Farewell to a Great Decade in Anime…

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

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This past decade was one of the best we’ve had in anime. No matter what your personal tastes were, there were plenty of anime to choose from. Many anime reviewers took the time to do a top ten anime of the decade list, paying special attention to the most noteworthy titles that came out in the past ten years.

I honestly wanted to try doing that as well. The reason I ultimately chose not to write a list of my own, comes down to the fact there are too many great anime to choose from. Some of them are downright genre defining for a new generation of anime fans, and that alone has merit.

The number of worthy anime that I’ve seen this decade is staggering to say the least. For example, when crafting my list I ended up with around thirty of them. There was no good way to narrow the titles down. I realized just how impossible that task was going to be, and I decided better of it.

Picking a top ten list is hard enough for any given year, let alone a decade. What makes it even harder is that 2010-2019 saw a resurgence of remakes, re-dubs, and blue ray releases of classic anime. This opened the door for new fans to find old favorites. Older fans, like myself, were given the opportunity to revisit those nostalgic anime experiences in a new way.

So that said, instead of making a top ten list, I’d simply like to say that this decade was a great decade for anime. Sure, we’ve had our fair share of bumps and bruises, too. There were shows the missed the mark, and tragedies in the industry that will take years to heal. In spite of the negatives, anime thrives, and the communities who support it thrive too.

Below is a long list, in no particular order, of note worthy anime from the decade. I don’t want to number them, or give them a ranking. I just want to look at the splendor of all of the titles. Each of them have their own reasons for being landmark series. Keep in mind, these are only the anime I’ve seen and recall off the top of my head. If your favorite anime of the decade isn’t in the wall of text below, don’t take it personally.

Some of the best anime from 2010-2019 include the following: Ancient Magus Bride, Space Brothers, Erased, Attack on Titian, Demon Slayer, Vinland Saga, A Place Further Than the Universe, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, The Promised Neverland, Ano-hana, Mob Psycho 100, Golden Kamuy, Psycho Pass, Bloom Into You, One Punch Man, Beastars, Terror in Resonance, Assassination Classroom, Noragami, Hunter x Hunter, Ascendance of a Bookworm, Yuri On Ice, Zombieland Saga, New Game, Hibike Euphonium, A Silent Voice, Your Lie in April, Snow White with the Red Hair, The World Is Still Beautiful, Fruit’s Basket Remake, Your Name, My Hero Academia, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Hyouka, Death Parade, Maho Shoujo Madoka Magica, Violet Evergarden, Wolf Children, Made in Abyss, Angel Beats, Mushishi, March Comes in Like a Lion, Megalo Box, K-on!, Durarara!!, Dororo, Aggreatsuko, Ping Pong the Animation, and probably so many others too…

That is one big wall of text. All of them are just names in a vast sea, but each anime listed above is memorable to me in one way or another. I know there are anime that I’ve missed, haven’t watched, or I’ve forgotten about entirely. That just goes to show just how many awesome shows we had to choose from every year, and how impossible it was to enjoy them all at once.

I hope that the next decade continues to provide amazing content. I know for a fact that this winter season of 2020 will be packed full of interesting choices, and I’ve already got my watch-list ready. Honestly, I just can’t wait to dive in and enjoy each new anime experience I come across in 2020 and the future.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

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Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


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Fandom: Nostalgia In Fandom

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

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Is there such a thing as being blinded by nostalgia? Even if there is, is that necessarily a bad thing? Those are two questions I often ask myself as I re-visit older series that I take such great joy in. I have to wonder, is the creative medium that I’m consuming actually good? Or is it simply my fond memories that bring me back to older media time and time again?

I’m honestly not sure if I have the answer to any of those questions. I also don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer to any of them. When I re-visit a series or play a game, I try to reflect on my past experiences. Sometimes they’re good, and other times they’re not. Either way, I believe that nostalgia is part of the reason I’m always drawn back to older media.

Does that mean I’m blinded by my nostalgia?

No, I don’t think so. I don’t actually think there is such a thing as “nostalgia blindness”. I think the phrase is a knee-jerk reaction to a greater problem. Times change, and so does media along with it.

I think all media should be viewed through two equally important lenses. There are two factors at play, and they both deserve a discussion.

The First Lens: Time

The first lens is that media is a product of its time. As times change, so does everything around us. Media that was at one point the cultural norm,may one day be seen as obsolete or problematic. Therefore, the questions we should ask are actually quite simple.

Why was that piece of media made in the first place? What were the social, cultural, and economic norms at the time? Does the media hold up to those norms, or, does it subvert them? Lastly, does that media uphold any value at all in the current day and age?

If we look at media through that lens, we get to experience it on a very fundamental level. These questions give a looking glass into history. The most imperfect and morally grey pieces of media might still hold that value under that context.

Even if it is just to say that we have grown, evolved, and learned better from our past mistakes that has value. Also, older media serves as a teaching aid of just how we’ve moved forward, and in what ways we still need to do so.

The Second Lens: Personal Experience

The second lens is something far more personal. Each piece of media can raise more nuanced questions. Ones that don’t hold simple answers beneath all of the subtext.

Whether we consume media, or reject it, it’s important that we don’t to it mindlessly. Instead, we should be asking ourselves why we enjoy the media we consume.

What does that media mean to the viewer? What value does it hold for the people who consume it? Why does that particular piece of media speak to them, when another similar piece might not? These are questions of introspection and discovery.

Through this second lens, viewers become empowered. Even the most trite piece of commentary, slap-stick humor, or questionable message might breed a greater discussion.

An Example

Let’s dive down the rabbit hole, shall we?

Books like “The Catcher in the Rye” come to mind. It contains elements that I would certainly deem problematic, but to cast aside the work would cast aside greater history.

Anime like “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” for example, comes to mind specifically because it draws so heavily from “The Catcher in the Rye“. As an anime fan, I can only respect that it draws so much inspiration and introspection from the classic book.

What about “The Matrix” movie franchise? Did you know that universe was inspired by “Ghost in the Shell” and the anime medium?

There are examples of this in almost every ounce of media you come across. Media being the touch-stone that it is, will always have problematic content. It is only through careful discourse and consideration that media can evolve and change with the times.

In Conclusion

Respectful commentary, and a healthy dose of nostalgia will always play a role in changing the future. Media will always be made by people who are inspired by the past to make a better future. Choosing to forget our past simply because it becomes dated will only bury our previous failings along with it.

We should never risk burying our collective history. Once that happens, we are doomed to repeat lessons that should have already been learned.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as being blinded by nostalgia. However, there is such a thing as denial. Either casting aside the many failings in old media itself, or the greater implications that such media had on society.

We should acknowledge all media for what it is; a looking glass. Once we do that, we escape the confines that bind media down to society and we can use it as a tool. Media is powerful, it is influential, and it does have the power to change the world for a greater good. Media’s problematic history becomes part of that. It reject old media entirely risks a repeat our mistakes.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

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At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


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Is Beastars Really Just for Furries? Nope!

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs. New content has also been added.

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Beastars is a great anime, and no, it isn’t just for furries. In fact, it’s far from it. No, really, I’m serious. Beastars offers fans of the series a meticulously crafted world and compelling characters. Both qualities are the bare minimum for a halfway decent anime, but Beastars goes the extra mile. The anime is beautifully animated, there’s no question about that.

So why did the show garner such a strong stigma when it first released?

Upon first glance, this is actually a pretty difficult question to answer. The simple answer is that it just looks like a furry show. For those of us who don’t identify as furries, that can be a little off-putting. However I’d say the issue goes a little deeper.


In general, furries get a bad reputation across all kinds of mainstream media. For example, the widely popularized NCIS television series has a bad habit of throwing shade at the anime and gaming fandom. There have been episodes where a few off-handed remarks painted furries in a bad light. Now this problem has gotten way better in recent years on NCIS but doesn’t erase the history of the show, or the fact that those old episodes still air on television.

I can’t imagine how the furry community feels when it comes to mainstream media, and I wouldn’t care to speculate. Frankly, I don’t identify as a furry, and I don’t speak on behalf of the community, nor would I ever want to.

What I can say is that some of the backhanded comments made on the crime drama, particularly in the earliest parts of the series still prick at my sensibilities in a wholly unsatisfying way, and I’m just an anime fan and a gamer.

If mainstream media perpetuates those stigmas too, then what about the anime community? Surely we would have been more enlightened, right?

Well, I don’t have the answer to that one.

Beastars didn’t do itself any favors with it’s promotional material for those of us that didn’t originally follow the manga. Moreover, Beastars has a barrier to entry that’s a little steep.

That being said, when the anime started airing, I couldn’t help but wonder where the series was going to go. From a narrative perspective, the anime just seems odd. It revolves around anthropomorphic animals. The anime isn’t just about bunny and cat girls. Every character, both male and female are animals with human characteristics.

They walk on two legs and speak normally, but the characters are still animals. While animal instincts tend to crop up from time-to-time in each episode, it isn’t exactly the core theme of the show. At least, not in the way you’d entirely expect.

So, given the murmurs about Beastars, and the initial knee-jerk reaction that came along with it from non-furry anime fans, I knew I had to see the series for myself.

My conclusion is this: Beastars, while somewhat strange, it is not just a furry anime. In fact, it is far from it. I wouldn’t say that it’s a “must see” show, or that it’s a pinnacle anime that everyone should watch.

Instead, I would say that it is a rare show, and a diamond in the rough. Yearly anime line-ups usually hosts a slog of repetitive, formulaic shows. If that’s you’re thing, awesome.

But, it isn’t my thing.

I don’t like watching rehashes of the same types of shows over, and over, and over again. Beastars is the breath of fresh air that I sorely needed.

Now, as I said before Beastars has a barrier of entry. I believe that for some people, it might be a steep one. It will demand that you leave your preconceived notions at the door. The reason I’m speaking so generically about this series is because it is extremely easy to give off the wrong impression of this show.

The core themes are deep, vast, and very nuanced. Not to go into spoilers, but some of the themes revolve around psychological impulse, trafficking, oppression, addiction, and the confines of society. That is what I mean by a barrier to entry. It never quite goes too far, but it is just dark enough.

I certainly came away from Beastars with several personal qualms. I won’t get into what I think is truly problematic, purely because that’s a very subjective concept. Also, what I dislike toes a fine line. I’m not quite sure how to articulate or even categorize those thoughts cleanly and concisely. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.

Beastars demands its viewers to challenge their own perceptions. Anime as a creative medium, has a power to really challenge a viewers personal outlook. This anime could do that, if you give it a chance. Or, it could simply just annoy you. There are times this anime did both for me.

Now, there’s an interesting discussion to be made about how the series portrays racial tensions using species as a metaphor. It questions social divides, and the inevitable problems that come along with that. It even manages to do it in a very pragmatic way. It’s approachable, but it’s also unnerving.

This anime balances on a very slippery slope in a lot of different ways, and this is one of them. As an American, that particular part of the anime is one of the areas that I take extreme issue with.

I’m not sure how I feel about how the anime handles racial tension in its metaphors. Mind you, I realize that this comes from my American sensibilities, and my personal upbringing. In America, comparing someone to an animal tends to come off as racism, and this anime toes a strange line.

To give an example, there are two different species of rabbits in this series that don’t get along. Some of things that are said in dialogue exchanges are just flat out uncomfortable for me to watch. That being said, I am not the one qualified to lead any sort of discussion on this particular sort of topic.

I just wanted to point out that the metaphor is there, and that it can be questionable.

So, with everything I’ve just said in mind, I think every anime fan who wants a unique experience should watch Beastars at least once in their lives. This is not a mindless show. It is not furry pandering.

Beastars is literally a narrative beast all of it’s own, and it cannot be aptly compared to anything else that I’ve ever seen in anime.

If you do choose to watch Beastars, be aware of the core themes. Understand that it can get dark pretty quickly. A lot of concepts in the anime are very morally grey. If you do watch the series, keep that in mind.

This had been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

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Fandom: Musical Artist – Boyinaband

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

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Hey’s everyone, it’s Kernook here.

I’m keeping it simple today as I sit here listening to music. I enjoy a lot of creators, and their music. I’d like to highlight that so. So here’s a blog post about one creator I enjoy listening to often.

As a standard disclaimer; I’m not being paid by Boyinaband for this post. Nobody solicited my opinion. I have not met this artist personally. I have not seen Boyinaband live in concert.

This is merely a fan related post. I highly encourage you check out his channel. In general you can find his music on YouTube and Spotify. I often frequent his channel to listen to his lyrical poetry. However, if that isn’t to your tastes he also produces other content too.

Dave From “BoyInABand”.

I tend to find his music to be pure artistry. That was the only qualifier that I found necessary to recommend his channel. If you would like to see his content for yourself, you should follow the link to his channel below.

Boyinaband’s YouTube Channel

His actual name is Dave. As a creator he loves music as a medium, and it shows. Dave often collaborates with other YouTube creators. Unlike his YouTube name implies, however, he is not currently in a band.

Not anymore, anyway.

Some of his collaborations include video game inspired raps from popular games at the time. Along with other YouTube creators, those catchy beats are notable all on their own. However, I want to highlight one of his songs that isn’t inspired by the gaming medium.

If I were to suggest a song from him, it would be “I’m not dead”. The weighted words in the song resonate with me. It speaks a great deal about the daily struggles a person might face, and the logic we use to contradict ourselves constantly.

It’s a song that underlines the reality that people are not infallible. That even if we hate aspects of our personality, we can choose to change ourselves. The message shows that even if that’s a difficult thing to do, it’s not impossible.

His lyrical rhymes dance a fine balancing act of negativity and hope.

This song is a critical look at the creator’s own human condition, imperfect as it is. At the end of the day, I relate well with music like his. If you’re interested, you should check out his channel.

This has been Kernook from The Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

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Anime Review: Sweetness and Lightning

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

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Sweetness and Lightning is a slice of life series that aired in 2016. At its core there’s a story about family, grief, and finding a place to belong.

These themes are wrapped up nicely in a show that centers around the heart of every home, the kitchen. On the surface, this is a cooking series. Beneath that, each dish that the characters make provide catharsis for their struggles.

The anime isn’t dark by any stretch of the imagination. In spite of the themes surrounding it, the series is very upbeat. The writing is masterful, but it’s not deep. Each emotional issue is handled maturely, but, the series itself can easily appeal to almost all ages. At the end of the day, the story is about familial love, and finding comfort in places that the characters would least expect them.

The anime is an adaptation of a manga with the same name. The adaptation is true to its source material, diverting only slightly when the narrative demands it. Those occasions are rare, minor, and actually make the anime a better viewing experience. The subtle changes aren’t always easy to notice, and that’s the way it should be.

The twelve episode series follows two very different family dynamics. It focuses on both equally, but, one family stands out more.

The Inuzuka Family

The first family is a father and daughter. Kōhei Inuzuka is left a widower after his wife’s passing. His daughter, Tsumugi Inuzuka is still quite young. She’s only in kindergarten, and therefore she’s solely dependent on her dad for almost every need. Kōhei struggles with the demands of being a single parent.

Working a full time job as a teacher and seeing after his youngster are large emotional commitments. He is not a homemaker, and he has no idea how to fill the void his wife left behind.

The Iida Family

The second family follows the Iida family. Kotori is a student in his class. She spends a lot of her time alone, both at home and at school. She’s a loner by choice and routine. Her mother is often away, having a very small role in the anime. The absence of Kotori’s mother is a driving force for her loneliness in the series.

Kotori has a passion for food. Since her mother is an acclaimed celebrity chef, she knows her way around the kitchen. However, her incredible fear of knives keeps her from enjoying that passion to the fullest.

Mundane Life

This is not an action filled series. It is not full of suspense or plot twists. There are not a lot of over the top “anime style” gags, and you won’t find many standard tropes clogging up the anime either.

Even among the slice-of-life anime often provided to fans, this show is something that might appeal to a “non-anime” fan due to its down to earth nature.

The series asks its viewers to sit down and enjoy a relaxing story. Sweetness and Lightning is episodic, and mundanity is literally everywhere.

This is a series that finds its excitement by characters interacting within the confines of every day life. Each struggle begins and ends with one key component; the family dynamic.

The story opens with the the facts of life at the Inuzuka home in plain view. Six months before the series begins, the love of Kōhei’s life passed away. He’s still grieving, and trying to make ends meet. As a single father, this is no small task.

Kōhei has no idea how to cook, and so he lives off of ready made meals, serving his daughter the same. These foods aren’t healthy. Often times, they aren’t even tasty. His wife had been the one to make the family meals, but with her passing it now falls onto him.

Kōhei fails to keep a largely stocked kitchen, and can’t prepared the dishes his daughter loves to eat most. Worst of all for him, his daughter often comments on this.

While still grieving himself, he feels incredibly guilty that he can’t live up the memory of her mother.

Tsumugi obviously misses her mom, but the concept of death is a foreign concept to the little girl. She can’t quite grasp it, and the way she mourns reflects this. Everything is in the little details for her. She complains that meals have become different now. She gets upset with the changes in her routine.

The things her mom used to do are now in her father’s hands, and Tsumugi has to cope with those changes. It’s all very age appropriate, and fits the narrative well. It never comes off as “too much”, and it isn’t overbearing either. There are plenty of scenes that follow her day-to-day life too, and the conflicts that she runs into. Both at school and at home.

To that point, I want to reiterate that Sweetness and Lightning is a very down to earth series. Tsumugi is a little girl, and she acts like one. She can be very bright and cheerful. However, like all small children Tsumugi throws her fair share of tantrums too.

She’ll pick at her food, or reject it entirely. She’ll babble nonsense, or fight back a little when she’s scolded by her dad.

She is a very accurate depiction of a child. If you don’t like children, this aspect could easily get on your nerves. Tsumugi is such a major character in the anime that you can’t avoid her. She has way too much screen time to be ignored.

Unlike other family style anime that may have a child in it, this series focuses on those complexities. Kōhei’s personal story is about the difficulties of being a parent. Tsumugi is her own unique character, and she does challenge her father.

Meanwhile, Kotori is an average teenage girl. Her passion for cooking aside, she can be a bit of a wallflower. She does have one close friend her own age named Shinobu. The character makes occasional appearances every now and then.

Other than that, Kotori mostly spends time on her own. As an only child of divorced parents, she’s used to being independent.

The only interesting character quirk she has is a terrible fear of knives. She managed to cut herself pretty badly as a child, and the fear of knives persists because of it. Other than that, Kotori isn’t very interesting on her own.

What truly uplifts Kotori as a character is the way she interacts with Tsumugi and Kōhei.

The student and teacher dynamic between them slowly shifts into one of friendship. At the high school, Kōhei maintains his position of authority. After school hours, he begins to treat Kotori as an equal.

The way that Kotori proves herself capable of assisting with Tsumugi helps to lessen the divide between them. As the series goes on, the way these two families merge help to fill the respective voids between them.

The Kitchen: The Heart of Every Home

Obviously, if you don’t like anime centered around cooking, you won’t like this. A vast majority of the scenes take place in the kitchen. It focuses on how meals are prepared, and the steps it takes to make a home cooked meal. Learning these basic steps remain the foundation of the series as a whole.

Kotori’s mother owns a restaurant, although it usually remains closed. Through a series of events, Tsumugi acts as the balm to eventually tie this odd trio together. The three of them end up gathering regularly at the restaurant, learning to make home cooked meals. They eat together and treat each other as a family.

As the characters spend more time together, old pains begin to lessen significantly. The two broken families start to redefine what it means to be a family in the first place.

The teacher becomes the student, perhaps the only actual plot twist in the show. Still, it’s no surprise to the viewer. Kōhei learns his way around a kitchen with Kotori’s help. She knows more than he does, and it’s good that the dynamic shifts here. It shows that the characters mutually respect each other.

With all of her mother’s recipes at her disposal, they work together to make each dish. Kotori finds comfort in spending time with Kōhei as well. She also gets along well with Tsumugi, eventually treating her like a younger sibling.

There is a saying that families are made around the dinner table, and this anime examines that. As time goes on, more friends join in on the nightly gatherings, forming strong bonds.

Although nothing inappropriate ever goes on between Kōhei and Kotori, the connection they build runs deep. You could choose to see something beyond a platonic friendship if you wanted. However, the anime only provides minor subtext for that. You’d honestly have to be looking for romance in places that it just isn’t.

Kotori’s emotional state shifts as the series progresses. Shinobu, her best friend even takes notice. She states that Kotori seems to be at her happiest whenever she’s cooking food and eating with the Inuzuka family. Kotori’s mother eventually meets Kōhei and Tsumugi. She finds herself grateful that her daughter found such good people to have in her life and encourages their time together to continue.

The changes over time for Kōhei and Tsumugi are also noteworthy. Kōhei becomes more capable as a father. When he finds himself lacking, Kotori helps to influence the way he deals with his daughter’s outbursts. Tsumugi becomes happier in general, and truly enjoys her time spent with Kotori.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t like anime with kids actually acting according to their age, skip it. Tsumugi is unavoidable as a character. She is a child, and she unequivocally acts like it.

On the other side of the coin, if you’re looking for a romantic series with a significant age gap between the characters, this is not it. You’re going to have to look hard for that subtext and frankly there are just better anime out there for that sort of romantic entanglement.

Sweetness and Lightning is about family, the cultivation of strong familial bonds, coping with loss, and overcoming grief. These are the themes that make the cooking aspect of the anime so powerful. They are the absolute core of everything, without fail.

Trying to take any of that out of context, for any reason, probably won’t serve you well.

The animation in the series is good, and holds up adequately enough. Like all anime that revolve around food, the animation sees a spike in quality when meals are displayed.

Some of them look good enough to eat, and appear more appealing than their real world counterparts.

The musical design is spot on, and enjoyable. Like the series itself, it doesn’t try to be over the top. It won’t stand out over the scenes, and I don’t find it memorable outside of that. The music only serves to be complimentary towards the series. The opening and ending songs are enjoyable for what they offer, but, they won’t make any of my top ten lists any time soon.

The anime leaves these two families as fast friends. There is subtext that the two might become one later down the line. However, that isn’t written in stone. The subject of romance itself is not something that is heavily addressed, and that’s fine. It shouldn’t be.

The anime never pulls a “Usagi Drop” moment either, and Kōhei’s friendship with Kotori is respectful at all times. It never crosses into questionable territory or inappropriate power dynamics.

Sweetness and Lightning is everything the title says. It is a very sweet series. The darkness that comes with it doesn’t overtake the series as a whole. Instead, the sadness is brief, but carefully included. The anime strives to tell a simple story, with a simple conclusion.

In the end, it provides strictly what it promises, and very little more.

It doesn’t necessarily fall into the “cute girls doing cute things” trope, and I wouldn’t call it a “healing” anime either. I didn’t feel refreshed or renewed after watching it.

The fact is that slice-of-life is its nearest comparison, but that’s a lackluster description of the series too. None of these categories do the show the justice it deserves.

Although I enjoyed it, and I would watch it again, for me it’s just a popcorn anime. The series is addictive in the moment, and its very easy to consume. The episodic nature makes it a joy to binge watch. This, coupled with the fact that it’s only twelve episodes long makes it an ideal choice during a lazy Saturday afternoon.

It’s a tame viewing experience. Those qualities make Sweetness and Lightning a top contender for family style anime of this nature.

I would say that Sweetness and Lightning is merely a story about life. It doesn’t go anywhere particular, and it doesn’t need to. There are very few anime that can put so much heart and soul into such a mundane story. That alone makes it worth a watch if you like shows that center around family dynamics.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


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Gameplay: Kreshenne Plays Jazz Jackrabbit

In the video below, Kreshenne takes on Jazz Jackrabbit, a somewhat difficult platformer developed and published by Epic MegaGames. Originally released in 1994 for PC on the DOS operating system, this game saw a fairly decent player base in it’s heyday. Nowadays, Speed runners return to the game, showcasing impressive speeds, glitches, and more.

Sadly, there’s no such impressive feats of skill here. Just Kresh getting annoyed and Kern laughing at all havoc.

Kresh Plays: Jazz Jackrabbit


More About The Game

Hey everyone, Kernook here. I just want to give a little bit more information about the game for those who haven’t played it or heard of it before. Hopefully you enjoy the gameplay video above, but let’s talk about the game a bit.

Jazz Jackrabbit also saw releases for Mac and Windows in 1995 and 1996. It was one of the first titles to bring platformer games to computers. The game was re-released on GOG.com in November of 2017.

Notable titles in the series include: Jazz Jackrabbit 2 (1998), Jazz Jackrabbit 3 (1999), and a few others.

The game is set in a fantasy world, akin to “The Tortoise and the Hare“. The old children’s story providing the perfect set dressing to this awesome platformer. Though it pulls inspiration from a classic, this game is distinctly futuristic. Space travel and planetary conquest gives the game a unique spin.

The basic story is that the ongoing animosity between tortoises and hares lingers for about three thousand years. The tortoise in the telling of the story is named named Devan Shell, a rather evil tortoise and a mastermind to boot. Jazz Jackrabbit is not only the titular character, but the protagonist of the game as well. Jazz aims to defeat Devan and make his home planet a happy place one more. To do this, he must also rescue his planet’s princess, a common trope of platforming titles.

Jazz is depicted as a bright green jackrabbit with attitude. He’s a rough and tumble sort of rabbit. He’s often shown wearing a red bandanna and matching bracers. He toes a blue “blaster” style gun, which the player uses in combat against enemies.

Gameplay

This is your standard platformer in many ways. The player controls Jazz. He will gain momentum and run faster the longer he moves forward. He also jumps higher too. The player will need to avoid the traps. Lost players will occasionally see an arrow or two to guide their way, but navigation isn’t too difficult.

There’s a lives system, and a health system.

You can collect up to ten lives total. When you lose a life, Jazz starts from the beginning of the level. If you managed yo reach a checkpoint before you lost a life, you begin at that checkpoint sign.

Jazz can get hurt, and that’s why he has a life bar.  It will change in color depending on how much health he has left. Jazz can only take a few hits, and the number changes based on the difficulty. Easy mode provides five, the most you can get. Medium offers four. Hard and Turbo modes offer only three. When Jazz gets hurt you can try to find a carrot to heal him.

There’s also a system of “buffs”, items that can help you on your way. As mentioned above, you can pick up carrots as healing items, and occasionally find an extra life. There’s also a shield that protects Jazz from getting hurt. You can also find upgrades that give Jazz the ability of rapid fire and super jumps. There are collectibles too, and that’s important for each stage.

While Jazz begins with his basic blue blaster, you can upgrade that too. Some of the weapons include bouncing launcher grenades, flame bullets, and TNT. Jazz can also get a sidekick in the form of a bird as well.

Like most platformers the game has a timer. You need to complete the level in the time you have. If time counts down to zero, Jazz loses a life. To complete each stage, the player must reach the finish and shoot the sign before time runs out. The player is then provided with additional points awarded for the remaining time. If a player receives a perfect score by collecting all of the items, they will get to play a bonus stage.

Bonus Stages and Secret Levels

If the player finishes the stage with a big red diamond, they’ll enter a bonus stage. The objective is to collect as many blue diamonds as possible before the timer runs out. If you can beat the bonus stage, you’ll get an extra life as a reward.

Bonus games aren’t the only thing you’ll find. Jazz Jackrabbit also has secret levels. I hope you’ll play the game yourself, so I won’t discuss them at length here.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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Is Death Stranding Worth playing?

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.


Hideo Kojima is a master at making good games. It’s not a question, it’s fact. He’s a risk taker, making games with mechanics that don’t have a “one size fits all” approach.

From the early Metal Gear series, to the P.T. Demo, Kojima has proven time and time again that he knows what it takes to make a good game. His greatest games push incredibly deep narratives, multifaceted, and compelling.

Then Death Stranding came out, poor reviews flooding from everyone that had gotten an early release of the game. Hard core gaming critics and casuals alike were unimpressed.

Reviews slammed the game for being an uninteresting slog with questionable story telling. Others complained about the fiddly controls in the game, and the somewhat annoying mechanics.

My interest in this game continued to rise with every negative review. The annoyed rants from the larger review sites only fueled my desire to play it. I didn’t really know what I was in for.

My expectations weren’t incredibly high because I feel the the higher my expectations are for something, the more I let myself down when those expectations aren’t reached. After all, my expectations are my own, and game developers don’t owe me anything just because their artistic vision didn’t meet my own wants and desires.

That said, I have three basic criteria for any game I play. If a game can meet these standards and I still don’t like it, then it’s my fault. If I ended up buying a game I don’t like, and that’s not something I can blame a developer for.

My three rules are the following:

  1. The game must ultimately be playable. No game breaking bugs, visual eye sores, or glitches that will severely hinder and impede my game-play experience.
  2. The game must be reasonably priced for what it has to offer. If I shell out money for a game, I want to know I’m getting a quality game that reflects that price. I don’t mind paying large amounts of money for a shorter game-play experience, but, that experience must be worth something.
  3. The game must be accessible to me. I have a fine motor-skill disorder. That often means games like Dark Souls kill me repeatedly on hard mode. That said,  I can still play, beat, and enjoy the game. I don’t ask for an easy game. However, I expect the controls to be fluid. The subtitles must be easy to see. The mechanics of the game must choreograph properly what’s happening on screen. For example, if something’s about to shoot at me, I want an obvious sign of that someplace. I don’t want to be sniped and have no obvious way to tell that it is about to happen.

I think that those three criteria are essential for any good game. With the building blocks in place, any game has a chance to be a fun, interactive medium. Having completed Death Stranding, I’ll say this…

For adults, Death Stranding is worth playing at least once. This is not a children’s game, and it doesn’t try to be. This game was crafted for an adult gamer, with a firm sense of self, and a firm grasp of morally grey ideology. Parents should use caution when buying it for their mature teenagers.

Do your research first, and don’t just pluck this game off of the first shelf you see.

The controls are a little clunky, yes. There is absolutely no disputing that. However, if I can figure them out and navigate the game with Dyspraxia, then the controls must not be a complete failure. They are repetitive, but that serves a narrative purpose. It’s not complete and total garbage. They’re just not the greatest, either.

Multiple layers of subtext in the game will always be important, and Death Stranding uses mechanics as a metaphor. Everything in this game seems to have been placed there intentionally, and the story is captivating in its own strange way. I adore the opening quote at the start of the game, and the somber opening song.

The themes are dark and heavy, the game reflects that masterfully. The world is beautifully crafted, and the design is completely immersive. The mechanics aren’t always easy. There are times when the game falls a little short, but it isn’t a bad game.

If you start to look at the game as a complete narrative experience, it’s actually quite good. If you haven’t played it yet, pick the game up when it’s on sale.

Give it a try. You may end up liking it too.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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Why Retrospect in Media is Important

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.

Media remains a powerful touchstone in our society. It’s helps to shape our culture and to experience the cultures of others. Through a lens that is not our own, we’re taken to vast new worlds.

Media often asks little of its consumers. Only that we take it in, consider it, and accept it for all that it is. When we become fans of something, we take part of the media that has influenced us. We spread it around, hoping to find others that share our joys and passions. That is why retrospectives are so important.

Media will always be a flawed mirror into the biases of its maker. It will not be perfect. It will occasionally hold views that are different from our own, and that’s okay too. Media is a tie that binds us all, it’s up to us to choose how we consume it.

The more media we enjoy, the more our thoughts and opinions have the ability to change. We can choose to stay in our small echo-chambers, or we can choose to broaden our horizons. Often we return to our favorite shows, music, and literature with a changed lens. We can approach them with different expectations, perhaps learning to love old media anew.

When I dive into a retrospective, I do it carefully, trying my best to recall what once captivated me. On occasion my views shift. Sometimes I am no-longer captivated. Truthfully, I don’t see that as a bad thing. Media I once loved and now hate is my personal journey onward to better things.

I will never be ungrateful for that steppingstone. That’s why this blog will be so heavy with retrospective content. I don’t want to forget the media that influenced me, or the changes in perspective that I gained from that experience. The two share a symbiotic relationship, just as they should.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets.

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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Fan Fiction – A Love Letter Made By Fans

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.

When I first starting writing fan fiction, I was still just a student in elementary school. I had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to put down on paper, and I wanted it to be about characters I already knew about and loved on screen. With a bent pen and torn piece of paper I wrote my first scene.

News flash, it was terrible…

I didn’t know of any popular fan fiction websites at the time. I had no idea just how many fan fiction writers were out there. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want the story to end after the anime.

Sailor Moon was my gateway, on a whim I did a google search. I quickly learned that hundreds of thousands of fan fiction already existed online for me to read. All of it at my fingertips. I felt elated, and also overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to begin. Back in those days FanFiction.net wasn’t even around. That didn’t come around until 1998, a full two years after I knew what fan fiction was.

In the early days fans made their own websites or posted on forums. There were hundreds of posts sloppily mixed together. Stories were often tangled with comments. It was a far different world than it is today. Some webpages had no way to contact the author, leave a review, or click a kudos. Fans had few ways to connect. As a child I no way to join in on this fun. I had to sit quietly, watching others write their stories, posting them online.

For a short time I stopped reading actual books. I only read fan fiction. I was enamored with it. Every aspect just seemed so much better to me. I don’t know why. I can’t put my finger on it. I think at the core of it all, I recognized that these people were like me. They loved the same thing that I did.

As a child who’d been bullied in school, teased for a lot of different reasons, this one fact gave me inclusion. I finally felt like I was part of something that mattered. I knew these writers had to be older than me. There were a lot of words I didn’t understand, story plots that were never in the anime. That didn’t matter to me. All that I cared about was that for once, I fit in.

FanFiction.net launched in October of 1998. I don’t recall much from that time. I still read fan fiction, and scribbled my own messily on paper. However I stuck to the small sites that I knew of. I didn’t venture into the treasure trove of archival sites until much later.

Yes, published books are polished, neatly written works of art. I don’t argue that. I simply see the original source material as the catalyst for something greater. The author can’t attain such an amazing feat on their own. I believe that seeing art through a fan’s lens makes everything so much more beautiful.

Fan fiction binds us together in a way nothing else can. New stories, deeper adventures, and combined inspiration fill so many different voids in our lives. You can’t put a price on that. It isn’t tangible. Spend enough time in a fandom, and you’ll form bonds you never thought possible. Some of those ties can turn into life-long friendships. I have several of my own. I have fan fiction to thank for that.

One such person is Ruka, our artist. Here you can see some of her earliest concept art for “The Demented Ferrets”. Without gaming I would have never met Kreshenne, but without fan fiction, I would have never met Ruka.

Nowadays fan fiction is very easy to find. A simple search will yield plenty of archives with thousands of fandom to choose from. Countless people gathering in one place to share their works and to celebrate the works of others. We cross over into many communities too, meeting others like ourselves. Artists who draw fan art often credit fan fiction as their inspiration, and vice-versa. This collaborative effort made by fan communities is what fuels the ever-growing fan fiction population.

Yes, fan fiction can be a sloppy, unfiltered, unedited mess. It will often be riddled with grammatical errors and aggravating tropes. Usually people don’t have an editor, or “beta-reader” to help them out. All they have is a love for the medium and idea to plunk down for other fans to read. Honestly, I think that’s enough.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without fan fiction. I would have lived a far more isolated childhood, feeling as though I had nowhere to belong. Fan fiction is a powerful thing, and one we shouldn’t take for granted. I would strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t tried fan fiction to give it go. Open your browser and do a search. Find a book, anime, or television series that you like. There will be fan fiction. I promise you, it’s out there waiting to be discovered. You’ll be glad you did.

This has been Kernook, from The Demented Ferrets. See you next time…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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Kern Reviews Classic Movies: Desk Set

Note: This was an old post on the original “The Demented Ferrets” site, and prior to that it belonged to my personal blog. It is being placed here because this is now where it belongs.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for other great content too. If you like the work that we do, please consider supporting us.


Video

In December of 2020 Kernook made a quick and off-the-cuff video review of the movie. Watch it now.


I have to say, I absolutely love Desk Set, a 1957 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. To me it’s a festive classic, and although it isn’t really a “Christmas movie” it takes place during the holiday time. In my household, we watch it every single year, often more than once.

Spencer Tracy plays the role of Richard Sumner. Katharine Hepburn plays the role of Bunny Watson.

Basically, the movie is about Richard Sumner loitering around in the research department of a large television network. He has been asked to keep his reason for being there a secret from the people working there.

Meanwhile, the talented manager of the department Bunny Watson, intends to find out exactly what this man is up to. The movie culminates into a battle of wits as the two of them try to figure each other out.

At its heart, this movie is a mix of romance and dry humor. It has a slow pace, but plenty to offer. It may be live-action and not anime, but I do have it as part of my collection, and I strongly suggest that anyone who enjoys classic films should also do the same.

The movie has certainly aged well, considering that it was made in the 50’s. There are re-mastered DVD and blue-ray releases for those who care to have them, but a washed out VHS tape also serves me well. It may not look as pretty, but, it does have a sentimental value.

As far as the characters are concerned, Bunny Watson is a pragmatist with a sharp tongue and incredibly bright mind. Richard Sumner is a bit pig-headed and stubborn at first, but he quickly warms up to Bunny as the movie goes on. They challenge each other first and foremost, romance acting as a slow burn to a greater narrative thread.

If you like classic movies with a slight nod to holidays themes, it will serve you well. So, in the spirit of the holidays go find yourself a copy, huddle under a warm blanket, and enjoy.

This has been Kernook from The Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content.

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 notable contributors.

Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.


If You Enjoyed This Content…

Please consider following us on this blog. We also have other platforms with content to enjoy. At the time of this post we have a Twitter, Twitch, YouTube.

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