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Picking the collective brain

Was chatting with [info - personal] renay about fandom stuff, and we got to wondering something that really requires the collective consciousness of fandom. So, have a poll.

Do you consider FFX and FFX-2 to be a single fandom or two separate fandoms?

One fandom
Two fandoms

FF.net splits FFX and FFX-2 into separate, unrelated categories. If you were to post a story including both FFX-only and X-2 only characters, which category would you put it in?

It depends on who the main character/pairing is
It depends on another factor which I will explain in comments

If you were in an archive with one category named FFX, would you expect to find and/or feel comfortable posting FFX-2 fic there?

It depends, and I will explain why in comments

If you were in an archive with one category named FFX/X-2, would you expect to find and/or feel comfortable posting FFX fic that disregards X-2 canon there?

It depends, and I will explain why in comments

Do you consider FFVII Compilation to be a single fandom or a collection of separate fandoms?

One fandom
Multiple fandoms
Something else which I will explain in comments

Do you consider "Ivalice Alliance" to be one fandom or multiple fandoms?

One fandom
Each game is a separate fandom
The XII games are one fandom and the Tactics games are another
The XII games are one fandom, but the Tactics games are separate fandoms
The Tactics games are one fandom, but the XII games are separate fandoms
Something else which I will explain in comments

Which of these fandoms do you consider yourself to be part of? (just for informational purposes)

Final Fantasy
FFVII (any or all)
FFX and/or FFX-2
FFXII (any or all)
FF Tactics (any or all)

Please spread this one far and wide; I want as broad a sampling as possible. Also, my standard disclaimer: I welcome open and honest discussion, but I request that you not flame FFX-2 in comments -- flawed or no, I happen to be quite fond of it, so if anyone comes out with the burning hatred, the conversation isn't going to get very far. Thanks.


Oct. 20th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
In which the comment limit dies a very slow death
Haha, like for EVERY QUESTION here I wanted to pick of make an option saying "NO I WANT TO TL;DR INSTEAD".

(Disclaimer! In none of the following do I assert that no fans participate equally in all fandoms/canons; I'm just noting some trends.)

One point that I swear is 300% original and ALL MINE and I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST NYEH NYEH (except none of that is true) is speaking about separate fandoms as opposed to separate canons.

For example, X and X-2 scan for me as separate fandoms -- a lot of X fans seem to hate what they see as the much peppier X-2, and meanwhile a lot of X-2 fans seem to play there exclusively. They might know the X canon, they might actually like it, but they're only active in X-2. But X/X-2 scan for me as most definitely one canon.

The case for the Ivalice Alliance games feels very different to me, because some of the games have VASTLY different tones and, well, feels to them that has to do with the production teams behind them. The most relevant name here is, I think Yasumi Matsuno (I am not up on Squenix personnel lore, but lassarina can probably correct me). Matsuno was behind Tactics, Vagrant Story, and XII, which is why those three installments all have a similar archaic-political feel to them. He was NOT involved in XII:RW, FFTA, or FFTA2, and each of those games (I haven't played all of them, some of this is hearsay, but I can 300% confirm for TA) feels like they're not really part of Ivalice, if Tactics and XII are your main exposure to Ivalice. They're brighter, less political, less archaic.

So in this sense, not only do the Ivalice Alliance games feel like largely separate fandoms, they also feel like separate canons to me. There's definitely a fair amount of intersection there, but again, I feel like more of that intersection happens down the Matsuno/not-Matsuno line. I know more people who are into both Tactics and XII (and sometimes poor neglected VS) but not the other Ivalice games, and (more rarely) I also bump into people who've played the Tactics Advance (and sometimes RW) games but not Tactics or VS.

This is where platform/availability issues come in for me, by the way, because the TA and RW games can all be played together, while Tactics requires either a PSP or a copy of the original (relatively rare), and VS is old and harder to find. So the divide in the Ivalice games works on both Matsuno and platform levels for me. XII tends to sit at the middle of this intersection, being by far and away the most major title, with a huge distribution and on a common platform, so a lot of people on both sides of the line seem to have played it.

Oct. 20th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
In which I turn to the vexing problem of Compilation VII
I have little understanding of the FVII Compilation, as I have played/watched exactly none of it. But as an outside observer, a few factors seem to be in play there.

1) Platform smorgasbord. AND HOW. This seems to have a separating tendency, but this appears to be counteracted by...

2) Fan loyalty, a cohesive force. A hugely popular franchise, and people will go out of their way (and platform comfort zones) to get some of these installments. Cell phone games probably excepted. Except it seems to be that a large portion of the most loyal fans are people who joined fandom way after the original -- when AC was released, perhaps -- and it's these relatively new fans who seem to be driving the franchise now, which creates...

3) Divides with the oldest fans/OGC loyalists, who seem to regard a lot of the newer installments as needless retconning, angstifying, prettifying, and oh yeah, money-milking nonsense. So we have another separating force -- and one that kind of straddles the line between "separate fandoms" and "separate canons" -- because it seems arguable (again, outsider, outside) that the newer installments ARE separate canon. They're ostensibly about the same characters and all within a tight timeline, but the amount of retconning, judging from the complaints I see, is slowly approaching comic book proportions.

I'm a bit confused on this issue. X-2 certainly changed the world mechanic a lot compared to X, but we kind of knew that was coming based on X's ending, and no one's backstory was rewritten (well, except maybe Spira's, you know >.>). And while there is certainly a fair amount of grumbling about how X-2 can't be canonical, it seems like with only two installments and pretty tight links between the two games, the grumbling is not really as... prodigious as in the ever-expanding VII Compilation, where every new installment seems to tweak something from OGC and from whatever was released just before. The Ivalice games, meanwhile, reference each other quite a bit, but they are by and large separated by nice, safe, gulfs of time and distance and don't interfere with each other much (RW excepted). SO I am not sure what is going on canonicity-wise with FFVII Compilation. However, I do seem to see a fair number of...

4) Fans who seem to be part of the Compilation fandom as a whole rather than any specific entry's fandom. Another cohesive force! These people seem to pick and choose the bits of canon they find most awesome and make up a kind of personal synthesis-canon, and kudos to them.

... and those are my thoughts on yaoi.

Up next -- things that are actually relevant to fanwork-categorizing interests!
Oct. 20th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
In which I make slow luxurious love to umbrella tags
As far as how to archive fanworks, I tend to prefer having umbrella canons for EVERYTHING, where available, with the option to put a fanwork in any entry under that umbrella OR only in the umbrella itself and not in any specific subcategory. I always sorely miss this option in every archive ever. There are usually ONLY umbrella canons (how VII seems to be treated a lot of the time) or ONLY separate canons (X and X-2).

I think this would be pretty useful especially for VII and, to a lesser extent, for X/X-2. This is actually a point of... agreement/disagreement I have with how ff_press categorizes things. There is an "Unspecified FVII Compilation" category there (and same for all other multi-entry canons except X/X-2), and I like having that category as a home for all the "just FFVII" fanworks. But I don't see it as a "you didn't make a proper header!" category, which is kind of how it's presented in the newsletter. I would like a category just like that, but for stories that really AREN'T part of any specific VII canon, and just exist in the VII universe -- see those synthesizing fans from VII.

I think I might come to this idea because of my history in anime/manga canons like Trigun and FMA. I have a hard time explaining this to people who haven't experienced such canons, but the anime and manga are VASTLY different. Not like "added some filler" different, but more like they both start from the same premise/characters and then go in WILDLY different directions. And in those fandoms I have definitely found a lot of most excellent stories that explicitly remain neutral about which canon they are set in. They could be mangaverse, they could be animeverse, but really they are just stories that start with the same premise/characters and go somewhere, somewhere neutral. And in those fandoms fans often (or used to, back in the late 90s/early aughts when I hung about there) label for animeverse, managaverse, or neither. Some of that was surely sloppy/lazy labelling, but a lot of it was truly just neutral.

Likewise, I KNOW (haha, do I ever) that a lot of the "unspecified" stuff for VII and XII is really just sloppy/lazy labelling -- but for VII especially, some of it just seems to be canon-neutral. I know one usual rule for labelling VII works is to label it with the most-recently released canon that it draws on, and this makes sense for spoilers. I am not sure how to handle that!

So since I know this poll has to do with how to categorize fanworks, here is my ideal system!

Sets like X/X-2, VII Comp, and Ivalice should have umbrella labels and labels for each subcanon -- but also the option to tag for the umbrella only.

But again, there's no real way to prevent abuse of the umbrella tag.

And yet!

I feel like such a system would provide homes for, say, a story with both X and X-2 characters but isn't deeply related to the plot of either game. Like, say, a story about Rikku and Gippal growing up together on Bikanel. It's set in the X timeline, but an X-2 character, and isn't really deeply related to either X or X-2. It could be argued to be an X-2 story, since it that is the most-recently released canon it uses, or as a crossover -- but I just see it as a Spira-verse story. And I think it's fair to treat a lot of stories this way -- stories that combine bits and pieces of various canons to make something that definitely lives in that world but in no particular canon. And it feels kind of... unfair... to treat stories like that as, say X/X-2 "crossovers". There are cases where I think a story could be fairly balled as both X adn X-2 -- for example stories that deal explicitly with the transition between the two games. I think it might also help maybe with how X-2 sometimes gets relegated to some bastard AU instead of a sequel. Fans who want to integrate X and X-2 can play in the umbrella canon, and fans who want to keep them more separate can play in the individual canons.

Likewise I'm sure there are similar cases for VII. It doesn't seem as dire in the Ivalice games -- again, they are by and large comfortably separated -- but it might still be useful there.

Haha, I am so sorry KJ >.>
Oct. 20th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: In which I make slow luxurious love to umbrella tags
I feel like such a system would provide homes for, say, a story with both X and X-2 characters but isn't deeply related to the plot of either game. Like, say, a story about Rikku and Gippal growing up together on Bikanel. It's set in the X timeline, but an X-2 character, and isn't really deeply related to either X or X-2.

This is exactly my problem with labeling FFVII fic sometimes. My favorite characters are Old Dudes, and one of them popped up in a Compilation game, and I thought he was awesome, but I have no desire to write him during his actual game timeline most of the time because it's too short, and well, it's pretty spelled out what's going on during that time. I'd rather write pre-BC for him, or during the OGC timeline, or post-OGC. Because that's when I can do fun tricksy stuff! But I always have to label the game he's from, because yeah.

That and there are stories that literally depend on nothing more than characterization and a passing plot point (...also a favorite, clearly I should just be writing original fiction).

I mean, that was my main problem with the Compilation--they did it like what you do for your first fanfiction. Throw in lots of OCs! A new threat! See how many times we can bring back Sephiroth!

So it gets to be a huge sprawl. I combat this by putting decent author notes on stuff to explain where the heck it comes from, generally.
Oct. 21st, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
In which I pull out a tiny bit of your awesome epic comment and pick at it
Whenever I see anyone describing a fic including characters and elements from FFX and FFX-2 as a "crossover", it makes me twitch. How can a story based entirely in a single universe be a crossover? It makes me wonder about other metafandoms, like the Buffyverse -- would people describe a story containing Buffy characters and Angel characters as a crossover? Or different installments of Star Trek, or different seasons of the same TV show?

I have wished, both in my conversations with Nay and in general, that there could be some other name for "the Spiraverse" (which is a great expression that I am totally stealing) that doesn't exclude either of the games (as using FFX as an umbrella term would) but that also makes it clear that fans can ignore X-2 canon if they want to. Some sort of umbrella solution would be my favorite, especially if we can find a way to do it that doesn't marginalize X-2 into some sort of "secondary" canon or fandom.

I think I am in an unusual position, because I am so strongly tied to both games. I think what you say above is true of many people in X/X-2 fandom: they might play around with crossing that line, but most tend to gravitate toward one or the other. And on the surface, I probably appear to fit that mold: most of my fic explicitly references the X-2 canon, and if you asked other people what my primary fandom is, they'd likely say FFX-2. But really, I consider myself to be equally tied to both "sides". (FFX is actually my favorite game; Paine and Auron tie as my favorite characters.) I am in the Spiraverse fandom, whatever form that might happen to take at a given time. And that's why I take such a hard line on wanting to see them treated as a single fandom; when the division is forced, it's much harder to play in the Spiraverse as a whole. The dilemma you describe with that Rikku/Gippal story is exactly the problem. And I actually think that forced divisions, like the one on FF.net, exacerbate the tensions between the two "sides" of the fandom.

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