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Pokémon Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Hands of Creation

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
I finally returneth

I must say, this fic is finally truly living up to its reputation. By the end of Act I, things are beginning to tie together in ways that are both convoluted and genius – and while I did successfully predict some of them, many others I never even saw coming even though they had been foreshadowed from the beginning.

So Nevren, like I expected, is working with the Hunters. That said, I’m wondering what exactly his motives are. It’s strange how benign the Hunters have been up to this point – aside from the Mutants, which may or may not be tied to the Hunters somehow, the only actually evil things they’ve done in media res are forcefully take orbs from other guardians, killing them if they have to. That said, it’s clear they have an overarching motive, and what it is still eludes me. I’m very interested in Eon’s “all sides of the story” comment, and I specifically believe Star is hiding some key piece of information that would make this all click into perspective. At this point, I’m just waiting for the “true villain” reveal moment where it turns out both groups are fighting the same threat in their own way.

Deca and Eon being one and the same I predicted too – mostly because it was pretty obvious after the second encounter that Deca was a ditto, and Eon’s species is never named at all until SE3. And considering that Deca faded out around the time that Eon was introduced… The dots were easy to connect. It also puts scary new context into everything that came before it: where was Eon before this? He could have been anywhere. All he’d need was a blindfold/a form without eyes, and he’d be the perfect spy. And assuming that Deca is just a dummy form that he took on to directly converse with Owen, how much has been keeping tabs in other ways?

Moving past that, however, Brandon and the pokeball factory are the next large points that I want to cover. Brandon himself is explicitly stated to be a Human, with his spirits being the trainer team that he had before he got zapped into the pokemon world. What is not explained, and I think purposefully on Brandon’s part (and later Hecto’s), is why he was zapped into the pokemon world, and what that pokeball factory is doing there. Hecto says that Arceus wants it as leverage, but essentially nothing else, no matter how Owen prods. And since Hecto is trying to keep it under wraps, that tells me Star was likely involved big-time, and Arceus took over later. And that pokeball factory is definitely important for later – I will be watching.

As for Hecto… There are a lot of pretty scary characters in Hands of Creation, but I think that Hecto scares me the most. What Hecto doesn’t have in brute strength, he makes up for by being literally everywhere at all times. And given that he’s essentially pledged to Star, I have no doubt that Star can and will use him as a weapon if it comes to that. I believe she already is using him to keep tabs on everyone around her. And that’s a pretty scary thing. Barring potentially Owen and the rest of Team Alloy, it’s a safe bet that Hecto is easily Star’s biggest advantage over everyone else – and if her motives are less-than-honorable? Well…

The chess scene with Rim (who I keep reading as “Rym” halp) was cute and built a tiny bit upon her character. However, I’m a bit baffled by her… extreme aversion to speaking. What little broken sentences she does say proves that she’s not mute, and the way she carries herself doesn’t seem to suggest that she’s socially awkward or suffers from some kind of mental condition that would prevent her from speaking. It’s just some weird cartoony quirk. It sucks, because even when actions speak louder than words, Rim’s actions kind of flanderize her character. All we’ve seen her do is re-enact the “cute but deadly” trope the entire fic, and while psycho-cat was fun for a bit, it comes at the cost of her character not really being layered/coming across that way. I think this is one of the areas where Hands of Creation’s more anime style falls short for me.

You’ve done a pretty good job showing Owen’s maturity and growth as he struggles with his evolution. His sudden mental shift after becoming a charmeleon in the Nightshade Forest was a bit jarring (when he suddenly became super gung-ho about evolving into Charizard out of nowhere), but his struggles with evolution in general are brilliantly written. By the time that he finally evolved successfully into Charizard, I could feel his frustration over not being able to evolve all those previous times, his desperate want to not ever have to go through that again, and his joy at finally evolving successfully.

So Elder’s the last Hunter. Assuming Eon also counts, and it seems like he does, that’s all five Hunters. I wonder where he stands on this, given that Rhys seems to be on good terms with Elder, and we haven’t actually seen him act out against Star’s group yet. I imagine he’s a character for later.

The Chasm of the Void is a very interesting location – a lot of places in this story have “void” in their names (Void Basin, Void forest, Void chasm), I’ve noticed… I wonder who the Dark guardian is. Judging by their dialogue being in bold it’s either someone with telepathy, or someone with a very not-normal form, and considering that this the Dark-Type guardian I’d say telepathy isn’t likely. I kind of want to say spiritomb, but I feel like that’s the wrong answer…

And finally, Team Alloy takes on its full meaning, which I explicitly remember being referenced multiple times earlier in the story. Just like the metal that team Alloy is named after, its members are all smaller parts that bond to make a larger, stronger whole. Seriously – how much of this did you plan?? NGL I’m borderline scared

With the introduction of Tanneth, I think that’s the first major eeveelution character featured in this story. A bit of an anomaly, since most PMD stories have at least one early on, but not necessarily unwelcome. I still wonder about that Jolteon back in Nightshade Forest though. I feel like it’s important for some reason.

Emily herself was… interesting. It seems like anyone who stays around her for too long experiences memory loss of some sort – Tanneth doesn’t remember being an eevee at all, and considering that divine decree forcing people to forget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I doubt it’s just memory loss from old age. Although, if Tanneth has gotten that old and hasn’t died of natural causes, I’m willing to bet that she’s not necessarily normal either.

Was it Nevren that tried to teleport out of Emily?

Arceus shows up in the spirit realm to help out Star as she tries to untangle Gahi and Owen – whether this is Arceus trying to make up for past deeds, or him looking out for Owen is unclear.

I think the last time that I reviewed, I devoted a section to how most of the guardians faded out into the background after their spotlight appearances. While the focus seems to be almost entirely on Willow, Manny, and Enet, it’s nice to see some of the older guardians such as Valle and ADAM return (if only on the sidelines).

Now… Special Episode 3. I’ll be honest, I was completely expecting this to be a second revisit to the Nightshade Forest scenario, which I still believe is going to be visited again – there’s something there that’s not been entirely explained yet there, I’m sure of it – so seeing Quartz HQ instead surprised me. Not that it was unwelcome – it certainly explains a lot. It’s surprising seeing the stark difference in the character dynamic: Everyone seems to be more than friendly towards each other, and all of Team Alloy know everything about themselves. Eon, Rim, and Nevren in particular seem out of place here, considering how disconnected they’ve been from the rest of the group in Hot Spot in the present. What interests me in particular is a slight aside revealing how Anam got the ghost orb – golly, he’s old – and the actual unveiling of Eon. Already, Eon is shown to have a lot of strength: he can easily match Owen in a battle, and his speed is presented as a force to be reckoned with.

Something else that chills me to the bone is the line “Oh! You mean our new siblings that you’re making?” I’m not sure if this refers to the mutants, or if Star and co. were making more Team Alloys, but… The implications are pretty worrying. The entire scenario is pretty twisted when one thinks about it – Team Alloy must have known full well they were being bred and raised by the Hunters to act as living weapons, and they were okay with it. Either that, or they just flat out didn’t realize the implications, meaning they were being raised like pigs for slaughter.

There’s still a big chunk missing here. What led Star to fall out with the Hunters? What are the Mutants, and why do they exist? Where do Arceus, Anam, Brandon, and that old pokeball factory fall on this? While it’s not explicitly said, I think that The Alloy fusion wrecked Quartz HQ, and the Hunters decided to cut their losses and work with Team Alloy instead. It may even have been where Star began to fall out with them – maybe she saw it as too destructive. Or maybe, it was the other way around. Either way, it’s pretty chilling, and I think this is a big part of the puzzle that just needs a ‘click’ moment before it all fits together.

Overall, the first act of Hands of Creation has, in my opinion, lived up to its reputation and more. While the prose can be somewhat drab/beige at times and the shounen anime style the story takes on admittedly holds it back or makes it a bit over the top in some places, the story itself holds up brilliantly, and never did I feel like it was pointlessly rambling on or becoming needlessly convoluted beyond comprehension. I did admittedly have to take a few breaks to let everything sink in over the course of the 43 chapters that I’ve read, but those 43 chapters had enough grip and pull that I didn’t get bored or end up putting the fic down permanently throughout any of it.

Happy writing, and I’m looking forward to reviewing Act II!

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: Luma Pools – Gareth Coker
 
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