Author has written 7 stories for Beelzebub/べるぜバブ, AnoHana, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and Welcome to the NHK/ＮＨＫにようこそ！.
Hey guys! :D
So, I'm finally going to put some substance on my profile page, instead of a useless word count that's never updated anyway. I didn't initially give much thought to writing anything on my profile, because I never saw myself hanging around this site for too long. However, in the midst of writing Two Faces of Kunieda, I realised that I love writing. Not just that, I love writing fanfiction. There's something wonderful and magical about being able to tap on a common source of inspiration and imagination that we all share as fans of a certain work! My head is constantly bombarded with ideas about new things to write, swirling round and round until they can finally be released in words. With each new experience I gain, whether in real life or based on something I've watched or read, it's thrown into my hotpot of insights of humans and humanity, and the pot starts bubbling and bubbling until it begins to overflow again, and I just need to write to get it out of my head!
In my opinion, I've already come a long way since I published the very first chapter of Two Faces of Kunieda. I've learnt a lot about what readers want to see in a good fanfic, and how I can balance it with my own needs to express myself. I've learnt a lot about what it takes to build solid author-reader relationships, and how to present my stories and thoughts in a way that maximises satisfaction for the both of us! I fully admit that I'm still very inexperienced compared to many of you guys out there, and I have a lot to learn. Regardless, I've thoroughly enjoyed myself here so far, and I've met some really interesting and friendly people on this site. I'm looking forward to getting to know and being friends with more of you guys, and I just know I'll be sticking around for a long, long time
So, here's to more about myself!
I'm male, 19 as of 2012, and I'm from Singapore.
Yep, glad I got that out! I know right? When my fingers hit the keyboard, the words just don't stop! That must've been, like, the most detailed description of myself I've ever given yet.
...What, you were expecting more?
Alright then. BUT NOT BECAUSE I WANT TO. IT'S ONLY BECAUSE YOU INSIST.
My profile has been getting more and more cluttered as I think of new things to add to it. Hence, I've decided that I'm going to categorise it neatly into different subsections. This way, it'll be really easy for you to navigate through it, and see what's changed and what hasn't.
Here's a brief overview of the different sections at the moment. Also, whenever I make any changes to my profile page, I'll list it here for your convenience :)
2. Stories and Updates
Edited as of 16/03/13 - New updated for TFOK.
Edited as of 15/02/13 - New update for TFOK.
Edited as of 09/02/13 - New update for TFOK.
3. Why I started writing fanfiction
4. My background in writing and influences from literature
5. My view on feminism and women's rights
6. What I want to achieve with my fanfiction
7. List of anime and manga I'm interested in writing about
8. List of anime and manga I recommend
9. Regarding Beta Reading
Edited as of 140313 - Short new section.
10. Other sites I'm active on
ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING R&R (Reviews and Replies):
Hello! For those of you who are wondering, even though I put TFOK on hiatus, I am, still very much alive :(
For now, I will be updating Manymany Ways to sorta... compensate for it. I have no intention to stop writing TFOK though. It will be done, sooner or later!
Also, for those of you who have read the latest Manymany Ways chapter, you'll notice that I've introduced a new segment called R&R - Reviews and Replies. For all my stories thus far, whenever I've gotten a review that asks about or discusses my story adequately for me to be able to reply to it, I will always do so, and try to share my own perspective as much as possible.
For the benefit of everyone else, I have decided that, from now on, I am going to post these replies at the end of each story. If a story has multiple chapters (like TFOK), it will be posted at the end of the entire story. If a story is a one-shot or a series of one-shots (like Manymany Ways), it will be posted at the end of each chapter.
For the most part, I will edit my replies to filter out all my fooling around and other irrelevant things. It helps to make my replies more streamlined and to-the-point. Also, a lot of my off-tracking is based on the personal relationship I've built with a reader through multiple reviews, and the things I say is really just meant of them, and them alone. If my reply is nothing but me being stupid, then I probably won't post it, lol.
I will post their review in full, along with their usernames, followed by my reply to it. I hope that other readers who enjoy reading my replies will appreciate the efforts of these reviewers for eliciting my responses and making it possible as a whole.
If the reviewers delete their reviews (is this possible?) or personally request for me to take down my reply, I will respect their wishes, and will not post my reply at the end of the story.
Otherwise, I do think (and hope) everyone benefits from this. If you're not interesting in reading my replies, you may by all means skip it. If you are like me, and want to know the author's opinion of his own story, then I think that you will enjoy R&R :)
ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING TWO FACES OF KUNIEDA: I regret to announce that I am going to suspend writing of this story again. At the moment, I'm not satisfied with how it currently is, and I'm doing my best to polish it up, so that when I publish the last two chapters, it will truly be magical :)
It's going to be quite a huge process, because I'm going to take into account the criticism of EVERY SINGLE review I've had so far. Additionally, I've asked for the help of a few of my most trusted reviewers, and together, we're working to really make this story as good as it can possibly be!
I'm sorry if this request comes across as selfish. However, for me, I'm unable to finish it knowing that it could be better. Ah well, I'm just a stubborn perfectionist like that :( It's not just TFOK, though, ALL my stories will undergo rewrites at some point in time. It's just that TFOK takes a lot more time and commitment for me.
I won't delete the chapters, or make a new story, or anything like that. After I've updated each chapter, I'll just replace it directly. This may happen one at a time, or I may do it all at once. I really don't know about that.
I will only post chapter 11 after I've rewritten the story. Hence, by the time you do receive a notification about chapter 11, it will mean that I'm already done, and you can go ahead and enjoy the results of my labour (and the help of my fellow reviewers) :)
By then, it's probably worth reading the entire thing again, because I do think that it will be quite different, stylistically. And by different, I mean BETTER. The plot will remain almost exactly the same, but for now, my main priority is to ensure that the characters' mannerisms are not OOC, and any wisecracks they make consistent with the style of Beelzebub. Also, I'm gonna make some scenes a lil bit more raunchy ;) *cough*
I'd like to apologise, once again. It's not very responsible for me, as an author, to do something like this. All I can say is that I really hope you guys don't take it the wrong way. All of my readers, no matter who you are, mean a lot to me. And, if that didn't convince you, I'll have you know that I check my traffic stats a lot :overlyattachedauthor:
When the final product of TFOK comes out, I promise, it will be better than ever.
Please be patient until then! In the mean time, if you want to know how my progress is going, feel free to drop me a PM, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! :)
2. STORIES AND UPDATES
If you guys don't already know, I'm a bloody perfectionist :(
I really can't stand knowing that my story could be better than it currently is, and in what way. Hence, I will frequently make revisions and updates to all of my stories. They can be as small as correcting a grammatical error, or as huge as adding it whole chunks of paragraphs to make the story flow better. If I have recently updated a story or plan to update it, I will state it here.
Hence, if you have a faint suspicion that I've shadily changed something, somewhere, and are hoping to catch me red-handed, you can do so over here!
Stories and Updates (in chronological order of when they were first published):
1. Two Faces of Kunieda
Updated as of 16/03/13 - Original Chapter 8 split into 2 parts. New Chapter 8 (first part) rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 15/02/13 - Chapter 7 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 09/02/13 - Chapter 6 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 02/02/13 - Chapter 5 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 25/12/12 - Chapter 4 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 17/11/12 - Chapter 3 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 12/11/12 - Chapter 2 rewrite more or less complete.
Updated as of 10/11/12 - Chapter 1 rewrite more or less complete.
2. A plane and a runway
3. The manymany ways in which Aoi and Oga could kiss
4. Conversations: Tsuruko and Yukiatsu
5. Conversations: Jintan and Anaru
So yeah, that's all the changes for now. I will update this section the moment I replace a chapter will the updated version from my Document Manager. Hence, the change may be stated before you guys can actually see the changes. However, it really shouldn't take too long, so just wait a little bit :)
3. WHY I STARTED WRITING FANFICTION
So... here, before I tell you more about myself, I'd like to share with you why I started writing fanfiction in the first place.
Fanfiction, after all, is a very special subset of fiction, and requires unique considerations and skills. In fact, I feel that the complexity and nuance of good fanfiction can be summarised in the following (self-coined) phrase: Be creative, but not too creative.
What, that was the terrible phrase? It contributed absolutely nothing at all to this discussion? Okay :(
What I mean to say is that you must be creative and original, because the point of writing fanfiction is to add something to an original franchise that isn't redundant. People come to fanfiction.net to read about new and fresh ideas about their favourite characters because they find that there's something lacking in the original work. It could be an event that wasn't satisfactorily elaborated, because it wasn't deemed to be too important, or was axed due to other constraints. It could be wishful thinking about how a relationship between two characters could (and SHOULD) blossom beyond more than what it already has.
At the same time, you can't be too creative, in the sense that you must recognise that you do not have as many liberties as a writer of original fiction. You still need to base your story off existing characters, and everything you write about them should be an inference (or wishful thinking) that fans sharing your viewpoint hold. Stray too far, and you'll find that you can no longer imagine a character in your fanfic and the original series as one and the same. This is very distressing for many readers, who would rather prefer that they continue to think of their favourite characters as a continuous, consistent concept.
I entered fanfiction because, at one point in time, I was seriously addicted to Beelzebub. The latest chapter was around 130 when I started. I read it all in 4 days, in the middle of my exams, and once I hit the dreaded unreleased page, I turned to fanfiction to 'ease' the pain of not having any Beelzebub to read for another week, as well as to satisfy my craving for AoixOga, which was far from being properly realised in the manga.
However, I didn't find what I wanted - that one super-duper fanfic that really hit the sweet spot. I don't mean to insult other AoixOga fics on this site, because all of them are valiant efforts in their own right, but as far as my personal tastes are concerned - my opinion and only mine - none of them did it for me. And so, without my comfort fic, I had endure all the withdrawal symptoms by myself :(
Thankfully, I turned to studying for my exams to get by (and I did quite well for them in the end), so I guess that turned out okay :)
But, in the process, I decided that fanfiction is more than just self-expression. Fanfic authors have to unique responsibility - to act as a palliative for fans of anime/manga which are ongoing, or have ended without a proper resolution, especially with regards to romance. Believe me, shippers of an unrealised romance suffer THE MOST. I know that feel, brah.
As far as that elusive AoixOga fic was concerned, I equipped myself with the new motto: 'If it's not on fanfiction.net, put it there.' And THAT, my friends, was how TFOK was conceived :)
I was very excited that I was finally getting back into writing after so long, but I was also aware that I wanted my story to be there for people like me, in the future.
4. MY BACKGROUND IN WRITING AND INFLUENCES FROM LITERATURE
I've been writing since I was about 12. I started with maplestory fanfiction (I wrote and finished a 20k story fic at that! Alas, I can no longer find it in my computer, and the site that hosted my work is long gone).
Then, I quit maplestory, and with it, lost interest in writing maplestory fanfiction. So, I moved on and tried to write original fiction. This continued until I was about 16. Back then, I was never really interested in reading, and I always felt that what was most important was my OWN original style. I thought that reading would only make me more inclined to copy the styles of other people, and so I didn't think very highly of it.
This, however, had a negative impact on my writing skills. I was too narrow-minded, and did not have the wide range of influences and skills crucial to writing that can only be obtained by reading widely.
But that's not the important thing. When I was 17, everything changed. I took H2 Literature in English. It's a subject you can take in Junior College (17-18 years old). H2. LITERATURE. IN. ENGLISH. WAS. HARD. Dammit, it was so freakin' hard! I put A LOT of effort into studying for it, and even now, long after my final exams are over, I still get nightmares thinking about how unprepared I felt just days before the exam, from time to time :(
However, all my effort paid off! :) I got my A, and the moment my literature paper was over I RUSHED home because I couldn't WAIT to make good use of my newfound pro-lit skills by engaging in pointless debates on the mangafox forums :)
But that's besides the point.
Literature completely changed my perception of writing. It made me realise that, while writing is meant to entertain, it is also meant to explore. Writing explores many things! Culture, science, philosophy, social issues... but at the very root, it explores humanity. Writing teaches us what it means to be human.
I won't even touch the debate on what is considered literature and what isn't with a ten-foot pole, but suffice to say that even the most mainstream anime and manga that all of us love share the kinds of concerns that some of the most classical literary texts have.
And so, I began to take a new interest and perspective to writing. I wasn't prepared to try to write to change the world for the better (as cheesy as it sounds, I do believe that it's a very noble and respectable ambition to have), but I certainly wanted to write things that allowed people to reflect upon them, and through that, gain a new experience and realisation about themselves :)
After all, whenever we read a story, we search for elements in the story that we can relate to. This is especially true with regards to the feelings of the characters. We don't just want to know what is happening to a character, we want to know how it FEELS to be in that time and place, having that very same experience.
And when we allow ourselves with empathise with imaginary characters in an imaginary scenario, we actually come to learn more about ourselves :)
5. MY VIEW ON FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS
The broad theme I studied in my class was Women in Literature. Basically, I learnt about the general history of women's rights, and how women have been portrayed in the most famous literary texts of each era. I learnt about how women were overwhelmingly marginalised and alienated in the past, and how these phenomenon continue to exert an influence on our perception of women until even today.
The main texts I studied were Wide Sargasso Sea, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Proof, Top Girls and Carol Ann Duffy's poetry. I was also introduced to works by Henrik Ibsen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Tennessee Williams and Margaret Atwood. By the way, I was a guy in a class of 2 guys and 15 girls :) And no, I'm not gay :)
I also learnt about how certain degrading portrayals of women exist in the media even now. If you want a very contemporary example, go look up the Bechdel Test! It sounds like an academic term, but it's on tvtropes! And, as we all know, anything and everything on tvtropes is worth reading.
Go read it up, and you'll be surprised at how dismal Hollywood movies are with regards to presenting men and women as equals!
On the whole, Japanese media seem to be doing better, and it does seem to be a cultural thing. Even in shounen love harems, there is always a focus on the friendship between female characters, competitors or not, and the important thing is that their lives do not revolve around the male protagonist. Sure, they like him, but their world wouldn't fall and crumble if he weren't there.
This may potentially upset some fans of romance, who would like to believe in ideals like I-can't-live-without-you. It mean, it's not wrong, especially if both the male and female protagonists feel the same way. It's just terribly disconcerting when there is an overwhelming trend in popular media, where the male protagonist is able to balance his love life with their weekend parties with the boys, killing off the baddies in style and doing all sorts of independent, 'macho' things, while the female protagonist seem to have nothing going on besides her love for the dude.
However, there are still problem with the way females are portrayed in anime and manga. I don't read shoujo, so I can't comment on that, but as far as shounen is concerned, there are patterns in how female characters are presented that I can't say I'm entirely comfortable with. For one, many female characters can be entirely classified into a trop, like tsundere, or the superconfident leader who falls for the worthless guy (Yurippe, I'M LOOKING AT YOU) and such. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it becomes worrisome when the trope literally defines their character, and there is nothing original about them. They are completely composed of the mannerisms common to the trope they belong to.
Often, the male characters aren't much better. There's the shy, super-kind and innocent type, there's the misunderstood badass, there's the perverted sidekick. Still, the women are presented in a very androcentric light, and one that doesn't already necessarily acknowledge the broadness of their personalities as women.
Don't get me wrong, Japanese media is still a hell lot better than Hollywood. In action films, the female protagonist can usually be entirely classified into just three different categories: The hot, not very skilled in combat and needs to be rescued fairly often but nonetheless has a highly specific speciality that allows her to assist the male lead type that you see in Thor and the Amazing Spiderman, the hot, very skill in combat and always dresses in tight clothes that hug her curves, and has no outside life to speak of that isn't related to dressing her in revealing clothes type that you see in the Dark Knight Rises and the Avengers, and the hot, not very skill in combat, needs to be rescued often and has no use besides displaying her sexuality type that you see in Transformers.
Anyhow,continuing from where I left off, I became interested in anime and manga with interesting female characters. I know this sounds perverted and wrong, but when you've studied about women's rights and women in literature, you really begin to look at femininity in a whole new light. Of course, as a guy, I won't deny that I share our universal fascination with women. However, even as a man, I don't want to try to understand women from an androcentric viewpoint. I don't want to see women in terms of degrading stereotypes like the friendzoning bitch, the slut, the annoying facebook attention whore, and things like that. I believe that each woman has a unique personality, but women have, as a whole, been forced to conceal it because of all the negative stereotypes that they have been forcefully classified into.
Of course, I do admit that gender equality is a hell lot better today than it used to be. Even then, I believe that we still have a long way to go. The male gaze is still extremely dominant in society today, and even when women are given the freedom to express their own ideas like never before, this gender bias perpetuates the consumer market so deeply that it's still extremely difficult to avoid. Brave by Pixar was huge step in redefining the relations of women and men in children's movies, long moulded by pixar, but see how long it took us just to produce a film like that!
As a man, I definitely believe that we have a part to play in realising gender equality. I personally dislike the term feminism, because it implies that gender equality is about women fighting against the oppression of men. However, if you ask me, it's not about women fighting men. It's about women working with men. Nothing will work out unless it's a cooperative effort. While I do agree that men have, traditionally, been the perpetrators of gender oppression and marginalisation, I also believe men are equally capable of correcting their mistakes.
6. WHAT I WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH MY FANFICTION
I ditched all the stories I previously wrote because I realised that back then, I had nothing good or important to say. And now, I still don't really have much to say, which is why I'm not writing any original fiction. But that doesn't mean I can't write, and it certainly doesn't mean that everything I write is pointless.
When I write, first and foremost, I want to please my readers. I want the story to be interesting and relevant to the manga, to ask questions and give interpretations that people appreciate. However, if you look deeper, there will also be certain underlying themes that see heavy presence in my writing.
Following my influences, one of it is definitely the idea of how I portray women. I want to try to write about women from a man's perspective, but not in a way that marginalises them. I want to write about the beauty they have that has astounded men for centuries, but in a way that fully realises their potential as individuals, and doesn't force them to present themselves purely in terms of a man's interests.
If I like an anime or manga, and I feel that more depth can be added to a character to allow him or her to go beyond the narrow confines of his/her trope, then I will try to do it. This, to me, is part of celebrating humanity through writing. I want the characters to be human, to be able to experience the huge range of emotions makes humans so fascinated with ourselves.
Hence, whenever you read my stories, I ask nothing more than for you to immerse yourself in it :)
Having taken a look at my stories so far, I'd say that most consistent theme so far is the idea of women saving men from their prejudices. It's the idea that men may unwittingly perpetuate gender stereotypes, but it's only because we don't know any better, and it takes a woman who is willing to forgive men for their mistakes that will help liberate them from their narrow-mindedness.
I won't always write about this though. In the time to come, I'm sure I'll eventually broaden my views and interests, and turn to something else to write about. Regardless, I want to continue to write entertaining stories about anime and manga, but in thematically relevant ways. Stuff that do not just explore the work I am basing my fanfic on, but through that, also explore the wonderful notion of what it means to be human.
7. LIST OF ANIME AND MANGA I'M INTERESTED IN WRITING ABOUT
I basically like anime and manga a lot. Like, so much that I tried to learn Japanese for a year, even though I had to quit halfway, because I became too busy with school :( I'm really sad that I never got to the minimum level of proficiency where I could more or less understand what anime characters are saying, with a little help from the subs. That way, I'd be able to self-sustain my Japanese knowledge as long as I continue to watch anime, and that I will definitely do. Oh well...
Actually, I'm also highly interested in Japanese games, specifically JRPGs. However, I find that in games, the characters are usually not as well developed, mostly for the sake of giving players more control. For instance, a huge favourite is the silent protagonist. These characters are very difficult to write about, because you don't know what their quirks and mannerisms are. Because of that, I don't see myself writing about games in the near future,
Anyhow, in this section, I want to talk about the anime and manga that I'm interested in writing about.
Whenever I choose to write a fanfic for a new series, it's usually because there's something I want to say about it, and I think it is significant. I won't venture into a new series just to write a one-shot fluff, and leave it at that. Once I've said what I wanted to say, I won't write another story unless I really have something new to say. It won't be, like, the same theme in a different situation.
Anyhow, I'm looking to expand my stories beyond just Beelzebub. However, I want you guys to be able to enjoy my written works beyond just a single series. Hence, for all my listed options, I am going to talk about why I think the series is worth writing about, and what I think I can personally contribute to it. Also, I hope that by understanding my personal motivations, you will be better able to appreciate my fanfics as well! :)
So, without further ado, here's the list!
1. Beelzebub (Manga)
Post-modernism has finally come to manga. WELL NO NOT REALLY, BECAUSE IT'S ABLE TO GO META ON EXISTING MANGA SUPERSTRUCTURES WITHOUT UNDERMINING THE WHOLE THING ALTOGETHER, SO IT'S ACTUALLY BETTER THAN POST-MODERNISM.
Ahem, sorry about that. I went a little crazy there :( Also, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Beelzebub probably won't make you tear or spend all day thinking about it, but it's nonetheless a very very enjoyable read. All the characters are unique and interesting and defy all attempts to trope-ify them, and the execution always keeps things fresh.
I have a weird relationship with this manga, because I'm always trying to interpret its events and understand the significance of everything small detail. Which rarely works out, given how unexpected it is (I won't say random, because it's actually very cleverly orchestrated). I've lost count of the number of times I've put forth an interpretation of a chapter in full confidence, only for the very next chapter to completely undermine it! You sneaky manga, you!
Also, Aoi Kunieda's character is just A-MA-ZING.
I'm going to quote one of my posts on the mangafox forums here, just to show you the extent to which I'm in awe of her character:
Firstly, can I just say that this chapter (177) gloriously illustrates why Aoi isn't your typical tsundere? In fact, I'm going to boldly proclaim that Aoi can't even be considered a tsundere any more. I've thought about it since the Aiba arc, but this chapter has provided more than enough reasons to completely convince me that Aoi has risen above the stereotypical confines of the tsundere trope. She still displays tsundere traits, and I adore that part about her, but she's no longer limited by them; they are just one small facet of her marvellous personality.
I mean, look at how well she clicks with Oga! It's true that she's self-conscious and shy about revealing her feelings for him, but she doesn't have to think about that, they just get along so naturally! She's keen to listen to Oga's problems and support him whatever way she can, and she's not one bit nervous or fidgety. You can tell that she really enjoys spending time with him!
Moreover, the raging, Touhoushinki part of her hasn't been suppressed or anything like that. If anything, it gives her that competitive flair - the desire to make Christmas a meaningful event for her relationship with Oga. You can tell that she's really learnt to balance out her two 'personalities' so that they aren't at loggerheads with each other, and the result is woman more confident than ever about expressing herself; who knows what she wants, and is determined to get it.
This nicely moves me on to the idea of character development. OH GOD, THE DEVELOPMENT! The appearance of her Kunie counterpart is a timely and crucial reminder of how she has changed since the Decapitation Island and Aiba arcs. Kunie, after all, is a conscious decision on Aoi's part of how she wants to portray herself outside of her school life. It is extremely significant that she no longer wears the bucket hat. I mean, yes, it was cute, but the bucket hat also functioned as a disguise. Back then, she clung on to the power and status of her Touhoushinki persona so much that she felt a need to 'hide' herself away when she could not use it. The result was a cynical Kunie who disliked the people around her and waited to don her coat so she could flex her muscle once again. Since meeting Oga, she's changed to become far more accepting of herself and the people around her. You can tell that she no longer sees her Kunie get-up as a way to protect her status, but as a way to enjoy being just an ordinary girl for an afternoon, without the prestige/notoriety her reign as leader of the Red Tails gave her. She's smiling a lot, and announces her happiness to the people around her in a self-assured manner. She is, truly, one of the most realistic, multi-dimensional characters I've yet seen in ANY manga.
This brings me on to Oga. If you ask me, he both knows and doesn't know that the two Aois are one and the same. He doesn't consciously realise it, but his actions and mannerisms clearly show that he regards Kunie with the same amount of trust and affection that he has towards Aoi. He willingly confides his problems in her, even to the extent of bringing up the demon world. To him, no catching up needs to be done; his time with her is dedicated purely to the present, as though he's been beside her all this while - and he has.
When he questions why Aoi knows him so well, he is also subconsciously questioning the inconsistency with regards to himself; why is he willing to behave as though she knows him as well as Aoi does? But of course, his strategic stupidity prevents him from adding two and two, and along with Aoi's willing cooperation, he is able to preserve his unique, innocent relationship with Kunie for as long as it can hold out.
2. Kokoro Connect (Anime)
OMGEOFWEAFOIHNQWEOI BEST. CHARACTER. DEVELOPMENT. EVER. I'm completely hooked to this anime at the moment. I LOVE how the female characters are portrayed (this one just completely destroys the typical Hollywood portrayal of women and just continues to shit on it over and over and over again), and I even love how the male characters are portrayed as well. I LOVE how they take your standard character tropes and develop and subvert and twist them until it just blows your mind. I'm a little scared to write a fic for this because I don't want to ruin all the beautiful characterisation, so I probably won't do any major exploration, just cheeky 'what ifs' that allow you to appreciate how the characters might react in a different situation.
Unfortunately, as of now, I'm still waiting to watch the last few episodes of the season, and I'm gonna have to wait a looooong time. Not touching Kokoro Connect until I find out how it ends first!
3. AnoHana (Anime)
I like this a lot because it's very.. human. It explores the selfishness buried deep within our hearts that may undermine what we say or do, preventing us from being as perfect as we hope to present ourselves. It's a very humbling show to watch, and if you watch it seeking to become a better person, then I'm sure it'll help you grow in some way. I can't say too much about it because I really don't wanna spoil anything... but it's easily the best non-comedy romance animes I've seen in a very, very long time.
8. LIST OF ANIME AND MANGA I RECOMMEND
Here's the list of anime/manga that I recommend, but I can't see myself writing about it. It's not because I don't enjoy it as much, it's more of the fact that I just don't have anything to say about it right now, either cause I've watched it so long ago that I've lost interest in writing about it, or I jut don't find myself having much to say. Still, if I bother recommending it, it means that I don't just like it, but that I think it's worth your time to watch as well! All of the anime/manga that I'm recommending are ones that had a lot of influence on me, and continue to be a source of inspiration to my writing even today.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist (Manga, Brotherhood Anime)
NUFF' SAID. Okay, no, it's not nuff said, cause I'm sure that you wanna know what I think about it. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS JUST REALLY REALLY GOOD. The characters are complex, have motivations you can empathise with, yet they break of out being defined by simplistic tropes at the same time. You can actually empathise with AND fear the enemies at the same time (goddamn, wrath is still one of my favourite villains of all time. ALL TIME.) and the plot is long and complex, but super-fast paced at the same time without ever really getting too draggy. The battle scenes are AMAZING. THIS IS WHAT A BATTLE SHOULD BE, GUYS. Although it's not big on romance, there are still plenty and touching and cute moments between Ed and Winry, and Mustang and Riza. SERIOUSLY IF YOU AREN'T ALREADY NODDING YOUR HEAD IN AGREEMENT BECAUSE YOU EITHER HAVEN'T WATCHED IT OR YOU DIDN'T LIKE IT, THEN I REALLY HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. It's one of those series that I would DEFINITELY have written a fanfic for, had I been interested in writing fanfics at the time I watched it. Unfortunately... it's been way too long, and I'm no longer so familiar with all the characters... Ah well.
That said, it's one of those shows that will fail the Bechdel test for most of the episodes, because the women are few and far between, and most of them are only given importance in relation to a male character. But still, I find it forgivable, partly because it IS the army we are talking about, and it's realistic that women don't have a heavy presence in the army.
2. School Rumble (Anime)
If you like Beelzebub, then I think you'll like this one. However, while Beelzebub is a parody of battle manga, this is more a parody of romance comedy. It's still really really hilarious, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this one. The female characters, while remaining quite conservatively within the safety net of the tropes that define them, nonetheless act as a parody of these tropes rather than being completely limited by what they are. They still have many interesting quirks to keep them fresh, and they develop quite nicely throughout the series. They don't just automatically surround the main character and swoon over him, and he actually has to go out of the way to earn their respect, which is something I quite like for a romance harem! Oh, did I mention that the male protagonist is also a thug?
3. Spirited Away (Anime Movie)
YES MOVIES DO COUNT AS ANIME, IN MY OPINION. ALSO, IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED SPIRITED AWAY, BOO YOU. FRANKLY I THINK IT'S QUITE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO LIKE ANIME BUT NOT HAVE WATCHED SPIRITED AWAY BEFORE. This one is like AnoHana, in that it places a normal person in an extraordinary situation, and through it, we are forced to think about ourselves as humans. Not much romance here (she's a child, I really don't expect any), but it's very very touching and it's EASILY my favourite Jap movie, and one of my favourite movies of all time.
4. Howl's Moving Castle (Anime Movie)
Another work by Hayao Miyazaki, but that really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone at all. For all my concerns about the portrayal of women, I GREATLY approve of this film. It detracts from the usual trend of starring attractive girls (and sending the message that you need to first be attractive to be a beautiful character) by placing the female protagonist in the body of an old woman. Regardless of her looks, her soul shines brightly, and she is beautiful as ever. It's a really touching story, and I like it a lot. Not as much as Spirited Away though :( BUT NOTHING CAN COMPARE TO SPIRITED AWAY.
5. Princess Mononoke (Anime Movie)
Another work by Hayao Miyazaki, once again. Unfortunately, this is the last of his works that I REALLY like enough to recommend. I like all of them, don't get me wrong, but these three are what really stand out. I LOVE this movie because it manages to tell a fantastic story, while sending out a strong environmental message at the same time. It's a lot like Wall-E. It doesn't just tell you about the environment, though! It tells you about humanity. It contrasts the world of industrialisation and a human-centric paradigm to the older traditions of living in harmony of the environment and attaching sacred importance to it, so much as to believe in forest spirits and such. It reminds us of how much has been lost when we put ourselves first, and neglect all else. I like it a lot too!
Also, if you have any manga/anime to recommend based on what I've said I like, please don't hesitate to drop me a message! I'm currently on the lookout for more manga/anime to follow. I don't care if it's long or not, or if it's completed or still in serialisation. I do read most of the popular ongoing series though... just that I don't like most of them nearly enough to put them on this list.
Last thing is, I do accept requests. If you see a manga/anime on this list, be it on my 'to write' or 'recommended' list, and you'd like me to write a fanfic about it, I'm open to that idea. You're going to have to give me the scenario though. (Eg. Write about Edward Elric getting his leg amputated from his waist down, such that Winry has to build a prosthetic one for him, and that makes it real awkward when she has to do the weekly maintenance. NO, I'M NOT GOING TO WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THAT, JSYK.) It'll probably be a 2000-5000 word oneshot. However, if I do like the idea, I will commit my 100% to getting it out.
9. REGARDING BETA READING
I understand that there are people who would like to help me beta my stories, and I am very appreciative of the support :) Thank you guys so much of wanting to support my story!
However, as far as the beta reader system on this site is concerned, I do not take beta readers. I do not find typos a big problem in my stories (they do appear, but a single PM should be sufficient to highlight all of them). On the other hand, a lot of my diction and syntax choices can by considered incorrect in a strict linguistic sense, but are maintained for symbolic and figurative reasons. I am afraid that a beta reader who edits my story directly may impose his/her own view on what the 'proper' diction and syntax choices should be without first comprehending my authorial intentions. I would much rather engage in a discussion of motives and interpretation, and I'll make the corrections myself, and then we can discuss them again. This is closer to the kind of relationship that any respectable writer has with his/her editor.
For the same reason, as far as the beta reader system on this site is concerned, I will not offer to be a beta reader. I do not and should not have the right to make corrections directly to your story. I can only tell you what I think is wrong or could be improved. The freedom and power to make the changes you see fit should stay in your hands.
It's really how writing is meant to be. So yeah, I hope you guys understand Thanks a lot for wanting to help though!
10. OTHER SITES I'M ACTIVE ON
1. If you want to discuss Beelzebub with me, head on over to the Mangafox Beelzebub forums! My username there is devilry as well, and I sorta oversee the Aoi Kunieda Discussion Thread :)
Also, I write massively long posts every single time Aoi has a huge presence in the latest chapter of Beelzebub.
2. I'm also fairly active on dueling network. I love playing Yugioh, and whenever I play with the friends I've made on that site, we always end up chatting about all sorts of random things and have a lot of fun in general xD
My username there is xDevilry.
That's all I have for now. I'll update my profile more as I think of more things to write about!