Archive for February 6th, 2008

The stats of Yuki Nagato.

I had a much longer post prepared for this topic, but then I realized how much like work it would turn out to become. Therefore, you get the shortened digest version. Be thankful.

I've been around fandoms for about a dozen years now, and I say this not to establish any sort of position of superiority other than that of personal experience, which I can point to in order to convince others that this is not an isolated incident. In any case, one of the things I've caught a surprising amount of flack for is that I tend to nitpick.

I'm sure that a great many of you have already seen or heard of the meme interdicting the discussion of real physics in the world of anime, threatening catgirl genocide for the temerity of the supplicant wondering how a certain plot point works. The implication is that we, as viewers and consumers, are not to examine all this closely.

Now, for some of these works, the examination can, in fact, be done, but not too closely, since the finely granulated inspection and the pulling of loose plot threads might cause the whole thing to unravel like a bad sweater. But for some series, we may not examine it at all, for, to continue with the sartorial similes, they have more holes than chain mail.

Why does this happen? Why does that happen? How can the Clow Cards of Card Captor Sakura so easily disregard the laws of conservation of mass and energy, creating and destroying it as they see fit without the resultant complications and the tearing of reality along that perforated line? The flippant answer given in this case is that A Wizard Did It. That, I would retort, is precisely the problem.

While there may be other fandoms which have a much worse track record of having things make no internal sense, the fandom I've been poking at these days is the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha fandom, entirely because I am still working on that fanfiction since pre-StrikerS days (although not before the actual announcement of the then-future existence of StrikerS). Now, among other things, the discussions with like-minded fans on the matter have established that the creators (Seven Arcs) have no clue what they are doing, and just want things to look really cool.

On a tangent, and you may skip this paragraph if you wish, I've noticed that during said discussions on how the world of MSLN (which I call the Nanoha-verse, although I'm not sure who came up with the name) works, things get heated very easily, with the participants insulting each others' intelligences and observational skills. I was told that this was Standard Debating Form, which might explain why I get all sorts of dirty looks when I mention that I'm a nitpicker. Of course, considering the link fanfiction has with slash fandom, or the recent sexualized reputation of moe, this is not a new situation for me.

I should probably mention that just because I nitpick does not mean that I dislike the series in any overall sense. Yes, I may be frustrated by the inconsistencies, but I am perfectly capable of sitting back and enjoying half an hour of not thinking, which should be obvious considering that my anime genre of choice is the harem romantic comedy.

However, when I say that I nitpick because I love, I mean it. If I were uninterested in a series, or worse yet actively unimpressed, then I would not bother to nitpick, since to nitpick would require me to spend a great deal of time and effort with the very thing I do not like. When I find a show I like, though, I tend to obsess over it, and thus break the aforesaid rule of not examining it too closely. And when I find a discrepancy, I try to find out as much as I can about that aspect of the fictional universe, just so that I can try to explain away the plot and backstory holes to my satisfaction.

There is a relatively established term for this, common among most fandoms, called "fanwanking". Fanwank is the direct cause for those The Science Of Star Trek books, or indeed most The Science of books in general. The whole exercise involves a hefty amount of time and effort for a result that does not exactly matter to anyone other than oneself, which would explain the masturbatory metaphor.

Another skippable paragraph: this is the reason why I am still working on the background for my Nanoha-verse fanfic: I had a theory about the Infinite Library, which is astonishingly poorly-explored in the canon, and despite asking a great many people whether this theory could hold water no less than three times, it was only after I had actually implemented that theory deeply into my fanfic that someone pointed out a glaring contradiction. I blame this mostly on the confusing morass of information on the Nanoha-verse, spread out over so many sources that I could not have guessed that one panel in a side-story extra manga chapter (which I did not actually have access to) would deal the fatal blow. I am still seething over that, mostly because I had thought that the legendary faerie method of due diligence in asking three times would have been enough.

But really, it's fun. That's right, it's actually kind of fun to come up with all sorts of bizarre theories to patch up all those plot holes with what amounts to duct tape and chewing gum, since one never knows if one can come up with an elegant explanation for all the weirdness. It's just one of the ways I enjoy a show, all in all.

It helps to keep chanting "Suspension of Disbelief" over and over again, mind you.

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