Fanfiction Fridays: Blood & Iron

Today’s Fanfiction Fridays comes with a special holiday word of advice: don’t Google search for ‘creepy fanfiction’ unless you’re willing to either a) be disappointed with a distinct lack of creepy fanfiction or b) find a lot more My Little Pony fanfic than you were anticipating.

Pictured: the internet's affect on my brain when viewing terrible horror fic

Pictured: the internet’s effect on my brain when viewing terrible horror fic

Now, as much as I love my horror manga, I felt that automatically heading off and looking for fanfic from them would be less rewarding than traversing the depths of the internet. Also, I think I might have actually cried if I found a high school AU fic of, say, the Fuan no Tane series. And, for the sake of full disclosure, after finding my twentieth PewDiePie fanfic in the Amnesia: The Dark Descent tag on Fanfiction.net, I kind of gave up on looking through horror games as well. What I found in their stead may be one of the greatest finds of this genre in the Hetalia fandom that I’ve come across.

With a name like Blood & Iron, I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Short, sweet, and dramatic-sounding: just how I like my titles. What I thought was going to be an awesome medieval setting (because I am a bad person and didn’t initially read the tags) actually turned out to be a Sherlock Holmes­-esque mystery story with fantasy elements thrown in. That’s even better.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Femslash and ‘Hetalia’

Hetalia the Beautiful World

Hnnng, Look at That New Art

Earlier this month one of my favorite series, Hetalia, started a new run as it’s re-vamped self with entirely new art and a new appreciation for some of the characters that had been previously glossed over in its first five seasons (Turkey and Seychelles have already made an appearance!!). It is with this knowledge, and the fact that it’s still Femslash February, that I set off to find an amazing fic starring the overlooked ladies of Hetalia. Unfortunately, it seems that even in the world of fanfiction the ladies of Hetalia are still horrendously overlooked, authors instead favoring genderswapped versions of the male characters. In my opinion that really doesn’t count as femslash, especially when one ignores the females already present in canon. But hey, I’m not one to give up too easily. But after looking through the library of available pairings on AO3 and Fanfiction.net, I only found about three stories that I would personally consider reading again. (I also developed a strong loathing for people who tag their stories as F/F parings, but only list M/M or Het pairings in their tags. Why you gotta do that shit?)

One of the pairings that I didn’t even think about before this journey but have actually started to ship is Belarus x Liechtenstein. Although it’s essentially an out-of-nowhere pairing (I’m pretty sure they don’t interact in canon), the dynamics between them have the potential to be very compelling: Belarus in her yandere standoffishness and Liechtenstein being super sweet and quiet. I have a soft spot for couples that are different like that. Both of the stories I have for you readers today feature this paring.

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Top 10 Fictional Geek Presidents

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the day after a long and arduous election year. We are all tired and maybe upset about who won or maybe not (depending on your preference), but we are least glad it’s over.

So my geeky friends, no matter who won or lost, did you ever look back at the candidates and think “God, these guys suck—I wish this character from my comic book was real and running for President!”?

Well, we decided to have our own election! These are Lady Geek Girl and Friends‘ Top 10 Fictional Geek Presidents!

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Manga Mondays: A Dash of Brotherly Love (For Real)

Now, I like slash and shipping as much as next doujin buyer, but I realize that I’m in one of the less catered to markets in general. You see, I make it my mission to find family/friendship/gen doujinshi as much as I can. It’s not profitable, but sometimes I just don’t want to read about bffsies boning each other. And between E-bay sellers giving nary a description of the comic’s contents and stores like Mandarake not letting you read before you buy, it’s a very dangerous game to play. I have some failures that I may go over in future but today is a day for the rare success story. Today we look at Crybaby Gil! Shocking! Baby Brother’s Confession by @nm°c.

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Paint all the things white! The Hetalia Movie Review

So I finally got around to watching the Hetalia movie. It’s called Hetalia: Paint it White. Basically there is an alien invasion where everyone gets turned into white people without faces and everything just turns white (see above). I’ll try and make this as spoiler-less as possible. My feels; bad first then good

Bad Things:

  • No need to bring back old footage to make the movie longer. I would have been fine with a shorter thing. Or with new random filler things.
  • I’m personally not a fan of Sealand, so I don’t know why he got so much screen time. Except to cover plot holes which Hetalia isn’t particularly interested in covering anyway.
  • WTF was the random scene with Iceland at the beginning? They never made mention of him again…. I would have liked to see Hetalia take a look at a modern current issue and see how the countries interact with it/each other about it.

Good Things:

  • Oh, the plot was adorkable.
  • I literally laughed the entire time America was talking to Tony the Alien. Especially in the sub, it was hysterical.
  • Can I just talk a second about how much I love England? He’s my fave because he is almost as down to Earth as Germany but has just a short temper and gets pissed and starts getting in on the shenanigans.
  • I’ll be real honest and say before this I hadn’t sat and watched Hetalia in a while, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it. And while I said in my review of the series that it does get into the bizarre it really is cute and funny.
  • The truly bizarre Hetalia stuff was left out. Although that scene with the Kappa isn’t what I would call normal…

Overall, the Hetalia movie was very good. Did it blow me over with new things? Not really. They reused some scenes and the new content was very similar to some of their old content. But was it enjoyable? Yes, yes it was.

Anime Review: Hetalia

I love Hetalia.

I hate the other fans.

I’ll explain the first point first. If you don’t know what Axis-Powers Hetalia/Hetalia World Series is, it is a show with very short episodes (five minutes a pop). Each country is depicted as a person, and the show follows each country’s cray-cray-cray interactions. Notice the three crays? It needs all three. Through the short episodes, it also gives out some basic history lessons as time jumps around a lot in the series. Initially, the series is about Italy, Germany, and Japan (the Axis Powers) during WWII. That plot got dropped quickly as France, Britain, and America began to have more central roles in the series.

I have more personal experience with the sub. I watched a couple episodes of the dub and cried a little on the inside. I give the English version and the voice actors for attempting the accents, but some of them are so over done that I can’t understand what is being said and even if I can, I stop paying attention to the words and just listen to the terribly overbearing accents.

The sub is excellent. Being a history buff/nerd, I love all of the history of the countries and I’m a big fan of the premise. The interactions between the countries are so funny and when the historical events are included it can be really cool.

Most of the countries are white men. Cuba (who makes a two-second appearance) is the only not-white person I can think of. There are only a couple of girls, and some of them don’t come across as the need-to-be-rescued princess type (ex. Hungary). And then you have Belarus who complains about her breast being too big. So if you are looking for a strong female perspective you aren’t going to exactly find it here.

However, some of the humor is too much and goes into the bizarre. For example, there is a short clip of each country as a different cat. It wound up being cute, but when the screen flashed “Catalia” naturally I put on my “da hell” face. And my “da hell” face makes numerous appearances.

Now the fans. Let me start off by saying that I’m the biggest history nerd. I grew up watching the History channel (before it became Swamp People and that crap) and history was a major part of my college major. So I do not dabble in history. At the same time, I don’t pretend to be the walking history text book. I’ve had numerous encounters with Hetalia fans that have the notion that because they watch Hetalia, they are the history text book. While Hetalia does explain history, it often over simplifies it and it cannot be counted on instead of reading the history book. So if you watch Hetalia, don’t act like you are educated on all of the history of the world.

Now, I have very little con experience before Hetalia took off. And maybe I feel this way because there are so many Hetalia fans, but they strike me as a little too intensely in love with the show. I love anime, but I diversify. Hetalia fans (I feel, debate me in the comments if you feel free) don’t. It’s like the cray-cray Twilight fans. They’re just too into it. And I’m sure there are other anime fans who love only one anime (brings me back to my high school anime club and how everyone had only heard of Naruto and I still didn’t know what it was). And maybe it’s because there are so many Hetalia fans that the cray-cray people are just higher in number.

I love Hetalia, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a fantastic series. I just don’t like that the other fans think they’re history know-it-alls and think Hetalia is the best/only anime in existence. But I love history and politics and funny things, and therefore I love this series.

Fanfiction Fridays: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Canada by Jekaro

Sometimes I would like to say I have taste in what I choose to fangirl over. Sometimes, I would like to say that I get into a series because of the meaningful plot and the deep characters. However, sometimes this is complete and utter bullshit. I know that some will argue that Hetalia has both of these traits, but you have to look exceedingly hard to find either in most cases.

In a series that has about one main plot and a million filler plot-lets—filler plot as in “wow, this is wacky/hilarious/cute/etc. but will have no lasting impact on the character”—and that each episode is divided into about three to four five-minute segments (in total, the episode is about fifteen minutes, content-wise), it’s hard to say that it said plot is in anyway ground shaking. Also, as far as author Hidekazu Himaruya is concerned, the characters are slightly flat and serve mainly as marketing tools which have served him well. Hey, I’m not going to lie: I got into the series for good looking boys and stayed for the…good looking boys (although the girls are pretty awesome too).

Good thing there’s fandom picking up the author’s slack.

Of course there’s a fair share of indulgent slash with no point what-so-ever, but if there’s one thing that this fandom has done better than a lot of other fandoms it’s creating fanon (fan-made character ideas that become so widely accepted that they’re like actual canon). I actually care more—or should I just say ‘actually care’?—for these characters because of what I’ve seen in fan works. So, allow me to introduce you to one of those works. Now, if you’ve read any of our ‘Fanfiction Follies’ series, you have an inkling of an idea of what types of fanfiction that I approve of and that I find “suddenly the characters are in high school!” fic to be for the most part stupid. This is a high school fic.

No, no, hear me out.

There’s a reason why Are You There, God? It’s Me, Canada works as a high school fic and that’s because the characters actually act like they’re in high school. A shocking concept, I know. There are actual teachers. Actual cliques that exist for more than just drama against the main character. Homework. Other students outside of the main character’s posse that have lives. It just exceeds my expectations in every way for this type of fic in general. Author, Jekaro, also makes the wise decision to not have all the main characters from the show be students. The older countries end up being teachers (IE: Germany, Italy) and parents. The younger countries are the students along with some other miscellaneous original characters.

The story itself focuses on Canada, and oft passed over character: in fact, in the show itself, it’s often joked about that no one even remember who Canada is, not even his pet.

Canada (who will be called by his human name, Matthew, for the rest of the review) lives with his two parents, England (“Dad”) and France (“Papa”), and his brother U.S.(Alfred). As a fervent FRUK family shipper, this made me too happy for words.

Mostly the story is about Matthew trying to find his own way through life, coming out from behind the shadow of his brother and being proud of who he is. Which is what high school is usually about. This story isn’t breaking new ground per say, but what really makes it is the wit and the relationships between the other characters. Holy shit, Matthew is hilarious. He is, of course, vulnerable and awkward as well, but his sarcasm is highly enjoyable. Take for instance this little nugget of gold he writes in his journal (NOT a diary) as his parents are making up after a fight.

Even later

Sakura petals
Falling on my hair in spring
My walls are too thin

Fields are made bright gold
Baked soft in the summer heat
Why are they so loud?

The fall air is crisp
Like breathing in ice cold clouds
Seriously guys

Winter brings the snow
Cold and clean like brand new sheets
Someone kill me now

And most everyone, even the highly welcomed addition of Seychelles as his best friend, has this kind of humor. It’s seriously great.

And as I stated earlier, relationships play a big part. Matthew’s parents must find a way to

relate to their son which is terribly difficult given how they’re so used to dealing with Alfred, the loud and bombastic jock that he is. And this difficulty the parents have is palpable and believable. Heartbreaking at times, but there’s always hope and humor. Besides that, Matthew not only has to deal with falling in love, but also coming to terms with the fact that he is falling in love with a boy…who looks like and dresses like a girl All the emotions Matthew goes through, all the thought processes, are realistic and it’s clear that Jekaro really thought this through rather than going straight for the ‘Hawt Yaoiz’ ™. I would have never considered the adorable Poland x Canada ship previous to this fic, but it’s really great. I just love it when a fan work can open my eyes to something I never saw before!

And so, dear reader, I offer this story up to you to enjoy. If you like slice-of-life with a dash of drama and a healthy dose of wit, this is your story. Read it here at the LJ Kink Meme (I’d give it a solid PG-13 rating, so don’t worry about the meme name…for this story.)! I should warn you, though, that the story never finished and it seems to have been abandoned. Alas! Perhaps someday they will continue. I’ll hold out for that day.

 

Web Crush Wednesdays: Kaiser Mony

In the world of cosplay, sometimes you’re forced to see some pretty heinous things that make you give up hope for the art all together. However sometimes amidst the stitching and hair gel there’s one group or person that truly is inspiring. This week’s webcrush is KaiserMony!

webcrush pic

I first stumbled upon her when I was in the hardcore part of my Tales of the Abyss fandom phase, and completely ate up her cosplay of Jade Curtiss. From then on, I continued to watch her grow not only as a cosplay designer, but also as an artist. Seeing the evolution of both firsthand (…okay, through deviantArt) was extremely neat. Although not all of her cosplays are complicated, her attention to detail is what really sets her apart from some of the other cosplayers.

Besides being extremely talented, she’s also a sweetheart in real life and her journal updates are always a pleasure to read. I hope by looking through her gallery, you get as inspired as I did!

Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon)

Those of us here at LGG&F worked tirelessly to compile and vote on the Top 10 canon and Top 10 fanon pairings in Geekdom. You have no idea how hard it was to come to a consensus on what was actually canon or not!

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Manga Mondays: Waving the White Flag of Love

Good day, readers! All you USA-ers, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and to everyone else I hope November treated you well. Jumping back into the game here after a somewhat hectic holiday I come bringing a review of one of my favorite doijins I own. If you didn’t catch my last doujin review and have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look over here at my short explanation of the art form.

Our story this week comes from one of the larger fandoms on the internet at this time, Himaruya Hidekazu’s Hetalia. Depending on the people you hear from, this is either the most horrible/annoying/EVIIIIL fandom ever or a good one full of wonderful people. Given the mercurial state of all fandoms, I tend to look at it from a person-by-person account, but I digress. If unfamiliar with the series it can be summed up rather easily: personified countries have crazy hijinks during World War 2 (and sometimes other time periods). Given the sensitive nature of this topic, there are times that the show misses its mark and with the release of the dub (and the dumb direction they took it in) these issues have been inflamed by a wide margin. However, these issues are usually dodged in the doujin due to the very nature of the artform. Today we look at Nanka-Izuno-Uenohou (Mumu)’s I Am Yours!.

This story focuses on the Axis powers (Germany, Japan, and North Italy) as Japan tries to mediate Italy’s one complaint about his lover, Germany. In the series it is strongly hinted that Germany has a thing for Italy stemming from his childhood, back when he was the Holy Roman Empire, and having a crush on the much more innocent, adorable Italy. As with my last review, this pairing is exceedingly popular and almost canon to the point it hurts. Drawing from the source material, there is also an abundance of ways this relationship can play out in a realistic manner. So, how does Mumu do?

Surprisingly well! It is a fear of mine that when writing about a pairing that has such a power differential already (Germany is a BAMF, Italy is…a

tomato box fairy) the quickly eroding slippery slope into “stereotypical yaoi” land will always be taken because it’s easy and it works. However, in this case Mumu shows the complexity of not only the characters, but the issues in their relationship as well. Germany is not only a badass, he’s a badass that has problems admitting his feelings out loud because, damn it, they’re embarrassing and Italy should already know. On the reverse side, Italy is not only a silly man that acts in hyperbolic tears, he is also a man who just wants to hear once how much he is treasured by the man he loves and is afraid that he may never hear it. Japan also plays his role as the mediator wonderfully. He is quiet and patient, but not afraid to dish out some stern words when Germany is about to give up all together. The friendship between the three of them is shown so well in such a short amount of pages: it is truly an impressive feat.

As bland as the storyline seems (“I just want him to say he loooooves me!!!”), it really is a lot more interesting when shown through these characters. The story is short so the tension can rise, expressing what really is at stake if Germany cannot admit his own weaknesses—his relationship with not only Italy but Japan too, as well as losing respect for himself. It’s not complex, but the characters make it complex. Or as complex as one can get in 13 pages.

Since I love the story so much, I really want to love the art too. And I do, I just wish there was more. Again we have the background problem: background range from gradients to just plain white save for one panel with an actual wall and hallway. There are also no real objects in the setting either. However, the characters look good for the most part and their expressions are wonderful. I have a feeling that Mumu was trying to bring

attention to the characters and their expressive postures, but in leaving everything else out it creates a void so it almost makes it seem like this is happening in some sort of afterlife scenario. Juxtaposing the comfort of a friend’s house to the emptiness of a wish unfulfilled would have added another interesting layer to this drama sandwich, but I’ll take comfort in knowing that the resolution happens in a situation like that.

I would recommend this doujin simply on how well Mumu gets the characters and expands them into more complete roles. Also, on how they treat the relationship in a respectful, realistic manner rather than relying on the old stand-by stereotypes.