XENA SMASH

Mar. 7th, 2016 02:14 pm
auronlu: (Fang)
Mintywolf is a saint.

For four years, she's been posting Guardian comic every week. She's up to 111 pages. 

The story focuses on relationships between female characters. On every page. From Lady Ginnem's mentorship of Lulu to Ginnem's kickass sister Imogen to Yuna's friendship with Valefor to NoPantsCrusader/LadyYocun'sBiggestFan  the nuanced portrayal of Lulu's friendship with Yuna, which evolves and grows over time. 

It's a well-written, convincing love story in which the protagonists are not het and not in a sexual relationship. It shows, not tells that female friendships can be every bit as powerful as the standard "boy meets girl" romance.

Just as with the game of FFX, the bulk of the story is actually flashback, recalled at the end of the journey. The "present" is the scene in which Lulu volunteers to be Yuna's fayth. That scene is reprised at the beginning of each chapter, only now it's ticked forward to show that Lulu IS going to become Yuna's fayth, in this AU.

Yet reader comments often seem oblivious to all of the above.
  • Readers are excited when Tidus shows up, because now, at last, the story can be about Tidus/Yuna. (It hasn't been.) Some post a burst of Tidus/Yuna art right after she posts an emotionally powerful Lulu & Yuna scene.
  • There are comments like "whoa whoa, Lulu, that almost sounds gay" when her headspace-narrative describes her feelings for Yuna. 
  • Commenters jokingly scold Lulu for being sharp-tongued at Wakka, because she shouldn't be talking that way to her future husband. Did they play FFX?

Today someone wants to know if/when Minty's going to get to FFX-2, because this fan can't wait to see Lulu spawning the Wakkababy.

Even though Mintywolf's already showed that Lulu's going to become the Final Aeon, diverging from the X-2 storyline.
Even though Mintywolf's been focusing on female friendship and cuddles.
Even though Mintywolf's been avoiding sexual content all along.

Said fan kept poking, and Mintywolf deflected with tact. As she always does.

It is difficult for me not to snark at readers so desperately trying to find the het in her story, so determined not to see what the story is about, and has been about, for one hundred pages. 

When we were talking about this, Minty pointed out that "where is the straight?" comments on stories about female relationships are hardly unique to Guardian: Sister Claire's had such comments just this week.

I'm not surprised that these comments happen, of course. I'm just very frustrated on her behalf that people can't see, appreciate and engage in what she's trying to do, and has been doing very effectively, for years.

All I can do is support it. 
auronlu: (Blah)
Okay, so. Rina has just finished Final Fantasy X-2 and posted thoughts about it.

And she quoth:

...Granted, this might be because the thing I want most out of this fandom right now is the Crimson Squad and YRP having fabulous adventures on an airship with side helpings of Rikku/Gippal, Paine/Nooj and Yuna/Baralai (also accepting Paine/Rikku), so if that exists in a way that is good, hook a girl up, mmk?

And I know that stuff is out there. I remember it. I've read it in dribs and drabs over the years. Yet when I review my Final Fantasy X/X-2 recs, I'm not seeing much of that.

Still, I have some pointers, and I hope people who know the fandom better will share more recs in comments.


Owlmoose is the Queen of Final Fantasy X-2 and Nooj/Paine in particular, with a little Baralai/Gippal and Yuna/Baralai on the side, and some Rikku/Gippal in there somewhere.  And since this is my own personal blog I don't feel bad about shilling friends. A lot.

The trouble is, I read most of her amazeballs stuff years ago. There's tons. But these stick in my fuzzy memory.
  • Darkness, Dawn, Gen, Paine POV, 1230 words. Paine's first night aboard the Celsius.
  • Where They Left Off, M, Paine/Nooj, 1500words. Much needed gap-filling convo in which Paine and Nooj have a brief confrontation/convo/angersmooch right before B/N/G deliver their speech at the end.
  • The Cat, M, Paine/Nooj. 4300words. I can't remember exactly why this stuck in my memory except that it was a vivid portrayal of their dynamic and...cat?
  • Separated, T, Baralai/Yuna one-sided. The final battle from Baralai's perspective.
  • Under the Moon, T, Paine/Rikku, 1400 words. Paine aboard the Celsius (not) dealing with past memories of Nooj. (Nooj/Paine is canon. NOOJ/PAINE IS CANON. Er. Well, it is for us.) 
  • Boundaries, E, Baralai/Yuna with Shuyin/Lenne coloring things, 1400 words.
And then she's done some recent 500-word prompt thingies with a few years' more experience in writing. 

SO. What else. WHERE IS IT. It's odd but I don't recall many well-written Celsius or Crimson Squad things.

So, for example, this isn't Gullwings, but it's good: 
  • Jebus Creiss' The Seeker Files, Barthello/Dona (estranged), T, 22K words, A surprisingly good story from Barthello's POV?! with a lot of the other X-2 cast, set 6 months after FFX-2. Extremely convincing and chewy worldbuilding. 
And in a similar worldbuilding vein, KJ created an excellent bridge story from X to X-2:
  • Aftermath, Beclem-POV, 42000 words, picking up the pieces at the end of X, explaining how Beclem met Nooj and the Youth League began, meta on spheres and sphere hunters.
Oh here's one I'd assume would be good because of the author, but I haven't read it, just spotted it while hunting?
  • The Lost Village, T, by astrangerenters. "When Gippal leads a Machine Faction team to excavate a previously hidden town near Lake Macalania, the Gullwings come along for a little fun and treasure hunting."

Hrm. I could go on but it's useless for me to rec stuff I haven't read; you can hunt, too. So I'm instead going to ask people to post recs in comments to this post. 

I will append some addendums. I haven't specifically covered the Gullwings, but I've written in the X-2 timeframe (or an AU version), pulling out things I like and ignoring the rest. 
  • Firstly a large pile of Lucil/Elma drabbles because prior to FFXIII they were the closest I could find to a canon lesbian couple. Headcanons occur. Also smut. Also crack.
  • An Auron/Lulu badfic, Til Death Do Us Part, T, 13K words, in which I indulged in all! the! clichés!  Swashbuckling and Twue Wuv occurs. It's not my best writing, but I bring it up because I started by trying to imagine what would follow the Gullwings once Paine went off with Nooj, and I wound up with Yuna in charge, Rikku and Tidus as her seconds, in a way that lets Yuna and Rikku be awesome and Tidus not be an ass. 
  • Love Her and Despair - among many other threads, there's Captain Gippal, smuggler distributor of merchandise, and a Paine/Nooj, Baralai/Paine sideplot. 
auronlu: (Auron2)
There's been a lot of genderbending cosplay lately, and while that makes me happy, I'm even happier to see someone making the costume design work as is instead of transposing it into the key of sexy.


I Am Your Opponent
by ~BeautifulDragon on deviantART

...even her Anthy occasionally can't resist striking a pose. (Although she also plays Anthy more traditionally).


En Garde
by ~BeautifulDragon on deviantART

Go. Browse her gallery. The Auron gallery is fantastic, and there's an Utena for her Anthy as well. (Also, she's got an older Laguna cosplay).
auronlu: (phear da crack)
Everybody get over to Sev's journal for a glorious Final Fantasy commentfic attack. She had stress today and called for minific prompts, and has been writing brief snippets of fic to everyone's insane prompts, and there's a full-on brainstorming session of Ashelia the Vampire Slayer happening over on one comment, and Auron is giving everyone (even Quistis!) detentions in another comment, and I don't quite know what's happening with that dolphin but I'm not going to ask... Er. Anyway. Go join in. Whatever fandom you love, it's there somewhere in small bite-sized bits. Or just add to the brainstorming and general crack.
auronlu: (ffiii)
... So Sev wrote an Arc/Alus with a side helping of mad sky pirate Refia partly for my birthday (THANK YOU) and partly because Final Fantasy IV was begging for the ship. It's perfect. Go read.


Fanfic: "Calligraphy"
Final Fantasy III
Characters: pre-Arc/Alus, Refia, Luneth, Sara/Ingus
Word Count: 7000something
Rating: G
By: [personal profile] seventhe



And it inspired me to make this doodle, which is...well. Not fine art, but I'm happy that I've started drawing again after nearly ceasing to draw about ten years ago.
auronlu: (Default)
I'm still sloooooowly digging my way through FFIII again and still need to create write-ups for what I've done so far.

But in the meantime. Sev and Rina have posted their playthroughs (both hilarious as usual) on [community profile] moogle_university, plus some thoughtful meta and commentary about FFIII and the early FFs in genera.

Here's all their posts on FFIII. I left a loooong rambling comment on Sev's post about early FFs, for what it's worth. We're discussing story and characterization and early job / character classes and the oddities of black and white magic.

Which all sounds boring, but is anything but. Go look! And be amused by their zany summaries of the games!
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Two of my favorite fanartists posting the same night?  Gah.

[personal profile] leyna  has just served up a five-star banquet of incredible FF fanart, paintings that include Balthier, Fang, Lulu — who should now be in a crossover adventuring party full of witty banter and icy put-downs — plus cameos by Lightning, Squall, Namingway (who?) and some Type-O character.

Go. Ogle. Swoon.
auronlu: (memories)
SQUEE.

Go look! Latest panel in MintyWolf's graphic novel on Lulu's childhood. (Go here to start reading if you haven't seen it before).


Guardian: Page 7
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART
auronlu: (FF5)
I have no idea if this will work. On the YouTube copy of this video, the icons let you hop to that game's battle theme. Also, here's the victory fanfares.




I really love all the music in III.
auronlu: (Faris)
Wow, these guys are great THIS GUY are sick. Rina, this one's for you:


ETA: HOLY SQUEE, IT'S ALL THE SAME GUY. 


They've He's also done "epic medleys" for FFV and FFIX, plus shorter vids for FFX and FFVII.

His Final Fantasy playlist





auronlu: (memories)
Yet another recommendation for [livejournal.com profile] mintywolf's graphic novel for Lulu's childhood, Guardian. New page up!



Guardian: Page 6
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART



EDIT: ALSO, APROPOS OF NOTHING...


... Sissy PMed me with this fanart of Auron. I blame Spira Claus.
auronlu: (Yuna's Final Aeon)
[livejournal.com profile] mintywolf, artist of that Lulu graphic novel I've been reccing, just left me an unexpected and wonderful fanart.

It illustrates a scene in the "Eight of Swords" chapter of Love Her and Despair, when Yu Yevon clamped down hard on Lulu for defying its will and taking too many liberties with Sin to aid her friends. As usual, the dream-interior of Sin is fashioned from its prisoner's hopes, loves, and fears. 

Full-sized version is probably NSFW:


Eight of Swords
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART


I love all of it, but especially the Yu Yevon glyph in blood. When I tried and failed to illustrate this scene, I sketched the shadow of the rune printed on the snow, but this is more dramatic.

Also, every one of Auron's swords is perfectly reproduced. Beautiful work. 

And Lulu's expression and posture say, "Bite me." Which is exactly right. She couldn't do much at this point in the story, but she could at least be cussedly stubborn. 

(Thanks again!)
auronlu: (Bad Balthier)
How on earth had I missed [personal profile] twigcollins ' writing before now?

I've been reading a Fran & Balthier backstory fic and hooting. I don't normally laugh aloud while reading.

The fic is called "A Kind of Integrity".

“Nothing ever really goes right when I’m in lace stockings,” Balthier murmurs thoughtfully.

Except it totally does. Oh, Balthier.

ETA: "all the grandeur of some young, disheveled god of poorly thought out ideas." 

ETA the umpteenth: READ THIS STORY. It starts out as a slapstick comedy and turns into an edge-of-your-seat heartwrenching adventure with some real meat to it. One of those "more canon than canon" fics that fleshes out the world and gives the characters their due.
auronlu: (Fang)
So I was pawing through more of [personal profile] leyna  's fantastic fanart thanks to the new LJ --> DW refugee friending meme.

I'm sure that I've recced her wonderful Lulu portrait in the past. (large image warning. Bonus: Fran portrait!)

It's worth digging through her whole journal. For Final Fantasy fans, I want to recommend a couple of Fang paintings, one with Vanille and one sparring practice scene with Lightning in which, so help me, Fang is tickling that exposed bit of tummy on Ms. Supersoldier's uniform. My interpretation is that Fang is attempting to seduce or simply pester, while Lightning doesn't know whether to break character and squirm or just chop off the offending foot. 

However, it's the Vanille/Fang "You Are My Only Home" painting that I especially wish to rec. Break out the angst piano, folks; it's the Last Lesbians in the World. 

>> Both Fang paintings here.

ETA: I just looked at the Fang/Vanille again, and you should go. Look at it now. Even if you don't bally know the characters. The colors are gorgeous. 

In other news, I have a happy dilemma: do I post all 4800 5100 words of Chapter 49 or break it into two installments? I may go with the two-installments thing for mugs and because that way I can keep working on the next chapter with more lead time. On the other hand, it really doesn't have a comfortable breakpoint.

 



2218 / 50000 words. 4% done!
auronlu: (memories)
[livejournal.com profile] mintywolf has posted another couple of panels of her Lulu graphic novel, currently dramatizing her childhood and relationship with Lady Ginnem. Five pages so far, already a good story.

Lots of heart-tug moments. Great FFX backstory. Clicky the banner to get to the table of contents.


"Guardian"
by *DippyWerewolf on deviantART
auronlu: (Yuna-Aeris)
...chooses unusual costume themes, then carries them off so well:
  • cross-dressing Cloud
  • a fantastic Refia (last pic matching the full-render pose)
  • Fran's little sister Mjrn (I think?)
  • Donno what the white mage is
  • But I DO know that's a Mog wearing Lulu's dress. In white. Gah.


all of them here, but commenting is disabled. Feh.

I was looking for a Refia cosplay and found this page. As I suspected, Refia's default character outfit translates into garb that's actually comfortable, plausible, and provides coverage, unlike most female RPG character designs. (Upscaling the featureless gold medallions over the pockets was a miss, but that could be fixed.) I covet Refia's boots.

ETA: Her Lulu-Moogle has a Lulu-doll and mog wing tattoos. THIS. THIS:


auronlu: (YoungAuron)
Random web browsing occasionally takes me to Japanese fanart sites.

Not at all my usual pattern of thought, but I like this Auron / Jecht piece.

Reminds me a little of nidrig's painting style.

Also this one of the Farplane (Warning, some very NSFW fanart elsewhere on that site, but that particular artist's work is safe. I am keenly disappointed to find that this is not, in fact, Auron, Braska and Jecht going clubbing.)
auronlu: (Default)
And if I ever get LHAD done, so help me, I'm commissioning.

Anyhoo. DeviantArt person I know from Squidoo (and zir "A unicorn is a horse that has been properly sharpened" design is the sweatshirt I wear all winter.)

info plus sample artwork:
http://www.squidoo.com/art-commissions

DeviantArt (including MLP and Disney fanart which zie should not be so embarrassed about... Meg/Esmerelda=WIN):
http://flynn-the-cat.deviantart.com/

flynn is almost the only other fandom person I know on Squidoo, so we glommed together early on.
auronlu: (Yuna's Final Aeon)

Five pages of it so far, but oh, I hope this story continues:

Guardian 

With Ginnem! 

There's an image of them out in the rain with Ginnem holding up an umbrella that I really like. Can't explain. 
 

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