Bantamweights: A One-Shot

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slartibartfast
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by slartibartfast » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:24 pm

Leaty wrote:My working theory about people missing it is that everybody is looking at MTtB wrong—that they assume the eventual romantic pairing in that story will have to be enabled by some kind of transformative revelation that somehow tilts Iwanako's sexuality from heterosexual into bi/pansexual (or even just a lesbian), and that because Bantamweights doesn't feature such a magical event, it would be impossible that Iwanako could be even unwittingly interested in a girl during the events of the story. And that isn't how sexuality works? If Iwanako is bi/pan in MTtB I quite assure you she's bi/pan in BW, even if she doesn't know it.
See, that's the way I interpreted it from the start—I assumed that she was attracted to girls, but simply hadn't noticed it thus far due to her fixation on Hisao. In both timelines, it makes sense for her to start becoming more aware of it, now that he's out of the picture.

I'll admit that I either missed or ignored most of the subtext when I first read BW, but after another reading, I can definitely see it.
Leaty wrote:My headcanon of bhtooefr's headcanon is that it's all in continuity with Cormac McCarthy's The Road and nothing in the VN matters because everybody's gonna die in, like, a year.

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brythain
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by brythain » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:34 pm

slartibartfast wrote:I'll admit that I either missed or ignored most of the subtext when I first read BW, but after another reading, I can definitely see it.
*grin* that's how education works — first someone tells you what to look for, and then you find you'll see it. I must admit my experience in sharing canteens during my army stint kind of mentally blocked me from thinking of the act of sharing a bottle as symbolising that kind of relationship.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Oct 28, 2015 5:42 am

Leaty wrote:Honestly, like—for some readers I just don't know how I could have possibly provided "the vibe" that Mai and Iwanako had romantic feelings without making it much more explicit (which would have defeated the point). Like what was I supposed to do, add a kiss? That wasn't what this story was about. Iwanako wasn't supposed to fully understand her feelings here, because she was still in pain over Hisao. I would have thought that the fact that Iwanako seemed much as much (or more) heartbroken over the prospect of losing Mai's friendship as her relationship with Hisao dissolving was telling, but for some people that wasn't, sooo...
Exactly. She had just confessed to Hisao and was at that point still heartbroken over how that turned out. Maybe it's just me, but in that situation I never developped feelings for another person...
And it's all the more vexing for me when you take into account that in Developments, Iwanako literally alludes to being in a relationship. Like, who did people think that could possibly have been? Some random, nameless schmuck? Do either of us work that way?
Actually I did assume it was some random guy, since there were no other named characters available.
Like I don't know if it's sociocultural differences or what. I kind of think that if Mai and Iwanako were both male, nobody would have missed it, but that isn't the point.
Why? Like I said, none of the things you mentioned would be out of place for best buddies. Heck, my best friend a few years back was gay (we've since drifted apart, and he's been happily married for a few years now but we still talk from time to time) and I recognize a couple of those situations, and neither I not all the people around us ever got any ideas about us... Now that I think about it, it probably was because I was obviously in love (unrequitted) with a girl we both knew - actually just like Iwanako and Hisao in that story. Hmm. I never thought of it this way until you mentioned switching the genders...
My working theory about people missing it is that everybody is looking at MTtB wrong—that they assume the eventual romantic pairing in that story will have to be enabled by some kind of transformative revelation that somehow tilts Iwanako's sexuality from heterosexual into bi/pansexual (or even just a lesbian), and that because Bantamweights doesn't feature such a magical event, it would be impossible that Iwanako could be even unwittingly interested in a girl during the events of the story. And that isn't how sexuality works? If Iwanako is bi/pan in MTtB I quite assure you she's bi/pan in BW, even if she doesn't know it.
Well, at the time of Bantamweights she was in love with Hisao - or at least still getting over it - and there's no indication in her interior monologue that she might be (consciously) bi. In MTtB hetereo relationships are closed to her for medical reasons. That might not make her bi, but it might make her consider the possibility that she could be.
dewelar wrote:And, in fact, alludes to it strongly enough that even Hisao gets an inkling of it, fer chrissakes!
Really? Where?
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by brythain » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:12 am

Looking at Mirage's and bhtooefr's responses, I can see I'm not alone in parsing the text in a certain general direction. I think that given the text and no other hints, there's at least an element of assumed sociocultural knowledge that would unlock the subtext more fully. It's not that it can't be seen, but that it's sufficiently ambiguous with different sociocultural assumptions, so that you can't nail it for certain. I've spent time shuttling around Europe, NAmerica and Asia, and I still can't call it unambiguously, although I can see that in some situations there would be strong implications, and in others there'd even be firm conclusions.

The other problem is gender-fluidity of boundaries. If you subscribe to the continuum-is-better-description philosophy, that will also apply to texts describing relationships, especially if they're text without visual cues (I'm a lot better at sensing such nuances when watching people, for example). It's also why I tend to write some rather gender-fluidly behaving/thinking characters, because I've observed some people behaving and thinking like that, whether or not they're in conventional relationships of one pigeonhole or another.

It's like parsing Shakespeare — sometimes, without the margin notes, you miss important points. With your notes, Leaty, I can appreciate BW and its juxtapositions with MTtB and Developments a lot better.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Leaty » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:16 am

It bears mentioning that I'm still learning as an author—if people think the homoromantic subtext was way too subdued, I'm more than willing to entertain any sort of constructive advice regarding how I could have made it more evident. Honestly, though, I think I've kind of decided my life experience as a queer woman just didn't translate well here, for at least some of you.

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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by brythain » Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:24 am

Leaty wrote:It bears mentioning that I'm still learning as an author—if people think the homoromantic subtext was way too subdued, I'm more than willing to entertain any sort of constructive advice regarding how I could have made it more evident. Honestly, though, I think I've kind of decided my life experience as a queer woman just didn't translate well here, for at least some of you.
My being a straight man can't have helped much, although I do have a lot of friends with useful perspectives who laughed at me a lot when I mentioned the situation at hand. I don't think it's so much your life experience being translated as your expression of things you would recognise but some of us couldn't possibly identify with, might not notice, or feel uncertain about. However, once explained, it's not like a joke which loses power once dissected—rather, it comes across as a 'I see, that's how it works!' learning experience. Rest assured that I feel a lot more clueful than I was before. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:12 pm

Leaty wrote:Honestly, though, I think I've kind of decided my life experience as a queer woman just didn't translate well here, for at least some of you.
Well, I've always assumed feelings of affection are pretty much the same whether you're straight or not.
In this case it's probably more a cultural thing. Like I said, I'd never have second thoughts about "indirect kisses" when drinking from the same bottle as a friend, and I don't know anyone who would.
None of the actions of the characters in this story screamed - or even whispered - "romantic relationship" to me.
If you have no actions, that only leaves interior monologue - and in this case you said that Iwanako isn't aware of her feelings herself...

It might be that you set yourself an impossible goal when you tried to convey the feelings of a person who doesn't know about their feelings themself in first person narration...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by dewelar » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:26 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
dewelar wrote:And, in fact, alludes to it strongly enough that even Hisao gets an inkling of it, fer chrissakes!
Really? Where?
From Iwanako, it was the idea that she's got romantic feelings for someone (i.e., "special people"). From Mai, it was knowing that she and Iwanako had gotten "pretty close". He hadn't quite put two and two together yet, but give him a night or two of lying awake staring at the ceiling and he'd have it :D. Yeah, I have admitted to being too subtle for my own good sometimes :oops:, but I didn't want to say it outright and spoil Bantamweights, either. The two were meant to be companion pieces for a reason.
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Leaty » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:00 pm

It's not something we've really talked about, but I do wonder if Emi was able to piece it together, even without having a whole lot of context. There's evidence in the visual novel to suggest she's especially sensitive to that kind of thing... But she doesn't make any comments to Hisao about the encounter with Mai after they board the train, so we can only speculate.

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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:08 pm

dewelar wrote:From Iwanako, it was the idea that she's got romantic feelings for someone (i.e., "special people").
Well, Hisao first used "special people" to refer to all his friends in Yamaku, so using it later to refer to SO was probably a bit too misleading.
It being plural didn't help either.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by dewelar » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:34 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
dewelar wrote:From Iwanako, it was the idea that she's got romantic feelings for someone (i.e., "special people").
Well, Hisao first used "special people" to refer to all his friends in Yamaku, so using it later to refer to SO was probably a bit too misleading.
It being plural didn't help either.
*nods* Well, the fact that Iwanako hesitated before saying it was meant to imply that it wasn't exactly the unvarnished truth. Also, keep in mind the definition of "inkling" :).
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:32 pm

I'll just step in for a moment; this being a one shot, we have no baseline to compare the level of their relationship against. This is our first introduction to Iwa and Mai, so it becomes impossible to tell what actions or thoughts are outside the range of their typical interactions. By comparison, we know everything there is to know about, say, Hanako and Iwanako; we were there when they met, all of their history and interactions are common knowledge, so there's no guesswork. Everything is on the table.

It becomes difficult to read subtext when you start in the middle of chapter 7 with no idea who any of the characters are, right? There's not enough context.

Imagine picking up Order of the Phoenix and trying to figure out exactly what the situation is between Ron, Harry, and Hermione. Well, Harry is losing his shit, and everything's going to hell, so who knows how 'normal' he's behaving here? Is he always like this? I guess he likes Hermione? Or something? How many characters are in this book? Have I even met the full cast yet?
And we're back.
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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by SolitudeFreak » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:59 pm

I didn't pick up on anything other than friendship between Iwanako and Mai. That said, I haven't read Developments, so maybe that would put into context if I had?

It also should be noted that at times social cues can bounce off of me like water off of teflon.

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Re: Bantamweights: A One-Shot

Post by Texaboose » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:23 pm

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, repeating how much I love a particular fic - as I seem to be loving every piece I read. However, the caliber of some of the authors in the forum is exceptional, and damn, are you one of them.
Everyone has described way more eloquently and analytically than I ever could on why this is a masterful piece of writing, but I heard that feedback is the crack that fanfic authors live off, so here I leave my praise.
Superb work, Leaty.

Now to finish off Developments and give dewelar his kilo of the good stuff.
Currently reading (and being thoroughly depressed by): After the Dream by brythain
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The Benefit of Hindsight by Puncyclopedia
Learning to Fly by Eurobeatjester
Flutter by Sharp-O

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