An "acronym" for "Creative Anime Prose Original Writing", CAPOW was a mailing-list Round Robin writing group that was part Fan Fiction, part Massive Multiplayer Crossover, and part diceless Roleplaying Game.
It originated from the depths of Usenet as a "sister" group to the Global Ranma Insanity Thread and moved to its own moderated mailing list (first on a member's personal server, and then on Yahoo Groups) where aspiring members have to apply and pass muster from existing members before they can join the group. By mid-1994 most of the groups' founding members had moved on to other projects and the group died a slow, agonizing death as people simply stopped posting.
The basic premise of the group as a whole was this: you have Capow, a town/suburb/district of Tokyo that is home to the strangest collection of characters ever, and Hilarity Ensues (as well as Drama, Romance, and Stuff Blowing Up, among other things) as a result.
This series has examples of:
- Author Appeal - Since every character was required to have some sort of anime influence, that meant every member had plenty of opportunities to gush about their favorite series.
- Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome - Powers above Charles Atlas Superpower levels are only acceptable unless they have some kind of handicap, and sometimes not even then.
- Four Lines, All Waiting - Several members were juggling different stories, so when things got very busy you could have a ton of concurrently ongoing plots.
- Hyperspace Arsenal - Many characters explicitly have the power to access "malletspace", and most of them carry more things on their person than is advisable in real life.
- Inn Between the Worlds - The bar, which has a back door into GRIT; Capow as a whole is a Town Between The Worlds as well, since anybody from any series could theoretically end up there.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis - Some of the members wrote their posts as if they were just reporting the "real life" goings-on of Capow.
- Loads and Loads of Characters - Even after the rules change restricted every member to two characters each, this still resulted in a LOT of characters.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - Inevitable given the wide range of genres that get brought into the series. (There may have been actual ninja pirate zombie robots.)
- Real Life Writes the Plot - Occasionally a member will leave the group (causing their characters to become NPCs or completely unavailable), causing the stories that they were in to either become orphaned or necessitating workarounds.
- Rule of Index
- Running the Asylum - All of the members were expected to write, with the member providing the first post of any particular story arc acting as the impromptu "Game Master".
- Stock Superpowers - Name a character, odds are they will have one or more of those powers in some form.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield? - Capow is said to be one of the districts of Tokyo, but it's never made clear exactly where it is.
- Weirdness Magnet - Capow