And the winners are….
In third place, and the winner of the two pair of IshiHime keychains (and what the hey, I’ll throw some pocky into the envelope!), is
“Dance with Me” by tsubameongaku
In second place and the winner of an IshiHime doujin (and some more chocolate pocky!) is
“Operation: Cupid’s Quincy Arrow” by adam_epp
And the first place winner and the story that will get illustrated by dragonboy mt is
“Orihime” by Rebecca Winner (R. Winner is now vesperh)
As for my personal favorite, I knew that “Orihime” by R. Winner was the one right away because it was the best-written, most satisfying IshiHime I’d ever read, but still, making a choice was difficult. I wanted to award “Dance With Me” by tsubameongaku the SMEXY prize because it nailed the funny awkward hawtness of IshiHime. “His and Her Kinks” by Raptorix did the same, in the author’s straightforward style. Speaking of style, all of grass_angel’s entries had such an admirable minimalism; her Ryuuken is always a treat. “Petals” by Chichiras_Chica did a lovely job with the oldest metaphor in the world, “a woman is a flower.” As one voter wrote, it inverted the fragility of the flower with the image of strength. Then so many pieces made me laugh. “Dying,” as the old actor’s adage goes, “is easy. Comedy is hard.” Adam’s story wins kudos for sustaining the humor over a long piece with that great narrative voice. I especially liked it because it poked fun at not only IshiHime but at the Bleach fandom too, in a way. “All I Can Be” by baby_werewolf won me over for its nod to “Honey and Clover” and its ow-ow-ow Ishida angst.
In the end, though, “Orihime” was my choice because it combined a fluent professional writing style with an original premise, accurate characterizations, time travel (my great weakness! I’m yours for a little time-space manipulation!), high angst and high humor. The story left me with a hopeful feeling and a solid faith in Ishida--and that’s exactly what I needed right now when the manga has Ishida lying on the ground minus his entrails.
And so, I reward thee with my prize doujin! It's an adorable one and if it doesn't suit your fancy, hold on to it a year and re-sell. It will fetch you a nice bundle of $, I'm sure.
The winners may e-mail me at email@example.com with their snail mail addresses or P.O. boxes and I’ll get their little doujin and keyring prizes out to them ASAP. (ASAP means the week I can get to the post office which may be before the holidays… I’m lazy!) Chris, start drawing!