So I've been busy these past few weeks with preparations for and the actual celebration of Chinese New Year, as well as my sister and her husband visiting from the US. That's right, not only do you, gentle readers, get an improbably weak excuse for my lack of anything truly substantial, but there will be an accompanying pointless ramble to fill the blank white space on your screen with Big Words of Little Consequence. These may even be sesquipedalian.
Also, some random picture(s) from an imageboard or other. This is a blog about moe, after all.
Now, I will be raising various seemingly unrelated points, and then joining them together into what I hope would be a vaguely coherent whole by the end of the post. Therefore, do please bear with me while I jump from topic to topic.
This Chinese New Year is supposed to herald the Year of the Rat, in the zodiac made famous among the less hardcore anime fans via the characters of Fruits Basket. In my sleep-deprived state of addled mind, I had the following chain of thought: Rat means rodent. Rodent encompasses ferret. Ferret brings to mind Yuuno Scrya from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and sequels, since, for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Yuuno turned into a ferret to… conserve his magical energy when he was hurt or something. I don't know, the creators (Seven Arcs) never really explained that bit of the story, much to the chagrin of those of us who prefer our fictional worlds to make some modicum of internal sense. (Remember, consistency is all we ask.)
As a sort of joke, certainly done in humour, I mentioned that this could very well be the Year Of The Ferret, and that "maybe Yuuno will get lucky this year".
The replies were… breathtaking. Do note that for some reason, possibly to do with the ever-burgeoning male fanbase of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, the most popular couple in the series is Fate/Nanoha, which is borne out by countless examples in the canon, ranging from the framing of scenes involving the two of them to their sharing the same bed during StrikerS (for no concrete reason) to their joint adoption of Vivio. By contrast, Yuuno is portrayed as possibly being attracted to Nanoha in the first season, but relegated to the sidelines increasingly in the second and third seasons. His potential rival in the first season, Chrono, ended up marrying Amy, and is thus neatly shunted aside out of the romantic races.
And then Seven Arcs released a Sound Stage (ie audio drama) where Fate mentions quite firmly that she and Nanoha are just friends, and plenty of people encourage Yuuno to make the first move on Nanoha, who is portrayed as somewhat naive and uncomprehending when it comes to romantic love.
The net result of all this is that upon the mention of Yuuno, I was deluged with a huge number of flames for even considering the merest existence of Yuuno anywhere near Nanoha. In a classic case of ship-based character hatred, the term "ferret-lover" was among the more family-friendly, while others speculated that I was into some form of beastiality with rodents.
For those unfamiliar with the jargon: "ship" in this case refers not to nautical vessels, but the short form of "relationship", usually romantic. "Shipping" something does not involve freight, but may feature baggage emotional, as the shipper professes a great devotion, almost religious in nature, to their One True Pairing, of two characters placed together romantically forevermore. If you thought Haruhiism harboured fanatics, evidently you have not seen the true passion of any die-hard shipper before.
Seriously. Go to a Harry Potter fandom community, seek out the resident group of "Harmonians" (ie Harry/Hermione shippers), tell them you prefer Harry/Ginny, and then try to tell us Haruhiists that we're fanatics.
In any case, if you're wondering, no, this was not on the AnimeSuki forums, although I also made the "Year of the Yuuno" joke there as well, to rather less fanfare or attention. This could be because after the last time the somewhat impressionable denizens of the MSLN subforum divided down shipping lines (pun unintended) when StrikerS began, about half of the posts made were vehement insults and flames lobbed at one side or another. The Nanoha/Fate shippers were referred to as "the Legion", and the Nanoha/Yuuno shippers as the "300", possibly in a reference to the movie of that name. The mods, known for being somewhat strict (if trigger-happy), clamped down hard. This was especially ironic considering that non-mod thread creation in subforums was already disabled… thanks to shipping wars (or rather, Favourite Character To Hook Up With wars) over in the Shuffle subforum.
I watched the entire proceedings with a modicum of disbelief. Only a small amount, mind you, since I had seen far more vicious backbiting and outright confrontations when I was touring the Fruits Basket fandom, usually perpetrated by the majority female fanbase, and thoroughly cementing my considerable distaste for the fandom (the show itself isn't too bad, mind). My surprise came from the fact that these were otherwise level-headed regulars who had somehow become caught up in their enthusiasms, and have treated me as the antagonistic Them in the constant Us vs Them clumping of opposing communities. I had not spoken on a personal level to any of these people before; most of them I barely even knew. And yet, I was now the Enemy, to be shunned and stoned from their strongholds, forever outcast and friendless.
All for mentioning a name.
I have commented before on the tendency for humans to try to pair off characters whom we feel otherwise sympathetic towards. I still don't know why this is, since I have seen enough evidence, at least from informal interviews, that the shippers are not trying to experience romance vicariously through the characters. It seems to be a sort of vague desire for the characters to simply look good together, to fit in some unfathomable cosmic jigsaw. And anything which might complicate the picture is treated with the utmost prejudice, and entire genres (for example, the Hatefic, which is exactly what its name suggests) are wielded in this crusade.
And thus, from love, comes hatred. I don't know why, and I'd rather it not happen, but c'est la vie, quite possibly en rose.
This is a Valentine's Day post from someone without (and who has never had) a girlfriend, albeit not by choice, and very likely by personality. I'm sure you can tell.