It was 13 o'clock on a typical day when the sky turned blue.A Web Original serial written from 2001 through 2003 by Twoflower, Unreal Estate tells the story of Mallory Heisenberg, a naive young man who wants to see the worlds!See, in this setting, many, many worlds and realities are created by powerful "Reality Engines". The Engines allow a universe to be created to any specification you imagine - provided you can afford the vast fees demanded by RealWare, the massive corporation that builds the Engines.Mallory's home reality is the quiet and backward "Cooking and Farming" community of Grunwald, but a series of unlikely events and comical misunderstandings lead to him becoming the "Houseboy" of an all-female group of transient troubleshooters.And then things really get complicated.
— The opening words of "Boy Meets Worlds", the first part of Unreal Estate.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adorkable: Mallory, as both Meiko and Lorelei notice. Even Multi, Mallory's Evil Twin, shows signs of this occasionally.
- Alliterative Family: All of Mallory's alternate selves have names starting with the letter "M" — Mike, Multi, Melvin, Megumi, Matsuri, and "M".
- Animesque: Like Sailor Nothing, Unreal Estate uses and plays with several tropes common to Anime and Manga — most obviously, the Harem Genre.
- Artificial Human: Kisei was created by Tachi, a rogue ninja assassin. She was initially programmed identically to the fully robotic Mecha-Mooks he used as minions, but was meant to grow beyond her initial programming.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Mallory, like many examples of this trope, tends to overthink his idioms until they're virtually unintelligible.
- Cosy Catastrophe: The "Quiet Apocalypse" that drove humanity into the artificial realities turned out to be this for the survivors. Although it was a combination of all of the most infamous potential Apocalypse How scenarios happening at once, they weren't enough to destroy human civilization. RealWare abandoning the real world was enough to drive the survivors left behind to actually save the Earth themselves.
- Killing Your Alternate Self: Phase One of Multi's plan to remake the Multiverse is to murder all of the other alternate Mallorys. This doesn't increase Multi's power directly, but it does remove potential rivals. "Reality is determined by the last man standing."''
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: Becomes a plot element. Although Unreal Estate is set In a World... where technology that allows pocket universes to be created to order is ubiquitous, it's mostly used to create a few Worlds of Hats. The most unusual world is Tribal Alpha, the First-Person Shooter world that automatically respawns "players" after lethal wounds. The Big Bad, Multi, reveals that he has a Vision about using the technology to its full potential, and You Can't Make an Omelette......
- Not-So-Badass Longcoat: M's failure to invoke the Badass Longcoat trope is lovingly described.The man sitting in front of the herbs and spices didn't look too dangerous, but it wasn't from lack of trying. He wore a scary leather trenchoat typically reserved for chaotic neutral anti-heroes, the sort that flaps around nicely when you're performing zero gravity kung fu and hugs the shadows properly when prowling in dark alleys of a criminal underworld. On him, however, it was simply a badly fitting and overly large garment which was yanked off a bargain rack and bore all the tailoring hallmarks of unskilled mass-production labor.
- Planet of Hats: Each artificial reality has a theme to it, such as Grunwald (an Arcadia focused on growing and preparing food), Nocturn (a reality dedicated to one nightclub), and Tribal Alpha (the First-Person Shooter reality where Lorelei came from).
- Pocket Dimension: The realities created by the Reality Engines come in various sizes, but they're all implied to be much smaller and more simple than Earth itself.
- Promoted To Parent: Meiko has been supporting both her little sister Eiko and herself since they were orphaned at a young age, which gave birth to her Control Freak tendencies.
- Reality Warper: Both Multi, Mallory, and their other duplicates are able to manipulate the realities created by Reality Engines at will, although Mallory can only do it by accident at first.
- Supporting Harem: The general relationship dynamic between Mallory and the rest of Meiko's household. Although Lorelei enters a brief relationship with Mallory, it's made clear that the point was to make him learn how to act in a relationship before attempting a Relationship Upgrade with Meiko.
- Tactical Reminiscence: Subverted. Eiko tries to use this trope when she's held captive by Multi, who agreed to let her email her friend Kensuke — referring to a TV episode that would hopefully inspire him to send a secret message in a video file as a reply. She discovers that Multi had edited her original message and blocked her access afterwards.
- Truly Single Parent:
- Tachi, Kisei's father and mentor, created her as an heir to his one-person "clan".
- RealWare CEO Gillian Bates ends the story as the mother of a Designer Baby she commissioned using DNA from herself, Multi, and Meiko (obtained under dubious but legal circumstances).
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Megumi, one of the members of M's support group for alternate Mallorys, was raised as a woman by her adoptive family to avoid some kind of family curse. Multi intimidates her into using her powers to change her body's sex before killing her, because his Berserk Button is people refusing to realize their potential.