- Ran Wars
- Curse of Darkness
- Kyoto Chronicles
- Ukyou: Affairs of the Heart
- The Ties That Bind
Epsilon: Below you will find links to our early career serial fanfiction, mostly posted on rec.arts.anime.creative (that’s a newsgroup, which is a… just… I’m old, okay?) between the years of 1996 and 1999. These days, we mainly think they’re terrible. To be fair to the work below, that is mainly because we are artists and everything we did before the last thing we did is terrible to us.
Blade: To be fair to the work below, it’s also actually pretty terrible, except for some of the humour, which occasionally holds up pretty well when it wasn’t reliant on character-bashing (Shampoo is stupid! Ha!). It’s reasonably unlikely any of these will ever be continued (I do on a semi-annual basis think about rewriting CoD, but notice how far that’s gotten in the last decade), so they’re here for completeness and on the off-chance anybody is nostalgic for them.
- An Old Plot
- The Empire Strikes Out
- Return of the Videocassette
- The Fandom Menace (New…er! Arguably worth reading!)
Epsilon: First up we have what was probably our most popular series before Hybrid Theory, Ran Wars. This is basically a rewritten version of Star Wars, with Ranma characters replacing the main cast and bad jokes and way to much pointless wangst.
Blade: Ran Wars did have to virtue of being the one story we actually finished prior to Hybrid Theory, but then we mucked that up when The Phantom Menace came out and Aaron immediately leaped into doing a prequel trilogy that, you will notice, lacks that singular virtue of finished-ness.
Epsilon: On the other hand, it does have the virtue of being written much much later and thus being reasonably decent in comparison, with author’s personal favourite of Konatsu the Jedi Samurai replacing Qui-Gon, and Kiima (yes, that Kiima) as Jar Jar Binks (yes, that Jar Jar Binks).
Blade: Hilarity ensues, and it’s probably the least terrifying possible romantic pairing of
Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks you’re likely to find on the internet. Also, weirdly, our breaking of Jedi into “classes” pretty much foreshadowed KOTOR doing exactly the same thing in pretty much exactly the same way. Mysterious.
Epsilon: As a final note before you jump into it, Ran Wars is written entirely in Script Format, which is a format that was considered respectable and mainstream when it was first written but is now considered the fanfic equivalent of writing a website in Comic Sans.
Curse of Darkness
- My Name is Senchi
- The Killing Cure
- Rumble in Nerima
- Senchi’s First Date
- Ryouga’s Final Challenge
- Vision Quest
- Ranma vs Tarou! If You Want Something Done Right…
- Beware the Curse of the Silver Spatula
- A Fistful of Yen
- Berzerker Unleashed
- To The Victor
- The Soul of the Matter
Blade: Ranma 1/2: Curse of Darkness was our “flagship” story for a long time, certainly the one we wrote the most of prior to Hybrid Theory, and after Ran Wars probably what we were most known for back in the 90s. It’s still relatively unique for being a story about Ranma’s female half becoming a separate, sexy feminine personality that was not written primarily because the author finds female-Ranma to be hot. So there’s that!
Epsilon: CoD (insert fish pun here!) was also the first of what are basically our “roleplaying” stories. These stories all began as freeform rpg sessions/brainstorming between the two of us when we were teenagers and had nothing better to do but spend all our parent’s money on long distance phone calls. That might explain some of the disjointed and random nature of the stories, or it could be just us being teenagers when they were written.
Blade: CoD is also notable for starting two sort-of memes we were associated with, one of which stuck around for a long time and one of which is lost to the distant past. First off is the latter, Tsubasa Kurenai.
Now, you must understand that when these stories were written, you couldn’t just go on the Internet and download all the episodes of everything for free the day after they aired in Japan. If you couldn’t find someone to trade you a blurry 7th-generation fansubtitled VHS tape (or if you liked actually paying the creators for what you watched), then you had to wait until things came out in English to see what happened in an anime or manga. It’s true! And with something as long as Ranma 1/2, that took a very, very long time.
So, at that time, what non-Japanese-speaking Ranma fans knew about Tsubasa Kurenai largely amounted to vague synopsis’ and his cameo in the first Ranma 1/2 movie and Christmas OAV, which made people erroneously think he was a recurring Ukyou-love-interest character like Mousse was for Shampoo. That is not a good basis to accurately write someone’s character in a fanfic. Which we showed by writing a Tsubasa Kurenai who resembles the original manga/anime character only inasmuch as he still crossdresses and has wacky disguises. Oddly enough, our utterly inaccurate take on him proved somewhat popular at the time, leading to him being used in a couple other writing projects not done by us, and us to basically import the character wholesale into another fanfic.
Epsilon: The other, of course, is writing Cool Loner Badass Pantyhose Tarou into everything. Which, if you have read the Hybrid Theory side stories, you may realise we have somewhat outgrown.
And on THAT note, we move onto The Kyoto Chronicles. This is perhaps the worst offender of the Cool Badass Loner Panythose Tarou syndrome as we had it. It was a story basically written as a hatefic: we disliked the main story of Ranma 1/2 (because we had never read it, see above), and so decided to make it about Tarou and Ukyou instead of everyone else. Seriously, the first chapter of The Kyoto Chronicles is all about how terrible everyone else is and how awesome Ukyou is and while the later chapters have less of that, they have more Tarou Being A Smug Prick Because That Is How Cool People Act As Viewed By Two Social Outcast Nerds.
Blade: Hmm, fair enough to move with that segue, but ought we not to say a little bit more about the actual fanfic CoD at some point?
Blade: Because we said almost nothing about it other than it has an evil sexy female Ranma.
Blade: …actually, I guess you’re right, if anybody ever reads it it’ll probably be because of that. So I’ll just leave off on what was at one time our flagship and most well-known fanfic with: yes, we know Tzubi is not a Japanese name and can’t even be written in Japanese properly, we are deeply ashamed of our bad weabooness, we apologise.
- Nerima No More
- Arrival; The Revenge of Chagi!
- School of Many Battles! It’s Time for Tom!
- Chagi Strikes Back; Revenge is Mine!
Blade: And on Kyoto Chronicles, that’s a bit of an unfair summation of it. In one sense, it was a fanfic written with the overreaching purpose of splitting up Ranma and Akane and getting together Ranma and Ukyou, but it never really got to the point where that started happening, and there’s a few interesting things that did happen in what we wrote of it. As the name suggests, it’s about Ranma (and his parents, and Ukyou) moving to Kyoto, where they end up staying with Ukyou’s family. Other than the aforementioned and the ever-shoehorned-in Tarou, the entire setting and cast is new, which let us try our hand at creating our own Rumiko Takahashi-esque characters and hijinks rather than going with a strictly overarching plot as in most of our other fanfics. This actually worked pretty well (in the context of our skills at the time), and the story sets up some running gags, characters and hijinks that actually resemble the real Ranma 1/2 series more than the more serious stuff we usually go for. Of particular note was the recurring Taiwanese-martial-artist-with-inexplicable-French-accent Chagi, who in his storyarc manages to be a menacing villain, yet still be the butt of many gags, and is ultimately defeated in a way that recalls the sort of lateral thinking (rather than the sheer power or supermoves common to most shonen fighting manga) that Ranma often used to defeat foes in the second half of the manga.
Epsilon: Yeah, we have often looked back on Kyoto Chronicles with wistful sighs. We had some good ideas for all the post opening stuff, and wanted to explore it, but getting from the Ranma 1/2 canon to the actual Kyoto stuff requires so much tortured character warping that it was simply impossible for us to ever go back to it. That said, both Kyoto and CoD are written in script format, so if you want to peruse our past be forewarned.
Blade: It was popular and totally acceptable when we wrote them in like 1997! Really!
Ukyou: Affairs of the Heart
Epsilon: So, moving on from Kyoto Chronicles we have Ukyou: Affairs of the Heart. As you might have gathered from the previous discussion, there were two things we liked a lot when we were younger: Cool Loner Badass Tarou and Ukyou Wangst. We seem to have gotten over one of those, at least.
Blade: Hey, only one of them is in this story! …ah, who am I kidding, probably Tarou was planned to show up later. Although I can’t be sure, since I’m very hazy on the original overall purpose of this fanfic. It was a limited amount of chapters (I think six), each with a different focus, intended to tie in together with Ukyou angsting about some damn thing or other which she is cryptically doing in the post-series vignette “epilogues” that began each chapter.
One thing that’s sort of notable was that this was our first serious try at doing prose format instead of script format in a fanfic. Also that, for some idea that would make more sense if either of us habitually used narcotics, we decided it would be totally clever to have footnotes in the story leading to humorous meta-commentary at the end of each scene. It wasn’t. Actually, that was the fault of somewhat interesting but flawed fantasy septology The Death Gate Cycle, which did the same thing. It wasn’t clever there, either (sorry, Margaret Weis).
Epsilon: So yeah, we basically have forgotten everything about this series, which is a ringing endorsement!
The Ties That Bind
- Chapter 1: Most Unlikely of Siblings
- Chapter 2: Fiancees and Curses and Bears, Oh My!
- Chapter 3: School of Hard Knocks
- TTtB Special: Prereader Comments
- Chapter 4: Life, Tatewaki and Everything
- Chapter 5: Ace in the Bokken
- Chapter 6: Inventive Care
Epsilon: So on that note let’s move onto The Ties That Bind. This series is mainly notable for being the first of our projects that was entirely Blade’s baby. I helped out with ideas and stuff, but he was writing, plotting, editing, the whole nine yards. It was yet another fic centred around Tarou, though unlike Cool Loner Badass Tarou this one had Cool Older Brother Badass Tarou.
Blade: Basically the idea here was an alternate universe caused by a poorly-thought-out wish of Tarou’s that Happousai had never named him, which through the vagaries of fate ended up with him being raised as Ranma’s adopted brother Panma (because the “Pantyhose” part got interrupted, get it, huh, huh, clever!). Both “brothers” come to Nerima as per the beginning of the series, and things go slowly off-kilter as Panma’s presence chaos butterflies everything. That’s both the good and the bad of the fic in a nutshell. On the good side, somewhat unbelievably, the fic is not entirely about Tarou-turned-Panma; the altered plot means that Ranma and the other characters also got spotlights as they get different situations than the original manga (how do Ranma and Akane get along when they’re not forced into an engagement; how does Nabiki react when she’s the one
that is forced into it?).
Epsilon: On the bad side, it diverges at a pretty glacial pace from the original manga. At the time many writers (including us) played fast and loose with details from the series, so Blade actually studied the manga panel by panel for accuracy when writing the story. A noble goal… unless reading a meticulously accurate description with only minor details changing of the first four issues of the manga you presumably already knew when you read the story sounds really boring. Which it did to quite a few people.
Blade: Well, uh… those people are wrong and terrible and just don’t understand my vision, man.
Epsilon: Thankfully things stopped being produced before the metaplot really got up to speed. The less said about that, the better (suffice it to say, Cool Badass Loner Tarou and Wangst was involved).
Epsilon: What follows now is a series of mostly disjointed stories that can only be called serial in that they were done as parts of larger works, most of which we didn’t even write. We start with GRIT. That stands for Global Ranma Insanity Thread, and it was basically this improvised roleplay where a bunch of us on the newsgroup rec.arts.anime.misc spammed the board with in-character bullshit and bad jokes (basically imagine if someone used your facebook feed to do their in-character softcore cyberporn Draco/Snape and you get the idea).
Blade: In fairness to GRIT, as collaborative storytelling/roleplay it was surprisingly successful, lasting very roughly from 1996 or so to 2004 before grinding to a halt (and with several less successful attempts to revive it thereafter in different forums).
Epsilon: Maybe you remember it more fondly because you were involved longer. Blade was the first of us on GRIT, joining in with his character, Blade, who was a Cool Loner Badass and friends with Tarou and who lived with Ukyou (who wangsted). I joined in later at Blade’s request, and came onboard with Epsilon, who was GRIT’s first Official Designated Villain. Rather than just make a self-insert, I created this character specifically to run through the standard Shounen arc (villain shows up, wins handily, good guy characters train, villain gets defeated in rematch just as his evil scheme is about to occur). Afterwards I mainly played Mist, who was Epsilon But Not Evil and also a half dragon/kitsune/werewolf/vampire with magic powers and might also have been secretly in love with Ukyou(‘s clone).
Blade: Well, there’s definitely one reason I remember it fondly: it gave me the first chance I had to write Pink and Link, obscure Ranma 1/2 one-shot characters I am dizzyingly enthralled with, as those who read Hybrid Theory likely already guessed. They were in Ran Wars: The Fandom Menace, too, but Aaron wrote them there so that doesn’t count. I gave them a powerup and made everybody absolutely hate them, so I was in familiar form there.
Come to think of it, my own self-insert character also turned from kind of jerky but otherwise okay guy into a ridiculously powerful psychopath who was a danger to everyone around him and had to be put down like a rabid dog for everyone’s own good, so that… uh… also kind of presages Hybrid Theory. Or says something pretty peculiar about my self-image, I’m not sure which.
Oh, and also I met several friends through it I’ve had for years and visited in real life and did lots of writing and storytelling and booooring. Writing Pink and Link. That’s where it’s at. Sadly, GRIT died (the first of what turned out to be several deaths) before I could achieve my other dream of finally having an excuse to write obscure Ranma one-shot character Mariko Konjou.
Epsilon: GRIT is, and always will be, an important part of our memories and growth. We can reminisce about it for hours at a time. But all good things and so on. What we have gathered here are what are known as Side Stories. GRIT itself was mainly written as a series of threaded discussions using script format – also retconned dialogue, actions, off-topic asides and frequent unpublished email brainstorming sessions. The side stories were things written by single authors, usually about their own characters and involving other characters in the greater “continuity” as little as possible. In effect, they were backstories and character pieces we did because they wouldn’t have made interesting roleplay-by-post threads.
Blade: Another Day was a short story that… well, it’s getting repetitive to say stories are about angst and Ukyou at this point, but that’s seriously what it’s about! Blade angsts, goes off somewhere to brood and also do cool supermoves, then returns to angst with Ukyou. This was their daily life. Storybook romance if there ever was one.
Epsilon: Yeah, nothing good ever happened to our characters in GRIT. They existed to have happiness (and in some cases, sanity) drained from them so they could be miserable, and thus drive Drama. It didn’t help that we mainly played villains, so we kinda needed emotionally unstable assholes. For instance, Blade’s normal Cool Loner Badass Tarou was growing so horrible a person that he contrived a whole heel/face turn story including the addition of a morality pet/little sister to make him a better person. That was New Beginnings. It mainly turned into fodder for even more horribleness.
Blade: As a fun side note, it also spotlighted a pet theory we never got to use in any of our larger fanfics, which is that Tarou’s real mother very strongly resembles Akane for reasons that are obviously just Takahashi not bothering to do a very unique design but that I liked to spin into some far-fetched theory of them being related, tying in with my other pet theory that Tarou had a crush on Akane in his first appearance because she’s the only person he doesn’t call derogatory names and also because subsequent appearances show he’s about as hesitant to develop a romantic crush as Ryouga is. So there’s also a tinge of incest, for all those (surprisingly numerous) fans of that! Of course, the funny part is I wrote that as making him give up on Akane, but if I wrote it now I’d totally assume Tarou would bang his cousin given half a chance, because he is desperate and also a backwoods hillbilly. How times change!
Blade: Next up… ah, yes, next up. With all the admittedly justified mocking of my own stuff, it is with a certain amount of gleeful joy that I introduce Aaron’s solo project here, which
sports the most pretentious name for anything we’ve ever written or will ever likely write:
Journey Into Darkness: The Tale of Epsilon, Part 1; “Innocence”
Epsilon: An amusing tale of child abuse, murder and college-age me being a cynical asshole about the way humans work. I had a whole epic sweeping saga planned about the backstory of my super-emotion-leeching vampire antagonist guy. Thankfully, we never got to see it.
Blade: The remainder of the GRIT things aren’t sidestories, but rather two compiled threads and, uh, this thing, “Exodus“. So basically what this was was that due to some personality conflicts Epsilon had with other posters who disagreed with his storytelling style (and to be fair to Aaron, several of them wanted him back pretty quickly due to him being one of the few that drove the plotlines that other characters could interact with), we at one point quit GRIT for about a year. At the time, it was intended to be permanent. The problem with that is we had a large number of characters and storyline irons in the fire at that point, so for the benefit of anyone who wanted to wrap them up we detailed what our plans had been.
Epsilon: Many people were glad we left when they realised how dark and disturbing we planned to make GRIT, and bluntly? They were totally right. Some of the stuff we had planned didn’t just affect our characters, but would’ve swept everyone else playing their fun little sometimes dramatic self-insert romp into some dark and ugly places regardless of their choices in the matter, and that was unfair of us to do. We realised this too, and after cooler heads prevailed, we eventually came back and scrapped all of this for an entirely new set of secret histories and dark plans that were less gruesome than the originals.
Blade: Uh… marginally.
Epsilon: Hey, you know what the best kind of communal roleplay fiction is? The kind that involves two NPCs doing all the action while everyone sits around and mostly watches.
Blade: That’s unfair! There were more NPCs doing things than that! It’s just that almost all of them were being written by us.
Epsilon: So, basically the plot of this thread is that Tarou is such a miserable asshole he wants to make Ranma kill him because… then Ranma will be evil? Like the world runs on D&D morality or something? Or maybe he thinks people run on Vampire Morality system and losing Humanity dots will drive him insane?
Blade: Killing some guy who had openly declared his intention to murder Ranma and terrorise his whole family no matter what and who had also manipulated Ranma into a kill-or-be-killed position would surely prove that Ranma is a big fat poopyhead jerk!
Epsilon: And everyone has to stop this, but they can’t just stop it because… Look, GRIT had a history with characters being suicidal. It was a Thing.
Blade: Yeah, the funny thing is that reading this now is uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons; it says much more about us (me, particularly) as writers than the characters involved. There’s a very intricate, twisted-up combination of morality and some event from the manga even I don’t remember anymore where if you squinted and looked at it from the right angle it looked like maybe Ranma tried to kill Tarou (or somebody else?), woven into an elaborate excuse to draw them into a fight where Tarou tries to goad Ranma to beat him to death in front of the whole town (and my avatar Blade tries to make sure nobody interferes).
Many people worked through some of their mental issues and psychological problems by expressing them through GRIT; this obviously was part of my own self-therapy. Or something. Man.
Epsilon: Yeah, GRIT was therapeutic to a lot of people, for a certain definition of therapeutic. For instance, it was therapeutic to Alan Harnum, what with us basically stealing his ideas.
Blade: Remember: if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then “blatantly stealing” is basically like a sloppy wet kiss. Alan Harnum and I know each other, so I will now preemptively apologise to him for that mental image.
Epsilon: A Night At the Opera is basically a thread where we tried to redeem Ryuu Kumon (who had an even more self-indulgently assholish introduction to GRIT than Tarou) as a comedy character by having him date Tsubasa Kurenai. Towards that end, we had them go to the Opera and everyone just sort of… did silly and funny things.
Blade: And by everyone, we mean “mostly Ryuu, Pink and Link”, at least as far as this goes. There was much use of the “leitmotif” joke from Alan Harnum’s short, except Aaron and I aren’t classical music buffs like he is so we weren’t nearly as accurate or funny. That is also why we described Richard Wagner as a “perfectly nice fellow”, when that is so, so, so not at all true.
Epsilon: Or it was irony. It could have been irony. Anyway, yeah. It was funny, but kind of too late to redeem the character. Plus, I am hesitant to reread it because I’m pretty certain it ends up being horrifically transphobic.
Blade: Which is too bad, because having Ryuu and Tsubasa as a couple is hilarious. And maybe it wasn’t going to be transphobic! As a weird fact, we actually made Ryuu Kumon gay and paired him up with Konatsu in the never-actually-written Curse of Darkness sequel, making him I’m pretty sure the first homosexual character we told a story with. I have no idea why that was a trend with him. But still, there it is. Ryuu Kumon: Taking Ukyou’s Sloppy Seconds Since 1998.
Epsilon: I think he was actually straight. He was working for the bad guys because they promised to give Konatsu the permanent curse thing, I think?
Blade: But wait, weren’t they married?
Blade: So, uh, what did Konatsu think about this?
Epsilon: Maybe they wanted kids?
Blade: That sounds way less offensive, so let’s go with that!
Epsilon: And speaking of horrible break up of writing community stuff… Improfanfic!
Blade: Actually, let’s not.
Epsilon: …yeah, okay. Here are some links to stuff we wrote on Improfanfic, which was basically round robin storytelling. Not much of it is worth reading. Maybe check out the first chapter of my Blatant Buffy Ripoff if you want, but everything else can be skipped unless you enjoy reading the entire story (with wildly divergent quality between chapters and no coherent storytelling at all).
Blade: But… but… I liked my Magical Girl Hunters chapter! It was like the first thing I ever wrote entirely by myself that I finished and thought was actually good! I wove together a ton of scattered bits of incoherent continuity into a whole that actually made sense! Even if the guy that came after me totally completely and utterly ruined it and unceremoniously killed off the mastermind I’d just revealed had been behind basically like everything in the story. Seriously, I think he killed her in the first scene or something. I hate that guy. Whoever he was.
Epsilon: So yeah… best forgotten.
Blade: There are no bitter feelings here, nope! Seriously, Improfanfic was a cool way to get relatively low-commitment writing out for a long time and was one of the primary things we did for a few years before starting up Hybrid Theory. Our somewhat mixed experience with it notwithstanding, it was a pretty cool thing for many years.
Also, while I’ve been forbidden from ever disclosing the details, it still needs to be commemorated here: Aaron Peori, aka “Epsilon”, got kicked off of MTCFF Ultra because he didn’t like Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Seriously. That happened. Those who were there remember. Or don’t. But it totally happened. Never Forget.
Final Fantasy Legacy chapters:
Magical Girl Hunters chapters:
- MGH part 20: Out of The Frying Pan
- MGH part 30: Masks and Shadows
- MGH part 33: Truth and Consequences
- MGH part 44: House of Cards
Mystery Club chapters:
Vampire Legend R chapters:
Castlevania 1970 – Disco of Evil chapters:
Wings of Fate chapters:
- Part 6: The Terror of Mecha-*deleted due to spoilers*
Magical Crossover Fighting Federation ULTRA episodes:
- MCFFUltra part 6: The Incredibly Long Episode!
- MCFFUltra part 7: The Horribly Delayed Episode!
- MCFFUltra Omake: Smiling Evil Death