Fur your Consideration: 12 animation short reviews for 2023
When writing this article for 2022's works, my thought was to help present short furry animations in a way that’d promote organic discussion. I enjoyed doing it, so will try to make it an annual tradition. As I was going through the Ursa Major recommended list, I found these entries had become a bit longer than last year; there were also more of them, so they took more time to review, but for most it was well worth the time.
These are the eleven I felt were most worth a view, plus a bonus, lightly-viewed short not on the Recommended list that I felt worth talking about.
A Fox in Space - Fixing a Hole
This is pushing the boundaries on what should be considered a ‘short’ at around 45 minutes. But when watching it the time does melt as this is quite a wonderful fan product. The second episode in an independently produced series, this episode of a Fox in Space takes the most neglected Nintendo IP of Star Fox and tells the story of James McCloud’s mission to confront Andross on Venom before the Lylat wars when the games take place.
Each character is a character, and their interactions are quite genuine. The story takes its time to convey its atmosphere. It’s not afraid to hang around and let you draw it all in. This allows the times when things get tense to allow the tension to thrive, to the point where a simple statement that James McCloud can understand sign language appears bad ass.
Most of the conflict is of a political intrigue in nature. You really feel as if you’re with James on a mission to a planet where a psychologically manipulative ape is about to take the whole system down under his heel in order to strike vengeance on the planet he was cast out from.
Infurnity 2023 Opening Animation
As promotional material for the convention, I think few could express how hard this one went. It’s rare that an event will create an animation such as this for their gathering. It’s even rarer that it has a professional anime quality about it.
The animation also expresses a universal feeling of how in our lives of trying to meet with each other in our spaces, the early 2020s threw a curve ball. The disruption and recovery convey that feeling of landing after being thrown off one's feet from the disorienting punch.
The most well-known property on this list, this is a tale of cats and speakeasies. The animation follows a team of felines as they try to extract a hidden shipment of liquid gold for their establishment. However, a mysterious group is also after those goods causing a conflict that requires a high amount of action with car chases, gunplay, and survival.
It’s all wonderfully animated and immersive, and it absolutely deserved the fandom it has garnered from this.
The only critique I have on this one is that in the earlier section there are some drafting artifacts on the characters that are clearly visible. This includes circles in the head and torso. These do get better as the animation goes on. It’s very noticeable in the start because the opening is atmospheric so the eye gets drawn to those kinds of things. But, hey, rather artifacts of the human hand art to prove it had humans involved these days, huh?
I recommend watching this one before reading my take on it, as it's most effective going in blind to the overarching tale being told.
This animation starts as what seems to be a simple take on animal olympics, but morphs into something far more ominous in the end. The title’s double meaning lends to its clear play on the “frog in a slow boiling pot” metaphor that is used to describe the situation. It can also be seen as representing how we can use competition and sport to sometimes distract us from the dangers and problems that are bubbling up in the world outside.
This is a very uniquely stylized animation. The content can be disturbing (in a PG-13 kind of way), but a necessary discussion point, and a pointed critique at exploitative aspects that furry fandom culture can sometimes find within itself.
It follows an artist who is being pushed by their client to draw them more realistic private parts on their animal character. This is despite the character being a bit uncomfortable looking up references online, so they try to acquire it another way and find themselves injured from the experience.
Its messaging is quite meta of fandom concerns, and so a good conversation piece about boundaries within furry fandom. It’s also the first fandom piece that I’ve seen show a relatively positive reception of the art talents by the outside world versus within the fandom itself. A teacher sees the art she was doodling in class and overlooks it, rather than scolding. It turns expectations and narratives on its head; showing the world at large being respectful of the furry artist, while their furry fan customer continually punishes and pushes the artist into areas that are uncomfortable.
The ending when the artist learns that they will not be released by the demanding client after it sounded like they were satiated and would leave them alone is explosive and haunting. A bottling up of emotions that I’m sure many artists can relate to in the fandom.
This is like a longer version of last year’s Fossils: a cat has a dream, and a dog has a similar dream but doesn’t show the care needed to pull it off. Instead of digging up bones, this time it is trying to launch a space shuttle. The dog’s blundering distracts the cat, causing an unplanned launch.
Since this is in a way an advert for Blender, there is a section at the end that shows the processes of how parts of this short were made using it.
DKC: Return to Krocodile Isle
The creator of these animations just can’t get enough of the K. Rool. And honestly these animations are always a fun romp. This one covers the Kremlin leader as he dreams of vengeance on the Kongs. But is he losing his edge?
If you like corny villain songs, this one will scratch that itch.
This one is a trip. No really. The premise starts out simple and— well… expect the unexpected. And then even that won’t come. It’s so out there with the direction the story moves it feels like they threw concepts in a hat and drew them out and were then forced to animate and make a cohesive story.
The animation is also impressive. I particularly liked how the rat remover that was called arrives on the scene by stepping through the divider between the characters and the stretching done to do it.
In the end I was simply left to wonder: why did he not use the mayonnaise after being begged to do so?
Suggested to me by a person who views my content on YouTube, Love Louder is in essence a furry music video by a group calling themselves the Meeps. Interestingly, I don’t see much content by this band. Given that, the production value of this music video is impressive. The animal characters of the band consist of a tiger, sheep, moose, giraffe, and Arctic fox.
The animation utilizes Los Angeles cityscapes as its setting and has impressive choreography of the band members. It very much feels like an organic music video by an animal character band. My hope is that this wasn’t a one-off, but since I can only find the single made by them, it probably was.
A paper animation of a young puppy who is left at home with what appears to be her crocodile step-dad. The style of this animation sets it apart. The story is heart-warming and deals with overcoming family changes that can be difficult and giving people a chance to go into your life.
This one works better if you put it on a loop, but this was an impressive meme that went viral earlier in the year. It isn’t the first time the artist did the ‘character plays a horn to exhaustion’ bit. The previous one was also well liked from 2022, where he had Wolf Link playing a trumpet heavy theme from Link to the Past. And this may have gotten inspiration from the Trumpet Boy meme of 2018.
However, this Pokémon version is superior in conveying Lucario becoming more fatigued, and even used a gap in the song’s need of the horn to pass the character out, before seamlessly looping. The drummer clearly showed concern for his wind instrument colleague.
As a bonus this year, I wanted to mention one more piece. One of the things I like about reviewing these is the exploration and possibilities of seeing interesting things no one else has. And YouTube recommended a video that was animated this year that was only viewed 4,400 times on a channel with only 115 subscribers called Catch.
The name of this animation holds a clever double meaning. The animation is also emotionally powerful in its message about catching others when they are going through a tough loss. It’s also good to show this, as there was a distinct lack of ‘feels’ animation like last year’s Ursa Major winner “Horns”. This low-viewed entry fills that spot nicely.