Spoilers: for practically everything
Kase: I’ll see you in hell.
Ken: This…is hell. (Weiss Kreuz Kapitel)
Ran: Seventy times seven times. One cannot forgive endlessly. There’s only one way to quench the raging inferno. To fight fire with fire. Anger and revenge moves people.
(Weiss Kreuz Gluehen Fight Fire with Fire CD drama~ my rough translation. Ran debates religion with a nun.)
I read the other WK essays before I wrote this and was rather intimidated by how good they were. Well, mine wouldn’t be all serious like a school essay I promise!
How I became a crazed Red-headed WK Fan
I became an anime/manga fan 2 years after I started studying Japanese because I wanted a fun way to practice what I learnt. My first fandom was CCS and I became a fan mainly because I heard Syaoran had a crush on Yukito. I was a yaoi fan before I ever heard of the word!
Around 2001, I was cruising Anipike when I spotted lots of WK websites and I fell in love with the pretty boys straight away and pitched into the yaoi fanfics like a hog into swill. This was back in the heyday of WK fandom when the enormous White Cross archive was still up and fics devoted to every possible pairing was listed conveniently for the reader’s convenience. Around the same time, my colleague (I was selling Japanese books back then) lent me the Die Bleibende Erinnerung album. I really enjoyed the opening and closing songs such as “It’s Too Late”, “Velvet Underworld” and “Beautiful Alone’ and ran out straight away to buy my own copy. I even dyed my black hair red.
So I’ve been reading WK yaoi on a daily basis ever since though I resisted watching the actual anime until recently because all reviews said it was crap. I watched it and they were right. It was crap. The animation in the first episode of Kapitel in which the motorcycle burns was so horrible it looked as though I drew it myself. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. And as everyone knows, WK resembles Emmental cheese, full of plot-holes and cholesterol-laden. There’s fanservice, high melodrama, angst and disposable, annoying females. But like all fans, we watch it for the lovable characters and enjoy laughing at the seiyuu as we make fun of everything.
I shan’t do a boring recounting of the plot of WK, character details etc. because you can find them elsewhere on the web but try to offer my own interpretation.
Ran’s name means Orchid, which my Japanese friend told me is considered a high-class, expensive flower in Japan. It is a delicate, tropical flower. Fuji means “wisteria”, a name which makes me think of Heian Japan and Tale of Genji and “miya” means “shrine.” It is a name which suits this androgynously beautiful young man with violet eyes and eartails. It’s really amusing how fans always claim that Youji is Eurasian and Ran is pure Japanese though his colouring is even more exotic. His image flower is the Japanese rose and Schuldig in the OVA claims it means “to die beautifully” in the language of flowers. His code-name is Abyssinian, an exotic breed supposed to have descended from the cats of ancient Egypt which were worshipped as gods. Ran is certainly proud, perfect and cold enough to be worshipped.
Ran grew up in a well-off, picture-perfect family and would probably have become some kind of salaryman or bureaucrat if his family was not caught up in the explosion. Instead, Ran had to drop out of high school and become an assassin.
When I was sixteen, I first slept with a woman.
When I was eighteen, I lost my family.
When I was nineteen, I killed a man for the first time.
This is my career. (Ran, Weiss Kreuz Gluehen Fight Fire with Fire
CD drama~ my translation.)
Though manga and anime versions differ slightly, Ran decides to use Aya’s name and puts on her earring, swearing to wreak his revenge on Takatori. (He suffers from what one fan calls Nuriko Syndrome. I think he secretly wants to be called by a girl’s name and wear an earring in one ear …just joking) He’s been a cold bastard ever since, not wanting to get close to people. He’s focused only on revenge and his sister. He also harbors some kind of death wish. He seems to be better adjusted by Gluehen as we see him give advice to Sena. Ran has a lovely, deep voice of course, thanks to Koyasu. Also, his mission coat is full of leather and buckles, proving that he has some BDSM fetish. He fights with a katana which is an elegant, old-fashioned weapon which requires both strength and control.
“Hidaka” means “Flying Eagle.” “Ken” is the common Japanese “Ken” which means “healthy/strong”. Ken is your wholesome boy next-door and former J-leaguer. When I first discovered WK, I was first attracted to Ran but Ken grew on me and he is now my favourite chara. He is often overlooked by fans but he is my *cough* ideal man. He’s so sweet, just like chocolate ice-cream drenched with rich chocolate sauce. Ken has brown hair and eyes in the manga and brown hair with eyes of a variable colour in the anime. (looks green in the OVAs though). He is shorter than Ran (which makes him the uke), with a compact, powerful body and a boyish face. He fights with bugnuks, tiger’s claws, brutal close-range weapons which requires him to get up close with his victims. He must feel them struggle as he sinks his claws into their bodies. He has great upper-body strength and a toned, athletic body.
From The Holy Children CD drama, we know that Ken’s mother died and his father, finding him traumatized after the shock of losing his mother, packed him off to a church for counseling. He grew up to become a successful goalie before being framed and betrayed by his “best friend”, Kase (that scum!) He lost his soccer career and joined Weiss.
Why do I love Ken? He loves children, leads a normal life outside his missions and is rather simple-minded in his pursuit of soccer perfection. He is pure and innocent in a way no other member of Weiss is. I love the scene with Yuriko where she is obviously trying to seduce him but he blushes and insists on sleeping on the floor. Omi only looks innocent. He was trained to be a killer from childhood by Persia. (This is shown in the Four Leaf Clover cd drama.) Ken is passionate, impetuous and trusting and because of this, he is betrayed again and again. As the series goes on, we see him slowly go nuts. He says that he was homeless for a time when Weiss was disbanded and that perhaps killing was his true vocation in Fight Fire with Fire. Koyasu is sooo cruel to poor Ken! I know this is partly because he is Farfarello’s series counterpart hence the lapsed Catholicism, the bloodlust etc.
I feel really sorry for Ken. When he meets Yuriko, he admits that he had never worked in an office and had always been stuck working at the Koneko. He lived a dream of being the best soccer player which was taken cruelly away, leaving him with nothing. As he tells Kase, living as Weiss was already hell on earth. I don’t think he really loved Yuriko, she just happened to come along when he was mourning Kase and was a welcome distraction. He should have gone to Australia though. Throughout Fight Fire with Fire and Gluehen, Ken keeps talking about searching for an indefinable important something. He says that he doesn’t understand what he is feeling. To me, he finds it in Ran at last kekeke.
Ran x Ken The One True Pairing
If you ask me, there’s more canon evidence for RanKen than for any other pairing. Let’s have a look at my nutty list.
- Ken’s dubious sexuality- Ken is possibly bi. The other Weiss boys all have their angst trigger ™. Omi has Ouka and his family, Youji has Asuka and Ran has his family. Who does Ken have? Kase. Perhaps Ken and Kase were more than just friends. They were obviously very close and Kase is all over Ken, hugging and touching him. They may not have slept together but Kase certainly means a lot to Ken and his betrayal hurt him more than anything.
- Ken’s cross-dressing. Ken is the most masculine Weiss boy but he cross-dresses the most. He impersonated that hacker girl as well as a stewardess. LOL, why pick Ken? Did he volunteer or did someone order him to do it? Let’s not even begin about Ran’s feyness.
- Ran seems to have some kind of emotional connection with Yuushi back when he was in Crashers. Just look at the cover of Crashers Knight and Ran cd. Then there was the subtext with Botan. Could Ran possibly be 100% straight? I think not.
- Ran and Ken’s hot, fiery meeting in the manga. They try to kill each other at first sight in a fight for dominance…in manga-land this means that they’re made for one another. I’m sure they’re secretly wrestling each other in bed.
- Did you watch the Kase episode? Ran appears not to care but he is always following Ken around to make sure he is ok (or maybe to check on love rivals). In The Holy Children, he appears out of nowhere in the café to pay Ken’s bill when Ken has trouble paying. In Kapitel, he follows Ken to the bar where he is meeting Kase. You can see his reflection in the glass of the drink. In return, Ken runs out and restrains Aya by hugging him when he goes berserk over Takatori in that famous helicopter scene.
- Koyasu’s support for RanKen. He gropes Seki onstage, puts his arm around him and wipes his face in photos. See Lena’s lovely page for photographic evidence. <a href="http://www.geocities.com/miss_ayamastermind/other/weiss_mess_koya.html">
Koyasu obviously is a RanKen fan. Ran and Ken are always paired together in photos and Yohji and Omi. Pics have Ken putting his arm around Ran. Even better, my fav pic has Ken sitting in water and Ran lying down between Ken’s legs and putting his head on Ken’s lap/upper thigh!!! Ran is smiling away contentedly and we all know what water symbolizes…
- Koyasu and Seki sing “Bosanova, Casanova”, a duet together! The lyrics express Ran and Ken’s love for each other!
- The ending of Gluehen. God, what a tantalizing but disappointing ending for RanKen fans! Let us analyze the scene in detail.
Ken is sitting in jail, thinking about what his miren (lingering attachment) is. He says, “I don’t understand. Am I scared? I can’t be afraid of death now. But…” (He is in love with Ran but doesn’t realize what he is feeling!)
Scene immediately switches to a flashback when he is with Ran at the airport. He says that he is not like Ran who lets nothing bother him. (He doesn’t realize that Ran loves him too!) He stretches out his hand to stop Ran from leaving but it is too late.
“I was going to throw it all away. My life was empty. Tell me Aya, what…what is binding me?” He has nothing else to live for except for Ran! Or he’ll kill himself! Ahhh….the bonds of love. He tells Ran to wait for him and that he’ll join him soon.
If WK is a corny Japanese drama, I’m sure the airport meeting would have ended differently. It’s like some kinda failed romance a lá Tokyo Love Story. Stupid Ken! What you’re searching for is Ran, not your soccer ball! Go after him!
8. Ken gets over his Gluehen stupidity and joins Ran in Kryptonbrand in Side B. We note that they are the only two characters left. Omi has morphed into a creepy Takatori and Yohji is living happily in amnesia-land with “Asuka”. Ken even says that he has come over to a foreign country because of Ran and that Ran is necessary to him. This proves that they were meant to be together! They have been gotten over their respective hang-ups and Ken seems to be happy and settled. He has found the thing that will save him and his sanity-Ran. We can safely assume they are screwing like bunnies at this point ;)
Why Ran x Ken works
I believe that their personalities complement each other beautifully and that they would be good for each other. Ran needs someone to draw him out of his shell and reacquaint him with human companionship and the simpler pleasures of life. Ken suffers from a distinct lack of brain-cells and Ran would be able to keep him from rushing blindly into foolish situations. Ran is steady, loyal and absolutely devoted to those loves. It would be good for Ken to have someone true to love who wouldn’t ever betray him. Unlike Yohji, Ken wouldn’t drown himself in dissipation and women. His cheerful, outgoing nature would keep Ran from brooding. Ran needs something to live for, now that Takatori is dead and Aya is safe and happy. I can see them having a committed, long-term relationship. If they adopt or if technology allows them to have kids, Ken would make such a good father/mother! I can imagine him teaching them soccer… Besides, Ken makes such a cute uke! Hurting him would be like torturing a kitten! Who can resist his trusting big eyes and boyish charm? And they look perfect together!
When I started out as a fan, RanKen was very popular but the fashion seems to be Youji x Ran nowadays. Deena’s RanKen fics were among the earliest fics I read and she remains my favourite RanKen writer. I’m also constantly searching for the next great RanKen writer. Come on, RanKen fans out there! Share your talent! I was really disappointed to see the Blade and Claw’s “Generated” contest drew no entries.
It’s hard to find sites devoted to RanKen as opposed to Youji x Ran. However, Ana and Gal’s Blade and Claw are a shining example of RanKen goodness! To be honest, though I like RanKen best and believe it to be the OTP, I also support all kinds of pairings like Crawford x Ken, SchuKen, YouKen as well as oddball pairings like Ken x Nagi. But this is a RanKen essay so…
Things I have noticed about RanKen fics
Most of the RanKen fics have a tendency to be sugary-sweet and domestic. Actually, I especially enjoy Ken rape fics but such fics seem to rarely contain RanKen. So most of my fic recs are WAFFY stories. I also have a soft spot for humour. Blame it on my bleak existence as a penniless, part-time drudge/grad student! Other things I have noticed in RanKen fics:
- Ken is clumsy, breaks things and falls conveniently on Ran, leading to kisses.
- Ran the cold bastard storyline. Ran uses Ken for sex and then tells him he doesn’t love him. Or simply ignores his advances. Sometimes, Ken is a slave.
- The French restaurant set-piece. Ran and Ken are in a fancy restaurant together and Ken makes a mess of himself. Ran always orders a salad or something refined. Ken always orders something red-blooded like steaks, hamburgers etc.
- Ken has a cluttered room and leave soccer balls lying around while Ran lectures him about it. Ken can’t cook and ruins the kitchen.
- Ken is a dumb beer-burping jock while Ran reads poetry, speaks foreign languages etc.
- Ran and Ken have children together.
- Ken gets injured in mission and becomes blind, paralyzed whatever. Or he or Ran gets cancer etc…
- Ran is some kind of aristocrat/upper-class person in AU fics while Ken is a peasant.
- Ken is a skittish virgin or some kind of abuse survivor.
- Ken is compared to chocolate (choc eyes, choc hair) or chocolate ice cream. Ran is strawberry ice cream. Or Ken is fire (see my title) or a Siberian tiger and Ran is ice. Or more specifically, Ran has a stick up his ass.
- Ran has trouble prying Ken away from soccer.
Ad infinitum. Fic Fansmut.org has a funny fictional RanKen storyline called “The Icy Rod.”
<a href="http://www.fanfiction.net/s/981079/1/"> Wow, I’ll love to read that fic! I love ice pops!
Enough blather! On with the RanKen goodness!
1. Sidara’s famous Transcendence Arc. Sunde focuses on Schu but Zeit which is part 2 in the trilogy is RanKen. Ken gets captured by Schu…
2. Uncle Yohji’s Book of Love and Schuldig’s Book of Love by durendal and the Beef Chick. This has got to be the funniest WK fic ever written. And it has all my fav. pairings!
Scroll down the page.
3. A Fine Day for a Group Outing by Kuwabara no Miko and Talya Firedancer. This is another winner in the humour category…All the WK boys are closet hentai yarou!
4. The New World Order Timeline by Aoe and Shoori. An incredibly long timeline. For people who want to see Ran and Ken as a couple with kids growing middle-aged together.
5. I would recommend all of Deena’s fics, RanKen or not. Please write nice emails to her encouraging her to write! I believe she is the one who started Blender!Farf. H/w, my favs are:
Constantly Keen (unfinished) - Ken’s motormouth takes some use getting to but it’s absolutely hilarious. Ken, get a clue!
Waking Unto Lantern’s Bright-WAFF in the best tradition!
Something New (unfinished) - Ran and Ken goes undercover as lovers on a gay cruise. Man, this is so funny…
Playing the Part (unfinished)-SchuKen really but it’s good and there’s some RanKen.
Christmas Frenzy-what slash will call a curtainfic. Since it’s Xmas…Fluffy
6. Chibification (Raising Ken) by Swythangel. Fluffy. Ken becomes chibified after a failed mission.
Phenomenal, Noumenal is also good but unfinished. This fic made me cry…
Her Gotterdamerung is also quite well-known. The writer seems to like grand titles.
7. Watch me as I fade away by Sky Rat. Based on the idea of Diane Wynne Jones (my fav author)’s idea about Alternate Universes. Unfinished but I can see RanKen developing…
8. Dreamlover by Roo. Ran is Ken’s dream lover…
9. Kind des Schicksal by Crimson1. This is a fic that is in progress and being posted to RanKen lists. I have mixed feelings about this fic but I’m a sucker for WAFF so…
10. Ukeseme Dynamics by Celeste1
Pillow Talk by Arctica
Rules by Yoippari.
See Ran and Ken bicker about who should be seme!
11. Hair by Fancy. This is a silly blink-and-you’ll-miss-it RanKen. Ran’s secret reading habits made me spurt Darjeeling through my nose.
12. Owner's Guide and Maintenance Manual by Berserker Nightwitch. Not strictly speaking RanKen but so funny! Read Ken’s manual!
13. Persistence of Memory by Scarlet Fever. This is a NagixOmi fic but has some RanKen in it. It’s pretty moving though. And it’s named after my favourite painting!
The author also wrote a great Ken fic called Frail though it’s really cruel…The characterization struck me as true though…(unrequited RanKen) I can really see Kenken acting out that way! Poor Kenken! You don’t know but I love you! (blows her nose)
14. Revealing Myself and Learning to love Him (unfinished) by Cece.
15. The Secret Diaries by lise. Unfinished but funny RanKen. Also If You Were Mine (unfinished).
16. Switch by Carter Tachikawa. A bodyswitching RanKen!
17. The Saga Begins and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Marty1. Ran melts at last. Marty1 has also written other funny RanKens like Black Gold (unfinished). No RanKen fan should miss A Series of Unfortunate Events. See the fuckups in Ran and Ken’s love life!
18. Contradiction and sequel Bad Cover Version by coymistress. Angst up the wazoo. Boys Next Door contest winners.
19. Great Hopping Toads: Weiss’s “The Frog Prince” by Apapazukamori Fairy-tale Weiss!
20. The Ultimate Weiss Fic! By Rinny1. You’ll never need to read another WK fic again once you read this.
21. Jerry Springer: Bizarre Love Triangles by Ruaki. Everyone x Everyone
22. Slavery by Kuwabara no Miko.
23. Love on a Leash (unfinished) by Atsureki. Ken is an AU sex slave. I didn’t like the latter part of this fic though.
24. P.S. Speare is known for her historical AU fic Upon a Painted Ocean though I couldn’t really get into it.
25. Checkmate by Ana and Gal. Hot Ran x Yuushi x Ken AU ménage a trois. Ran teaches Ken a whole new way to deal with his aggression. I also have a soft spot for the Flower Saga.
28. Koumori’s Pat Benatar Arc for hot Youji x Aya x Ken smut.
30. Fear by samuraiheart. The “Ran uses Ken for sex” storyline…
31. Empty Promises by focsfyr. Ken’s real secret life. Angsty.
32. Close Your Eyes by Yasmin M. Bastard!Ran. I like Yohji’s first person voice in this fic.
I could go on forever but I’m tired and have to work…I don’t get paid for writing this…
Blade and Claw-first stop for all RanKen fans. Lovely fanart, multi-part fics, screwing animated chibis and contests! I love the guest fanart of Ken and Ran gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes! Ana and Gal love RanKen even more than I do. Please give them your support!
Boys Next Door-This is an excellent multi-fandom archive with a good section for WK fics. They hold annual smut contests.
Eines Tages-I’m really hoping that this small site will grow to fill the gap left by the closure of the White Cross archives. For all pairings. Since the FFnet thing happened, it’s getting harder and harder to find fics. Come on and submit your fics to this archive! I feel sorry for the webmistress though since she seems to be doing this solo. Must be a lot of work.
If anyone has any comments about WK or yaoi in general or has any nummy RanKen fic recs, feel free to post in my lj. And remember, good fic writers need reviews and applause!