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- Prince of Tennis - Switcheroo by Aishuu - *ufufufufu* I am finally caught up enough to read this fic~! *twirls* There are a few lines early on in the story that go as such: Uncharacteristically, Yagyuu couldn’t remember who had originated the idea. It seemed to him that it was a mutual decision, to become the other, but one of them would have had to bring it up first. He guessed that it was Niou, since it was his type of plan, but there was a practicality and long-range planning to it that was more his style. Which just struck me the minute I read it, because it was a wonderful way to show why such a plan would appeal to both Niou and Yagyuu. Aishuu's writing is as lovely as always here and it just makes it better that this fic showed so many hints of the dynamics at work with Rikkai's Doubles 1 pair and was from Yagyuu's POV. You can tell I have a crush on him, eh? ^_~ Anyway, this was a lovely fic that I could see, the way it built up a background for the two players, the way it showed how they got there (without dragging it out, the fic sailed very smoothly along), and why someone as gentlemanly as Yagyuu would let Niou slam a ball to Kikumaru's head. *twirls* The world needs more Yagyuu-Niou fic~~ (No warnings/pairings, spoilers for manga chapter 205.)

- Prince of Tennis - The Case of the Missing Panties by Le Penguin - Pengie has this sense of humor that's really missing in a lot of anime fandoms lately--the completely, off-the-wall, whacky, but still genuinely hysterical writer. There used to be more of these types of authors (and maybe there are still the same amount, it's just that they're getting overshadowed by all the more 'dramatic' writers), which is a shame because Prince of Tennis needs more authors like her. XD What I loved about this fic? I'm sort of waffling on the fence about Rikkai right now, but the kind of team dynamics Pengie writes for them... I could fall in love with those characters. They're a team and they're all wonderfully individual, but still snarky and, well, frankly, obnoxious in their own ways, and she plays on those traits beautifully. This is just... funny and I giggled the entire way through. It doesn't hurt that I ♥ her SanaYuki. *___* (SanadaYukimura, implied YagyuuNiou--YAY!!--and JackalMarui.)

- Prince of Tennis - Indivi/Duality by Chrissie - This was... wow. *deep breath* There are occasional stories that have this atmosphere to them, this intensity that's just amazing, the kind of story that pulls me right in and doesn't let me go for a second the entire time I'm reading. There were a lot of things I adored about this story (I will admit that I had trouble getting into the fic at first because we know so little about Yagyuu and Niou, so I had no way of knowing if these characterizations were accurate or not... but the by the end of the fic, I was sold, y0.), the writing was beautiful, the characterization fantastic, the details and feel... god, it was wonderful. I have a strong appreciation for an author who can write a fic that I can believe in set in Japan. And a strong love of subtlety--where you understand what's going on, but don't have to be nailed over the head with the author's hammer. However, most impressive, I think, continues to be that the author built a Yagyuu and Niou that I could believe, that felt right. I have a strong crush on Yagyuu already and this story did him and the fascinating relationship with Niou justice.

Oh! Also! The other thing I liked? The vague dynamics that any friendship has where even simple things have a huge effect--that Niou never touched Yagyuu and the way that affected their friendship was beautiful. The way Niou used that to get what he wanted, the way Yagyuu reacted to Niou because of it... it was one of those things that was used so incredibly effectively to show that... this is going to sound stupid, but it's one of those things that showed that each registered on the other's radar. It was an incredibly effective way to show that each character understood the other in a way casual friends don't. And I love when a fic can find a way to show that beyond just outright stating it. My YagyuuNiou fangirl is happy now. (YagyuuNiou.)

- Prince of Tennis - Challenge by Branch - Part 01, part 02, part 03, and part 04 - I spent the entire time I read this fic with a stupid, stupid grin on my face and stamping down the urge to sparkle and bounce around the room in fangirlish glee. I also sat and read it while on-line, which I rarely, rarely do, because I have the attention span of a gnat. Anyway. This story started out as a Yagyuu/Niou fic (and always will be, I think), but it morphed into a fantastic Rikkai fic somewhere along the way. The focus is still on Yagyuu and Niou, but there's enough for general Rikkai fans to enjoy it, I think. And I honestly think it's one of the BEST Rikkai fics that I've had the pleasure to read, because it just... holy crap, it FITS with the feel I get off Rikkai.

There's so much encompassed here that I'm not sure I can babble properly about it all. First off, Emily's Niou? Fucking PERFECT. Her Yagyuu? OMG LOVE. Seriously, SO MUCH LOVE because THIS IS HIM. Often times when author's make up backstories, they feel like they COULD fit, but that you can tell the author is still guessing in this dark. This one went beyond that and actually FIT with the characters she's presented and MADE SO MUCH BLOODY SENSE. I revel in the scene where Yagyuu finally snaps and all that fierce fire and passion are levelled at Yagyuu, even if only for a moment. Also? Her Yukimura is fantastic--charismatic and posessing a deft enough hand to have Rikkai dancing in his palm, but strong enough, having enough iron to him that he could crush anyone if he wanted. Sanada's support of him is GORGEOUS, too.

Yeah, yeah, I'm not done yet. There's also just enough of a sense of humor and the whole body language/speech patterns to the writing with these character that they actually feel like the characters I know from the manga. They're not, say, American teenagers reading off lines that Yagyuu and Niou would say, they have all those little touches and subconscious aspects that genuinely make them feel like THEMSELVES, to me. And Emily's grasp of writing them is just... beyond that I think she's doing a fabulous job with the characterizations, beyond the good writing on a technical level, beyond the little details... these characters are telling a GOOD STORY, one with some real meat to it instead of just fluff. Do you know how much I love that my darlings from Rikkai are getting that? ♥__♥ (Could be gen right now, but I'm still shoving it in the Yagyuu/Niou catagory. XD)

- Prince of Tennis - tangled; untangled by Jennifier D - Theirs was a strange affiliation, one which crossed more boundaries than Yagyuu had ever allowed anyone else. Niou took pride from that fact, the knowledge giving him little tingly feelings which said he was special. He would, of course, rather die than admit to that before his roommate. There was something about the way Jenn-san wrote this that really made me click with the writing and the characterizations; there was a sort of... well, Jenn-san writes very much like... there's this feel to a lot of Eastern works, I think, that's a little bit dreamy, a little bit ethereal, a little bit elegant, but not so many that it feels like you're making your way through a fog, it's just the right touch of it that I get off certain anime/manga characters. ....that probably makes sense only to me. I also really liked the way she wrote Niou and the way he sees Yagyuu--what he knows and what he doesn't know, what he sees and what he doesn't see, this is something I could see for them in the future and made me smile and sparkle to read it because I love my Yagyu/Niou, I dooooooo. ♥ Plus, I really took to the way Niou was dating people that reminded him of a Certain Someone, but that he'd never really caught on--when most authors do that, I find myself a little skeptical that the character wouldn't get it, but I BOUGHT it here, somehow. It helped that THEY all knew and the quiet references to how they knew was wonderfully done. A lovely addition to the slowly building YagyuuNiou fandom~! XD (YagyuuNiou.)

- Prince of Tennis - Challenge by Branch - part 05, part 06, part 07, part 08, part 09, and part 10 - I finished this story up recently and just... I continue to be awed at the way Emily writes the characters, writes the Rikkai TEAM, and blends the events in the series, the relationships between the characters, and the motivations that we don't necessarily get to see (like why so many of the characters are the way they are or why they react to the characters the way they react--her Kirihara development is especially good for this) and it all melds together SEAMLESSLY. One of the best things about this fic is the way it encompasses the switch that Yagyuu and Niou pulled off and made it make SENSE. I love that it was something they both found interesting, that it wasn't just Niou pushing Yagyuu into it, that there was a REASON Yagyuu found himself... mm, looking forward to the idea? If you had told me the idea beforehand, I might have scoffed a little, but actually reading the fic? It just made so much sense.

This is also in addition to the beautiful progression she has Yagyuu and Niou undergoing, the way their relationship evolves, the way Niou is attracted to and cares about Yagyuu, the way Yagyuu lets him closer than just about anyone else and you can see his affection being returned even though Niou's eyes. I love the way Niou is sort of fascinated by Yagyuu without it being like a bug under a microscope, I love the way he just feels Yagyuu in his life--the way Niou is always aware of Yagyuu on the court, the way they play tennis together, the way Yagyuu is so insightful and how that parallels and constrasts with Niou's own... this is one of those rare fics where there's so much insight going on that it's everywhere in the fic, down to the smallest details, and it explains the characters so freaking well... but is never dull, not even for a second, because she never hits the pause button to infodump on us. Emily explains as she goes along, weaving it into the story itself and actually writing plot. I loved the way she included the Rikkai vs Seigaku matches and instead of rehashing what we already knew, she springboarded off from there and explained the motivations and reactions behind the characters; it was fascinating to 'watch' them all over again because of that. I really do consider this a defining Rikkai piece. Plus, *SQUEE* YAY! Rikkai D1 sex. I love YagyuuNiou sex. +___+ (Yagyuu/Niou, some content in chapter 8, about an R rating.)

- Prince of Tennis - *makes up own Rikkai D1 title here* ^_~ by Aki - The level of detail in this was just... fantastic. It wasn't about unimportant details, but more the kind that make a scene actually come alive. The little nicknames that Niou had for the teachers were absolutely, bloody perfect, because they were the kind that I would expect someone like Niou to come up with and they weren't made a big deal of, they were just little pieces in Yagyuu's perspective. And, oh, the details about the teachers being nervous around Niou or the way Yagyuu treated the transfer student he was asked to look around... all of them resonated with me, with how very right they felt, with that intangible sense of elegance or whatever it is that comes with the Japanese culture. Also? The characterizations FEEL RIGHT. (The kind of house Niou lives in, the way Yagyuu seems to just know him so intimately, yet is still so cool and calm about everything.) And the writing? Lovely. I cannot express the joy I have for fic that gets all three of those down. (Some light YagyuuNiou, but more gen than anything.)

- Prince of Tennis - Half the Battle by Aki - Much like the fic mentioned above, this story has that gorgeous quality to Yagyuu and Niou's interaction that both feels right to me, but also has that very... Japanese teenager feel that I don't get nearly often enough. (Yes, yes, I know that this is Prince of Tennis and an English fanfic, but I tend to gravitate towards characters that have this certain feel to them and it's so blessedly present here that I could just cry tears of happiness.) The interaction between her Yagyuu and Niou is fantastic, the way her Yagyuu is presented here, the way he thinks/the way he views Niou/etc., just feels right, and I adored the last few paragraphs of the story which just... make the whole thing make sense. I love it when a fic can pull out that kind of punch at the end. XD (YagyuuNiou.)

- Prince of Tennis - variations on a tilting theme by Chrissie - You know what's one of the most interesting things about Chrissie's writing for me? Even if I'm not completely sure I agree with the characterization (if for no other reason than this is Prince of Tennis and who can be genuinely psychologically messed up in such a light-hearted series?), I still kinda agreed with the characterization, in the sense that I could see the story and it fit around the pieces we've been given of the characters. The prose is beautiful, just enough with the hazy/ethereal/whatever else you want to call it imagery that it creates an image in my head of fluid movements and graceful lines, but not so much that it becomes too dream-like and confusing. I got it, despite it not being laid out for me. Yet it was still subtle and not hammered into my head and had this gorgeous flow to the story being told and... there's a lot to be said for an author who can build an atmosphere to a piece that genuinely affects me and... well, yes, the darker tone than I was expecting was surprising, but... it was very, very well-explored, very much... it's not over the top, it's the kind where something is quietly Not Quite Right and genuinely effective for that. And... just... there were so many details worked into the story (rather than just added on top of it) that felt perfectly at home that I was really impressed by this story. (Yagyuu/Niou.)

- Prince of Tennis - untoward by W175N57 - My beloved 82 pair is one of the few in Tenipuri that works well with this kind of style, I think, with a sort of vague, obscure sort of symbolism or hidden meaning that may or may not actually mean anything at all. The tarot cards that Niou reads may be completely random or they may mean something deeper, only Yagyuu and Niou probably know for certain. Hell, maybe not even them. But there's this very pretty lyrical quality to the imagery in the writing (shut up, I know I'm mixing my descriptions, you know what I mean) that I enjoyed very much. (Rikkai D1.)

- Prince of Tennis - Anvil by W175N57 - I'm not sure why I never read this fic until now, since the author is one of my favorites and I have a strong love of the 82 pairing... maybe I put it off because I knew that it was going to depress the hell out of me and, yes, I was quite right about that. Which isn't to say that it's not a good fic, because it's rather brilliantly written, there's this emotional intensity to it even while the characters never lose their temper or show any signs of extreme emotion... instead, I just felt it, partly by picking up what was going on beneath the surface (despite that the author rarely gave any indication of it, somehow it was just there) and partly through my own reactions. Yagyuu's characterization was brilliant, always on Niou's side, always taking care of him, even at the last, and Niou is so... Niou, even in this situation and there's that relationship between them and... asdfjkalsdkflajsd, oh, my god, so heartbreaking in a quiet way, but a must-read for fans of them. (Yagyuu/Niou implied, but it's almost gen.)

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