TSS#67 – Blaugust Prompt #1 – Fandoms

Blaugust is here! I mean, August is here! 

Alas, here’s the first prompt by Belghast: “If you could change anything about one of your core fandoms, what would it be?” – and I’m already confused. My issue with this one is that I don’t think I’m part of really any fandom… at least I’m no active member of any bigger communities of fans of a genre, game, show, band, etc. But I’ll do my best to answer this prompt!

I guess that I’m a relatively big fan of Anime and Manga. I do read my fair share and watch quite a bunch right now. The only problem with the fandom I have, though, is the weebs. And I’m not trying to be inappropriate but usually, there is a “too far” for everything: 

Chocolate can be sweet but it can also be “too bitter”. You can drink a bunch of beers but you can also take it “too far” and get alcohol poisoning. 

I binged Kokkoku, the other day, btw – and I can highly recommend it!

With the anime fandom, it’s the same. 

According to Proxer.me (my streaming service of choice for ages now), I’ve watched a total of 5134 Anime episodes so far, not counting in episodes watch on other sites. As far as Manga chapters go, the number is at 811, not counting in chapters, manhwa, webtoons, light novels, etc. read on other sites. 

But I know people with bigger and smaller numbers that are way too extreme in regards to the fandom. I’m talking about people that don’t just watch anime… I’m talking about people that breathe anime. -> Weebs or weaboos. 

And well, the thing I’d change about them is just the fact that I don’t want them to call me an “otaku” or a “fellow weeb” because that’s insulting. That’s it. I have no problem with them being the way they are. I have no problem with them loving what they do. I just don’t like it when some of them try to convince others that those other people are also “otakus” (which is an insult if I remember correctly, to begin with). 

I really gotta finish this show up eventually… but I also am watching way too many other shows…

As far as other fandoms go, I used to be part of the Dr Who fandom and a few communities but then the constant discussions about “the best Doctor” and the diehard fans that don’t like a female doctor got on my nerves. Christopher Eccleston (or the Ninth Doctor) is probably my favourite but I’d never go as far as to go that he’s “the best doctor” since there is no universal truth like that. Matt Smith? David Tennant? Peter Capaldi? All great doctors! Loved them! I would not want to convince others, however, that these people are “the best” over others.

Uh, other fandoms… I’m a support main in League of Legends and since I love playing the role, I’d consider that a fandom of sorts, I guess? Anyways, I’d change the Janna Mains. I fucking hate them. It’s not about their champs… it’s also not about ALL of them… it’s just about the toxic ones because Janna Mains are the most fucking obnoxious and toxic support players in League. Janna is a champion that doesn’t require too much skill and that is really well at disengaging enemies and enabling their ADC. While I like playing her every now and then, I don’t usually do it nowadays, as she’s still missing a bunch of things that I like with other enchanters. She’s also just a champion played by toxic people that I don’t want to get associated with. Same goes for Nami Mains that build Rylai’s Crystal Scepter. Don’t. Fucking. Do. That. For reals. Your Q is a knock-up, your E is a slow already and your ultimate is a knock-up as well. You don’t really need the slow, especially as slows don’t stack in League. 

Btw, this is probably my favourite Janna skin. Way too adorable!

But in the end, I’m just complaining about extremes here. I feel like every fandom and every community has certain “Stans” and “extreme fans” that just take things too far or trolls and idiots that just act in bad faith, as everwake pointed out as well. I feel like there is always one shitty person for every ten good people, period. Not just in fandoms. Of course, there are also people that just try to diehard defend their own object of interest while degrading, as Bel noted, and I’d include those parts of these fandoms in the “shitty person” analogy as well.

I don’t think that you can change people that easily but I feel like people shouldn’t just look at the negative side of these fandoms but also the positive side with all the creators, cosplayers, artists, writers, bloggers, authors, theorists, analysts, etc. that provide us all with a bunch of awesome things

But I don’t really consider myself a part of any fandom… I mean, of course, I’m a fan of a bunch of things but I don’t usually interact with too many “likeminded” people apart from the Blaugustans or people in different discord and twitch communities. And regarding the “Blaugust Fandom”, I don’t really know what I’d change if at all. 🙂

So that was my take on the first prompt. You can find “the original post” here, made by Bel. Tomorrow’s prompt is being presented by Dragonray from Azerothian Life who (from what I could tell) is a blogger who is mostly writing about their adventures in World of Warcraft. Bel also talked highly of them, so I’m looking forward to browsing some more on that blog, despite not actually playing WoW. 🙂

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Review – Girl by the Sea

I read another piece of manga and thought I’d share my thoughts on here. It’s in the review-section of my blog but called just “Review” because I couldn’t come up with a witty pun on Manga and Reviews and uh… hope you enjoy this one. Feel free to leave your puns in the comment section or give me feedback on this style of review and layout. Thanks!

The title I’m reading is Inio Asano’s “Umibe no Onnanoko” aka “A Girl on the Shore” or “Girl by the Sea”. Having been published from 2009 to 2013, it only has twenty chapters and hence features an actual end to it, which I found quite rare.

All the good manga seem to be endless and mostly get updated weekly until they eventually drag out so much that they lose everything that once made them good. There surely still are good pieces out there that work well in the long run and usually stay true to their original premises… but lately I’m feeling as if the majority of the “good ones” are either running out of ideas to keep it fresh or getting stale and repetitive.

A Girl by the Sea is short with only twenty chapters and only two volumes but it has a clear end and a clear cut that needs to be done to keep it entertaining. Inio Asano apparently is known for his creative ideas and his well-written stories, so I will have to look into his works more often but as a newbie to his works, I really got drawn in by his way of story-telling and the general premise of the manga from the moment I first came across it to the very end.

But what is this piece about?

In a seaside town where really nothing happens, Koume Satou’s heart gets broken by her crush which is why she ends up starting some sort of “friendship+” without the friendship-part with Keisuke Isobe whom she had previously rejected. As things go on and as they both fill their emotional voids with each other’s embrace, things are falling apart as their “unordinary relationship” impacts the lives of them and everyone around them, especially since actual feelings seem to develop between the unusual pair.

It’s sort of a weird mix between a romantic school story and a drama.

Chapter after chapter the author is able to tell us the story of their bitter love-story that just doesn’t seem to end well. It’s a harsh take on the romance-story and it features unusual outlooks on love, relationships and the emotions of not-quite-grownups.

Despite all the talk about love and relationships, it is a story about teens… and well, there’s sex. Of course, it’s not that graphic but Inio Asano doesn’t care about censoring his work when it comes to the actual contents. Teens will try stuff out and hence there’s some weird stuff in there. But if you just look past the short sex-scenes in between, you’ll find a thrilling story with a clean cut at the end.

What matters a lot about that kind of romance story is the fact that it’s different from “the usual stuff”.

It’s not the typical romance-story where they end up holding hands half-way through (if even) and where they kiss at the end (if even). It’s deeper than that. The characters evolve over time and so do their problems. There are certain plot strings that are open at first and before the end, they actually get followed through. And whatever happens, no matter how dark and distorted it really is, eventually it gets closed up, resulting in no loose strings and essentially a fulfilling story.

It’s a beautifully crafted work that features great development and a lot of unexpected twists, which I really enjoyed. I’ve binged through it in one day and had goosebumps throughout the ride after the first few chapters.

At one point, I thought it would turn into “just another” love-triangle and people getting emotionally abused, similar to Waiting in the Summer… but the story caught me off-guard and once I reached the final chapter, I couldn’t really think of any possible ways of the story ending. I am not sure if it was the ending I wanted but it was the ending it deserved. And that’s something I like about good stories, books, movies and franchises: An ending.

I like it when there is closure. I don’t want to want “more”. I want to end up feeling satisfied with having heard about something, watching, playing or reading through it and then being done with it with nothing else to come. While surely, it’s great to see more of one’s favourite franchise, I don’t think it’s necessary to draw and stretch things out.

“Fillers are deadly”, is what a friend of mine would have said in that regard. But Girl By The Sea doesn’t feature any fillers, which is pleasant. It has its chapters with breathing room but they are not obnoxious and still give you a sense of pacing throughout the story while allowing you to catch your breath every once in a while.

If you wanna make money out of a franchise and stretch it out until it has 1000+ episodes, chapters, sequels, etc., it eventually will lose its appeal and will just die out. Rewatching a good and short show is better than having to stop eventually before it completely bled out.

And while I’m praising the story and the characters so much, I haven’t even touched upon the “realistic” design and the fact that the characters are being represented as real as they could be with no strings attached and no masks or other surprises. They are the way they are and they behave in a realistic manner.

It’s lovely how it gets so ugly.

And the art style also features panels without any people, picturing the vastness of the town. Everything gets bigger over time and the bigger the area depictured gets, the emptier it is. And that’s something that I could probably write a whole series of posts about it but I don’t want to spoil the fun of dissecting it. I don’t want you to already know how great the story works with the art style and the directions and the way that the world is portraying the characters’ feelings (oops?).

So, in the end… it’s a great one. I really liked this one and I honestly recommend it to anyone who likes darker stories that leave you with a satisfying ending and that catch you off-guard.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Good night.

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!