esmenet: the castle in the sky where eternity dwells (Utena) (the castle in the sky where eternity dwe)
I am getting worse and worse at commenting, but much better about posting! Moving right along, here's day 5: current fandom I wish everyone would be into.

Now, [personal profile] dhampyresa asked for current fandom, which means I have fewer decisions to make. I always want people to be into Utena, or Gokusen, or Ranma 1/2, but those are constants. By 'into', here, I'm going to assume 'producing fannish things' rather than just 'liking'.

Taking all this into account, it's actually a really easy choice.

Read more... )

December meme over here, still mostly empty, give me more stuff to talk about please.
esmenet: rain on the garden that is movie-Akio's grave (rose garden)
For some things I feel like cisswaps don't make much difference except as a way to put more girls in the canon -- which, don't get me wrong, I totally love the idea of things i love being exactly the same except with more ladies, but it feels kind of . . . shallow? or something.

And then with other things it makes a HUGE, world-shaking-important difference in my ability to connect with things and enjoy them. Like, take Captain America. Quite plainly, I don't care about the story of Captain America -- I can understand why other people love it, and there's some great fic out there, but overall I am not very invested. But switch Steve for Stella, and suddenly I am ALL OVER it. Because the story of Stella is fundamentally different than the story of Steve, even with every other aspect of her origin story the same.

Just about every aspect of Steve Rogers/Captain America has been analyzed and over-analyzed by people much more invested than me, so I'll leave that where it is. But the story of Stella Rogers/Captain America can go in basically one of two ways: Either you have Stella Rogers waking up into the 21st century and SURPRISE EVERYONE the model of American masculinity was a lady this whole time, or the public face of America's fighting forces in World War 2 is a woman in battle dress. (And either way you have the possibility of super-soldier super-girlfriends, so there's really no angle to lose from.)

... like, i dunno, i'm more interested in stories WITH GENDER STUFF than i am in just stories period. more on this as the story develops.
esmenet: Utena and Akio duelling (akio vs. utena)
so, let's talk about destined rivals!

this is a trope I can either love or hate, depending on the execution. i mean, on one level it's really quite silly, this idea that you have ONE PERSON who is your DESTINED ONE, whether it's for romance or enmity or anything else. but i do think you can have 'true love' (though of course that does not make other loves false) with someone, where you can feel yourself falling inevitably in and down, down, down.

so i can find the trope of destined rivals very interesting indeed. it's true love without the happy ending, soulmates without romance. two people who are eternally opposed, though in the end they may be very much alike. but they are not enemies; there is always this expectation that if something truly terrible happens, they will back each other up against it. --but also, there is the knowledge that for them there is no happy ending. or rather, that their happy ending is to fight and clash for the rest of their lives, wary glances across a room, blood and death waiting in the wings.

their destined and fated end is to die at each others' hands.

--in a lot of ways this is more interesting to me than romance, though of course it's definitely less healthy for everyone involved. very tragic. yet satisfying!

as with most tropes i like, this one is too often about guys when I think it would be more interesting with female characters.

---and yet, I think it can also be much more interesting to take this trope, with its inevitable ending, and have one character decide that this is not how they want things to go. because as powerful as things like that are, big dramatic feelings things, there are other things much stronger and more important. which would you rather have, a destined and perfect rivalry, or a real, flawed friendship (one where you don't have to worry about getting stabbed)? and if you can't get a friendship, then at least lay those old ghosts to rest. get out of the game. you, at least, will not die upon an old friend's sword.

actually, that would be a great fic: younger, they are infatuated with this feeling, the knowledge that there will always be one person they can fight with honor, one who can oppose them perfectly. and older, they realise that this slow-burn life-long fury is not something to hold on to; rather, it is something to set into a jar on the mantle and look at now and then.

because that life, that relationship, does inevitably end in death, because either they or you will come back to try again and again until the other is permanently gone. this is not a sustainable way of living; it has a build-in endpoint. and you have to plan to live.


The above is all just me thinking to myself, which is why it's all in lowercase, but I read something today that made me dust it off and post it. This thing, in fact, and much thanks to [ profile] aintgotnoladytronblues for bringing it to my attention. For those of you who don't want to click the link, it's a post on True Detective, and -- more importantly -- about the fact that the whole Destined Rivals thing is a really misogynistic trope that ties into the whole Great Man theory of history, where it's all about heroes and kings and villains having their epic destined fights, and never you mind all those hundreds of thousands of people who won't eat this winter . . .

I don't know. It's a very interesting trope, especially if you look at it through its natural mirror of soul-mates, but also I feel that it's ultimately pointless. The brilliant detective and the clever murderer, yeah yeah, who gives a fuck.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch True Detective.
esmenet: Cutie Honey from Re: Cutie Honey in silhouette (cutie silhouette honey)
I don't know if I've framed it in these terms before, but one of the plots I am super in favor of are crossovers between dark serious fandoms and light happy bouncy fandoms, where rather than the light happy bouncy fandom characters being torn apart by wild beasts or otherwise being absorbed into the grimdarkness aura the grimdark characters suddenly start playing guitar together or something and everything turns out better than expected. Oh, you thought there was going to be a brutal final battle where everyone's favorite characters die? SURPRISE, MOTHERFUCKER. GARDENING.

I hate that trope -- you know the one -- in grimdark shows where the girly-girl always dies, and the nice one always dies, and strength is based exclusively on how many people you can kill.* (*cough* Gantz *cough*) Fuck that. I want the nice characters to be the ones who keep themselves alive. I wanna see the big dark-and-gritty showdown that is just someone going up to the big bad and getting them to sit down and talk about their feelings. I want hard problems to have happy endings that are not based on violence.

Maybe this is just a reaction to the difficulty of writing dark-and-gritty/not-dark-and-gritty crossovers, idk. But for real, I just want happy crossover things where the happy fandoms suck the grimdark out of the gritty fandoms and suddenly everything is FLOWERS.

*Looking at myself now, I can see that I've sort of kept away from learning 'survival skills' on purpose, to prove I can get on well enough without being able to fight.
esmenet: Jin, with the caption "I AM SMART" (I AM SMART)
I love, I adore the idea of plot without conflict. You don't have to fight all the time! It's okay! You can just hang out and do stuff and everything will be fabulous, nobody has to worry about winning or losing or anything like that. There doesn't have to be any kind of epic struggle, or any struggle at all. Not in the pure one thing vs. something else sense. Like, idk, most of Natsume Yuujinchou. It's most emphatically not any sort of battle manga, of course, but most importantly it's really just a story about people learning to deal with the world and each other. Which is another of my favorite kinds of stories, because I feel like in some ways that's the big meta-narrative, the Real Story of everyone's lives. Good vs. Evil is untrue and overplayed; it's the story everyone wants to think is true, so they can feel all validated that they're right and good and amazing and someone else is bad and evil and wrong. Or even that right and good don't mean all that much compared to that one thing that's important to you, fuck everybody else.

But that kind of story, I feel, is not the kind that actually needs to be told. The story of people growing and changing and just learning how to deal with the world and the people around them, though, is not just a good story it is THE story. Because that is the essence of people's lives. Everybody has to deal with learning how to interact with people, finding out the difference between what they think and what actually is. Everybody has to deal with, well, life. And I'm pretty sure that's a hell of a lot more important than a bunch of dudes fighting each other because somebody just felt like destroying the world.

(In summary: fuck Supernatural, seriously, that show is like the perfect example of everything that is wrong with the currently popular style of Western storytelling.)

(and also Natsume Yuujinchou and Azumanga Daioh are fucking amazing, okay, and so is Ashita no Ousama.)

(and also also: Gokusen, despite being primarily about Yankumi beating people up, is surprisingly non-conflict-oriented in its main plot. the main plot is: Yankumi teaches students and bonds with them and they become close and help each other and also Shin has a giant crush on her.)
esmenet: Aki Natsuko from Re: Cutie Honey, looking stern (*glasses check*)
This is totally irrelevant to everything, and I'm not even in this fandom, but I want to get it out to the internet so it will stop buzzing round my head:

The only way I can think about Supernatural without getting really incredibly angry is to pretend that yes, they're currently having a white Christian apocalypse, and that world has been WASP-centric this whole time, but this time next year in that universe everybody is going to be bowing to the Jade Emperor and worrying about making sure there's red everywhere for the new year. And it will have been that way all along, just as it's been Christian all along, it just won't have always been that way yesterday.
esmenet: Azula raising her eyebrow and giving a sidelong look (*raised eyebrow*)
Hello, everyone! I am not sure you know this (though if I have known you for any length of time it is likely), but

  • strong yet nice lady meets morally ambiguous dude

  • lady befriends dude, with understandable reservations

  • dude develops interest in her

  • dude begins controlling her life

is a very problematic narrative! And this is sad for me, because I love stories about strong yet nice ladies and their relationships with morally ambiguous people (dudeness not necessary). Apparently there are many people who do not understand that the proper formation of a nice lady/morally ambiguous person is

  • strong yet nice lady meets morally ambiguous person

  • lady befriends person, with understandable reservations

  • person goes 'wow, this lady is pretty cool'

  • fun things!

  • *understandable relationship problems caused by difference in personal worldview*

  • *honest conversation about relationship boundaries*

  • a relationship enjoyable to both parties, as well as all their friends, who think they are HILARIOUS together.

Only having read several stories in this latter format do I realize exactly what was bothering me about the former.

(Feel free to spread this post to anyone you think would benefit by reading it, e.g. the creators of Black Bird.)
esmenet: Korra kicking ass from the LoK trailer (korra kicks ass)
Late comment for episode ten: By the way, Trowa, I hope you know that is basically the worst way EVER to carry an injured person. I am just saying. (Seriously, the only way I can make sense of the 'put him in a hard sharp cold Gundam's hand and ride around with him like that' carry is if they assumed he was dead from the get-go.

Episode eleven: Thanks to Zechs, I now have the image of people sitting in their castle-sized garages, tinkering with old beat-up mobile suits.  )

Episode Twelve: Sally Po is amazing, and Wufei etches her words upon his heart )

Episode thirteen: Catherine punches Trowa in the face and it is amazing )

Episode fourteen: EVERYTHING I LOVE )

Okay, I take it back about last episode. This one has the perfect amount of politics/family drama/half-truth-telling/fancy clothes/ladies. I am entirely happy with it.
esmenet: Utena and Akio duelling (akio vs. utena)
Spoilers only for the episodes in question.

Episode eight: three short paragraphs )

Episode nine: Parallels! and also Treize Khushrenada is a jerk )

Episode ten: questions! )
esmenet: Azula and Zuko fighting on the deck of Azula's ship, circa early season two (sibling love-love)
Ever since last night, I have been suffering from a terrible and persistent urge to write Tokyo Mew Mew fic.


For those of you unfamiliar with the series in question, it is kind of like a lower-budget, way-less-awesome Sailor Moon. Or perhaps it is better compared to Precure. Anyway: There are aliens! Trying to kill people & conquer Earth because their ancestors used to hang out there and the planet they have right now kind of sucks. And there is a sentai team of badly-characterized girls who shoot the aliens' monsters with magic. And there are teenage scientists who make them work in an overly-cutesy cafe so a) they can find all of the girls when they need them, b) the girls actually have some kind of explanation to give to people who wonder why they're never around, and c) the girls can get paid a little for all the world-saving. (I actually like this idea, can you tell?) And Ichigo is the perfect stereotype of 'annoying preteen girl', and her boyfriend is kind of really bland in that 'nice' sort of way, and there is a lot of yelling and narcolepsy and her boss the scientist poking at people's magic tattoos and far too much heteronormativity.

It is full of lots of terrible terrible pseudoscience and everyone is a giant stereotype and I have always felt really bad for the characters that they've had to put up with all this. I even knew this way back when, when I was twelve or thereabouts, and I kind of wanted to write something to fix it.

But how on earth do you fix problems which are that fundamental?

I sort of want to write an age-and-role-swap in which Ichigo & co. are the brilliant scientists and Ryou and Keiichirou are the cutesy-cafe genetically-compatable muscle.

Or something where Ryou and Keiichirou decide that cutesy is no longer in, and what the world really needs is a crossdressing butler-and-maid cafe.

esmenet: Azula and Mai and Ty Lee and Zuko, looking like they're at a festival (the Dangerous Ladies are all here)
(This is exactly the sort of thing I should not be doing when I have three-and-a-half essays to write before tomorrow and a scene-bunny bouncing around in my head. Bite me.)

I feel like everyone will be able to guess my fics in anonymous writing fests now, because all they'll have to do is pick the one with the over-symbolic title.

Evidence: )

I did manage to finish all but one of the essays before I finished this post! Booyah.
esmenet: Azula and Mai and Ty Lee and Zuko, looking like they're at a festival (the Dangerous Ladies are all here)
I feel like those memes about writing always ask about titles, so here is a slightly better answer than I tend to give most of them.

I love titles! Usually. But mostly I try to title things before I write them, or at least before I get too far in, because I like titles that are really relevant to the story. And I tend to build off titles: I don't need a title to start out with, but if I just stick on a title at the end it feels sort of disconnected, even if I've spent a long time thinking about it. I tend to pull a lot of the theme from the title, and doing that in reverse is a little more difficult. A title is a foundation, a direction; I think in a much clearer and more constructed way about a story once I have a title to go off of.

I mean, Knife and Ink is a lot less fun-and-games-in-Ba-Sing-Se than it used to be, and a lot more about Mai and spirits and things that are written down, or not written down, or written down somewhere else. Blood Dreams (that mostly-genderswitched KHR AU that I have posted one fic of) has gone from just being an excuse to write a darker and mostly-female KHR to something that is about inheritance and the lack thereof, about the refusal of gender roles, and about discovering the time for an old dream to die. (I am also fighting a terrible urge to retitle it Girls' Generation.)

Not that I haven't come up with some terrible titles, mind, that never did anything at all. But I think I've gotten better about that lately, and I'm very much looking forward to what that Hermione-in-movie-Ohtori fic is going to look like once I've found it a proper title. (Let alone all the auction fic and challenge fic that are simmering on the stove of my brain.)

TL;DR: Titles are hard, but they're also fun and very useful. I need to go think up some more.
esmenet: A slightly battered white wooden sign on a brick wall, reading "NO SEX PLEASE" (no sex please)
This is the first time I've ever been in a fandom that has just one totally obvious m/m pairing, and it's kind of weirding me out. I'm used to being in fandoms that have lots of ships, or one het ship (well, okay, that's really just Gokusen), or no ships at all.

It's interesting to see the difference between the fandom for something like T&B and the fandom for something like Natsume Yuujinchou, which has a totally obvious threesome and a separate fairly obvious m/m pairing but a roughly equal ratio of gen:romance fic. On the other hand, Gokusen fic has about the same ratios as T&B, except Gokusen fic is usually funnier. (This is probably because Gokusen as a whole is funnier, not because Gokusen fic is better.)

The kind of topics I (would) really enjoy in Tiger & Bunny fic: Karina & her singing, Kaede finding out her dad is a hero, the hardships of hero life in general (are you allowed to tell your non-hero friends about your secret identity? would you even want to? what happens if you die? what's it like, all your closest friends/acquaintences also being your rivals?), Kotetsu & Barnaby roommate hijinks, why Fire Emblem enjoys playing to the gay stereotypes so much, Kaede & Barnaby's first meeting.

But now I've read a lot of the fic and I think I found all the genfic there was. :( NOT ENOUGH.
esmenet: Fuu, Jin, and Mugen, posing together for the last DVD cover of Samurai Champloo. (here comes the happy ending (all three o)
I found a 30 Days of Fanfic meme through Latest Things, and decided I'd just do however much of it I wanted whenever I wanted. (Well, actually I just want to do all of it, but I think I've typed more at once today already than I have for the past month.)

1. How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in? Harry Potter and Young Wizards )

2. Name the fandoms you've written in, and how much you've written in that fandom, and if you still write in it. I didn't realize how many fandoms I've written exactly one fic in, and I'm sure this isn't all of them )

And here's the meme if you want to have a go )
esmenet: Anthy, with swords (pink!Anthy w/swords)
I just spent about an hour and a half articulating to myself why

1. I intensely dislike media that prioritize a magical world over a real one—the real world has all the stuff I care about in it already, and if your shiny cool magic world is full of sparklies but not one goddamn personal conflict I will not give a drop of ink for it—and

2. Real conflict is not in events but in how people react to them.

Piece of articulation I am fairly proud of, considering the lateness of the hour:
I don't care about your huge fireballs and your dragon-slaying and your oh-so-special self who is so privileged to be in this oh-so-special world. I care about fights between friends and social (in)justice and household chores and academic research and culture clash, I care about actual difficulties that have to be dealt with.

It doesn't matter if it's physically impossible, so long as it's real.

Not entirely unrelated to this: The Magicians is a very good book so far, and the author seems quite aware of what he's doing, but I kind of hate Quentin a lot of the time. And Loveless is fast becoming my comfort manga for not-enough-internal-conflict media. INTERPERSONAL DIFFICULTIES WHAT HO. (Other things good for this: [profile] gateway_girl's Blood Magic, [personal profile] dolores_crane's In Loco Parentis, [ profile] kirinin's Secret of Slytherin and Geas of Gryffindor, and all things Utena.
esmenet: Kanae standing at a window (kanae)
This is my impression of Loveless, written months after having read it. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm giving the mangaka too much credit, maybe it's been too long since the read and I'm imagining depth that's not there. But to all of you who see this post, who have always thought Loveless was just that pervert manga with the twelve-year-old boy in cat ears, here is the heart of what I think it really is, the most basic statement I can make. I have so much more to say about this manga and its anime, but these are the words that really matter.

Loveless is, really, a Dealing With Characters' Issues story.

And that's why I like it, because these issues are complicated, not to be resolved with a quick "It was all a misunderstanding!" or the complete reversal of someone's personal ideology. There is no fast solution. They are all bound up with love and pain and perceived duty, family and upbringing and the wish for an easy way out, the desire not to make anyone overly concerned.

Wanting things you can't have. Like happiness.

Small cruelties and large ones. Being cruel because it's easy, because it's fun, because you feel you have no other choice. Being cruel to the people you love, because they need it (you're sure they do).

Lying about little things and big things, because it's the only way to get love or trust or left in peace. Not-quite-lying, playing up the good things because you don't want to think too hard about the bad ones.

Anger, because you're finally comfortable enough to let yourself be angry.

Honesty, because they've earned it.
esmenet: Mugen with his sword on his shoulder, from the opening of Samurai Champloo. Text reads "Live what you love." (live what you love)
My first use of 750words culminates in a Harry Potter essay, in which my own tastes are extremely apparent even if my logic is possibly not.

Pureblood culture vs. Mudblood counterculture, or, why I wish all HP fic was like <i>In Loco Parentis</i> )

*Sometimes I really, really want to write fic that is just Dean and Hermione making fun of wizards.
esmenet: Utena and Akio duelling (akio vs. utena)
So, earlier today [personal profile] littlebutfierce reminded me that May is MAGICAL GIRL MONTH. And since I missed it last year, I have some making up to do! Happily, I posted some squee about Lenalee in what was in some timezones May 1st, so let's see if I can keep it up.

And since we're using a broad definition of 'magical girl' here, I'm going to talk about Chrome Dokuro.

I never thought I'd turn into the kind of person who kept up with a fandom for one or two characters and ignored the rest. And I haven't! But even though I do love a lot of other things about KHR and its fandom (see: this) Chrome and Mukuro are the ones I think and write and fic about to near-exclusion. They combine a lot of things I like—reincarnation! illusion! the blurring of lies and truth! unshakable partnerships of the not-necessarily romantic variety! Gender issues! Mental health issues! Buddhism!—and stay away from a lot of the things I don't.

And I like what Reborn said about them. "Because of Chrome, Mukuro can exist. Because of Mukuro, Chrome can live." (or something like that) In my head, they're separate characters, but not entirely separate people; that's why I'm talking about both of them and not just her. Mukuro will have to break out of prison sometime, but I kind of don't want him to. I like the way that Chrome is his lifeline to the world, I like the idea that they've blurred together a little, or maybe more than a little. I like the idea that Mukuro used to be a girl like Chrome, once upon a time, and he enjoys being that again and also offering the help he didn't have when he was. I like the idea that Chrome's strength is in silence and passivity right up until she needs it to be otherwise, and I like the idea that Mukuro is a little bit the same way.

I love Bianchi and Kyoko and Haru and Hana and Adelheid and Shitt P. and Lal Mirch and Uni, but Chrome will always be my favorite of the KHR ladies. She's the kind of quiet character I don't get to write very often, the one who's polite and loyal and a little bit lonely and goes unfazed by things that would knock less-experienced people flat.

Also, I wrote Chrome fic! It's kind of unpolished, but is about Chrome thinking about how D. Spade is a LYING LIAR WHO LIES and how hard that's going to hurt him. CHROME ILU LOTS OKAY ♥ ♥ ♥
esmenet: Jin, with the caption "I AM SMART" (I AM SMART)
(and also to distract myself from the fact that I picked way too broad a topic for my paper and probably need to find a new one)

He's quite clever, when it comes to something he's interested in. Unfortunately, he's also thoughtless and lazy when it comes to things he doesn't care about, or things he cares about but doesn't know how to go about framing in his head. If you can talk him into thinking about things, though, he can do it quite well. He just doesn't always like to, which is why he avoids doing so.

This is why he's only average in most of his classes; they're not what he cares about, and he only needs to maintain a minimal level in order to do the things he does care about (quidditch, chess, strategy, playing around with friends).

He mostly reads chess books and things for schoolwork, but he quite enjoys a certain kind of history book. You know, the ones about generals and wars and rulers and politics, that are far enough removed from daily life that they can be thought of as abstractions and not applied to the real world at all if you don't need them to. (I also like this kind of book, so that's how I know.)

He thinks most people are pretty decent, given the right circumstances and plenty of time. Maybe he fights with Malfoy, and maybe they don't particularly like each other, but they could probably get along if they had something to talk about and the issues of family politics were removed. Maybe he doesn't like Professor Snape, but he's probably an okay bloke if you like Potions.

He is easily cruel to those who've hurt the people he counts as his. (This doesn't mean he hates them.)

He is easily envious and jealous. He wants to be special, he wants to stand out from his brothers but still fit in with his family. He wants to have money for the little things people like Malfoy or Harry don't think about, new clothes and toys and schoolbooks. (He understands Hermione's fascination with marked-up books, but he'd rather have something new and shiny.) Not even big things, like brooms -- just the little things of everyday life. If he lived in the Muggle world, he'd probably love buildings made of steel and glass.

One of the things he's always loved about Hogwarts is that there's always somewhere you can go off to and be alone when you need it.
esmenet: silhouette of Kaitou Kid (1412)
On the one hand, I would quite like to write Magic Kaito/My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossover fic ("Hey, finally a safe place to hide Pandora!" "My, I do like that suit of yours,"). On the other hand, my reasons for not writing DC/MK fic stand: I refuse to perpetuate its status quo, wherein young men are detectives and phantom thieves and young women are love interests, and until I come up with some good fix-it fic for that I'm not going to touch a single plotbunny.


esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)

May 2016

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