sevendials: (ken - but it's funny)
2011-04-08 11:23 am
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (ken - oh kenken to have your mind)
2011-03-22 11:06 pm
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (ken - i'm in a box)
2011-03-10 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.
sevendials: (youji - angel of harlem)
2011-03-03 09:36 pm
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (ghost story)
2011-02-22 11:58 pm
Entry tags:

"... 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.
sevendials: (ken - kiss the flower boy)
2011-02-08 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.
sevendials: (smile like you mean it)
2010-12-23 02:40 am
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (youji - bitching about canon since 1997)
2010-12-06 02:15 am
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (mary sue? fandom wants a word...)
2010-06-03 06:35 pm
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (mea culpa)
2010-02-08 01:48 am
Entry tags:

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.
sevendials: (kiss the flower boy)
2010-02-07 12:29 am
Entry tags:

On Personal Canon.

In this post I made a reference to Schuldig yearning for the glory days of the Stasi. This was an inadvertent private joke, and one which relies for its explanation more than a little on my own take on where exactly Schuldig is coming from. This would be something I decided on in conversation with [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith, and may require a little bit of explaining. So, here I am explaining myself.

Being as I am not a big Schwarz fangirl, my understanding of the back doubles of their canon is slight. Being, however, a fangirl at all, this hasn't stopped me freely speculating based on what I do know about him - namely that he's a German, that he's in his early 20s, that he's a professional bastard and that he works, or worked, for Esset.

So, I don't know a lot - but I know enough about him and about German history to know that there are some serious unanswered questions implied in all this.

If we run with the idea that Weiss Kreuz is set in 1998 - which it clearly is given the onscreen confirmation of the year in Episode 19, an episode I would not recommend watching for any other reason unless of course you really like bloody awful electronic music - and Schuldig is around 23 years old during the series itself, this puts him at 15 years old during German reunification in 1990 and suggests that he must have been born sometime in 1975. Considering that Rosenkreuz must have gotten their claws into him and dragged him off to Austria by the time he was in his early teens at the very latest, this means that Schuldig spent his childhood in a divided country and may well never actually have lived in a unified Germany.

This, of course, begs the question of precisely where in that divided country he was living. There's a theory, of course, that Schuldig lived in West Berlin. I'd go with that if it wasn't for knowing where the theory came from: Sidara's Sünde. Now, Sünde is a decent enough fanfic, but it is just a fanfic. Just because Sidara said it doesn't mean we all have to go along with it. I don't. I think he's from that kind of area, but not from West Berlin. Or, in fact, from Berlin at all.

This is about where I start making shit up, so hold onto your hats, folks.

For some reason I think Schuldig is from Brandenburg. Specifically Potsdam. I'm going somewhere with this, so please nod, smile and move on.

This, for the record, makes him an East German. I think there's something about Schuldig's attitude that makes him uniquely suited to being brought up in the former Eastern Bloc. Knowledge, after all, is power, and nowhere more so than in a totalitarian state where even thinking the wrong way is strenuously discouraged, where kids are brought up from birth aware that there's a right way and a wrong way to think about things. An untrained but still-powerful psychic in a situation like that could very easily prove very dangerous.

Simply put I think Schuldig, growing up in the Eastern Bloc, would have been a very dangerous child indeed. I think that he realized from a very early age the power that his gift gave him over people, and that he wasn't at all averse to exploiting this. I think he may well have informed for the Stasi, more to settle scores with the people who'd wronged him or for the feeling of power it gave him than because he genuinely believed in the Soviet state's goals; I think, in the end, that this is why Rosenkreuz managed to track him down, because how in the world did a child know all these things? Underage informers were nothing new, of course, but one who knew quite as much as Schuldig did, and was quite as uncannily accurate, would be something to worry about. Where, exactly, would he have been getting all this from?

From there on, of course, I defer to canon and superior Schwarz-fangirl knowledge.

And, of course, this is simply my take on it. I may or may not be wrong about any or all of it, but to be totally honest I don't care if I am. I enjoy my little Schuldig fantasy origin story and I want to keep it. Permit me my girlish dreams a minute, please?
sevendials: (weiss - place to call home)
2010-02-05 03:13 am
Entry tags:

And then laila was a fangirl (again).

Soo.

I just finished rewatching Weiss Kreuz for useful purposes. Specifically because I was worried I couldn't write Ken for shit any more and wanted a do-over to be sure I was still doing it right. Hadn't seen it in what felt like an absolute age and if I was beginning to wonder what in the world made me love my ridiculous twelve-year-old show about florist/assassins (complete with plot holes!) well, now I remember. Not that I can exactly put that love into coherent words, because I just love it because I do and it's not the kind of thing you can rationalize, it really isn't.

A couple of things were different this time round. Specifically, Sakura. Sakura is a character who I have previously just kinda tolerated. This time round, though? I liked her. I genuinely did like her. I think she's been unfairly maligned by a vast swathe of the fandom - including, I'm prepared to admit, me in my earlier days - and looking back I really don't know what she did to deserve it apart from daring to have two X chromosomes and a crush on Aya, Object of Fangirl Obsession #1. Which is a ridiculous thing to hold against her, because she's a fifteen year old girl. Of course she's got a crush on the good-looking, mysterious guy who's saved her life. I think I probably would have in her place.

Why the Hell I took against her I can't even begin to explain any more. I've never particularly cared for Aya or thought that Sakura's crush on Aya somehow made her in the way of Fanon Youji or my Mary Sue having him instead. Maybe I just thought she wasn't 'badass' enough for my tastes because God forbid a teenage schoolgirl should act like a teenage schoolgirl and actually get a little upset by, say, being abducted and mind-raped.

Maybe the difference is this time I was actually watching her, not just considering her scenes to be an unavoidable but rather unwelcome delay to the actual plot. I only did this because I'm RPing her over at [livejournal.com profile] wk_awakenings and I wanted to be sure I was doing it right, but the more I actually watched her instead of tuning out and wondering when the assassins would be back the more I wondered why in the world I had taken against her in the first place. She only sounds like a demure, passive little thing, and if she's occasionally overwhelmed by the things going on around her - once again, ordinary fifteen-year-old girl. She holds up a Hell of a lot better than I would.

So, purpose statement: I like Sakura now. In fact I like her rather a lot and would like to apologize for all the bad things I ever said about her which were manifestly far more fanon-flavored than they should have been. I was stupid at the time, but now I am smart(er).

See, this is why rewatches are useful.

It's probably no bad thing I rewatched in other ways. I wasn't anywhere near as off with Ken as I feared I might have been, but I was rather ignoring his tendency to get incredibly annoyed at... well, just about anything, especially where that thing is called a Youji Kudou (and then they made out!) which is rather a pity as that is pretty much where the whole I ship it thing originally comes from (AND THEN THEY MADE OUT, SERIOUSLY.) Still, knowing you have a problem is the first step to solving it: I've been practicing my irritable!Ken in the last couple of days and... well, what can I say? I missed him.

Now all I've got to do is rewatch Verbrechen and Strafe, but I'm saving that as a prize for getting my WIP back into some kind of order. Yes, that WIP. It needs extensive reworking and the opening chapter has to be totally rewritten, but I am going to finish it it it kills me.

Further purpose statement: I still love Weiss Kreuz far more than a grown woman ought, and Ken Hidaka is clearly totally awesome.

(The Wunder X episode is still bloody ridiculous, though.)
sevendials: (weiss - place to call home)
2010-01-25 05:47 pm
Entry tags:

How to Write a Weiss Kreuz OC Without Royally Fucking Up, Part One

Weiss Kreuz, as a series, is absolutely tailor-made for fan characters. Just about all the memorable fanfic I have ever read for this series has had OCs in, sometimes several of them, sometimes in major roles. The episodic nature of the show, and high turnover of supporting characters, is such that if a fan writer is going to write pretty much anything in the vein of an actual episode they're going to need OCs, and lots of them.

So why in the world is it that most Weiss Kreuz OCs out there tend to fall into the 'shitty Mary Sue' camp? This is a show it should be easy to insert a new character into, and yet we the fans keep on fucking up. How does this keep happening? Can't it be stopped?

Of course, it probably can't be stopped and nobody cares what you think, laila, but that never stopped me from ranting at incredible TL;DR length before and it damn sure isn't going to stop me now - certainly not when I've had this rant half-finished on my hard drive for God knows how long now and I am going to get it posted come Hell, high water or (more likely) incredible eye-crossing tedium. So to that end, I would like to present...


How to Write a Weiss Kreuz OC Without Royally Fucking Up

Advice that, I admit, is mostly geared toward avoiding all the most common pitfalls associated with the creation if Weiss Kreuz Mary Sues. This isn't to say that following this guide to the letter would render a would-be fanficcer utterly incapable of writing a Mary Sue, or that sometimes ignoring some of these factors may be excusable. Truth is, though, that most Mary Sue ficcers do make these mistakes, sometimes more than one of them, sometimes repeatedly, and anyone who genuinely wanted to create an OC for this fandom - particularly a young, female OC, as Weiss do have a tendency to run into pretty girls with ugly secrets in canon and there should be no harm in a fanfic doing the same thing - would do well to remember they exist, and plan accordingly.


She's Not That Remarkable
Weiss see dozens of girls over the course of a single day, most of whom are pretty, many of whom are friendly and charming, almost all of whom more than willing to get to know them a little better. They're quite used to this treatment and three-quarters of the team try with varying degrees of success to ignore it; the fourth quarter is something called a Youji Kudou. Pretty girls, to Weiss, are background noise at best; at worst, an occupational hazard.

An OC who chose to introduce herself by showing up in the shop would be just another pretty girl in a crowded room full of pretty girls. Weiss would have no reason to remember her over and above any of the other girls they've seen recently unless she looked utterly outrageous or did something likewise. Stunning beauty wouldn't count as outrageous but a missing limb would; a cute pratfull wouldn't count either, outrageous behavior would be raping Ken on the shop table. Weiss won't fall all over themselves to be nice to her the minute they clap eyes on her just because she exists. She'd have to do something before they noticed her, and it would have to be far more significant than 'buy flowers'. Weiss sell flowers. That's their job. Pretty girls buy flowers off them every day. It's really not a bonding experience.


Read The Job Description
Weiss are assassins: that's it. They are not bodyguards. They are not a SWAT team or a search and rescue squad and they're certainly not set dressing for any random OC who showed up five minutes previous. Under the circumstances, any Weiss fic which gets involved enough to need OCs (and 'my OC is cool and I want her here' does not mean a story needs a new character) is almost definitely going to make quite heavy reference to this whole 'assassin' thing the four of them have going on. If it doesn't, There Is A Problem.

Schwarz are bodyguards, and that's it for them too. They're the opposite of Weiss, okay? The opposite of assassin? Is a bodyguard.

That being the case, Weiss are not going to be asked to 'protect' an OC for any reason whatsoever. They certainly won't be ordered to watch over an OC by Kritiker - they're assassins, and Kritiker are the people who tell them who to kill and where to find them - and even if they themselves decide to protect her anyway there will be limits to what they can practically do for her without blowing their cover. (They are very unlikely, for example, to let her move in with them.) Weiss are assassins, exceptionally good at making things die, and really not the people you go to if you want to make sure someone stays alive. They just kill people - and not just the people who are supposed to die, either.

As for Schwarz, they're not going to be ordered to murder an OC. (Bodyguards.) They're not particularly likely to be frantically keen on abducting her either. (Bodyguards.) Considering they only bother with Weiss when Weiss are stood in front of them being obstructive, they aren't likely to take any real interest in an OC unless she's waving a gun at Takatori. (Once again, bodyguards.) And they wouldn't even be that desirable as bodyguards, either - it would take one Hell of a plot contrivance to explain why they were suddenly working for an OC, and an even larger one to explain why they didn't end up double-crossing her, too.


Life Goes On
Weiss and Schwarz had jobs to do, responsibilities to fulfill, problems to deal with and personal traumas to handle before any OC showed up on the scene. They will continue to have those jobs, responsibilities, problems and traumas after she arrives, too. It doesn't matter how awesomely significant she may be supposed to be to any or all of them. These eight men had lives of their own which didn't involve her before and they are going to go on dealing with things they find personally significant which have nothing to do with her after her arrival, too. She is not so awesomely indispensable that everything in the regulars' lives that has no connection to her will stop on a dime so as not to get in her way.

Simply, Weiss and Schwarz have more things to worry about than the trials and tribulations of some girl they only just met - things they, whisper it, may even consider more important than her and her problems. They are not going to want to spend every waking moment with her, and when not in her company they will have better things to do than sit around talking about her, thinking about her or worrying about her to the exclusion of absolutely everyone and everything else. Nobody is that significant to anyone.


Idiot Plots Are For Idiots
The main characters in this series are black-ops agents. They are, consequentially, going to be able to notice the similarity between Girl A and Girl A With A Different Hairstyle And Sunglasses On. It doesn't matter if the average Joe or Jane think that 'with a few minor changes to her looks' an OC is 'a different person' - the men of Weiss and Schwarz and their support workers are not average Joes or Janes. They're all quick-witted, observant people (yes, even Ken and the secretaries, thank you), and it's largely why they're still alive.

If, for whatever reason, they aren't supposed to recognize an OC for what she is, there are ways to work the transformation without making the regulars look like complete dumbasses - which means it's got to be a damn sight more complete than a ponytail, a pair of shades, or an awesome new outfit complete with miniskirt. Yes, it is going to require a change of clothing - but it's also likely to require a wig, colored contacts, and an entirely different way of talking, holding herself, and moving in her own body. If Youji can recognize Manx by her ankles, it's a pretty good bet he'd be able to identify an OC through body language and speech patterns - and Schuldig will recognize her by her thought patterns. If a fic is really going to fool a group of black-ops agents into thinking an OC is two different people, there have to be reasons, and damn good ones, for them to believe it. 'She's got sunglasses on now' is not a reason.


... what do you mean there's more?! )


... and that would be the end of that except that it's actually, as near as I can make out, just over half of it.

Coming up after the break (read when I've finished writing it, which now I've posted this half will have to be sometime in the next few days): So, crazed Weiss Kreuz 'OC' fanficcer, you think you want to give Weiss or Schwarz a neat new female teammate? Well, since 'no, for God's sake, I beg of you don't give Weiss or Schwarz a neat new female teammate' is not the kind of advice you're likely to bother listening to, you had probably better read this instead.
sevendials: (smile like you mean it)
2010-01-22 10:53 pm

... wait, when did I last eat?

I really should stop making icons, but I don't want to.

This post is, I admit, largely pointless. I'm making it simply because I want to use my latest icon and, in the process, pimp a little bit of digital coloring I've been doing in order to aid the whole icon-making process - though I am not, I admit, exactly the greatest at coloring images. All I can really manage is a sort of fake-ass 'cel shading' style beloved of adolescent Deviantart users drawing their Naruto Sues all over screenshots of Sakura Haruno and and precisely nobody else, which pretty much ignores damn near everything about tones and effective use of light and shade, but I do rather enjoy doing it for all that I kind of suck.

The issue is that uncolored, unshaded lineart just doesn't resize down very well for iconmaking purposes. Too much detail gets lost, the lines blur into one another and the whole thing just doesn't look very good. So, if I want to make an icon using an uncolored, unshaded image the best thing I can do is to shade or color the thing myself and then make the icon using the recolored image. Yeah, it does rather slow things down this end, but if it means I get a decent icon out the end of it, it's all worth it. That said, though, the time commitment of amateurishly recoloring a piece of lineart when you're not very good at it (and I'm not) does tend to mean that I'm not likely to bother in the first place if the image in question doesn't have Ken in it and-stroke-or can't be used to push my ridiculous fangirl-shipper agenda. No, I don't think I have quite enough Youji/Ken icons already, actually, why do you ask?

Needless to say I claim absolutely no responsibility for the linework in the following images: that's all the work of Kyoko Tsuchiya. I can't actually draw to save my life either and if I could maybe I'd have an actual reason to try and get better at digital coloring. But I can't. So I don't.

Anyway, enough of this nonsense and I shall now post the pictures. Of which I have two.

I originally wanted to do the first image in grayscale because I thought it would be quicker after the time I'd spent working on colorizing the Youji/Ken image. Hahaha NO. Lies! All the time I saved through not having to work in full-color I ended up spending on trying to deal with Ken's goddamn hair, which turned out to be way, way harder to color and highlight than I thought it'd be. I also did another version of the Ken with a scarf picture without the spot color, which is here. Personally I prefer it with the blue scarf as I think it makes for a more interesting image, but that's just my take on it and it is after all entirely possible that I am tired, not thinking straight, still cold-addled or just plain bats.

Incidentally, I am 27 years old and still can't spell 'amateur' without spellcheck looking over my shoulder to see that I'm doing it right, which I invariably am not... and I wouldn't even know how to spell 'unconscious' if it wasn't for the sheer number of times I've knocked out Ken.
sevendials: (flaky)
2010-01-17 08:28 pm

Clearly, there is something wrong with my sanity chip.

Yeah, I'm still a little bit ick, but this doesn't seem quite as big a deal after an afternoon spent talking bullshit with [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith. Okay, so I'll probably pay for it tomorrow, but I really can't bring myself to care about that right now because dammit I am having fun here.

So, a quick news update: yes, I am still making icons and yes, they are for Weiss Kreuz because FANGIRL. I currently have forty... something. Ish. I want to make several more. The good thing about this is that it means that by the time I am finished I will have enough to post a decent-sized icon dump, which is something I haven't managed for a long while. Good news, I think: it would, of course, be better for the rest of the universe if I stopped making Ken icons for five minutes and concentrated on everyone else in the cast.

Anyway, on the subject of things I haven't done in a while: yeah, it's been a while since I did one of my lame-humor screendump selections. Since I somehow managed to find the others hilarious, I thought I'd go ahead and do another one.

The usual drill applies - it's image-heavy, most of said images are of Ken or feature him in some way because that's what my screencap collections tend to do, and there are a lot of rather dodgy sex jokes and a picture of Youji in bed with many beautiful ladies, because charisma is not just a dump stat. Well, okay, two beautiful ladies. If you find any or all of the following unappealing, you may care to look away now - though I really do have to wonder why, in that case, you're even reading this Livejournal.




"My name is Ran Aya Fujimiya. Son of a murdered father, brother of a comatose sister, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next!" Well, nobody could say Ken hadn't warned them them this could happen if Aya watched Gladiator.

Youji likes Ken very much. )

Yes, I know I probably got a bit carried away with this one but it's what happens when you come up with all the really good jokes after you've already finished putting together the image post. As there's no goddamn way I'd remember said jokes if I saved them for a hypothetical next time - and if I hadn't written them down I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even have remembered them half an hour after the fact - I just went with it.

Tune in next time when I may actually have some content in this space.
sevendials: (just another boy)
2010-01-14 11:54 pm
Entry tags:

A brief thought.

Because yeah, I can do brief sometimes too, right?

It occurs to me apropos of badfic that writing dark, serious, plot-heavy fanfiction that focuses on Aya must be an exercise in utter frustration, because all half the Aya fans out there who read the damn thing will see will be Aya and his ridiculous and all-consuming AWESOME and to hell with niceties like plot, characterization, or what everyone else in the entire damn story might be getting up to because you know, that's interesting and all but OMG IT IS ALL ABOUT AYA, so much so that you might as well not have even bothered mentioning the rest of it because they'd be gushing all over it anyway.

It must get infuriating to labor for weeks over a plot-heavy story, making sure that everything about it is as good as it possibly can be, then post it and discover that you could probably have written about Aya walking into an empty room, turning slowly in a circle on the spot and then being jumped on by a lust-struck Youji and gotten exactly the same response. Because Aya's in it.

I mean just look at this drivel. Just look at it.

already feel bad for ran. he hasn't even been put into the story yet, and all i wanna do is bake him cookies and give him hugs. hm...so the takatori bastard just made him...dissapear basically. *hopes shes following the story correctly* and aya-chan's in a coma, ne? god i bet ran's ** nuts right now.
good job with yohji's character. it's always hard when your writing more than one fic at once to keep the same character the 'same' and yet 'different'. does that make sense? o_o hope so. *waits anxiously for more* X3

This is a review for a fic which - though it has several issues, which I will be going into later - appears to make a serious attempt to create a dark, twisted and compelling AT universe for the Weiss Kreuz characters to interact in. The first two chapters focus heavily on a drunk and depressed Youji, still working as a PI in the wake of Asuka's death because he doesn't know what else he should be doing with himself though he has no real love for the work any more, or for life itself for that matter. Aya has been discussed and is clearly significant to the plot, but hasn't actually appeared yet, except in case files and on audio tape - and yet Aya is still absolutely all that this fangirl reviewer can focus upon.

Forget the worldbuilding. Forget the plot. Forget the dark and depressing atmosphere the story is trying to invoke. Forget the rest of the cast, even: Persia is dying in hospital, Manx is worn out and depressed, but who cares! Even Youji, whose thoughts, feelings and traumas the first two chapters focuses on, barely gets so much as a token mention in her review, and his trials and tribulations didn't appear to evoke any kind of emotional response from her.

Because she's not reviewing for all that. She's reviewing for Aya. Aya, a character who has yet to appear, and who she feels bad for already.

This may be just me, but if I were to receive feedback like that for something I'd labored over, it'd probably upset me. It's like the fictional equivalent of preparing your Pomeranian puppy assiduously for a dog show. You spend weeks on end drilling and training your little dog, brushing him, grooming him, spending a fortune on doggy shampoo and canine hairdressers to ensure that he present himself as perfectly as he possibly can... then, after all that time and effort, you realize the judge likes Pomeranians so much you could just have dragged him in begrimed, yapping and trying to eat your shoes and you'd still have got a Highly Commended. Yeah, it's nice they like your dog so much, but what the Hell was all the work for if they'd have liked it regardless?
sevendials: (words words words words words)
2010-01-03 09:48 pm

Have we not met before, monsieur?

I suppose actually being able to get into my own house is as good a way to start the new year as any, so perhaps it's fitting that after all that I did manage to make it back home on the first. I've spent the last couple of days mostly relaxing, poking the Internet and hanging around with [livejournal.com profile] rokesmith, mainly to prove that I can now. Oh, and there's been some pretty hardcore sleeping at strange hours because nobody can tell me not to do that, either. Free! Free!

... okay, sorry about that. But it's just so nice not to be living out a suitcase again. I know that two weeks, or just under, isn't that long to do that, but it's a bit of a pain when you were only banking on being away for one and had packed accordingly.

Anyway. One of the things a return to casual internet means is a return to Gaia. It's a bit difficult to poke around on a website aimed at fourteen year old girls when you're twenty-seven and staying with your parents, so I've had to keep the amount of time I waste on that massive boredom-sink to a minimum over the past couple weeks. Yesterday and today, though, I took the opportunity to head on back. After fiddling with my avatar for a bit (it's the only reason I really use Gaia, after all - to play Pretty Princess Dress-Me-Up with pixels) I took the opportunity to go and poke some of the forums to see how they reacted. Because I have other things I'd like to do this evening, I steered well clear of... well,pretty much the entire site for the (relatively to the rest of the site, at least) safe haven of the Bug Reports and Technical Support forum.

What I know about technical troubleshooting you could write on the back of a postcard, but I like the Bug Reports forum, it's like a slightly less rabid Q&A. Sure, people can be plenty stupid in there, just like everywhere else, but it's not normally the kind of stupid I feel the need to rant about. The problem is the risk of discovering something only tangentially related to site bugs I will feel the need to rant about, and... yeah, that's why I'm here.

Specifically, I found this thread, and once again it was Rabbit Hole of Stupid time.

The issue? A user known as GummyBearSlayer's signature link. Specifically, this would be a signature link that led to yet another bad RP, and... well, I'll come to that. About the only real difference was that it was an RP guild - the Gaia Online term for a user-run subforum - and not a forum thread in Barton Town. Guilds are where the real hardcore, long-term Gaian RPers tend to prefer to do their business. Threads are easily lost and often don't take off. A big, long-term game is often far happier in its own subforum. Of course, though, all this means is the game is big - not necessarily that it's actually any good.

This game, for all its impressive organization, turned out to be rather not so good.



The game in question - which is entitled Camp Half-Blood- A New Adventure seems to be based on a series of teen novels about a guy called Percy Jackson. I've barely even heard of these and what I do know doesn't interest me, which along with my ignorance of The X-Factor probably means I'm officially Past It and need to apply for my tartan blanket and moccasins. Kids these days rowr bazz fazz get off my lawn.

Anyway, from what I know about this series, either the novels massively mangle Greek myths and legends or their fans do, because I haven't seen this much mythology FAIL since that fic where Ken Hidaka found a Dante Watch. I can't exactly blame the fans for going with the flow if it turns out the book is being quite this casual with the mythology as well, but either way it's pretty damn painful to read. The game - and maybe not just that, but I'll give the Percy Jackson series the benefit of the doubt - gives itself the tagline 'paradises are usually places where you get killed', which simply doesn't make much sense to me because if you're constantly fearing for your life then by definition you're not in paradise. Possibly they were trying to say that Paradise is a place you can normally only get to after you die, but if that was the aim the tagline missed it by a mile. Like so many other aspects of Gaia RPs, it only sounds cool until you actually start to think about it, at which point the 'wait - what?' response kicks in.

Of course, being me, I immediately gravitated toward the Character Profile thread, which for my money provides the quickest and easiest way to get laughs out of a Gaia RP without actually having to read it. Surprise! They're using the same character images as every other Gaia RP, some of which turn out to be very familiar indeed. How familiar? Well, even ignoring the fact the same dozen or so character images are being endlessly recycled here as well, I'd like to introduce Drake Bone, Syen James Corvinace, Hikari, Syrene Seymour and Ryan Keith - more commonly known as Squall Leonhart, Mello, Hotaru Tomoe, Kotonoha Katsura and L.

Funny though it was to see Mello the mafia don running round claiming to be the dark and edgy Syen James Corvinace, he was not the guy I was looking for. I was looking for the character who was mentioned in GummyBearSlayer's signature and, on page 23 of the profile thread, I found him.

Name: James Smith
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Race: Human
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Deep, stormy grey.
Other: Born military strategist, loves to learn, and is incredibly smart.
Mortal Parent F/M: Male
Weapon(s): Small knife, mind, and bow, which he uses if he has to, but prefers his knife

I knew this was the guy, GummyBearSlayer's ridiculous screenname and painfully generic blonde avatar thing aside. See, beneath this rather non-indicative character profile - to quote something I once read on the subject of character creation, even a good flat character should require at least a sentence to sum up, and a sentence with sub-clauses at that - which despite offering less information on who this guy thought he was than his personals ad would have done was nonetheless apparently quite comprehensive enough for the luminaries over at Camp Half-Blood to work out which Greek God had apparently helped spawn him, there was the same color-swapped artbook picture he had in his signature, saved under the filename 'boy44.jpg'.

You see, it turns out that 'boy 44' would be this guy (if not this particular image of him):



Only it was far, far worse than that. The applicant had color-swapped the original image - badly, though all that was required was a simple HSL adjustment which uses one paint tool and takes about 20 seconds - and then, as if he feared that we'd have totally forgotten who his 'OC' was in the few seconds it took to read through his profile, had written 'James Smith' on it using a truly horrible 'decorative' font much beloved by the Blingee crowd. You know, just in case you thought it was a picture of someone else like, I don't know, KEN HIDAKA maybe.

I like to think it's pretty obvious why this guy's signature caught my eye now - there was a picture of 'James Smith' in it, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out that this randomly-appearing image of Ken Hidaka had nothing to do with my fangirl but was, in fact, supposed to be someone's 'OC'.

The sad thing is that Kenken here's actually getting off pretty lightly. Yes, he's supposed to be some kind of super-smart mercenary warrior thing, but at least he's actually a human rather than a nymph or a demi-God or a 'demi human', whatever the fuck that means. At least he's actually using sensible real-world weapons rather than dual-wielding scythes and katanas that have been dipped in the river Styx, or a giant bronze hammer that shrinks to the size of a keychain, or a ring that can summon a panther, or a bow that shoots moonbeams, or some kind of mystical flange-object charm bracelet that allows him to summon any weapon ever made. At least he sounds like a relatively normal guy rather than the usual ridiculously Dark! And! Edgy! cliche who thinks that having a bad attitude is a substitute for an actual personality. At least his player isn't making desperate attempts to make him sound alluring to kindergoths by claiming he likes playing Tag in graveyards and crying in the rain.

Finally, there's the matter of his assumed name. Ken is going by the name James Smith, which is a pretty good English interpretation of 'Ken Hidaka' in terms of ordinariness. Given that he's sharing an RP with characters called Temperance Rose and Terra Star and Allete Crescent and Rex Maximillian Degenor and Pine Cone and Quanjanym Whiteberry and Siren Phoenix and Delphine Windsnap and Adonia Clearwater and Dexav Exodus, this is rather refreshing.

Still, I'm shocked. Ken, as the Token Normal Guy of the series, was about the only Weiss Kreuz character I thought I'd never see as an 'OC' in a Gaia RP. How, out of all the short, dark anime boys out there, did this guy hit on Ken? It is a mystery.
sevendials: (happiness)
2009-12-23 03:17 pm
Entry tags:

I still know a fictional character's birthday.

I have jumped online briefly to make this brief update in which I confess once again to the blindingly obvious: indeed, for I am a sad fangirl and I still know Ken Hidaka's birthday.

Why I should be able to remember Ken's birthday when I can barely remember my dad's I don't know, but there you have it. I shall mark this occasion by trying not to write anything in which Ken has a gratuitously rotten time all day, which for me is honestly quite a sacrifice. I'll also see if there's ever a point in which I can quietly sing Happy Birthday without making myself look like a total lunatic (I'll gladly settle for looking kind of insane, though). Sadly though, once again I will not be able to get cake. We're having ham for dinner, maybe I should stick a candle in that?

Difficulties inherent in being seen to publically celebrate the birthday of a fictional character aside, Happy Birthday to a boy who, at least in my head, is perpetually stuck at the not-exactly-terrific age of nineteen, making the whole point of remembering his birthday moot. But I do it anyway because hey, it's Ken.

... and once again, if I wasn't stuck in Faversham, I probably would be buying cake. Oh, dear.

Anyway, last year, in an attempt to mark the occasion, I asked for Ken-centric fanfic prompts. I blush to recall this as I haven't actually managed to write a single one of these. Clearly where it comes to writing I have failed quite hard lately - and you'd think it wouldn't be that difficult to get me to write about Ken, after all - and so I won't be asking for any more of those this year. Instead, I think I'll celebrate by actually trying to start writing the damn things... if I can find a spare five minutes in between the whole preparing-for-Christmas thing that's going on down here. My afternoon and evening may be pretty nearly booked solid after this point, but I still have an idea for at least one of them I desperately need to make a start on, after all.

Dear Ken, it's your birthday, and I apologize unreservedly for Through a Glass Darkly. And, you know, just about everything else I have ever written with the possible exception of Paperclip, which at least got you laid.
sevendials: (it's a cold world)
2009-11-01 07:14 pm
Entry tags:

"... and the first victim was logic itself!"

Warning: There are TV Tropes links in this post. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In one form or another, I have spent a lot of time complaining about fanfics that have plots that simply don't make sense. Fics where characters, fan or otherwise, are seriously menaced or gravely injured and it occurs to precisely nobody to call the police or an ambulance. Fics where four professionally paranoid men let a stranger move in with them at five seconds' notice because she's hot. Fics where Ken (it's almost always Ken, for some unknown reason) is the only member of the team present who seems to remember he is an assassin, and as a result is treated by every other character in the story as if he's somehow managed to totally miss the point.

I have never, though, come across a fanfic that so completely defines and describes exactly what readers and viewers are complaining about when they use the term 'idiot plot' as the subject of today's expression of abject horror.

So, what is an Idiot Plot? TV Tropes, of course, has the answer:

Idiot Plot
Popularized by film critic Roger Ebert, a term for a plot that hangs together only because the main characters behave like idiots. It's not so bad if the characters are supposed to be acting like idiots, but it's very bad if the Idiot Plot depends on a character suddenly acting stupid enough for the plot to work. A much more grating form is the "second-order idiot plot", in which the plot can only function if every character involved, including side characters, suddenly loses about 50 IQ points.

This would be bad enough, but that's not where it ends. Supplementary tropes contained in this fic - usually related to ridiculously contrived stupidity - would include Idiot Ball, Conflict Ball, Poor Communication Kills, Rule of Drama, Amateur Sleuth and, as a corollary, Impersonating An Officer, Always Murder and - at least up until Chapter Four, which is all there is of this thing at the moment - All Love is Unrequited, with only Always Murder even vaguely justified by the canon setting and the fact these are assassins we're dealing with.

In short, if these characters actually talked to one another from time to time instead of bitching, complaining, jumping to conclusions and randomly keeping secrets for absolutely no reason, this story would have been half the length and half as stupid. Poor characterization plays a part in all this horror as well; I would be remiss not to mention that at all, as the awful characterization is so very much a part of what makes this fanfic so painfully stupid. However, the characterization - for once - is not really the point. The point is how unbearably stupid the plot is, and how unbearably moronically the characters have been forced to behave in the service of it.

So, to move onto the story itself...

Chosen » by Kurai Shukujo
'A recent string of gruesome murders and a fateful mission lead Youji into the world of a satanic cult with Aya, his current obsession, playing a key role. Revised!'

About the only positive thing that can be said about this story from the summary is 'well, at least it's not pedophiles again'. As to all the rest of it, it's pretty much business-as-usual levels of awful, complete with Aya randomly being specially special because He's There and something about a 'gruesome string of murders' which, this being about a group of guys who are responsible for the longest and most gruesome series of murders Tokyo has seen for quite some time - I'm talking, of course, about Weiss themselves - I would have thought a reader could comfortably take as read without having to waste summary space on it. Either way at best this is going to be horribly samey, and at worst... well, it's at worst. Now read on.

From the minute this story started, I knew I was in trouble... not least of which because there's no clear demarcation between the author's notes and first paragraph, and it took me a few seconds to realize, oh wait, the fic's started. It took me a few seconds more to realize that the character narrating the story,. who sounds like nobody any of Weiss should ever have met, was Youji. Not a promising start, and it got worse. Oh, how much worse.

As to what comes after that, in an attempt not to be here all night I'm going to resort to bullet points.

They're behind here. )

In short: this is an Idiot Plot. If any of these characters were allowed to behave like normal human beings - still less like the (for the most part) intelligent and capable people they are - the plot would become completely unworkable. There is absolutely no reason for all the secrecy, and still less is there any reason for Youji to try to solve a case of ritual serial murder all by himself. It's just happening because it is, because if Aya was allowed to know about this cult of stupid he wouldn't make the perfect bewildered and innocent victim later on - and he's inevitably going to become one as the minute the cult clap eyes on him and Youji they're murmuring about Messiahs and Chosen Ones as if Aya had wings and a halo.

On the few occasions the characters actually sit down and talk, do they actually try and clear up any of this confusion? Do they Hell. Conversations quickly degenerate into games of Idiot Volleyball, as characters bat the Idiot Ball back and forth between them, and the few lengthy conversations the fic contains so far are largely irrelevant: one takes in the entire backstory of Bloaty McCorpseGuy; one is Birman ranting about how awesome Aya is; and the rest are Youji talking to some bottle fairy of a Gary Stu bartender about how annoying Goths are.

Sadly, that's not the end of it. There are several supplementary irritations not actually related to the plot to consider, too.

Which means more bullet points, naturally. )

The worst thing about this fic is how plain it is that even the characters are too smart for it. Youji spends a fair amount of time wondering why he has to conduct an investigation into a Satanic cult by himself - and why does he? Did the entire Tokyo Metropolitan Police fall down a hole or something?

My final question as regards the cult is this: what the Hell kind of self-respecting satanic cult has a central prophecy built around the person of a perfectly ordinary-looking random guy in his early twenties? Yeah, I think I'm going to start a cult called The Cult of Steve, and we will worship the personification of the Great Steve in the form of Steve the Graphic Designer, and we will know Steve the Graphic Designer by his narrow glasses and his amazing collection of ironic tee-shirts and his fondness for lattes, and until the Coming of the Great Bloke we shall keep Steve alive in our hearts by going to Starbucks wearing Thundercats tee-shirts and each sacrificing a small biscotti in His holy name.
sevendials: (badfic - and so ken was scarred for life)
2009-09-07 10:07 pm
Entry tags:

Summary Executions

There are, at present count, 6,136 Weiss Kreuz fanfics archived at the Pit of Voles.

6,136 pieces of fanfiction. 246 archive pages stretching back to 30th June, 2000. Filter out the M-Rated stories and you're left with a positively paltry 4,663 pieces of fanfic spread over a mere 187 archive pages. Even with the exclusion in place, that's a lot of fanfic - far, far more than the average fangirl could ever need to satisfy her cravings for florist-angst. With all the stories out there to choose from, how in the Hell does anyone browsing on spec find anything to read?

The simple answer, of course, is to let the summaries be your guide. Why, after all, are they there if not to gently steer the reader in the direction of something they'd actually enjoy reading? Oh, we as readers can filter by pairing, we can filter by word length, we can filter by whether or not the story is completed, but even writing a fic of the right length about the right people won't guarantee an audience if the summary suggests the fic itself is a stinker.

The summary, after all, is the only part of a fanfic that most people will ever see. Far more people will read the summary than ever get even as far as the author's note. For that reason alone, authors owe it to themselves to make sure that their summary is a good one. The point of the summary is to sell your story - it's your pitch, if you like. You the author have 250 characters to convince a browsing reader that what they really want is to read your story, not one of the other 6,135 stories on offer... and that, let's face it, is not going to happen if your summary just stinks.

I don't take a chance on fanfics if I think their summaries are awful. As to precisely what has me think a summary is awful... well, read on.

Of course, these are just my turnoffs. I'm not saying that it's right and proper for a reader to pass over any fic with a summary like like these, just that for my own part I do. These are the things that have me balking at the gate and backing up because yeah, maybe not. Onward!


A young girl with mysterious powers and a mysterious past, gets caught up between Weiss and Schwartz. Question is, can she tell which side is which? Or will a quickly blooming attatchment with a certain German stop her in her tracks? SchuldigxOC
Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Schuldig

The saddest thing about this summary is that it's not a joke. This reads almost identically to my summary for Roses in Rain, which deliberately attempts to ape Suethor Summary Tropes - and here we see a ficcer hit just about all of them so very neatly it's almost impossible to believe it wasn't done knowingly.

We've got a 'young girl'. We've been explicitly told she is a Mysterious Sue of Mystery. We've got the bit where she becomes stunningly important to Schwarz and Weiss by being. We've got the name of the regular she's destined to be swept off her daintily-shod feet by. We've even got the annoying Suethor tendency to have most of the summary consist of a string of EXTREMELY OBVIOUS QUESTIONS. All we need to add is a little disclaimer about the fic being 'non-yaoi!' as if the whole Mysterious Sue of Mystery shite didn't make it obvious and we'd have a full house. In short: painfully generic Suefic to be ignored pro tem.

All the crazy things happened on Omi's birthdays. Whether it was Ken, Yohji, Aya or Omi himself, something comedic and zany always exploded in their faces on February 29th. WARNING: Includes flying paint, rescue missions to the moon and sugar high chibies
Humor/Hurt/Comfort - Omi T. & Aya/Ran F.

This summary is trying far, far too hard to be funny. It's the equivalent of some guy standing up in the middle of a pitch meeting wearing a light-up spinning bow-tie that plays a tinny version of Camptown Races, a pair of comedy breasts and a hat with a foam-rubber mallet sticking out of it who, when pressed later, doesn't quite understand why everybody just shuffled their feet, coughed and looked the other way. Random things happening for no visible reason to a bunch of shrieking idiots does not a comedy make.

As if that wasn't bad enough, there's the word 'zany'. When was the last time you saw something described as 'zany' that didn't turn out to be painfully unfunny and cringemakingly embarrassing? Well then.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27
Mystery/Horror - Youji K. & Aya/Ran F.

Okay, interesting choice of quote for a summary, but in isolation? It's just a turnoff for me. It doesn't tell me anything at all about the story for one thing, not even what characters it's about. This fic could be about any one of dozens of things, and - going by the helpful little addendum at the bottom that says Youji K. & Aya/Ran F. which isn't even part of the summary proper - it isn't even about either of the characters who might actually have the vaguest passing acquaintance with the book of Matthew. That's all my guesses about what the Hell this thing thinks its about out the window.

Long story short, if a summary doesn't give me some kind of idea what the actual story thinks it's about, I'm not going to bother reading it on the off-chance that it's going to be about something I like, namely Not Youji And Aya Getting It On Again. No offense meant to those as do like to read Youji x Aya pairing fics, but personally I don't and it's statistically proven to be at least twice as likely that a random fanfic is about Youji And Aya Getting It On Again as it is to be about... well, practically anything and anyone else. If I don't know better, I'm going to assume it's YxA and move on.

Six years after the anime series. There are some new kids on the block. I suck at summaries ^^* Please just read and review. I BEG YOU! -cough-
General

This is one surefire way to guarantee that I at least won't go anywhere near your fanfic. Not only does this summary suffer from the exact same problem as Whitewashed Graves above, it makes matters even worse by barely even trying to explain what the fic is about - apart, of course, from what sounds like the usual bunch of Mary Sues rolling up and utterly taking over. In 600 words.

Instead, the ficcer chooses to waste her character-limited summary on pointing out that, um, she sucks at writing summaries and to beg anyone passing by to read and review. No. Sorry, but no. Look, fanficcer, you have to give some sort of a reason for me to want to take a chance on your story and 'please read this because I'd really like it if you did' isn't going to cut it here any more than it would on the back cover of a novel. I'd rather see a terrible summary than a string of excuses for why there isn't one and pleas for me to read the story anyway even though I have no idea why I should want to.

RanKen fic. A/U, yaoi. Ran is Ken's cousin suffering from anorexia. What can Ken do to help? Rating for later chapters. (My first AU fic complete with severe OOCness. Extra long farewell chapter... give Ash a chance?)
Romance/Humor - Ken H. & Aya/Ran F.

First and foremost, the major reason I wouldn't go near this one: it's OOC. In fact, this fic is so painfully OOC the ficcer feels the need to include a warning for it in the summary. Since I'm here to read about Weiss, not The Adventures of That Redhead Dude and Normal Guy, this summary might as well just have said 'DO NOT READ THIS FANFIC' as elaborated on its premise. Hell, 'DO NOT READ THIS FANFIC' would have been more likely to make me want to read it...

Of course, I wouldn't want to read this one anyway because the fic sounds like it sucks a lot. Even setting aside the shall we say ill-advised Disease of the Week storyline, I really have to wonder why in the world the ficcer decided to take two totally unrelated characters and make them cousins... not least of which because she's clearly planning to hook Aya and Ken up. Maybe I just don't get it, but I have no idea why anyone would look at Ran and Ken and think, hm, I know what this pairing needs to make it work: more incest! Oh, and it's supposed to be a comedy because... because anorexia is funny or something?

Aya is dating Yohji who is in love with Omi. Omi is dating Schuldich who is also dating Nagi. Schu is in love with Yohji and Nagi is in love with Omi. Crawfrod is in love with Aya but dating Farefello. Ken has a plan to set everything strait.
Humor/Romance

And that solution is mass murder.

My problem with this? Well, it's a bit harder to quantify than some of the others, but in all honesty it's probably because the fic sounds really dumb. It also sounds OOC and as if the ficcer needs to be reminded she's writing about assassins, but mainly it's because the ficcer's so busy having a whale of a ship-happy time she forgot to write a story which wasn't quite painfully stupid. I just can't get on with fics where characters aren't allowed to do the logical thing about their problems. Why don't the idiots in this story just sit down and talked about things like normal human beings? Oh, of course, because if they did there would be no story. Of course the fic in question may not be painfully stupid, but after this summary, I'm not prepared to take the chance.