Released on PC 2019, Later Alligator is part visual novel, part mini-game puzzler game with fantastic art direction and characterization. In this game you play as a hired hand trying to help Pat the alligator discover who is trying to off them. You explore this reptilian version of New York City to interview as many of Pat’s relatives as you can. Each one unlocking a minigame that you will need to try and defeat before they will give you clues to what plot is afoot.
Mechanically the game requires multiple playthroughs to find everyone and do everything, and the game knows this. In a way it has a repetitive three act structure like Majora’s Mask where you have to make notes on who you spoke to and who you missed out on. However the gameplay is more like the Neverhood where the animated world you explore is broken up by quick puzzles and minigames.
If you like puzzles and talking with alligators of a very memorable persuasion, then this is the game for you. This title fell under the radar for most furries and even myself, as I think it holds its own against all the games that were nominated for the Ursa Majors in 2019. Of the 3 titles I played on the list: Untitled Goose Game, Winds of Change, and Blacksad - I think this one was better as it held its charm from start to finish. It was not too short, nor too long.
Though on the plus side, the Switch version was released this year, so we could always nominate that one for 2021.
Under the fold I will discuss the writing which will go into a spoiler territory, so if you want to discover the twists for yourself please do not read further.
In the far-off time of 2003, Wizards of the Coast published an expansion to the rules of its popular Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game known as Savage Species. It’s purpose was to allow players to choose one of the many monsters the game featured as a playable race and still allow them to play with players sticking with one of the Player’s Handbook pre-approved playable races, who were either human or basically humans, just with pointy ears or a shorter build than normal.
The appeal to furries is obvious. The Monster Manual contained various anthropomorphic animal races, including minotaurs, gnolls, kobolds and many others that furries would almost rather certainly play than just vanilla humans and the human adjacent. In addition, tucked into the third appendix of Savage Species was added a new “creature template”, which could be added to existing creatures, specifically animals. That template was known as “anthropomorphic animal.”
Unfortunately, this was the far off time of 2003, and the reputation of the furry fandom among other geek cultures was not good. Wizards of the Coast didn’t mind if furries wanted to buy their expensive add-on books, but they also wanted to make sure to signal to all the other non-furry geeks this wasn’t a furry book and also they didn’t really like furries either. They did this with the selection of the example animal that the template was applied to: a donkey, which we’ve covered the symbolism of elsewhere.
There’s a problem comparing Space Jam: A New Legacy to the original Space Jam. I could say the new movie lives up to old one; but the thing is, despite its popularity over the last quarter century, the verdict of whether or not it’s any good is still very much undecided.
That’s always been a bit of a mystery to me, however, because the original Space Jam is fine. It’s a movie for kids, and I was actually a bit old for it when it first came out, but I remember smaller kids than me absolutely loved it, so instant pass right there. Target audience likes it, you win. I rewatched it last year while binging a bunch of Looney Tunes stuff while in pandemic lockdown. I enjoyed it. Lots of the jokes held up. You’re a comedy. You make me laugh. There’s another instant pass. It’s fine. That’s my mini stealth review of the original Space Jam in my Space Jam: A New Legacy review. So you got two Space Jam reviews for the price of one. You’re welcome.
The movie Space Jam: A New Legacy is about LeBron James (charmingly credited as “Himself”) playing basketball with a bunch of Looney Tunes. It is a mixture of live action, CGI animation and hand drawn animation, directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It is playing in theaters now, or is available to stream until August 15 on HBO Max for those with a subscription to that service. It is also fine.
This is the part of the review where I should say which Space Jam is better, but actually if you get the HBO Max subscription, they also have the original to stream, plus a decent collection of the original shorts, some of the more modern iterations of the property, including the The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, The Looney Tunes Show, New Looney Tunes (a.k.a. Wabbit!), the HBO Max original Looney Tunes Cartoons and even something called Baby Looney Tunes: Musical Adventures – which I don't think shares a common target audience with Flayrah, but if that's your jam, you do you. So I'd recommend doing that.
A Whisker Away (trailer) is an anime film about a young Japanese teenager who gains the ability to turn into a cat. Released in the summer of 2020, it was written by Mari Okada, directed by Junichi Sato and Tomotaka Shibayama, and animated by Studio Colorido. Its original title is Nakitai Watashi wa Neko o Kaburu, which translates to "Wanting to cry, I pretend to be a cat".
The main protagonist is a girl in her early teens, nicknamed Muge. She's madly in love with Hinode, a boy in her class who doesn't appreciate her advances. One night, she encounters a mysterious anthropomorphic feline who offers to sell her a magical mask. With it, Muge can turn into a cat and spend time with Hinode, getting to know him better. As she switches back and forth, she begins to wonder if she'd prefer to be a cat, rather than a human - but doesn't know what it might cost her.
A few weeks ago, con chairman Samuel Conway wrote a Twitter thread about how a customer was stiffed by a seller in the Dealer's Den at Anthrocon.
OK, I just deleted a long thread where I detailed how an unscrupulous fursuit maker made Anthrocon look bad in the eyes of our friends in Pittsburgh. I intended to demonstrate that the whole "well, that's just how furries do business" affects ALL of us, not just one or two.
— Uncle Kage (@Unclekage) June 18, 2021
Bad business practices have been an ongoing issue in furry fandom. Taking the money and running is not only detrimental from a financial angle; it erodes trust in our fellow fans, and embitters the dreams of getting fursuits and art commissions. Since this frustrating problem has now reached a level where it's occurring within our Dealer's Dens, it also threatens to harm the reputations of the entrepreneurs who call those marketplaces home. If the fandom wants to secure the economic integrity of its spaces, new solutions will need to be developed to protect the honest exchange of goods and services.
Today we go over the harm that these situations cause, the extent and mitigation that furry fandom has committed already, and finally present a baseline of discussion for solutions to bring a sense of security back to the furry buyer.
2017’s Rock Dog probably will never make lists of acknowledged “cult movies” published by the more “mainstream” movie press, but you could argue that just helps its cult movie street cred. Once a movie has become known enough to be catalogued and categorized, is it still really a cult object? Rock Dog, I predict, will continue to be largely forgotten in the annals of cinema, or even animation. Only the true, blue fans will remember.
Of course, those true, blue fans are furries. Rock Dog is a cult movie within the furry fandom. Put it another way, yeah, furries like Zootopia. On one hand, it makes sense furries would like it, but on the other hand it’s a beloved movie that was hailed as a classic by plenty of non-furries from it’s release. You can like Zootopia without joining the furry fandom pretty easily, but if you even saw Rock Dog and decided you liked it, you might want to check this furry thing out.
Which is not to say if you didn’t like the original, you have to turn in your conbadge. First of all, that would be gatekeeping, and that’s wrong. But second of all, Rock Dog is by no means a perfect movie. I loved it, but the sequel, Rock Dog 2: Rock around the Park, going to the 2020s equivalent of straight to video (it technically went to various streaming platforms first) makes sense.
As it turns out, Flayrah never reviewed Five Nights at Freddy’s when it was released to much fanfare in 2014. But to be fair it never won an Ursa Major, getting beat by a Pokemon remaster in 2014 and Undertale in 2015. What a bullet the furries dodged on that one, huh?
You see, in recent days, the independent creator of the franchise, Steven Cawthon, had his sizable political contributions to members of the Trumpian Brigade(™) picked up by Social Media. The candidates in said brigade typically speak about the subversion of American Values and see people who are outside those “Values” as an enemy. They use this fear to get people to donate money to them.
To highlight this, we see Cawthon’s statement in response to this revelation. "I felt [Trump] was the best man to fuel a strong economy and stand up to America's enemies abroad, of which there are many" he goes onto indicate that he prioritizes the need for this foreign defense over the issues of American citizens' treatment by their own government with, "even if there were candidates who had better things to say to the LGBT community directly, and bigger promises to make, I believed that their stances on other issues would have ended up doing much greater harm to those communities than good"
Basically he is noting that we should fear foreign governments more than we should our domestic one. Which is usually a position that people who are generally left alone by their own government can comfortably have.
Interestingly it is this quote that made me think of the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s in a whole new way. So let’s go down this Bonny hole— metaphorically, you freakin’ furrys!
The style is heavily influenced by noir detective stories, with a dash of science-fiction. Set in a dystopian Vancouver, British Columbia, all the characters are anthropomorphic mammals. You play as Howard Lotor, a raccoon private investigator, trying to find evidence of an affair. To say things do not go as planned would be a vast understatement.
The game is surprisingly short, you can finish it in around four to five hours. After playing it, it felt like it had so much potential, but didn't deliver as much as it could have.
Claws of Furry is a game that gives you the ability to play with multiple friends as you scratch your way through four worlds with varying baddies, trying to save your master, who's been kidnapped by what appears to be Lady and the Tramp's Trusty in a mech suit.
As cool as this sounds, this game is not too polished and I would only recommend it for those that adore the brawler genre so much that they have to play every one of them. It may also be good for fans of the old-school Flash game feel. However, in general there are better brawlers out there, with more punch for your buck.
The adventure genre can sometimes seem a bit prehistoric, but that works just fine when your adventure game is about dinosaurs.
Zniw Adventure, developed by an independent two-person Polish team, hits on all the right nostalgic marks as it tells the story of a yellow dino by the name of Zniw (pronounced Zniff), and her journey to get home in time for her mother’s birthday.
But will this game give the genre new life like a mosquito from Jurassic Park? Or will the game make you wish games like this would go extinct? It will more likely be the former if you're a fan of a good point and click.
Keeping up with Flayrah's decades-long tradition of not reviewing (or even covering) animated shows until well after it's necessary, let's discuss Helluva Boss, a show about the misadventures of four demons from Hell who work as assassins.
I'd say most of Flayrah's audience is well aware of Helluva Boss. It would have won the 2020 Ursa Major Award for Best Dramatic Series, but then Beastars had to be translated into English, so never mind. Flayrah has a piece on Beastars currently planned for 2023. Furthermore, Helluva Boss is free on YouTube, and unlike My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, that's actually on purpose.
Granted there's only one character who is truly furry, and that's Loona the Hellhound. To be fair, she is really furry. On e621, "loona_(vivzmind)" results in over 2000 hits, so that's not too bad. To be less fair, she has the smallest role of the four main characters, to the point where her entire appearance in the second episode consists of her screaming obscenities offscreen. And in the episode that features her for any extended period of time, she's magically disguised as a human for the majority of it.
That being said, I'm still going to recommend furries at least try the series, because it features interesting non-human (if not exactly furry) character design. It has pretty good animation for a free YouTube series, and although it's got a dark, cynical sense of humor, it balances that with a strong moral center. That last one may come as a surprise, seeing as how the premise of the show is that the characters' job is to kill people.
Do feline puns make you cat-atonic or drive you to hiss-teria? Then this game is not for you and you can move on. However if you can’t get enough of the purrfect punny feline punchlines, and like going on a dungeon crawling adventure with action RPG mechanics then carry on.
Cat Quest is a very streamlined and slick action RPG with a catty protagonist. Or at least their spirit companion is, as for the hero themselves they are traditionally silent. However, the other Non-Playable Cats (hereby refurred to as NPCs) are loaded with charm, purrsonality, and the aforementioned cat puns.
Hayop Ka! ("You Animal!") is an adult 2D animated film from the Philippines, in which all the characters are anthropomorphic animals. Released in 2020, it was directed by Avid Liongoren, who co-wrote it along with Manny Angeles and Paulle Olivenza, and was produced by Rocketsheep Studio and Spring Films.
The story revolves around a cat named Nimfa (played by Angelica Panganiban), who works at a perfume counter in a department store in the city of Manila. She's been living with her boyfriend for over a year, a large, burly mongrel named Roger (played by Robin Padilla) who works as a janitor. She has doubts about their long-term prospects, so when she meets Inigo, a rich, tycoon husky (played by Sam Milby), a love triangle quickly develops. This is a very adult movie! All three want to have an active sexual life, with varying degrees of commitment.
Wish Dragon (trailer) is a computer-animated film from the Sony Pictures Animation International Initiative, a fancy way of saying "international co-production", in this case between Sony and several studios in China. Concept art made the rounds in 2018, and they hoped to finish it in 2019. For whatever reason, it didn't get released until January 15, 2021 - in China - so this review is of the Chinese dub with English subtitles.
A little backstory. When Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008, it had so much artistic attention to cultural detail that China kicked their animation industry into high gear. In the twelve years since then, they've become a powerhouse of animation. Recently, there's been a slow-growing effort to make their films more exportable. Some efforts have fallen flat, like the sadly-overlooked Rock Dog; but with Mosley and Wish Dragon I'm optimistic that there'll be more co-productions to come!