/r/Fan Fiction Reviews

To Raise a Triclops [Dragon Ball Z]

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39k words in progress @Ao3/@Ffn by SatuD2
Genre/what to expect: extended hurt/comfort: an exploration of separation and eventual reconciliation of two soulmates.
Rating: T
Pairing: Gen | Tien & Chiaotzu

A pale telepath is given an unexpected assignment in the middle of the night: to raise a triclops baby in the way of the Crane. If only he was old enough to protect him properly. Rated for safety. Potentially slightly AU.

Suitable for fandomblind readers? Yes
Reviewed by: commanderAIK


Imagine two inseparables who met at a very young age, to the point where they are practically brothers. Picture they grow up together in a school that brutally trains its students to swear by it as assassins. There’s the brother larger in size, the one that’s more combative and therefore utilized by the school. Then there’s the smaller one, quirky but more incapable and ignored. Naturally, the taller one rises in rank, soaring past the smaller. It’s easy to assume the smaller brother is the younger, cared for by the older, and the the taller one is the older, naturally more worried about the younger.
Reverse that, and you get To Raise a Triclops.
The story, written by SatuD2, goes against the traditional background of Dragon Ball characters Tien and Chiaotzu. It introduces a new headcanon: Chiaotzu, the smaller character in the anime, being given the baby Triclops Tien by the school and told to care for him. Satu excels in leading up to and following the canon events, but does it all from Chiaotzu’s point of view, unlike Tien’s. And as the technical older brother here, he cannot stand his incapability to prevent Tien from slowly drifting away as he is brutally trained to become a skilled assassin. Satu takes those moments of dread and helplessness and amplifies them. By the end of those chapters, I feel as if I myself am Chiaotzu, or better yet, an older brother so out of control of protecting my own kin. As an older brother myself, I am touched deeply by it.
In short, it’s a beautiful examination of what tears the two inseparables apart and eventually begins to bring them back together. The character development is stellar, each chapter giving a bit more information. No information is unnecessary, and it allows for concise, juicy chapters that I look forward to every week.
I like to split it into two arcs: the hurt arc, where the separation occurs, and the one we are currently on, the comfort arc of reconciliation and restoration. The writing is crisp, descriptive when necessary, and conveying of all the essential emotions for the plot. The dialogue is also amazing and completely in-character, making the story all the more believable!
We currently just got over a very heavy scene, which has certainly hit me emotionally. I specifically remember my heart skipping a beat upon finishing this most recent chapter. It was not the only time. Throughout the work, Satu, while still staying true to the story, sprinkles in scenes that show what it feels like to have someone there for you, and they have driven me dangerously close to tears.
So even if you aren’t a fan of Dragon Ball and don’t know the first thing about Tien & Chiaotzu, I recommend you read To Raise a Triclops. There are many ways in which this story is more than just two students of a martial arts school, and anybody can enjoy it.

Example review from FFN:

Tafferling’s review for chapter 28

Great entrance, as I have gotten used to.

And while I am not connected to this fandom at all, and cannot say I know what happened, you’re not making me wish I did, because it all feels like it makes sense. No need for details, because [Chiaotzu was sure that if their minds had not previously met that the deep sadness and regret the old man felt at the death of his pupil would have been completely obscured. And completely private.] already says so much.

But but but.. wait.. rice cooker?! Oh god, what? 😀

[The air was hot and dry, a brisk wind blowing stinging sheets of sand against the three of them as they wandered through the seemingly abandoned town.] Wordporn. Argh. Your scene setting had come such a long way since you have started this. I am so proud.

*flails at you:* [All he could manage was a low hum in the back of his throat, an involuntary reaction to being asked a question.]

Oh my, what’s happening? Police! Guns! Oh Tien 😦 He’s offering the man to break an arm or a leg OR TWO?! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO! You cannot truly be held responsible for what you’ve done, brainwashed by Shen as you’d have been. Not.. fully.. anyway.. I mean.. okay, nevermind. I suppose you are right. And that you’re willing to accept whatever, that tells a lot about how far you’ve come.

What a soothing ending to this chapter, even if you’ve given us a sense of urgency and revealed how much is really at stake in their search for the balls. It was still beautiful to see that man forgive Tien and have them stay for food :).

/r/Fan Fiction Reviews

Three Years (DBZ)

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29k words, in progress @Ao3 & @FF.net by CommanderAIK
Genre/What do expect: Hurt/Comfort and the exploration of a friendship taken for granted
Rating: T
Pairings: Gen  | Chiaotzu & Tien

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:

PugMaster

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:

Tafferling

[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.