Ryuuen no Miko requested to be interviewed for this issue of the fanzine regarding the issue of FY fanclubs. The interview was conducted in realtime in a chatroom and the questions were asked by either Kai Ling or confuzcius.
Q: Are you a member of any FY fanclubs? and if so, which ones?
RnM: I'm a member of the Nakago fanclub, the original Nuriko fanclub... urmm.... the Tooya Club, the Chichiri Club... the Hotohori Club. ^^; These are all the original ones, BTW. I might have joined the Boshi Twins Club... did that one ever come out? oO; *remembers making a whole bunch of graphics for that one.* Oh! And the Shirtless Nuriko Club, because Ritz made me. o_o;
Q: Why did you join these fanclubs? Was it because of the characters or some other reason?
RnM: I thought that it was a good way to show support for a fellow fan. ^^* Having people join their club makes the person feel like their work has been a success. I wouldn't join any club for a character I didn't like, tho. ^^; I guess you could say it was partly because of the characters, but it was mostly about support. ^^;
Q: That's admirable for supporting fellow fans. ^-^* But when you said, 'original fanclubs', you sound like you disapprove of the newer fanclubs?
RnM: I don't so much disapprove of the newer fanclubs as I do disagree with them. I feel like they're taking away from the original clubs. I mean, it's all fine and dandy to want to show your fanship (is that a word? ^^;) towards a character... but in the end, all you've done is make the leader of the original club (a real person) feel bad about being copied, and about not being original any more, because you wanted to show your love for a character, who isn't even a real person. ^^; It just seems like people are getting their values messed up.
Q: You don't feel that having multiple fanclubs for one character shows the numerous fans' support?
RnM: I feel that having 200 members in one club is a much better option than having 10 fans each in 20 clubs. ^^; Because you're still showing support, and nobody in the real world is getting hurt by it. If you're trying to show the world that Nuriko has lots of fans, wouldn't it be more impressive to see a club with an insane amount of members, than a whole bunch of itty-bitty clubs? ^^;
Q: May I ask what your definition of fanship is?
RnM: My definition of fanship... anyone who loves the show. Gets into the characters, digs the music. If you enjoy the show, you're a fan.
Q: I was wondering, does supporting other fans fall into fanship?
RnM: To a degree. I wouldn't say that Joe Schmoe in Podunk, Nowhere, who loves FY but has never spoken to any other living soul about it, isn't a fan. I guess my definition of being a GOOD fan, is support the good aspects, and try to change the bad ones. ^^;
Q: And the bad aspects are...?
RnM: Bad aspects... plagiarism, obviously. Lack of originality.
Q: I guess what I'm trying to ask is, can making many fanclubs be seen as support for the original fans?
RnM: I suppose... I just think a better way, rather than making an entirely new fanclub, would be to contribute to the first fanclub. Make it better; help the president out. Contribute art, essays, music. Why do something that's already been done? How is that helping anyone? I've actually done that.... ^^;; I threw a whole slew of graphics at the Dilandau fanclub. ^^;;
Q: With the growth of FY fandom and websites, do you believe it's difficult to come up with original ideas anymore?
RnM: It's become more difficult, yes. But that's what makes it such a fun challenge! Coming up with new ideas is such a wonderful way to 'prove' your fandom, if you feel the need for that. ^^;
Q: Why do you think fans feel the need to create and run fanclubs for themselves, then? That is to say, why do they not try to come up with their ideas, and simply copy others?
RnM: Well, as awful as this sounds... a lot of people do it for the attention it gets them. They may not even know it themselves, but... I think a lot of people see the success others have with their pages, and think "golly, gee, I would love to have what they have". Rather than spend the extra time it would take to think up something that hasn't been done before, they choose to try and do the same thing. To them, it's not a problem because the person they're copying from is all the way across the Internet. It's easy to forget that there are people behind every single page out there. And now there's a new problem; the newer fans don't know any other way. A lot of the older fans get fed up with all the copying and plagiarism and lack of originality, just because they remember when it was different. The newer fans see that everyone else is copying, so they think that they should, too.
Q: Yet there are plenty of fans who support and join these newer clubs who have copied from the original ones.
RnM: I know. ^^; That's one of the things that I have a hard time with. I know not everyone sees things the way I do. It's great that the newer clubs are getting support; it's great that the fans are doing things for each other. But I still think there's something fundamentally wrong with it all.
Q: To the subject of the older fans being fed up... we have seen FY websites shut down for this reason. Do you think that's the right way to approach the issue?
RnM: Heh, I'm an offender there. 9_9; Obviously since it's something I've done, I must think it has its merits. There's just not much else a person can do. If they value their originality, and everyone starts to take that away from them, what option do they have but change? Rather than revamp an entire 36MB site, I chose to shut it down and divide up the stuff. @_@; And start anew. I know that there are others who feel the same way.
[The website that Ryuuen no Miko speaks about is her Nuriko Shrine. -ed.]
Q: Don't you think that's very unfair though?
RnM: Unfair how? And to whom?
Q: Unfair to you. It was your site to begin with, after all.
RnM: I admit I had my moments of self-pity. ^^; And it is a bit unfair, but that's life, right? (What a non-helpful answer.) I chose to deal with it my way. I could have come down on all those who detracted from my site, but that was more time and effort than I felt the site was worth. Plus, I already had a bit of a reputation. @_@;; I weighed my options and felt that shut down was the best choice.
Q: Best for you? Or best for others?
RnM: Best for me. ^^; I did my best to keep the fans from suffering; I gave all the stuffs to other sites so that the resources would still be there. But in the end, if your website isn't making you happy, why keep it?
Q: What do you think is the best way to teach the newcomers, then?
RnM: In all honestly, I don't think it can be done. v_v; There are SO many new fans coming in every day. It's a great thing, but it makes it feel like I'm raging against a hurricane. ^^; We can try to teach the newcomers some netiquette; support original thought. Come down on plagiarists. But other than that, it's up to the newcomers themselves.
Q: I feel that I have to agree with you there. After all, we can only teach if they're willing to learn, and who is to say, our ideas are the right ones? Anyway, as a person who feels that your originality had been stolen (since you closed your website), do you think other fanclub creators feel the same way if/when they see duplicate fanclubs?
RnM: I don't think they can help but feel that way. I run a fanclub for a RuroKen character, and just last week someone e-mailed me to tell me (not ask 9_9;) that they were making another one. I actually felt sick to my stomach.
Q: What did you say to the person who e-mailed you?
RnM: I asked that they please rethink their idea. I outlined the merits of originality. I explained my feelings. And that's really all I can do. That's part of what makes it awful.
Q: Do you think it helped?
RnM: I didn't receive a reply. I guess we'll see. ^^;
Q: Why do you think she/he emailed you to tell you about it?
RnM: He/she asked that I look over the site once it was finished and offer suggestions. It wasn't malicious in nature.
Q: So, it's back to these newcomers not knowing any better, isn't it?
RnM: Yep, so it would seem. ^^; I just hope it's 'not knowing' rather than 'not caring'.
And there you have it...is the tragic lack of originality in FY websites simply because they "don't know any better"? It seems that the majority of the people who create and start duplicating fanclubs for the same character, they think that it's nothing more than a shrine; it's just an idea. That really don't think that fanclubs are different from shrines, and that what they have created aren't for the fans, but for the creator.
Finally, Ryuuen no Miko had this to add, "But ideas can only come from people, and the people are the ones who get hurt. It's like you had something cool and original, and someone just rips that away from you. Fanclubs have leaders. Shrines have maintainers. It's one thing to have more than one maintainer. Having more than one leader can get very... personal. That's when feelings get hurt."
article copyright 1999 Ryuuen no Miko, Kai Ling and confuzcius