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Dear Yuletide Writer,

First thing I want to say is if you were matched on a fandom I have less to say about don't think that means I want it any less than the others.

I generally prefer lighter fic, fluff and comedy and happy things unless it's a prompt I specifically say is for darker themes, but don't feel that you need to force your fic in that direction, especially if you matched on one of the fandoms that really don't work well for it. I will ask that if you can please aim for an ending that is happy, or at least hopeful. An unrelenting angst parade down into unending misery without any light at all really is not my thing.

Pairings-wise, if a pairing I mentioned doesn't work for you I'd much rather you write gen than try to force it. You're even welcome to write them in relationships with other characters if you like. And if there are any other characters you want to work in that I didn't request feel free to do so!

Genre-wise, I'm not generally a fan of major AUs or crossovers. By "major" AUs I mean things like high school or modern day AUs, where the characters are transposed into a hugely different setting. I'm open to AUs exploring how the story's world and the character's places in it would be different if some event in it's history were changed. I'd also really rather not get something that's pure porn, I don't read that much porny fic to begin with and would generally rather get plot or character introspection over sex. I like futurefic as long as it's not purely focused on the characters being domestic with kids (I don't mind them having kids, I just get bored by futurefic that focuses totally on the characters' at-home family life instead of anything neat they're doing outside the home).

I like both plotty and character-centric stories (or character-centric plot!). I like missing scenes fic. Not a big fan of canon scenes from a different viewpoint unless you can do it in a way that really twists how the original scene is viewed. I'll admit that I love catching little references to canon sprinkled into a story, nots to previous episodes or quests or whatnot.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Raiden the Moon King
The Sisters

Man, I loved this movie so much. So much I even rewatched it in 3D, when I'm usually totally against paying the extra cost for that, just because I knew some of the bits would be awesome in it. And rewatching just makes me cry harder and harder at the ending.

Feel free not to use all the requested characters in a single story.

Something post-movie with Kubo and the villagers introducing his grandfather to normal life would be great. Or his old life intruding into their new life, trying to drag the Moon King back out of the friendly old man who gives coins to children and old women. Maybe he could have an unseen fourth daughter who stayed home to keep an eye on things while he and her sisters were focused on Kubo? Or some other denizen you could pull from the heavens, whether his ally or an enemy.

Or an AU where the Moon King wins, about what Kubo's life is like living as family to him and the sisters; we know from his mother that it's possible for a feeling heart to break through their coldness so does his ever give flickers of reawakening? (Or, more terribly, at his age could that feeling heart be well-developed enough that they're unable to make him like them even if they pluck out his other eye, and all the pain they caused him and his loved ones was for nothing?)

AU where Beetle survives to take care of Kubo like he promised, with or without his grandfather there as well? How would the final battle have gone if he'd been there to help (presumably wielding the sword, armor, and helm)? Or an AU within that AU where Beetle really was what he thought at first; while I guessed the truth about him I honestly liked the idea of him as a soldier so loyal to a master he can no longer even remember that he'll do anything to care for his son.

Finally, if you feel like something darker without going AU, something about the torture that Hanzo went through at the hands to the Moon King and the Sisters to destroy his mind and turn him into Beetle.

Usually I put links to the canon for my requests in case the request we match on doesn't work for you, but since the movie is so new that there're a few places it hasn't even left theaters, and isn't doing half as well as it deserves, I wouldn't feel right doing that in this case. I'm sure you could hunt down one if you wanted. Kubo is the story of a young storyteller whose mother hid him away his entire life, warning him that he must never stay out after dark because his grandfather The Moon King and his aunts were hunting him and had already gouged out one of his eyes when he was a baby. One day he stay out. Everything goes to hell and breaks your heart.

Kung Fu Love
The Director
The Cameraman
Hanako Kichijoji

Oh my god, this short has been on my list of possible Yuletide noms every year since it came out, ten years ago! And there were always other things that pushed it off, but here you go Kung Fu Love, this is your year.

There's so much room open in this short for exploring exactly what the heck is going on; how Hanako became the enemy of the world, how much of her fight is controlled by the Director and his men, potentially years worth of her life that we never see (how the heck did she become a stripper for a while?) judging by how much older she seems by the end.

It's always been my theory that Hanako volunteered for the position of "Enemy of the World" because she'd so romanticized the idea of "Us against the world" so how does she react when that dream comes tumbling down and all she's left with is an endless stream of attackers? All we get to see is a short moment of her starting to cry then we jump straight into the musical montage of her kicking ass. Any look at a moment between fights in the long time she appears to be surviving alone: she looks so much older in the final battle seen! When did she ever learn to fight like that? It's obvious that even from the start she had skills beyond what you'd expect from a normal high school girl, was maybe part of her being chosen for the role being trained to prove she wouldn't just fall right away and lose the world its scapegoat?

How much control over everything does the Director have? We see him interviewing bounty hunters, is it all staged like pro-wrestling with the hunters chosen by who can put on the best show and knowing whether they're supposed to fall or be the one to defeat her if they can? (Is the 'if they can' even part of it, or does even Hana know who she's meant to lose to, whether it's the bounty hunter in white or someone further on?) From the reactions of her schoolmates at the start we know that even random unrelated people get into attacking her as the enemy of the world, so how does he deal with the possibility of some nobody getting a lucky shot and taking her out?

How long has the Cameraman been following her? We know he was even before she was declared enemy of the world, but we don't see him after. Is he always somewhere close at hand watching her (letting the world watch through him)? Maybe, in answer to the last director prompt, he might be the one who steps in if someone gets too close to taking her down who isn't making good TV out of the whole thing? Is she aware of him being there, the only unaggressive constant in her life? Is he just some totally emotionless automaton, given a human form to carry around his camera head for no real reason, or does he have his own thoughts and feelings about what's happening to this girl he's potentially spent so much time watching?

...In the course of writing those prompts out I have totally talked myself into the idea of Camera-headed robot man/Hanako, plot or porn (speaking of which, I love that she's a sexual girl who the canon always remains sympathetic to), if that floats your boat.

Kung Fu Love is a 10-minute anime short/music video about a high school girl who's declared the enemy of the world and hunted at every turn , with only her boyfriend temporarily by her side. You can watch here. Even if you're already set in what you plan to write I'd recommend it just because it's awesome and deserves more love!

Sasha Nein
Razputin Aquato

Man, this game is my forever girl. I've played it about a billion times, bought it in multiple formats just to shove more money at Doublefine because of how much I love it, and even streamed a playthrough of the thing.

I do ship future Sasha/Raz, but absolutely do not feel like you need to work that in if it squicks you.

I'd love some mission fic. You don't even need to go deeply into what the mission itself is, I'd just be really interested in seeing how the brain-diving we do in-game translates to using it against villains who are actively fighting them instead of people who area generally okay with them being in there. Future summers at camp would be fun too! I always see Raz as continuing to go even when he's too old for it, because he's still too young to be recognized as a real Psychonaut and they're the only ones who treat him like he is one anyway. Maybe he starts acting as a counselor himself?

While I say mission fic, just going into more details of what it's like being a Psychonaut would be great, we see so little of what it entails when it comes to the actual work they do. Or, how do the Psychonauts existing make their world different than ours. This is a world where not only does everyone know that psychic's exist, they have their own branch of the military and top agents have the fame of superstars (or at the very least big-name comic book heroes, since Razputin's view of just how famous they are might be a bit skewed by his fanboyism). What type of effect does that have on the crime of the world? Do regular unpowered people even bother to become major criminals/terrorists/whatever other form of villainy in their world, or does knowing that there are people out there who could explode their brains or rewrite their personalities if they become notorious enough to get noticed cause them to lie low and leave major crime to psychics on the other side of the law?

If you take this one I should say that I really really disagree with the side of fandom that views Sasha as super humorless and emotionless. He's super deadpan, sure, but he tells subtle jokes, and shows concern for the campers (I love the bit when Raz agrees to learn how to fight where it turns out that's just an offer he makes kids to scare them off if his experiments look like they're too much for them, and he doesn't even have the authority to do it when one actually says yes), passion for his work, embarrassment over the mega-censor issue, seems amused by Oleander's grandstanding in the opening scene... a lot of people seem to forget the fact that part of the lesson he taught Raz is that while a psychic needs to have control of their emotions they shouldn't suppress them and turn him into a wanna be Spock.

Really really don't feel like you need to pair them up to make me happy if the thought makes you uncomfortable. If I'd realized how young Raz was from the beginning I probably would never have become interested in the pairing myself, and I'm someone who often ships pairings with a large age-gap. But if you don't have them together I'd rather you not have Sasha and Milla as a couple; pairing Raz with Lili would be fine by me, and so would having Milla involved in the story but I've just never bought Milla's crush as being reciprocated.

Psychonauts is a game set in a summer camp that trains young children in the use of their powers. You can actually watch may own fairly completionist (except fuck figments) playthrough right over here if you'd like to hear my personal rambling about the game or here's a video of just the cutscenes for something quicker (but still 3.5 hours).

Umineko no Naku Koro ni | When the Seagulls Cry (Visual Novel)
Ushiromiya Ange
Ushiromiya Natsuhi
Ushiromiya Jessica
Ushiromiya Eva

This canon just hits every single screwed-up family feeling that I have, my god. Sure, witches, and murders, and fantasy vs mystery and all that is great and engaging, but all of that could have been wiped out in favor of a massive visual novel of nothing but the Ushiromiya family squabbling and I'd still have been enthralled. So, obviously, my prompting pretty much revolves around that!

I love Jessica and Natsuhi's relationship, all those little moments in the first two episodes alone where they want to connect but just quite can't, like that breakfast in EP2 when Natsuhi mentions seeing Jessica on stage at her school festival and approving of her and Jessica's tentative surprised happiness thinking that she was talking about her singing as Jessie only to crumble when she realizes she just means a student address she had to give and didn't care about (while Natsuhi goes on being proud of her for giving a good showing, not realizing how she'd disappointed her daughter). I'd love to see both more moments like that, or one where they actually do manage to reach out to each other on the same wavelength, whether in the middle of some new iteration of those terrible two days or at a more peaceful time.

With Ange and Eva, I'd be interested in seeing some of their early days together, a closer look at how things grew so terrible between them. Or, alternately, just like with Lion we got to see the one in a billion universe where Sayo grew up happily, a look at the one in a billion universe where either Ange didn't immediately lash out at Eva or Eva was a little less vindictive in her pain and didn't turn against a little girl for lashing out in a way that rubbed salt in her wounds and they were able to build a happyish life with each other. (I'm also totally open to Eva/Ange hatesex, though not until toward the end of Eva's life when Ange's older.)

More of Eva and Natsuhi's squabbling would also be welcome. I always find it interesting how their issues, both trying so hard to be recognized for how hard they work in the name of the Ushiromiya, are so similar that you'd think they could make great sympathetic allies to each other but instead can hardly have a civil moment together. To the point that the thing that always hits me hardest in the lead-up to the reveal of the first ever massacre in EP1 is that one moment where the two of them work in harmony to try to keep the kids from seeing what happened! Moments like the one we see near the start of EP2 where Eva plays cool auntie to Jessica in a way specifically intended to needle Natushi are also fun.

Finally, feel free to completely ignore this since I didn't nominate any aspect of Sayo, but I do always find it interesting that for all that she hung all her hopes on Battler Jessica was actually the one in the best position to figure out the truth about Sayo (at least the two aspects of her that she was in close contact with) if she just paid a little more attention.

Umineko is an 8 episode series of visual novels that's a combination of murder mystery, battle between magical and realistic explanations for what's happening, love story, and basically giant complex mess (and I mean that in a loving way, not trying to imply it's bad)! It's... really the worst of these to pick up if you're my writer and what we matched on doesn't work for you! Here's a let's play of most of it, but it's really a long one to get through.

October 2017

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