ETA: You've probably already read this by now, but in case you haven't - yes, I can't shut up once I start typing. Don't be scared by the length; it's all optional. :D
First off, thank you! I will be thrilled with whatever I get, so you don't need to worry. :D I am extremely easy to please and very nice that way. Let me give you a bit more detail on my tastes - but if you find you need to write the story in a certain way, then you go ahead and do that. (ETA: And since I don't think I mentioned it anywhere else - I don't care what rating you write it, although I tend to prefer sensuality to porn, in general.)
A few things I especially like in fic:
-- male/female relationships that aren't necessarily romantic
-- hell, any sort of friendship that isn't necessarily romantic
-- good characterization
-- a strong voice
What I don't particularly like:
-- introspective navel-gazing unless there's a really good twist at the end
-- for some reason, in pre-modern settings first-person narration tends to grate on me. I think it's because the voice usually sounds too modern for the setting.
I don't quite grok shipping so I'll read any pairing if the writer can convince me of it within the confines of the story, with the exception of underage characters, so if you've got an OTP feel free to indulge yourself. :D
Some of my Cool Bits include: being in the moment while feeling its transience, illusion, the night of a full moon, the terrible weight of the past, the journey is more important than the destination, exotic perfumes, moral ambiguity, secrets, liminality, legends, the changing of the seasons, the end of an era, secret passages, ruins, notes in the margins of books, a solitary journey to an unknown destination, love/hate relationships, a sense of time passing, the edge between civilization and the unknown, the moments before an era fades away, the deep forest, mysterious mountains, rivers, landscapes lost in mist, lost civilizations, incense, what happens after the fairy tale is over, crossroads, moonlight, traveling, ancient buildings, trading routes, mysteries never fully explained, a sense of deep time, shelter from a storm, history affecting the present, people who belong to past eras, the haunting sound of a bamboo flute. (And I wrote the Cool Bits Story Generator, if you want more ideas.:D)
Now for the individual fandom requests. These are guidelines, not hard-and-fast. :)
Okami - Well, I love the art and music here, but that's not very helpful to you, is it? As I said in the request, the lush, legendary feel of the game really sucks me in. I picked Waka from the character list since he's my current favorite character, even when I want to slap him, but he doesn't ahve to be the main character if it doesn't work for you. I like Amaterasu, too, but don't feel the need to include her, or even pair her with anyone. :) I'm about 2/3 of the way through the game, but aim to be finished by Christmas, so don't worry about spoilers.
In case I post something about this in public on my LJ (or you're one of my f-list), I'm doing a lot of reading on foxes and Tao/Daoism for another project, but as I'm taking it and mangling it for my own purposes, I'm all OK with you doing that. The game is its own unique take on Japanese folklore and myth anyway. :D
Mushishi - What I love about Mushishi is the timeless ambience, and the way that Ginko doesn't view mushi as a threat, but merely a part of the natural order that occasionally needs to be managed when they intersect with humanity. Also, the details of daily rural living that show up in the background - as an example, when rachelmanija and I were in Japan, we stayed at a ryokan in Magome that had a traditional hearth setup that was exactly like one we saw in the anime. That thrilled us no end, because we are geeks. The way that the Japanese mountain landscape is almost a character in and of itself is wonderful, too.
Because the focus of Mushishi is so much on the intersection of humans and mushi, I don't particularly think about pairings in association with it. I kind of like the delicate not-quite-there-yet hint of a thing between Ginko and Tanyuu, the writing girl, but I'm not expecting any sort of romance. A story told from someone else's point of view, maybe someone dealing or having problems with mushi, where Ginko is seen from outside might be intriguing.
I've seen the entire anime and read the first two manga. Don't worry about spoiling me for anything beyond that - I think it's all episodic anyway, so you wouldn't be spoiling a whole story arc, right? :)
xxxHolic - I read xxxHolic for the Japanese folklore and the mysterious Yuuko. Watanuki spazzing is amusing only in very small doses. A story featuring traditional supernatural creatures would be wonderful. Sorry for not being able to come up with much more to say: I could squee on for hours about the art, but that's not quite the point here, is it? XD
If it helps, the Obakemono Project is a compendium of supernatural creatures of Japan.
I've read up through volume 10, and would prefer no plot spoilers beyond that.
Blade of the Immortal - I love BotI to death - it's one of my favorite manga. The moral ambiguity here is great - the way that there really is no "good" and "evil," only "bad" and "not quite so bad."
I really like the brother/sister relationship between Manji and Rin, even more so because you hardly ever find non-romantic male/female relationships. Rin is wonderful in how she's been maturing and getting stronger and more self-sufficient a little at a time over the course of the story, instead of remaining the idealistic, angry teenager she was in the beginning. Magatsu and Anotsu are also favorite characters of mine - I love Magatsu's relationship with his doomed O-ren, and Anotsu's tough moral choices when leading his band of lunatics and psychopaths. This might be another story where something written from the outside looking in at the characters might work, if that floats your boat. Or a story about where and how Manji got various of his weapons, maybe? Or from the viewpoint of someone inside the Itto-ryu?
I've only read up to the English releases (On the Perfection of Anatomy, whatever number that is) and prefer no spoilers for the story after that.
Thank you so much for doing this - I look forward to your story!
ETA: My yuletart Dear Santa letter is here, for other random maunderings on about what I like to see in art and fic.