I already said Hisoka's characterization was really bad in part 1. In part 2? It's really fucking painful.
Series: Yami no Matsuei
Genre: Angst, getting over fic (Is that even a genre!?), build up fic?
Warnings: Lots of mentions of rape, possible squick moments, OOC Hisoka
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka, mentions of past Muraki/Hisoka and Muraki/Tsuzuki
Plot: 5/10 - There's kind of no real plot, it's basically Hisoka coming to terms to his feelings to Tsuzuki and trying to deal with the aftermath of 'that famous night under the Sakura Trees'.
But it's not written well here. And it's really hard to explain it because it has nothing to do with the writing itself. I think part of the problem is that in part 1, Hisoka was desperate to have 'alone time' to figure things out and in part 2, he's hanging out and staring at Tsuzuki and is like 'oh, I love him', even though in part 1, he basically said, 'I like you, but not like that'. Like boy, make up your mind already!
Also, I highly doubt that after being possessed by a ghost is going to magically change Hisoka's views on everything. I actually like the idea of Hisoka starting to appreciate stuff he never seemed to appreciate. Like food. Or seeing places he's familiar with in a new light. Or deciding to spend time with Tsuzuki, which he seemed to have a BIG problem with in the previous part and in this part, he's suddenly a-okay with it. And touching him, even though the previous part, he obviously had a problem with! Or reading a book on sex (That blows my mind between 'holy shit, that's a creative idea!, 'wtf am I reading!?', and 'omg, I am rotflmao land!').
The problem is this story has a lot of good ideas, but they're not executed well. Being possessed by a ghost isn't suddenly going to change Hisoka's tastebuds or is going to improve any of his senses in such detail (A demon, quite possibly, but a human ghost? Probably not). Or realizing that he suddenly is in love with Tsuzuki isn't going to make him appreciate the taste of food or make the color and shapes around him stand out more. And if it did, I'm assuming he'd go to Watari about it, cause he's a doctor after all.
Him wanting to spend time with Tsuzuki all of a sudden should happen later in the fic instead of near the beginning, especially since the point of part 1 was more focused around, 'I need some me time!' and this takes a 180 direction to 'I need to spend time with him!'
Also, Hisoka randomly punching Tsuzuki because 'I felt like it', while amusing, doesn't he already kind of do that in the manga at least? Well, not like punch, but hitting Tsuzuki, yeah. So it's sort of doesn't make any sense (But you can say this is based on the anime, but doesn't he slap Tsuzuki around in the anime too)?
Though I will admit, I do like the fact that he thinks he's still possessed and when he tries to exorcise himself... yeah, things aren't going to go well here. And then he realizes that yes, those are his feelings, not the remains of a ghost. Again, that's a brilliant idea. But the lead in to get to that part, it's not executed well.
And then there's the whole 'I'm going to study about sex!' thing. Which I can totally see Hisoka doing. But something seems wrong. And then him coming to the conclusion that Muraki raped Tsuzuki and... yeah, this actually made me REALLY uncomfortable, and I'll talk about it in the characterization part.
A perfect example of a story that has some really great ideas, but they're not done exactly right.
Writing: 8/10 - This is where the story shines. The descritpions and the overall writing flow is much better in this part.
This was one of my favorite lines of Hisoka describing what he's feeling from Tsuzuki:
"How often did Tsuzuki feel really delighted, after all? Not just the passing pleasure of a dessert or a sunny day, but this sort of ringing bone-deep rejoicing? It blended with the physical sensation of Tsuzuki’s side against his shoulder, of his shoulder against Tsuzuki’s side, so that the touch seemed to vibrate colors almost too intense to handle. Hisoka sighed and realized that some of the pleasure he was feeling was his own. This... this is okay, he thought. This is all right. "
Basically, the writing is about the same, if not, better, than the last part.
Characteriztion 3/10 - Again, this story focuses on mostly just Tsuzuki and Hisoka. And while I think Tsuzuki is perfectly in character, the same can't be said about Hisoka.
Again, when the focus is on Hisoka and just Hisoka alone (Usually with his feelings towards Tsuzuki mixed in), it's boarderline OOC. Part of it has to do with the plot this time. This part is a perfect example of a bunch of really great ideas not executed correctly. Hisoka makes a lot of dumb decisions in this story, and the boarderline OOC does not help.
An example is Hisoka figuring he's still possessed and that he's not. His reasoning isn't off either, his views of the world has changed, and it started happening after he was possessed. But instead of, I don't know, talking to the DOCTOR about how his sense of taste and sight had changed, he keeps it to himself. I'd kind of think that if Hisoka's senses were off, he'd go to Watari about it, because that's kind of what doctors are for. And the explaination of his senses changing doesn't really make much sense. Love isn't going to magically make food taste better to me, that's for damn sure.
Hisoka also goes from one extreme to another way too fast too. Basically, part 1 doesn't really mesh too well with part 2. Part 1, Hisoka seemed too cold and distant. In this part, he seems a bit too emotional and accepting that he's in love with Tsuzuki.
And then there's the part I really didn't want to get into but I have to: The famous night. I could totally see Hisoka trying to find a book about sex and logically reasoning it out.
But the problem here, is that Hisoka sort of already knows what 'sleeping with another person' is, and at other times, he's ignorant of it. Not to mention, he's a rape victim, so...
I've read a lot of fics of Hisoka trying to get over this issue, from trying to logically analyzing it out, to the 'bathing in the light of the cock' type of scenario (GAG), to 'dark route' scenario, to just about every type of scenario. I personally enjoy Hisoka going the logical route, because Hisoka strikes me as a very intelligent individual. This fic tries to go to a more logical standpoint.
Oh, how I regret what I wished for...
It's almost painful for me to read, not because it's emotional or angsty or tragic, but... it feels really really off. It's really hard to explain why it doesn't work in the context of this story. Maybe it's because Hisoka seems too knowledgable one second and the next, he's completely ignorant.
And then I realized something that made me really uncomfortable: In this story, when Hisoka realizes that Muraki raped Tsuzuki (Urgh, I'll get into that), and realizing Tsuzuki still wants to sleep with him, even though he's a rape victim himself... THAT didn't sit too well with me, especially since the story takes place almost a month after they save Tsuzuki. It's like driving by a horrible automobile accident and not being able to look away.
Not to mention, some people think Muraki raped Tsuzuki when he kidnapped him during the Kyoto arc (Again, rapist!Muraki ~_~;;;;;;;). Is it possible? Canon-wise, I honestly don't think so. Muraki was only after Tsuzuki because of his self healing and his revenge on Saki. Could it have happened? I'm going to say no, but you could make a case for it, in the anime at least.
I think that's my overall problem. We have Hisoka, a rape victim, trying to deal with his feelings toward Tsuzuki, who is also a rape victim, but his feelings toward Hisoka are pretty damn clear, regardless of what happened to him. Not only were both raped, but they were raped by the same person, Muraki. Two people raped by the same person coming together... For some reason, I find the whole thing REALLY unsettling and I can see people being squicked out by it. Not to mention, I think part of me was angry that we reduced Muraki down to a one dimensional villian yet again.
Like, can we have a single YnM story without rapist!Muraki!? Or are we gonna forget the whole 'I wanna put my brother's head on Tsuzuki's self healing body!' scheme??? Isn't the fact that he probably messed Tsuzuki up both physically and mentally just as bad??? Couldn't we use a plot device more on the lines of mind rape and not physical rape!? And my question after reading part 3 is that no, we're not going to forget that, but I'll go into that next time.
Does this make it a negative to the story? No. Is it an unrealistic scenario? Not really. Can I see people feeling uncomfortable reading this? Yeah, I really can. Not to mention, I absolutely hate stories that use Muraki as a rape device, and while this is fixed and has it's reason in part 3, it doesn't make me any less annoyed about it here. And maybe that's why I dislike this part the most out of all three.
Overall, the characterization of Hisoka is off, and this time, it has to do with the plot. Which is a shame, there's not a lot of build-up fics for this pairing. Yeah, not enough build-up fics for Tsuzuki/Hisoka, I just said that. There's random drive by fluff/angst and there's your PwP fics, but actual build up relationship fics? You'll be lucky to find more than 10 and that's me being REALLY generous.
This part tries it, and has the ideas for it. But again, not executed well.
Negatives: OOC Hisoka, very squicky moments
Summary: Hisoka comes to terms to his feelings toward Tsuzuki alongside getting over past issues.
Overall: 5.3/10 - Honestly, skip this part. It's painful to read and if you're easily squicked by rape issues, definitely skip it. This part isn't needed to enjoy the last part of the series anyways. In fact, I'd say skip both part 1 and 2 and just go to part 3.
Next up, the conclusion to the series. And lemme say, honestly, it can serve as a stand alone story if you really don't want to read part 1 and 2. You'll see why.