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Nikki's Corner
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Fandom and me 
2nd-Oct-2008 10:27 pm

Been reading some fandom discussions, and feel like I'm an odd one out.

On shipping, specifically. I have come to realize that I don't feel that comfortable talking about pairing up characters, especially if their names are meshed put together as one name, unless the pairing is for crack, then all bets are off. Oh, I'm not against shipping, and in fact can be supportive of canon (or almost canon) pairings, but I notice that I just don't really have...something--enthusiasm is the best word I can come up with.

What I mean is, I am not a shipper. I don't go look for romantic relationship where it doesn't exist in canon. Yes, I think I know about subtext and/or UST, and guess I will count that if it's obvious, and not simply my own interpretation.

And I have to wonder...was it wrong for me to claim to be in fandom but had only casual interest in various pairings? Is there a place for me, who is more fascinated by interactions among various characters, among friends, among enemies, among in-betweens, without much romantic entanglement? And if there must be some romantic relationship, the more subtle, the better for me.

With all that said, I might have an even bigger problem. I suppose I might have misunderstood all along. What exactly does it mean to be in fandom? Is it participating in discussions? Is it writing fics? Is it reading fics? Is it translating articles/comics? Is it subtitling videos? Is it simply watching or reading or playing (if a game) canon source material? Is it providing access to scans or videos or songs/music or other media related to the series? Or is it something I usually do, writing thoughts (short or long depending on how much I can find to say) on certain episodes of the series?

Or you can skip all that. I think I'm not exactly comfortable with the word "fandom" either. I'm a person who is simply interested in this and that series, nothing more, nothing less. And yeah, I may call myself a fan, but I really don't think I do much of a fan thing. I'll answer if people come visit my journal, for instance, but I don't usually go out to seek other people on my own. That sounds like a selfish thing to do, but I guess I'm afraid of the unknown and prefer to stay in my comfort zone. I suppose me being painfully shy probably has much to do with that.

EDIT: Part 2, more than half a year later.
Yumiko's Rei-chan
2nd-Oct-2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
I like to think that being in fandom is not just writing fics, drawing fanart or actively share material/translations.
Being in fandom is even just talking about a certain drama/manga/anime/etc.
Maybe it becomes being 'active' in fandom when you partecipate in discussions, but even putting your thoughts down on your own LJ and commenting back and forth with your friends about it is considered as 'being in fandom' in my book. Isn't that a discussion too?
I like to think so, but it's just my opinion ^^
2nd-Oct-2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
You're right. Talking on LJ definitely is 'being in fandom' too. I've just never found a comprehensive answer that covers everything one does in fandom. Perhaps there is not one to be found, after all.

Isn't that a discussion too?

I like to think so, too. Thank you. :)
2nd-Oct-2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
Psh, not being a shipper is FINE. Shipping isn't the be all and end all of fandom; it just makes things more...interesting. I think all the things you mention are part of the experience.
3rd-Oct-2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, you're probably right. I've been reading too much fanficrants's entries and don't feel like I have much in common with the posters there. I shouldn't let that bother me.

Thanks for the reassurance. :)
3rd-Oct-2008 12:17 am (UTC)
In my opinion, if you like a fandom in general, you're in it. I'm simple like that. :D Everything else--fics, fanart, and the like are not evidence that you belong to a fandom, but they're people's ways of enjoying a fandom. I don't think there's a hierarchy of fans based on their output. :)
3rd-Oct-2008 03:54 am (UTC)
Wow, it is so nice that you seem to be able to look at things so positively. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :D
4th-Oct-2008 08:20 am (UTC)
I'm not so good in english, so I hope to express myself properly ^^;

> Been reading some fandom discussions, and feel like I'm an odd one out.

The same for me, very often!
I'n not a fanfictioner (ok, this is not so blaming XD), I don't read fanfictions (more grave XD), I'm not a shipper (what an eresy!!! XD), and, I guess, even (and what I'm going to say is very shocking XD), invented pairings between people just for pleasing fangirls and fanservices, is a very unrespectful thing for that persons.
Don't kill me, but this is my mind.

> unless the pairing is for crack

The same for me! In this situations I fond shipping very funny, but just for joking.

> I don't go look for romantic relationship where it doesn't exist in canon.

Exactly. Japanese idols plays with their friendship, but I guess thenself are conscious about absurdity to MUST to advance some JUST friendly act for pleasing fans. Sorry, but I don't think this is respectful for them. There are people more tender, or more communicative and demonstrative and effusive, than others. People who are more girly and tender, too. But SOME people, not anyone. People who doesn't feel to being in this way, why does have to? Is wrong for me, sorry.
This is FOR ME. Fans who like this things are ok, I prefer stay off.

> What exactly does it mean to be in fandom?

I don't know. For me, fandom is anything you like and you love and you constantly attend in the way you prefer!

> I'm a person who is simply interested in this and that series, nothing more, nothing less.

I' understanding you mean. In my point of view this is being in fandom, YOUR fandom :)

> I really don't think I do much of a fan thing.

Sometimes I ask to myself another thing: are called fans people who invent personality about an idol just for hers pleasure? If it is, I don't want to be a fan. Fan is loving a thing/person/unit/etc., for what they are, not for what I WANT they being.
Respect HAVE TO be on first, ever.

Kisses ;)
4th-Oct-2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
I understand what you are saying, don't worry. :) And, wow. You bring up things I never really consider, but then I was talking more of fictional characters, series, rather than of the actors/voice actors themselves.

I think you should do what you're comfortable with, so if you prefer to not read fanfictions, that's okay. As for me, sometimes I just can't get enough of the original series, so I have to seek extra stories to read (and sometimes write them, just because I want to XD). However, I don't really read a real person fic or rps, probably for the reason you state, in that it doesn't seem very respectful to the actors/artists to portray them in the way they might not act naturally. I don't write them, of course, but I do hear that the fans who write this kind of fics consider the actors fictional characters instead of real persons, and that the public faces they show to the fans are acts, too, but, for me, I can't get past the fact that there are real persons behind the masks. And yeah, I don't mind that people are writing and reading real person fics. Different people like different things, after all.

Loving people as themselves are important, definitely. And, as you say, it can be applied to things, too. I wouldn't want to change a strong character's personality just to make them cry (unless it's for crack XD), because his/her strength is most likely what attracts me to the character in the first place. And it doesn't have to be positive quality, either. Which is part of the reason I don't like my villains to be redeemed, much, because they become boring as one of the good guys and you can't the traits that make them the bad guys they used to be any more.

Overall, I find your comment to be very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to let me know your thoughts. :)

Edited to fix a typo, so might as well add a little more thought. ^^

Edited at 2008-10-04 03:06 pm (UTC)
5th-Oct-2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
You're comment about feeling like the odd one out strikes a note with me. Modern fandom puzzles me. This is largely why I stopped identifying myself as a fan years ago, for all that I've done just about everything on the "fan" list and more.

I think what puzzles me is that for some fans it seems to me that being publicly seen as a "fan" is more important than anything else. So it's not so much about how much one likes the series/band/performer whatever, it's about how much one's done to prove how much of a fan one is. Having to "prove" something makes me think that there was doubt in the first place. So people who have to prove what big fans they are, to me, are proving how much they're not. The fic or fanart or cosplay or 'ship or whatever are an effect of the fandom, but aren't the fandom itself.

Hmm... It occurs to me that (changing paradigms slightly), Teppei's a fanboy -- right? But I'm pretty sure he never wrote any Ultraman fanfics. (Other than maybe a self-insert or two that he never, ever shared with anyone!) Maybe if they had Ultraman clubs in school when he was growing up the way that we have chess clubs and language clubs he would have been a member of one, just so he could talk with other people who were also interested in the Ultras and their feats. But his fandom's one that anyone can join just by being interested. Somehow some fandoms seem to have more stringent requirements.

(Dang, and I remember the days when all it took to be an uber-fan was to have a copy of the Daicon opening animation. Man, those were the days! *proudly holds up her n-th generation copy of said anime* But now I ramble. :)
6th-Oct-2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
...being publicly seen as a "fan" is more important than anything else.

That is yet another aspect of fandom I'd never really considered, but then I am more of an observer (and a distant one at that) of fandom activities rather than a participant. And yeah, now that you mention it, the publicity thing puzzles me, too. Why are these "fans" so eager to get their names out there? Sure, feeling the need to prove themselves can be part of it...but I still don't understand why people would devote almost all their time and energy just to be "seen", since I don't think they can be in for the money (at least if they do things by the rules).

Ah, yes, the series is not at all subtle about the fact that Teppei is a fanboy. And I like the idea of Teppei writing self-insert fanfics. :) He seems to be the only one I can see who would ever bother to do so, too. And he probably can show the stories, if he calls the SI something else other than his name.

(Strangely, though, I think everyone else is a fan of something, too. They just don't seem to make their interests so tangible, not exactly something they can touch. Their passions seem to be more in the things they talk about rather than what they actually do live or breathe. Er, I don't know if I can really explain what I mean. For me, Teppei just seems more like a 'stereotypical' otaku, and everyone else less so, though Mirai might come close, with his Earth stuff collection and all).)

...In any case, you certainly have given me much to think about. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. ^__^
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