Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fan Fiction

I guess you could say I’m even a little addicted to it… or, more accurately, addicted to one particular author and his tales of DBZ beyond the GT storyline. If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, I’m guessing anime isn’t your thing, and thus you have no interest in learning about it in the first place... which means what I'm about to say will be exceedingly boring for you and it would be best if you skipped down to the last four paragraphs/sentences of this post. If I’m mistaken, leave a comment and I’d be happy to fill you in on one of the classics.

Back to this author guy… his creations are the first, and thus the only fan fics I’ve ever dived into. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the whole realm to begin with- you might say living in Japan had soured me to the thought as a majority of things I’ve inadvertently come across relating to fan fiction (it’s frighteningly easy to stumble upon such things by accident around here I might add) unabashedly immerse themselves into an, let’s say, erotic realm that I wouldn’t touch with a 100 foot pole. Creativity is great and all (and I’m sure there are plenty of talented writers out there who don’t sink to that level), but there’s a point where it just degenerates into sick stuff no one should dwell on.

Still, I felt I could trust this particular fellow, and so I took a deep breath and began reading. It didn’t take long before I saw one upside to writing a fan fiction- the world and characters are already known, so you can dive into the story itself without spending time on building up background. At the very least, it seems like a good exercise for an aspiring writer. The downside, of course, is that it’s not your original idea, at least not completely.

It’s fun to see a writer growing and evolving in his craft, which is what happens as you read chapter after chapter of these series. As for the content itself, what isn’t there to like? There’s action, suspense, romance, more action, betrayal, drama, even more action, emotional turmoil, tear-jerking moments, golden comets racing through the sky only to collide and disintegrate entire planets action, reconciliation, good triumphing over evil… The characterization is well done and stays true to the original series as well, which I would imagine is important in this genre. Thoughts, memories, motivation, internal conflict, weaknesses; exploring the “what ifs” of these things concerning beloved icons keeps the story from becoming stale.

The best part is that he’s able to bring the cast of this fighting anime to a place where the reader can actually empathize with them. The biggest issue I had with DBZ was the fact that the characters (heroes and villains both) were ridiculously powerful and could only be defeated by another slightly more ridiculously powerful individual.

I mean, let’s face it, the battle scenes of the anime, while exciting for a while, could easily slide into a monotony relieved only by some sort of new revelation about the opponents… which mostly consisted of a new technique to unleash. It was terribly one-dimensional and predictable. I know, there’s only so much one can show in a half-hour episode, and in a fighting anime, it’s not exactly a surprise that character depth and development take a back-seat to flying fists and ki blasts. Nonetheless, I found it disappointing to watch essentially the same thing over, and over, and over.

Not to worry- there’s still plenty of ascension to new power heights as well as well-written knock-out fights for those of us who liked that aspect of the anime (and don’t get me wrong, I did), but these have been balanced with a thoughtful insight into the characters, and most importantly, into their very real (and often not power-related) vulnerabilities. Strength will always be important in this particular universe, but at least it’s not the only way to taste victory.

Well, I suppose that’s only the second best part. The supremely best part is that I happen to be friends with the author, who has a distinctive writing style I rather enjoy.

The reason I haven’t gotten around to updates or any writing of my own lately (despite the millions of ideas and thoughts that have exploded in my head revolving around story off-shoots) is because I’ve been too busy being glued to the computer screen reading his stuff. I think I’m on chapter 32 of the second saga now…

Thus I can say with complete honesty:

Kyle, it’s all your fault.


Kyle said...

I take no responsibility. I warned you off of them, heck, I didn't even send you a link or anything... though I'm glad that you don't mind them too much. Reading back through the first one always makes me cringe, and the second one just went on and on and on forever (which I also warned you about). Nope, this one is totally your fault. I'll take the blame for any youtube adiction that you might have, but fanfiction is on your head.

Hmm, by my calculations you read something in the neighborhood of 200,000+ words in about 9 days. You're as bad as Heather. Just don't let housework or time spent with Ash fall by the wayside as you read... for a while it seemed like Heather's face had been crazyglued to the computer screen. Thankfully she has managed to read almost every Harry Potter story in existance that she remotely liked (and a few that she really didn't like), so now I get to see her again from time to time. J/K she wasn't THAT bad, but for a while she was pretty obsessed... sort of like me and anime on youtube.

I'm glad you liked the stories. Have a good day Star.


Star said...

I'll have you know that I made it a whole day without reading any further... then today came and I jumped from chapter 32 to chapter 56. It's quite an epic story.

An epic story you wrote, I might add, which places responsibility square on your shoulders.

That... and the fact that your pen name wasn't terribly difficult to identify :)

What it basically boils down to is that you rock. I hope to read more of your stuff in the future!