Washington state has had a rough time with furry conventions in recent history. Rainfurrest had to shut down after they gained a sour reputation with hosting hotels due to reports of vandalism. So local furries were elated to hear of a new organization starting up by the name of Anthro Northwest. This convention, while a bit more stringent on their rules (particularly around adult material), was a welcome possible restart in relations with hotels in the region with furries.
But as activities started word leaked onto the internet of on camera release forms being deseminated for a show called "This is Life with Lisa Ling", a property of the channel CNN. Instantly locals had recollections of another incident that had occurred at another pilot convention one state south, Furlandia.
Update 11/15/17: Attendance has been announced and Anthro Northwest has been noted as being the largest attendance for a first year furry convention at 809, article updated to reflect this.
The Species of Blessing Avenue is a collection of short stories by Graveyard Greg, published in 2012.
Even before I got past the introduction, I liked two things about this book. First, it's got a were-lion in its leading role. Second, it was inspired by characters created for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG.
I was warned that I shouldn't have tried to read this as a novella instead of three short stories. I'll try to correct that mistake as I go along with this review.
Guardians (English trailer) is a Russian superhero film released in February 2017. The early trailers looked promising - fights, explosions, and a bear-guy! It's the Russian Avengers! Expectations were high, and it did well on its opening weekend... and was so disappointing that by its second weekend, it only took in 10% of its previous box office revenue.
It's a very formulaic movie. This isn't necessarily bad - Sing was formulaic too. But if you're going to use a formula, you have to do it well. You have to add a couple of entertaining surprises, mix it up a little, and maybe throw in some humor that mocks the very structure you're relying on. Guardians fails on all these counts.
A gay western centaur romance isn't the kind of story I encounter enough, even in furry fandom. Hotblood! A Centaur In the Old West is a webcomic by Toril Orlesky that ran from 2013-2016. The color artwork is as stark as the landscape, but the story is a bit more complicated than the black-and-white world that the western genre is known for.
The art is lovely enough that I was mostly able to put aside the sometimes uneven pacing. As the story circles around the action, it digs deeper into its characters' pasts - and their hearts. The two main characters are not morally whole men, and therefore they caught my interest.
Rook is a centaur. In the story universe, centaurs are an integrated part of American society. There's some social stigma, but not as much as you might think for someone who looks half-animal. There's at least one centaur in the U.S. Senate, for example. Rook is employed by Asa, a human steel tycoon. We don't get to see much of the world outside of their relationship, and and it's only by the second half of the story that we really start seeing the two of them bond, sexually and romantically.
For our final foray into lycanthropic cinema, comes— a movie I saw as a Sci Fi Channel original movie. It never even had a theatrical release in America. I will point out that it is by far the greatest Sci Fi Channel original movie ever produced, but I need hardly point out that is not a big accomplishment.
But, sometimes, hidden in the terrible filler, something emerges from the shadows. Perhaps I waste my time watching bad Sci Fi movies, but they provided a baseline. It's harder to know when you've got a good werewolf movie if you've never seen a bad or even just indifferent werewolf movie. Of course, if you don't have the patience to sit through the bad (with or without the MST3K patter), you can just take my word for it.
Dog Soldiers is a gory blast.
I Am Dragon (trailer) is a Russian fantasy/drama film that came out in 2015 and yes I know it's technically a wyvern. When I showed clips of it to dragon furries, that's the first thing they said, in a tone of voice like I'd gotten their hopes up and then betrayed them.
For a live-action film, it uses a lot of computer graphics (around 85%), and looks pretty good! The setting felt very real to me. Production costs were about $18 million, and it flopped at the box office. As movies go, it's... ok. I say this with some reluctance. If you're a fan of dragons, you're not missing much.
Back-story: A line of dragons lives on a secluded island, and in a medieval town, the people perform a ceremony and song with which they offer their maidens as sacrifices. This summons the dragon who flies off with one of them, until one day a warrior decides he's going to rescue the woman he loves. He finds the island (too late to save the maiden), slays the beast, and the sacrificial rite is turned into a local wedding ritual, minus the dragon.
A recent video has popped up on Youtube and was sent to me by a corgi friend of mine. Apparently someone by the name of Stefan Molyneux had interviewed a furry in a video named: The Shocking Furry Fandom Conversation. Yes, Really!. Given the thumbnail containing the mugs of the leaders of the Furry Raiders I thought this person was interviewing them, but as it turns out the content of the video didn’t seem to have anything to do with the controversial alt-furry group.
Or at least that is what I thought coming away from the video. As I did more investigation into this Mr. Molyneux and the methods in which he is infamous I started to come to a bit of a more darker conclusions and questioning the intent of the video. Could this seemingly innocent interview with a random YouTuber actually be a propaganda piece crafted to fulfill as a recruitment tool aimed at furries? A way to take aim at those in the furry fandom and have them join the Freedomain fandom, a group which seems to have been noted as having cult-like qualities by some press releases?
Well I don’t know about all that. In fact, the reason I put the word cult in the headline is simply because Stephan put the word sex next to furry on his video’s thumbnail. And like me seeing those two words together for the purpose of click-bait made me eye-roll, I’m sure seeing his organization being called a cult all the time earns similar expression from Mr. Molyneux. Also, inquiring to Patch, he seemed to indicate that Leon was an actual person and the conversation was legitimate. So, with that in mind, I gave it a second watch and highlighted items of interest, both good and bad in the conversation.
Occasionally, there comes a pair of movies that share remarkably similar themes that come out together. Sometimes, as in Antz versus A Bug's Life, there's evidence that one of the movies was designed as a direct competitor to the other. More often than not, however, there's just something in the water. Just last year, Disney went out of its way to advertise how unique a movie Zootopia was for featuring a fully anthropomorphic animal world in the one year in the history of American feature animation where that was not a unique quality. These things just happen.
1981 was one of those years, featuring not one, but two werewolf movies utilizing cutting edge (for the time) makeup effects that also happened to be horror comedies as opposed to straight horror movies. The Howling came out first, but it was the scrappy underdog that went up against the real Hollywood juggernaut, An American Werewolf in London, written and directed by John Landis, an up and coming director who hung out with the likes of Steven Spielberg.
Though An American Werewolf in London is an acknowledged classic of the horror genre and features a ghoulish sense of humor (Landis was, and still is, best known for Animal House, early poster taglines noted this movie featured "a different kind of animal"), it is, like The Wolf Man, very much a tragedy. And not all the tragedy is on screen.
As a kid, I was given many cheap Wal-Mart editions of the writings of children's author Thornton Burgess, including The Adventures of Old Man Coyote, which contained a back cover blurb that was given a header simply saying "The Howling".
I bring this up because the movie referenced not very appropriately by that children's novel back cover is, on one hand, overshadowed by a similar werewolf movie that came out the exact same year, but has still managed to find itself embedded into pop culture deep enough that it gets its own call outs. I'll be covering that more popular werewolf movie eventually, but of the two werewolf movies of 1981 (three if you count the sorta-werewolf movie Wolfen), The Howling is my favorite.
Of all the werewolf movies I plan on covering, it has the most obvious flaws. It, more than any other, is going to take a very forgiving attitude to dated special effects. At least The Wolf Man has its iconic status going for it. The Howling also features one really cheap jump scare early on, but, to be fair, it makes up for this with one of the most earned jump scares in horror movie history later on. And finally, one of the main reasons I really love it so much is also something people can find annoying.
It's a postmodern werewolf movie. The rules of the werewolf movie have been codified. Now it's time to start playing with them.
"I guess I just sort of ... grew up."
— Ask Jappleack
It's been seven years to the day since My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was first aired, and the geek world changed that day.
So let's talk about the 2017 movie. As far as the story goes, it's pretty bog-standard at this point for MLP:FiM. Bad guy appears (the Storm King, voiced by Liev Schreiber), three of the four magical alicorn princesses prove themselves worthless by getting instantly captured, so it's up to the fourth princess and series protagonist, Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong), with her six friends - Applejack (voiced by Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy (voiced by Andrea Libman), Pinkie Pie (also voiced by Libman), Rainbow Dash (also voiced by Ball), Rarity (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) and Spike (voiced by Cathy Weseluck) - to save the land of Equestria with the magic of friendship. Which they used to be able to straight-up shoot people with, but they lost that ability back in season four.
Night in the Woods (trailer) is an adventure game by Infinite Fall, a joint venture between game designer Alec Holowka and animator Scott Benson. Kickstarted in October 2013 in the hopes of getting $50,000 USD, it not only reached its goal within 26 hours, it raised over $200,000 within a month!
This was probably helped by Howolka's credibility from making Aquaria in 2007 with Derek Yu. Although Night in the Woods (NITW for short) took longer to develop than initially expected, it was released in February 2017 to very positive reviews.
I liked this game a lot, and the tricky part with this review is that the less you know about the story, the better. It takes place in Possum Springs, a mid-sized (possibly Rust Belt) town with a struggling economy. You play a 20-year-old cat named Mae who's dropped out of college and returned home, trying to deal with (or avoid) some personal issues. Then a couple of… worrying things start to happen.
It's October, and that means Halloween.
To celebrate that fact, I'd like to offer a series of reviews on various werewolf movies.
Werewolves are the closest the worlds of furry and horror brush the closest to each other, though they may have more in common than they seem.
Both furry and horror deal with things of dual natures. Furry explores the line between what we mean when we say "human", and what we mean when we say "animal". The werewolf movie, more than any other sub-type of horror movie (or horror story), explores this same trope, and not just the difference between "wolf" and "man".
I kept plugging it quietly in the background all throughout 2015 and early 2016 (and you guys thought I only covered Zootopia that year). I mean, what if 2016 had been a year where we had six wide release, fully anthropomorphic world movies ranging in genre from buddy cop, to martial arts, to backstage musical, to crime caper, to space opera, and also Rock Dog?
As it ended up, we got, by my count, one great movie, one good movie, one movie that was kind of meh, one movie that turned out to not exist, one terrible movie and also Rock Dog.
As my first story here, I'd like to kick things off with a bang by posting about my personal favorite pieces of conservative animated fare. Fitting seeing as political messages are more popular in children's movies now than ever.
5.) The Angry Birds Movie
Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Theatrical Release Date - May 11, 2016
The most relevant on the list, this film has the gall to take on a subject that's been of great concern in Western Europe for quite some time now: the migrant crisis. Showcasing both the inherent dangers of unfiltered "tolerance" and anti-nationalist sentiment, Angry Birds is a great watch for anyone who wants not only a fun and witty animated feature but a great social statement that's sure to start a conversation.
4.) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Created by Lauren Faust and Bonnie Zacherle
First Air Date - October 10, 2010
Because I had a hard time finding a lot of content for this list that I could truly say was conservative, it's nice to have a long-winded television series for a change. Now in it's fourth incarnation and running on seven seasons, the show continues to build and explore the world of Equestria. Mainly through the point of view of six girls, one of whom is an apprentice of it's ruler, Princess Celestia.
DISCLAIMER: I have a story in here. Way deep down in the sloth section.
This a collection of dark and often adult tales (or tails, if you pre-fur) that explore the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian fame: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Trouble makers all, to be sure. It's a rich field of study has reveled countless bumper crops of stories (true and fictional) and offers a handy umbrella to pull together the best of the worst of us storytellers.
Even Dr. Who has a Seven Deadly Sins themed anthology out there.
Still, for all the familiar ground these most famous of sins represent, this was an ambitious collection.
Overall, the anthology itself felt a little rushed. Not the stories themselves, mind you. I don't think there were any clunkers here. There were a few stories, however, that left me wondering what they were saying about their selected sin. Each story feels like it got the right amount of editorial attention.
My quibble is of a Macro sort. Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions called for a sharper editorial eye then I think it got. Too often, very similar themes and acts follow too closely in one story to the next. That's bound to happen in the close quarters of the pages between a book cover.
And, I have to admit, part of my kvetch, might be my fault. I read all the interludes first. They knocked my socks off and I skipped every story to get to the mystery tormenting our hosts. As a result, I'm complaining about the holes in a magic show when I went out of my way to see how the tricks were set up before watching the magicians perform.
So, take my quibble with a few grams of a salt lick. THP is a new publisher and they've made quite a commitment to themed anthologies. I feel they are going to get better with each one. I know I'm looking forward to being there to watch them grow.
Presenting my story thoughts in the order that they appeared, with the interludes excluded and withheld to the end.