Mediakin in [Lupa's] Media

a response to the depiction of mediakin [now fictionkin] in A Field Guide to Otherkin

[back to writing home]

published on march 25, 2024

A Field Guide to Otherkin, written by Lupa, is the first published book about otherkin and alterhumans. Most alterhumans, including myself, feel that it’s an important work and piece of history in our communities. Still, it’s outdated. It was written in 2007, seven years before the term alterhuman was coined. I feel like one of the best examples of this is Lupa’s section on mediakin, or people who identify as characters from fiction in some way, usually called fictionkin today.

The section is only a few pages long and is found within the chapter Other ‘Kin, which discusses less common alterhuman experiences, showing how fictionkin were less prominent in past alterhuman communities than they are now. Honestly, though, I’m a little relieved the section didn’t have more focus on it than it did. Lupa didn’t receive much input from mediakin when she was researching the Field Guide [202], so there isn’t as much information from mediakin themselves as I would like. I also feel that Lupa and some of the people she quotes are biased against mediakin. While they do offer some genuine critique, they jump to conclusions, make assumptions about all mediakin based on the actions of a few, and don’t offer information that seems basic to me in the modern day.

After quickly explaining what mediakin are, Lupa states that mediakin “align themselves with fictional characters that have only recently come into existence, often long after the Mediakin themselves were born” [202]. This isn’t always the case! I’ve seen people identify as characters from Arthurian legend, and I was born a few months after the main content from my source ended. Lupa uses this information to transition focus to the common mediakin experience of being a reincarnated fictional character, first critiquing how reincarnation couldn’t follow linear time for many mediakin [203] but later mentioning that non-linear modes of time might be possible [205]. While it’s definitely great to give the proper light to common sentiments, I wish she gave more information on other theories of origin, as not all mediakin have reincarnation-based identities. Lupa does mention other spiritual theories [203-204, 205], which I appreciate, but she never acknowledges psychological-based mediakinity at all.

Lupa then puts forward good questions; firstly: can mediakin truly be considered a subset of otherkin? [203]. Today, the waters are still a little murky, but I think most people consider otherkin and fictionkin to be two separate but connected identities, possibly in part because of the word alterhuman replacing the word otherkin as an umbrella term. She also asks about the logistics of multiple people identifying as the same character [203], or what we now call doubles. To answer, what would happen in that situation would depend on the people involved, with some possible factors being one’s theories of origin, if their or the double’s experiences align with the canon version of their source media, and how strongly they identify as that character. Some people are comfortable with doubles, and some aren’t. Finally, Lupa wonders why mediakin usually identify as popular characters [203]. I personally think it’s because more people are exposed to them. People generally focus on and think more deeply about things they’ve had more experience with, either through general pop culture or personal interest, so mediakin are more likely to realize they’re a popular character than an obscure one.

Although she acknowledges that the same could be said of some otherkin, Lupa states, “It seems as though Mediakin… are simply latching on to whatever seems cool” [204], which is a major assumption. She connects this to the idea that mediakin “change their behavior to emulate a character” [204], later expressing hesitancy about mediakin who aren’t inherently similar to their source material [205-206]. What Lupa categorizes as putting on a show might be more honest than that, however. Some mediakin and fictionkin might instead be unmasking traits that they previously hid, discovering a more genuine portrayal of themselves, or intentionally connecting with an already genuine identity. Additionally, some mediakin and fictionkin are just different from the fictional portrayals of themselves, possibly because those portrayals were incorrect or skewed, they only partially identify as a character, their identity is nonspiritual or nonliteral, and/or it’s just normal for people to change. Even if someone doesn’t have an immediate connection with a character, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with voluntarily identifying as them.

Lupa also puts forward a few examples of behavior from mediakin which some of her interviewees find questionable, such as a German anime character learning Japanese instead of German despite only knowing the latter in their source material [204]. I feel like she uses these examples to draw undue conclusions, as the actions of a few mediakin don’t speak for the entire community.

All this isn’t to say that nothing about Lupa’s thoughts on mediakin are valuable. They show us past conceptions of identities which have since evolved, making the Field Guide an excellent source on the history of alterhumanity. I think Lupa also realized that her relevancy might be short-lived, as she concludes the mediakin section by saying, “Mediakin haven’t been around long enough to prove that they aren’t a fad, [and] the same could be said of Otherkin” [206]. I think it’s becoming more and more clear that identities based in fiction, or all alterhuman identities for that matter, aren’t a fad. Mine certainly aren’t.


Lupa. A Field Guide to Otherkin. Megalithica Books, 2007.