Monday, November 10, 2008

Cast it to Dogs

Apparently, this year's Yuletide Obscure Fandom Fanfic Exchange isn't including Angel Sanctuary as one of the nominated fandoms. That's really too bad - I've always enjoyed the AS stories on Yuletide and feel, as much as one can feel possessive about a fandom when one doesn't interact with it in any way, that it's one of my fandoms. For that matter, in those rare moments when I'm vaguely tempted to participate in Yuletide, it's one of the only fandoms where I can actually think up an idea for a story request (Alexiel and Madhatter. Ideally with Alexiel as Jesus. Literally, I mean, because it's heavily implied in the manga.).

So I was a little irritated to see the lack of AS this year, and, oddly enough, assuaged my irritation by going to to see if AS was really no longer an obscure fandom. There were a decent number of stories, it's true, but, more surprisingly, one of them actually piqued my interest. "Cast it to Dogs", by "Acey Dearest," was really surprising good, in particular for a fic. Part of the appeal, however, is probably just that it deals with Kira's relationship with his father, which is actually the reason why I came to like AS in the first place. I watched the DVD of the (fairly awful) anime adaptation of the very beginning of the manga because someone who seemed to have tastes fairly similar to mine had talked about the manga, was pretty bored most of the way through, but was interested enough in the story about Kira and his father to go and check out the rest of the story on the Internet. And then - bang! - I was caught.

I love AS for a lot of reasons - I would say that, despite my eternal adoration of Kira, I actually like the plot even more than I like the characters (unlike, say, Please Save My Earth, which I love primarily because of Shion and Rin and only secondarily because of anything else). It's so chaotic and crazy, a whirlwind, and every strand, even the ones without Kira (or Zaphkiel, as my second-favorite character) has its own appeal. But Kira is, nonetheless, very definitely my favorite character. Consequently, I love his story in the manga, and I love fanfic about him that reminds me of how appealing he is in the manga. A lot of the fanfic about him are romantic (well, this is fanfic, after all), which is fine with me. I don't particularly mind him with Kato, although that's not so interesting to me, and I love reading fanfic about him (in any incarnation) and Setsuna or Alexiel. A large part of his attraction in the original AS is his relationships with Setsuna and Alexiel, so stories putting them together really evoke the appeal of the character very well.

But this story struck me on another level - it brought back to me the very first aspect of the character, indeed, the very aspect of AS at all, that really drew me into the manga. Reading the story, even if it wasn't necessarily that great in myself, I was filled with that sense of awe that I feel in the presence of a really touching tale. I wouldn't say that the relationship between Kira and his father is central to AS, or even to Kira's character (his relationships with Setsuna and Alexiel are obviously FAR more significant). But it is nonetheless a really powerful and moving story that was my first taste of Yuki Kaori's ability to take her often very silly material and make something powerful out of it, and so I really appreciate Acey Dearest for reminding me of something that I really care about.

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