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Some time ago I agreed to a challenge from pedanther on Live Journal to answer 5 questions about three fandoms [1].  Pedanther selected Leiji Matsumoto, Robert A. Heinlein, and Card Captor Sakura.

Leiji Matsumoto

1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?

I would have been watching movies at JAFWA, the TV series didn’t tend to get fansubs.  After that it would have been a matter of picking up the shorter OAVs as they were released on DVD.

The main thing about Matsumoto’s work is that it is very stylish, and that is something that really sings to me.

2. Do you think you’ll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?

To the extent that I am a Matsumoto fan I always will be. There’s just something about the grace and elegance of his work that really appeals.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?

The first Galaxy Express 999 movie is simply awesome, it is the distilled essence of Matsumoto at his very best.  I do still like Arcadia of My Youth, but it has acquired unfortunate implications for me over time.

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?

Only to the extent of posting the occasional review. I don’t write fanfiction or manipulate graphics.

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?

Yes, on a qualified basis.  Matsumoto isn’t for everyone, anyone who expects consistent continuity will be deeply frustrated by his work. 

But for those who do like his style, there’s a lot to get into.  I note with cautious optimism that there’s a new Matsumoto series OZMA that screened recently, and I hope to track down a subtitled copy of that if it gets a licensed release.

Robert A. Heinlein

1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?

I grew up on Heinlein, and I’m blaming my eldest brother for that.  In the house I grew up in there were three bedrooms on the bottom floor, one double sized, between 4 kids.  As the youngest boy I had the front half of the biggest room separated by wardrobes and a homemade door, whilst my eldest brother had the back half (and a separate door to the outside).

I was strictly forbidden from reading his books, and I was maybe seven or eight by the time I was reading novels.  Naturally I got very good at a) remembering where the book was when I took it b) remembering my page number without dog earing it, and c) getting it back in place before he came in.

I think all of the SF on his shelf caught my attention sooner or later, but it was the Heinleins that I came back to again and again.

Whatever else can be said for Heinlein, he could always write a catchy, engaging story… just the thing to get a kid reading and keep him reading.

2. Do you think you’ll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?

As time has gone by I have become somewhat more critical of aspects of Heinlein’s work, especially his later works.  That said, there’s still a spirit of joy and discovery there that can grab me at any time. 

There are some Heinlein’s that I will always come back to, so to that extent I’ll always be a Heinlein fan.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?

Most of the short fiction is great, The Long Watch is deeply moving, and –All You Zombies- is one of the definitive time travel stories.  From the early novels, I think Double Star is probably my favourite but most of the Heinlein juveniles are worth a read.

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?

I’ve done the occasional panel at SwanCon and would love to do more.  Beyond that not really

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?

Yes, but it does have to be recognised that Heinlein’s attitudes towards women were products of his time. In some cases he transcended those times, and did so magnificently, but in others (many others) modern readers will recoil in horror.

I would also like to see more realistic assessments of his often complicated, and occasionally contradictory, politics. It is simplistic, and a misuse of the word, to dismiss Heinlein as a fascist when he consistently opposed forcibly putting the welfare of the state ahead of the individual.

So, much as I would like more people to read and love the inspiring work of Robert A. Heinlein, I also recognise that the uncritical wonder of my 7/8 year old self is not likely to be seen again en masse.

That does make me a little sad given how much I’ve gotten from Heinlein over the years.

Card Captor Sakura

1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?

CLAMP. I think that Magic Knight Rayearth was the gateway in this case, but CCS doesn’t have the darker overtones of MKR and remains relentlessly optimistic throughout.
 
2. Do you think you’ll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?

I’ll definitely stay a CCS fan.  Towards the end of the subtitled DVD release I went through a nasty, and depressing, period of unemployment.  I needed the optimism of CCS then, and it is still a show I turn to for comfort viewing [2] when sick or otherwise needing to hide from the world.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?

I like most, if not all, of the episodes.  However the harder Sakura has to work, the more she has to think, the more likely I am to enjoy the resolution of the episode.

The Magical Girl genre can sometimes have a disturbing message that power can only be given to girls, that power cannot be earned or created by girls. Most of the time CCS avoids this, and there is a constant sense that Sakura is earning what she gets.

Which only makes Sakura’s victories the sweeter to share.

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?

Not really. I’ve thought about doing more detailed reviews/analysis but have shied away from actually writing the posts.  I think that CCS is a piece of magic that I don’t want to spoil by looking behind the curtain.

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?

Absolutely.  I’m hoping that a remastered blu-ray edition will get a subtitled release to bring it to more fans.


[1] Leave a comment if you’re interested in playing.
[2] Although ARIA has since given CCS a run for its money in that category.