laila
08 April 2011 @ 11:23 am
Taking a Third Option  
Those of you who've been paying attention to the Weiss Kreuz fandom as of late may have noticed that it's become embroiled in a fight to the death (or at least to the extreme irritation) to prove, once and for all, who really is Weiss's leader. Omi's supporters point to his rapport with Manx and easy link to Persia, his reporting on his teammates' actions, his devotion and loyalty to Weiss, and the fact he's very clearly the one who does all the work. Aya's point to his cool sword, brooding bad-boy attitude and The Meeting.

I have recently come to think, however, that there is a third, most compelling alternative that neither side in this debate has addressed. It is that alternative that I propose to set out today.

I have, as many of you know, come down firmly on the Omi side of the fence for many, many years. Put simply, I used to think that it was logical that the person who did all the work and actually had an easy way to talk to the next link up in the chain of command was the one in charge. I believed that Omi had to be the team's leader on the grounds that having to ambush your line manager in a car park every time you wanted to talk to him was a frankly inefficient use of time. I simply didn't realize that ambushing your line manager and threatening him was a wonderful way for a leader to show his drive and initiative. And quitting Weiss on two separate occasions in pursuit of his goals? This obviously proves that Aya is such a fantastic leader he doesn't even need to be backed up by a team to get the job done.

Clearly brooding, unstable bad-boys who won't listen to reason make the best leaders.

It becomes obvious, however, that by Gluhen Aya has lost all the drive and passion that made him the truly effective leader of men he once was. He's inclined to the calm and contemplative, his decision-making is for the most part reasoned, and he's clearly been trusted by Kritiker with watching over the other members of Weiss and making sure that they all keep in line.

Which is why I now believe that the person in charge - at least in Gluhen, and maybe even earlier - is not Aya but Ken.

Think about it. Come Gluhen, is Aya challenging authority, forejudging situations, and driven by the desire to see his enemies dead at his feet? No, he isn't. He's sat in the kitchen talking calmly to Sena about the realities of life as an assassin. He's the steady anchor, the even keel that Omi provided in Kapitel. With his own objectives realized, he lacks the fire and determination that made him such a devoted, driven leader in the past. Clearly, realizing this, he has stepped aside and given up his leadership responsibilities to take on the role of team-builder and Kritiker liaison that Omi once held. Aya is no longer the true leader of Weiss, but he's become their solid leader in the sense of being the one who shoulders the burden of responsibility for the day-to-day running of the team, leaving the duties related to commanding their operations to another.

The team's true leader at this point is Ken. Ken is the one who's showing himself to be passionate and dedicated, willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. Throughout their operations in Gluhen he's by far the most focused of the team, thinking of nothing but their missions and what must be done to successfully complete them. While the rest of Weiss attend classes or mark time with pretty young women, Ken's the one on active duty, keeping his mind firmly on the task at hand: achieving their objectives and eliminating the targets. He shadows their targets and their associates, he monitors their actions, and he's at the forefront in the field. Even while undercover Ken is thinking of nothing but the mission, showing the same clear-headed and whole-hearted dedication to his own responsibilities as Weiss's leader that Aya did before.

Ken is forceful, goal-oriented, determined and, most importantly of all, ruthless in the field. He steps up and takes charge in combat, driven by his desire to see the mission finished and the targets killed. And, like Aya in Kapitel, he isn't afraid to stand up against authority figures and assert his own opinions.

In Kapitel Aya's status as leader was made plain by the domineering attitude he took to his teammates where Omi, the teambuilder and nurturer, used conciliation and attempted to find consensus. In Gluhen it's Aya who conciliates, showing that he has taken Omi's position as mediator. It's Ken - the new leader - who asserts his authority over the team as a whole by taking the same commanding and authoritarian tone that Aya did before. As leader Ken takes a firm hand with Sena, hoping to curb his recklessness and keep him safe by ensuring that he stays in line; he even makes it plain when Aya's suggestions are entirely unnecessary, just as Aya was sometimes called upon to do with Omi when he was the one in charge.

Just as Weiss in Kapitel is led by dominant, aggressive Aya with Omi, the thoughtful teambuilder, taking a more passive role, so the team in Gluhen falls into the same pattern. As Aya - now the thoughtful teambuilder - steps back to take on Omi's responsibilities so Ken steps up and takes on Aya's, becoming leader in his turn. It's a beautiful expression of character growth, and so obvious I can't believe I didn't see it before.

All it took was realizing the truth: you can't ask for more in a leader than a brooding, unstable bad-boy.


To Anybody Who Took This Post Seriously: Dictionary.com's definition of the word 'Parody'. Thank you.
 
 
Current Music: velvet underworld (gluhen version) - weiss
Current Mood: over-enthusiastic
 
 
laila
22 March 2011 @ 11:06 pm
We're Not Happy Until You're Not Happy  
I just started a four-week work placement (all the hassle and stress of a job, except you get paid in luncheon vouchers and travel expenses and that's about it), so this may be a little less coherent and/or well-sourced than usual. But in the face of a relatively recent development in the fandom, there's yet another thing I want to weigh in on.

Some canon defies all fannish attempts to categorize it.

You can be as big a stickler for chronology as you like. If your fandom's canon is basically nuts, it won't actually thank you for it.

Transformers does this. Doctor Who does it. Star Wars is baffling and Star Trek got so confused that it's given up completely and started from zero. Boy howdy do Marvel and DC do it. And, though it's only splashing in the baby pool of bewilderment rather than floating forlornly in the Gulf of Complete Incomprehension watching the distant ships, for my sins Weiss Kreuz does it too.

Which is why I'm a little baffled by Weiss Kreuz fandom's sudden desire - very, very late in the game, too - to try and make the series make sense. Up until now, it's been widely accepted that - while it's possible to pin certain events down - the bigger picture doesn't so much form a nice, neat chronological panorama as it does a demented Cubistic mess. Sure, individual details are discernible, some more so than others, but trying to make sense of it as a whole is so very nearly impossible that rather than try and break your brain on exactly how it all comes together, it's better to accept that things just work like that over here . Best to just sit back and enjoy the madness.

If you're going to make sense of this show to write about it some cherrypicking is inevitable - and, just to make matters more awkward, not all cherrypicking was born equal. But thinking that an officially-sanctioned cherrypicker's take is any more right than... well, than anyone else's out there is, to me, a rather naive view.

Fair play to Marine Entertainment, they definitely did their best. But... well, Weiss Kreuz.

Sure it's nice to have an official view on these things, but official views can be wrong - just ask, well, any member of one of the fandoms floating out there in the Gulf. They - or at least the ones with low blood pressure who occasionally see the light of day - will probably tell you that when that happens, the best thing you can do is just nod, smile and carry on working with what works for you. Because while it might be possible to come up with One True Version of Events, chances are half the fandom will take one look at it and immediately decide it doesn't make any sense. The choices at that point are skyrocketing blood pressure as you attempt to point out why the rest of the fandom is wrong, dammit, or letting it go. Because, when it comes down to it, raising the debaters' blood pressure is pretty much all these debates are good for.

Nobody's going to thank you for telling them to toss a piece of canon they happened to rather enjoy out of the window in the name of greater accuracy. They're not going to thank you for insisting that they go with a version of events that, to their eyes, makes a nonsense out of what's actually up there on page or screen. And they're not going to thank you for telling them to ignore a timeline that, if you ask them, works. Some people like working from databooks, some people like drawing their own conclusions from the original story and backing them up with that. Neither group is doing anything wrong.

Neither group is necessarily knee-deep in canon denial by default. They're just working with what works for them.

Sometimes in fandoms with wildly inconsistent canons, people will have different opinions. And as long as they're not totally making things up or clutching at threads of logic that only make sense if you totally ignore the rest of the tapestry, that's okay too.
 
 
Current Mood: i hate mornings.
Current Music: the end - the doors
 
 
laila
10 March 2011 @ 01:54 am
Well, Now That's Off My Chest....  
On the other hand, sometimes fandom and the Internet is awesome if only for the things it exposes me to that I never would have seen otherwise. Sometimes those things are genuinely quite amazing; sometimes they're such awesome crack I can't help but love them for all their insanity; sometimes, uh...

Well. Introducing the QUALITY Van.

I found the QUALITY Van, of course, through TV Tropes. Trust me when I say there's a good reason for its notoriety.

Seriously, and people say Weiss Kreuz has bad animation? Sure, it has its issues and plenty of them; I've screencapped it, I'd be the first to admit that there are times when the animation quality in Kapitel is very ropey indeed. But it's honestly not alone in that - a lot of far more popular shows suffer from the same problems to a greater or lesser extent, and no matter how many issues Weiss Kreuz may have had, it never suffered from QUALITY cabbages, and at no point did Aya randomly mislay his own head. And, unlike the cast of Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica, their car chases never got quite this daft.



Have fun spotting how many inconsistencies, slips, and just plain ridiculous fuck-ups you can spot during the course of this car chase. There are... well, it's probably a pretty fair bet that either this van never got a model sheet, or someone very plainly lost it long before it was actually needed. I'll drop a couple of hints: watch for the van window and the pool toy. There's a lot more.

There's an annotated version of this clip too, which highlights many of the inconsistencies: I haven't embedded it because while a lot of the annotations about the off-model shots are interesting, the signal to noise ratio is pretty damn low. Many of the relevant observations are lost beneath a morass of irrelevant yammering from the inevitable fourteen-year-old-boy contingent who think that scribbling 'lol hes a fag' over the male lead and 'hurf durf omg boobs' over every scene containing a female character is the height of wit. It might still be worth watching just to pick up on whatever's been missed, but to truly appreciate the sheer quality of the QUALITY Van, the unadulterated version is truly the best.

Honestly, looking at this, all I can think is that Weiss Kreuz got off damn light.
 
 
Current Mood: i'm almost impressed
Current Music: an honest mistake - the bravery
 
 
laila
03 March 2011 @ 09:36 pm
Otherwise known as Hinamatsuri.  
Well, I stuffed that objective up. Too much damn interference. I have a better proposition, though.

I'm posting this for [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith.

See, it is, after all, Youji's birthday. And being as he is rather fond of both Youji and of writing about him, [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith is soliciting prompts for short, Youji-centric fanfics. He's the one who wants the prompts and the one who will be filling them, no doubt far, far better than I've ever managed - but I've got a somewhat larger friendslist, so I'm the one he asked to post the announcement.

For those of you who aren't familiar with [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith's work, his fanfiction.net profile is here. If you've never read anything he's written before - and I'd honestly reccommend you start if you have even the slightest fondness for reading about Weiss as assassins - House of Cards, a mission-centric fic, is a very good place to start, and The Last Hello is a very good example of the way that he writes about Youji. For my money he's proved to be damn good at this: his take on Youji is one of the best I've ever come across, and I can only wish that I was even half as good at writing case-based fanfics as he's proved to be. I'm actually a little jealous.


If you are requesting a fic from [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith, please specify the following:

  • One or more other characters who will be involved in the scene along with Youji - please try and keep the numbers of characters involved to a reasonable level - or 'solo' if you would rather see a monologue about that particular plot or theme. Other characters involved should be part of Kapitel-era canon. No OCs, please.

  • A prompt. Please keep these brief to allow him room to work with them. A good prompt would comprise of a single word or phrase - 'cars', for example, or 'power failure' - rather than several sentences explaining exactly what you'd like to see.

Please be aware that all fiction written as a result of these prompts will be gen. Awesome gen.

To keep things simple, please leave any prompts in the comments to this post, not on [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith's journal.

Finally, unless I'm explicitly told it's okay to say otherwise I'm going to request that any prompts should try and keep things to canon-appropriate levels of violence and trauma. I'm not sure how much fun [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith finds writing the heavy or even medium-weight angst the Weiss Kreuz fandom as a whole specializes in, but from what I know it's 'not very' and I'm therefore going to assume that he really does not want to take requests for anything too dark. It's Youji's birthday, after all - let's try and keep things at least vaguely pleasant for the poor guy.
 
 
Current Music: cathedral - thomas newman
Current Mood: hopeful
 
 
laila
22 February 2011 @ 11:58 pm
"... and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze."  
First off: I didn't write this thing. (If only.) I am, however, going to be linking to it anyway. Secondly: yes, as the fiancée of the author, I admit to a degree of personal bias as regards its objective quality. But I'm still going to recommend full-heartedly that those of you still in this crazy fandom boat with me you read this Weiss Kreuz ficlet by [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith because I think it's a really interesting take on the series and well worth reading.

The Devil's Greatest Trick
Death walks Tokyo's streets, strikes, and vanishes without a word. Weiss from a target's perspective. Oneshot.

I have not, in all my years in this fandom, seen very many fics that focus on what it's like to be one of Weiss's targets. I've seen even fewer - possibly none at all, actually - where the 'target' in question didn't turn out to be a ridiculous Mary Sue and immediately get reprieved by purest plot contrivance, thus rendering the whole point of what it means to actually be targeted by Weiss moot. This fic? It's about a criminal, not an innocent young girl who's been framed or hoodwinked by evil badnasties, and he knows from the start that he is in big, big trouble.

The post [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith did on the subject of this fic and its inspiration is here; I'm not going to try and explain it any better than he did.

Finally, if you haven't seen The Usual Suspects yet, watch it immediately. No, you don't need to have seen it to understand the fic: it's just absolutely brilliant.
 
 
Current Mood: stupid openings.
Current Music: everyday combat - lostprophets
 
 
laila
08 February 2011 @ 03:32 pm
On Headcanon  
The sun is in my eyes, the cat is in next door's yard doing cat things, and I just dropped [livejournal.com profile] somarium.

No particular dramas there or anything - I just didn't feel I was pulling my weight any more and the best thing to do about that was probably to just go, end of story, rather than take yet another hiatus that might well not have solved the problem. I already kind of miss it and feel a bit sad about letting Ken go there, but sticking with it just because I knew I'd feel bad about going wouldn't have been fair on everyone else. If I'm going to be a flake and try and work out if my RP drive has gone or just gone underground for a time, the least I can do is do it on my own time and not leave anyone else hanging.

Besides, I'd been playing him there for almost a year, from February 2010 until, well, yesterday - whatever happens next, he had a damn good run and I had a damn good time. Don't be sad because it's over, be glad because it happened, I guess. I'll get there, for now I'm just a little caught up feeling low.

In an attempt to take my mind off things, or just to honor my passing in some weird way that makes sense only to myself and even then only barely, here's a meme I saw posted during my time in the game. Specifically it's on head canon: on the weird little things that long-term RPing, or even long-term ficcing, sees people adding to their take on a character for no more reason than situations are going to arise that lead to the ficcer or roleplayer having to fill gaps and plug holes - basically they're eventually going to have to start making things up. Even the most comprehensive of canons is unlikely to cover everything, and Weiss Kreuz is absolutely not the most comprehensive of canons.

Share (around) fifteen little-known facts/headcanon tidbits/personal quirks for your character(s) and bask in your new-found wealth of information!

Get your writing excitement going by incorporating these neat little bits where you can, or by coming up with new ones!

I didn't answer it then, for various reasons that are far too tedious to rehearse but must have made sense to me at the time. Either I was on hiatus or my computer was acting up or I was deeply uninspired and just couldn't think of fifteen things to say about Ken, weirdly: something like that, anyway. Still, one way or another I'll definitely be writing Ken again in the future - of course I will, I'm me - so when I remembered this meme existed it still seemed worth the doing and, having been done, worth sharing after the fact.

Most of these facts are... well, more kind of not. Where they're canonical, I'll explain where I got it. Otherwise, assume I made it up.

  • Ken's favorite type of music is J-pop and he secretly fanboys Ayumi Hamasaki. His major complaint with the radio station J-Wave is it plays the Titanic song way too much. He doesn't like the Titanic song; it sounds depressing and it's stupidly overplayed.

  • He likes to cook and though he's not exactly what anyone would call brilliant at it at this stage in the game and pays no attention whatsoever to the small matter of presentation, he's perfectly competent. He learned through sheer necessity: when in training it was expected he'd eat regularly and healthily, and while Ken isn't at all averse to convenience food or snacks, he doesn't want to live off them. His favorite food, as confirmed in the Theater of Pain Drama CD, is curry rice.

  • Ken is a morning person, though it might be truer to say he has a lot of energy as he's perfectly capable of being a night owl too. He's capable of getting by on very little sleep, but is happier when he's properly rested. His morning routine involves getting up at around six or half past, going for a run, taking a quick shower then preparing breakfast. You will eat breakfast or he'll hit you.

  • He'd have made rather a good soldier. As revealed in the A Four Leaf Clover Drama CD, Ken was trained as an urban guerilla by a bunch of crazy survivalists in the mountains. His stated aim while there was to destroy the group from the inside, something he ultimately achieved by setting the members against one another, but Kritiker took the excuse to get him combat-ready for free as well. Which wins some kind of award for sheer brazenness. He became scarily proficient with firearms while there - he's perfectly comfortable using a machine gun, and taking down a helicopter with an RPG is no mean feat - but while he's rather good with guns, he just doesn't like using them much.

  • Where the rest of Weiss are cat people, Ken is a dog person. if he had a spirit animal it'd probably be a Shiba Inu.

  • Ken wants children - maybe not right now, but definitely someday - and has done since he was a kid himself. It's not something he's obsessive about and he's realistic enough to know that his being able to settle down and start a family is about as likely as being picked for the next manned space flight, but he still wants them.

  • Though Ken is extremely ambitious, he left school at fifteen and never even sat his high school entrance exams: as a rising athlete he already knew what he wanted to do with his life and was working under the assumption that he simply wouldn't need to go. Though things really didn't work out as he planned, Ken doesn't particularly regret not going.

  • He's actually a pretty decent florist. Ken didn't start out enjoying the work any more than the rest of his teammates and still wishes he could do something else from time to time, but he takes the job seriously and it's bred a certain enthusiasm in him. He's the kind of person who hates to be idle, meaning he works hard; he's also enough of a perfectionist to want to do the things he does well, and if that means learning how to take care of plants, arrange flowers so they actually look good and put together Hello Kitty bouquets then that's what he'll do.

  • Ken is quietly religious, but not superstitious. He hasn't been to church for some time but is definitely culturally Catholic.

  • He likes computer games and owns a couple of consoles. Ken has no particular interest in playing sports sims (why bother when playing sport for real is much more fun?), beat 'em ups (too much like work) or first-person shooters (not exactly escapism if you're him, though he makes an exception for arcade games and Time Crisis). He's much fonder of platform games, though most of the new ones aren't that great, driving games and the occasional RPG. Before buying his own machines he spent most of his life as Player Two, and was always Tails in Sonic 2 when he was a kid because Kase's an ass.

  • He is bisexual, though hasn't really acknowledged this even to himself: Kase was just his friend and there was absolutely nothing funny going on there at all, really! Ken has no time for the adage about opposites attracting; he likes to share interests with his partners and thinks a good place to take a date is a tennis court. He is most interested in confident, outgoing, tomboyish girls who are slightly older than he is and prepared to take the lead (read: he has absolutely no idea what he's doing and needs serious help).

  • Ken is short. About five foot three, to be exact. Canon opinion varies on this, as it does about... well, everything else in the show, but the only source that actually takes into account the very obvious height differences between the boys says he's 160 cms tall.

  • He likes, for a given value of the word 'likes', watching bad movies. Bad American action movies in particular, but he'll take pretty much anything as long as it's laughable in a not-boring way. Preferably in company so he can complain about them. One of the ways to tell that he's watching a film he actually likes is he won't be talking all the way through and will likely get annoyed if anyone else tries to talk to him.

  • Ken is a bit of a hausfrau, probably because he's the one who gets most annoyed when things haven't been done or food stocks start to run out. He's usually the one who ends up loading the washing machine and buying dish soap, rice and soy sauce. He's not totally sure if the others even realize food doesn't materialize in the fridge and cupboards by magic. When choosing toiletries, he buys whatever's on offer at the time. The only thing he really has a strong opinion about is toothpaste and that's only because he likes the way the brand he uses tastes.

  • He knows a lot more about Dragonball Z than he'll admit.

That would be everything that's unduly influencing me when I sit down to write about Ken. A fair amount of stuff gleaned from canonical back alleys, a fair amount of stuff I just randomly made up because I needed something and canon wasn't going there, and I thought it sounded right. The J-pop thing, for example - I spent ages trying to work out what Ken's musical tastes ran to, somebody suggested J-pop, perhaps as a joke... it felt right to me from the first moment and it stuck thereafter. That's kind of how this whole thing works for me - bits get picked up from here, there and everywhere, creating a crazy kind of katamari of characterization. I can but hope it seems partway logical all the same.

The end result is my take on Ken and the whole reason I write about him so much. Honestly I think it works rather well. I like him, anyway.
 
 
Current Mood: i wish someone would feed me
Current Music: connect - claris
 
 
laila
23 December 2010 @ 02:40 am
It's That Time of Year Again.  
Specifically, the time of year where I celebrate a fictional character's birthday because I seriously have no shame, conversely also no pride, and definitely nothing you might call a life.

Yup, once again it is Ken Hidaka's birthday and I am marking it.

I lack cake. I lack candles. I also lack fanfic, which is perhaps the most unforgivable thing of all given that I took prompts for Ken-centric ficlets an amazing ho-hum length of time ago and have yet to complete a single one of them, for which I probably owe the poor kid an apology. Good intentions but an indequate metholodogy: that's me.

I want to wish him a happy birthday anyway. Because I can, because I adore him even if I have a bloody funny way of showing it sometimes - well, most of the time really - and because two years, or maybe three years, of doing this makes for a tradition and I am a bit of a stickler for tradition, at least as regards this time of year. I decorate the Christmas tree; I go to a Carol service; today it's Ken's birthday, so I'm posting to mark it and it has to be done on the day. I can't do anything else for him what with him being fictional and all (unless somehow symbolically refraining from writing about terrible things happening to him for 24 hours counts).

If I weren't always at my parents' on December 23rd, I probably would have cake...

And I would ask for more prompts, but I haven't written any of the first lot yet.

Instead of taking prompts, then, I'm going to make a promise that I will do my damndest to keep. The first of those prompt ficlets? In honor of what [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith once alled my Subtext of Choice, 'm going to try and get it done by Youji's birthday. Ken needs to catch a break every now and then, and I need to get better at writing to order.

Anyway. Ken Hidaka's birthday. Ken, if he were a real person, would be pushing thirty even harder than I am by now. He's not. He's constantly stuck - at least in my mind - at nineteen, a pretty difficult age at the best of times and not a good one to be stuck at more or less eternally. Not that there's really a lot I can do about this save get into Weiss Side B and even then he'd still be several years younger than he ought to be. Though that's kind of a moot point as, to me, Ken Hidaka ought to be nineteen, which would be why he's gotten stuck. Dtuck in my fanfic and stuck at a difficult age - and, more often than not, stuck with Youji. That's the kind of fangirl I am. The kind who posts LJ entries to mark her favorite character's birthday and thinks that making him kiss his best friend is somehow A Good Idea.

I'm not entirely sure Ken would consider that to be catching a break, but I'd like to imagine that at least on some level he enjoyed it.
 
 
Current Music: rosier - luna sea
Current Mood: happy
 
 
laila
06 December 2010 @ 02:15 am
Love The Fandom, Hate The Fen (Part 2,873,441)  
So, it turns out that fanon still sucks.

I honestly don't get the appeal of OOC fanfic, especially not for shows as character-driven as Weiss Kreuz. I assumed - and call me crazy if you like - that the whole appeal of fanfiction was that it gave a fan more of characters they'd already grown to know and love. I simply don't know why anybody would want to read a story in which those characters simply weren't themselves.

I don't get why anyone would like - still less favor - the fanon take on a character as opposed to the more nuanced original.

This, of course, means that my endless quest to Find Something Decent to Read (That Wasn't Written By Someone I Already Know) is doomed to almost inevitable frustration. I don't like the constant focus on romance or how amazingly phoned-in half those romances are. I don't like the way the canon women are lucky if a ficcer just decides to ignore them rather than pouring scorn on them from a great height for daring to stand in the way of sparkly buttsex or even sparklier Mary Sues. I - whisper it - don't actually find Schwarz all that interesting outside of their role as antagonists. And I really, really don't like the standardWeiss Kreuz fanon or what it does to the one thing I'm really here for: the characters.

You know why? It's because I like Youji.

Terrible though the fanon portrayals for most of Weiss are, the way the fandom as a whole treats Youji is by far the worst. Because what we get when the fandom writes about him is shit like this:

Yohji wasn't listening anymore. Instead, he had stepped over next to the girl, flirting like he always was. Normally, Aya would ignored everything, but not this time. This time it was different.
She didn't respond like all the other girls. No, she didn't blush like a tomato or giggle and bat her eyes. She just stood there, her hands tightening on the straps of her backpack until her knuckles were white. Her face was paling, as if afraid of something, but her one visible eye was sparkling dangerously, like a cat that was ready to strike.
"Yohji."
His warning was too late. Aya didn't know what Yohji did, but she had punched him. Not slapped, punched. Right in the stomach, sending him buckling forward onto his knees from the surprise attack.
And he could see Yohji's confusion. The playboy was use to being able to charm any girl he wanted to in less than 2 minutes. Never had a single girl hit him before. Until now.

From Fox Tales by Silver Fox

And that isn't even the worst of it. )

If Youji's not being insulted and belittled by characters who are supposed to be among his best friends, he's being abused either verbally or physically by girls he's been nothing but pleasant to - or, most sickeningly, his character's totally shredded just because someone has to rape Aya for the fangirl thrills.

Yeah, the fanon takes on Youji really are utterly inexcusable. He's barely even the same character in the hands of fans like these. With Omi and Ken the fanon might be stupid, but it's at least possible to see where it comes from: it's more a distortion rather than the out-and-out misreading we see with Fanon Youji. Aya may not be particularly like himself either, but he's warped into something that's generally supposed to be far more flattering than his canon portrayal - true, it makes him pretty damn annoying with it, but at least the intent was to make him look better and quite why this is so goddamn irritating is a rant for another day - and one I've probably already written, at that.

Youji? The standard fanon take on Youji is a total bastardization. At best he's an Aya-fixated idiot with nothing on his mind but Aya's rose-scented redheaded perfection; at worst? A leering rapist. Not only not IC, but not someone his canon self would even want to share space with. If he's not beaing beaten up by Mary Sues for daring to Talk To Girls, he's being told he's not good enough to go out with Aya unless he changes everything about himself.

Worst of all are the fics where he is somehow forced into sexually assaulting or out and out raping Aya. The small fact that if Youji had been given any choice in the matter he wouldn't have wanted to have sex either is either brushed aside or never comes up. If it did? That would mean accepting that Youji was also a rape victim, and that might mean Aya didn't look quite so uniquely martyred any more. Far better to have everyone and their dog scorn and vilify him because How Could You Hurt Aya?! as if he was more responsible for what had happened than the person who had forced him into that position in the first place (most usually Schuldig). After all, he was the one on top...

But rape is sex you don't want. It doesn't matter what position you were in at the time.

Honestly? I think he comes in for this degree of denigration for daring to be straight and sexually successful.

The Suethors, almost to a woman, hate on Youji because Little Miss Different and Speshul is Not Like The Other Girls™ and a quick, easy and utterly thoughtless way to immediately 'prove' it is to have her jump all over Youji for daring to be friendly and flirtatious because that's bad somehow. See, the other girls all think he's a great guy so if she doesn't that makes her look different. Of course it also makes her look batshit and in some cases irrationally violent and that won't do, so they have to portray her as the only woman who can See Beneath The Façade and knows he's really a creepy pervert and potential date-rapist with all the charm of a scruffy terrier who's missing his master's leg. Never mind that if he actually was all those things, he wouldn't be half as popular with girls as he is. It's like Suethors think that if you're not their speshul Sue of speshulness, you not only lack a brain or, for that matter, any sense of self-preservation, but you never actually talk to other women. (Perhaps because Mary Sues seldom treat other women - unless they're also Not Like The Other Girls Speshul - as anything but a threat to be neutralized as soon as possible? Rant for another day, laila...)

Not that the slash fangirls handle things any better. The slash ficcers think Youji is hot and looks good on Aya, but there's a problem for them as well: specifically, Youji is straight.

The fact that the hottie they want to pair with Aya likes girls Will, of course, Clearly Not Do. They have to do something about the whole inconvenient heterosexual thing, meaning that they portray all the traits that tie into his heterosexuality as bad and wrong and something that he has to get over before he can be worthy of Aya's (it's almost always Aya's) love. Meaning they greatly overstate how ruled he is by his vices and present them as things that it's absolutely impossible to enjoy in moderation, and who cares that pre-Gluhen this is exactly what he does? Proving his love for Aya usually involves him giving up 90% of the things that make him who he is to make his beloved happy - never mind that if Aya wants a teetotal non-smoker who goes to bed at nine with a mug of Horlicks and an improving book he doesn't really want to be with Youji at all - and he's still treated as if he's constantly five seconds away from trying to rape something because he actually shows some sign of possessing a sex drive.

Note that Aya is never presumed to have to change anything about himself but is supposed to be just perfect the way he is. The obsession with vengeance? That's totally understandable. And who cares if he seldom, if ever does anything to indicate that he actually feels any affection for Youji at all?

And Heaven forbid any of these fanficcers remember that if Youji and Aya were to get together, Aya wouldn't be the only one with relationship issues. In fact Youji's issues, related as they are to romantic love, are actually far more likely to derail a potential relationship than Aya's. Aya lost his family, but Youji lost a lover. Not only is he nowhere near over Asuka, he's clearly still deeply in love with her even though she's dead. Aya is not going to change that, and he certainly isn't if he (and the fanfic he inhabits) doesn't even begin to realize that just maybe Youji's hurting too.

It's getting to the point I'm starting to wonder if half these fanficcers saw the same show I did, or if they even bothered witching it in the first place. Youji has his faults, sure, but so do all of them. Ken, for example, is short-tempered, violent and has a tendency to try and solve his problems by hitting them until they go away, but it's almost never suggested by fanficcers that this makes him a potential abuser. Sure it probably wouldn't in Ken's case, but it's a Hell of a lot more plausible that a person with a short temper, a violent streak and a very combative approach to life's problems could become physically abusive than suggesting a healthy sex drive and active, multi-partnered love life means 'rapist' almost by default.

And Youji Kudou is not, repeat not a rapist. If we can't get anything else about him right, we should at least remember that.
 
 
Current Mood: oh here she goes again
Current Music: wonderful life - hurts
 
 
laila
03 June 2010 @ 06:35 pm
It's That Old Circular.  
... once again, I appear to have gotten completely carried away.

The plan for today was always to do a Suethor rant. The intention was to expand on a thought I had a while back and has been sitting in my 'rant about this' folder for the last amazing ho-hum length of time waiting for me to do something with it. This, though it is another Suethor rant, is not that rant. This was again inspired by a post to [livejournal.com profile] marysues and my somewhat marked propensity to, when confronted with an innocent comment box, teal into it at amazing length. This isn't really fair on the comment boxes but it is the way I was made, so it's not likely to be changing any time soon. Now read on.

I have a question relating to OCs and Mary Sues. I know this isn't a spork so if you mods don't like my question you can delete it. Anyway, here's my question. When you are reading stories in a fandom and you see [Canon CharacterXOC] do you automatically think Mary Sue? Do your pupils turn to sporks as you lick your lips to read the possibly horrible story? I know that probably 9 out of 10 fics in most fandoms dealing with OCs are Mary Sues.

Depends on the fandom as much as the OC, I think.

Given my oft-stated devotion to Weiss Kreuz I can of course only speak for myself and my own fandom, but... well, put it this way, Weiss (and, tho' to a slightly lesser extent, this applies to Schwarz as well) are genuinely not very good at keeping the people they care for alive, still less around them for very long. If an OC shows up, falls for and somehow manages to live happily ever after with one of the regulars? Well, I'm gonna be thinking Mary Sue right out the gate. That's not how things work round here.

It's kind of sad, really. The Weiss Kreuz fandom is actually surprisingly fertile ground for OCs. I'm more likely to give an OC a pass if the story they inhabit isn't straight out of the 'so there's this girl and she's cool' school of fanfiction. I have no problems with OCs just so long as the author has a story to tell that doesn't revolve around either her Special Powers and-stroke-or Tragic Past and why the rest of the cast are in awe of her awesome and should let her totally take over, her Epic True Love with one of the regulars, or both. OCs in fanfiction, to my mind, are there to help nursemaid the plot along: they shouldn't be the plot in its entirety.

I've seen a lot of very good Weiss Kreuz fanfic which used OCs in some way, shape or form. Equally I have seen an awful lot of obvious Suethor dreck.

So how do I tell the difference? Well, first and foremost if an OC shows up and nigh-on effortlessly hooks up with Aya (usually just because she's moved in with him or sat down and told him all about how tragic her life is) despite the bit where he doesn't actually want to date anybody and has far better things to think about than some sparkly girl he's only just met then yes, I'm gonna think Mary Sue. Aya is an angry, self-centered, deliberately isolated young man who's been canonically established as completely uninterested in romance: he thinks he doesn't deserve it. The ice about his frozen heart is not going to instantly melt on regarding the warm smile and sparkling orbs of some girl he barely knows just because she's there. The exact same thing applies to the rest of Weiss and all of Schwarz actually: they're not going to drop everything to fawn over a random girl who just appeared.

More to the point, I'm more likely to think that an OC is a Mary Sue if she and her love interest are mentioned upfront in the summary (Canon Hottie x OC!) or if the romance is clearly the driving force behind the fic, especially if it's a fic written for a series where true romance plays a rather tangential part in things, if it shows up at all. Straight away the character doesn't fit with the world she's been dropped into, and as a result she's not likely to look like she really belongs there. A character who doesn't look like she belongs in the setting she's supposed to have inhabited all her life? I'm gonna think Mary Sue there as well, especially if the world itself seems to be changing to accommodate her presence there. If she'd look out of place in the canon 'verse and the ficcer knows it and as a result is warping the canon setting all the better to slot her in? She's a Mary Sue.

The more of a special exception to all the canon rules the new character is, the more likely I am to think she's a Sue.

Of course, there are exceptions and exceptions. It's not really all that implausible for a young man to be more worried about the cute college girl with the broken umbrella who missed the last bus than he would be about the drenched, umbrellaless businessman standing next to her. Most young men would, however, be almost as wary about letting her sleep on the couch as he would be if the businessman wanted to, and he'd call an ambulance if the girl was bleeding in the gutter in just the same way he would if the man in the suit was down there. The Cute Girl Exemption Card only takes you so far.

Just as there are exceptions and exceptions, there are canon characters and canon characters. Some of them genuinely will be more receptive to an OC taking an interest than the others would be. It's perfectly possible for an OC to get together with a canon character without being a Mary Sue if it's in-character for that regular to want to spend time with her, and his reactions to being with her remain plausible and true to his behavior in canon. If she's the exception to all the usual rules, she's a Sue. If she isn't she's not and it doesn't matter if she's hanging off the arm of a canon character or not - just as long as it makes sense for the canon character to want her to be there.

Some characters, as long as the girl herself isn't an absolutely horrible human being, can totally plausibly be charmed by a cute OC without it looking at all out of place. Youji, for example. Nobody's going to bat an eyelid if Youji takes up with a cute stranger out of nowhere and if you write about him doing it then there's absolutely no problem. Characters like Aya and Ken can't, and that's where the accusations of 'Mary Sue' come in.
 
 
Current Mood: kinda hot in here.
Current Music: danger zone - kenny loggins (i was earwormed, all right?)
 
 
laila
08 February 2010 @ 01:48 am
It Is The Nineties.  
Weiss Kreuz as a series is more than a little chronologically confused. This is a show that only makes sense if it's set in a year with twice the regulation number of days. We're talking snow in April, Omi having the canonical birthday of Febrary 29, 1981 even though 1981 was not a leap year, and oh God Ken Hidaka's back story. Don't try and make sense of it all, for that way madness lies.

On the other hand, it is at least possible to get the decade right. Sure, Schuldig appears to be campaigning hard to bring back the Eighties, but we always knew Schuldig was a bit weird and he may just be yearning for the glory days of the Stasi, and Kase seems to be under the delusion that it's the Seventies but then he's always been even weirder. The fans, on the other hand, think it's 2010.

BUT. IT IS THE NINETIES.

The nineties, I suppose, still just looks contemporary. (As someone who was a teenager in the 1990s, I should probably be thankful for this.) Nineties fashion, relying as it does heavily on the jeans and tee-shirts I spent my own teens in, doesn't look anywhere near as dated as it could do since nobody's wearing puffball skirts or ridiculous bouffants, and consumer technology's prevalant enough to be noticeable. There were games consoles that weren't made by Atari with graphics that actually managed to look vaguely like the things they were trying to represent. There was an Internet, even if most of it did seem to consist of lunatics ranting on Geocities and Tripod about not very much (and you wouldn't even get that much if you were on AOL) and you most likely had to access it all via dial-up networking. It's not like Weiss Kreuz is set in the terrifying pre-technological wilderness that was the Eighties, after all.

But it is still the late nineties. The spring and summer of 1998, if one wishes to be scrupulous. And there's obvious evidence for this and I'm not just talking things like official birthdates or the occasional date on the occasional piece of background color. The essential ninetiesishness of the setting the characters are moving in is everywhere the alert viewer might choose to look, and several places they probably wouldn't.

And, of course, I have screenshots to prove it. Everything's better with screenshots.



This is not a contemporary setting we're talking about here. It is not 2010. It's twelve years previous and it shows. It's showing, I like to believe, pretty damn obviously in just about all these screenshots in one way or another; it's just as bad elsewhere, if not a little worse. Either it's 2010 and Weiss are the most self-consciously retro assassin team ever or it's 1998 and they're actually pretty well-equipped. What's more likely?

But what does it all mean, laila? )

There's more to it than this, of course. There's Youji infiltrating an office with a DVD-R rather than a pen drive - and the attendant five-minute wait for the data to transfer. There's Wunder X, peddling CDs of addictive music, and the victims plugged into Discmen rather than iPods - or any other kind of mp3 player, for that matter. There's Weiss's reliance on radios when communicating in the field and the size of the headsets they use. There's the fact that a minute fraction of the cast have cellphones - incredibly clunky-looking cellphones at that - and even the ones that do don't always seem to remember they're there. There's Persia's car phone. There's Tetsuya's Playstation 1. There's the fact that two computers and a laptop in a house with only four people in it was quite a lot of computer to have casually hanging around the place in 1998. And then there's Sister Ruth trying to find Farfarello via her Angelfire page.

So could we please declare a moratorium on giving Weiss - or the Mary Sues who love them, for that matter - things like iPods or Nintendo DSes? It is the nineties, and there were no such things in 1998.
 
 
Current Mood: damn pistachio nuts
Current Music: kanojo no modern - glay