Borne of Caution
NOTE: Currently on Haitus. To return on or before 6/14/2021
An irritated Pokemon might tell you to stop what you're doing. An irritated animal will probably just attack you. Pokemon, for all their power, would be open books and a breeze to care for to any competent animal handler on Earth. After a fiery death, a professional zookeeper who never outgrew Pokemon games ends up in the world of Pokemon. The entire world is thrown onto its side.
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
- Total Views :
- Average Views :
- Followers :
- Favorites :
- Ratings :
- Pages :
Leave a review
I was riding high on this story up until Chapter 7 which, while it didn't ruin the story on its own, sort of popped the bubble I'd been in while reading it. Ultimately, this feels like a good-faith attempt to take the world of Pokemon seriously that falls short in critical ways.
Style: This is actually part of what drew me in to start. The story does a good job of delivering exposition and integrating the character into the world in an organic way. Good use of flash-backs, flash-forwards, interludes, journal entries, different perspectives, and so on to keep things interesting, without feeling disjointed. The only place where it really falls flat is in its descriptions, or lack therof. You'll probably need to keep a tab open to google the names of people, places, and Pokemon from the story. It's particularly frustrating when it comes to sizes, when a Pokemon is described as being bigger or smaller than a "normal" specimen, and the reader has to look up what that translates to themselves because the story never established a baseline.
Grammar: Generally pretty tight, but in need of maybe one extra spellcheck. I think I counted three distinct spellings of the word "vixen" in one chapter.
Story: This is where things started going wrong.
First, the tone is a bit all over the place. For certain characters, violence can be described in almost lurid detail, while others get treated like cartoon characters. Sometimes the MC is traumatized and in denial about how he was isekai'd, while at other times he treats it as a source of dark humor, seemingly without consistency.
Second, the mechanics of the game don't get translated very well, especially when it comes to battling. This is what snapped me out of it in Chapter 7, as the chapter features a battle that turns the battle system into arbitrary mush.
First, the battle very much breaks the action economy. At one point, Zinnia has her Pokemon using 3 moves at the same time before Lee's gets even one attack in. Second, her Pokemon's moves work in ways they clearly weren't supposed to, such as being able to trap Lee's Vulpix inside of Protect, and being able to chain multiple moves off of a Bite by simply refusing to let go. Third, it relies heavily on talking being a free action while also ignoring the MC's ability to telepathically command his Pokemon; both at the start of the battle and after Zinnia pulls her cheap shot, the MC sits back and patiently waits for her to get her snappy lines in before telling his Pokemon to act.
Finally, the plot thus far is heavily reliant on convenience. Just because the characters lampshade his good/bad fortune whenever something incredible or improbable happens to him doesn't make it any less of a crutch. I've lost track of how many times the MC "conveniently" spoke his thoughts aloud where someone plot-relevant could hear him.
Characters: This is where the story really fell apart for me. I want to talk about the MC, but first I need to talk about Zinnia.
So, she picks a fight with the MC because she thought he was "stuck-up", during which she exploits the rules by having her Pokemon play possum before ambushing him, and goes out of her way to brutally put down his Pokemon in order to teach him a lesson, including continuing to deliberately injure his Vulpix after it's already disabled (to such a degree that it's not fully healed after a stay at a pokemon center), because she needed to let off some steam due to the stress of the mission she's on. And for good measure, she continues to taunt him after the battle for not laughing it off.
Let me repeat that: she pretends to concede so she can attack while his guard is down, then continues to beat on his Pokemon after she knew the battle was over. All of this because her stress made her want to lash out, she didn't like the look of him, and decided torturing his Pokemon would teach him a "lesson".
After which, she mumbles excuses at him followed by a forced, insincere apology. Then she coerces him into taking her along on his journey. He is, of course, completely fine with this.
This kind of illustrates what's wrong with the MC: despite all the potential of his background and circumstances, when the plot needs to happen he acts like every other slice-of-life isekai protagonist. He's worse than poorly written, he's generic, and with how little (positive) characterization the rest of the cast gets, there's hardly anyone to root for. The only other character with any real personality is Brendan and...yeah, no.
I give this a 2.5 overall, because despite the problems it can probably be a decent popcorn fic, assuming you're willing to pick out the occasional burnt kernel.
The most invested I've been in a story in years. I rarely write reviews but just had to just to give you a congradulations for such a well thought out fan fiction.
So many things i've never thought about just feels 'right' the way you thought it through. I really aplaud your love for pokemon.
I have a fan fic of my own for pokemon and i had been going with the vague way but dude, the detail you made just makes it impossible to continue such an unfleshed out world like that. Not to mention the brutal bone breaking injuries pokemon face. I feel like I will have a lot of fun in the future writing my own pokemon fan fic with as much game element alongside the realism that it rightfully deserves.
Good job, really
TL;DR: Hindsight is 20/20 and the start of this fiction was really nice through my rose-tinted glasses! I really liked it, but. The scales fell from my eyes and I realized the pacing is bad and the MC is a really bad example of Mary-Sue.
That said, I can confidently say I mostly enjoyed reading it and the use of emotion to tear jerk you into liking it is crude, but also surprisingly effective. It's the guilty pleasure of reading material, where nothing can be considered good, but combines into a likeable whole.
The style is amateurish at best. Third-person present tense as far as the eye can see. I don't remember any glaring grammatical errors, but I don't much pay attention to that unless it's really really bad.
Once the plot got established the faults are pretty obvious. There is a devil in everything and the more I look at it the more I can't unsee it.
The power-ups are just stupidly over-powered. The MC is going for "I'm mature and sensible", but devolves into the power of friendship induced plot armor at the first hint of trouble and then he is suddenly the EMO kid.
And also "Mary-Sue? Who's that? Never heard of her!". The MC is so badly Mary-Sueing everything it's starting to stink. He's out Ash-Ketchumed the Ash Ketchum for god's sake!
At this point, the world is bending over itself in describing how amazingly great he is and how misunderstood and caring and how he is an all-around great guy who shits soft-serve ice-cream.
In the end I enjoyed reading this to about chapter fifteen - where the tinted glasses broke - and the momentum is still pushing me forward, while the enthusiasm slowly wanes.
*Sticks his head out of the closet he's digging in.*
A review? Oh, sure. It's really good. One of the gnarliest isekai starts and... hang on.
*Digs around in the closet some more before returning*
I don't know a lot of the Pokemon cause I'm older but the emotions and the battles are real and enthralling enough to make me... oh, there it is.
*Pulls something rectangular from the depths of the closet or perhaps his past*
Review? Oh, umm... Lemme just pick my starter...
I can't begin to explain how good this story I won't, at least in detail.
There isn't a single Grammar mistake in this novel and it had been edited to near perfection. I've only seen two typos and I only noticed them because everything about it was so top-notch.
The MC, Brendan, Vulpix, Treecko, Corvisquire. They have characters. Real characters! And the way Lee is not able to forget his death is just so realistic. You really feel for the man every time he goes through an Episode. Real PTSD shit right there
The writing has such a great flow. The anime characters are written in their essence. They're all so realistic. Everything is just like the Anime and the games yet sooooo much better.
The only thing I can really say that hasn't been said about this Fanfic is that the moment I began Lee woke up in the little forest. Greeted by a naive zigzagoon and a cautious taillow I couldn't hold back. I opened a new tab and played all the anime openings in English on repeat.
I wasn't planning on binging it but I couldn't help it. That certain feeling I got when I played Pokemon as a child. When I binged the anime... I just can't. Fucking read it! It's one of the best stories on Royal Road and the best Fanfic I have ever read.
I really don't get how the Writer has the gall to say he is the most mediocre writer there is. I guess he really hasn't read most of the stuff on RR... I really hope this keeps going... I really do.
Quick update on chapter 19.
I still fucking can't actually explain how amazing this story is. I have never wanted to hold and feed a little cub more than when reading the last scene in chapter 19. I have never wanted to see fucking pokemon in real life more, even compared to when I was five. Fucking brilliant.
this is the pokemon journey i never knew i always wanted. Fuck takes me back to middle school.
words worsd words words wordswords worsd words words wordswords worsd words words wordswords worsd words words wordswords worsd words words wordswords worsd words words wordswords worsd words words words happy now word limit.
I have always been mixed about this story. From one perspective, I have been craving Pokémon fanfics - especially OC trainer fics that are not Gary Stu's; on the other hand, Borne of Caution is very clearly a first draft. Painfully so.
And all first drafts are not created equally.
So while this review will be critical and blunt, some people will naturally get offended because how dare I did not hold the Authors hand for participating. Please realize that the fact I am taking the time and effort to write this means something.
So to the review.
I am giving Borne of Caution 2/5, and that is probably being generous. Any other fandom this would be 1/5 from me, assuming I managed to last as long as I did before reaching the point of dropping-which is where I am now.
My problems with Borne of Caution are numerous. From weird dialogue choices, skipped/inconsistent character development, and shoe-horned plot armour that severely detracts from the story.
Character Score 1.5/5
When reading fiction, we, the readers, are seldom looking for a true representation of living, breathing humans. Often we look to see the best in ourselves and others, the traits and aspects that we wish we had - to be played out before our eyes. That is what makes moments of tragedy so powerful to read, see our heros fall, and witness these characters suffer in ways we often dread to imagine. Yet all the while, we are unable to tear our eyes away from the pages as they walk down the corridor that we know is a trap.
Thankfully, that really won't be a concern because Lee is a hard man to care about. And the problems with our main character start early.
First things First
Chapter 1 is terrible. Like really, really bad, and as we hit the different sections of the review, I will continue to go back to it.
Lee is a hot mess, and not because he just got transported to a new world after getting nuked. No Lee is a hot mess because the author has ADHD and cannot decide if he wants a victim (Emo Lee) or if he wants an adult man living his childhood dream (Shounun Lee). Some of this bleeds into the "story" category, but it is all such a mangled pile of shit. I am unsure how to genuinely separate it all, so I won't.
- Lee gets nuked, dies, wakes up, feels the burns on his face, pulls multiple pieces of glass out of his body, then pets some pokemon. Like... What. The. Fuck?
Fiction asks a reader to suspend disbelief, fanfiction sometimes doubly so. However, multiple bleeding wounds, traumatic experience, and significant burns, but naa, we cool fam, we will just be petting this cute wild pokemans here. It’s all good, yo!
- Lee was supposed to be an animal handler earlier in chapter 1.
If she caught him, Lee would have been dead.
Harsh is the realization that any animal could turn on you.
One thousand words later, in chapter 1…
Lee slowly, carefully reaches a handout, pushing down the twinge of childish excitement that suddenly wants to rise out. "You're a friendly one, eh? My favorite," he says, gently laying a hand on the Pokemon's head.
Please, in what world is this supposed to make sense? How many people meet a strange dog, have it walk up to you and immediately start the head pats? Not many, I imagine. How about idk letting it smell your hand to familiarize themselves with your scent. Never mind a wild fucking superpowered animal. <- ignoring he has multiple lacerations and is suffering from multiple open burns.
The problem is that if this was Joe Buck, who was your seatmate in computer science that had never seen a wild animal, sure this makes sense. They are not going to have any fucking clues what to do. The character Fuggman is trying to write is an animal handler. It instantly breaks character. (Way to fix this: Do some research and apply a little critical thinking. Then read what you wrote to see if it makes sense.)
- The relationship between Lee and Vulpix and the interactions between the two are so ham-fisted and forced the first time I read it, I had to walk away.
So Vulpix is a pokemon from a save state he was playing on his phone(?) I think (that managed to survive the fire and the nuke btw... which is wut??). This is also the first time we get to see Emo Lee make an appearance. Anyway, this pixel from a save state made flesh is suddenly with Lee and is obviously 100 percent devoted and loyal, and well adjusted. The perfect pokemon anyone could ever ask for.
This is bad for numerous reasons, however, just from a character standpoint. How can Vulpix grow as a character? She will be a mainstay, yet she is perfect, everything a guy could want in a starter. And so the problems become even more blatant.
Between chapters 1 and 2, they go from total strangers to Lee calling her Luv. This is totally okay because Vulpix is perfect and we all become attached to our pets—however, this is a story, NOT REAL LIFE. Merely saying and “then they were friends” is the apex of shit writing, and any chance to have meaningful character growth was 100% lost within their interactions.
- This will be my last point on Character. Brendan was well done, in my opinion, compared to the rest. as a secondary side character. Because he did not act like a 12-year-old, and this was good. As I said earlier, we do not want real people. We want 12-year-olds that aren't bratty little shits, but “Kids” learn from their elders.
So I will part with this for characters. We do not want realistic people to be our character. We want people we can admire, people who strive for things we can only wish to. They need to be compelling, it is impossible to show everything that makes a human a human through text, so you need to choose and make those things matter.
And once those things are chosen, DO NOT CONTRADICT THEM 500 WORDS LATER.
Story Score 2/5
The story is misleading. There is no story. What there is a bunch of words, no clear antagonist, no real character goals or motivations. And a total lack of a consistent tone (Emo Lee - Shounen Lee). It is wish fulfilment trying to pretend there is something else there.
Instead of getting into the supreme minutia of the 'story,' I will list a few things that kill its chances of being an actual story and firmly plant it into the realm of blatant wish fulfillment.
Lee's Pokemon "Skills"
Lee has a way with pokemon. In one scene, an angered giant mother pokemon is attacking a pokecenter to reclaim her egg. Now we will ignore that this stupid fuck is unopposed to be an animal handler and immediately gets right in the middle of the situation. Instead, look to the plot armour that makes sure this boneheaded move doesn't have any negative consequences.
Lee has an unnatural ability to communicate with pokemon; they understand him, like him and universally believe in him. It is almost a direct copy of Ash's ability in 'The Sun Soul.' However, it is made totally okay by the fact that he was a handler of animals at a zoo, and as a result, the author can say don't do this turn around, have lee do it and make sure it is all okay.
Everything Goes Lee's Way
One of the most famous things said about a story is that the protagonist fails and fails and fails until things look so bleak that it seems impossible for them to succeed. However, through all of their failures, they gain the skill nessesary to win overcome their enemy.
The difference between wish fulfillment and a story is that in wish fulfillment, the MC never fails, and lee never fails.
He is put into a new world heavily injured, and two wild pokemon bring him magical healing berries that work.
Lost in this new world, he doesn't need to start from scratch, and he gets a Vulpix that is perfect in every way, ensuring that as a rookie trainer, he faces no setbacks because his foundations are beyond ideal.
His protagonist aura ensures that when he goes out for a Treecko, he gets the Treecko whom ash had gotten in the anime. IE A pokemon with limitless potential.
When drawing a gym battle, Lee doesn't lose; he wins because the battle was "epic."
Lee faces no real hurdles. He just randomly goes EMO and starts feeling sorry for himself
Lee's other World Knowledge
Ignorance is not allowed within wish fulfillment, and lee is an encyclopedia of everything he comes across. Constantly throughout the"Story," lee will Knowledge drop people to show them how much 'potential' he has as a young trainer and how thorough his research abilities are.
Style Score 2/5
Simply put, the writing is bad. Beyond the fact, it is written in third person present tense. Fuggman doesn't know the difference between showing and telling.
If lee is hungry and tired and sore, he tells you. If a pokemon is angry, he tells you. We, the readers, are incapable of understanding the world if it is shown, and instead, we are told. I would love to pick examples, but it is pointless to look at every scene in every chapter. There is no showing.
I was initially planning on going into more detail about this but sufficed to say, and I have lost all energy and motivation to talk about or re-read sections of this 'story.'
It is terrible, guys. It sits firmly within the guilty pleasure range of fiction, and the author sorely needs to research before writing as he improves at his craft.
I have one major problem and a bunch of nitpicks with this story, that said I could read it all without feeling disinterested which is rare for me. The major problem is, as someone else named it, "Emo Lee". The hamfisted use of Emo Lee is ineptly used to "prove" Lee's flaws in a vain claim of non Mary Sueness and is at the same time a huge detriment to real character development and interaction, second only to Vulpix's omniprecense. Otherwise so far this story the very definition of an above average but not great fanfic.
I didn't expect to enjoy a pokemon story so much.
It really is a good surprise to read this. Now I want to go back playing the game waiting for the next chapter but I know I will be disappointed by the games' story.
Now the difficult part, it's easy to critic but not simple to make it helpful.
The style : If it weren't good I wouldn't continue to read it.
Still, even though there are good emotional passages, I believe it could be better by trying to build up the emotions slowly.
We need some time to feel empathy to the characters, so if it goes to quickly we can't immerge ourselves in the story.
I think it would be much better to rewrite the passages to feel the distress of the different people involved.
Very few typos, not enough to disturb me.
So far I like it, it doesn't feel like the author doesn't know what to do with his characters. Good rythm, not too fast, not over extended. Plausible if we were to consider poket monsters as a reality. Also I love it the we don't go in the direction where the protagonist knows everything because he know the game's and anime's story. It feels like there has been a thorough reflexion about the story.
The author shares with us how he sees the protagonists, I love that it is progressive, not everyone at once.
As I explained in the Style, if it gets improved we will have a better immersion with the characters.
To give more details about what I feel should be improved, I am speaking about the holocaust. During the emergency call, we don't even know if a warhead will really strike, or even explode, nor its intensity and it's okay. But, why peole are so quick to renounce? Panick I can understand it, it depends from people to people but ok. Still, just shooting yourself because you are under attack seems too much. If they knew that they were going to be burnt alive and suffer so much, I would perfectly understand but they don't know it, heck we don't even know if they are in the center of the town or outside of it.
Maybe having the emergency call give update could help to build up the despair, like "It has been confirmed that X, Y cities are stricken, nothing left, no surivors around...." then people starting to realise what happens, then later a confirmation about the next targets.
Up to the moment before the explosion, I still thought it could have been a very bad joke. Someone hacking the emergency network.
During the food stand crisis with Treecko, I feel it was better, we could really feel the crisis build up. But I think he blurts out everything to Treecko to quickly in one go. Also I think it would have been better if it took him more times to see a reaction before trying to break the pokeball, or maybe writing abut what he is thinking, seeing him thinking too much about his feelings and Treecko's and convincing himself that Treecko's doesn't want to be with him but won't say it. Maybe writing more in such a way could explain better why he tried to break the pokeball.
To me when I read this passage, I felt like he just finally decided to tell hime everything, but very quickly without taking his breath then 2 seconds later he tries to break the pokeball. It felt really fast.
One last thing, it's only in this chapter 12, I think, that I realised how much Treecko lost when the tree fell. I guess people who saw the anime really felt it when the tree fell but for me at this time I didn't really understood what it meant for him. Maybe building up this just after it fell to see the association with Lee loosing everything, home, family, a place to belong to, this 'lost' feeling, maybe it could be improved.
Sorry for being this blunt and not very helpful about it, I love reading and not writing because I know I will never be satisfied with what I write but since it's something that always get better the more you practice, I heartly ask you to continue to make me dream about your beautiful world.
I am not a pokemon fan however this is nice cute vibes although Lee's 'nam flashbacks are more comical than distressing with the caps lock OMG BIG PAIN text that doesn't mean anything to the reader I think the author should describe his physical reaction to the memory instead of trying to write intense movie scene subtitles also more description of the various pokemon would be nice because this fan fiction is not necessarily for just pokemon fans given how well it is written
listen to this pokemon mix while u read 11/10 recommended good music