profile

I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

I feel so seen 😭

Published about 1 month ago • 4 min read

KAT VANCIL

THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA

QUEST 57

There is nothing that hits right to the heart of readers more, Reader, than to feel truly seen.

Because it is one thing to be represented at all in a work of fiction. But another thing entirely to feel as if you and your experiences on this big ball or dirt in space, have been understood.

And so, since we’re still in the midst of Autism Awareness Month, here are 3 stories that perfectly capture the autistic experience in a way you wouldn’t expect:

Appare-Ranman!

Autistic character — Appare Sorano — original anime

If the box you’re born into is unwilling to accept you as you are, build a grander container to contain your life.

Appare-Ranman! features Appare—the second son of the respected Sorano merchant family who’s considered eccentric by everyone around him, especially during Japan’s Meiji era.

Much to his family’s utter dismay, Appare doesn’t give a damn for social norms or inheriting the family business. Instead he spends his time inventing new gadgets or studying various scientific texts.

When Appare lands himself in jail at the start of the story, Kosame Isshiki—a samurai under Lord Kuroda—is tasked with keeping him “under control.” Language we still use against autistic persons today.

However, through a series of disastrous events, the two find themselves stranded in America with their only hope of returning home being—you guessed it—Appare.

On the surface Appare-Ranman! is a story about a bonkers race across the Americas that’s an homage to Around the World in Eighty Days. But really, it’s a story about how society demonizes the eccentrics and outliers while at the same time idealizing the exceptional creatives and inventors it capitalizes from. And it does this brilliantly through the character of Kosame.

At the onset of the story Kosame blames Appare for all his misfortunes, but over the course of the story he comes to realize how truly extraordinary Appare is. And that it is society that needs to change to accommodate and accept him.

Violet Evergarden

Autistic character — Violet Evergarden — light novel & anime

Just because someone does not feel as you do, does not mean their feelings are not as vast and deep as the sea.

On the surface, Violet Evergarden is a story about a teen girl reintegrating back into society after a war where she fought as a child soldier and lost both her hands. And about the small trials of life as she works as a letter writer (an auto memories doll) with her new hands made of metal.

But really, it’s a story about an autistic individual navigating her first workplace in a society designed solely for the neurotypical.

It’s about a young woman’s journey to process the traumatic and brutal things she suffered while in the war in a society that doesn’t recognize her as a true person. Not because she’s a woman or because parts or her are no longer flesh, but because she doesn’t experience things or process emotions the same way as those around her.

Throughout the story, Violet is compared to an object—a doll. And told she doesn’t emote, process trauma, or express emotions “as a normal person does.” Something autistic individuals experience and suffer every day.

That being said, through the actions Violet takes in the story as she tries to discover what it is to love, she inadvertently proves that she is more human than them all.

Bungo Stray Dogs

Autistic character — Ranpo Edogawa — manga & anime

When man makes monsters of what he does not understand, he proves himself to be a fool.

It has been argued that the majority of characters in Bungo Stray Dogs are neurodivergent. And by that extent, the Gifted—as the series calls those with extraordinary special abilities—are how society views neurodivergent persons.

As monsters and deviants.

As gifted geniuses to near-worship and praise.

Or as valuable resources to be exploited by the various factions of society.

But I want to talk about one character in particular, Ranpo Edogawa, who gets a 3 part backstory episode run in season 4.

Unlike the majority of other characters in the series, Ranpo is one of the rare characters without a supernatural talent. Though he’s convinced that he has one.

Let me explain.

In a truly heartbreaking scene in Season 4, Episode 2 “The Day Is a Dream, The Night Is Real” Ranpo confesses in frustrated anguish to Yukichi Fukuzawa that he doesn’t understand why everyone else isn’t upset by the things he sees as glaring flaws.

And while clutching himself and nearly in tears he says,

“It really upsets me. I just don’t get why? There’s something everyone else gets. And I just don’t. I don’t get it! I’m scared. It’s like the world is filled with monsters. Monsters that only I don't understand. I’m alone…living in a world of monsters.”

It’s devastatingly brutal, as are the scenes that follow. Because to see and feel things in a way that those around you don’t is incredibly frustrating and isolating and drives right to the core of the autistic experience.

Later, Yukichi Fukuzawa realizes that though Ranpo is not one of the Gifted, he is an exceptional talent that should not be wasted in a life mired in the isolating fear of being different. And says,

“For years, you pretended your own talent did not exist.”

And Ranpo is not alone in this. How many of us, Reader, have been forced to pretend for the mental peace and benefit of those around us that we were less than we are?

How many of us are doing it right now? Today? This moment?

Maybe it’s time we stopped.

Though it’s true, none of the creators of these 3 stories have come right out and called their characters autistic. I will say this, like recognizes like. A leopard will always recognize another leopard by the quality of their spots.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil

🐱

PS 👉 Does the idea of trying to summarize your 100K fantasy tome make you cringe, Reader? Maybe fill you will dread? Or even make you consider writing a whole new book to avoid writing marketing copy for the one you just finished?

You’re in luck! I’m putting together an easy-to-follow mini-course to take the pain out of writing those book descriptions for your sales page and website.

Did your friend, co-worker, or some rando you met at a con forward this email to you?

First off, they have good taste.

Secondly, you can join the Storyteller's Saga too and get edutaining emails delivered to your inbox every Wednesday by clicking the golden button below.


Not interested in learning to be a storyteller and just want to read some heart-pounding Boys Love fiction instead? Abandon this quest

Do you need/want to change your name or email? You can update it here

Don't want to hear from me like ever again? Just Unsubscribe

The Saga Quest

1179 West A Street, Suite 137, Hayward, CA 94541

Already a subscriber?

I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or an episode of my weekly Boys Love Fantasy series to devour during your coffee break.

Read more from I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

KAT VANCIL THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA QUEST 62 Well hello there, Reader! Did you go to a BBQ this past weekend? Maybe a movie or even a convention? I went to a wedding! Me & Cousin Nick My youngest cousin’s in fact. She looked like a fairytale princess, her white dress billowing out behind her in the pre-summer breeze. Cousin Melissa & Daniel And it got me thinking, this is how most stories end. With family and friends. With a big party and a delicious feast. With dancing and dresses. With cake...

about 7 hours ago • 4 min read

KAT VANCIL THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA QUEST 61 Well hello there, Reader, This weekend I’m going to be heading to a family wedding. And like I do for nearly all weddings I’m invited to (whether or not I actually attend) I’m gifting the happy couple with a watercolor painting. Sometimes it’s a landscape of the Grand Canal in Venice. Or their favorite place in Disney. This time it’s a beachscape not too far from where me and my husband spent our anniversary last fall. While we were staying at the...

7 days ago • 5 min read

KAT VANCIL THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA QUEST 59 Well hello there, Reader, This time of year always reminds me of sitting in a big grassy field watching baseball. And if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can still hear that distant crack of ball hitting bat as people cheer from the driveway of my parents’ house. It’s a sound I know well. You see, my little brother played baseball from T-ball right up 'til he started high school. And since most of the games were at the school/city park...

28 days ago • 4 min read
Share this post