Charapost 6: The Backstroke of the West

So, it’s been nearly three months since I made one of these! There was a little activity in June, but afterwards SYOC fic just tanked. Plenty was posted, but everything was dead on arrival. I was holding out for more updates, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. Most of these are unfortunately pretty boring, but the chosen guardians story did update again.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12502783/2/PokeHigh

High school fic, submitted Chara. Bonnibel is here too!

“I’m Bonnibel, this is my partner Absol!” she gestured to the dark pokemon sitting below the table. “This hater is Alexandra, and this girl is Chara!”

The male shot her a death glare with his crystal blue eyes, “Bonnie, shut up.”

“Yes?” Bonnie asked, her mouth was stuffed with food, Chara looked at her, “oh no not you sweetie, Bonnibel’s nickname is Bonnie, I take it your name’s Bonnie?”

The writing is incoherent so I’m having trouble telling, but it looks like Chara is saying that last line, so we once again have a softChara capable of normal human interaction. Also they are a girl, apparently.

Chara’s only other line here is to ask why Pikachu can follow Ash through a special sue barrier.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12502783/3/PokeHigh

Chara continues to be extremely passive and capable of normal interaction.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12502783/4/PokeHigh

Team Rocket attacks this chapter! Chara continues to behave normally.

“The boss wants ya’ dead,” Meowth snorted, “says something about threats or anythin’.”

“So sit still and let us beat the crap out of you!” James yelled.

“Really?” Chara hissed, and suddenly swiped a knife from her sleeve, in a flash some of his hair was cut off, missing his head by millimetres, “try us!”

“You seriously carry a knife in, your, sleeve,” said Bonnibel dumbfounded when she nodded, “fair enough.”

This is the most interesting thing that happens.

This appears to be one of those cases where the author only uses the traits they could have gotten from a random generator. A pity.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12515962/2/Golden-Oak-High

After a week of not getting even half the submissions they needed to start the story, the author got impatient and posted a chapter urging people to submit more characters.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12494805/6/Guardians

This continued. Kidra’s pokemon attacks the main character, then:

Standing before him was Queen, looking twice as menacing as it had in the battle with Brooke’s Zweilous. A soft growl rose up from its throat, and it took a gigantic step towards him. The boy was paralyzed by fear, and he didn’t even breathe as the blue Pokemon advanced even closer.

He probably would have been ended right then and there, but Yuki was saved from the clutches of death by seconds as a second creature arrived on the scene. It… was… another Nidoqueen? Before the former could react, the huge animal had launched itself at Queen and shot a blast of fire in its direction. It raised up its arms to block it, and was knocked backwards by the sheer power of the attack.

The ground rumbled beneath Yuki’s feet, and he stumbled and turned to run. Immediately, he was looking into the narrowed grey eyes of Hagane. He jumped aside as the man rushed forward, pulling a Pokeball off of his belt and tossing it at the two dueling animals. An equally large creature appeared, standing on four thick blue legs.

“Metagross, Bullet Punch!” he called out. The metal Pokemon roared as its front legs turned silver and it flung itself forward. Its limbs moved faster than Yuki could even see, and Queen was pummeled mercilessly into the ground and pinned down beneath the monstrous animal. Hagane’s eyes flashed with anger.

“Kidra, call back your Nidoqueen, now!” his voice was so sharp that the boy flinched, even though his anger wasn’t directed at him. Kidra appeared from the gathered crowd of Guardians, no emotion showing in her emerald orbs. She held out Queen’s capture device, sucking it out from under the steel-type in a flash of red light.

Murmurs jumped in between the trainers, and Yuki could feel his heart threatening to beat right out of his chest. He licked his dry lips and backed even farther away as Hagane slowly moved towards Kidra. Before he could say a word, the young woman crossed her arms over her chest and sighed.

“Okay, in her defense, I totally forgot that Queen was wandering around. I let her out to have some fun, and then I went to go eat. Sometimes I forget stuff when I have a snack. Don’t get all mad at her, ‘kay?” the Poison Guardian said.

“Fun? FUN? She nearly got Yuki killed, and who knows how many other lives she endangered! Your starter is extremely dangerous and does not know how to control herself! Despite what she’s gone through in the past, it is no excuse for allowing her to go on a rampage. Do you understand what you almost allowed to happen?” his voice became lower and lower, until his severe reprimanding was barely a whisper.

“Yo, boss, I’m sorry, okay? I…” she hesitated for a split second, but then continued without further delay, “it wasn’t entirely her fault. Chill out!”

Silence hung in the air for a moment, interrupted only by the sound of the crackling embers that remained of Yuki’s tent. The second Nidoqueen was nowhere to be seen. Hagane slowly looked at Kidra up and down, and released a loud sigh.

“Go to your tent, Kidra. There’s been enough drama tonight,” he murmured. The blonde tossed her hair over her shoulder and walked off.

So Kidra is irresponsible about the one thing she has reason to care about. Okay then. The dialogue here also strikes me as bizarre: why is Kidra acting like they’re blaming Queen when they’re clearly blaming her? What does “Despite what she’s gone through in the past, it is no excuse for allowing her to go on a rampage” even mean? At least the author is finally acknowledging that Queen has a problem.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12422840/6/Kalos-Adventures-Light-and-Dark

Havan appears, but this was one that didn’t ask for personality, so it means nothing. I did give detailed personalities for the pokemon, but the only one that shows up is the one without issues, so I can’t read anything from it.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12613533/1/Pokemon-Eclipse

This is the rewrite of an earlier SYOC fic, which had to be scrapped because…

I quickly found that my previous story of Day and Night was a total failure. It had many problems. From the fact that at the time I began writing the story, the games of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon had yet to be released. Which meant limited location names and an unknown regional pokedex working against me. I also had the story styled as a SYOC, which I now realize not only is a lazy excuse to have other people create characters for me. But it also meant that I wasn’t sure how to incorporate these characters into the story.

Someone has finally learned from all this! Progress!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12494805/11/Guardians

The chosen one story again. Kidra finally gets some development. This is actually one case where you should probably read the entire chapter, as it’s entirely focused on Kidra. I find two things particularly of note:

In a split second she had picked up a small piece of metal lying on the ground and swung it around to effortlessly crack it against the side of the admin’s head and knock him unconscious. He crumpled against his ropes, which were wrapping him up against a giant wooden support beam. As he fell limp, Kidra dropped the metal shard and hummed to herself, casting her gaze on a lone Pokeball that had fallen from his belt. She picked it up and looked it over thoughtfully before dropping it into her backpack and racing out of the warehouse.

Kidra didn’t kill the Team Rocket admin, despite having every reason to. This is most likely a “good guys don’t kill people” issue.

“You think it hurts? You’ve never been a criminal before! You’ve… you’ve never been judged like I have! I’m never going to be able to forget it, either. Every time I look at Queen, it’s just another reminder that she’ll never really be mine!”

This is apparently what the theft issue ultimately comes down to: she’s upset that she doesn’t own her pokemon. Not that the pokemon was tortured into madness. Not that doing the right thing has been incredibly hard. She doesn’t own her. Says some interesting things about the author’s priorities.

I also find it bizarre that the resolution is that she needs to talk to people more, when that is supposed to be her best skill to begin with. While this does fit what I said on the form about distrust being her weakness, she is supposed to be smart enough to deal with people while still keeping secrets — she deals with suspicion by lying, not by clamming up. Part of the problem may be that there just isn’t time or room to develop such a slow-burn character arc in a story like this, so the author is just getting everyone’s issues resolved in episodic format; but that just underscores the problem of SYOC in general.

But I strongly suspect that the bigger reason is because the author genuinely does not know how to write that level of social nuance, probably because they are an introvert themselves. I’m not terribly surprised by that; fanfiction authors are not typically socialites. But I think this is a useful perspective, because I, too, am an awkward nerd, and this made me realize that that’s probably why I’ve been having so much trouble pinning down exactly how I want Kidra to be written and portrayed myself.

24 Comments

  1. CrazyEd says:
    But I think this is a useful perspective, because I, too, am an awkward nerd, and this made me realize that that’s probably why I’ve been having so much trouble pinning down exactly how I want Kidra to be written and portrayed myself.

    This has piqued my interest. Where do you keep these character profiles, again? I’m halfway interested to seeing what would happen if I tried my hand with this. My social problems are a dramatically different beast from your typical “socially awkward introvert nerd” type.

     




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    1. https://www.fanfiction.net/topic/11834/128021680/1/Character-Bio-Thread

      In the future, I’m thinking of reworking Kidra to focus just on the stolen pokemon/ethical trainer aspect, to control for variables.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Hm… honestly? This is almost too easy for me… except for the stolen pokemon bit. I see what you were going for with them, but… yeah, I just don’t think I’d have any clue how to deal with them (especially since it seems like she doesn’t have a much better idea of how to handle them herself). Like, short of finding some kinda pokemon psychologist who is better equipped to deal with them, at least. But that sorta feels like it defeats the point of the character.

        The rest of it, though? Not really much different from something I might’ve done myself. Maybe not in a Pokemon setting, but… all the sexy thief of justice with massive social stats stuff? I’d have to dig through character sheets, but I’m pretty sure I already have this gal statted as a Night Caste. As far as writing her as a character would go… I think the hardest part for me would be making her too outgoing and overbearing (to the point of annoyance), or possibly, remembering her eyes are emerald green and not sapphire blue.

        This does remind me of the character I had been toying with as a rival for the protagonist of the Pokemon Fic I’ll Never Get Around To Writing, though. I should work on that. It inches forward each time one of y’all reminds me about it. I was having a bit of trouble figuring out how to stoke the fires of rivalry (which, once I did, should’ve been easy enough to keep lit). Everything I came up with just sounded to “the natural state of a girl is to be in perpetual conflict with all other girls” so bleh.

        I wish I could remember what some of those inciting incident ideas were, though. I bet two-thirds of them were perfectly usable.




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        1. (especially since it seems like she doesn’t have a much better idea of how to handle them herself)

          It’s more that no one knows how to handle them. That’s the criticism she represents: in a sane world, she should be able to simply drop them off at the nearest pokemon center and be sure it would work out. Instead… I’m not sure how well I got this across, but the implication I was going for is that she tried to do that, and the center’s only plan was to send them straight back to the abusive trainers. This is why she’s now really creeped out by all authority and really distrustful of everyone. So the question of her story becomes: how do you do the right thing in a world actively hostile to your own values? Is it even possible for her to help these pokemon on her own? Can she keep a lid on them long enough to not get arrested and see them shipped right back to Team Rocket, undoing all her progress? It seems like an impossible task… but maybe not for a social god like her.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            but the implication I was going for is that she tried to do that

            I literally did not get the slightest hint of this implication, except save perhaps if you forced me to consider it by asking “Well, why hasn’t she just brought them to a pokemon psychologist yet?”

            That’s the criticism she represents: in a sane world, she should be able to simply drop them off at the nearest pokemon center and be sure it would work out

            Is there any implication that this is not how it would happen in canon, though? This seems kinda like inventing a problem to criticize it, especially with the sheer level of abuse and the fact that Team Rocket is seen as a remotely legal organization (they’re criminals for pokemon “poaching”, which here seems to mean “exactly the same as catching pokemon but with a net instead of a pokeball”).

            Is it even possible for her to help these pokemon on her own?

            Smart money is on “no”. Good money is on “no one can”.

            Can she keep a lid on them long enough to not get arrested and see them shipped right back to Team Rocket, undoing all her progress?

            Isn’t this time “forever”? I’m pretty sure that, even if they were entirely fixed, if they went back to Team Rocket… Team Rocket would just rebreak them. Better idea is to get pokemon abuse outlawed or something so that, if the lid comes off them, they won’t get sent back to team rocket no matter how unbroke they are.

            It seems like an impossible task… but maybe not for a social god like her.

            I think I see the problem here. You’re asking for social-spec Solar social skills out of weirdo introvert fanfiction authors. Even if the character supposedly has that level of social skills… the people writing her are still just people, man.

            Out of curiosity, what are the other interpretations that you’re considering removing to reduce the number of variables?




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            1. Is there any implication that this is not how it would happen in canon, though?

              Farla has repeatedly pointed out examples where the good guys do jack about this. Every time we rescue a pokemon, what’s always brought up is that it belongs to a trainer and the theft is the primary crime. Would they do the same if they saw a wild pokemon in distress? Would they do anything to separate an abused pokemon from their trainer? Canon gives us no clear answers.

              Also, just look at the example here: Kidra cares more about the fact that Queen “isn’t hers” than all the things Team Rocket did to Queen.

              (I’d also like to point out that the Game Corner still continues to sell pokemon, including the confirmed-human-intelligence dratini, even long after Team Rocket is disbanded.)

              Out of curiosity, what are the other interpretations that you’re considering removing to reduce the number of variables?

              Less of the sexy party girl stuff. Originally that was to the point of her — how do people react to dogwhistle tropes — but it introduces too many additional complications if I just want to see how people interpret the pokemon ownership angle.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Farla has repeatedly pointed out examples where the good guys do jack about this.

              There are actually quite a few examples in the anime of pokemon centers taking in injured wild pokemon, so I can’t imagine them saying “sorry, can’t help you” if a trainer comes in and says “yeah, I got this pokemon, and it’s super fucked up, can you give it to someone who can help it?” Hell, if abusing pokemon isn’t a crime, why not just say “yeah, this pokamon is hella broke, so I don’t want it anymore” and “abandoning” it at a pokemon center?

              Would they do anything to separate an abused pokemon from their trainer?

              Canon usually has the abused pokemon already abandoned (like Ash’s charmander) or the trainer resolving to treat his pokemon better and seeing the error of his eays.

              how do people react to dogwhistle tropes

              Honestly, most of my trepidation with this part would be like… it’s fucking Pokemon, ya know? Like, if I was running a DB game of Exalted, and I decided to start it with “so, you all meet in a tavern, while that tavern is hosting an orgy” as a joke… sure, fine. It’s DBs, it’s Exalted, that shit is to be expected. But I can’t bring myself to imply orgies in Pokemon. I just can’t. I could do a hot springs episode, maybe.

              Pokemon is just too child-friendly a world for me. Even the level of abuse in this character’s pokemon is… not really okay for me. Team Rocket are saturday morning cartoon evil. Even in the games or Pokemon Special, where they’re far more dangerous villains… they’re still child-friendly Bad Guys that kids aged 10 to 13 can handle.

              A little bit of flirting or a joke about the protagonist’s dad pulling out a new meowth ear headband for his wife the moment their kid shuts the door to head out on their pokemon journey (totally keeping this in mind just in case I ever have a scene wheer a kid shuts the front door before going out on their adventure) is one thing, but… well. I’ve seen The Electric Tale of Pikachu before.




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            3. There are actually quite a few examples in the anime

              Ah. Well, I wouldn’t know about those. I defer to Farla for explanation here.

              And I feel like you don’t watch many Saturday morning cartoons. There are lots of ways to convey “sexiness is evil” other than having orgies everywhere. The things I’m talking about are like, women with visible lipstick are evil, or the flirty girl always dies, or the evil characters wear skimpy outfits. That sort of thing. (With Kidra, it’s also more than just “sexy = evil” that I’m poking; it’s that, even independent of that, she’s confident. There is nothing patriarchy hates more than a confident woman, because that’s a woman it can’t control.) This sort of coding is all over kid’s cartoons, all the more insidious because of how subtle it is.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              There are lots of ways to convey “sexiness is evil” other than having orgies everywhere.

              Well, that wasn’t really my point. I just can’t really combine the idea of “sexiness” with “Pokemon”. Male or female, good or evil. It’s, well, I’m going to keep repeating this but… it’s Pokemon. I mention this a lot when pokefucking fic comes up in your reviews, but honestly, it’d probably extend even to adult human characters. My conception of the setting of Pokemon is just… well… Light flirting is fine, kissing too I guess, but like… any actual lewdness or perversity? It’s fucking Pokemon. Don’t fuck pokemon in fucking Pokemon fic. Any Pokemon fic I write is going to be rated General Audiences, maybe T if I do that extremely unlikely hot springs episode.

              As for the rest, well… yeah, like I said, I wouldn’t have a problem writing all that stuff. Lipstick isn’t lewd or perverse so it’s in and skimpy clothing is already in the setting (if you count shorts and tank tops as skimpy, I guess), and I forget when I did it, but I think I’ve mentioned how I’m currently having a problem where I feel like my cast has perhaps too high a ratio of outgoing confident extroverts.

              Of my main eight female main characters, “boisterous” doesn’t perfectly only half of them, and of the four it doesn’t perfectly fit, it only doesn’t fit a single one in the slightest. The skimpiest clothes are worn by the heroine’s ultra-wingman best friend, but the former dark magical girl prefers sweaters. The heroine often goes without or with only light makeup, but she’s super sporty, and I feel it’d be kind of odd to put on a ton of makeup to go on a jog or something sweaty. She doesn’t go all-out on makeup to go jogging, but she didn’t show up to prom in short-shorts and a sporta bra. It’s gotta fit the activity, ya know? If makeup fits what she’s doing, sure, she’ll wear as much as she wants. So I feel like I’m covered on all the rest of that stuff.

              The confidence isn’t where I’d have problem; sex appeal in Pokemon is. I’ll throw all the sex appeal you want me to into that series of ASoIaF fics I’ve been pimping these last two weeks without a care in the world. But I can’t in Pokemon. I just can’t. It’s Pokemon. That’s my childhood, man.




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            5. Farla says:

              It’s Pokemon. That’s my childhood, man.

              While my childhood was spent reading other children’s take on what it’d be like if Ash fucked all three legendary birds at once.

               




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            6. Farla says:

              Is there any implication that this is not how it would happen in canon, though? This seems kinda like inventing a problem to criticize it, especially with the sheer level of abuse and the fact that Team Rocket is seen as a remotely legal organization (they’re criminals for pokemon “poaching”, which here seems to mean “exactly the same as catching pokemon but with a net instead of a pokeball”).

              If it goes in a pokeball, it’s theirs! Every time a member of Team Rocket is shown to legally catch a pokemon, the rest of the cast treats it as “theirs”, then next episode they’re trying to save a wild pokemon those evil, pokemon-abusing monsters have in a net or return a pokemon caught by someone else’s pokeball to its real and true owner.

              This is without getting into he said/she said – even if abuse was something that invalidated your claim on a pokemon (and every time this comes up, the answer appears to be it doesn’t) their original owner can claim any signs of abuse are Kidra’s doing, and also that they’re not a member of Team Rocket how dare you, and furthermore it’s pretty obvious that Kidra the pokemon thief probably is and should be arrested. The fact she dumps the stolen property rather than keeps it doesn’t change the fact she committed a crime, anymore than dumping a bunch of stolen jewelery in the trash means the police can’t arrest you.




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            7. CrazyEd says:
              While my childhood was spent reading other children’s take on what it’d be like if Ash fucked all three legendary birds at once.

              Okay but why. To all of that.

              Every time a member of Team Rocket is shown to legally catch a pokemon, the rest of the cast treats it as “theirs”

              And they’re never shown to abuse or even particularly mistreat them. Even the Pokemon they steal seem to be treated pretty well. No sense in damaging the merchandise, I guess.

              The fact she dumps the stolen property rather than keeps it doesn’t change the fact she committed a crime, anymore than dumping a bunch of stolen jewelery in the trash means the police can’t arrest you.

              True, but it makes it a hell of a lot harder to arrest you than if they find the stolen jewellery around your neck and fingers.




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              1. Farla says:

                True, but it makes it a hell of a lot harder to arrest you than if they find the stolen jewellery around your neck and fingers.

                Not really a meaningful concern here. If she tries to argue against the pokemon center handing the stolen pokemon back, she’ll be arrested instead – the act of stealing the pokemon brands her as the bad guy in the interaction, because acting for or against the pokemon’s welfare isn’t a factor taken into account.

                Pokemon mistreatment came up several times in just the first few seasons, and the answer has always been a firm chiding, even in cases where someone was repeatedly attempting to murder their pet.




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            8. CrazyEd says:
              If she tries to argue against the pokemon center handing the stolen pokemon back, she’ll be arrested instead

              Back to who, though? If she just drops them off at a pokemon center, preferably in the dead of night if she wants to be super cautious about it, how will they even know who to give them back to? Even if Team Rocket took the precaution of writing their names on their pokeballs, I can’t imagine Kidra would keep that sort of information on them. The pokemon center might hand them back if they knew they were stolen, if they knew who to give them back to… so why let them know they were stolen or who they were stolen from?




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            9. Trainer ID is one of the things you can see in the status screen. Team Rocket would, indeed, have written their name on them.




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            10. CrazyEd says:
              The status screen is a gameplay abstraction, though, unless you also mean to imply that you can also check a pokemon’s special attack stat.



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            11. Keleri says:

              unless you also mean to imply that you can also check a pokemon’s special attack stat.

              sure, the pokedex seems to read energy levels and compares it to the aggregate data of every pokemon ever scanned. it’s not smogon cut-and-dry-needs-130-base speed-to-outspeed-x or whatever, but it gives a ballpark value.

              The status screen is a gameplay abstraction, though

              Microchip?




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            12. Act says:

              While my childhood was spent reading other children’s take on what it’d be like if Ash fucked all three legendary birds at once.

              Don’t forget the drawings of ten-year-old girls with huge tits! Never. Forget.




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            13. CrazyEd says:
              On that terrible note, I actually do wonder a bit to what extent the pokescrewing thing isn’t a result of people discovering they liked boobs while still really liking pokemon, and carrying the result of trying to comprehend their newfound sexuality within the context of other things they already knew they liked into their adult years.

              Personally, I wasn’t that into Pokemon at that particular age, but I was super into anime, and I can’t help but think that the same kind of thing is to blame for today’s 26 year olds that still declare Asuka is their waifu even though she’s depicted as a 14 year old girl, because she’s been their waifu since they were 14 year old boys.




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            14. …Okay, now I’m just wondering why anyone would want Asuka to be their waifu. I’ll have to file it next to why anyone in their right mind would be attracted to gardevoir the creepy elf demon. I’m really starting to think these peoples’ brain functions shut down the moment they see boobs.




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            15. CrazyEd says:
              I dunno, man. I’m totally not into that sort of girl, even before you take all the shit Anno threw at her into account, but… it still makes way more sense to me than being into gardevoirs.



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            16. illhousen says:

              Okay, now I’m just wondering why anyone would want Asuka to be their waifu.

              In my Great Work of studying Evangelion fandom while staying at a safe distance from it, I have found the answers to this profound question!

              People who declare Asuka their waifu

              – want to fix her; or

              – want to put her in her place; or

              – really want to fuck her because of certain fanservice elements, don’t think much about anything else and didn’t get the memo about how Anno feels about them in EoE.




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            17. CrazyEd says:
              and didn’t get the memo about how Anno feels about them in EoE

              Actually, it largely seems like they just don’t give a fuck, or if anything, how he feels about them just feeeds them. Honestly, it doesn’t even seem like Anno gives a fuck. His supposed hatred of the fans hasn’t stopped him from giving them literally exactly what they wanted, with things like Angelic Days or Ayanami Raising Project.

              NGE is the same kind of shooting down of the young male hero fantasy that MGS2 is, and I think the major reason why MGS2 succeeded at getting the fans mad and NGE didn’t is… you’re going to laugh, but I really think that its almost entirely because he put a feminine-looking man in the skintight bodysuit instead of a cute girl the age of the intended audience. Imagine how fans would’ve taken MGS2 if Raiden was a sexy 20 year old girl instead of a dude in his late twenties.




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            18. CrazyEd says:
              While my childhood was spent reading other children’s take on what it’d be like if Ash fucked all three legendary birds at once.

              I promised myself I’d stop posting the stuff I wrote here, but this one is actually relevant to the conversation. My shame knows no limits. This is what y’all have done to me.

              Why did you do this to me? :(




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