Spring is in the air and the snow is melting. Gone are the seasons where furs bundle up in their homes, and here are the days where they come out to frolic in the sunshine. But perhaps instead of going to a big city to a stuffy hotel, you may be interested to know that there are other fur gathering styles that are becoming a bigger staple in the furry fandom.
The fur camps are gatherings that take place in parks and other such outdoor facilities that put emphasis on connecting the fur with a bit more of the rural wilds than the urban jungles. Camp Feral!, which takes place in Algonquin leads the pack with estimates of around up to 200 guests. Today I go over my first experiences with one of these cons, and how they differ from their hotel-bound cousins: World Wild Fur Camp, which took at a YMCA camp just north of Cincinnati Ohio in the fall of 2018.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) is the latest film in the HTTYD series, the first of which came out in 2010 and was followed by a second film in 2014. Now, after a four-and-a-half-year gap, we have a third one, presumably (?) the last, but even if DreamWorks decides to keep the film franchise going, The Hidden World feels like the completion of a trilogy, all of which have involved Dean DeBlois as screenwriter and director.
I'm going to try and avoid major spoilers, so I'll summarize the plot points introduced in the early part of the film. I won't be linking to trailers, because they give away some of the locations and scene gags that are better kept a surprise. I watched a 2D screening, and I haven't kept up with any of the franchise spinoffs or shorts. I'm not a fan of most of the dragon designs or of several secondary characters, but regardless, I've happily enjoyed Hiccup and Toothless' adventures together.
I may be a little late to the party, considering Dust was released in 2012 and nominated for an Ursa Major, but Dust was on sale on Steam late last year and I took the opportunity to get it (Dust is 75% off on GOG.com until 29 January). One positive aspect of Dust is that it works on Windows, Mac and Linux, so I did not have any trouble even though I recently switched over to using Linux exclusively.
Dust is set in a world populated with various anthropomorphic characters. General Gaius has been leading a crusade to purge the world of Moonbloods, which appear to be primarily reptilian whereas most of the characters seem more mammalian. I don't recall any real reason ever being provided as to what led to the conflict with the Moonbloods and the genocide.
As Dust, you wake up with no knowledge of who you are and are soon discovered by a magical, talking sword, named Ahrah, and its guardian, the adorable Nimbat named Fidget. Ahrah clearly knows something but refuses to tell you and you start to explore the world to discover who you are and what is happening.
Perhaps it was me, but I sensed a smidgen of negativity towards my review of Avengers: Infinity War. Like, just featuring Rocket Raccoon on the poster (he's in there somewhere, I'm sure) just wasn't enough for some of you. To be fair, if Infinity War ends up winning the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, as billion dollar box office blockbusters from Disney are known to do, well, that would be both bad and also probably completely my fault, so preemptive apologies if it does!
Now I'm reviewing another Marvel movie with a supporting character who's totally furry, but that's about it. In this case, it's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and that character is Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney), an anthropomorphic spider (bitten by a radioactive pig, see). On one hand, despite being a part of a much larger cast, I feel Rocket got a slightly bigger role in his movie. He has his own subplot with a bit of an arc to it, while Peter Porker is basically just another member of the team; the movie's focus is on other teammates.
On the other hand, Spider-Ham is part of a much smaller ensemble, so though his role is smaller, his screentime is bigger, and though the movie focuses more on the three versions of Spider-Man that are the most "normal" (Miles Morales, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy) rather than the "gimmicky" characters (Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham), Spider-Ham gets the most attention of that trio, being the last of the three to leave and the one who gets the stand-out action beat (as well as being just a scene-stealer in general).
And on the gripping hand, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is just a way better movie than Avengers: Infinity War.
Like the Pokémon games, the Super Smash Bros. series has had many releases, adding a few bells and whistles as well as a handful of new characters every console generation or so. Also like the Pokémon games, the new releases have a solid enough base that they're still almost always worth checking out. And also also like the Pokémon games, the Super Smash Bros. series has Pokémon in it.
Our fandom had been waiting for a Sunday night to watch CNN, a moment of truth.
A year earlier, Anthro Northwest sprung a surprise documentary film crew onto its attendees. It immediately caused an uproar online. There was much debate and drama around it, and then things were silent.
The film crew belonged to Lisa Ling and her new flagship show for CNN, This is Life with Lisa Ling. An episodic documentary program to highlight some of the oddities in our humble society. I, like many furs I'm sure, had never heard of the show nor seen it. It felt like we were in for another nasty media portrayal.
Closer to the airdate, we discovered that our subculture was going to be the show's season finale. Pressure's on, right?
This is a triple movie review! Three animated films for kids from 2017, all of them originally French, that have been dubbed into English (or soon will be): The Jungle Bunch, Sahara, and The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. The last one is the best by far, but isn't available in English yet. Coming soon!
The Jungle Bunch
Original title: Les as de la jungle (literally "The Aces of the Jungle"; here's the trailer). When my nephew was little, I took him to see the Thomas and the Magic Railroad movie, because he loved the whole Thomas The Tank Engine thing. I knew it was a franchise with loads of characters, and the movie relied on familiarity. I know I watched it, but to this day, I have no memory of it.
Similarly, The Jungle Bunch is based on a lot of television episodes, plus an earlier movie or two. You don't need to have followed any of them to watch the 2017 movie, but it probably helps to connect with it more. Personally I didn't find the characters particularly deep, and they're not meant to be. I liked some of their designs more than others. It's a computer-animated film, and the animation and backgrounds came out well. Visually it looks very good!
So last weekend I sat down and remembered that BoJack season 5 had released onto Netflix. Being relatively new to the platform I thought that meant one episode was released and would have slow releases over time. No, apparently it means that all the episodes are released and you can watch them all.
One or two episodes wouldn’t hurt, I noted on Saturday. By the time Sunday rolled around I had gone through the entire season and was a bit drained, but still the interactions and story arcs between the characters had kept me hooked and dragged me through the entire bender. I hadn’t recorded my weekly show so I decided to take the week off and not record.
I don’t have a problem, really.
But, the show isn’t for everyone. It uses comedy as a pointed look at the worst parts of how things are for those caught within a perpetual cycle of self-inflicted wounds brought on by less than optimal decision making. If you prefer your comedy with a higher proportion toward the happy face, and less toward the tragic and woeful one, then the show may not be for you. For those folks I’d recommend Buddy Thunderstruck if you haven’t seen that one before.
However, for those who like a cerebral comedy with flawed characters in a flawed world it is well worth the watch. For those of you who have watched it, or if you don’t plan on watching it so you don’t mind spoilers, please continue to read the rest of the article for my thoughts about the fifth season. But be wary, like the show the way I am reviewing this may get a bit ‘too real’ near the end.
Eurofurence 24 ran from 22 August to 26 August this year. It was the biggest one so far and a great opportunity to meet friends from all over and enjoy oneself. There were several panels, discussions and events which are worth noting. However, conventions are very personal experiences, so while I will focus on some larger themes, your own con experiences may vary. I have previously reported on Eurofurence 21 and Eurofurence 23.
The furry fandom’s favorite fighting fox has proven once against that when it comes to the competitive fighting game scene, he cannot be denied. SonicFox found himself victorious in the EVO eSport World Championship, to taking home the first-place victory in Dragon Ball FighterZ. He also kept his form as a top contestant in the Injustice 2 scene, able to take home third place despite having waned his practice to focus on the anime based game.
Many in the furry fandom typically care so little about sports that the University of Waterloo that researches furries literally uses sports fandoms as a control group when trying to compare those in furry with those of the outside world. However, it seems that when it comes to the fighting game eSports scene, many have found themselves giving into the fan fever of competition as one of their own dominates its world.
Those who watched the final match against Goichi (using the tag Go1) were not disappointed as the two faced off in their final sets to claim the title. It is a match that will go down in fighting game history scene for the intensity, and little bit of controversy.
Monster Mind is a puzzle-solving, Pokémon-themed, flash game created by Argon Vile. It's available to play for free through Inkbunny or Fur Affinity. One might be tempted to immediately dismiss it as just another pornographic game, however not only is it very well-executed but it also contains deeper questions about sex and sexuality than you might expect.
A puzzling start
The main puzzles—as well as the title—are based on the board game Master Mind. In the classic version, you have to guess the colour and position of each peg in a row of four, usually with six colours to choose from for each slot. After each guess, you are told how many pegs have the correct colour and how many are in the correct position. Over multiple guesses, you can determine the correct pattern.
Monster Mind is slightly different. While you are still required to find the pattern, several guesses are already provided as clues. You must use those clues to determine the correct sequence; although in the most difficult puzzles it might be necessary to make assumptions about more than one peg at a time. You can choose between various difficulties starting from a pattern of just three pegs (although in this game they are adorable bugs instead of pegs) and going up to five pegs. There is also a secret 7-peg puzzle with some extra rules!
Mary and the Witch's Flower (メアリと魔女の花 or Mary to Majo no Hana in Japanese) is the first feature-length film to be released by Studio Ponoc. The film was released in Japan in July 2017 and had a limited theatrical run in the United States in early 2018 prior to its home video release. It is based on the 1971 children's novel The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart (which I haven't read and cannot comment on how closely it follows). At a high level, the film could be described as a sort of Harry Potter meets Kiki's Delivery Service. Some anime fans have noted similarities to the anime series Little Witch Academia.
This is the third film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It is no coincidence that the art style of the film closely resembles the works of Studio Ghibli, as Yonebayashi had previously worked there and was director of The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There. Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura and many others who worked on the film were also alumni of Studio Ghibli, which had largely disbanded its creative department following the release of Marnie in 2014. The characters of Mary, Madam Mumblechook, and Doctor Dee are voiced by Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent respectively in the English dub (Hana Sugisaki, Yuki Amami, and Fumio Kohinata respectively in the original Japanese).
Before going offline in March, Pounced.org boasted nearly 20,000 personal ads. That's impressive, but unlikely to make a dent in the amount of fan-on-fan relationships within the furry subculture - an online survey of 800 people in 2013 by the International Anthropomorphic Research Project found that nearly 80% of the respondents in relationships were in a relationship with another furry fan.
Feral Attraction is an advice column and podcast that seeks to address challenges, common and unique, that can arise at the intersection of fandom and dating. For hosts Metriko Oni and Viro the Science Collie, that means special focus on non-traditional relationship styles like polyamory and power-exchange relationships, with which they say the fandom is "uniquely enriched". This doesn't mean that others are left out, though - they also consider long-distance relationships and those new to relationships to be common in furry. Even those in completely traditional relationships get affirming, practical advice; there is no atmosphere that "traditional" means boring.
Have you ever had that moment at a convention? You know, that moment? You’re walking around, minding your own business when a random attendee walks up to you. They start chatting it up well enough, but several minutes later you realize that their story isn’t all that interesting. You’re bored and listening to an uninteresting person drivel on about their life story that you never asked for.
That experience is basically a summary of what you are in for with Netflix’s mockumentary Mascots. Scores of minutes wasted on backstories of uninteresting characters, going to an only slightly interesting competition, told in the most uninteresting way imaginable.
While some confuse fursuiting with mascotting, as some reviewers for this film have they are two completely different things. One fur on my twitter feed had requested if this was any good. To them I can say, no, no it is not.
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get a feeling this year’s furry content is coordinating their themes. It’s always interesting when common threads start to show up near each other, especially when they were not intentional. I remember when Fred Patten’s anthology Furry Future was thought to have had prejudice as a subtheme by a non-furry reviewer. It might have seemed odd that all but one story in the anthology touched on the idea of social inequities without coaxing from the collection editor, but it was just coincidence that the writers felt like writing stories about that theme at the time.
It is surely strange coincidence that just after I played a game with a deeply ingrained theme of a protagonist diving head first into responsibilities to the point of self-detriment that there is an anime playing off this same subject released onto Netflix. However, unlike Yet Another Research Dog, which was a highly niche affair that probably only I had played of those I know, Aggretsuko was already slaying the fandom by the time I had gotten around to hitting the play button.
So what is all the hub about and is it worth the hype?