Fanfiction review “The Weaponless Meinster”

I’m a huge fan of Fate/Stay Night and enjoy the Soul Eater anime as well. But when I heard that there was a crossover written between the two, an eyebrow went up. Here’s a link to the story on fanfiction.net,

The Weaponless Meinster by L33t Horo

Canonically, I don’t believe that the two magic systems can co-exist. The former sees magic (or “prana/od”) as a limited resource in the world. The latter talks about using a person’s “soul wavelength” to accomplish impossible deeds. And then there is the title of the story – ‘weaponless meinster’ ? In Soul Eater canon there are weapons who can act without Meinsters (and these are usually the very high-level ones), but a meinster without a weapon? What is the meinster expected to do; fight and reap souls with their fists? Needless to say, I was very skeptical when I started reading the story. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

Let’s begin, shall we? <starts reading the story>

Well, I have to give some points for the attempt at formatting the story. The centralized title looks nice, but without extra effects (like bold, italics or underline) it looks bland. Then we come to the author’s notes. Oh, you say that this is a beta chapter? Well then, just take this as my beta review.

Next the chapter name – ‘two as one, weapon and its wielder’. What is that supposed to mean? Then again, most chapter names only make sense in hindsight, so I’ll reserve judgement until I finish. <resumes reading>

The first few paragraphs are a recap of the FSN storyline. It looks like this is a fanfic that continues off one of the UBW endings. We have an explanation of what is not researched in the Clock Tower.  A lot of it is a gigantic wall of text. In fact, the tone of that passage makes me think that the author cut-copy-pasted it from a wiki somewhere. Since I’m already familiar with Nasuverse mechanics I’ll just skip this unreadable section and jump to the next part.

Blah, blah, blah. Some description of what would happen to Shirou if he ever got caught. I suppose this is meant to be informative to a newbie, but it’s just filler to me. <resumes reading> It looks like Shirou flees to America. Fine, why not? Now … what the heck??! Just look at this line,

… they were at odds with the motherland’s one …

Motherland? I normally associate this word with invasion stories. You know, the ones where solders go to far-off places to fight? It’s not uncommon to see some old-timers refer to their home as “the motherland”, but here? Just which motherland are we talking about? The Clock Tower? They are already based in London. It seems highly unlikely that they would call their own country “motherland” while still on British soil. Shirou’s motherland? But if he hated the Clock Tower to the point of actually referring to them in such terms, why would he spend 6 YEARS living there? That doesn’t make sense either. Let me re-read that passage.

Oh wait, does the author mean America’s motherland? I know it used to be a former British colony, but to actually call it “motherland” … <blinks a few times>.

I think I’ll just move onto the next section. Thinking about it isn’t worth the effort. <resumes reading>

This next paragraph is just horrible. Here let me quote it,

Currently he was in Nevada, it was far away from the body of water, in the middle of the dessert, he went to a city called Death City, it looked a bit odd to him and Shirou could feel a strong power from within. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he concentrated on one of his magus skills.

The English in here is just broken. “far away from the body of water” ? The word ‘the’ in there means that the author is referring to a body of water that the reader should already be familiar with. But I’m pretty certain that we haven’t come across anything of the such so far. Is he talking about the Atlantic ocean? Or perhaps the Pacific? <shakes head> Clarity is lacking here. Then there is the comma abuse. Granted I’m guilty of it myself, but the author is mixing facts with actions here. <resumes reading> … and more horrible English. I can understand the “beta” warning the author gave earlier. This badly needs work. I’ll try to refrain myself from pointing out more grammar mistakes. <resumes reading>

So, Shirou sees Soul (the character) enter the cafe and instantly analyzes him? It kind-of makes sense in Nasuverse terms, since he should be able to understand the make-out of most bladed weapons … but I feel uncomfortable about interpreting it in this manner. At the very least, I think Soul should transform into his weapon form before Shirou is able to “study” him. Still, it’s a minor point and more of a personal preference than anything else. <resumes reading>

Shirou appears to be ignorant of the term “Kishin”. Again, a difference of interpretations, but if he really did spend 6 years of study with Rin Tohsaka (of all people!) he should be familiar with the various terminologies used to describe demons/souls in various countries. All the more so in this case since the word “Kishin” is commonly used in Soul Eater and isn’t some rare obscure thing. <resumes reading>

I’m confused with how the next section proceeded. Basically Shirou tries to listen into a conversation between Maka and Lord Death, but Death catches him and asks Maka to invite him for a personal meeting. At least, that’s the gist as I understand it, but how did it come about? There wasn’t any description or explanation of how Shirou was sitting and according to FSN fanon, Shirou is capable of enhancing his hearing in a manner that makes it impossible to detect if he’s doing it. The next section is even more bizarre. Maka is a bit angry/annoyed with Shirou. As far as she is concerned, there isn’t any real evidence (other than Lord Death’s word) that he was eavesdropping. For that matter, she shouldn’t have even made the call from a public location.

I think I’ll just speed-read through the next few sections. My head is starting to spin.

Even more confusion – Shirou and Lord Death apparently know each other. It is allegedly their first meeting, but they know the others name without being introduced! Huge and distracting plot hole author. Very distracting. <resumes reading>

Why does Shirou refer to Death as both ‘Shinigami-sama’ and ‘Lord Death’ ? People can have different nicknames (I have at least 4 in real life), but there’s usually a reason behind them all. Unless you are trying to provoke someone, it doesn’t make sense to call them differently in the span of 5 minutes. Sure, considering the source of the crossover some authors like to insert Japanese names into the story (I do it too), but try and be consistent? Jumping between the two just serves to confuse the reader and doesn’t make the plot any more attractive (quite the opposite, as a matter of fact). <resumes reading>

I’m trying to ignore the hint that Lord Death knew Kiritsugi (Shirou’s adopted father) but what I find disturbing is the nickname he gave him – “Kerry” ? <blink, blink> … Then again, this IS Lord Death we’re talking about so, I guess its possible … <resumes reading>

It was more than a bit disconcerting being the oldest in a school right now, but he took it with stride, after all he had no pride, pride was useless.

The above quote is just disturbing. Why not just have one of the cast come out and say “We need you to join the academy to make this crossover story work. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much of a plot.” ? It is a FSN fact that Shirou considers himself a tool and doesn’t have much pride, but to throw it away for no good reason? That is NOT something he would do. All of Shirou’s volunteer work is meant to help somebody. It may as well be some random stranger halfway across the globe, but there will be someone. To just join the Academy because Lord Death asked for it? <shakes head> Sorry, but we’re got another bothersome plot hole here. <resumes reading>

The next bit is about him being taken to a room and materializing his swords. I don’t see what purpose it serves in the narration and am just glancing over it. There’s also some rubbish about him having 27 circuits, but able to use only 10; author – why have you put in all this data in the story? Some of these terms do NOT make sense in the Soul Eater universe. And vice-versa with the Nasuverse. <resumes reading>

I just looked at my scroll bar right now. Seems like I’m half-way through the chapter. Yuck, that means I have another half to slog through. Hmm… in order to spare myself the pain of cringing at every flaw, I’m going to start reading every third sentence. With all the fluff that’s been in the story so far, I doubt if I’ll miss anything important. <starts reading every 3rd sentence>

Looks like the next bit is a recap of the first Soul Eater episode – the part where we see Soul eat his 100th Kishin. Only difference is that the fight is cut short thanks to Shirou’s sword spam. For that matter, just WHAT is he doing with them anyway? Another plot hole to me. I’ve lost count of how many of them I’ve come across so far. <resumes reading every 3rd sentence>

Another recap of another Soul Eater episode. This time, the first meeting with the “witch” Blair. Main differences? Shirou blocks a beam attack with Rho Aias and effortlessly wields Soul in his weapon form! Add another notch to the list of plot holes … Yeah, sure you can make the excuse that he “sympathized with the experience of Soul’s growth” to wield him. There is a good Nasuverse reason for him to do it, but as far as I’m concerned in the Soul Eater universe, its a rule that only certain weapons may be wielded by certain meinsters. What’s happening here is a hack – a very bad and overpowering one (if you think on its implications). <resumes reading every 3rd sentence>

And yet more recaps of the Soul Eater episodes. Some spear spamming thanks to Shirou, and the “witch” Blair gets captured. She ends up as Shirou’s familiar.

Off-topic: That is an idea I would like to see explored. Someone as flirty as Blair becoming Shirou’s familiar (without a harem!). I encourage the concept, but not in the manner it was executed here.

Now where were we? Ah yes, Shirou gets a new familiar … and the chapter’s done.

You know folks, I wasn’t kidding when I said that I would only read every 3rd sentence. I really did. And the fact that I still understood the plot without missing anything is a testament to how much filler is present in here. Granted I’m familiar with Soul Eater canon, but if that’s all the fanfic is going to be (a rehash of canon), then I might as well just rewatch the anime. A good exception to this is gabriel blessing’s work. Some complain that he sticks to canon too much, but he makes up for it with all the extra descriptions he puts into the story.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot – the chapter title. What was it again? <scrolls up to check> ‘two as one, weapon and its wielder’. Nope, I still don’t get it. If this were an internet video, I would put the word “FAIL” on-screen right now with some funky background music.

As the story currently stands, I won’t recommend it to anyone. A more important question – can it be salvaged? Or, what needs to be changed to make this an interesting read?

Well the first thing is to improve the grammar. To the author’s credit; as distracting as the overall plot is with all its English mistakes, it still is understandable. So a really good beta should be able to solve this problem. The next thing to fix is Shirou’s ability. He’s too overpowered in this setup. One idea is to severely restrict the degree to which he can “copy” any of the Weapons at the Academy (if at all). And speaking of the Academy, we need a better reason for why Shirou is even there in the first place. Running away from the Clock Tower is half-decent excuse for why he comes there, but why should he stay there? And among all things, keeping him as a student is just off. He’s too old and experienced for that. Perhaps as a teacher?

And then there is the elephant in the room – the conflicting magic systems. The current fusion is a disservice to both canon universes. Either use only one, OR make heavy modifications to both of them – and give us decent explanations which aren’t copied from a random internet wiki!

That should be enough for now. Hopefully, the author will improve/someone else will come by and give us something better to read.

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