Jun. 13th, 2017

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Well, a fic that I was keeping my eye on finally finished, so I might as well start with this one.

First off, maybe because this fandom is still really new, but the quality of fics that I found for Persona 5 is pretty high. Most of the time, when I see a fic that catches my eye, it actually turns out to be a good story. There is only one tiny problem.

The majority of the good quality fic tends to be Akira/Akechi. Yeah, this is a pairing I feel the most neutral on, obviously because of game spoilers. I vastly prefer Akira/Yusuke if I'm going for slash, and if I'm going for het, Akira/Makoto or Akira/Futaba. 75% of the time when it comes to quality fic though, it's on Akira/Akechi, which is actually surprising because this is probably the most controversial pairing from canon. It's also the pairing I have the most mixed feelings on because of it's controversial issues. To be blunt, it NEEDS to be well written for me to actually believe it. There also needs to be a ton of angst in it for me to believe it too or it HAS to cover some issues when it comes to Akechi.

You'll also be seeing a TON of 'fix it' fics, for obvious reasons. But believe it or not, a lot of the fix it fics I've seen do NOT forget the shit that happens in the game. Well, most of the time. Sometimes I feel the characters are too forgiving, but it really depends on the character, the context of the story, and when the story takes place.

Also, I'm going to warn, because of this pairing in general, there's going to be a shit ton of end game spoilers (Most stories written for this pairing are either during late canon or post end game), it just can't be helped. So if you see me reviewing a fic that has anything to do with Akechi, assume that there's going to be end game spoilers.

Series: Persona 5
Title: if you never shoot, you'll never know
Author: junfhongs
Genre: Flangst, though more angst than fluff, AUish for end game
Rating: T
Warning: Fix it fic, AUish, massive spoilers for end game
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: 8/10 - There really isn't much of a plot to this, this is pretty much more of a character study than anything else. Basically, Akira finds Akechi outside of LeBlanc the day after Valentine's Day and takes him in. And the characters basically learn about each other that the other doesn't know and so on. There's also a bit of background about Akechi being in bigger shit that causes problems too and Akira wanting to help, but that's kind of the gist of what you could call a plot.

I think the summary of the story sums up this story well enough: "Since Akira was so obsessed with bringing out the light in him, Akechi could revel in the darkness that made Akira just a bit more real to him." It's also a big reason why I decided to read this fic to begin with, because the characters aren't just black and white. That Akira isn't a pure hearted hero (This is seen more so when he confronts Makoto), he does have some shades of black, and that Akechi isn't a cold hearted villain, that he does have shades of good inside (How he tells Akira that he was wrong for yelling at Makoto and the proceeding conversation, how he doesn't want to endanger Akira).

There is one thing I will give credit to, how Akechi survived. In canon, you max Akechi's Confident rank right after the whole Cognitive Double stint, so maybe because of that, it gave him the strength to somehow survive (His own Persona gaining some strength, though they usually evolve into another form, but Akechi is a kind of weird case). It's actually believable.

Writing: 9/10 - No problems with the writing. I really like the interactions between the characters. And though it pains me to admit it, I really liked the confrontation between Akira and Makoto and the aftermath conversation between Akira and Akechi, it's painful, but it manages to stay perfectly in character.

The story flips around to being really angsty for both parties and turning into fluff for both parties as well, which fits well with the story. Though there seems to be more angst than fluff, which to be honest, is how I like this pairing. It has enough angst for me, along with just enough fluff for me to be satisfied.

Characterization: 9/10 - Pretty much everyone is IC here, though Futaba is sort of pushing it. Then again, Futaba is very socially awkward, so I guess you could use that as excuse why she doesn't violently react to seeing Akechi alive (Even Haru was sort of forgiving in canon, like, 'I can't forgive you, but I understand how you feel'). She's also pretty rational too and probably believes in Akira, so she trusts his judgment, in the end.

They also, like I said above, aren't very black and white. And Akira's relationship to his parents in this story parallels very nicely to Akechi's. You see traces of Akira's dark past and how though he's usually calm and collected, even he has his limits. I really like that. I also like how Akechi doesn't want Akira to damage his relationships to others because of him, and how he has to fix his problems on his own.

Also, the fact I think a lot of people forget here: Akechi isn't stupid. I mean, a lot of what he was solving were 'pretend' cases, but he HAS shown in game canon that he has a brain.

Though I think this story ends a bit too happily, I think the ending is fitting. Basically, both boys can start a new life and to both, it's a new beginning to what may lead them, which actually fits in tone of the actual ending of the game.

Negatives: None really, unless you count the lack of plot

Summary: Pretty much a character study on Akira and Akechi that takes place after gameplay but before the game ends. Their relationship seems very black and white, hero and villain. That's how it's supposed to be. Yet not every villain is cold hearted and not every hero is a picture of virtue...

Overall: 8.6/10 - Pretty solid character study. Even if you don't ship this pairing, I'd still recommend it. It won't get you over the ship fence, but you may see the characters in a different light.

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