A video released last weekend caught viral attention both inside and outside the furry fandom. In gthis presentation, a member of a rap group known as the Insane Clown Posse talked with his daughter about being swindled by an online marketplace selling inferior fursuit knockoffs.
Violent J of the ICP and his daughter, introduced as Ruby, discussed their personal experience with an online retailer of OISK, a seller on the website DHGate. The family-friendly breakdown goes over how the final product differed greatly from what was advertised on the site.
The well-produced skit is a good conversation starter, particularly when it comes to the topic of these organizations that would take advantage of the dreams of future fursuiters by siphoning money in return for low-quality costumes.
The Ursa Major Awards, established in 2001, are a recognition of furry media across several categories, only some of which are literary. Anyone in the fandom can nominate and vote. The Cóyotl awards, formed in 2012, are specifically literary, and are selected by members of the Furry Writers' Guild – although winners don't have to be in that group.
The Leo Awards have a different arrangement. It was founded by Furry Book Review, a multi-author blog started by Thurston Howl of Thurston Howl Publications (which is separate from the Awards). Nominations can come from the blog's reviewers, or from published authors with enough credibility. Reviewers aren't required to be writers themselves, so the prolific reader can have a say in nominating the stories they like the best.
The furry fandom has a problem. At least that is what is heard when you go onto Twitter, Youtube, or any other social media gathering on the internet these days. As the United States continues to have moments of harsh self reflection as to what their country and leadership represent, the frustrations of those in the fandom from the states has seemingly turned inward on itself.
Many are debating over free speech, its boundaries, and how it is under attack. There is one large article by Rakuen about it on this site, and another by the creator of Dreamkeepers on DogPatch Press. In addition, one particular furry comedian who has received heavy criticism as of late, 2 Gryphon, has decided to join the group of Alt-Furrys in posturing opposition to those that would oppose his views on what freedom of speech should entail.
However, my definition of exercising free speech is a bit different than most would see it. For to me, the meaning of exercising here is not the commonly defined physical exertion required to talk, but instead to expose and cast out the demons schakeling one’s soul and community in hopes of ousting it from the spirit and freeing them from those binds.
So in that sense, let’s strap in and prepare for the long and painstaking process of this exorcism of free speech and its relationship to furry fandom.
For the first time in eleven years, Bad Dog Books has added a new anthology title to its popular FANG and ROAR book series. FANG was started in 2005 for adult M/M homosexual erotic short stories, and ROAR appeared two years later as its non-erotic counterpart. Now we're getting CLAW, for adult F/F lesbian erotic short stories. Along with many other titles, CLAW will be released at the FurPlanet table at Anthrocon 2018.
Exploring New Places, a new anthology edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Anthrocon 2018 this coming week (July 5-8), and can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet! They should be at tables A13-A15 at Anthrocon.
This is an all-original collection of 19 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals venturing into unfamiliar places - in their own city, on their own world, in space, or in a different dimension entirely.
Whether by the power of music to send you right out of this world; or a rabbit spaceship captain who's searching for the creators of her species; a galactic police agent called to a new planet to solve murders; aliens entering a human university; a gorilla student wandering off in a museum; or two-tailed squirrels confronting interstellar explorers - these are stories for your imagination and entertainment, designed to appeal to fans of both science-fiction and fantasy.
Following on from my review of Monster Mind, I metaphorically sat down with Argon Vile to discuss the game. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and consistency. Let's jump straight into it!
Rakuen: In the credits, you say Monster Mind was pretty much just done by you, although you took various assets from others. How long did it take to put everything together and what kept you motivated through it all?
Argon Vile: Development of Monster Mind began in January 2016 and finished in April 2018. When I first started the project, I tried to strike a balance between working on the game and working on my art. But after six months, I realized the scope of what I was creating, how long it would take. I decided to fully focus on the game, but I was still dissatisfied with the amount of progress I was making. I eventually adopted a motivational technique Jerry Seinfeld popularized, which is to take a physical wall calendar (being physical is important) and set a daily goal for yourself. My goal was to work on my game for one hour. Every day that I worked on my game, I would put an X on the calendar for that day. And eventually I would accumulate a string of five or 10 Xs in a row, and it would feel good. And that was my goal; don't break the chain.
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.