Sunday, July 21, 2013

Interpol Manzai, my new fanfic

I know anyone who's been following me so far thought that this might be a programming-centric blog, but that's not always gonna be the case -- my interests are pretty diverse.  You can always just search for the perl tag.

Anyway, I'm pleased to announce that I've finally gotten around to putting my fanfic online: Interpol Manzai, an Azumanga Daioh-centric megacrossover, following the lives of the cast of girls as they move into adulthood.  In particular, the Interpol part of the title refers to Tomo finally getting her dream job at the ICPO, which is something that you can get a lot of stories out of.  She can fly anywhere in the world looking for trouble -- and that's not to mention the trouble she causes herself, a la Dirty Pair.

The original idea came from a news report I saw back in December 2010, where I saw that Interpol issued an internation arrest warrant (actually a red notice) for Julian Assange.  I started wondering who Interpol would send to arrest him, and Tomo drifted to the top of my mind as the natural choice, lol.   So wrote that, and stayed true to original idea.

But as I got further into the story concept, I realized that I'd want to talk about all of the Azumanga characters as they move into adult life.  After all, I had gone through similar changes in my own life recently, and writing about is a good way of understanding myself.

I figured that since the anime ended in 2003, and the Assange story took place in 2010, I could age the whole cast seven years and see where they are now.  And they all went out and took on different paths in life, but I believe that they'd all still be happy people.  It certainly adds more of a sense of mono no aware, but the overall tone stays light and cheerful.  Plus, if they're taking on the wider world, it's a good excuse to throw in some crossovers.

Lots of crossovers.  Crossovers to You're Under Arrest, Yotsuba&, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, K-On!, Bubblegum Crisis, Kimi wa Petto, Lupin III, and whatever else I can think of.  So long as it it's a modern-day story without huge supernatural element, it's fair game.  It's a pretty diverse group, and therefore hard to keep on a light comedic note all the time.  But the Azugirls have good strong characters, and can deal with a bit of adversity.

In fact, they helped me with a bit of my own adversity.  I recently attended the YAPC:NA conference, as my blog readers know, and one of my main reasons for going there was to look for work.  And it's pretty intimidating, going in and trying to sell yourself with no experience, and very little resume to speak of.  But I was pondering Tomo, and about how she would never be insecure in a situation like that.  Like Jack Rakan told Negi Springfield in Negima, sometimes you just have to be a little bit stupider to be successful.  Sometimes, being happy and believing in yourself is enough.

So I went in there, and decided to act a bit more like Tomo.  More brash, more self-confident, and less concerned about making mistakes.  After all, hubris is one of the virtues of a programmer.  And #perl6 itself had talked about how "adults are imperfect children", because they're too afraid of failure when failure is one of the best ways to learn.  Like a child, Tomo Takino knows she's perfect.  Not factually perfect or free of mistakes, but in always trying to be the best, funniest, most exciting person she can be.

At YAPC I talked to everyone I could, networked like crazy, and summoned the best of my self-confidence.  I did keep a lower "annoyance" level than Tomo though.  Somehow, this actually worked for me, and I got a good $dayjob.   There's something to be said for a philosophy where you always reach for the heavens, but are happy when your hands come back with only a few raindrops.

Anyway, I'll be writing more fanfic when I have time, though my schedule is currently busy with $dayjob and writing Perl 6 stuff as well.  So go read the fic -- although it will help to have seen Azumanga Daioh before hand, hopefully you shouldn't have to -- and the first story is entirely done.  Feedback is very much appreciated; praise for my perfection and cursing my stupidity is equally desired.

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