the_sun_is_up: Yahtzee's speech bubble has been censored by a black bar that has the text "horrible things" written on it. (zero p - horrible things)
The notoriously batshit SPN fandom is smouldering yet again. As usual, it's the Jared/Jensen tinhats — this time, they're upset because Jensen and his wife are expecting a baby. (Jared and his wife also recently had a baby.)

Amidst all the boggling, [profile] ekaterinv raised an interesting question for which I couldn't think of an answer:

Here's one thing that's bugging me: straight men can have masturbation fantasies about two hot women getting it on without believing that said women are actually getting it on. Why is there a a small and very vocal group of straight women who absolutely cannot deal with their masturbation fantasies about two hot men being [just] fantasies?

Indeed, there are several fandoms that contain these RPS "tinhats": people who don't simply ship two male actors — they believe that the two men are actually gay and actually involved in a secret relationship. Not only that, but these fans tend to be incredibly rabid in their beliefs — they're hugely invested in believing that the relationship between these two men is real and not a fantasy.

But the question is: why are these tinhat fans almost always women? Like [profile] ekaterinv said, there are plenty of straight men who can enjoy girl-on-girl fantasies without needing them to be real. I'm racking my brains, and I can't think of any instance where a bunch of fanboys were religiously devoted to the idea of two specific actresses being secret lesbian lovers. So why is that?
the_sun_is_up: A lovestruck Tamamin from Girl Friends making a boob-grabbing gesture. (gf - grabby hands)
Today I was taking a walk, and I got to musing about the fighting shonen genre. Now in Western culture (and I glean that Japanese culture is somewhat similar), we have this trope called A Man Is Not A Virgin, in which it's taken for granted that all post-pubescent male characters have already had sex at some point in the past, because if they hadn't, then it would be like soooo embarrassing you guys.

With that in mind, why are so many fighting shonen protagonists virgins? And not just regular virgins, but naive, oblivious, pure-as-the-driven-snow virgins, grew-up-in-a-male-monastery virgins, still-thinks-babies-come-from-the-stork virgins.

I realize that most fighting shonen series are minimal-to-nil on the romance subplot front, because teenage boys are not interested in reading about soapy relationship drama, or so I'm told. However I do seem to recall teenage boys being very interested in sex. It's one thing to have a shonen protagonist who has no steady girlfriend or hasn't noticed his female friend carrying a torch for him; it's quite another to have him be seemingly unaware that girls even exist and to completely avoid any sort of fooling around with the opposite sex.

Let's run through some examples: Ichigo — no girlfriend, and the only time he displayed interest in girls was when he freaked out at Yoruichi being a nudist; Goku — thought marriage was a type of food; Naruto — unusual in that he has a very loud crush on a girl, and his invention of the Sexy Jutsu demonstrates his interest in naked women, but since he raised himself, he still seems pretty naive on the birds-and-bees front; Sasuke — borderline asexual; Train from Black Cat — borderline asexual; Luffy — canonically asexual; Sousuke Sagara — okay his series isn't really fighting shonen, but I think he deserves a mention because he's a teenage action hero who is (you guessed it) borderline asexual. Light from Death Note is at least perceptive enough to notice the effect he has on girls and to exploit it for his own non-sex-related gain, but he's still another one for the borderline asexual pile. This pattern even shows up in GioGio's Bizarre Adventure — early in the arc we see Giorno at a restaurant with a bunch of girls swarming around him and offering to buy him food, but he tells them to go away because he'd rather be alone. Then when Trish shows up, out of the six boys, Giorno has the least amount of sexual/romantic tension with her. And from what I've heard, Allen from D Grayman, Natsu from Fairy Tail, and Juudai from Yugioh GX are all similar cases.

Even some fighting seinen series adhere to this trend. Guts and Vash are hardly oblivious to sex and romance, but they're still staunchly celibate for most of their respective series, despite Guts having almost every single female in the cast crushing on him.

In Mahou Sensei Negima, there's this arc that introduces aging pills, and the two male characters use them to age up from 10 to 15, which gets all the 14-year-old harem-ettes into a tizzy, because they keep crushing on the extremely bishie 15-year-old Negi and Kotaro, but then they'll belatedly remember that the boys are still only 10 years old on the inside. I remember someone on Fandom Wank quipping that aged-up Negi and Kotaro were like the quintessential shonen heroes: physically teenagers, but mentally children, especially when it comes to girls/sex/romance. (Kotaro in particular is still very much in the "girls have cooties" phase.) And I think that F_W person really nailed it. So many fighting shonen heroes have a mentality toward girls and sex that doesn't match up with their age, to the point where I start to wonder if they all have hormonal imbalances or something. Or they really are asexual. Or they're gay.

Speaking of which, this trend of the Chaste Shonen Hero is a major reason for why there's so goddamn much HoYay in the genre. A lot of these guys seem to be disinterested in and/or unaware of the opposite sex because they're too busy pouring all their energy into their intense obsessive rivalries and friendships with their male peers. I don't know, I have trouble picturing most real-life teenage boys being like, "No, I don't want to stare at boobs all day and get fawned over by sexy ladies, because I'd rather go daydream about rolling around on the ground, sweatily grappling with my arch-rival. Who is a dude." But that exact line of thinking is quite common in fighting-shonen-land.

This trend becomes especially bizarre when you look at the other side of shonen, the rom-com/harem/magical girlfriend/fanservice shonen, because those protagonists tend to be the exact opposite. Either they're gleefully unrepentant lechers, or they're accidental perverts who feel guilty about falling into cleavage all day long but nevertheless are keenly interested in making it with the ladies. Either way, your average rom-com shonen hero spends a lot of time thinking about boning. I don't know, maybe it's some kind of "I don't like to mix the flavors on my plate" kind of thing; teenage boys like fist-pumping action, and they like titties, but they don't like having both at the same time? Although the existence of the Panty Fighter genre proves that theory completely wrong.

Anyway I'm not sure why so many shonen protagonists are adorably clueless virgins, but I find this pattern interesting.
the_sun_is_up: Agatha from Claymore walking magnificently, with the text "I should have known each dress you own is a loaded gun." (claymore - the ultimate femme fatale)
Tonight at dinner, my nerd friends and I got into a discussion about the mostly female but sometimes male compulsion to "fix" one's romantic partner, and spurred by this, I figured it was about time to write a meta that has long been brewing in my mind about the phenomenon of Bad Boys.

I recall a conversation on Fandom Wank where people were talking about how the fangirls love Zuko because he's a "bad boy," and one person was like "What? Since when is Zuko a 'bad boy'? He's a total dork!" They were right of course, and this led me to a realization: Regarding the old maxim "All Girls Want Bad Boys," the phrase "bad boy" refers to two different character archetypes.

Type A is the motorcycle-riding bad boy. His "bad"-ness comes from his being a rebel. He smokes, drinks, partakes of illegal substances, causes trouble, gets in fights, only goes to school when he feels like it, probably has lots of tattoos and piercings and maybe an outlandish hairdo. He's the type of guy you'd date because he freaks out your parents. Women are drawn to him because they know that life with him could never be boring. He's usually not evil by any stretch of the imagination; he's just... dangerous.

Type B is what I like to call the "fixer-upper." His "bad"-ness comes from his being a villain, or at least an anti-hero, and being evil to some extent, or at least a big jerk. However he has a few humanizing qualities, whether a hint of a heart of gold buried under all that puppy-kicking, or a tragic past that explains why he ended up a douchebag, or some secret angst that he hides behind a façade of indestructibility — whatever the details, it's clear that he has the potential to be redeemed. Women are drawn to him because he's damaged and they believe they can "fix" him, usually with the power of love and boinking.

The two types have a number of other distinguishing features that make them easier to tell apart. For example, if your bad boy is a seductive ladies' man, then you're definitely dealing with a Type A. Type Bs are usually way too wrapped up in their own evil plans and angsting to even notice girls, much less chat them up — look no further than Sasuke and Zuko for examples of this. The Type A, on the other hand, is much more likely to be aware of the effect he has on girls and to use it to his advantage, à la Rich from "Penny & Aggie." Actually, coolness in general is a trait more associated with Type As — James Bond is a great example of a post-high-school Type A. Type Bs are more likely to be complete dorks who take themselves extremely seriously — again, Zuko is a shining example of this. Relatedly, snarking and witty dialogue is another Type A trait — Spike from Buffy strikes me as being a Type A for this and other reasons, at least before his Spikeification.

Basically the difference between the two types boils down to the core appeal of each. Type A is appealing because he's fun and exciting and dangerous; Type B is appealing because he's a "project."

However obviously categories like this are never ironclad, and there are plenty of characters who are a mixture of Types A and B. For example, Ikuto from Shugo Chara is my pick for "Bad Boy Most Likely To Have Been Concocted By Evil Geniuses Who Are Now Fabulously Wealthy" because he's such a perfect combination of both types: he has all the style and flair and seductive "you know you want me" quality of a Type A, plus all the hidden angst and "I'm not evil, I just need a hug" appeal of a Type B.

Come to think of it, a hybrid of both types seems like the optimal form of bad boy, or at least it's what the fangirls seem to prefer. If you have a bad boy who does slot neatly into one of the types, you can bet there'll be a mountain of fanfic in which the fic-writers supplement his personality with traits from the opposite type. It seems like fangirls want their leather-wearing charmers to also have angst and need comforting, and they want their angsty projects to also be smooth snarky seducers who know how to romance a lady. Just look at Draco Malfoy: in the canon he's a staunch Type B, but fandom likes to add a bunch of Type A traits to him, including those memetic leather pants which are straight out of the motorcycle-riding Type A's wardrobe. Or as Fandom Wank Wiki puts it: "In fanon, Draco is known for his cool dialogue and a tendency to wear leather trousers. In canon, Draco is known for barely managing a decent put-down on Ron and a tendency to cry like a little girl in the bathroom." (Of course, crying like a little girl in the bathroom is exactly what makes fangirls flock to guys like Draco in the first place.) Zuko is another clear Type B who gets Type A traits awkwardly shoehorned onto him in fanon, resulting in unintentionally hilarious fics where Mr. "You're Beautiful When You Hate The World" is portrayed as a smooth ladykiller.

As for the reverse — a Type A being supplemented with Type B traits in fanon — that seems to happen less with conventional Type As and more with a subset of Type As who have all the style and lady-charming and witty dialogue and "cool" factor of the average Type A but buck the "not evil, just dangerous" stipulation by instead being 100% evil. I guess you could call this the Evil Is Sexy subset. Anyway, these guys have a lot of the same "fun and exciting" appeal as the standard Type A, but the fic writers often compulsively tack on a tragic backstory to make these dudes more palatable and to give them bonus Type B appeal. Because I guess we can't just enjoy a sexy villain for what he is; we have to humanize him too, which tends to defang him somewhat. (Sometimes this even happens in canon, which I gather is what happened to Spike.) Perhaps it's also to assuage the guilt of perving over an unrepentant douchebag.

Of course, sometimes these varieties of canon-warping can happen to characters who fit neither of these types and who honestly can't be categorized as "bad boys" at all. Just look at Itachi from Naruto. Before the circa-chapter-400 revelation that turned him into a Type B, Itachi was just a blank slate, a plot device with zero personality beyond "stoic" and "unfettered." He was just a random evil guy, lacking both the charm of the Type A and the redemptive potential of the Type B, and yet fangirls often ascribed one or both of those personalities to him in fanwork depending on their tastes. Or heck, look at Draco Malfoy. He became a Type B in the later books, but before that, he was neither type. He wasn't a cool villain — quite the opposite, he was a whiny sniveling little worm and a frequent butt of jokes — but he was also pretty two-dimensional in his villainy, with no hint of a nicer side. But even back then, the fangirls couldn't get enough of him and would subject him to either or both varieties of personality-warping. And wardrobe-warping, natch.

So I guess there are two larger categories of "bad boy": on the one hand, you have the Canon Bad Boys, whose canonical personality fits into Type A, Type B, or both; on the other hand, you have the Potential Bad Boys, who are just assholes in canon, but who, with a little tweaking of personality, could potentially be transformed into genuine "bad boys" of either or both types, with said transformation happening usually in fanon but also sometimes in canon.

Anyway, in conclusion, the term "bad boy" actually encompasses a wide range of personality traits, character types, and audience appeals, to the point where the only thing that unites all the "bad boy" characters under one umbrella is the reaction they provoke in a certain segment of the audience. By which I mean: they cause a lot of panties to become moist.
the_sun_is_up: Twilight Sparkle reading a book. (mlp - happiness is a good book)
Bad news: The federal government shuts down Megaupload. My opinion on this is mixed. On the one hand, I understand why they did it — MU enabled people to pirate anything and everything. On the other hand, I'm pissed because like a lot of people, I used MU to access things that I can't legally access, like out-of-print unlicensed anime. On the other other hand, I'm amused at the futility of the action because MU is only one of many many sites like it. This is like when the Japanese publishers nuked OneManga and MangaHelpers — a dozen new scanlation-sharing websites immediately popped up to replace them. Something like this is not going to stop people from pirating.

Good news: I found out that not only is the Sailor Moon manga getting rereleased in English with a better translation, but the Princess Knight manga, the grandmama of shojo manga written by Osamu Tezuka himself, is getting released for the first time in English! And both volumes are, as we speak, wending their way towards my mailbox. Yaaaay!
the_sun_is_up: Kyoko and Moko from Skip Beat standing inside a heart shape, smiling cutely at each other. (skip beat - so adorable and gay)
This is the time of year when I usually hand out my Fandom Awards. Unfortunately, this year I was absolutely terrible about keeping up with current media. At present, I genuinely have no clue what's currently going on in most of the manga I follow; meanwhile, this past year I sampled nearly every Magical Girl series in creation, many of which are 20 or 30 years old, and I fell in love with one of the longest-running manga series in history, specifically the arc that ran during the late 90s.

Therefore, this year's Fandom Awards is going to be a shorter and humbler affair than usual, due to my smaller pool of reference. Also, I've expanded the awards to include internet video series, because this year I spent a lot of time watching stuff like Zero Punctuation and That Guy With The Glasses.

End-of-Year Fandom Awards of 2011!

This contains SPOILERS for all of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, including the SERIES FINALE.

The red carpet is looking a little threadbare this year )


the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
Sing me a bawdy song, make me merry

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