thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yes. Because what is meta about anime vid feedback without anime vid recs? And these come in sets!

FLCL


Here's the thing about FLCL (Fooly Cooly). I have watched many vids using FLCL, and I have come to the conclusion that it contains infinity. It's a short series - 6 half-hour episodes - and yet AMV makers have created vids in just about every mood, theme, and style you can imagine using only that footage. (The, um, actual plot of the anime defies description - it's just, you know, an allegory about growing up, about the complications of life and love. And about having a giant robot burst from your forehead after you're hit on the head by an electric guitar. I think we've all been there.)

So for FLCL I've got two vids for you, and taken together, they represent almost everything I love about anime vids.

The One That Emphasizes the Importance of Keeping Your Eyes Peeled at All Times for Vespas. You Cannot Trust Vespas, People. Jerk It Out, by LenWidleheyt.

This is, in a word, spectacular. Except, of course, that I've got a lot more words, because when am I ever brief about anything? (I can be brief, for the record. I simply choose not to be. And, um, I've been making that choice pretty consistently since I learned to type, which is why it sometimes seems like - you know what? I'm not making things better, here. Time to move on.)

This is the shiny - and, really, "shiny" seems like much too mild a word; possibly instead I mean "explosive" - side of AMVs. It's flashy, effects-driven, fast-paced, and sharply edited. It also pretty accurately reflects the source - it's basically a souped-up, super-condensed, intense version of the series itself.

I love this vid because of the instant jaw-drop factor; it's stunning on the first watch, because it really shows off what anime editors (with pretty much infinite effort, patience, time, and - I'm assuming, here, but I feel it's a fairly safe assumption - beer) can do. This is the AMV equivalent of taking off on a rocket ship, basically.

And because it's FLCL, that rocket ship is powered entirely by sexual confusion and electric guitars.

The One That Got Me This Close to Writing a 5-8 Page Paper. Thank Whatever Power You Believe in for LJ Character Limits, People. I Mean It. Progress and Stress and Dream, by jbone. This one - well, okay, first: notice how it feels like it came from an entirely source than Jerk It Out. I mean, yes, the characters are the same, but everything else is different. See what I mean about FLCL? It is all things to all editors.

And what it is to this editor, in this vid - well, on the very basic level where my brain struggles with vid interpretation, this AMV uses footage from an allegorical anime to tell a related but different allegory, and oh my god that was just about the most boring sentence on the earth, wasn't it? I couldn't have made it more boring without using phrases like "constructivist objectivism." Wow.

So let me skip the descriptions (Adjectives! I'll miss you!) and move on to the song, instead. It's gorgeous (and I keep meaning to find a download of it, but at this point I expect I'll be watching this vid in my head whenever I listen to the song) - a sort of slow, sexy, intense, um...you know what? I'm right back with the adjectives. Let's skip this part, too.

Take three. What I can tell you is what I love about this vid, what I love to death about it. And that is the editing - the way the footage is matched to every single element of the song, from the story it tells to the music to the lyrics to the vocals to the everything. Because I'm not so good with visuals, it took me a long time and many repeat viewings to see everything that was happening on the screen, here - and yet this vid is the absolute opposite of frenetic. It's just - rich.

If Jerk It Out is a rocket ship, then Progress and Stress and Dream is a big vintage motorcycle, rumbling through the back alleys of some fantastic city on a distant planet. And it's powered by, well, Progress and Stress and Dream.

Yami no Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness)


Note: If you've never seen the series, my advice is to watch these vids in the order listed. On the other hand, if you have seen the series, you've probably already seen these vids.

The One That Shows That Nothing Goes with Violins Quite Like Pretty Dead Boys. Danse Macabre, by SarahtheBoring.

When I first watched Danse Macabre, I had no fucking clue what Yami no Matsuei even was, or why it was sometimes called Descendants of Darkness (answer: English title), or what it was about. Also, I spent a goodly portion of the AMV wondering which one of them was female (answer: none of the above). This shows how new I was to AMV watching, because now they all look unquestionably masculine. Anime. You learn as you go.

Anyway. This vid is a lovely summary vid - uses the music gorgeously and subtly to showcase seriously effective clips. And it pretty much tells you what the whole anime is about. (If you want to know in advance: a pair of dead bureaucrats who fight evil, their somewhat complex relationship with each other, and the many added complications introduced by Dr. Muraki, a not-dead mad scientist type who raped and killed one of the guys and is obsessed with the other one. (He blackmails him into a date, and then expects the date to go well. That's just the kind of awesomely mad scientist he is.) If you want more detail, either rent the series or read the intro notes to this vid.) It totally showcases the best parts of the series. (Fighting! Magical summoned beings! Crazed violinists! Vampires! Boys kissing! Really, if you want it, it's there. Unless you want, I don't know, a pony. I don't think there are any ponies. It's probably just as well for the ponies.)

The One That Conclusively Proves That There's No One Who Can't Work Multi-Colored Nail Polish. DDR Project 2nd Mix Track 05: Boys, by AbsoluteDestiny. (First, I need to explain something. This is a single track from one of the major multi-editor projects, Dance Dance Revolution (2nd Mix). So the parts at the beginning and the end sound weird because this AMV was designed to be played as part of a continuous mix of music vidded by different editors. The DDR projects are totally worth downloading, by the way.)

So. You know how, when you're a serial killer mad scientist - constantly working on your various projects of profound darkness, always with a lot on your twisted mind - sometimes you just need to unwind? By making yourself look pretty and chasing after equally pretty boys? That's a relatively universal experience, I think, and that's what this AMV is about. Trust me, you can totally relate to it.

The One That Asks, "How Far Would You Go for Your Country?" And Clearly Explains Why the Answer Should Be, "Not That Far, That's for Sure." Quid Pro Quo, by IcyCloud. It's, um. It's incredibly funny, and I can't really give you any details without spoiling it. Well, I think I can say that the casting is perfect, something you'll appreciate better after watching the other two vids. And that it's one of the few audio-clip-from-another-source humor vids I've seen where the vid is funnier than the original clip.

Crossovers


I know, I know. Crossover vids have a bad rap in the live-action world. (I suspect that's mostly because people use them to tell of the forbidden love triangle between Daniel Jackson, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Harley Quinn. Which, huh...no. No, I must be strong.) But they can be way neat, in live action or in anime, and these are definitely the height of neat. (Memo to me: find a better word for this than "neat." You sound like a fugitive from the '50s.)

So. Let's start with a classic, shall we?

The One That Gives Me an Entirely New Theory about Krispy Kreme. Tainted Donuts, by E-Ko. Cowboy Bebop x Trigun.

Now, first, I want to tell you a story. When I downloaded this, I knew nothing about anime. I watched it with Best Beloved. We had never seen Cowboy Bebop or Trigun; in fact, this was the first AMV we'd seen from either source. (If you're in that position - these are two of the most popular series out there, and they are quite extensively vidded, which is why it's weird, but don't worry. We all start out weird. And then, if we watch enough vids, we get weirder.) We had no idea who Vash the Stampede was.

And yet it was totally obvious that we were watching a work of great crossover genius.

Now, now, I can watch this and see the massive work that went into this, the brilliant way the creator combined two sources to make them seem to interact, work together, tell a coherent story. But then, I just barely saw the crossover. Mostly, I saw the story.

The story, for the record, is about bounty hunters pursuing a man who loves donuts.

Trust me when I tell you that this is extremely appropriate for both canons. Truly, these series were MFEO.

The One That Made Me Listen to Vanilla Ice. Until the Day, Everyone Would've Sworn It Could Not Be Done. Dueling Videos: Under Ice, by Scintilla. FLCL x Neon Genesis Evangelion.

And this was the first vid I'd ever seen use a mash up. I seriously thought my head would explode from joy. (Also, if my 6th grade English teacher had used this as an example of the compare/contrast form, well, I think we would've been spared at least a quarter's worth of lectures and examples and repetition. Or, at any rate, the repetition would've been way more interesting. Of course, she could not actually have done that, because a) she'd've been fired and b) this AMV hadn't been made yet. But still.)

Because it's a mash up, it's not exactly a crossover of the series - it's more of, well, a delightfully frothy blend of the animes. Like, you know, one of those disturbing beverages Starbucks comes up with. Except this one is mixed up in a beaker by a mad scientist. Who is probably giggling to himself while he does it.

And here's the thing: when I first watched this, I didn't recognize either source, which is almost as bad as not knowing Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Didn't matter. (Of course, it gave me a seriously erroneous impression of Evangelion, but luckily there were three thousand vidders with Linkin Park on the spot to correct my misapprehension.)

The One That Explores Pizza As a Totally Valid Lifestyle Choice. I Approve. The Prince and the Kappa, by SarahtheBoring. Revolutionary Girl Utena x Saiyuki.

This one is just - I can't - okay. Here's what you need to know about these two sources: in Utena, there is a guy called Touga. To the best of my knowledge - and fuck knows I've never seen the series - he's rich, handsome, and popular, and he thinks he's the hottest thing since a dick in a box, but he is not quite all that. In Saiyuki, there's a guy called Gojyo. He's your basic whoring, smoking, drinking low-life. (And thus, obviously, an ideal role model for all.)

And what SarahtheBoring did is cast these guys as the Prince and the Pauper. As performed by Moxy Früvous.

I'm not sure I can convey in text my delighted glee at this concept - I was watching with Best Beloved, and we had to pause to let the wonder sink in - but I can try. It is - it is - it is a house made of bricks made of an entirely new element, Awesomium. (Chemical symbol: Wow.)

Sadly, I must convey a warning that may save you from the same dire fate I suffered: this song will latch onto your hindbrain, wrap its tentacles there, and never let go. Days after you view this vid, you will find yourself musically informing your pets that once you were the king of Spain.

If you are extremely unlucky, there will be other people present when you do this. My advice, although it didn't work out too well for me: feign a head injury.

Bonus: You Get a Cookie!


No anime music video set would be complete without a special add-on bonus cookie.

The Cookie for People Who Like Boobies. Or Who Have to Be Around People Who Like Boobies. Or Who Have Actually Seen Any Anime. Oh, Hell, Just Watch It. Fanservice Commercial, by MaachaQ. Multiple sources, but trust me - for this one, it doesn't matter what they are.

Nor does it matter that the visual quality is kind of low. Or that some of the effects aren't perfect. Because this video is fucking hysterical. (For the record: if you don't get what it's parodying, go here and start clicking. I recommend this one particularly. Also, SGA fans - someone needs to do something with Rodney McKay and this one.)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My annual bout of vid-meta came on early this year. Also, it's another feedback project. And, further, it's on a topic that's not going to be of great interest to many of you.

There is a specific person to blame for this, and that person is not me. I'm a totally innocent party, here. (As you will see, I fought this whole thing like - well, kind of like a first-level magic user who doesn't know how to cast Magic Missile, but I tried, is my point.) That person (the Party You Should Blame) is Scintilla, aka [livejournal.com profile] scintilla72.

See, many moons ago I made a post about anime vids for media fans, and in it, I sort of vaguely implied that you don't need to leave feedback on anime vids, and in fact it might be better not to. Actually, let's just revisit my exact words, okay? They're kind of key to this whole thing. I said:

You don't need to leave feedback. [Ed.'s note: the writer was lying up above when she said she only implied this.] That's kind of a controversial statement, but - anime vidders seem to want, and get, very detailed opinions from other fans, and by "detailed" I mean "you need, at minimum, a master's degree from a reputable film school in order to give them." If you have such a degree, I encourage you to go check out ZeWrestler and Iserlohn's Guide to Opinions. Everyone else, well. My advice is to just use the star ratings on AMV, and concentrate your actual written feedback on live-action vidders. You don't need an eight chapter guide to do that.

Scintilla found this post eight months later, and said: not so.

And thus was born Yet Another Goddamned Project. Surely there's medication for this condition. )

Oh my god, TFV, screw the meta. Just take me straight to the AMV recs, please.

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. I have, like, three almost-finished fan fiction recs posts, and - yeah. I just am not getting there on any of them, in part because, well.

See, last night BB pointed out to me that my posting has pretty much not happened lately, and I said, woefully, "I don't have braaaaaaain." (I mean it. If I tried to commit, for example, an act of FF commentary right now, I'd probably end up with a keyboard key stuck up my nose, all, "For reasons that we won't be exploring at this - or any other - juncture, the rest of this post will have to be written without the letter that comes between C an' E. Curse you, tricksy letter!")

So BB said, "Then why not anime vids?"

Wait, wait, that sounded wrong. Lord knows I love the anime vids! I in no way meant to imply that they are suitable solely for the brain-done-gone crowd. They contain deepness! It is possible to write deep thoughts about them! It's just, they're the easiest kind of post for me to write, because, okay, I can't write deep thoughts about them. It's basically an endless repetition of, "Vid shiny. Watch now." I don’t need my brain to type that.

I sense that I'm only getting myself in deeper trouble here. Let's just drop it while I can pretend I have some dignity left, shall we?

Okay, so. Last time I gave you all some basic AMV and anime tips. Here and now I will just reiterate that you’ll need membership at animemusicvideos.org to download these vids, and frankly I recommend you seize that membership. It’s free, they don’t seem to sell their members’ information to Satan’s Spam Service or whatever, and, hey, it’s got enough anime videos to choke a chibi. What more could you want?

Anime Vid Recommendations: The Main Section

Hold Me Now, by Tidirium Studio. Princess Tutu.

[livejournal.com profile] laylah recommended this vid to me after the last Festival o’ AMVs, and oh my god there are not thanks enough in this world. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched it since then, except I’m not embarrassed, because it is just that good. And, really, you don’t need to know the plot at all to understand this vid - there are spoilers, but you’d need to have seen the anime to get them. This vid is, in addition to gorgeous and perfectly cut and almost hypnotically wonderful, notable for two main things:
  1. While watching it, and for the first time in our entire lives together, I figured out something visual before BB did. (BB has this weird vid-fu thing. Like, the first Smallville vid we ever watched, back when all either of us knew about the show was that it had something to do with Superman, had a clip of the bridge-car-smash-rescue-”Thank you, God, for sending me this gift of hotness” sequence in it, and BB said, “Oh! That’s how they met.” This was, as you all know, entirely correct, but I still maintain that it’s weird to figure that out based solely on a ten-second clip out of context.) What did I figure out? Well, okay. There’s a duck in this vid. I figured out that the duck is also the girl with the brownish hair, and I figured it out before the vid makes it obvious. You may be rolling your eyes right now, but for me this is a triumph roughly on par with learning to fly.

  2. We became so entranced by this vid that BB is now watching the anime. And I’d give you a plot summary, but it would break us both. (You need brain for this plot. It’s like the complete works of the brothers Grimm with a lot of ballet and some quacking.) Just trust me - it’s got a plot, and it’s a damn fine plot, too. With characters. And ballet. And stuff. You’d probably like it a lot.
A God-awful Small Affair, by Absolute Destiny. Metropolis x Metropolis. (Yes, really. Both Metropoli in one vid.)

The last time I recommended AMVs, I basically demanded that you all go download Urban Ragnarok and watch it a million times and acknowledge it as a true and complete work of genius. (I hope you all did that, by the way. That is so totally going to be on the test to get into heaven.) I believe I also noted that I’ve never seen the anime Metropolis. I have, however, seen the 1926 movie version of Metropolis, and it was kind of like 1930s dentistry: loud, painful, scratchy, mystifying, and with a 40% chance of killing you dead. (Okay, I made that last part up. But, seriously, I had to watch Metropolis, and it had been excessively touted as this Great Work of Genius, and all I saw was a lot of fuzz and random people doing the Funky Chicken in slow motion. Plus the clock. Oh, god, the clock. I theorized at the time that its constant presence was a reminder that you, the viewer, were losing valuable eons of your life that you would never get back watching this unending torment. I still have a deeply unfortunate association between this movie and "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman.")

I actually went and read the vid notes for this one before recommending it - Absolute Destiny has a very low likelihood of writing bad vid notes. (I define “bad vid notes” as ones that make you not want to watch the creator’s vids. Or, in extreme cases, ones that make you want to punch the creator in the mouth.) The ones for this vid were, as expected, quite good (Informative! On topic! Entirely wank-free!), but they revealed the horrifying fact that AD likes the 1926 version of Metropolis, and in fact thinks the target audience of this vid is people who haven’t seen the anime Metropolis but enjoyed what we might describe as the live-action Metropolis (for some questionable definitions of the word ‘live’). Possibly the version he saw was better than the 80th generation VHS videotape OMG that I watched. Possibly he is simply frothingly insane. Either way, though, I promise you that you don’t need to have liked, or indeed understood, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to love this vid. And the creator himself says it’s better if you haven’t seen the anime. In short, you, media fangirl, are likely the perfect person to watch this vid. And it’s really, really good, what is more.

(The clock. It haunts me. As does the goddamned Funky Chicken.)

Sex and Caramel, by Kusoyaro Productions. Noir, Mireille/Kirika.

So. This is a gorgeously sexy femslash (known in anime circles as ‘yuri’) vid. And that alone is reason enough to watch it, and love it, and make it your best fucking friend forever. But wait! There’s more!

Like, okay. This song? In live action, I would consider it nigh unviddable. Really slow songs that are almost all vocals tend to crash and burn in live-action vids. (There are notable exceptions, of course, including a few vidders who seem to be at their best with these kinds of songs. But what you usually get is looooong clips, often way slowed down, where almost nothing happens, and eventually you feel like - look, I’m not making another Fritz Lang’s Metropolis comment here, so just know that in my opinion songs like this can lead to prepare-to-grow-old vids in live action.) And Kusoyaro does, actually, rely heavily on clips without a lot of action in them (in itself another feat, as this particular anime series could be justifiably be described as “action-packed,” and in fact has some scenes that have weird resonance with the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith). But the vid is not boring. Far from. And that’s because the movement, the action, occurs almost entirely outside the clips, if you see what I mean. (If you don’t see what I mean, you probably will after you see the vid.)

Also. See. In AMVs, you don’t get so much of the “We will now revel in glorious subtext” vids, where vidders do - okay. You know that thing where you cut pieces out of folded paper and it reveals the paper’s inner snowflake? Well, vidders in our part of fandom are remarkably adept at cutting pieces out of source to reveal the inner massive, massive gayness. (Except for those sources that are basically an embarrassment of gay riches. Yes, The Sentinel, I am looking at you.) It's fairly rare to see that in an AMV, though. But this one? Totally does that. It reveals the girl-loving core of the source so well that it completely changes how you view the actual anime. (It really isn’t the incredibly true adventures of two assassins in love. No matter how much my inner shipper wants it to be.)

Mitternacht, by Pwolf. Hellsing, Vampire Hunter D, and Blood: The Last Vampire.

Important note: the version I’ve linked above is the best one. But you will not be able to play it unless you have the latest edition of the VLC player. If you don’t, you should download this Mitternacht instead. This might also be the best course of action if your computer is old, cranky, or prone to fits. (More fits than just the usual “WHY do you make me run Windows? WHY GOD WHY? Taste the blue screen of my rage!” type tantrums, I mean.)

This one was recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer after my last bout of AMVs, and she was entirely right. Of course, when BB and I watched it, we had never even heard of Blood: The Last Vampire (and, having heard of it now, I can’t say as I have any strenuous desire to watch it). So we had to work out for ourselves that this is a multi-anime vampires-who-hunt-vampires vid. Or, okay, honesty time: BB sussed it out somewhere during the opening sequence. I played Devil’s Advocate until the situation became hopeless:

BB: They’re obviously vampires.
Me: No, wait. I think that one is crazy.
BB: I’m pretty sure you can be both.

[pause]

BB: Also, all three of them just popped game face.
Me, losing with as much dignity as ever: I don’t think you’re supposed to call it game face unless it’s Jossverse.

[further pause]

Me, meditatively: You know, it’d be funny to see Angel and Spike up against these guys.
BB: And by "funny," you mean "the end of the world as we know it."
Me: Not necessarily. They could have reasoned discussions! “Guys, guys, guys. We’re all on the same side here.” “You are definitely not on my side. We would not have you.” “Oh, I’m hurt.” “You will be.” “Bloody hell. Can we just skip the oh-so-witty banter and go straight to the fighting?”

(You get eight points if you can identify who said what in that reasoned discussion, by the way.)

Through Time, Through Space, by Koopiskeva/Random Variable Productions. Voices of a Distant Star.

Last time, my brain entered a mode that might best be described as “terminal Koopiskeva vacillation”; I couldn’t choose between Euphoria (Everyone recommends it! With very good reason! It is extremely shiny!) and Waking Hour, which I happen to like better than Euphoria. Euphoria shows off anime vidding better than Waking Hour; Waking Hour is, in my opinion, far more appealing to and accessible to media fans.

Eventually, I used the time-tested strategy of simply not picking either, which was perhaps slightly less than optimal. This time, I’m proud to say, I managed to choose.

Yeah, okay, so technically I chose one that wasn’t on the menu last time, but I don’t care. This is a fabulous vid. It’s the first vid I watched by Koopiskeva, so I kind of imprinted on it, and it’s the one I come back to watch again and again. Also, it’s the most plot-driven of the three, always a bonus when selecting AMVs for media fans. (Okay, no, not exactly. Let’s say instead that I think the plot is the most obvious on the first pass through; plot-wise, it’s basically on par with Waking Hour.) It also draws from an absolutely lovely source - I mean, Waking Hour does, too, but - look. I made my choice, and I’m damn well staying with it. So there.

Although, for the record, you would not in any way be wasting your bandwidth if you elected to download all three.

One thing I promise you: after you’re done watching the vid, you’ll never look at cell phones the same way. I mean, this vid manages to make cell phones and text messaging deeply romantic and touching and sweet, and the way they both hold onto their phones is like, meaning of life stuff, and also the OMG dramatic! moments when the cell phones light up, and - well. This vid (and its source) has mecha and spacecraft and stuff going boom and a freaking war with aliens, but the cell phones are really the focus. And after you see this vid, you will totally understand why that is as it should be. (Hint: the cell phones are the whole relationship for the second half of the source. And “Voices” is a relationship and character driven anime.)

Anime Vid Recommendations Bonus Section: You Get Cookies!

This section is dedicated to vids that I also want you to drop everything and watch, but only for certain definitions of “you.”

The Cookie for People Who Like NC-17 Slash, Slave Stories, and/or Bondage. Intrusion, by Staces. Ai no Kusabi.

Note: this is a wee bit more explicit than your average vid, but less explicit than your average Queer as Folk vid. If you're, like, twelve or whatever, you probably shouldn't download it. (You also probably shouldn't read this LJ. Go frolic outdoors, hypothetical 12-year-old reader! You can develop RSI when you're older.)

So, first, here’s what I know about Ai no Kusabi, which should help you decide if this is the right vid for you. It is a story about this guy (who is blond, which means he’s super high caste on his planet), who rescues this other guy (who has dark hair, which means he’s basically subhuman) from being killed, even though he has no reason to. Dark-haired guy, as a thanks for the rescue type deal, offers to be blond guy’s slave (“pet,” to be precise, and if that word has no special connotations for you, you probably haven’t been in the same fandoms as I have these past few years). There is sexin’. And bondage. And also, of course, Forbidden Love That Very Well Might Change the World. That’s the canon (to the best of my knowledge - I haven’t seen it, though if anyone has time to watch it and provide a better summary, I can get it for you). The vid is - the canon, basically, except shorter and set to Alanis Morissette.

Unfortunately, the source quality is bad. Also, the source itself has an undefinable but, to me, very noticeable ‘80s look to it (and, no, it wasn’t made anywhere near the ‘80s, so I’m as mystified as you are) that makes me kind of giggle, which is why I haven’t watched it. (Plus, I have - this is so pathetic, but do not mock my shame - a hard time following visual sex scenes, especially ones as vague as a lot of these. They’re almost as confusing to me as fight scenes. Yes, this makes 95% of Hollywood’s output a giant sea of confusion for me, but I choose to view it as a bonus. I mean, it takes a lot longer for fighting and sex scenes to get old for me, given that I have to watch them several times - and, often, have a running narration - to figure out what the hell is going on. But this is why I prefer my sex and my violence, not to mention just about everything else, in written form: these scenes lose a lot of their impact when you have someone whispering in your ear, “Okay, that’s the one guy. Remember him? The star of the show? Right. And that’s - do you see the mostly naked girl? The one from earlier, with the briefcase? Okay, she’s over on the couch. Do you see her now? Good. They’re going to have sex.” “What do you mean, how do I know they’re going to have sex? Everyone knows.” “Well, when I said ‘everyone,’ I didn’t mean you.”)

The Cookie for People Who Have a Sense of Humor Like Mine. (And How I Pity You. You Totally Deserve a Cookie.) A Total Waste of 6 Minutes 35 Seconds, by Xstylus/Project Thunderstroke. Serial Experiment Lain, although you really shouldn’t expect this to have anything in common with the actual anime.

Okay. First things first, and this is very important. Do not read the video notes for this one until you’ve watched it. It’s a humor video, and I think knowing what it’s about beforehand would suck all the humor right out of it.

So how do I intend to write a vid summary for it? I totally don’t. Instead, I will tell you what happened to me when I watched it.

Basically, I spent the first minute being confused, the second minute being very doubtful, the third minute being mildly amused, and then the amusement kind of built until I collapsed laughing on my keyboard. Seriously. It played out by itself the first time, with me not even seeing the last bit; I was busy holding my stomach and facing imminent death from acute hypoxia.

But I have no idea if you, specifically, will find it funny. (Best Beloved did, for what it’s worth.) I’m just saying - this nailed me so hard in the primitive thing I use in place of a sense of humor that I almost died. I suspect that this is one of those either you get it or you hate type humor pieces, and I can’t promise you won’t hate it. If you do, you’re probably right to do so. It’s definitely not the best vid ever made. But it has a rustic native charm. And some of the funniest footage ever.

Once you’re done with the vid, go back and read the vid notes. (Not beforehand! I mean it! There’s nothing in here that could be triggering or upsetting for anyone - the worst you’ll face is boredom, but the boredom is about three thousand times more likely if you read the vid notes first - so you don’t need any warnings. Nor do you want them. Trust me on this.) Even if you hated it, still read them; you will find much in there to make you feel better. (And if you loved it, it will prove to you that the joke is exactly what you thought it was.)

The Cookie for People Who Have Watched Fullmetal Alchemist. Tsumibito no Kashou, by Tyler/Fantasy Movies. Fullmetal Alchemist.

In the main vid recs section, I continued to limit myself to vids that work just as well - perhaps better - if you have never seen the source, mostly because I suspect the readers of this LJ generally will not have seen it. (If I’m wrong about that, hey, let me know.) This one is merely shiny if you haven’t seen some of the source, but if you have - well. BB has seen FMA, I haven’t, and our reactions to it were 180 degrees off the first time through. After I realized (read: was told) what was going on, though, my reaction matched BB’s, and that reaction was: Wow. Also, ow. Also, OMG Ed NOOOOOOOO!

I guess I could try to explain what’s going on here, but - no. Just, if you’ve seen the series, you’ll get basically immediately that this is the perfect song for Ed. (The song, for the record, is not in Japanese, even though the title of the vid itself is; the song is half French, half English. And it’s by Placebo. I have no idea what the title of the vid means - anyone out there know Japanese well enough to clear that up?)

And, hey, if you haven’t seen FMA? You could download this vid anyway, for the sheer shiny of it. It’s gorgeously edited, as all of Tyler’s vids are (or all the ones I’ve seen, anyway), and well worth a watch even if you don’t get the message. But if you do - it’s a gorgeous gut-punch, basically, and it is stunningly wonderful.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am having a total I-suck day. And apparently I'm not alone. Did anyone not have a job disaster today?

Anyway.

I am going to cheer myself up, or at least get past the I-want-to-die point, with totally self-indulgent recommendations. From the general look of the old friends list today, I am not the only one who needs this, so I refuse to feel guilty.

The One in Which a Bowl of Soup Changes Everything. Marry into the Family, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

This story never fails to make me smile. Possibly it's the line "Say ten 'Hail Luthors' and perform an act of Callous Economic Rationalism." Possibly it's just - come on. Maybe your day was bad, yes. Maybe mine was. But I think it's safe to say that none of us came out to both Lionel Luthor and Jonathan Kent today, and don't you feel better already?

Story summary? Well, please just imagine an announcer doing a voice-over that says, "In a world where real love is sometimes real hard, Lex Luthor is about to learn that a bowl of soup can make all the difference." But it's not the plot that gives me the hit of pure joy when I read it; the joy is in the details, people. First of all, there's the way Lex totally throws Lionel for a loop, thus proving that soup and the love of a good man really can make your strength as the strength of ten. And then there's the scene with Clark showing that he learns entirely too well from example. (Oh, Clark. You're the archetypal impressionable youth.) And then there's the way that the ending of the story is actually the beginning of it, so by the time you find out that Lex and Clark are in a certain amount of trouble, you know it ends happily. I just - is there a better definition of comfort FF than this story? I would say no. (And if you'd say yes, please please give me a link.)

The One in Which J.D. Doesn't Quite Get a Unicorn Called Sparkles and Feed Her Gum Drops and Candy Canes. My Space Adventure, by [livejournal.com profile] skoosiepants. Stargate: Atlantis x Scrubs. And in my opinion, this is gen, because, well, everything that happens here could happen in Scrubs. Including the unicorn.

You know, until I read this, I had never once thought to myself, "J.D. is a perfect fit with Atlantis. I don't know why he isn't already there." But now I see clearly; only in Pegasus can J.D. achieve a true match between his life and his fantasy world. Actually, it'd be kind of a cage grudge match: J.D.'s twisted imagination v. Pegasus Galaxy. They'd go 40 rounds for sure.

This is another joy-is-in-the-details story. Like, of course Ted would have an iPod filled with motivational podcasts. (And a few prime time theme songs, I'd wager. You know, I hadn't heard of Charles in Charge prior to that particular episode of Scrubs, and - well, am I the only one who thinks that the show pretty much had to be about the wacky BDSM dungeon hijinks of a Master and his crew of misfit slaves? Oh, don't look at me like that. You're totally wondering what channel that's on.) Anyway. My point is - J.D. is a natural for Pegasus, and so is everyone else in the cast. Dr. McKay and Dr. Cox were clearly meant to have a tense, hostile, sarcasm-filled relationship until they night they get drunk together on Athosian krrrrup and spend three hours arguing about whether J.D. or John Sheppard is the greater burden on a sane man who wants to keep all his limbs attached. And Elliot would obviously be sent to Atlantis because no one could think of a place that was even further away. It's just - it's fabulous. You need to read this story.

The One in Which We Learn That There Are Two Types of Kids in This World: Those Who Take Applied Science Way Further Than It Should Ever Go, and Those Who Always Know Where a Fire Extinguisher Is. Aviation, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse, gen.

(Yes, I'm trying to figure out which kind of kid I was, too. And - wow, I can hear Best Beloved laughing from all the way across town. But! Seriously! I could very well have been a fire extinguisher kid! I was just very accident prone. And, okay, slightly too interested in things that burn, but...) This story makes me happy in that quiet, joyful way where I just want to hug my monitor. Because - Scott! Being grown-up and worried! And Hank! Being HANK! It just does not get any better than this, people.

And, on another level - the very small number of levels that aren't totally occupied saying OMG HANK I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, which is, believe me, a very few of them when I'm reading any story in which the Real Hank appears - there's also substantial Xavier love in here for me. Which is something I don't feel that often, mostly because I do not like telepathy. Or telepaths. They just - seriously, I have a major telepathy phobia. (I have actually told Best Beloved, on more than one occasion, "If you develop mind reading powers, it's over." And I meant it, too. See why Best Beloved is a three-state smiling and nodding champion?) But I love Xavier most when he's displaying the wisdom telepathy has given him, and here he so does that, and I just want to kiss his shiny, shiny head.

The One That Manages to Make MREs Romantic. I Am Totally Not Kidding. You Will Never Look at Military-Produced Eggs and Cheese the Same Way Again. (Actually, I'm Hoping You'll Never Have to Look at Them at All.) Downtime, by [livejournal.com profile] merryish. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson.

What with [livejournal.com profile] destina_fic and the Jack/Daniel ficathon, SG-1 has been my total happy place lately. And I do believe that this story made me the happiest of all the ones I've read (thus far - that's a wondrously massive backlog of brilliant FF, folks, so it'll be some time before I've managed to process it all). It's like all the things that drew me to this pairing - the crazed missions, Jack's determination and quirky sense of humor, Daniel's intelligence and astonishingly deep kindness, missions gone awry, inexplicable aliens, involuntary camping trips, convoluted excuses for Jack and Daniel to get some alone time together off-world - packed into one glorious story.

This story made me so happy that I was genuinely depressed when it was over. And then I remember that there's a surefire cure for that, and I scrolled right back to the top and started reading again. And, you know, it made me just as happy the second time. This really is almost everything I love about these guys, and if there's a sadness there - I mean, as far as I know, the canon has closed the door on this pairing - it's the kind of wonderful ache that comes from thinking, "I was really, truly happy there" about a place you know you can go back to. And, oh my god, I need to stop before Hallmark offers me a job. (Of course I'd take it. But I'd probably end up making cards with pretty pictures on the front and verses like, "You were tortured/By a cruel snob/Let me heal you/With this blowjob.")

The One That Proves That Anime Vidders Don't Always Have Their Minds Fixed on Higher Things. Unless the "Higher" Applies to the Vidder Himself, As in "He's Been Higher Than Me Ever Since He Got the Really Good Crack." Waka Laka (for Osaka), by Scintilla. Azumanga Daioh.

Okay, anime vid recommending day was - um, back whenever I did it. But. I dug out a bunch more links for [livejournal.com profile] elishavah (And she's in a place of great weakness right now, people, so if you've got any shiny pretty anime or anime vids to show her, seize this moment.), and in the process I rewatched this one. And then I did it again. And I learned a great truth: this is the vid equivalent of cotton candy. Substance? Not so much. But it's sweet and wonderful and as soon as it's gone you want a lot more. Obviously, I watched it a few more times today.

And then I learned a second truth. A horrible, hideous truth, at that. Namely: this song is just - wow. It burrows into your skull and sets up home in your cochlear nuclei. And, as we all know, there are only two cures for persistent earworms. First, you can try to pass it on to someone else. I'm giving that my best shot here. (And, truly! Do not let the song dissuade you! This is all things shiny and pretty and you don't need to know a thing about the canon. It's cotton candy crack, basically.) Second, you can listen to the song a whole bunch of times and pray that you'll build immunity through repeated exposure. So, um...does anyone have this song? It's Waka Laka (E=MC2 Remix) by Jenny Rom vs. Zippers, apparently.

Bonus: Speaking of songs - the title of this post comes from Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton. (As far as I know, this is a totally legal download - he encourages people to share his music. I, in turn, encourage you to visit his website and maybe buy stuff from him.) If you haven't heard this, you so need this song. Especially all of you who have been having work problems lately. It's just - well, it's yet another thing that's making me happy today.

Courage in adversity, people.

Also, if tomorrow isn't better, I'm going to bite someone.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note: this was going to be a contribution to an UnCon vidshow, but it got out of hand. Badly out of hand. So I figured I'd post it here and spare all the virtual con-goers a lot of scrolling.)

Anime vids are wonderful. And they are totally worth watching even if you don't watch anime.

For one thing, they're very, very pretty. I tend to think of them as the way live-action vids will look in a few years. (Anime is easier to work with, and especially to do effects on, than live-action source. I think. I mean, Jesus, don't take my word for it, since all forms of vidding look equally - i.e., infinitely - difficult to me. If you want actual facts, though, I'm guessing you'll be reading another LJ, or at any rate another post. This post will not be fact-intensive.)

For another, they are surprisingly accessible to the non-anime watcher. When we started watching anime vids, Best Beloved (my unindicted co-conspirator in all vid watching; I need a co-conspirator because I am, basically, very very slow on the uptake) and I had not seen any anime at all. And, sure, we had some conversations like:

Me: Um. How many characters are there in this vid?

BB: Four? There's, let's see. Purple hair guy, blue hair guy, green hair guy, and blond hair guy. Four.

Me: Those are guys?

BB: Only their doctors know for sure.

[There is a pause.]

BB: Well, and the character that's feeling the other character up right now probably knows, too. Or maybe he just isn't very picky.

[There is another pause as we watch two people with fabulous hair make out while flying through air filled with cherry blossoms.]

Me: My god, this is like watching a documentary about salt water fish. They're very pretty and very colorful and completely mystifying.

But we also watched a lot of vids in stunned, awed silence. In many cases, we understood what was going on perfectly - making out while flying through air filled with cherry blossoms is pretty much a universal experience, after all. Sometimes, we were just hypnotized by the pretty. And eventually we acquired a basic understand of anime themes and tropes:

[We watch Girl A shoot Girl B.]

Me: So now they're gonna kiss, right?

[We watch Girl A kiss Girl B.]

BB: I guess some things really are universal.

And:

Me: Hey, look! It's a Gunfighter Who Walks Alone!

BB, nodding appreciatively: He walks a lonely road. It's only him and he walks alone.

Me: ...Except for that girl right there in the sailor outfit.

BB: And the three talking yellow circles with beaks and triangle feet.

In short, we began to trust anime vidders and love anime vids. (Not to mention the actual anime itself, which turns out to be a) good and b) fun. Or so Best Beloved tells me; since the last disc of Trigun, I've stuck to just the vids.)

And if I can understand anime vids, anyone can. Even the salt water fish would have decent odds. So. Give me a chance to persuade you, okay?

First - and LJ-cut for those of you who already know it - I present two guides for any beginners out there.

Things It Would've Been Really Useful to Know Before I Started Watching Anime Vids )

A Nearly Useless Guide to AMV.org )

So. Great vids. Accessible to all. Do you need another reason? Then try this: anime has a huge preponderance of ninjas, pirates, cowboys, gunslingers, assassins, robots, gay boys, lesbian girls, purple hair, and floating chicken-computer librarians. It has genderfuck, pandafication, angst, hurt/comfort, and more feathers than you could find in an entire archive of wingfic. Basically, anime is like all the glorious parts of fan fiction made canon. And anime vids pack these same things into four minutes. Anime vids: the primary reason you will never be bored again.

Bachelorette, by Kusoyaro. Revolutionary Girl Utena: the Adolescence of Utena. (More information about this movie. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] strangerian!)

The source for this has canon genderfuck femslash (I told you it was like fan fiction in motion!) and, well, who doesn't love canon genderfuck femslash? Not me, people; when I'm in meetings where I have to introduce myself and list three things I love, "canon genderfuck femslash" always makes the list, generally preceded by "canon genderfuck boyslash" and "copyright infringement for fun, not profit." I am so professional it hurts.

But I want you to see this one because of the movement. It's - this is one of the first anime vids I ever watched that completely hypnotized me; I had to watch it three times just to get to the point where I start with most vids. (Which is, basically, asking who and what and where and why and also what is up with all the rose petals?) It's just...it's really, really gorgeous, without having that kind of "I'm going to use another effect here because it's anime so I can nyah nyah nyah" feel that anime vids sometimes get. Am I allowed to say a vid is lyrical? Probably not. So, okay - this is, in effect, an instrumental type vid; yes, there are lyrics, but the vid's focus is matching music and images, not words and images or plot and images. I'm not sure exactly why the creator went that direction, but oh how it works, and it requires absolutely no background knowledge at all.

Urban Ragnarok, by jbone. Metropolis.

I'm not sure why it is, but Metropolis (the anime) has produced so many excellent vids it should have been a struggle to pick one. But it wasn't, because this vid wins at everything: effects, music, cutting, tone, beat, depth, everything. I mean, the mood switches alone are just...and also, OMG, the content, and...see? I'm incoherent. This vid will do that to you. You need to see this, and I don't care if you've never heard of either Metropolis.

(Although if you have, and it's the live-action Metropolis - okay. Everyone who has a degree in film, please move on to the next vid summary right now. The rest of you - if you stared in total bewilderment at Fritz Lang's Metropolis and finally agreed that it was a brilliant classic just to get the person who showed it to you to shut up before your brains ran out your nose, this vid will hold a special extra pleasure for you. There are no very fuzzy scenes of random jerky people doing something that, yes, might be an allegory for the human condition in a technological society, but also might very well be an early version of the Frug. And the amazing visuals? Are actually there. If you watched Metropolis like I watched Metropolis - at the behest of a person with an unexpected sadistic streak, basically - then this vid will heal your soul.)

Here Comes the Sun, by Daniel Chang. Multifandom.

This is a gorgeous tribute to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli (makers of Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, etc.). There's no special reason you need to have seen any of the sources to see this vid, although if you ever tell a real anime fan you've never seen a Ghibli movie you will bring pain into the universe. Possibly your own pain. (And also, roughly three times out of five, you'll get an extensive lecture about the evils of Disney. Sometimes with PowerPoint presentations. And it's not that the anime fan will be wrong, it's just that after the first hour you will be searching desperately for the emergency eject button. Myself, I'd just lie.)

But. My point is, if you have seen some Ghibli - and I'd recommend at least Spirited Away - you'll know that they aren't all sunshine and roses (more of a flying and fantasy kind of thing, really), but this vid is pretty much pure sunshine. (Plus a lot of flying. It is Ghibli, after all.) It's sweet, sentimental, and gentle, and I defy anyone to get all the way through it without experiencing a certain warming of the heart. (Warning: this may be an unsettling experience for my fellow I'm-not-a-cynic-I'm-a-realists.) What I find most fascinating about this vid, though, is how using the works of a single studio with a consistent style provides visual and thematic continuity that you just don't get in most multifandom vids; these sources just go together in a way that becomes very, very clear when you see them next to each other.

Right Now Someone Is Reading This Title, by Doki Doki Productions. Multifandom.

This is a perfect bridge between media fandom and anime fandom. Because, okay, it's a series of in-jokes set against clips from about 50 sources, and it should be the least accessible thing in the world. But you don't need to know the sources, because 75% of the jokes are actually about fandom and fans. I get most of them even though I know nothing about anime or the anime fan world. Plus, it's one of the talkiest vids I've ever seen - in terms of words on the screen, I mean - that worked, and it works so well. That alone is downright amazing, because generally if there's more than a few words on the screen I find myself wondering why the vidder didn't just go ahead and write fan fiction. There are some stunningly brilliant exceptions to that, though, and this is one of them.

(Side note the first: watch for the appearance of the Disney/Ghibli - and I know what you're thinking, but trust me: no one should write that pairing - thing. You will feel cool! At least, you will if you are a dork like me.) (Side note the second: Best Beloved swears this song had an actual music video very much like this one. Can anyone point me to a download of it? Or something? Because there are wistful remarks every time I play this, and, seriously, there's only so much wistfulness a girl can stand.)

Die Another Day, by VicBond007. Noir.

I wanted to be sure to include at least one special effects intensive vid, and - well, wait. All of these are special effects intensive, most of them actually much more than this one, but this one has what I believe will be the most noticeable effects to a new watcher. It's fast, it's action-packed, and it's easy to follow even if you have no idea what Noir is about. (Assassins! Amnesiacs! I'm telling you, anime fans don't have to smoke crack, because the canon creators do it for them.) And you can really appreciate the sheer shininess of the tools that anime vidders have at their disposal.

Plus, okay. See - I have a weakness for pairings in which one person tries to kill the other but they love each other anyway. I'm sorry. I have no idea what twisted part of my psyche believes that true love means having to wear Kevlar. But I do know that this vid hits that kink in spades; sure, mostly they're fighting on the same side, but that opening scene where they're pointing guns at each other? My reaction to this is: OMG SQUEEEEEEEE THEY ARE SO IN LOVE! In other words, my inner fangirl totally emerges and starts drawing little hearts on the screen. (Those of you who have seen Trigun will now understand why I liked that series so much. Up until the last disc. Damn you, last disc!)

Failed Experiments in Video Editing, by Elizabeth Kirkindall/Big Big Truck Productions. Cowboy Bebop and original drawings.

You really don't need to know the source to get this vid, since it is in fact not about Cowboy Bebop, but I am providing a link so that those of you with any soul at all can add it to your Netflix queues. This series has Ein in it. Ein, possibly my favorite character in all the world. (And, oh my god, I just realized: there totally needs to be a Cowboy Bebop x due South story in which Ein and Diefenbaker, another of my favorite characters in all the world, meet. This is Meant to Be, people.)

So. This is what meta looks like in an anime vid; it's a vid about vidding. I'm sure this is even more funny if you have ever actually made a vid of any kind, but really you only have to have seen a couple, live action or anime, to appreciate, for example, the "Down in the River to Pray" sequence. This vid makes me happy when skies are gray. Or, more specifically, when I have watched too many vids in which the works of Evanescence are used to explore the theme that John really, really loves Rodney. (Or that Buffy really loves Angel, or that Diefenbaker really loves doughnuts. Whatever. Because that's the beauty of the Classic Evanescence Rite of Passage Vid: no matter what source you choose, you get a vid consistent in quality and theme with all other CERPVs.) And I'm actually trying to avoid saying anything more about the vid, for fear of spoiling it, so I think I'll go with the time-tested method of doing that and shut up. (Yes. You are allowed one relieved sigh. But only one.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note on the title: I flirted briefly with "kiss me and be quiet" as a title for this post, but it just seemed so right to use Marlowe. In fact, I may use Marlowe as often as possible in the near future; he's perfect for the Slashies, and he'll make such a lovely change from Shakespeare and The Bible.)

Today, we'll look at kissing. And not just kissing on the road to something else; this is just kissing, only kissing, nothing but kissing. Sounds dull, you say? Look. Do you remember when kissing was new and strange and weird and yet totally fascinating and you could spend a whole afternoon doing nothing else? Think of these stories as a way of revisiting those long-lost days.

Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, yes. But sometimes it's a hell of a lot more. Wondering when or how or why? Read on.

Best FF That Explains Sexuality in Terms of Writing Skill. Oh, Wait, That's What Most FF Does, Isn't It?: A Better Writer for It, by Anna-Maria Jennings (sorry, but her front page doesn't work, at least for me, so that's the best link I've got for her - does anyone know if she has a LJ?). Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. I figured I might just as well get the now-obligatory SN story out of the way first. But, actually, this is a fascinating story. For one thing, it's one of the longer pieces I've read built around just a kiss (well, OK, two kisses); it's divided into two parts, so be sure to click 'next' at the bottom of the page. For another, this is unusual for the fandom. In SN canon, it seems to me that Casey and Danny need each other, and need each other equally. Oh, yeah, on a given bad day or during a given bad experience one may need the other a lot more, but overall, it balances. And that, I think, is one of the things that makes their relationship successful (and so, so slashable). So it's sort of unfortunate that in many SN stories the need is all one way - usually, but not always, Danny needing Casey. This fic isn't like that; in fact, I'd argue that the major point of this story is Danny realizing just how mutual their need really is. So, you know, insanely excessive analysis there, but my point is: good story. Read it. And if the analysis didn't convince you, read it because it contains one of my favorite non-humorous lines ever from any fic.

Best FF That Makes Me Say, "Hey, Slashfen, They're Playing Our Song": Undercover, by Halrloprillalar, aka [livejournal.com profile] prillalar. Gundam Wing, Duo/Heero. See, now, this is why I loved the Week of Boy Kissage; it gave us lots of stories outside the usual fandoms and outside the usual patterns of FF. Here we have the classic Gay Defense Maneuver, only things don't turn out quite the way they usually do. (May I say here and now that I'd pay good money to see a Hollywood movie turn out this way after two "straight" men pull the Gay Defense?) And, see, this story has everything I'm learning to love about Gundam Wing FF - a repressed, manly (yes, manly, even though he's drawn like a transsexual cat), uberhero Heero who just cries out to be put in uncomfortable, embarrassing, or unmanly situations, and a boundy, gleeful, amusing Duo who apparently lives to do just that. Gundam Wing fic: because we're laughing with Duo. And at Heero.

Best FF That Demonstrates That Chicago Is Where One Goes to Have Dramatic Insights into One's Life. Does This Explain O'Hare? Can Anything Explain O'Hare?: The Outline of a Circle, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser, Ray Vecchio/Stella Kowalski. This is, again, an unusual story - maybe kissing-only stories just tend to deviate from the norm. (Although in all honesty I must admit that there is another sex act here, but it's, shall we say, solitary. And Fraser treats jerking off more or less like brushing his teeth - something that must be done, and done properly, for reasons of hygiene. But that's no reason to enjoy it or anything.) What's so unusual about this story? Well, Fraser and Ray spend most of the story apart, Fraser in Chicago and Ray in Canada. That's not exactly normal. And we only get to see Fraser's perspective; we have to trust him to know what's going on in the duet, because we never hear from Ray. And you'll have to admit that a quiet Kowalski has the value of scarcity. And then there's the ending. Which you'll just have to read the story to see.

Best FF That Shows Us the Aphrodisiac Nature of Mud and Puddles: September Song, by Natalka. The Dark Is Rising, Will/Bran. (This fic is part of a series; you can find the other stories at the link for the author, above. I couldn't find a better link for her.) I think those of us who have read the stories will all agree that if Will and Bran are going to kiss, this is where they'd have to do it. Everything else important in their shared lives happens here. Take careful note of the time setting here, because when I first read this I thought they were younger than they are. It's actually kind of nice to see Will, who seemed to spend his childhood going for the title "Oldest Person in Any Given Room, and That Includes Rooms in Nursing Homes," acting like a boy here. (I almost wrote "real boy," but it gave me this horrible Will-Pinocchio hybrid image. And no one is to take that as a crossover plot bunny. Eeeww.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The alternate title of today's entry is, obviously, "Why Eudoxia Can't Be Holier-Than-Anyone: How One Previously (at Least Slightly) Principled and (at Least in Theory) Moral Individual Lost All Her Principles and Morals and Most of Her Pride Through the Horror of Fan Fiction." Yes, it's a cautionary entry today, folks, with a single object lesson: run! Get out while you can! It's too late for me. Save yourselves!

Or, if it's also too late for you, read these stories. 'Cause, truly, they are nine kinds of good.

Best Bait-and-Switch FF: Winterlong, by torch. Gundam Wing, and to say any more would spoil this, because it's designed so that you don't have any idea what it's about until it's almost over. (Hence the bait-and-switch thing.) This is a nearly perfect piece, and all the more so because my experience with GW - both canon and fan fiction - has mostly left me expecting, well, a whole lot less than this. A. Whole. Lot. Less. And then this story comes along, and, whoops, I've got a whole new fandom. (And, really, when I get a minute or two, I should do something about the frequency with which that happens to me. Turn off my computer, maybe?)

Best FF That Finally Got Me Reading the Only Pairing That's Even Close to Canon in This Particular Fandom: Sky as Grey as Your Heart, by afrai. Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Gimli. I admit it. I never wanted to read Legolas/Gimli, and there were two reasons for that. The first one was Legolas. In the books, he's either a place-holder with archery skills or Middle Earth's answer to angels, and in the movies, he's Orlando "My Little Pony Elfboy Playset" Bloom. The second reason was Gimli, who, in the books is, well, a dwarf, and in the movies is a dwarf played by John Rhys Davies. I mean, I so completely do not want to picture those two doing anything more intimate than eco-tourism. But this story got rec'd, and rec'd, and rec'd, and eventually I had to read it if I wanted to keep my Obsessive-Compulsive Fan Fiction Tracker's license, and - damn, it is that good. And, whoops, I've got another pairing. (This also happens to me way too often. It's a disease or something, I think.)

Best FF with a Title I Love So Unnaturally That I'm Fighting the Urge to Download the Source of It Even as You Read This: There Goes the Fear, by Zahra. X-Men movies, Pyro/Iceman. Earlier, I chronicled my discomfort with any pairing involving a character named Bobby, but I am totally resigned to it now. I don't even mind the whole Bobby thing. I can read about teen-aged and adult males named Bobby engaging in sexual activity and I don't even flinch, or think of Tonka trucks, or anything of the kind. This, of course, makes me somewhat gloomy - oh, look, there goes another standard, leaving me with, let me see now, two and a half total remaining ones - but, hey, when the FF is this good, I will just damn well cope with my further descent on the slippery slope o' slash. God knows I'm getting good at it.

Best FF That Stripped Me of Any Last Remaining Vestige of Hope That There Was Some Depth to Which I Might Not Sink: The Appointment, by Sheldrake. The Dark Is Rising, Will/Bran. To complete the chronicle of my descent to new and slash-filled depths, here is yet another foray into Dark Is Rising slash. Yes, Dark Is Rising, still one of the most beloved series of my entire life to this point, and now also a fandom where, I foresee with a certain sense of inevitability, I shall be doing a lot of reading in the near future. And I don't even have it in me to be ashamed of succumbing to this fandom; it's clear to me now that if people write good stuff I will not be able to help reading it. In other words, from here on out, I'm blaming the authors for my depravity. Yes. It's their fault. If they stuck to normal fandoms and normal pairings and normal - oh. Did I just hear someone ask, "But if you wanted normal, why did you start reading FF in the first place?" Fair point. So I'll have to get back to you later with the names of those I will be blaming for this in the future. (Suggestions for this role - the President, communists, my dog - gratefully accepted.)

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thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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