5 Fandom Biases, Lame Puns, and League of Legends

Despite how good or bad a show might be, there are some concepts that some anime series have that will surely draw in a viewer or two simply because of the inclusion of that particular concept. Sometimes, it will be a visual cue that only barely shows up in an opening sequence/promotional video/poster, and even though that particular element isn’t shown any further in the series, it served its purpose by drawing the audience in for the first episode.

These particular concepts or elements are dubbed as fandom biases, according to the author of Daydream Sanctuary, in a post brought to my attention by a tweet from Tangle-sama. Inspired by that particular idea, here is a list of five fandom biases in anime that I will eat up like gravy. Beware of the lame puns ahead, because I just finished a long TV Tropes session at work, thanks to a very dull morning. Feel free to ignore the League of Legends segments, because honestly, I’m quite addicted at this point.

Time Travel/Manipulation

There’s nothing more awesome than the ability to time travel. As a plot device, time travel is such a fun concept to write around. It requires heavy attention paid to events that happen in a particular order, and having to weave the time-traveling characters in and out of those events without completely messing everything up and becoming his or her own grandparent.

Time systems usually fall under two categories: single time loop, or multiple/infinite timelines. I love single time loops particularly because of the fancy plot-weaving involved when done reasonably well (Haruhi), to the point where grandfather paradoxes don’t really concern me if Rule of Cool applies.  Multiple timelines are pretty neat as well, since there are more possibilities to show the effects of characters trying to change history (Steins;Gate). My only concern for multiple timelines is that the main character sometimes only gets to save the one timeline which is deemed all-important, whereas all the other failed timelines have to reap the consequences of his mistakes.

Either way, there’s been a resurgence of time travel related anime, namely Steins;Gate, Madoka, and The Tatami Galaxy from last year. I wonder if time is running short on the fad. Only time will tell.

(League of Legends Bonus: I just tried Zilean, a time-manipulating champion, and he’s ridiculously fun to play. I’ll be auto-locking him until he’s no longer free, and will end up buying him as he rotates out)

Ice Elemental Powers

For some reason, the power to freeze things just sends shivers down my spine, definitely in a good way. It’s definitely my favourite superhero power. From a writing standpoint, I like characters that have that power, and like seeing the differences in personality in characters that do use them.

They tend to be distant and a bit cold, but as of late, Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny is a refreshing take on the archetype. She’s not an Ice Queen per se, but ignoring her horridly executed and ridiculously awkward crush on Tiger, she had a very awesome spotlight episode in the first cour of the series. Her catchphrase is so freaking awesome too. “My may be cold, but your crime has been put completely on hold!” It was such an ice way to end that episode. 

(League of Legends Bonus: I own pretty much all of the ice-based characters for this fandom bias alone. I use Anivia for AP, Ashe for AD, and Nunu for tank/jungle. Ice-based support hero fucking WHERE?)

Music

It can be a show that is centred around music performance, like Nodame Cantabile or BECK. It can be a show that has an episode suddenly featuring its characters performing music, like Haruhi Suzumiya or SKET Dance. Hell, it can be a show that supposedly centres around music performance, but the main characters just dick around all day, like K-ON or Idolmaster.

I think all of those shows rock, and quite hard at that. I don’t even care about little details like syncing instrument movements with the music. I value the passion of the performance itself, as well as the character-driven motivation behind the performance. In anime and other shows, the performance always has some sort of subtext to it. In SKET Dance, Bossun’s rendition of the pillows was a reflection of his hard work, and his own message to motivate the “client of the week” into going back into music. When the performance is capable of bringing that subtext to the viewer as well, it plucks at their heartstrings.

The slice of life element outside of music is also quite fantastic. It separates stage persona from the person behind the instrument as well. K-ON spends more time depicting the girls drinking tea and being all moe, but it’s only because of those character traits that the music that they perform makes their characters go beyond who they are.

With an instrument in hand, characters become larger than life, and when executed well, it’s just music to my ears.

(League of Legends Bonus: I’m saving up IP for Sona just for this reason alone. I hear she’s an amazing support character as well, and I love playing supports like Soraka and Zilean!)

Steampunk

I could very well write a manifesto on this genre/aesthetic/culture/etc., but I’ve already written quite a bit on it before, particularly in regards to expanding the concept of steampunk beyond Victorian context. In short, the things I love most about steampunk is the can-do attitude of its characters, the self-made enterprise, relentless efforts to create the perfect war machine and the refusal to use it for anything war-related, the spirit of defying social imbalances set by the onset of an industrialized age, and knack for discovery of both the inner self and the outer world.

Steampunk in anime is lacking, and even those that try their hand at it either miss the mark slightly, or are too afraid to incorporate the concept into the story completely. Last Exile comes marvelously close, but the Guild’s technology often overshadows the vanships that symbolize the freedom sought out in Steampunk. Steamboy is beautiful in so many indescribable ways, but sacrifices a lot of story to achieve such beauty.Miyazaki’s works are rife with beautiful technology, but lacks the do-it-yourself ethos. Where’s the truly Japanese steampunk? Where are my karakuri ningyos and automated geishas? I guess I’ll have to write the damn thing myself, as I always have.

Just talking about genre gets me shooting smoke out of my ears, which is why whenever a show comes along that seems to hint at the possibility of representing the medium in the genre, I can’t help but gear myself up for an amazing watch. My fascination is automated at this point.

(League of Legends Bonus: Last week’s hero rotation was astoundingly fun, and I had a blast playing with Heimerdinger and Blitzcrank. This week keeps up on the technology-porn with Rumble, though I’ve yet to try him out because someone’s always insta-locking him in my queues. /sadface)

The Sky

Anything that takes place in the sky is bound to get bonus awesome points just for being in the sky. It’s a marvelous place where one experiences true freedom in flight, and the worries of earthly limitations are miles below, utterly jealous. The sky is open, yet so filled with artistic possibility. No cloud is the same, and in their beauty alone, I’ve started a tumblr with the sole purpose of showcasing the awesomeness of clouds.

Nowadays, when there’s nothing to watch due to the transition between broadcast seasons, all I do is watch old episodes of anime just for sole purpose of staring up at the sky (via the computer screen, but you get my point). You’d be surprised just how wonderful that place can be, even in the most mundane of shows.

It’s hard to believe that I’d be interested in something as mundane as the empty world above us, but believe me, I’m rather cirrus about it.

(League of Legends Bonus: I got relentlessly and repeatedly whirlwinded by a very skilled Jana player the other day. That bitch. I should buy her after Sona and Zilean)

So there you have it. Five of my major fandom biases. I’d love to hear yours.

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10 thoughts on “5 Fandom Biases, Lame Puns, and League of Legends”

  1. I wonder how bulletproof fandom biases are, though? For instance, would you watch a clearly fangirl-targeted music anime like La Corda d’Oro or that Uta Prince thing? Or is it only a case of “these are my biases as long as the shows containing them are the sort of show I might watch anyway”?

    Not trying to sound aggressive or anything, here. I’m genuinely curious. I have a lot of fandom biases (reluctant comradeship, lonely wanderers) but they’re far from absolute – I probably wouldn’t watch an ecchi harem series even if it included said biases, for instance.

    1. I’ll agree that bias is sometimes not enough to keep a fan interested in watching an entire series, but a major point of the bias is to get viewers intrigued enough to at least give it a shot. I personally watched Uta Prince, and even kept watching it for a few weeks, before I succomed to a busy schedule and fell behind and eventually dropped it. Though, with Uta Prince, there were different biases in play. I wasn’t particularly moved by the music, but I was largely interested in the reverse harem aspect. Also, Norio Wakamoto. If anything, it was the absence of Norio later on that made me drop it at all :3

      1. Ah, I see. That’s fair enough; perhaps my biases aren’t strong enough, or you’re simply more tolerant than I am. 😉

      2. I think it’s a case by case basis, depending on the level of bias, as well as the quality of the show itself. Just the right amounts of either will result in watching the show when it wouldn’t normally be watched under other circumstances.

        But you’re right, bias can vary in not just type, but in intensity as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for commenting!

  2. Fate, and the notion of breaking against it. Rebellion against the highest Authority. My favorite works in various media have followed this line of storytelling. FFVI against Kefka; FFTactics against the Glabados Church; the Golden Compass with the usurpation of the Authority by Metatron and abusing his position; Gurren Lagann with the protagonists railing against the artificial evolutionary constraints by the Anti-Spiral.

    Nothing gets me going like an underdog, and the ultimate underdog stories for me involve struggles against fate & destiny.

    It’s why I’ve been such a Penguindrum retard, and why I loved Madoka earlier this year.

    1. That’s an interesting way of putting it. Because fate is unchangeable, anyone who opposes it naturally the underdog. In some ways, time travel is a lot like that too. Since history has already been written, it’s like fate that history often cannot be changed. I guess I’m a bit of a sucker for fate as well in that regard.

      Oh, and I just watched Penguindrum 12. FUCK. I love this show too much.

  3. Time travel for me too. I just love the idea of jumping around eras and witnessing history (or perhaps fucking around with it). Noir elements get me going too. I love the look, feel and style of a good noir story. So awesome.

    1. Noir has that awesome attitude that I love to watch and read, but I find it impossible to write, personally. I’m just not good at all with capturing the mood, which is primary to that style.

  4. Time travel! Ohhhh so much fun and hurts my head all the time ( lolol ) But it does always get some people talking, recently I watched a new tv show Tera Nova! Which is using time as a plot to travel back in the past with dinosaurs sounds really lame yes! But they are using the time line thing just like Steins;gate so that was kind of cool.

    Ice powers! I really can see what you mean there, Bleach has two characters that use ice and are usually the “cold” type with Hitsygaya and Rukia! They are more to the point get it over with fighters, the same with Grey from Fairy Tail who also uses ice.

    One of these days…I WILL TRY LoL but ya….

    1. Rukia is always awesome, even without the ice powers. But when it comes to shonen stuff, I still have a soft spot for Haku. His bloodline limit with the ice mirrors is really unique, and looks quite deadly indeed.

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