I just finished chapter 22 of the 4th draft of Abandonment Party 2. This one has the final bit of set-up as we head to the finale of the book.
Such tension! Oooooh what’s gonna happen!? Speaking of: I actually put in some OUTRAGOUS levels of tension in draft 3 of this chapter, just to test Kim when she read it. To see how far I could go before the reader stopped ‘suspending their disbelief’ as they say.
I can’t tell you exactly what I wrote, but let me put it like this: pretend the characters are having a conflict over who gets to be a Lord Ley of the nation of Jesice. Then I up the stakes so that the winner of the conflict gets control of a nuclear bomb too. And THEN it’s suddenly revealed that the winner will also get to rule the entire planet, no questions asked. BIG STAKES!
Later, when Kim read draft 3 she did indeed think I was taking things too far. I expected her to reject most of the escalation, but she was just like ‘Hold on. A nuclear bomb is good enough for stakes. Keep that. They just don’t need to rule the entire planet too.’
So I dialed it back and added ‘the bomb’ into the book much earlier so that it wouldn’t be as much of a shock to the reader. Remember, this is just an example. A nuclear bomb is not the real plot element that I will use.
Then there’s something else I decided to try out: the ‘withhold some of the characters’ setup for the finale from the reader!’
Because if you see all the setup you know a bit too much about what’s going to happen. Isn’t it fun to be a bit surprised? For example, the finale will play out, and you’ll see that the bad guy begins to get the upper hand! Then the good guy smirks. It seems they’ve got a hidden plan that the reader didn’t know about!
I can’t tell you what I withheld or else it won’t be a surprise, though. Let’s see, what’s a good example of this? Ah, here’s one. I’ll put it under a spoiler tag.
Marty McFly had an iron plate under his poncho to survive Tannen’s bullets!? WOWZERS!
Hm, I can’t think of any more examples. Dang, I thought I knew about more ‘hidden finale prep’ moments. It probably happens in every Mission Impossible episode and film, right? (I haven’t seen them all.)
I guess I’ll have to talk about something else then! How about the new live action Yu Yu Hakusho? I will spoil some big moments, so here’s the graphic to warn you:
Okay, I’ve seen the anime and a bit of the manga, so I was excited for this. Here’s my review of the five episodes:
Episode 1: Yusuke dies and meets Koenma in Spirit World. Koenma makes a deal with Yusuke: he will be revived, but he must become a ‘spirit detective.’ A bunch of boring crap is skipped, like taking care of Puu’s magical egg, so I liked this episode. Pretty cool fight at the end against a weird monster.
Episode 2: Now Yusuke gets his first real mission: he must collect three stolen artifacts. An ogre-looking guy named Goki swipes a ball that steals children’s souls, and Yusuke’s fight against him is wild and ends faithful to the anime.
The second artifact is held by Kurama, who looks just like he should. The mirror was called ‘Forlorn Hope’ in the anime but in this version it’s called the generic ‘Mirror of Darkness.’ I can’t remember how Yusuke got the mirror back in the anime but this version’s resolution with them both giving up their life energy is still good stuff. I was so thrilled for the rest of the show at this point. 😑
Episode 3: Hiei has the third artifact: some ‘knife of something bad.’ I remember how this fight goes in the anime, but Yusuke does not use the same ‘reflect the spirit gun off the mirror to hit Hiei’ trick here. In the live action version Yusuke loses! Hiei doesn’t even draw his sword. He just smacks Yusuke around and tells him what a weakling he is.
See, now this was smart. Now Yusuke has a reason to go train with Genkai. In the anime Yusuke just meets up with Genkai in between missions because she’s taking students and Koenma thinks it’s a good idea. But now Yusuke, the overconfident thug, has been HUMBLED. (I use a similar trick in Abandonment Party. Mean only bothers to train after she gets beaten. Although I cut out the actual training. I think that stuff is dull.) 😅
But what isn’t dull is the tournament that Genkai holds in the anime. She uses this time to weed out the unworthy students, and it also serves as an introduction to how spirit energy works and the advantages it gives the users.
The only problem is that the live action version CUTS THIS TOURNAMENT OUT!
We get the boring-ass training though. Oh great we get to see Kuwabara hit a boulder with a stick. Yusuke balancing on a spike. How does spirit energy help you sense things that your normal senses can’t? Well we cut out the part where everyone had to battle in total darkness so… beats me! How is mastery of the energy more important than the ‘special move’ itself? Oops, we cut out the battle with Rando and his over-reliance on stolen skills, so just take the special move and shut up Yusuke!
And that’s another thing! Genkai gives Yusuke the spirit wave way too early! Then she dies to Toguro in THIS EPISODE!? How in the world is Yusuke supposed to feel moved by her death after only spending just one week with her!?
Episode 4: Now we’re really going off the rails. Whoever made this show said to themselves: “What if we just skipped to the parts of the manga that everyone likes the best? Let’s do that!”
So they toss out the story with the Saint Beasts. Wouldn’t a trip to Demon World be exciting? A fiend-infested castle with Yusuke and his new pals strutting their stuff? Learning to rely on each other? Sorry! Not important!
How about a tournament with a stadium full of crazed demons? A vile place where anything goes and the games are all rigged? But overcome the obstacles, and the prize is the wish of your choice. THE DARK TOURNAMENT.
Nope. Who cares. It’s all trashed in the live action. The storyline they use is the ‘save Hiei’s sister’ saga, so we see her at least. But episode 4 uses the final fights of the Dark Tournament saga here, without any of the build-up or drama. What a crock.
The battles with Bui and Karasu are very similar to the anime though. I’ll give them props for that. You get to see characters like Hiei and Kurama pulling out their most amazing techniques and transformations. You just don’t get the storylines that explained how they mastered them. Ridiculous.
Episode 5: Kuwabara rescues Hiei’s sister from Elder Toguro in this one. All they do is run away though. The live action does NOT keep Kuwabara’s win over Toguro where he smashes him into the pavement with ‘spirit flyswatter.’ That gives Kuwabara NO moments of glory in this version. Younger Toguro still punches his brother away though.
I do like the part where Sakyo bets his life on Younger Toguro with Koenma. It was a good idea to have the portal to demon world opening as the battles went on. In the original anime Sakyo was just planning this stuff. I don’t think we ever saw his portal machine. Maybe I’m wrong. Either way, Sakyo is more memorable in this one. They also cut out the pointless romance with Kuwabara’s sister. And they cut out the sister too. 😅
And since there’s no Dark Tournament and no wish… GENKAI DOES’T COME BACK!?
Who is going to train Yusuke? I guess they’re just going to skip the part where Genkai rounds up the ‘territory’ users. Sheesh there isn’t even much left for the live action to do at this point.
Ah well, no point in speculating if season two hasn’t been announced yet. That’s enough ranting for now anyway. Happy New Year! 🤩