I promised I would talk about this around the year anniversary, and, well, here we are. I already shared the story of how I started watching anime back at six months, so since this is an anime blog, for the most part, I guess sharing the story of its creation should come next.
I’ll share everything with you today. Why I made it. How I made it. What the name comes from. Why it looks the way it does. Absolutely everything. I always like to pull back the curtains and let people know about these kinds of things because that’s what I like myself. I like learning about how these things came to be. So let’s waste no time and get right into things.
Before I tell you the origin, I need to share the origin of the origin. So I’ve been writing for almost three years now. I wasn’t someone who’s been passionate about writing my whole life. It was more that I wasn’t passionate about much until I discovered my love for it, which happened pretty late.
The first real attempt I ever had a writing a review style thing was for a little-known anime series called 11 Eyes, which I published on MAL back on February 8th, 2019. It’s really bad. The anime kinda was too, but so was my writing. It’s not so offensively bad, but I can say I’ve gotten way better since.
From that point, I would periodically post reviews every few months of MAL. Eventually, I got to once a month, and I stopped at 11 total. This is also where my original review of Toradora came from that I edited a bit and slapped over here. It’s also where my Guilty Crown thesis came from, which, despite how long it is, is still one of the best things I think I’ve written, even if it’s not really my style anymore. Cleaned up, it would have made a good 40-minuet or so YouTube video, in my opinion.
Before I found writing, video games and anime were my big passions, that and watching YouTube videos about them. I’ve wanted to create content similar to Youtubers since I was 12. I’ve been watching them for a long time. So many people on there helped me out growing up, and I’m the person I am because of them.
So, in my head, it made sense that I should try writing stuff similar to that. Maybe I could write some reviews for anime, for games, and improve my skills as I go. But then a big problem hit me right in the face. Where would I post this stuff?
If I planned to write about video games, anime, storytelling, and what have you, what place could I do that? MAL worked for anime, but not video games. At one point, I was going to use Destructoid. I would have my video game stuff and anime stuff split. Then I was trying to figure out how to fit other stuff in with that! There was just no clear solution.
And then, finally, one act of pure impulse is what finally made up my mind. Do you remember this post about Haruhi Suzumiya right here? This post, though you might not expect it, is the reason Side Of Fiction exists at all.
So, I wanted to watch Haruhi Suzumiya. I had only watched anime for reviews at that point anymore, and I wanted to watch one just to relax and not think about writing. So, I watched Haruhi’s first arc, felt all sorts of opinions on it, and decided I wanted to write about it, and then I realized I had nowhere to post it.
It wasn’t video games, so Destructoid wouldn’t work. It wasn’t a review, so I couldn’t really put it on MAL unless it was in a separate blog post on it. All the consideration about where to put my stuff shattered right there and it kind of pissed me off. I wanted to be able to write about whatever the hell I wanted and put it wherever the hell I wanted to put it, damn it!
So that led to me basically throwing a tantrum and deciding that I’ll just make my own damn website for my stuff, and that’s how Side Of Fiction was born. It’s the love child between a tantrum and an impulse, and I guess its grandparents are anime and video games, and their parents are writing and YouTube? I believe that’s how its family tree would work. And then I’m its god or something, but a benevolent one.
And it’s funny because I originally made it to write about whatever, but now I mostly write about anime, so I didn’t really need to do it. That’s because when I started to gain some traction around the time I became more active in the WordPress community, most people who liked my stuff were on the anime side, and I fell in line with that. I still talk about whatever the hell I want, though. If I want to talk about Shin Megami Tensei V soon, you better believe I will.
As for the name, “Side Of Fiction,” that’s somewhat complicated. Because I wanted to post whatever I liked, I needed some centralized theme—branding and all that jazz. Yet, I couldn’t figure out how to put a blanket over everything I wanted to write about. So I made the decision to try and base it around me and being sarcastic when I write and call it “Where Humor Comes to Die,” or something like that, but it didn’t feel right. That was really almost the name, by the way.
But I wasn’t happy with it. So I was listening to some music one day, specifically Studio Yuraki’s cover of the first Tensura opening, and the line translated said this, “turning over to a side of fiction that nobody knows.” And when I heard that line again, it hit me. That’s a pretty damn cool line, and everything I write about does qualify as fiction, and hell, I’ve spent my life in fictional worlds anyway. And thus, I kinda sorta stole the name “Side Of Fiction.” Not really, but I certainly liked the ring of it.
As for my internet name, “Friendly Overlord,” or “Friendly Ov,” or just “Ov,” etc. That was built on the sarcasm idea. I wanted something that fit in with fiction. Hey, overlords are a thing, and saying you’re like a friendly person who still tries to rule the world was funny to me, so Friendly Overlord was born. I also picked it because it could be shortened to Ov. I always take nicknames into account.
Aside from that, I had to figure out a bunch of other stuff. Firstly, how I would make the site. I heard of WordPress after a Google search and started learning how to use it. I then got a web hosting provider. I use Dreamhost. Funny story, but when I almost deleted my site back a few months back and complained about their customer service not being very helpful, they actually called me out on Twitter. I still laugh at that. Anyway, aside from that, they’re great.
The main thing was to design the site and make the logo. I want through so many color palettes for the site. You really have no idea. The first one I liked was green and blue. I don’t remember what they were, but I tried to attach meaning to the colors I used. I’m always sappy like that. Anyway, I didn’t think it fit the name. So, I tried to draw some inspiration to figure it out. I went to what is currently my favorite art in anything ever, Persona 5.
I pulled out both my Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal steel books and tried to examine what I really liked about the art, and I just sat on it for a while. I ended making a design where I straight up ripped the color palette off, and it looked great. I thought I could have some story about how I modeled the site after the art in my favorite game, but I got rid of that too.
I realized that why it wasn’t technically stealing since you can’t own colors; if I would have gone with that design, it wouldn’t have been my own. I read a really wise thing on the internet that said if you have to ask yourself if something is plagiarism, chances are you’re not just drawing inspiration from it. That told me I had to throw everything away and start over again.
That’s when I took a look at why I liked the art and colors rather than what those colors were. And I came up with three rules that I still keep everything I design for the site held to. I want things to be simple, stylish and pop out at you with good contrasting colors. That’s why I believe I like Persona 5’s art, and so that’s what I picked my colors off of.
I picked black and white because not only did they contrast and look really good for simplistic designs, black is one of my favorite colors. And I picked purple because it is and always has been my favorite color. The design has changed a bit, but most things haven’t. The logo also came to me immediately after I thought of the Side Of Fiction name, and I have a soft spot for it.
It’s meant to be almost like a moon or a planet getting eclipsed by the sun and having one side of it be dark, which is the Side of Fiction. I just liked it visually, and how simple it makes a decent logo, I think. I’ve tried redesigning it, but I don’t have the heart. That being said, I didn’t only want a logo for the site.
I wanted a mascot-type character for a long time, and I knew I wanted to wait until close to the year anniversary to do it. I’ve known about this since way back in like July. I also knew that I wanted Nora to draw her. If you remember, I made a somewhat decent, I think, visual novel with a lot of her art back in February.
Not only is she talented as hell, but she’s also a genuinely really sweet person who does a lot of good for the visual novel and art communities in general. I gave her pretty much nothing to work with besides a color palette, and she absolutely blew me away. Fuki-chan is my favorite anime/visual novel girl that doesn’t actually exist. I might as well tell you the meaning of her name, why I’m at it.
Fuki means a lot depending on what kanji you use. The one meaning I like in particular is using the kanji for step and hope. I like the concept of taking a step towards hope and a better tomorrow. That’s what the website was for me. It was me following a dream to write and create content like people I’ve admired for years. It was an impulse to step towards a brighter, more hopeful future. Also, if you say Fuki-chan fast, it kind of sounds like “fiction.” That’s neat because she’s the mascot of the site, and she was called Fiction-chan before I came up with Fuki. Is that meaning stretching it? Yeah, a bit, but I’ll pretend that it kind of sounds like fiction.
Well, that’s about it. I think I’ve shared just about everything about the founding of the site. Nice stuff. I want to end this by saying thank you to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of talking to this year. None of this has happened and will continue to happen because of me. I never expected anyone to read my stuff at all, really, especially not as many of you who do. I feel like I have a lot of support moving forward, and I’ll try my best to live up to that.
I want to make everyone I’ve met and consider my friends this year proud, but more than that, I want to make myself proud. I want to live up to what I genuinely believe Side of Fiction can be, and I appreciate everyone who sticks with me. It means a ton.
Thank you very much for reading