Episode 39: Fansplaining!!! On Ice

 
 
Episode 39’s cover: a screenshot of Yuri on the ice.

Elizabeth and Flourish interview Lauren Orsini, a journalist and anime expert. Topics discussed include different generations of anime fandom in the United States, the way language barriers affect the transcultural conversation, depictions of gay men in anime, and—of course—Yuri!!! On Ice. They also take reader mail and discuss the term “beta reader” and the less-common “alpha reader” in fanfiction communities.

 

Show Notes

[00:00:00] As always, our intro music is “Awel” by stefsax

[00:08:24] Musical break #1 is “Folk Tango,” courtesy PeriTune, used under a CC-BY license.

[00:09:00] Lauren Orsini is @laureninspace, the Otaku Journalist, and also takes part in Anime Feminist!

An animated gif from  Sailor Moon  in which Luna, a black cat, stands on a city street, being rained on.

[00:15:21] Here is a Sailor Moon gif just for you.

[00:19:38] Tsutomu Miyazaki, the “otaku killer.”

[00:23:57] Yuri on Ice sales rankings, in case you were wondering.

[00:35:08] @wtfyaoianatomy is the blog we’re referring to.

[00:35:46] If something about this conversation makes you want to see Super Lovers, then be our guest, we guess?

[00:37:28] Ellen Page’s Gaycation Tokyo is viewable online.

An animated gif of Ellen Page waving a rainbow flag.

[00:41:17] Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju! We are excite.

[00:44:42] Mitsuro Kubo & Sayo Yamamoto came up with Yuri!!! On Ice while they were cooking!

[00:45:50] Musical Break #2 is “Tango” by Hugo Caracol, also under a CC-BY license

[00:57:37] Go vote in our poll. Do you use the term “alpha reader”?

[01:01:11] Outro music is “Folk Tango” courtesy PeriTune again.


Transcript

Flourish Klink: Hi Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish.

FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!

ELM: Yes! Episode 39, “Fansplaining!!! On Ice.”

FK: Oooo! That makes me feel like I can ice skate better than I can actually ice skate.

ELM: You can’t ice skate?

FK: I can ice skate, I just can’t do any jumps or anything.

ELM: That’s normal. Also, there’s a lot of kinds of skating, why do you need to do jumps when you could just be checking people?

FK: That actually could be a good solution. You know that when I was younger a lot of people really wanted me to do rugby but I said I couldn’t do it because I hate mud. [ELM laughs] Cause my dad was a star football and rugby player and also I was kinda butch and everybody was like “COME BE ON THE RUGBY TEAM” and I was like “I hate mud.”

ELM: Can I talk about your hatred of mud for a second?

FK: I fucken hate mud. [ELM laughs] I really hate mud, Elizabeth! I never wanna be in mud, I don’t wanna touch mud, I don’t wanna be around mud, mud sucks.

ELM: This is fascinating. I have a friend who is afraid of sand.

FK: I’m not afraid of it, I just hate it. Ew, squishy.

ELM: Well, no, he would say the same things. If you hold up a jar of sand, he’s not like, making the sign of the cross or something. But I don’t know, that's really funny. OK. Yeah, hockey is a choice for you if you really wanna be, you know, get physical with your body.

FK: Mm-hmm. [sings like Olivia Newton-John] Physical! Physical! Da da da da-da da, da-da da!

ELM: Yeah that wasn’t really a musical cue, but I realized the second I said it it was going to be. [FK laughs] OK. “Fansplaining!!! On Ice” is obviously a reference to…

FK: YURIIIIII!!! ON ICE! Which is how I think of it because it’s spelled with the inner, the inside, um…

ELM: It’s also fairly icy here right now.

FK: It is! It snowed. So it’s icy.

ELM: And it’s suuuper cold.

FK: It is really cold here too!

ELM: It’s really cold!

FK: It’s the kind of cold in Boston right now where I was walking down the street this morning and I was like, I need to move to the other side so I’m in the sun because that two degree difference is gonna change my life.

ELM: This is something I also experience in the summer when there’s long long blocks in Brooklyn that have no trees on them in certain neighborhoods. [FK groans] And there’s no relief, there’s no side to walk to, but you’re like “maybe I can just inch along under the tiny eave of this building.” It’s a lot. It’s a lot of weather.

FK: The moment when you realize WEATHER IS HAPPENING. The moment when you realize that a lot of snow is really cold so even when it’s not that cold you’re walking by the snow and you’re like, “Fuck you snow, you’re cold.”

ELM: But also it just got a lot colder.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: The great thing about snow is that it means it’s not that cold.

FK: That’s true.

ELM: It can be too cold to snow.

FK: It can be too cold to snow. I don’t like it.

ELM: I am from a place it can definitely be too cold to snow. OK. Anyway, it’s icy here but obviously referring to Yuri!!! On Ice, so let’s talk about why we’re doing this, who our guest is…that’s it. Those are the two things.

FK: OK, so why we’re doing this. Because everybody and their mother is freaking out about Yuri!!! On Ice, including people who do not normally…

ELM: I don’t think your mother is and I don;t think mine is either.

FK: [sighs] Because everybody…because not everybody but a large proportion of people…because some folks in fandom are really into Yuri!!! On Ice, some of whom have never been into anime before, some of whom are returning after a long time, and it seems to be a THING. It’s a THING. It’s a moment!

ELM: For the uninitiated, Yuri!!! On Ice is an anime, there has been one season, twelve episodes, it’s about figure skaters…

FK: Yes.

ELM: And people are really into it, lots of people I know, even people outside fandom I’ve seen have gotten really into it, or people I think of as outside my fannish spaces, who I know don’t spend time on Tumblr or read fanfiction and whatever, I’ve seen people…I know, just pop culture would do it too. So. That being said, it’s not something that we’re actually in the fandom of.

FK: Uh-uh.

ELM: Neither of us…I think, between the two of us have we seen twelve episodes total?

FK: Between the two of us we have not yet seen twelve episodes total.

ELM: What episode are you on?

FK: I’m on episode, I’m in the middle of Episode Nine.

ELM: And I’m on Episode Three, Flourish.

FK: Yeah, we haven’t seen twelve yet.

ELM: Nine plus three is twelve.

FK: No, I’m in the middle of nine! I haven’t seen all of it.

ELM: OK, we’ve seen eleven episodes total.

FK: [laughing] Eleven and like, two thirds.

ELM: So we wanted to talk to someone who not only was into the show but also is an anime expert and so we thought of Lauren Orsini, who is a journalist that I’ve known for awhile, who is…her blog is The Otaku Journalist, and she writes about anime in particular and also cosplay and I think she writes some in consumerist…like, I don’t know, figures? Action figures feels like the wrong word.

FK: That’s not the wrong word. I mean, it’s some action figures…I know what you’re talking about.

ELM: You know what I mean? Stuff like that.

FK: Collectibles.

ELM: Collectibles! That's better. She writes about it for Forbes, mostly. So it felt like she’d be a really good person to come on because she obviously observes this stuff as a journalist, also is fannishly invested, and I would say that we…I had some hesitations saying, “Oh, we’re talking about a fannish product from another part of the world, do we wanna talk to an American about it?”

FK: Yeah.

ELM: And you had no hesitations about this.

FK: [laughs] Well, I actually…I’m really excited to hear from her about it because I think that she has a lot of perspective on the way that it’s different to be an American fan of an anime than it is to be a Japanese fan watching it in the context of Japan. And I think that it’s important to foreground that, because that’s really what we’re talking about in this context more than anything.

ELM: With a caveat, I would say, of, we also want to talk to Japanese fans. Right? So…

FK: We’re working on that! Actively working on that.

ELM: I guess I’m just hypersensitive about being ethnocentric! So…

FK: Yeah, that’s a reasonable reaction to have I think, but I’m not too worried about it. I’m pretty sure that…

ELM: I think framing it in the context of it being a transcultural fandom experience. So one thing that, obviously we’re gonna get into this with her, but one thing I found interesting about Yuri!!! On Ice is it seems to be, a lot of people I know who’ve gotten really into it are not people I would have thought would have gotten into anime. I’m trying to think of…I mean, Gav, my newsletter partner, is super into it. I think Gav’s watched other anime so I don’t want to speak for her. But you know, she’s also writing Star Wars fic. I get messages from a friend of the show, Roz, who I know is a Cherik…Cherik? Is that how you say it? X-Men.

FK: Cherik.

ELM: Cherik, is that it? Cherik?

FK: Cherik! Charles and Erik.

ELM: Sure, OK. Shipper. And trying to tell me, all right Roz, shout out to you right now, I’ve only seen a couple episodes, but I love that…she was like “It’s not just about skating! You’ll like it even if you don’t wanna watch something about skating,” and I don’t believe that’s true. It’s definitely about skating.

FK: [laughing] It’s definitely about skating!

ELM: I don’t think she’d say it’s NOT about skating, but I was like “I don’t care about skating, I’m not really interested,” and she was like, “It’s about more than that!” It’s like, “Well, yeah, it’s about more than that but…there’s a lot of skating!” [FK laughs] Everything seems to have skating involved somehow!

FK: You haven’t even got to the part where there’s a lot more skating.

ELM: [through laughter] There’s so much skating already!

FK: The skating content really goes up.

ELM: OH MY GOD. It’s just all skating.

FK: Yep.

ELM: I mean there’s those dogs. The dogs are really good.

FK: Yeah, they’re really good. Cute! …OK. We really should, we should talk to Lauren I think. [laughs]

ELM: I just wanna talk about the skating elements!

FK: I think we can probably avoid talking about the skating elements.

ELM: OK, yeah, well, fine, we’ll call Lauren. Let’s do it.

FK: OK.

[interstitial music]

ELM: All right, let’s welcome Lauren!

FK: Welcome, Lauren!

Lauren Orsini: Thank you! Hello, good to be here!

ELM: Thank you so much for coming on. OK. So I think we should start with backstory, just for if our listeners aren’t familiar with your work. Do you want to give a little fan and professional summary and how those intersect?

LO: Sure! My name’s Lauren. Sometimes I go by “The Otaku Journalist” online because I’ve been running a blog for seven years called Otaku Journalist where I write about anime, careers in geekdom, how my fandom intersects with my professional life…on the surface level, I write about anime and other fandoms for Forbes, I review for Anime News Network, I wrote a book on cosplay, I also do other things…

ELM: [laughs] It’s really good! You’re really not sellin’ it. This is like when people ask me what I do, I’m like “I don’t know, I write about fan stuff…”

FK: [over LO's laughter] “I do some things and they’re things.”

ELM: Someone asked me what I got my master’s degree in at a party on Friday and I rolled my eyes, because I have negative feelings about the field, and then I was like, you know what, I should just say what it is instead of just being like “UGH IT SUCKS.” But. So.

FK: They probably also thought that you thought that they sucked.

ELM: Yeah, right? Everything was bad about it. So yeah. That’s fine. OK, all right go back. You started writing about anime as a journalist because you were an anime fan. Right?

LO: Yes. I got my master’s degree in journalism, and while I was doing it we all had to start a blog. I was writing about journalism, but it got boring really fast, and I realized, you know, what I really wanted to be writing about is fandom. Then I realized I was really into niche reporting, and I wanted to encourage other journalists to write about things they were passionate about.

When I was getting my graduate degree here in DC, our teachers were telling us not to have identities at all. Like, don’t even vote. Don’t vote for the President, someone might find out and they won’t think that you are a—they will think you are a biased journalist, and you need to be completely objective. I’m like, “Well, that’s crap!” By being subjective, by bringing my own skills to the table and my own interests, I can actually do better reporting. I could become known for what I’m interested in and what I’m informed about. That’s why I’m on this podcast.

ELM: Sure, right. It’s so funny because it’s like, I mean, I think it’s hard when you’re writing about fandom, because…I don’t know. There’s a lot of different kinds of fandom, and I think that some fandom is uncritical, so if you’re supposed to be a movie critic and you’re in a certain movie fandom, are you going…you know what I mean? That’s not to say, obviously, the kind of fandom that I think all three of us spend time in, there’s lots of critical time spent as well. It’s not just like [gasps] “And did you see when Legolas did this?” I don’t know why I just settled on Lord of the Rings for that example. It’s fine. It’s 2017. It’s all right.

FK: Well, he is the prettiest.

ELM: Yeah, did you see what he did? Just slidin’ on down?

FK: And he sort of has bishie hair, so there’s that.

LO: Bishie, or bishi, like bishonen.

ELM: I don’t know what words you’re saying right now.

LO: A beautiful boy.

ELM: Where did this word come from?

FK: Like Victor when he has long hair at the beginning!

ELM: Oh, are you trying to bring this over to that? OK.

FK: I’m just saying! I had not thought about that word because I don’t watch anime very much. I hadn’t thought about that word since I was in high school.

ELM: Oh, this is an anime word! OK. All right. Let’s talk about…so Lauren, you’ve been watching anime for a real long time, I’m guessing, then.

LO: Since I was 12.

ELM: OK.

LO: I think the first anime I saw when I was 11, but I started identifying as a fan at 12. Back then, me and my best friend had to borrow…“borrow”…VHS tapes from her older sister, who was really cool, we thought. I guess today she would have been thought of as definitely a nerd.

ELM: She might have been then too! [laughing]

LO: PERHAPS.

FK: But not to you!

ELM: Yeah! No, now that’d be cool though. That’d be fine.

LO: Mm-hmm. So rather than Sailor Moon or Dragonball Z, my first anime were actually kind of obscure subtitled titles, a sci-fi fantasy sort of like Lord of the Rings called The Slayers—well, it’s kind of like a weird Dungeons and Dragons group going around the world exploring.

ELM: Wait, so you’re a few years younger than me, right? You and your—

LO: I’m thirty.

ELM: No, never mind…actually no! Now I’m 32. You’re Flourish’s age. I don’t know what age I am any more.

FK: It’s true.

ELM: So I’m thinking about the time, so then we were all children and teens around the same time. I do kind of feel like when we were, especially around that age, middle-school age? There was a lot of anime in American popular culture. Is that a good assessment, or…?

LO: Well, we talk about anime fandom in waves. And if you had gotten into anime at the same time I did, you would be called a fourth wave anime fan. Yes, it’s just like feminism. [all laugh] Our generation of anime fans is called the Toonami generation, because Cartoon Network started running something called Toonami when they were putting Sailor Moon on TV, Gundam Wing went on TV, Dragonball Z. And a lot of people got into anime with that as their gateway. You can often determine when someone got into anime when they say what their favorite show was or what their first show was.

ELM: So we’re talking about Western fans, then, right? American fans.

LO: Yes.

ELM: For the three previous waves, what were the means of dissemination? Were there American networks that were airing stuff, or were there just ways that it came to the US?

LO: I would have to look it up. I know one is about a California sci-fi club where they would, someone in Japan would record the anime on VHS, someone in the US who knew Japanese would type up the script. So everyone in the club would have a copy of the script, and they would just be reading it along with the anime, which was running raw on the TV.

FK: Woah, so like an early version of fansubbing, except there was no way to put the subtitles on the thing!

LO: Exactly.

FK: Woah, that’s wild!

ELM: OK, but if that's one of the waves, but then a different wave is when Dragonball Z was on American television, I feel like one of these waves is gonna bring in a lot more people than the other.

LO: Yeah. Yeah. They get bigger and bigger. You start to think of when anime started becoming mainstream as being like Toonami.

ELM: Gotcha.

FK: It’s funny because it seems like anime, for people in the fourth wave, we had already been prepared by remakes of shows like Power Rangers and the popularity of “Pokémon” to think about Japanese cultural products as something we were just expecting to have. So I mean, we’re the same age, the first anime I ever saw was Sailor Moon I think, but before that I had been really into “Pokémon” and into, I mean, I was never like a fan of Sailor Moon, but I knew about this, right? I had some idea that Japanese cultural products were a thing that you would get.

LO: For me it was something still kind of strange. My sisters were really into, maybe was it 90210? I’m not sure what was airing at the time. It was a little too early for The OC.

ELM: That was on for like 50 years, so it’s entirely possible. [all laugh] Till the mid-90s, I would say is when it went off the air.

LO: When I was like, 12, I didn't really relate to any of these people on TV who claimed to be the same age that I was. Oh, I remember one! There was this show about the Olsen Twins that was going on.

ELM: Not Full House.

LO: No, not Full House. They were, it was like…it was about both of them, and they were in middle school and they always had perfect outfits and hair…I think I’m the same age as the Olsen Twins.

FK: Yeah, we are.

LO: OK. But I didn’t relate to any of that. They always seemed so perfect and they were very good at performing femininity, and I just didn’t see myself in anything on TV. And I think that’s why I got into anime. Cause I thought I was different and weird.

ELM: You don't have to [laughs] You don't have to scoff at your young self! I used to watch, even though I was way too young for it I used to watch 90210, can I just say as an aside—Flourish, have I ever told you about this?

FK: No. You have never told me about this.

ELM: My first boyfriend when I was 12, see, 12 is not the right age for that show. I think a lot of it probably went right past me. Yeah, it was during my very brief infatuation with California. This was a very complicated long story. But this part in particular…I told my boyfriend when I was 12, at the school dance, I wanted him to be less of a Brendan and more of a Dylan. Are you familiar with these characters and what that means?

FK & LO: NO!

ELM: OK, Dylan was Luke Perry and Brendan was Jason Priestly, if that gives you an indication. [all snicker] You can imagine Luke Perry was like the bad boy with the motorcycle who in reality was like 45-years-old, right?

FK: Yeah.

ELM: How ridiculous was that, that I said it to a human person? I feel bad for him.

LO: It was a different time.

FK: It was a different time. I just wish I had something equally embarrassing to share about, I don’t know.

LO: I do.

ELM: He was just way too much a Brendan though, you know? Euch.

FK: OK. So you, Elizabeth, were into 90210 in the sense of putting that into your brain. And Lauren, you were like “That’s not me, and I need to find a thing that’s other the way I’m other, and anime feels other, so let’s do that.”

LO: Yeah.

ELM: No!

LO: Sorry, Elizabeth.

ELM: I didn't relate to 90210!

FK: Or tried to…?

LO: Did you see it as an ideal maybe?

ELM: I watched it…

LO: Did you see it maybe as an ideal the way I was like “Ah, I’ll never be as good as the Olsen Twins so I’m just gonna reject this completely and find the most opposite thing I can find?”

ELM: This is an actually very very complicated story that we don’t have time to get into, but the California phase…there were a number of media products that were set in California, and it’s a very long story. This is not about me. We’ll talk about this at some point, maybe.

FK: OK. Anime.

ELM: So, that's interesting, and I wonder…I had a bunch of friends in high school who were really into Japanese cultural products and then I went to a school that, I think we had the first Japanese student ever in America at a university? So it established this really strong cultural link and so a ton of people I knew in college were really into it. And this is definitely a common theme, I'm wondering if you’ve found that amongst your friends who are into anime and other Japanese media that this is part of the thing they were drawn to?

LO: We did have a Japanese exchange student when I was in middle school and me and my friends just latched onto her and tried to tell her all about anime, cause we loved it, and she was not into it at all. It took me a really long time to realize that anime is not something that’s cool in Japan, even today, really. Like, it’s still seen as something kind of fringe. Yuri!!! on Ice, when it comes out at 3 p.m. for us, that means it's running at 2 a.m. in Japan.

ELM: Wait, seriously?

LO: Yeah! There’s no way they could run this stuff at prime time.

ELM: Wait, that's fascinating! OK. So as far as you know, what’s the…it’s fringe, you’re saying, but are there stereotypes about anime fans, or…

LO: Absolutely! It all starts back in the 90s when we have the Otaku Murderer, or the Otaku Killer. OK. There was this guy, he killed a bunch of girls and they’re like “OK, let’s go into his house and see what kind of creep he was!” Now he was really into horror movies, he loved scary movies, especially the gory ones. He also had, like, one or two anime. And so the media just latched onto this. They’re like “He’s the otaku”—“otaku” being a word for anime fan, anime geek, in Japan. You could be an otaku about anything, a train otaku would be someone who’s a big geek about trains. Anyway, the media just ran with this. “The otaku killer! He’s this freak! He kills people and he’s isolated!” So that was not a really good moment for anime fans in Japan! And that still sticks around today.

The whole thing about otaku is, I took Japanese, so I’m not an expert in Japanese culture, I just took it for three years. “Otaku” is what I would call you if you’re my boss or someone like, a very important client. It’s another word of saying “you.” Literally it means “your house.” So if I really don’t wanna offend you, I wouldn’t call you “anata” or even more informally “onta” or, usually I would just use your name. I would say “Elizabeth-san wa.” “Otaku” would be the absolute most formal way. So these anime fans would meet each other at events and they would call each other this to not offend each other. And it just kinda stuck as a term for fans.

ELM: So it doesn’t mean anything related to…I mean, obviously, why would it, that’s such an ethnocentric way to look at it. I’m like “Well, it doesn’t mean fanatic!” Or whatever. [laughs] It makes me curious to know what in other cultures they call fans in ways that aren’t connected to our definition at all, right? Like, where does that come from.

FK: The only thing I know about this is in Brazil where there wasn’t, the term “fan” was not used until…I mean, it existed, but it wasn’t really popularized until pretty recently to talk about people who are interested in like, Harry Potter or whatever. And it's “fã,” it’s “fan,” basically.

ELM: With a lot of cultures I've encountered it’s because of an Anglo influence, right.

LO: Yeah, in Japanese you would even use just the English word “fan.” Like, you’re a big fan: “Dai fan des.”

ELM: Hmm, that’s interesting. So all people who like anime are creepy murderers… [all laugh]

LO: So that kind of sent people underground, if they were really interested in anime. And even today, this stuff airs…well, unless it’s for kids. Like, one of my favorite anime shows right now comes out for me at four in the morning, because it comes out at 3 p.m. in Japan. It’s a show about giant robots, it’s for kids. And that’s the kind of thing you can get away with having on TV in the middle of the day, or right after kids come home from school, or something like that. But Yuri!!! On Ice is not one of those shows. This is not airing when any reasonable person would just be watching it after work.

ELM: OK. So since you mentioned Yuri, I think we should segue into it a little bit. I think one of the things…I think we’re both curious about this, maybe I’m just speaking for myself. But it’s really felt like in the last few years, and you and I, Lauren, you and I have talked about this, how there doesn’t seem to be…and I’ve talked about this with some people who’ve responded to my newsletter too, there’s very, very strong Western and then Eastern—I don’t wanna draw these distinctions but that’s kinda what I’m gonna do—fan communities, and they don’t have a lot of overlap. And this feels like the thing that’s bridging that, and I’m wondering if that’s me missing something that’s happened prior to this, or if that’s a correct reading of what’s going on.

LO: I feel like because of the language barrier I often don’t know what Japanese fans are thinking of anything. That’s why it’s really important to me to read places like Anime News Network and see how the sales are going. So I’ll be really into a show and then I’ll see that it’s selling really badly in Japan, no one’s buying the merchandise, I’m like “What? But all my friends are talking about it! Twitter’s going crazy about this show! What’s happening?” But we do know that people in Japan love Yuri!!! On Ice just as much as we do because not only are people talking about it all the time, but the sales are incredible. It sold as many copies, Yuri!!! On Ice I guess DVDs, as the second, third, fourth and fifth shows all combined on the rankings of DVD sales.

FK: That’s wild!

ELM: So that’s interesting! I like, so that wasn’t even what I was thinking when I framed it. So that’s, I guess you’re saying, have there been anime shows that have been popular here, then, that haven’t had any impact there? So the whole question is, what actually has impact on both sides of the Pacific.

LO: Yeah, well, the thing is, my knowledge of anime fandom in this realm is pretty patchwork, as it is for a lot of people who aren’t fluent Japanese speakers. Also, I don’t always see this stuff in the Japan Times, or maybe it just doesn’t get translated into English a lot. So there will be myths going around. “Do you know that only Americans like Cowboy Bebop and people in Japan hate it?” This was a myth I actually believed because it was just repeated so often—Cowboy Bebop is a show that was pretty popular globally. So there’s a lot of hearsay, I guess? Where we don’t really know where our fandom is really segmented, among language barriers.

FK: That makes a lot of sense, actually. It’s kind of interesting because it reminds me of some of the ways that movies playing in China and the US, live-action movies, right, and the way people think of different movies.

LO: Ant-Man!

FK: Right! How very different it can be. And unless you’re really tracking very specifically the sales numbers, you would never know that on a fan side, because you talk to people in your own language community. And that’s what that is.

LO: Yeah, I remember being so shocked that Ant-Man was really popular in China and not here. And you know the same thing’s happening with Yuri!!! On Ice, where two fan communities will have a completely different reaction about the same episode. I’m thinking of Episode Seven, which the director, Sayo Yamamoto, has spoken about, in fact. Because Episode Seven was supposed to be a big piece of fanservice. Victor surprises Yuri—can I say it? It already aired—with a kiss! The kiss is not seen, it is obscured. I wanna know what you guys thought about this.

FK: I squeaked!

ELM: I’m on Episode Three. So…in the last episode, it wasn’t about that episode, though, but it was about the finale, we talked about, because it was right when that came out, and we were watching people having a lot of strong reactions, mostly what we saw was—I think we both saw this, is this right, Flourish, the people defending different cultural norms and standards. So it was like, all I saw was response, people being mad that they weren’t being shown more. Does that make sense? There was a lot of double negatives in there.

LO: OK. So, yeah. I guess in America, or North America, I’m not sure, maybe we expect more…but the thing is, when Episode Seven came out, Japanese fans instantly got it. They were like, “Thank you SO MUCH for making them kiss!” And then the director Yamamoto had to come out and tell Americans, “They DID kiss. That's what happened. They kissed. You didn’t see it exactly, it was kind of obscured, it was a stylistic choice, they kissed!” In fact I have friends who are like “I wish they would just kiss already!” I’m like “Yeah…they did, in Episode Seven!” They’re like, “Nah they didn’t! That coulda been anything.” Americans are watching this show a lot more literally, and Japanese people are getting more implication. I’m not sure why that is, and I’ve seen things like, “Oh, well, in Japan they can’t show this, their censorship laws…” That’s not true.

ELM: I’ve seen a lot of long, long posts of people saying like “It’s such a conservative country…”

LO: This is the country that brought us every porn game! Just think about it. If they wanna show Victor and Yuri kissin’ real hard at three in the morning, two in the morning, they could show that if they wanted! There’s nothing stopping them. This is a…I mean, that was a stylistic choice. But yeah, it’s like, anyone with a Twitter can suddenly amplify what they think, and because of this language barrier. So if I just sound really authoritative, if I’m like “Well ACTUALLY, in Japan they censor kisses between men,” you can be like “Oh well I guess she knows what she’s talking about, there’s no way to really verify that unless I speak Japanese.”

ELM: So this is a complicated transcultural issue! I don’t know. It’s a really tricky, it seems to be a really tricky cultural space. I spend so much time watching this…I’m very down on Americans. I would say. Flourish, you would agree probably, right? [FK laughs] And I spend a lot of time looking at this kinda Anglo-American conversation and the way Americans steamroll all over various European cultural products, but this seems like to an even more extreme degree cause there’s this language barrier, too. Is that too negative to Americans, do you think? Flourish, you look ready to defend.

FK: I think…I think it’s pretty, uh…I’m not…yeah. I think that’s the most negative way you could formulate it. [ELM laughs] But…you’re not wrong! Lauren, what do you think about this? You’re the actual person with a related position as opposed to my just knee-jerk desire to argue with Elizabeth. [laughs]

ELM: [jokingly] You’re wrong, Flourish!

LO: I think it’s true that as American fans we’re only working with half the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. We know we like this anime, we’ve seen a bunch of anime, we can compare it to other anime we’ve seen, we cannot compare it to Japanese daily life…what I really like is the trend of translators going back and translating a bunch of interviews with the director, Yamamoto, and with other people who worked on the show. This is stuff, this is context I’m getting through Yuri!!! On Ice that I’ve never gotten for shows I was previously a fan of. I could only speculate for so long. I mean, the cultural gap is getting narrower. But there’s still so much where when I’m being a critic of anime, I’m really just working with my opinions of what I’ve seen before. I guess a lot of critique is like that, but I’m definitely less informed than a movie critic.

ELM: A lot of critique is like that, but there is something to be said for…like, the way I read British Victorian literature, for example, cause I studied it in college. But prior to that was obviously very different than the way I do now, particularly what I chose…like, I studied British history to study literature. Right? And probably some of my critiques of American literature are gonna be a little worse cause I didn’t study American history at the university level, right? But I do have the experience of just being an American human in the world reading a book…I feel like I could read a book from any country and I still would be able to take that experience just as a reader, you know what I mean? So I think there is something to be said for that, but then I also think there’s something to be said for having the historical context.

FK: Isn’t it complicated when it is something like Yuri!!! On Ice which it seems like is coming right into the middle of American fandom’s, like, ideas and tropes and expectations. It seems like a lot of the reasons why many people like Yuri!!! On Ice, myself included by the way, was because when I was watching it I was like “Oh, this has all of the…this is like a tropey fanfic!” I could really imagine this as, this is like an ice skating AU. It’s delightful! “Oh look, how wonderful! And someone else wrote it and it’s great, hooray!” And so then it seems like that might not actually be what’s going on for a Japanese fan looking at it. So my interpretation of it is then tied into all of my feelings about slash fanfic and AUs and the politics of that, right, with regard to the kiss…seeing that as censored maybe is a reaction more to the way things are censored in the US, in certain ways, than anything that’s actually going on in Japan, but then if it’s hard to split them apart…I don’t know that I’m really making any point here. I think I’m just going on at this stage.

ELM: That made a point to me! I don’t know. I’m curious to know, cause you and I are kind of from the same background, but I know Lauren and I have talked about this in the past, about how we are not coming from the same fannish place. I don’t know if you, do you read fanfiction?

LO: I absolutely do. And what’s interesting is I haven't really felt the need to read any for Yuri!!! On Ice, because it just feels like all the cards are out on the table. I don’t need to, to get wish fulfillment from Yuri!!! On Ice. Meanwhile I read and in fact write a lot of fanfic about other anime. And a lot of anime has this…begging for scraps. So I feel like people got really greedy with Yuri!!! On Ice. But also, before Yuri!!! On Ice there was BL anime, Boys’ Love, sometimes called yaoi, and this stuff is super exploitative and it feels like it’s from another generation, maybe? Just another time. So there will be a very large man, he’s shown as larger than other people, he has big hands, and he is called the “seme.” Which…I’m not sure if it has a literal translation except, like, the pitcher in baseball. And then there’s a man who’s very effeminate, he looks like a woman, maybe he acts like a woman, has feminine hobbies, he likes to cook, he’s physically small in stature, he is called the “uke.” You could think of that as the catcher. So the pitcher and the catcher.

ELM: Are those the terms for pitcher and catcher in baseball?

LO: Yes! …no. I don’t believe so. That's just always how I’ve seen uke and seme translated when I ask. This is like a long thing. OK. So the uke and the seme are NOT GAY! And they will say to each other, “I am not gay, I’ve never felt anything for a man and I never will again, except for you.”

ELM: They say “I never will again,” is that part of it?

LO: Possibly! “I have never felt something for a man, and I am not gay, but you have brought something out in me.” There is usually a rape, usually some kind of gang rape, a violent rape, where the seme has to save the uke—this is a really common trope. Sometimes there will be a situation where the seme physically dominates or assaults the uke in a way that’s really uncomfortable for readers today. Anyway, this is what anime fans who wanted to see gay relationships had to work with. This is what we had. We either had this, or we had, like, very subtle subtext from friendship, usually in sports anime or another anime that would show a lot of male characters, like idol. “Idol” being like a boyband, where the boys would create friendships with each other, rivalries, and we could read more into these friendships or rivalries, but there’s obviously nothing gay.

Anyway, when Yuri!!! On Ice was airing, nobody wanted to get excited, cause we knew it was gonna be one of these two things. We knew either Victor and Yuri’s love would go unrequited and we would be forced to write fanfiction to kind of guide the story the way we all knew it ought to have gone, and the other way is that there would be something uncomfortable and 90s about the relationship. Like maybe Yuri would be about to be raped by another skater or something and Viktor would come to his rescue with his giant hands. These were just the two ways to think about gay relationships in anime before.

ELM: Are his hands large, actually?

LO: I don’t think his hands are especially large.

ELM: They’re long fingers, but. They're slender.

LO: There’s a Tumblr blog I’d like you to look at called “Yaoi Hands.”

FK: Yaoi Hands!!! Yaoi Hands, I know Yaoi Hands! Once it’s seen you can never unsee it.

ELM: You’re freakin’ me out, Flourish, now your hand looks large.

LO: Yaoi Anatomy, just hands the size of a torso. In order to show that it’s not gay, the seme and the uke are drawn like…you know, with a huge size difference. There’s just nothing about yaoi or BL that resembles real life, and especially now it’s just awful. I mean, I’m not a big fan of how yaoi has evolved. Right now, something is airing called Super Lovers. Super Lovers is about a teenager and his adult male guardian who has been his guardian since he was 12 and has been grooming him for a relationship ever since. Now, to me this is really uncomfortable. I know this has a bunch of fans, and maybe people will write in after hearing this podcast about why this isn’t creepy, but for me, it just makes me really uncomfortable. Like, he’s like, “If you don’t give me a kiss, I won’t tuck you in at night,” so it's like he’s correlating parental affection with a relationship…just things like that as this anime goes. And this is a modern yaoi. Doesn’t it sound like I’m talking about something from the 80s or something?

ELM: Well…not necessarily, because, I mean, so there’s always constantly these arguments with the AO3 about problematic tropes or offensive tropes and what should be shown and what should not, and obviously…I mean in fanfiction people are definitely writing age gap, underage stuff where there’s grooming. I know Flourish, with her age gap ships, has to fend off critique on this front.

FK: No, there's plenty of it and it’s creepy, you know? The age gap is not necessarily the thing that makes it creepy, it’s the other aspects of the relationship that do.

LO: The grooming.

ELM: I feel like it just continues to be things that some people want to read and write about, so it’s like…eh, you know?

LO: It's just very exploitative, it’s nothing to do with real gay people. You think gay men watch yaoi or BL? No, they usually do not. I was just watching Ellen Page’s Gaycation, where she goes to Tokyo and she talks to people, and there was one man who was saying that he thought that BL was really exploitative and it made him feel very uncomfortable watching it as a man…however, a lot of gay men are watching Yuri!!! On Ice. It is completely different. It’s just we’ve never seen an anime like this that talks about a gay relationship in a non-exploitative way, but is also undeniably a gay relationship, as opposed to just a longing look while on the soccer field.

ELM: So is this out of your depth to ask, if you have a sense of…we can talk about American cultural products and say that “Yeah, there’s not nearly enough queer representation, especially amongst TV and film.” But there is some, maybe not within the realm of a lot of stuff that fans are really into. There’s no, we were saying this a few episodes ago, talking about how there’s no gay Captain America, not explicitly.

FK: There’s also relatively little gay—you know, Princess Diaries, something. That kind of fantasy of…

ELM: Right. So that’s the question of, you could say why is it true here but also why is it true in Japan that this would be the first anime of its kind. And you can totally pass on that if you don’t have the full [laughs] cultural context.

LO: Yeah, I would like to hear somebody answer that question, though! But I’m not Japanese.

ELM: People should write in and answer the question as we try to grapple with why there has been no gay Captain America. Flourish, can you answer that, Miss Hollywood?

FK: We’ve had this conversation a bunch of times. Anytime there’s a question about this the answer is money and people’s assumptions about what will or will not make money. That’s always the answer.

ELM: OK, so let’s lead that into my next question about Yuri!!! On Ice. The sales are doing really well. It’s twofold. One is, do we think this will open the door for more shows like it? And my second question would be, do we think that American fans or Western fans who are into this will stick around in the anime space because of this, or is this really a kind of one-off?

LO: Well, the answer to your first question is “absolutely.” We have already seen this.

ELM: Really?

LO: This is incredible. There’s a ballroom dancing manga that has had a really, everyone has wanted it to become an anime, but they did not think it would be a viable anime. Who wants to read about guys who are ballroom dancers, or watch that on TV? Isn’t that kinda effeminate and weird? Like ice skaters maybe? I don’t know. [all laugh] Anyway, that just got licensed, that just got picked up, and that manga is not new. So we’ve already seen that. Now as for “Will fans stick around”...the new season of anime has started, winter 2017, and most of it is crap. I mean, every year, most of it is crap. What’s wonderful is we get all the anime, pretty much. Every show that comes out in Japan gets picked up in the US, so we get all of the bad stuff and all the good stuff. Imagine just watching an entire season of US shows, just everything, every genre that comes out.

ELM: Brutal. Ugh.

LO: A lot of it’s just crap! And I think people are going to be like “Oh, well, after Yuri!!! On Ice I want to pick up another show,” and they might just pick up something and be like “Oh, well, this isn’t interesting. This isn’t anywhere near as good.” We only get shows as good as Yuri!!! on Ice like four times a year.

ELM: Do we think people will stick around for those four shows, or…? What I’m hearing from you and what I’ve observed from the fandom, it seems like a lot of it is because it’s a gay relationship, a lot of what appeals to people. So if that’s pretty rare I kind of get the sense that, are people gonna want to stick around for subtext? And no text?

LO: It will all be subtext. But can I recommend something for people who liked Yuri!!! On Ice? My other favorite show, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. Maybe we’ll have to write that down.

FK: We’ll put it in the show notes.

ELM: We’ll put it in the show notes.

LO: There’s no…I can't translate that. It’s about the Showa era, and Rakugo is a type of storytelling that is distinctly Japanese where a single narrator sits on stage and does all the parts in a one man, one act play, pretty much. But if people were looking for the theatricality of Yuri!!! On Ice and the pathos of Yuri!!! On Ice and a male lead who defies gender norms, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju—it took me like a year to start saying that correctly…[all laugh] would be a very good pick. And then it’s also on Crunchyroll.

FK: Awesome.

ELM: So here’s something, one more transcultural question that I have. You’re talking about this clash between American perceptions, or Western, Anglo-speaking perceptions and Japanese perceptions, particularly of explicitness or depiction of romance. Do you think that the American voices in this conversation are going to…are the people making this show and future shows, if they’re taking a longer view of this, going to be listening to the American fans? Because American fans are obviously very very loud, obviously speaking in a different language, but it is a language that many people speak! You know what I mean? I definitely see, I spend a lot of time watching creators, you can look for the influence in their response to these conversations, and I’m wondering if you see any of that bouncing back. Or do you think it’s so established in Japan that nothing can penetrate that.

LO: You know, as more and more shows are picked up in the US by streaming services like Netflix and Crunchyroll, it has become more important what American fans think of things, especially if they’re spending, if they’re putting their money where their mouth is. It used to be that what the foreign audience thought did not matter at all, and it matters more and more now. And also there’s just some sort of prestige with having American fans. It’s something a lot of people look forward to. “Oh, I can go to a convention in America and see Boston!” Which yeah, I got to interview a creator once who was like, “I’ve always wanted to go to Boston cause Aerosmith is from there!”

ELM: Oh my God. [laughing]

FK: Oh my God I’m so sorry I can tell them too much about that and, oh no, I’m so sorry.

ELM: The look on your face was beautiful.

FK: Oh God.

ELM: That’s fine! It’s a fine city with other things in it.

FK: [breaks down laughing] Don’t get me started.

LO: But I mean, it’s becoming more important, but definitely the Japanese market is going to be the most important thing. Japanese companies are very conservative, they wanna do what sells, and that will often lead them to be stagnant. You’ll see the same tropes in anime year after year after year cause that was doing pretty well for awhile, and they just wanna stay with something that works rather than experiment and try something new.

FK: Sounds like the United States entertainment industry.

ELM: Sure. But if you have a proven success, if this show has been successful here and there and they're very fiscally conservative, then you would think this is a really safe bet to make future content.

LO: Yep, they’re making a Season Two and I don’t think that was the original plan. You know, my favorite thing about Yuri!!! On Ice is that it was conceived by two women while they were cooking in their kitchen. It just makes me so happy. [all laugh]

ELM: Well, all right. I think that’s a good note to wrap up on, what do you think?

FK: Yeah, I think that would be great. This has been so wonderful having you on and it’s also been good to have something to kick me in the butt and make me actually watch Yuri!!! On Ice, I was saying to Elizabeth before I still haven’t read Check Please cause at a certain point when everybody’s excited about something I’m like “Eh, I don’t need to see it,” so thank you for, like…

ELM: It takes TWO HOURS, Flourish.

FK: Yeah.

LO: Please read Check Please! Just do it. If you like ice, you know.

ELM: It’s fine.

LO: Gay ice romance.

ELM: You want more gay ice? You can get more gay ice. Yeah.

FK: That is the least normal way of putting that ever, Elizabeth. [all laugh]

ELM: Dark haired guy, light haired guy, gay ice. Go ahead.

FK: [through laughter] “Gay ice” seems like it should be on a bottle of fizz. OK. Lauren, it was fabulous to have you!

ELM: Thank you so much!

FK: All right.

ELM: Bye!

LO: Thank you! Bye!

[Interstitial music]

FK: Hooray! We talked to Lauren! It was awesome! I say this every time and it never fails to feel awkward, but it also never fails to be true!

ELM: I think the awkwardness is compounded by your flaily arms.

FK: I’m a muppet at heart.

ELM: You’re more like one of those, do you know if there’s a sale at a car dealership? Yeah.

FK: Yeah!

ELM: The second I said “a sale” Flourish immediately started bending…those things! Those really tall things with the arms that bend in the wind. Oh my God stop. Stop. [FK laughs helplessly]

FK: Yeah that’s me. That’s me. But that was really really good and I felt like it was very insightful. Lauren put her finger on a lot of the…a lot of transcultural things, some of which I hadn’t even thought about, you know?

ELM: Sure, absolutely.

FK: Cause they're invisible to you unless you’re actively thinking about them.

ELM: Absolutely. It just goes to show, I feel like I go on and on about cultural context for the things I’m a fan of. That’s very very important to me. Obviously, you know. I probably failed to avoid shaming people in the process by being like “Well, you’ll never understand Harry Potter if you don't understand the intricacies of the class system in Britain”—that’s an impersonation of me.

FK: [laughing] It was a good impersonation! In fact I think you’ve done that directly to me more than once!

ELM: You were the one who didn’t know it was Minister FOR Magic Flourish, I’m never gonna let you forget that one! No, but I mean, that’s a question I have about that too, it’s an interesting text because not only is it working on a different level for Americans without a level of cultural context, it’s also working for people who don’t speak English, reading it in a second language, or reading it in translation. So obviously texts work at all sorts of different levels. That being said, it kind of makes me feel like “Oh, there’s probably a lot of stuff out there that I would enjoy a lot more if I had the cultural grounding,” but I don’t so…OK, you know? So…and it’s an interesting question. And it’s like, how porous are the borders of our cultural divides?

FK: Well yeah, it’s interesting cause I feel like it actually…this is such a amorphous question, because it even feels within our own cultures, right. So when I think about some of the things about fandom, too, different waves…we started out talking with Lauren about different waves of fandom, and I’m thinking about different waves of fandom within Western fandom, and people’s ideas about what fandom is, what a fan means, what terms we use…it seems like there’s also questions of this when you look back at a fanzine, whatever, read it. So the seme and uke things that she was talking about really reminded me of a lot in older slash fic. I guess I’m coming at this with a feeling of, I can’t even get within my own culture! And the right context for everything!

ELM: Right.

FK: The world is so multifarious. Is that the right word?

ELM: Good. How, [pompous voice] how porous are the borders of our cultural divides. [FK laughs] The world is so multifarious. Indeed!

FK: Sorry. Can’t help it.

ELM: That’s fine.

FK: Just doin’ my thing.

ELM: That’s all right. Yeah. Definitely. And then overlay those different perceptions of say, expectations from canon. What gives in a slash context, right. It gets super complicated! Cause you have people with different histories, different relationships, coming into fandom at different times, with different relationships with content creators and the content, and then put that on top of this different cultural expectations, different cultural trajectories within…it’s just so complicated.

FK: We say this all the time.

ELM: It is! The world is complicated.

FK: OK. So I sort of feel like I wanna take us down something that we can maybe actually answer.

ELM: NOPE.

FK: Can I try and take us down that path?

ELM: What is fandom, Flourish? [laughs]

FK: OK OK. So a while back, before I sank into a deep depression and stopped responding to anything anybody sent me, sorry guys, working to dig us out of that hole…a while back we got a message from somebody who wanted to know about the term “alpha reader” in fandom.

ELM: OK yeah, this was in our Tumblr ask box, which is open, anon is on FYI, in case anyone has a question for us. Please don’t use anon to be “an anon,” you know, I put that in scare quotes, you know, in the Tumblr context. Totally fine to leave us an anon, just don’t leave us a mean one.

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Don’t—don’t. So people haven’t before, so.

FK: OK. So this person sent us a link to a post in which it defined the term “alpha reader,” like beta reader but alpha reader? And said the term was no longer in use. But the person who was emailing us said they’d never encountered the term alpha reader before and the term doesn’t appear in FanLore, it doesn’t appear in fandom glossaries, so they wanted to know if we could talk to people about it or find out what the deal is with the term, when it was used, what it is. So it seems like this is something we can actually do. We probably won’t come to a final determination, but…have you ever heard this term before?

ELM: Yes, I have. You have heard it too, I'm assuming.

FK: I have.

ELM: OK, so let's take a step back, in case…I think our New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to do a little more fansplaining when we try to talk about stuff like this.

FK: That’s a good call. Let’s do that.

ELM: Let’s fansplain! So, we’re talking about fanfiction, beta reader…this is even, I’m seeing, in the last few years I'm seeing less and less, maybe not less use of the term, but I’ve seen many more fics saying “not beta’d” than I feel like I saw in the past. I’m not sure if that’s true, maybe it’s just stuff that I’m reading.

FK: I think that that’s true and there’s a separate issue, there’s this thing that we could talk about about the immediacy of posting and so forth. We haven’t even defined what “beta reader” is yet, so let’s do that before…

ELM: So in fanfiction, say I wanna write a fanfic.

FK: You do!

ELM: Well, I do. Yeah. So then I get a beta reader, which is…I mean, it seems like it really varies from person to person, it seems like it’s kind of a catch-all for a sort of editor, but I think some people bounce ideas off their beta readers, some people look at them as a kind of editor the way I would think of an editor at a magazine, someone who you work with to shape the story, make big calls, make small calls, but you’re working on that level, and then also people think of them as copy editors or proof readers. And so, at the magazine where I’ve worked, all three of those people are different. Whereas if you work at a small magazine that person might be one person. You work with your editor on your idea, to shape the story, and then they also copy-edit it. So I think it just depends on the person.

FK: Yeah, and it’s funny because you saying that made me realize…I’ve heard the term “alpha reader” sort of as a back-construction from beta reader, because traditionally—I believe, I don’t know for a fact, but I’ve always assumed that beta reader comes from the idea of a beta tester in software, which would be the first person outside of the team to test the software.

ELM: Does that term come from the fact that the people creating the software are alpha?

FK: Yes.

ELM: I’d never known that! I’d just been like “Oh, beta, that makes sense.” And it’s weird too, when I started seeing beta testing, when I started working and entered the technology world, I was like “That’s so funny this term is also in fanfiction!” [both laugh] I doubt most people in Silicon Valley know that they’re sharing a term with fanfiction.

FK: I don’t know, I think some probably do. But in any case I always heard “alpha reader” as a backfill and I always thought when I used the term in my own head, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually written it, but beta readers seemed to me to be so much more on the copyeditor side of things, or maybe catch any big mistakes—like, “Did I do anything really awful in this fic that I need to not post? Tell me now cause it’s about to go out.” Whereas an alpha reader would be more somebody in that traditional editor role, somebody you’re bouncing ideas off of. That’s how I thought about that. Or who talks you through your ideas. I had a friend do that for me when I was writing my one Elementary/Sleepy Hollow crossover fic, cause it was a really complex mystery, and so I was like, “Let me dump some notes on you. Does this mystery make sense?”

ELM: Yeah. So, I think one of the failings of having two different—maybe why this isn’t a widely used thing, cause I do see it, but it’s true I haven’t seen it widely used—is the fact that because beta kind of can for many people, has a variety of definitions, an arc over a work of fiction, that it seems kind of silly to have this additional term, because for some people then that’s redundant because they already think of the beta as someone they can bounce ideas off of. If I’m thinking about magazine experience, roles are really harshly delineated because obviously they have to be. It’s a fancy magazine. That’s not necessary, I feel, if you’re in this as a more…organic…“organic”’s not the right word, it’s not like writing a magazine article isn’t organic. But you know what I mean.

FK: Yeah yeah yeah. More loosey goosey, I guess.

ELM: I don’t wanna diminish the working processes of fanfiction writers!

FK: I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be loosey goosey! Less hierarchical.

ELM: If I’m at a cocktail party with you you’re not gonna be like “I’m a beta reader, not an alpha reader.” Whereas you may have to give those distinctions in a professional context.

FK: I think there’s also for me, one of the issues too is about at what point are you collaborating with somebody. And because there’s not an editor role, per se, sometimes in fanfic I feel like there’s…you can be a beta or you can be a collaborator and put both your names on the thing, so sometimes that’s been a little murky for me and that’s where the desire to have the term “alpha” has come out of, but that’s especially funny because alpha testing happens within your own team, in software. Alpha testing is literally with the other people who are your collaborators on this project. So.

ELM: Maybe it’s where that analogy falls short. It’s not really an analogy. It’s just a comparison.

FK: Yeah, the formation. OK. But maybe we should, dear listeners, what have you heard of this? Is it true that it’s a backfill from beta or have people heard about it, like…?

ELM: We should do, let’s do a little Twitter poll maybe.

FK: That sounds good. Cool. OK. We will link in this episode to our, in the show notes, we’ll link to our Twitter poll, and we’ll run the poll on our Twitter when this comes out. Our Twitter is twitter.com/fansplaining. And you can respond to it and also leave a literal vote in the poll.

ELM: All right, great! Thank you for the question.

FK: Yes, that was from—I hope that I’m saying this right, danyedagp? It’s a combination of letters that I find difficult to say.

ELM: You mean like most words for you?

FK: Dany eda g.p.? How would you say it?

ELM: Yeah. Dany edagp? I don’t know.

FK: Well, despite being confused by your username we are very glad for the question.

ELM: Yeah, thank you so much for the question. We have a few other questions in our inbox that hopefully we’ll be able to get to soon. We have one about video games and I know that in the coming weeks we're hoping to have on a video game expert, is that right?

FK: Yeah! Yeah. We’re hoping to have on Tanya from I Need Diverse Games. So we’re looking forward to talking about that in the context of that episode.

ELM: So we’ll read that out. It’s fansplaining@gmail.com if you wanna send something longer. So, before we go, everyone who was at the $10 and up a month level on our Patreon should have received a tiny zine!

FK: So tiny and cute!

ELM: And a couple people did not receive them and it turns out it was because of the way they signed up for Patreon, maybe choosing the wrong thing, it lets you say what kind of gifts you want. So if you believe that you should have received one can you please send us an email or a message via Patreon and we will make sure…I think, Flourish, you’re printing another small batch of them, right?

FK: I am, and I’ve actually individually emailed all the people who our records show could have qualified for a tiny zine but didn’t request one, to make sure that that was intentional. So if you’re in that category then…

ELM: This is an additional nudge. And we should thank our tiny zine collaborator Dictacontrion.

FK: Yeah, thank you Dicta!

ELM: Wrote an incredible multifandom fic, tiny tiny fic, to go with my tiny tiny sad meta that I wrote about people dying. So. Celebrities dying. Not just humans. Just you know.

FK: [laughs] Celebrities: they’re not humans.

ELM: Not humans! So yeah, I hope you guys enjoyed them and we’re gonna try to figure out, I think we’re gonna do at least three this year, I'd say. Maybe four?

FK: For sure. I’m hopin' for four. I think we’ll get four.

ELM: Quarterly, quarterly. So anyone who’s not familiar with this, patreon.com/fansplaining is a way to give us sustained support. You can donate as little as $1 a month, and as much as a million dollars…I almost said a billion but I just walked it back for some reason. If you donate $400 a month, which literally no one’s going to do, Flourish will knit you a Weasley sweater.

FK: I will.

ELM: But much more achievable, much more accessible to most of us probably would be people donate $2, $3, $5 a month, get things like early access, special episodes, things like that. So if you are assessing your 2017 finances and find you have a couple dollars to spare, we would really love it, cause we’re gonna start commissioning stuff for our Medium and we want some money to pay people to write good stuff! So. That's my Patreon pitch! Did I say everything?

FK: It was a good pitch and I think you said everything.

ELM: Excellent.

FK: OK. So shall we talk next time, Elizabeth?

ELM: Yeeeah, I guess I’ll talk to you again.

FK: Aww, you're so sweet!

ELM: Yeah! By this time next time, I believe all the Sherlocks will have aired and maybe I’ll be able to form sentences again.

FK: All right. Good luck with the sentences, Elizabeth. I’ll talk to you later.

ELM: Thank you, thank you! OK bye.

FK: Bye!

[Outro music]

EpisodesFansplaining