Fan Fic: Perfection Is Overrated
"Being perfect or having something that is perfect are things people often strive for, but they are things that are impossible to reach. Not only is it difficult to define, but frankly, perfection is overrated. You never have to improve yourself, struggle against your weaknesses, or learn how to understand yourself or the ones you love."
— Shizuru Fujino
fic by Theralion (also known as Valiona
on TV Tropes) that, starting from midway through the show and diverging from canon, seeks to explore how Mary Sue
characters would fare without favoritism from their authors.
A group of SUEs (Superpowered Unbalancing Entities), representing Mary Sue archetypes and having powers symbolic of Mary Sues’ effect on the plot, arrives at Fuuka Academy, intending to defeat all the Himes so that they can reshape the world as they see fit. Naturally, it falls on the Himes to stop them, but to do so, they must look past their differences in order to work together, and also come to terms with their own issues and personal flaws.
The fic can be found here
. The story has been completed.
This work provides examples of:
- Arc Villain
- Chapter 1-4: Hitomi
- Chapter 6-7: Toki
- Chapter 8-10: Shizune
- Chapter 14-15: Sekai
- Chapter 17-19: Bachiko and Meiko, as well as Ishigami and Nagi
- Big Bad Ensemble: The Usurper and the Obsidian Lord. In the Chapter 17-19 arc, Ishigami, Nagi and the Bachiko and Meiko pair
- Big Damn Heroes: Yukino saves Mai from Shiho, knocking Shiho out and enabling Yuuichi to survive
- Bigger Bad: The author himself, by virtue of creating the Usurper and the SUEs.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Himes are victorious, but saddened by the deaths of the SUEs, and the realization that they are, from a certain point of view, pitiful. Their lives go back to normal, but challenges await them, now and in the future.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to Mai-HiME, the characters often die in more gruesome ways than just being disintegrated, partly the results of the SUEs aiming to kill their victims instead of just destroying the Childs.
- Boisterous Weakling: Haruka's status as this is commented upon by Yukino, who admires her in comparison to Shizuru because of her determination against the odds. Interestingly enough, in the epilogue, Yukino realizes that Shizuru had weaknesses of her own, while Haruka comes to recognize Yukino's inner strength
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: Mai and Nao, to an extent, after Mai encounters Nao in the hospital and learns about her comatose mother, although what helps them understand each other and themselves is the differences between them.
- Breather Episode: Chapters 11-13 take a break from the action for the characters to reflect on some of the challenges they have faced and will face in the future, and write in diaries about their Character Development.
- But Now I Must Go: The Otomes are told that they are only allowed to help the Himes against Sekai. The Avatar and Mashiro leave after the end of the conflict
- The Cameo: Kyouji Takamura, protagonist of Mai-HiME: Tree of Destiny, dies as Mariko’s Most Important Person. Arika appears as Akira’s new roommate in the last chapter.
- Character Development: The Himes pause to reflect on how much they've changed midway through the fic, and at the end, look back on how much they have changed.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Midori tells the Himes to write in diaries in case their personalities or memories are altered. When Bachiko and Meiko arrive, Mai's diary provides an indication that she never knew either of them.
- Natsuki’s pistol, which she uses against Shizune, is put aside in case she needs it again, and is used again in an attempt to kill the author.
- Conflict Killer: The SUEs, upon appearing, derail Ishigami’s plan to manipulate the Himes into fighting one another, and provide an enemy for them to unite against.
- Cross Over: With Mai-Otome, caused by Sekai stealing an Otome's powers and fleeing to the Himes' world, causing the Otomes to pursue her there and help the Himes thwart her plan to attack the academy
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Shizuru vs. Hitomi ends fairly quickly, with the new arrival launching a surprise attack on her opponent’s Child, defeating her.
- Death by Adaptation: Yukariko, Ishigami, Nagi. The former two died in canon, but in this case, they stayed dead.
- Deconstruction Fic: Is one for Mary Sues, showing that they are unable to survive without preferential treatment by the author, and would realistically be perceived as amoral.
- Deuteragonist: Natsuki, with Nao as a tritagonist and Mai as the protagonist.
- Die for Our Ship: Invoked when Bachiko and Meiko try for Mai/Mikoto, Yuuichi/Shiho and Natsuki/Nao, and so derail Yuuichi and Shizuru to enable this.
- Dysfunction Junction: The Himes have their own issues from canon, which they are forced to confront by the end, but the SUEs are even further removed from what would be considered normal, to the point at which working together is impossible.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The heroes, in the end, reject "easier" solutions and choose to secure happiness through their own efforts.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mai ponders this while passing by the pillars, which also rise whenever a SUE is defeated. A First District minion has a wife and son who work at and attend the school.
- Even Evil Has Standards: None of the SUEs would be willing to tolerate Hitomi simply because of how terrible her actions are.
- Evil Counterpart: The SUEs possess powers similar in nature to the Himes, but the types of abilities they have are often very different.
- Evil Versus Evil: The SUEs are not only in conflict with the Himes, but have mutually exclusive agendas with the canon antagonists and each other.
- The Final Temptation: Mai, Natsuki and Nao, in order to stop Toki, are told that they must ensure that history remains unchaged- and the events in question are the tragedies that made them the people they are. Later on, Natsuki gets trapped inside Yukariko’s Lotus-Eater Machine, and has an experience in which her parents are still alive and living with her, while she has also met all her friends at Fuuka Academy.
- Five-Bad Band: One emerges toward the end.
- For Want of a Nail:
- The main plot kicks off with Midori calling Mai to tell her about the discovery of someone (who turns out to be Hitomi) mind controlling people just as they find out that Nao supposedly attacked Yukariko. They delay going after Nao, and eventually rule her out as a culprit, preventing much of the fighting between the Himes.
- When Shiho attacks Mai, Yukino, who has her Child when she had lost it by this point in canon, intervenes, saving her and Yuuichi
- Gambit Pileup: Chapter 17-19. Bachiko and Meiko try to force certain people to fall in love or, failing that, kill the Himes. Ishigami decides he can use them and decides to try to use Yukariko to coerce the Himes into fighting one another. Meanwhile, Nagi, trying to advance his own agenda, tries to manipulate Shiho, who is unconvinced that Yuuichi has truly fallen for her, into killing Mai.
- The Ghost: Hayate. Nothing about this character is revealed apart from Hayate's name and status as someone dearest to Toki.
- Gotta Kill Em All: The SUEs are charged with defeating all the Himes.
- Guilt-Free Extermination War: Averted on the Himes’ end. Shizuru regrets having to kill Hitomi, and Natsuki feels similarly about killing Shizune. By the end of the story, Mai considers the SUEs pitiful individuals, and while she realizes that they have brought harm to others, she is upset over having had to fight them with no peaceful resolution. On the other hand, the SUEs are willing to kill all the Himes if it comes to that.
- Guns Are Useless: Zig-zagged. Natsuki says that ordinary firearms are, for the most part, useless against the Himes, but it’s subverted when she kills Shizune with a handgun. And double-subverted when Natsuki’s gun fails to kill the Avatar
- Gut Punch
- Chapter 4: Hitomi, having gotten her first taste of using Mind Control to make her victims kill other people and themselves, uses her powers to cause a massacre at a diner, resulting in the deaths of 20 innocent people, and showcasing that the SUEs' mutual (if varying) lack of regard for human life.
- Chapter 18 and 19: While previous SUE attacks had interfered with the canon villains' plans, Bachiko and Meiko's plan provides Ishigami and Nagi the opportunities they need to put their own plans into motion; the former results in his and Yukariko's deaths, while the latter results in Shiho and Mai being forced to fight like in canon, with Yukino barely managing to defuse the situation by arriving before Mikoto and knocking out Shiho.
- Chapter 21: The Obsidian Lord, possessed by the Usurper, kills off the entire First District and destroys Miyu, the latter action sealing off the possibility of pushing the Reset Button and undoing any of the deaths.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Double subverted. It initially appears that the Obsidian Lord will be the final villain, but he turns out to be possessed by the Usurper. Near the end of the final battle, the Obsidian Lord forces the Usurper from his body and reclaims his position as main villain.
- Humans Are Flawed: A main theme of the story is that because people have to struggle to overcome their own weaknesses, they are stronger than the SUEs, who have never tried to do any such thing.
- In Spite of a Nail
- Sister Yukariko dies alongside Ishigami, although this time, Natsuki and Nao fill Mai and Yuuichi’s roles in that scene
- The First District gets destroyed, by the Usurper-possessed Obsidian Lord, Mikoto, Nagi, and the SUEs Makoto and Suzuka.
- It Never Gets Any Easier: The Himes find this out when they have to kill the SUEs. Mai is disturbed when Mikoto has no apparent reaction to killing Bachiko and Meiko, although it turns out that Mikoto was brainwashed.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Midori regrets having to send Mai, Natsuki and Nao to act as Time Police, ensuring that the most painful experiences in their lives happen.
- Karma Houdini: The author, due to being literally unkillable, never answers for his role in creating the SUEs.
- Killed Off for Real: The people who die stay dead.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: The heroes are forced to retreat from their first encounter with Shizune, due to her Anti-Magic abilities.
- Lighter and Softer: The Himes do not end up fighting or killing one another except for Chapter 19, and there are fewer sympathetic character deaths. On the other hand, the people who die stay dead.
- Mary Sue Hunter: The Himes become this.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Hitomi's using Mind Control to rob people's bank accounts -> plan to eliminate the Himes and Take Over the World.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Tatsuya, upon seeing that Hitomi has mind controlled him into raping and murdering his wife.
- Necessary Fail: Takumi nearly drowning, Natsuki's mother being killed, and the robbery that killed Nao's father and put her mother into her coma are seen as not only necessary to uphold the integrity of the timeline, but having had their own positive and negative impacts on Mai, Natsuki and Nao, respectively.
- No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Yukino makes the point that because the Himes have faced and overcome adversity, becoming stronger as a result, they are more likely to win than the SUEs are. This trope is also why Hitomi gets bored with robbing her victims.
- Official Couple: Akane/Kazuya, Takumi/Akira, Mai/Yuuichi, Shizuru/Natsuki.
- Out of Character: Bachiko’s victims, especially Nao (who becomes very formal and polite towards others, particularly by using honorifics), behave in such a manner.
- Outside-Context Villain: The SUEs
- Parody Sue: The antagonists consist of these.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Usurper doesn't like Hitomi killing indiscriminately, as he feels it draws too much attention to her. Word of God reveals that none of the other SUEs would be willing to team up with Hitomi, partly out of a sense of self preservation and partly because they consider what she is doing unacceptable.
- Precision F-Strike
- Mai uses profanity less often, but gets this example.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The common application of this in fanfics is deconstructed with Hitomi. She doesn’t know or care why rape is wrong, but knows that it is a terrible crime, so she mind controls a man into raping and murdering his wife, then allowing him to see it before forcing him to kill himself.
- Reality Ensues: Handguns are less powerful than some of the Himes' powers, but they are still strong enough to kill someone. Shizune finds this out the hard way.
- Revenge Before Reason: Natsuki, after mentioning the Revenge by Proxy trope, responds to Mai’s suggestion that the idea of someone taking revenge on someone like Takumi by attacking her doesn’t seem very logical by saying that people seeking revenge do not always follow logic. She then is forced to think about how that might apply to her.
- Revenge by Proxy: Natsuki once wonders if Mai is falling victim to this. The truth is that Shiho is directly attacking the target of her revenge.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Kyoko, who dies as a result of Shizune’s death
- Sealed with a Kiss: Shizuru and Natsuki’s last scene in the fic ends with them kissing.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Several cases, such as when Mai rejects the Usurper’s plan for a new world, and Yukariko denounces Shizune as a false Christian.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Shizune delivers one to Yukariko when she accuses her of going against Jesus’s teachings, saying that Yukariko is a false Christian as a Catholic.
- Sliding Scaleof Idealism Versus Cynicism: Somewhat on the idealistic side. The world is often harsh and never can be perfect, but it's indicated that people can change for the better, and perhaps so can the world.
- Smug Super: The SUEs, to various extent, are overconfident in their powers. As such, they are vulnerable to Shizune's power in "A Common Enemy Without A Common Cause", as it is more effective the more people rely on powers. And then Shizune is gunned down by two nameless police officers, indicating the limits of her own abilities.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Played with. The SUEs vary in terms of how strong they are, how much damage their plans would cause and how much of a threat they are to the Himes, but most of the encounters get more difficult over time.
- Take That:
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Nao is initially unwilling to help the other Himes, only cooperating because she finds Hitomi's deeds intolerable. Some of the other Himes wonder if she attacked Yukariko, and she is only on good terms with Mikoto at first.
- Tempting Fate: Immediately after Shizuru says one more incident will force the school to close, Sekai's forces attack the school.
- The Stations of the Canon: There are several canon events that take place, such as Takumi getting an operation in America, but they often turn out quite differently; for example, Takumi lives in this version.
- Time Police: Mai, Natsuki and Nao, in Chapter 7.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: In addition to the Obsidian Lord, the Usurper’s plan is this.
- Villain Episode: Two omakes focus on the SUEs. One provides a look at their point of view on the conflict, and another shows what would have happened if they had been forced to work together.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: Natsuki expresses frustration at one point over being forced to react to SUE attacks time and again. Within minutes, the next SUE's forces attack.
- Wham Episode:
- Chapter 6. The true nature of the SUE threat is revealed, and the Himes are forced to go back in time to prevent history from being rewritten.
- Chapter 18. It is revealed that not only is Bachiko a SUE, but so is Meiko. Yukariko betrays the group and puts Natsuki into a Lotus-Eater Machine. Shiho reveals herself as Mai’s attacker and tries to kill her, with Mikoto on the way.
- Chapter 21. The First District is destroyed, as is Miyu, and it is revealed that the Obsidian Lord is in league with the SUEs and is possessed by the Usurper.
- Wham Line
Yukino: "There's a fourth time portal!"
- Chapter 18, when Mai decides to ask Meiko some questions about Bachiko.
Meiko's expression suddenly darkened, as a feeling of dread overwhelmed her.
They had been found out.
- Chapter 18, again when Mai comes face to face with the girl who has been attacking her all this time
Mai: "I should have known it was you... Shiho-chan."
The Obsidian Lord: "That is incorrect; you are speaking to the Usurper."
The Advisor: "You have not only triumphed over the rules of the Hime Carnival itself, slain its mastermind and managed to do so with most of you still alive... but you have also defeated several of my most powerful creations."
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Discussed by the author. The First District minions who were killed by the Usurper-possessed Obsidian Lord and his entourage are suggested to not necessarily be bad people, but it is pointed out that they have done morally questionable things. Their deaths are considered a consequence of those deeds, but it's left open to interpretation whether it is a fair consequence.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: At a few points. Natsuki gets one, when telling Shizuru of her life experience, and that she loves her, saying that she doesn’t care about what other people think about her relationship with the person who helped her trust others again.. The Himes get ones of their own during the final confrontation. In which they talk about what they have learned over the course of their Character Development.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The SUEs often, but not always, have improbable hair colors. In a deleted scene, Midori considers looking out for people with hair colors that aren't normal for Japan, before realizing that most of the cast already has such colors.
- You Have Failed Me: It is stated that any SUE who loses her powers will be killed by the next one to step up. Toki is one such example.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Hitomi typically does this with her victims when she's done using them to murder people.
- You Owe Me: Midori gets Youko to excuse Yukino from class by calling in a favor.