If you have an email ending in @hotmail.com, @live.com or @outlook.com (or any other Microsoft-related domain), please consider changing it to another email provider; Microsoft decided to instantly block the server's IP, so emails can't be sent to these addresses.
If you use an @yahoo.com email or any related Yahoo services, they have blocked us also due to "user complaints"
-UE

Fanworks That Do Not Fit The Tone Of A Work

edited 2014-03-18 00:48:04 in Media
Loser

Fanworks that do not fit the tone of the original work sort of bug me (MLP ones being one example of this). I guess I mostly am thinking about super dark and edgy fan stuff of a work made for children or that is otherwise pretty lighthearted. I am not sure if there is really anything bad about the opposite type of original work/fan work tone dissonance and I have not encountered it that much anyway. Feel free to let me know if you have.


Anywho, I believe that children's cartoons, comics, games, and other works that were deliberately made to not have tons of violence, swearing, or sexual content offer a kind of refuge for people who dislike that sort of thing. I feel like the proliferation of fanworks that add the exact type of material excluded from those works intrudes on that little refuge.


Now, I agree that people should not just try to pretend that violence, cursing, and sexual stuff does not exist. That probably would be naive and unhealthy. There are tons of "adult" shows, books, and movies with that kind of content though and I do not really understand why it needs to be injected into works that purposely lack it.


I think a fan focus on darker and edger things can also make finding and talking with other fans of a series difficult. If you just want to discuss the last episode, book, or game for what it is and are not interested in sexualized fanart, some dark fanfic, or people's opinions of the attractiveness of certain female/male characters, can be pretty hard sometimes. Plus, in the case of media actually aimed at kids, I am not sure if it is such a good thing for web searches to turn up a lot of the aforementioned types of fanworks, but your mileage may vary on that.

Comments

  • I feel like any crossover or alternate universe work at all will dramatically change the tone of the story. 


    But inexplicably, people love them. They love them a lot. Darker works are given brighter, softer treatments, while lighter-in-tone works are thrown into a shallow grave, put guns up the backs of their heads, and told that they need to dig their own grave deeper.


    To me, it's like nobody is willing to keep the work as it is. It needs to be filtered through fanworks and community opinions and everything or they won't expect it. Sure, there are times I want to write fanfiction as well, but I want to do expansions on things and events not touched upon, while still keeping that world's tone.

  • I actually do like MLP fanworks that don't follow the tone of the story since MLP's setting has so much untapped potential that can never be realized with its original tone. What are other cultures in the world of MLP like? If dangerous fantasy monsters are so common, then how did ponies adapt? How exactly do the sun and moon work if they need to be controlled by magic? Why do ponies need to control every aspect of nature? Did the racial tensions between the three pony tribes truly dissolve right away after the founding of Equestria? If most animals are shown to be sapient, then how exactly do carnivores figure into the picture?


    So many unanswered questions that will likely remain unanswered for the entirety of the show's run. In fact, MLP is probably the one thing where I actually kind of prefer fanfics: the show is still decently good, but it's ultimately restricted by its intended audience, and other cartoons like Adventure Time or Gravity Falls do a lot better job at exploring the implications of the characters and setting.

  • Yeah okay sure. Expansions on the material given. I get that.


    But Fallout Equestria.

  • edited 2014-03-18 02:03:36

    Yeah, FoE is kinda excessively grimdark. When you consider just how excessively grimdark Fallout is, though, it makes a lot of sense.

  • One foot in front of the other, every day.

    I think I agree with Louie, at least in most cases. While some fanworks can contribute massively to a thing, sometimes by breaking the limitations the original set out with, this isn't the way it normally goes down. And besides, works have their self-imposed limitations as a means of focus and expression.


    Also, ITT, taking cartoons too seriously:



    So many unanswered questions that will likely remain unanswered for the entirety of the show's run. In fact, MLP is probably the one thing where I actually kind of prefer fanfics: the show is still decently good, but it's ultimately restricted by its intended audience, and other cartoons like Adventure Time or Gravity Falls do a lot better job at exploring the implications of the characters and setting.



    I don't see anything wrong with wanting to look deeper into the machinations behind just about any work, but sometimes I think people take for granted that others see the same value in it. The thing about Adventure Time, for instance, is that it works perfectly well without its implications and nods towards anything else. There's plenty of substance to what's happening on screen alone, but people often miss that substance while searching for whatever hypothesis or theory may or may not be present. I feel as though simplicity and clarity of expression are underrated and too much value is placed on exterior information, when the real strength of a show like Adventure Time is in the here and now. 


    What I think might be a large part of this is that many audiences will dig for lore and backstory and whatnot, but they won't analyse the dramatic techniques used to make a work function. So often an audience will find a dramatic technique, but find an explanation for it connected to lore or some other external factor rather than it simply being a matter of convenience and expression. The biggest example I can think of is Neon Genesis: Evangelion, where the Christian imagery and abstract elements in the latter part of the show caused an explosion of interpretation. What the audience didn't do was analyse the dramatic features of the series, focusing rather on the literal imagery at hand. So most of them missed that NGE was mostly about stepping into adulthood and psychological dysfunction. 


    So I feel that, currently, this kind of literalist audience mindset is being applied to children's TV shows. Those shows are probably best left as what they are, and ought to be interpreted through dramatic logic rather than the lore-based logic popular among fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts. These shows, while often intended to be entertaining for some older audiences, are primarily for children, after all. And children are always, bless them, going to interpret media through what makes the most immediate dramatic sense. That's awesome, because that's the stuff of storytelling right there. It's much more difficult and grating to tell a story to an audience that demands depth of lore over depth of characters and plot, believe me. 

  • It's not about being grimdark (which by now is just a meaningless buzzword). No, it's about "if I put this with that, what changes"? If I put two different fictions together, does the tone, the narrative structure, the ideas and themes change?


    Because they should. They should meld into something more interesting.


    Also I agree with Alex, a lot of the time we're not looking at it through the narrative's point of view.

  • edited 2014-03-18 10:38:15
    Diet NEET

    I just read it because fanfics have their own 'genre' moments which you don't generally find in other media. Overpowered characters transplanted into another setting in which they throw the entire world off balance and heroes and villains alike react with a hearty WTF are some of my favourites, as is multiverse hopping to parody settings and schmaltzy introspective oneshots. It's utter trash, but it doesn't really require too much time investment. 

  • edited 2014-03-18 13:25:50

    First off, with being dark and edgy, people try too hard when it can be as simple as YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD. GAME OVER. Also, my perception of those terms has been tainted by TV Tropes which tries so hard to prove that "Guys, this children's television show is, like, totally adult man."


    Also, a lot of people who write crossover fanfiction and grimdark reimaginings are simply just transplanting their own fantasies with a popular franchise as background imagery. In fact, that was one of the things that made Sonic 06 such an abomination, since they tried to write Final Fantasy with cartoon animals. I mean, if you really wanted to write a fighting or war story, why use My Little Pony when TMNT and Avatar better suit such a story and can actually handle darker themes with finesse? It's not about being dark or light, it's about not taking a show for little girls and turning it into some generic adolescent male power fantasy.


    Generic is one of the cardinal sins of these kind of fan works. One of my least favourite examples of fan wank is the infamous Ash coma theory because one, it has the intellectual depth of a first-year Philosophy student, and two, you could apply the theory to anything ever. It comes off as "look at me, I'm so clever!", just like most of grimdark reimaginings. Good children's cartoons actually show their cleverness because they tell a story first and a mood second, without edginess for the sake of edginess.


  • Also, a lot of people who write crossover fanfiction and grimdark reimaginings are simply just transplanting their own fantasies with a popular franchise as background imagery.



    This is one of the things I fear when I'm writing my Digimon Adventure 02/MLP fanfic. The whole idea came about from the apparent similarities between many of the characters and their personality traits, and how the Crests serve as a close analogue to the Elements of Harmony. More specifically, how Ken Ichijouchi was the bearer of the Crest of Kindness before he completely lost his shit and turned evil.


    Since a lot of the fic involves answering the dropped plot thread of the Dark Ocean in Adventure 02, which has several lovecraftian overtones, the way I've planned it out can get very dark, and I'm worried I might not be able to handle it believably.

  • I think the issue with the dispute over the tone of a work and (un)faithfulness to that is that different people enjoy a work for different reasons, and some people just like tinkering with the characters and setting (lots of "what if" and fanfic possibilities if you mess with them), while others enjoyed the work more as a whole and feel that taking it apart like this just doesn't feel right and feels like it betrays the point of the original.


    I'm closer to the latter camp, I'll admit, though I sometimes enjoy the former.  It depends on the work and the fanwork though.

  • edited 2014-03-18 21:27:27

    ^^What matters is if the dark mood is relevant.


    ^I think it also depends on how strong continuity is. Franchises like Alien do something different with each movie, so it's more open to "what if". On the other hand, some stories are self-contained and don't lend themselves well to fanfics, let alone official sequels.


    In the end, I'm most annoyed if a franchise becomes mere window dressing for the creator's thinly veiled original story. I already mentioned Sonic 06, and speaking of screwing with the original intent of a franchise, Metroid Other M is essentially one giant middle finger to the fanbase by throwing away everything we liked about Samus. If you didn't permanently taint people's memories of the source material with your fan work, you've probably done a better job than Metroid Other M (though I do love how it has become a case study on how not to write a story).


    V Well, the decidedly unsubtle acronym is one of the many ways it sucks ass. 

  • ^ Well, a common complaint I hear about a number of stories -- games, at least, since that's what I tend to be arguing talking about on the internet -- is "this is a great game, but just not a [its series name] game".  Seems related to your criticism.


    Also, for some reason, I draw parallels between Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Metroid: Other M, even though CvLoS is far from failing as badly as M:OM (darn that annoyingly distracting acronym).

  • I just like overly stylized and shaded drawings of pokemon (and other stuff).

  • Pictures are a different matter because they're pictures; people drew them, so that means that someone is honing their craft on them.


    They don't need to be anything but to exist. 

  • edited 2014-03-18 23:53:54
    Loser

    Alex,
    I think you make a great point about trying to see works for what they are. I do not want to criticize people who enjoy digging into works too much, since if they have fun doing that, I do not have any real problem with it. I just agree that certain series can be good without needing a bunch of lore and may actually be built to not need it.


    RedEyedAbyss,
    First off, with being dark and edgy, people try too hard when it can be as simple as YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD. GAME OVER. Also, my perception of those terms has been tainted by TV Tropes which tries so hard to prove that "Guys, this children's television show is, like, totally adult man."


    You likely already thought of this or a better explanation, but I feel like the urge to try to show why a show aimed at kids is totally adult may be a backlash to the "animation age ghetto" concept. Faced with the perception that cartoons are childish, adult fans of them might try to point to stuff in cartoons or extrapolated from them that they believe is decidedly not kid friendly. Honestly, I think most of the time it would be better to simply say that good children's works can be enjoyed by all ages. Granted, persuading people not to see children's works as something only for children eight years and younger is another matter.


    Sure, it might also be nice if people were generally more aware that animated series and comics with older target audiences existed, but that does not mean that the fact that a TV show or comic has a dark tone automatically makes it good (or bad for that matter) or that violence and sexual content should be injected into everything.


    In the end, I'm most annoyed if a franchise becomes mere window dressing for the creator's thinly veiled original story.


    I am with you on that and I think that what Kraken mentioned is kind of an analogous idea applied in the fanwork context. Perhaps the issue is more that when people create fanworks they tend to like to have more freedom with a work, whether it be tone, characterization, or what have you, and this desire for freedom can lead to the fanwork turning out quite a bit different from the original work. That thought process seems reasonable enough to me, but sometimes I would rather the person just create an original story if they feel the setting, tone, or characters within a work are constraining them too much.

Sign In or Register to comment.