Fanfiction is a tricky beast. About 90% of the time, you are going to read something crap or something that is basically porn. However, there are people who do have good ideas and want to share them. And the MLP Fandom, while squicky (Believe me, I know first hand), is equally capable of making something enjoyable for all. And that is the case for “Friendship is Timeless” a crossover of Kamen Rider Den-O and a webcomic version of MLP by artist Mauroz.
In a world similar to our own, a teenage girl by the name of Twilight Sparkle comes across an extremely meek teen by the name of Ryotaro Nagami in a tree, who is possibly the unluckiest person alive. The two of them are dragged into a strange series of events including time traveling demons called Imagin (Two of whom are named Momotaros and Urataros), an energetic Pinkhaired teen, a prim and proper student council president, a shy and reserved girl, an athletic tomboy, a loner cowgirl, time traveling trains, train themed superheroes, and magical girl adventures.
Having not read Mauroz’s MLP comic and not having watched all of Den-O except for one episode, the first, I think this story is… pretty good. It’s a mixing of two different stories and honestly I like it. It’s basically a crossover of Kamen Rider and Magical Girls: MLP edition. So far in the story, about 5 chapters in, the characters are pretty likable.
While Ryotaro has the makings of a Mary Sue in how everyone seems to get along with him, at least the characters he’s met (Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie), and his flaws seem a bit tacked on, the character has flaws inherited from the show and is not the sharpest tool in the shed. In the show, Ryotaro was meek, cowardly, not wanting to get involved in troubles, and got in so much trouble by happenstance that it was clear that the world had spoken and it agreed it hated him. In fact, on his own, without the “help” of Momotaros and Urataros, they need to possess him and take over his body to utilize the powers of Kamen Rider Den-O, Ryotaro is beyond helpless. However, that doesn’t mean that he is a complete coward who quits without even trying.
For example, during an encounter with a Bat Imagin, Ryotaro actually shows some guts after Twilight was depowered by using a magical attack that drained her by grabbing the Bat Imagin in an attempt to stop it. He may be cowardly, but he will not allow his friends to come to harm if he can help it. And honestly, I can actually see him develop into a real protagonist with growth. That’s the thing about Fan Fiction: The writer doesn’t have to follow the original creation exactly.
As for the Mane Six, they are portrayed pretty well. They have the personalities, though they are altered a bit. This is not the Mane Six from the show that we know. They have differing backstories and slightly altered personalities, but are still identifiable as the characters fans know and love. Now there are some… flubs in writing them.
Fluttershy is portrayed as the same shy, but lovable character many fans know. Though there are some bits in her backstory that made me uncomfortable. For example, her shy and passive nature was apparently almost “Taken advantage of”. While not really a bad thing per se, it still made me a bit uncomfortable, when thinking of the implications. Still, that really isn’t something to ruin the story in the long run. The ones that do bother me the most are Applejack and Rainbow Dash, two of my favorite characters from the show.
Applejack is portrayed as a loner and anti-social. While in the show, AJ could be stubborn and a bit overprotective, and slightly crude, she was ultimately socially open as a character. Honestly, it felt like a step in the wrong direction. I can see her character being fleshed out a bit more thanks to future character development, but honestly it didn’t work for me.
As for Rainbow Dash… Well, Rainbow Dash is looked upon by many as the least likable character of the show due to her arrogant attitude and her cocky nature and self-confidence. However, this was balanced out with her loyalty to her friends. This loyalty has been adjusted to an overly protective big sister role. While this isn’t bad, it isn’t written well, and I would suggest to the writer to work on that for the future. Though, I can guess that he is.
The Imagin, mainly the three we’ve seen (Momotaros, Urataros, and Kintaros) are pretty likable. I am not sure how well they sync up with the show, but I kinda… find them funny. I know from secondary sources that the Imagin possessing Ryotaro was meant as comedy… and I can understand why people would be annoyed at it. Especially since most of the time it is against his will. However, I do like that at times we do see that Ryotaro is conscious during the possession and later in the show, he views it as a necessity since he cannot fight. And personally, I like their personalities. Momotaros is the basic Red Oni character type, in that he has a fiery temper and prefers to fight. Urataros is the basic Blue Oni in that he is cool as a cucumber and is also extremely smooth with the ladies. Which… is eye rolling, but it never really goes too far. Overall, I don’t hate the Imagin as much as I think I should.
As for the story, so far so good. I like it. It’s not at the end, nor anywhere near it, but I am interested to see where it goes. I am not certain if the story is either similar to the MLP Web Comic or Den-O, but if it is one of those fics that takes elements from both and creates its own story, then I am honestly intrigued. I like fics that take a different direction than the original source and make it work. Makes it seem slightly more original than it is.
Ok… This is where I have to be critical. While I like the stories and the characters, the grammar can be very clunky. It isn’t bad to the point where I have no idea what is being said, but it is noticeable at times. Punctuation is a problem at many times, the placement of Japanese words and exclamations is very distracting (Though it is understandable why they are there, given that Ryotaro is Japanese), and, once or twice, a couple of words were repeated. It is very distracting from the story and honestly, it could have used a brisk proofreading session before being posted.
I say this mostly because this is what’s holding this back from being genuinely great. As it is now, with story and characters, it is merely good. The writer has a good idea here, but if grammar is not well presented, it holds it back. I would suggest to the writer, if he has time, to go through the story once again and check it over.
I also have to mention the use of the Den-O text intro at the beginning of each chapter. Ultimately it serves nothing to the story, in my opinion
All in All:
This is a good story in the making. It’s just at the beginning, but it really can go farther. The only thing that is really holding it back from reaching its potential is the grammar and the characterization of two of the lead characters. If that is looked to and adjusted, I honestly think this can be great. As it stands, it is good. I recommend giving it a look.