PMD underpinnings. Believe me, I have the background to appreciate that kind of world-building, and I challenge anyone to be more enthusiastic about such a development in the PMD world than I would.

Instead, however, I've found it at times difficult, at times frustrating to interpret your work---which isn't helped much by clarifications that seem divorced from the stories themselves. You know, there is an entire school of thought ("Death of the Author") that holds that authorial intentions should not be considered when interpreting a text, only the text itself. While I don't completely subscribe to that idea myself, it does leave me open to the idea that if a text fails to be interpreted by a reader in the manner intended by the author, that is not solely the fault of the reader. The interpretations I've posted here in the past may not have been to your liking---but I will hold that they are reasonable (given the Pokemon/PMD premise), and they are not idiomatic to myself, or my specific cultural milieu.

(continued)

moffett on 2nd Jan 2021

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(continued)

There are questions of who is your audience, as well as just how much world-building you can feasibly do in a short-story anthology format. I appreciate that you want your work to be informed by a different set of cultural sensibilities, but I think you may be underestimating just how much work that entails. One of the big draws for authors writing fan-fic is that all the world-building, all the lore, culture, characters, story, etc. have already been established, the readers are likewise on the same page, and they can immediately zoom off into another adventure without the normal overhead. You're remaking part of the world, and by all means I encourage that... but making it happen takes more work, and I have not seen you put in that work.

Re end results that you and I want: Of course these are not the same. What I have been hoping to hear from you---and perhaps should request more explicitly in the future---is what the advantages of your approach, and disadvantages of mine, are for the goals that you have as an author. (Knowing what your goals are would also be helpful, as those have not always been clear.)

I don't give my opinions because I think that anything of mine is inherently better (irrespective of goals). I give them as a point of contrast, as a way of quickly getting to the "good part" of a discussion. I don't want to hear "Yes moffett, you're right"; I don't even care that much for "Gosh moffett, that's a good point, I'll do it your way from now on." What I want is to hear a similar line of argument about why your favored approaches are better for your goals. Because that's the only outcome where I actually learn something. I want to reach a point of understanding and appreciating why you do things the way you do, especially when the reasoning and goals are different from mine.

Perhaps my approach comes across as brusque and confrontational. This, too, is something that is informed by culture (in traditional Japan, I would be considered quite rude). For my part, I don't have much patience for "this is only my opinion, not saying you're wrong, but..." disclaimers, which to me often feel patronizing; I like to get straight to the point, and say it (in a respectful, non-abusive manner). But would such disclaimers really make a difference on your end? Is that all you would say that's needed?

After all, if the text that I've written is not being interpreted in the manner I intended... I cannot consider that [entirely] the fault of the reader. Writing is ultimately an act of communication, and above all I want to be able to do that effectively.

I wish you a 2021 that is better than 2019!

spike vacant on 2nd Jan 2021

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moffett, with all due respect, it's really not up to you to decide that they haven't put in the work necessary to spoon feed you the narrative that every other commenter clearly understands. I would recommend sitting back and enjoying the story as it is, if that's a possibility.

I've been following this comic for a while and I've been reading the comments, including the ones where you repeatedly paint characters discussing healthy boundaries as toxic and abusive even after it was clarified that the characters in question were non-neurotypical.

stories are not always going to go the way you expect them to and characters will not always act the way you think you would in a situation. you say that isn't your complaint but I have a hard time believing you. please rethink your critique strategy of coming into the comments to blame your own poor interpretation of the work entirely on the author as if every work needs an instruction manual.

have you considered that borzoi grew up in a non-western culture? there are people out there who have. perhaps your studies in anthropology haven't covered the same things that a full life of experience has. I understand that this comment is going to get absolutely nowhere, just like everyone else's, but I have a bit of free time and these are such bafflingly shit takes that I couldn't resist.

I do not have any disclaimers. this is as straight to the point as it gets. please do not respond with a wall of text because this is all my free time for the forseeable future.

Tehpikachu on 3rd Jan 2021

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trust me...... you come across as rude in western cultures too.

moffett on 4th Jan 2021

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Spike vacant: I have read many works of fiction---professional, amateur, good, bad, etc.---and rarely ever had this sort of difficulty interpreting the basic thoughts and motivations of characters. Writing about non-neurotypical characters, for a (presumably) neurotypical audience, isn't easy. (I sure as heck couldn't do it.) It's been done before, and it's been done well. But I don't think it was done well here.

I'm not sure to what degree others are processing and understanding these stories, because no one else seems to be analyzing and commenting on them to the same degree as I am. (I'd love to argue differing interpretations/takes with others here, but no one's in the mood.) It's certainly possible to enjoy a work uncritically---with many works, that's all you can really do, or else they'll drive you up a wall---but I've always been one to look for and appreciate greater depth.

(I hope this is un-wall-like enough!)

Tehpikachu: Would you say the problem is in how I've expressed these thoughts, or in the fact that I've expressed them at all?

Tehpikachu on 4th Jan 2021

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a combination of both, surely.

Chia Pet on 4th Jan 2021

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I interpret Alakazam in this story as a pokemon who finds their knowledge and assuredness of how the world around them works to be so great, that there is no way in which they could be in the wrong. They know of the legend, and connect some vague pieces together that paints themselves as the most important part of the story. When faced with the opportunity to ask questions and obtain another point of view, they instead shun the opportunity because their interpretation is so interesting, and would paint them as such a hero, it's much more tantalizing than conceding to a truth that didn't align with their perceived interpretation. They became so entranced with their interpretation, that it caused them to become villains when they would not bow down. Had they not hurt an innocent child, had they not argued with Ninetales, had they apologized sincerely- maybe they wouldn't have been cast so far, and shunned so thoroughly by the legend itself. Things could have turned out differently for their legacy.

The ways we relate to stories is interesting, isn't it? Just as the world will be fine without Team ACT seeking to be the heroes, so too will Borzoi continue crafting wonderful stories, even when your input is absent. Will you heed the wind's call, or will you let it sweep you away?

Chia Pet on 4th Jan 2021

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(I forgot to mention moffett, but if you could, don't respond to my comment please! I don't care or have time to talk in circles about anything related writing, commenting etiquette, or the like. Thanks.)

borzoiteeth on 5th Jan 2021

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So entrenched in their vision they have no idea they have accidentally distorted more than the dungeons themselves.

Very kind, thank you Chia Pet.

spike vacant on 5th Jan 2021

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I don't have much to say aside from
> others are "not analyzing and commenting to the same degree as you" because they understand these pretty straightforward stories
> neurodivergent people can write for other neurodivergent people, and not spend their lives catering their every action towards people who don't even try to empathize or understand

borzoiteeth on 9th Jan 2021

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<3

borzoiteeth on 5th Jan 2021

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On the title page for DEADLiNE it says please keep comments within the PMD world.

You say I won’t find many readers more receptive, more studied, yet you have been my #1 complainer. You have said some amazingly rude things about natural, common, neuro-divergent behaviour. You have been the only person to say “I don’t get it” across so many stories.

Who is the audience for Anamnesis? I am. This project is for fun. Yes, I do research for it. But the research is for myself and loved ones. There were and are no plans to design this with a larger audience in mind. I was thrilled to lose multiple readers when posting Harmony. They had sent me many unsettling messages and are not missed.

Your biggest problem is that you are assuming everyone communicates like you. In a setting full of complete strangers. The only fact you have of me is that I can speak English well enough to express that I like PMD too much. In your attempt to get to the “good part” quickly the groundwork of the discussion was ruined.

If you truly mean well and want to improve I am going to let you know right now (I hate that this isn’t a PM this should not be something said on a public form)-

* There are at least 2 people that do not comment anymore here and just PM me to avoid the chance of you talking to them.
* Every time I’ve asked advice on how to talk to you people ask me why I haven’t blocked you- You set off red flags for a lot of people.

I am sorry everyone. I am a coward and should have addressed this much sooner. If you do mean well, Moffett, I apologise that I should have found clearer words to express this several stories ago.

Thank you for your well wishes. If you want to discuss any other off-topic further do not use my public comic section for this. If you understand what I am saying I will expect any future public comments to now stay on subject to PMD and will keep in mind to word oneself in a way that does not sound like you are dismissing other's headcanons when discussing your own.


I'm sorry and thank you.

moffett on 5th Jan 2021

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Borzoi,

I apologize for bringing this discussion off-topic, and will work harder to keep it welcoming and productive in the future. Please do not hesitate to push back on me as you see fit---this is, after all, not outside the scope of my learning to be a better writer.

There are still many aspects of the PMD world left to explore, and I know you've got many good stories still to come.

borzoiteeth on 9th Jan 2021

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Thank you.

Tehpikachu on 30th Dec 2020

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i should probably not find myself involved here for several reasons, but it's hard for me to consistently watch you criticize stories simply because they didn't go the way you predicted they would. cut your losses and move on. at some point, you and the author simply have different moral views and there's not actually any fault to be found with the themes presented. saying you're disappointed with the result is a matter of semantics. i'm sure borzoi appreciates your input, but arguing with their belief system vs yours is useless and a waste of everyone's time.

spike vacant on 28th Dec 2020

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How self-righteous Team ACT was...until they found out that they had done something wrong. Very human indeed. Loved this story from start to finish and the detail in the backgrounds is stunning.

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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So excited that I could give myself the chance for a full page panel. Thank you for reading! (;_;)

scorotro on 28th Dec 2020

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It was a nice story, the dialogues were great and the art was amazing.
Now, all those horrible things from team ACT might have been an oversight in the game's dialogue because I think it was meant to show how bad Gengar is, and enhance his "redemption" later on - but it did mainly show how bad the other teams are. Gengar was a good scapegoat in that situation, and even then we don't really know what happened to him.

borzoiteeth on 28th Dec 2020

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Very kind to say so. Some panels I found very gross but I was going to make sure I finished this before the year was over!

It's a little weird to think Gengar a scapegoat since he very much contributed to this, but to the scale it became you are right!

Thank you for reading~

moffett on 28th Dec 2020

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So Ninetales was doing the mysterious-wind thing, interesting. That would imply that when one gets dumped out of a dungeon, it's because the dungeon owner kicked them out :-]

This was an interesting what-if scenario, though it is hampered by a premise (from canon) that was not terribly well thought-out. I appreciate your going through it all with a fine-toothed comb, and agree with all the critiques you made. To them I would add the fact that all this started out with an accusation from a known-bad actor, which in itself is worth a facepalm.

There is certainly a powerful story that can be told here---the whole fugitive arc can be seen as a simplified take on the Salem witch trials---but it's been dumbed down to a degree that requires characters to act in unreasonable/illogical ways in order to work. The potential lessons for the reader are undermined when one can say, "Well, these characters are just being idiots, and I wouldn't do that."

As for this particular presentation, I have two primary critiques. First, painting Team ACT as being this ruthless does not feel consistent with them having allowed a "deadline" in the first place. Supposedly, they believed in the hero's innocence, or at least did not want to kill them immediately---but here, we hardly saw any emotion from the team consistent with this. (This also goes for the canon dialog, e.g. "I don't know how to show mercy!") They had to go to a lot of trouble to track down the protagonists, when they could have gone for a quick and easy kill back in Pokemon Square, so there's reason to believe they really did want the hero to prove themselves innocent.

Second, I felt that showing the actual kill, and Litten holding the broken body, was a poor choice. Not only was it a macabre visual that I don't believe was wielded effectively (deaths usually happen off-screen for a reason), it drew attention away from the expressions/reactions of everyone else. (We see neither Alakazam's nor Litten's face at the moment of the kill, when so much could have been told there.) The way Litten briefly denied that the hero was dead was its own bit of strangeness, and I wish it had been addressed somehow, rather than being forgotten once the recriminations began.

(continued)

moffett on 28th Dec 2020

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(continued)

Regarding the "deadline" and "I trusted you," what confused me was that these wordings don't directly connect to the dialog previously spoken at Pokemon Square. E.g. Alakazam said "You must run till you uncover the truth," so I might expect him to say here, "Did you uncover the truth?" Similarly, the partner said, "Alakazam's team has faith in you, too," so they might later say, "I thought you had faith in Vondila!" The wording used here implies that the earlier dialog played out a bit differently.

You know, early on in this story, I thought you were going to go in a different direction. There is a very interesting criticism I've seen posted here about the Rescue Team story:

youtube.com/watch?v=3LW0Wc6aTKk&lc=UgxryBRbdOhJWk4Eq4t4AaABAg (see the "Highlighted comment" by LordUzaki)

I personally don't favor LordUzaki's approach, because for me, PMD is self-insertion über alles. (I did not like how PMD2 and PMD4 basically pulled a bait-and-switch on this point, giving the hero a backstory that is clearly distinct from the player's.) However, from the angle of literary exploration, it is indeed a loss to discard what could have been the powerful idea of "but what if you *are*, in fact, that cursed Trainer?"

Ninetales not only absolves the hero, in the canon timeline, they also effectively absolve Team ACT, the other teams in pursuit, and the townsfolk. Everyone had been willing to embrace, if not perform, actual murder. By virtue of said murder having been avoided, everyone's hands remain clean of blood. But they were still ready and willing to go that far! *This* is where I would make a critique similar to LordUzaki's. Everyone showed what utter darkness lay in their hearts. So why are the protagonists all buddy-buddy with them again once Ninetales clears things up? Why are these awful 'mons all present in the game's emotional ending scene, when the hero departs this world? I would sooner have told them all off, and left Pokemon Square for good, to not continue living near a bunch of psychopaths!

That's the main thing I got out of this, the basic idea of how innocent one can be, when certain circumstances might lead one to do the unthinkable. If all the plot- and logic-holes of canon were closed up, this is one of the themes that would shine through. ("Banality of evil" would be another one, naturally.) It's too bad that none of this is ever addressed properly---this alternate take makes clear that the moral stakes in the present are far greater than a Trainer being an idiot in the distant past.

borzoiteeth on 29th Dec 2020

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For your first critique, Team ACT’s only consistency is one of easy hero points on rules they make up on the spot. Team ACT was informed that the Player is the cursed human and thus the reason why the world is falling apart. If they truly believed them to be innocent, why didn’t they join the Player to help you get to Mt. Freeze? Even if it was true that the player was the cursed human and you actually did need to kill them to save the world, why risk losing them in a dungeon where they may not be found in time before the apocalypse happened? When Team ACT caught up with the Player’s they didn’t even bother to ask if the Player discovered the truth, they just say, "too bad you lose" and dive into battle.

As for your 2nd, we have different goals here. I wanted it to be as cold, empty and thoughtless in the same way Alakazam decided to have this occur in the first place.

I do see how I should have had the Partner’s breakdown of “I trusted you” to be more clear. I wanted choppy dialogue to reflect a child having a mental shutdown and a stuttering line any longer (at least the ideas I came up with originally) just doesn’t have the same snap.

That wall of text was a bit much but thank you for linking me! I know for a lot of people PMD is self-insert escapism, but those have never worked for me in any game. Those characters never act like I would in any scenario and thus, aren’t any different from the games that add more backstory.

As for where you would start your critique story that is something on my list! But that story I’m not going to get to for a while so do feel free to write one of your own and give me a link when you complete it!

moffett on 29th Dec 2020

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Team ACT could have acted differently, but giving the "deadline" was a reasonable course of action. Actively working with the hero would have been viewed by other teams as aiding the enemy, after all, and Team ACT probably didn't want to go that far. (My problem with that arrangement is, how did the hero manage to survive the last night at the team base? Did all the other teams decide to hold their horses, too?) Team ACT not asking about uncovering the truth after catching up to the hero, however, is one oversight of many in the canon script.

I see your point on the choppy dialogue. Yes, recalling the original lines under that constraint is more of a challenge. Though on a different tack, as Litten was referencing an implied trust/promise received earlier from Alakazam, it would have made sense to bring it up sooner (before the kill) if only in a vain effort to get Team ACT to hold off a bit longer.

Self-insert escapism may not work for you in the canon games, but there's no reason it can't work for you if you're writing the script :-) If I may ask, is there anything specific that the game hero would need to do differently to get within striking distance of a self-insert, for you? (Hopefully not flat-out refuse everything?)

And critique story? What critique story? (I thought *this* story was your critique!)

borzoiteeth on 30th Dec 2020

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We don’t know if everyone would think Team ACT would be viewed as enemies for helping. But even if that were true, they could have still told the Player that they were backing them up to make the travel easier and lied to the rest of the village. The battle that happens near the top of Mt. Freeze, especially if they believed the fairy tail about Ninetales, was absolutely pointless.

(Very correct on fleeing! Why the heck would one wait at their house I would just pack up and left right there.)

It would make sense to bring it up to stall for time, sure, but your Partner didn’t try that before Alakazam called the battle in game. So I read that as a child still stunned stupid to the horror that was to come.

You suggested your own interesting idea of a story where everyone tries to pretend their terrible actions was just a silly mistake. I said I did have that on my list but it wasn’t coming for a long time. I would love to read someone else’s take on it!

borzoiteeth on 30th Dec 2020

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For you self-insert question let’s see if I can tl;dr this...

As a child, I would have likely shut down the day I arrived. I would not be in the mood to become a rescuer but I was very bad at telling others no. I would not handle living alone. Any confrontation even if it was friendly would make me cry or go into selective mutism.

While your partner bullies you into doing rescue work they do mean well. I’d likely go from reluctantly going with, to unhealthy clinging to them. I would filter any questions I had to them. I might not have been able to tell them the human element at the beginning but would likely confess from guilt later. They would have to tolerate the countless panic attacks I’d have from the implications that I did something so terrible that the world could end from it.

Because the Partner wants happiness and peace they might have suggested we find Ninetales sooner even before Gengar decides to put a death warrant on you.

As for the rest of it, it depends on what I transformed into and what remained of memories.

moffett on 31st Dec 2020

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Yeah, there are so many places where the canon story logic fails for the fugitive arc. It could probably be rewritten from top to bottom in a way that makes more sense, but then who knows if it would retain the same tension, or if the moral questions end up overshadowing everything else. At the end of the day, it's just classic bad writing---certain plot points had to happen, and they were threaded together in a slapdash manner.

Pretending their terrible actions were a silly mistake is more or less what happens in the canon plotline, isn't it? I refreshed my memory with game footage of the hero's return to Pokemon Square (youtu.be/z85urLBdIXE). There are apologies, there are admissions that they were conned by Gengar... and the partner is tearfully grateful in return >_< (The dialogue even doubles down on the ridiculousness when Gengar demands proof of Ninetales' absolution, after none was requested nor given with the original accusation.)

I see what you mean about self-inserting. Part of it, of course, is that the hero in all these games is written more like a robot than an actual human being. They are always perfectly present to the situation around them, always responding appropriately to advance the plot, and are hardly ever allowed a moment where their emotions just bring everything to a halt so they can breathe and develop. (Though at the same time, I can't ignore the pressures on game-script writing that make this unlikely to happen. Would be a lovely idea for a SkyTemple hack, however.)

And part of it, I think, is that when most people see themselves as the hero in these stories, they're not seeing themselves as they actually would be---existentially vulnerable and terrified of what the future will bring---but as a sort of "best of both worlds self" that has one foot in the real world (so all their social/emotional support needs continue to be met) and one foot in the fantasy world (for the exploration, curiosity, and exhilaration). You've moved past that, by knowing that the former leg is just not going to be there. And I think that if people were really honest with themselves about how things would play out, they would probably revise the narrative in their head to look a little more like yours.

Anyway, thanks for sharing that :) I figured the answer could get a bit personal.

borzoiteeth on 1st Jan 2021

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For me, the Fugitive arc never had tension. The moral questions are fun but they are only fun in the sense of what the fandom does with them, because in the game none of it means anything. The player is absolved and the only character to show a smidge of character development belongs solely to Gengar. No one else changes. No one deals with consequences. You could edit out the entire Fugitive arc and wouldn’t notice anything different in town.

The Player character is no less a robot fulfilling a role than any of the other characters. Alakazam is presented to be cool and smart but proceeds to act a gullible dangerous twit. Partner for some reason believes you and never shows a moment of hesitation in their belief to you or even the gold rank team that tried to kill you. Gengar just happens to change his mind to save you but nothing more comes of it.

I wouldn’t say I’ve moved past that- that was what I thought as a child as well. Only as an adult I have started to understand and appreciate self-inserts. When I was younger I couldn’t fathom why people would want to be themselves when they could be anything else.

Thank you. I wouldn’t say it was too personal, just what simply was.

yoyo on 1st Jan 2021

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you know i wonder since the human soul was transported into a pokemon body in the pokemon world if the Human was to die in the Pokemon world would there soul simply be transported back into the human world and have it be rebuilt back over there?

after all at the end of PMD the pokemon body turns into soul stuff and starts heading back to the world he came from so ya know maybe there's a second chance for them coming back even if alakazam killed him after all they still need a hero to stop the meteor

borzoiteeth on 1st Jan 2021

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Sometimes death isn't so permanent, is it?

Excellent thoughts to have~

yoyo on 1st Jan 2021

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hahahaha i guess in the end the only thing that would change is whether the Protag would be so keen to stay in the pokemon world after they destroy the meteor and the SHEER AWKARDNESS of having to meet team ACT and the town's folk again.



kinda also makes me wonder though what happens if the human protag died of old age in the pokemon world? would they respect the natural course of life and let him go to the other side? or would they be reborn back into the young body they had before they became a pokemon? god i imagine that would cause a whiplash and a half on the mind.

The Alolan PokeNerd on 1st Jan 2021

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Oh my gosh! This is such a cool comic! Love your style, and how it takes a much darker/serious twist on the PMDVerse! I look forward to reading more! :D

borzoiteeth on 1st Jan 2021

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Oh wow! Honoured that you read my comic!! Thank you!

The Alolan PokeNerd on 1st Jan 2021

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No problem! Thank you for making it! ^^

Jason Moon on 3rd Jan 2021

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Cold and lonely.......

Ada on 7th Jan 2021

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I just binge read all your comics and I’m glad I did, they are amazing!!

borzoiteeth on 9th Jan 2021

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Oh goodness, thank you!
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