Due to the increasing popularity of this site, I now have answers to the site's fans' frequently asked questions about the fanfic. If you guys have any more questions about the site, feel free to e-mail me or AIM me at bulbatan when I am online. Keep the questions and interests coming!
When did you start writing this story?
I started writing the story in early May 2002 and finished five chapters before debuting the website. I was laid off by the school newspaper due to budget cuts in the University of California system. In the midst of my frustration for a story to write, I wrote this fanfic dedicated to Ranma 1/2. I've always wanted to write a yaoi fic after reading so many from RRyaoi: Ryoga and Ranma Yaoi. I started writing "Tales of the City" as tribute to the work of Armistead Maupin and to promote the visibility of gay characters of color in the media.
I don't really know much about Ranma 1/2 or Japanese anime in general, can I still read the fanfic?
YES! "Tales of the City 1/2" is written for the general audience and has almost no connection to the Ranma 1/2 story or anime in general. Its main purpose is to promote a positive image of gay Asian Americans by borrowing the characters of Ranma 1/2. If you do not understand the Ranma 1/2 plot, read the story like a normal book.
Ryoga hints he is bisexual in one of the stories- "Any cute girls out there," I recall him saying. Is he? What are the sexualities of the characters?
Hmm...I can tell you clearly that Ryoga is not bisexual. A bisexual character will emerge soon but it is not Ryoga. Ryan and his friends are all gay. Jane Dunway is clearly a lesbian. Shampoo is bisexual (she has a boyfriend) but she is leaning more toward women as the story goes along. This is not to say that bisexuality is just a phase to either homosexuality or heterosexuality because I believe that sexuality is fluid.
Is Ryan Hitomi you?
This is what a lot of my friends are asking. Yes, I have incorporated some of my own personalities into this character. Ryan Hitomi is more of the ideal person that I personally hope to grow up to be. He is responsible, independent, attractive, witty and a very successful journalist! I've also incorporated characteristics of other friends into the storyline too.
What is your writing process, inquiring minds want to know.
(Laughs). There is an intricate writing process that involves taking a lot of time that I can do something else. The plots come out visually in my head. I can see the plot unfold like it is a TV show. The really difficult part is actually writing the story down. Even though Chapter Twelve is currently visible, I am already ahead to Chapter Twenty. As a writer, I know what is going to happen in Chapter Twenty. I already have a blueprint for the next ten chapters available. The one thing I enjoy about this project that it is more like a free-write and I really don't have a limit. As for the ending of the story, I really don't know where the plot is going but I do have some hints of what will happen. It is usually when I am writing the story, either on my Palm Pilot keyboard or my computer, that the story actually starts to make sense and flow correctly.
Who does Ryoga really like? Ryan or Ranma?
I really haven't decided the ending yet, which is the fun part of writing a fanfic,
not a great novel. I will say that Ryoga does have certain affections towards
Ryan right now and the fanfic does make it obvious that Ryan has the same thing.
But we will have to see when Ranma makes his entrance into the story (big plot
When does Ranma finally appear in the story?
Many Ranma and Ryoga yaoi fans really want to know when Ranma is making his debut. Yes, Ranma will eventually reappear into the story line. I am currently building a lot of background detail before I include Ranma into the story.
How does Ranko appear in the story? (For the Ranma 1/2 fans)
The fanfic has fastforwarded through the Ranma 1/2 series to close to the end of the anime series. This is right after Ranma is finally cured and splits with his female half, otherwise known as Ranko. Ranko is her own character. I changed the story a little bit. Both Ryoga and Shampoo are stil cursed in order to add some fictitious magic into the story. But Ranko Saotome is an Arts and Entertainment writer for the San Francisco chronicle in this story. And she is an ally (heterosexual person who supports gay issues.)
Who is your favorite character so far?
I know many of you think I am going to say "Ryan Hitomi!" Yeah, he's in the top three. But my real favorite character in the fanfic so far is Shampoo Chen. There must be someting about writing a complicated character like her into a fanfic. I really like building the coming out story because I recently came out too and share her experiences.
Do you feel underneath the "burden of representation" when writing this fanfiction?
I must say first that this is FICTION. My disclaimer is very important because this story only on the lives of the characters within. Every single person has a different experience. I do feel some pressure though because it is a GAY ASIAN fanfiction. I perosnally believe that my fanfiction is more like a challenge to the Asian-American community to start making their voices visible. I believe that the burden will be lifted when there is an array of gay Asian American experiences available for readers to choose from.
As a gay man, how do you write in the POV of Shampoo and Jane as lesbians?
From the last time I checked, I am not a lesbian. (looks in pants.) Yup, I'm
still a guy. It really upsets me that the visibility of Asian lesbians in fiction
is only pornographic with the exception of Margaret Cho. Creating the Shampoo
storyline has actually been the most fun of all. I have done a lot of research
into lesbian culture in order to accurately portray the image of lesbian culture.
I have a growing number of lesbian friends. But once again, Shampoo and Jane
are only two experiences of the lesbian community. My point is that Asian American
lesbians are visible in the gay community and the community needs to readjust
its structure to cater to their needs to.
(NEW) The sex scene in More Tales of the City was extremely graphic. Are we
going to see more detailed heterosexual and homosexual scenes in further chapters?
YES. I understand that the content of "Tales of the City" was a little
bit more clean than "More Tales of the City" but the content within
"More Tales of the City" will contain both graphic language and graphic
sex scenes. The scenes are as graphic as those found in RRYaoi fanfics . I never
targetted this online novel towards young children.
The only Ranma 1/2 style metamorphosis I see in this novel is in
the first chapter of "Tales" in which Ryoga turns into P-Chan. What
happened to this?
I'm glad you asked this question. The curses didn't translate very well into the
novel after the first chapter. Ranko does hint about the curse in "More Tales"
but that is probably the last time you will hear them talk about it. I've come
to realize that the story is less about Ryoga and more about the different characters
and how the characters interact with each other. Therefore, the curses don't make
an important impact to the story except to introduce Ryoga to Ryan.
How many books are planned?
I'm trying to follow Armistead Maupin's tradition. Maupin released five novels
for this series- Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales
of the City, Babycakes, and Maybe the Moon. In the same way. My
goal is to release five novels but it is very difficult to think of storylines
and not lose the focus of the story. I do intend to write a Further Tales
of the City 1/2 at this rate.
The first novel also hinted about Ryoga's father, which the fanfic doesn't
talk about. What is going on with that storyline?
Keep reading carefully! This storyline will become more important in the later
(NEW) How does Ryoga get his job in Crepeville?
It's unmentioned in the novel but Ryan pulls a few strings with his friends
at Crepeville to get the job for Ryoga. I wanted to show that Ryoga is going
in a completely different direction from his Ranma 1/2 character and
needed to establish his place in the novel as quickly as possible.