Anime Reality
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Frequently Asked Questions: General | Survivor | Mystery | Race | Originals

About Anime Reality

What Is It?
Anime Reality is basically just a fanfiction archive dedicated to one particular, and often misunderstood, genre. The concept is simple: what if reality competitions featured popular and interesting anime characters instead of those bug-eating miscreants you see on TV? Like reality TV itself, the genre is often criticized for being a lower form of entertainment, and just like reality TV there are plenty of examples out there to justify this argument.

You won't find any of those examples here. The site only archives authors who write interesting and artistic stories, many choosing to focus on the characters instead of the game itself. Although every story on this site is a competition, and as such there will be winners and losers involved, the joy is in seeing the characters in situations they would likely never see in real life, and how they respond to it. This applies to each character differently: for Cardcaptor Sakura's Tomoyo, it's the stress and thrill of competition she had never seen before; for Evangelion's Shinji, it's a chance to get out of his crummy world and actually enjoy life for a change; for Kare Kano's Yukino, her drive towards being the best can now be taken to an arena outside the classroom.

The other advantage with the genre is justification for the mass crossover. When not motivated by money or marketing, crossovers can be a lot of fun if rationalized well. Here's your excuse. Will Fushigi Yuugi's Miaka eat Akane Tendo's cooking? Let's find out. While many are tied up in whatever game they're playing, each character's reaction to the game and how it effects their relationship with the others is worth checking out.

History of Anime Reality and Reality Fanfiction
Reality fanfic has been around from the moment the reality series boom began in the summer of 2000. The first "reality port," as we call them (we used to say "knockoffs," but "port" sounds less derogatory), is credited to Star Otaku, with her Anime Survivor: Digimon vs. Pokémon. The story, posted concurrently with the first season of Survivor, was explosively popular among both Digimon and Pokémon fans, garnering more than 400 reviews while it was up. Other authors quickly followed with their own Survivor stories, most of them copying Star's format, but few matched the charm of the original.

The next milestone was in 2000, when A. R. Pulver wrote The Mole: Anime Edition. This story was one of the first to use something other than Survivor, but was primarily noted for introducing non-mainstream characters into the mix. At the time, most of the anime used were popular series on network television. Arp used a mix of not only characters from those series, but virtually unknown anime like the then unlicensed Kodocha and Love Hina. While the series itself was only a moderate success, the story signaled a shift to combining mainstream and unknown anime in order to give readers a taste of new characters not airing in the western world.

In the fall of 2001, A. R. Pulver's Mole sequel became the first to incorporate a player's contest for added interactivity. Now popular with mystery format stories, the contest let readers play along with the characters, rewarding the best sleuths with prizes (typically anime DVDs). Also in 2001, Freedom Fighter introduced his Roomies series, one of the first stories to successfully use an original format, this one based on concepts from Big Brother and The Real World.

Around this time, Chromus entered the picture with Anime & Video Game Survivor, the first story to have a cast of complete strangers- that is, 16 characters from 16 media. His stories tended to minimize mainstream series altogether and opened up the number of anime series involved. In fact, when posted in 2005, every series sporting a team in his Anime-zing Race 3 had never had a contestant in a reality port before.

The one true dark day in reality fanfic history was in early August of 2004. Fanfiction.net (which hosted almost all of these stories at the time) "revised" their submission policy to ban stories written in a script format. As they are meant to be interpreted as television episodes, the vast majority of reality fanfiction are written in this format. Without warning, the purge began and the stories were deleted. Some authors without backup copies lost their stories for good. A day after the mass deletion, A. R. Pulver created Anime Reality primarily to host his Anime-zing Race 2 and Chromus's Murder Game 2, both of which were in progress and had a large following. Space restrictions prevented him from hosting more stories until he moved to a paid hosting service in January, 2006. The Anime Reality as you see it now had been born.


Let's Take Some Questions. Yes- You In the Green Shirt.

General Site Questions

How do I submit a story to Anime Reality?
If it's your story, see the submissions page for more details. If it's someone else's that you really like and I might not know about it, tell the author about my site and have him/her get in touch with me.

Do you really like reality series?
Actually... not in general. I'm a freak for competition though, and love the social game of Survivor, the mental game of The Mole, and the general big ball o' stress that is The Amazing Race. With few other limited exceptions, I typically don't care for it much. I'm not interested in pageant series like American Idol, and despise dating series like The Bachelor. That also explains why there aren't many different reality series represented here, although I'd certainly post a well-written port of something like The Apprentice. On that note, this site is careful about posting only the good reality fanfiction. The genre is best known for a lot of exceedingly bad stories, but you won't find those here.

Isn't anything in script format bad?
Who gave you that idea, Billy? Those bad men at fanfiction.net? Actually, the main problem with script format isn't anything structural (all movies, plays and TV shows use it!). It's that it is incredibly easy to be lazy with it. With script format, dialogue is king, but it's just as important to describe the setting, atmosphere, and events. Even the tone of voice in dialogue shouldn't be spared. Since we can't act out or animate the story for the reader, it's up to the author to help the reader picture the scene in his/her head. That never changes, no matter what format you use.

If you're still brainwashed into thinking script format is bad, I'll refer you to Gomamon's stories, which aside from the occasional "confessional" are written in novel narrative, and written very well, I might add.

What's the point of a reality series if it's scripted out?
That's a better question. Besides all the stuff mentioned above about displacing characters and crossover justification, there's a plot development and resolution in reality series that can be duplicated in fictitious works. The producers of reality shows edit the series to craft a storyline with heroes, villains, plot twists, and the like. We just take it to the next level- outright fiction. It's up to each author to suspend disbelief, keeping the events plausible and realistic, but rest assured- it can be done. For a good example of a scripted reality series, check out Joe Schmo, a wonderful experiment centered around a scripted reality series. And it has lots of fan service!

In script format, what do the acronyms, strangely-placed punctuation, and foreign terminology mean?
Almost all of the scripts on this site are written in a stage-like script. While it's very easy to pick up on the terms, it may be a little intimidating for those used to novel-format. Basically, anything in (parentheses) is a stage direction, which either sets up the scene or  indicates action. It can also be used by the author to make snide comments about the situation, but since it's supposed to be describing what you see instead of what you think, it's not very professional (got that Chromus?). Speech is indicated with the character's name on the left, followed by a colon, followed by his/her line. Parentheses near the colon (some authors put it before, some after), describe speech inflection or small impulsive actions. Such as-

Arp: Why do we use stage directions to comment on the story when we should be telling it?
Chromus: (exuberant) Because we're ninjas!

These speech modifiers have some tricky lingo of its own: (VO) means voice-over (or voice of, depending on who you ask), which means the voice is narrating the scene or coming from some external source like a telephone. (OS) means offstage, where the character is in the scene and interacting with the characters, but can't be seen on camera. (sotto) is short for sotto voce and is Italian for soft voice, which typically indicates a side comment not meant to be heard by anyone else in the scene (conveniently enough, sotto is also Japanese for softly). This is usually a nasty adlib that the audience would find funny but would get the speaker clobbered with a mallet.

One of the conventions that reality fiction has to itself is the use of italics to denote camera confessionals, those little private moments when the character speaks directly to the camera and we find out what they're thinking (and their name and occupation appear on screen to remind us of who the hell they are). When combined with (VO), imagine hearing a confessional while other events are happening silently in the background, as if the character is narrating a scene. Although for long (VO) confessionals, feel free to imagine the camera cutting back to the character midway through.

Other lingo that may spring up in stories- the establishing shot (breathtaking nature shots to show us the cool landscape, or wide-angle shots inside and/or outside of the building everybody's in), "shot of" (a short clip, usually without dialogue, that helps fill in the story), and the face fault (the anime sight gag when one or more people collapse in reaction to something incredibly stupid). On that note, all the visual idiosyncrasies of anime from the physics-defying martial arts to the melodramatic shoujo bubbles are in play in these things. Reality series or not, Akane still has her mallet.

Where do you get all the character pics from?
The vast majority of character pics are taken from Best Anime, which has an excellent directory with character pics in the exact size I need. When I can't get them there, it's off to Google Image Search. Many of the Pokémon pictures, particularly for the minor characters, are actually very faithful fanart icons taken from Pokesho.com, a Japanese site which has some of the best Pokémon fanart available.

Why is there so much Digimon and Pokémon? Where's InuYasha?
As said in the History section, the site has always centered around mainstream series. At the time the genre took off, Pokémon and Digimon reigned supreme. While the rosters have grown more diverse over the years, the roots held and it was hard not to include characters from these two series, especially with such a deep well of characters to choose from (of the 26 kids that have starred on the first four Digimon seasons, only Kazu and Tommy have never competed). Cardcaptor Sakura, Tenchi Muyo and even Love Hina were also introduced early and became staples of the genre.

As for InuYasha, the only reason I can think of to explain its absence is that none of the authors here are all that into the series. Simple as that. In fact, only recently has other Adult Swim fare like FMA, Bleach and Eureka Seven gotten any love.

Why is Tracey always written to be such a jerk?
First off, he's not always written as a jerk. Roomies and Pokévivor are pretty faithful to the way he's shown in the anime (and Pokévivor even gives him a backstory... even if it is borrowed from Kodocha). As for Animation Survivor, Mole 2: Anime Edition and Gomamon's Mole, it's because every good story needs a good villain. Tracey doesn't receive a lot of attention in the anime, and when he does he's usually squeaky-clean. As a result, he's a popular candidate to be a scheming villain, using his "nice guy" front to take advantage of people and move up. This portrayal has been met very positively, and Tracey remains one of the most popular characters in the genre. In fact, his image is used as a placeholder on the template for new story pages.

The best way to summarize Tracey in the context of the series is in the Pokémon Chronicles episode "A Date With Delcatty," where he gets stuck cleaning the Cerulean City gym's pool while Misty checks out a mysterious suitor. Tracey mutters "Sometimes I wonder if it really does pay to be the nice guy," and then scores a date with Misty's sister for his troubles.

Other characters who have gained a dark side for similar reasons are Yomi (from Azumanga Daioh) in Murder Game 2 and Noboyuki (Tenchi's father) in Anime-zing Race 2.

Do These Stories Fall Into Any Continuity?
Yes. For the most part, the stories by each author fall into continuity with each other. Generally, events in one series don't have much influence over another, but there are often references to previous series (or concurrent series in the case of AVGS2 and Pokévivor) that may include spoilers. For this reason, it is recommended that if you plan to read all of an author's stories, do so in chronological order.

There are exceptions to this. A. R. Pulver's first five stories comprise the "AA series," which were produced by the fictitious Animation Alliance. Freedom Fighter and Gomamon's stories each have their own isolated canon. Chromus's first four stories, and the currently unavailable Pokémole, are all in the same continuity. The Murder Game stories have very few references to the first four and may be considered a new continuity... except the murder mystery in Murder Game 3 stars contestants from the previous four stories and is based on events in the original continuity.

The Anime-zing Race stories comprise a completely separate continuity, separate from both the AA series and Chromus's canon. An additional curve ball comes with the upcoming Champion's Cup, combining characters and events from both the AA series and the first two Anime-zing Race stories. Try not to think about it too much; you'll get a serious migraine.

Complicating things further is the fact that stories frequently will have references to other stories written by other authors. Particularly notorious is a reference to something a competing character did in a different series by a different author.

Sorry you asked, huh?

What this Animation Alliance all about?
For Animation Survivor, I borrowed the Animation Alliance from a previous (and now dead) fanfic project to host my silly little Survivor thing. They produced four more series and events developed along that canon that inspired me to write Grim Reality to close the book on this saga. This final story was written in story format and featured the AA as manipulative executives abusing the characters for fun and profit (their original purpose from the original scrapped project). Events from all five series came to a head here as the characters either participated in the cruel Shougai series or tried to fight back. Now that it's all over, I have retired the Animation Alliance for the time being, and they have no connection to any other series, except as the occasional guest host.


Survivor Format Questions

What's the difference between Traditional and Tribal Rivalry?
Before resorting to dividing the tribes by gender (Amazon and Vanuatu) or race (Cook Islands), the original Survivor series was completely an individual game. However, the original Survivior port, Star Otaku's Anime Survivor, featured one tribe comprised of Digimon characters competing against a tribe comprised of Pokémon characters. As a result, many reality ports choose to focus on not only the individual competition, but the tribal competition as well. This creates an interesting dynamic post-merge, with varying results. Any series listed as a Tribal Rivalry Survivor forms the tribes based on two warring factions, like Japanese anime vs. American cartoons in Animation Survivor or major characters vs. minor walk-ons in Pokévivor. Although Survivor: Dewford Islands starts out as men vs. women, it is considered a  traditional individual Survivor as each tribe not only integrates characters from the two participating series, the gender dynamic is shaken up immediately via one of the game's twists.

This is Survivor! Why is everybody so darn nice to each other?
Survivor ports typically fall into one of two categories- Strategy or Summer Camp (or, in cases like Animation Survivor, a combination of the two). Strategy stories are written with gamesmanship in mind: the characters are out to play the game, and players will form and break alliances, lying and dealing their way to the championship. The joy of reading these is to analyze the strategies each player forms based on their personality, and the reactions when things don't go as planned. Perhaps the best Strategy-based Survivor port is Chromus's Pokévivor, which featured surprisingly harsh confrontations and excellent tactical maneuvering. All this coming from a bunch of Pokémon characters.

Summer Camp stories fall on the other side of the spectrum. While there is always a little strategy at work in a Survivor port, character relationships are the focus, and everybody's usually pretty civil to each other. Although there are winners and losers, a good time is had by all. Stories like this are popular because of good character interaction, the chance of crossover couples and miscellaneous island fun. The original Anime Survivor still remains the most popular Summer Camp-style Survivor port, although the final five in AVGS2 was too adorable not to merit a mention.

Where's the rest of the Anime Survivor series? Is this because of that old rivalry?
Anime Survivor spawned four official sequels, all written by Descendant of the Dragon (then known as Survivor Globie). At the time, these were consistently the most popular reality ports on ff.net. While it is true that he and I once had a rivalry that occasionally became uncivilized, we get along fine now and that is not the reason his stories are not posted here. The real reason is far more unfortunate. DotD cannot locate the backup copies of some of his stories on his computer, which means many of his Anime Survivor stories may be lost forever. If he were to recover them, or if somebody else comes forward with an archived copy, I would be happy to host them here.

What on Earth is up with Animation Survivor 2?
At the time of its posting, there was a bit of a deluge of bad Survivor ports being posted on ff.net. DotD's Anime Survivor 2 was also being posted at this time, and we were disagreeing about how it was being executed. I wrote Animation Survivor 2 to protest some of Anime Survivor 2's flaws, and primarily to spoof the bad Survivor ports. The story was actually adapted from a bizarre plot arc I had suggested for Anime Survivor 2, which was rejected outright (in hindsight, probably a good idea). Although it is meant to be a parody, it does fall into the continuity of the AA series, and influences the subsequent Grim Reality and Champion's Cup.

About all those bad Survivor ports... where are they?
You just answered your own question. If they're disorganized and don't have much creativity behind them, they aren't posted here and ff.net probably deleted them with little fanfare. I'm sure there were some gems that I probably missed, and you're welcome to submit them to me for consideration.


Mystery Formats

The Mole? The Murder Game? Why these failures and not The Bachelor?
Three reasons. 1) Although The Mole and Murder in Small Town X were not successful in the U.S., the formats were more successful around the world. The Mole has been produced in several countries, and MiSTX was adapted into The Murder Game in Britain, to a larger audience. 2) Mole was often heralded as the most intelligent reality series, and remains my personal favorite. That's not even mentioning Anderson Cooper and the fantastic job he did as host. 3) The mystery factor of both series adds an element that other ports can't compete with. Along with the characters, readers also can attempt to piece together the mystery and identify the Mole or killer.

Speaking of MiSTX, will you be posting Mystery Solvers?
Yes, I do plan to post Freedom Fighter's Mystery Solvers soon. The series, which combined elements of MiSTX and The Mole, was not FF's most heralded series, but is still plenty good enough to be posted on the site. This may not sound like a great reason, but the main reason it's not up yet is because finding decent headshots for American cartoon characters is a whole lot harder than finding them for anime characters. I'm not sure why, but it's probably the same reason why I struggle finding good DBZ mugs too.

Many of these stories had associated contests. How were those run?
Although every author ran their contests separately, in the case of the Mole stories, the general idea was to mimic the quiz the players took in the series. There were occasionally bonus questions at the author's discretion, and the scoring methods were different, but it was always based on the Player's Quiz. The Murder Game contests were more involved, with essay questions that not only asked "who," but also "why" and "how." The winners of each contest were handsomely rewarded with anime DVDs, CDs and other trinkets.


Race Formats

The Amazing Race is awesome! Why aren't there more ports of it?
Because they're really, really hard, that's why. The planning necessary to create a massive race around the world, even when using anime like in the Anime-zing series, is ridiculous. To get the necessary effect, train schedules, flight connections and a host of other transportation issues need to be considered. Also, you're writing the travel adventures for every team in the race, which overlap and divert from each other. Unlike other formats, where much of the interaction is between characters of different series, the "pre-existing relationship" in each team gets the focus here, which means you have to know every nuance of that team to write them well. Interaction between the teams is also limited, and must be planned very carefully. Besides the three stories posted here, Descendant of the Dragon and Freedom Fighter both attempted AR ports, only to stumble midway. FF says it best on his website: "If you're thinking of writing an 'Amazing Race' fanfic of your own, I've got one word for you: Don't."

Will Anime-zing Race 2 ever be finished?
First off, it is technically finished- it does have an ending and you do know who wins. To answer the question you meant to ask, if the summarized portion will ever be fleshed out, the answer is probably no. A little background- since I got my first full-time job as I was writing it, and at 60 hours a week it was a doozy, I suddenly had very little free time to write the series, which as stated above is incredibly demanding. Based on waning interest, the readers and I settled on summarizing a portion of the last episode and calling it a day. Since then there has been very little demand for the complete finale, and I've got too much on my table now to revisit a story that's more than a year old. However, one of the skipped challenges will be reborn in an episode of Champion's Cup.

So how were these contests run? There no Player's Quiz in The Amazing Race.
The Anime-zing Race contests were run more as a "pick'em" style contest. Besides the basics like guessing who the winner and loser of each leg would be, participants were also asked to guess the decisions specific teams would make, like which Detour they chose and who would do the Road Block.

What is Pokéball Run based on?
Pokéball Run was based on the short-lived Cannonball Run 2001 series that aired on USA in, you guessed it, 2001. A cross-country race, based on the Cannonball Run races of the 70's, featured six teams of two with a pre-existing relationship. To make things more interesting, however, a third member was added to each team, intentionally picked to be the polar opposite of the pair (two Playboy bunnies were teamed up with a seminary student; two frat boys got an old granny, etc.). The series itself was actually executed horrendously, but the "mismatched team" concept was fun so I adapted it. The end result was a particularly kooky series that ended up being quite a bit of fun, even if it wasn't a screenwriting masterpiece.


Original Formats

I have a question about Roomies...
You know what, as much as I'd love to answer questions about someone else's fanfic, I'll send you to Freedom Fighter's FAQ, which has information on all of his series, including Roomies, Mystery Solvers, and his ill-fated AR port.

What is Champion's Cup and when will it be posted?
Champion's Cup is my answer to an All-Star edition (Chromus's answer is apparently Murder Game 3). This original-format story will combine elements from Survivor, Mole, and both race formats. A few lucky people got a sneak preview of the first four episodes, but the rest of you will have to wait until its official release. The series now has a page and is scheduled to premiere in late February.

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