KJ (owlmoose) wrote,
KJ
owlmoose

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More Final Fantasy Meta

This has been the hot topic of the friends-list today: how to describe the relationships between the different Final Fantasy fandoms, and whether Final Fantasy as an entity can be considered a "fandom". I've been thinking about this stuff for awhile, ever since I started playing around with the Final Fantasy categories in Fanlore, but it's getting wider play now because the new fanfic archive, AO3, is trying to figure out how our categories will work, and the situation is complex, without a good parallel in Western media fandoms as far as I can tell. justira came up with some fabulous charts showing the divisions and connections between the different Final Fantasy fandoms (and so did first_seventhe, in the funny because it's true department), and I'll be interested to see how people who aren't in the fandom react to them.

One of the notable results of the poll I did a few weeks ago was that fewer than 75% of the people who voted selected "Final Fantasy" as one of their fandoms. Since I think it's a fairly safe assumption that everyone who participated in the poll considers themselves to be connected with at least one Final Fantasy fandom, I thought that was interesting. What this suggests to me is that some people consider Final Fantasy to be a fandom, but by no means all. But if you asked people on the "outside" whether they thought Final Fantasy was a single fandom, I'd bet they would say yes. I've been trying for ages to think of a good way to explain to people why it doesn't really work that way, and I think I finally came up with a good analogy today.

People on the "outside", who've never played the games or been part of the fandom, tend to think of Final Fantasy as a metafandom like Star Wars or Star Trek: multiple media properties, created by the same company, in different styles or featuring different characters perhaps, but ultimately all set in the same universe. But it would be more accurate to say that, in this sense, the Final Fantasy VII Compilation is like Star Trek. Which might make the Ivalice Alliance Star Wars, and Final Fantasy IV Babylon 5, and so forth. All similar genres, covering similar themes, often liked by the same people, and you can draw interesting comparisons between them, but distinctly different fandoms. The only thing that makes Final Fantasy different is that the games are created by the same company and share a name.

But of course, that's also where the confusion comes in. So we get things like FF.net lumping together all the Final Fantasies before VII into one section, and breaking X and X-2 into separate sections (and no, I'm never letting that one go; I can maybe see the argument for two fandoms, but you are never convincing me that they don't form a single canon). I am hoping that we can nip all this in the bud with AO3. How great would it be for an archive to meet our fandom's categorization needs from almost Day One?

(By the way, in case you were wondering, one of the reasons I did that poll was to help [info - personal] renay figure out the canon tag structure for A03, and it was definitely helpful, so thanks to everyone who participated!)

I know that justira is looking for more feedback on her charts, so the more that can come by and take a look, the merrier! My poll is always open, too.

I still intend to do a big geeky post on AO3 and how cool it is, but I need to play more with it first. Still deciding how much of my fic to bring over, too. I have a complete archive now, so I'm not certain that I need to have every last story in there. I will continue to contemplate.
Tags: fandom, meta
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