So far, the universe of National Anthem consists of a main story, told in first person and two side-story series told in third-person. National Anthem is the main tale, told by Link (the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time incarnation). A Gathering of Sacrifices consists of the personal experiences of various fighters. Come Morning Light consists of stories of what family and friends of the fighters watching from home are going through.
Although a crossover / fusion fan fiction, the story is centered on Super Smash Bros. in an alternate timeline. It borrows themes and situations from The Hunger Games, but does not directly follow the books' storyline, going its own way at several points. The story's main character-focus is upon Link from Super Smash Brothers Melee and Toon Link from Brawl. The purpose of the side-stories is mainly to give some limelight to the supporting cast.
Summary: The Super Smash Brothers annual tournament used to be a fun affair — combat without murder or lasting pain in which warriors from many worlds could test their skills, gaining friendships and glory. It was also wonderfully silly. That was before Ganondorf took over.
Sometime after the Melee Tournament and before the upcoming Brawl, Ganondorf used unknown sorceries to seize control and rule the nation of Ninten. He turned the tournaments into cruel games of survival filled with death in which only one chosen fighter comes out alive.
Link Kokirin, the once Hero of Time, is a haunted veteran of the first "Brawl of Honor". This year, he finds himself the mentor of his young successor, an innocent boy from New Hyrule. How can he teach an idealistic young Hero how to give up his life — or his soul?
Additionally, the main "National Anthem" story in illustrated form can be found here.
The crossover fan fic National Anthem and its side stories contain examples of:
- Accidental Murder: Young Link kills Adult Link with a well-shot arrow in the first of the Brawls of Honor, mistaking him for an invader into their camp.
- The Alcoholic: Link, aka "Toki." The former Hero of Time (Link from the Ocarina of Time universe) is the victor of the first of the deadly Brawls. As a mentor to others who've come after who have all died pointlessly, he's taken up drinking to dull his pain. He makes frequent references to various kinds of drinks from Hyrule and Termina.
- Apocalypse How: Class X-4. The ability that Ganondorf has gained to send any given universe into oblivion is what motivates Nintendo's worlds to obey him and to sacrifice their people to his Brawls.
- Clip Its Wings: There are three winged fighters that enter the Brawl the plot of the main fic principally follows. This happens to one of them. Twilight Link, in wolf form, attacks Pit and takes off one of his wings, setting Pit up for a slow death from infection in the wound.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Much like in The Hunger Games, some of the characters chosen to fight in Ganondorf's Brawls suffer truly terrible demises. Shiek, for example, stumbles upon a flock of cuccoos, which tear her apart. It is stated in the first chapter that Kirby, one of the Brawl victors, ate and digested people alive during his time in the arena.
- Cruel to Be Kind: This is Twilight Link's attitude toward killing in the deadly Brawl. In addition to his role in the resistance requiring him to win, he wants to keep more innocent fighters from living with blood on their hands. He will take the memories and the guilt that comes with them.
- Cynical Mentor: The Hero of Time has fallen far from his roots. He starts getting better.
- Dark Fic: What this story is meant to be, given the large number of graphic character deaths as well as a portrayal of the Super Smash Bros. under tyranny. Something definitely has gone wrong in the happy-go-lucky world of Nintendo.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: A few characters have done this in the history of the Brawls. In an earlier Brawl, Red died being held by Midna. Pit dies in Toon Link's arms, cementing him as the victor of the Brawl the fic follows.
- Fusion Fic: National Anthem is a crossover between Super Smash Bros. and The Hunger Games in a way that brings the Hunger Games setup into a world entirely drawn from the Super Smash Brothers / Nintendo universe. No Hunger Games characters appear, as it is only the premise brought into the mixed video game universe.
- Expy: Some of Nintendo's characters were purposefully written to fill roles similiar to those occupied by specific Hunger Games characters. As the grizzled, drunken mentor, Link (Ocarina of Time version) serves a position similar to Haymitch Abernathy. Peach, as a greeter, go-between and a generally cheerful ninny, was written to fill Effie Trinket's role. Pikachu's secret genius was inspired by Beetee. Some reviewers of the story have noted that Pit serves a similar niche to Rue.
- Go Out with a Smile: Pit invokes this in an attempt to help Toon Link feel better about his victory.
- La Résistance : Throughout the story, it is hinted that some of the former Brawl victors have had contact with other worlds and have been secretly mounting a sabotage of Ganondorf's empire. They have been trying to work from within the empire and the Brawls for years. After the end of story's current Brawl, the time for a strike is right and the survivors are caught up in a full-scale revolt.
- Mercy Kill: Discussed and preformed. Pit discusses the possibility of his being killed this way with Toon Link. Pit shoots Twilight Link with an arrow for this reason as the latter is being torn apart by a pack of Wolfos.
- National Anthem: The story gleans its title from the Super Smash Brothers Brawl theme being made into a bitterly-ironic national anthem for the "nation" of disparate universes and worlds under Ganondorf's magical iron fist.
- The Nicknamer: The ex-Hero of Time prefers to be called "Toki". he calls Toon Link "Tiny" and "Little Link". He not-so-affectionately refers to Peach as "Miss Peachy-Keen" as well as some curses untranslatable from Old Hylian.
- Pokémon Speak: Pikachu's language, which a few of the characters (notably Toki) figure out.
- Shout-Out: A few.
- To food-jokes in The Simpsons in Chapter 5 of the main fic and Chapter 1 of the A Gathering of Sacrifices side-stories. Pit and Toon Link develop a running joke about "Floor Pie" that comes from the Simpsons episode Boy Scoutz N Da Hood, which features Homer craving pie on the floor. This is an extension of the infamous "Floor Ice Cream" joke regarding Pit in Kid Icarus fandom.
- In Chapters 1 and 2 of the side-stories, Peach accidentally calls Pit ("Mr. Icarus") "Mr. Ikari" and makes a reference to other fighters watching Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Chapter 4 of the side-stories is meant to reference The Secret of NIMH in both title and theme, only... with Pikachu.
- Tragic Keepsake: Pit's crown for Toon Link. After Pit dies, Toon Link smuggles his crown out of the arena. He wears it during the uprising in lieu of his hat to remind himself of Pit and all the other people who cannot be there to fight by his side.