The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: June 15th, 2002

Typecasting and Clichés

By: SaraJNES

This essay is about a very common and horribly annoying thing in a good 90% of fanfiction: Typecasting and cliché.

Most anime and manga series often show a one-sided view of characters. Granted, manga is often much better about that and gives more depth to not only the characters but the plot as well. But since anime is often more preferable to some people, they follow the anime version of a series in writing. This isn't a bad thing, but often they rely on the one-sided, stereotypical character portrayals, and because of this, a lot of fanfiction is pretty much the same stuff over and over. Which gets boring and oftentimes irritating.

One thing that really, really gets to me in fanfiction at least half of the Dark Kingdom stories I've found. The ones that contain the same old clichés, things from the anime that I hate to begin with. And as if serious stories using them isn't bad enough, there are stories that use those stereotypes as comic relife. Something to laugh at. I really don't like that. People are free to think and write what they want, but it just annoys me when everyone typecasts characters...especially the generals. It's always "Nephrite and Zoisite fighting and hating each other, Kunzite as this sexy, serious guy who is used as a way to make fun of Zoisite or something of the sort, jokes at the Nephrite/Naru thing, Zoisite as Kunzite's love slave, and Jadeite as either this crazy person or a one-dimensional character just to give the wall color and throw in occasional comments".

I'm sick of seeing this.

The things that happened above-Nephrite and Zoisite fighting, Nephrite/Naru, and Kunzite&Zoisite's relationship-being used as comic relief. They were not funny. Kunzite&Zoisite's relationship is very important to me and it is in no way "The sexy ice king and his pathetic, flamboyant love slave". And don't get me started on how much I hate the Nephrite/Naru pairing. Classic was one of the more serious seasons of SM. SuperS was the one to use for comic relief, and maybe even R. But the Dark Kingdom is nothing to make into jokes. I know I'm obsessive and looking too much into things here, but the way I see it, it was anything but a joke. The generals were forced to live under the rule of a psychotic bitch who would kill them for failing or not obeying some stupid rule ("I warn you, don't even lay a finger on Tuxedo Kamen or else!!!" ><). And this is the most non-canon thing, but they all had terrible, painful home lives and are just miserable in this world. Does that seem like comic relief or joke fodder?

I didn't think so.

I'm not saying they always have to be somber and serious. I've made them anything but that in some RPGS! But not using the listed things as comic relief. The Zoisite vs Zoicite thing is often comic relief, and so is Kunzite's possessiveness about Zoisite at times. Jadeite is much more serious, angst-filled, and pretty much nothing like than when I first began writing/RPing as him, still has a bit of the wisecracking pervert character trait.

I know I'm just being overly picky and would get many sarcastic, annoyed remarks, flames, and the like if I tried to discuss this with the majority of fanfiction authors...they'd look at me as if I were some kind of crackhead, and either be nasty and tell me to shut up about it or make fun of me...which is the reason I never try and make much of a statement about my beliefs.

*sighs* I just wish people could stop being so...closed-minded and typecasting...then again, someone out there might think I'm bad for showing Beryl as just some evil bitch and not a human who loved someone she couldn't have. Well, to me, she cannot be redeemed in any way after what she did to Zoisite. ><

But anyway...

Typecasting is a very annoying problem in most fanfiction. Mimete is not just a psychotic, shallow, boy-obsessed teenage girl. Zoisite is NOT just some vain, vicious killer or a pathetic, naive little weakling. And even main characters. Rei is not a flaming witch like she is in the dub or the anime. *Raye gets struck by a bolt of lightening* I myself keep Rei-chan the way she was in the manga. I really don't like anime Rei. In fact, anime Rei is already built-in OOC considering she is NOTHING like the mature, serious girl she is in the manga.

We've all seen it. It's shown up in plenty of bad fanfiction I've seen, the majority of it MSTed. While it's good to use your imagination, writing someone completely out of character is a whole other story. If you're writing the fic as a joke or a parody of some sort, it's not a big deal. In fact, it can be a good thing in a parody/mock. But a serious story? It'd just look sad there. Heero Yuy does not cry over anyone accidentally biting his arm, Yaten is not a soft-spoken, swooning love slave to anyone, and Belldandy does not curse.

Now keep in mind I am by no means a canon purist. I'm not saying you HAVE to keep the characters IC all the time. If you want to write about a depressed, quiet Lina Inverse, you can. Just make sure there's a good reason for her to be depressed, something that would make her hole up in her room and cry. If there's enough backstory, then it doesn't even qualify as writing her OOC.

So basically, there is a way to avoid stereotypes without making the characters OOC, and a way to keep characters IC without resorting to stereotypes. I'm not saying everyone should follow this rule. People are free to write whatever they want. Remember, these are just my opinions. Despite what I think, there is no "wrong way" or "right way" to do fanfiction or RPGs.

Comments on this article can be sent to: SaraJNES.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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