Ambience: A Fleet Symphony

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Title: Ambience: A Fleet Symphony
Author(s): Hieda no Akyuu aka Akyuu no Joshu
Date(s): May 8, 2014 - April 16, 2019 (ongoing)
Length: 4.5 million+ words, 443 chapters
Genre: Adventure, Alternate Universe
Fandom: Kantai Collection
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Summarize plot. Reactions/reviews.

Ambience: A Fleet Symphony is a Kantai Collection fanfic, formerly known as the longest fanfic ever since it surpassed the wordcount of The Subspace Emissary's Worlds Conquest in 2016.[1]


Holy hell, what a story.

Actually, this is better described as a novel. At the point I'm writing this, there's 443 chapters, with around 4.6 million words (I believe.). Goddamn, the story so far is definitely interesting. Granted, its had its lowpoints, but those are outweighed by the good.

I'll probably write a second review once I hit the end of this rabbit hole, and there I'll outline everything that I believe was a lowpoint. I'll have to read back probably, but it'll be worth it.[2]
A self-insert Gary Stu character with 'mutations' to make him superhuman and access to advanced tech in a post-apocalyptic world and knowledge one shouldn't and couldn't possibly have. Plus Power trip about enslaving girls. Got it. I wish I could blacklist shit like this.[3]
I don't like this, it offends me on so many levels it's not even funny anymore. The ship-girls have nor real depth outside a select few,(and none of them actually include the present love interests in Damien's harem),and they feel more like statements and physical trophies to lord around than actual characters with problems and motivations, and the ones that do get depth have everything exaggerated and dragged out, and it isn't that I don't like the OC's hell I even find them amusing from time to time and I wished more people would try their outlooks for certain AU's and such, in fact they're a bit of an insperation, world view wise anyway.

What I am saying, is that this story? It's dragged out, I mean seriously it's only been about two months in story since Damien actually met Murakumo, it's unrealistic, and frankly it's somewhat annoying.

However it's your story, so finish, fuck I'm actively rooting for you on that front, fucking finish this monstrosity.

But for the love of god Mister Hieda no Akyuu, once this is done, please learn from your fucking mistakes.[4]
I'll start by saying: wow, dude. 4.4 million words. that alone is fucking impressive. you don't find that kind of dedication everyday.

so, the general things pattern i've noticed is the following: gunservice, violence, spicy bantzzzzzz, arguments with teenage girls, shipgirls being cute, and long talks in the dark at night. Most of these things are great! The only problem is that your mc has the depth of a teaspoon. he was interesting at first, at least mildly, because he didn't stumble over himself when confronted with beautiful women taking his orders, and wasn't afraid to point out how attractive they were, which in turn cued more shipgirls being cute and blushie blushie, which I enjoy, and even was obviously not super op for no reason (at least at first). but over time, it's become clear that you haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about the subjects your mc and whichever shipgirl he's having a 1 on 1 with are discussing. Like, damn. you, or, your mc, who is probably your self insert (which there's nothing wrong with, by the way), is just so obsessed with not caring about anything, I think that is one of his only defining character traits. I think the first time you played the "go on, kill me, i know you won't" card with murakumo, i think it was great, had impact, and was pretty nice all around, but this last time with takao, i just couldn't take seriously. That aside, the 1 on 1s were great at first. like, that conversation mc and amatsukaze and murakumo had about beauty in the beginning? that was fucking excellent. you even had a nice cherry on top at the end, one that was plainly obvious from the beginning, but didn't make it any less good. i don't recall if i really agreed with the sentiment being expressed, but it was at least expressed clearly and with eloquence, at least to a degree. What happened to those? i remember thinking that with the last few 1 on 1s you've featured, our mcs have basically been monologuing at the featured shipgirl for three block paragraphs, generally rambling on about something it's clear that the author doesn't really understand, and the shipgirl being awed or upset or another extreme emotion. for example, that one about war and fighting. i remember the mc saying something along the lines of "fighting is never not fucked up" and just thinking to myself: "what a shallow understanding of the concept of conflict." another time this came up is every time you spout something along the lines of "da govvernmant is EVIL" or "rich people are EVIL", it just makes me shake my head. shit. if I sound bitter and harsh, it's because i am, because i really wanted these moments to be great, since these kinds of exchanges are what really stoke my engine when it comes to character interactions. Just to be clear, these problems weren't so prevalant at the beginning, but i understand that writing this much can take its toll on one's creative capacity.

the other glaring issue i see is the cast bloat. Holy mother of god, the cast bloat. I think I straight up forgot mutsu existed until she said something in that big discussion of "what do you think about the admiral, everyone?!", which, side note, was a great idea but poorly executed, i think. we didn't see anything that the shipgirls haven't really said before. anyway, fucking fifty shipgirls? fifty? five-zero? I think that eight or nine might have been ok, but god damn, the only ones I have any connection to are murakumo, who has only had like four lines in the past fifty chapters it feels like (no, blasting mooks into gorey pieces doesn't count), amatsukaze (same problem), kisaragi (who hasn't had any lines since her very well executed introduction [your trigger warning fucking annoyed me by the way]), shoukaku (who you are generous with alloting screentime to), yuudachi (same thing), and shigure. Having this many characters makes it impossible for your audience to really comprehend how many characters you're trying to juggle, because if you don't give them lines or have them do stuff, we forget they exist. Remember, they're just words on a page to us. in this format, it's really difficult to have this many named characters. If you've read game of thrones (which i haven't, just excerpts from time to time), what it seems to do is visit certain groups for large chunks at a time, before flying you off to a different place with a completely different group of people. I think that's really the only effective way to get your audience to empathize with such a large number of characters.

something I will say though, is holy shit, you are really good at making the shipgirls appealing. Shigure? god damn, i want to do unspeakable things to her timid self. the mannerisms, the adjectives you use, the lines, kisaragi too. i don't even care that she's used goods; i think that you've somehow convinced me that it somehow increases her appeal. not that i'm a purityfag or anything.

The bantz were amusing with the other dudes in the story, at least for a while, but god damn, sanford is annoying. he's annoying because you try to portray him as this travelled dude who tries to counterbalance our mc's hotshot attitude, but he's never right about anything. he never explains the why behind anything he says, or, if he does, does so in a vague and meaningless way, and our mc never suffers for ignoring his advice. I like yamato's descendant, he's cool. Chuck might as well not exist.

the ultraviolence got super boring after a while. you really like writing gorey things happening to mooks. so many god damn mooks. i think it was around the battle of london that i started skipping your action writing, and partly that's because i generally don't enjoy action writing, but the stuff at the beginning was ok. it was somewhat unique, having one unit that was basically invincible and one that wasn't, and i actually read through those parts.

i think the best part of the story so far was the part where he got shot carrying amatsukaze. i wasn't really sure if i'd invest time in this story until then, that really hooked me. Partly because I really, REALLY like amatsukaze and shimakaze, but the whole "i'm going to suffer for you because i care about you" thing really appeals to my masculine instincts. i think you could have centered a whole arc around getting our mc to admit that maybe he does care a little bit for these beautiful women whom he suffered a lot to collect and who he fights alongside. that would have been great. who knows, maybe it happens later on.

i want to stress again how one sided and boring these one on ones are. i don't think even once a shipgirl has made a salient point that our mc has taken in.

well, if you've made it this far, congratulations. i want you to know that my critique is harsh because i enjoyed it enough to read 83 chapters of it in roughly two days despite working a full time job. i'll probably give it at least another few chapters to pick up again. maybe if you have more deitos with kisaragi i'll find more motivation to continue.

that's my shitty, unprofessional opinion, anyway.[5]