By: James D. Fawkes
I: The Basics
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Naruto scowled and looked furiously around the room, arms crossed and eyes narrowed. Of all the places he really hadn't wanted to return to, this was definitely up there on the list.
A few seats to his left, Sakura was fidgeting nervously and casting half-cautious, half-hopeful looks at Sasuke, who was a few seats to her left. Sasuke, meanwhile, was staring blankly out into space (and somehow looking cool while doing it) with his head cocked to the one side, his legs crossed in aristocratic grace, and his arms folded casually across his chest. Naruto thought that he looked bored (in between the half-venomous, half-hopeful looks he was shooting Sasuke himself).
Hinata was sitting to Naruto's right, and he pretended not to notice the glances she stole in his direction, blushing furiously, as she smiled a small little smile. He really needed to talk to her about all that stuff that she'd said during Pein's invasion.
Across the room, laughing raucously as he slapped a stoic Shino on the back, was Kiba, and sitting next to Kiba, taking up a whole three chairs' worth of space, was Akamaru, woofing his approval of his master's jokes. Shino simply sat in his spot, coolly staring at the blackboard.
In the background, Ino was chiding Shikamaru for his laziness and Chouji for his gluttony. Tenten was chatting quietly with Lee (because Neji was…dead). Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon were whispering back and forth about something. Hanabi, Hinata's little sister, was scowling at anyone and everyone.
Other than that, there wasn't anyone else Naruto recognized. Of course, that wasn't the problem. The problem was that everyone else was talking animatedly and the combined noise made it difficult to think clearly, let alone figure out how he should feel about Sasuke being back for…whatever this was.
No, wait. That was problem number two. Problem number one was the fact that he was back at the Academy. No, hang on. The noise was officially problem number three, because problem number two was the fact that he was back at the Academy for remedial lessons.
Just then, the door at the front of the classroom opened up and Umino Iruka stepped in. Naruto couldn't help the grin that tugged at his lips, even as he knew that he was supposed to be angry because he was back at the Academy for remedial lessons and it was really noisy. He couldn't help it. Iruka-sensei was one of his most favorite people ever, and it was such a shame that they didn't see each other that often anymore.
"Alright, class," Iruka began. No one listened and the noise continued at its previous volume.
Iruka cleared his throat.
"Class," he said, slightly louder than before, "it's time to start!"
Still, no reaction. No one paid him any mind. Everyone just went on and kept talking like Iruka wasn't even there. Naruto sniggered and pressed his hands over his ears.
He knew what came next.
"All of you," Iruka started in a somewhat normal tone, and then his head seemed to take up the entirety of the front of the room, "SHUT UP!"
All at once, everything stopped. Every person around the room just stopped talking, stopped moving, and all of them stared up at Iruka as though he had grown a second head. Iruka cleared his throat again.
"Alright," he said calmly, as though he hadn't just used what Naruto liked to call the "Big Head Technique." It was really effective. "You are all here because of a number of situations and problems have occurred that necessitate remedial lessons for all of you."
"What does that mean?" someone called from the back.
Sasuke turned away from his soulful gaze into the distance and looked back at the culprit before Iruka could respond. "It means that you're an idiot and you've screwed up one time too many."
"Ahem!" Iruka cleared his throat again. "Anyway, what Sasuke-kun said is fairly accurate, if a little meaner than how I would have described it. You're all here because some mistakes have been made, and the powers that be —"
"You mean the author!" another one called from the back.
Big Head Jutsu made a comeback. "NO, I MEAN THE HOKAGE! NOW, SIT BACK DOWN AND SHUT UP!"
Iruka took a deep breath. "As I was saying, the powers that be have decided to correct these mistakes as much as possible in order to prevent them from being made again. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be able to cover all of this in a single lesson, so we'll probably have to meet multiple times in order to fix everything. I'd like to ask all of you to please be patient throughout this process, and I'd also like to remind all of you that these remedial lessons are mandatory."
"What does 'mandatory' mean?" a young girl's voice asked innocently.
"It means that we don't have a choice," Kiba grumbled miserably.
"As Kiba-kun said," Iruka replied brightly. "Now, are there any questions before we begin?"
"Yeah," a voice said. "Why, exactly, do we have to be here again?"
"Because you're stupid, idiot. Everyone screwed up."
"No, I'm not! And no, I haven't screwed up at all, so I shouldn't have to be here!"
"Dude, everyone screwed up. You're not special."
"Yes, I am! I've got a huge bounty on my head in, like, six different bingo books!"
"Wow, you're a total badass. Congratulations."
"…Sarcasm hurts, you know."
"Grow a pair."
"I have a pair. And they're huge. And everything they're attached to is proportional."
"And you wonder why no girl has ever wanted to date you."
Iruka cleared his throat again and the argument immediately stopped.
"If there are no other questions…?"
No one said anything. Iruka nodded.
"Very good," he said. He grabbed a long stick pointer and gestured to the blackboard. "This will be our first topic."
KAMI-SAMA was written in big, bold, English letters.
"What's that say?" someone asked.
"I can't read it!" said another.
"That would be because it's in English, a foreign language that even I can't really speak," Iruka explained. "The equivalent in our language is here —"
He slapped the point of his stick against a spot a few inches below the first spot, where "Kami-sama" was written in bolded Kanji characters.
"…I don't get it," someone said blankly.
"Who's that?" asked another.
"The character known as 'Kami-sama' is a cliché in a series of stories called 'fanfiction' written on a distant Western continent," Iruka explained patiently. "In actuality, no such figure exists in our religion (provided we have one; Shinobi and religion don't really mix) or mythology. There are a few rarities amongst us who have converted to a Western religion called 'Christianity' and use this term to refer to that god, but as far as we're concerned, he doesn't actually exist."
"Wait, so why are we talking about him?"
"Because it is a common plot device in the fanfiction I mentioned earlier," Iruka answered. "You see, our religions don't really hold to this idea of a central god figure. In fact, the concept of a god is something we don't necessarily have. We have something like a god — or gods, in this case — but a central ruling god who controls the universe in its entirety? No. The closest thing we have are the Divine Spirits, like the Shinigami, Susano'o, Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi, and figures like that. The closest thing we have to a central god is Izanagi, and even then, he's more like Zeus than the Christian God."
"A god from another Western religion that died out ages ago."
"So why's this Kami-sama guy keep showing up?" someone shouted from the back.
"Because the writers of these fanfiction stories are all Westerners," Iruka said simply.
"So, most Westerners have this firmly inborn idea that a god is an all-powerful deity that can do really amazing things and cause miracles and rewind time and things like that," Iruka explained. "And because they're used to the idea of a single central god as leader of all creation, they impose that sort of idea upon our world when they write fanfiction stories. Since the word "kami" refers to the powerful "spirits" around which most of our religions are based, these Westerners equate it with "god," and add the suffix "sama" to create what technically does mean something like "Lord God." Again, though, most of our religions don't really have this central god figure that they use this name to refer to."
"Okay, so it's a little weird. Why is that a problem?"
"Because it's only technically correct," Iruka stressed. "There are more specific names to refer to the specific god that they're trying to invoke in their stories, so if they absolutely must use this specific god figure in their writing, they should actually Do The Research so that they can use those more specific names instead of sounding rather ridiculous. And, you know, they could just stop beating around the bush and call the guy God, too. There's more than one reason why the people over in our competitor, Bleach, refer to their god as the Spirit King, and it's not just because the whole thing is about spirits."
"Yeah, that sounds a whole lot simpler."
Naruto had to agree. Most of that explanation had gone right over his head.
Really, did everything have to be so complicated?
"Any other questions?" Iruka asked. No one said anything. "No? Alright, then, we moved through that pretty quickly. Onto the next part!"
He slapped his pointer onto the next set of Kanji.
TEME was written in bold.
"This next issue is in a similar vein as the first," Iruka lectured. "It regards the usage of the word 'teme,' which is a rather rude word for 'you,' as a suffix. Again, this happens in fanfiction, and it usually involves Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun."
"Eh?" Naruto squawked.
"It's another cliché," Iruka elaborated. "In this case, it's a meme among the fandom. Fanfiction writers will write dialogue where Naruto-kun will refer to Sasuke-kun as 'Sasuke-teme' or refer to him in the third person as 'teme,' even when Sasuke isn't anywhere nearby. Most of those writers seem to be under the impression that it actually is an honorific that means 'Bastard,' so it's actually another case of ignorance rather than willful defacing of our language."
A few people snickered.
"These fanfiction writers sure don't seem to be very smart!" someone whispered.
"It's not their fault," Iruka chastised gently. "It's just a matter of an error in communication, or a growing trend where someone makes the mistake and others make it by mimicking that first person. Because so very few people know that it needs correcting and even fewer try to correct it themselves, it goes on its merry way as a mistake in the writing that really stands out to those who know it's wrong."
"So, 'teme' is a word for 'you,'" Iruka explained. "It's not a very nice word and it's very, very rude to use when talking to someone, but it is, in fact, a word, not an honorific. Actually, if these writers want to make Naruto-kun's usage of Sasuke-kun's name rude and antagonistic, they should just have him use honorifics for everyone else and just call Sasuke-kun 'Sasuke.' As I'm sure the rest of you know, it's very rude to use someone's first name like that when you're not best friends or something. If you'll notice, Sasuke-kun tends to do that sort of thing for everyone, but that's because Sasuke-kun considers himself socially superior to just about everyone he's ever met. It wouldn't be quite as rude if he actually was."
A round of snickers broke out and Sasuke just glared at everyone.
No one said anything.
"Alright, then!" Iruka said brightly. "We got through that one pretty quickly, too! So, next up —"
The point of his pointer stick slapped the next section.
USAGE OF JAPANESE SENTENCES, PHRASES, AND TERMS
"This problem is actually rather rampant, too," Iruka began.
"But isn't that the language we speak anyway?"
"Yes," Iruka answered. "Technically, this is the language you and I use in our everyday lives. Westerners, however, speak in that other language we talked about earlier, English, and that's the language they write their fanfiction in. The problem is that these Westerners use terms, phrases, and sentences from our language in their stories, and as anyone who's ever done it can attest, switching languages in the middle of a sentence or paragraph is really jarring, especially for those who don't actually speak the second language."
"It's like…talking about the weather one second, then trying to explain complex chakra theory another? Only you're talking to a civilian who doesn't know what chakra is!"
"Exactly," Iruka nodded. "It's okay with techniques, because techniques honestly sound cooler in our language than in theirs."
A smattering of laughter broke out across the room and Iruka smiled.
"Honorifics and given name-surname orientation are fine, too," he went on. "The problem is using entire phrases and sentences in our language while writing in theirs. It gets confusing and jarring and frustrating for everyone who reads it, so it just really shouldn't be done. Any questions?"
Again, silence greeted him.
"Wow," Iruka laughed a little. "We're going through these pretty quickly! Maybe we won't need to have a second session. Alright, next up —"
There were several outraged and confused shouts that echoed throughout the room. Naruto squawked and felt his face turn a dangerous shade of purple as Hinata next to him let out an squeak and collapsed face first into her desk.
"This next subject," Iruka started, raising his voice a little to be heard, "is another rather common mistake made in Western fanfiction. As I'm sure I don't need to explain to most of you, pregnancy is the reason why we're all here and it happens when a man and a woman decide —"
"We don't need to hear the birds and the bees!" someone shouted panickedly.
"Fair enough," Iruka conceded. "Alright. Pregnancy happens when a woman is going to have a baby. As you all know, it's something that happens exclusively to women and the female of every sexually reproductive species on the planet. The problem is that Yaoi fangirls —"
"Yaoi fangirls?" someone asked.
"Girls who like to pair their favorite male ninja up in homosexual relationships," Iruka explained.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Naruto mumbled.
"There's nothing wrong with homosexuality," Iruka said sternly. "That's not the problem. The problem is that these Yaoi fangirls decide they want their homosexual pairing to have a baby, and in order to do that, they use this thing called Male Pregnancy as a plot device. In itself, that's not the problem. The problem, as I'm sure you know, is that men don't really have the necessary parts needed to become pregnant in the first place."
"No, wait," Naruto said miserably. "Now I'm going to be sick."
"I've never read one of these fanfiction stories written by a Yaoi fangirl," Iruka started, "so I can't tell you what kind of loophole they try to use. As I said, however, men simply don't have the necessary biological parts to become pregnant, and that's the issue with the idea of male pregnancy."
"So who winds up with who?" someone asked.
"The most common yaoi pairing is Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun," Iruka stated matter-of-factly. Sakura squeaked. "In those cases, who winds up pregnant in the story depends entirely upon the preference of the writer, although I think Naruto-kun is the more common —"
The door to the classroom slammed open. Naruto had disappeared from his seat.
Sasuke looked a little green.
"Well," Iruka blinked. "Um, any questions?"
Dead silence. A number of people looked queasy.
"Alright, you'll be notified if we need to have another session," Iruka said. "For now, class dismissed."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
To be continued…?
So, I finally got tired of the clichés running rampant and decided to make a bit of a satire about it. Naturally, most of these apply to the Naruto fandom especially, which is why it's posted there.
On that note, I might post more parts to this as I think of and come across more clichés that really don't work.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
The problem with being average is that it's boring. The problem with being a genius is that it's very lonely. Just can't win, huh?
James Daniel Godric Alan Fawkes
James Daniel Godric Alan Fawkes (Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)