Another recent article from Animation Magazine, this time discussing some of their favorite new animated projects they’ve seen shown off at MIPCOM this year. And lo and behold, the majority of them are anthropomorphic! So we’ll be discussing the most interesting ones ourselves for the next few days. First up is Caiman, created by Rebecca Warner-Perry and Sue Tong, and produced by Illuminated Films from the UK. “Meet Caiman, a five-year-old crocodile who loves exploring – and who wouldn’t!?…when the village of Trickle End, a buzzing and bubbling community, is right outside his front door! Caiman lives at home with his Mum, Dad and older sister in a little wooden house, situated right on the edge of the exotic mangroves where the river meets the sea. All his friends and neighbours live, work and play nearby. There’s always someone to have fun with or somebody to lend a helping hand in Trickle End.” Animation has a link to IF’s show-reel, which includes more about Caiman and their other projects.
According 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.
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.
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:
- Howard the Duck #2 at 76,
- Guardians of the Galaxy #3 at 37 and
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 at 4 (reviewed here).
Razzmic Productions presents Into the Bayou.
Roquin the fox has lost all his passion and desire. He discovers an entry about an exotic and nearly extinct plant in an old botany textbook. He travels to the furthest swamps to find this mysterious plant overcoming various obstacles along the way in this 3 minute video.
This video was created for the Furry Drama Show at Texas Furry Fiesta 2016 convention which had the theme of "Bayou", unfortunately, they ran out of time and weren't able to show it. So it is being presented here for your enjoyment.
The Boy and the Beast (aka Bakemono no ko – English trailer) is a 2015 animated film from Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda, who directed the film Wolf Children in 2012. Both are of furry interest; this one even more so!
Ren is a 9-year-old boy who runs away to the busy streets of Tokyo after his mother dies. He has no way of contacting his father, whom his mother divorced, and has no love for his mother's relatives who want to take him in. Angry and upset, he wanders by accident into a parallel Earth, the beast world, where everyone is an anthropomorphic animal.
In the city of beasts, the current Grand Master (a rabbit) intends to transcend and reincarnate into a god, with two possible successors: a bear named Kumatetsu, or a boar named Yozen.
Furry fans who have long been debating whether Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlarathotep, and the other often-squiddly “indescribable horrors” of author H.P. Lovecraft’s dark imagination count as “furry”, will find their arguments heating up in October when the animated feature Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is released in Canada.
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, written, directed and produced by Sean Patrick O’Reilly and currently in production by Arcana Studios, to be distributed by The Shout! Factory (a company known more for its DVD releases than for theatrical distribution), is adapting the movie from the popular comic book written by Bruce Brown and illustrated by Renzo Podesta. It was reprinted as a 96-page trade paperback by Arcana in February 2010 that is still in print.
Klaw is a French comic book series that will soon be available in English from Magnetic Press, so this is a good time for a review! It's a young adult superhero/action comic with anthropomorphic content. Will it appeal to furry fans? Possibly. Bonus points if you're a fan of tigers. It's written by Antoine Ozanam and drawn by Joël Jurion.
Angel Tomassini is a kid in early high school who gets bullied a lot, even though everyone (except him) seems to know that his father is the head of the Chicago mafia. Within the space of a particularly bad week, Angel learns the truth about his dad, is questioned by the police over the suspicious death of another student, is attacked by ninjas, goes on his first date, and finds out he has the power to turn into a powerful, muscled were-tiger.
The movie Nine Lives with Kevin Spacey as a cat – “Kevin Spacey as you’ve never seen him before” – will be released on August 5, 2016. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and produced by EuropaCorp, also starring Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken, Robbie Amell and Malina Weissman.
This is not a reincarnation fantasy. Spacey plays Tom Brand, a ruthless businessman who becomes trapped in the body of his 11-year-old daughter Rebecca’s pet adult cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. The article/press release in the Independent describes him as “a talking CGI cat”, but this first trailer shows him as a non-talking live cat, though with lots of VFX. Maybe he’ll talk and become CGI in later trailers. None of the publicity gives the name of the trained cat.
This will be a nice contrast to all of the CGI animated talking animal movies of 2016.
Here is another anthro-animal animated movie that America probably won’t get. The Hollywood Reporter reported on March 14 that:
Malaysia's Animasia Studio has inked a deal with China's Zero One Animation to produce the CGI-animated feature film Chuck Chicken — The Movie.
The $8 million movie is being adapted from the successful television series Chuck Chicken a.k.a. Kungfu Chicken. Production will take place in China, but animators from both countries will work on the project. The film will premiere first in China, as the original TV series was particularly popular there, having gained 300 million views within six months of its launch on the country's VOD platform iQIYI.
The Malay Mail Online says that the movie will be finished in 2018. There are several furry fans in Malaysia including prominent new author MikasiWolf and artist Silverfox5213. Can any of them tell us anything about Animasia Studios?
Anthro animal animated features are sneaking up on us faster than we can announce them.
Here is the trailer for the 90-minute The Wild Life, due for American release on September 9, 2016. It’s very loosely based on Robinson Crusoe from the island's animals’ point of view; Tuesday the parrot, Carmelo the chameleon, Scrubby the goat, Rosie the tapir, Pango the pangolin and others. The animals decide to “help” the human castaway and his dog. Ha, ha.
This has already been released throughout Europe in February as Robinson Crusoe, and it will have been seen in most of the rest of the world by the time we get it. If nWave Pictures is involved, it’s a Belgian production. nWave’s animation studio is in Brussels. It does good work. nWave produced the 2013 The House of Magic, which was scheduled for an American theatrical release – it’s set in Boston – up to the last minute. It ended up as a direct-to-DVD kids’ release.
Let’s hope that The Wild Life has better luck.
William Earl Haskell in Houston, TX, who has been Rowrbrazzle’s Official Editor since 2007, is stepping down because of worsening health. He will continue to be an ordinary member, but the Official Editor’s office and duties are being transferred to Edd Vick at 1505 SW Alaska Street, Seattle, WA 98106.
Rowrbrazzle, published every January, April, July, and October, was founded in February 1984 by Marc Schirmeister of Los Angeles fandom. At the time furry fandom was not considered to be separate from s-f fandom or comics fandom yet. It was Rowrbrazzle's discussions of the new funny-animal social events, along with the amateur sketches and cartoons (mostly of funny-animal cheesecake art), that established that a new fandom was coming into existence.
Schirmeister continued to serve as ‘Brazzle’s Official Editor until 1989, when Fred Patten in Los Angeles took over. Patten was the Official Editor until his incapacitating stroke in March 2005. It was unexpected, and no clear successor had been set up. ‘Brazzle limped along with several volunteer O.E.s for a couple of years until Bill Haskell accepted the post permanently with #94 in July 2007. Now Haskell is passing it along to Edd Vick with #125 in April 2016.
Rowrbrazzle is technically an amateur press association (APA or apa) rather than a traditional magazine. It has a set number of members (currently 30, with a few openings) who each print their own pages and send them to the Official Editor. He staples them together into the quarterly magazine in January, April, July, and September, and sends a copy to each member. There are some other APAs that have produced extra copies for sale to the public, but ‘Brazzle produces only enough for its own membership.
Warner Bros. has just released its first “official trailer”, as opposed to the teaser (which is funny but offers no clue to the movie’s plot), for its forthcoming CGI animated feature, Storks, due September 23, 2016; directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland, with the voices of Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key and more. The story begins to be revealed.
Storks used to deliver babies. They are famous for delivering babies. But this image is obsolete. They modernized some years ago, and now specialize in delivering commercial packages for giant Cornerstore.com; a competitor to FedEx, on a worldwide scale. Junior, the top delivery stork, is about to be promoted upstairs into the executive ranks when he accidentally activates the old Baby Making Machine and produces an adorable baby human girl.
Desperate to get rid of the baby before his goof is discovered, Junior and his assistant Tulip, the only human (female) on Stork Mountain, find a human boy who has wished that he had a younger brother. They try to persuade him to take a baby sister instead. And what must the hapless parents think of this?
We’ll find out in September.
Kubo and the Two Strings is a movie that managed to keep its furry aspects under Flayrah's radar until its first trailer began appearing before more obviously furry movies like Kung Fu Panda 3 and Zootopia. Turns out the movie from stop motion specialists LAIKA was keeping a samurai sword-wielding snow monkey voiced by Charlize Theron hidden from us. A second trailer has just been released, showing off the aforementioned monkey, as well as LAIKA's trademark virtuoso use of stop motion.
Voting for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the 2015 calendar year in eleven categories, is now open. The voting is open from March 15 to April 30. The awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony at What the Fur 2016, in Montreal, Quebec, on May 20-22, 2016.
The eleven categories are: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series, Best Anthropomorphic Novel, Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction, Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work, Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, Best Anthropomorphic Magazine, Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration, Best Anthropomorphic Game and Best Anthropomorphic Website.
Voting is open to all! To vote, go to the Ursa Major Awards website and click on "Voting for 2015" at the left. You will receive instructions on how to register to vote. You do not have to vote in every category. Please vote in only those categories in which you feel knowledgeable.
This final ballot has been compiled from those works receiving the most nominations that were eligible. Please check the dates of publication next year to make sure that your nominations are only for works published during the calendar year (January through December) in question.
Update (22 May): The results have been announced.