"East Meets West"

The secret half-lives of Asian American Queers

(as found on the back of Tales of the City book by Armistead Maupin) First published on August 8, 1974 as a column in the The San Francisco Chronicle, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City attracted a devoted worldwide following. Through the lovelorn tenants of a San Francisco apartment house. Maupin takes the reader into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, cutthroat debutantes and Jockey shorts dance contests. Hurdling barriers both social and sexual, this cunningly observed comedy - and the five novels - which succeeded it - offer an unprecedented portrait of the agonies and absurdies of urban life in the 20th Century. Tales of the City has attracted a worldwide following for being the first breakthrough literature about homosexuality in San Francisco. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the book and its five sequels focuses on the lives of several San Franciscans, both gay and straight, in a decade where viewpoints of morality and sexuality intertwined and a brand new urban culture, the gay life, finally emerged and attained acceptable respect in mainstream society.

Likewise, Ranma1/2 was an acclaimed worldwide phenomenon anime who also introduced queer visibility to the mainstream conservative Asian audience. Written by Rumiko Takehashi for the manga Shonen Sunday in 1974, the story is centred on Ranma, a highly skilled teenage martial artist, who is accidentally cursed while training in China with his father Genma. Unless he finds a cure, cold water transforms Ranma into a female version of himself, and hot water reverses this. Not only that, but shortly afterwards, Ranma's father introduced him to his old friend, Soün, and his three daughters, and asked to pick one for his wife. A large amount of the stories are based on martial arts based combat (or where martial arts plays an important part), often with weird styles or in strange situations. Also, there are several girls interested in Ranma, and several guys interested in Ranma's fiancee, Akane, and since they are all martial artists, this leads to some 'interesting' situations.Ranma 1/2 is a gender bending, wacky (but sometimes serious) martial arts comedy. The anime hit popularity in the 1980s when it was dubbed into English and over 500,000 doujinshi has been sold internationally. The anime has also been the center of a variety of yaoi and yuri fanfics including "RRyaoi" between main character Ranma Saotome and his rival Ryoga HIbiki and "Altered Destinies" between Akane Tendo, Ranma's main fiancee and busty Chinese amazon Shampoo Chen, Akane's rival.

"Tales of the City 1/2" is the harmonious unification of both mediums. It is an ongoing altraverse in which the death of Ranma and Akane's parents, who are the proponents to the anime's chaos, gives the characters a chance at last to rediscover themselves, reshape their lives, and find love at last. The series also deals with lives of and issues dealing with queer Asian Americans in their efforts to find their identities in a culture that mostly objectifies and isolates them.

I hope that the fanfic provides the viewpoint of gay Asian Americans, which was lacking in Tales, and the issues and struggles they deal with in being the double minority. But most of all, I hope that you enjoy the work as much as I have enjoyed writing it.