Fanfiction: what is it good for?


A renowned scholar takes a look at fanfiction.

Fanfiction. What is it good for? Everything. And nothing. Sure, you might be able to create a variety of situations in which your favorite characters discover their budding sexualities while also crossing the boundaries of time, space, and every fetish imaginable, but let's look at it like this: if Severus Snape could travel through a wormhole into other dimensions, do you think the first thing he'd do is go and have hot, steamy sex with Naruto? I'd like to think higher of Hogwart's employee screening process.

Wait, now that my mental hard drive has spun up, I remember Hogwarts hiring awful teachers quite a bit. Never mind that example, then.

Let's rather look at it like so: Satsuki Kiryuin and her eyebrows have finished their plot and now want to go to the beach for a relaxing day of non-fascism. Guess who's there? Sonic the Hedgehog. Rather than suggesting an erotic evening of sex and picking sand out of your various orifices, she would probably freak the hell out and wonder who this blue golden-ratio-proportioned animal was. And why he's only wearing shoes. The fact that the characters accept these improbabilities is what makes fanfiction so compelling.

So if I accept these irrational tales at face value, what then are we left with? If indeed, Gollum and Konata Izumi get married (and Gendo Ikari officiates the ceremony), what can we take from this story? What benefits us? Are we taking some select moral tale, or perhaps a lick of humor? Frankly, I'm failing to see anything funny about said fanfiction. I doubt Gollum would make a good husband, given his obsessive nature, and I'm not sure he'd make it past the wedding anyway. Due to his certain propensity for rings, he'd probably snatch the shiny golden circlet away from the ringbearer and never be seen again.

If not humor, if not morals, and if (most certainly) not knowledge, then what is it that we must gather from fanfiction?

The answer is thus: sexual gratification.

Just kidding! Who'd dare think such a thing. Now THAT'S irresponsible. No, the answer is actually scientific understanding of the intersection between culture and its fans. Yes, this is truly the value that fanfiction imparts, little as it may be. How our otaku society uses pre-existing characters to create new works is, frankly, a fascinating subject.

Yes, erotic fanfiction breaks down boundaries that even normal fiction balks at. You think a writer like George R.R. Martin would ever write a story about an older brother and his younger sister that crushes on him? Hmm, wait. Bad example. But still, Martin would never come close to the creativity fanfiction fosters. Although, he does have a lot in common with Light Yagami -- every stroke of his pen kills another character.

But man, who'd get aroused from fanfiction? Ha! Definitely not this guy. I'm so very confident in my heterosexuality and social normativity! Fanfiction is certainly not just to get your rocks off. It has plenty of intellectual value that exceeds your initial glance. But I'm definitely not reading Goku x Sasuke erotic fanfiction to get my rocks off. No sir. It's all for research.


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Ben Huber
Ben HuberContributor   gamer profile

I'm the managing editor of Japanator by day, and a roving freelance graphic designer by night! /  more + disclosures



Filed under... #April Fools #Fanfiction #Japanator Original



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