With this, Autumn Children reaches the page count of Fairy Ring and is now 72% complete. (There are four acts, three of which are 16 pages long and one of which is only 2 pages long, for a total of 50 pages.)
Now that the end is in sight, there are some things that are still bothering me about Autumn Children, but I’ve overcommitted too far to fix those problems.
Art-wise, the problem is consistency. Shizuha’s house, as seen in the background of Act 1 and 2, changes every time it appears (a result of using different references each time). Shizuha herself goes from being taller than Lunasa in the beginning of Act 1, but once she meets Lunasa, she suddenly becomes shorter. It becomes obvious now with the reappearance of the boy from Act 1 who gave Shizuha a leaf.
Story-wise, the first problem is an identity crisis. What is the singular message of the story? I eventually settled on “You’re stronger than you realize”, which is fortunately supported by the events of the story. But the problem was that I decided on the message only after Act 2 was complete. It was competing with other messages such as “Gods and people need each other” and “A demon is just a god that has lost his/her love for people”. Dialogue and events meant to support those other messages remain in the script, keeping it from being as focused as it could be.
The other story problem comes from requiring the audience to believe that Shizuha had such a crushing lack of self-confidence that she couldn’t see that she could make herself useful even without her powers.
As you will see, Shizuha does have some talent. But how has nobody else realized it and encouraged her to use it more? Did she think herself so weak that she avoided contact with people?
And how has Minoriko, or any of the other gods, not done anything to solve (or even notice) the problems Shizuha is having? Was Shizuha content with her limited role in the past, and only started being bothered by it when the demon started tormenting her?
Illustration: Mutsuki, who ships Reimu x Minoriko, which as far as I can tell is even more crack than Lunasa x Shizuha.