'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' episodes nominated for 2016 Hugo Awards as part of 'Rabid Puppies' slate

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ifiwereahorribleafflictioniwouldberabies.jpgThe Hugo Awards announced their nominees for 2016, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gained its first nomination for the Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form for the episodes "The Cutie Map" (Part 1 and Part 2). However, furries and bronies perhaps shouldn't celebrate so soon; last year's Hugo Awards were pretty controversial, and this year is apparently the sequel.

Looks like the ponies are actually Trojan horses. For puppies.

Impressive fish: 'Big Fish and Begonia'

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The Chinese aren’t finished with releasing animated anthropomorphic features almost on top of us – in China, anyway. Big Fish and Begonia (Da Hai), 100 minutes, directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, produced at Studio Mir (maker of The Legend of Korra) in Seoul, South Korea in traditional cartoon animation, and distributed by Enlight Media, is scheduled to be released in China on July 8.

The story is from a traditional Taoist legend, taken from Zhuangzi. The gods – or celestial beings, anyway – control time, tides, and the changing of the seasons of the Middle Kingdom (a.k.a. our Earth). When the young Chun is 16 years old, she is turned into a dolphin to experience our world at first hand. She is engulfed by a storm and gets caught in a fishing net, from which she is rescued by a human boy at the cost of his life. Chun is moved by his sacrifice and determines to restore him to life. To do this she must give his soul rebirth as a tiny fish, and protect him as he grows. Over time Chun grows to love the fish, but when he is grown, she must release him to become human once more.

The synopsis does not say where the story is set, but the boy is noticeably blond, implying that the feature is intended for international audiences.

'Rock Dog' still exists

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Good news, everyone! Rock Dog is not dead! It even has a release date, again, at least for China; July 8. The movie still doesn't have a North American release date yet (though IMDB has some further international dates); however, the movie is a Chinese/American co-production, and features a cast of Americans with an American director (Ash Brannon), so the plan has always been to release the movie in America, apparently. Eventually. Probably.

If it does get that American release date, it will be the fourth confirmed fully anthropomorphic animal world movie released here in 2016, counting (fellow Chinese/American co-production) Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia and Sing (with Spark and Sly Cooper bringing the possible total up to six, if they, like Rock Dog, could be bothered to get a release date out there).

Review: Welcome to 'The Jungle Book'

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thejunglebook2016.jpgLet us not forget, Disney is a corporation. To a certain extent, we hold the 55 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by the Disney Animation Studios to a different standard than, say, the 32 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by DreamWorks Animation, or even the 16 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by Pixar, despite the fact that there really isn't much reason to, at this point. Just the fact that the brand is much older maybe should count for something, but, let's face it, just because it is so old, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has less in common with Zootopia than Kung Fu Panda 3 does (even when factoring out the furry aspects and the use of CGI).

We still treat many of those early animated Disney movies almost like sacred texts, despite the fact that Disney never has. Disney has always treated them like what they are; products to be sold. So, you've got annual theatrical re-releases for most of last century, a practice that only died when home video became a thing. To combat that, they introduced the "Disney Vault", which basically extended the "re-release" strategy indefinitely even with home video. Then came the direct-to-video sequels; finally, when those became a bit too damaging to the brand, the live action adaptations began. And the most recent movie to get that treatment is Jungle Book.

Whine all you like about originality and creativity, but Disney's got a business to run. This strategy is pretty much a brand-strengthening exercise, but at least part of the branding is based on "quality," so at least they're going to try and do right by the old movie (if not exactly Rupyard Kipling). And, hey, most of the older Disney movie's are based on properties that are public domain; if Disney doesn't do it, someone else will (and in fact, Warner Bros. has its own Jungle Book movie planned). And its not like Disney hasn't done this before (or, for that matter, that they were even the first movie studio to adapt The Jungle Book). If you want originality from Disney, go watch Zootopia again.

If you want to watch a good movie, well, actually, watching Zootopia again is okay, but do take some time to watch this version of The Jungle Book. It's actually really good.

Review: 'Pokkén Tournament' for the Wii U

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pokkentournament.pngThe Pokémon franchise has been around for a long time. After two decades of tackling many genres, the concept of Pokémon battling arrives, for the first time, in one to which it seems particularly well-suited: the fighter.

Pokkén Tournament allows you to take full control of 16 different Pokémon in live action combat against your opponent. The game was developed by those experienced in the development of fighter games, and are known for the creation of Tekken. But even with this expertise behind the scenes, can the game rise to the challenge and leave a mark within the niche fighter market?

SoFurry faces a day's downtime as brownouts corrupt metadata

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Furry art and story community SoFurry is offline after a series of brownouts corrupted the database containing information about site activity. Repairs may take over 24 hours.

While power has now been restored, the interruption caused damage to the database holding data about submissions, comments and users, which must now be fixed:

SoFurry is experiencing extended downtime. We are working on data recovery after a particularly nasty set of circumstances after a brownout caused data corruption. Submission content is safe, however we have to repair the metadata db. We expect SF to be down for at least another 24 hours.

Update (18 Apr): SoFurry is back online, although occasional downtime is reported.

Update 2 (19 Apr): Additional servers are being added after further downtime.

Coming in August to Japan: 'Rudolph and Ippaiattena' ... and Godzilla?

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Toho Films has just released an aw-it’s-cute trailer for its August 6 CGI theatrical feature adaptation of author Hiroshi Saitō’s children’s book Rudolph and Ippaiattena. But Toho has also added a mention of one of its other big summer releases, Godzilla: Resurgence. Japan still has theatrical monopolies, so these features released by Toho Films will only play in the Toho Cinemas theatrical chain.

Anime News Network has news on the film’s voice actors, Saitō’s original children’s book series, and a translation of the trailer’s text.

Gaming Furever looking for new staff during relaunch

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StaffInterestApplication_1.pngWe're looking for a select group of staff for the new Gaming Furever. GF has been active in the furry gaming community since 2012, and is looking to revamp its mission and directive over the next few months with a new staff.

The GF staff is a place for driven, fun-loving-yet-serious gamers with an interest in running events, being social, and staying in the know about recent news around the gaming industry, specifically animal/furry related news. Our staff will be a tight-knit team of 3-4 people who will be responsible for contributing their opinions on site decisions, helping plan and staff events over the Internet on Steam or other platforms, and staying active on the site itself. Being visible online is a big plus. We don't want the staff on our site to be invisible, and you'll need to be able to interact with people. This means having a sound mind, and being able to deal with all types of situations and reporting them to upper admins if necessary.

Apply here.

Retrospective review: 'Chicken Little'

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chickenlittle.jpgSo, anyway, earlier this year, a movie came out called Zootopia. We, uh, might have mentioned it. Despite being anticipated, or even known, by just about nobody who wasn't a furry or, perhaps, a major Disney fan, the movie managed to become a rare hit at both the box office and with professional critics (though gathering up Flayrah reviews, the consensus was more in line with Metacritic's "good, but whatever" score, because furries, am I right?).

One thing that was repeatedly and pointedly not mentioned by anyone involved with the movie was another movie a little over a decade old, called Chicken Little. Lots of interviews, and even a semi-independently produced 45-minute making of documentary, all went on at length at how this Disney's first fully anthropomorphic animal world since Robin Hood, and the first set in the furry equivalent of a modern world, despite the fact that it, well, wasn't. Chicken Little became the animated equivalent of a "disappeared non-person" in some sci-fi dystopia.

Which makes it incredibly interesting, in a weird kind of way; in a company that mines its past productions for nostalgia like there is no tomorrow (only yesterday, repeated), Disney has gone out of its way to avoid reminding anyone this movie exists. And this is actually a fairly important movie in the history of the company; it was the first full length computer animated feature by Disney (and not Pixar). So, is it really that bad?

Yes. Yes it is really that bad.

In Memoriam: RonRon the YouTube fox

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Internet-famous vulpine Ron the Fox, well known for the YouTube videos depicting his life, passed away in his sleep on April 6 (video), just ten days before his eighth birthday.

Former owner Albi Azul says he found Ron curled peacefully under his favourite picnic table. Albi had hoped to film an episode commemorating his channel reaching 100,000 subscribers; the award arrived just a few days too late.

News of Ron's death was widely distributed, and inspired art from many furry fans, including crashheart, Muzz, azora and Haru; it also received coverage in the Irish Examiner.

A combination "thank-you" and "memorial" video clip was uploaded on the morning of April 9, but be warned: it is very depressing: Goodbye, silly RonRon, sleep tight.

Hacked repeater brings furry podcast FurCast to FM radio

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The Lift FM

Are furry podcasts unsuitable for breakfast? FM listeners in Colorado sure thought so!

On the morning of April 5, Denver-area FM station KIFT 106.3 "The Lift" suffered a broadcast signal intrusion on a relay station serving a remote valley. Instead of Bruno Mars, listeners in Breckenridge, Colorado were treated to Paradox Wolf, Fayroe and friends.

Denver station KCNC-TV "CBS 4" contacted The Lift for an explanation, and were told they send programing from their studio to four transmitters via the Internet. Somehow, the Breckenridge repeater K258AS (99.5 FM) was compromised, and someone had spliced in Furcast Episode 224 in place of The Lift.

Thankfully, the primary FM and webcasts of both The Lift and Furcast.FM / XBN were unaffected, but a large amount of NSFW programming, including swearing, was broadcast without censorship for several hours, with The Lift's engineers unable to kill the studio/transmitter link remotely.

On FurCast's end, their server saw a gradual rise in connections to its podcast archive (used on its website and iOS and Android apps for listeners) from 06:00 AM EDT onwards, until they were able to temporarily disable access at 02:30 PM EDT. The archives have since come back online at a new address, with a long list of blocked IP addresses to prevent a recurrence.

Furry v superheroes; box office in early 2016

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batmanvjudy.jpgAccording to box office tracking site Box Office Mojo, Zootopia has just passed Deadpool to become the highest grossing movie of 2016. It's still early in the year, and Zootopia will most likely have relinquished the crown by 2017, but the beginning of the year has seen furries and superheroes battle it out for dominance at the box office.

As of press time, the current weekly box office champ, on its second weekend, is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a superhero showdown of franchise-launching proportions; when the dust settles, it will probably come out ahead of Zootopia, though some film pundits have sensed weakness. The film, while doing massive box office by any standards, has still underperformed compared to predictions both weeks, and has had massive box office drops both from day to day and week to week. Zootopia, while never as massive an opener, has sustained smaller drop-offs and consistently overperformed compared to box office pundit predictions.

But the story of 2016's box office hasn't just been Batman v Superman v Zootopia; as noted, the previous biggest box office of the year was Deadpool, while a look back at the weekly charts reveals its been furries versus superheroes since nearly the beginning of the year.

Opinion: Is the furry fandom especially creative or original?

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There is a quite widespread idea that the furry fandom is a uniquely creative group of people. We say it in our own documentaries, we say it in our own comment sections and the more senior members of the fandom such as Unci and Uncle Kage say it when they talk about the fandom. This majority opinion can be summarized in a single paragraph from the Furry Writer's Guild:

The furry fandom can be difficult to describe succinctly because, unlike media-based fandoms, furries aren’t fans of any one particular television show, film, or even genre. Many furries do find their way to the fandom through overlap with fandoms of mass media properties like The Lion King and My Little Pony, but for the most part, furries create their own original content to be fans of. It’s an incredibly creative community, and the boundaries between creator and fan are often slim to nonexistent.

But is it really true? Let's be clear, I am not saying that the furry fandom is not creative or original, but I do not think that we are uniquely so and, hopefully, by the end of this, I will have convinced you of that.

Newsbytes archive for March 2016

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Contributors last month included crossaffliction, dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, hi-jera, InkyCrow, mwalimu and Rakuen Growlithe.

Upcoming furry comics for April 2016

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Before we get to the solicits for April, let's take a look at the most recent bestsellers list from Previews, which is for December of last year. Here are the furry books that made it:

See Also: January 2016 - February 2015 - March 2016

From the Yerf Archive