The Anko Express – Posted 2019.05.27

The following are the recorded responses of Eyazahrid to the feedback he received on the above listed chapter and the story in general for the week following. This document is to serve as a replacement to the traditional Author’s Note at the beginning and ending of chapters and will be kept separate from both the above listed chapter and any future chapters unless deemed sufficiently important.

Why I Write

When I read the first review for chapter 82 “I wonder for what purpose you write this.” I’ll admit I was more than a little confused. Was it a question about something specific in the last chapter? If so, what? While I could have gone to the reviewer for more clarification, I’m a busy man who puts things off for the last second.

So, instead of figuring out what they actually meant I’m going to take the liberty of assuming it was just a question about why I’m a writer on Fanfiction.net.

Sounds better to me than assuming it was some sort of insult about my writing abilities.

So, why do I write?

That’s actually a damn good question. At this point, I cant’ really see myself not writing. Fanfiction itself is something I’ve dabbled at throughout life- the first I can recall was back in the second grade when I wrote a story based on the Jackie Chan Adventures – and something I really started getting into at the beginning of high-school.

I was more of a reader than anything at that point- Bleach fics were my favorite, especially those more focused around Ichigo’s inner hollow – but I eventually branched out to other fandoms. After reading for a while, however, I wanted to give it an honest try myself.

The first result was, well, there’s a reason you won’t find the story ‘God of Hollows’ by Eyazahrid up on the site. It was the success of that story – though compared to my other works it was absolutely nothing – that motivated me to keep going.

The family was on vacation right after I posted that one and I cannot explain the joy of logging into my account to see I had reached a whole 6 views. After that any idea I had I started writing up. Most of them stayed on my computer but those I liked the most were posted and received better feedback. It sort of snowballed from there until Born Into Wickedness and Awaken, Noblesse became my most successful stories. They also became some of the first stories I had that were updated even somewhat regularly.

Botsraku became the first story where I prepared chapters in advance and updated on a schedule rather than updating as soon as chapters were finished.

Soon after I ended up finishing high-school and started working. The amount of free tiem I had dropped significantly and was used towards games more than writing. I couldn’t completely escape it, however, as once you start twisting worlds you find yourself thinking about all the different things you can do for all the media around you.

Of all ideas I had, I liked the thought of ANBU kneeling before Naruto and so I started writing Sealkeeper. I promised myself I would finish it and despite some ups and downs I don’t have any intention to break that promise. To be perfectly honest, that promise is the sole reason the story is still going. I would have moved on to different ideas long ago otherwise.

Even if I did stop writing that story in particular, writing has simply become such a large part of my life that I would never be able to stop completely.

I write because that’s who I am.

Overall Response

Beyond the question above that I probably stretched on unnecessarily, there wasn’t much in specific to be addressed for chapter 82. Interacting with Anko, Sai taking command, and Sakura being a closet pervert were all received pretty well based on the reviews posted for the chapter.

Hopefully future chapters are also received well because I made some strange decisions.

Until I next have your attention,

Eyazahrid

The Most Essential Iryō-Ninjutsu Posted 2019.05.20

The following are the recorded responses of Eyazahrid to the feedback he received on the above listed chapter and the story in general for the week following. This document is to serve as a replacement to the traditional Author’s Note at the beginning and ending of chapters and will be kept separate from both the above listed chapter and any future chapters unless deemed sufficiently important.

Tsume and the Inuzuka

I’ve been hearing a lot that because Mai got with Tsume for a night that she’s been compromised and is now at risk of siding with the Inuzuka rather than the Wolves. What I think many people have forgotten – which is probably because it hasn’t been mentioned since chapter thirty-something – is that the Inuzuka are not just some random group the House of Wolves has allied with.

The Inuzuka are part of the pack.

As far as the Wolves are concerned, at least. Not all Inuzuka may feel the same way, thinking of the House of Wolves as allies or friends, but those like Hana do. She’s the daughter of the head and heiress to the clan and serves as an essential linchpin for the relationship between them.

The Wolves have already wholeheartedly accepted her as one of their own back in Nami no Kuni so as long as she continues to hold the respect of her clan the two groups will not be separating.

Also of note is that Hana doesn’t recognize Tsume as the single alpha of the pack, believing that Tsukiyomi and Tsume both control the combined pack with Mai who has the favor of both.

Really – and I think Hana mentioned this in her thoughts at some point – it’s like Mai being either a mamma’s girl or a daddy’s girl. Regardless of her favorite, she’s their girl.

Perhaps I haven’t shown enough- or any – interactions between other Inuzuka and the Wolves to properly convey this, but the groups will not be separating.

Well, unless inspiration strikes me again. We’ll see.

Lazy Argument

I have been helpfully informed that “”If you don’t like it don’t read” is one of the laziest arguments ever.” in a review tied to chapter 1. While I’m not completely certain why I’m being told this, I’m going to assume it’s in reference to my AN where I say “If you don’t like the story, well, I’m not exactly charging you to read it, am I?”.

I could argue what I believe the differences between these are, waxing on how my reminder that I’m providing free entertainment and that if you don’t care for it after giving it a try you haven’t lost anything is different from telling those who don’t like it to piss off, but instead I’ll take this opportunity to address the “If you don’t like it, don’t read” “argument”.

First, I have no idea how that’s an argument, it seems like sound advice to me. I can’t fathom doing something you don’t like if there’s no benefit for doing it. I work because I need to pay my bills, but otherwise I most certainly would not. I don’t watch movies I don’t want to watch, I don’t listen to music I don’t care for, and I don’t spend time with those I dislike- outside of work, anyway.

Why someone would not just waste their time like that- and gods above I wish I had that kind of time I could just throw away like that – but then complain about it I have no idea. It isn’t uncommon for people to tell me they’ve lost interest in my story, which I completely understand, and most of them are more apologetic about leaving than angry that my writing didn’t fit what they were looking for.

They shouldn’t be, I’ve stopped reading stories that I had really enjoyed at first because they went in directions I didn’t care for after a while.

When people do leave, however, I try to wish them luck in finding something more suited to their tastes. This is easier when they send me a PM about their imminent departure, but I try to respond to reviews saying the same. Not sure how successful I’ve been in that.

That said, threats to leave don’t bother me and I usually won’t respond to them. I have my story and if you don’t like it I guess that’s just one less person I’m entertaining for free.

Huh, putting it like that makes me sound kind of dumb, I should really be charging for this. Damn shame I can’t, would be a way better job than my current one.

The same reviewer also mentioned that the fact that I have chapters done has no bearing on the story itself and it doesn’t matter how long ago I wrote them if they’re bad.

Completely correct, but not at all the point.

The chapters are done, which means if you suggest something it will not be immediately addressed. By some miracle I’ve managed to pull my shit together and stick to a strict(ish) schedule but the absolute earliest you’ll see something you mentioned in your review is in another month when the chapter I wrote right after reading your review is posted.

Saying that I still haven’t changed something over two chapters is pretty useless because if I did make a change – to plot or writing style – it’s still two weeks away. I also do not have the time to go back and rewrite the five reserve chapters I keep ready to go, so you get what’s already been made. If I realize I’ve made a mistake- which I’m sure will be pointed out to me if I don’t – it’s correction is a month away for my readers.

Chances are good I’ve already incorporated the correction into the current chapter I’m working on.

Unless my mistake was not enough action. I’m not an action writer throwing around fights scenes and explosive confrontations as my characters race against the clock.

I like the technicals of world-building and the drama that can be made between characters. More than any of that, I like causing emotional suffering in those characters. Overall, I’d say I’ve done a very good job at reigning it in for this story.

If you’re tired of the world-building I can understand that, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that gets focused on because it is one of my favorite aspects of fanfiction.

And plot? Well, that’s something I haven’t had since chapter one. I’m making this up as I go along so I really don’t have anything to keep me from getting distracted. I’ll try to remain more structured in my next story. But, if you remind me, do try to keep in mind that it will be another month before I’ve gotten back to whatever passes for a plot in this thing.

I’ve probably been going on a tangent for three chapters by the time you’ve said anything.

Kind of like all my writing, actually.

We’ll just go ahead and end this here, then, before it happens again.

Minato

Something else that hasn’t been mentioned recently has to do with the father of Naruto and Naruko – Namikaze Minato. It’s true that Kushina never told them any more than that he died on the night of the Kyuubi’s rampage, but the Daimyo of Hi no Kuni informed Naruto back when Nami no Kuni first gained the support of Hi no Kuni.

Naruto knows.

Seeing as there hasn’t been any backlash from him knowing thus far, it’s unlikely to suddenly happen.

Should Naruko be told there may be something, but it’s unlikely.

I just can’t see her blowing up negatively about it. Rather, I can easily picture her bouncing around in excitement at being related to a famous Hokage.

As for Naruko believing Kakashi might be her father no, shes’ not an idiot. A little dense in a cannon-esque way, perhaps, but not an idiot.

She doesn’t know who her father is, doesn’t know how old Kakashi actually is, and not only does her brother act in a very similar manner and seem close to the man but Kakashi himself called Naruto a Hatake.

Now, Kushina did tell her children that their father was dead, but from Naruko’s perspective Kakashi is the kind of person you wouldn’t admit to sleeping with so there’s no way anyone would tell their children that he’s their father.

So, in the end, Naruko dose have reasons to come to that conclusion. Is it anything solid? No, not really. That’s why she asked. She didn’t just immediately assume her far-fetched conclusion was correct, she worried about the possibility for a while and waited for a chance to confirm her suspicion before actually acting on it.

In that sense, she did not remain very true to cannon Naruto, who she more or less replaces in this story.

Still, I did have her panic about it because I found it humorous. Sort of like when I had Anko and the Gals panic about the possibility of Naruto being gay. I thought it was funny so it ended up in the story.

Closing

There weren’t many specifics brought up for me to address this week but if I missed something you said and you’d like to know my thoughts on the matter feel free to send me a PM on Fanfiction.net or reach out to me via Twitter. You can also discuss it with me live during one of my streams, should you be so inclined.

For the most part, the feedback for chapter 81 was positive, focused around the ending. I’m pleased to hear that so many of you enjoyed it and look forward to seeing how the next chapter is received.

Until I next have your attention,

Eyazahrid

A Bit Tied Up Posted 2019.05.13

The following are the recorded responses of Eyazahrid to the feedback he received on the above listed chapter and the story in general for the week following. This document is to serve as a replacement to the traditional Author’s Note at the beginning and ending of chapters and will be kept separate from both the above listed chapter and any future chapters unless deemed sufficiently important.

Thank You

Before anything else in this Commentary, I would like to thank you all for the support you’ve shown me over the years and more specifically with the posting of chapter 80. While the Author’s note – any of the three, actually – hadn’t in any way been intended to fish for compliments, hearing the immediate response of support and understanding was beyond heartening.

It’s knowing how much others are enjoying my work that pushes me to keep working and I never would have made it this far without you all.

Thank you.

My Deepest Apologies

Just as I needed to express my gratitude, I also need to offer a sincere apology for the Author’s Note of chapter 80. The 2019.05.06 Author Note was written last week, specifically after a string of negative responses, and I had simply wanted to be done with the whole Mai situation and the backlash it’s caused.

I did not have the patience to wait until 2019.06.17 for the issue to conclude- most of it, anyway – naturally and was very rash in revealing what happens between Mai and Naruto in chapter 85. I may be able to forgive myself for writing it down last week, but when I looked it over last night I deemed it appropriate for posting when it obviously is not.

It was seta88 who brought this to my attention, for which they have my thanks.

With the upcoming reductions to Author’s Notes in the chapters themselves this should no longer be a problem and I will endeavor to include warning in these commentaries should they include anything that may be construed as a spoiler.

Politics

Looking at the story now, I can definitely see that Redhawk29 was right about the lack of recent political action. In the beginning that was a very important aspect of the story and despite Naruto’s political influence increasing recently it hasn’t been brought into play as much.

Naruto is supposed to be a leader and a commander, maintaining his group from the shadows and taking care of the things the Wolves wouldn’t be able to address. I should keep this more in mind considering it’s one of the most frequent complaints I hear.

I’ll make note to show more of the political ramifications of recent events and further explore the Noble Houses of both Hi no Kuni and the other countries.

Timeskip

While I have considered making use of a time skip, the way I would want to execute it would involve two separate stories. I have decided against doing so with Sealkeeper so any timeskips will continue to be minor.

Tsunade

Tsunade is in an interesting position within Sealkeeper, as her actions – or inaction – was a main contributor to the early events of the story. Despite that, she’s faded into the background, content to wallow in her guilt. With Shizune having been given a position within the House of Wolves, they no longer have need of a medic and Naruto has no interest in her infamous strength.

Really, I don’t see any further role she might play within the story itself.

Well, I do, actually. If Naruto had need of the Senju name he could probably call upon her and she’d eagerly jump at the chance to try making amends. If Sakura came to her for training she might pass on the skills that Shizune wasn’t interested in just so they don’t become lost.

Should Naruko – Her goddaughter – visit and ask for any sort of help she’d do her best to provide.

Beyond those- all of which are initiated by others – I’m not coming up with much. Except maybe visiting Naruto to examine his Chakra system just to confirm that the reports she read had been accurate. I’ll have to keep that one in mind.

Regardless, her part in Sealkeeper is more or less over and I wouldn’t expect her to appear much in the future.

Naruto’s Strength

One of the biggest complaints I receive is on Naruto’s strength, so this part should be fun to write.

Overall, I’m understanding that people are of the opinion that he’s completely worthless and has zero strength. That may be because I gave him so much trouble with the Kage-Bunshin but some people have pointed out that I raised Kage-Bunshin from a mid-tier Jutsu to an obscure S-Ranked Kinjutsu.

Maybe people missed that and are only making the connection now that I’ve brought it up here, but I’ll say it again just in case.

In Sealkeeper, the Kage-Bunshin is an obscure S-Ranked Kinjutsu.

This has been done both because I think a technique that creates a perfect copy of a person able to do everything they can and transfers their experiences – somehow – back to the original over any distance with the only weakness being that they dispel after taking a solid attack is incredibly overpowered.

The second reason is, being overpowered, I didn’t just want to hand it to him on a silver platter.

Naruto had to work for the overpowered technique and, more importantly, he had to work for the solution to his administration issue. Just handing him a fix-all technique for his problems from his loving godmother was too easy. This way he’s actually accomplished something and is using the results to better provide for his children.

It also opened the gate for utilizing a Biju’s Chakra.

Not sure if you noticed that, but for the first time he has willingly accessed the Chakra of Karura. Even back with Mito he never asked for any of her Chakra, so this is important. You’ll see more in the coming chapters so I can’t continue too far down this train of thought, but suffice to say it will not be the last time.

Add to that his chains- which he still utilizes just not in the vast quantities he did before – quality vs quantity, skill vs raw strength – and Karura’s sand and he has a nifty bag of tricks invaluable for any Shinobi.

Which leads us to the next part of this;

Naruto is a Shinobi.

He’s not a Chakra sage, Mystic Knight, or some sort of Karate Wizard.

He. Is. A. Shinobi.

When you ask how he’s going to deal with people like Madara in the future when he doesn’t have that sort of raw power I’m going to laugh at you and mutter “Not from the fucking front, that’s for damn sure.” because that’s not his character.

Actually, let’s amend that. Naruto might be in the front, but that’s just to serve as the face of the Wolves as they jump at Madara’s exposed back. Naruto doesn’t fight fair, he doesn’t care about open combat, and he would try to poison Madara long before he stood across from him on a battlefield.

And if Madara just suddenly pops up without any time for him to prepare? He still has two other options.

  1. He can try to ally himself with Madara.
  2. He can run the fuck away.

Pride has been an issue for him in the past and I try to keep bringing it up. I don’t know how well I’ve been conveying it, but each time he reacts more calmly and he moves on more quickly. Slowly, he is letting go of his pride, knowing that for the most part all it does is harm him.

Worse, it places his children at risk.

What I’m getting at there is by the time Madara becomes an issue- – you know, unless I have plans in the work to nip that in the bud. Who knows? – he should be capable of both of those options, especially if they’re for the good of the Wolves.

And moving onto the Wolves, I’ll just say it here so there’s no confusion about my vision –

A good portion of the Wolves are stronger than Naruto.

Danzo trained high A-Ranked Shinobi in his ROOT program but very few of them were able to be conditioned – or properly broken, if you prefer – to serve his needs. Just because they’re failed ROOT agents doesn’t mean they’re failed Shinobi. Like Naruto they prefer a blade to Jutsu but they are capable of both.

Naruto is currently considered high C-rank or low B-rank and he will probably only reach an A-rank by the end of the story. But Naruto isn’t just Naruto, Naruto is the Wolves which means you may not be fighting a single SSS-Rank threat but you still have to face an army of A-ranked opponents.

It is not an attractive prospect.

And in case there’s any confusion on rankings, I consider the majority of a village’s forces to be made up of B-ranked Shinobi. A-ranked is considered elite and S-ranked are more or less legends.

Note that my use of “legend” is not completely accurate, as people like Deidara are more “Infamous” for his actions than any sort of legend. Also, when it comes to Rogue Shinobi part of their ranking is also based on their bounty. If they have a bounty comparable to an S-ranked mission (which would be an S-ranked bounty, naturally) then they would be considered an S-ranked Rogue Shinobi.

It’s an earned rank, certainly, but not the best way to judge the strength of your opponent.

Just to wrap this section up, I would like to point out that unlike in games where a powerful opponent must take a certain amount of damage to be defeated, an amount far greater than less powerful enemies, in the real world – or at least my version of it – everyone – with a few exceptions – dies after the same amount of damage. A blade to the throat is a blade to the throat, it doesn’t matter how many Jutsu you know or how much Chakra you have.

Naruto, the Wolves, and every single person in the world of Sealkeeper can end anyone with a single successful strike.

It might not be easy, but it’s possible and that’s the important part.

And with all that said, I’ll consider this matter closed unless someone has further questions on it in the future.

Chapter length

While I used to be able to dedicate the time to provide 10k words every fifth chapter, I no longer have that sort of time. I suppose I could dedicate the last couple days of the week to making a longer chapter, but it probably wouldn’t reach 10k. I will, however, consider doing something similar. Perhaps a 7.5k chapter at the beginning or end of the month? We’ll have to see how that goes.

The Mai Subplot

While I am quite pleased with how things have played out for the Mai situation in the story, the execution of it has certainly been lacking. I had been looking forward to people fretting over a beloved character, not calling her a traitor and wanting me to kill her off.

There was never any “betrayal” planned, but when a large number of reviews called it such I adopted the same terminology in an effort to explain it. That was a mistake.

The biggest mistakes, however, were my attempts to run damage control – which I felt was necessary considering she didn’t show up again for a few chapters, which was not actually by design. – and when I gave up on trying to explain it and simply told you what would happen in chapter 85.

That was unacceptable.

Things were not helped when I made the genius decision to tease you about Mai’s lack of presence.

Again, I like what’s become of the story because of this subplot but I did not do it well and I can see that clearly now. Hopefully I’ve learned from this mistake and don’t make it again. If I do, though, I’m sure you’ll point it out.

Communication

While from an outside perspective strangers can see how foolish people are being, miscommunication is nonetheless a common part of relationships. It’s why communication is stressed so much when you’re talking about ways to strengthen relationships and avoid marital conflict.

One reviewer– MidnightRE – mentioned that Naruto was an idiot for lying to her and expecting her not to find out. I’ll avoid spoiling anything, but you’ll see it from his perspective in the next chapter. Is it still dumb? Of course, just like telling loved ones you’re fine when you aren’t, pretending to like something someone worked hard on, and telling your children that there’s a fat man in red who comes down your chimney.

We – or at least people – lie to those they care about all the time and it’s more or less expected in simple, polite conversation. “I’m well.” or “That’s interesting” are probably two of the most common lies you’ll encounter but it’s frowned upon to unload your troubles on someone else or to tell someone you don’t care about what they’re telling you.

While I agree it causes unnecessary drama in the story, I also have to argue that it causes unnecessary drama in real life too and that’s the feeling I want to convey. For as many plot holes or logical fallacies I might have included in my work, I still want it to feel real.

I have quite a ways to go, I’m aware, but that won’t stop me from trying because I’ll never improve if I don’t experiment with my writing.

Closing and the Community

In conclusion of this commentary, I want to again take the chance to thank you all for your support and for taking the time to give your feedback.

While Sealkeper has been around for over three years now, I still consider it a beginning. It marks the change from my previous experience as a writer and has helped me grow tremendously. More than that, it has managed to attract all of you.

I don’t want to leave it there, however, I want it to keep growing. Not just the story, not just the fanbase that will enjoy my future works, I want the community that’s began to grow around this story to continue growing. I want to create a community of people willing to take a chance writing something and experience the joys of shaping worlds to their whim.

Even after that, I won’t be satisfied. I want to go beyond fanfiction at some point, creating a group of writers and world-builders who can eventually lay claim to their own original works and who have the support of an entire community of like-minded readers and writers to help drive them forward.

It’s a long ways off, I know that, but we’re already off to a great start.

I know some of you have begun working on your own stories and some of you have even reached out to me for advice. Words cannot express my satisfaction in seeing new writers emerge to continue the sacred art.

When we pour ourselves into our work it’s not just fanfiction, it’s the changing of worlds – one word at a time.

If you have not already tried your hand at writing I would encourage you to do so and if you need any help or advise please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Over the years I’ve had people there for me, I’ll be here for you.

And if there’s something I can do or provide that would help you all feel more connected, let me know. I’ll do what I can to help make this a reality.

Until I next have your attention,

Eyazahrid