mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Eh.  This post was originally about something else altogether but I think this is a better issue than what I was originally banging on about re: "archetypes" in FE-land.  OK, so we've all seen fans going on about how they like X type of character.  Maybe it's mashing all alleged Devoted Knights[*] together so that Kent equals Seth equals Geoffrey equals whoever the hell, or maybe it's glomping all Angsty Wyvern Riders collectively[**], or all "Navarres" or all the "Julians" or... eh, whatever.  Y'all know what I'm talking about.  

And that, at least in 'fic, leads to the characters in question being blurred and mushed and just not themselves.  I'll never forget the 'fic I read that was allegedly about Navarre wherein the author deliberately used the characterization of FE7!Karel for Navarre because they knew Karel and didn't know anything in-depth about Navarre himself.  OK, we've talked about this phenomenon more than a few times.

But, actually... isn't the opposite kind of the case, if you're actually into the characters and not just the niche they fill?  I think what I've found, personally, is that if I latch onto a particular Pegasus Sister Trio, or a particular Angsty Wyvern-Riding Turncoat, and so on, then the other ones of that type just don't DO it for me.  I mean, I might have some (or a lot) favorable bias toward them, but it's just not the same intensity of feeling.  And the clone characters may be good characters, but they're just a little too similar along Axis X and a yet a little too different along Axis Y when compared to the character I actually love.

It's like the Dick York/Dick Sargent thing in Bewitched, in a sense.  Yeah, superficial resemblance.  Yeah, playing the role and reciting the dialogue.  But I liked Dick York better, dammit, so please bring Original Darrin back and send this impostor packing, stat.  And some people, somewhere, liked Dick Sargent better.  These people are wrong, but whatever.

But I think this gets to the heart of why I just can't work up any enthusiasm for, say, the FE6 Pegasus Trio sisters or other characters who strike me as too much the New Darrin when held up against a character I actually like.  I lovelovelove Palla-Catria-and-Est.  Something about the FE6 girls just feels kind of hollow to me, whereas the FE7 Peggies have moved enough along the "same" and "different" axes that I like them a good deal better[***], and then by FE8 we still have three Peggies but only Syrene's hairstyle hews all that close to the template.  

(And you can argue that green-haired sisters Syrene and Vanessa are evoking Mahnya and Fury instead, but they are most certainly NOT replicants of Mahnya and Fury.  Syrene and Vanessa are, um, Syrene and Vanessa.)

Anyway, I don't know if anyone else gets their hackles up when confronted with the New Darrin phenomenon in Fire Emblem, but I'd sure like to hear it if you do.  Because it does seem to explain why I just can't warm up to some characters even though, working off a characterization/archetype checklist, I "should" be crazy about them.

Note: This is one criticism I cannot level against FE13.  Chrom and Cordelia aside, I don't think there was anyone in FE13 who really set off my New Darrin radar.  And if there was, I've mercifully forgotten it. 

* Usually "all the ones they know about," as in nothing pre-FE7 and nothing from the Archanea reboots.  This is probably a good thing, at least for me.  

** Ditto.  They're not gushing over Dean.  

*** Mostly Farina's doing.

Nota Bene

Feb. 25th, 2013 05:51 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Dear Chrom/male!Robin shippers:

I like this pairing.  Wouldn't mind reading 'fic for it.  However, if the "Avatar" you're writing about is not the character from the actual game, the one who has loads and loads of conversations with every playable character defining his (or her) personality, but is instead an OC in the Strategist role bearing the looks and name of "your self-insert," there is a special place in FANFICTION HELL for you.

k'thx'bai

PS: But thank you for admitting it up front so I don't waste my time with your Gary Stu.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Supposedly the Leif DLC is coming out tomorrow.

Get out your helmets and galoshes for the final tsunami of translation wank!  The final truth of Latka, Skittlebits, and all the rest of the gang shall be revealed.

And there shall be butthurt.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
In the past I've defended sporking 'fics as well, part of the territory.  Big fandom, losta crap fic, lotsa trolls, it's sporking time.  And in a vast fandom like Harry Potter, it really doesn't matter.  You can piss off 5,000 Snape waifus and be confident you didn't want to know a single one of them, and they'll just form a clique of their own and keep churning out crap, and someone like me will just sit back with a bag of pretzels and watch the ebb and flow of carnage.  It's almost as good as Usenet.

Browsing some old HP-related haunts of mine, it occurs to me that the exact nature of the crapfic there, especially the latter-day crapfic, is what really makes the difference.  

Death Eater Apologists
Pseudo-Aristocratic classist tripe that extends to indictments of the author's personal life
People who legitimately seem to think Voldemort and his gang were misunderstood
Dumbledore is the true evil in Potterland, and it's not an exercise in subversion
Weird shit that puts high school bullies in a deeper tier of hell than, well, blood bigots who torture and murder the inferior sort of people

Really gross stuff.  Really gross stuff by prominent writers, spanning multiple comms and archives (and flamewars) and meta sites and on and on and on.  And some of them are decent enough writers that I can see why people would find it "refreshing" and "seductive"-- I sure did back in the pre-Deathly Hallows days before they all revealed themselves to be BATSHIT. 

Sporking this shit-- dissecting it, holding up to the light the ugly guts that make up an ugly, ugly worldview that uses fanfiction as a means of evangelizing The Truth about Harry Potter and his world-- basically amounts to a public service.  There is no parallel to it that I've seen in a fandom like Fire Emblem.  It'd be like if the major strain of Tellius fanfic amounted to heaps of things "proving" that laguz really are subhuman and Ashnard was right about everything.  I've seen a little bit of Ashnard apologetics on tumblr, but nothing like what the Harry Potter crowd does for the Malfoys, Snape, and such. 

On Tumblr

Jan. 27th, 2013 10:34 am
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I'm kind of not seeing the point of it, at least for me.

I have no intention of forwarding SO COOL stuff, however cute, funny, or instructional. That's exactly what I meant when I posted on tumblr comparing social media to chain email forwards. So there's this awesome cat gif or neat recipe or cosplay thing that 17,000 other people have already liked? That's cool, but I'm pretty sure those 17,000 likes and 5,000 reblogs don't need me adding to the noise.

And really, it's mostly just a noise machine.  Tumblr is not designed for dialogue.

So the real point of it, as far as I saw tumblr, was showcasing fan art. Well, the ethics of posting fanart basically leads me to this-- I'm not going to do it myself, and you basically have to "vet" every single piece that someone else posts to determine it's been sources and THEN whether or not the artist approves of reposting before you reblog no matter how much you like something, so I may as well just post a fanart roundup (links and all) of what I like every now and again on my DW like I've been doing these past few years. They'll get about as much traffic either way.

I'm not deleting my account there because there are some interesting things that take place on tumblr, but it's not fulfilling my needs for either fanart adoration or discussion.  I can use it as a dumping ground for ideas too frivolous for this journal, but eh.

ETA: Raphi pointed out that tumblr is at least all public-access so friends-locking and such is not an issue.  As someone who dislikes information being siloed I have to admit that's a huge point in its favor.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Shouzou Kaga's final Fire Emblem game was the ambitious and underperforming Thracia 776.  With former driving force Kaga gone to pursue other things, FE went in a new direction-- handheld games instead of console games, with a new system of support mechanics.
 
Cut for length, again )

Since FE8 and FE7, with their similar support systems, were the first to be released worldwide, many fans have the idea that these A-B-C supports with paired endings are simply how Fire Emblem works.  Clearly that is not the case.  You may like it the best, but that doesn't make it the norm.  

The next continental saga challenged that assumption, hard.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
FE13, aka Fire Emblem Kakusei, has provoked some strong opinions regarding its marriage system, breeding system, and treatment of female characters.  This in turn has provoked much comment, some of it spectacularly ill-informed.  This is not intended as an antidote to people who think only "yaoi fangirls" consider Ike/Soren canon or who respond to complaints about Micaiah's redesign with accusations of "slut-shaming."  If you're gonna be like that, my words aren't going to reach you.  Rather, this is intended as a means of combating the flat-out misinformation coming from fans who apparently don't get that the series existed prior to the GBA era, and who make generalizations about "this is how romance works in Fire Emblem" accordingly.

For the benefit of the historical record... )

But FE5 was the last game that Shozou Kaga had a hand in, the end of an era.  When Fire Emblem resurfaced on the GBA, things were different.  But not as different as you think.

PS: Yes, I did make the claim that there is FE canon gay that predates Raven and Lucius.  It ain't pretty boys, either, but it's there. 

PPS: Feel free to link and distribute For Educational Purposes.  :P
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I suppose DW isn't the best place to air my grievances with Tumblr-fen, but I'll just post two things here:

1) Discussion of sexuality, gender roles, and what is and is not "normal" in Fire Emblem that uses the GBA Fire Emblem as a starting point and Radiant Dawn as an end point is, shall we say, missing a large part of the picture.  As in, missing six to eight installments of the franchise. 

2) Referring to complaints over the new OA and DLC art as "slut-shaming" when part of the problem is that the male characters are not being portrayed in the same sexualized manner as the female characters, which appears to be a glaring and problematic double standard, honestly misses the point entirely.  

Then again, people who throw around "slut-shaming," like people who throw around "sheeple," are usually not worth the time to debate.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 "[T]echnically not sinful in the eyes of GOD, but it is still SICK like mosquitos."

Best review ever.

I will repeat this to myself whenever I stumble across one of J!fandom's "wonderful" stepfather/stepdaughter romances.  

-x-

Speaking of sick, I spent the weekend at a friend's beach house and saw actual cable TV for the first time in... well, since I don't know when.  Including this "Wilfred" show that... wow.  So sick.  So close to home.  The spouse and I were transfixed and appalled.

Elijah Wood does sad-sack deranged suffering like no one else, man.

Also watched Honey I Shrunk The Kids, which proved a mistake.  It does not hold up well.  :(

-x-

I did cupcake testing last week for the wife of a co-worker who plans to enter a contest.  It was a very mixed experience.  When cupcakes go wrong, man...
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I'd kind of like the next FE to be a "small scale" guerilla-style war instead of "continental/intercontinental epic" warfare.

But not like FE7, because having to hew to FE6's canon AND GBA-era gameplay opened too many plotholes and gameplay moments of silly, IMO.

Also, while I'm not bowled over by FE7, this has to be the most amazing, incredible, astonishing piece of wank in FE meta.  I think the TC usually has his head up his ass, but GOOD LORD, people.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, I've been watching some of the FE4 fan-hack playthroughs on NicoNico; you need an account to watch the videos but it's worth it.

Unlike Genealogy of Narga, Genealogy of Fala ( ファラの系譜, thanks Ammie!) is easy to follow.  

Cut for weirdo spoilers )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
/read FE13 forum thread about what hypothetical support conversations between DLC characters might be like

/giggle

/eat popcorn

/watch as thread is derailed on page two by debate over how many guys Lachesis was doing it with

/shrug

/eat popcorn
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So.  You love Fire Emblem, and you're particularly attached to a pairing.  The happy couple doesn't technically have a paired ending, but it's obvious they feel for one another and the epilogue is hinting that one sweet day they'll be getting it on.  And they evoke a canon couple from a previous game, so it must be destined.  Yay.

Then the next game in the franchise comes out, and it's set on the same continent.  And the way it handles your favorite characters makes you feel like IS made this game just to slam your beloved pairing into the ground.  Boo, hiss, snarl.  And write fanfiction to correct it.

Welcome to the melancholy of Arion/Altenna shippers circa Thracia 776.  Thanks to the little miracles of Google Translate and the Wayback Machine, I've been dumpster-diving through Jugdral fandom.  Japanese Jugdral fandom, that is.  And while the translations are, uh, interesting (do I even want to know why the subject of "pet treats" came up in a thread about the merits of a princess/knight pairing?) the fanart and site layouts and such just brought up a wonderful wave of nostalgia.  Japanese fandom from ten years ago looks like home to me--  the pastel texts, the shipper manifestos and headcanon dreams.  

Things I have learned!

There's no place like home. )

In summary: Japanese FE fandom for the SNES games looks like a perfectly normal fandom to me.  It feels normal to me in many ways that English-speaking fandom feels aberrant.  It's perfectly familiar territory, even if the fanfic is rendered into tenseless, genderless word salad most of the time.   

PS: BeoLache vs FinnLache shipping wank is every bit as bad in Japanese fandom.  Guess the translation wasn't entirely to blame.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I've been wanting to talk about this for a while, and conversations with [personal profile] amielleon  and [personal profile] scarletmorning  spurred me to post it now.  Now, originally I had the post formatted in a proper fashion, defining my terms and explaining the difference between fandom "theories" and a true scientific theory, but I'm guessing nobody cares.  If you want to go into that sort of detail, please ask.

Anyway, use of Occam's Razor in fandom (or anyone else, really) amounts to this: the more complicated an explanation is, the more machinations it requires to work, the less likely it is to be true.  Doesn't mean it can't be true; some "elegant" explanations are wrong.  But the "elegant" explanation is more likely to be the correct explanation for whatever it is you're trying to explain and/or predict.

As Ammie said here (locked post), one explanation for Ike's FE10 ending is that he's a selfish character.  Well, that's pretty simple and to-the-bone.  But accepting that Ike is fundamentally selfish above all else requires ignoring, or bending, a great deal else in Tellius canon.  It's a seemingly elegant explanation that requires pretty complicated machinations to work, and is therefore suspect. 

Fandom isn't science, so perhaps it makes sense that we've borrowed terms from religious debate for fandom discussions.  We invoke "canon" aka "Word of God" to indicate that we get material from a media creator that can't be overturned, but creators can be sloppy.  Creators can change their mind  Creators can give supplemental materials to explain (or contradict) what's in the text.  Things can get altered in translation (see: when Ammie exploded my nice little idea that used the wording of the NoA FE8 script as opposed to the NoA FE7 script to explain the relative ages of the Lord characters).  

And then we can always play "Death of the Author" or exploit readings of the text that are likely unintended but nonetheless make sense on some level (ex: Kirby is the true villain of the Kirby games).  That's part of what makes fandom compelling for those of us who are into the meta and fanfiction.  But the basic rules of constructing a logical argument shouldn't be ignored, even when it's all in fun.  Delightful crack theories are delightful precisely because they make an alarming amount of sense.  Delightful theories exploit "gaps" in the canon, or explain things that hang out there unanswered.  Ideas that exist completely inside a gap in the canon with nothing to support or contradict them, or that explain things that don't require an answer, don't have quite the same impact on a reader. 

Example: Raphi and Sriya were batting around the crack idea that Lyon somehow got transformed into Legault.  It's cute, there's not really anything to contradict it, and Raphi even made a 'fic out of it.  It doesn't really shed any light on Elibe canon or Magvel canon, though-- it's a self-contained little bit 'o crack.  Whereas the idea that [personal profile] kyusil  proposed regarding Roy and his marriage options (that Roy's various unromantic matchups are in fact a demonstration of his alleged political ability in action) is, to me, a highly compelling one.  Do I think that it's necessarily what the scriptwriters intended?  No, I think they were likely just being sloppy.  But the political angle is to me a very interesting one that a 'fic writer can (and should!) exploit to good use.  It offers a new way of examining Roy that takes two things from canon (his diverse marriage options and his stated political skills) and unites them in a way that can be used to shed light upon the characters, their world, or both.  And with Roy being the arguable central figure of the entire Elibe saga, something that illuminates his character "matters" a great deal, inasmuch as any meta-fun "matters". 

And then there's the deep end of fandom meta.  Or the "off the deep end" sector, the kind that constructs amazingly elaborate theories, air-castles of assumptions piled upon tiny projections of canon, just begging to be demolished.  Harry Potter fandom was terrible in this regard.  Please look up "Archiving the Banana Peels of Imagination" if you want to see some of this in action; I will say for this particular theorist that they seemed to be a very nice and enthusiastic person, but their meta was just... incredible.  In the original sense of that word.  The problem with a lot of the HP meta crowd, both the cheerfully zany sort and the oddly... malicious... sort, was that they started with one assumption, slapped another upon it, and then another upon that, and finally they had this great towering edifice of headcanon that made sense to them but had little to do with the actual, you know, books.  Whether the idea was "Dumbledore didn't really die" or "How Snape will save everything" or "Dumbledore is evil" or "Ron will become a Death Eater," they cherry-picked canon (took what they wanted and ignored the rest) and employed complicated machinations to make everything work.  We're talking Rube Goldberg contraptions, if not MC Escher mechanisms.

Well, elaborate contraptions, whether physical constructions or meta constructions, break down easily.  These meta writers had made themselves the meta equivalent of the Space Shuttle-- magnificent and fundamentally faulty.  And when their meta-shuttles exploded, many of them had the nerve to get pissy with Rowling.  If they'd showed respect for basic logic and the principles of argument on the front end, not to mention a bit of respect for canon, they might have come up with sturdy and functional vehicle for their meta instead!

By all means, ignore Occam's Razor in fandom if it's all fun and games.  But if you're expecting to convince other theorists, or if you're trying to provide a serious explanation of a problematic text (film, book, videogame, TV script...), or if you're so invested in your pet theory that it makes you upset and angry to see a rebuttal[*], it's good to keep the basics in mind.  The more convoluted your pet explanation is, the less likely you are to convince anyone, and the more likely you are to be entirely wrong.

And we've all gotten things entirely, 110% wrong. 

* Not kidding about the HP crowd when it comes to anger and vitriol re: exploding headcanon.  Not kidding at all.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, a little less than a year ago, someone posted this to the kink meme:

Discussion of rape in 'fic )

Speaking of perversion, I think I have three "Sleeping Beauty" scenarios down-- for FE2, one for FE12, one for FE8.  I will try my hand at each.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, every writer 'round the world is now able to take out the Steve Jobs tributes and obituaries they'd likely written months... or years... in advance.  

Me, I'm flashing back to a different place and time-- the early summer of '99, at the north end of that region of California once known as the Valley of the Heart's Delight, now better known as Silicon Valley.  It was the end of my sophomore year, and I was eyeball-deep in slash fandom... and TV had just added some grade A fuel to the mental fire.

On the surface, a film about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sounds like the opposite of sexy.  I mean... Bill Gates, man.  Come ON.  But this particular TV drama, Pirates of Silicon Valley, had Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates... and Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs.

I didn't give a shit about Noah Wyle until I saw him impersonate Jobs.  I hated ER and all of its ilk.  But Pirates had an unmistakable sexual subtext that caused my teenage self to gape at the screen, thinking, "Am I really seeing this?"  For me, that was the moment at which I started thinking of slash as something that might plausibly be mainstreamed.  And the concept of these two young, searingly ambitious, ambiguously amoral characters locked in a technical, economic, political, and sexual deathmatch was a big, big, turn-on.  

Now, Pirates came out at kind of a weird time-- again, it was '99.  Apple had just come back from the brink.  I was using a first-run iMac.  Microsoft ruled the world, Bill Gates was Public Enemy #1 in the books of many of my friends, and there was no such thing as iTunes, much less iPhones or iPads.  These days, it's the other way 'round; Jobs became the big polarizing figure, as hated and feared as Gates ever was, but also loved in a way that Gates never was and likely never will be.

I think it's time for a sequel.  Ring up Hall and Wyle and let's roll with it, baby.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
"You’ll be my master strategist, and I’ll be your peerless warrior!"

Thus, a million and twelve visions of Tactician glory were born.

I think it's worth contemplating exactly who, and exactly what, is speaking this line at the outset of FE7.  The speaker is a teenaged girl who's lost her family, her place in society, her entire network of associates, and who has been getting by alone for several months.  I've seen a lot of straight-faced interpretations of this line, when actually, it's pretty fantastic-- and appropriately so.  Again, Lyn is a grieving and lonely teenaged girl who just had some stranger fall into her life with positive consequences.  A little indulgence in fantasy can be justified.

But I do feel that line ought to be met by the player with something less than a solemn nod and the taking of the sentiment to heart.
mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
This is kind of an intersection of fan-interests wrt Fire Emblem and personal experience, because personal experience is, after all what we often bring to the table when writing.

Read more... )
mark_asphodel: (Adult Fin)
Nostalgia for the Light is an interesting and worthwhile documentary but not a great one.  I do not think Guzman's thesis hangs together.  I didn't expect it to, though, but I did have a small hope it would all fit perfectly, and it didn't.

OTOH, expect something detailing Finn's lost years in the near future.

-x-

Well, that was the best meteor-shower party with a full moon and cloud cover that I've ever been to.  Everyone knew we'd probably see about six meteors, so they showed up to have fun.  And fun was had.  Good cookies, too.

I still don't like sleeping in tents.

-x-

This is a trend that disturbs me.  I think it's the second such "review" I've seen this week, and the anon factor makes it all the more off-putting.  If you're going leave little love notes around with the express purpose of calling people out, have the courtesy to sign your moniker to it.  Because you don't appear to really be interested in dialogue or effecting change, the way you're going about it now.

-x-

I really, really don't like resorting to childhood abuse/molestation as a means of explaining a villain, especially when there's no crumb-trail pointing in that direction.  It feels like shifting the burden of action from the villain to the villain's parents, for a start.  There are other issues I have with it, too, but that's definitely a factor for me.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, it was 97 degrees Fahrenheit today, at least until a massive wall of apocalyptic storms hit and dropped the ambient temperature down to 75.  Nice.

Anyway, in spite of the atrocious weather, I'm on a cooking binge because it's a three day weekend and we have (gasp!) guests coming over the next two days.
Breakfast: Fluffy Yucca Omelets

Anyone who remembers the "caterpillar soup" escapade from last year can relax, as I made sure to sort through the yucca blossoms before bringing them in the house this year.  This recipe is very simple aside from the challenge of finding fresh pesticide-free yucca blossoms.  Basically, they're two-egg omelets seasoned with a little salt, pepper and paprika.  The whites and yolks are beaten separately and folded together, and then 1/3 cup of yucca petals (simmered in a little water for ten minutes and drained) is mixed into each portion before cooking.  It ends up being like a puffy golden pancake with the yucca petals adding a texture not unlike very soft sauteed onions, though the flavor is far more delicate.

Strawberry Ice Cream

In progress.  Custard overcooked a little despite constant stirring and one eye on the thermometer.  But the berries I'm using are the last of this year's Michigan strawberry crop-- tiny, meaty, intensely flavored berries.  So hopefully all will go well when I mix it up tomorrow.

Cherry Clafoutis

Making this one on Monday, haven't decided on the recipe.  Definitely leaving the pits in this year for full flavor.  Will serve with store-bought vanilla gelato.  I'd prefer pistachio, but one guest is allergic to nuts and a ton of other things.

Also, the red raspberries are ripe over in Grandma's yard, and the black ones are just starting to be.  Spent the last of the day's light picking as many as I could while weird yellowy clouds swirled overhead.  It was like being on another planet.

***

Only one request left to fill out of the one-word prompt thread.  [livejournal.com profile] thenicochan , how you confound me with the "vortex" prompt.  I keep thinking of roller coasters...

***

"Militant"?

I've got my sentence, I've got my command, they said they'd make me major if I met all their demands... 

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