Earlier this week, a segment of the Tokyo Ghoul fandom was outraged by a development in the ongoing Japanese manga, which contradicted gay fan fiction about two of its main characters. Outraged, the fujoshi (female manga fans who like gay relationships) accused the author of homophobia.
Not to be outdone by the Tokyo Ghoul fandom, some fans of Voltron: Legendary Defender are trying to blackmail the animation studio responsible for the new cartoon series over unauthorized photographs of storyboards and artwork with demands for a gay romance.
A follow-up to Voltron, an original American cartoon series that broadcast in the 1980s and ‘90s, the new Voltron: Legendary Defender is a collaboration between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation. It is animated by Korean-based Studio Mir. Like most popular new cartoons, Voltron has a few obsessives who take the show way too seriously. Following a tour of Studio Mir, a fan published unauthorized photographs of confidential storyboards, character designs and sketches online.
The studio is in full damage control mode and is trying to put out the fire by asking Voltron fans who linked to or shared the images to remove them.
Following the studio’s efforts, a user going by the name of “Klance14,” who presented him/herself as one of the leakers, demanded that Voltron’s creators fulfill the gay romance fantasy popular with some fans of the show in exchange for his or her cooperation.
While seemingly absurd, the request isn’t out of the ordinary for obsessive “shippers” who have been known to send hate mail and even death threats to authors. Stephen King wasn’t kidding when he wrote Misery, and neither was Eminem with his hit single Stan. To a crazy few, fiction is serious business.
Klance is a portmanteau of Keith and Lance, two of Voltron’s main characters. In the fandom, fujoshi fantasize about the two characters being in a gay relationship. Similar relationship “headcanon” (non-canonical storyline that only exists in a person’s mind) exists with the fandoms of Overwatch, Sherlock Holmes, and innumerable other works of fiction.
Numerous fans expressed outrage at the leaker, deploring his or her actions.
Ashamed by the association, other Klance fans deny that they have anything to do with the leak, and claim that he or she is a “troll trying to make shippers look bad.”
Thanks to the unforeseen leak, Studio Mir has now banned photography inside its premises. It has shown no intention of agreeing to make the characters gay—nor should it. Creators should never be held hostage by their audience, much less a hostile audience that demands to be pandered to.