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Pokémon Postcards

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
Hey there! I've been meaning to check this out for a while, and I really appreciate how short and sweet all of these are! I read the first three (119, 34, Viridian Forest). As with what I saw of Spring, I think the best aspect of your writing style by far is just how lived-in you make the world feel. Lots of lush little details that don't just describe the setting, but hint at the complexity of life behind it all. That's something I really struggle with, being a primarily plot-based writer, so I love seeing it done well.

I think it's interesting how these first three all have differing focus too. The first one focuses on the wonders of the natural world. The second focuses on the subtle changes a journey takes on someone. And the third more on interpersonal interactions, and the impact they have. I think out of the three, the first one was my favorite, just because 119 is my favorite route in Hoenn and you captured it so well (and I'm not a Hoenn stan, okay!) It also was the one that had the most focus on the Pokemon themselves, in a way that sets it apart from the other two. It's pretty hard to find a real-world equivalent of a herd of sauropods taking flight. xD

The third one was interesting to me in that, reading it closely, the narrator is kind of a dick. ^^; But like, in a relatable way, bad as that might sound? I dunno, they've got something they're aiming for, and their focus on it is making them clash with people, and there's actually a bit of somber there.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to check out the others soon!
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Thanks so much for reading, Chibi! I’m glad you enjoyed these little guys.

I think out of the three, the first one was my favorite, just because 119 is my favorite route in Hoenn and you captured it so well (and I'm not a Hoenn stan, okay!)
GASP at the blasphemous confession of not being a Hoenn stan. But thank you for recognizing that Route 119 is clearly the best Hoenn route, haha. ;)

reading it closely, the narrator is kind of a dick.
HA wait til you get to Continental Divides—it’s my “oops, all assholes!” story. ❤️ Yeah I relate to the narrator here a lot. This is a kind of dickishness I have embodied from time to time. I shamelessly stole the name Olivia from one of my roommates, whose sometimes annoying habits include feeding the cats in our backyard. It might be cold of me but, girl, we have cats inside already! And I don’t want to encourage the ones outside to start a spraying war in our yard with the other neighborhood strays because they decide it’s their yard. ANYWAY.

Thanks again for giving this mini series a bit of your time. ❤️
 

Jedi Shulk

Master Driver
Some of these episodes were originally in a different order. You can enjoy them in this order, or hospscotch around Cortazar-style and forge your own path. A suggested alternative reading order: 16/8, 9, 4, 14, 1, 13, 2, 10, 5, 12, 15, 3, 6, 11, 17, 7.

I just went from one to 10.

Leaving there and continuing east, you eventually reach a plateau that overlooks the clouds. A rainbow arcs between two clouds where the waterfall splits them. Beads of moisture cling to your eyelashes and stream down your rain poncho.

descriptive and detailed to create the scene in the readers imagination.

On either side of you, your mightyena and sceptile are like living sculptures, glittering with each movement. Predictably, your mightyena shakes himself, casting off mini rainbow sprays and the smell of wet fur. You cover your face, but not quickly enough. All week, everything has been damp, so it shouldn’t matter. But the endless cold and wet began to wear at you quicker than you expected. Any patch of you that you can keep dry is precious.

nice way to create a scene with words

All around, water drips and plinks from every surface.


Then there are new sounds behind you: crunching footsteps and rustling leaves, heavy splashing, a trumpeting cry.

I can hear the leaves.

However, you can’t help but wince looking at yourself more closely. Tens of bug bites and tiny cuts sting as the salt water washes over you. The bruise on your hip is turning yellow, a sign it’s healing but nasty-looking all the same. It’s been months since you’ve shaved your legs or painted your chipped toe nails. And why would you out here? Maybe you’ll treat yourself when you get to the city, look impressive for your next gym challenge. You clamber onto a rock with your cake of biodegradable soap and scrub at the dirt in the cracks of your callouses until your skin burns.

This descriptive paragraph shapes the world of the story into existence.

You’re fine without playing another game of Twenty Questions or I Spy.

its been along time since I've played those.

She made camp while you cooked dinner (usually EZ-Mac with soy protein bits and dehydrated greens).

Does not sound appetizing.

You want someone to say challenge accepted

forgot the Joke or line I was gonna use here.

Most of your diet comes from boxes and bags: shrink-wrapped blocks that become noodles and ground meat when water is added, dried sauce in separate cellophane with flecks meant to represent vegetables, smoothie powder. You don’t mind it.

Where does the water come from cook this presumably?

Re-hydrated meals have a limited range of flavors, but they remind you of childhood and the time your father bought several crates of military MREs at a flea market.

Nice way to connect too the characters past.

You’ve become an expert in repackaging meal kits for maximum efficiency. For example, the cardboard wrap is always the first thing to go. It takes up too much space, and even the lightest stuff can weigh you down if you have too much of it.

pack weigh matters when traveling long distances. I know this from experience.

Sometimes you dehydrate your own food at a trainer supply store in town to save money

Nice bit of world building.

What you do miss, almost to your embarrassment, are sour straws, poke-O’s cereal, and especially cupcakes.

don't we all miss junk food.

You plan to ration them out — and indeed, you start by pulling the first one apart and eating each layer slowly, licking icing off your fingers — but instead eat all ten in one sitting,

that's how it always goes.

Leaving there and continuing north until golden light streams between the trees, you come across a grove of pecha berries.

They are sun warm and so ripe they burst upon your lips.

Warm and ripe and I don't know what else to say.

At least you’re not without water. You ask your floatzel to spray water into your cupped hands. After, you’re left with wet shoes and socks, but you won’t die of dehydration at least.

Did floatzel use hydro cannon?

You’re not sure how long the game lasts, only that you and James are both laughing all through it, and there’s a third, almost-human voice laughing too. Finally, the gastly mimics a hand again, fingers spread. It waves, and then it’s gone.

I love this playing with ghost part.

You pay for thirty minutes of computer time and a caramel macchiato to make the task of checking your emails less…

what can I say about emails that hasn't been said already?

After that, there’s an email from the bank, a few from mailing lists urging you to donate now to save this-and-that forest from development, and one from the insurance company. Nothing too scary.

all to archive.

muscle your way through a clumsy explanation of your feelings and, sheepishly, your whereabouts. You end, “With love,” but after staring a moment at the screen you erase it. Then you erase most of what you typed.

this but with writing stories.

Rather than paying for another half hour, you save your email as a draft, promising yourself to finish tomorrow.

That draft is not gonna get finished.

The cars and buildings are cast in sherbert pink and orange. The air is warm and smells like the ocean.

yummy and pretty.

You stand beneath a sign that warns against swimming and diving, wondering who would dare. Oil shimmers on the water’s surface. Plastic bottles and Rage Candy wrappers mass beneath the pier.

this is a terrible beach.

you’ve been here for over an hour, half-waiting for someone to challenge and half-waiting for a better idea to come to you.
that's how it works people just walk up to you?


What I liked about postcards is that each individual chapter is short but detailed. As for what I didn’t have much affection for is the structure of everything. The story seem to be disjointed to me since I read it from chapter 1 to 10.
 
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Persephone

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
her/hers
Partners
  1. vulpix-alola
Route 119: 7.8/10 too much rain. Does the sceptile eating inner bark hurt the tree? Is this allowed? Also, does protagonist only have two pokemon? That's not a lot for this late in the game when both are at final evos and the traditional sixth gym is nearby. There's a lot of descriptions of clouds, fitting for an area near Fortree, but not much of the jungle itself. That's one of the things I remember about that route. Kind of odd that it's sort of neglected. Stealthy banana borbs is unexpected but nice. A whole bunch of tropius there. Kind of surprised that they can manage to not rustle leaves with their wings, since I doubt those can be fully retracted over the back. Same with that much bulk in dense jungle. Cool detail, not sure how realistic it is? I looked up forest elephants and found some videos. Apparently elephants actually are quite stealthy when moving on flat land. The only video of them moving in the jungle I could find was (somewhat loudly) using a river trail. This is apparently common for them. Oh, and I liked some imagery:

All around, water drips and plinks from every surface.

Then there are new sounds behind you: crunching footsteps and rustling leaves, heavy splashing, a trumpeting cry.

Route 34: What is this how dare you region hop I thought this was going to be a weird journey fic and I was so looking forward to it. Regardless, this one focuses less on location and more on telling a story about a character. It's a good one, too: it's really hard to stay vain after even a week in the woods, much less months. Not sure how populated routes are in your world, but if she's willing to go in nude that implies that they aren't that frequently traveled. Or it's the off season since the ocean is cold. The ocean is usually cold, of course, so this isn't a great indicator. Good imagery on both the marsh and the accumulation of wounds / grime. I liked the ending with the trained pokemon finding itself prey. I also discussed getting cleaned up for gym battles in my last chapter, so it's interesting to see it discussed here.

Wait. No day care discussion? That's all I remember this route for in the first place.

Viridian Forest: Darn Gen Wunner. Wait. Gen III Pokemon in my Kanto? Unacceptable!

I see that these might not all be scenery based. Not what I was expecting, but certainly not inherently bad. And you do fit a lot of character into this one. I find myself naturally disliking the protagonist, which is totally fine in a one shot this short. Olivia deserves much better than this loser tbh. I like the emphasis on "side quests" and diversions in cities over anything to do with the gym challenge. And fighting everyone around you on day X of a hike is very realistic. I... don't have as much to say about this one? You did a good job conveying someone who doesn't really like people and is (wait we don't have a shocked Pika smile) when he ends up with no one around him. Still think there's a bit of missed potential not to focus on either the bugs or notorious ease of getting lost in the dungeon; Pokemon has a lot of throwaway locations you could've gone with.

Route 205: Hey, you did use a throwaway route to its least potential! The introduction of low forage zones is intriguing. In Alola I just figure that everywhere is high forage since the food web only makes any sense if there is extremely rapid plant regeneration but very little plant biomass at any given time. Sinnoh with its cool weather and mountains is a different beast. I understand what you're getting at here with camping food. I personally don't agree. However exhausted I am at the end of a trail, I still don't want to eat rehydrated garbage. Maybe it's that I have a thing about food and texture and I'd sooner not eat than eat something unpleasant. I've since learned that's not common. The hostess thing rings true, though.

Route 37: I said in DM that I remember exactly one thing about this route: trying for hours to catch a Stantler. Just learned that it's only there at night in Crystal. You know, past the bed time of an eight year old. Of course. Why not? Now I kind of want to write a one shot or short aside in BT about a kid trying to find a pokemon only to learn it's hiding at this time of day. Back to the actual one shot, I like to imagine this is a sequel to the last Johto one because Furret. It's some very good character progression if it is. Goes from being vain to being fine embracing nature and grime to not ever wanting to go back. Nice twist, too, where the trainer doesn't get tired of the wilderness - they get tired of having to go into the cities. You do you, girl. Go live your best hermit life.

Route 211: Huh. You did something cool with a throwaway location, especially since the ravine and fog are the only things of interest there and you used both well. I liked this narrator more than the Viridian one, even if they kind of got at the same general thing. Narrator clearly doesn't get that Lanna is just not as physically strong as they are and is struggling to keep up but doesn't want to admit it. Probably. Maybe not. It's very easy to misinterpret things in an uncharitable way when you're exhausted and you've been in close proximity for a long time. They do get a chance to learn their lesson, though, about why having people with you is nice. Dumb water gun mistake is lovely and believable. I wish you'd lingered more on the near-acceptance of death. It was kind of easy to miss that it had happened before the story moved on and wrapped up.

Faded Red Tent: I understand why you ditched the location theming, but it was confusing at first. I can't actually find much to say about this one. I guess that's fitting.

Liminal Spaces: Cute little gastly! Just wants to haunt people by playing with them. I... I have less to say here. I didn't really drift apart from friends over high school. That all came later. Sorry. I'll be back for the scenery ones.
 

Persephone

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
her/hers
Partners
  1. vulpix-alola
Slateport:

Oh boy we're back to Hoenn, which apparently means that we're back to describing scenery and incorporating locations. Lovely. Although a quick correction at the start: Lawyers and Poets are not proper trainer classes, which means they don't exist in the game world. This can quickly be fixed by changing them to Police and Lovers or Ace Trainers or Firebreathers. And it is entirely possible to be very, very aggressive on a ukelele.

Lots of general beach town vibes here. Still trying to think through how they work with the story's emotional arc. I guess it's supposed to imply a chill, relaxing place, especially combined with other details like the sunset colors and the brief flirting. And it is, sort of, in that the protagonist doesn't actually do anything stressful. They just postpone it. Maybe forever. I guess the old man trainer might get at that.

Also is an OLD school johto if remembers internet cafes and has enough nostalgia for them to put in fic.

The Kanto-Berry Tales

Goldenrod: We're not in Kansas at the beach anymore. For all the talk of the city's ugliness, of its water and buildings and people, there are some clear hints that the protagonist is part of it. Jumping at the possibility of a police dog could mean is criminal, or just means that the Goldenrod PD are bastards and wants to avoid them for the same reason wants to avoid the man at the end. Probably the latter tbh. Or both. This is Gritty Realism, after all. There was a doubled-up pokemon here. Is this a shadow puppet haunter? The themes and character arcs aren't really congruent, but there's nothing saying they can't be connected. So let's say they are.

Oh, kind of an afterthought, but I liked the subversion of your usual beautiful sunset trope.

Driftveil:

Paying to catch grimer, you say? VStar Intensifies. Even in Unova you have to reiterate how much of a shithole Goldenrod is. What did the city ever do to you? Ah, doing dumb stuff for cute girls. This is deeply relatable for reasons I will not tell you. Can't believe Clay allows bars in his Driftveil. Saloons, sure, but bars and punk music? Get out of my town, ya rascals. How dare you make Driftveil have bad music scene though. Has best music. Is canon. Grimer infestation is gross. Would never, ever get in that bath again. Protag hates punk music but is deeply punk. #truths Should have given typhlosion something to do. Is best boy. Or girl.

Saffron: Hmm. Saffron feels a little bit like a big name to waste on a generic scene. I guess there is a nice contrast of the abandoned, decaying lot and the opulence of a region's financial core. The mugging itself is well-executed, although I am upset that you besmirched the good name of stall players. Any good one should be able to make money legitimately by forcing noobs to rage quit. Also the rhyhorn got changed to a rhydon at some point. You should maybe fix that.

What a good umbreon. Very smart. Opens backpacks and finds food.

The despair at the end was also good. Very good description of a noob calling the mods after first encountering stall.

Veilstone: Ah, poor guy. Realizing he's a nameless NPC in a world of ludicrously OP children and canon characters. I relate to losing things in the muck and the general misery of the whole thing. Pastoria is built on a salt marsh and salt marshes are absolutely terrible to walk through. The worst. Only time in my life I've had to deal with a quicksand equivalent. The idea of part-time jobs held for weeks at a time is interesting. Kind of surprised the marts let trainers do that if they'll be out before too long. You'd figure they'd rather have consistent employees they don't have to train much.

Supplements, huh? You'd figure that you could just give a pokemon what they'd normally eat and that would be good enough for them. We did discuss some potential uses in DM, but I'd still be inclined to see them as a scam. Especially dragon supplements. Dragons are always strong. Always. But you do open with dreams being expensive and desperate people who just want to fulfill their dreams make for easy marks.

I suppose this chapter also centered on a mugging, just a much slower and more thorough one.

(sn: I was surprised that the chapter focused on Veilstone, dreams, and cons doesn't at all mention the casino there.)
 

Persephone

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
her/hers
Partners
  1. vulpix-alola
Lilycove: Oh boy a lot of weight thoughts here. Um. Yeah. I don't really want to delve into this in a public channel. The idea of training as Brand is good here. It runs through a few entries, but this one helps sell it with more emphasis on billboards and blogs. Not entirely sure how contests work mechanically in this 'verse. Simple display akin to IRL animal contests? Something more akin to flashy battles and elemental displays like the anime? The deemphasis on battling with precious water rabbit suggests something like the former. And water rabbit is precious! I wonder how the other pokemon react to one of their members getting absolutely spoiled and put on display. Also I kind of want to see you draw azumarill just to see what proportions you'd go with when trying to fit it into your more real world inspired style.

Nimbasa: But only N allowed on Ferris Wheel? What is this. You did a good job establishing Seviper Girl and letting narrative flourishes show the narrator's massive crush and subsequent let down. Not sure I can buy one burned crush as a reason to avoid other people months later? I don't even like people and that kind of thing wouldn't really be the main reason I'd avoid them on the trail. Also... where the woobat go? Had a woobat, now does not. Is it out of tent? This is the real question tbh. Also emolga are cute and they deserve all the love this city can give and more.

Coffee Shop:

T-T-T-T-TITLE DROP! airhorn intensifies

I like the themes of this one. A lot of other entries touch on people not being the same as they were before, either in childhood during the gastly shadow puppet one, or earlier on the trail in the Johto Furret Duology. This also deals with it. A protagonist bound by earlier promises to stay the same and keep in touch who increasingly finds themself to be too different, too removed from old friends to bother catching up. I get it hard. Big college feels.

And even in-universe you can't escape tacky pikachu merch.

Home: I'm told that it's just coincidence that the line about toilet paper being an opulent luxury was released in March 2020. I still think the more probable explanation is that you knew COVID would happen because you were part of it. I'm not sure why or who your co-conspirators were, but this is proof that it was a plandemic. Wake up sheeple. a

Metaphor for coming home from college rings true. Seriously, how are half my friends married. I was playing shitty board games with them in my parent's basement three weeks ago or something. Also the best description of answering "how's school" I've seen. And the price of freedom is obviously dead soldiers and The Forever War. It's frankly disrespectful to the troops to imply otherwise.

I also get the inevitable fight with parents. This chapter is a good conclusion to the thematic arc about changing on the trail or in life. And I did chuckle at the B- in math class joke. The story came to a surprisingly melancholy conclusion for what I thought was going to be a travelogue, but it is what it is.

I would still absolutely love to read a series of vignettes about different strange locations that actually focuses more on the locations like the first chapter did.
 

Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Hello, I’m here from the Review Blitz. True confession, I saw this story on FFN a long time ago, read a few chapters and really enjoyed them, left a tab open forever thinking "I should leave a review," and never got around to it (this happens to me occasionally, not just with this story). Anyways, no time like the present?

This review is for chapters 1-4.

Overall, I don’t think I ever really expected to see a story told in second person that works this well . . . thinking about the parts in chapter 2 about toenail polish and bikinis, I suppose a male reader might find it a bit jarring, but for me, I felt it gave an intimate feel to this (mostly) solitary journey.

Chapter 1 (Rte 119)

This first chapter is most definitely my favorite of the chapters of this story I’ve read; it’s fascinating to see the Pokemon world fleshed out in a more realistic manner with things like beef jerkey and trying to keep the rain out of one's poncho, and the imagery, the strong nouns and verbs, the actions of the pokemon, and the onomatopoeia are all terrific. The herd of tropius taking off from the cliff was an image that really stuck in my mind for a long time after reading this story. It definitely creates an awe-inspiring mood, and the tropius rising and falling and wheeling in the air makes me suspect I’m not the only person who likes to watch flocks of crows play around in the air on a windy day. ;)

If I were to pick at something, it would be that the phrase "the clouds" is repeated twice in the first two sentences without much space in between, though this is really a nitpick. Also, “immobilizes you with awe” is straying a bit into telling, rather than showing, but what you do show the reader in this chapter sufficiently portrays the majestic, awe-inspiring nature of the scene that it’s easy to pardon.

Also, upon rereading I noticed the change in the narrator's attitude from being irritated at the damp, in the beginning, to not noticing or caring at all, which gives this vignette a nice sense of having a bit of a story arc from beginning to end.

Chapter 2 (Rte 34)

I hadn't recalled this one quite so well, but actually, it's hilarious. The parts about the narrator's mental justifications of purchasing a swimsuit are easy to relate to, as I'm sure everyone has had that sort of indulgent purchase: you come up with some reason you "need" this thing, and tell yourself how much you're going to use it, and then you don't.

There's some nice onomatopoeia in this one, too, with the squelching mud, and some nice spot-on descriptions of the smell and feel of the salt water, and the various bites and cuts and bruises on the narrator's body. The sense of reaching a point where you just don't care about certain things anymore is another experience that's easy to relate to.

The narrator's flusteredly grabbing her pokeball (in the nude) to recall her furret is amusing, but also an interesting bit of world-building in that the possibility of using a pokeball's button to recall a pokemon when they're in danger is something that never occurred to me.

Chapter 3 (Viridian Forest) and Chapter 4 (Rte 204)

Combining my comments on these two. In chapter 3, I felt that the part about the second-person narrator’s team being leaner and stronger with her friend around rang true, and that was what I found most memorable about this chapter, along with the overall dynamic between the two trainers.

My other comment about this chapter (and the next) is something I find really hard to verbalize, but for me as a reader, I find that when it comes to stories that try to add more realism to the Pokemon world, there’s kind of a spectrum from things that introduce more mature, or realistic elements, while still feeling (to me) like something firmly set in the Pokemon world, to ones that seem like regular stories about the real world, but with pokemon thrown in. Of course this is a subjective thing, and it’s really hard for me to define what exactly makes that difference. I suppose it has something to do with making things in the story come across as intrinsically different from how they are in the real world. For me, your first two postcards come across as really firmly in Pokemon-world territory. The continual presence of both the trainer’s pokemon and wild pokemon helps a lot, but perhaps maybe part of it is also the fact that although people do go backpacking in the wilderness in real life, they usually don’t go backpacking along with a group of animals, for the purpose of training those animals, so those chapters come across as a fleshing out of what a “trainer journey” (which is the quintessence of pretty much any non-PMD Pokemon media) would be like.

The parts of chapter 3 that started talking about the choices the narrator would have in a city—about things to do in a bar, or leaving the bar to go somewhere else—start to feel to me like this is some real world atmosphere that has crept into the Pokemon world. Again, it’s hard to say exactly why—it’s not because there are bars, but maybe because there’s nothing in that brief paragraph that really makes me envision anything about how the experience of being in a bar, in the Pokemon world, would be any different from being in a bar in real life.

I feel like it is incredibly picky to say this (given how short that particular passage is), but this is my attempt to try to put my finger on why the atmosphere and world in chapter 3 starts to feel different to me than they did in previous chapters.

Chapter 4, on the other hand, comes across to me as completely and utterly a chapter that’s not really about pokemon (or the Pokemon world) anymore, it’s a chapter that’s about the experience of living off of rehydrated meals, and it happens to have some references to pokemon thrown in here and there. Now, that said, it was a very well-written and fun chapter about rehydrated meals, and I enjoyed lines like “flecks meant to represent vegetables” and the one about those meals being “designed,” not “cooked,” which is a great comment not just on rehydrated food but on how we as a society, largely, approach food nowadays. There was also that line about sitting and staring for a half hour, which I’m sure anyone (or, at least anyone sufficiently old to have had that experience) can relate to. And, overall, this chapter (and the other chapters I’ve read) are so specific in their depictions that I can’t help but imagine that all of the details about backpacking and what that experience is like are based on your own personal experience. (If I’m wrong, though, you’re doing a great job of faking it!)

So, the real-world-ness of those two chapters doesn’t make them bad chapters, per se. I’m just trying to put my finger on what I perceive as a kind of drift from a very Pokemon-world atmosphere to what seems to me like more of a “real world with pokemon” atmosphere; feel free to take that or leave it, as you see fit.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Ooh, I've got a bunch of reviews I haven't replied to yet! Sorry I'm slow, y'all.

This descriptive paragraph shapes the world of the story into existence.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I enjoyed seeing which passages jumped out at you.

It's not really one continuous story. A few of these episodes could be the same characters, but some of them contradict. As a full set, they do have an arc about what it means to leave home, but it's definitely a case of many small pieces adding up to a whole, less like a set of chapters and more like the pieces of a mosaic.

Glad it seems like you enjoyed some things in here regardless!

It was really fun watching you read all the way through these!

Does the sceptile eating inner bark hurt the tree?
Probably. I think in some ways training has a low environmental impact. Lots of walking, not a lot of driving. In other ways, I bet it would really fuck up the eco system. 🙃

Also, does protagonist only have two pokemon? That's not a lot for this late in the game when both are at final evos and the traditional sixth gym is nearby.
Two answers here: 1) in such a short space, I didn't want to try to juggle a million pokemon. 2) I don't use the traditional gym order in any of my settings. Is a new trainer from Lilycove supposed to trek all the way to Rustboro before they can start? That seems silly.

here's a lot of descriptions of clouds, fitting for an area near Fortree, but not much of the jungle itself. That's one of the things I remember about that route. Kind of odd that it's sort of neglected.
I think that's part of what was fun about these short scenes as an exercise: another narrator would notice tottaly different details! I forget, did you already check out Raingurl, Make It?

Apparently elephants actually are quite stealthy when moving on flat land. The only video of them moving in the jungle I could find was (somewhat loudly) using a river trail. This is apparently common for them.
Okay, but elephants can't also fly.

Regardless, this one focuses less on location and more on telling a story about a character.
Yeah, I think most of these are actually character studies. I was experimenting with establishing sense of place in the first few I wrote (which is not necessarily chapter order), but over time I became more interested in depicting what it means to leave home and be on the move.

Wait. Gen III Pokemon in my Kanto? Unacceptable!
Yeah, I wanted a trainer who Wasn't From Here.

Olivia deserves much better than this loser tbh.
Ew, no. Olivia is consciously drawn from my shitty ex-roommate who brought cats home without asking anybody else, which freaked my cat out.

The introduction of low forage zones is intriguing. In Alola I just figure that everywhere is high forage since the food web only makes any sense if there is extremely rapid plant regeneration but very little plant biomass at any given time.
I think this is especially true when there's a trainer from another region traveling with their foreign pokemon. A buizel might be able for forage in Sinnoh, but can it eat the stuff that grows wild in Kanto?

Maybe it's that I have a thing about food and texture and I'd sooner not eat than eat something unpleasant. I've since learned that's not common.
I'm also uncommonly savage about eating junk. Spam? Cool. Thing that fell on the ground? I will eat it. I do have some lines I can't cross, but I'm quite omnivorous.

Now I kind of want to write a one shot or short aside in BT about a kid trying to find a pokemon only to learn it's hiding at this time of day.
Do it!!!

You do you, girl. Go live your best hermit life.
Okay, goodbye--

Narrator clearly doesn't get that Lanna is just not as physically strong as they are and is struggling to keep up but doesn't want to admit it. Probably. Maybe not. It's very easy to misinterpret things in an uncharitable way when you're exhausted and you've been in close proximity for a long time.
These are all good points!

I wish you'd lingered more on the near-acceptance of death.
Fair point! may edit eventually.

Faded Red Tent: I understand why you ditched the location theming, but it was confusing at first.
Yeah, there's a section on wilderness and a section on cities, each with a bunch of specific locations and one that's a blue of many locations.

Lawyers and Poets are not proper trainer classes, which means they don't exist in the game world.
Fuck u rite.

And it is entirely possible to be very, very aggressive on a ukelele.
Amazing. Great find.

Paying to catch grimer, you say? VStar Intensifies.
I might've gotten the idea from you!

Even in Unova you have to reiterate how much of a shithole Goldenrod is. What did the city ever do to you?
Hahaha, I actually like Goldenrod a lot. (Osaka let's go!!) But a lot of my initial notes/rambling were about expecting one thing from TV/photos and being surprised when it's ... also other things.

Can't believe Clay allows bars in his Driftveil. Saloons, sure, but bars and punk music? Get out of my town, ya rascals.
Good points, TBH.

How dare you make Driftveil have bad music scene though. Has best music.
Ha, just because the protagonist doesn't like it doesn't mean it isn't good!

Should have given typhlosion something to do. Is best boy. Or girl.
Good point. Whoops.

Also the rhyhorn got changed to a rhydon at some point. You should maybe fix that.
Fuck.

Ah, poor guy.
I thought it was interesting to see how you gendered some of these narrators! Some of them I think of masculine or feminine, but a lot of them don't actually have any real gendered clues about them.

Pastoria is built on a salt marsh and salt marshes are absolutely terrible to walk through. The worst. Only time in my life I've had to deal with a quicksand equivalent.
This is why Sinnoh is the worst. No thanks.

The idea of part-time jobs held for weeks at a time is interesting. Kind of surprised the marts let trainers do that if they'll be out before too long. You'd figure they'd rather have consistent employees they don't have to train much.
I'm sure most of their employees are more long-term. But I think this would have to be pretty common in a world with trainers!

We did discuss some potential uses in DM, but I'd still be inclined to see them as a scam.
Very well could be!

I was surprised that the chapter focused on Veilstone, dreams, and cons doesn't at all mention the casino there.
Fair point! I am deeply uninterested in casinos IRL, and I guess that bled through.

I wonder how the other pokemon react to one of their members getting absolutely spoiled and put on display.
A very, very Persephone-core question.

Also I kind of want to see you draw azumarill just to see what proportions you'd go with when trying to fit it into your more real world inspired style.
👀 I should.

Not sure I can buy one burned crush as a reason to avoid other people months later?
Good point! May have over-emphasized this.

Also... where the woobat go? Had a woobat, now does not. Is it out of tent?
Oh, I should've looped this back in, too.

T-T-T-T-TITLE DROP! airhorn intensifies
🎊

Metaphor for coming home from college rings true. Seriously, how are half my friends married. I was playing shitty board games with them in my parent's basement three weeks ago or something. Also the best description of answering "how's school" I've seen.
My true agenda revealed!

And the price of freedom is obviously dead soldiers and The Forever War. It's frankly disrespectful to the troops to imply otherwise.
RIP.

I would still absolutely love to read a series of vignettes about different strange locations that actually focuses more on the locations like the first chapter did.
You should do it! The Alola Travel Guide!

True confession, I saw this story on FFN a long time ago, read a few chapters and really enjoyed them, left a tab open forever thinking "I should leave a review," and never got around to it (this happens to me occasionally, not just with this story). Anyways, no time like the present?
Oh, cool! Yeah, reviews are always a treat because otherwise there's no way to know who's reading along. Glad you made time to stop by! Better late than never, and I appreciate you taking the time!

Overall, I don’t think I ever really expected to see a story told in second person that works this well
Ooh man, some of my favorite pokemon fics are told in second person! Broken Things by Persephone, envy of eden by Kintsugi, and Salvage by Negrek are all at least partially hosted here on TR. each deals with some pretty heavy themes, but I enjoy them all a lot. Great use of second person.

I suppose a male reader might find it a bit jarring, but for me, I felt it gave an intimate feel to this (mostly) solitary journey.
Maybe! I know lots of boys who paint their nails though. ;D I think that's part of the fun of cycling through many narrators! Some of these are gendered in obvious ways, but others aren't. Glad this landed for you, regardless.

it’s fascinating to see the Pokemon world fleshed out in a more realistic manner with things like beef jerkey and trying to keep the rain out of one's poncho, and the imagery, the strong nouns and verbs, the actions of the pokemon, and the onomatopoeia are all terrific.
That was definitely my guiding principle! These started as my junk drawer for world-building details that didn't fit into the body of the text I was working on, and then they became their own thing.

The narrator's flusteredly grabbing her pokeball (in the nude) to recall her furret is amusing, but also an interesting bit of world-building in that the possibility of using a pokeball's button to recall a pokemon when they're in danger is something that never occurred to me.
Ooh, now that you mention it ...! That's something that's come up a lot in my ongoing Hoenn fic in, uh, interesting ways. I didn't think about it, but I guess there's a through-line that leads all the way back here.

The parts of chapter 3 that started talking about the choices the narrator would have in a city—about things to do in a bar, or leaving the bar to go somewhere else—start to feel to me like this is some real world atmosphere that has crept into the Pokemon world. Again, it’s hard to say exactly why—it’s not because there are bars, but maybe because there’s nothing in that brief paragraph that really makes me envision anything about how the experience of being in a bar, in the Pokemon world, would be any different from being in a bar in real life.
Totally fair! I've always got one foot in the door of fic and one foot out the door into original fiction. It's sometimes a real weakness. In this case, I'm not terribly worried about it because there's quite a bit of pokemon stuff scattered throughout the entire set, so I'm not worried if one little piece strikes a different balance than the others. They're so short. But, definitely, I'm sometimes more interested in looking at the consequences of a world that has pokemon in it than I am necessarily in individual human/pokemon relationships, and sometimes that's just answers to what it means to have a society where it's common for young people to wander through the wilderness for (maybe) fame and (maybe) adventure. I do hear you, though, and I understand that's not everyone's cup of tea.

Thanks so much for all these thoughts!
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
Oh boy, a completed OSJ story that has relatively short chapters? How have you not told me about this one.

Anyways, it's clear from the start that this story story is different to the others ones I've read, it seems a lot more experimental which can be noticed from the way you practice with conveying character feelings through two person. I think it ends up working pretty well, which I'll be going more in detail about later.

This review will be for chapters 16 and 8, I started with these ones because of your first post and the order you suggested, though it was a little unclear which one I should start with. Now I think that, so far, 8 is a good starting point since if I understand correctly it takes place before our protagonist starts their journey.

Now. What I really like about Postcards so far is how you take a more...bittersweet look at this character's journey. Your stories, especially the ones focused on journey, always have a sense of characters trying to find their independence and seeing what the world is like beyond the tales of grand adventures that are always sold to them, and to us as people that interact with the franchise on the daily.

This particular theme comes through here in chapter 16 with how you highlight the protagonist's slowly growing desillusionedment with their journey and then in chapter 8 as we see how they set out wanting to follow their dreams, but already realizing what they'd be leaving behind and who they'd be leaving behind.

You know, of course, that you are still lying only feet away from the barbecue, the chair where your mom smokes and watches the sunrise every morning, the empty cola can where she stuffs the butts, your father’s zucchini plants, the neighbors’ always barking growlithe, the off-key wind chimes your aunt sent as a holiday gift last year. But once you’re inside the tent with the door flap zipped shut, you can imagine yourself elsewhere.

Summer means freedom from homework and early mornings waiting for the bus. But it teases you with bigger, truer freedoms, held still out of reach. You used to imagine you would start your journey close to home and return often with souvenirs for the entire family. Now, you imagine Hoenn, Sinnoh — the furthest places you can think of. The greenest places. The wildest places.

I love how here and in chapter 8 in general you highlight all the little things about the protagonist's daily life, the things in the environment that they take notice of and the reason why they want to set out on their journey. It sets a nice contrast with later on when the idea of setting out fills them with trepidation and worry. They wish to set out, to see the world and experience it all, but it's all coming from a lack of understanding what it's all really like.

Also these paragraphs just make the setting feel really lived in, which is funny because it's just a backyard.

“I know, but… still.” He makes a numel, one hand becoming the curve of its back and the other its mouth and ear. “Things won’t be the same.”

Making all these figures must be really hard on those hands, damn.

The butterfree-shadow jerks and becomes long and toothy — an impossible shape to make with human hands. It forms eye-holes and winks.

Oh shit, looks like they smoked some of that good shiz.

The gastly-shadow reforms itself into a copy of the butterfree hand shadow you made before. After a moment of waiting, it dissolves. Then out of the haze a butterfree again, a bigger one this time, wiggling its finger-wings.

Casper the friendly butterfree ghost. I really think it's cute though that the ghastly is not like some evil entity or something like that, ghost-types get a lot of bad rap usually.

James agreed weeks ago to join you out here, for old time’s sake, but you’re not mad he canceled.. It’s a family thing. You know how that goes.

:C

The closer you get to graduation, somehow the more there is to do. Finalizing paperwork. Accommodating family members from out of town. Farewell dinners. Posing for photos — struggling suddenly not to cry even though you’d been fine a minute before.

There's always annoying paperwork to deal with.

You keep talking anyway, in the same low voice you used late at night to avoid waking Jame’s parents. “I don’t really know what it’s gonna be like. I could get lost out there. Sometimes people don’t come back. It’s risky, traveling alone.” You stop to pick at a loose string on your pants. “We used to talk about treasure, like it was a guarantee. One per trainer. Sounds stupid now, but I guess part of me still believes it, in a way. Maybe not treasure but… something. Secrets. Forgotten places. If I don’t go, I’ll never find out what is out there.”

Well gee, just do my word for me and state it all out in text why don't ya :p But I do love how in this moment you don't make it clear if the ghost is actually there or not and that they're just letting out their worries.

Flicking through the spinning card racks is tiresome. Your mother would love this photo of the skyline at night, but you wrinkle your nose at it. Certainly you have never seen the city looking so tidy and still. And everywhere you go — scattered between the postcards featuring landmarks and famous residents — there is always the same saccharine pikachu, photoshopped with sunglasses, a pool float, and a margarita. Wish you were here. Many of the souvenir shops are cash only, forcing you to turn out your pockets for change or walk out empty-handed. Once, you were already at the city limits before you remembered you’d forgotten to buy any cards and had to double back.

I love how this paragraph highlights both the way that the protagonist's idea of sending postcards is starting to become more rote and routine and also the contradiction in postcards to begin with. Postcards are like social media pictures but pre-packaged, designed to create an idealized image of a place and convey the feeling that you're in some amazing place. That's not to say those places aren't amazing, but they can end up ignoring the more complex aspects of those places and propagate a wrong image about them to people.

Now, at a cafe with mosaic-topped tables, you flip through the stack of cards you bought around the corner. It’s a haphazard selection, and you’re surprised by your own choices. Is it better, you wonder, to begin with an apology? Or you could jump to the highlight reel. But even as you start trying to distill your last gym battle into the space of a postcard, you have to stop and put down your pen. There’s too much to say, and yet too little.

This one's interesting, are they apologizing for not writing enough? or is there something else? But it also hints at the difficulties they're having in their journey. I'll be interested in learning more.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
Heya! Last time I read three, so this time I'll read three more!

205

- As with all your works, it's striking how hard the life of a trainer is in this.
- I had to laugh at the aside about the brownie containing ten percent of your daily recommended iron and protein. xD
- Love the small details like the dad buying MREs and chasing a Gible and the funfetti cake.

37

- Really love the moment with the Pidgeys, chilling together as equals
- I like how inviting the life of a trainer feels in this one compared to the last one. They make it to town and there's all this great stuff in Ecruteak, but nah. Time to chill in the woods with all this tasty fruit.
- They could go home, but they're really not ready to yet. On the contrary, they seem ready to just stay out in the wild for as long as they like.

211

- I don't know why Lanna being such a stickler while playing freaking Uno was so amusing, but it was.
- Really striking the way things an go so wrong in an instant. Is it bad that I was half expecting it to go more wrong.
- Even though the ending scene was cold and miserable, I was more grabbed by all the ways that they were able to get aid from and take comfort in the presence of their team. They're not alone! They've got their partners there! And even though having a proper camp would be a marked improvement in a lot of ways, I feel like being unalone is most important in that dire situation.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
A few more replies!

Hey, Flaze, welcome aboard!

This review will be for chapters 16 and 8, I started with these ones because of your first post and the order you suggested, though it was a little unclear which one I should start with. Now I think that, so far, 8 is a good starting point since if I understand correctly it takes place before our protagonist starts their journey.
You know, I think you're the first person to actually try reading it out of the official order! Reading 1-16 totally works, too. My point was that it's not one linear story, so reading the pieces out of order is fine. I've suggested two reading orders: the order of the threadmarks and the chapter numbering in the description. It'll be interesting to see how it lands differently for you in this other order.

I really think it's cute though that the ghastly is not like some evil entity or something like that, ghost-types get a lot of bad rap usually.
Nah, just a spoopy prankster.

Yeah, really--I'm seeing an extra period in the section you quoted and it makes me :c
I'll go back and fix that eventually.

Hey, welcome back!

As with all your works, it's striking how hard the life of a trainer is in this.
Haha, yup. It's not a lifestyle that's for everyone in this setting! That's why they aren't kids in my setting.

I don't know why Lanna being such a stickler while playing freaking Uno was so amusing, but it was.
Oh man, as someone who works with teenagers, let me tell you: friendships die over Uno. People get into heated debates.

Even though the ending scene was cold and miserable, I was more grabbed by all the ways that they were able to get aid from and take comfort in the presence of their team. They're not alone! They've got their partners there! And even though having a proper camp would be a marked improvement in a lot of ways, I feel like being unalone is most important in that dire situation.
Yeah, this is meant to be a chapter about getting a new perspective on things and being humbled before nature. Humans are smol. Being with others and making friends with the more-than-human definitely helps make us a little less smol, absolutely!

Thank you both for taking the time to share some thoughts!
 
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