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A stitchpunk is a small mechanical being enclosed in a fabric body and imbued with a human soul via alchemy (unless born to two stitchpunks, who do not require human intervention). Stitchpunks are from the 2009 film 9, and all nine of the main characters from the film are stitchpunks.
The fandom surrounding stitchpunks is mainly, if not solely, based out of the 9 fandom, though sometimes craftwork art may be seen being labeled as "stitchpunk," similar to the art movement names "cyberpunk" and "steampunk." Stitchpunk OCs are incredibly common in the fandom, and the fandom has a long roleplay history dating back to months before the film's release in 2009. Stitchpunk roleplay took place on the main 9 Forum, as well as a dedicated stitchpunk roleplaying forum called The Source. Some chat sites, such as Discord and the old DeviantART chat clients, were and are used for stitchpunk roleplay, though DA chats have fallen out of use in favor of Discord. Some groups on DeviantART are dedicated to stitchpunk OCs.
Though mostly unseen in the film, each stitchpunk's insides are filled with a mechanical skeleton. Fabric acts as the skin to protect their metal insides, with the exception of their hands, feet, and eyes (optics). Their bodies can be made of different material, such as copper vs. iron, metal vs. wood, cotton vs. burlap. In the film, each of the nine stitchpunks are given a small piece of their human creator's soul to bring them to life, thus embedding them each with a specific aspect of his personality. When the soul is taken from them the body dies. The soul lives on without the body, but it must be released to the open air least it be trapped in the mortal world by forces of alchemy. Their souls can be used to create new life on the Earth, as seen at the end of the film when bits of their souls rain down on the planet and green (soul colored) microscopic bacteria can be seen in the rainwater.
Canonically stitchpunks appear to have no need of food, water, or sleep, as none of them are seen engaging in these acts. This may be because they are completely mechanical. They may feel pain, but possibly less extremely, as when 7's leg is skewered and the wound is stitched back up, she doesn't flinch or appear in much pain. Similarly, 5 doesn't cry out or act pained when he losses one of his optics. Despite this, at the beginning of the film, 9 is seen limping after he and 2 were attacked by a machine, which would imply he felt pain by placing weight on one of his legs.
The fandom has come up with many different headcanons to expand the fanon of stitchpunks and their universe.
Some fans headcanon that stitchpunks could indeed drink, but it wouldn't be water. On the roleplay forum The Source, oil was the liquid of choice, and it was used in place of alcohol. Drunk stitchpunks were an interesting topic of roleplay.
In canon there were only nine stitchpunks created, all by one man. In fanon where OCs are common, fans get around this by instead headcanonning that the scientist in the film wasn't the only one to create stitchpunks. Anyone could end up putting their soul into a stitchpunk, from average people, to children, and even some animals (though these are usually placed in machine bodies, not stitchpunks).
The most wildly discussed headcanons refer to sexuality and reproduction. The most common form of sexuality in fanon is the concept of soul bonding or soul binding. Because the soul lives inside the stitchpunk's body, in order for two stitchpunks to have a child they have to combine their souls into a new one. Fans will have their two dolls open their bodies (or make an opening) and press them together. This is considered an emotional experience and feelings and thoughts may be shared between the two. Once a third, new, soul is formed, they can separate. The soul stays inside the body of one of the stitchpunks, getting bigger, until its strong enough to be moved into a body created by the parents. The parents will have to change the body overtime as the child grows. In this way, it seems the soul is able to move from host to host at will. An older, and much more rare, form of sex among stitchpunks, is done with the use of rods and a slit. This is a more human approach to sex. One may have a literal metal, rod-shaped phallus, and the other may have a simple slit between their legs. However, it does not seem common to imagine pregnancy or children resulting from this.
On the 9 forum there was a joke that stitchpunk sex was called "friction," though most of the references to this are hidden behind members-only threads.
- 9 Forum, Patchlamb, Oct 8, 2009 at 2:01am. (Accessed 1/27/2021)