You may or may not be able to see this picture.

I've been meaning to get around to doing this for some time, but actually following through took until today.

GreyDuck posted a long time ago about a Livejournal Crossposter plugin for WordPress, which would in theory allow me to have my posts here doubled on my Livejournal, which has, despite my conscious best efforts, withered into a dwindling stub of its former glory. Now, indeed, you may have twice of me, though I may not be half the man I used to be.

Or something.

This being a Test Post, I must explore the outer edges of what is allowed, and what might send me spiralling, howling in black despair, into the nether pits of the Data Vampires which inhabit the spaces between the Series Of Tubes, waiting for the next unwary userly morsel to stray into their range. The boundaries are unclear, but to trespass would be folly of the highest order, sending the unfortunate lost to the void forevermore.

I have no clue how the images in this post will turn up. On the one hand, I have a fairly standard maximum width of 500 pixels, and it is good form to define the image attributes. On the other hand, as far as I know, Animeblogger does not, by default, allow hotlinking of images, and I am not certain that I want to or am allowed to change this, which may lead to my Livejournal friendslist witnessing a Large Blank Space staring at them in an embarrassed manner, not quite able to explain oneself about what one is supposed to do in this instance of Internet faux pas. If it does not work out, then I shall have to think of something, although turning off the plugin would probably be a good start.

I have set the "More" tag to lead back to this post on Moe Check, rather than an LJ-cut on my Livejournal, as is also an option, since I believe that if the images Do Not Work and the reader has to click anyway, I may as well make them click on a link which provides the full experience unsullied by blank expanses of nothingness where pictures are meant to be. In addition, this might also help for the image-heavy posts, such as the Nanoha GamerS comic abominations. Now, in order to do this, I have to be able to fill up enough space to warrant the use of the "More" tag in the first place. I mean, I could Lorem Ipsum my way through a couple of thousand words, but that would be cheating. And boring. I don't mind cheating, but being boring is unforgivable.

So what should I talk about this time? Well, since I am currently occupied with fanfiction, it might not fall amiss to ramble on about something absolutely nobody cares about. It may not be as pretty as a Lorem Ipsum, but at least it'll be of vague interest to me.

Although to call Suzumiya Haruhi no Seitenkan a "fanfic" is probably somewhat inaccurate, I admit. (Warning: spoilers for the novels follow.)

Kyonko smiling.

The AnimeSuki thread is still going on, albeit slower than before, as we get into the actual work of converting all the characters from the canon into their distaff versions. This is surprisingly difficult, when one realizes just how many gender assumptions we as a subspecies of Urbanized Modern Humanity make, with or without reason.

For example, there's a lot of things Kyon is free to do that Kyonko cannot. Kyon can walk around in the middle of the night looking for the next plot hook to net him, but Kyonko, being a girl, is not supposed to. Yes, she can, if she really wants to, wander around the park in front of the station after dark and be uncaring about whether she's in brightly-lit areas or not, and when she gets home safe and sound, we can say "oh, of course she can do such a thing, there's no reason not to".

But if you hear about a girl who goes around alone at night in the dark in relatively deserted areas, that is unfortunately known as "asking for it". Indeed, the area may be safe enough that nothing will happen save for boredom. But the possibility, however slight, is still there, and reinforced by gender stereotypes until only very recently, and the lonely girl in question will have to ask herself: considering what would happen if she guesses wrong, does she really want to take that chance?

There's also a sequence in Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody) where Kyon is brought back to Three Years Ago by Mikuru, and experiences a sequence of events which involve him carting around an unconscious Mikuru on his back while looking for East Junior High (Haruhi's old school), which is implied to be a short but nonetheless significant distance away. Now, genderswapping that, apart from the aforementioned unfeasibility of Kyonko wandering about in the dark at night, I also do not think that she will be able or willing to carry Mitsuru (the genderswapped name for Mikuru) for any distance, especially since Kyonko is mostly seen in fanon to be rather short. It may well be possible for her to do so, but Kyon in the canon is motivated by a sort of chivalry, as well as the pneumatic warmth of a sleeping Mikuru pressing on his back. Somehow I do not think this will translate as well across gender boundaries.

Currently my solution is to alter the canon, which had the time-travellers end up in the park in front of the station, to a different location, namely a secluded spot very near East Junior High. This takes liberties with the ill-defined geography of the area, such as implying that there is a secluded spot very near East Junior High. When Haruki (the male counterpart of Haruhi) makes his appearance, Kyonko will rope him in to drag Mitsuru to the sports equipment shed (where the canon Mikuru was deposited by Kyon alone). Whether or not the changes to the situations and the dialogue will pass muster is uncertain.

Similarly, Haruhi can get away with some things, at least in the minds of the audience rather than actual law, that Haruki cannot. In Day of Sagittarius, Haruhi drop-kicks the male Computer Club president, and gets away with the slapstick violence. I believe that if this were applied to the genderswapped female Computer Club president (currently fanonically "Yaoi Doujin Club", with a minority still holding out for "Girls' Gaming Group"), the view of Haruki espousing physical violence against a girl will not be treated as leniently.

This is one of the challenges involved in conversion, compared to straight fanfiction. We have the genderswap, and so the entire interest of the people involved in the text portion of the project is in seeing how different the situations can be with genders swapped. And yet, the readers seem to have the expectation that things will remain the same as in the canon. It is a familiar dilemma to fanfiction writers and tourists: we venture forth in search of that which we have not seen before, but we take comfort that we have something we already know to fall back on.

Personally I face another problem in my own conversion attempts, which is simple but difficult, since habit is a hard thing to break. My prose style tends towards the florid and the purple, because I find it endlessly amusing to use twenty-dollar words to describe ten-cent concepts; this can be seen in how I may summon forth the full weight of my vocabulary to impart the equivalent of "hee, cute girls", which is the entire point of this blog. However, Kyon's narration of events in the canon is mostly short and snappy, and I do not think Kyonko will be any different. This forces me to find ways to keep my prose terser than I am used to, while still making them different enough from the original, in an interesting manner. Thus far I seem to have avoided most of the obvious bullets, but I still require instruction in how to write like a girl. And by this, I do not mean a stereotypical girl, but more that someone can read the story and imagine Kyonko narrating it, rather than a copied-and-pasted Kyon in drag.

I have seen this genderswap project being criticized simultaneously for being too close to the canon, and not close enough to the canon. There is no way we can win, and so we remain in our tranquil island of doing everything right and wrong at the same time.

There are, perhaps, worse places to be.

Kyonko daydreaming.

7 Responses to “The Crossposting of Moe Check”
  1. Alex says:

    My suggestion for your dilemma on Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody:

    Where as Kyon is motivated by chivalry as you suggest, Kyonko is motivated by a sense of duty to her friends. Males are more independent while females are more interdependent. Kyon is reluctant to join the brigade, but eventually feels at home and apart of the team. Kyon as a girl is therefore quicker to trust others and accept her spot as a member of the team.

    As to why Kyonko is willing to walk around in the dark, it is because she trusts that Big Mitsuru would not leave her in a dangerous situation. It is still dangerous, but Kyonko knows that Big Mitsuru has her back.

    Note that even though Kyonko is short, Little Mitsuru should also be small. So maybe Kyonko could carry her a short distance. (Though sometimes the reader needs to invoke suspension of disbelief.)

    Of course the difficult part is conveying all this in the actual text ;)

  2. Myssa Rei says:

    I think it's a valid concern, as some situations cannot be translated 'as is', much like the interpersonal dynamics change with the shift in gender. Although this isn't a novel example, instances like Some Day in The Rain can be difficult — in the original we not only have Kyon traveling more than halfway across the city, he also has to lug a (potentially) heavy room heater on the way back. Even a negligable load can be tiring for a guy if one has to carry said load over an extended period… Now turn it on its head, gender-wise. For a girl to go through that would not only feel harsh to the girl, but would also reflect poorly on the guy who put said girl to task.

    It implies, I dunno, a chauvinist or mysoginist atttitude, something that some modern readers would frown on.

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  4. jello says:

    I just noticed that Female Itsuki has 6 fingers.

  5. DKellis says:

    @jello: That's her ear.

  6. shadowNdusk says:

    For the part with Haruki kicking the computer club prez, I propose to have him throw a bucket of water at her since he did came back from cleaning duties. For when Kyonko needs to carry Mitsuru, just throw in a fairly small wheelbarrow, that a certain someone (imagination up to the audience or author) "coincidentally" dropped, that is fit enough to put Mitsuru in. There's no need to totally make this completely like canon, but creating solutions to a problem regarding gender issues shouldn't be to hard. I think this is all I have to say on this matter. Although, I do prefer if Haruki could wear headphones instead of a headband.