「常木耀 最終章 ホシゾラ」 (Tsuneki Hikari Shuushou – Hoshizora)
“Tsuneki Hikari Final Chapter – Starry Sky”
That got super weird.
There’s no two ways about it: if this be the end of the Tsuneki Hikari arc, Seiren did not stick the landing. And since the preview moves onto the new girl, apparently it is! So that’s fun. Let’s dissect the ways this arc went wrong.
If there’s one truth that undergirds nearly all human fiction, it can be summarized in one word: conflict. Whether it be martial, internal, interpersonal, or metaphysical, conflict drives narrative. What did the conflict end up being in this arc? Damn if I know. Hikari suspected her friend of ratting her out, but she brushed it off. What kind of a twisted friendship is that, when you’ll tolerate your “friend” getting you out of the way like that? Suspecting Shouichi didn’t go anywhere either. There was some junk about Hikari’s parents, and her goals for the future, but those appeared all of a sudden when a conclusion was needed. They were hinted at, broadly, but just mentioning that her parents were strict doesn’t mean that little factoid means anything to us. It all just came out of nowhere, and wasn’t earned.
Of course, it’s not helped by how Shouichi remains as interesting as a wet piece of cardboard. He totally wussed out at the end, and let’s be clear, I’m not saying that he necessarily should have pushed to date now. (Though they were both being dumb. Why are you thinking so far ahead instead of enjoying a year and change of dating? Just date, you stupid kids. Life is too short for adolescent nonsense.) It takes two to tango, and if she doesn’t want to dance, an honorable defeat it is. He was just so whiny about the whole thing. Makes it hard to root for the kid.
Then Shouichi decides his future career because of a girl, which probably isn’t wise. Then she shows back up with notes about how she’s good at cooking omelettes and venison now? Ugh. Too cute by half, Seiren. This arc feels like it was written by someone who doesn’t understand how conflict, drama, or romantic fiction is supposed to work. Maybe they were trying for something new, but if so, it didn’t work. The fundamentals weren’t there. This, despite some genuinely promising character work with Hikari early on that could had led to somewhere. The arc faceplanted, and is already sliding out of my memory with all the other passable stories I’ve read in my time.
Ah well, such is life. Fortunately we have two more shots to see if there’s a writer worth their salt among the Seiren crew. Next up is gamer girl, which I’m sure is bound to please many. Hopefully it develops to something this time.
- Rabbit baby play? Weird, but you do you. Taking baths in uniform? Now that I don’t get. It seems like the subversive joy of someone who’s secretly boring, and who doesn’t have to do laundry (at least that jives with established facts!). The fetishes remain all over the place. Do better, Seiren. You’re fucking it up.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Fire, further; Fire; Starting a story with a bang—and when not to; and If my mother was a politician.