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YMMV / Dominoes

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  • Accidental Aesop:
    • If you can't or aren't willing to respect and commit to a relationship, it's unfair and selfish to expect the other person to commit to you and your expectations regardless.
    • Don't let children take on adult responsibilities too fast—even if they're physically or intellectually capable, that doesn't mean they're emotionally capable, and while each child does develop differently, giving them adult responsibilities prematurely sets them up for problems and emotional pains they can't and shouldn't have to bear.
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    • Conversely, don't deny children outlets and/or support for their interests just because you don't approve. They'll either end up repressed and damaged or they'll eventually find an outlet for their interests regardless - or both. By denying them support for exploring and expressing themselves, you're only encouraging them to exclude you in their life and go it without you, and you'll have lost your ability to guide or help. Structured and guided exploration and support meets them half-way and gives them a taste of the opportunities they want while still providing adult-created boundaries to keep things in check, and proper compromise means you won't be written off as unreasonable and unapproachable when they need help.
  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel:
    • Word of God says they hadn't initially linked Yuusaku's behavior towards Shinichi with child abuse; their main inspiration for the character dynamics in Part 1 was that of a very dramatic and sensationalist but easy-to-digest Soap Opera. The author only realized the story's capacity to "haunt" those who read it after readers praised the story for the painful emotional realism of its portrayal of abuse, with some survivors even coming forward to express that the story prodded at deeply personal emotional scars.
      • In a more explicit example of this, one commenter described Yuusaku's Mind Rape-y behavior towards his son as "some straight up horror movie antagonist bullshittery."

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  • Angst Aversion: Some readers, including several survivors of abuse, have expressed a complicated relationship with the story and difficulty pushing through its more emotionally visceral sections due to its realistic portrayal of emotional and psychological abuse. At least one has voiced the likelihood that they may drop the story altogether due to emotionally struggling with the subject matter. On the other hand, the deeply complicated angst of the narrative also seems to be part of what attracts a large number of its readers.

  • Angst Dissonance: The cast consists mostly of well-intentioned individuals who all have legitimately difficult personal hardships, but when coupled with the intense and visceral focus on Shinichi's abuse and the personal effects it has on him (which most of them either passively or actively contribute to), some readers voice difficulty empathizing with all of the characters' respective emotional pains enough to seemingly feel anyone's angst besides Shinichi's. Of particular note is the scene in which Shinichi breaks up with Ran, which was heartrending for both of them in-story but induced celebration among some less sympathetic readers in the comment section.

  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The Alternate Character Interpretations regarding the Irregulars means some readers view them in a more sympathetic light and others hate them. Which (if any) are hated and which (if any) are sympathized with tends to vary from reader to reader.
    • Yuusaku was this in the early story owing to various interpretations of his behavior and motivations, but as the story has gone on his character has been met with an increasingly solidifying negative consensus.

  • Broken Base:
    • Is the story a straight and simple Role Swap AU with An Aesop against deceiving the ones you love even if you think it's For the Greater Good, or is what people do to Shinichi in Dominoes way worse than what Shinichi does in Detective Conan and the possible moral a lot more nuanced, given both sides' use of deception—both to limit freedoms and regain them?
    • Do the Irregulars deserve another chance at relationships with Shinichi or are they so toxic towards him that they're no longer worth the potential harm? There are commenters who hope Shinichi and the Irregulars can build back stronger relationships with each other in the future once they've all grown a little, but there are also those who see the Irregulars as a self-affirming echo chamber of bad social practices and openly want Shinichi to stay as far away as as he can from their influence. There are also readers who think that, since the Irregulars are unlikely to face any other consequences for how they treated Shinichi while Shinichi will have to live with what they've done for the rest of his life, they don't deserve to be able to rebuild the relationship they threw away. Some readers don't even want Shinichi to have a relationship with Hattori owing to Hattori's inability to keep secrets and his likely continued connections with Kazuha.

  • Counterpart Comparison: Yuusaku's excuses for deliberately encouraging Kaito to hate him has gotten him accused of "trying to pull an Itachi" more than once.

  • Crosses the Line Twice: Upon a request for spoilers on the finale of Part 1, author Scratchienails replied with the gallows humor Danny Gonzalez music video "I'm Gonna Kill Santa Claus." Infamously, the finale features a little girl named Ishikawa "Santa" Haruka, who is murdered by a missile strike ordered on her location by the International Super-Hero Association before Shinichi and his coalition can save her.

  • Epileptic Trees: The vagueness and mystery surrounding most of the characters means that a lot of this goes on in the comments. Some notable ones (either for their credibility or their shock value) are that the Black Org is experimenting with inducing superpowers in the kidnapped children, that the missing Satoshi was the fireball creature from chapter 1, and that Shinichi somehow contributed to or was accidentally responsible for the death of Kuroba Toichi. The first is half-jossed in chapter 11—the Black Org are amplifying, not inducing. The second is confirmed in chapter 10. The third is still unknown, and later became incorporated into the more popular theory that Shinichi is Pandora (or at least, that Hakuba thinks Shinichi is Pandora). After Part 1's climax, theories began focusing on whether or not (and to what extent) the Crows have power over ISHA and its resources.

  • Genius Bonus: Part 1 is called "The Will of Zeus." Those familiar with the various retellings of Greek myths know this phrase's far more ominous context—the last line and lesson of Hesiod's version of the story of Pandora.
    "So there is no way to escape the will of Zeus."

  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Discussed by Word of God on their tumblr. The story's brief background mentions of massive protests in Hong Kong and Minneapolis, which are mentioned as being met with Overseer "intervention" after protesters refused to disperse, were both written into the story before their Real Life counterparts, which made headlines around the world for acts of police brutality. At the time of writing and plotting out the story the author had chosen those locations on a whim and refers to this as "very creepy with 2020 vision."
    • In the first interlude, Hakuba has comforting rationalizations lined up to give Aoko for her slaying of Satoshi, all justifying what she'd done as the right and necessary thing because Satoshi was a danger, probably beyond saving, and really, given all he'd been through, she'd likely just put him out of his misery. These hit differently when you find out that Yuusaku and Hakuba had been planning to kill Shinichi the moment they thought the Pandora Effect's present danger outweighed the chance they might find a non-lethal solution in the future, meaning Hakuba probably had these rationalized platitudes lined up because he'd been preparing them for himself if/when things escalated and he felt it necessary to be party to executing Shinichi.

  • Heartwarming Moment: Despite being complicit in Yuusaku's information blackout, Agasa's unwavering dedication, faith, and support for Shinichi—even continuing to build an "armory" of gadgets specifically for Shinichi over the years in spite of Yuusaku's orders forbidding Agasa to give them to him—easily won hearts.

  • Hilarious in Hindsight: As dark as Part 1 can get emotionally, there's some rare Fridge humor in the way the climax of Part 1 unfolds. In chapter nine, Yuusaku and the Irregulars tell Shinichi (and/or are complicit in reinforcing the message to Shinichi) that they are the real detectives and heroes and that Shinichi not only has no place in investigative work but is actually completely "useless" to them and there's nothing beneficial he could contribute or inform them of. Two days later, that same group needs Shinichi to explain to them virtually the entire plot of Part 1 because they were too busy playing power games with Shinichi's head and having drama with KID to even notice it. Whoops.

  • I Knew It!:
    • Several readers had guessed that the Black Org kidnappings related to human experiments and that Satoshi was the fireball creature because of those experiments long before either were confirmed.
    • Same with the fact that ISHA has at least one Crow or Crow mole somewhere in its higher echelons, which had been suspected since at least the ending of Chapter 12 but not confirmed until the second interlude.
    • That Hakuba believes Shinichi's presence drives people to violence, and that Yuusaku was the one to introduce this idea to him, had been postulated by some readers as early as chapter 3. This morphed into the theory that he believes Shinichi to be Pandora after the term's introduction into the narrative. The second interlude confirms this is indeed what Hakuba believes.

  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: A very interesting and unique quality of the story is that, despite the existence of genuine villains like Tequila and the Crows, readers are far more vocal in condemnation and criticism towards the overall heroically intentioned but deeply flawed Irregulars, and Yuusaku. Commenters have expressed a variety of reasons for this, ranging from a dislike of hypocrisy and privileged moral posturing, to disapproval of their perceived betrayals towards interpersonal loyalties and friendships, to the greater focus on (and resulting greater empathy for) the emotional and psychological damage these characters perpetrate onto Shinichi. The applicability of this trope may vary and be void if the reader considers any of the Irregulars and/or Yuusaku to themselves be genuine villains rather than Hero Antagonists in the overarcing interpersonal conflicts.

  • Misaimed Marketing: The first summary for Dominoes received some criticism as unintentionally mischaracterizing the story with its sassy and flippant tone, causing some to prejudge the work incorrectly as either a classic Super Fic or something in the line of My Hero Academia. It was replaced by the current news bulletin In Medias Res summary in August 2021.

  • Moment of Awesome: After ten chapters of emotional hardship and trivialized agency, Shinichi taking the primary problem solving role in the Tokyo's Black Hole crisis and his subsequent smooth, confident deduction scene cornering Professor Hirota has largely been received as this. His plan unfortunately fails, but not because of a problem with the plan itself: Kaito sabotages the case carrying the Nullifier needed to save the child whose powers went out of control and ISHA launches a surprise missile at the girl before Shinichi can regain the sabotaged Nullifier and fully enact his solution, nearly killing Shinichi himself along with her.

  • No Yay: Shinichi/Ran, surprisingly even among some self-identified ShinRan shippers. With rare exception readers generally agree with Shinichi's decision to break up with Ran. Several had even spent the previous chapters vocally hoping the couple would break up—seemingly not even because there was any particular alternative pairing they preferred yet, but because Shinichi's and Ran's current relationship was clearly making everyone involved miserable and there was no trust or open communication between them with which to realistically repair the damage.

  • Rooting for the Empire: A vocal portion of readers in the comments favor Kaito when considering the KID vs. Night Baron and ISHA conflict. Subverted if the reader considers Yuusaku or ISHA to be villainous.

  • The Scrappy: The Irregulars may be disliked by readers to varying degrees, some even expressing outright hatred, but Kudo Yuusaku is almost universally reviled in the comment section, especially after Chapter 9. The author wasn't expecting this, merely thinking the audience would see him as something of an unfair Jerkass, but then, the author also admits they weren't thinking of his behavior along the lines of child abuse, which for many readers has clearly pushed Yuusaku over the Moral Event Horizon. About the most generous interpretation readers have had for him is that some at least think he genuinely believes what he's doing is for the best. Even readers who try to argue a more favorable interpretation in earlier chapters tend to flip and discard those humanizing interpretations by the end of Part 1, with one formerly sympathetic reader outright labeling him a "monster" and describing that conclusion as a relief, because it was a mental strain to keep trying to see goodness in him. Another thanked author Scratchienails for establishing Yuusaku's character so that they (the commentor) could "hate him comfortably." Yet another censored his name like it was a curse word while writing about him. It's common to see commenters voicing that they hope he dies or expressing a desire to hurt him themselves.

  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Appears to so far be averted. Despite this fic featuring the two competing most popular pairings in the Detective Conan fandom—Shinichi/Kaito and Shinichi/Ran—ShinRan has been portrayed as so unhealthy prior to their breakup that it's functionally become No Yay among the readerbase. The lack of ship combat is probably helped by the fact that ShinRan sinks while KaiShin is little more than Ship Tease, so there's been little direct competition as of yet.
    • Even KaiShin gained some No Yay in the comment section after Kaito deliberately sabotages the efforts to save Santa in order to steal the MacGuffin that could save her, leading to her death.

  • Tear Jerker:
    • Even if you're of the opinion (like most readers are) that both of them are better off for it, the Shinichi-Ran breakup in Chapter 10 is absolutely heartrending. This may or may not be alleviated by Ran's further ruminations in Chapter 12, where she acknowledges that she and Shinichi hadn't been very good romantic partners for each other and their differing priorities in this 'verse meant it was probably doomed to fail from the start.
    • The basic premise of the story's emotional conflict is apparently one to many readers. Dominoes has two real overarching external conflicts; Shinichi vs. the Crows and Shinichi vs. his loved ones. For the duration of part 1, nearly all of Shinichi's trusted and treasured friends and allies from DC canon, all of the relationships readers of the manga became invested in, are here a threat to Shinichi's very psychological and emotional wellbeing. The situation has clearly hit an exposed nerve in some of Dominoes' readerbase.
    • Hakuba's scene with Hattori in the Interlude. Hakuba's clearly emotionally crashing under the unavoidable fact that his and Yuusaku's behavior towards Shinichi, which Hakuba had believed was necessary and For the Greater Good despite its cruelty, actually made the climactic disaster of Part 1 so much worse than it could have been, and almost certainly contributed to the circumstances that led to Shinichi, his surrogate brother, going missing and, though few are willing to say it, being suspected deceased. When Hattori declares he's leaving the Irregulars, Hakuba tries to argue against Hattori leaving and opens himself up enough to admit that, more than anything, Hakuba really needs a friend right now. As necessary as his realization is and as cruel as he had been to Shinichi in Part 1, Hakuba's overwhelming feelings of regret and loneliness are quite tragic.
      • In the same interlude, Aoko's realization that she murdered an innocent child. Hakuba, who delivers the news, tries to soften the blow by arguing that the child, Satoshi, probably wouldn't have lived anyways, that she'd saved so many other people because Satoshi really was a danger, and she'd probably put Satoshi out of his misery, but the words are at best a hollow comfort and despite all of her flaws, it's painful to read Aoko's clear devastation at learning this.

  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Unfortunately, a significant portion of the readers see the Irregulars as falling into this trope despite Word of God's vocalized attempts at keeping them somewhat sympathetic (although some appear to have begun climbing out as of the end of Part 1). All of the characters go through a lot of problems and most appear to have good intentions somewhere along the line, but the disproportionate laying of the burden of consequences at the feet of Shinichi, someone they've deliberately deprived of the knowledge, power, and ability necessary to consent or protest this treatment, lends itself to an interpretation of the Irregulars as extremely exploitative. It doesn't help that the power and privilege that enables them to contribute to the abuse also shields them from most of the consequences for their actions, which instead seems to give some readers the impression that these characters deserve more consequences rather than sympathy. This can, depending on the reader, make the Irregulars' various grievances come across as self-centered and entitled rather than sympathetically morally conflicted. This sentiment seems to overall be changing by the end of Part 1, appearing to correlate with the shattering of Part 1's status quo.
      • Kazuha got hit with this particularly hard in chapter 11. While Aoko, Hattori, Ran, and Hakuba each have their own developed emotional hardships and consequences, debatably sympathetic though they are, Kazuha has only had one big character moment so far, and it's not a pleasant one. Due to her past with Hattori and his secrets, she is the Irregular with the most similarities between her relationship with Hattori and Shinichi's relationship with Ran, so she feels she has the right to judge Shinichi's reaction to learning Ran's secrets. In her one perspective scene, she responds to Shinichi dumping Ran by declaring that she is "going to kill someone" and that she'll make Shinichi wish he was never born, before writing off Shinichi's abuse pejoratively as "daddy issues" and trying to comfort Ran by saying that Shinichi will "get over it." It's worth noting that, in this moment, Kazuha is also simultaneously reacting to the emotional strain of an extremely dire and stressful primary conflict and thus was probably not thinking straight. Word of God has said this reader reaction in particular is one of the ones that really took them by surprise, because badmouthing a friend's ex after said friend is dumped in order to comfort said friend is a pretty normal thing that the writer themself has experienced. Unfortunately, the context of the breakup means the scene reads like Kazuha's enabling Ran's terrible treatment of her now-ex boyfriend and, worse, blaming the victim, which instead made Kazuha's only stand out scene in Part 1 come off as a serious Kick the Dog moment.
    • Yuusaku was intended to be a Jerkass, but Word of God expressed surprise that he was so hated and the story itself seems to be priming him for potential Jerkass Woobie status given the emphasis on his alleged no-win situation and the sheer strain and exhaustion he now works under. However, he's so exploitative, manipulative, and abusive to almost all of the minors around him that the response to him in the comments is almost entirely antipathy and disgust, even after readers began catching on to his implied motive.

  • What an Idiot!: Despite the fic's attempts to explain each member of the Irregulars' viewpoint, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand why any of them bought the "keep the secret to keep him safe" lie, especially when Yuusaku raised Shinichi and could have trained Shinichi to protect himself but chose not to and when he has access to the technology that Agasa personalized for Shinichi to help keep him safe but rejected the option to give it to him. Yuusaku very obviously spent Shinichi's entire life actively depriving Shinichi of anything that could have helped him protect himself. The Irregulars are being trained to recognize and resolve bad situations—how was it not obvious to them that Yuusaku's policies towards Shinichi were always about controlling him rather than simply protecting him?

  • The Woobie:
    • Shinichi's such an Iron Woobie that, for many readers, it drove his Hero Antagonist "friends" straight into Unintentionally Unsympathetic territory.
    • For those who see their treatment of others as wrong but understandable given outside pressures, the Irregulars and Kaito can cross into Jerkass Woobie territory.
    • Moriguchi Satoshi and Ishikawa "Santa" Haruka are Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. It's not even their intention to hurt anyone—due to what others did to them, their very existences became ticking timebombs.