Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. Awhile back, Kresh completed Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (The N. Sane Trilogy version). Below is the archived footage and a bit about the game.

Kresh completed this game on a live stream March of 2021, and you can find our live stream channel over on Twitch. If you like to watch live streams, come check us out when you’ve got some free time. Currently we stream two days a week, and run archived footage on the Saturdays. Be sure to follow our Twitch for more information, and to be updated when we go live.

If you’re a monthly subscriber to our Twitch channel (any tier) you also get access to our official Discord server as well.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

For those of you who want a bit more information, let’s just gloss over some of the basics. This is your stereotypical 3D platformer of the late 90’s early 00’s era. Although the remastered version of the game lives up well to its predecessor, it can still be a tad clunky from time to time. Then again, you come to expect that from a game like this.

In general, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a family friendly title as most platformers tend to be, (although when it comes to commentary, Kresh and I certainly aren’t since we swear so much). If you pick this game up for your household it shouldn’t disrupt too many sensibilities.

The game originally came out in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the sequel to Crash Bandicoot, a game that came out in 1996. The series is developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

In 2017 the game was re-released as part of the  Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Those of you who’ve played a platformer like this know what you’re in for. These platformers were known to be a bit difficult and this game lives up to expectation on that front.

We’ve got a blog post and play-through of the first game in the series that you can find below. You may want to check it out first if you’ve never seen a Crash Bandicoot game before, although I’m sure that’s pretty unlikely. Anyway, if that interests, you, you can find the link to that post, and the gameplay footage below.

For returners of the series, it’s back to the standard formula, more or less. There’s stages to beat, crystals to collect, boxes to smash and the fictional “Wumpa Fruit” to collect. Like always, you’ll gain extra lives when you collect enough of them. Trust me, you’re going to need them.

You play as Crash Bandicoot, a goofy protagonist with an adventuresome spirit. Crash once again is being manipulated by the (hilarious) evil villain named Doctor Neo Cortex. The crystals you need to collect are scattered between 25 different levels. Every now and then, you’ll encounter a boss battle.

Your usual foes are back with a vengeance he demented Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers and the ravenous Tiny Tiger make an appearance. Of course, once you collect all of the crystals, you’ll also face down Doctor Neo Cortex himself.

Nitro boxes make their first appearance in this game, and they can act both as boss mechanics and little green boxes of doom scattered around the stages. No, really, these are boxes you don’t want to touch or try to smash. They’ll explode on contact, There’s only three levels that they don’t show up in at all; The Pits, Totally Bear and the Intro, which acts as a game tutorial.

All in all, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a solid game throughout. It has a decent story-line, and although Kresh and I absolutely suck at platfomer style games, we both agree this is one you should try if you’re looking for something to play.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll catch you next time… meanwhile, check out our other great content below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Kern’s Collections: Emma: A Victorian Romance

Note: This was a video made back in the summer, but I never got around to posting it It’s being posted up now, Hope you enjoy it.

Loneliness is a hard burden to face, and heartache is isn’t so easily soothed by a few kind words and a passing glance. If it were that simple, these two souls would have likely passed each other by without a single care. However, that’s not what happens, because life and love just isn’t that simple.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, and welcome to another Kern’s Collections. Today I’ll be talking about Emma: A Victorian Romance.

Video Production of This Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

This is a truly interesting anime because it lacks so much of what we consider to be typical in the medium. You could completely take this story and make it into a live action series without any hesitation at all, and almost everything would still fall into line perfectly with what the story. It wouldn’t even be jarring or out of place, because this anime doesn’t contain many of the tropes we’ve come to expect from anime as an art-form.

A simple maid of all work, and a bright eyed young gentleman cross paths. Love blooms between them despite the class divide. This is the entire crux of this anime reduced down into a few simple words. It isn’t a particularly complicated series, but it’s not over the top either. It is subdued in many ways, a slow burn romance the likes of which you just don’t see anymore.

Emma: A Victorian Romance is a soft and gentle story about romantic love between a man and a woman. Frankly, that’s all it needs to be. It isn’t a question of if these two lovebirds will end up together, because they certainly will. Instead, it’s a question of how they will navigate that romance in a world so keep to keep them apart.

The series came out back in June 2005, offering fans a true glimpse of heartfelt storytelling set in 19 century England, London to be exact. In that way, you may in fact consider this to be a sociology anime in some ways, because the social system put into place is what divides these two characters. In most ways, it’s the only thing that divides them at all.

As a maid of all work, Emma is tasked to care for the complexities of a small household. She cleans, cooks meals, makes tea, answers the door and anything else that her employer may need. Her life is a simple one, meager because that is the life of most maids. Particularly for the maid of all work. This station was a commonality for households that lacked grand estates that would employ several people all with a key set of tasks. Hiring one promised a symbol of status at the time. If you could afford to hire one back in those days, you did because it made you more respectable. Emma’s general backstory is a common one for women of this era.

Young girls were raised into the trade, and so was Emma. This was a life most girls would come to understand if they sat below a certain social class. They could learn by an employer that had taken them in, or by their families in hopes of helping their child find a job. Women just didn’t have many places of employment back in those days, and a certain level of decorum was expected among the classes. A certain responsibility loomed over society at the time, and Emma’s story shows how romance unfolds when two people deny that responsibility outright.

When a simple maid steps into the world of the gentry, there are a hurdles to overcome. William, is a member of this gentry and he is the eldest son of a wealthy family. Now, that’s not be confused with royalty. He’s not royal blood. Gentry have high status, but often times they do not carry royal bloodlines. The confines of status mixes looms heavily upon William’s shoulders, especially when he meets Emma, and falls in love with her. He doesn’t care what society demands of him, he loves her.

This is a series that relies heavily upon implication and pleasantries. While you’ll find all of the usual wrappings of your typical romance anime here, a layer of firm composure rests atop every interaction. You’re not to see goofy levels flirting or inane romantic stupidity. Instead, you’ll tend to find the budding romance is composed, refined, and full of unspoken nuance. Love between these two isn’t easy, and the uphill battle they have is one strictly left down to the confines of their society.

Like Gaming?

Kresh Plays: Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu isn’t a bad game, all thing considered. It’s not far and away amazing, but it’s not god awful. It’s a solid experience and narrative is worth the ride if you can pick it up on sale.

If Emma had been born into the gentry herself, she could have fallen in love openly and honestly with William, with very little difficulty or opposition. Since she is a maid however, that’s just not the case. They both have their statuses to consider, even though William often doesn’t really care what people think.

All-in-all what makes this story so interesting isn’t that they fall in love, but the confines and intrigue of that love. As you watch the show, you’re brought to wonder what it means for Emma and William to have this connection in a world that would staunchly disprove of the mere idea, let alone actually doing it.

This is a series that keeps melodrama to a minimum, and focuses more on truly emotional events to drive the plot forward. There is a key character death for example that heavily impacts Emma’s livelihood, just as it would have in 19th century London at the time. That event and a few others are handled with the same gentleness as the rest of the show, even in those melancholic moments.

Ultimately, this is a series made for a true romance anime fan. Someone who likes the slow burn romantic entanglements, and the issues that might arise from them. Emma: A Victorian Romance is one of the best true romance anime I’ve ever seen. The title says it all, and if you enjoy romance between a man and a woman, this is certainly worth your time. That being said, if you want to see a healthy mix of GLBTQ or GRSM representation in the anime you watch, I’m sorry to say it’s just not there. Though if that’s more what you’re into make sure to follow the channel, because I will be covering an anime with those sorts of themes too in upcoming videos.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time, in the meantime, check out our other great content below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

TDF Update: We’re Affiliates!

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. I’ve got some cool news, we’re now affiliates on Twitch! Yeah, pretty cool, it took a while, but we’re slowly growing.

It’s been a weird year, all things considered. Between my mother’s health problems, and taking that long several month break, we weren’t sure we’d hit that point so soon. We’re there, and it’s kind of like a breath of fresh air. It’s one of those “wow, we’re really doing this” moments where it feels… well, not so much a “milestone” but more like it’s another little step in the grand scheme….

It’s like life is really starting to look up now that my mother is doing a little bit better and we’re now affiliates on top of it. If you haven’t been checking us out over on Twitch, you really should. If you like to hang out, watch gamers, and just have an all around good time you’ll probably have a good time over there.

We’re finishing out Dream Daddy on Thursday, November 4th (today at the time of this post). Come stop by if you want to see us make a mess of that for sure. It’s a goofy little dating simulation, but we’re having fun with it.

So, What Are We All Up To?

Well, you know me, Kern, your friendly neighborhood ferret that breaks things and messes everything up so that Kresh needs to fix it. That’s the same old thing of course. I’m still breaking things, sometimes on a daily basis. I think I’ve re-written this post twice now, trying to find the right words. We’re still streaming over on twitch, of course, and I’m still writing blog posts.

YouTube stands as a weird middle ground, both as a video archive and a place where some of our reviews and other content can be found. Usually I cross embed those bits of footage here too, in the form of let’s plays and what-not, and that goes unchanged. Kresh is working on a project, but I don’t know when that’ll be finished.

It’s funny when I look back to this old image, one of Ruka’s earliest pieces of artwork, I’m a bit nostalgic. It’s been about a year since we started this whole idea. It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure.

I was supposed to be the ferret tied up and laughing, Kresh the one looking grumpy, and Ruka’s early avatar was that skull and crossbones sitting on the television in the background. We’re all a little rough around the edges, much like that drawing itself is a rough conception of our personalities distilled down into one cartoon drawing.

We’ve come a long way since then. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds, but it seems like a bright one. One of the important things that’s so key to who we are as people is the concept of our diversity. We have an American person, a British person, and a person hailing for Puerto Rico. We’re all on the GLBTQ spectrum, or as Kern (me) would rather call it, GRSM… which is why we’re all so gender ambiguous on the streams and here on the blog. We don’t “sound” as we identify, so it’s just easier for all of us that way. That and gender isn’t everything, we’re more than that, of course.

We do believe representation is important though, and with that, don’t forget to check out Ruka’s blogs when she posts them up.

If you see this icon, that’s Ruka’s avatar over here on The Demented Ferrets. Ruka is writing blog posts now, so if you haven’s seen the first post you really should check it out. Especially if Spanish dubs are important to you.

Anime and Its Translations

Do I believe the Spanish dubs are worth it? Absolutely! Spanish is one of the most spoken languages ranking 4th worldwide and 2nd in Native-speaking countries in the world.

Ruka has been our artist since the start, but the completely unique perspective on anime and gaming that Ruka brings to the table can’t be understated. The blog post above about Spanish dubs is a great example of that. I (Kern) don’t speak Spanish very well (as in I completely butcher the language when I try to speak it/read it) so having Ruka add in those two cents really matters. Usually when we think of anime dubs here in the states, Spanish speaking dubs just aren’t often discussed… or at least, I don’t often hear them discussed at length.

Fun fact, Ruka’s planning to come up for a visit here sometime in the new year, and that’ll be a lot of fun. We’ll probably have some cool footage of that eventually whenever it happens.

Well, that about does it for this post. It’s just a small update. I’ll see you around next time. Ruka’s working on her next blog post, and so am I. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time. Until then, don’t forget to check out some other great content.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Game Review: The Static Speaks My Name

Warning: The game I’m reviewing today is called “The Static Speaks My Name”. This game contains mature themes.
Mature Content: This game deals with the concept of suicide… it’s not too overly dark or graphic, but the theme is looming and present.
Kern’s Disclaimer: This is not just a typical little indie title, it has a narrative that needs to be handled with care and respect. Know that going into it. One more time for the people in the back. This game is NOT for young or impressionable gamers. If you have delicate sensibilities regarding the content warnings above, maybe just don’t read this review or play this game. I won’t be held responsible if it triggers the absolute crap out of you.

I enjoy indie content, particularly when it pushes the conventional narrative limitations of media in an interesting way. The game I’m reviewing today does strictly that. Before I begin my review though, I do hope you didn’t disregard my content warning above. If you did, scroll back up and read it first.

The thing that sets this game in a different category from other indie horror titles, is that this game is less “terrifying” and more along the lines of “tragically unsettling”. I wouldn’t call it a horror game per say, because I don’t find it scary in the traditional sense, nor unnerving in the general one. Rather, this game dives deep into the realm of psychological horror in ways I rarely ever see.

It’s not scary, it’s chilling. Thematically speaking, “The Static Speaks My Name” is a short title, but far from a sweet little package. The game is more of a “narrative experience” than a game itself. Actually, I’d hesitate to call it a game because there is a clearly a narrative to be found here, but there’s not a whole lot of “gameplay”. The price is right though. As of writing this blog it is completely free on steam, and the time investment to complete the game is minimal.

The fact that it will take most people about ten minutes to to complete it says enough on its own. Honestly, you can beat in it half that time if you really wanted to rush it. Now, while some people may find the length lacking, the content isn’t. What you’re given in that short time isn’t anything to scoff at.

When you begin the game, a brief prologue begins. Surrounded by a dark space, you’ll see something in the distance and you’ll have to walk closer to it. As you do, you’re given three things. A name, an age, and a cause of death. When you get close enough to what is basically that floating cloud in the middle of a dark expanse, you enter into the body of a man, and you live out is last moments alive.

The beeping alarm drags the man from slumber and he awakens to a home that’s just a little strange. Everything seems just a little out of place and just slightly out-of-sorts.

As a first-person game, you play as a man named Jacob Ernholtz. As a player, you soon put the pieces together to find out more about this man, and his final decision. To be clear though, the game isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s not all awfulness caked in pure and unbridled cynicism. If it was, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

Actually, “The Static Speaks My Name” does something else. It attempts to tell a story that has little to do with the event that ended this man’s life, and more to do with his final moments that preceded it. This game is not an analysis nor a deconstruction of the prevailing topic at hand. It’s not even about the physiological nor social conditions at play when ones goes about making such a choice.

Rather the game carries a heavy undertone with the concepts of obsession more than taking one’s own life. As though the pictures hanging upon the wall act as an all consuming focus that Jacob Ernholtz couldn’t possibly escape a fascination with. He isn’t a good man in the slightest, which only further makes it hard to relate with him on any level. I’d say that that fact alone is what makes it a horror title. It isn’t the inevitable end that makes the game so unnerving to me, it’s the character you play as, and just how disturbed he obviously is.

Just take a look at the image below as a hint to just how obsessed he is with that one painting and the painter behind it. I assume you could extrapolate all kinds of meanings from this if you really cared to, but as for me, I don’t care to try at all… really, just playing as the guy is enough for me to be unsettled about just what in the hell could have been going on in his brain.

As for gameplay, it’s just a game about slowly twisting mundane moments in this one man’s life. Cleaning the microwave, admiring his collection of paintings among the wall, or eating his pet shrimp. Simple details, really. However, it soon becomes clear that this is the point of the game, the simplicity beyond horrific spectacle, which the game cares very little for. it doesn’t glamorize it’s core themes, but rather, it seems to spit upon the idea that typical cliche’s about depression needs to be continued on in ways we would normally expect.

They’re tired, they’re dusty, they’re old and we don’t need them. The game seems to say this, to exemplify that notion in every act, The game doesn’t spell things out for you concisely, there is no neat or tidy conclusion, and you won’t be likely to find yourself re-playing the game more than once to pick to pieces every little detail.

Once is enough, and the slow spiral of madness seemingly induced by paintings upon the walls is truly macabre in notion, but not quite in a way that inspires empathy or compassion… especially after you notice just what else this man keeps in his house.

The fact of the matter is, what makes this game notable, is that it inspires a gambit of emotions. There’s dark humor mixed with tragedy and although it is sad, dark and pretty disturbing, I find that it is a fitting end to this short game.

Now, onto the “static” concept and the idea of seeing other “static deaths”. If you look at the reviews, or commentators on Steam you see that notion brought up often enough in their reviews section. Here’s the thing, I’m glad we only have one story. One glimpse, one looking-glass, and that’s all. I don’t want more than this, and I’m glad that we don’t get more than that.

The reason for this is because while I do think that perhaps more “statics” would have been interesting, I believe it would have made the game rather unpalatable in the long run. There’s only so much of this grittiness that anyone can take, and there comes a time when a compelling point to explore these concepts crosses a line too far.

If this game had been any longer, if it had explored too many more deaths or the disturbing minds behind them, it wouldn’t have just crossed the line for me. In fact, it would have trampled all over it and left a big steaming pile of dung in its wake. The solo developer, Jesse Barksdale, was wise not to take this narrative, or this game that far.

So, I guess the final question is, do I think you should play this game? All in all, if you can handle these sorts of themes, it might be worth your time to play it. Keyword being might. Once again, it’s short and it’s free. Those are low barriers to entry, so long as you can swallow down the core themes, which is the much larger, prevailing question. I can’t answer that, and to me that remains the ultimate conflict.

I think “The Static Speaks My Name” is an interesting narrative experience. However, I don’t think most people would “enjoy” playing as as such a disturbed man who eats his pet shrimp and has a nasty little propensity to obsess about a single painting. Honestly, give it a try if you want to take a dive down into that kind of character. If you have no interest in that, then this game is not for you… keep away from it.

This has been Kernook from The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time. Don’t forget to check out our other great content.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Anime and Its Translations

Kern’s note: be nice everyone, it’s Ruka’s first post here and first blog post ever. Ruka is also the resident artist here at TDF. These little icons we use are her creations.

Welcome everyone, this is Ruka. Back in the 1990s on the small island of Puerto Rico, there used to be generation of kids who by all social standards were labeled as weird and a bit on the strange side.

The main reason for this was due to their love and enjoyment of the afternoon and Saturday morning “cartoons”, also known as anime. I’m part of that generation of 90’s kids. 

 In the early stages of the 2000s, anime became a big part of pop culture. It has woven itself from our TVs to our toys, clothes, and even in the way we socialize. The anime industry has boomed. Yet, as someone who grew up in the 90s away from the mainland, anime was a much harder thing to find. 

I was but a small child learning of the world, and all I wanted to do was watch cartoons, especially on Saturday mornings. Even if I had no idea, it was anime at the time, I was enjoying shows like Ranma ½, Samurai X (Rurouni Kenshin), and Slam Dunk. During the weekday after-school programming, Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) became a big part of the rotation too.  

But what is so different from all other kids from the mainland you ask? Well, without getting into it so much, as a USA territory, Puerto Rico’s main language is Spanish. And for a good majority of us, we only had local channels, nothing more. Cable was something not many of us could afford. So naturally, the kid’s “cartoon” block was in Spanish.  

Okay, but what does any of this has to do with anime you ask? Well, for an English territory whose main language is Spanish, it means a lot. Showing us something that many don’t get to experience in the mainland; anime with Spanish dubs. Nowadays when it comes to anime, most of us more likely than not will always go for the original, but to this day, I am unable to watch Ranma in any other language including its original form. This also holds true to DBZ and Pokémon, but I can manage their English or original form better. 

Do I believe the Spanish dubs are worth it? Absolutely! Spanish is one of the most spoken languages ranking 4th worldwide and 2nd in Native-speaking countries in the world. Not only that but in the 90s most anime on television were dubbed by locals. That is the main reason that Spanish dubs became as successful as they did. Think about that for a minute…

The locals themselves took matters into their own hands, making the Spanish dubbing a demand. With this, they made sure that other Spanish-speaking countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela had access to them as well. 

Also, one of the biggest achievements this move created was an overall understanding that if the industry could work on dubbing anime into different languages, then it could expand into other nations around the world. In doing so, growing the industry’s reach beyond its original concept. Again, making it accessible for the local television stations in remote areas of the world, as it did for me and many others in the Caribbean. Its movement and progress continues to this day, for as of February 3rd, 2021, Funimation started to add Spanish and Portuguese subs and dubs of their shows in English-speaking territories. This is a big step, especially here in the USA. 

At the end of the day, translations of anime and manga play a big role in the industry and in my childhood memories. Without its accessibility and evolution, I would have never found my way to the world of fandom, never would of meet the people that I call friends, and probably would have never written this at all.  

This has been Ruka of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you around! Until then please be sure to check out our other content below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Kresh Plays: Call of Cthulhu

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here, and today I’m bringing you more archived content from previous live streams. Over on out Twitch channel Kresh completed Call of Cthulhu, so that’s what you’ll be getting today.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Call of Cthulhu is a fusion between a role-playing game (RPG) and the survival horror genre.  Developed by Cyanide and published by Focus Home Interactive on 30 October, 2018. This game is the epitome of existential horror at it’s finest, but it isn’t particularity scary compared to other games that would be considered “horror” by nature. It’s more “creepy” or “unsettling” than scary. You might even say it is atmospheric more than anything else.

Kresh Plays Call of Cthulhu

The gameplay footage accompanied by our commentary can be found on YouTube and Twitch. If you like more content like this, please be sure to follow us on our other channels too. Kresh managed to beat the game in two parts.

Part 1:

Part 2:


The game was developed for Microsoft WindowsPlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2018. Roughly a year later it saw a release on the Nintendo Switch. The game boasts a  decently crafted narrative, heavily inspired by the written works of H. P. Lovecraft, a man made famous for his weird and often unsettling fictional stories.

 The story that the game is heavily inspired by, also named The Call of Cthulhu was first publicized in February 1928. Later the story and universe would be adapted into plenty of other forms of media, such as table top role-playing game in 1981. That’s not the only renditions and retelling of the story we’ve seen though. In 2005, a silent fort film was even made, despite the fact that many considered “The Call of Cthulhu an entirely unfathomable project to produce, and unable to be filmed besides… but the movie is out there if you care to look for it.

So then, other other swaths of media aside, what is “The Call of Cthulhu video game about and what it is like? Well, let’s take a look.

The plot is fairly standard. The year is 1924, you play as a private investigator Edward Pierce, a man that suffers greatly from bizarre nightmares that become more vivid as time goes on. He is both a war veteran and a man of many vices. Notably, he self-medicates with sleeping pills and alcohol. How you choose to handle these vices will impact your gameplay experience, by the way… more on that later.

In any case, Edward is called upon to study the mysterious case surrounding the tragic Hawkins family. Apparently they’ve all died in a fairly violent fire… or have they? Edward must find out the truth.

Your only clue to go by is a an oddity; the picture painted by the supposedly crazy mother. Even weirder, it was painted shortly before she died. Now it’s Edward’s job to go to a place called Darkwater Island, and untangle this baffling mystery. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but it has a decent story. It all depends in how you choose to play and the choices you make. As for gameplay itself, that’s a mixed bag. You’ll find elements of “investigatory type” games laced deeply within the horror setting you find yourself in. A lot of mystery games use this sort of system, particularly when horror is closely ties to it.

Of course, this means dialogue options. Now, I don’t personally care too deeply for wide range of dialogue options myself… particularly when a few options are locked behind a skill tree. Obviously there’s a market for complex dialogue wheels and the illusion of player choice, but all games have some sort of “on rails” experience to them when you really start scrutinizing the matter…

Generally, I find complicated wheels that have options hidden behind a skill tree to be a cheap argument for “replay value” at best, and flat out annoying at worst. Beyond that, though, most games that use these sorts of systems aren’t the type that I’d typically replay with any regularity anyway. That’s just a personal preference. The system isn’t too clunky, if you’ve played Mass Effect or any game like that, you know basically what you’re in for.

It’s not awful, it’s just not my preferred method of narrative progression. Speaking of the narrative though, let’s discuss the aspect of sanity. Since that is one of the most paramount features in the game when it comes to driving the narrative, it merits a discussion.

Depending on choices made throughout the game, such as your dialogue options, the way you’ve explored the areas and all of the events that affect your sanity gauge, there are four possible endings total. However some of them are more desirable than others.

The more insane you become, the more likely the “darker” endings will be. Kresh managed to land a fairly gruesome one in our footage, but there are other endings too, if you manage to make the correct choices early and often… I will say this, due to the nature of this game none of the endings are what one might call “happy”, it is a horror game after all.

Sanity management, skill trees, careful conversational choices, and stealth action all play a decent part in the greater narrative. There is some combat, but not a whole lot. You’re better off hiding than attacking things, unless of course, you’re meant to attack them. A few key encounters come to mind, but I won’t spoil them here.

The Call of Cthulhu isn’t a bad game, all thing considered. It’s not far and away amazing, but it’s not god awful. It’s a solid experience and narrative is worth the ride if you can pick it up on sale.

You’ll probably enjoy the game far more if “cosmic” type horror and further reaching and looming existential dread appeal more to you than jump scares and mindless gore. Give it try, you may like it.

This has been Kernook from The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the content and will be in search of more like it. If so check out our other content below, and don’t forget to follow is on our other platforms.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Cosmic Horror Mastermind

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here, and welcome to some spooky content for the month of October. How spooky you ask? Oh, nothing too terrible, just existential dread at its finest. That should do, shouldn’t it?

I like horror, if you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you know this. Be it video games like “Resident Evil”, anime like “Perfect Blue” and movies like The Thing“, I enjoy a good horror title every now and then. However, so much horror is filled with blood, gore, and other generalized “in-your-face” nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with that, sure enough. Good horror media shouldn’t be too stifled, and creativity is important. That being said, most horror media nowadays doesn’t normally draw upon being subtle.

Horror shouldn’t always be about grandiose shock value. We shouldn’t constantly try to see just how many ways to bring a rebirth to older media when their original format still hold up to scrutiny just fine.

Anime Review: Perfect Blue

The film relies heavily on its psychological drama to carry the story forward. Many scenes are purposefully unsettling, and Mima is an enigma by nature. Several questions are left unanswered and up to interpretation.

I don’t need any half-baked “Saw” or “Halloween” knock-offs either. Let those ideas stew in the cooker a little while longer and come up with something truly stunning, I’d say. Classics are classics and staples are staples for for a reason. There comes a time when beloved titles are run into the ground, thus turned into an abomination instead of a masterpiece born anew.

Do you know what we do need more of? Truly existential horror. The sort that lingers with you, as all properly crafted horror does. It should be a slowly and surely building tension, creeping and creaking within the depths of the mind.

Writers of good horror know exactly how to harness that level of unease. Works that offer a purely physiological, pin-point accurate sort of terror, woven between the confines of madness and all-consuming dread have been around a very long time. There is a common trope we see all too often here, and yet, it never becomes stale. Media such as “cosmic horror” takes entirely rationally thinking characters and gradually turns them unsound until they’re completely at wits end. We, as consumers of this media get to watch the events unfold.

I can do you no better on this October than to speak about one of the most brilliant writers of this twisting and turning, near labyrinthine media. His name is Howard Phillips Lovecraft and the name of his game is the cosmos itself, bringing nightmares to life.

His way of writing was a gift to literature. Combining metaphor with subtext, he could formulate and conceive the tenuous impossibilities that rest deep in the paranoid ramblings of humanity. Fear of the unknowns within the wide expanse of the universe. That sort of fear resonates within all of us to some degree or another. Lovecraft taps into those little “what if’s” in a way few other writers ever could.

He was a master at crafting fictional worlds and realities that could not possibly be fathomed by the characters residing in them… and so help the reader brave enough to crack open a tale or two penned by a man like Lovecraft. His works are not often for the faint of heart. They are incredibly intelligent pieces of media, but far from pompous.

So, why am I talking about this today? Well, I’m a fan of his written works, and that’s reason enough. Recently over on our Twitch channel, Kresh played a little video game known as Call of Cthulhu. Clearly this game is heavily inspired by Lovecraft’s work, and therefore I thought I would do a blog post about the guy.

I wanted to briefly talk about the concepts surrounding his brand of horror, mystery, and all things unsettling.

Now, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, or H. P. Lovecraft as most probably know of him, was born in the August of 1890 and passed away in March of 1937. Despite those short forty-six years, Lovecraft was a bright mind and a prolific writer. It’s just too bad he didn’t become popular and his works went underappreciated until long after his death.

February 1928 was the year that The Call of Cthulhu got published in Weird Tales, a pulp culture magazine of the time. It had a decent following too, for the era.

Now, Weird Tales had a habit of publishing a fairly large range of oddities and strange fictional stories. You know the type, the kind that wouldn’t easily find a home elsewhere. Lovecraft’s written works often fell into this category. His strange, often otherworldly style of storytelling seemed to be a good fit for readers of obscure, occult media. He found a home in the publication and others like it.

His notable works obviously include “The Call of Cthulhu” which horror fans and gamers alike will probably know him best. That’s why it’s the story I’m touching upon first in this post. This work of fiction not only has several video games as kindred spirits, there is also a table top game that saw its release in 1981. If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a short indie film as well, paying respects to this great work of fiction.

If you want to see gameplay footage of “Call of Cthulhu” a game released in 2018, Kresh just finished playing it. You can find the footage over on our Twitch channel. Don’t forget to follow us over there too if you like to watch Twitch streamers… the link will open in a new tab.

Now, back to the mastermind and my gushing as a fan. If you don’t know what cosmicism is, then you don’t know Lovecraft. Let’s start there, shall we?

The basic idea for cosmicism states that there is no divine presence, such as a “God” in the greater universe as we understand it. Rather, the human race is fairly insignificant within the greater scheme. There is other of intergalactic existence under this mindset, meaning, there is in fact life beyond our knowledge and understanding. We just can’t fathom what it is. As it applies to horror, this touches upon the concept that humans fear our own insignificance and ineptitude. That we cower in the face of a universe we just can’t understand…

Or to put it simply, the cosmos is an endless void, with countless possibilities, and that terrifies us. Looking deep into that abyss would drive us mad. Drawn to it as we are in our pursuit of answers, humanity would come to regret every moment we tried to do so… hence what makes “cosmic horror” what it is.

Now there is far more to it than all of that, but the general outline gives you an idea of how Lovecraft defined himself through his written works. Existential dread and the whims of a universe we just can’t understand build up the tension and release cycle his works of horror can provide, and Lovecraft willing provided that sort of horror in spades.

As for Howard Phillips Lovecraft himself, he was an avid reader. He admitted that his writings were heavily influenced by his readings of Poes and Lord Dunsany‘s fictional worlds and unsettling writings.

As stated above though, even though nowadays we regard H. P. Lovecraft as a very prolific writer, he wasn’t very well known in his life. Aside from the readers of pulp magazines, his works just weren’t regarded as mainstream media.

Lovecraft couldn’t support himself completely upon his writings. Frankly, it wasn’t until the 1970’s when his works began to really pick up steam for mainstream audiences. However, the birth of this newfound popularity inspired a great deal of other works we now call the “Cthulhu Mythos“, which draws heavily upon Lovecraft‘s characters, lore, the larger thematic entanglements that we now consider to be “otherworldly” or “cosmic” styles of horror… the sort of horror that relies entirely upon what humanity cannot completely fathom.

On a personal level, I do want to touch upon one issue with other forms of media, particularly video games. If you can beat the ever loving crap out of Cthulhu in any capacity, that’s not indicative of Lovecraft’s works. That’s a power fantasy abomination… not his brand of horror.

If you have somehow come across a piece of media in the wider Cthulhu Mythos or within the larger fandom where the characters do heroically overcome the “unfathomable” completely unscathed, and have thus found yourself thoroughly put off by the concept of cosmic horror, pick up a proper story and read it.

If you still don’t believe me when I say that Lovecraft was a master at writing great horror stories, try this one on for size.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is by far my favorite work by H. P. Lovecraft. Also, remember when I said he wasn’t a widely popular writer?

Well, this was the only story of Lovecraft‘s that was actually published into a book during his lifetime. I think that alone speaks of its quality. I won’t spoil it, or tell you what it’s about. This one is just too good to try to explain in a short paragraph or two.

If you want to read a good classic horror story, go into this with little more than full and complete intent to be unsettled. Pick it up and just read. You will be pleasantly surprised. If you like “cosmic horror” and what it’s themes allow for, it will serve you well. Remember though, nuance is at the height of a fiction like this one. You won’t want to underestimate the slowly building pace the narrative sets. Give it a chance, and don’t rush through it.

While it’s true that gamers of all kinds are likely much more aware of “The Call of Cthulhu” I think that its popularity may in fact be a disservice to readers at this point. We know it to be a great work of fiction, and therefore perhaps place it on a pedestal too high for our own expectations.

Personally this is why I much prefer to suggest “The Shadow Over Innsmouth“, originally published in 1936.. Even though it is also a very popular written work of Lovecraft‘s, it doesn’t carry the same acclaim in gaming and other media. It is a bit lesser known to the typical horror fan, and I think it stands as a better entry into the wider Cthulhu Mythos.

Ultimately how you choose to best enjoy the horror medium is up to you, but as for me sometimes the best horror is in a good book by one of my absolute favorite authors of all time.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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The Comfort of Sitcoms: Fraser

If you like content like this, don’t forget to follow the blog. Updates are coming along slowly as we get back into the routine of things, but there’ll be more posts like this to come. Do you like watching other people stream video game content? We do that too! come check us out over on Twitch. Recently we just finished playing “Call of Cthulhu”, and “Dream Daddy” is currently in progress.

Hey all, it’s Kern here. I’m back to writing proper blog posts, yes it’s taken me a while to get back into the swing of things, and I apologize for that profusely. In any case, let’s just dive into the topic at hand, shall we?

Today I want to talk a little bit about sitcoms. The draw they have and the appeal they carry to a wider audience shouldn’t be overlooked. For anyone that knows me and also the situation going on around the house right about now, you’ll know that sitcoms are a family affair. We’re known to crowd around the television together to watch an episode or two of our favorite ones.

Now back in the days of cable, we generally had shows we habitually flocked to. Shows like “The Nanny”, “Golden Girls” and “I Love Lucy” commonly filled the warm glow of our television screen. However, in this household only one sitcom stands out as king among the rest.

The show we watch most of all just so happens to be a show that hasn’t had any new episodes produced since May 13, 2004. This show is known as Frasier, and when it comes to sitcoms this show lasts the test of time.

Insofar as my household is concerned, we still watch the show nightly. With the advent of streaming services, we can now do so at length. Even before then, we had all of the box sets for the series, some of them we even have doubles of. Seasons one and two particularly. This is because when we first bought the box sets, it was in the early 90’s. Therefore we had them on VHS tape. When DVD’s became the foremost way to watch media, we switched over to those, and that’s why we have multiple sets of season one and season two.

Nowadays, streaming is the way of the world, and smart televisions are where it’s at. We were slow on this uptake in this house, only picking one up in early 2020, but Paramount+ was the wisest subscription we ever made because now my mother can watch Frasier to the point that she can drive me insane with it… and she often does. That was a fact I even mentioned in a previous blog post, which was very fitting at that exact moment.

As I stated at the time, even while I was writing a post about idle gaming, my mother was watching Frasier. She watches the show daily, we call it a hobby. So, when I said that we watch all eleven seasons of that sitcom over and over every week, I wasn’t joking then, and I’m not joking now. She is once again watching the show, and I am too.

For those of you that know of the show, and the sort of episodes you can find within the series, we are currently in the middle of the one where Frasier Crane (played expertly by Kelsey Grammer) looses his job as a radio talk show host and has a mid-life crisis of sorts. That particular plot line goes on for a few episodes. This episode isn’t exactly the best one in the series by far, but it is the one that happens to be playing.

All in all, it does illustrate my point.

The show stands the test of time, and even the test of my sanity. Eleven seasons isn’t very many when you watch them endlessly, much like we do around here. A reboot series in in the works apparently, spearheaded by Kelsey Grammer himself. It’s anyone’s guess if it will actually hold up to the old material, but I do remain hopeful.

The series won’t be the same without
John Mahoney, who played Martin Crane in the series. He passed away in 2018. May he be resting in peace.

The character of Martin was my absolute favorite as a child, and even now, I enjoy his time on the screen. He’s a breath of fresh air in the series. Martin Crane is the typical “every-man” that enjoys sports and fishing just as much as a good beer and time with his family. His beloved dog named Eddie is also a key focal point for him.

As former police officer, Martin Crane was a simple guy with a worldly aware attitude. His desires and vices are also simple as a result. He wasn’t too complicated and offered a staunch juxtaposition for the pomp and circumstance that other characters, like Niles and Frasier so commonly find themselves embroiled in.

When I think of sitcoms, a great many of them come to mind, but so few qualify to stand in my list of cream of the crop “comfort shows”. Some are funny, sure enough, and many of the older ones bring with them a hefty dose of nostalgia, but those are few and far between for me.

So then, why Frasier? Why not Cheers, which was where the character of Frasier Crane first originated? Why not literally any other sitcom? That’s a good question. I’ve been thinking a lot about that too, actually. It’s the heart and soul of the series that truly makes it special for me.

Surely the series has plenty of distilled witty humor, dry retorts mingling with overly long diatribes. To be honest, most of them sound much more sophisticated than they really are, as that is the punchline of those gags. However, it comes jam packed with slapstick comedy too.

Tongue-in-cheek humor tends to creep into visual hilarity at it’s finest. The image above highlights this, I believe. You don’t need to know the character of Niles too deeply to find find his absolutely disgusted look amusing, all while his pet bird uses his head as a perch.

It really is simple little visual jokes and sideways comments thrown about offhandedly, that truly makes the series sticks out for a good laugh or two. Even after you’ve seen all the gags, they’re still funny. It doesn’t lose the charm in re-watching the scenes. Honestly, the show is best enjoyed in it’s layers of symbolism and deeper discoveries. You should watch it a second time at least.

As a series, Frasier is both full of heart and goofy psychobabble related nonsense. It unflinchingly pokes fun at the psychiatric field, but it also softens that humor with stories that are truly steeped in the flaws that make us human. The series is just as much about the family unit as it is about hair-brained schemes and mindless posturing. There are times when it questions personal identity and moments when it refuses to fit the mold at all.

One of my favorite episodes includes Sir Patrick Stewart portraying man by the name of Alistair Burke. The character only appears in one episode, and in season eleven no less. However, the character is in a successful position in the theater, and his attempts to woo Fraiser Crane are the highlight of the episode. Fraiser has no idea the man is attracted to him until the matter is far too late to correct.

It is an iconic episode for me, and one that sticks out as a noteworthy piece of media because back in 2004 my inclusion in the GRSM (Gender, Romantic, and Sexual Minorites) community was lacking to say the least. I was still a teenager in high school, so characters in media were all that I had. Seeing an openly gay or trans character in the sitcoms my own mother watched was of great comfort to me. She did it without complaint, and without thinking twice about the matter, and it truly solidified my own comfort with my own identity.

Now, in a perfect world characters would be portrayed by a properly identifying individual more often than not, no matter the identity we’re discussing. Representation in media is very important, and therefore, we shouldn’t overlook that angle either. When we discuss what actor gets what role, identity should be a consideration (though not the deciding factor). However, this isn’t a perfect world, and it certainly wasn’t perfect back in 2004.

I don’t hold it against the media of the time… in fact, if anything, I think Sir Patrick Stewart did a wonderful job in the role for the single episode that he got to portray Alistair Burke.

Honestly, I’m thankful I just had the opportunity to have some level of wider exposure to the concepts that high schools refused to talk about, such as being gay. However, that’s why I believe I love this sitcom so much.

Frasier wasn’t just topical for its time, it was also down to earth and close to home. It didn’t chase down trends in a vain hope to appeal to the masses blindly… or at least it didn’t “feel” like that’s what the show was trying to do. I think that makes all the difference. It never felt like it tried to be more than it was, and what it was could often come off as pretentious and snobby to say the least. Particularly if someone wasn’t on screen to knock the Crane brothers back down a few pegs and rip off their masks of frivolity.

Someone always came along to do it too, usually Martin Crane or the character of Roz Doyle (played by Peri Gilpin).

Frasier was an intelligent series. It made statements that invited the viewer to come to their own conclusions. It was as funny as it was thoughtful, and it has aged decently well. Occasionally, it could even manage to be sad and soulful too.

That’s why I’m so drawn to it, and why my mother is too. It is rarely ever bombastic, yet it is far from mindless. The themes and the lessons are simple, and Martin Crane often tends to be the wisest character of all. If you’re looking for a decent sitcom and you haven’t seen it, give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

This has been Kernook, of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

If you liked this content, please be sure to follow the blog so that you can see more like it. I’ll be talking about sitcoms from time to time along with other media.

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Soooo….. Twitch had a Data Leak… CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS!

Hey all, Kern here, wondering at the rationality of humanity as once again cyber bullies kick up in hopes of doing… well, who knows what they were after really, I won’t speculate.

Either way, Twitch suffered a massive data breech very recently and it should be heeded. If you do have a Twitch account, and all that general wonderfulness, go change your passwords. Consider this post as me doing my own diligence to put this out as a warning to any of you that do happen to watch live streams or otherwise have a twitch account.

Don’t sit on this, it seems like a pretty massive leak of data. This is the article I read regarding it, and I’d suggest if you want more information, you do the same. I happened to see it earlier this morning.

In case you care for a secondary source, here ya go…

Honestly, stay safe out there on the internet everyone, and yeah… this completely sucks, but welcome to life I suppose… go fix your passwords and warn your friends to do the same.

We’re Finally Back to Streaming!

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. It’s been a long time, with life really kicking our asses, namely my ass, but we’re finally back to streaming.

We’ve chosen to cut down to two days a week for now to slowly edge back into things. We’ve changed our days up too. The current schedule looks like this:

Tuesdays: 9:00 PM -12:00 AM (GMT)
Thursdays: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)

Last night, we had Kresh playing “Call of Cthulhu” which is a horror game that’s not actually too scary. Over all, the game is just your typical cosmic horror game. I’ve played a little bit of it myself in the past, just not on stream. Anyway, last night, Kresh played through chapters 1-7, and if you want to check it out, you can do that on our Twitch channel. https://www.twitch.tv/the_demented_ferrets

Also, you know, follow us for more gameplay fun, there will be plenty of it, I’m sure…

Status of the Blog:

So, yeah, as you can very likely guess, just by looking around posts have been just non-existence. Yeah, like I said, life kicked us in the ass hardcore. I’m working on posts, slowly and surely… reviews and opinion pieces mostly, I’m just taking my dear sweet time. I’ll have something out for you guys soon enough. I’m just having problems in the grand scheme of writing…

It happens sometimes, as my few posts about writers block often nod too, although, usually those blogs have to do with fan fiction, you get the idea. It happens, finding the right words can be difficult to properly convey my thoughts. I’m working on it, that’s all I can say…

I’m doing the best I can, we’ll get back into the swing of things… it just might take some time. This year has been rough, but you know, best thing anyone can do about that is keep on going… honestly, I am sooooo ready for this year to be over, but it is what it is.

Anyway, I’ll see you guys soon enough, I guess.

The Value of a Good Idle Game

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. As much as I like to sit at my computer and immerse myself into heavier forms of gaming, every now and then I just pick up my phone or tablet and play something simple.

Recently, very recently in fact, I’ve been getting into idle games. Now, you may be wondering why that is. Before that, though, I should probably explain what an idle game is for those who don’t know. In short, an idle game is one that requires you to do very little. Basically, you click a few things every now and then. When you do, you get to watch as your in game currencies tick upward. In some cases these can also be known as “incremental games” or “clicker games”.

Literally all you do in this type of game is merely click upon a few slowly growing and refreshing bars every now and then. You may have a few choices for character equipment screens, and you may have times missions to complete, but more times than not, there’s no skill involved.

Time is your only factor. You may start out buying yourself a few more lemonade stands, newspaper stalls or other revenue building items. Then watch the cash count tick up further only to buy more later. That’s about the long and short of it.

In general, it’s a simple, uncomplicated style of game. It will only get complicated if you make it that way. Either by by micromanaging every tiny detail or attempt stare at the game for hours on end. Really, that’s just a good way to get frustrated when you make little in the way of progress. Idle games are best enjoyed at a turtle’s pace, slowly drawing out each and every level.

A great example of this would be the game AdVenture Capitalist.

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that idle games are a total waste of time. I wouldn’t even disagree that typically, idle games are fairly dull due to their core mechanics. It’s a lazy type of game to play for sure. That isn’t their only downside, either. It’s no question that games in mobile markets thrive on cash shops, which can be just as insidious as loot boxes. Sometimes, games like these even have both.

Those are plenty of very good reasons to dislike idle games by their nature. That’s also why I don’t typically play them myself.

Since most idle games are free to play, they will have a lot of cash shop items, pay-to-win mechanics. and other nonsense that I really don’t like to see in games. I certainly don’t encourage them in game design… but see, here’s the thing; you’re not supposed to play idle games hard core, either.

They’re not meant for you to binge the unholy hell out of them, so you don’t have to use those “advantages” (I call them that loosely), and I certainly don’t use them at all.

For me, idle games are the sort of thing I pick up for a few moments here and there, and then put the game away. At this moment in time, there’s a lot of value in that. I’ve recently found a decent use for them. Something that, quite frankly, hits close to home.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know my mother isn’t very healthy right now. She’s been in and out of the hospital so much in these past few months. That means as a gamer, I just need a different way to play games. right now.

I can’t just fire up my laptop and start playing MMORPG’s or shooters, because those aren’t relaxing things. Idle games, though, that’s a different story entirely. They can just run without me paying a whole lot of attention to them. I can be as invested or as disinterested as I want to be at the time, and that small freedom means the world right now.

I can play them while we’re watching whatever crappy television show happens to be on. Whenever we’re watching the baseball games (Go Detroit Tigers!), I can have my phone in my lap and toy around between commercials. I don’t ever find myself in the middle of something I can’t just close and ignore when my attention is needed elsewhere. That’s the luxury of this type of game, and why I’ve been playing them so much recently.

I’ve been playing a lot of “Idle Space Farmer – Waifu Management Simulator” Which is a lot less perverse than it sounds. It’s just another incremental idle game, like so many others, but there’s more to do and to keep track of. It’s a better fit for me.

Idle Miner Tycoon” is another game of similar style, just, you know, without the pretty women of all shapes and sizes… this is also a solid title I’ve been playing a lot of.

Those are the two games that really have been keeping me occupied recently. Maybe I’ll do proper reviews of them when I get further into the content. I’m still in world one of both of these games due to my slow progress in them. Either way, I thank them for the distraction.

Honestly, there’s only so many sitcoms I can reasonably sit through on repeat (a blog post for later), and having these two games on my phone has saved me many hours of total and complete boredom. As an aside, that’s the thing about having older parents in their 70’s. Occasionally, they get set in their ways. They like what they like, and are not prone to drift from those old comforts. For my mother, those old re-runs are playing more often than not.

Even right now as I sit here writing this, my mother and I are watching Fraser for the countless time. When I say we watch all eleven seasons of that sitcom over and over every week, I’m not joking.

Nope, I am not kidding even in the slightest. It’s her “go to bed” show, she plays it every single night before bed, and it’s become neat ritualistic at this point. She tends to watch it in the morning to

So really, right now, I thank idle games for my sanity. Otherwise I would have lost my mind months ago.

All in all, I’ve really got to say, idle games have been a saving grace for me in moments when I just need some levity too. There’s been more than a little stress around here, and they’re a good way to just zone out for a bit. You could say they’ve become my own bedtime ritual, not unlike my mother’s binge watching of Fraser.

I’d never thought I’d say that… and it surprises me. It’s true though, every last word. Gaming this way is by far one of the best coping skills I’ve picked up to ward away stress.

Now, I don’t think this negates the downsides of idle games, and I don’t believe that mobile gaming will ever be a main source of entertainment for me, ever.

There’s just so much you can do with a basic smartphone, and I have no intention of buying the top of the line device just to make phone calls and check discord.

Still though, there’s a charm in watching watching numbers scroll upward across the screen with little strategic effort, a near mindless comfort, if you care to think about it that way. Maybe it’s because I don’t take idle games seriously, and that’s why I can enjoy them in this turbulent time in my life. I don’t give into all the marketing and pay-to-win mechanics that go into them… as that goes against my ethos as a gamer and so I’m just not inclined to use them. Or maybe it is just the mindlessness itself that so attracts me right now…

I can’t say for sure, but what I can tell you is that they’ve been a small saving grace when I just need a little something to do that isn’t complicated. I think that’s reason enough. I guess this goes to show me that even games genres I’d typically write off as uninteresting really do occasionally have their uses.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time… Meanwhile check out so other great content below.

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Unique Horror Game: The Thing

Warning: This is a horror game! This is NOT a generic science fiction romp, this is NOT a basic “blast aliens” shooter game. This is a without question a horror game, based on a horror movie. In the game NPC’s (non-playable characters) can do direct harm to themselves and others. It is a core part of the gameplay. I will be explaining that game mechanic in detail, though no images will be shown of it. Therefore, if characters becoming directly mentally unstable bothers you, maybe don’t read this post or play this game.
Kern’s note: I’m adding this warning because this game isn’t as well known as other horror titles. The movie came out about forty years ago. The game itself came out about nineteen years ago. I don’t want gamers to think this is just a common science fiction shooter game. It’s a near “survival horror” game, plain and simple. You’ve been warned.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. In gaming, we don’t often see good video games based off of movies. Many of them flop thanks to bad game design.

Messily cobbled together cash grabs were what we expected in the early days of gaming. Back in the day, licensed titles usually promised that a game was going to be absolute crap. This trend carried well into the 2000’s. Any possible way you looked at it, more times than not, games based almost entirely out of movie material ended up missing the mark.

However, there is one game from that early 00’s era that actually managed to be far greater than I think anyone could have expected. However, it isn’t your typical gaming fodder, either.

In 2002, gamers were given a very interesting title called “The Thing“, which was based on a 1982 movie of the same name. The reason I want to talk about this game today is because it stands as a solid horror experience. This is a very underrated horror gaming title in my personal opinion. Then again, it also only panders to a very niche audience.

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Basic Source Material

Sadly, not all gamers are movie buffs. I’m certainly not, and therein rests the biggest issue the game has. You really do need to have seen the movie, or know the events of the movie to really enjoy the game to the fullest.

If you like horror movies, you’re in real luck here. If you haven’t seen it, watch the 1982 movie first before getting your hands on the game. Do not watch the reboot, it won’t serve you well. Trust me, you will absolutely want that backstory of the original movie. If you don’t like horror movies at all, even slightly, this is a game you really might want to bypass.

Some gamers may disagree with me on this. That’s fine, but I think playing The thing is far more enjoyable after having watched the movie first. Now, as a quick warning, I’m going to have to spoil aspects of the movie just to talk about the game. This is why I decided not to make this a full on game review.

See, at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s fair to review The Thing as a standalone game. Its desperately needed source material comes from something outside of gaming media entirely. The Thing video game is a direct sequel based on the movie itself, and this cannot be overlooked.

So before we dive in too deeply, what is this game? Pure fear, that’s what. Pure damn fear!

The Thing is a third person horror game. It was developed by Computer Artworks and produced by Universal Interactive beneath their “Black Label Games” publishing label. Konami dealt with the console side of things, and so as you can see we have a solid line-up on that front. You can play this game on PC, PlayStation 2 or the Xbox.

As for the game itself, it doesn’t have all the typical trappings of the survival horror experience. If I’m being honest, I find it hard to really call it a “survival horror” game at all. At the same time though, you can’t really call it a “run-and-gun” horror based action game either.

The Thing is a game that meshes both of those elements very well, doing so in a way that is absolutely ruthless. The combat and enemy design is pretty spot on for its time. Even the weakest monsters can do insane damage if you let your guard down, and that’s one of many survival horror elements.

Most of the enemies are certainly bullet sponges, but even the ones that aren’t can move freakishly fast. As a result you need to be tactical and cunning to take down these “assimilated” foes.

On top of this, you’re in an inhospitable environment at best. You’re out in a frozen wasteland for some parts of the game. Venturing out into the cold for too long makes you lose health. Sometimes you have to be out there, other times it’s just worth the exploration. The rewards are sometimes really useful, but it is a risk and it makes for some great tactical decisions as a gamer.

See that blue bar above the red bar? If that blue bar reaches zero while you’re out in the cold, your health bar starts dwindling next. Plus, there are enemies to contend with out there.

Unfortunately because this game is so fast paced, there’s an auto lock-on feature. If an enemy gets close enough, your character will lock onto it automatically. It is a bit clunky though, this is a game from 2002. Let’s not forget that particular era of gaming had a lot of clunky crap in it. As gamers, we just didn’t care as much back then. Going back to play it now, this is one thing that certainly didn’t age well.

In fact, I’ll say this; it can be an absolute pain in the ass. I’m not even joking here. I’m love this game, but it can be a complete and total piece of crap when I lock onto enemies I don’t wish to be locked onto.

Then again, almost all survival horror at the time were a clunky mess, which was part of the charm. We can turn our noses up at it now, but back then this game played as smooth as butter to our understanding.

Unique Horror Experience

So first of all, since the video game acts as a direct sequel to the movie, it won’t be retelling or rehashing too many of the movie related events. It will expect that you already know them, and I’m not joking on this, either. This is actually a full-blown story all of it’s own. It’s based on the events in the movie that took place prior to it.

You’ll get bits and pieces, but this is not a retelling, you can’t pretend it is. That said, onto massive spoilers for the movie. If you want to watch the movie, stop here! I mean it, if you don’t want it spoiled, stop! Go find “The Thing” movie that was made in 1982, watch it, and then play the game if you wish.

You play the game as a member of the United States special forces team. Your deep in the heart of Antarctica. Your mission is to investigate a United States outpost a few days after it has been destroyed. Other teams have also been deployed, but they’ve gone missing. You’ve got to find them, and find out just what in the hell is going on.

Fairly soon after the group arrives, your character and his team are made aware of some of the dangers. Namely, you find out about “The Thing“.

The explosion in the movie didn’t kill the creature. The blast maimed it most assuredly, but now it’s back and with vengeance. Further proof that not everything was completely demolished during the blast.

The rest of the game is about finding survivors and doing battle with the titular monster that managed to survive the events from the movie, “The Thing” itself. If you’ve played survival horror games in the past, then this general set-up should come as no surprise… it’s right out of other great franchises such as Resident Evil. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we’ve got the T-shirt, so let’s move onto what makes this game so good.

One thing I really want to make note of, is the atmosphere. The game is very good at building tension through your preconceived notions. Since this particular outpost was in the movie, getting to explore the area really helps to ramp up tension.

You’ll notice key locations that scenes took place, and although the graphics are old by today’s standard, it won’t matter that much. You’ll still know where you are in relation to the the events that occurred prior. This game is even better for those who want to walk down memory lane. Huge fans of the movie will thoroughly enjoy the game for that reason alone. That’s not the only theme that holds true, either.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what you’re in for. You’ve got yourself a halfway decent supply of guns and ammunition, but that’s not what you really need, and movie fans know it.

You can’t just waltz in guns blazing and expect to always win. You actually need fire to take down bigger enemies. Bullets don’t land a finishing blow on these big boys. You’ve got to burn them to a crisp.

If that sounds particularly familiar for survival horror at the time, you’d be right. Resident Evil: Remake had it’s own obsession with fire in 2002 as well. That very same year, players had to burn zombies after downing them. Zombies that weren’t burned, returned to life became the much more deadly crimson heads.

Like almost all horror titles, you’ll find written entries and research notes to give you clues about what happened in the area at the time. The best addition to this is the same recording that R.J. MacReady from the movie left behind, which is a really smart tie-in to the movie and the lore itself.

You’ll also come across survivors too. Now, this is my highest praise for the game, but it deserves its own section, so let’s get into it.

Survivors: Comrades or Burdens?

To trust, or not to trust? That is the question at the forefront of this gameplay mechanic. Just like in the movie, trust is a major factor in the game. You need to treat NPC’s with care, or you’ll only make the game far more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to the survivors, they are your bread and butter. They’ll have different things they’re good at. The medic will heal you, the technician will repair electronics, and the soldier will be a real powerhouse to fight along side you.

All of the comrade types are assets, and they help you out during certain segments of the game. You’ll want your comrades repairing electronics and watching your back. There is just one tiny problem. The Thing is out there, and they know it. You’d better watch their backs too.

If you aren’t careful, your comrades will be your absolute greatest detriment to survival. If they get infected by The Thing, they’ll eventually turn on you. Even if they aren’t assimilated, if you’ve managed to lose their trust, they won’t follow your orders and they could become unstable.

Another aspect of survival horror shows itself in spades here, inventory management. You’ll have to manage their weaponry and their ammo, and the importance of that can’t be understated. These NPC’s can and will occasionally become emotionally unstable, just like in the movie. They just can’t handle being too stressed out.

If they get upset, you’re in for a world of trouble before you know it. These comrades can end up shooting blindly into the dark, having nervous breakdowns, and of course being assimilated as part of The Thing itself.

Your comrades just can’t handle unreasonable levels of monsters, gore and death. Just as a real person would begin to emotionally fracture under this sort of stress, so do your comrades. These NPC’s may end up killing themselves due to a complete and total emotional breakdown. Worse yet, they may end up shooting at you during their unhinged rampage.

This is one of the key places the game really sets a high bar. I just can’t praise it enough. It is true to the movie in this way, it’s almost astoundingly so. Trust was a huge theme in the 1982 movie. You could argue it was one of the core themes directly. I certainly do. Having that aspect brought over into gameplay was a masterful decision. Your comrades need to be able to trust you, and you also need to trust them.

Gaining trust is easy enough, give them some weaponry or aid them in battle. Help them, and they will happily return the favor. However, don’t get sloppy. Loosing trust is easy too, almost too easy, and this is a key factor in gameplay.

One of the biggest plot lines in the movie was that The Thing was able to replicate any living creature it killed. It was incredibly hard to tell that someone had been assimilated until it was too late. Once your teammates are infected, they will eventually turn on you. More often than not, this happens just when you’ve gotten too comfortable with them.

You can test if a teammate has been infected by using a bit of their blood, but by doing that, you risk losing their trust. One of the key gameplay tactics is to give yourself a blood test as well, to prove you aren’t a copy of The Thing hiding in plain sight.

Final Thoughts

Okay, look let’s be honest. The barrier for entry is steep on this thing. You’ve got to know about the movie at least a little. On top of that, the game is old now, the movie might as well be geriatric. If you don’t like dated horror, you might not like this game.

That is a very valid complaint to have, because how we understand horror games has changed significantly in the past few years alone.

Classics are classics for a reason, and both the movie and the game are classics in my opinion. They do stand the test of time… but, that’s not without notable flaws. If you haven’t experienced both pieces of media, you might really want to. On the other hand, you might just want to write it off, and that’s fine too.

There is a real horror experience to be found here. A grotesque one to be sure, but a truly horrifying experience regardless.

This is a solid game. It has a bit of that early 2000’s clunky design that’s very noticeable nowadays. Sadly that’s unavoidable. It doesn’t diminish the game though, at least not in my opinion.

The Thing stands as a unique horror title, only bolstered because of it’s 1982 movie counterpart. Does that make it perfect? Oh hell no. Do I think this game should stand as a beloved classic among gamers? Oh, hell yes I do.

To me this game is right up there with the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, it is an experience worth having.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. Don’t forget to check out some of our other great content.

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Hey, Kern Here. Just A Life Update, and Writing Content Update!

Hey all, long time no see. Yeah, it’s been a bit, I won’t lie. I wanted to do a brief update and let you all know why there was a lapse in content, and why (hopefully) that’s going to remedy itself soon.

Let me start with the obligatory apology, which of course, is more heartfelt than words on the screen could probably adequately describe. If I sound bitter, it’s because I am a little bit. I shouldn’t have needed to make this post in the first place, shouldn’t need to showcase just what an idiot I can be at time, and I feel like I can’t possibly say anything that really satisfies. I’m more than a little frustrated at myself, so “I’m sorry” really doesn’t feel like enough.

First of all, I’m sorry for the lack of content recently. Truly I am, with my mother’s health acting up as it has, and general life sucking all around, you probably aren’t too thrilled about that.

I’m not either, trust me. I won’t make excuses and say that this absence and lack of written content was entirely out of my hands. There were times I did have time to write, only to sit at a blank white screen and scowl at it. Stress being what it is, and all.

My mother’s blood count is still all over the place. She’s at the emergency room right now in fact, receiving three units of blood. She’s going in on august 3rd for surgery, so yes, my family and I are being as proactive as we can about this… however, to say this doesn’t cause some level of anxiety would be a bold faced lie…. I’ve been exhausted for a long time emotionally, so self-care became important, and the meant stepping away from content for a while.

There were a lot of times I sat down to write only to find myself unsatisfied with the content I had been writing too. I don’t want to produce total crap, but recently it felt like it has been total crap insofar as my drafts are concerned. I don’t want to release complete and total garbage that wouldn’t be enjoyed, and I felt like that would be the way it ended up.

All of that to say, yeah things haven’t been great, my head was up my ass a bit, writers block hit hard, and all-in-all I just wasn’t at my best. That’s the root cause, that’s the reason, I’ll leave it up to you if that’s valid enough or not…

You know, they say a writer is their own worst critic, and I think that’s true. I also think it’s true that sometimes the content we should feel proud of falls short of the mark not because it’s bad content. Far from it, but rather it seems to miss a spark that you just feel isn’t there.

That’s how a lot of my drafts have felt for me. It’s that feeling if dissatisfaction that ultimately clouds and muddies up the mind. Now, I’m a huge fan of what I like to call the “write and toss” and if you read my fan fiction, you’ll know that I often just sort of go with that method because it doesn’t allow you to dwell upon it.

It’s not the same for anime and gaming reviews though, where it is absolutely paramount to consider the finer details of the series and link of the bigger picture. I can’t just write and toss that, but I’ve finally found that spark again. The ebb and flow of writing being what it is, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I’ve finally written a few pieces of content I can be proud of, so get ready for that.

In any case, there it is… my own stress and idiocy on full display. I’m sorry, and that’s what it all comes down to. Expect content in the following days, it’s already scheduled, so it’ll go out. See you there.

Anime Review: Zombie Land Saga Season 1

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here! It’s time for another anime review. Today we’re diving into an off-kilter idol anime with more than a few quirks. Zombies, singing and more, this is one weird show.

Yep, that’s right, I’m talking about Zombie Land Saga. I am going to try to be as objective as I can in my review of this anime, so I’m not going to needlessly bash the unholy crap out of it. That being said, I flat out do not like this show, and you will never convince me to like this series.

Why? Well, that’s strictly a personal taste in media. I actually loved it on the first watch, believe it or not. It was second and third watches through that left a foul taste in my mouth. Retrospection made me realize just how much I actually disliked it.

On the surface level it has strong animation, decent music, and a fairly strong cast of characters all things considered. So yeah, as much as I don’t like it, the series is far from “bad” on its face, trust me on that.

If it was just awful by nature, I’d bash the series in every unrepentant way possible. There’s no need to do that, because it is more or less a solid show, aside from a few very pointed gripes that ruin it for me on a personal level.

I’ll be fair to the show, but please be fair to me. You’re not expected to agree with me.

As I’ve stated before, one of the key ways I build a “watch list” every season is to pick at least one anime I know I probably won’t like. The link for that post is down below, for reference.


As a refresher for the rest of you, every season that my watch-list isn’t bursting at the seams, I tend to choose an anime or two that I know I’ll probably hate. I do this just to give it a try. As an anime fan, I find that to be a fundamental part of personal growth and broadening my horizons.

I have been pleasantly surprised in the past by this method. On occasion I do get hooked into a series and I truly enjoy it.

This doesn’t always happen though, and Zombie Land Saga is a good example of when that doesn’t work for me. I don’t mind some idol anime, but really if I’m going to enjoy an anime that contains idol culture something more along the lines of Perfect Blue suits my personal tastes far better. Normally though, I’ll go for grittier band anime like Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad or Nana.

So, with those upfront caveats out of the way, let me attempt to review this thing as objectively as humanly possible.

This is only a review of season one, as I absolutely see no reason to ever watch season two.

Zombie Idols

Okay, strap in and suspend your disbelief right here and now. That’s the only way to make it through a series like Zombie Land Saga, because as much as it’s a commentary on idol culture itself, it’s also occasionally stupidly funny for the sake of it.

When a fandom affectionately names a speeding truck, yeah, you know this is not a series that you should take seriously. Honestly, the fandom’s beloved “Truck-kun” likely has one of the single most hilarious moments in the first episode, not going to lie.

The first season of Zombie Land Saga came out in 2018, during a mild lull in the hype that was idol anime. They were a dime a dozen by this point, but the series promised to offer typical fans of the genre something different.

Directed by Munehisa Sakai and written by Shigeru Murakoshi, this is not their best work for reasons I’ll get into when I discuss the plot.

The music is notably credits two different contributors. The first is Yasuharu Takanashi. This is a composer I actually really enjoy, known for his other musical talents with shows like Naruto Shippuden, Hell Girl, and Ikki Tousen. The second is Funta7 a Japanese rock band that has made themselves a rather decent fan following by writing music for anime such as Zombie Land Saga.

The anime has several good qualities, particularly when it comes to the cast of characters and the representation of the transgender community within it. I can honestly say most of these girls are compelling enough on a surface level to make you want to know more about them instantly.

I can’t speak for season two, but as far season one goes, Lily is by far one of the best written transgender characters ever to be seen in anime. I will stand by that without question. Her existence isn’t defined by her gender performative actions, or her occasional lack of them. We aren’t beaten over the head with the concept either. Lily is who she is, and that’s the way life is. It’s that simple, and I can’t praise that enough.

The fact she’s transgender at all is merely accepted as a fact of life. Her existence is constantly validated by the fact that no one surrounding her makes a huge or complicated ordeal out of it. By and large, the characters don’t find her identity to be an issue at all.

That is worthy of merit for a discussion of representation in anime. Lily deserves a blog post all of her own, because I can count on one hand the number of prolific transgender characters that resonate well within the confines of anime. Lily’s identity is as strong and unquestionable as any other core character within Zombie Land Saga, without being overbearing or seeming like virtue signaling.

One of the nice things about Zombie Land Saga was that it held true to its promises about being different than typical idol anime fodder… at least, at first. Later on it really drops the ball on this, but I’ll speak more on that later.

The series begins with the same sort of cynical outlook that Perfect Blue has. Showcasing the drawbacks of the industry in almost every way. The girls in the series are ones who either want to be idols, or were famous at one point in their lives, only to end up dead in some way or another.

Being brought back to life, these zombie girls are objectified by their producer Tatsumi Kotaro, a guy that literally is just flat out crazy. When he isn’t acting criminally insane, he’s a pure eyesore on screen. He’s played off for laughs, but seriously, it can be hard to find humor in him, at least for me.

The abuse going on in idol culture is no laughing matter. This guy is the long running joke that really isn’t funny. He’s actually one of the reasons why I came to hate the series.

This deconstruction of typical idol anime really is a smart way to do an idol series though, right down to the asshole producer with more ego than common sense.

Tatsumi seeks to revitalize the very fictional “Saga Prefecture” in Japan by putting together the all-zombie idol group, because apparently that won’t just shock and terrify the entire world…

Actually, that’s a commentary that occurs in the first episode when a poor police officer lodges a bullet right into the newly minted zombie girl, Sakura Minamoto. Needless to say, that’s just more proof that the majority of the strong content is in the front of the anime, not the back of it.

Now is around the time when I would discuss the plot, but sadly, there really isn’t one. This is where the series begins to have some real problems.

Revive Idols & Bury the Plot

This is not an easy issue to pin down, but we don’t we have a plot in the first place. I can’t even pin down why we don’t have a plot for the anime. We just don’t, or if we do, it isn’t objectively functional beyond a certain point.

Seriously, did Tatsumi leave leave the story in the ground or blow it to smithereens? Did the show runners just shout “Idol!” really loud into the air, causing a huge scramble during production?

I really do have to ask. What happened here? What impossibly large brain fart caused the plot to go missing?

I just don’t understand how that could even happen. We have in front of us an anime bursting with serviceable animation, decent music, and a fairly strong cast of characters… but we have no actual plot to tie everything into a nice little package. For some people, myself included this will be a huge issue for the show.

First of all, Zombie Land Saga isn’t clear about what the “Saga Prefecture” needs to be saved from, or why anyone needs to save it in the first place. Why bring that up if you’re not going to detail that out? How in the world do idols even “save” anything if the situation was that detrimental in the first place.

You could argue that the vaguely hinted at debt crisis to the prefecture is the problem. However, that’s subtext at best, and you have to dive deep to look for it. The idea of having more idol groups to boost the economy in the area could have some merit, I suppose. Unfortunately, when you have to use that kind of slow and meticulous logic, it clashes with the confines of the show.

Suspending your disbelief matters here, and the lack of a plot is something you will have to shrug off.

The other option for plot only really works when subversion is at play. The fact that Tatsumi is a just a raving lunatic remains a far more plausible conclusion by its nature. Either way, we don’t really get an answer for why these girls have to be in this situation in the first place, only that they do.

All other idol anime have a clear goal, dream, or plot driven reason for why things happen. This series just doesn’t, and while it could also be a subversion of the norm, it is not the best choice from a narrative lens.

Thankfully, on the first viewing the spectacle and novelty of the series allowed me to overlook this. There’s a real charm here, the only issue it doesn’t last after the first time through.

Any subsequent viewing made it impossible for me to ignore the continually obvious lack of plot. Worst still, it’s even more obvious the more times you watch it, which is why I won’t ever watch this show again.

I’m not saying there needs to be a deep or complex story. I’m saying there needs to be a story in the first place to tie up those random plot threads. Otherwise the series comes down to strictly the core cynicism I stated about the show above, and that outlook is a very bleak one.

Speaking of that core cynicism, in the second episode there is an actual rap battle that really highlights all of the things this anime could have been. It’s gritty, it’s punchy, and above all it is very entertaining.

The only issue is, the anime didn’t put its bets on the places it worked, and it lost its way a few times in later episodes. The girls eventually find a fulfillment in being zombie idols, but there was no real weight to that decision, so it’s hard for me to really accept it.

I just don’t find that conclusion to be satisfying on its own. Cynicism and subversion are very strong building blocks to great anime, but they are not the only ones you require unless you’re going to unflinchingly stick to that core ideology for entire series.

To think that was all this show aimed to be, would be rather insulting because it doesn’t stick to that theme. However, we can’t discuss this series without a firm look at its subversive elements, either.

Subversion Takes Center Stage… Until It Doesn’t…

Zombie Land Saga makes you believe it will be nothing but subversion when you get right down to it. The characters, the comedy, the practice montages, and the performances on stage, all of it…

At the start, subversion is all we really get, and its all we ever really need. The anime has one single ethos; to comment upon what it means to be an idol. Subversion and satire of idol anime and the idol industry at large is the main goal of the show.

Early on, the series dives into those concepts so heavily, you just can’t look away from it. Even the characters themselves often come down to subversion of usual tropes found in idol anime.

The fact they are even zombies at all, but don’t naturally air that to the public, is a direct satirical commentary on the idol industry. It basically spits upon the near puritan and painted on culture that surrounds the people involved.

Even the lack of any real plot can truly just come down to “because Tatsumi said so” if subversion continued to carry the heaviest theme in the show. As an idol, you do what you’re told, and that’s the way it is. Objectified, because you are expected to conform to a point beyond reason.

The idol world is often insidious by its nature, but that nature is so grotesque that we don’t often care to think about it. Zombie Land Saga forces you to see the direct metaphor. Furthermore, it doesn’t mind being offensive to get the point across. It never crosses a line, but it isn’t kind in its critiques, either.

Sadly though, the series doesn’t cling onto that cynical metaphor, and eventually the zombie girls decide to work together. They decide to be the best zombie idols they can be, and this is where all of those early episodes give you a bait and switch.

There comes a time when that far more cynical satire is replaced for normal comedic situations. Over time, the subversive performances are forgotten. Instead, we just get more idol anime fare like the rest of the shows out there.

After Zombie Land Saga replaces some of that cynicism, we get some real nicely thought out character moments and decent backstories.

Sadly though, I just don’t think it is enough to carry the show at that point. That’s why the lack of plot I mentioned above bothers me so much. It only really works when you cling onto subversive elements like a vice, but the show doesn’t do that all the way through.

There comes a time that Zombie Land Saga becomes just another typical idol anime with zombie paint over the top of it. While there is nothing wrong with that, in my opinion it doesn’t live up to the genius satirical comedy that preceded it.

In short, this is why I came to hate the series. It really is a letdown for me as I see so much wasted potential.

Final Thoughts

The best thing about idol anime is to find a character you want to follow and invest yourself into them. You want to watch them succeed. This isn’t too unlike how fans often treat idols in real life. However, following an anime character that avidly typically harms no living, breathing person. After all, it is only an animated character, and there’s a bit of silver lining to be found in that.

Zombie Land Saga has an incredibly strong cast, and really after the satire dies out, that’s the only thing this anime really has going for it. The songs are good, but only because of the characters themselves.

The songs are extensions of these characters, brought to life by their emotional investment in what being an idol really means to them. Each girl has a different answer to that. Those themes are expressed though their personal conflicts and their unified performances on stage. The songs would not hold up well if the girls singing them weren’t characters we cared about.

To me the ideal viewer of this show is what I like to call a “popcorn anime fan”. That means it caters to fans that don’t want to think too deeply upon the anime they’re watching. They just want to watch it and enjoy it. There are a lot of people like this out there, and I myself have a few “popcorn anime” I thoroughly enjoy.

I wouldn’t even call this anime a guilty pleasure, because like I said, there’s nothing god awful that’s wrong with it. There’s no reason to feel guilty about liking this show. However, there’s plenty of reasons to hate the show too, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Zombie Land Saga is an incredibly well made series, at least up until it isn’t. I think the first three episodes are the strongest over all. Episode eight is also a noteworthy one.

All-in-all, it’s fine until you try to really dig into it. While some people probably could, that reach would be limited. I’d argue that only the most staunch idol fan base, or those who have a deep knowledge of idol culture itself would be able to truly study this anime intellectually.

I’m no expert, therefore for me the series misses the mark after the satire slowly dies out. There’s just not enough for me to sink my teeth into without doing a true deep dive on the minutia of details idol culture has to offer, and I just don’t care enough about the series to do that.

If you like idol anime though, Zombie Land Saga is a series you absolutely have to watch at least once. Give it four episodes at the very least, simply for the subversive elements and commentary alone. I’d say that for a fan of the genre it would be considered required viewing, and probably a touchstone for the fan base itself.

For me though, the anime is just mediocre and it can’t live up to my personal test of time. I should never have watched it multiple times, but I did and that perspective is what ruined the experience. To me a good anime is one that I can return to no matter what, and I won’t be returning to this one. Therefore, it fails the most important test I have when measuring for a quality standard.

Fans of the series are entirely entitled to disagree, as there may in fact be something in the series that speaks more deeply to them than t ever could for me. That’s the beauty of anime as an art form. At the end of the day I stand by the ideology that anime will always be artistry, and therefore even an anime that is not for me is capable of speaking to a great many people.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out some of our other content below.

I’ll see you next time…

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Anime Review – Your Lie in April

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. Today I’m reviewing a drama anime, before I do though we should define the difference between drama and melodrama.

Drama is a noun. In the context of this review it means to express an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances. Melodrama is also a noun, but it means to sensationalize a dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions. Sensational means over the top in this instance, but unless you’re Penny Polendina from “RWBY” sensational doesn’t always mean its good.

Actually, I’d argue that most bad drama anime are accidentally melodramas by their nature. Good melodrama is even more difficult to write than drama itself. For example Oniisama e, also known as Dear Brother is a melodrama anime done right.

Unfortunately, crappy drama anime are dime a dozen, melodramaticin all the wrong ways to a fault, and searching for cheap ways to pander to the viewers because that’s the easy thing to do. We’ve all seen them out there.

Every year more mindless drivel gets released only to be forgotten. To be honest, good drama anime are very difficult to come by. That’s why Your Lie in April is an important anime to discuss.

It isn’t a melodrama by its core nature, and it isn’t particularly bombastic either. At the end of the day, Your Lie in April is very well written drama anime.

Your Lie in April or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, released in 2014. It was directed by Kyōhei Ishiguro and written by Takao Yoshioka. The studio that worked on this dramatic title was A-1 Pictures, so you know going in that the music is going to be amazing and the animation quality isn’t going to flounder under its own weight.

There is plenty of media for this series, including manga and a light novel, as well as an OVA. I’ll just be focusing on the anime though.

For me personally, it wasn’t the hardcore gut-punch that many claimed it to be. That being said, it shouldn’t be overlooked or bypassed. To even think otherwise would just be flat out stupid, because there are so many things this anime gets right.

A Simple Story Done Right

Your Lie in April isn’t about complicated interwoven narratives. It can’t carry the same sort of gravitas that some other great anime can. It doesn’t need to do that, and it doesn’t attempt to be more than it is. I can really respect series that understands the core messages and themes it conveys.

Let’s be honest, painting a narrative that encapsulates themes of traumatic experience and coming of age concisely and consistently isn’t always easy. These are teenage characters, but Your Lie in April manages to handle the story incredibly well.

It’s a simple story filled with complicated emotions. It isn’t anything more than that, and it doesn’t want to be. Therefore, what we have instead is a true series of heartfelt emotional turmoil, and the process of overcoming it.

We follow a boy by the name of Arima Kōsei, who is as troubled as could be. After his mother’s death, he lost his love and passion for the piano. He can’t even listen to the sound of his own playing without being bogged down by the emotional weight of it all. Suffering a mental breakdown at a young age, two years later he still struggles with his trauma.

At the beginning of the anime, about halfway into the episode Arima describes how he experiences the world. To him it is a place full of monotone. The vibrancy and thrill of life itself is something he just can see for himself anymore. This is a metaphor for a slew of deeper issues, but on a surface level saying he’s chronically depressed isn’t an understatement.

The catalyst for his emotional levity comes in the form of a young blond haired girl named Kaori Miyazono. She is a skilled violinist with a free spirited personality and a passion and flair for music arts.

Kaori lacks a fair amount of restraint, and Arima observes she has a bit of a violent personality at times. Regardless of that, he’s very interested in her. Kaori’s musical talents and her outlook on life are the influences he needs the most. She lacks his stringent views of the musical arts and she fills a void in Arima’s creative ability.

Slowly and with no small amount of effort, Kaori revitalizes Arima’s love of music. Through her, he begins to see music as an outlet he needs. Slowly, the world becomes a vibrant place for emotional and personal growth once more.

See what I mean? Your Lie in April has a simple and uncomplicated plot. As you can probably guess, this means the anime needs to dig deep to be fully enjoyed. The plot is an emotional journey of the soul itself, a story of triumph over trauma… or in some cases, acceptance over grief.

It’s not groundbreaking by any means, and I’d hesitate to call the series foundational to the anime medium, because it isn’t those things. That being said, the anime is a beautifully told story. Concepts of love and the desire for hope are focal points for the characters. It is what drives the plot forward.

Familial love, romantic love, a passion for hobbies and interests, and a love for life itself trickles into the narrative commonly enough. Hope for the future is what blend the ideologies of these youths together.

Love in spite of trauma and hardship. Love in spite of grief, and love clung onto tightly even when letting go of the past, are all themes well represented here.

Hope and inspiration are the balm for Arima’s traumatic past and his emotional burdens. The healing powers of music plays a strong role here as well. Showcasing that for some people, music is not only a talent, it’s a legacy.

There is also a thick layer of metaphor here, as music is used as a way to connect these characters. It gives us a deeper clarity to who these people really are. Rather than having a character simply go on long and cumbersome diatribes, music becomes the looking glass that allows us to really see beyond their carefully constructed masks.

To be clear, every character has one one these masks, the “lie” you could say. Even the free spirited Kaori is not exempt from this. She has once too, and it is just as tragic and cumbersome as Arima’s own.

The cast is huge. Since the anime is only twenty-two episodes in length, many don’t get the time they deserve. This isn’t too awful though, as the series was never meant to hold aloft a complete medley cast of characters.

At the end of the day only two characters really matter, Arima and Kaori. Everyone else just functions as plot threads to build the world these characters inhabit. Many of the side cast don’t get fully completed stories, and since the plot is so centrally focused anyway, it doesn’t rightly matter.

However for all of the good things this series does manage to do well, there’s just one way it entirely fails in every way possible.

Repetitive Trauma: Eventual Desensitization

Trauma is not a one-size-fits-all narrative lens. After an emotionally crippling experience, recovery has highs and lows. Recovery isn’t easily attained, meaning cycles of repetition can occur. Even though it is very factual to life, generally speaking it isn’t very satisfying to watch.

The cycle of trauma is a vicious one. When poorly handled, it can come off as overbearing. As fans, we usually expect better of protagonists by default and that doesn’t help. We want to hear stories of victory, but in some ways this is a story about loosing more than winning.

By its pure definition, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. That means it sinks into a person with a vice-like grip. You don’t just get over it. That’s not how deeply seeded trauma works.

There is a “two-steps-forward and one-step-back” mindset that hard hitting emotional trauma causes. Recovery itself isn’t a linear path. Enter in Arima to that cycle of repetition, and we can see where this causes the main issue I have with Your Lie in April.

Arima is incredibly human for his depiction of circular patterns of thinking. He has a tenancy of falling back down into his own poor mental state.

Several times in the show we see how this impacts him emotionally. There is no question about how heavily it weighs down upon his poor self-image. We can’t avoid the topic, the anime won’t let you.

Although, to a point touching upon his trauma happens too frequently. It’s easy to get bored with him or to lose any ounce of sympathy you have with him. A huge part of that comes down to his constant inner monologues.

His struggles would negatively impact anyone, but especially a boy like him. We don’t need that point beaten into us, yet it often is.

While many characters use music to truly express themselves, there are times the thick and heavy mental state of the characters does that job too. Particularly where Arima is concerned, it can be too much.

I praised the show’s ability to use music as a means of emotional expression and metaphor. That’s because when those moments don’t happen, we get the exact opposite.

Sometimes it seems like the series thinks it needs to beat the point of his anxieties into us, because we’re too stupid to figure it out on our own.

When inner monologues do happen, they’re long and almost too heavy handed. Sometimes it detracts from the musical piece on stage to have the monologue laying so thickly over the top of it. This isn’t a psychology or sociology anime. In the attempt to make Arima feel more like part of humanity, what we have instead is a loss of that human nature itself.

In a way, that’s almost genius. No, I’m not kidding. Listen, it doesn’t matter if we want to admit this or not. It is pure fact. Arima is the personification of what trauma does to a person when left untreated. He should have gotten the help he needed long ago, but he didn’t and what we see is that result. Trauma harms his way of thinking in different ways, damaging the greater logic he needs in order to see his own self-worth.

As much as it sucks to realize this, that holds true to reality. This is why so many people just don’t recover from emotional strain in real life. Even when they think they are on the road to recovery, they can be proven wrong, and it can resurface or come back with a vengeance.

Across several episodes, Arima describes playing the piano as if being under water. The sound dulled, or at times he’s down so deep he can’t hear it at all. While these moments showcase his true anxieties well, it comes so often that it can feel like you’re watching versions of the same scene over and over again.

The issue is though, real life trauma and creative narrative stories don’t always mix very well. This isn’t a true story. These are characters and this is an anime. We need to be able to see the humanity in the characters too, not just the mental struggles they present to the story.

Your Lie in April is not anything like Anohana, that’s for damn sure. This is why it lacks the emotional gut-punch for me. We lose the character Arima to his own brain more times than not. Their mental diatribes lack parts of the core human experience. Notably, it and quite sadly, it lacks any real catharsis.

It gets to a point where I just don’t care about Arima, because I feel like he’s a character better suited to far more heavy handed series. Your Lie in April isn’t by its nature a dark series. It’s emotional, sure, but it’s not dark and gritty.

There’s too much poorly placed comedy to really draw me into a darker narrative. The over all tone of this series doesn’t suit a darker narrative anyway. tragic storytelling is not the same as dark storytelling.

All-in-all this is the largest issue in the series and for some it could even be a deal breaker. I know several people who dropped the show because of Arima alone midway through.

Honestly, that’s a real shame because Kaori’s story is just so damn good in the second half to a point she nearly steals the show, and for good reason.

Speaking of Kaori, by now you’re probably wondering why I am avoiding saying too much about her. Well, I wish I could say more on that, but I won’t.

No, really, I can’t dive into that, because it is way too fundamental to the story to speak at length about it. I don’t want to spoil her story arc for those who haven’t seen the series. I want you to watch it and see it for yourself.

What I will say is that Kaori is the reason you watch this anime. Her message, her emotional traumas, and her bond with Arima aren’t things you just pass up. All of it is just just too good, and it will kick your ass emotionally more than Arima alone ever could.

It also finally gives Arima the catharsis he’s needed for the vast majority of the twenty-two episode run time. So yeah, sorry, can’t spoil it. You’ve got to experience it for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Yes, there are many flaws with this show. Even so, it doesn’t diminish that Your Lie in April is one of the best drama anime out there. While it doesn’t usually portray as melodramatic, it can toe the line sometimes.

The series is also possibly one of the best examples of how real trauma manifests in a person. The series explains why it is not so easy to move beyond it. The show fully displays those difficulties even when its a hindrance to do so.

That legitimate “two-steps-forward and one-step-back” traumatic cycling is very hard to find in any anime series. Usually it just isn’t done well. Normally it has some supernatural or magical component to it… or there are time skips clogging the recovery itself.

Your Lie in April offers that distinct personal looking glass of that trauma inwardly. On top of that, it manages to do it in a fairly digestible way. Completely accessible for teenage viewers and with a core theme that suits reality. Often times people in mental health recovery programs take up the arts as form of healthy outlet. Arima’s coping skills through music are very reminiscent of that, even though music is part of his trauma in the first place.

It’s a messy message to send, I won’t deny that. However that alone holds true too. Trauma will never be clear cut, and it would be impossible to avoid the triggers that cause trauma for your entire life. Learning to move above and beyond that will never be simple. One day, you need to find the way to cope with it, or you’ll just continue to suffer.

Arima learns that the hard way, but it is a lesson we all come to learn in our lives at some point.

Kaori’s involvement in his life, and his newfound love of music isn’t a cure-all, and that’s the key. Thanks to Kaori’s influence and using music as a touchstone, Arima finds a way to deal with his traumatic life experiences in a helpful and meaningful way.

Now, are there better depictions of this sort of theme out there? Sure there is! However, all of those better examples I come up with aren’t as easily accessible to viewers, or they’re filled with concepts just aren’t useful for younger teenagers.

Your Lie in April doesn’t shy away from emotional difficulties, but I’d never say the anime goes too far down the rabbit-hole either. It can be heavy handed, but I wouldn’t call it nightmare fuel by any means.

This strong balance makes it one of the best drama anime out there that focuses on traumatic life experience. If that sort of thing interests you, then you have to watch this anime and come up with your own opinions. There’s no question about that.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this review please be sure to check out similar content down below, plus a few announcements of upcoming anime review content.

We have a lot of great review content coming up in the following weeks. The Patreon exclusive poll has some results in for one game review and one anime review. If you want to help decide content going forward, becoming a patron is your way to do that.

Anime: Zombie Land Saga in the first week of June.
Game: Valkyria Chronicles for the PlayStation 3 also in the first week of June.

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10 Amazing 70’s Anime

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here! Over the years we’ve had some really wonderful anime that time seemed to forget. Let’s do ourselves a favor and dig through the decades to find those old gems.

These are anime that are pivotal to the medium, and helped to make the anime industry what it is today. If you haven’t seen these series, you really should. The anime in this list aren’t in any particular order of importance. These are just ten amazing anime that should be forgotten.

Mind you, there is an anime that’s on this list simply for being amazingly bad, and no I’m not joking. Could there be a worse one? Sure, but I haven’t found it yet. That particular anime made the list because it is the worst trash heap I’ve seen in 70’s anime, but we will get to that later.

The rest are real gems though, so don’t bypass them. This thing is going to be long enough without my rambling, so let’s just dig into the list.

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#1: Space Battleship Yamato

Originally run from 1974 to 1975 this twenty-six episode anime became widely popular, inspiring a wide range of other shows taking place in the vast world of outer space. It has plenty of sequel and remake fodder to keep an anime fan entertained for hours.

The series boasts a nice collections of games to accompany the franchise, so you won’t be hungry for more content. Space Battleship Yamato is almost required viewing for any science fiction fan. This thing is the epitome of a space opera, and for its time it even looks very pleasing to the eye. You won’t regret watching this classic masterpiece.

#2: The Rose Of Versailles

Okay fans of Utena, this one is for you. Historical anime have always been popular, and that’s no joke. In 1979, though there was a massive shift in how we think of these types of shows. All of it thanks to series like this one. Carrying its way into the cusp of the eighties, this anime refused conformity and gave a big middle finger to anyone that might be offended.

The Rose of Versailles was very unique back then, and it still is today. You’re not going to find many anime like it. The series totaled forty episodes, completely embracing the slice of life genre and blurring the lines of performative gender role as expected by society. All of these themes are wrapped with several layers of romantic intrigue and political drama. The fact that it takes place during the French Revolution is just another interesting bone to chew on. If you like series such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, this is not an anime you pass by.

#3: Ashita no Joe

If you like boxing anime, this one is your classic bread and butter. In recent years we’ve had Megalo Box as a spiritual successor, but you just can’t beat out this incredible classic. In 1970 this anime literally came out swinging and sports anime was never quite the same after that.

This anime had a little bit of everything. Great ring matches, wonderful commentary on the boxing world at the time, and a main protagonist you couldn’t help but love. There was a lot of heart and soul in this series, and at a robust seventy-five episodes, you can be strapped in for one hell of a ride.

#4: Mobile Suit Gundam (The Original)

Alright, come on guys, you knew this bad boy was going to be on the list. Mecha series are an anime staple for a damn good reason, and this anime was the forefather of the Gundam series. Yes it’s old. Yes it is very dated. Yes there are better Gundam series out there.

Any Gundam fan will already know this is not the cream of the crop, but that’s not why it’s on this list. It’s here because the original 1979 Gundam anime was foundational to mecha anime. Let’s be real honest with ourselves. Ignoring this landmark title is not something we can meaningfully do. Besides, it heavily inspired other mecha series too, and we can’t forget that.

The only mecha series that could be more foundational would be Mazinger Z, one of the first mecha anime ever made. It’s an honorable mention, because this this is one of the forefathers of mecha anime. However, I’d argue that Gundam is more paramount in the long run, and that’s why it’s on the list.

#5: 3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother

If ever there were a series that needed to be given the full remake treatment, it’s this one.  In 1976 anime fans were gifted a journey about a boy traveling from Italy to Argentina all on his own.

3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother is a heartfelt period piece taking place during Italy’s depression. It tells the story of a young boy who leaves in search of his very ill mother when he stop receiving letters from her. This anime is just so amazing, it’s hard to imagine it’s been left alone and forgotten. The heart and soul that permeates the series is not something easily described, because for as heartwarming as the adventure can be, the main protagonists is a little boy who goes through a great deal of trouble reach his destination. As much as there’s joy and adventure, there’s a lot of sadness and heartache too. At fifty-two episodes you’re in for an experience you won’t often find elsewhere.

#6: Future Boy Conan

1978 gave us one hell of a special anime series. Future Boy Conan is the first complete run of a series that Hayao Miyazaki ever fully directed. Do I really need to say more than that? Prior to this. he’d had a hand in directing Lupin the 3rd for about fifteen episodes, but that was about it as a director.

Sure, he had a slew of credits within animation departments, and had written and directed the Yuki’s Sun short film. However, Future Boy Conan was his first massive undertaking as a director, and this series really shows off what he was capable of in his earliest days as a director. This series showcases a world that has been devastated by war and the elements themselves after earth was thrown off its axis. As far as post-apocalypse science fiction goes, this is everything you’d expect of a good series. It has a love story, action and adventure. If you are a Hayao Miyazaki fan, this is a twenty-six episode series you have to watch.

#7: Chargeman Ken!

In the 60’s we had a real gem in Speed Racer, but in the 70’s we weren’t so lucky. In 1974 we were treated to the complete dumpster fire that was known as Chargeman Ken! This is one of those “so bad, it’s good” anime. Nowadays it has a fairly strong cult following.

Believe it or not, even when it was released, it was critically panned for low-quality production values. Knack Productions made this absolute abomination, and in turn it gives us a baseline for what 70’s anime looked like at its worst. There is no nice way to put this. Chargeman Ken! will show you what an animated shit stain in the 70’s really looked like. It is amazingly terrible. This is a series you watch with a group of friends to suffer with, or to troll the absolute hell out of them.

#8: Belladonna of Sadness

Okay, I’ll level with you, this one is way out there. I’d never fault you if you haven’t heard of it. Belladonna of Sadness is anavant garde anime film made in 1973, and dear sweet god, it is not your typical anime by far. Don’t go into it thinking it is, because it isn’t.

This film was initially coined as total commercial failure, however if you’re an anime connoisseur of the highest order, this is a must see film. It is very experimental with its animation. You’ll find beautiful painted still images that are as amazing as they are sometimes violent or explicit. There’s adult themes and imagery in this film that are not made for children. The film also inspired Kunihiko Ikuhara and its visual and thematic influences can be seen in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Having sat through the film twice now, I’ll say it’s interesting. I don’t know if I could say I liked it. but it is amazing just what this film managed to pull off.

#9: Aim for the Ace

We’re equal opportunity here, and with a sports anime showcasing athletic guys on the list, I couldn’t very well leave out Aim for the Ace! This anime has very strong female representation for an anime that came out in 1973.

It’s prolific for that alone, but if you like tennis, or sports anime in general, this is a paramount staple to have on your watch-list. Though the anime was initially aimed at girls, guys love this thing too. There’s a lot of great tennis anime out there, and this one stands with the best of them. You’ll always see it on a top list for tennis anime, and it even holds a solid foundation on most sports anime top lists too. If you need a good sports anime to watch, pick it up, it’ll be worth your time.

#10: Cutie Honey

I couldn’t avoid it forever, magical girl series are another common staple in the anime fandom. Very few anime from this decade will do you better that Cutie Honey. In 1973, this anime was a hit right out of the gate, and series is very intriguing to say the least.

This magical girl can assume a vast many personas, and when doing so she gains special abilities. The titular character, Honey is super mischievous and troublesome for a female main lead of her time. She’ll tease her male friends at school and has no qualms giving out her opinion. She’ll downright aggravate and taunt the absolute crap out of her enemies in combat too. She can be everything we want out of a magical girl. Do you like your female lead to be a bad-ass biker chick? She can pull that off. Would you rather have a magical girl with cutesy-poo pink hair that’s your typical warrior of love? She can do that too. This anime showcases one of the best female leads in a magical girl show. If you’re a fan of that, don’t miss out on Cutie Honey.

Final Thoughts

As you can plainly see, in the seventies we were given many great anime series, and this only scratches the surface. If you’re a mecha anime fan, you’ll find a lot of your classics hailed from this decade. Space operas found their calling, sports anime was heavily on the rise, and some of the earliest truly experimental works in anime can be found here.

When we think of classic anime we turn to the eighties and nineties most of all, but we shouldn’t turn our noses up at these seventies classics either. Some of the greatest names in the anime industry really found their footing here, and the foundational touchstones that many of these series had to offer influenced tropes and storytelling still used today.

If you’re hungry for truly classic anime, these choices won’t do you better. It’s an eclectic mix, so dive right in. You’ll be glad you did. Honestly, there are just too many great series that I couldn’t name them all. Maybe you’ve seen a wonderful series that I haven’t yet. Let’s share our passion for these classic treasures.

Do you have a favorite seventies anime that wasn’t on this list? Tell me about it down below.

This has been Kernook from “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out some other great content down below.

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With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

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At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

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Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot (N. Sane Trilogy)

Hello everyone, it’s Kern here offering you up past live stream post. This is a game we recently completed over on our Twitch channel, and is now archived on our YouTube channel as well. Yep, that’s right! Kresh finally completed the first game in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a series of the first three remastered Crash Bandicoot games from the 90’s.

In the two videos below you’ll also hear me talking, as I’m on co-commentary on Saturday mornings when the live stream took place. You may recall that earlier this year, Kresh played and completed Crash Bandicoot 4:  It’s About Time on our Twitch channel. This prompted the decision to go back and play the first three games in the series.

The game has an absolutely infamous level that was so difficult in play-testing that they decided not to make it mandatory. You’ll see Kresh struggle against it quite a bit before true victory is achieved and the level is beaten.

Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot

This is the first game in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy being played Kresh. As usual, Kern sits in on co-commentary.

Part 1 of 2 (Watch on YouTube)

Part 2 of 2 (Watch on YouTube)

More Information

In the 90’s three dimensional platforming was still in its infancy. A few landmark titles had come out, but there was still many improvements to be made to the genre when it came to complicated and vast three dimensional environments. To be honest, developers were still trying to figure out the best way to design these sorts of games.

Crash Bandicoot is so widely loved by gamers because it managed to get right what so many other titles of the era got wrong. Originally developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment the first game in the Crash Bandicoot series first released in September of 1996 for the PlayStation.

This 3-D platfomer is one of the most popular franchises to have ever released for the PlayStation. To this day it is considered by many to be a very difficult and fun game to play. Many adults have fond memories of playing the game as a child, and others have gone back to experience the game from a simpler time.

There’s a lot to like about the franchise. The titular character is zany, the villains are a bit wacky, and there is plenty of comedic relief to go around. A game suitable for children and adults alike, Crash Bandicoot has earned a rather die-hard fan following.

The franchise proved to be so successful in fact, that in June of 2017 the first three games in the series were released in a compilation title known as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for the PlayStation 4.

A year later, Switch, Xbox One and PC gamers would have access to the game as well, holding a wide consumer audience and massive sales once more.

With upgraded graphics, and overall faithfulness to the original releases, not much has changed. If you want to experience the original game this rendition serves you well. Though the jump mechanic feels a little different for sure, something Kresh comments on during gameplay.

Game Mechanics, Crates, and Other Crap

Crash Bandicoot is a platformer, so you know the drill. You can jump, run, and all that other fun stuff. You also have two main ways of dealing with enemies. You can jump onto enemies, or you can do a spinning attack that will send enemies bouncing out of the way.

Boss battles often have their own set of rules, but the idea is usually the same. Weaken the boss in same way, then attack them. Do this a number of times, the boss goes down.

To win against “Ripper Roo” for example, you need to have him blow himself up on those flowing TNT crates. After he does, you’ll be able to jump on him and take down his health bar.

In each of the levels you’ll find different kinds of crates. This is a core feature, there is a ton of these things and some of these are actually pretty deadly, so there are ones you won’t want to break. Crates can be broken open by jumping on them, using a spin attack, or knocking an enemy into them.

Most crates will only contain “Wumpa Fruit”, a fictional fruit that can grant the titular character Crash an extra lives. You’ll receive one life per one-hundred fruit.

Basically if you’ve ever played a Mario game, “Wumpa Fruit” take the place of coins. There are occasionally power-ups inside the boxes as well. Some crates will display an icon of what they have inside. Crates displaying Aku Aku’s face on them will give you a mask that protects Crash from a single enemy or certain traps in the level.

If you manage to collect three masks consecutively without taking a hit (yeah, good luck with that if you’re not a pro at the game) Crash will get a temporary invulnerability from all minor threats in the level.

Crates marked with a “C” act as checkpoints, your absolute best friend. Crash will begin at a checkpoint after losing a life, so long as you haven’t gotten a “game over”.

Then there are metallic crates marked with an exclamation point. These cause something to change in the area. Usually this just spawns more boxes, but sometimes you need those things so it is best not to ignore them.

Now onto the more dangerous crates. Jumping on a red TNT crate triggers a timer that culminates in an explosion. Spinning into these causes an immediate detonation, so yeah be careful around these ones. You need to blow them up for the box counter, but do so carefully.

Thankfully, there is no “Nitro” in this game to worry about, as that didn’t make an appearance until the second game in the series.

In the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy a few changes were made. Crash’s jump has changed slightly, and returning players often comment on needing to get used to it. Kresh certainly does in the footage above. That’s not the only overhaul in the game either. There’s been a lot of “quality of life” improvements to be found.

Notably updated pause menus and save systems have been included. Time trials which didn’t show up in the series until the third game, now show up across all three games in this remastered version. Furthermore since this is a remastered rendition of the first three titles, game audio and cut-scenes have been updated. New recordings of the in-game dialogue was re-recorded by recent voice actors in the industry.

Well, those are the basics. By now you can determine for yourself if you want to play the game or not. With the gameplay footage above you can at least watch Kresh play the game if nothing else. So, that about does it.

Don’t forget to follow the blog for more content like this. Want to help keep the blog advertisement free? Please become a patron! We have a $1 “Little Ferret” tier that’s perfect for blog readers.

As a “Little Ferret” you will be allowed to help decide topics for the blog, and have access to patron only updates. Your name will be credited on every post for as long as you are a patron. This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments below. I always reply to comments, and so will Kresh if the need arises, so be sure to leave one if you want to.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out more like it below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Kern’s Collections: Death Note

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here (Kern for short). I hope this post finds you well. It’s time for another “Kern’s Collections” and this one was a long time in the making. Why did it take so long? Well, primarily because the video editing gave Ruka and I plenty of trouble. Anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, this is a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them. Included in this post is the video production and the written script.

Video Production of this Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.


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Written Script

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here. Welcome to “The Demented Ferrets” channel. This is a segment called “Kern’s Collections”, a series dedicated to brief glimpses of media and why you might enjoy them.

This is not a review. This is merely a simple glance at an anime that could be worth your time.

Today I’m going to be talking about Death Note.

I’d like to think that the series is so well known that most anime fans already known of it, but I recently realized how wrong I was. I met someone who was so new to the anime fandom that they thought Death Note was merely the live action movie that could be found on Netflix. They only recently got into anime as of this year, and well, as you can expect many shows just aren’t on their radar as of yet.

So, I’m going to highlight some of the good and the bad that the series has to offer.

While it’s true that Death Note does have have live action and written media counterparts, today I just want to speak of the anime itself. The series came out in 2006, so I can understand why newer anime fans may not have gotten around to it yet.

First of all, let me just begin by saying this. The series is a Madhouse production,and in the early 2000’s Madhouse was considered top of the line anime. They’re still great now, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that back when Death Note came out, they stood as the cream of the crop, so to speak.

Anyway, you’re going to get a quality series in a lot of respects. In spite of how old it is, Death Note has good animation, and a strong soundtrack. So, don’t let the fact it was made in 2006 put you off.

The series is a thriller first and foremost, but it is also a very good anime when it comes to studying society at large. The complex interplay between the characters makes you think that the minds of the core cast are all that really matters, and that might be true the first time you watch Death Note.

However, I find that the first half of the series is even more rewarding the second or third time through. When you can really sink your teeth into the implications of the world that Death Note attempts to illustrate.

The story is simple. A notebook falls from the sky, and into the hands of a boy named Light Yagami. This young man is on the brink of graduation, bored, and with more ambition than he knows what to do with.

He takes the book home, and finds out it has incredible power. With the book in his hands, and a clear set of rules in place, he comes to realize that he only needs a name and a face. With tho two things, the notebook is able to take human lives with little more than a few mere pen strokes.

Naturally, Light lacks basic human empathy in many ways. Displaying what passes for it, but never truly feeling it. As he chooses to take the law into his own hands, he plans to to make a better future. One that he can become the “god” of. He wants to build a whole new world, based on his desires and his ideals.

Now, this is problematic for the people around him for more than a few reasons. None more so than Light’s own immaturity, and lack of perception. He’s not a good person, and he’s really not the sort of guy you can root for if you have any value in humanity at all. Especially once he begins taking the lives of innocent people for his own gain.

Frankly, he isn’t meant to be the sort of character you can cheer for. Well, unless you like cheering for villains, I suppose. Make no mistake about it, Light is a villain from start to finish, but he is a very well written character even at his worst.

What make the series so interesting, at least for a vast majority of it, is the interplay between Light, and a surrounding characters. This especially holds true for a character simply known as “L”.

It’s the mind games and competition between these two characters that keeps the series engaging.

The anime itself has many super natural elements. Gods of death, and the concept of the book itself falls squarely into the territory where you’ll need to suspend your disbelief. The same goes for Light’s amazing intellect and ability to out smart the forces opposing him.

In general, this isn’t hard to do. More often than not, the series invites you to do this, and viewers often don’t have an issue doing so.

Now, that’s not to say the anime is all sunshine and roses, it’s far from it. Speaking from a time when I was a young adult, I look back upon Death Note very fondly. Anime conventions were full of cos-players, and “L” was a very common character to go as. He was so easy and simple to dress as.

To cosplay as “L” you required only a tiny bit of makeup under the eyes, a black wig, a white shirt, a pair of men’s jeans, and a simple pair of unobtrusive flip-flops… since you know, you shouldn’t walk around barefooted at a convention center.

He was the perfect character to cosplay as when you have very little money to your name and sill wanted to get in on the fun. So, he was a common character to see walking around.

Taking of the nostalgia goggles though, there comes a time when Death Note falls flat on its face in more ways than one. I won’t speak about why, as those would be spoilers. However, what I will say is that when a few new characters start coming around in the back end of the anime, they just can’t compete with their predecessors.

At that point, the story is in no way able to live up to the thrilling and suspenseful ride that it has built up to that point. You may find that to be a disappointment. However, to avoid the series strictly because of its short comings would be a huge disservice. Not every anime is perfect, most are not, and this one had flaws too. Even with the nostalgia goggles removed, there is a lot of good things here.

One last caveat, the last episode is absolutely abysmal, but fear not. There are live action movies that don’t include that crap as part of the narrative and if you really want to see those, give a look for them, they’re around. I’ll talk about them at a later time, though.

Regardless, I still feel that Death Note is well worth your attention. Even though we live in an era of more anime than we often know what to do with, so few can match what Death Note has to offer. So if you’re a new fan, or you simply bypassed it, go back and give it a try.

At the time of this post the anime series can be found over on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you in the next post.

If you liked this content, be sure to check out our other great media down below.

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
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Massive Update: Please Read

Hello everyone, it’s Kern here once again, I hope you will continue to enjoy this content. I’ve got a massive update for you. Firstly, let’s dive into some site related changes.

The “Support Us” page has been changed up a bit, offering a lot less clutter and more overall information on what we do as “The Demented Ferrets”.

The second major change regarding this is the new update to Patreon related tiers. It used to be that we didn’t have a good Patreon tier for blog supporters, but we wanted to change that. Previously, you would have seen a card like this one on our posts:

Don’t forget to follow the blog for more content like this. Want to help keep the blog advertisement free? Please become a patron! This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

However, we’ve come to decide that it wasn’t really fitting for readers of the blog. Yes, keeping the blog free of advertisements as much as we can help it is certainly our main goal. However we felt that wasn’t enough, so I changed the card, and now if you’re a patron, you get more perks.

Going forward, the card now looks like this:

Don’t forget to follow the blog for more content like this. Want to help keep the blog advertisement free? Please become a patron! We have a $1 “Little Ferret” tier that’s perfect for blog readers.

As a “Little Ferret” you will be allowed to help decide topics for the blog and you will have access to patron only updates. Your name will be credited on every post for as long as you are a patron. This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

I think that this is vast improvement, because readers can now have a voice in what content gets written if you choose to join our patron. If you choose not to, don’t worry, you lose nothing. All blog posts going forward will still have a home here regardless if you are a patron or not.

That being said, if you’d like to have a voice in what topics get written or covered, please do consider becoming a supporter.

The first discussion poll is out now for all patrons. A new card thanking patron supporters has also been made:

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

With your contributions, you make our efforts possible. Thank you for supporting our content. Patreon supporters receive access into our official Discord server, and a few other perks depending on the tier.

There is a $1 tier, perfect for blog readers, so don’t hesitate. Join today!

Patreon Supporters

At the time of this post there are 3 supporters of our content, currently all of them are in the “Demented Minion” tier.

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
($10) True Blue Ferret: None.
($25) Premium Ferret: None.
($50) Round Table Ferret: None.

Blog Content Additions and Changes

In general, Kern (the one writing this post) is the one that writes and produces all of the content you see here on the blog in written form. This has been the way it has been since Kresh and I started this whole idea.

You’ve probably noticed this, but much of our content is cross-platform to give you a variety of ways to enjoy it. If we have video content added, you can find that video up on our YouTube channel.

When it comes to longer running written media, such as Kern’s in-depth RWBY reviews and analysis they take a long time to make. This is because a video accompaniment is always included. Kern’s Collections take time for that selfsame reason.

That is why the majority of our content here is only in the written form. As games are completed on our live streams and more time is spent producing media, you’ll see the video related content on this blog continue to grow as well.

For the longest time, Kresh was only ever within the confines of live stream content found on our Twitch channel. However, in the coming months, that will also change.

In the future, Kresh will begin to have more of an online presence as more content is produced. As such we have two new images to help clarify what content is being produced by whom.

The blue bordered ferret is Kern, the pink one is Kresh. You can thank Ruka for making these, as she does all of our artwork, so thank goodness for Ruka on that front.

Upcoming Content

Kern has been hard at work preparing blog posts for you all. Known content being released for the rest of May looks like this:

  • Monday (May 24th, 2021) – Kern’s Collections: Death Note (written media and video content).
  • Wednesday (May 26th, 2021) – Kresh Plays: Crash Bandicoot. (written media and archived live stream footage)
  • Friday (May 28th, 2021) – Kern Plays: Dinner with an Owl.
  • Monday (May 31st, 2021) – Anime Review: Your Lie in April (written media)

As you can see, the rest of May is packed with both gaming and anime related content. When it comes to June’s content, that hasn’t been fully decided upon. Before I was the one to decide all of the blog content, but now the poll may impact the scope of content moving forward.

Content you can be sure to expect because it is already in the works is the following:

  • At least 1 “Kern’s Collections” (completely written, video edit in progress).
  • At least 1 “RWBY” analysis (scripting complete, video not yet begun).
  • 2 written game reviews (outlines have begun).
  • 2 written anime reviews (outlines have begun).
  • 2 “Let’s Play” posts (content to be determined).
  • 2 written opinion pieces (content to be determined).

Anything beyond that will depend on the voting suggestions and patron feedback.

Anyway, this has been Kernook of “The Decremented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time!

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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The Problem with Lady Dimitrescu

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As a “Little Ferret” you will be allowed to help decide topics for the blog, and have access to patron only updates. Your name will be credited on every post for as long as you are a patron. This will also get you access into The Demented Ferrets official discord server. Join here today!

Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village could have been my absolute favorite character in the entire game. Instead, she became the character I came to hate the most. I’m so saddened by this, because I was so sure we were going to receive a deep and compelling character. I saw such a great promise in her. Now, I just feel that she was not the character I hoped she would be.

To be absolutely honest, I find her to be a flat our offensive character on principle. The issue is, as a villain she shouldn’t have been offensive in the very specific way she turned out to be.

Yes, her character design is absolutely the sort of representation we need in gaming. Women aren’t often portrayed as strong and assertive. At least, not nearly as often as we gamers might like.

I can respect her for that, but what I can’t do, is pretend she’s a good character when it comes down to dialogue.

Listen, she’s a man-hater, plain and simple, and the issue with her is that she could have been very compelling to have in Resident Evil Village with that mindset. However, it didn’t end up compelling, because the way she displayed that hate was just resolute mindlessness.

Lady Dimitrescu is many things, but she’s not supposed to be reduced down to a nitwit, and that’s ultimately what happened. When you listen to her speak for any length of time it becomes clear. Her insults are gender based more times than not, being prefaced with the word “man” in some way, shape or form.

Worst still, we know she has passed this ideology down to her daughters. Even they are very much obsessed with the concept of gender based ideologies, that just don’t have meaningful extrapolation.

Do we really need a reminder that our character has “man hands”? Does him being a man somehow lessens his complete and total existence? Is this really the best insult a person of such high bloodline and education can make? Is she really that lacking when it comes to turns of phrase?

Well, no, she shouldn’t be. She shows she can be far more than that. Yet, she doesn’t become more than that. That’s ultimately my problem with her…

Look, I get it, she’s a villain, but that’s the issue. She gets reduced down to a stereotypical woman angry at the male gender for seemingly no good reason. Lady Dimitrescu is supposed to be a very intelligent woman, thoughtful in her words and deeds. In short, she’s not a total and complete idiot. Yet, this is the best dialogue that they could come up with?

This is not the first time an issue like this has cropped up. It won’t be the last. A notable example is in Last of Us 2, showcasing a transgender character being horribly mistreated based on a performative interpretation of how they wished to be identified. A large contingent of the trans community, myself and Kreshenne included in that wide and diverse spectrum, took great issue with that.

Now Kreshenne hasn’t played Resident Evil Village, and and can’t speak to it meaningfully, but I have played it and I can speak to it.

I can’t in good faith have the issues that I do with the handling of Last of Us 2, unless I take those same issues with Lady Dimitrescu when referencing the male gender. It all comes down to the same problem. A complete and total lack of care when considering how best to handle the character.

Her hatred of men doesn’t help the narrative in any meaningful or heartfelt way. It only does damage. I don’t mind seeing difficult topics handled in games, but they must be handled with careful consideration, and Resident Evil Village failed to do that.

When you reduce insults and slander down to gender continually without any real need to do so, it is absolutely flat out bad writing. I don’t care what gender a character is, when insults are reduced down to that level, it makes everyone doing it look bad.

Lady Dimitrescu is not above this, and she really should be. She is tall not only in stature, but in personality and refinement. Even in combat, she fights with poise and grace until her final form. She is an aristocrat of the finest order, proud of that esteem, and her three daughters.

She is orders of magnitude above the other sorts of people our main character has faced before, and that alone should be intimidation enough. Yet, there is still something more. She hungers for more favoritism from Mother Miranda, and she’ll go to great lengths to get it.

She’s smart, cunning, and more powerful than she lets on. It is very heavily implied and shown that she is an intelligent woman. Apparently Dimitrescu maintained an almost feudal-like rule over the peasantry near her castle. Yet, for all of those amazing qualities, we see so little of them.

What little we do see is bogged down by her constant use of gender based insults. Unfortunately, we have no clear and obvious reason for her to hate men. Still, she treats the male characters she’s around with disgust and vitriol with no discernible reason for her to do this.

She doesn’t clearly voice a reason why she seems to look down on men, only that she does. It’s too heavy handed to place it aside. If you’re not speed running through the game, you’ll hear some of those insults more than once.

If you were like me, taking your time to play the game, you stayed in her domain long enough to hear those ideologies more than a few times. These ideologies coming from Lady Dimitrescu herself, and all three of her daughters.

Having one female character like that is one thing. Having four women in the same vicinity with that ideology is a bit problematic, don’t you think?

Lady Dimitrescu looks down to men like children, or the pure scum of the earth, some notable quotes are “Ugh, just another simple little manthing.” and “Stupid manthing! You won’t live long, even if you run!”oh, and let’s not forget the best one: “Oh, so gauche. What do you care for bread and circuses? The manthings suffering is assured, regardless.”

Look, here’s the sad part of all of this. She actually had the vast potential to be a far more compelling character. We see hints of it beneath it all. My absolute favorite line shows just how well educated she is, and just how cunning she can be when she says this:

“The man is of no real use to anyone else, and my daughters do love… entertaining foreigners. Furthermore, I can assure if you entrust the mortal to House Dimitrescu, my daughters and I shall deliver to you the finest cups of his slaughtered blood.”

There, see that? An insult, a threat, and a promise all encapsulated within the confines of her station and abilities. She can still see herself as a superior, but she does so in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

Now, that is a compelling villain. This is the sort of dialogue that shows just how prim and proper she can be, with that incredible ruthlessness we expect from her. It’s classy, it’s “well-to-do” as expected from an aristocrat. Above all it shows, her true grace and intellect as a ruler.

It shows how she was able to rule over the lands for so long, before becoming infected by the mold. It is characterization that is paramount for her, and we get too little of it.

We should have had more of that sort of dialogue. Grim promises, deeper threats to our livelihood, and a grace all her own. All of that from a ruler who doesn’t take idle shit from anyone.

Instead, a lot of her repetitious vocal lines fall under those before mentioned gender based insults, and that’s just sad. It diminishes her in a way that is well and truly a letdown, because she could have been so much more.

In attempting to defy stereotypes, Lady Dimitrescu become one of the worst ones a female antagonist could be. She became a mindless man-hater, with no real explicable reason for why that is, or what drives that deeper hatred of men in general.

We can’t assume she isn’t one. All we see is Dimitrescu talking down to her brother, or down to the main player character himself. There’s no other male for her to defy the precedent she sets for herself in a useful way.

It’s just so sad, because if those lines had been handled with just an ounce of care and mindful foreshadowing, she could have been one of the best villains to ever show up in a Resident Evil game.

As she is, only her looks will stand the test of time, her characterization will be too easily forgotten. That’s a real shame, isn’t it?

Well, that’s just my opinion. I know it will likely be an unpopular one, but that’s my view. In any case, this has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course.

If you liked this, please be sure to check out some of our other related content. I’ll see you next time.

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Anime Review: Claymore

Warning: The anime I am reviewing today is called Claymore. It is rated TV-MA (Mature Adult). Therefore, it is not suitable for young viewers. The series contains adult themes.
Mature Content: Without question Claymore has graphic violence and gore. Children are absolutely mistreated emotionally and physically in the series. A male character flat out states he intends to rape an adult woman.
Kern’s Disclaimer: This is not just a typical hack-and slash action show. It should not be treated like one. Know that going into it. One more time for the people in the back. This anime is NOT for young or impressionable viewers. If you have delicate sensibilities regarding the content warnings above, maybe just don’t watch this anime. I won’t be held responsible if it triggers the absolute crap out of you.

Did you read the warning? I put that there for a reason, so you better have read it. There is some content in this anime that even gets to me a little, and I’m no snowflake. Anyway, if you didn’t heed that warning, that’s your problem now. I did my due diligence as far as I’m concerned. Assuming you did read it from this point on, let’s get started.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. Yeah, it’s time for another review. Today I’m going to talk about an anime that isn’t perfect, in some ways it isn’t very good at all, however in others it truly shines. I have always enjoyed it, despite its many flaws. There aren’t many series quite like it in my personal opinion. This anime is called Claymore.

Now, depending on your particular tastes in anime, there’s no shortage to pick from nowadays. As fans, our choices for solid anime has never been better. However, if you were a fan back in 2007, you know that the anime fandom was quite a bit different.

We didn’t exactly get the same flood of series that we do nowadays, and while we got a plethora of great shows over the years, fans had a tendency to cling onto their chosen favorites for just a little while longer. Mostly this is because a favorite and beloved anime was just harder to replace.

This is especially true for anime that deviated from the normal offerings of a yearly line-up. Yes, I do mean yearly, because back then full seasonal floods were just harder to find legally. We still had a lot to choose from, but nothing like the magnitude we do today.

Needless to say, when an anime manages to hold my interest for any length of time, I am impressed. This one stands my test of time. Claymore lingers in the back of my mind as a series I can fondly recollect, to me that is vastly important.

It was directed by a lesser known man by the name of Hiroyuki Tanaka. You may not have heard of him, because although he occasionally deals with extremely popular anime, he rarely dabbles in positions widely acclaimed by the anime fandom at large. Funnily enough, he would later have his hand in shows like Attack on Titian as an assistant director.

Dark World Done Right

Claymore is the sort of series that demands a particular attention to detail. There’s a lot of carefully embedded themes that help to build the lore and law if its world.

Animated by the studio Madhouse, it stands the test of time, more or less.

Even when the scenes do look dated by today’s standard, I’d never think them awful. The series is packed with action, and dips in quality do happen from time to time. This is not their best work, but it’s certainly not terrible either. Corners were cut, but never in a way that makes you truly cringe.

There’s a real sort of grit and grime that allows this series to age very well. When it wants to look beautiful or captivating, it does. Red pools of blood can shimmer in the darkness like a dark omen in one moment, while in the next a moonlit sky can softly drape across the land. There’s a duality here, layered in a way that only an anime like this can really pull off.

This is a historical, nearly medieval world. As many anime tend to do, it takes place in an alternate universe from our own. Plenty of sinister little truths lurk behind every corner, and emotional levity comes in small doses. All of this is encapsulated with a sunning soundtrack that is perfectly fitting for the themes at play.

Due to the existence of monsters known as Yoma, the people in this world are tormented and live in fear of their existence. This stands to good reason, as Yoma tend to feed off of humanity. They are quite demonic in behavior, but not necessarily in appearance. You see, not all Yoma make themselves obvious. Yoma can live among humanity, blend in as a human and act as a human might.

Yes, that’s right. These aren’t your typical monsters under the bed. Yoma can live among humanity, and might linger there without being found. How do they do this, you ask? Simple, a Yoma can take the form of any human that they’ve eaten. So long as they’re careful and calculating, an unsuspecting village may never know a Yoma lives among them.

Due to this, Yoma are not to be pitied. They are inhuman creatures, often posing a great threat to society and therefore they need to be expunged.

This is where the Claymore come in to the narrative and the plot begins in earnest. Claymore are the ones that take down these beasts.

Warning, there are spoilers beyond this point. If you don’t want spoilers, just go watch the show (provided you keep in mind the warning I gave above). Go find it, and watch it. it’s on Funimation, and I think maybe Hulu. There is an actual age gate on the anime on most reputable websites. That means you’re going to have to actually log into the website, like Funimation for example, just to watch the series. Anyway, with that said, let’s continue on.

The Story

Dotting the landscape there are sleepy little towns that would otherwise be peaceful. However, the townsfolk have come to the conclusion that a Yoma lives among them. This poses two different threats. The first is that Yoma would eventually eat them if it continued to live there. The second is that the townsfolk would have no real way to detect the Yoma hiding among them. For all they know their best friend or loved one could be the Yoma simply hiding its true form.

There is really only one way to deal with a Yoma, and that is to hire a Claymore. Now a Claymore is many things, all of them equally as deadly as the Yoma themselves. You see, these women are half Yoma, half human hybrids. Even when they sustain incredible bodily damage that would kill a human, they don’t easily die. Normally they heal right on the spot. For example, even while impaled like this Claymore is below, she is still fighting fit to take down her enemy.

They’re created and trained by a mysterious group known only as “The Organization” an otherwise nameless entity. As far as these women are concerned, they may as well be entirely removed from humanity itself.

A Claymore is created by cramming the blood and flesh of a dead Yoma into a living, breathing, human female. This combination slowly turns her into something not quite human, not quite beast. They’re given their names because of the swords they wield, and the fact that they’ve completely renounced the concept of a peaceful human existence.

They are not to trifle in human affairs, kill humans (even when those humans are bandits, thieves, and murders themselves), or in any way think themselves as equal to humanity. There is no exception to these rules, and a Claymore that defies them will be hunted down and killed by her own kind.

Assigned by numbers denoting their skill, they are considered mere monsters, even when it is clear that they are not entirely like the humanity they vow to protect.

The fate of a Claymore is hardly peaceful, and usually ends tragically. Anyway you look at it, their mere existence is rather lonely and their fates promise to be the selfsame as the Yoma themselves. If a woman becomes a Claymore, her days are numbered and that’s just a cold hard fact that these women accept. They understand that this is the way of the world, and will not change.

The story one follows one such woman. A fairly young one at that. Her name is Clare, and as a Claymore her job is to dispatch where she is told to go, and slay Yoma that put humanity in danger.

She is a person of very few words, favoring action over mindless diatribe, and because of this her speaking lines are rather limited, despite how central she is to the story and overall plot of the anime. This is not a disservice to her character. In fact, I’d say this is a marked improvement over the typical protagonist that doesn’t know how to shut the hell up.

Clare acts decisively, with brutal skill in combat and a very clear-cut view of the world. Clare is many things, but she is no pushover.

She is not to be trifled with as far as humanity is concerned. Now unfortunately whenever you have an incredibly self-assured, competent female protagonist, running around in a world full of monsters, you also tend to have the jackass male sidekick.

You know the kind I’m talking about…

They’re usually worthless, and often times beyond help. These are the sort of guys you want to hit with a hammer, because they could not possibly survive in the world that surrounds them in any meaningful way. There’s just no way that the world would not eat them alive.

Well, sorry to say it, but we have one of those, yet again. His name is Raki and he is young, stupid, and you could get the same characterization out of a little lost puppy on the side of the road. Actually, that’s likely an insult to puppies, my apologies. Not even his own village likes him, he’s exiled from it.

In any case Clare saves Raki from the Yoma that she was hired to kill, and begins to teach him the ways of the world. This is the lens in which the entire series hinges heavily on from this point. Monster fights, traveling the world at large, and Clare trying to keep Raki out of harms way.

When I mean that this is the shows core themes, I’m not kidding. When we aren’t following Clare and Raki, We’re following a different Claymore named Teresa and through that lens we’re shown Clare’s backstory. In these flashback episodes of sorts, we come to find out Clare’s past isn’t incredibly dissimilar from Raki’s own.

She was once a human girl with no place to turn, and traveled with world with Teresa. As a child, Clare was enamored with the concept of becoming a Calmore, not fully understanding the terrible life they tended to lead. After a rather gritty and sorrowful series of events, Clare is left alone in the world again. She decides to become a Claymore herself, just like the woman who had been trying to raise her.

All in all, the plot is serviceable, and outside of Raki, the cast is generally well rounded when they show up. Now sadly, as many series tend to do, it deviated strongly from it’s manga in the ending.

If you are a written media purists, this will no doubt make you want to throw your chair at your nearest screen. For the rest of us, the ending isn’t amazing, but the journey proceeding it is well worth it regardless.

Final Thoughts

Claymore is not without flaws, and it makes some very questionable choices on occasion. There are times that you can only be brought to wonder what drove such narrative decisions forward. The inclusion of certain small details and the firm exclusion of others can make the show sometimes feel a bit muddled. It is never for very long, but this is something to keep in mind.

Honestly, in my personal opinion the show is at its best in the flashback episodes of regarding Clare and her upbringing. If the show contained more of that, it would probably be better off.

Furthermore, Raki acts like a small boy, a mere child. Yet, he is quite clearly a teenager. The average viewer wouldn’t be wrong to expect better of him.

I was certainly very disappointed by the lack of a decent male lead. I’m not saying he needed to be a bad-ass, but his lack of emotional maturity is completely agitating. He can be prone to complaining, and crying. For some, it might actually be a deal breaker. He is that bad, and I will not defend him.

This brings me to my last thought. Claymore is a mature story of losses and grievances. These women live within a society that just doesn’t have any room for compassion or understanding. Each Claymore has her own reason to become one, or at the very least, a reason to exist in spite of being one. The world they live in lacks emotional warmth, and their eventual deaths promise to be violent ones.

These are themes that constantly pervade the narrative, so while this ensures awesome fights, it also promises bleak outlooks upon their world at large. If you like dark story telling, this anime has that. You can dip into the waters of cynicism as much as you like.

In my opinion, the ideal viewer for Claymore would probably be a person able to handle mature themes and dark world building, set in an almost medieval society. The series is age gated by most reputable places, and has some blood and carnage, so that part matters. Secondly, this ideal person would also need to be in favor of a strong female protagonists and supporting cast. Overlooking the walking insult that is Raki, decent male characters are few and far between.

Lastly, an ideal viewer would likely be one that hasn’t read the manga before. The deviations are just enough to be agitating. This is a series you want to watch first, and read the written material after.

In the end, if you’re the right kind of viewer, I think that Claymore is certainly worth your time. The series has plenty of heart and soul, but it’s also a bloodbath in combat scenes.

I return to it from time to time, and I don’t regret it when I do. It is far from perfect, but the journey is enjoyable. I return to it from time to time, and I don’t regret it when I do. It is far from perfect, but the journey is enjoyable.

However, if you expect the hero to always win, with no trauma or strife, find a different show. This is not the one for you.

You can check out some of out other anime related content below. I hope you find something you enjoy. Also, please consider supporting us on Patreon. It keeps the blog advertisement free, and allow Kreshenne and I to produce more content for you to enjoy.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll catch you in the next post.

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RWBY White Trailer Retrospective Review

Kern’s Note: Sorry that this thing was so late in coming out. We were having a few difficulties and had a lot of things to do in order to fix the issues. Now that it is here we are super proud of it. Audio issues were sorted out too, so that makes it even more awesome!


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The Retrospective Review

If you haven’t seen the RWBY White Trailer, yeah, you might want to go do that. It’s on the Rooster Teeth website, and it’s free. As always, please support the official release of the series.

Last week I kicked off my retrospective series with the RWBY Red Trailer. For a brief recap, I mentioned that the four character trailers that kicked off the series had three goals in mind. They were as follows:

  • To introduce the main four girls.
  • To teach the viewer how to enjoy the combat in the series.
  • And to give viewers a taste of the world through the eyes of these characters.

When the RWBY Red Trailer first released, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of what I saw.

As I said last time, hindsight for the series is 20/20. Retrospection matters. My love of the RWBY series didn’t come until I saw the release of the RWBY White Trailer and the introduction of Weiss Schnee.

If Ruby’s trailer is all about sentimentality and holding the things you cherish the most close to your heart. Then, the trailer for Weiss is all about the rejection of emotional sentiment. Of leaving behind childish whimsy, and losing one’s own identity in the process.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look. The trailer opens slowly, a quote flashes across the screen. This quote reads like this:

Then a spotlight shows overhead, the garbled mutterings of an announcer calls her name. The audience cheers as a white haired woman takes the stage. Her face is elegant, but there’s a slender scar blemishing her skin over one eye.

She’s dressed in white, with a splash of red, and a hint of black. Her expression stays serious in front of the crowd. The soft fluttering of of a piano begins to play as the crowd cheers.

By this point in the trailer, less than 30 seconds into it, I had already found myself captivated by Weiss Schnee as a character. Where the RWBY Red Trailer failed to instantly grab my attention, the RWBY White Trailer had captured me from the very beginning.

Weiss looks out to the crowd, takes a breath and closes her eyes. Then the song begins in earnest. Unlike Ruby’s song that was merely playing as a music backdrop and only had a few lyrics, this time Weiss is performing her personal story for the world to see.

Her song, known as “Mirror Mirror” is a testament that Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams really know how to make a soundtrack shine.

This song is probably one of the saddest in the original soundtrack for the first RWBY Volume. As the song plays, Weiss is shown to be singing it, although, her actual voice actress didn’t do the vocals. The woman singing is Casey Lee Williams.

This trailer turns into a flashback as Weiss continues to sing, her eyes still closed. The camera pans lower and the stage fades to black. A reflection of Weiss glows from the dark abyss as she stands atop it, a perfect reflection.

If you haven’t noticed by now, this is a far deeper, far more introspective sort of trailer on it’s face. This make sense. Weiss is the most reserved of the main four girls. She’s cold, almost needlessly cruel in the first volume of the series. However, that’s well and truly a facade at best.

Without this trailer for character context, which I will get to in a moment, Weiss would be little more than a complete and total ass during Volume 1. Episodes like “The Stray” and notably the episode “Black and White” which is the Volume 1 finale, rely on this trailer. It explains everything about Weiss and her eventual blind acceptance of Blake.

The reason is because Weiss isn’t actually an ass, and she’s doesn’t really carry the hyperbolic thoughts and feelings that she’s expected to have. She spouts them, but they’re not real. This trailer is a looking glass into all of it, literally. It gives us all of her key struggles, and allows us to see this girl behind the Schnee family mask.

Anyway, at this point her eyes are closed. It is now implied that anything beyond this point is a flashback of a memory. When her eyes open, kneeling in front of her is a gigantic armored knight. It bows to her in reverence, as if she were its queen.

Then, it stands to its full height, grasping its sword as the tempo of the music changes.

No longer just a soft piano melody with gentle singing, string instruments and percussion are added into the mix. The soft classical music begins taking on new urgency as Weiss faces down her opponent. Swords clash as Weiss faces down this armored giant, deftly avoiding his blade.

Her combat is almost like a dancer’s grace as she continues flitting around the arena floor like a ballerina. She uses her sword with frontal swings and forward jabs just like a fencer. Weiss relies on a complicated mix of pure skill, dust, and her semblance to gain the upper hand.

As I said before, the trailers build upon each other. In Ruby’s trailer, combat was the thing breaking the fourth wall.

For Weiss it’s the lyrics of her song, breaking the forth wall instead. This is her personal story. She’s telling us who she really is as a person, and she’s not going to wait for us to figure it out.

Just like how she treats Ruby in Volume 1, she’s not going to dumb herself down for our sake. The lyrics are poetic and layered in symbolism. I will speak about that in the analysis of this trailer, which is a separate post. For now let’s just focus on the poetic storytelling at play.

Viewers need to stand on Weiss’s level emotionally, and understand what she’s telling us. We viewers, are the mirror she’s talking to. It’s not just that she’s talking to herself. She wants to be heard, she has asked us if we can hear her in the song directly. She’s asked us if she needs us, because we are that mirror.

She’s not sure if her own merits are good enough. She wants to be taken seriously. She feels that she isn’t. That she is somehow inferior.

Now, this is exactly what Ruby’s trailer referenced in regards to the color “white”.

While those lyrics were a factual assessment, Weiss attempts to explain those facts in poetic and lyrical way, using ambiguity.

Ruby’s trailer is self-assured and confidant. She knows she wants to be a huntress, and she’s ready to show off what she can accomplish.

Weiss is far less sure of herself. She wants the validation of others, but she’s afraid to ask for it. So, she’s asking us, the proverbial mirror.

Her faster and far more ruthless combat is an undertone to this as well. While Ruby shows us a fight that’s fun, Weiss shows us one that’s necessity. Weiss needs to fight this battle. It isn’t a choice. It’s an obligation, like so many other things in her life.

Unfortunately for Weiss, she’s still just a teenager trying to pretend she’s an adult. The adult world of Remnant will bring her down a few pegs, and so does the knight she’s fighting. She cannot stand on the world’s stage alone and hope to succeed that way. She needs others, she needs a place to belong.

In spite of her skill, this isn’t enough to stop the knight from countering every attack she lands on him. Finally he swats her aside like a paper doll.

She lands on the ground looking disheartened, defeated and bleeding…

Then the scene faces to black and Weiss is on stage again. Slowly she opens her eyes. Haunting operatic vocals fill the air as the moon overhead appears from behind dark clouds.

Weiss is still young, and just like Ruby, she’s a dreamer of bigger and better things. It’s just that those dreams don’t align with the world as she currently understands it. Her memories and expectations hold her down.

She’s asking us, the viewers, if she can really stand a chance to reach for her dreams. If she’s even worthy of those dreams at all.

Her eyes close again, and her memory continues. The flashback of how she got the scar in the first place is fresh in her mind.

The knight is still ready for more, and Weiss lifts herself up from the ground. There’s blood on her face, and determination in her eyes. Weiss won’t let herself be put down from a little thing like a head injury.

Instead she prepares herself for another clashing of blades. She’s smarter this time, going on the defensive and waiting for the right moment to take him down.

The song changes tempo again. This time, it’s not haunting, it’s empowering. She prepares her weapon, adjusting her stance, and strikes. A flurry of dust shimmers with every attack. A wave of ice spiking up from the ground as she returns the armored knight’s attack tenfold, effectively disarming him.

Then it’s time for her final attack. She readies her glyphs and the dust inside her sword. Trapping the the knight, she sends herself flying into the air, slicing a pinpoint attack into the knight. This turns him into a powder-like snow.

Sparkles of this now defeated knight fall onto the stage as she finishes her song. The blood on her face fades away. She opens her eyes and looks around as if trying to remember where she is. The crowd cheers for her.

When you saw this trailer for the first time, you probably cheered a little too, even if it was just to yourself quietly. I know that I did.

That’s because in the context of the series, Weiss is person worth cheering for. She’s worth her dreams and her ambitions. She wants to hear that cheering, she wants us, the mirror to tell her that she’s worth it. That’s what makes her so relatable even as early as the trailer itself.

Everyone wants to be told they’re worth something. That they’ve done a good job. Everyone wants just that one moment of satisfaction. That one thing that nobody can take away from them, because they earned that success themselves. That they are worthy of standing upon the worlds stage, accepted based on their own achievements.

In that way, Weiss resonates with that small part of humanity. We are the mirror she’s talking to, and we give her just that tiniest glimmer of hope.

Weiss looks out toward the audience and she offers her final bow. Her reflection is still there, a perfect mirror image upon the floor. Only she can see it truly clearly. The curtains close, and the trailer ends.

It’s as if through the eyes of the viewer, she’s finally seeing her true self. The person she really wants to be. The person she can become.

The RWBY White Trailer is a showcase of characterization at its finest. A lot of fans claim that Weiss is one of the most interesting characters in the series, at least, on her own merits. I wholeheartedly agree.

In this trailer we’re given far more depth to her character than we ever saw in the RWBY Red Trailer. This trailer built upon everything we were told previously, and extrapolated upon them.

The thing is, Ruby’s trailer focuses more on factual information. For Weiss, her trailer is almost entirely emotional. The fight was in her point of view, and the song lyrics reflect that as well.

The song stands in a league of it’s own, the animation is absolutely fitting, and the fight is captivating from start to finish.

All in all, this trailer is my absolute favorite one in the early volumes. I love this thing.

However objectively, I wouldn’t actually say it’s the best trailer we received. No, in my opinion, that credit goes to the RWBY Black Trailer, featuring Blake Belladonna. It is the textbook definition of what a trailer should be. Join me next time as I cover Blake’s trailer. You don’t want to miss it.

Also be sure to check out some related content, in case you missed it before. Don’t forget to check out the page “All Things RWBY” to see all of our related RWBY fandom content.

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…

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Game Review: Silent Hill

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In the 90’s, survival horror began to become an iconic genre that spilled into the gaming market

People all over the world wanted to sink their teeth into something a little more bone chilling than the average shooter, platformer, or role-playing game of the time.

Game consoles of the 90’s such as the PlayStation could support better graphics, and PC gaming had been receiving plenty of its own horror classics for a while. Consoles needed to catch up, and fast. Thankfully, two types of horror franchises lifted from the shadows to meet this demand. Both of these titles hit the ground running, but they were vastly different in nature.

When 1996 came around, Capcom released Resident Evil. The horror title showed gamers just what they could hope for when it came to survival horror. It coined the phrase, and that successful effort would change the social sphere of gaming as we knew it.

Konami was hot on the heels of this new bandwagon, and they jumped into these new possibilities for gaming feet first. They aimed to make a game that could become Resident Evil‘s direct competitor. They knew this would not be an easy thing to do, as Resident Evil had cornered the market fairly spectacularly in the horror genera in one single game.

They wanted to create a cinematic game-play experience first and foremost. With this in mind, “Team Silent” was formed with a ragtag production crew. These were people with big ideas and bigger personalities. They didn’t necessarily fit the creative mold that others in the industry did, and that is why they were chosen. There was only one small issue…

The members of “Team Silent” had no idea how to go about making their new game. Horror games were not the staple that they are today. Survival horror was a newly coined term, and it was unknown territory. The team felt the weight of their task weighing down heavily upon them. They had the skills, but they had no idea how to apply that knowledge to a horror title. These once bright-eyed game enthusiasts began to become discouraged under the pressure.

Like many developers do, they began forging their own path. In the end, they ended up choosing a much more subdued narrative for their story. Something far more contemplative and vague than Resident Evil could ever be. All of their efforts eventually paid off, providing a game that split horror fans down two distinct paths.

Each path worthy in their own right.

While zombie fans had Resident Evil to keep them awake at night, others were hungry for something darker and thematically deeper. These fans had a different game to call a masterpiece. This game was known as Silent Hill.

As a gamer, it’s hard not to have heard of these two powerful franchises. While many consider both games it under the branch genre known as survival horror, Silent Hill is far from it. No, this game is without a doubt a psychological horror series.

Released in the early part of 1999, Silent Hill offered players a different type of experience.

Unlike its zombie infested distant cousin, this game provided a look into unsound minds, and along with it, a compelling narrative that wasn’t so simple to unravel. There are still questions left unanswered when it comes the lore of the game, meaning that new players to the series can still find it enjoyable.

With several games, decades of terrifying fun, and a spin-off movie, Silent Hill is by far one of the most fondly remembered franchises that requires a reboot.

For a while, fans even thought we were going to get that reboot when “P.T. Silent Hills” came out in 2014. It was a terrifying playable demo that has it’s own complicated story to tell.

I only wish to give it a brief mention here, because if I didn’t it would be a huge disservice to my love of the franchise, and everyone who worked so hard to bring fans another taste of the franchise.

Sadly, for many reasons, the reboot just wasn’t meant to be. Still, the legacy of Silent Hill, and the franchise as a whole, is something that should be remembered. Both for some of the best gaming in history, and some of the greatest failures later titles provided within horror as a genre.

Surface Level Shenanigans

It’s hard not to know at least a few fragments of Silent Hill‘s story. It may as well be a campfire tale, spoken with flashlights in hand while eating marshmallows with friends. Even so, the concept is effective for sending chills down any spine. The problem is, most of the story is left up to interpretation, and that’s by design. Silent Hill’s creator Keiichiro Toyama, made sure that the plot is as consistent as it is vague.

This writing style is a great way to spin fan-theories, and conjure about what goes on in the game. Unfortunately, since so much is left up to interpretation, and there are multiple endings, not everyone views the events of the game in the same way.

There will always be debates surrounding Silent Hill, and that’s the way it was designed to be. Just keep that in mind as I gloss over the very basic story.

There lingers a fictional town somewhere along the foggy shores of Toluca Lake. Within this small and seemingly insignificant location, a quaint little community resides here. One that probably fell on hard times and left forgotten about. It’s not likely one to attract a boat load of tourists any time soon, but something about that little town is compelling anyway.

As if the town has a voice of it’s own, it sings an almost sirens call. Unfortunate souls are attracted to this gloomy place. They find themselves wandering through a pit of dark truths, and murky discoveries. That sad, destitute little town, is known as Silent Hill.

You play as Harry Mason, a single father who’s on his way to Silent Hill for a small vacation. While driving at night, Harry swerves his car out of the way to avoid hitting someone that seems to be standing in the middle of the road. After waking from the crash, he notices that his daughter, Cheryl has gone missing. With snow littering the ground and fog thick in the air, he sets out to find her.

While Harry attempts to find his daughter, he wanders into the town. There he meets a police officer who attempts to help him, and eventually finds himself entangled in the dealings of a cult that seek to manipulate Harry for their own goals. As the game continues, players realize that the town of Silent Hill may as well have a life of its own.

However, all of that is only on the surface… The game has a deeper story… A darker one… I shouldn’t have to say this, but beyond this point, there will be spoilers.

A Town’s Sinister Tale

The above summery alone makes for a compelling story, but it isn’t the complete story. It’s not anywhere close to it. Instead, it’s a fabrication, made to lure the player in. Remember, this is a psychological horror game, and the story itself is intentionally vague. Nothing is as it seems.

I am now going to gloss over the actual story of the game, and if you haven’t played it before, you may struggle to keep up. This is not a simple premise, and it was never intended to be.

Contrary to what you might think given the details above, the story isn’t one about a father looking for his lost little girl. Even though you play as Harry, it’s not his story that begins to unfold as the player progresses.

Instead, Silent Hill is all about a little girl named Alessa.

This little girl was born into the town’s religious cult. This messed up collection of demon enthusiasts preach a far different bible story than usual. Apparently, the god they speak about returned to the heavens before the world was done being created. This ultimately lead to a flawed, and imperfect design. This god then promised to return one day.

The cult aim to speed up their god’s return the best way they know how. The crazy old lady, Dahlia is the current leader of the cult. She has the idea to use her own child as a means to do it. Unfortunately for Alessa, Dahlia isn’t just the cult’s current leader, she’s also her mother too.

Alessa has psychic abilities, and Dahlia believes that they can use that to impregnate her with god. Let me say that again. Dahlia, crazy person that she is, thinks that she can get her psychic daughter pregnant so that she will give birth to their god.

Obviously, it should come as no surprise that this plan fails spectacularly. The stress of the ritual forces Alessa’s powers to activate, causing catastrophic damage to Alessa, and her powers. During this messed up series of events, Cheryl is created. Once she is, Dahlia can no longer complete the ritual.

To make this explanation as simple as possible, the cult needs Cheryl and Alessa to reunite if they have any hopes to complete the ritual so that their god can be born. Alessa refuses to let that happen, and does everything in her power to keep the cult’s plan from coming to fruition.

Why does this matter? Simple, because the mechanics act as a metaphor for this story.

Everything in this game has mechanical weight that means something to the greater plot. For example, the story I just detailed above is the explanation for the “Otherworld” which is a commonly visited mechanic in the game.

After playing the game enough times, you can figure out that the “Otherworld” is merely Alessa losing control of her powers and her mind every now and then. When she does, her mind allows the darkest parts of her torment to seep freely out into the world.

The monsters that players see are physical manifestations of this poor girl’s suffering. The puzzles are tied to her intrinsically. When you look at the game through that lens, everything begins to come together and make a lot more sense.

Most of the characters are mechanical in nature too. The side cast carry the weight of monologue heavy diatribes. The few actual characters you run into are unstable at best. Some characters openly lie willingly, and others will merely offer a version of the truth. As I said before, the town itself might as well have a life of it’s own, and it certainly seems that way as each person you meet continually muddies those narrative waters.

Harry himself is merely the vessel the player uses to understand this sordid tale. Cheryl acts as the simple narrative device that new players cling onto as the story unfolds.

Intuitive Design Done Right

It would be easy to assume that since this is a horror title, that it would have game design that felt similar to Resident Evil. That assumption would be incorrect. While they’re both horror titles, the way they display that horror is vastly different.

There are a lot of the same hallmarks to horror series sprinkled in the game. Limited ammo, puzzles, and exploration are all part of the greater whole, but in very different ways.

At the time of the game, clunky controls were the staple for the horror genre. To some degree it is a hardware limitation of the time. They make a reappearance here as well. Thankfully though, it’s not as clunky in this game as its survival horror counterparts. I wouldn’t call them “tank controls” exactly. However, that said, running can be a chore on occasion.

Harry moves decently fast once you get him running, but you can’t always outrun every single enemy in the game. Some of the hallways are too narrow for the usual Resident Evil style bait and dodge. This means being prepared to stand your ground tactically. With this in mind, let’s discuss how to survive.

Weaponry isn’t just limited to guns and knives. There are plenty of objects to pick up and use as well, encouraging trigger happy players to take a different approach when it comes down to selecting weapons. Each weapon has its own “recharge” time, so to speak. Some weapons are faster than others, so learning how to time an attack is crucial to a successful enemy encounter.

Ammo should be saved for the larger fights, while other other items can be used to take down a lone enemy or two. Like Silent Hill‘s survival horror cousin, the best choice is to conserve weaponry and just run away when you can. However, because you can’t outrun everything, the average player will need a good stock of weaponry for those unavoidable encounters and boss battles.

As shown above and here as well, some spaces are tight and claustrophobic.

The camera accommodates this aspect well, adding significant tension to any environment. When it comes to the camera itself, it tends to be smooth and easy to control. No forcefully fixed camera angles here.

This allows for easier navigation, and comfortable coordination while in combat. There’s just one downside, it is a very a slow camera. This means anticipating where you’d like the camera to be is a skill players will come to learn quickly. The camera will move on its own to a decent spot whenever you enter a new area, and sometimes it’s best not to adjust it at all.

The concept of exploration is vast, and feels closer to an open world, at least for its time. It’s not as sprawling as an open world game is nowadays, but Silent Hill is a vast town, with plenty to explore.

The player is able to access a decent amount of the town fairly early in the game, allowing the player to stock up on supplies early and often. This is a double edged sword though. Stocking up early can give the false impression to new players that you will likely never run out of supplies, but it is very possible, and very easy to do so.

The game itself has a rather linear and set narrative direction. No side quests here, sorry. The game won’t let you venture too far from the beaten path. Once you’ve entered a building, that similar horror feeling will come flooding back to any players of Resident Evil. The hallways are dark, the areas are often crawling with enemies. Puzzle solving and key finding are the name of the game.

In general, exploration and backtracking are a bit more linear and laid out. A few doors in some locations aren’t meant to be opened at all. Silent Hill asks the player to traverse many locations around the town, so this “on rails” approach is slightly required. That said, environments can still be confusing to a newcomer. There are street names to remember, and fog to navigate. Thankfully, as Harry walks around Silent Hill, he’ll scribble things down on the town map. New players should check it early and often for clues and hints.

The “Otherworld” as Harry calls it, will crop up from time to time, and the player will have to navigate that too. While it might be the same basic area you’ve been wandering around in already, this world is darker, grittier, and different. Previously opened paths will be cut off from access, and monsters can catch the player off-guard if they aren’t prepared for encounters. Previously safe spaces are no longer safe, and this added element makes backtracking fresh and enjoyable.

The puzzles are difficult, hands down. This is one such puzzle, and one of the most iconic ones. Truthfully, it’s a very common puzzle to get stuck on. Silent Hill offered some of hardest puzzles that a game of its day could provide. They’re vast and several are multifaceted, offering vague hints and very little else. They’re not impossible though.

This puzzle here, is proof of that. It’s all about understanding the words that you read, and applying them to a broken piano.

To make it simple to understand, you just need to know three things. White birds are white keys. Black birds are black keys. Some keys are broken and don’t make a sound if you press them. Pushing the keys in the right sequence is how you solve the puzzle.

Puzzles can be solved without looking them up. The game offers you everything you need in order to figure them out. As an added little bonus, the puzzles actually mean something to the core narrative, so they’re not just made to slow you down. They’re made to progress the story in subtle ways.

Unbinding From Hardware Limitations

Silent Hill was praised for its atmospheric dystopia and unsettling visuals. In truth though, the game was designed this way was because it had to be. Due to the limitations of PlayStation hardware, the fog was added to keep everything from rendering all at once. The same could be said for the particularly dark backdrops. Less rendering meant a smoother experience, and faster loading times.

However, this too, became part of the game’s lore. The particularly dark backgrounds in parts of the “Otherworld” were explained by Alessa’s psychic powers. The thick fog that settled over the town was explained as being a product of the nearby lake. The occasional falling snow ties the dreary world together, and helps to make everything much more believable.

On top of that, for its time, everything looks awesome. The careful quality control of visible details were crucial. The game is immersive thanks to each and every environment. Combat is mostly fluid, and each area is truly a spectacle of what horror can accomplish if it is done right.

Characters feel fully realized, although in cut-scenes there can be odd moments when they don’t look quite right. Enemies are fairly disturbed and the horrifying placement of certain details do enough to make a player unsettled as they play.

When it comes to sound, the music is masterful. To me, it is probably the absolute best thing about the game. It is, in a word, iconic. I hear its music and I’m taken right back to the emotions I had while playing the game. Now later titles in the franchise certainly blow this one out of the water, but they were more advanced games, and had a much more powerful consoles at their disposal. With that in mind, the soundtrack to Silent Hill is everything we could have hoped for from Akira Yamaoka.

The voice acting is good, not outstanding, but the actors do their job. Rather, let me put it this way. The voice acting stands up far better than most in horror games of the time.

The only time characters sound weird, is when they should sound that way. It isn’t because characters have a sudden case of inexplicable constipation. Some of the characters are completely insane, and others just aren’t normal to begin with. The acting lines up with that, and really, that’s enough.

Final Thoughts

I do not consider Silent Hill to be a survival horror game. That is my passion when it comes to horror games, and I stand by the fact that it is certainly psychological, not survival.

However, with that said, I have nothing but praise for the original Silent Hill. This game is by far one of the most unsettling games to ever launch on the PlayStation. Furthermore, you’d be hard-pressed to find such a deep and immersive story anywhere else for its time. The story holds up to this day, and the music does too, even if the graphics don’t.

There’s only one reason I have for why a person shouldn’t play this game. It strictly falls down to players who aren’t horror fans. If they’re not, the game wasn’t made or tailored to them, and of course they won’t like it. They shouldn’t go near this thing, if that’s the case. It’s nightmare fuel, plain and simple.

Frankly, I’d say that horror fans who simply want gratuitous gore and simple plot lines should avoid this game too. Particularly if you’re a fan of modern horror that holds your hand and keeps complicated questions of morality to a surface level.

There’s real psychological torment to be found in this game. Abusive situations and trauma linger deeply within the core of the story being told. Silent Hill has gore too, but that’s not the crux of the game. It’s window dressing into the far deeper narrative.

For the rest of us, as in those who occasionally like deeply disturbed horror, this game is worth playing. The experience is unlike any other, and I don’t say that lightly. I could say the same thing comfortably about the first three games in this series. They’re experiences that you just don’t find everyday.

If you like a good horror game, this game is for you. If you enjoy going back to experience classic horror titles in the genre, this game is for you. If you are an absolute diehard fan of horror in gaming, these have to be on your shelf, or someplace in your gaming library. These games are unequivocally made for you.

The original Silent Hill is a true psychological horror game. I love it for that alone. Just like it’s survival horror cousin, Silent Hill has a place on my shelf. It’s earned that place, and all of the acclaim it has received over the years. It fully deserves every ounce of praise it receives going forward too.

It’s 2021 now, and it’s time to put that into perspective. This February, Silent Hill turned 22 years old. Think about that. In America, the game is old enough to have a beer if it wanted. As gamers, we can’t let this game slip into the forgotten corners of our history. It’s too paramount to be forgotten, too important to be bypassed and ignored by younger generations. It’ll slip into obscurity without passionate fans behind it, and that would be a crying shame.

My final thought is; play this game. If you even remotely like horror games with a bone to chew on, experience Silent Hill for yourself. Take the time and do it. It’s worth it. It’s that simple.

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.

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeStream archive. Occasional Anime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

There are plenty of ways to support us. To find out more, click the button below.

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