Review: 'Porcupine Passions'

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Every now and then I find a work of furry art that is amazing. Such is the two-part audio drama entitled Porcupine Passions. The story started as a spin off explaining some back-story details of The Beach Bears saga (interview), but became much more.

Porcupine Passions I (10 episodes, about 10 minutes each) tells Bobby’s story as he struggles with his feelings of deep friendship for his friend Dipper. I could feel Bobby’s genuine feelings as I listened. The Beach Bears musical group had formed, and Dipper had stumbled into some serious heartache. As loyal friends do, Bobby comes to Dipper’s aid. Sounds simple; but the story is told with such genuine emotion, it’s anything but.

Porcupine Passions II (37 episodes, about 10 minutes each) precedes The Beach Bears saga and defines the friendship between Bobby and Dipper, which is tested when Bobby must move away and both their lives change in ways neither expected. Both grow and realize how special their friendship really is, as do the listeners.

Animation: What happened to ... ?

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (8 votes)

Outback: Zero to Hero“Coming in 2013!” Many movies that are announced never come out. Two that were announced in 2013 as “coming soon” and then disappeared seem to be unfortunate M.I.A.s, from Flayrah’s point of view.

Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie. “Ever since the world was born, two forces have been locked in perpetual battle. Their struggle is so Manichean, so ferocious, so Herculean that it makes the clash between good and evil look like a game of checkers! This ancestral duel is so ancient and so merciless that it can only be...Oggy against the Cockroaches!” The trailer, featuring the eternal battle between cats and cockroaches “from the Stone Age to the Space Age”, shows an imaginative mixture of animation styles, with the Stone Age and Medieval age in traditional 2D cartoon animation, the present as a mixture of cartoon and computer graphic imagery, and the futuristic Space Age sequences in all CGI.

Did you ever hear of Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie? Did you ever hear of an Oggy and the Cockroaches regular animated TV series? Then you’re not French, Indian, or Vietnamese. Oggy et les Cafards, 7 minutes an episode, has been broadcast in France since 1998, and has sold to Indian and Vietnamese TV. The Indian broadcast appears on the Cartoon Network there, but in Hindi. The two-hour movie premiered in French theaters on August 7, 2013, and since a trailer in English exists, someone is apparently trying to get it distributed in America. Good luck.

Reviews: 'Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection. Volume 1, 2010-2011', by various

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Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection. Volume 1, 2010-2011 Aardman Animations’ Wallace & Gromit stop-motion clay (or plasticine) films should need no introduction to Flayrah’s readers. The first, A Grand Day Out, released in Great Britain for Christmas 1989, almost immediately became a sensation in both Britain and America. New short films, the Curse of the Were-Rabbit feature, the Shaun the Sheep TV series, and a steady stream of merchandising have kept the pair (for Flayrah, especially Gromit) alive for almost twenty-five years.

It seems bizarre that there was no Wallace & Gromit newspaper comic strip until May 17, 2010. As an American, I had assumed that there was a comic strip in Britain long ago, but apparently not. Here is its announcement:

Titan Comics and Aardman Animations have teamed up with The Sun newspaper to produce a daily Wallace & Gromit comic strip!

From May 17th, the inventive duo will feature in their very own daily comic strip in the newspaper, with each adventure running for 6 days, from Monday – Saturday. The comic strip comes after the success of Titan and Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit iphone comic, which was brought out to celebrate 20 years of the famous pair.

Don't miss the start of the first adventure, out on May 17th and let us know what you think!

Titan Comics, October 2013, hardcover $14.99 (unpaged [136 pages]). Foreword by Nick Park.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #17 ('MLP' and 'TMNT')

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It’s another IDW sweep, with two Micro-Series issues (Pinkie Pie and Old Hob are featured this time around), and another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue. Ben Bates returns; he’s the artist behind the aforementioned Pinkie Pie story, despite the fact that I pointed him out as a positive in earlier issue of TMNT. His art, however, makes a cameo in the TMNT issue; but more on that when we get to it. First, let’s see what Pinkie Pie’s up to, shall we?

My Little Pony: Micro-Series #5 featuring Pinkie Pie My Little Pony: Micro-Series #5 featuring Pinkie Pie

Normally I finish with whatever art comments I make (and I usually don’t make a lot of those), but since I’ve already talked about the artist, I might as well start there this time around. Bates is right at home in funny animal comics; besides TMNT, he’s also done Sonic the Hedgehog. Here, he’s a bit tied down by the fact that Pinkie Pie has to look like Pinkie Pie, after all; his backgrounds are also a bit simplistic, and could use more detail.

The story revolves around Pinkie Pie winning a contest by drinking 315 bottle of Colta Cola (no wonder she’s always wiggling around like she’s in desperate need of a bathroom on the show) to win a ticket with backstage passes to the great clown Ponyacci’s show. It turns out, however, Ponyacci is on the verge of retirement; Pinkie Pie is completely upset by this turn of events.

There are a couple of solid jokes in this issue; Pinkie talking to her Ponyacci doll is so in character, I can hear Andrea Libman’s voice while reading it. Twilight Sparkle plays straight mare for Pinkie; ironically, when Pinkie only wins two tickets, she doesn’t angst about it like Twilight does in a similar situation. Finally, it’s nice to see clowns and clown dolls played so straight (well, you know what I mean); we live in a world where vampires are protagonists for children’s cartoons, but there are not one, but two horror franchises based around killers who take the guise of dolls with playful catchphrases. Pinkie Pie knows what I’m talking about.

'Family Guy' kills off Brian Griffin

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Brian Griffin Brian Griffin, the martini-drinking anthropomorphic dog from the animated series Family Guy, has been killed off. In the episode which aired on November 24, Brian was hit by a car and subsequently died from his injuries.

In the same episode (entitled Life of Brian), Stewie Griffin had dismantled his oft-used time machine, and was unable to reconstruct it to go back and save Brian. A month after Brian's funeral, the family get a new dog, Vinny, voiced by Tony Sirico.

Family Guy writer Steve Callaghan explained why they decided to kill off Brian:

Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.

Update: Some fans were, predictably, not happy with Brian's fate. The effectiveness of online petitions is debatable, but one has been set calling for Brian's return. As of now (Nov 26), it has just under 42,000 signatures.

Review: 'Monster Musume', vol. 1, by OKAYADO

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Monster Musame vol. 1 Oops. This manga would be a lot funnier if not for the serious news in August of a man in Idaho being arrested for having sex with a cat. Many of Flayrah’s readers wondered how that was possible, considering the size differences of a human’s and a cat’s sex apparatus.

One of the ongoing questions in Monster Musume is how Kurusu, the terrified human teenaged protagonist, is going to have sex with a snake? Well, Miia’s human above the waist. And with boobs that, like the Maryland judge said describing Jane Russell’s (in banning the movie The Outlaw), "breasts hung like a thunderstorm over a summer landscape." And Miia really, really, REALLY wants to f--- with him, despite his genteel inhibitions.

So does Papi, the harpy. Well, when she’s old enough. She’s about the equivalent of a nine- or ten-year-old human girl. And, being a bird-girl, noticeably feather-brained, too. (Kurusu isn’t into cradle-robbing, either.)

And Centorea, the centauress. No “centaurette” as in Disney’s Fantasia; this is a dignified but horny adolescent female centaur. The centaurs are supposed to be too haughty to comingle with humans, but Centorea proves the old adage that you can justify anything if you try hard enough.

Los Angeles, CA, Seven Seas Entertainment, October 2013, trade paperback $12.99 (unpaged [192 pages]). Translated by Ryan Peterson.

Anthropomorphics Reading List: November 17 update

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Ursa Major AwardsThe Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2013 Anthropomorphic Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through November 17. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.

There are two months left to add your favorites of the year to the List. All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2013, if they are not already on the list.

Send in your recommendations. Read the List to see what other fans have recommended. Have you seen all nine published illustrations, for example? What have you been missing?

Teddy takes a trip . . . to Japan?

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Always wanted to visit Japan's capital city, but don't have the funds? Now you can travel vicariously through the eyes of a beloved plushie.

Japanese travel agency Unagi Travel, a self-styled 'Japan Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals', offers a selection of holidays for cuddly critters which range from a $35 mystery tour to the top of the range, a visit to the historic city of Kyoto for $95. Plushie owners also cover the cost of packaging their pals and mailing them to their destination. (Anyone who has ever experienced a budget airline might well envy the ability to go first class by private Jiffy bag.)

Review: 'Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana', by Mary E. Lowd

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Otters In Space: The Search for Cat Havana Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana by Mary E. Lowd is a short novel that received a 2010 Ursa Major Award nomination. It's a work of light science-fiction that I think might appeal to young adult readers. It's available from FurPlanet and Amazon, and in electronic format - see the author's website for details and links. I read the FurPlanet 2012 edition, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-61450-043-8.

See also: Fred Patten's earlier summary and review. (Contains spoilers.)

Mary Lowd's name really first stood out to me in the 2012 Ursa Recommended Anthropomorphics List, which included six of her short stories. It's not unusual to see authors with multiple recommendations on the list, although when they all appear at the same time, it feels like overkill. Anyway, of those six, I definitely enjoyed St. Kalwain and the Lady Uta, appearing in ROAR volume 4, so I was curious what she would do in a longer format.

Review: 'RedSilver: Nature's Evolutions' by Steve Alford, illustrated by Silent Ravyn

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

RedSilver: Nature's Evolutions Sometimes you just want to read a sweet, fluffy fantasy in which the goodies are good, the baddies are bad, and nothing truly scary happens. Welcome to the idyllic Heart Forest, ruled by Gaia and protected by animal elementals – the Animentals – from the dark forces which want nothing more than to destroy it.

RedSilver follows vixen Red Sunset as she is snatched from certain death to take up her role as Animental. She meets the other animal guardians - Braenaigh the badger, Chancer the cacomistle and she-wolf Silver, their leader, who becomes Red's closest friend - and awaits the awakening of her powers to find out what kind of Animental she herself will be. Shy at first, she blossoms under the guidance of her new peers, her personal growth matched by corresponding increases in her newfound physical abilities.

Meanwhile, the invisible barrier which shields the forest from harm is shrinking every day under the attacks of a horde of shadow demons. Red and the other Animentals must discover their plans and their hideout, then destroy them.

Animation: 'Animal Control!' is out of control

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The Cartoon Brew has an interview with Jordan Reichek, the director/producer of Animal Control! for Cartoon Network Asia, located in Hong Kong for broadcast throughout Southeast Asia. Animal Control! is a series of 1’47” dialogueless cartoons featuring Ya and Ba, two hapless Animal Control officers and the anthropomorphized animals whom they are supposed to control, especially surly, troublemaking Mr. Koala. Reichek describes it as “kinda like the Crocodile Hunter, but dumber.”

Animal Control! is produced by Reichek at his Perky Pickle Productions studio. What will really make the interview of interest to Flayrah’s readers is that links to PerkyPickle.com, where all ten episodes produced so far can be seen. Plus other goodies, such as the Invader Zim pilot, which Reichek worked on. Check it out.

Review: 'Striking the Root', by Kris Schnee

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

Striking The Root You cannot always judge whether a novel will be good or bad by its first line, but I’ve found that a story with a good first line rarely turns out to be bad. The first line of Striking the Root is, “Rowan hung upside-down from a branch and drew emerald knots in the air, hoping to please the Lord.” Yep, that’s a grabber. And Striking the Root just keeps getting better.

In an apparent dungeons-&-dragonish magical world, young Rowan Janiceson is an “awakened” gray squirrel in a joint civilization of humans and squirrelfolk. The world was originally inhabited by just humans; but several centuries ago, the human wizard Lord Veles, Great Lord of the Forest, planted the seed that grew into the massive Great Oak and awakened the first squirrels in size and intelligence. Since then, Veles has mostly withdrawn to let the squirrelfolk run their own civilization under their own Council in what has become the squirrel nation of Great Oak. Many squirrels have left Great Oak to settle among the human city-states.

Rowan is one of the squirrelfolk who worship Veles as the god of the squirrelfolk, and he is unhappy that more and more squirrels are drifting away from the True Faith, calling Veles by the disrespectful name of “Greenie” and considering him as just a human wizard, not a god. When the Council of Great Oak intends to send a representative into human lands on a trade mission, Veles arranges for Rowan to become that messenger. Rowan is both scared to venture from the squirrel nation into the human world, and proud to be the ambassador of the squirrel’s True Faith.

CreateSpace, Dec. 2012, trade paperback $7.49 ([2 +] 199 pages), Kindle $2.99. Map by Virmir.

Applejack Month 2013 Newsbytes archive

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Applejack Month - take a letter crossaffliction, what are you doing? You can't post all those @$#%ing Newsbytes.

Contributors this October include Chipotle, dronon, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, Kakurady, Patch Packrat, RingtailedFox and Sonious.

Animation: 'Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure'

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Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure Oh, goody! Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure. For all of you who couldn’t wait for a sequel. Available direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray as a Walmart kiddy exclusive.

Well, no; it’s also available as a digital download on iTunes and Google Play [tip: Blindwolf8], and as a video-on-demand. Sort of the equivalent of vanity-pressed novels.

Is there a tag for “bad CGI”?

How much do you think they spent on these trailers? $1.00? 50¢? 25¢?

I am not sure which is worse; the title pun, the music, or the animation.

See more (if you dare): The Making of Alpha and Omega 2 [Higgs Raccoon]

Review: 'Otters in Space II: Jupiter, Deadly', by Mary E. Lowd

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Otters in Space 2: Jupiter, DeadlyThis is credited as the Second Edition; but it went on sale at Anthrocon 2013, July 4-7, while the Kindle and Smashwords first editions have an August 24 and 25, 2013 publication date. That’s later.

Does anyone besides me care about this bureaucratic trivia? This is a good read, in a handy trade paperback edition for those who don’t want to read it on their computer. Get it in one format or the other.

But this is a direct sequel to Lowd’s Ursa-Major-nominated Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana. If there is any flaw with Otters in Space II, it is that you need to have read the first book to really understand it. Or at least read the review of it, in Flayrah on February 6, 2012.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (227 pages), Kindle $6.99.

From the Yerf Archive