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July 2017

Newsbytes archive for June 2017

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, mwalimu, and Sonious.

The 2016 Ursa Major Award winners

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The 2016 Ursa Majors Awards logo.The 2016 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on Friday afternoon, June 30th at the Anthrocon convention in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented in twelve categories by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website.

Review: 'A Dog's Purpose' a vapid back-and-forth

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Starting with Old Yeller and continuing with films like the less iconic Marley & Me, American cinema has a simple trick for an instant tearjerker: give us a boy-and-his-dog story, then kill the dog. A Dog's Purpose ornaments this formula with an existential theme strung across many lifetimes, all from the view of a hungry, mischievous pooch.

Finding Bailey's purpose

What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? These are heavy questions, but they're the first thoughts voiced by the feral pup who will become Bailey, our main character. When his first life is cut short by animal control, he realizes just playing and eating all day hadn't added up to much, and in his next life, his determination to find his real purpose leads him into the home of Ethan, a young boy with a troubled home life.

Through Bailey's perspective, we watch Ethan's father try to improve in his career, Ethan's burgeoning football successes, and his blossoming relationship with a girl named Hannah. But because Bailey doesn't understand many human words, and is more concerned with food and playful antics, it's hard to care when the father descends into alcoholism and abuse, Ethan loses his dreams of pro football when a housefire incident fractures his leg, and he pushes Hannah away in bitterness.

Bailey only seems to somber up when Ethan goes off to college and Bailey dies of loneliness—sorry, I meant kidney failure—and his "boy" rushes to his side just in time to say goodbye.

What dream film would you want first?

The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw review

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TheAutumnlands_Vol1-1.pngThe Autumnlands is the creative result of writer Kurt Busiek and artist Benjamin Dewey, with help from colourist Jordie Bellaire and typesetter John Roshell and published by Image. Started in 2014, it is still in continuation with a recent release of a second volume.

The story revolves around the city of Keniel, one of seventeen great floating cities above the earth, resides a relatively peaceful community of anthropomorphic people living in a world of sorcery. In the eyes of Dunstan, a young bull terrier lad, life is going fairly well as he learns from his father to take on the family trade business.

Though not all is well as it seems in the world. Magic fades at an alarming rate and the great mages seek to desperately restore it. In relative secret a group of mages seek to bring back a great hero of legend to restore the world’s magic, despite the warnings of their council superiors.

Unfortunately for them, things don't play out as planned.

It’s a phenomenal story collecting the first six issues of the action/fantasy series featuring primarily anthropomorphic animal characters. While these topics of talking animals and magic seem like the things a child would like to read about, it’s noted that this comic touches into more mature territory pretty quick.

In this series you will find nudity, racial segregation and stereotyping, violent impalement and disembowelment. And this is just within the very first chapter!

It immediately sets itself up as being a story for mature readers, and a clear reminder that some comic books aren’t written for children.

One year with 'Pokémon Go'

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huskyteerohmygoodnesslookatyou.jpg"Augmented reality" mobile game and worldwide phenomenon Pokémon Go was released to the public July 6, 2016, meaning the game has just passed its first year anniversary. To celebrate, the game has released versions of series mascot Pikachu wearing a hat based on anime protagonist Ash Ketchum's into the wild (Ash hat versions of pre-evolved Pichu and evolution Raichu are also available).

The anniversary event featuring the hat-bedecked Pikachus is expected to run through July 24, and also features an "Anniversary Box" in the game shop, which six Incubators (allowing players to hatch eggs), six Max Revives (items that heal Pokémon "fainted" during the Gym battle portion of the game), 20 Ultra Balls (needed to capture Pokémon) and two Raid Passes (allowing players to participate in Raids). The box is 1200 Pokécoins (currency that can be bought for real money or earned by battling at gyms).

The final days of the event coincide with the first days of Pokemon Go Fest, an event scheduled to be held in Chicago, Illinois, USA's Grant Park starting July 22. According to the event website, attendance is already sold out.

At the time of release, the game, which allowed players to track down and capture Pokémon "in real life" using smart phones, was a major hit, though opinions were divided as to whether it was the best thing (outside of Zootopia) to happen in 2016 or just another strike against the year. At one point, U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton encouraged voters to "Pokémon Go to the polls"; she was not elected president. Players searching for elusive Pokémon managed to stumble across bodies so frequently that articles were written assuring people stumbling across dead bodies is normal.

Despite all this, Nintendo and Niantic have claimed over 750 million downloads of the game, with over 250 billion Pokémon caught, all over the world.

Photo credit Huskyteer via Twitter.

Furry "criticism" site Vivisector unreachable, likely done

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Welp, you didn't find it.

Website and forum devoted to "furry criticism" Vivisector has been unreachable since late June. As of the time of this article's writing, no one involved with maintaining the site has made a public announcement explaining why the site is unreachable, or even acknowledging that it is unreachable.

Two members of the site's Discord chat site, "Infovorr" and "coyotic", confirmed that the site's future is uncertain at best. Infovorr said:

We have no idea, the former owner took everything down and deleted himself from the net.
He said he'd be putting up a tarball of the site and its contents, but no one's seen or heard anything more.

coyotic was slightly more optimistic:

If we can get the database from the the former admin we'll rehost it at the same URL, the forums may or may not be locked forever afterward.

Vivisector has been called an "anti-furry" site by some, though most of the users were themselves furries. Other would call it a "drama" or "criticism" site; the latter being the site's own favored descriptor.

Andy Panda caught up in Trump/Russian collusion scandal?

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Andy fears what Charlie found in his mail!
During the latest break in the Trump Russian investigations, an email was revealed to show a requested meeting between a Russian contact and President’s son, Donald Trump Jr, to discuss findings to help them against Clinton’s campaign on behalf of the Russian Government. This email has created yet another uneasy connection to the issue that the 2016 election could very well have been decided by heavy foreign influence and manipulation.

However, this is a furry news site, so what does this have to do with anthropomorphic arts or entertainment?

Well the author of the email sent to Trump Jr. to get this meeting set up was apparently made by an eccentric individual by the name of Rob Goldstone. The full story of their interaction and background can be read on Salon’s “Insane in Moscow”: The unbelievable but partly true story of the zany English publicist, the Azerbaijani pop sensation and the “high-quality” presidential offspring”.

SEGA ends 25-year 'Sonic' partnership with Archie Comics

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Sonic the Hedgehog #176 cover showing Sonic holding the torn flag of the Kingdom of Acorn As noted in January, Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comics (including Sonic Universe and Overdrive) have been delayed for unspecified reasons, with suspicion falling on a renewed contract dispute with SEGA.

Today, the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account announced that SEGA of America were "parting ways" with Archie; promising that it was not "the end of Sonic in comics", but a "decision to take a different direction for the series that will be announced at a later date".

Not just fans, but current and former staff of the series were stunned by the news.

Rocko's Modern Life returns with movie: 'Static Cling'

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The classic Nickelodeon slice-of-life cartoon of a wallaby and his friends returns in 2018 to Nickelodeon with an animated movie. This trailer debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con, and promises to bring the characters from the 1990s into the more modern modern era.