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My relationship with slash.

Mostly, I pursue gen.

But, in the instances where I actually do pursue non-canon pairings... For the main part, it happens to be slash, despite my expressed unease about slash. Which seems entirely nonsensical, so I'm sitting down and writing out some of the reasons why.

  1. I like powerful people together.

    You will never see me ship a pairing where somebody is a liability. Slash or het, I just don't like weak-minded people with anyone. (I have generally low tolerance for this sort, even non-shipped in canon.) My support of a pairing is contingent on self-sufficiency, power, and (most of the time) equality in power.

    As for how this relates to slash... So I watch fair amount shounen/seinen anime, right? More often than not, the most powerful and self-sufficient characters are male (with the exception of works like "Change 123"). Thus, my shipping usually entails slash between males. But I really won't complain about a het pairing, given the female character is powerful and self-sufficient. Like Yoruichi pairings. That's cool. I'm down. Or pairings with Death Note's Misora Naomi. No problem.

    I realize that not all characters are powerful, but I'm not talking about realism or about gen or about canon pairings. I'm talking about shipping.

  2. If the pairing's gonna be a stretch anyway...

    Heterosexuality is relatively boring to me. Unless the characters are independently very interesting, shooting outside the hetero-normative is an easy and efficient way to bring in novelty. Intellectually satisfying? Maybe not, unless the "outside the hetero-normative" thing is a plot issue (or rather, unless the "I ship slash—now what?" thing can be avoided). But I think it's a little like how it's nice to get some fast food every once in a while. You know?

    ...That is, as long as it's actually written like the two people are of the same sex. I fucking hate it when gender roles are automatically assigned to a slash pairing—THIS is my beef with "slash." If a male character is, by nature, effeminate—then by all means. But even then, the dynamic is different, and it's like, dude; if they're both macho men, that's what I want to read! Gender role is a social construct and not a given (minus cases where a universe should negate this)—it can function as plot conflict at best. I think inherent personality comes before gender role.

  3. Let's just say I'm not the straightest tool in the shed.

    (Realize that this is a tertiary thing. Tertiary.) I'm fairly open-minded about sexuality, because I don't really identify with anything and operate on a person-to-person basis. IMHO, I think identification is a big waste of time (and perhaps, for some, an excuse to not spend energy understanding other human beings they would otherwise have plenty in common with). That, and I mean... If you're too busy freaking out about what it's called, you just won't get any, period, let alone figure out what you're physically comfortable with. (If you haven't actually hiked the canyon or played some golf (or played golf while hiking some canyons), I personally think you're full of air if you say you already know what you like.)

    So yeah. Taking into account personal preference, or lack thereof—if a pairing mostly passes the previous criteria, I'm not all that opposed to "yaoi." And I just like "yuri," generally—one area where the power rule is, while not obsolete, not entirely necessary.

  4. Kinda illustrative to the point, but not really.

    I actually drew some (coincidental) "slash" the other day. I've been watching some Rurouni Kenshin again, and I remembered how much I liked the Saitou/Battousai pairing—serial killer pairing ftw? I had this priceless vision in my mind of Saitou living at the dojo, and it had to be drawn. HAHAHA—he would be so unwelcome.

    Saitou's uniform was sorta hard to draw. Not gonna lie. And I still need to add Saitou's katana and Kenshin's sakabatou somewhere, though. Among some other details.

    剣心: ちょっと忙しいでござるぅぅぅ...
    薫: すっすみません!本当にすみません!もうお昼ですけど、剣心が寝過ごすとは、その、斎藤もう仕事へ...と思ったんで...えへへ
    斎藤: 出てけ。

    KENSHIN: I'm a little busy, that I am...
    KAORU: S-sorry! I'm so sorry! It's noon, and Kenshin never sleeps this–... I thought Saitou had already left for... work, and, um... Ehehe...
    SAITOU: Get out.

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I think equal power in ships is good, but I do love when the balance of powerr is unclear, as in each has power in different ways. One of my favourite pairings in Final Fantasy 7 is Rufus Shinra and Tseng, mainly because of that power mix. Rufus is the President and Tseng his bodyguard, so at first glance Rufus has all the power, but Tseng has his own power in that the Turks obey him over the President, and of course there's always the fact that Tseng is physically, or skill wise, stronger when it comes to physicality. Tseng is also just as smart as Rufus, so the mental power play is always there too.

I suppose, what I'm trying to say is for me, when shipping a pairing, I love at least some conflict. Not physical conflict so much but mental conflict. Power battles in the mental sense, conflict from vulnerability or lack thereof. Insecurities, etc. I love imperfect characters, those personality flaws that keep people apart or together. I love messing with them and writing different ways they can break through them, or fail to break through them.

Maybe all of that can be wrapped up by saying, I love the physcology behind relationships, and yaoi pairings fascinate me because I love exploring how they differ from the norm het relatinships. I think het relationships tend to bore me because they are so familiar to me.

Often too, females are not portrayed well in anime at all, with a majority of female anime characters annoying the piss out of me because they tend to fall into two catagories. They are usually either sweet, innocent and a little stupid, or they are tough, bitchy and intelligent. There are exceptions of course, and there is the rare really well portrayed female, but mostly, I find females get steriotyped in anime very badly. I hate how the majority are so very 'girlified'. I hate how most of the females beat the guys regularly. I've never understood that in anime, how the guys can like any female who regularly smacks into them. I suppose it just shits me that if it was a male character walking around, smacking into girls all the time everyone would be horrified, but reversed, it's supposed to be funny. Just seems so very wrong to me.

Don't get me wrong—I like psychology, conflict, power play, etc. And that's WHY I like shipping people who are of similar power level. If there's too much of a distance in power, it's like... no contest. That's when things turn out predictably. Aizen/Orihime for example. There are VERRRRRRRRRY limited ways that could go while staying IC... (Imprisonment, Abuse, Use as blackmail, Death. That is the ONLY prognosis I can think of. LOL) I don't think her powers OR her compassion would be enough to have her not... just... lose in a long-term relationship with Aizen.

...Whereas something like an Urahara-Aizen pairing has many more potential routes. So yeah, looking for similar things you do, I stand by equal power ships. And also m/m slash.

(Perhaps I ought to've specified that) I don't mean power just by literal comparison, as in "who would win in a match." It's sort of like... in the same way that there are different kinds of intelligence, there are different kinds of power. Actually, intelligence/resourcefulness is one of them.

I could probably list all the female characters I respect in anime on one hand. And I really don't get the female casual male-abuse, either. Or why it's played for laughs. I think Dracoqueen subverts this, though, with "Of Violence," in which Rukia's Ichigo-abuse is legit.

portrayed so much better. They are given much more character, more complicated and fascinating thought processes and intent. Writing two complicated minds trying to get together is just damn fun for me, really. I'm not a big fan of the romantic side of things, which are kinda everywhere in the het side of things. I prefer the male interlect, I suppose, when it comes to anime and that's probably what started me with yaoi in the first place.

I agree with you so much on the gender roles. I hate it when guys are turned into girls in slash. It makes me crazy. I know, as a female writer, it is hard to make sure female characteristics dont slip in by accident, but there is a lot of writers out there who just pick a pairing and make one guy the girl. The characters personality is stripped away and he ends up as just a girl with a penis. It's horrible. Unfortunately, it's also what a majority of female readers seem to want, which just pisses me off. If you want a girl, than have a friggin girl character in the story. Don't take a strong, very male character and turn him into a 12 year old girl who squeals and throws pillows... seriously, it gets my back up every time.

Bleach is a fandom that is a minefield when it comes to yaoi. Honestly, I read a lot of yaoi fan ficiton and I've noticed that Bleach suffers from an amazingly high number of trends that annoy me. For example, Byakuya is always getting pregnant, Aizen is always a rapist, Gin is always a sadist, Izuru is always a victim, Renji is always loud but passive, Ichigo is always angry. And I'm not saying these characters don't have these things in their character (not counting Byakuya the baby machine) but there is just so much more to them than one personality trait, yet many writers just pick one thing and thats the whole basis for their portrayal of the character. There's no other character traits there at all... so dissapointing when Bleach gives us so many fascinating and complicated characters to work with in the first place.

Paragraph #1: Amen.
Paragraph #2: Amen. (It almost makes me respect those who create Mary Sue OCs instead of fucking annihilating male characters. Almost.)
Paragraph #3: Amen.

...I don't read much Bleach anymore. I'm so incredibly weary of the pervasive shallowness of the writing. I know there ARE a couple of "diamonds in the rough," so to speak, but I just don't have the patience to look for them anymore. Bleach, for me, is mostly a PWP utility for me now. lol

damn, i cut off the first paragraph in the second post above. It should read as this -

Anyway, there I go, getting way off track again. lol Male characters in anime are just portrayed so much better. They are given much more character, more complicated and fascinating thought processes and intent. Writing two complicated minds trying to get together is just damn fun for me, really. I'm not a big fan of the romantic side of things, which are kinda everywhere in the het side of things. I prefer the male interlect, I suppose, when it comes to anime and that's probably what started me with yaoi in the first place.

and sorry for raving at you. lol

And crap, I already raved so much, and didn't get to the art! *facepalm*. I wanted to say, I love your pic. I'm not familiar with that fandom at all, but I love the intimacy of their embrace. I'm probably missing a lot that could be interpreted here, as I don't know the characters, so I can only take it at face value. I love your use of light and shadow too. It gives a sense of three demontionality to the pic. Also, there's something about a robe slipping of a shoulder that is always so casually sensual. Also, love that these two are serial killers. lol It just makes it so much more interesting to see a side of a character that is opposite to what is usual, as in serial killers being affectionate in a calm moment. Lovely work.

Thanks. :D

1) Did you click to enlarge it? What can be missed at the 500px scale is the direction Saitou is looking, and that can change how the drawing is interpreted. He's looking at an intruding figure in the doorway (whose shadow we can see), and telling them to GTFO.

2) Oh me, Kenshin's kosode was such a pain in the ass!! HAHAHA!! I'm happy it manages to look sensual and not unnatural, 'cause I worked the shit out of it.

3) Well, I guess they're not quite serial killers... But they have both slaughtered (and I really mean slaughtered) a LOT of people during the Bakumatsu—Kenshin as an assassin and soldier for the Ishin Shishi patriots, Saitou for the Bakufu/Shinsengumi.

...Probably a couple hundred, collectively—and in Saitou's case, a good number during peacetime. (People who had it coming, though. Lol)

Enlarging now. Oh yes! I see the shadow and his expression... lol, now that is a definate GTFO look if I've ever seen it! lol I love where his hand is too... perfect placement.

There's something about two serial killers/warriors/soldiers/assassins etc getting together and getting it on that is so very attractive. I think it's because we get to see a whole different side to them, one that is usually never revealed.

Contrary to popular belief (in RL), I can use euphemisms.

I actually altered the image just now—I adjusted the, uh... torso... position, as Saitou is not really supposed to be... sitting completely upright. For both proportional reasons (the legs couldn't be that long) and... alternate reasons consistent with the hand placement. Lol



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