I've been thinking about something recently; it's about dynamics between two (or more) characters. I think they're cool and fun, but I do want to be critical for just a moment and I think some people need to calm the fuck down sometimes.
I'm saying this because when aspects of shipping culture are criticized, people get a lil' nutty. (ex. Someone saying "hey the Hobie age discourse is kinda overshadowing discussion about Spiderverse" and someone else responding with "seems like an attack on queer culture" - yes I saw that, wish I was kidding! Had some big "I like pancakes" energy.)
I just wanna make some take on some takes. Lesgo.
"If you only talk about your ship or you change the characters to make your ship work, make your own OCs!!!"
You don't get to dictate how someone expresses their love for a piece of media. I mean, think about artists of a fandom who mainly just draw one or small bunch of characters. Just because I mainly draw the Sunshine Lovers, it doesn't mean I don't care about other aspects of Pop'n Music. A lot people draw Nyami and Mimi, MZD, the Deuil gang, etc - I just like filling my own personal niche. That's what shippers are doing - they are filling a niche that makes them the happiest. Often times this due to a hyperfixation or even a projection via fantasy. I thought we were over this when we realized it wasn't cool to harass kids over their self-insert art of an OC with Shadow the Hedgehog or Sans.
Also it's not so simple to "just make OCs" for a lot of people, and I'll explain why. Sometimes it's because they kin or even are fictives/IRLs (not trying to say these are all the same experiences, I am bad at describing things OTL) and want to use the characters they wanna use because of that deep connection that can't easily be lifted. It's either that, or they don't want to have to make an entire universe just to ship two characters they like. I've tried to make OCs to replace Avocado Cookie and Matcha Cookie to have a ship I like with their vibes without their garbage source... but then scrapped my ideas because it meant I'd also have to make bootlegs of other characters and lore-pieces involved in my AU.. and I'm sorry, not gonna do that just so I can have my funny blacksmith x funny geisha mage ship. I got other things to draw.
Oh, yeah, that's another valid reason someone might tweak characters to fit their ship! Sometimes a source someone once loved went to shit but there's still a hardcore attachment to aspects of something, and again, they may not want to have to make their own version of something to enjoy said aspects. I think it's morally okay to flat-out "steal" characters you like as long as you're not trying to publish your work to a company. Avocado and Matcha are my OCs. Who the fuck is Devsisters?/j
Basically my point is "let people enjoy media however the hell they want as long as they're not being toxic!"
Also, mildly tweaking how a character acts ("making them OOC") when they're in love ain't a cardinal sin. How people act and present themselves often changes depending on who they interact with. We aren't writing one-note Saturday morning cartoons. My example would be how I portray Matcha Cookie. In canon, she is a chaotic gremlin who wants to overthrow her older relative and accidentally knocked out a kid. While I do stay true to that, I also portray her as someone traumatized by her poor treatment and she opens her heart when given kindness by Avocado Cookie. This is due to having my own narrative and self-projection - I kin the hell outta Matcha and project heavily onto her due to some traits of her reasonating with me. Honestly, the only time I think where its bad to change the characters for a ship is if the piece of media is explicitly telling you "THIS COUPLE IS NOT A GOOD IDEA." Like, if you're completely writing out that Sangwoo is an abusive monster or that Frollo is a genocidal maniac, that's an issue because it completely goes against what the story is about and essentially could be seen as justifying the actions of someone genuinely terrible. Baby Boy Billy making Shadow eventually opening his heart so he smooch Sonic isn't the same thing as that.
""People who say we focus on ships too much are no fun!"
I have mixed feeling on this. On one hand, yes, if you have a healthy fixation on a ship, nobody should tell you to stop talking about it. Don't like that AvoMatcha is the only Cookie Run thing I draw? Too bad. Bite me.
Buuuut a lot of the time when people say that, it's not meaning "QUIT HAVING FUN."
Often times it's referring to people who take shit too far, as in the Voltron fandom harassing voice actors and writers over Klance, or the writers behind the new Spiderverse movie getting hounded about Spider-Punk age for the sake of shipping him and discussion of that pretty much overshadowing the movie. I don't know anything about your radioactive arachnid people, I just know there's someone named Hobie and people wanna ship him with someone. I don't even know who!
If "don't harass the writers" means "quit having fun" to you, screw your head on tighter and get better reading comprehension skills.
"If you can't handle darker subjects, you're boring!"
Bro fuck off lmao. Not everyone is into your AO3 omegaverse crap. Hell, some people may not want to even depict a couple arguing. That's fine and valid. Fiction is a fantasy, an idealized version of reality.
As someone with divorced parents who also had their own garbage relationships, couples going through dysfunction behind "gdi you forgot the milk ya goober" is not something I'm comfortable depicting. I don't care if my fluffy head-over-heals 24/7 ships aren't realistic and they're too boring for you. I'd rather eat a mug of Cheerios than a mug of rusty nails (yeah I eat my cereal in mug lol).
Also... you can depict darker subjects without the couple being objectively terrible to each other. My ships' stories contains themes of trauma, ableism, and queerphobia as things the characters go through, but there's also bonding through said trauma and personal redemption. Not saying this the only way to portray darker subjects, but I'd rather they not be something to add some smexy spice to a ship. I get that some of this shit is because it's a coping mechanism... Still doesn't mean I can't be uncomfortable and PERSONALLY think there's better ways of coping. I won't harass you over it, I'll just not interact with you.
""Fujos (the non-mlm ones, not the ones who can reclaim yaoi) make better content than gay men"
YES I HAVE SEEN THIS TAKE. FROM A LESBIAN, BY THE WAY. LIKE... FUCK OFF??? If a queer man ain't comfortable with your fetishization of gay men, that's in his right. If a gay man writes cute fluffy slice-of-life, let him enjoy and let the people who like it like it.
Hell, sometimes I worry that I, a lesbian, am not portraying my MLM ship right. One of them is clearly a lot more feminine than the other and I'm worried people will mistake that as some sort of stereotype or fetishization. I've asked MLM friends if I'm doing shit right because I actually care about what they think. I've fucking seen MLM/masc-leaning NBLM get harassed over expressing discomfort with content made to fetishize them (hint hint Cream Unicorn's VA). That shit ain't okay. You fucking high or something???
uuUU maybe I'll add more when I think of more.
Here's another topic I want to get into; non-romantic dynamics. Honestly? They deserve the same amount of respect and love as romantic ones. I wanna see people make itabags and fanzines and stan accounts about their favorite platonic buddies. I wanna see people ramble on and on about their comfort character and their child, whether they're their birth-child or the orphan they found during their adventures. I wish there was a cute name for a non-romantic dynamic. (also, yeah QPPs also should get the same amount of respect too - they're not "just friends" but they're not a romantic relationship. They are deep and meaningful in their own way.)
My current biggest comfort dynamic between two characters is actually my headcanon dynamic between Prince M and Really. I envision them a groovy space dad and his even more groovy virtual child he found while in space. Something just feels sweet about that. I dunno, something in me just finds dad + child dynamics incredibly endearing. Drawing art of these two together brings major comfort to me, like as much as a lot of you feel about a ship. I very heavily kin Really and my art of them together is projection of that, especially when it comes to my age regression. I've drawn a lot of aged-down Reallys being taken care of by Prince M - who doesn't want a sweet alien prince taking care of you? HOOOOOWEVER I have seen people who ship them as a couple before and... holy shit that pisses me off. That's a child and an adult, my guy. I've had my art of them together mistaken as ship art which just upsets me. If you look at my art of them together, you can tell there is nothing romantic going on. I wish there were more people who did things like this - just being enthusiastically happy about two characters together without people defaulting to "OMG A SHIP!"
Honestly, there'd be less kids getting unfortunately roped into becoming a proshipper if they realized that you can be over the moon over a dynamic between family members without shipping them. I've seen that happen and it's sad. No, kid. Just because you like your dynamic of Poison Mushroom and Licorice doesn't mean you gotta ship them. You can just give them a sweet sibling relationship, I promise people won't think you're weird if you're not weird. Found family AUs are fucking awesome and my favorite thing ever.
Anyway that's my ramble, I don't know how to close this sooo [fart with extra reverb]
Funny Rarepairs Make Esme Go Brrrr
Listening to: First Aid Kit - Ready to Run
Eating: I ate a Creme Egg and regretted it immediately [stands on scale]
I desperately needed something positive because I really want to stop dwelling on feeling like garbage, so lemme just talk about the ships I adore! Personally, I think having rarepairs that you pretty much have to yourself is a really cool feeling. I'm not really someone who cares too much about having ships that the most content in the world - besides, that just gives me more motivation to draw more of it myself!
Avocado x Matcha (AKA AvoMatcha AKA GuacTea)
This is the one you probably know me for! I've been obsessed with them for nearly four years of my life. I love them so fucking much. This is just a very flexible and interesting ship to me. On the surface, it's a very goofy ship. Avocado tells jokes, Matcha goes hehe. There's more to it than that thanks to the dynamic I've formed in my head. Matcha to me an is a character I heavily relate to - she was born to be a second Dark Enchantress but then got tossed aside for her seemingly lack of compotence. In my story of AvoMatcha, Matcha is found by Avocado when she in a very vulnerable state, alone and scared after what's supposed to be her family abandoned her. Avocado also has her own trauama, losing her friend (Dark Choco) to the dark side and seeing their downfall and feeling responsible for what happened. The two of them bonded over their trauma over Dark Enchantress and eventually fell in love.
These two made me realize that my favorite kind of romantic dynamic is "their lives sucked and they made it not suck for each other." I always personally found stories about overcoming trauma to be a million times more interesting than stories that glorify terrible and unhealthy aspects of relationships. They also made me realize I like ships that are very versitile. AvoMatcha can two silly middle-aged women who are constantly giggling at each other, but because of Matcha's background, it can be a story of someone moving up from their toxic environment while falling in love with someone also affected by their trauma.
No matter how shitty I think the Cookie Run franchise itself has become, I still adore these two to a degree where I believe my work is seperated enough from Devsisters. I treat them both a lot better than the games ever will. I guess you can say I reclaimed them as my OCs. Hell, I've tried making OCs to replace them to further remove them from their source, but both attempts never really panned out. I just love my girls that much.
W.B. Rose x Ted=Pete (AKA RoseyBones AKA "Gay Old Men" - thanks Tommy)
Admittedly I've shipped these two together since I first started really developing my Sunshine Lovers lore. It was sort of a natural progression. It started off as "oh they're just insanely close friends who trust each other with everything." Then on of my pages I wrote "they're like a married couple but not actually married" I quickly realized "wow that's... kinda gay lol" - in December of 2022, I was like "fuck it, ship time."
Kinda similar to AvoMatcha in regards of how I view their dynamic. In my story, Ted=Pete got the shit end of the stick his entire mortal life; he was a starving artist who grew up in an environment where he couldn't truly be himself and was very bitter and close-minded due to it. Upon dying and coming back to life, he became motivated to make things right, improve himself as a person, and most importantly, take full advantage of his second chance at life. On the other side of the pond, there was W.B. Rose, who had his own trials; constantly judged by his peers for how he presented himself. However he never gave up on his ambitions. For every insult and slur that was thrown at Mr. William Blake Rose, it only pushed him to do more for his local queer community.
The two crossed paths while both of them were trying to make it somewhere in life. Ted had his poetry, W.B. has his voice. They decided to work together, which turned into forming a groovy band with other groovy pals. They're sort of the father figures to said band and... I dunno, that's just sweet to me. I like to imagine these two as a very artsy couple, the kind of that will be at a museum for hours or cuddle while watching old movies or something. Of course, music and poetry are the things that they love most!~
Not gonna lie, making headcanons about Pop'n Music characters is great because the vast majority of characters have no story, so you can make whatever crazy bullshit you want and ship whatever the hell you want (unless it's Objectively Bad of course). Reminds me of the early days of Cookie Run - miss that shit.
World's Shittiest First Entry!
Mood: depressed as shit
Listening to: Gang of Youths - Vital Signs
Eating: Oreos like a fatass
So I finally made a journal page, which is something I've wanted to make for a while now. Anyway I'm a fucking mess!! What a great first entry, huh? Okay so I've kinda abandoned my site for a while due to being hyperfocused with my art. Not too bad, but I've come to terms it's been getting to an unhealthy degree. I relapsed back into a chronic Twitter user which has proven to be absolutely detrimental to my mental health. Speaking of mental health, I'm currently in fucking shambles, hooray!!!
It all started with a health scare in the family - we thought my stepdad had lung cancer, but thankfully it turned out that to just be an infection that's easily fixed with medication. Didn't stop me from realizing I'm absolutely worthless without my parents, being a mentally disabled adult. I've been hating every single aspect of myself as a person since then.
I also have been increasingly angry at the world, whether it be because of idiot children trying to cancel creators for making edgy jokes 5 years ago, proshipper dumbfucks getting increasingly more obnoxious, or... y'know, republicans basically wanting to commit a slow and painful genocide and nobody's doing shit about it!!!
Funny thing - the straw that broke the camel's back and made me decide to turn back to Neo was my hatred for the "autism creature" and "ADHD creature." TBH and his stupid fuckbuddy friend BTW are infantilizing pieces of shit. I didn't want to fucking die all my life due to my conditions to be seen as a "uwu SCRUNKLY BLORBO CREECHUR." I lost a friend over this opinion (I wasn't even that harsh like I am here) - thanks, totally needed that!
Honestly I feel so fucking disconnected from just about anything. I can't relate to anybody anymore. I'm never into the latest flavors of the month and feel like I have to be in order to be accepted into society. I am in full disassociation mode. I'm just scared I'll become a toxic bastard like I used to be and I'd rather die than to be like that again.