Blade: Most of our work was either serial or in collaboration with others, leaving a few quirky leftovers here. In retrospect maybe divvying up the two sections into stuff written by us alone and written in collaborative projects would’ve been better, but that would have required rewriting a bunch of our snappy patter, so guess we’re all stuck with it!
Ranma 1/2 For People With Short Attention Spans
Epsilon: We liked comedy almost as much as tragedy. Ranma 1/2 for People with Short Attention Spans is the former. Another idea stolen shamelessly from Alan Harnum, the fic is basically just a synopsis of each story of Ranma 1/2, with an emphasis on brevity and being “accurate” in as misleading and biased a manner as possible.
Blade: Before Hybrid Theory, it was probably our most popular and well-known work; certainly it’s the most well-known since the “glory days” of Ran Wars and CoD. If we’d realised anybody was going to care, we’d have had less in-jokes that were only funny to us. Even if “Yohyou: Who?” is still really funny to us.
A Concise, Unbiased Analysis Of Tenchi Muyo OAV 3, or, “Noike Is The Goddamn Antichrist. No, Seriously”
Epsilon: Our next work is a hate fic. We… really did not appreciate having to watch Tenchi Muyo! OAV 3 as research for Hybrid Theory. We took it out in fiction form.
Blade: This was actually light-hearted too, even if some people don’t get the joke. Kind of like Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, I guess. Some people just don’t see the humour in bloody death.
Anyway, Tenchi OAV3 was terrible, not because we disliked Tenchi OAV1 and 2 (although, after rewatching those for Hybrid Theory, we kinda did), but because it was so bad it retroactively made us defensive of the original Tenchi we had come to dislike. As just a short list, it had immense pacing trouble, ignored most of the old characters, relied on out-of-series-material for explaining most of what was going on, and for some fucking reason Aeka does literally nothing and may as well have not even been in the series. But the biggest problem was one of the centrepiece new characters: Noike.
Epsilon: The term “Mary Sue” has basically become synonymous with “character I dislike”. Noike is the closest you can get to the original idea: she takes over the narrative so it’s all about her, she has her own special Jurai tree, etc etc. I’m not going to get into it. She’s an especially bad character in a series full of bad characters.
Blade: Besides, why get into it when I wrote a fic specifically about getting into it? If you’re offended, and even if you liked Noike, I apologise, but don’t take this seriously. As the title indicates, it’s nothing but an over-the-top silly bit of fun. If there’s anything really wrong with it, it’s that I could’ve worked a lot more material in and lengthened it out to further beat on Tenchi OAV3. I mean, I barely even touched on (SPOILER ALERT!) Noike actually being the reincarnation of Kagato’s female clone (or… something), just in case you think we’re kidding when we say how Mary Sue-ish she is.
Epsilon: Final Regrets is a story about Tarou written by Blade. It’s an angst fic which includes some unusual character takes. It also makes a terrible mistake in fiction by trying to conceal the identity of the narrator for no good reason.
Blade: It is mostly notable for the fact some people thought the mysterious mourner at Akane’s grave that will battle Ranma tomorrow is Mousse. That would be the most anticlimactic deathmatch ever.
Epsilon: We really wanted Ranma vs Tarou to be some Fist of the North Star-level grim and gritty thing.
Blade: Nah, we also wanted it to be a funny thing. And a drama thing. And a running gag thing. A very valid criticism of us for the first decade of our fanfiction writing was the near-certainty that Tarou would be in there somewhere, and he would be a perennial antagonist to Ranma in some form or another. This was a story that was going for the “super dark and intense” side of the spectrum, which probably isn’t even a terrible idea if my writing skills at the time were up for it. But they weren’t, and I never finished the continuation (or even remember what happened in it now besides “Ranma and Tarou fight”) so only this prologue is here. Thank goodness, there’s enough embarassing material here as it is.
Epsilon: Pencils was like GRIT, except it had less participants, never released most of its work in public, and we acted like even bigger asses. We got kicked out because our story was too dark. It includes me torturing a girl to death and Blade slaughtering most of Halifax. They were probably right.
Blade: Nah, we rag on ourselves a lot, but this time I’ll take a stand! For, uh, us. Pencils was a collaborative self-insert work where people all got magical pencils of various sorts that gave them powers. Having heard about it, we proposed we set ourselves up as a villains so that the plot had somewhere to go past “Wow, cool powers!”, and that was the agreement we wrote under.
The problem is that we decided to do puppy-kicking evil and people were apparently thinking more along the lines of “comedy antagonist”. That wasn’t really our fault, or even anyone else’s fault – it was just a miscommunication as to what everyone wanted out of the project.
Also, hilariously, nobody actually cared about me unleashing Toguro Ani and slaughtering an entire city of innocent people – in fact, I was told my part was well-received. But Aaron (non-explicitly) torturing Hikaru from Magic Knights Rayearth to death? Hoo boy. One participant expressed a desire to use Aaron’s own “I can erase parts of your body” pencil on his genitalia, which ranks as the second-most-hilarious reaction to Aaron in a collaborative writing project.
Epsilon: That sounds like an obvious lead in. Well, the Toguro Ani part, not the last part.
Blade: Right. So, speaking of Toguro Ani, I had a massive mancrush on his character (he’s a recurring secondary villain from Yuu Yuu Hakusho, for those who don’t know) for many years, stemming off of… I don’t even know. I knew he existed from an old Electronics Gaming Monthly that covered a Japanese YYH game, long long long before the series saw any English translation, but that is wholly unsatisfactory as an explanation as to my enduring love of the character.
Epsilon: Anyway the set up for this story is simple. In the original story, Ani is basically immortal. So Kurama sticks him in a lotus eater plant where he is constantly killing everyone forever. But plants, unlike Ani, are mortal, so it eventually dies and Ani sets out for revenge. Hilarity ensues!
Blade: It really does, too! Well, except for the fact you may not find it funny. But despite the fact the protagonist is an immortal shapeshifting sociopath and some innocent people do get filleted, the story is played entirely for humour, especially based on the fact that due to the usual Shounen Fighting Series Power Progression, by the time Ani breaks out he’s about as threatening an antagonist to the geriatric YYH heroes as Tao Pai Pai would be to the Buu-saga Dragonball Z characters.