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I was setting up for my trip to Finland the week Pacific Rim hit theatres all over the world, so when I finally sat down with my laptop on July the 13th and saw the explosion of a fandom, I was surprised. At this point, having been in and around fandom for nearly 8 years, you’d think I’d be used to seeing the way a fanbase can emerge out of the blue and yet it takes me by surprise every single time.
I favourited a couple of meta posts on tumblr, because I was trying to avoid spoilers but knew I’d want to get my hands on EVERYTHING if the few blinkered glimpses I got were anything to go by. I had exorbitantly high hopes, once I read this article and was assured it wasn’t ‘just another giant robot movie’, for the places it was, supposedly, taking cinema.
I’m going to be completely and utterly honest here (where else can you do that, if not the internet?) Every single one of my expectations were completely blown out of the water at my first screening. And my second. And my third. I came out that first time, with the cheers of a rescued world echoing in my ears and I felt all of 5 years old again. I wanted to enlist in the PPDC (Pan-Pacific Defence Corps), get in a Jaeger (the giant robots) and fight a kaiju (the giant monsters). I practically danced my way out of the cinema, already planning what is turning out to be terribly self-indulgent Newt-centric fic and I haven’t shut up about how amazing the film is since.
Jaegercon 2013 is scheduled for the 9th, 10th and 11th of August, with meetups happening all over the world. Jaegercon Bingo is already in full swing and, having just passed the 3-weeks-since-release mark, AO3 already hosts an impressive 703 fanworks, with Tumblr the home of countless more.
The cast, much like the fandom, is a melting pot of talent, as well as being a fantastic showcase for diversity. Rinko Kikuchi plays the endlessly impressive Mako Mori, Idris Elba is boss man and epic speech maker Marshal Stacker Pentecost, Clifton Collins is techy Tendo Choi and Charles, Mark and Lance Luu are the extremely badass Wei Tang triplets. Charlie Day is a GIFT as scientist Newton Geiszler, as is his partner in crime, Hermann Gottlieb. Which brings me rather neatly onto ships!
There is a raging debate in Pacific Rim fandom over whether it’s okay to romantically ship the characters, considering that the main theme of the film is togetherness, of the non-romantic kind. I know, I was shocked too. There wasn’t even any kiss-me-as-the-world-burns-around-us! Regardless though, fandom will be fandom, and some popular pairings are already emerging.
As main characters, suggested love interests, pilots of Gipsy Danger and saviors of the world, Mako and Raleigh were bound to be paired up from the second they were introduced.
They have undeniable sexual tension and a connection which means they can Drift together, the technology that allows two Rangers to pilot a Jaeger by bonding their minds in a ‘neural handshake’. It’s all very soulbond-esque in that sense, to the point where fic writers coined the term ‘velcroing’, to describe the non-canon concept in which two pilots need physical contact after Drifting together. That aside, one of my favourite scenes from the film shows Mako and Raleigh battling it out to prove that they are Drift compatible. Guillermo Del Toro admitted that he wanted the scene to have the same characteristics as a sex scene, and OH BOY did he deliver.
As the two primary scientists, Newt and Hermann have been working together almost since the Kaiju attacks began (according to the Official Novelisation). They have a very antagonistic relationship, but when it comes to the crux of it, they trust each other – quite literally – with their innermost secrets, sharing a neural connection in order to gather intelligence about the Kaiju.
One of my very favourite ships. Chuck Hansen pilots a Jaeger called Striker Eureka with his father Herc, and if Newt and Hermann’s relationship is antagonistic, Chuck and Raleigh’s is explosive. They don’t get along from the get go, Chuck considering Raleigh to be largely useless. They get into a fist fight at one point, but Raleigh has Chuck’s back when he and Herc get into a sticky situation mid way through the film and vice versa towards the climax.
*cough* tough guy dry humping *cough*
Fondly termed ‘The Russians’ and central to a fandom wide argument over who is who, Aleksis and Sasha Kaidonovsky are a married couple who pilot the oldest Jaeger in the fleet, Cherno Alpha. Not much of their backstory is given in the film, though I am assured they are fleshed out more in the novelisation. All that means though, is that fandom has two ready made characters with minimal backstory to play with!
The highlights for me, avoiding spoilers as much as possible, are four-fold. The soundtrack is quite frankly AWESOME, plus, whilst also being very diverse, the film also includes a scene with explicit inversion of the male gaze (See this post). There are two fantastic father-son and brotherly relationships (everybody who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for codependent brothers) and last but not least Hannibal Chau, local mob-boss, organiser of the Kaiju-parts blackmarket and all around cool dude (who, in all seriousness, utters the phrase “Are you funnin’ me son?”).
I can’t give enough praise to this movie and the people who made it, and I’m endlessly glad that I fell into the fandom so quickly and so hard, because it means I get to be around to see it’s evolution. Is there anything better than being in a fandom from the outset? Seeing it expand and learn and churn out mind blowing art and fic at an astonishing pace? We’re only 3 weeks in and already Pacific Rim fandom has the potential to be phenomenal, so go see it, spend way too many hours playing around on the Jaeger Designer and trawl the depths of tumblr to find us.
We’ll be waiting.
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1. Randomly hitting your keyboard to express overwhelming emotion, such as anger or excitement.
ot5 \ oh-TEE-fahyv \ noun
1. Favorite combination of five persons in a fandom.
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