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"It stands for Global Ranma Insanity Thread. Also, grit gets into everything."
"No really, it's a long and complicated story."
Then something weird happened. One poster in the thread described the thread as all out war. Another poster thought this amusing enough to write a little story about some of the participants of the flame war waging all out trench warfare against each other.
Then other people in the flamewar jumped in and wrote more stuff about this trench war.
Then, somehow, it was revealed that this war was happening in Nerima, the setting of Ranma 1/2.
Then, somehow, the participants in this war ended up in and around the Tendou dojo and were interacting with the Ranma cast.
The original warfare premise was silently dropped, and what had begun as a fairly typical flamewar on rec.arts.anime had ended up as a full-fledged self-insert ranma fanfic / role-playing game / occasional discussion thread.
In its original form, it lasted for YEARS.
But, eventually, some nine (or was it ten?) years later, too many participants had left. There were far too many characters, half-finished plot threads, and because of how impenetrable it all was there weren't enough new participants joining. Progress slowed to a crawl. Frustrated with the lack of progress, more people left. Frustrated with GRIT being so slow and impenetrable, potential newcomers stayed away.
GRIT was obviously on its last legs.
There was one last gasp at keeping GRIT going with its Hiatus - there was an in-story skip of a year, during which old plot threads were supposed to be tied up and unused characters were supposed to leave... it didn't work. There simply weren't enough people participating.
Finally, after ten years or so, the original GRIT - the Ranma 1/2 roleplaying fanfic with self-insert Mary Sues, stopped. It didn't end, it just stopped, right in the middle of a tournament storyline.
The second coming, aka "GRIT in Adachi"
But GRIT hadn't died yet. A devoted core of the original GRITters, plus some who had been patiently waiting to join in and lost their chance because GRIT had basically just died, decided to do a GRIT 2.
Basically, everything from the old GRIT was chucked out the window. The setting was now Adachi (another area in Tokyo) and centred around the bar that one of the characters owned. Theoretically the original GRIT was still happening, just over there in Nerima, but aside from a joke Christmas thread there were no crossovers with the original.
I wasn't involved much with this second GRIT so can't tell you why, but after three years, in mid 2009, it died off as well.
Third time's the charm, aka "The GRIT Liner"
GRIT is still not dead. The same writers of the second GRIT decided to try again, with another new setting. Cool Train -- This time, GRIT is set on a train that travels through time and space, making random stops here and there, just long enough for Our Heroes to get off the train, see the sights, get into an exciting and wildly improbable adventure, and then dash back to the train before it leaves them behind. This is much like Galaxy Express 999 but with more humor to it.
It's a lot like Doctor Who.
This version of the GRIT story has only just started and is still picking up cast members. It is notable in that some GRITters from the original GRIT have returned and are participating.
Has a hugely in-progress Characters page.
This fanfic/RPG thingy provides examples of:
- Mary Sue and Self Insertion. And how. The Original GRIT was basically all about the Mary Sue self-insertions. It got better over time. The second and third incarnations have toned down the self-insertions a lot, and there is only one self-insert in the third.
- So far.
- Shape shifting: The original GRIT was directly based on Ranma 1/2 and so many of its characters ended up with that series' shapeshifting water curses...
- Gender Bender: ...including Ranma 1/2's Gender Bender water curses. Then, because Jusenkyo curses were boring and old hat, other characters became Gender Benders via various other means. A common joke was that the main source of female characters was genderbent male characters. Leading to...
- Mandy's Law of Anime Gender Bending: There were quite a few characters who started off as male, were turned female, and for whatever reason stayed that way. Whether it just for a laugh, for serious psychological reasons, Author Appeal...
- Calling Your Attacks: And how. GRIT was originally based on Ranma 1/2, which had attack calls. Also, many GRITters are anime fans and fighting game fans, and attack calls are very common there as well. The third GRIT also features a Kamen Rider, and he calls his attacks.
- A notable example is the character Ryuu-ou from the first GRIT, who once had an attack call so long that he was yelling it as he charged up the street, still yelling it as he waited for the doors of the pizza restaurant to open, and finally finished yelling it as he burst in and performed the actual attack.
- His student, Steve, occasionally did made-up-on-the-spot really long attack calls... nothing quite as long as Ryuu-ou's, though.
- Jump Physics: Well, yes. There's lots of super-high jumping, with a liberal amount of impossibly long hang-time. Of particular note is Sho in the 3rd GRIT, who as a Kamen Rider has all sorts of impossible Jump Physics.
- The Force: In the original GRIT, the Fire of the Dragon was a mysterious energy field surrounding and binding everyone and everything in the world. Only people with the correct genetic makeup were able to use it. Oh, and there was a Chosen One (actually, two, but who's counting?) who had greater power in the Fire than others. It could be used to do all sorts of things, including telekinesis, remote pillars of energy blasting upwards with great force, shapeshifting, magic, and stuff that seemed to be made up on the spot. Does any of this sound familiar? About the only functional difference was that the Fire was all Dark Side.
- Cat Girl: In the original GRIT there was indeed a catgirl. Far from being typically ditzy and cattish, she was one of the most sensible characters and ran an apartment block.
- Squick: With all sorts of fetishes, author appeals, and author self-inserts running rampant, there was/is probably all sorts of squick going on. One particular incident of squickiness I particularly remember is all the way from the beginning of the Original GRIT, where the transformation of a cow to a girl (or perhaps the other way around) was described in extreme detail.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In the first GRIT, Kasumi Tendo, the nicest character in Ranma 1/2 by a hugely long shot, ended up as the Ringbearer, complete with Ringwraiths that answered to her. She didn't really let it get to her and retained her nice and cheerful disposition.
- Continuity Snarl: Sort of. Maybe. The original GRIT ran for around ten years and was trying to keep and make sense of most of its continuity. Considering that its continuity included a big bad energy vampire boss in a castle called Turnip Keep, a trench war, Kuno Kodachi being turned into a pillar of salt, lots of dimensional travel, and a quest for the Holy Hairclippers that took years of real-life time to resolve, things became somewhat hard to follow after a while.
- Reset Button: There was a much-vaunted Hiatus of an in-story year. During that year all sorts of things were supposed to be resolved and plotlines tied up and, bascially, reset GRIT back to a clean slate that would be much easier to write for. This Reset Button, however, didn't work.
- Shortly afterwards, groaning under the weight of too many characters and plotlines, the original GRIT was left where it is and the second GRIT started.
- Empathic Weapon: In the GRIT Liner, the rebellious teenager Aki has what is called a 'leafblade', which is a small telekinetically controlled blade in the shape of a tree leaf that can do all sorts of things, but being only one piddly blade can't do them very well. Aki herself is a bit flighty, flitting from venture to venture, so far largely blown around by circumstance and luck.
- Nerd and engineer Sam has created some pretty useful robots that he controls remotely, and controls them with videogame controllers. That seems pretty Empathic Weapon-ish to me.
- Loads and loads of characters: The original Ranma 1/2 had a fair amount of characters, who were all by default present in the original GRIT. Also, the original GRIT went for ten (or so) years, had many different GRITters writing and introducing new characters, and thus it ended up with a ridiculously huge number of characters.
- This led to another issue, later on... when the original creator of a character left, or just mysteriously disappeared and was never heard of again, his or her characters were still around in the story, sometimes in important roles. This would lead to someone else adopting the character.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: the original GRIT brought in references to different continuities left and right, and featured a lot of fighting and one-upmanship, so power inflation was somewhat inevitable.
- Tournament Arc: Surprisingly for a series so chock-full of superpowered martial artists, I can only remember two tournament arcs. There was one back in the very beginning (the "Eric Pollen Weedwhacker Tournament"... or something) and one right around the time the first GRIT died.
- Mind you, I could just be forgetting other ones.