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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.
  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: Word of God says they hadn't initially linked Yuusaku's behavior towards Shinichi with child abuse and 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 it 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.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Hoooo boy. In a Dysfunction Junction Morality Kitchen Sink story filled with extremely complicated and layered characters, the cast was bound to get a few, most of which are in regards to morality.
    • Are the Irregulars (and/or which among them, if any) good if flawed people, naive puppets, or self-righteous Jerkasses? Or all of that at once? In terms of the overall story, are they a very involved third party in the conflict between Shinichi (protagonist) vs Black Org (villains), or a complicated set of genuine secondary heroes, or Obliviously Evil enemies themselves, considering how much they routinely threaten and violate human rights, particularly Shinichi's? It all varies from reader to reader. To make matters more complicated, they vary between being framed as antagonists or protagonists in their own right depending on whose perspective is being followed. While they all fall under this, a few stand out:
      • Does Hakuba really have a better, more reliable insight into the situations around him that allows him to more accurately judge what is right and wrong, or is Hakuba just deceiving himself on the possibility of both Yuusaku's and his own lack of moral justification for their actions because Hakuba's been raised to faithfully follow and trust Yuusaku and the things Yuusaku tells him? Is Hakuba a well-informed realist struggling in a no-win scenario, or is he a well-meaning delusionist making decisions on the basis of an inaccurate picture of reality that has gone largely unchallenged for fear of what that would mean about Hakuba himself and his role in the events around him?
      • Of the team, Ran and Aoko are the Irregulars whose knowledge and motivations of the conflicts they're involved in have been most clearly presented by the end of Part 1 (Hakuba's reasons are still ambiguous, Hattori has yet to have a section of the story told from his own perspective, and Kazuha hasn't really been very involved). Despite this, their characters are still subject to debate; Aoko's emotional issues and dogmatic Black and White Insanity over the righteousness of the Irregulars and the Overseers can cause her conflict with Kaito to be interpreted as Both Sides Have a Point or completely delusional on Aoko's part, and though opinions on the necessity of Ran's and Shinichi's break-up are generally unanimous, the fact that Ran's moral ambiguity is mostly communicated through her sincere but deeply toxic feelings for Shinichi has caused her motivations to be brought into question. Did Ran genuinely have good intentions, or was she just being selfish? Or both?
      • After Yuusaku's secrecy policy is pretty undeniably revealed to be an abusive control tactic in front of the entirety of the Irregulars, Ran still displays a startling amount of ignorance regarding the implications behind her insistence on keeping Shinichi "safe," making most positive interpretations of her intentions and choices into Hanlon's Razor at best.
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    • As of Chapter 11, Yuusaku has become this, regarding the common chapter Epileptic Trees. If any are true, is he a Well-Intentioned Extremist or still a completely terrible person? Can the reader truly trust that he loves his son? One commenter even questioned the reliability of his exposition due to doubts regarding his mental health. And of course, so little is definitively known right now regarding Yuusaku that any of these interpretations could be dashed against the rocks with just a little more information; there's even a meta-element of this within the story, as it's clear different characters have similarly conflicting interpretations. As Yuusaku's motivations clearly lie at the heart of whatever darker secret he's hidden from Shinichi, these contradictory interpretations of Well-Intentioned Extremist vs outright narcissistic villain will likely continue until the truth is known.
      • If the speculation about Shinichi being a cause of the Pandora Effect is true, is Yuusaku noble or selfish? Yuusaku hasn't reported his son as a threat to others and appears to have tried to give him a normal life, but his very selective and controlling method of doing this has emotionally and psychologically beaten Shinichi to the point of obvious, pervasive damage that has deeply negatively impacted Shinichi's self-worth and ability to function in society and deprived him of pretty much any healthy interpersonal relationships. Considering how Yuusaku's chosen childrearing strategy seems to have done just as much damage as telling Shinichi the hypothetical truth long ago would have (and likely has now made a potential future reveal of this even harder for Shinichi to handle emotionally), has Yuusaku really been putting Shinichi first, as Hakuba insists, or has Yuusaku been prioritizing emotionally protecting himself from the inevitable fallout? Despite this assumed plan supposedly being for Shinichi's happiness, Yuusaku's proven himself completely willing to Mind Rape, abuse, degrade, and otherwise hurt Shinichi to keep him in line, so it's clearly not actually for that purpose. It's worth noting that all of Yuusaku's contradictory words have one common thread: they prioritize justifying Yuusaku's choices before anything else. It's for this same reason that some readers are suspicious of the Shinichi = Pandora theory even being true, because it very conveniently lets Yuusaku internally frame himself as the heroic martyr taking the blame and burden for Shinichi's assumed culpability in the death of Kuroba Toichi, rather than Yuusaku having to own up to the death himself.
      • Word of God implies that Yuusaku doesn't care about Shinichi finding out their secret identities nearly as much as he projects to others, and that he merely wants others to think he cares about this. But then, why do it? If he doesn't care about Shinichi knowing, why insist everyone keep secrets from him, especially since those secrets obviously would and did destroy every relationship Shinichi has? Is there a secret, more sympathetic reason, or is he really the Complete Monster that the readerbase has speculated about, with the pain he's causing his son being his actual goal?
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    • How moral are Kaito's opinions and actions? The comment section so far can't make up its mind. Is he justified in his extremes due to his claims regarding the dystopian nature of his enemies, or is he as misguided as the Irregulars if not more? Is he a vigilante Hero with Bad Publicity fighting for justice in a blatantly corrupt system, or is he, despite his sympathetic qualities, legitimately deserving of being called a villain, especially due to his recent forays into terrorism? Sabotaging Shinichi's attempt to save Santa seems to have definitely pushed reader opinion over to "bad guy" for now, but where he stands morally in comparison to Yuusaku or the various Irregulars still appears to be up in the air.
    • Was Kazuha just lashing out under stress in her scene in chapter 11, or did she accidentally reveal a far more terrible part of herself and toxic beliefs that she actually holds but doesn't usually express? Word of God implies they intended the former but readers are divided, considering she's basically encouraging Ran not to face her flaws and instead blames the destruction of Ran's and Shinichi's relationship on Shinichi.

  • 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. This is especially true for the characters whose emotional hardships largely derive from the consequences of their own contribution to Shinichi's abuse, like Hakuba and Ran, and characters who trivialize the abuse in comparison to their own issues, like Aoko and Kazuha. 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 less synpathetic 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. Yuusaku averts this, however, as there's a far more resounding negative consensus on him.

  • 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. Some even don't want him to have a relationship with Hattori owing to Hattori's inability to keep secrets and his likely continued connections with Kazuha.

  • 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 Clause."

  • Difficult, but Awesome: Appears to have a bit of this in how it reads, according to some readers's comments. While the actual story isn't considered too long to read (currently being about the length of a mildly long novel, with no complaints as to its length), nor the actual words too confusing, its limited third person narrative perspective and naturalistic yet dense blink-and-you'll-miss method of delivering exposition and worldbuilding means that some readers get to the end of Part 1 still feeling confused about how the world, characters, and chronology work. Sometimes one of those minor details may later become either a major character, plot mechanism, or set piece, and thus will be brought back into focus, but the story rarely points directly back at those returning concepts' obscure early introductions into the narrative, so connecting details to figure out basic aspects of the world can become something of a puzzle, though comments discussing this typically give the impression that it is considered a very interesting and rewarding one.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Misaimed Marketing: The summary... doesn't quite reflect the contents of the story. It's been mentioned a few times in the comments that the individual commenting had seen the story's summary and not been interested enough to see what it was about, only to give the story a shot later because they heard it was good through fandom grapevine and find that it is a lot better than they expected.

  • 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 any fault in his plan: 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-proclaimed 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 as of yet, but because Shinichi's and Ran's poor excuse for a romantic relationship was clearly making everyone involved miserable and there was no equality, 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. The author wasn't expecting this, merely thinking the audience would see him as something of an unfair Jackass, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • Dominoes has two real overarching external conflicts; Shinichi vs. the Crows and Shinichi vs. his loved ones. The second is heartbreaking from the beginning, and only proceeds to get worse. By Chapter 4 it's clear that Yuusaku, Hakuba, and Ran are, arguably, Shinichi's worst and most dangerous enemies, in a way far more personal than the Crows could ever be. Shinichi loves his family and adores Ran (to an honestly unhealthy degree) and, more than almost anything, craves their support—and honestly, it appears they do sincerely love him as well, though whether this is true for Yuusaku is... debatable. But they still made themselves his enemies by continuously making decisions that threaten to destroy his human rights, freedoms, and sense of self-worth, forcing him into a position of either rebelling or being eroded as a person. All of Shinichi's trusted and treasured friends and allies in canon, all of the relationships readers became invested in, are here a threat to Shinichi's very psychological and emotional wellbeing. This is the premise the emotional conflict of Dominoes revolves around and, judging by the comments, it has clearly hit an exposed nerve in some of its 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, many of the Irregulars have fallen 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, 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. There's a reason their characters are subject to such Alternate Character Interpretation and Angst Dissonance with the readers, after all. On the other hand, some readers zigzag this by not empathizing with characters like the Irregulars' actual complaints but still sympathizing with their situation, arguing it's tragic in and of itself that these generally well-intentioned teenagers have fallen into unsympathetic and morally grey positions, of which they are varyingly aware, due a combination of tragic circumstance, their own personal flaws, and the poor moral leadership they receive from adults when dealing with these flaws. This reaction seems to be lessening with the end of Part 1, owing to how thoroughly the first arc's climax shattered the cast's status quo.
    • It doesn't seem to have been intended, but Ran's words and actions when trying to justify why she was complicit in her boyfriend's severe neglect and abuse by everyone in their social group make her look either like a bigot against non-supers or someone so ignorant and lacking self-awareness that she doesn't realize she's behaving like one, and this seems to have compromised what would otherwise be at least a decently sympathetic motive for her massive mistakes (love, and the belief that she was doing what was best for Shinichi's wellbeing).
    • Kazuha got hit with this 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. She thus responded to Shinichi dumping Ran by declaring that she was "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 Shinichi will "get over it." While it's understandable for Kazuha to be upset for her friend's relationship loss, many seem to see her reaction as a completely unselfaware abuse apologist tactic to redirect anger at the situation towards the victim by trying to invalidate the idea that the victim has the right to truly feel hurt by said abuse and, subsequently, demeaning or rejecting the validity of any actions taken against the abusive parties or that hold the abuser(s) accountable. It's heavily implied that, in Kazuha's perspective, Shinichi does not have the right to break up with Ran for hurting him because Ran doesn't deserve for him to hurt her like this—in other words, because Ran's feelings matter more, and how dare Shinichi upset Ran by making her face consequences for her actions? As such, many now see her as a toxic enabler for Ran's bad behaviors. It's worth noting that Kazuha was also simultaneously reacting to the emotional strain of an extremely dire and stressful primary conflict and thus was probably not thinking straight. It's unknown whether Kazuha will feel the same after some distance from the extremely stressful situation she was in, but it was not a flattering moment for her character, and resulted in a few readers outright cursing at her in the comments. Word of God has said this reader reaction 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 they themselves have experienced; unfortunately, the context of the breakup and how undeniably horribly Ran treated Shinichi makes Kazuha look like she's making excuses for Ran's terrible behavior and, worse, blaming the victim.

  • 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?

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