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WIP As Expected, My Highschool Girl Debut is Wrong! By ZeroxSEED - T - Oregairu

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by Thaumologist, May 7, 2018.

  1. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

    Jun 27, 2011
    Chester, England
    Title: As Expected, My Highschool Girl Debut is Wrong!
    Author: ZeroXSEED (and Goukaryuu)
    Rating: T (as of ffn.net)
    Genre: Humour/Drama
    Status: Season 1 complete, Season 2 started but has no movement, spin-off/sequel currently WiP.
    Fandom: Oregairu / My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected / Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
    Pairings: None/varied
    Summary: It's been one year since that accident, things have changed and people have moved on. For many people, the burden of the past wasn't something to be left behind and forgotten easily. Even so, it is important to make a strong impression if you wish to start fresh. And there were nothing more fresh than youthful high school debut.
    Sequel: We reset, and return to our separate lives. You can't reset your life, but you can reset your relationships.

    Link: Fanfiction.net
    Sequel: Fanfiction.net

    This follows the story of Hikigaya Hachi, a female student of Souba high, who missed her first year due to medical reasons.

    Basically, it starts off following the plot of Oregairu, except Hachiman is now female. Hachi has not always presented as female, and as such there's confusion in the earlier chapters (everything is revealed in chapter 12) about why this change happened, and how it was linked to the year out.

    Spoiler below as to reasoning.

    Hachi was born intersex, and nobody noticed anything weird until they had a period whilst in the hospital after being hit by the car. Given the chance to change her life, Hachi jumped on it.

    The sequel (author's stated it's a non-canon spin-off, but they've not updated the actual story in two months, so MotWYW) starts at the end of Chapter 31 of the story, with canon Hachiman turning up.

    With Hachi starting school a year later than canon, the castlist takes a bit of a hit - a lot of OC and minor characters end up having to take larger roles, whilst more developed characters have to take more of a backseat, at least to start with. Over time, the story expands and starts bringing in the canon characters more, but with a much larger castlist than canon, a lot of focus has to be spread to less developed characters.

    Canon's plot doesn't completely disappear, as it takes place during Hachiman's second year, which is when Hachi joins the school. However, again, being in a different class means that less focus is placed on some of the canon events, whilst others still happen as per normal.

    That said, the author doesn't seem too shy about introducing minor plotlines into the story - minibikes become some focus for a while, idols start popping up, and "The Foundation" (a political organisation dedicated to 'giving Japan a long term future') jumps in several times to solve problems, especially for Hachi during her year out.

    And that brings me to my first issue.

    It feels like problems get solved too easily. The Foundation offered Hachi lessons in acting, socialisation, fitness, and so on. This has lead to her being a completely different character from Hachiman, with 12 months of experiences separating them. The Foundation also introduced laws relating to overtime, meaning salarymen parents are now around more, resolving other issues; and help provide mental health support for others who need it, sorting out issues before they become so.

    Hachi's newfound social skills also help resolve plenty of issues. Some don't happen, because Hachi's not a guy, so the typical shenanigans don't happen. But the majority are solved because Hachi's a much more well-rounded individual, who has skills, knowledge, or contacts to solve most problems that come up.

    I've often felt that any fic that resolves problems from canon with "and they were smarter, so problem averted" often has other issues, and it feels like bashing. It isn't quite so bad here, as Hachi really is supposed to be a different character than Hachiman, but it is still less than ideal. That the author raises other issues that aren't solved so quickly sort of makes up for it. And given that the story is more SoL than anything else, it's not a major problem.

    My second issue is the quality. The author freely admits that their grasp of English is non-existent. They've overstated, as most of their work is pretty understandable, but it doesn't seem to get too complex. Also, whilst the early story isn't riddled with horrific errors, it can get pretty clunky at times. The sequel/spin-off gets worse. I didn't ever find it unreadable, and I never really struggled to understand, but it could do with a lot of polishing.

    The author also seems really fond of footnotes, which I've only once found to work on screen (as hyperlinks) as they're too reliant on page size. Parentheses could have worked instead, although even then they wouldn't have been needed. This is because most of the footnotes are to point out the references they make, which is fine. But by the time I get to the bottom of the chapter, I don't actually remember what it was linked with. Not really an issue.

    Despite all that, I read the whole thing (and sequel) yesterday.

    There's not really much good stuff in the Oregairu fandom - a lot of "five years later, everyone is still sad", and a lot of "Yukino needs rescuing from a marriage contract". The rest of it is terribly written, as opposed to clunky. And this feels like a much brighter than canon, without being way out there.

    On the plus side, the author does seem to take things semi-seriously. Whilst they aren't too worried about the quality of their work, a lot of the interactions between characters seem much more realistic than they do in a lot of other fics. Details spoilered:

    Hachi asks out Totsuka, after getting him into shape, and is rejected. At which point she tells him that she's cutting ties and doesn't really want to continue meeting him, because she wants some space. And other characters don't (too much) attempt to work around this. They all accept that this would be an awkward situation, rather than "friendship prevails!"

    Honestly, I think that by itself this is a 3/5. There's not much decent OreGairu stuff out there, but I still don't think I can justify bumping this to a 4. Which is a shame, because I actually did really enjoy this
    Last edited: May 7, 2018