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Relentless - By Grayson Towler
By Grayson Towler

A tale of power, gags, and intense vengeance...

Announcement - Status Update April 21, 2008
NEW RELENTLESS FANART

LAST MODIFIED: April 21, 2008

PROLOGUE - Temple of Three
In which Ranma dreams of things to come, and someone comes to the wrong place at the wrong time...
CHAPTER ONE - The Master
In which Ranma faces the wrath of Happosai, and finds that some fights are not worth the price of winning...
CHAPTER TWO - Tenacity
In which Ryouga struggles to protect his beloved, and Ranma struggles simply to survive...
CHAPTER THREE - Hot Water
In which Ukyou makes a fateful choice, and an old adversary returns at just the wrong time...
CHAPTER FOUR - To Catch a Thief
In which Akane is stirred into action, and Ranma catches up with a panty thief in China...
CHAPTER FIVE - Boiling Point
In which tensions rise in China, and certain Tendou sisters face unforseen challenges...
CHAPTER SIX - Hard Lessons
In which it is demonstrated that there's no easy way to learn something important...
CHAPTER SEVEN - Inner Strength
In which our heroes struggle to improve their skills before time runs out...
CHAPTER EIGHT - Breakthrough
In which epic battles are fought in China, while Akane's training finally begins to bear fruit...
CHAPTER NINE - Challenge
In which an old score is finally settled, with unexpected consequences...
CHAPTER TEN - Cursed Spring
In which the true terror of Pantyhose Tarou's ultimate plan is revealed...
CHAPTER ELEVEN - Fall Into Place
In which our protagonists in China are separated, and now must struggle on their own...
CHAPTER TWELVE - Counsel
In which Ukyou and Ryouga stand judged, while Ranma pushes back the limits of his strength...
CHAPTER THIRTEEN - Phobia
In which Ranma must try to compensate for a terrible miscalculation before it is too late...
CHAPTER FOURTEEN - Confidence Game
In which schemes are hatched, bluffs are played out, and daring rescues are attempted...
CHAPTER FIFTEEN - Cat and Mouse
In which Ranma trains to overcome his greatest weakness, while Nabiki finds herself caught in a perilous plot...
CHAPTER SIXTEEN - Miscalculation
In which Ranma makes a choice, Ukyou takes a gamble, and both make dangerous miscalculations...
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN - Cataclysm
In which Ryouga walks the deep paths of despair while waging the deadliest battle of his life...
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN - Living Scroll
In which Ranma attempts the impossible...
EPILOGUE ONE - Loose End
Six months after the final battle, Ranma and Akane try to adapt to how their lives have changed...
EPILOGUE TWO - Kimagure Orange Ryouga
Ancient history, love triangles, and the importance of knowing where you are...


Status Update, 4/21/08
MORE RELENTLESS FANART

Even more fanart! This one comes from Cordon "Blu" Flannery, with a very nice gothic poster featuring the Reikoku:
Fanart by Cordon Flannery

And now, more fanart! It's funny that the art is starting to come in now that the story has been over for a couple of years. Anyway, this one is a fine illustration by AN Warner, featuring a spooky moment in the story from Chapter One. Take a look:
Fanart by AN Warner

And of course, many thanks to Izami Luna and Mitztli for this poster-style art, featuring the Reikoku. Check it out:
Fanart by Izami Luna and Mitztli

If anybody else feels inspired, I'd be happy to post any more art for Relentless. If I get enough, I'll have to make... I dunno, a gallery or something. Wouldn't that be outstanding? Anyway, if you've got something to send along, drop me a line at: thunderstruck_comic@comcast.net



Thunderstruck is what I'm pouring my creative energies into these days. It's an original web comic about two (relatively) normal sisters who suddenly start having some very supernatural things happen in their lives. One of them sees things through the filter of scientific skepticism, the other through her religious beliefs. The reality they uncover is stranger and more mysterious than either of them can imagine.

The comic is written and drawn by me, and updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And yes, it does have a mixture of power, gags, and intense vengeance... amongst other things. So go check out Thunderstruck!



Fanfiction Links
So what we have here are links to my favorite authors and stories on the web, and a bit of my own reviewing to go with it. Links were updated April 3, 2005.

Susan Doenime and Mike Loader
I lump these two together simply because several of my favorite fanfics are collaborative works between Susan and Mike. The link above goes to the home page for "Transpacific Fanfiction," and contains more-or-less functioning links to all their works. My favorites are:

    Ill Met By Starlight
    By Susan Doenime and Mike Loader
    This is the Psycho Ranma story. It takes the story of Ranma from the beginning, except the boy who arrives as Akane's groom-to-be is quiet, calculating, and dangerously insane. The mood is very intense, the tension remains high up to the ending, and the writing is consistently excellent throughout the whole story. Susan and Mike re-imagine the Ranma world as being edgier and more dangerous than Takahashi's, but I love that it is still quite recognizable as the Ranma universe. Best of all... it's finished! An unfortunate number of my favorite fics are, alas, unfinished epics.
    Curiously, there is an odd parallel to something that happens in Relentless involving Akane's training. What's more, these pieces were written independently, yet at more or less exactly the same time. Weird but true.

    Star Wars - A Faint Hope
    By Susan Doenime and Mike Loader
    A "crossover" of sorts, with the Ranma cast as characters who are working off-screen in Star Wars, having an adventure parallel to the one in the movie. I laughed my ass off reading this. The most brilliant part is the casting - rather than go for the easy parallels, Susan and Mike made some really inspired choices for which character would play which role. Happosai as the R2 droid? Dr. Tofu as the Dark Lord of the Sith? Really great stuff.
    Last One Standing
    By Mike Loader
    A mysterious challenge letter arrives at the Tendou Dojo... for Akane? An adventure rich in mythology and superb characterization. Mike Loader does an unparalleled job at teasing out the inner depths of the Ranma characters, keeping true to the source while taking them to the next degree of realism. Unfortunately, this story stalled out only a few chapters into it, and I don't think Mike will be coming back to finish it. So be warned.
    Pastpresent
    By Susan Doenime
    This is a prequel to Ranma 1/2, following the younger years of Saotome Genma and Tendou Soun. Susan does a fine job of capturing the spirit of Takahashi-san's manga, while not falling into the trap fo just recycling stories and inserting the parents into their childrens' roles. Unfortunately, this one is also unfinished.
    Bubblegum Crisis - The Tesla Agenda
    By Mike Loader, John Biles, Travis Butler, and Nick Leifker
    This is by far the worst Bubblegum Crisis fanfic I've ever read... but that's okay. That's because it is really one of the most entertaining Ranma fanfics ever written. The idea is that the Ranma cast get together to collaboratively write a Bubblegum Crisis fanfic. Of course, they cannot help taking out all their own petty rivalries on the page, and end up making an inconsistent, ridiculous, and truly hilarious fanfic.
    I include this here because it's hosted on the Transpacific page, though it is a collaborative effort. Being a collaboration, it's a bit up and down (and what the hell was with the Robert Jordan references? I could've lived without that), but on the whole, it's a great read.

Gary Kleppe
Gary Kleppe has been a mainstay of the fanfic community for longer than I even know. On the FFML (Fan Fiction Mailing List), Gary conistently provides quality feedback for writers new and old. Everything on Gary's page is worth reading, but here are my favorites:
    Hearts and Minds
    This is Gary's longest, most ambitious fic. The preludes alone (of which there are ten, each following the growth of a different cast member after the end of the Ranma manga) constitute a kind of mini-fic. A more mature take on the Ranmaverse, with the characters older and more responsible (but still very much themselves). While the Ukyou sidestory drags a bit, the overall action with the main cast is top-notch. The story is unfinished as of this writing, but it's a fair bet that Gary will get through to the end.
    For a Dying Friend
    An unexpected side-effect to the Jusenkyou curses begin to arise, trapping the victims in their cursed states. Of all the "Ranma gets stuck as a girl" stories, this one is by far my favorite. Told from Akane's perspective, it is incredibly moving, deeply insightful, and unforgettable. Gary has a lot of good stories to his name, but for my money, this one is the best.

Luca Signorelli
    Red Tower, Black Tower, Grey Slabs
    To my knowledge, this is the only fanfic by Luca Signorelli, but it's one of the most beautiful Ranma stories I've ever read. Years after the end of the series, Ryouga and Ukyou try to overcome their old pain by facing the most grueling challenge offered by nature - the ascent of the K-2 mountain. The story contains some of the most thoughtful insights into the lives of the characters surrounding Ranma and Akane - their hopes and dreams, their pain and sorrow, their triumphs and defeats.

Rod M.
An excellent, versitile writer who is probably best known for his humor fics, but who can also do drama with the best of them. He has some terrific fics of Bubblegum Crisis and Oh! My Goddess. lurking down there on his page, and has collaborated with other authors for some very good stuff. Unfortunately, it looks like his page has not seen an update for many a moon, so his unfinished fics are likely to stay that way. Still, enjoy what's there, including:
    The More Things Change
    The quintessential Ryouga/Ukyou fic, in which Ranma takes himself out of the center of the whirlwind of lunacy surrounding Nerima, leaving the unsuspecting Ryouga suddenly the center of uncomfortable attention, unwanted affection, and savage violence. Includes the use of one of the best original characters I've ever read.
    The Pursuit of Happiness
    Continuing the trials and travails of Ryouga and Ukyou from "The More Things Change." The first portion of the story is worthwhile, but not as readable as the "The More Things Change." But it really picks up when it hits the giant "King of Nerima" story arc, featuring an immense martial arts tournament with characters from all throughout the Ranmaverse. The third part is, unfortunately, unfinished.
    Nerima's Other Passion
    By Grayson Towler
    Hey look... this one is by me! This sidestory for "The Pursuit of Happiness" is actually the first fanfic I ever wrote. I refer to it indirectly in Chapter 8 of "Relentless." It answers the question of just who the heck fixes all the damage done by the martial artists in their rampages through Nerima.

Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne
Twoflower was one of the defining authors for Slayers fanfiction, and has a large body of other work to his name as well. I haven't read everything he's written, but I have also rarely been disappointed by any of his stories. He has an excellent web page for linking to all his stories, which include:
    The Slayers Trilogy
    Three substantial stories - "Slayers: Reflect," "Slayers: Chaos," and "Slayers: Rebirth" - combine to make a single cohesive epic about Lina Inverse and company. Even with some rough spots, Twoflower does a fine job of capturing that mix of silliness and grandeur that makes Slayers entertaining.
    Slayers: Demiurge
    Another Slayers story, independent from the Trilogy, that adds some very interesting elements to the mythology of the series. This one is more polished than "Trilogy," and focuses more on a dramatic angle.
    MTCFF Ultra
    Moderator: Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne
    Ultra is a huge, sprawling collaborative crossover. It's what's known as an "improfanfic," meaning that the idea is that a different author contributes each new chapter of the story, at a rate of (ideally) once per week. The basic premise is an ongoing, televised tournament featuring characters from multiple series (mostly anime/manga and video games), as well as the dramas and antics surrounding the show. Which can often include the end of the world, the replacement of God... that sort of thing. Twoflower moderated this story, and wrote the climactic finishes of each "season."
    This is not everyone's cup of tea. Ultra both succeeds and fails - and does each in a spectacular fashion.
    When it's bad, there were usually one or more factors at play. Since it was written on a tight schedule, most segments are pretty rough and could use editing (this very much includes the ones I wrote). Since there are multiple authors, styles don't always match, and sometimes you get authors doing the fanboy thing and either overhyping their favorite characters, or (even worse) grinding their own personal axes against whatever characters they don't happen to like. Ultra also draws its basic structure from pro-wrestling, and sometimes falls into inherent stupidity which infects that particular spectacle (overuse of jargon, cardboard-cutout characters who flip personalities for no reason, tedious levels of trash-talking, and so forth).
    When Ultra is good, however, it is really a thrill ride. Authors, inspired by each others' work, take the story along all sorts of cool twists and turns. The action and fight sequences can be gripping. There are moments of shoot-coffee-out-your-nose humor not to be missed. And it addresses the basic, guilty pleasure of almost all fans, which makes us wonder things like: "What would happen if Lina Inverse fought Sephiroth?"
    So that's Ultra. Since this is my page, here are some links and summaries to the segments which I wrote, or to which I contributed:
      Ultra #66: Close Calls and Phone Calls
      In which M. Bison plots behind the scene to take over Ultra, Sephiroth begins to show signs of multiple personality disorder, an Evangelion battles a Gundam, and Pantyhose Tarou begins a dangerous quest. The Lina Inverse vs. Battle Angel's Gally (Alita, to U.S. fans) was the most controversial fight. This one also introduced the awesome power of... the Ring of Superiority!
      Ultra #67: Reboot 3.0
      By Kristen Smirnov
      A very enjoyable episode by Kristen, who asked me to write the match between Shinji of Evangelion and Gally. This is a race between Eva Unit 01 and a super-cyborg across the lethal furnace of Death Valley. I rather like how it came out.
      Ultra #75: Going Undercover
      In which Sephiroth shakes things up with a power play for the control of God, Team Rocket of Pokemon demonstrates a very unique way of mourning, Mousse teams up with Fushigi Yuugi's Tasuki for a tag-team match, and Akane goes in disguise to prove herself in battle. I introduced Tekken's Lei Wulong to the series, in a somewhat successful plotline for Ultra's only Who-Done-It, with Mortal Kombat's perennial loser Johnny Cage as the victim.
      Ultra #83: UltraRage Theta
      An end of season episode written by Twoflower and a bunch of other authors, including me. Since I started the "Who Killed Johnny Cage" story, I got to finish it as well. I wrote the fight between Lei Wulong, Gunsmith Cats' Bean Bandit, Street Fighter's Sakura, and Darkstalkers' B.B. Hood in the style of a Jackie Chan movie, and it came out pretty cool.
      Ultra #88: The Beginning of the End
      With Zach Grafton
      Twoflower had decided to end the Ultra series with a great, final tournament. I got to write the first installment of this last chapter, along with a very talented fellow named Zach Grafton. In spite of the fact that it could've used some editing, I liked the chapter a lot. However, I think a lot of the other authors who came after (or who were chosen to come after) did not. Ultra has now been waiting for years for its final chapter, and I get the feeling that my last installment may have had something to do with the story petering out. Read it if you dare, and come to your own conclusions.

Krista Perry
Krista has written quite a lot of fanfics from all sorts of different series, including InuYasha, Ruruoni Kenshin and Gundam. All her stories are very character-driven and have a great deal of soul. The most famous one, though, is probably her Ranma epic:
    Hearts of Ice
    Shampoo and Cologne make a desperate bid to get rid Akane - and end up sending her into the realm of the gods. A story heavy on mythology, romance, with a lot of action to boot. This is a story that has seemed to be on the verge of being finished for a long time, but somehow still keeps going. Since Krista now seems to be rewriting parts of it, I'm not sure how much longer the world will have to wait for the true final chapter... but even without it, the story is one of the all-time greats of Ranma fanfiction.

Kagami
I really have to get around to reading more of Kagami's work. I first spotted him as one of the guys who always offered up consistent, high-quality feedback on the FFML, but I was completely hooked when I began to read:
    An Awakening of Demons
    The idea of this story was to write a continuation of Ranma, using the storytelling style of InuYasha. Since I think Takahashi-san's style improved dramatically between the two series, it was awesome to find someone who managed to capture the essence of her writing and apply it in such an entertaining fashion. Contains my favorite portrayal of Kodachi in all of fanfiction.

Alan Harnum
The last of the Transpacific Fanfic group, Alan Harnum is an extremely talented writer, who has a gift for drawing you into the story and making you want more. One of the things I find very admirable about Alan's work is the way he will engage deeply with any character, whether he casts them as a hero or villain, and apply himself to making you understand that character as a complete person. I haven't read all of Alan's stuff, but here are my favorites:
    Waters Under Earth
    On the page for this story, Alan spends plenty of time pointing out the tale's weaknesses. In spite of those shortcomings, it is one of the grand epics of fanfiction, and includes all the best aspects of Alan's writing. And what's more, it's a complete story. If you want to read it, prepare to spend some time... but it's worth it.
    What I Once Was
    I include this because it's one of the better Mousse stories I've read, and Mousse is kind of a difficult character. I've always found him to be the weakest personality of the main Ranma cast - that's not to say I dislike the character, but there doesn't seem to be much to sink your teeth into from the original story. That's when it's good to have someone like Alan around, who can tease out an interesting character from pretty much any source.

Jed Bidwell
While a lot of people are probably not familiar with Jed's work, I have enjoyed everything I've read from him. In fact, there were a few things that I signed on as prereader for which aren't on his page... this could partially be do to the fact that I was a very negligent prereader. Anyway, here are some you can read:
    Downward Spiral
    A very well written darkfic in which Ryouga commits suicide, and Ranma is left to try to figure out why. Jed gives me more credit for this story than I deserve - I just gave him a few suggestions to help him avoid some fanfic cliches.
    Jet Moto
    The idea of a crossover fic between Ranma and the futuristic Playstation racing game, Jet Moto seemed pretty far-fetched to me too. And yet, incredibly, Jed makes it work out. This is a seriously alternate universe - but a highly readable one.


For comments, criticisms, or any of that good stuff, you can reach me at thunderstruck_comic@comcast.net.