To make up for how short the last review was, here, have a long one. It’s long partly because we got a lot of worldbuilding-type info, and partly because I had to nitpick basically everything.
I’m home from college. That doesn’t mean I have loads of free time, but that does mean I have no homework for a few months. (Except trying to teach myself hiragana and katakana over the summer so that I can take the slightly-higher-level intro Japanese class next semester, rather than the super-duper-beginner class, which meets at like 8 am.)
Things happen in this chapter! There’s a fight scene! Yay!
I’d apologize for the delay, but actually I’ve been using all my free time lately to play the Ace Attorney games and I have no regrets and thus no apologies.
This chapter’s kinda short, but, on the plus side, it looks like the next chapter might involve things happening.
To make it up to you guys for not posting in so long, I thought I’d do a little “bonus feature” thing for our current MST.
As you may have noticed, when MSTing this fic I go and look up any reviews the author has replied to in her notes so that I know what she’s talking about. This has led to me finding quite a lot of, ah, interesting comments.
For instance, this review of chapter 1, left by romefan123:
YOUR STORY SUCKS!iT SUCKS IT SUCKS!
I HATE IT WITH THE WHITE HOT PASSION OF A 1000 SUNS!
But lest we get the wrong idea, they followed that up with:
Despite my negative review, I want to clarify that I dont hate the author of this story, and I actually liked her other stories, is just that I didnt like this story in particular.
Glad you took a break from your heat-of-a-thousand-suns hatred to clarify that, romefan123.
Many of the reviews are of the “lol random” sort popular among Zim fans in their tweens/early teens; these reviewers say stuff like “I iz so in love wif ur storehh!~~ nhyeh! TACOS!!!” These reviews tend to be just barely readable, but there are a few reviews I can’t even make sense of, like this one from jack-the-annoying-freak:
gir why are the waffels shaped like boobs
And another gem from the same user:
since dib is a girl is daz duz
I don’t even know what that means.
On the opposite end of the scale, we have Continuity Enfor’s reviews, which, while considerably more verbose, are also probably the work of a thirteen-year-old. For instance:
Unlike a lot of fan fiction, you are actually literate. I can understand and follow your story without hassle.
That said, I’d like to point out some flaws.
1. Though this may have been penned before the story arc was leaked, it is worth noting that Dib was artificially conceived. As Doctor Membrane’s destined heir, Dib was created with the best traits the Doctor had. Hypothetically, Dib will grow as tall as Doctor Membrane himself and possess that same deep voice. We have already seen that Dib’s cowlick will lengthen like his father’s did in “Itʻs a Wonderful Life of Doom”.
2. While Dib is certainly down on his luck, I find it gravely out of character for Dib to cut himself. Dib may have it rough at “Skool”, but home isn’t bad on him. Though Doctor Membrane has his faults (particularly his reference to his son as “insane” and the whole “real science” debacle), I gather from their interactions that Dib’s father genuinely cares for Dib and Gaz, even if he’s away at work. Though Doctor Membrane strongly disagrees with Dib’s interests, he encourages him to pursue them (he sees it as a phase) and lets him use all of his equipment (like in the Cmas episode where he took his fathet’s anti-Santa SAM batteries).
I said that to say this. Dib is too driven, ambitious, passionate, good-hearted, and gregarious to be consumed by his depression. Bullying against him is verbal and he faces no issues back in his house. He defeats Zim enough to give him hope, and it has been shown that Faz values his life enough to rescue him so that they could all go to the pizza parlour.
The big words are there to disguise the fact that this reviewer clearly has no idea what they’re talking about.
Actually, if you’ll permit me to refute a few of their points briefly? I’ve talked already about how I don’t see Dib as the type to self-harm, but to say that his home environment isn’t tough on him is definitely untrue. He’s neglected by his dad to the point where they only eat a meal together once a year, and he basically lives in fear of his little sister. Neglect is a form of abuse. Prof. Membrane’s allowing Dib to use his science equipment can hardly be seen as a benevolent gesture when it’s obvious that most (if not all) of this stuff is unfit for unsupervised use by an eleven-year-old. This isn’t the gesture of a kind and loving parent, but of one who doesn’t care.
On top of that, Dib being “good-hearted” is debatable, and he isn’t gregarious in the fucking slightest.
Lastly, you can’t treat Gaz saving his life as an act of kindness when in context she was only doing it so she’d get to eat pizza. Making sure your sibling doesn’t die is the bare minimum of caring for them anyway.
This same reviewer left another comment, which, again, I feel the need to respond to.
You have a clever idea going, but I object to some rather frustrating plot devices.
1. The Membranes never curse. Gaz doesn’t because she doesn’t need to pretend to be tough or intimidating, because she is. Dib doesn’t curse because he is too good-natured and well-taught by his father.
2. NO. NO NO NO. It is foolish to remove Dib’s glasses to make him look “prettier”. One of his classic appeals is his glasses and how they add an air of innocence and intelligence in a world of braindead “stink worm monkeys”, as Zim eloquently calls it.
1. You are a fair Gaz writer and you clearly put some effort into this. You have an understanding of her personality and capture her no-nonsense bluntness well.
2. I like your proposition that “Dibra” and Gaz are rather flat-chested. That makes sense, given that Doctor Membrane is an utilitarian, function-over-form man.
3. I don’t know why, but I did enjoy Dib’s comment that he would date his counterpart of the fairer sex. Itʻs a sort of haughty pride that runs in the family. All of the Membranes are convinced that they, and each other, are the absolute best at what they do. They are full of themselves, but in that confident way that doesn’t bother others.
Re: cursing, the reason Dib and his family never swore is because Invader Zim was a kid’s show, you dingbat. I still have no idea where you’re getting this perception of Dib as some sweet little goody two-shoes who has a great relationship with Daddy.
The glasses comment actually made me burst out laughing. This is gold.
Dib(ra) wasn’t described as being flat-chested. The author said B cup, which is small-to-average, but I vividly remember a line about Dib’s shirt being way too small/tight across the chest after the whole sex-swap thing. Also, Membrane may have artificially created Dib, but he had no direct involvement in female!Dib’s creation, and we still don’t know either way about Gaz.
…and now I’m laughing again at the third commendation because seriously who talks like this. Who even says “the fairer sex” anymore except maybe fedora-wearing dudebros who watch My Little Pony?
One last comment from this guy before we move on:
I like your description of “Dibra’s” clothes, though I would consider a daughter of a scientist to be modest enough not to bare midriff and pierce her earlobes with those more humble gold or white studs that young ladies wear.
Again, the cursing ruins a good plot.
Again, you nailed Gaz’s mannerisms.
Again, you have captured the classic Membrane vanity.
What in the hell does being the child of a scientist have to do with the clothes you wear? Seriously, what’s up with this reviewer?
Despite all the “random!!! XD” humor in the comments section, several commenters had valid criticisms to make. Reviewer Fish, for example, pointed out that Dib would likely feel uncomfortable dressing in very femme, tight-fitting clothes, and another reviewer commented that it was a little depressing that Dib would give up on his dream of defending Earth just because he got sex-swapped.
On the other hand, though, there are multiple reviewers saying stuff like “I usually hate ZaDR but when one of them is a girl it’s cute!”, so the comments section for this fic is still better off left alone.
I’m on break from college now. I had planned on getting more City of Bones reviewed during said break, but unfortunately I forgot to bring the book home with me. So, instead, Dibra.
This is a short chapter, but it’s boring and thus I kept putting off doing it.
Again, due to the author’s incredibly confusing portrayal of Dib/Dibra’s gender identity, I’ve elected to use singular they/them pronouns for the character barring further developments. I honestly do not know what their gender is supposed to be anymore.