Welcome to the official Project AFTER homepage! If this is your first time visiting, then please come in and enjoy the site's many exciting and comical features* that exist solely for your entertainment. Please feel free to bookmark the site in case you want to come back and view it again at a later time. Return visitors are almost unheard of around here, but hey, maybe you'll have unusually low standards or something. "But hold on a minute. What is this 'Project AFTER' phenomenon you speak of, anyway?" If that's what you were thinking just now, then congratulate yourself for pondering a damn good question! First, let's start with the meaning behind the site's rather cryptic title. Project A.F.T.E.R. is an acronym for:

Project Anime Fanfiction: Twisted Entertainment Review


This previously top-secret operation is the result of many years of costly and tiresome research to discover what exactly is causing modern society to plunge into its current downward spiral toward oblivion. Astonishingly, all test results have thus far pointed to one horrifying conclusion. War, pollution, disease, world hunger, natural disasters, cosplayers... They all stem from the same vile source: bad anime fanfiction.

Admittedly, it may seem harmless enough at first glance, but in reality it is a potent, all-consuming evil that has silently corrupted humanity since the dawn of time (and, by "the dawn of time", I mean the mid 1980s). Today, bad anime fanfiction is content to waste your precious online web-surfing time with its seemingly never-ending tedium and idiocy that has infected hundreds upon hundreds of unsuspecting websites. Tomorrow, however, it may very well be out murdering your children and setting fire to your homes.

While the future may seem ridden with pain and despair, all is not lost! Through Project AFTER, a creation that can only be described as a demonstration of human ingenuity at its finest, I will select promising pieces of anime fanfiction that have unfortunately ended up in the realm of awfulness. By providing an astute running commentary within the fanfiction, I hope to inform readers of how to identify bad fanfics, and even more importantly, how to avoid writing them. Such a concept may seem to some of you like little more than an uninspired way for me to publicly display malicious outbursts of rage to help me deal with my own inner suffering while garnering attention from strangers over the internet, but I assure you that I am doing this strictly for the good of humanity! Why? Because that's just the kind of selfless guy I am.

If you're interested in learning more about my epic struggle to save all mankind, then please feel free to take a look around the site and see what one man is doing to save the world which he so dearly loves... One bad fanfiction at a time.

*Note: Features contained within this site are not guaranteed to be exciting or comical.

 

 

 

 

News and Updates

 

 

August 30, 2015

Another year has come and gone. Amazingly, against all reasonable expectations, that makes a dozen times this website has experienced an active existence on the 30th of August. Then again, maybe the word "active" no longer applies. I'm making a content update in any case, so screw it. We are as active as a senior lifestyle, baby.

On the topic of new content, let's put that right up front for a change. Ladies, gentlemen, and trans-whatevers, please enjoy The Cosplay Caption Contest: Collection #12. It's the twelfth compilation of CCC results, you see, so it totally ties in with the whole anniversary thing. This was planned months in advance, I tell you!

Of course, I would've liked to have done something more to celebrate Project AFTER lasting twelve years on the internet. I would've liked to have done more with the site this entire year. I had much grander plans for PA in 2015 than what those of you still checking the site have gotten thus far. Unfortunately, life has not been generous enough to let me turn most of my ideas into reality. It's the same old story: Responsibilities take precedence over hobbies, and the amount of time I have for this particular hobby has steadily shrunk since 2003, while the number of responsibilities resting on my shoulders seems to have doubled every year since around 2010. So what happens next? Are we now witnessing the final anniversary update for Project AFTER? Has the seedy underbelly of the anime fandom finally won? That depends.

Earlier this year, I was involved in a discussion on the PA Forums regarding online content production and the viability of using such endeavors as a springboard to achieve a legitimate career in the entertainment industry. I've copied a few excerpts from my contributions to that discussion below. (I know this must seem like the ultimate lazy ploy to pad the length of an update post, but bear with me.)

Being an online content creator with any kind of considerable audience puts you in a weird place socially. You experience a kind of simulated version of fame, even though you're still completely anonymous to 99.8% of society; you've achieved success relatively early in life in one sense, yet you're still not financially secure—you might even be struggling to pay bills—and whatever accomplishments you have attached to your name don't carry over into reality. A hiring manager at a restaurant or a warehouse doesn't give a shit how many YouTube subscribers you have or how many people watch your art streams or how long you've sustained a regular traffic flow on a website. Even the majority of your peers won't be especially impressed by whatever you've achieved on the internet; if they haven't personally heard of you, you're just another nobody creating impenetrable content laser-targeted at a niche audience.

You get to a certain age and you suddenly realize that this thing you've spent so many years of your life building isn't worth anything in the real world, and in fact might have kept you from working toward more tangible rewards. At that point, you have two options: A) Leave your little internet celebrity life behind and start over from scratch when you're creeping up on thirty, or B) see how far you can take that dorky thing some people liked and transform it into a vehicle for earning real credibility and real money. The second option seems more attractive initially, but people don't always respond well to creators trying to take their online "fame" to the next level. They grow accustomed to receiving a steady steam of entertainment for free, and when that content stops appearing or gets moved behind a pay wall of some sort, the reaction isn't always supportive. [...]

As for how far someone can realistically take an online career, that's the million-dollar question right now. Online entertainment media is still a new industry that no one has fully figured out yet. The rise of crowdfunding platforms and services like Patreon and YouTube ads has given a degree of economic legitimacy to people making creative content for the web, but whether or not these models will prove to be sustainable in the long term remains to be seen. Again, it's a risk-vs.-reward thing. Do you jump off the train and try to make your way working at a conventional job in an unstable economy being rocked by policy reform and outsourcing, or do you stick with your virtual enterprise and cross your fingers that you'll emerge as a thriving pioneer in the digital marketplace of tomorrow and not wind up totally destitute if the whole thing ends up collapsing?
Ostensibly, I'm having a conversation with another forum member about YouTube personalities attempting to transfer their fame to the real world in order to become actual celebrities; really, though, what I'm doing is describing my own situation in a way that makes it seem as though I'm referring to some hypothetical third party. At least, that was the intention. Re-reading my posts now, I realize it's blatantly obvious that I was transcribing my own thoughts and anxieties about my current situation. Oops.

One difference between myself and the theoretical character I thought I was building is that I've never harbored any secret lust for fame. It'd be nice if a larger percentage of the internet was aware of who I am and what I'm doing, but my desire only extends as far as capturing a larger audience for my work. In terms of personal renown, I'm fine with never doing interviews or hitting the convention circuit. One reason I've never posted a photo of myself online is because I feel I have nothing to gain from it. My physical appearance has no relevance to any of my creative projects, and the thought of being recognized in person sounds like it would be a recipe for an awkward and disappointing experience. I prefer to keep those two worlds separate.

There is one way, however, that those two worlds invariably intersect: They both draw from the same well of resources. When I first started PA, I was seventeen years old and breezing through high school. I was bored from an excess of free time and possessed zero concern for how I was going to make a living (I'd been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that setting foot on a college campus someday would result in dozens of companies fighting over the right to hire me). Since then, the economy tanked, my entire family wound up buried in debt, and I found myself hunting for work with a skill set carefully designed around a type of job that has been almost entirely outsourced to countries where the words "minimum wage" refer to the bags of rice companies use to pay children at the end of their sixty-hour workweeks. You've heard this story before, I'm sure; my experiences are depressingly common. Despite that, feasible solutions are still difficult to come by, and I'm so preoccupied with trying to stay afloat that writing free content for a website with a miniscule readership has almost dropped off my list of priorities altogether. Even as write this, there's a little voice echoing from near the back of my consciousness telling me to follow up on my latest Elance bids and check to see if any new jobs have been posted on the mystery shopper sites I signed up for. And somewhere further behind that is an even smaller voice exhaustedly shouting, "For God's sake, man, get some fucking sleep! You haven't gotten a full eight hours in weeks!" No dice, Other Little Voice. I'll sleep when I'm financially secure. Or when I'm dead—whichever comes first.

I still believe—still hope—there's a decent chance I'm going to make it somehow, even if I have to pull a Walter White in order to do it. The question is whether or not Project AFTER will be something I'll get to continue working on into the future or be forced to leave behind as that big unfinished thing that occupied the perimeter of my thoughts for 12+ years of my life. Whether or not this is the final stretch.... Well, that depends.

As much as I hate to do this, I'm afraid I have to drop that link you've all been waiting for, if not outright dreading: Support me on Patreon! I know, I know. Those words are like a dagger in my heart, too. But for as deeply as I hate that this is what the internet has come to, I can't say I don't understand it. We have a generation of ambitious, well-educated, extremely talented young people who grew up being told the world was theirs for the taking right up until the minute they bashed their skulls on the glass ceiling that was hanging six inches above their heads the whole time. A character from a book about people beating the hell out each other for therapy once said something about squandered potential and the smartest men who have ever lived pumping gas and waiting tables. Looking around at the current economic climate, that quote from 1999 seems almost eerily prophetic. Most of the individuals who turn to crowdfunding aren't greedy; they're desperate. Becoming a virtual beggar is a last resort for people who aren't ready to give up on their dreams but lack the means to continue chasing them any other way. And yeah, it's bizarre that so many people's dreams happen to involve drawing furry smut, but you've got to take the good with the bad. And to be fair, supply and demand is largely to blame here. Someone has to be paying for that shit.

I don't expect to ever make updating PA my primary source of income; to the contrary, I hope that never becomes the case. That said, the reality of the situation is that I have no time or energy left for anything that doesn't at least contribute something toward my future. I can't really pin an exact dollar figure on that at this point, but I can confirm that I'll honor the previously established goal of starting work on PA 3.0 if and when the pledge totals reach $200/month. There's zero immediate profit in that, but I'll look at it as a long-term investment. I figure I should probably make a couple of those while I still can.

If you can't pledge anything, that's totally fine. If you just don't want to pledge anything, that's fine too. Again, this is about supply and demand. I can't give folks what they want for free, but asking someone to pay for something they don't want is ludicrous. If you've ever cared enough to pay attention to anything I've done with this site over the past twelve years, that's more than enough to earn my most sincere gratitude.

Whatever happens, I'll definitely see you guys back here again at some point. And if too many cobwebs begin piling up on the front page in the meantime, feel free to swing by the message boards. There's usually something fun (or at least interesting) happening in there. If you missed out on The Summer of AFTER, you have my condolences. Shit was crash! I was hoping to host another fanfiction mockery contest at some point during the festivities, but the time required to get that together was needed elsewhere. But hey, that just gives everybody something to look forward to. Maybe we can do something for Christmas...

Oh, hey, did you guys notice I changed the formatting for date headers on this page? Turns out you're not supposed to underline headers because it makes them too easy to confuse with hyperlinks. How about that. Twelve years at this and I'm still learning something new.

 

 

April 01, 2015

Hey there, kids! For today's update, I've got some good news and bad news. Let's start with the bad news: You know that whole thing I've been doing with the epic struggle to save mankind from bad fanfiction? That's canceled. I've avoided admitting defeat for as long as I could, but I can't keep my head buried in the sand any longer. It's time I manned up and faced the dismal reality that fanfiction has beaten me. 50 Shades of Grey is pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars across multiple mediums, fanfiction is now a course taught at an Ivy League university, and my attempts to convince the FBI that Xing Li is a terrorist continue to end in failure. I'm not the kind of guy who calls it quits on a whim, but you've got to know when to throw in the towel before the mat gets any bloodier.

Don't feel too bummed out, though, because here comes the good news: Although I'm waving the white flag at the fanfiction menace, I have no intention of abandoning PA. Instead of closing down the site, I've decided to repurpose it as the internet's headquarters for the war against a different kind of terrible writing. My new target? Cosmopolitan articles!

I'm still in the process of figuring out exactly how to format the site to accommodate its new purpose—we'll obviously need to look at a name change, for one thing—but I can guarantee that readers will experience the same standard of quality that has always been an indelible hallmark of Project AFTER—or Project CATER, as it might soon come to the called. To prove I'm not just throwing around empty management rhetoric, I've put together a little preview of the kind of content you'll see on this site from now on. Please enjoy Cosmopolitan's All-Time Worst Advice: Volume 1.

The site should be updated with a new section devoted to Cosmo's celebrity gossip by the end of the month, with a series of features debunking their columnists' suggested sex techniques debuting soon after. In the meantime, I need to update some paperwork so I can continue declaring Project WHATEVER a religious organization. Having a noble cause is nice, but having a tax-exempt vacation condo is a hell of a lot nicer.

 

 

December 24, 2014

Before we get started on today's update, I'd like to publicly state my disappointment in Sony Pictures for their decision to screen The Interview after previously canceling the film at the demand of North Korean hackers. I know the studio came under a lot of fire for initially responding to ambiguous threats of terrorism by filling an Olympic-size swimming pool with submissive urine, but in their defense, those hackers shocked the entire world when they proved that North Korean did in fact have access to working computers. Personally, I think "better safe than sorry" is a wise philosophy in a situation like this. Let's not forget the North Korean military has the technology to fire missile-shaped hunks of scrap metal hundreds of feet into the Pacific Ocean.

Call me a coward if you must, but I'M not taking any chances. I hereby pledge my loyalty to Kim Jong-un and his army of uncle-devouring dogs. With the glorious stench of authority wafting down from betwixt his mighty belly folds, I know my future is safe from the threat of unconsumed buckets of bacon grease. Hail to thee, Supreme Leader! Within the shadow of your majestically planet-like head, we shall forever bask in freedom from the fear of death—for we are already dead inside.

I can think of no better way to honor the living mass of enchanted pig anuses that is North Korea's leader than by updating the Cosplay Caption Contest section of the site. In addition to a number of improvements to the existing pages, you can also enjoy the brand new 11th collection of winning captions. Thanks to the enduring success of the CCC, this and all future collections will each feature the results of TEN contests instead of eight! You can't stop the bad cosplay train, so don't even try.

One more announcement before we wrap things up for the year: Project AFTER is now on Patreon! Taking the crowdfunding route wasn't exactly my first choice, but this is ultimately a much better strategy for ensuring the hosting fees get paid than relying on donations. Using Patreon provides a stable way to cover recurring expenses, tells donors how much is coming in each month, and—best of all—it allows me to reward you folks for your help with some cool bonuses. It's the best compromise I can come up with when I have no other way to maintain an income and still have time to set aside to work on this site. For example, I wanted to make this update as enormous and grand as Kim Jong-un's regally colossal ass, but I was forced to settle for the kind of meager offering you'd expect from a citizen of a pathetic capitalist nation. With your help, we can build a better PA and reach the stars to look upon our new ruler's magnificently doughy visage... forever!
 

 

 

October 23, 2014

Let's keep this momentum going with another update! Who wants to read some more articles about Gamergate?! Ha ha, just kidding. We'll save that for next time. There's no reason to rush because Christ knows people will still be talking about this shit six years from now.

In the meantime, I think you folks deserve a little release... A little Comic Release, that is! Maximilian "Maximum" D. Vader (a.k.a. Max-Vader) has served up another sizzlin' skillet of sumptuous webcomic reviewery, cooked extra crispy and drizzled in hate—just the way the regulars like it! This time, his critical eye is focused on The Lounge, a long-running webmanga drawn by beloved bestiality enthusiast John Joseco. I can't wait to see what kind of hatemail we get over this one.

Publishing this review marks the end of an era. The Lounge was among the original ten webcomics I talked about in a canceled PA feature that predates Comic Release (which, for those who don't remember, debuted on this site in 2006), making Joseco's disaster of a comic the most enduring occupant in the CR queue. Part of me is almost sad to see it go—and yet, I feel a sense of pride at the same time. I imagine this must be how educators feel when their dumbest student finally graduates after eight years. In any case, this is the last time I'll know for certain what's next up on the chopping block. I guess Max could always tell me what he's got in store for future articles, but gosh darn it, not knowing is kind of exciting. That doesn't mean you folks couldn't conceivably influence the selection process in some way, though. For instance, say if you happened across an anime-style webcomic you felt was the recipient of undeserved popularity and decided to suggest said webcomic to Max via Twitter. I can't imagine there'd be any problem with that. (If you wanted to check out my Twitter while you were at it, you could do that too. You know, hypothetically.)

Before I wrap this up, I have an important announcement for all present and future members of the PA Forums: Keep your eyes on the Cosplay Caption Contest section, because bi-weekly contests will resume this Saturday! You boys n' girls asked for it, so now you're getting it right in the face. That's Saturday, October 25th. Mark your calendar or camp out in front of your computer with a blanket and a can of beans and keep hitting refresh until a new contest thread appears. Your call. Either way, BE THERE.