Nintendo fans got lots of exciting news this month: a new system that has a lot of good third party support, new Fire Emblem games, a new Mario game, and, perhaps most anticipated, more news on the newest Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild. While I still have many reservations about the game, especially concerning Zelda’s role and the stupidity of her not being a playable main character, watching the new trailer actually made me want to play a Zelda game for the first time in a long while. Thinking back, the last time I was actively interested in a Zelda game was back when The Phantom Hourglass came out in 2007. Though unrelated in narrative, the 3DS game borrowed heavily from the 2002 Gamecube game, Wind Waker, which remains one of my favorite iterations of the Zelda story and is by far my favorite art style of the whole series.
My Zelda flames stoked once more, I set out in search of fic of my favorite Wind Waker-verse character, Tetra. While the headstrong pirate girl got seriously shafted in the second half of Wind Waker due to her “true calling” as a reincarnation of Princess Zelda, I found her character intriguing. How did this pre-teen-looking girl become the captain of a pirate crew? How did she end up forming this found family with a bunch of strange dudes? Furthermore, how would she adapt to her duties as princess while still holding onto to her pirate life? While the fic I found doesn’t answer anything about her past, it does make a pretty good guess about her future—while throwing in a ship that I didn’t know I wanted, but am glad that I know of now.
Now that this semester of grad school has ended, I finally have time to write a post! It just so happens to be our last post before our holiday break, too, which tells you a bit about the craziness of my schedule…. You see, I’m a PhD student studying Learning Sciences, which is all about researching how people learn and how we can use those findings to reform the educational system. Trying to balance my online fandom life with my grad school life has been an ongoing struggle, but surprisingly, one of the things I’ve learned in my program is that many researchers in and around this field study the educational implications of fandom. Well, now I’m here to cross over between my offline and online life by sharing some of that work with you, as well as some findings from my own research!
It may come as no surprise to you that fans learn a great deal from engaging in fandom, whether they’re writing fanfics, composing meta, creating fanart, making cosplays, or heck, even writing essays from a critical lens like on this blog! But fandom still tends to be viewed dismissively by mainstream culture, and even we fans sometimes devalue our engagement as a mere “hobby”. Modern learning theorists now acknowledge the importance of learning outside of school, and are calling for in-school learning to be more like the interest- and peer-driven realm of outside-of-school learning, including hobbies like fandom. There are so many ways that fan engagement is related to the kinds of subjects people learn in school and to skills that are generally useful in life. And better yet, it’s in a context that people really care about, rather than the decontextualized content conventionally presented in schools, which can seem random and unconnected to students’ lives.
So, this fandom thing you’re doing right now? It’s totally legitimate, important, and socially responsible. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
I had every intention of looking up a fic that had some of that holiday spirit in it, but then something surprising came and slapped me right in the face. There are few things that grab my attention more than Gothic horror romances, so when I found a fic that was both a Gothic Victorian AU and for a series that I’ve come to truly love and appreciate within the realms of fiction and in a more meta context, whatever plans I may have had for this article promptly died where they stood.
Over this year Critical Role has become a show that’s affected me deeply, and its several-year run has helped induce a tabletop roleplaying boom across the web. The show features seven voice actors and actresses—Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Liam O’Brian, Ashley Johnson, and Travis Willingham—along with fellow voice actor Matthew Mercer taking the role of DM, as they play through their D&D campaign. While some may not see the appeal of watching a bunch of people play D&D on camera, for many (myself included) it’s a new, vibrant way of experiencing a story that has just as much impact as a comic or a television show, with the added fun of OOC japes and fan content thrown in. While it’s on its 78th episode, with each episode being roughly three or four hours long, I still highly recommend experiencing the story for yourself. But, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s AU fanfic of Critical Role.
I’m not sure where I first stumbled upon the Are They Gay? web series, but I’m sure glad I did. This series provides a funny, inclusive, and informative analysis of various slash ships that starts and ends with asking the titular question: are these two people gay? It features a wide variety of pairings including mlm and wlw slash ships, and is a great primer to the history and background of certain ships in addition to ultimately offering an answer to that pressing question.
I’ve been awfully busy since I finished Sailor Moon S, which means I haven’t had time to sit down with the next season of the classic show. There’s always time for fanfiction, however. While I was excited to finally meet Sailors Neptune and Uranus in S, they’re by no means the main characters, and I wanted to see how fans imagined their relationship. How did two girls from such different walks of life handle their partnership, both as Haruka and Michiru, and as Uranus and Neptune? What made them into the harder, grittier scouts they became, who judged individual lives against the greater good of the world? This fic from Michiru’s POV digs into how Michiru first discovered Haruka and how their relationship developed over the course of the season.
“Who is that?”
“Huh? Michiru!” Her classmate looks up from the magazine in her hands, unfiltered surprise scrawled all across her face, and the three girls crowded around her follow suit with gapes to match. She presses the magazine closed, tapping her finger against the cover photo that Michiru had just touched. “Her? That’s Haruka Tenoh! You really haven’t heard of her? She’s the youngest motor racer in Japan, and one of the best in the country, too!”
“Oh,” says Michiru, then pauses. “May I borrow this for a bit?”
All four look at her as though she had just now landed from outer space. The magazine’s owner is happy enough to shove it into her hands, however, with an awe-struck exclamation of “Wow, Michiru, this is really rare for you!” as she’s apparently “never interested in this sort of stuff”. Michiru responds with an “Oh, really” that’s more of a stock reaction than a legitimate question, thanks her, and returns to her seat with the magazine in hand.
On the cover, Haruka Tenoh is beautiful. Perched on the driver seat of the racecar like it was built for her, helmet tucked beneath her arm, on an open road where you can see nothing but the sand and sky. “Faster than the Wind”, the bold print reads, and in smaller letters describes the promising young racer who just got the gold in the nation-wide quarter-final and told Japan Entertainment Weekly all about her win and plans for the future, more on page three. Michiru traces a finger across the line of her jaw — high and sharp like a man’s, but with a fascinating sort of delicacy to it — up to the line where her hair begins, short sandy-gold blowing back in the wind. And in that moment, every last hard-suppressed fantasy filters through the newly-formed crack in her mind’s dam, flooding her.
They could be driving along the beach. She would feel warm summer breeze flutter through her hair, and breathe in ocean air. There would be no roads but the one they would make for themselves, and Haruka would turn to look at her, and smile.
Michiru’s chest tightens. This is ridiculous. She really, really shouldn’t.
All of us have that fandom where we have read almost every pairing. For me, it’s Harry Potter. I spent so much time in that fandom that I feel I’ve read pretty much every pairing possible. But I haven’t been deeply involved in the Harry Potter fandom in a while, and nature abhors a vacuum. So of course I founda new fandom to delve into, and that was Teen Wolf. I have been reading so many different pairings in the Teen Wolf fandom, and like with Harry Potter, I have found some real gems.
One fanfic in particular that I loved focused onChris Argent/Peter Hale: a relatively popular pairing that I was just never very interested in until recently, when I found a fic which had a plot that intrigued me. The Exchange is a medieval fantasy AU in which Chris Argent asks the Hales to fulfill a treaty that would provide him with a bride. However, the Hales send Peter when they were meant to send Talia, causing lots of conflict for not only Peter, but also Chris and his entire kingdom.
I won’t lie: I’m still really disappointed that doing another review of the film would be extraneous (although I recommend you check out ye olde review). So in lieu of that, I decided to look up some Kiki’s fic and came to one conclusion—there ain’t much there. Maybe it’s because the film was crafted in such a way as to not leave the audience wanting fix-it fic or needing to mend potential plotholes that the fic scene for this movie is so sparse. Yet though the metaphorical crops were not plentiful, what was there was bountiful in heart and fluff. My perfect combination.