Fanfiction Fridays: It’s Not Always About the Romance

Every Valentine’s Day, we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends vote on and compile a huge list of our favorite pairings to share with our readers. (This is not that post. Check back around noon.) However, we also always do a post that takes some of the emphasis off romantic love, because we are strong proponents of the idea that while having a significant other is cool, it isn’t the be-all end-all of life or this day in particular. We’ve listed our favorite platonic duos and our favorite unattached anime characters over the past two years, but since V-Day conveniently falls on a Friday this year, we’re taking the opportunity to share five awesome fanfics where the focus is not on romance. Enjoy!

Warning: some fics involve spoilers for their respective series, specifically Shingeki no Kyojin (and, like, Harry Potter and The Avengers if you somehow haven’t read/seen those).

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Manga Mondays: Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth

rock lee's spring time of youthHere’s what I think when I read this series: What. Da. Hell?

Rock Lee’s Springtime of Youth is a spin-off of Naruto that focuses on one of Naruto’s peers named Rock Lee. Everyone is chibi and the series takes place in the past so everyone is there and carefree and happy. And did I mention they’re all chibi?

Most chapters are episodic in nature so you can pick up the series at practically any point and just start reading. You won’t miss much. And if you have an unabated passion for Naruto then you will probably find a place in your heart for this one.

That’s where the plus sides end, however. It’s like every bad Hetalia episode put back to back (and I know I’m going to get torn a new one for saying that). Everyone and everything is completely ridiculous and it loses all appeal after approximately two pages. I love Hetalia, but what I think balances out the craziness of it all is that it is a political commentary (which is what I truly love about Hetalia). RLSToY doesn’t have some greater message to achieve balance. It’s over-the-top for the sake of being over-the-top.

rock lee's spring time of youth2Actually, RLSToY exists to make money. It’s a way of earning a couple more bucks for Shounen Jump and it’s blatant; no effort was made to hide this. If you want to make a series solely for earning the money, at least make it interesting. Most of the plots of RLSToY make for very dumb stories. If you want me to read a spin-off, make it better than fanfiction I can find online.

So if you are a diehard Naruto fan and somehow don’t know about this, check it out. If you don’t fall into that category, you’re better off staying away.

Manga Mondays: The One Piece Journey Continues

one_piece_anime_ice_cream_nico_robin_namiPart 1
Part 2

Well, after my last One Piece post, I kinda/sorta said I wouldn’t read it again. However, during a bout with a cold and nothing better to do, I picked it back up again. And it finally made me realize what’s wrong with this series.

Say what you want about the complicated and elongated plots of Naruto and Bleach, but they always seem like they are heading somewhere for a reason (well, maybe excluding the random-as-hell fight between Unohana and Kenpachi in Bleach). In One Piece, they’re just wandering and doing whatever. There is no concrete, overarching plot direction. Yeah they’re supposedly looking for the One Piece, but in the 250+ chapters I’ve been reading it now, they’ve only mentioned it a handful of times. In addition, everything in One Piece is too drawn out. Not to continue to compare One Piece to Bleach and Naruto, but the other two series keep having things happen. One Piece devoted an entire chapter to drinking pumpkin juice for (seemingly) no other reason than pumpkin juice is delicious. It’s just so slow.

one piece sky islandAnyway, I’m in the middle of the sky island bit with God and and those priest people and fighting and things. That’s all I know, which I guess is part three of the problem. The things they should explain, they don’t, and instead devote serious page time to pumpkin juice. I have no idea who half of the sky people are at this point.

Part of me really wants to love Nico Robin, but the other part doesn’t know enough about her to like her. She’s there, and I love that she’s the nerd of the group, but she’s distant. There are ways to be a “distant” character and still be lovable (Raven from Teen Titans is the only example coming into my head right now, but I’m sure there are others). Robin doesn’t seem all that likable, which makes me sad because I usually like characters like her.

Now I don’t want to end every One Piece post with a cliff hanger of “Will I keep reading?!” because I think I will continue to keep it up for now. But the series better start showing why everybody loves it so much soon, or else I might stop.

one piece

Manga Mondays: Naruto

The two or three of you anime/manga fans out there who haven’t had long-ongoing contact with Shounen Jump mainstay Naruto by Kishimoto Masashi—this one goes out to you.

naruto_vol15_special - CopyNaruto tells the story of a no-good orphan kid (named Naruto) who wants to be recognized as the Hokage, the best ninja in his village. He’s been ostracized his entire life for reasons he’s not quite sure of. It turns out that a demon attacked the village when Naruto was a baby, and the Hokage at the time had sealed the demon inside Naruto. The villagers all see Naruto as the demon inside him instead of the lonely kid he is.

Naruto eventually starts to prove himself to others, make friends with the other kids in his class, and gain the respect of his teachers and the village. However, he is hurt deeply when his best friend Sasuke abandons him and the village in search of revenge for his family’s murderer. Naruto makes his new mission to bring Sasuke back to the village and redeem him, and… that’s pretty much the story so far, if you can smush 600+ chapters into about a hundred words of summary.

18I started reading Naruto way back in high school, and I’m in grad school now, so I… wow, I have spent more than a third of my life reading it. Yikes. Because of that, Naruto will always have a special place in my heart and all. But I’m not gonna sit here and suggest that you read it. It’s got some great story arcs, and some great character development, but it is (as of last week) 616 chapters and still ongoing, and that’s a hell of a commitment for someone starting out.

And, although it’s one of the big three of shounen right now along with Bleach and One Piece, I don’t feel like it’s doing anything too exciting or new to set it apart from the typical tournament-style shounen fare. It’s been a long time since any plot twist has taken me by surprise, and at this point I’m only reading it every week out of a sake of obligation.

Dreamers_Of_The_New_Age_by_pokefreakThe plot has reached what I think will be its final arc in the manga, but in true shounen style this arc has lasted probably fifty chapters already and will probably last at least another fifty before it’s done. Even so, if you’re going to read it, I’d suggest you wait it out and read the whole thing once it’s over.

Manga Mondays: The Portrayal of Masculinity and Femininity in Manga and Anime

From an historical viewpoint, just about every culture on the planet has idealized males as dominate figures, while dismissing females as the lesser sex. Japan is certainly no exception to this way of thinking. Though in recent years, while the gap between both genders has slimmed, it is still there, and the Japanese reflect this ideology in their manga and anime. Manga has been around for quite some time, and anime first appeared in the last century to represent manga on the television screen. While manga has an incredibly wide fan base that continues to grow each year, it normally targets either boys or girls. Manga for boys is called shounen, and for girls it’s shoujo.

Both may display similar characteristics regarding gender roles, but they are quite dissimilar in their portrayal, and normally cater to different genres. Shoujo, for instance, tends to center more on romance and finding true love, while shounen, even though it may also have romance, focuses more on action and adventure. This is not to say that shoujo has neither action nor adventure; those are just not the main focus in a typical shoujo.

So what I’m going to talk about today are two different shounen, Kisimoto Masasi’s Naruto and Takahasi Rumiko’s InuYasha. I also hope to explain why they are both shounen and not shoujo. Obviously, Naruto is a shounen, but there are some discrepancies about what category InuYasha falls under. And you’re going to have to brace yourselves, but I’m also going to be discussing gender roles.

Okay, let’s get to it.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Sexualities Written in Canon

The other day Lady Geek Girl and I found ourselves in a conversation about bending sexual orientations in fanfiction. Now, seeing as there is a lot of bending in this regard, we had a lot to talk about. The discussion first took off when I told her about an article that deals with sexual liberation in fanfiction and how the asexual community is treated in it. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find the article again to link to it, nor do I remember who wrote it, so the best I can do for everyone is to sum it up.

The entry talks a lot about fanfiction being one of the most, if not the most, sexually liberated places Online. And let’s face it; this is true. Just when you think you may have found the most sexually liberated story on the whole internet, you’ll find another one that succeeds it in no time at all. And with flying colors. Sex, sex, sex. It’s everywhere. And because of this, it’s a place where asexuality is oppressed.

Please don’t exit out of the page.

I promise that I’m not going to go on a tangent about asexuality and oppression. I’m not. I promise, and for once I’m not lying, but in order to get to what I’m trying to say, I first need to explain what this author was trying to say. Keep in mind that even though the author’s opinion is that asexuality is oppressed in fanfiction, this is not entirely my opinion.

The point that it eventually got around to was that time and time again, she had seen fanfiction authors write characters as asexual only to be bombarded in the comment section that said author was wrong. That Character X just needed Character Y to show him or her the error of being asexual and to learn to love.

I don’t remember whether or not the author of the article was talking specifically about characters in fanfiction, or if she tied it to characters in canon as well. And I don’t really care, because she did make a valid point that I’m going to get to. Eventually.

Lady Geek Girl misunderstood what I told her when I brought up this article and thought that I was upset that asexual characters in canon were having their sexualities changed to something else in fanfiction. Let’s be honest, the only reason this would upset me is because I don’t enjoy reading about sex and there are not a lot of fictional asexual characters out there to begin with. But Lady Geek Girl gave me a very good example for the issue at hand.

Take a look at this clip from Glee:

I’m not a big Glee fan, and I’ll be honest: the time it took to watch this clip is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent watching Glee.

According to Lady Geek Girl, the boy and girl featured in this clip are both gay. Not a problem. However, a lot of people watched this and proceeded to ship the two of them together. Naturally, they received quite some rebuttal to the oh-so-terrible outrage that was putting a lesbian and a gay guy together. After all, fanfiction is explicitly for canon pairings, right?

This ties back in with what I said about asexual characters in fanfiction. When writing fanfiction, there is no right or wrong to a character’s sexuality. Harry Potter having a relationship with Draco Malfoy is one of the most well-known pairings Online. And it will probably stay that way for quite a while. I think it’s safe to say that Harry’s not a homosexual in canon, but the fans can interpret that however they want. While I’m sure there are people out that that would take offense at even the idea of Harry and Draco together, bending a straight character’s sexuality into something else is a common practice in fanfiction.

If someone wants to write a fic where Finnick Odair is asexual or where Naruto loves Sasuke or even Ginny hooking up with an original female character that person is not wrong. But you’ll notice that all the characters I just mentioned are presented as heterosexual in the stories they feature in.

So therefore, I ask, why is it so wrong for someone to ship a lesbian and a gay man together? Simply by virtue of being queer doesn’t exempt a character from having his or her sexuality changed. This goes both ways. It’s a little tiring to read a fanfiction and have someone comment that the pairing is disgusting and that no one would want to read it. But it’s also tiring when someone makes a gay character straight or an asexual character gay and people get up in arms about it.

I remember this one fic I read for Inheritance Cycle here. This one-shot is about how and why Morzan’s love for Brom turned him evil. It’s not my favorite fic, but I couldn’t help but notice the comments for it.

I cannot believe that you wasted your time writing this… I mean did you actually believe that poepl would like brom gay love

- no name

And this comment wasn’t alone.

despicable… how likely is it that a IC fan would want to read a gay love story of their favourite books

- gcgfcgcj

Though, my favorite was this one here:

so did brom have eragon with morzan… stupid

- zaroc

Sure! Why not? It’s fanfiction. Who cares?

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Yeah, here’s another thing I’m getting to really late, but oh well. Whatever, right? The Star Ocean franchise reminds me very much of Final Fantasy. Except where each Final Fantasy takes place in different worlds that do not impact the other games, Star Ocean spans across one universe for all four games, just at different time periods. Now, I haven’t played the first two games, so I don’t know where they fit into on the timeline; however, I do know that the third one takes place almost four hundred years after the latest installment, making The Last Hope something of a prequel.

More accurately, this game is called Star Ocean: The Last Hope – International, as it includes a very welcomed option to play with the original Japanese voice track, as well as the option to change the HUD back to its original design which looks more anime-esque. While I rejected the latter, because I thought it was ugly, I very much love the Japanese voices, and that’s one of the things that sold me on this game.

Of course, the first world they visit is covered in giant bugs…

To start off, let me just say that the plot sucks. Not at first though. It pulls the player in with a more-than-decent beginning and fun gameplay. The Earth is doomed. Our two main characters, Edge and Reimi are post-WWIII kids, who worked hard to get into the SRF program, so they could travel together to other planets and find a suitable place to live. Along the way, they encounter Faize, an Eldarian boy, and it’s from Faize that they learn of the existence of intelligent alien life and that the Earth has been in contact with the Eldarians for quite some time. Something goes wrong, however, and one of the other SRF ships crashes and the remaining one piloted by Edge’s best friend Crowe disappears. Thus, Edge, Reimi, and Faize embark on a mission to find it. Pretty simple, right? It’s a good start to what could be a great game. And as I said, the gameplay is fantastic. The battle system is fun and the visuals are pretty damn good.

All of that goes to hell pretty quickly once we get our first taste of the characters’ personalities, which I’ll get to in a bit. I should also mention that while the main plot does rear its head from the beginning, a lot of shit that has nothing to do with anything happens along the way. We even get our own filler arc to introduce the character Meracle, because introducing her during the actual story would be much too simple.

She’s sixteen, by the way, and she acts like a twelve-year-old.

Somewhere along the way, our crew gets sent back in time through a black hole. They end up orbiting the Earth and decide to land ship in Area 51, because why the hell not there? This is where they find Meracle, our resident cat girl, who Welch very appropriately calls out for looking like an anime character. I love when Welch sees Meracle and comments on her catlike appearance, claiming she feels as though she just walked into an anime convention, because yeah, that’s how this entire game feels. It really is like someone turned a manga into a video game and slapped the Star Ocean label onto it.

Some shenanigans happen, and Edge fucks up and explodes the Earth. But thankfully it’s from a different reality, so don’t worry. Now, I have so many problems with this. But here’s the main three:

  1. Edge’s reaction. Yes, he does feel sorry and down about what he did, but that’s all he feels. I kind of wanted more emotion from him other than :(. Edge’s character is kind of like a competent Naruto who’s not a complete dumbass. He’s the every hero who has every-hero thoughts and does every-hero things. He just wants to help people and become the best. His cocky attitude takes a leave of absence once the alternate Earth is dead and he realizes that he’s killed about six billion people. And then he sadly mopes… with sadness. Then, in an entirely-too-long cut-scene some character that we never see again bitch slaps him with words and Edge decides to get over what happened. My problem here is that he learns nothing. He goes from cocky to :( to cocky again. And the other characters just cannot stop giving him little emotional ass pats while he’s being all depressed and trying to tell him what a wonderful person he is, because as a Gary Stu, not even blowing up a planet and mass murdering people can make the other characters not endeared to him. And yes, blowing up the Earth is his fault. Entirely. The difficult situation back in Area 51 aside, he knew exactly what he was doing and the possible repercussions of it.
  2. Meracle’s existence and her knowledge of things from the ordinary timeline. It should be stated that other species discovered space travel before humans did. The game never exactly explains whether or not Meracle traveled back in time or whether she was from the alternate past reality and just crash-landed. I’m going to assume the latter, since she has trouble recognizing her home planet in the regular timeline. And it never explains whether or not that’s where she’s even from, but regardless, she’s heard of a woman named Elenya, who’s a bit of a soothsayer and Meracle’s favorite person ever, so I think it’s safe to assume that Meracle is from Roak. So just to recap, Meracle’s from over a hundred years in the past, and yet a woman who couldn’t have possibly been born yet is her role model. Furthermore, the planet they live on is not advanced enough to have space travel, so how Meracle even ended up on a ship and crash-landed on Earth is one big gapping plot hole. Granted, despite how much I greatly dislike Meracle’s introduction into the series, her relationship with the professor who first found her and his love for his crazy wife makes the whole in-the-past part enjoyable. It’s a little sad that both he and his wife don’t make it off planet, but they are likable characters, and the ending scene with them makes what’s happening have some sense, even if it doesn’t add up with the rest of the story. Which brings me to my next point.
  3. Going to the past could have been entirely cut out from the game and nothing would be lost. It affects nothing, and not even the big bad trying to destroy the universe has anything to do with time travel. Before the game shoves Area 51 on us, we see bad things happening and maybe they’re not the most interesting things, but they certainly keep the player going. But traveling to the past played as though the game wanted to take a break from itself. Multiple times through this game and I still cannot figure out why it happens.

The big bad’s personality can be summed up as evil.

And that’s hardly the only thing that doesn’t add up in this story. Like the big bad, for instance. It has no origin. It’s just there, because why spend time coming up with actual villains and backstories when you can just throw in some space phantoms? Of course, my favorite part about the Grigori is their artificial and lifeless planet having enough oxygen for the heroes to not suffocate on. The best, though, is the asteroid belt they run across. It also has suitable atmosphere and temperature.

Out of all Star Ocean games, I’ve only played three and four, and I’ve only beaten one of them. Oddly enough, I’d say three is my favorite of the two, despite the fact that I stop playing every time I finally make it to the second disk, if only for my disdain of not being able to take both Nel and Albel off world with me at the same time. I grit my teeth at the inability to collect all the characters every play through, but overall, I’d say it’s the better story. Of course, I may only think that, because between the two of them, at least the third one knows whether or not it wants to be a game or an annoyingly long anime. The Last Hope can’t decide.

This game has infamously long cut-scenes. I remember playing it one day before class. I had fifty minutes to catch the bus, but the cut-scene I had gotten to just would not end. I didn’t start timing it until partway through, but when my annoyance finally pulled me around to doing so, it was over half an hour long and I was about to miss my ride.

Nothing happens in the cut-scenes either. It’s just minor characters—like this one—talking. For half an hour.

I suppose the cut-scenes wouldn’t bother me too much, if they had some point to them. A lot of them have no impact on the overall-arching plot, and that’s not to say they shouldn’t exist in those cases, but they could at least be shorter. They just go on and on.

Now, I know this may not be fair to say—though it is without a doubt entirely accurate—but I finally realized my biggest issue with this game and why I loathe all the characters. The Last Hope is much like a manga turned into a game. Again, it’s not a fair comparison as I’m sure an actual manga was not involved in the making of this game, but I base this on how the story progresses and I don’t think this conclusion is at all surprising, considering the game is from Japan. The story arc progressing like a manga is not a bad thing. I love manga. And dare I say it, so do many of the writers here at LGG&F. The Last Hope unfortunately is like a stereotypical manga filled with every cliché character type and plot point Japan has ever given us.

So, yeah, the plot is a little dull, and when it’s not dull it makes no sense. Plot alone does not always carry a story. Even if it lacks cohesion, if the characters are interesting enough, many of the story’s flaws can be forgiven.

The characters in The Last Hope are not that good.

The :*( of a mass murderer looking all :*(. His Gary Stu power makes him the first and only human capable of magic.

I’ve already talked about Edge, but let’s talk about him some more. His Gary Stu-ness knows no bounds. All the other characters rely on him, and even if they manage to beat him at something, they’re always quick to amend that it was for some non-feasible reason and that Edge really is the best. Hell, Edge is so awesome that he beats the character Bacchus at a chess-like game the second time he’s ever played it. Upon winning, Bacchus comments that he’s the galactic champion of the game and that now Edge gets the honor of the title. Edge is the topic of discussion for most of the dialogue as well. The game likes to break from the story so the other characters can talk about how wonderful he is.

Of course, Edge’s character is nowhere near as annoying as Faize’s. While the other characters praise Edge for everything he does, Faize exists solely for the purpose of worshiping him. He has no other identifying characteristics. Hell, even when the alternate Earth blows up, Faize comments, “Don’t be so gloomy, Edge. As far as we’re concerned, you made the right choice back there.” Even the few times Faize does grow a backbone and manages something for himself, his character almost immediately reverts back to the constant Edge worship. My best comparison for Faize would be Roger from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. Roger is the most annoying character that has ever been introduced in a video game. Surfing the internet, I cannot seem to find one person who actually likes this kid. But at the end of the day, I can’t hate Roger too much. Yeah, he’s obnoxious, but he’s meant to be that insufferable. We, the audience, are supposed to hate him. Faize, on the other hand, we’re supposed to like, but I can’t like someone who’s completely incapable of doing anything for himself without his crush holding his little extraterrestrial hand. Even at the game’s end when he’s off being evil and possessed, I couldn’t think of anything but how much I wanted him dead and that he and Edge should stop having their lovers’ goodbye and leave the soon-to-be exploding planet they’re on.

Spoiler Alert: Faize dies.

Her Mary Sue power makes her immune to any and all diseases and status effects, except in battle, where it’s needed.

The next main character is Reimi, and she suffers from ‘I’m a girl so I must be incapable when I’m really not’ syndrome. Well, she has more self-confidence than Faize, at least. Reimi exists so the camera can zoom in on her butt and then she can freak out about sexual assault in every other cut-scene she’s in, and her actions are supposed to be ridiculous, because she sees assault where it doesn’t exist, like the time Edge wants to climb down a citadel first to check that it’s safe, and she calls him a pervert for possibly wanting to look up her skin-tight shorts. The game makers actually go so far as to include a supposed funny scene of Edge watching her in the shower so we can witness her overreaction at discovering him. Of course, I fully approve of her loosing arrows at his ass. The sexual-harassment issue brought up with her character wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t used to show how ridiculous the writers feel the issue is. Yeah, some of her reactions are uncalled for because she sees harassment where there isn’t any, but in other situations it does exist and it’s treated with the same flippant attitude.

This, however, is nowhere near as creepy as the love relationship between Faize and Lymle. I should probably mention that Japan is much more accepting of pedophilic relations in fiction than Westerners are; however, this is pushing it. I can only assume that after her character design, the writers also realized how messed up what they did was, so they made Lymle fifteen and Faize eighteen. That’s still a little weird by my standards, especially because Lymle was obviously not written with a teenage girl in mind. She acts and looks like a five-year-old. She draws on the floor, lacks any concept of socially acceptable norms, has the emotional capacity of a small kid, and doesn’t like taking her nappy time alone. I’m beginning to feel as though the game makers have no concept of age. The creepy relationship with Faize aside, Lymle is probably the most adorable character, at least in my opinion.

I think my favorite character, however, would be Sarah. I say Sarah because while she is also completely oblivious and naïve, she at least acts her age. Sure, she’s soft spoken and overly polite. But compared to the other women, she’s not bringing up sexual harassment cases for no reason like Reimi, nor is she shoving a ginormous chest into our faces like Myuria, which is actually the first thing Myuria does. Out of all the female characters, Sarah’s the most realistic. At least to me. There’s no creepy relationship or anything like that; she’s just along for the ride because she sees the other characters as her friends. I may be a little biased, though, because for fear of revealing my identity, we share the same name and we kind of look alike. (It must be the glasses.) That, and I can connect to her on the bases of her utter refusal to pay any attention to the stupidity around her. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I don’t pay attention to things around me if they upset me or are just not worth the effort, like the Green Lantern movie. That attitude seems to be what Sarah holds for the rest of the Star Ocean universe. The Grigori are trying to kill everyone—well, screw that, ‘cause Sarah can’t even be bothered to remember what they’re called.

One thing that should be said about The Last Hope’s characters is that the females outnumber the males. There are nine playable characters, and only eight in the party, because Faize goes off to become evil when the last one joins up, leaving us with three boys and five girls. Six girls if you include Welch. I did find this surprising my first time through, because I’m used to just the opposite when playing games. The Last Hope doesn’t really cater to either a male or female audience, and with the exception of a few things here and there, most of the genders could be changed and the plot would be more or less the same. I give it props for being pretty gender neutral. I mean, I could go on and take the feminism stand and bitch about the bad female characters who can’t do anything without Edge, but the same applies to male characters as well.

Despite some very questionable decisions in the storyline, it is fun. Maybe I expected more out of a Star Ocean game, especially one that obviously had so much effort put into it. And I’m not going to lie, The Last Hope disappoints me, but I wouldn’t call it completely awful. This is a guilty pleasure. My conclusion is that it’s simply mediocre and that hopefully any negative backlash from this installment won’t be the death of the franchise.

On a happy note, it does have giant bunnies that you can race. They’re so cute that I’m willing to forgive how much the bunny usage in this game is a complete rip off of chocobos.

Can’t you see the resemblance?

All the Single …Folks: An Anime Top Ten

So. It’s apparently Valentine’s Day or something. The lead up to this manufactured pink holiday has the unfortunate cultural side effect of shaming all the people who lack a significant other into feeling alone and miserable. Well, being single ain’t all bad. Here are ten of the most kick-ass folks in anime who don’t need no romantic interest to be awesome.

1. Mirajane Strauss Mirajane is the most badass single lady in Fairy Tail.  She’s too concerned with keeping her family together and kicking ass in the name of the guild (either with or without her magical abilities) to worry about the long line of dudes (and ladies) that want to get with her.

2. Nathan Seymour a.k.a. Fire Emblem Fire Emblem is easily the most flirtatious of the Heroes of Sternbild’s Hero TV.  But that doesn’t mean he’s pinned down.  And don’t let his looks and playful personality fool you – he’s also the CEO of his own company and a powerful NEXT in his own right.

3. Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates HellsingIntegra has a lot on her hands. Stopping the invasion of London by thousands upon thousands of neo-Nazi vampires is one of those things. Keeping a leash on her bff/trump card/vampire servant Alucard is another, and keeping track of the silly human girl he turned is yet another. Add in the superviolent secret Iscariot branch of the Catholic Church trying to take out her organization under the guise of stopping the invasion, and really, she does not have time to deal with suitors.

4. Kurosaki Ichigo You would think that with all the girls Ichigo’s always rushing to save (no one’s saying Bleach is a paragon of feminist awesomeness) that he’d end up with one of them. But he seems to have other things on his mind (defeating Aizen, gaining, losing, and regaining powers left and right, etc.), so he remains happily single.

5. Olivier ArmstrongOlivier (pronounced Olivia) Armstrong is more awesome than you can ever hope to be. She is a General, so she outranks you. She has kept the invading forces of Drachma at bay for how many years now in that brutally cold fortress in the bitter north? And if she can simply adapt and win when the world is literally breaking into its component parts around her, I’m pretty sure a little thing like being single on Valentine’s Day is none of her concern.

6. Heiwajima ShizuoShizuo is a sweet guy with a bit of an anger problem.  He definitely has his heart in the right place – he’s a great friend, a loyal brother, and a fierce defender of his turf.  He’s just too busy throwing vending machines at Izaya to worry about hooking up.

7. Fujioka Haruhi Our first Haruhi could care less about gender labels, let alone societally-imposed celebrations of heteronormativity.  She spends the entirety of her free time being surrounded (and often courted) by the most attractive boys at Ouran Academy, but all she really wants to do is get through high school so she can become a lawyer like her mom.

8. Hatake KakashiHe’s powerful and mysterious. He’s a sweet and loyal guy with a metric shitton of baggage.  He was even Hokage for all of ten minutes (once, I think). And right now (at least manga-wise) he’s fighting the biggest baddie of the Narutoverse head-on.  So maybe his singleness is a symptom of his inability to open up to others since Obito’s death. I think he may just have bigger concerns.

9. Suzumiya Haruhi  This Haruhi is only interested in non-normal things. And we’re not talking like underwater basket-weaving or hot sauce on ice cream – she wants to meet and befriend aliens, telepaths, and time travelers. No normal people need apply.  And when you’re basically God in the body of a wacky high-school girl, you don’t bother wasting time with significant others who can’t keep up with you.

10. Byakuran Depending on where you are in the series, Byakuran can be awfully loyal to Yuni, but she has no hold over his actual heart – he’s free for the taking (ladies and gentlefolks, wink wink).  Just make sure to provide lots of candy. He loooves him some candy. But don’t be sad if he turns you down. Byakuran is the man who was almost king – of a thousand parallel dimensions.  He arguably has standards higher that Haruhi Suzumiya’s.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through the awesome single folks of anime, and it’s helped you feel a little less forever alone on this day celebrating relationships.  Happy Singles Awareness to all my fellow readers without a special somepony. ^_~

Fanfiction Follies: Nowhere Near Naruto

Some characters are easier than others…

Tsunderin: Sometimes looking for bad fanfiction is just like shooting fish in a barrel. This is the case with larger fandoms like Harry Potter and Hetalia: sure there are those fics that are just awful, but there are also an abundance of really good, well-thought-out fics. However, sometimes it’s easier, like stabbing a fish you just bought pre-packaged at a grocery store—you know what your chances of success are well before actually preforming the action. This is the case with the Naruto fandom. It’s not even the plethora of OC fics floating around, rather it seems as if no one in this fandom can get the characterization of any of the characters correct. Naruto becomes a hyperbole of stupidity, every older ninja (jounin/-kage) suddenly is driven only by sex and are tricked by the stupidest of plot devices, Sakura is either made out to be a completely evil slut or somehow with Itachi, and Sasuke is an emo little—oh wait.

Surprisingly, the author of this particular fic has managed to keep the characters true to form.

MadameAce: Well, not really. She only manages to not destroy the characterization of canon characters because canon characters don’t actually appear in her story. Tsunade and Gaara cameo, and the Amekage gets a brief couple of paragraphs—wait, there is no Amekage in Naruto, so never mind. While both Tsunade and Gaara are OOC to an extent, they don’t do enough to be considered part of the story. What it really comes down to is that the author wanted to write an original story, but didn’t want to take the time to develop a world for her OCs to live in, so she used Naruto’s. Though that’s also an understatement, because halfway through the first chapter we end up in a forest that doesn’t exist, and halfway through the second chapter, we end up in Hell. No, seriously. Naruto has nothing to do with the story. Reading through Moonlight Vampiress’s The Devil and the Evil Angel, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a Naruto fanfiction. Let me reiterate, this has nothing to do with Naruto. There’s really nothing else for me to say regarding that, other than that this is not a fanfiction, but it’s on fanfiction.net. So what the hell, right? WHY IS THIS A FANFICTION?!

Tsunderin: The ‘not-really-a’ fanfic starts out with the audience being introduced to Axyrn—the strongest, most powerful, most lone-wolf-omg-am-I-cool-yet ninja ever—as he is instructed by Tsunade to go help out Gaara with a demon that’s attacking the sand village… for some reason. There is no reason for this plot device other than to a) show how weak and lame the actual canon characters are compared to Mr. Lone-Wolf and b) to show how Axyrn can beat the devil, but we’ll get to that later. Tsunade is reasonably concerned for Axyrn, seeing as it’s the fucking devil attacking them, but it’s cool. Man, didn’t you know? “Nothing is too much for Axyrn Tokigashi.” See that name? Swo~on! <3

While he travels to Gaara’s aid, we get the equally hardcore background of Axyrn. As with a good 70% of Naruto fancharacters, he has a Sharingan eye and relationship trouble. And he was also the leader of Organization XIII and the Dark Ones.

…Wat?

Are you fucking serious?

MadameAce: So… this is a crossover fanfic. Except that after the brief and painful flashback, Organization XIII and the Dark Ones are never mentioned again. Really? Well, now we know at least two things about the author. She’s lazy as fuck, and she’s in love with a boy named Ryan.

Tsunderin: Well, actually, I’m not too sure on the gender here. I looked up the name of the dumb sword he uses (the aptly stupidly named, Suizangoko) to see if it was just stolen from Bleach or something. Despite my initial thoughts, it ended up being his/her original creation. However, it did lead to a DeviantArt page with the screen-name “Ryan####”. So, either it’s a dude going on a massive ego trip or a chick living out her fantasies of her misguided perfect man. …Or someone that’s very confused.

MadameAce: Well, anyway, Axyrn is obviously a dude, noted by a very poor sex scene and his fascination with Ino Yamanaka—yeah, he kills her with fire for cheating on him. I loved how she got pregnant with random generic man’s child in the course of one day, too.

Moving on.

Axyrn goes to confront the devil in a forest located in the middle of a desert. Yes, that’s where the forest is. It’s not an oasis; it’s a forest. Thus commences the bad song fic. Neither Tsunderin nor I know how song fics are supposed to work, to be completely honest, but I assure you, the author doesn’t either. Axyrn and the devil fight. The devil wins, and says:

“You are an interesting human. How about I offer you something I have offered no one before.”

And what is this offer, you ask.

“My throne…I will take your soul and that will allow you to kill me…you can shoose to take it back if you wish after my death and you will be the ruler of hell.”

What a stupid deal. Who would even offer this to someone?

Oh, well. Remember, Axyrn, shoose wisely.

Tsunderin: Shooooooose!!!

The Hardest Decision Axyrn Will Ever Make

Sorry about that. In a completely predictable turn of events, Axyrn accepts the deal and becomes the devil after getting his soul ripped out. Something that he seems strangely unemotional about. He screamed, sure, but there is no actual description saying how it felt. I mean, I scream when something accidentally falls into the garbage disposal and I turn it on. I doubt it’s the same kind of feeling.

MadameAce: One time a spider landed on my eye, and I screamed. It was almost like having my soul ripped out….

Tsunderin: Well, okay, I guess it might be. I mean, what do I know about having my soul ripped out? But to top this scene with the extra stupid whipped cream, the original devil finds himself frightened by the monstrosity of a Gary Stu he just created. And then he (the pre-devil) gets stabbed. The end. Talk about anti-climactic endings.

Wait… there are two more chapters? How the hell else can this get any—

Aida was kicked out of the mist village when she was five years old.

Oh.

MadameAce: Shit, not another one. Yes, because a Gary Stu wasn’t enough, we needed another twat with her own emotional baggage that makes no sense. So we’re introduced to Aida—what a stupid generic name for a character. Like, could the author not even be bothered to find a better name? Did she just pick the first Japanese name she came across in alphabetical order?

So what’s Aida’s backstory?

Her family hated her for the demon that she held within her very being. When she had been a baby, she was unconsolable. She would not eat any baby food and would not stop crying no matter what. A travelling sage came to the town and told them that if they put a demon in her that the child would be more agreeable.

Aida: beautiful and Tr–wait, this sounds familiar…

Apparently demonic possession makes people nice. Yeah, her family hates her for the demon they chose to put in her. How do I even begin to talk about how much this doesn’t make sense? I don’t even need to, because anyone with a brain cell can realize how much wrong those four sentences contain. Also, yeah, that whole demon thing doesn’t work out. She massacres half her clan at the age of five and runs away, only to be taken in by the Amekage—seriously, who the hell’s the Amekage?

Oh, then he tries to rape her, so she kills him. And that’s about how much emotion is involved in that scene.

Tsunderin: Why in God’s name does this so-called ‘Amekage’ use the worst plot device ever?

“Because I know you are still an innocent and after taking you in I think I deserve payback.”

She murdered half her clan: she’s not innocent. Although he does get that payback he deserves, but it’s not for taking in the demon spawn; it’s for existing in this story. Especially when canon already has a perfectly acceptable water-Kage. But it’s a woman. OH WELL, FUCK CANON.

While she’s killing the Amekage, she sprouts wings (an aspect I’m entirely sure s/he put in just to match the lyrics of the song) and runs out into the forest crying. In fact, that is the one thing she does this entire fic. Cry. She is always. Fucking. Crying. Now, I’m not unsympathetic; she has been through a lot in a short span of time, but COME ON. Make it so I can feel bad for the demon-spawn murderer of two villages. So, we have Angel-face crying against a tree, when WHO should show up but Lone-Badass-Devil himself, Axyrn. Aida is rightfully scared of this dude—who just essentially told her that he has been stalking her since like, forever—but Axyrn “knows what [she] want[s].” And that is… A DUEL! No, no, it’s sexy time. SPOILER!

MadameAce: They kiss, fall in love in the span of two sentences, and go to Hell to have sex on a bed of fire. Oh, I should mention, they fall in love before they even know each other’s names. Well, before she knows his; he has been stalking her, after all. It’s at this point I have to wonder if she’s still five years old or not, but it’s best not to think about it.

She tasted the inside of his mouth as she kissed him and felt he tasted sweet.

HOTT

She felt he tasted sweet? This is the worst sex scene I have ever read.

Tsunderin: I’ve read worse.

MadameAce: Really, I’m quite certain I haven’t—oh, never mind. I’ve read My Immortal, too.

This story suffers from a lot of mistakes commonly found in fanfiction with a few more that I have never seen before. Like The World With Grace and the issue of cancer, this story falls into the same pit, that is using traumatic events to make the audience pity the character while having no idea what that event entails. While I can give The World With Grace credit for being unique—I’ve never read a cancer fic before—The Devil and the Evil Angel uses the same issue found in every other Mary Sue story: rape. And looking through the author’s other fics, s/he does this a lot. And this is just not how rape works. Not only that, but a running theme in her stories is that the girl either saves herself—though otherwise is completely incapable—or gets saved before the rape is completed, so as to save her innocence. What does this say about actual rape victims? That if they couldn’t get away, they’re tainted and should be thrown out. Guess how many rape victims go, “No! My innocence!” Just about none. I’m quite certain any and all thoughts are focused more around, “OH GOD!” If even that. I went into shock during my personal experience and can’t even remember what my thoughts were, because none of them were coherent. Moreover, if the author’s main concern in this issue is loss of virginity to someone the victim doesn’t love, what does it say about rape victims who weren’t virgins?

Tsunderin: Another problem with this is that sexual assault in fanfiction is usually portrayed as a situation where the character is just too pretty and the men just can’t help themselves. Now, I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure these acts are based on demonstrations of power, not because someone is the most beautiful special snowflake in the world. Of course, this unrealistic portrayal of rape is how Moonlight Vampiress makes the love scene between Axyrn and Aida come across as well. As such, I can’t even bring myself to call it a love scene. There is no emotional attachment any deeper than, “You’re pretty and tragic. I’m pretty and tragic. Let’s fuck.” This of course exists in the real world but don’t try to play it off as something endearing and sweet. ‘Cause it’s not.

MadameAce: Additionally, this girl is weak. Axyrn’s bland personality would be bad enough, but Aida cannot do anything for herself emotionally. Despite her awesome demon abilities, she’s not strong, though the author tries to tell us otherwise. Aida also encompasses the idea that a girl needs a man to be happy, which she reminds us constantly about during the sex scene. While I would agree a significant other can make a person happier, it’s entirely possible for a person to have a fulfilling life without a partner.

And considering that this has nothing to do with Naruto and is therefore not a fanfiction, it has nothing to do with anything at all, though it tries and fails epically. If you want to write a fanfiction, write a fanfiction. If you want to write an original story, don’t post it on ff.net.

Tsunderin: Even as original fiction goes these characters are completely moronic and not thought out at all beyond being someone’s pipe dream. They have enough personality between them to fill a thimble half-way and there’s nothing about them to make the audience relate to them, much less care about what happens to them.

Let’s take a step back: both Axryn and Aida have killed countless people and gave up their humanity so they can fuck forever in Hell. And… what exactly about this makes them compelling? Sure, Aida got kicked out of her village (and rightfully so), but in the end she basically got rewarded for committing a heinous crime. There is no sense of consequences in this entire story. There are no lessons. There is no character development (except for Axyrn turning into even more of an insufferable douchebag). It just is there. So, the only reaction you can possibly have is to stare at it for a second and continue on your merry way. No one better for the experience.