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First, upfront, I only read up to chapter 14. I had to stop at that point because it just got to the point where I couldn't bear it anymore. Several minor issues compounded with some really major issues have convinced me that I probably don't want to spend more time on this fic.
First, to get the minor issues out of the way. Grammar and spelling problems crop up frequently. While this is not a huge issue, it still is quite annoying and detracts from the quality of a work. Second, the problem that every writer of fanfiction for a Japanese series seems to run into: Gratuitous Japanese. Some of the OC character and zanpakuto names fall prey to this as well. One final issue is character voice. This is a bit of a difficult-to-explain concept, but basically every character in a work of sufficient length and quality develops their own voice. Word choice, diction, grammar, usage of terms of endearment or honorifics. All of these things make up a character's unique voice. While the author did a decent job of capturing the voices of the Bleach characters (Except Gin with his weird "hey dere" and Yamamoto), Lelouch's voice does not reflect his voice from the anime at all.
Now, for the major issues. Or rather issue. The issue being Lelouch's characterization. It is completely OOC. He wakes up in what is essentially the afterlife and, after the initial period of shock and confusion, the FIRST thing he should have done was do everything within his power to try and track down Shirley and Euphemia, two characters whose deaths he regretted deeply. Yet their names are never brought up, not even once. Secondly is his attitude and his zanpakuto. When he discovered that he still had his Geass, he tried to deny its power and corrupting influence, which would be logical character development from the anime. But he eventually falls back into his manipulative Magnificent Bastard ways like there was no change at all. The point at where I stopped was when Lelouch first unleashes his shikai. He uses his Geass on a group of Central 46 guards into obeying him, which works flawlessly, and then he unleashes his shikai and explodes their heads!. When they were already under his complete control! And he already had a plan in place that did not involve using his shikai at all! I'm sorry, but what?! Nevermind the fact that it is a completely unoriginal copout of a shikai that is simply his old Zero outfit. This is the same Lelouch that abhorred senseless violence and unnecessary casualties, right?!
In conclusion, it seems like the author is a big fan of Bleach and a passing fan of Code Geass, and decided to write a crossover work of the two, without fully comprehending the latter. It's a pity, since I would have liked to read about two of the biggest Chess Masters in anime go head to head in a battle of wits, but this is not it.
Okay, to be fair, Soul Chess has its good points. It actually uses the Visoreds, for instance. And Lelouch's takedown of Aizen is nothing short of awesome. The use of Tatsuki and Sui-Feng was a terrific idea. Hisana being alive was nice.
It also has a lot of bad points. The grammar, though it gets better as time goes on, is questionable. The male gaze is seen at many points, even introducing female characters with their cup sizes. Smut is overused constantly, even having whole chapters of Yoruichi/Sui-Feng or Mia/anyfemaleArrancar lesbian sex. The straight sex is no better, if minimal. It overall reeks of the author having nothing better to do or trying to make up for a bad part with lots of sex to distract the readers. Mia overall is an awful character, existing mostly to gross out Kaien and provide fanservice. I rejoiced when she died and nearly screamed when she was resurrected. Lelouch, too, comes off as an arrogant douchebag who is never humbled and always gets what he wants. Similarly, the author seems to love to resurrect characters when they should by all rights be dead. If you kill a character, they should stay dead, right? The repeated use of clunky character descriptors in place of names is utterly annoying and the author likes to linger on mundane things and purple prose. Also, Lelouch cannot. Freaking. Lose. He overshadows all the characters who were perfectly adequate in canon. There are more original characters than regular characters.
Spoilers for those who haven't read it.
Pretty good as a whole. Some OC's are pretty well done, and frankly could've had more done with them (Mari, Stefan, Yuna, hell Sparrga and Vanguard). Tally and Kasumi are much more rounded than Butterflaizen. Ichigo is an improvement over canon, ditto Soifon, and saving Kaien and Hisana is a decision I wholeheartedly approve of. Also felt Tatsuki was well handled. Nemu, who doesn't get talked about a lot by the peanut gallery, got some much needed love; head would say Nelouch, heart Yulouch as preferred couple, but hey. Yama is less annoying than canon, and hell I actually started to like Byakuya! (Well, Kyo is very Moe) So, in short, many characters had their more annoying tendancies downplayed, which is a relief. And the ones that don't get some measure of cummupance.
Now, the bad.
I felt the Cornelia arcs fell completely flat; the Ichigo vs Army thing was not believable, even hampered as he was, he should've won easily. Also not that happy that Orihime took so long to pull herself together; it replaced sympathy with annoyance. Glad that the author didn't go through with the original plan for Yuna—>Shirley (coz I hate Shirley. I hated her in CG too; she seems to exist just to get in Lelouch's way imo) and, frankly, pulling a few plot about-faces (as revealed in dA's notes did wear a little thin. I also agree somewhat with what someone said, that Yuna's return was kinda wasted/pointless considering how it turned out.
And, having read a few other of the author's fics, I get the distinct impression he REALLY does not like Sajin hence all the humiliating/degrading/jerkass moments he endures, this one at least has him go out against a strong foe and without a caveat; not happy with the way he was handled regardless. Yammy was also kinda underwhelming for all his alleged power.
I know it's supposed to be Lelouch vs Aizen......and I don't care! Kasumi would've made a better final boss than Mr Boring. And post eye of the storm...Aizen is an egotist to the highest degree; surely the worst punishment imaginable for him is to not exist at all, so having him reincarnated would be the worst punishment for him, so I find the constant recapturing to be frankly kinda dumb on Rita's/Soul King's part.
7/10; 8 if I'm generous.
Spoilers will not be hidden.
So I've been looking for something interesting lately. I was missing something in my life that needed something interesting to happen.
So I found Soul Chess by draconichero on fanfiction.net
First things first: READ IT! I don't care if you haven't gotten up-to-date with Bleach, just read it!
But this fic does have a few flaws. Like when dracnoichero tried to rush the beginning of the Bleach canon (around chapter 34)... It was a serious bore-fest. I was so bored I was wondering when it will end. But at least Tatsuki becomes interesting later. Then Lelouch Geassed Aizen... BIGGEST Crowning Moment Of Awesome FOR LELOUCH EVER!
The plot advances at quite an enjoyable rate; the characters are memorable (despite there being so many of them); draconichero is a Magnificent Bastard, and I want Lelouch x Susanna. Thanks to draconichero, I'm writing my own crossover fanficition! But don't worry; when I put it up on FF.net you'll realise it's not like Soul Chess(similar title though, but I okay'd it with draconichero).
Final thoughts on Soul Chess: Awesome. Lelouch became so much cooler thanks to this. Can't wait for the end of it all.
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