AU: Canon divergent. After a second reunion from death, Tien and Chiaotzu find their relationship as unstable as it ever was. Even as lifelong friends, they discover aspects they never noticed before.
Suitable for fandom blind readers? Yes, for the most part
Reviewed by: SatuD2
Three Years is the fanfiction debut of CommanderAIK tackling a big gap in the canon of DBZ with two characters who are often overlooked or ignored in not just the fandom but also within the canon itself. Fair warning, I may be biased because they are my BroTP 😛
The three years referred to in the title is a gap for extensive training following a warning from the future of an enemy who kills literally everyone. Of course, he doesn’t just cover the period of time mentioned. He supplements his story with a healthy dose of backstory told during flashbacks.
Tien and Chiaotzu are interesting characters for this because we are not really given a backstory. Of the villains-turned-allies introduced in DBZ arguably the least is known about these two. And Commander reveals their past in well-placed stories and flashbacks and conversations.
The opening chapters unfold a sense of unease and tension fitting the news of what they’re training for. It’s not made immediately clear what is underlying this tension and the fear between them. A threat shows up and stirs things up, they go back and visit with old friends. It explores their friendship and how it has been changed by death and distance, how promises can change perception of actions.
The story is unfinished at the moment. The flashback we are currently in the middle of is one of the most powerful moments for these two characters in the canon of DBZ. I will freely admit it brought me to tears, I could hear the sad background music, it hurt my heart. It was very nicely done (though perhaps a little baffling to the fandom blind).
As previously mentioned, this is Commander’s first fanfic. The writing does reflect that in early chapters but not distractingly so, and you can clearly see the growth in the chapters that follow. The writing becomes crisper, the impact greater. The words and phrases flow beautifully and give you a sense of place and feeling.
All in all I would highly recommend reading this story. It grows and expands and draws you in beautifully.
Review example from AO3:
I know this chapter is short, so it’s tough to say a ton about it, but so far, this is shaping up as nicely atmospheric! I like the almost “disembodied” dialogue to really reinforce the idea of nothingness. 🙂
I do think you have a typo when describing Chiaotzu: “He possessed the whitest skin, pale to the bonel, red circles on his cheeks,” but I knew what you meant.
Review example from FF.net:
[They were hit with a myriad of trivial follow-up questions, such as Gohan’s inquiry of the average number of scales of their captured fish, to which Chiaotzu tilted his silverware in a shrug. But Bulma asked a more digressive question. She looked at both of them and asked with a smile, “I’ve been meaning to ask. How did you two meet?”]
That is such a lovely line 🙂
[“..We were such…”
“Jerks,” Chiaotzu finished. He imitated his younger self, deepening his own voice. “Thanks for the food! Not a bad price when you consider we were risking our lives.”]
Pfffft 😀 what a pair of scoundrels. I like it.
Lovely chapter. I see you’ve dropped the use of “the boy,” etc as much as you did before. And now it’s time to look into sentence starters! I challenge you to look through this chapter again and reduce the usage of “He” for starters 😉
I really liked the emotional aspect of this- and I’m learning more about them.