This webcomic is so fucking stupid it's actually fun to read. Decide on your own if you want to read the review and ruin the surprise.
|Original review author:||crookedglasses|
|Webcomic name:||Contradiction (Hosting site Smackjeeves has been shut down.)|
|Author:||Ki Hiwatari or Hiwatari Ki (Hiwatari being the family name)|
|Start Date:||June 21, 2007|
|End Date:||February 10, 2014|
|Genre:||Romance, cliched manga, "Twilight-esque"|
|Defining Flaw:||Ridiculous plot contrivances, Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus galore, laughable dialogue.|
One of the ways a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) can be detected is if all the other characters either love him unabashedly or hate him with the fire of a thousand suns. There is no in-between with the Gary Stu. Because his presence fuels all the rage and lust anyone ever feels in the story. Such is the case with Contradiction's Hiwatari Ki.
The utterly perplexing rape attempt from nowhere on page 7 is where the madness begins.
Story and Plot
It's your typical love story: a borderline mentally challenged girl with the agency of a ficus, named Ruya, arrives at a mysterious school sealed away from the real world with no idea why she is attending. I guess parents and administration don't enter into the admissions process. Anyhoo, without provocation, two boys attempt to rape our hapless heroine when she just asks for directions. Of course, this sets her up to be rescued by our hero and self-insert, Hiwatari Ki. Once Ki flashes his Yu-Gi-Oh card at the miscreants, they run and are never heard from again. Rather than be completely fucking freaked that she nearly got sexually assaulted, she simpers over Ki and forgets the traumatizing events like some sort of human goldfish. Soon, she meets the other part of the love triangle, another boy named Toshino, who is blond and bubbly.
Thus our adventure begins in the magical, ill-defined city of Setsuyamachi.
SpazzticBunnyhood here. While crookedglasses is right about the similarities to Twilight, I think it's worth mentioning that this comic is more of a shameless rip off of Vampire Knight, right down to the art style. (Read the comments on the cover page—people called Mr. Hiwatari out on this from day one.) Vampire Knight, for those of you who don’t know, stars a love triangle between a brunette with big eyes, a dark haired stoic dude, and a light haired much-more-emotional dude who is in the same dormitory as her. The three go to a school where the population is segregated into the Sun Dormitory’s Day Class Students (who wear black uniforms and are all human) and the Moon Dormitory’s Night Class Students (who wear white uniforms and are all vampires), and the school is run by a quirky headmaster with long hair put in a ponytail. The only differences in Contradiction are that all the students use magic, the students associated with Darkness aren’t vampires (meaning there is no real reason to segregate the student body), Hiwatari Ki isn’t Ruya’s brother/fiancé, and she doesn’t have a kid with both guys by the end. Oh, and Vampire Knight had a consistent tone. Contradiction is basically a crazy, yet watered down fan comic/retelling. All of crookedglasses’ criticisms of Contradiction are still valid, though, despite how they compare it to Twilight in this review.
The art is probably the best part about Contradiction. And that's saying something. It's a passable manga style in some areas, with some pretty attention to clothing sometimes. However, there are glaring flaws to be found all around, like what I like to call "marionette-doll arms". It's apparent in the banner for the site that Ki the Author doesn't quite grok how elbow joints are supposed to work. His art gives one the impression of a bunch of wooden puppets clattering together. Also, there is the matter of characters having no pelvises. Seriously, it looks like her legs are directly connected to her intestines there. He really needs to work on proportions. His arm and leg lengths are all wrong. His torsos are shortened. Last, but not least, is the amount of same-face, same-hair syndrome. Believe it or not, this boy is not Toshino. I know, I thought he was, too. But nope, just Random Student Dude #847. The girls fare a little better because they get to have different hair, but the boys come in Blonde and Spiky or Dark and Mopey. Oh, yeah, there is Headmaster Sephiroth, but he is a minor character. The same-face-same-hair makes gender difficult to discern as well. I went for the longest time thinking Ki's chorus of adoring fans were male (they're not), and I thought their teacher was female. Nope, male!
Here is where the comic makes me want to take an ice bath, then proceed to lop off all my goosebumps with a rusty razor. The writing, dear god, the writing! There are several sub-flaws here, that I shall tackle one-by-one:
- Staggeringly Absurd Plot Events
The rape out of fucking nowhere is only one of the many completely nonsensical happenings in this story. Shortly into the story, the two "romantic" rivals begin hurling DragonBall Z ki blasts at each other IN CLASS. The teacher only gets peeved after a truck-sized hole is blown into the classroom wall, and the only thing he threatens them with is lowered grades. But, only if they KEEP fighting. Zuh?
There is another boy, Aritaka, with a secret Depraved Homosexual lust for our Gary- I mean, Ki. He hates Bell- I mean, Ruya, with a passion. So what does he do when she witnesses him kissing a sleeping Ki on the lips? If you guessed ATTEMPTED FUCKING MURDER, you are correct! Luckily, this whole sequence happened merely so Golden-boy Toshino can play knight in shining armor. Later, our would-be murderer has the gall to ask Ruya whether she mentioned it to anyone. Her response should have been "I AM FUCKING TERRIFIED OF YOU, HAAAAALP". Instead she acted like all he did was cheat off her test. Then he threatens yet again to kill her and starts strangling her. Luckily, Ki walks in and Aritaka quits it. Afterwards, she promptly forgets all about it and it's never brought up again. I'm telling you, she is some sort of human-goldfish hybrid.
During Ki's Tragic Boyhood, he had the bestest friend ever named Kaname. Unfortunately, and I'm sure it's a massive spoiler here, Kaname turns out to be a complete douchebag who used Ki for his grades. Fast forward over ten years: Ki and Aritaka decide to visit the real world through a portal from Setsuyamachi. They say they haven't been back to the real world in a long time. But what's this? Kaname is outside the portal waiting for Ki! What a coincidence! After some posturing, Kaname decides to pull out a MOTHERFUCKING GUN with no provocation! Of course, Ki disarms him with no fuss. What was the point of that?! Are we to believe that this kid, who didn't give 2 shits about Ki ten years ago, feels such passionate hatred for him that he would be waiting outside a portal on the off chance that Ki should appear? Logically, Ki has more reason to hate Kaname, though not enough for the situation to make sense in reverse. This is where the Venture Brothers quote at the top of the page comes in: Ki is such a Stu that Kaname couldn't help "wringing his hands" with utter hatred for Ki all these long years. We couldn't just let that relationship peter out and stay in Ki's past with Kaname having moved on, OH NO. Kaname must be completely consumed with thoughts of Ki; nothing less will do. Makes zero sense.
- Women Are Props
I actually had second thoughts about calling Ruya a Mary Sue here, because it is debatable. Indeed, she is loved or hated by all like a real Sue would be, but she has so little control over her life and so little will of her own that it's not cut and dry. I decided that she is one, because she is such an object of desire despite having no qualities to recommend her to anyone. She reacts to insults with little more than bemused curiosity, after getting cutely pissy for all of one page. The story sets you up for a love triangle, but it's really no contest: Ki is pegged as the winner almost from the get go. Ruya inexplicably loves him, even though he forgets her name, insults her, bosses her around and refuses gifts from her rudely. She takes it all with a "loving spirit" because she can change him! Nothing could possibly go wrong with that line of thinking! The other women don't fare much better. If they are not jealously guarding Toshino or Ki (especially Ki!), then they are being fought over by other boys. No girl ever gets out of her own scrapes; boys are always around to save them. Given that this comic is written by a guy, supposedly, it gives you an unsettling insight into what he thinks women's roles should be. Maybe he is smartening up; recently, another girl stood up for Ruya and rescued her! I nearly cheered, and that's sad.
- Horrific Dialogue
I got the impression while reading Ki the Author's bio that he may not be a native English speaker. If that is the case, Ki, please, for the love of all that is holy, get yourself an English speaking friend to edit and correct your dialogue! It is not misspelled or anything. It's just...wrong. Here is a cringe-inducing, yet hilarious, sample: "Why are the roads so long and straight?!" "What is your name? You are the one who is stupid!" "AND DO YOU THINK I AM GOING TO BELIEVE THAT? (Given that you are giving me that face?)" "I think you have mistaken!" "HE HANGS ME UP!" "You are already in heaven now if I had not shot the dark energy ball!" "Who are you? When are you here?" "I shall go and buy some drinks." "Ah, wait! I can go to buy!" "As a controller of 'earth', it is impossible for me not to detect your 'wind'."
I think this speaks for itself.
- Hiwatari Ki (the Character)
Writing the Jerk with a Heart of Gold is tough. You have to straddle that line between sympathetic and jerky without ever tipping too far in either direction. Unfortunately, the Author give the character far too much Jerk and not nearly enough Gold. So much Jerk, in fact, that the rare times the Gold appears, it seems forced and out of character.
Hiwatari Ki is simply unpalatable as a character. He is carelessly cruel, relentlessly unfeeling. He was picked as the teaching assistant, but his methods include verbal abuse and belittlement. His unyielding contempt for Ruya drips from every page. And we're supposed to root for this relationship?! Sure, the author throws us a bone every now and then, but it is nothing Ruya herself ever sees, so to the reader, she keeps pining over this guy that treats her like shit.
Other women aren't immune to Ki's acerbic charms. Simple shop girls just can't help helping themselves to this brooding 15 year old piece of awesome!
Then there are the more problematic aspects, like the fact that Ki may have killed the previous Dark president, Mori, in what was supposed to be a non-fatal duel for the presidency. Yet the school covers this up and Mori is treated as though he "just disappeared". Ki remains president and loved by all. That's messed up! I'm sure Mori's got family somewhere that are sure to be mighty pissed about this. Or friends, maybe? Anyone?? And, okay, Ki didn't do it on purpose, but that's some lack of consequences right there. It's also another symptom of the Gary Stu that he is!
He tries to give Ki some sort of tragic backstory, but the whole attempt really backfires. The only thing that really happens to Ki is that a school chum betrayed him over test scores and his elderly grandfather died. Granted, that sucks and it is sad, but THAT'S why "darkness chose HIM!"? How many countless kids have lost random buddies and grandpas? They didn't turn to the dark side. Then a new plot involving the sins of Ki's father gets shoehorned in and it's all too much. Ki's motivations are blown way out of proportion and he is a maladjusted jerk for what amounts to little reason.
Other than shamelessly self-inserting himself into his manga, Hiwatari Ki the Author has committed no crime nor any internet douchery that I can see. He seems like a nice person. He is friendly and involved with his fans, which I can respect.
I can't say I hated my trip through Contradiction. I laughed at quite a few parts, although I'm sure it was unintentional on the Author's part. It was strangely compelling; I had to see what ludicrous turn the plot would take next. Anyone looking for a good Bad Comic couldn't do much better than this one.
UPDATE: Hosting site Smackjeeves is now defunct, and this webcomic along with it.
Other comics by this person reviewed on this site
- Blue Love
- Le Diable
- Memory Fragments
- Mouichido Rendezvous
- My Sparkling Prince-sama