“Wow,” said Viral. “They put you in jail too? You, the war hero?”
“Yeah, it’s crazy!” Simon replied, on edge. “And not, like, the awesome kind of crazy. It’s really crazy. This is a disaster!”
“Ah,” said Viral. “Winning was easy, young man. Governing’s harder.”
“It’s from these ancient tapes I found from a dead civilization. They’re great, let me show you.”
“Alexander, I really think you should chill out. Everything seems more important in the moment.”
“How can you say that?” Hamilton was affronted. “Politics is important! It affects the whole country!”
“I know,” Eliza said, “but so much of it is just posturing and silliness. You can afford to take a break from that.”
Hamilton frowned. “I know our Congress is kind of a mess right now, but that just means I have work to do! It won’t be like this forever.”
Eliza considered for a moment. Then she took him by hand and led him toward the attic. “I was going to keep the time travel stuff between just us girls…” she began.
“Keep the what stuff?”
“…but I think you should see this.”
She climbed the ladder into the attic, and then continued climbing, taking a secret ladder to a secret room on a secret floor. Of the strange artifacts within, the one that grabbed Hamilton’s attention seemed to be two thin slabs of metal, connected by hinges so they opened like a book, one slab being covered with letters and the other with a brightly glowing picture.
“What on Earth is that?”
“Not the important part,” said Eliza. “I need to show you a video with it. Um… imagine someone saw a play, so they can kinda see it again in their memory – but with this, other people can also see the memory. That’s what a video is.”
“Alright, here it goes.” She clicked the triangle.
Welcome to the Daily Show, I’m Trevor Noah! Thank you so much, everybody. Our guest tonight is the famous author Jeffrey C. Wells, but first, some breaking news.
In a totally unforeseen move, the government seems to be cracking down on the production and distribution of what they consider “derivative works”… what others like to call “transformative works”… and what still others call “fanfiction”.
That’s right, the Office of Management and Budget has decided it’s a priority, in these trying times, to make sure I can’t access any Iron Man / Captain America slash fic. We’ll have to go back to inferring homosexual romance into the comics and movies themselves, which, to be honest – is not such a difficult task.
[Image: Tony and Steve caught in an especially gay screencap]
They’re not stopping at fanfiction, either. Fangames are being taken down left and right. But, really, I understand where they’re coming from on this one. If I’m playing some free Flash game based on the Madoka Magica anime series, then I’m taking money away from the creators of the real Madoka Magica video games!
[Image: Madoka dressed as Mario, stomping on Kyubey like a Goomba, captioned “Super Madoka Sisters”]
Oh wait. There aren’t any Madoka Magica video games, are there? Then I’m confused. What’s the harm in fans creating new works that just make use of the same characters or settings? That’s really the purpose of fanfiction, after all. You’re not trying to do the same thing as the original creator, you want to do something new. I mean; let’s take a look at this fan-made visual novel, and you tell me if any of this stuff could have happened in the original Madoka Magica anime.
[music: casual, upbeat tune]
Madoka: What are you doing in here, Homura?
(Homura closed the laptop quickly)
Madoka: Oh… it was something embarrassing, huh?
Homura: Madoka, uh…
Madoka: Wow, it looks like Homura is a pervert. ;p
Homura: Madoka! No! It wasn’t anything like that! I’ll prove it.
(Homura opened the laptop again)
Homura: Come on… turn back on, darn it…
Homura: See, this is all I was doing.
Madoka: FIMFiction.net? What’s a FIM?
Homura: It’s nothing at all.
Madoka: Homura… Are you a brony?
(Homura started blushing)
Madoka: Or maybe a pegasister?
Homura: While the show “My Little Pony” in its currently incarnation is, in my opinion, a work of exceptional storytelling and character depth, the term “brony” has become associated with deeply misogynistic attitudes and, ironically, the careless exclusion of the very demographic the show was intended for, namely young girls, who are already underserved by mainstream media outlets, and I therefore don’t feel comfortable associating with the fandom of the show, even as I enjoy the show itself and occasionally consume certain fanworks.
[music: casual, upbeat tune]
Madoka: Oh, okay. So what were you reading?
Homura: It’s this fic called “Contraptionology”. It’s great.
“Aloe, check it out. You’ve gotta look. Come on. Come on. You gotta.”
“Okay, Lotus!” Aloe put down her wrench, frustrated. “I’m busy too, you know!”
“I finished my project, I have to show someone!”
“You finished it already?” Aloe picked her wrench back up so she could drop it in surprise. It clanged on the floor.
“Yes!” Lotus grabbed her girlfriend by the hoof and let her into the other room. She motioned toward a contraption that seemed to be two thin slabs of metal, connected by hinges so they opened like a book, one slab being covered with letters and the other with a brightly glowing picture. Lotus began to operate the machine in ways Aloe could hardly follow. But as letters and windows flashed across the screen, she began to understand its capabilities.
“Is this… some kind of thinking machine?”
“No!” barked Lotus. “I mean, yes, I did invent the personal computer. But my science fair project is this Flash game I made!” Finally a screen popped up showing a cartoon restaurant of some kind. It was captioned ‘Papa’s Wingeria’.
“This is – crazy!” spluttered Aloe. “This is going to revolutionize… I don’t even know what!”
Lotus pouted. “Okay, whatever. But I want you to play my game, sugar!”
It wasn’t a bad job, working at Papa’s Wingeria. You got the orders, you cooked the wings. But one day an order popped up that wasn’t quite normal.
Help, it began. That wasn’t normal. I escaped from this village where they sacrificed people for no reason, it continued. And then I escaped from an island where a man was hunting me! And there were like 8 other things. You have to help me hide.
As you read the rest of the secret note, you were profoundly affected. Truly, these were ten captivating short stories everyone should read.
[ Author’s Note: this is the thing I’m referencing http://johnnylists.com/10-captivating-short-stories-everyone-should-read/ ]
“To think people talk about ending the Lottery!” scoffed Mrs. Hutchinson.
“I know,” said Mrs. Delacroix. “Ridiculous.”
“As if other towns don’t have bizarre, even horrifying traditions with no discernible purpose. I know for a fact, based on this webcomic, that they do.”
“Oh, what webcomic? Do I know it?”
“Broodhollow. It’s by the same guy as Starslip and it’s awesome. Let me show you.”
The pattern. The pattern. The pattern will save me. It’s okay; I have my routine. I closed the doors, the drawers. I checked the undersides. I turned the knobs. I removed the stickers from the bananas. What’s next, what’s next… ah yes, it’s Monday! The only task left is to read the new Housepets strip.
Dum de dum… Using the Internet…
Why didn’t it update? Is something wrong? Oh god, oh god. It’s broken. It’s all wrecked. There are shadows in the corners of my eyes. The mirrors are mocking me in silvery voices. No! No, this can’t be happening! What if I read a different page of Housepets, one I’ve already seen? Can I make a substitution that way? I have to try! Oh god, here goes nothing…
“GRAAAPE! Let’s start a Let’s Play channel! I was watching Markiplier and I got inspired.”
“You were watching what? Is that a type of tool?”
My name is MARKIPLIER and WELCOME to Infinifactory! By the way, shoutout to my friend and fellow Let’s Play-er, Jacksepticeye –
TOP O’ THE MORNIN’ TO YA my name is JACKSEPTICEYE and welcome to Longest Night, the Night in the Woods supplement game. By the way, shouout to another Let’s Play channel I just found, Geek Remix –
S: Ohhhhh my god, you just – holy crap, Mari. Haha.
M: Yeah, uh, he was gonna hug me to death, so. I did what I gotta do. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, you see what I’m saying.
S: Wow, this game is fucked up. This almost – this kinda reminds me of that anime? Yuri… Bear…
M: Lesbian Bear Storm?
S: Yeah, haha. Whatever – whatever the Japanese name is. I’m sure you all can translate that. All you weeaboos in the audience. [pause] Anyway this is like that. All these, fuckin’, cute bears and shit.
M: Who are like, dying.
S: Yeah, no, exactly. Cute bears, but it’s like, violent.
“Sumika Izumino, I ask you. Would you rather give up on My Little Pony? Or. Would you rather give up on the respect of your peers?”
“I’ll never give up on My Little Pony,” said Sumika. “So I’ll –“
“Hold on!” cried Life Beauty. “Didn’t we already do one of these about My Little Pony?”
“That was specifically about certain fanfic,” said Life Sexy. “This time we’re talking about the show itself. For that is sexy; shaba-da-doo.”
“So anyway,” said Sumika, “I was just about to give up on respect, because I like children’s cartoons so much. Besides, I know one person who will always love me, no matter what I like.”
“Then I am ready to declare the verdict. Yuri: Approved!”
While Sumika went through a naked transformation sequence, Life Cool turned to his colleagues.
“I know this show is a yuri, but do you ever find her and Kureha a bit too saccharine?”
Life Beauty shrugged uncomfortably. Life Sexy nodded.
“Let them have their fun,” said Lady Kumaria. “You don’t have to watch.”
“So did you finish that anime yet?”
“No, Rainbow,” said Twilight. “I haven’t been able to start it.”
“Come on, it’s like the most popular thing ever in Japan! I mean, Pony Japan. I… can’t think of a pun for that. But anyway, it’s got amazing animation and it’s super irreverent and funny. It’s just basically totally AWESOME!”
“I understand that anime is awesome,” Twilight sighed, “but I have lots of Princess and Friendship duties on my hooves. I don’t have time for your weird twin comedies. Besides, I already promised Fluttershy I’d watch One Punch Man.”
“Genos,” said Saitama, lying on his stomach on the futon in front of the computer, “isn’t it amazing how tv shows let you escape into fantasy?”
“What are you watching, Sensei?”
“It’s this cartoon about five friends who save a parallel world with their elemental powers.”
Genos furrowed his brow. “I’m not sure I understand, Sensei. You have special powers in real life, and you are surrounded by people battling for justice.”
“It’s not the fantasy of having powers,” said Saitama, stone-faced. “It’s the fantasy of having friends.”
“Irma,” said Will, lying on her side on her bed next to the computer, “isn’t it cool how tv shows let you safely explore the darker elements of human consciousness?”
“What are you watching, Will?”
“It’s this cartoon about a kid and his mad scientist grandpa who go on adventures in alternate universes.”
Irma smirked. “That’s kind of funny, since we go on adventures in an alternate universe.”
“Basically all I’m saying is Rick & Morty is really messed up and creepy,” said Will.
“Yeah, it is,” said Irma.
“Hey, Morty, M-Morty, check this out. This is the wackiest thing the parallel universe tv thing has ever come up with. I’m serious, Morty, you gotta see this. I feel like I’m on an acid trip. Holy f***ing crap.”
“Rick, uh… I’m pretty sure that’s just a regular cartoon from our universe.”
“What? Holy s***, Morty, what were these guys smoking?”
“Hey, Jake! Check out these old dvds I found! They’re like, bazonkers old!” Finn dashed into the treehouse, arms filled with plastic dvd cases.
“Woah there, Finn. Didn’t Dad warn us about that stuff?”
“Come on,” said Finn. I’m sure we’re old enough by now to avoid being…”
“Corrupted by sin,” said the memory thought-bubble of their dad.
“Yeah, that,” said Finn.
“I dunno,” said Jake, frowning.
“Come on, stick it in me!” said BMO cheerfully. Finn slid a dvd into their slot.
BMO sat with a vacant smile for a moment, reviewing the dvd content.
“This sexualization makes BMO uncomfortable,” BMO said finally, in the same upbeat tone.
“Never mind,” said Finn, “let’s not watch Kill la Kill.”
The final battle was won, and the damage was cleared away. There was just one thing left to do.
“Everyone,” said Mako, “I suppose you’re wondering why I gathered you here.”
Everyone stared silently.
“It has come to my attention,” said Mako, “that we are not a normal magical girl show. Therefore, so that we never repeat this situation ever again, I want everyone to see what this genre is supposed to look like. The keywords are sweet and innocent, people. SWEET! And INNOCENT!” She snapped her blackboard pointer in half.
Houka turned on the projector and played the clip.
“Hannah,” said Natalie, “it has come to my attention that we are not a normal fanservice anime.”
“Good,” said Hannah. “We’re way too young for that.”
“I know…” Natalie sighed. “But don’t you ever want to do something on the dangerous side?”
“You mean, besides fighting monsters from the Dark Zone every week?”
“Not really,” said Hannah. “I enjoy being bookish and reserved.”
“You never feel like, maybe… proposing marriage to someone and then showing up ten years later in a tiny fighting robot?”
“Nat, where are you getting these ideas?”
“Guys,” Sanpeita sighed, “it has come to my attention that we are not a normal anime. In any sense.”
“The sooner you accept it,” droned Kemeko, standing behind him, “the better.”
Sanpeita sighed. “Why can’t I just watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer in peace?”
“Willow,” said Xander on the phone, “can we talk? I’m having an existential crisis.”
“Oh, that sounds… not good. Is it like a, ‘sheer size of the universe’ crisis, or maybe a ‘death is inevitable’ crisis?”
“Um, no, neither of those, Will. But thanks for the inspiration for future crises.”
“Sorry,” said Willow.
“It’s just – I was watching this new show, right? About magicians at a school for magic. And their magic is hidden from the world, and I thought… isn’t that exactly the same way vampires, and demons, and Buffy’s slaying, are hidden from the world? So, how do we know there isn’t a whole other world that we’re not –“
“We already know magic is real,” said Willow. “I do magic.”
“Oh,” said Xander. “Right. I forgot.” He paused to think. “Right, that’s okay then. Thanks, Willow.”
“No prob, buddy.”
They said goodbye and Willow went back to her classwork. But that night in the dorm, as Buffy tried to sleep, she noticed her roommate staring anxiously at the ceiling.
“Willow, what’s up? Is there a problem?”
“Buffy…” said Willow anxiously, “How do we know we’re not in a tv show?”
“Julia,” said James, “have you heard of this podcast, ‘Welcome to Night Vale’?”
“Nope,” said Julia absently.
“I recommend it. It’s like an ordinary news broadcast, but with all this horrifying supernatural stuff.”
Julia grimaced. “What’s the appeal?”
“Oh… well, I guess it’s fun to be scared by the kind of messed-up unnatural stuff that could never happen to us in real life.”
Julia stared at him. Then she laughed. She kept laughing. James became worried as her laughter turned hysterical. Julia found she was unable to stop. Her laughter turned into crying and she had to go lie down for a while.
My tiny mouth is full of secrets. My teeth are not what they seem. Welcome to Night Vale.
Listeners, you know I don’t digress very often on this show. It’s all news, all the time, here at Night Vale Community Radio! But I really have got to tell you about the My Little Pony fanfic I was just reading.
Oh! Hold on, I’m getting a message from Station Management. That is to say, they’re thrashing wildly against their office door, and I can only assume that it’s intended as a form of communication. Let’s see… My “Thrash” is a little rusty, haven’t used it since my Boy Scout days, but if I had to make a guess at what they’re saying, it would be…
Cecil, can’t you see
We’ve already done ponies
At least two times here.
Hm. Well, I guess Station Management has access to more planes of existence than I do, because I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve mentioned My Little Pony on the air. In particular, I wanted to talk to you about the fanfic “Background Pony”, which is a real masterpiece, in my humble opinion. It presents such an uplifting view of humanity, and such a horrifying view of reality. I love how it keeps a solemn and poetic tone most of the time, but still makes jokey little reference to fanon. You should all do yourself a favor and give it a read.
Anyways, on to other news. Oh, right – dingoes are roaming loose in Night Vale and you should all stay inside at all costs –
“So there you have it,” said Lyra for the umpteenth time. “As soon as I leave, you’ll forget everything that’s happened between us.”
“Wow, that…” Pinkie struggled to find the words.
“I know,” said Lyra sadly.
“That’s… AMAZING!” Pinkie shrieked.
“You’ve gotta watch the ending of Gravity Falls with me!” cried Pinkie, bouncing. “Then I’ll forget what happened, and I’ll get to be surprised by the twists all over again!”
“What’s Gravity Falls?” asked Lyra.
“Oh, it’s a weird foreign show about these equestrapomorphic monkey-like creatures,” Pinkie explained.
“Wait, Kid -” A hairy arm abruptly grabbed Dipper and pulled him into the bushes.
“Aaagh! Stan? What’s going on?”
“You can’t go back to the Shack,” Stan said, shivering. “They’ve taken it over. We’d better just lay low until this is done.”
“What? Who’s taken it over? Vampires? Werewolves? Zombies… again?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“Of course I want to know!” said Dipper. “I have to go see, Stan.” He pushed his way out of the bushes.
“Dipper!” Stan called. “Don’t be a hero! Don’t be fool with your life!”
Bravely shaking, Dipper approached the Mystery Shack. It had been haphazardly spray-painted grey, and a bizarre effigy had been constructed on the roof, like the figurehead on a ship, but larger.
His footstep broke a branch. Instantly, four strange figures rushed out onto the balcony to look at him. It took him a moment to recognize Grenda, Candy, his sister, and Waddles, all dressed up in strange outfits, and with a plastic gemstone glued somewhere on each of their bodies.
“IT’S A HOMEWORLD GEM!” bellowed Mabel, brandishing her grappling hook with a mischievous sparkle in her eye. “POOF HIM!”
“Don’t worry,” said Connie. “Puberty isn’t really like that. As far as I know.”
“Gems don’t have puberty,” said Pearl from the other room. “Nor childhood. So who knows what will happen with you!”
“Let’s watch something else,” said Steven nervously.
“This comic is amazing,” Star said, drooling. “I want to go to Gunnerkrigg Court immediately.”
“Star, uh… you know it’s just a comic? You can’t actually go there,” said Marco, trying not to laugh.
“Well duh you can’t just ‘’’go’’’ there,” said Star, making exaggerated finger quotes.
“Well, good. Just so we’re clear.”
“I read the comic. I know that, to get to Gunnerkrigg Court, you have to destroy your mortal body,” she said cheerfully, levitating a huge rock.
“STAR, NO –”
“Hey, Annie,” said Kat. “I know it didn’t go so great the last time I showed you video games. But let’s try this other one. It’s not some kinda mindless violence free-for-all, it takes the characters’ emotions seriously.”
“Well, that does sound a bit nicer,” said Annie. “So, what do you do in it?
“You try to find out which of your classmates murdered your other classmates,” said Kat.
“What,” said Annie.
“What,” said Kat.
“Hmph,” scoffed Byakuya Togami arrogantly. “I suppose this small gift is adequate for me to bless you with some moments of my time.”
“Okay, great,” said Naegi Makoto. “Because for some unexplainable reason, I’m very interested in your backstory and what you have to say.”
“You know, Makoto,” said Togami, “It obviously wouldn’t work for me to give a present to you, rather than the other way around. But if I did, I think I know what it would be. I found this book about someone who’s incredibly normal. Not a Super High School-Level anything. And not thrown into any intense adventure or intrigue. Just living an average life, and writing fanfiction sometimes. I think you would be interested.”
“Gee, um… thanks?”
An anonymous person, who wrote fanfiction sometimes, sat at a computer. Inspired by the prompt on Archive of Our Own, about fanfictions in which the characters themselves participate in fandom, they decided to write a chain of fanfics where, for each of the 30 works of fiction bookmarked in their main bookmarks folder, the characters from one would be reading, watching, or playing the next.
After they did that, they decided to watch Gurren Lagann.