A friend asked me, “If you could say anything to the Bleach fandom, what would it be?” If? Hey, I’ve got a comm and I’ve got a list!
Hey Bleach Fandom,
Every now and then my Finger-wagging Mother mode steps into my Guru of the Humanities mode and interbreeds with my inner Star Trekker. This entity will now address you.
1) Get out your comfort zone.
Adventuring rejuvenates an obsession.
Fic writers: try new stuff. If you write vignettes go for a multi-part, if you write one pairing try another, write from the POV of a character you dislike, write a sex scene without any sex…. Fans: get out of your cliques. Answer the posts of people you don’t know on forums and LJ. If you’re a shipper, hang a bit with fanbois and talk about fights. Vice versa. De-lurk, ye lurkers. De-lurkization is always fun--every time I’ve done it’s been like prom night.
2) Stop blaming Shippers for ruining your fandom.
Shipping is a sport. Putting any blame upon it would be like blaming tail-gaters for destroying American football. The fandom is far from ruined by bickering shippers. What’s the worst your fandom suffers? People in other fandoms go “holy moly, I wouldn’t touch that fandom with a ten foot pole” but I seriously doubt that a distaste for ship wars causes anyone not to check out a manga if said manga appeals in any way.
Srsly. This is the internet. Deal with it. There are Crazies.
And while you’re at it, stop indicting shipping as a crazy fan behavior (I address myself here for having told you to “deal with the crazies”). Over-the-top fanning is part of the fun. If Renji were a Beatle, I’d mob his limo. I’d bust into the hotel where the Ishidas are staying and collect hairs off their combs (black hairs go in one baggie; silver hairs go in the other).
While there’s never any excuse for personal attacks, threats of violence against a fanfic writer (ahem), or pages of inebriated spam, let the people have their fun. Look--do you collect whale song DVDs? Glass slippers? Some people like to argue with other people about which cartoon couple will eventually have cartoon sex in Bleach. IT’S FUN. It’s exciting. Some people don’t do crystal meth. They haunt forums.
3) If you’re nodding off from the Hueco Mundo arc from sheer boredom, let a few chapters fly by and then read the chapters in a clump.
Kubo’s pacing is slow, but his story isn’t askance by any means. Stop complaining that HM is just re-heated SS and enjoy some of the funnier parallels (like in SS, Ishida swoops Orihime into his arms to save her; in HM, it’s Pesh). Play the Who’s the First Espada game. I remember thinking that Rukia would be rescued by the time I was in a retirement home. Patience, patience, Kubo hasn’t forgotten your favorite characters and his plot is deliberate and stately. Think Mahler symphony. The movements are grand in their predictability, and the delight is in the details. STARE AT PANELS. I swear, if I hated the story, I would read Bleach for the art alone. Each panel tells its own story--look again, I’ll bet you’ve missed something.
4) Stop Being Anonymous, ye Anonymous.
Not only is anonymous the sleaziest cloak donned by internet fools who you don’t want to be associated with, remember that your opinion matters, your writing matters, you matter. Why make yourself invisible. Stand up and claim your piece of the fandom. If you want to post anon to write kink, leave an honest review, or send an insulting email to a BNF, consider leaving your LJ name. Proclaiming one’s name gives one power, not anonymity. Even though an LJ name or fan name is just an emblem, it’s a stand-in for you like your actual birth name. My birth name brings up different stuff on Google than debbiechan but in both instances, you can make out a persona if you squint. You see the persona--not the real me. Posting more than once under any name gives anyone a recognizable identity. Every time a fan posts, he or she is adding crumbs to a cyber-trail and building a rep. You won’t stand anonymous before your G-D
Anyone paying attention can identify you, so anonymity doesn’t really guarantee we don’t know who you are. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to know that the recent poster going by “Manfan” at Bleach Asylum is Asam_Laksa who was banned on three Bleach forums. Alsooooo, I know who’s been sending me harassing nyah-nyah mail. Send enough notes, be a little active in the fandom, and your writing style is a thumbprint. We know who you are, so stop being anon; be courageous and maybe people won’t even CARE than you write S&m or hate Orihime. (Of course if you want to be anon because that’s your personal kink, well that’s fine, just don’t hurt people and there won’t be massive wishes sent out into the universe for you to drop dead from an aneurysm).
5) Trolls, no one is amused. Go stack blocks or watch t.v.
6) Someone start a good discussion at soul_society ?
Really, how long has it been since someone started a good discussion there?
7) Anime-only fans are not fandom first-graders. Some people just don’t download the manga is all. Some people just watch the dub *stifles gag* Doesn’t mean they’re subhuman. Johnny Bosch is a superb Ichigo--check him out if you haven’t.
8) RECOGNIZE THAT THE FANDOM IS HUGE.
I mean, really huge. It was even pretty big when I got aboard about 3 years ago and it’s huge now. So phrases like “the fandom thinks” or “the fandom grows weary” or “so and so is a big name (or a big thorn) in the fandom” carry no weight at all, because most of the people who watch or read Bleach don’t spend obsessive hours at the forums and spend more time studying for exams than reading fanfiction. Maybe. In addition to having real lives, they don’t know all of us. Maybe they’ve got the right idea by enjoying the source material instead of staying up nights wondering if Grimmjow is really dead.
9) Be kind to one another because life is short and cruel and all stories don’t have happy endings like in shounen.
Get over grudges. Reading peoples’ private journals to mock them is really low. Going to town on IM about this person or that person is frivolous--truly, the characters are more interesting than the people who disagreed with you on the latest chapter thread or the people who write those smut fics you have contempt for….
10) Kubo Tite, Perriot Studios, Viz Comics, etc. own Bleach but the fandom shares in the true profits.
No one fan or fandom sect has the exclusive rights to this or that character. I’m so guilty of holding onto my inner canon convictions that you’ll hear me on occasion say “RYUUKEN WOULD NEVER RAPE HIS SON.” Has Kubo given us enough information in those scant panels of Ryuuken to rule out his being a communist male escort who smokes hashish? Thing is, a good fanfic can sell you on a situation in which the unlikely can happen. Every sort of fanfic has an audience. Yaoi, by definition, is not OOC (although I think those “everyone in this story is gay” tales really stretch it…). OOC in itself too--can be fun. I’ve read wildly OOC stories--doesn’t mean they’re not enjoyable or well-done. They’re not original fiction; they’re still co-opted toys. Barbies and G.I. Joes shaved bald and covered in crayon.
You RP people who get possessive with their characters: realize other people interpret so and so differently and if someone wants to play Renji as a transvestite, write Hitsugaya as a boy prostitute or Yumchika as heterosexual, then hey, they’re fanning. (Fanning is excused--horrible OOC-ness in anime filler must never be forgiven). Forget being anal about the criteria of IC in fics. Fair Arguments can be made for what is in IC according to manga (or the anime--g-dhelpus for what was done to Ishida in the filler arc) or even as to what is IC according to KT himself (I’ve heard people complain that Chad was OOC in the first chapters of HM arc). Realize that people are going to write, RP, ship, predict manga events differently from you.
That said, not all opinions are valid. XD XD XD Some are just plain psycho, and real discourse (as in the true Cliff-and-Norm discussions about sitcoms on Cheers) does not occur when every lunatic is coddled. Please. Someone. Please throw tomatoes at whoever insisted that Aizen kissed Orihime off-panel. Behind the story in one’s imagination, fine, but not in-between two concurring panels…. *wrings hands*
Also, you fanbois who want to debate? Some of us aren’t here to debate and back up each of our statements with evidence. Some of us are here to go omgdidyouseeRenjiwithouthisshirtinthatco
11. Oh, and before I forget---STOP scapegoating certain fans.
What did ileenka
ever do to you? Did she break into your savings account, elope with your underage son? At the worst she disagreed with you or forcefully expressed an opinion or was (!!) rude on the internet. Trust me, I've read far ruder things in fandom than what people (incorrectly) remember Ileenka saying during the Wikipaedia fiasco and other times.
Fans are all humans, y’know. With white and red corpuscles and families and pets. Interests outside of who’s boinking who in Bleach or whether or not Gin is polysexual or Ulquiorra is a secret woobie.
12. Buy a knock-off figurine on ebay, watch Byakuya dance in the Bleach musicals, learn to sew your own Urahara plushie, eat your pocky and remember that fandom is supposed to be fun.
I drew a picture. IchiIshi again. Two IchiIshis in fact. Fluffs.
A Shinigami's Piety illustrates