PSA on what’s happening around me in the YOI fandom

YOI-PSA-2

TL;DR

On the bullying going on in the fandom

  • I do not venture outside of certain small Twitter and Tumblr communities. Hence, anyone claiming to be me (“karice” or “whiteboxgems”), or who is accused of being me, is most certainly NOT me.
  • Please do not accuse them of being me (or tora). I’m not just saying this because it affects the two us negatively. Basically, if you accuse them of being associated with us, you are empowering them to keep attacking you, because it has absolutely no consequences for them.

On my interpretation of the show

  • My personal interpretation of Yuuri and Victor’s relationship is that, whilst they are connected to each other in a romantic way, they do not actually become a couple in the course of the show.
  • I am not alone in this. However, about half of the people I chat with about Yuri!!! on ICE have gone underground, because they were being attacked for holding this interpretation.
  • The show itself, and everything that the creators have said, allows for this interpretation. If you don’t agree with this statement, then you do not actually understand what we have written/said about it.
  • Any comment made about me (or what I’ve said/written about YOI) by someone I am not friends with is, almost without exception, based on a misunderstanding of my views.
  • But my views have no bearing on yours. You are free to interpret the show however you want. I personally haven’t come across ANY interpretations that go against what the creators have said.
  • If you disagree with any of this, then please stay away.

And the above in more detail

Just over a week ago, someone on Twitter informed me that people in other parts of the fandom were using my name to attack other fans. I responded with a PSA that asked all fans to refrain from harassing others, and that’s when I learned of what was going on in parts of the fandom that I do not venture into.

I do not know how to stop this behaviour. I don’t even know the full extent of what is going on, because I don’t interact with the people involved in it. The only thing I can really do is to lay out my position as a YOI fan and translator. Let’s start with the former.

The way I read YOI diverged from much of the fandom a long time ago, basically, around the time that Kubo’s August tweets came to light in November. I am not alone in this. Many of the friends I now speak with about the show read it in a similar way, with a few differences here and there. But most of these conversations take place in private channels, or via locked accounts, because even saying “they’re not a couple” is likely to get you attacked.

I do not shy away from unpopular views that others are unlikely to understand. And because of what I’ve written about YOI, I’ve been called “homophobic” and have been accused of trying to “no homo” what the creators have said. People have even said that I don’t think Shion and Nezumi from No.6 are gay/queer, even though “I strongly believe that Nezumi and Shion will fall into an eros-type relationship once Nezumi returns” is the last thing I have written about them. From my perspective, if you use one of those terms against me, then you are one of the people who do not understand my interpretation of YOI and/or my priorities as a translator. The few YOI fans that I interact with have even pointed out that what I’ve been saying isn’t that different from everyone else. Some have done so publicly, while others have kept it to private channels. I cannot blame them. I really do not wish this kind of vitriol on them.

As for my translations: anyone who has ever worked with me on a translation (and there are at least 5 other translators who have) knows that I prioritise accuracy above everything else. That doesn’t mean translating literally, it means wording things such that the target audience gets the same impression from the translation that the original gave to its audience. That is the principle I work under. What this means is that, if something is ambiguous, I will leave it as such. Conversely, if something is clear, then I’ll make it clear in translation as well.

I haven’t always succeeded. As a friend of mine—one who translates and interprets professionally, and has done so at anime conventions here in Australia—reminded me last weekend, whilst “relationship” has a strong connotation of “romantic relationship” in English, the Japanese term “kankei” (関係) does not. She suggested using “connection” instead, or otherwise trying to find a way to stress that creators using the Japanese term are talking about the whole range of ways that people might relate to each other. Another Japanese word that encounters this problem is “hikareru” (惹かれる), which is often translated as “is attracted to”—I usually use something like “is drawn to” instead. This is a problem I really should have remembered, as it was also an issue in the fandom in which I got started.

This stance of prioritising accuracy is one that developed because of a number of translation-related issues in that fandom. Long story short, a certain Macross Frontier fan decided to get creative and make up a bunch of stories about what happened behind the scenes of that show. For example, one of the biggest lies he spread was that “Kawamori let his college friend (and frequent collaborator) Hiroshi Ohnogi write episodes 18~24, giving Ohnogi free rein to do whatever he wanted with the series.” This allegedly put the two of them at odds with each other, because “Ohnogi came out squarely on the side of Sheryl” whilst Kawamori “favored Ranka.” I came to the fandom only after someone teased out and debunked all of the lies, so those are his quotes. Unfortunately, one of the interviews that was translated as part of that process went on to cause further problems.

But I am someone who avoids confrontation rather than seeks it. That’s why I don’t post on 4ch or reddit.1 That’s why I left forums like Animesuki when the discussions about shows I was watching became polemic. That’s why I rarely comment about several other shows that I love. That’s why I posted my notes on YOI on livejournal instead of Twitter or Tumblr. And that’s why my posts addressing “what Kubo actually said,” for example, are posted here. If they are inaccurate, then please give me constructive feedback. But if you don’t like them because you prefer translations and commentary that support your views, then please stay away. I’m sure you can find translators that do not prioritise accuracy as much as I do.

Hence, it was frustrating—and to tell the truth, incredibly frightening—so see what people were saying about me behind my back last week. I knew about some of the comments made on 4ch because, as anyone who runs a wordpress blog would know, this site tracks where our visitors come from. Since 4ch is known for that kind of behaviour, I just ignored it. On tumblr, I’d also started ignoring all the anon mail that I was receiving from people who don’t understand my interpretation. Anyone who doesn’t already understand it probably isn’t actually interested in finding out. That much is clear from the hate mail I’ve received, as well as the snippets of vitriol that some friends have shown me.

But because I keep to where I feel welcome, I only see what happens to people around me. To be frank, since I’m currently writing up my PhD dissertation, I don’t have the time to keep track of what’s going on in the fandom. That’s why I only found out about all the other bullying last week. I don’t know who any of those bullies are, or exactly why they are doing this, so that only thing I can really do is ask people to stop.

There is, however, one thing I wish to highlight. Accusing the bullies of being people they are not isn’t going to help. My suspicion is that it only makes things worse. Why? Because there are NO CONSEQUENCES for them. If they don’t like the show, whatever their reasons, then they are going to be happy to tear down everything associated with it. That means they want to target everyone who enjoys YOI in any way, including myself and tora.

So please do not accuse them of being me, or of being tora. Or of being associated with either of us. It may not completely stop the bullying, but I think it would give them one less weapon to use in their quest to tear this fandom down.

I’ve disabled comments on this post because I do not have the time or the energy to deal with this discourse anymore. Based on everything I have read, seen and heard—including all information about production and pre-production that we’ve learned from YOI staff appearances at Western conventions—what I’ve said about Yamamoto and Kubo’s stance remains true. If you disagree with me on this point, then you’ve misunderstood me and the ambiguous comments I’ve made about what the creators have said. And no matter what anyone says to or about me, I will maintain that ambiguity for as long as Yamamoto and Kubo themselves do.

So if you do not like this stance, and thus what I translate or write about, then please stay away. And if you hate this show and/or its fandom, please go and find something that you can love.


  1. The sole exception for reddit was a really interesting discussion I had with another poster about Rakugo Shinjuu

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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