juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I more or less intentionally saved Big Windup for a time just like now. A few years ago, I read enough of it to know that it was absurdly up my alley—but in one of those embarrassingly indulgent ways which, for me, is better watched than read, because watching is more passive and therefore lines up well with embarrassing indulgences. But I knew that one day (when Hulu or a similar service finally had the sub, and I was in a truly rotten state of mind and needed some sort of pure pleasure to drag me though) I would watch it, and love it; and I do.

Sports anime are one of my weaknesses, with a loose definition of "sports" that includes tennis and martial arts and cars that go zoom. Their pacing is addicting, with as many horrible cliffhanger episodes as there are hugely satisfying victories—and since they usually have massive casts and a ridiculous number of episodes, they're the gift which keeps on giving (no really you just cannot make them stop). They mix just enough fascinating detail with plenty of absurdity, and things like using a gutter to hug a corner or a pitcher with a nine-quadrant strike zone become, so help me, cool. And there's conflict and company: conflict between teams, conflict between players, conflict because the true battle is the one against yourself; bonding between teammates, the love/hate camaraderie of well-matched opponents, and the love a player has for his sport. At my heart I care most about relationships and motivations, and sports anime are rich in both: they are about who we fight and why. It's popcorn watchability mixed with surprisingly complex blow by blows; it leads to characters like Vegeta (king prince of relationships and motivations) and scenes like Takumi crying when his engine blows because he has come to love that car and this sport just that much.

Big Windup is the distillation of sports anime. The manga is still running and the show—at less that 30 episodes (aaaaah no I'm more than halfway through)—is literally condensed: prodigy protagonist front and center, tears everywhere and it's all about the love of the game, your biggest rival is yourself and your biggest ally is the teammate that will carry you to glory. In fact, it's embarassing—embarassing in the same way that the BBC Sherlock is embarrassing: it's so self-aware and shameless as to be insulting. Did you ever notice how very clever Sherlockain mysteries are? would you notice it if we painted all the details in CG overlays and/or had John constantly compliment Sherlock's brilliance? Did you catch that Sherlock and John have this intense friendship going on? would you catch it if we made a comment about how gay it is to strip off one another's clothing in a closed swimming pool at night? Well yes, thank you you idiotic little show, I had actually noticed but—don't stop. The desperate cleverness, the stupid 'ship teasing, it works because it's what you're there for; you feel insulted, but perversely fulfilled.

Well, asks Big Windup, did you notice that this particular match was intense or that Mihashi is so moe you teeth hurt or that everything about Mihashi's relationship with Abe could be construed as romantic? would you notice if we—YES THANK YOU, thank you Big Windup for your incredible subtlety, but so help me if I did not cheer when they won their first game, and if Mihashi is not the cutest thing, and if his relationships (with his sport, with his catcher, with his team) doesn't push every single button on my id except the one that's labeled "subtext" because there is no sub here, guys: it's just text.

And bless, unlike the unnaturally developed "middle schoolers" of Prince of Tennis, these kids actually look and are high school freshmen, complete with ill-timed references to masturbation.

Anyway, Devon had to leave early to prep for a big meeting on Monday, and I'm still pretty much tied together with string, so if you need me I'll be over here narrating baseball matches to my cat. And man, they are awesome matches—even when yes, and I saw it coming, saw it from a mile away, they end the episode with the start of Mihashi's first goddamn pitch.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Because I just received a set of glowing reviews on the Conflict Made Flesh/Desires Become Real fics (DBZ, Vegeta/Future Trunks, NC-17, be ye warned), and because I am sick and sad and stupid (I slept through most of the day and I'm about as brilliant as a very bright slug):

I have been rereading these fics.

So. Lessons learned (and be ye warned again for discussions of fictional explicit homosexual incest):

1) I find Conflict harder to read, so much so that I almost skipped it. I think it's the combination of repetition (stylistic, mostly) and first person (so that all sentences begin with I). I've developed increasing issues with first person since then, and now rarely read or write it—but whatever my issues, the beginning of that fic certainly aggravates them.

2) I fall victim to a couple of noob writing quirks, things like calling blood "crimson life fluid" and describing two events in the same story as "inconceivable." That tendency towards purple prose and penchant for exaggeration had, I think, more to do with fanfiction and erotica as a genre than my personal quirks and weaknesses as a writer—which isn't to say that I in a vacuum would be entirely free of them, but they're easier for me to correct and avoid; I feel like a lot of them pop up in my old works because as a fledgling writer I almost felt like they had to be there.

2a) Holy dialog tags, adverbs, and typos Batman. Never trust spell check. All it tells you are lies.

3) My other writing quirks and weaknesses are remarkably unchanged, even after all this time. I have a fondness for repetition (everything must be in threes!) and parallel structure (nevermind my young self's inability to quite nail it) which can lead to redundancy, and a tendency towards a cool, distant, terse POV and precise word choice, which is overshadowed here by the first person narration but is still apparent. These are things I still struggle with, because together they can make my writing impersonal and slow. In a way, the first person narration is almost a blessing because it contradicts many of those instincts—and so it makes me wonder if I should try writing more of that, nevermind my personal dislike, to see if it helps me improve.

4) I stand by these interpretations. I've long had the desire to write a third and final installment to this series, and if I did it may be stylistically different (and perhaps more refined), I would tone down the exaggeration, but the underlying character interactions would not change. I may be a slash-begoggled fangirl then and now, but I think these feelings could exist in these characters, these events could play out between them. There's a certain glee in sex for the sake of sex, a sometimes-problematic fetishization of gay sex and incest, and I embrace both of those things and loved them even more as a hormonal adolescent. But what really matters to me, then and now, is the subtext of people and relationships: the potential for these things, what might happen if it were realized, and what both say about everyone involved. I was just seeing an inkling of that then, it's what I value most now. Seeing it hold true in my old work, therefore, is almost a triumph.

5) I write a damn good Vegeta. A good Trunks too, for that matter. The latter is more important but more subtle, given that the stories are in his POV. The former is what I love most. As silly and unrefined as the fics may be (and they are!), there are things—like the conversation about Trunks's dream, like Vegeta's "Of course you do, brat. I'm your father."—which are ... it's hard for me to say exactly what they are. They are a further view of the Vegeta that I love, the Vegeta that I watch the show for; they're a part of him that the show can't include, of course, but a part of him that's there. It feels self-congratulatory to applaud my writing for being in character, especially when the character is my FAVORITE EVER OMG, but there you have it. Vegeta has my heart of hearts and he is what I come to see; that I can come to see that, another incredible part of that, here in my own writing—I do consider that an accomplishment.

6) I have been watching about four shows lately, three of which with subtitles (which means I can only watch them sitting up, which limits my watching time), so I've been going barely at a snail's pace through DBZ. I refuse to go back and edit my old work, at least this work, because it has such potential that it wouldn't be a quick and dirty find and replace like I did with the The Bonded (DBZ, Vegeta/Goku, Trunks/Goten, NC-17, do not go read that it is horrible)—it would be a in-depth reworking and my life and patience are both too short for that. But in the show right now, Vegeta and Trunks are currently in the Room of Spirit and Time, and it would be a lie to say that I am not tempted. There is a third, there. And right now I sorta want to write it.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Dear dub: you royally blundered this bit, didn't you. "I didn't care, I didn't care about being better than Kakarot, I didn't care about being a Super Saiyan," my ass.

"The time came when I realized I was at my limit. [In the flashback: "I'll never surpass Kakarotto like this!"] And then, from the anger I felt towards myself, the Super Saiya-jin within me suddenly awoke! I was left shaking from the joy it gave me. Finally I had overcome Kakarotto, and the time for me to return as Prince of the Saiya-jin had come."

That—that is something entirely different.

I've reached the point in the show where my firsthand knowledge becomes spotty—I saw the prelude to the Android Saga, missed some stuff after that, saw some of the middle episodes, read some of the later chapters, much of it out of order and over a significant time gap. Come the later sagas, I've only seen bits and pieces. Of course I know what happens—I have plenty of secondhand knowledge via my involvement in fandom. But seeing it firsthand, properly arranged, is a wholly different experience. Likewise I knew about changes to the English dub: fandom-gleened knowledge told me they were there, some of them were obvious, but I'd yet to see the source material and witness the differences for myself—in things like production quality, but also in things like content.

So I knew that Vegeta hit SSJ1 through self-directed rage. I knew because I'd seen the transformation in the dub, even if his monologue had been changed; because rage is how SSJ1 works, and it's what the wikis point to.

But I know it now, not intellectuality but personally, and from the heart, having seen it, experienced it—

and yes, here we grow silly, me and my anime obsession, but fuckit I don't care

—is terrifying. What draws me to Vegeta is his character type, a character type I should finish that essay about someday: the strong rendered powerless, the badass bitch. I find the tension between the character's potential strength and situational weakness complex and compelling, because it's a combination that causes character suffering and demands character depth. I also adore Vegeta because he's so shamelessly nasty—he's an awful person, no bones about it, and that makes for awesome character interactions, meaningful backstory, and some plain old fun. I've written essays before (yes, a dork, I know) about these things are connected: how Vegeta's nature, and the history that created it, is often what makes it so difficult for him to take advantage of the opportunities that others like Goku can successful exploit. Or, in Goku's words:

"If body and mind ain't completely united, you won't get any great power."

And Vegeta's are not, and he suffers for it. He suffers for it because he doesn't have the sort of social connections that are strong enough to trigger SSJ1's rage—but Goku does. Because he can't unite with the universe and harvest its energy—but Goku can. Because again and again he fights and loses, because he can't become quite strong enough, and his own failure hurts worse than any injury ever could.

And sometimes he comes out of his tears in a blaze of anger, and he finds power not by changing or bettering or uniting, but by hating himself so much that he can overcome himself.

I find Vegeta fun and sexy and fascinating, but I also find him sympathetic—because his character is surprisingly well-developed, but also because it hits home. I understand what it is to have a division within oneself, a division so deeply rooted and long-lasting that it's nearly indelible. I understand being unable to achieve—not because you don't have the potential, but because you can never exploit it. I can't understand a self-hatred quite so strong as his because I have never been there, but I know that sometimes that place has been just this side of the horizon, and seeing it in the distance terrified me. I used to compare myself to a phoenix, when I was constantly crashing and burning and rising again; now I live at a more even pace, and that's a good thing. But what would I do, on that barren rock, in the middle of that electrical storm? I would fail and fall, but would I burn brightly afterwards?

Would I want to?

(Juu blogs too seriously about a silly TV show, post #52. And thank goodness the art in this episode was above-par, is all I'm saying. Awesome episodes deserve awesome art, but the very next one—with its awesome character interactions—had sad and shitty art. It happens to the best of 'em.)
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Oh hey look it's that episode where Vegeta's forehead is THIS BIG.

Rewatching DBZ has been immensely enjoyable thus far—for the chance to see it all in a row, instead of with missing episodes and a time skip (given that I've never been good at catching things as they air, and was moving between nations when it did air); for the chance to see it without editing, in Japanese, and elsewise in the way that I think it should be; to discover and rediscover the characters. I find I'm coming away liking most of everyone, which is incredible. In the past, Vegeta is what I came here for and most everyone else was incidental, but this time I'm impressed to find that everyone is surprisingly awesome, as the main cast is concerned (there's some questionable villains, but what can you do).

And as much as I appreciate the whole cast, to my great pleasure and relief I find Vegeta still has my heart of hearts. This matters. If I'm entirely honest, I put off rewatching the show because I was afraid I'd find that my lifelong obsession with Vegeta was nothing more than a 16-year-old's fantasy trumped up to nostalgic idolization, and that the actual character was ... well, not deserving of all that. Because Vegeta's always been my darling, you see, in ways I rarely talk about because no one wants to see such unrepentant fanning. He's always been my favorite of favorites, the character I wrote fic and essays about, the character I empathized with and admired, the character I loved in a way that "love" is not an exaggeration and yes, I know, that's silly. But you know what, he deserves it. I'm not saying that he should be everyone's darling, but he's proudly mine: he is as enjoyable and compelling and conflicted and complex as I remember, he's badass and beat-up and I love and admire him both ways. I feel like ... I've reunited with my high school sweetheart to find that it wasn't all a poor-remembered adolescent fantasy: he is as amazing as I remember but here, existent, and still wonderful now.

Except of course that the show is never quite sure how tall he is or how big his hair is or how INCREDIBLY OVERSIZED his forehead is. This isn't really a drawback. He's hardly the only one to suffer the whims of inconsistent art, and the quality improves and standardizes as the show goes on.

But today, I give you my beloved: Massive Forehead Man.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Today is the day of the fanfic. The reposts I mentioned are complete, after too many hours of editing epithets and adverbs from .txt files. I'm grouping the rest of these together, because they are technically reposts, and because they aren't as good as 'This is the world in its true form.'. Feel free to skip over them as it suits you, of course.

All of these stories are hosted at my FanFiction.Net account.

Title: The Bonded
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxGoku, TrunksxGoten
Summary: Years ago, Vegeta and Goku spent one intimate afternoon together. Now, in the wake of a newly revealed relationship between Trunks and Goten, they are drawn together again. This fanfic was originally published in 2001, and while it was popular then, it really no longer represents my skills as a writer. It has its good moments, and its painfully bad ones. I have done a cursory edit, but read at your own risk.
Word Count: 40,000
Warnings: Violence, explicit sex, moments of really bad writing, gratuitous sex scenes.

( The Bonded on FF.N )

Title: Conflict Made Flesh
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxMirai Trunks
Summary: The night after his first trip to the past, Mirai Trunks receives a visit from his father. This fic was originally posted in 2001, but it better stands the test of time.
Word Count: 3,000
Warnings: Incest, explicit sex.

( Conflict Made Flesh on FF.N )

Title: Desires Become Real
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: VegetaxMirai Trunks
Summary: A sequel to Conflict Made Flesh. Mirai Trunks returns to the past and spends a year in the Room of Spirit and Time with Vegeta, prompting unexpected consequences. This fic was originally posted in 2001, but it better stands the test of time.
Word Count: 4,000
Warnings: Incest, explicit sex.

( Desires Become Real on FF.N )

I also posted A Beautiful Man (on LJ) (Gackt, PG-13, 800 words) and The Night Before (on LJ) (Gundam Wing, Alex/Mueller, NC-17, 1000 words, and this one is actually quite good) to FF.N.

The Bonded may be good for nothing more than a laugh, but still I wanted to get it online somewhere other than that old Geocities account where someone backed up for me—for posterity's sake, and in case someone wants to read it. Conflict Made Flesh and Desires Become Real are both, in my never humble opinion, actually not half bad. Although I wrote them some time ago, the subject is more interesting and the writing is much tighter and more polished. If you read DBZ fic and don't mind incest, you may even want to check them out.

I welcome reviews on everything, here or on FF.N, and if you do chose to read them, I hope you enjoy. Feel free to quote and ridicule the worst of The Bonded. Someone has to.

Aaaand... Me tired. Me go bed now. Sorry for the flist spamming. I promise I'm done.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I'm reading fanfic again.

I'm writing fanfic again. (Just this one! ...Or maybe two. But they're oneshots! Then I'll stop, I swear!)

I'm editing (to fix the very worst) and reposting The Bonded on fanfiction.net. You know, The Bonded? The 40k word DBZ monstrosity that I wrote, um, six years ago.

I blame Kingdom Hearts.

On the Kingdom Hearts fic and The Bonded )

Want to read The Bonded? It's not completely reposted yet, but the edited and reposted chapters are here, on FF.N. (VegetaxGoku, GotenxTrunks, romance, angst, explicit sex between men [NC-17], multipart, complete.)

Want to read my Kingdom Hearts fanfic? I'll link to it when it's completed.

Want to read some great Kingdom Hearts fanfic? Check out Rare Birds by [livejournal.com profile] kokanshu (Axel/Roxas, swearing, explicit sex between men [NC-17], some dark themes, oneshot, plot accurate). It is without doubt the best KH fanfic I've run across since delving back into this fandom. The characters are spot on, the voice is clever, the plot and character interaction is delicate and brilliant, and the sex is ridiculously amazing—tactile, intentional, and perfect for the story and the characters. I can't recommend this too highly. Read it!


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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