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Fanfic / Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society

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We find the pen to be more or less equal to the sword, actually.
"Welcome to the Society. If you have any sanity left, please leave it at the door."

The Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, usually abbreviated to ACMSES or just "the Society", is a Metafictional Shared Universe operated by thirty-some fledgling writers in their teens and twenties.

Originally a short series of crack/parody fanfics making fun of Sueish characters in various fanfiction universes and written by a trio of British girls, the series spread far and wide with the announcement that other writers were free to adopt their premise (and main antagonist). Rather than a small list of under a dozen linear parodies that all followed more or less the same template, the series rapidly ballooned into a full-fledged series of over 200 stories and counting, with a respectable fanbase of its own. Installments are primarily episodic, although there is a strong overarching tale that connects each "season" - sometimes several at once!

Over time, as the diverse cast of characters on both sides of the battle grew, the series' genre shifted over from straight-up parody to a mix of humor, drama, and adventure. It is and always will be about a group of authors who use self-inserts to track down and eliminate Sue/Stu-ish characters from various fandoms to prevent them from distorting Canon, but there are especially powerful enemies, characters and authors alike, who support the Mary Sue ideal and would put a stop to the Society's shenanigans. Even more interestingly, there are some who have a personal bone to pick with some of the agents, and that's when things usually get dangerous.

However, even when things are at their most serious, the story remains more or less true to its roots, combining the seriousness and action of an Action-Adventure story with the extremely oddball sense of humor that fanfiction authors develop after a while.

Story quality and writing style can vary from author to author, but each one is nonetheless a gem, guaranteed to make you giggle or your money back!

The series itself gains mixed reviews, mainly positive for its multi-authorial collaboration sense and original motive for removing Sues, and negative for a perceived intrusion into fandoms for the purpose of writing Parody Sues and glorifying their own self-inserted characters and plotlines. Nevertheless, the snarky humor, which is self-deprecating just as often as not, leads one to believe that the hypocrisy of combating Self-Insert armies with more is indeed part of the joke. Add that to the magical tool of Lampshade Hanging (Agent Sues/Stus are blatantly stated to be such and are currently trying to be "rehabilitated", and any positive traits of characters are often reflected as negative) and the fact that most of the extremely powerful Agents have such power offset by their personalities (most of the Agents have been regarded as insane at one point, and there is not a single Agent who has been taken as well to by other characters as the typical Sue), and you've got something to read and chuckle at, if nothing else.

And hey, you might grow to like the self-insert characters anyway. There are quite a lot of them, you know.

The Society is similar to, but distinct from, the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, which has more members and a more diverse history; the Society has more strict requirements for joining.

The link to the wiki is here. The story C2 is here.

For a more linear exploration of the (rather convoluted after a while) plot, and an avoidance of archive binging, a blogspot archive follows a chronological timeline and updates every three days.

Spoiler tags are used for the end of Season 1 and the major plot points in Season 2.

This provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The whole fiasco with Willie and the other Society he was a member of was dropped midway. Word of God states that he is now fully Society-loyal.
    • It is now being published in full, albeit very slowly.
  • Aerith and Bob: Some agents are generically named: Tyler, Ben, Dave, etc. It gets a bit crazy when you put them next to people like Aster, Ossa, Chrys, Cristoph...
  • A God Am I: Most targets have a fanatical belief in their own superiority when compared to the rest of the Multiverse's residents. Willowe, however, wants to take this a step further and make it fact.
    • The Sovereign Divinity, aka Phoenixia, also believes this. Given that she's, well, Divinity, she's probably not too far off the mark.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: @, who is -error- -error- describe @ here - ' is very beautiful yes very beautiful indeed very perfect oh so perfect ha ha ha .
  • All There in the Manual: The ACMSES Wiki.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Sues' takeover of the Library in "Insert Red Skies Twilight Here".
  • Ambiguous Syntax: They eliminate anti-clichés?
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Fred, the Greater Persona of the crack genre.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the very first story, Sauron apparently said that Willowe could 'keep the bloody ring', as long as she stopped trying to make him change sides with 'kind, loving words, honesty, and beauty'. Also, that she should stop swishing her hair around so bloody much.
    • "Mesha Alicia Maria Susan Maylene Violet Abigail Yana. You are under arrest for fandom manipulation, creation and maintenance of an army with the intent of further counts of the same, killing me several times, traumatising my Luxray, and wilful deception of a society parole board."
      Dave: Have I missed anything?
      Harriet: Embedding my Cricket Bat six feet in the ground in the middle of Stonehenge?
  • Ascended Fanboy: Many Agents started out as fans of the Society.
  • Back from the Dead: Hi, Adrian.
    • Also revealed that Louise has died in her past and been resurrected by Merle.
  • Battle Aura: Adrian on the ACMSES's side and most of the more powerful Mary-Sues are fond of this.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: In season 2. It focuses on Runoa initially, then Merle steps in for a long while, then back to Runoa, then Divinity effortlessly usurps the position for the finale.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment - Invoked as an actual weapon used by the Society to distract a foe. It usually makes the opponent start dancing randomly.
  • Black Cloak: Nameless, Stephen's nemesis, wears one.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The fourth wall is a real wall in the Library Arcanium. It is literally broken frequently, resulting in the Library shaking. It was originally most by Aster, but now mostly by Ben.
  • Brits Love Tea: In a Society founded and run primarily by British agents, tea is usually the answer to any problem, to the point where the leaders have been known to sound the general alarm if they run out of teabags.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Adrian, Tash, Kyle, Drake, Ben, Jared, and Lily all do this. Aster has a desire to do so. Tyler parodies this at one point.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: It's hard to believe this series was started just for laughs. It's still got a ton of crack, but suffers from severe Mood Whiplash nowadays. (Then again, you can usually tell what story it'll be like by the author. Of course, this doesn't always apply...)
  • Character Blog: Here. Among other things, it includes a running gag with a postcard, a plotline about Emily attending a school, and some interesting depths with characters - notably Aster is made a bit of a Jerkass (explaining why she's annoying) and Rhia is made more of a rational character.
  • Comic-Book Time: Subverted. The Society's two-and-a-half year absence is because Divinity sent the entire Library Arcanum into stasis in Development Hell.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Emily is temporarily turned into a cat after she accidentally turned everybody in the Library except for herself and Adrian into cats.
  • Cool Car: Chevila, for her ability to travel between fandoms and turn herself into a mode of transportation local to the fandom (a shuttle in Star Trek, a Transformer, etc.)
  • Creator Breakdown: Happens a lot - reactions vary from Rage Quit to simply fading away from the scene to keeping links to the community but becoming unable to write more stories. Whether the character stays in the hands of the Society or is withdrawn has depended on the situation. Reasons for leaving have ranged from fights with other members to real life issues to simple emotional breakdown/disconnect over the feelings involved in writing things for the Society.
  • Creepy Twins: Ashley and Aspen Foxblade are thoroughly psychotic - it's implied they were murderous even before they turned Sueish.
    • Averted in the case of Richard and Robert, another set of Stu twins. They may be identical, but while the latter is rather a nice guy, the former is a sadistic bastard.
  • Crossover: An actual gadget used by Agents from time to time. It can temporarily fuse two fandoms together, but it's not used that often.
  • Darkest Hour: Holy shit, the end of season 2 (comprising of "Insert Epic Space Opera Here" and "Insert Descent Into Hell Here"). We're introduced to the newest Sovereign, Divinity—none other than an Immaculated Phoenixia. She insta-kills the Star Wars fandom's most recent Sue along with his ship's entire crew because he got irritating, then proceeds to start flaying the present Society members alive. All the while, even more agents are fighting a losing dogfight outside, and the Society barely escapes alive when the Counter Guardians intervene, actually getting wounded in the process. And then it turns out that all the Star Wars fandom events were a distraction for Runoa to sneak into the Library! While nigh upon the entire Society is hospitalized, however, Divinity decides that she wants to follow her own plans, and sends the entire Library into stasis. Harriet and Emily barely escape the event with Adrian in tow, and spend TWO YEARS on the run trying to find a way to free the Library.
  • Day in the Life: "Insert These Are Our Moments Here" for varying close scenes between various characters, and "Insert Tea, Coffee and Biscuits Here" for a whole day of antics.
  • Dead Fic: Part one of the season 2 finale was published in May 2015. Four years later, not a peep more.
  • Deus ex Machina: Quite literally, there is a gadget titled the "Deus Ex Machina". However, it doesn't really help the Agents - it just screws things up. It apparently caused the live-action movie Dragonball Evolution to exist, deleted the whole first dub season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and turned one of the best anime of all time into Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.
  • Development Hell: Between September 2012 and March 2015, not a single new story was published. (One single multi-chapter story was updated in that time, though.) Defictionalized and played for drama in the season 2 finale, when the Sovereign Divinity has sent the entire Library to Development Hell, which is a physical location in the multiverse.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Flora gaining shapeshifting, immunity to Prohibitors, and the ability to drain Suishness.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: "Most people run in terror when they see Cthulhu! Not stand there, clasp their hands together and go 'awwww!'." "But he was so cute! I knew under all those tentacles and slimy green scales he just wanted a glomp!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tyler interrupts the narrator. Narrator triggers a trap.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Two guards that Phoenixia distracts before Adrian wallops them.
    • Also how Robert was initially captured.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In its first few installments, the Society was even more tongue-in-cheek than it is today.
  • Extranormal Prison: The Society doesn't resort to lethal force except under grave conditions; captured Sues are incarcerated in the Basement; more like a jail than an actual prison with a few extra security features, it's not exactly a Hellhole Prison, but Robert's parole hearing revealed some rather poor treatment of the prisoners due to slackers watching them. (It's not a desired job.)
  • First-Name Ultimatum:
    Adrian: "ASTER!"
    Aster: "Kyaaa!"
    • StePHEN!
  • Final Speech: Willowe's death of Redemption.
    • As well as Adrian's Final Speech...left behind in a letter in the Codex of Index. It addresses all major Society members.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Shirley the Cliché Stick, who is feared by just about everybody in the Society, and Lil' C, who is Cthulhu.
  • For Science!: The alleged reason Willie wanted to use Hellfire on Lil' C.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Palm Tree/Emily Foxblade, Bella Aubrey/Lily Adamson...there's been a few.
    • Arguably Willowe post-death.
  • Hour of Power: Oneshots, small magical pills, can give an Agent the ability to temporarily use a special ability from the fandom they are currently in. Magic in Harry Potter, ability to see ghosts in Ga-Rei, bending styles in Avatar: The Last Airbender, et cetera.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: One Sue uses a sword in her left hand, then reveals this when she gets serious, but with a twist. She's ambidextrous.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most titles use the format 'Insert (Something something related to the fandom) Here'.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Many of the Sues, in regards to their eyes.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: The Library Arcanium, the Society's Headquarters. It exists between everywhere and everywhen and is surrounded by transdimensional space, and there are no windows or doors leading out of the Library, as any mind viewing transdimensional implodes.
  • Institutional Apparel: Captured Sues and Stus in the Basement wear one of four colour t-shirts: Yellow, the most common for low-to medium risk; Orange, for those who are new and unassessed; Green, for those who have been given a chance at parole; and Blue, which is reserved for the most dangerous prisoners. In the event of a prison break, those wearing Blue shirts will be shot on sight.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Utilized by Adrian. They need to take down a teenage superhero Sue, and thus find Spirit, a teenage superhero Sue trapped in a thermos. Spirit, of course, refuses to spill any information on how to take a teenage superhero Sue down...until Adrian shakes the thermos.
    • Doug as well, but his is more true to actual violence to get his information.
  • Joker Jury: Just how fair is a courtroom made up of all the people you've killed, when you're dead and on trial in Hell for all the crimes you've committed during your - exceedingly long - life? Not Adrian found out.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Happens quite a lot. Many unusual things are blatantly pointed out as unusual thus taking away the unusuality effect.
  • Love Triangle: One exists between Ben, Lily, and Avak. Well, existed.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: A few faithful friends inhabit the Library. These include gribblies from the X-Files, miniature gods and also quite a few Pokémon - Combee, Asuka the Luxray, the Litwicks... Oh and most recently, Fish Finger, a baby Liopleurodon. She ain't no goldfish...
  • Mary-Sue Hunter: Well, what do you THINK their job is?
  • Mauve Shirt: Invoked and played with in an unnamed character during Aster's rescue who is literally referred to as "the mauve-shirt man". For all that he only exists for a single scene before being messily killed, he exhibits a very memorable personality and did play an important (albeit offscreen) role in the proceedings.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Adrian and Tash are afraid of this since Adrian's immortal and Tash is not. So far they haven't come up with a good way to give Tash immortality in a way that won't require too much sacrifice. They're still trying.
  • Mega Crossover: There are a little bit more than two hundred and fifty stories in the archive, almost all of them in different fandoms.
  • The Movie: Sort of..."Insert Red Skies Twilight Here".
  • Named Weapons: Hoshikuzu, Seiryu, Bahamut, Abraxis, the list goes on and on...
    • Averted with Alice's Power Sword...she can't be bothered to think of a name that will stick.
  • No Escape but Down: Emily is almost cornered on a roof by Runoa before jumping off into a Plothole she had just opened.
  • Noodle Implements: Invoked several times.
    • "I didn't even know you could do that with a spork..."
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Many of the members are Self Inserts and this is usually employed by Sues (and sometimes even canon characters) to point out that there isn't much difference between them and the Sues. Most of the time the Self Inserts just laugh and go after the Sue anyway knowing they are protected by Word of God and Lampshade Hanging.
  • Original Character: Instead of Self Inserts, some Authors choose to use Original Characters.
  • Official Couple: And they even have Idiosyncratic Ship Naming too!
    • Michael x Claire: Cuteshipping
    • Adrian x Tash: Leadershipping
    • Ben x Lily: B-shipping (doesn't really work right now as Bella's now been renamed Lily)
    • Pete x Charis: Techshipping
    • Cristoph x Rhia: Martialshipping
    • Adrian x Phoenixia: Violetshipping
    • According to Word of God, another is coming, along with the set one set far into the Society's future.
  • Old Shame: Often a Sue is trying to get revenge on an Author who has abandoned him/her (Willowe herself included). Most Agents who are Self-Inserts joined the Society to "atone for their sins of making Sues".
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Used in the second opening theme.
  • Overly Long Name: 75% of the Sues exhibit this. But of course, none of them can top Willowe Diamond Honeysuckle Allisonette Ravenne Hyacinth Aurelia Sakurelle Dewdrop Arwennia Heliotrope Appleflower Sandriline Delilah Aphrodite Bob Yuffiana Swainsona Vipertooth Foxblade the Third...
  • Pass the Popcorn: Invoked several times, but one is subverted; when watching a Sue and two canon characters duke it out, Tash tells Jess to get popcorn out of her bag. This causes Jess to find Leonard in there, freaking her out and triggering her tattoo's powers, ruining the mission.
  • Plot Bunny: Literal plot-disrupting bunnies exist in the Library. Don't let them bite you. They're pretty much harmless as long as you give them a wide berth, but Rhia hunts them.
  • Plot Hole: The way Sues and/or Agents travel between fandoms is through these, either created naturally by Sues or by using a Plothole Generator.
    • There are a lot of technical plotholes given that there is a serious lack of correspondence between authors. This has changed since the wiki came, though.
  • The Power of Love: A far-less-than-serious example all the way back in the first story; Hati says that they would save Middle Earth with it, while biting Legolas' ear. This was back during the 'far-less-than-serious' days.
  • Powers That Be: Adrian makes several references to the literal Powers That Be that guide his life. Chrys as a Peacekeeper works under the Creators, who are actually the same beings as the Powers That Be (nobody ever makes the connection). The Powers That Be are actually the Authors creating the characters and self-inserts in the Society (nobody makes the connection between that either). They can even go as far as to appear in their own stories.
    • For the omniscient rulers of stories, they don't get enough credit. Karissa is downright disrespectful to her author Cay, Doug treats his as a peer, and Aster won't go any further than to refer to her Author as "onee-chan" (well, it's a start).
      • Selfsame Author gets pretty much tortured and tormented by her own creation, Cassie. What makes it even more Mind Screwy is that technically, as the Author controls everything in her story, she inflicted this torture on herself by having Cassie do it.
  • Punny Name: The Little Plastic Green Beret (and later the Little Plastic Marine Corps) all have names that make puns when used with their rank. General Idea, Major Industry, Captain Crunch, and Colonel O'Corn are just some of them.
  • Rank Inflation: In the past, Sues and Stus were measured on a power level ranking of one to eight. Now, they're ranked from one to ten, with ten being damn near omnipotent. For the record, one Level Ten Stu was able to almost entirely disable most of the Society.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The cause of several long months between stories or even between chapters.
    • Averted in the case of Tash and Adrian...the characters got together long before their respective authors did.
  • Running Gag: Several, including, but not limited to:
    • Cristoph's inability to finish his entrance statement.
    • Adrian's trenchcoat never surviving a mission.
    • Chrys always stealing Aster's chocolate whenever she has any bodily contact with one.
    • Chrys never being able to read a rare Bomberman B-Daman Bakugaiden manga (it disappears, is destroyed, or even spontaneously bursts into flames).
    • If someone attempts to steal Adrian's food, said person will probably end up in some booby trap. If person does manage to steal something, rest assured the person will leave only the yellow Starbursts.
    • The Fourth Wall breaking.
      • Followed by Adrian yelling "ASTER!"
        Aster: Kyaaa!
    • The Litwicks breeding in Alice's room and her giving the 'surplus' away to others.
    • The required but seemingly useless paperwork that always breeds if it's not done promptly.
    • Shirley's gratuitous abuse of Ben, or even Dave on occasion.
    • The Darkness singing juvenile, annoying songs when it's technically supposed to be corrupting its host.
    • Stephen's Plothole Generators generally never surviving a mission (four and counting).
    • Volt saying his IQ is 265, followed by someone (usually Marcus) saying that it was a typo.
  • Self-Deprecation: Everyone to a degree, but the British agents more so given the very nature of British humour (the Americans sometimes misinterpret this as low self esteem, leading to much amusement).
  • Self-Insert Fic: Most of the Agents are this.
  • Serious Business: The Society started out as a group designed to take out Sues. Somewhere along the line it decided to develop its own plot. Now, Sues are tools of Big Bad-type enemies who want to bring their own sense of insanity to writing universes. It still has so many writing references, Fourth Wall fractures, and references to fandoms/Fan Fiction terminology that it can still be classified as fanfiction, however.
  • Shipper on Deck: Most of the Society members ship two Society Agents in some form.
  • Special Attack - Adrian's Librarian Arts, Tash's Juari-Ken, Ben's Crack powers, and Michael's Darkness abilities. Aster sort of kinda has this, but she doesn't exactly use them the way a special attack should be used.
  • Theme Twin Naming, Always Identical Twins and Polar Opposite Twins: Richard and Robert, both with alliterative names and the only visual differences between them being environmental – their height being the main one. However Evil Twin doesn't come into play here; instead the two are sometimes scarily different to each other…and the description of ‘night and day’ is more appropriate than you might initially think.
  • Word of God: Dictates a lot of plot speculation, and saves the reputation of many characters. There are three types:
    • Insider Word: In Real Life, the main Authors who formed the Society in the early days keep future facts hidden from the rest of the Authors. This creates suspense and makes the multiauthor cooperation more interesting.
    • Outsider Word: Even the other authors hide things from the general reader population.
    • Meta Word: The Authors intervene in the stories themselves and tell the characters what will happen occasionally.