So, I've been scrounging around in the FE department of pixiv, looking for something to satiate my Jugdral fix. It's amazing how we learn to recognize characters (favorite and otherwise) based on cues-- color schemes, hair styles, design elements, proportions. Take this mini-celebration
of red and green cavs that Sriya and Raphi reblogged on tumblr-- fans know who's who and who's what. To non-fans, it might look like four variations on the same two characters. Raphi and I also had a conversation recently regarding a mis-labled picture of the Senior Jugdral Lord Trio
(Sigurd, Cuan, Eltoshan) which was identified as the Junior Lord Trio (Celice, Leaf, Aless). Believe me, I can see how people make the mistake (especially with Elto and Aless). There are simple things like "Cuan wears black, Celice has a headband," and there are these other nuances of what defines a character that we as fans internalize and learn to apply across all kinds of different styles and media.
It allows a Marth fan to recognize Marth when he's sporting Ephraim-teal hair, while an Ephraim fan still zeroes in on Ephraim!
when a non-fan wouldn't know him from Geoffrey. It allows someone looking for pictures of Tate with a a certain red-haired cavalier to glance past pictures of, say, Catria with that other
red-haired cavalier. It enables someone to tell Lugh from Lleu from twenty paces away-- even if they're identically dressed
in that picture. And good fanart, IMO, somehow captures that essence of a character, communicating the crucial personality difference between Lleu and Lugh, even in low-res and at thumbnail size. Recognizing fanart relies on "anchor" points in the way that fanfic does, IMO. The personality traits of the "adorkable" mage or the brooding turncoat wyvern rider come through somehow... or perhaps get delightfully subverted in ways difficult to express in text. Either way, we know "our" favorite characters when we see them.
And I don't just mean in flattering situations. We "know" them in the skeevy pix and the wtf pix, the ones of Hardin and his men celebrating Halloween, or of Dr. Celice getting naughty with Nurse Yuria. That's why they work-- we might have to think for a couple of seconds about what the hell the picture is about, and what the artist was smoking, but we know exactly who
that is in the cow costume.
And when fanart doesn't work for me, it's not always a question of aesthetics, exactly. I just don't think that some fanart shows anything close to the character I like-- you know, the reason I'm hunting fanart. I could point out lots of "eh, no" artwork depicting Marth, but I'll illustrate my point with something less obvious.See this
. A pretty youth, messy hair somewhere between lilac and blue, details of outfit vague. Which Fire Emblem
cutie is it?
Well, it's Finn, but I wouldn't have known it for certain without cross-checking the name. I mean, it's not a displeasing picture by any means, but if there's only the vaguest suggestion that it's Finn and not some kid from some random anime series or whatever... well, it doesn't work for me as fanart.
But this pic is by CrossEMPIRE, whose stuff I don't care for in general. Most of it is sketchy, messy, sloppy, with arbitrary choices about recoloring characters' eyes and such. There's a lot, and I mean a LOT, of art on CrossEMPIRE's old site
, but only a fraction of it works for me.
Take this one
. (Not graphic, but fairly suggestive and arguably not the best thing to be viewing at work or at Grandma's house!
Adult male with a young woman over one shoulder. The impression I get from this image is that the girl is being hauled away for a spanking. Something like that. The guy this time is at least recognizable as Finn, but the chick over his arm is... I dunno, Lily Evans Potter maybe. Oh, wait, that's supposed to be Altenna
with green eyes? Why green eyes? Where's her headband? Where's her attitude? Seriously, what?
Artistic license is one thing. I prefer dark-eyed Camus to blue-eyed Camus, but it doesn't make the dark-eyed version "better" or more canon. But if I can't tell who I'm looking at, much less what
I'm looking at, without some detective work, something just seems a bit off. And I pretty much feel that way about all CrossEMPIRE's work, from the Michalis/Minerva pix through all the FE4 stuff through the Elibe artwork. I don't feel that I'm really
looking at Hector chillin' with Eliwood. It's a red-haired dude and a blue-haired dude, and... eh.
Back to pixiv for lulz, I guess.