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Fanfic / Chlorine Grown Roses

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The cover on, in all its MS Paint glory.
Chlorine Grown Roses is a Free! fanfic written by NekoTenshi222 (formerly known as SonicXKimmy172) that was posted to DeviantArt and on December 22, 2015. It is complete, with 46 chapters having been posted. It can be found here.

The story follows a fifteen-year-old orphan named Azusa Kimber Tachibana, the American-born cousin of Makoto Tachibana. After having lived in isolation in her mansion in the United States since her parents were murdered in her very home, she was sent a letter from said cousin with a plane ticket to Japan attached. From thereon, we see Azusa take to life in Iwatobi, which includes but is not limited to: fangirling over the swim team (before joining it herself); befriending the canon characters; throwing herself into a relationship with Rin Matsuoka (and later getting a crush on Haru); involving herself in a murder investigation; getting institutionalized; and having a run-in with the yakuza.

The fic began getting 'revisions' from SonicXKimmy172's friend named AkiTommichan starting from Chapter 7, who, in turn, has her own fanfiction, a Steven Universe fanfiction titled Morganite and a newer Black Butler one called Blackest of Nights. So far, the grammar has only gotten worse from the editing.

A great chapter-by-chapter critique of it done by the Tumblr blog character-critique-central (which is updated upon the upload of each new chapter) can be found here.

Chlorine Grown Roses contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Nagisa Hazuki has been mistakenly called Shingetsu Nagisa, Nagito, Naegisa, and Nagisa Momoe by the author by this point. The author does blame the first 'Nagisa' slip on her beta reader, but the rest have no excuse.
    • Whether this counts as Rouge Angles of Satin or this trope is uncertain, but the author also calls Kou Matsuoka 'Ko Maedasuoka' at some point because 'I forgot hwo to spell her last name becuase its 3 in the morning and im to lazy to google it lol'. She also calls Kou 'Ko' frequently, a fandom nickname for the same character whose name got inserted into Kou's above.
    • In Chapter 16, the author accidentally calls Chiasa Tachibana (yet another OC) Chiaki. It's downplayed in chapter 17 when in the author's note she mentions that Chiasa was originally going to be called Chiaki.
    • Kimmy mistakenly calls Azusa 'Kim' in Chapter 20. Not only is this the Suethor's name, but considering that Kimmy shares this name with her Suethor, it's made even more confusing.
  • A Death in the Limelight: In a way, Yami.
  • Alpha Bitch: Chiriko is described as having a snobby and smug voice and a 'bitchy smirk'. It's also implied that she's wealthy due to her admission into an all-boys school such as Samezuka. Later on, it is revealed that "Chiriko" was actually Chiasa in disguise, to the surprise of no one. According to Word of God, Chiriko was a real person, but Chiasa murdered her and took her identity. It is also said that the real Chiriko may not have been as nasty as Chiasa!Chiriko.
  • Alternate Universe: To True Love's Story, although it was originally set in the same universe, just a few years later.
    • The Halloween special is said to take place in an alternate universe where Chiasa and Masahiko aren't evil and Yami is still alive.
  • Ambiguously Brown: "Anzu had dark skin (Im not rasist or anything im just saiyng that she has dark skin!!)"
    • In Famous Last Words, we get this gem: "[Oliver] had dark skin with a bunch of wristbands and he was smiling (AN: Btw japanese high school starts in sophomore year so their bascialy freshmen xD also if your racist FUCK OFF AND NEVER COME BACK I HATE YOU!)"
  • Anti-Hero: Ensemble Dark Horse Masahiko Kurusu turns into an Anti-Hero of sorts by the end, much to the despair of the fans who wanted to see him kill Azusa.
  • Back from the Dead: Somehow, Akira is back even though the chapter in which she "died" explicitly states that she, well, died. Apparently, she was never actually dead, Azusa just beat her bad enough to send her to the hospital, but Azusa didn't know this until after she leaves the mental hospital because she was too busy crying to listen to the people telling her about Akira's condition.
    • Makoto is inexplicably alive in the hacker chapter if only so that he can join Haru, Rin, and Rei when they escape to Australia.
  • Bad Date: Azusa and Rin have their first date at 7-Eleven of all places.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Shatter gets covered with blood when Sophie Church gets hit by a car in his backstory and Hitomi is covered in blood in blood after she accidentally kills Kirumi Kissu.
  • Buffy Speak: Anzu has hair "like that crossdresser from that one game with the wierd title that i forgot but way longer".
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Despite Azusa's tragic backstory, the fic was fluffy at first...until Aunt Homura's death, Azusa's apparent murder of Akira, and the inexplicable inclusion of the yakuza.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even though Free! hardly has anything to do with the fic anymore besides the occasional swim meat, Chlorine Grown Roses can best be described as Free! with orphans, murder, and the yakuza involved.
  • Dead Sidekick: Ever since Azusa "killed" Akira, the story has taken a much darker tone and become much less lighthearted. In fact, this is getting to the point where some readers want Kim to bring her Back from the Dead (though this may just be because Azusa x Akira is a very popular ship among fans of the fic). Eventually, the fans seem to prevail, as Akira is later revealed to be A-OK, just bedridden in the hospital.
  • Death by Origin Story: Azusa's parents, to date, have never been seen alive in the story. Even in a flashback before their murder, they were working away from home and were never seen or heard.
    • Akira's parents are similarly dead by the time Azusa meets her, as are Hitomi's. There could be even more dead parents between all of the OCs, for all we know.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: As mentioned above, nearly every OC in the story that isn't an Expy of some sort has dead parents to the point where it's almost laughable in its own right.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Happens to Chiriko in the hacker chapter when she loses the swim meat and flies into the yakuza headquarters. She was the bomb after all.
    • Non-Fatal Explosions: Apparently, exploding into the yakuza's headquarters wasn't enough to stop Chiriko and the yakuza from showing up at the pool later.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the main cast may as well not exist, as much more focus is being put on Azusa, Rin, and all of the other random OCs the author inserted.
    • In fact, in later chapters, even Rin has less of a purpose in the story than the OCs, especially after Azusa gets sent to the psych ward. Oddly enough, the only canon characters with roles prominent to the plot by this point are Nagisa (because he's in the yakuza as Thugisa) and Makoto because of his OOC portrayal as a Yandere who's jealous of Azusa for getting Haru's attention but even he's eventually shafted when he's killed by a "gum".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One of Hitomi's friends is named Luna Moon, which translates to 'Moon Moon'.
  • Devil in Plain Sight / Paper-Thin Disguise: The character introduced in Chapter 25, Chiriko Kasane, is the main villain Chiasa Tachibana in disguise. Within the fandom, this was a theory popularized by character-critique-central based on the grounds that they have similar names and Chiriko's animosity towards Azusa seems to come out of absolutely nowhere. They also share physical similarities, such as red/scarlet eyes (at least in Chapter 25, before they were Retconned and became pink). This was confirmed at the end of the fic.
  • Dirty Old Man: The maids in Azusa's mansion are forced to wear revealing French maid outfits because "papa liked that kind of stuff o.o". Squick.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mr. Yagami went missing after his wife died, leaving Yami and his sister to fend for themselves.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: So many...that you'll question...your own sanity...
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Happens to Shatter and Tom in the hacker chapter.
  • Eagleland: The only native-born American in the fic, Luna Moon, eats constantly (even partaking in '3:00 AM hamburgers'), is a blond (and may or may not have blue eyes, depending on whether she's wearing colored eye contacts or not), has Black-and-White Morality like a stereotypical American, and even has Goofy Print Underwear with eagles on it. Shatter, a Brit, is disdainful towards her stereotypical crass behavior in Chapter 23:
    Luna: "Sorry, guys! I was eating, my three am burger."
    Shatter: "T-tipical, american...."
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Azusa's middle name is Kimber, which is actually a surname, not a given name. She is supposed to be named after the author in that regard.
  • Emo Teen: Azusa is an extreme example of this trope, along with Hitomi and most of her friends.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Masahiko, Chiasa, and Chiriko are extremely popular among fans, probably because they're the only characters who don't try to put up with Azusa and her whining.
    • Yamamoto, originally introduced as a 'buff yakuza guy' in Chapter 14, attained such a fan following that Kim made him return with a name later on.
    • The hacker named Jeff/Zookaman who added Chapter xddddddd/Chapter 69 to Kim's DeviantArt is also a fan favorite. He was immediately embraced by the fanbase and became a celebrity of sorts, with his ban from the official CGR Discord channel causing great outrage among the fans.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Azusa has a little pink heart in her right eye which she apparently used to be bullied for, Hitomi's eyes gradient from light blue to pink, and Conchita's eyes seem to be pink and green. Chiasa has an upside-down broken heart in hers.
  • Expy: Belle Lockhart, a maid who is introduced in Chapter 5, acts exactly like Mikan Tsumiki from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. When this was pointed out by reviewers, SonicXKimmy172 had to ask in the author's note for Chapter 6 what anime she was from.
    • Another Danganronpa expy includes Akira's Aunt Homura, who is an exact expy of Touko Fukawa from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Additionally, the scene of her murder looks almost identical to the scene of Mahiru Koizumi's murder in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Akira herself acts a lot of like Aoi Asahina, as well, and the character is cited as one of the inspirations for Akira's appearance and personality. Other Danganronpa expys include Masahiko Kurusu (Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu), Kirumi Kissu (Mikan Tsumiki in despair), and, debatably, Kimmy Sakura (Kyoko Kirigiri).
  • The Faceless: Yamamoto, the buff yakuza guy from Chapter 14.
  • Fainting: Azusa has fainted or passed out more times than is probably healthy for a human being, made worse when, while fainting after hearing that the mastermind behind the unfortunate incidents plaguing her life could be her cousin Chiasa, she somehow manages to horribly injure Akira.
  • Fangirl: Azusa repeatedly says that she's a yaoi fangirl and gets a nosebleed every time she sees a half-naked boy. Considering the anime this fic is based on, she must lose a lot of blood on a daily basis. Maybe that's why she's so overemotional.
    • Hitomi's friend Conchita Fuentes is known for fangirling over the extremely egregious couple of Yami Yagami and Shatter Nymphnight, along with Hitomi herself and Azusa.
  • Genre Shift: The fic abruptly goes from being a slice of life story centered around Azusa to a strange Danganronpa fanfiction in which a character is murdered and the characters from Free, along with OCs created by the author, try to solve the murder without any police intervention or investigation that has any meaning in Chapter 10.
    • After this, the story becomes some sort of crime thriller with Azusa having a run-in with the yakuza, who reveal that her Long-Lost Relative Chiasa Tachibana holds a high position in their ranks and is responsible for most all of the unfortunate things that have befallen Azusa and her companions. Most of the canon characters are eventually rendered irrelevant in favor of the author's emo OCs. One begins to question what the Free fandom has to do with the story by this point.
  • G-Rated Mental Illness: Azusa was interred into the mental hospital because she had 'at least three mental illnesses', which were not detailed. Whatever they were, however, required her to be in a straitjacket when she first arrived to the hospital.
  • Gratuitous French: In Chapter 18, Azusa meets a girl named Hitomi Styles in the mental hospital she has been interned in who studied at "L'eau de Rose Boarding School". The name translates to 'Rose Water Boarding School', but more hilariously, L'eau de Rose is a kind of perfume.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: There are moments where the words seifuku and imouto are thrown in (the former supposedly is the Japanese word for school uniforms), and then there's a little segment in chapter 37 that roughly translates to "I see. Yes. I peed myself." (the last statement probably being an unfortunate misspelling of 'omoshiroi' (interesting) as 'omorashioi').
    • In the cover images of chapter 33 and 38 there's a 'tasukete" (help me) written, although the one on the former is about 5 pixels high on a 1000 pixel canvas. There are multiple other cover images that use Japanese in the backgrounds as well.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: The author is quite adamant on restating again and again that Azusa is straight.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted with Jeff the hacker, who accessed Kim's account not through advanced technique but because left her computer in the public library logged into her DeviantArt ''and'' email.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Azusa's hair is half black and half blond. This is explained as being natural because her mom had black hair and her dad had blond hair.
    • Somehow, the tips of Akira's hair are still burnt from a fire she was involved in ten years ago. According to Azusa, "they would be there, for the rest of her life."
  • Improbable Hair Style: One of Azusa's pigtails is way shorter than the other. She mentions that this is because someone tore out a chunk of her hair a year prior to the story, but if that's the case, then why didn't she get a haircut? Why does she keep her hairstyle lopsided like that?
  • Informed Ability: Up until Chapter 25, when Azusa finally participates in a swim meet and defeats Chiriko, her opponent, she had yet to show off her apparent swimming prowess. The first time she ever swum was in Chapter 13, and when she finally swum, she somehow hit her head on the bottom of the pool on the kickoff and would have drowned if not for Haru's intervention. What a great swimmer she is! Truly she must be the best on the swim team.
    • Apparently, Kimmy Sakura, a twelve year old from Canada, is such a great investigator that she qualified to be sent to Japan to investigate a serial killer case. She has yet to do anything that an adult detective couldn't do, as so far all she's done is add almost nothing to the investigation of Homura Tomuson's murder, name Chiasa Tachibana (a long-lost cousin of Azusa) as the main suspect behind most all misfortunes in the fic, attempt (and fail) to interrogate Masahiko to get information about the yakuza (and she probably would have killed him in the process, if Azusa hadn't of let him go free), and be a ripoff of Kyouko Kirigiri.
    • Hitomi Styles says that she has 'majic powers', but besides a vague description of how they were used to kill her parents in an accident, a device for A Wizard Did It explanations or a Deus ex Machina, and a means for her to push herself on a swing, they have yet to be explained or seen again.
    • Masahiko claims that he could easily murder Hitomi, Kimmy, and Azusa, but has yet to do anything particularly threatening past throwing a shoe at Azusa's head hard enough to knock her unconscious. This claim is made even more hilarious when one considers that he, a high ranking member of the yakuza, was taken down and restrained by a twelve year old girl, possibly more than once.
  • In Name Only: Chlorine Grown Roses has transcended the bonds of being a Free! fanfic and has since become...well, something.
  • Kangaroo Court: Hitomi's expulsion hearing at L'eau de Rose for the murder of Kirumi Kissu can be seen as this because the rule that she broke is that 'no girl can hurt another girl'. But considering that the first rule is 'protect your fellow girl', these rules seem to be made to contradict themselves in situations like the specific one Hitomi is in.
    • However, in the sequel Famous Last Words, Hitomi states that she filed a lawsuit against the school and received enough money to buy a BMW for Azusa and a whole ass mansion.
  • Killed Offscreen: Azusa's, Akira's, and Hitomi's parents, naturally.
    • Apparently Anzu Sayaka got murdered at some point between her first appearance in a flashback and the 'present time' of the fic, but the reader got no details of the murder other than that it was perpetrated by the same person who caused all of the other deaths in the fic.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Azusa kills Akira in a fit of rage after hearing that her long lost cousin Chiasa Tachibana may be the one who killed her parents. ...But she turns out to be fine.
    • This overlaps with Self-Made Orphan for Hitomi Styles, who killed her parents by accident in a ferris wheel accident using her 'majic powers'.
  • Long-Lost Relative: It's amazing that Azusa never even heard of the Tachibanas until the beginning of the fic.
    • Somehow, this isn't the ONLY Long-Lost Relative she has, either, as it seems that she has a long lost cousin who she's not only never heard of, but who is claimed to be the murderer of Azusa's parents, Aunt Homura, Anzu, and the arsonist who started the fire that killed Akira's parents.
  • Love at First Sight: Directly upon seeing so much as a picture of Rin Matsuoka, Azusa is infatuated. Not to mention the way that she breaks into his school to watch him swim.
  • Made Myself Sad: Azusa is known to burst into tears randomly whenever she remembers her parents. This tends to be, more often than not, in the middle of conversations.
  • Malaproper: There are many, but the misspelling of 'swim meet' as 'swim meat' was so egregious that it was even used in the hacked Chapter 69.
    • Many of these tend to show up in chapters spellchecked by Lilly-chan.
  • Moe: Invoked. "Belle was 17 years old. She was new and very clumsy, but she was also moe."
  • Mood Whiplash: An extreme example occurs in Chapter 10 in which Aunt Homura is found murdered in Akira's home, her skull having been bashed in by a baseball bat. This comes just after Azusa and Rin were just hanging out on what could be considered their second date; it was certainly no time for something of this caliber.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Kirumi Kissu, a pop idol who is essentially the antithesis of Azusa and her merry bunch of emo friends and is immediately looked at with scorn by Azusa. Her baseless suspicions later turn out to be legitimate when it turns out that Kirumi works in the yakuza.
  • Odd Friendship: Who knows how a cute Magical Girl, a loud American stereotype, a quiet adult who dresses as anime mascots, a Genki Girl who's always looking for a fight, and Shatter and Yami managed to find each other in a mental hospital and become friends despite being from different nationalities?
    • Azusa and Akira's relationship is also strange in the same way—the boisterous, lively Akira seems to have very little in common personality-wise or interest wise with the melancholic, quiet Azusa.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Azusa acts extremely out of character when letting Masahiko out of the psych ward, to the point where she even swears and tells him to shut up when he says mean things. It comes out of seemingly nowhere and after that, Azusa never acts like that again or even acknowledges that she acted in that way. This is written off as character development, but it comes off as nothing of the sort in context.
    • Forget the Makoto from the anime; in this fanfic, he's a Yandere who randomly hates his cousin for getting Haru's attention and unreasonably blames her for Haru breaking up with him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Azusa's parents died, as did Akira's, as did Hitomi's, as did Conchita's, as did Luna's, and as did Esther's. Yami's mom is dead, but his dad is missing.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Dont you recognize me bitch? It's me... NAGISA MOMOE"
    • From the hacker chapter: "SUP MOTHERBITCHES, LET'S GET WET.
  • Present-Day Past: Despite supposedly taking place in 2008, the fic features a mentioning of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (which came out in 2010), Adele's song 'Hello' (which came out in 2015), and other such anachronisms.
  • Purple Prose: Though most of the fic is full of Beige Prose at its best, the My Immortal-esque outfit descriptions are written in an obnoxious display of this trope to the point where entire paragraphs of clothing descriptions could simply be skipped without anything essential being lost from the story. Even more annoyingly, recent chapters have had upwards of seven clothing descriptions all in one block of text thanks to the existence of Hitomi's friends.
  • Retcon: Masehiko Kurusu's name is unceremoniously changed to Masahiko Kurusu at the beginning of Chapter 23, even though it was already misspelled constantly as such (and as Masuhiko) in the first place.
    • Chiriko Kasane's eyes, which were originally said to be scarlet, are changed to pink in Chapter 26 because the author says that her eyes 'looked like crap' before.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Makoto perhaps gets the worst of this, with his name being spelled as Makto, Makotot, and Maktoto, but beyond him, most every character has had his or her name misspelled on at least one occasion.
    • Perhaps even worse than Makoto, however, is Nagisa. As mentioned above, has his name spelled wrong at least once in almost all of his appearances.
  • Rule of Three: Seen in the hacker chapter, Chapter 69, with the repeated drownings in the pool; first is Shatter, second is Miura, and third is the yakuza's guns.
  • Self-Insert Fic: While it can be argued as to whether or not Azusa Tachibana is a self-insert on SonicXKimmy172's part, her friend Akira Tomuson is an obvious one, with her name being a literal translation of her real name, Akira Thompson.
    • Hitomi Wish Styles is apparently based on a friend of Kim's known as 'Hitomi-chan'.
  • Shipper on Deck: Azusa and Conchita both excitedly point out how 'cute' Yami and Shatter are together.
    • Evidently Jeff the hacker is a shipper, considering that his ending consisted of the canonization of Azusa/Akira/Chiriko, Luna/Esther/Conchita, and Masahiko/Chiasa.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ever after the mental hospital squad appeared, the cast of free has almost disappeared altogether from the plot.
  • Split Personality: Apparently Nagisa has this in the form of Thugisa, who only arises when Nagisa is physically struck.
  • Take That!: The author tried to pull one by making Yami and Shatter break up. Virtually every reader celebrated it.
  • These Hands Have Killed: The chapter in which Hitomi goes to trial features a cover image with her looking in horror at her bloody hands.
  • Token Romance: Besides Azusa being shipped with not just one but two canon characters, we have a forced homosexual couple in Yami Yagami and Shatter Nymphnight. They're constantly fangirled over and fawned over by everyone around them, even the author. This has gotten to the point where many have accused Kim of being a homophobe for fetishising gay men, which Kim vehemently denies.
  • Tsundere: "I'll consdier it." Rin said while still blushing. "But its not like I like you or anything baka!!" In the same paragraph, the trope is lampshaded directly when Azusa calls Rin a tsundere.
    • Masahiko acts like a stereotypical tsundere when Azusa releases him from the psych ward, even going so far as to assume that she's doing it so that he'll owe her something.
  • Understatement: According to Haru, the yakuza, who were swinging around guns and shouting violent threats in the middle of a hospital just seconds earlier, "looked like trouble". And that's ignoring how Haru wasn't even there when the yakuza were threatening Azusa...
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: After the fic begins getting revised by AkiTommichan, comma splices begin appearing everywhere to the point where they appear even more than the ellipses used to.
  • Yandere: This trope is lampshaded when Azusa says that she doesn't want to seem like one when approaching Rin in Chapter 6. This doesn't work, though, considering that she was literally stalking him and asking for details about him from those around him, both of which are things that yanderes are known to do.
    • For some reason, Makoto is becoming this now that it's been shown that Azusa's getting a crush on Haru. In his own words, he doesn't want her to "play with my boyfriends emotions like a kid in a toy store."