Category Archives: Fandom

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.

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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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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.

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Fandom: The Comfort of a Good “Let’s Play”

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Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. This is just an introspection piece, and that’s why I’m posting it on a day that isn’t typically a blog post day. It’s just a few thought I have, nothing more.

About a year ago I was asked by an elderly relative, why gamers these days watch “let’s plays”, when we could just play the game ourselves? This older relative is an extended relative, a great aunt of mine. Unlike most of the family, she never quite understood why we played games in the first place.

Since she’s so old, I came up with the usual and easy excuses. I brought up money constraints, games can be an expensive hobby. I spoke of social interaction, internet communities can be very closely knit in some circles. Lastly I mentioned impressive feats of skill, some gamers are just the cream of the crop and the rest of us want to cheer that on.

However, those were all very impersonal answers to what I feel to be a very personal question. My aunt seemed to have forgotten she asked this question, and over the phone she asked it again just yesterday.

Cut her some slack, she’s very old. To put my family into perspective here, my mother (who used to be a gamer) is in her 70’s, my great aunt is in her nineties. The woman isn’t nearly as sharp as she used to be, she’s more forgetful about mundane conversations every single day.

Yesterday, I felt that I finally had an answer that was far more satisfying to me and far more appealing to my aunt.

I think we watch “let’s plays” because it fills some sort void. Something that is intrinsic to who we are as a greater community. It isn’t just entertainment, it becomes a balm for something greater. At least that’s what I think, and let me tell you why.

Today, my aunt is here and she’s watching my little cousin, her “great, great, niece” play a video game. She never did that when I was young, she was more ornery about games back then. More brainwashed that games were damaging to children. It took two full generations of gaming within the family to finally remove that stigma out of her.

Gamers of a certain age will recall the days of meager graphics and simple sound design. Times when we would run home from school, kick off our shoes, and grab the nearest controller. For a few perfect hours, all was right with our world. We’d take up gaming as a fun hobby before doing our homework, having dinner and going to bed. For many of us, these are memories that likely fill our heads.

Well, you would recall that if you were a little older than me at least. My recollection of the games started when I was still toddling around in diapers. Many of the early games I was exposed to came out sandwiched around the year I was born, 1989.

Games such as Mario and Mega Man titles were common household staples. A Boy and His Blob Trouble on Blobolonia was a beloved title in this house, though that cartage NES game finally died a slow death about eight years ago. The Mega Man ones are finally dying out too, but Super Mario Bros 3 is still going strong despite the heavy use.

I’ve said it before, but I came from a family of gamers, so the sounds of eight and sixteen bit games were often what I napped to in my earliest years. My father was the only one in the household that didn’t play video games. Anyway, I was one of those diaper clad toddlers that was handed a controller. I would push the buttons mystified, even when it wasn’t plugged in.

More importantly to my little and innocent soul, came the all too coveted nap time in the summer months. That’s when my extended family came over almost daily to spend countless hours enjoying the back yard, chasing the ice cream truck that passed by at the same time almost every day, and of course playing video games.

There was an eighteen year difference between some of my older cousins and myself. The shortest distance was still a lengthy one at a seven year divide. For me, there was no better way to fall asleep than to watch my family play games. Nap time for me was all about grabbing my pillow and blanket. I’d insist on laying on my favorite mat on the floor. I’d fall asleep watching those NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES titles. I eyed the lone Game Boy in the house and often got pretty bratty when I couldn’t see what was being played.

You could say I was a fan of watching “let’s plays” before they were ever really a thing gamers did in mass. I suspect they’re a sensation at all because so many gamers likely grew up like I did. With an older sibling or a parent playing video games as a key element of entertainment in the household.

Many of us probably grew up with that comfort, so it became something more than just a mere game. For me, it became an extension of family time. It was part of my personal identity in a very intractable way.

As I grew older, my cousins and sibling married off, eventually having children of their own. This tradition lives on. The huge age gap between me and my youngest cousins is about seventeen years. I’m the baby as far as the adults in the family go. While I’m now thirty-one years old, those little cousins are just now reaching their teens.

I feel old…

I also feel validated that they are growing up in a world where gaming is far more normalized than it was in my youth.

My family played video games, but most of the people I knew at school in the early 90’s didn’t. As a person that was constantly bullied I didn’t much care for having them as friends anyway. Back then I could barely hold a pencil, let alone play sports. Gaming was my major hobby.

Nowadays that stigma among other children has been thoroughly trounced, and gamers come from all walks of life. My cousins are growing up in a much more enlightened gaming generation, and I get to watch them mature within it.

That’s pretty damn special, I’ve got to say. After all, I firmly recall their earliest days. Actually Kresh and Ruka do too, to a small degree. After all, those little cousins were on my lap more often than not during hot summer days. Back then, we used Skype as a just barely functional for VOIP to play FFXI and other such games.

When I was fresh out of high school I was the perfect babysitter. Two toddlers roaming around diaper clad, a baby on the hip, and my games were on full display amidst the warm glow of the television. These children mystified, the same as I was in my earliest years. Now, they’re young teenage and tween gamers themselves. They’re just edging into the wide and vast world of gaming. Branching out from the insular family unit they clung onto when they were young, now they’re playing games together in small circles online.

Now they’re playing MOBA‘s with friends from school, and discussing what series they like in more interconnected and diverse ways. When you play games with kids, it is a powerful tool for teaching and engagement. I’m proof of it, and now, so are my cousins.

Sometimes it is very fun to play a game yourself, and my cousins agree. Every now and then though, I find myself missing the random phone calls. A small nightmare or a bad day at school prompting them to ask “Can I watch you play?” all while sounding so full of hope over something so simple. I don’t think I ever said no, now that I think about it.

Now that those days are gone and passed, I find myself wondering about it. What drove us to do that? Why were we so fixated? Why, amidst everything else, was gaming such a core comfort to the younger family unit?

Well, I don’t have an answer to that. I wish I did, but I don’t. There are too many factors to name. Maybe it was the comfort of a momentary escape. Maybe it was the bonding that occurred because of it, or maybe that was just because we liked games.

I think, in the end, the reasons are too diverse and personal to name. They’re so personal because we gamers aren’t a monolith. So, to answer the question, why do we gamers like to watch “let’s plays” so much? I go back to what I said before.

It gives us something we need, even if that thing isn’t entirely something you can measure. I think anyone who needs to answer that question for themselves will come to find their own personal story about why its so important. A reason why they watch instead of just playing themselves.

Something beyond the usual rhetoric and above the typical reproach. Intangible perhaps, but no less valid for its existence.

Why do you watch “let’s plays” and live streams? Let me know in the comments below.

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 other great posts down below. I’ll see you next time.

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Kern’s Thoughts on Resident Evil Village

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I prefer to review series critically only after I’ve had time to look back upon it retrospectively. I like to have time time to play the game more than once, and let myself really sink into the core narratives and confines of the game as a whole.

Resident Evil Village is too new, and I’ve only played and beaten it once with plenty of dying and screwing up to say that yes, it is certainly a Resident Evil title in that way at least. Actually that’s probably the only way.

Anyway, this isn’t a review. It isn’t meant to be one. These are just some initial thoughts about the game, and my overall enjoyment of it.

I don’t know if I could call this game a masterpiece, but what I will say is that Resident Evil Village pushes boundaries I never thought it would. So, let’s dive into my thoughts, because god knows I have a lot of them.

This is mostly spoiler free. Nothing big will be discussed. Although I do briefly touch on a few things, you won’t be getting any deep details, so don’t worry about massive plot being spoiled here, you won’t be.

A Thoughtful, Captivating Opening.

Most Resident Evil titles don’t captivate me right out of the release gate anymore. Mostly, that’s because the series is too old to really give me a halfway decent bone to chew on. Usually I have to wait to I sink onto the meat of the game properly before I’m surprised by an opening.

This one did surprise me, and not just because it actually had a halfway decent recap of the events in Resident Evil 7. Though, because it was decent, there’s merit in that too. It told the Resident Evil 7 plot without getting too deep. It was easy to digest and simple to consume. It does strictly as it needs to, and nothing more.

Now, you’d expect that after this you’d dive into gameplay, but that isn’t what happened. What we’re greeted with instead is the truly astonishing part. Something that made me take two steps back. It was simple, but for the narrative it was compelling.

We got to listen to rather grim a fairy tale…

Typically, you only see things like this used in puzzles in the Resident Evil series. Survival horror as a genre likes to take fantasy elements use them to craft clues for puzzles or use them as incredibly vague item or enemy metaphor. Yet, we rarely get to see elements like this used as part of character development, or as a taste for a larger metaphorical narrative.

Fantastical music boxes, nods to classic novels, and other such tropes are usually only puzzles only. So it was super nice to see them pulling that key aspect into something greater than making a character merely interact with it. Instead of just getting some sort of key or clue, we get a greater poetic narrative of the game at large.

This opening primes the player, and through my entire play-through I was searching for those metaphorical hints that the opening provided. All-in-all it was a solid opening, and a great creative addition that deserves praise.

On Horror: Lacking/Poorly Managed At Times…

There are times it certainly looks like a classic Resident Evil game. However, it’s not even close.

The game took me about eleven hours to beat since I was taking my time, and occasionally dying. One thing that became noticeable to me at about half an hour into the game was I hadn’t received any meaningful tension to make me feel scared.

Sorry, spooky sounds and jump scares just don’t cut it. Around that time I was wandering around this spooky, snow covered forest filled with dead birds (one of them acting as a cheap jump scare), and subsequently the cabin in the aftermath that creaked and groaned but provided no real payoff.

Continuing to play the game, through more snow covered woods and several more homes (with plenty more mangled and dead animals to go rounds). It was a decent bit after that when I finally picked up my first knife and things actually became interesting.

All of this is to say that the game does have some very good horror elements, but sadly it also fails to manage them correctly at times. This leads to somewhat boring gameplay during certain stretches of time. Considering that many of the areas of the game feel like something out of the original mansion, I do take issue with that.

It just reminds me of how good horror can truly inspire fear, and how this game just can’t cut it in that regard.

Also, the gore itself was just occasionally hard to believe or immerse myself into. It was nearly bombastic at times, but the gratuitousness lacked reason or subtly.

Again, this would not have been an issue, if I had not been so thoroughly reminded of what subtle build-up can provide. That is an ongoing issue of this game. It reminds you of older titles, but never in a way that satisfies.

This style is particularly true early on, when some things weren’t explained yet. There is only one very noteworthy section of the game that is absolutely horrifying, but the rest of it is truly hit and miss for me.

Enemies: What The Hell?

No, seriously, what in the actual hell were the development staff thinking on this one? This goes back into what I was saying before about poor management of horror. The dude in this image, he is a miss.

Listen, I don’t mind when enemies get smarter and faster than your typical zombies. Chainsaw dude from Resident Evil 4 is without a doubt the kind of enemy that will make you crap yourself if you don’t know what to expect. However, when enemies that are half yeti, half zombie roar at me, I feel a distinct lack of chills, and a clear amount of agitation instead.

Come on, seriously? I wasn’t exacting this to be your typical Resident Evil game, but some of these enemy types are flat out stupid. They don’t scare me, they just make me wonder one simple question: what the hell? This goes back into what I was saying before about poor management of horror.

Unintentional Humor (Hands have never been so funny).

No image here, because I don’t want to take away from that moment. I have only one word for you….

“Good.”

That moment, which I won’t go into detail about, is the one genuinely funny thing is this game, far better than the likes of “Jill Sandwich” and other such campy dialogue, simply because it was not supposed to be funny.

Even so, I legitimately laughed out loud. Considering this has become something of an in-joke among players who know what I’m talking about, I have a feeling this moment will stand the test of time.

Looks Nice, Plays Decently…

I don’t want to show you too many enemies, because again this is mostly spoiler free, but look at this hallway. This isn’t even one of the more stunning moments in gameplay, I’m just running away a villain that’s behind me. I just wanted this image to prove a point. Let’s face it the only ugly things in this game, are the ones meant to be ugly.

Unless you’re super focused on everything looking absolutely sunning no matter what, you’ll have no problems here. Everything looks good (some wonky enemy designs aside), and it feels good to play Resident Evil Village.

I will say that I believe there are too many “chase” moments. I don’t understand why people can dislike Mr. X or Nemesis, and yet they enjoy running away from these constantly circling abominations. The sisters are a particular pain in the butt as a whole in my opinion. They’re just not needed. We already had one very compelling villain willing to chase you. Did we really need three cronies too?

It’s like out of a really bad anime, and don’t even get me started on the fact the woman in question might as well be Lust from FMA. Actually, that’s an insult to Lust, because I don’t care how well loved she is, I take extreme issue with Lady Dimitrescu, the reasons why will be details in her own separate post, because she is entirely offensive.

There are times aiming can be clunky, and first person view is the absolute last camera I want to be using, but those gripes aside, it’s a solid player experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best experience out there. Then again, it’s by far not the worst thing I’ve played either.

First person view is a major gripe for me, though. I just don’t like that style, and it’s becoming more common in horror games. Still, if they wanted to make more first person horror, why not revive the Resident Evil: Survivor series, or something? Remake those games and then add onto them, why not do that?

Why does it need to be in a main series title twice in a row? I suppose ultimately that is what I’m asking. Then again, you could argue Resident Evil 7 set the precedent, and that’s fine I suppose. To me though, it just comes down to personal preference.

Resident Evil 2‘s remake proved that you do not need first person camera angles to make a good Resident Evil game. Anyway, this first person camera thing, it’s just not my style. At least, not for Resident Evil, or horror in general. It pulls me out of the experience more times than not.

Not My Resident Evil…

Honestly, the game is good, it is very fun to play, but it just isn’t a typical Resident Evil title. It doesn’t feel like one, it doesn’t really play like one. Although I did enjoy the game, I won’t be praising it as heavily as I would other games.

The games looses brownie points for me because if you call it “Resident Evil” I expect to feel like I’m playing a “Resident Evil game”. I don’t think that’s unfair to expect.

I feel like this the game you’d get when you let BloodRayne have a very confused orgy with Resident Evil 4 and Outlast, without anyone knowing who the father really is. Aw hell, let’s just throw in uncle Silent Hill and aunt Clock Tower for good measure. See what I’m getting at? The identity of this game is hard to pin down, and it looses a great deal of charm that I’ve come to expect from the Resident Evil series because of that. I’ll explain more about that when I do a review properly.

The enemies don’t feel like something out of a typical Resident Evil game. Rather, it felt more surrealist in scope, or particularly high fantasy horror. Think something along the lines of Alice: Madness Returns. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, there is a time and place for those things. It doesn’t feel like Resident Evil when you include those fantasy elements to the degree Capcom did.

Again, that doesn’t make it a bad game. I just thought they would balance the setting and horror vibes more carefully, that’s all.

A lot of people compare this title to Resident Evil 4, but you know, I just don’t feel like that’s a fitting comparison either. Resident Evil 4 was certainly action packed, but it had a lot of truly creepy moments. This game doesn’t have that same creepy factor that I know and love.

You can’t really compare this to Resident Evil 7 either, because that game was super dark thematically. Way more than previous titles in the franchise. It was gritty, it was grotesque, and it was unapologetic. It glorified being disturbing to general sensibilities. Emotional abuse and mistreatment of the family dynamic runs rampant. Those qualities really upset some people, but at least Resident Evil 7 knew what it was. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the lines it dared to cross, but at least I can respect it for understanding what it was trying to do.

To me, Resident Evil Village really jumped the shark. It’s not a scary game most of the time. When I play a horror game, I want to be freaked out, or at least mildly unsettled.

Resident Evil Village offered a thematically confusing, high octane experience. I really don’t care for that to such a large degree.

Now, there were moments that were actually unsettling or terrifying, but they were lightning in a bottle moments. They were not commonplace as I would have liked. I so rarely experienced the sort of tension required to be unsettled in the first place.

I wish I could say I loved this thing from start to finish, but I just don’t. It’s a good game, but for a Resident Evil title, it has earned itself a place in my mind of one of the worst in the franchise that I have ever played on the first run-through.

That being said, I felt the same about Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Resident Evil 5 at one point in my life, and they eventually grew on me.

If I pretend it isn’t a Resident Evil title, or at the very least pretend it is a spin-off, then the game is really damn good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do that. You need a lot of the Resident Evil 7 backstory to even care about what happens to be going on. So let that ideology speak for itself.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are part for the course. I’ll see you next time. Be sure to join our other profiles for more great content.

Be sure to check out some related content, in case you missed it before…

Fandom: #3 More Tips To Combat Writer’s Block…

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, and today I’m back again writing another writer’s block post. I’ve already written one of these posts before, and you can find it here if you want to read it. You really should start there, but I’ll do a recap here as well.

Basically, in my last post I outlined three core principles for solving writers block. Here is just a very basic outline, and it only glosses over the topics I spoke of in detail.

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  • #1 Respect your mental health. -This means that you should know where your mind is from a creative standpoint. Make sure you are doing your best to maintain the right kind of thinking for your writing style. If you can’t do that, maybe put your old projects aside and write something new to get the feelings out.
  • #2 Redefine your methods. – This means you always should look at the fulfillment you get by writing. If you feel that your writing is no longer filling your needs as a person, you might change the way you go about crafting the written word.
  • #3 Perfectionism is flat out stupid. – Nothing is perfect, and trying to force it to be that way isn’t something you should do when you’re still in your first or second draft. When all else fails, a good old fashioned write-and-toss may help.

As I stated in my last post, these suggestions are made for the hobbyist and creatively inclined. They’re not made for professional writers, though I suppose you may see some value in them too.

That being said, this is geared more for the fan fiction community, or someone who is just getting into writing and doesn’t know exactly what to do with an idea or a project that they want to start. If you’re one of these sorts of people, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes of this post.

#1 Drabbles!

What is a “drabble”, you might ask? Good question, and the answer is quite simple. Usually it is a very small fiction. If you’ve been around in the fan fiction world for a while, you’ve likely seen those fictions that are less than 800 or so words.

That’s a drabble. Yep, that’s it.

Now by definition, a drabble is usually about 100 words, but in the fan fiction world we take number counts very loosely. With some fan fictions easily becoming over one million words in total length, we tend to play fast and lose with the standard expected writing formula. So really, a drabble is just a really short story, and often times it’s not always fleshed out.

This is a great way to bust writer’s block. Pick one theme, one or two characters and one simple setting. Then get to it. Write that scene to its completion. That’s it. That’s a drabble, and most of them can stand on it’s own. If it can’t, that’s fine too, because now at least you have a jumping off point. Upload that sucker and get yourself some feedback. Then build off of it. Either with a few more small drabbles from the same universe to make an interconnected story, or with a longer length work.

Sometimes the best cure for writer’s block is just to get something out there in the first place, and drabbles help you do that.

#2 Find Sensory Input

Your personal experiences as a writer will shape how your work takes form. This is especially true if you don’t have much writing experience to go off of. It can be difficult to describe a particular feeling or flesh out the world that your characters live in.

If that’s the case for you, find the next best thing. All pieces of media come from a place of introspection to a degree. Learning to absorb the details around, you will help you to make your story fluid and interesting.

If you’re having trouble describing something, find a real world equivalent. For example, if you’re trying to describe a room in a house, or the way a character acts, then look around for your inspiration. Act out your scenes a little, as if you were the characters. Play them out in your head. If your character seems to shrug something off, you shrug too. Feel the way your shoulders lift. Feel the sort of breath you take within the confines of the scene as if you were the character.

Is the breath you take gentle or heavy? Do your shoulders sag a little as they fall? Do they hunch forward, or do they square back confidently? What are your lips doing? Are they placid, or frowning? Do your eyes close, or do they stay open?

Take notice of those small details, write those in. That way you can move on without lingering too long. Trust me, you don’t ever want to longer linger than you have to. It will only make the writer’s block worse in my opinion.

I cannot stress this enough, but perfection has no place in a first draft. Hell, it has no place in a second draft, either. If you’re a perfectionist, toss your idea onto the page and move on.

You will inevitably return to it later, like all writers do during the editing process. Sometimes just getting deeper into the scene you’re writing will help. Someone that really is all you need, then you’ll be able to go back and add more content later.

#3 Creative Drifting

So, you have no idea what to do. You’re just completely stuck to the point that words just aren’t going onto the page to save your soul. It’s agitating you to no end, and you’re just about flip your entire desk over in frusteration.

Don’t do that. Instead, go find yourself a voice recording app. A free one. There are so many to choose from, really. Either grab one on your cell phone, or a computer, it really doesn’t matter. Now, open that thing and talk into it. Yep, you read that write.

Just talk about your creativity. Talk about the world you want to build, the characters you want to write about, the setting. Make a mess, let the thoughts exist and mingle into something you can listen to later.

When you’re done, listen to it a few times. Occasionally that’s all you need. The talking will occasionally jump-start your innate creativity. If that didn’t work on its own, then listen to that recording and make a bullet point list of things you say that inspire you. Dig deeper into it, and focus your talents on that inspiration first and foremost. From there you should be able to write something, hopefully.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, writers block is something that everyone will struggle with creatively at one point another. That’s a demon that just falls into line when writing anything, and often times there isn’t much a person can do but struggle through it. Writers block is a fluid thing. It will come and go and that’s just the way it is.

I find that playing to your strengths really helps a lot, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. When that happens, the best thing you can do is play with the actual writing conventions themselves. Toy with them, twist them around, and throw them all over the place. The written word is a powerful tool, but don’t let that stop you from truly enjoying the freedom of expression.

So what if you happen to have too many words, or maybe just not enough? So what if you can’t nail down that perfect moment? What if you can’t get a description of a scene just right? It doesn’t matter during writers block. These are all issues that help to contribute to writers block in the first place, and these are all things that can be overlooked during the initial phases of your creative journey as a writer.

There will come a time and a place to fix all of that. If it is meant to be fixed at all, it will be. Sometimes it’s just not, and allowing your initial ideas to merely exist as they are might give you more freedom as a writer.

It’s all hit and miss. We all throw things at the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes all of it does, and sometimes none of it does. That’s the nature of the beast. Work with it, not against it.

As I always say, let yourself love the creative process. Let yourself love writing for as imperfect, bombastic and grandiose as it can sometimes be. Clutter is part of the process, messes crumpled up wads of ideas will be cast aside more times than not. Don’t be bogged down by it, just embrace it.

If you can do that, the block will pass and words will eventually flow freely once more. Love is a powerful tool too, and few things are stronger than its power. As a hobbyist writer, you are your own master. the written language is your form of magic, and the page is the vessel upon which to place it. Allow yourself the flexibility to play with the craft, and simply just love it no matter what.

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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A moment to Remember – Yaphet Kotto

If you’re here, you’ve probably heard that Yaphet Kotto passed away. I don’t want to talk about his passing, but rather I want to talk about his legacy. What he left behind. This isn’t a usual blog post, and unlike my other blog posts, I won’t be leaving the typical links. Also, this isn’t carefully edited or mindfully crafted. It’s just me, writing what I think and feel.

I want this post to be a reflection of my own recollections of him through the eyes of a fan. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, but he was intrinsic to my youth, and that’s what I want to recall fondly.

Memories of happier, simpler days when he lit up our television screen in the mundane afternoons. My family gathered around our television set, while I was too young to think of it as anything other than normalcy.

If you were a fan of bond films, or such classics as Alien, you probably saw Yaphet Frederick Kotto on screen plenty of times over the years. Even if you don’t know who he was, you probably knew of his work in the film and television industry. You knew his face, if not his name.

For me growing up, that’s what it was like. So, I wanted to take a moment to recall his career, and my earliest recollections as a fan. My parents are older, so I grew up with shows from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Old re-runs of shows like Gun Smoke, Hawaii Five-O  and Murder, She Wrote were series that were fairly common in my household growing up.

Yaphet Kotto made an appearance on all of these shows, and my earliest memories weren’t as a fan of him, but as a child playing in front of the television set. If you were also a 90’s kid with older parents like myself, you probably also grew up around his works, rather than with his works.

Still it was that experience in my early childhood that made him a household name for me. It wasn’t his larger roles, it was his smaller ones. That’s what made me want to watch things like Alien as an adult, and play video games like Alien: Isolation. It’s what made me look deeper into his entire filmography.

Knowing of him, made me want to see more about him and the roles he played. That alone, made me become a fan.

This man represents a time in my life when I was just a kid. When his works were too mature for a young child like myself to fully understand. His voice wafting across the screen during lazy summertime naps, and while rolling dice for board games that we’d play to whittle the hours away.

Yaphet Kotto is just one of many actors like this for me. A face, a name and a voice, that occasionally warmed my home thanks to his glow on the television. Seeing that he passed away, and everyone sharing their fond memories over twitter on his memory page made me want to do the same, but I just can’t partake.

I wish I could say I was a huge fan of his works, but for me that’s not why this hits so hard. For me, it’s another loss of my youth. A reminder that times are swiftly changing. My younger cousins will never get to have the upbringing that I did. The days of dial-up internet meant that I wasn’t on there all the time. The television was the central location in our home. Yaphet Kotto and his many roles became part of that, and for me, that is what I will always remember.

I offer my sincerest condolences to his family and friends. To his likely sprawling fan base, my you forever love his works and ambitions. He has left these behind as a gift for us. So may we enjoy them to the fullest. Finally, I wish him a peaceful rest wherever his soul may travel…

I prefer to Read Fan Fiction instead of Best Selling Books – Here’s Why.

Fan fiction can be hit and miss. It is both a messy media and a crap shoot. Some fan fiction writers have the chops to strike out on their own and write a unique best selling work of their own creation.

Other fan fiction writers could never hope to attain that same quality at their current skill level. Even so, I’d rather read fan fiction over most best selling novels out there.

For all the snappy dialogue and punchy editing, most best selling books have me losing interest as soon as I turn the first few pages. It always seems so pristine to me, in a way that’s just outright off-putting.

Recently I realized why.

It is the editing process that ruins most books for me. It’s the reek of mass media posturing and the inevitable stifling of creative energy. This ultimately destroys the vast majority of written media for me. Most books are about sixty thousands words. A great many fan fictions average about one-hundred thousand words per story, and that’s not including sequels.

Yes, that means they can be clunky to read, but you can also be sure that the fan writing it put exactly what they wanted into it.

That isn’t to say that books can’t be longer too. However, it is to say that they are usually streamlined in a way that feels watered down and washed out to me.

At its core, the only difference between a piece of media for sale and a piece of media given freely, is the expected return on investment.

For fan fiction that investment is generally only emotional. It’s payment for the soul, you could say. People are either using fan fiction to hone their skills, or to become part of a greater community. It’s a selfish thing by it’s nature, because fandom is selfish in general. Fans can be rabid and territorial about the things they like, because it means something to them.

We like what we like, after all. Thus, we hate what we hate, as well.

When you read a fan fiction you enjoy and then post a review, you’re feeding that creative energy. You’re harboring that love that can only be given from one fan to another while bonding over a shared piece of media.

For written media being sold, this is not the case. There’s a monetary incentive that fan fiction just doesn’t have tied to it. With that incentive in mind, the devil is in the details.

I often have to wonder how much content get’s cut, because making a book isn’t exactly cheap. You’re limited by what the mass public will accept and at the mercy of publishing houses unless you strike out on your own.

I don’t want to read that kind of crap. I don’t want to think about what may have been yanked out, simply because an editor demanded it.

I read fan fiction because I love the flawed media. You can really see a writer’s ambition in works that don’t have an editor to scrutinize every little thing. There is no streamlined process for fan fiction, no hoops to jump through, no particular standard of quality that must be met by publishing overlords.

Does that mean that some fan fiction is absolute crap? Well, yeah! Sure, there’s some really bad fan fiction out there. However, there are also published books out there that are just as full of crap, and lacked due diligence as well…

Worst of all, you likely paid for that garbage with hard earned money in order to read it. Think about that. How many books did you buy and regret? For me, that number is well over twenty. No, I’m not kidding.

This is why I really do hate what many people hold aloft “best sellers” as though they’re God’s gift to the world. Now, in light of fairness, I don’t hate all best selling books. I keep several on my shelf. For example, Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life.

I have owned three copies of that book in my lifetime. I have read it so many times I broke the first one’s spine as in the ninth grade. The second one died a horrible doom in my early twenties thanks to a small child running around with a black sharpie in hand. A sad lesson was learned that day amidst all the scribbles.

Never leave beloved books on coffee tables…

Anyway, you see my point. There are books I do adore, however they are very few and far between. Fan fiction is the majority of my reading, and I usually blast through through several hundred-thousand words in a single sitting. When I sit down to read, I do so to eagerly.

For a fan, being a best seller doesn’t matter. You’re not selling the story. You’re sharing it wholeheartedly with other fans. All that matters is the writer takes a chance and puts their efforts into a creation that means something special to them.

Fan fiction are stories written by fandom, and that is ultimately what I like so much about it. It acts like a touch stone in a very particular way, unifying people with very little barrier to entry.

You can’t say the same about other types of written media, and best sellers least of all. That fact that it’s a best seller in the first place ,is the absolute complete antithesis of what a fan fiction should be.

The ethos behind writing them are fundamentally different beasts by nature.

Now, this is of course a symbiotic relationship. You need to be a fan of something to write fan fiction. That is the definition of what fan fiction is. It would be stupid to claim otherwise.

That being said, there are times that the fan fictions out there are far and away better than the original work they came from. This is simply because a fan of the series is the one writing it to begin with. Either subverting expectation, or diving deeper into the over-all narrative in a way the original creator couldn’t do, or simply chose not to do.

I hate the concept of best selling books, but I love fan fiction that gets created because of media that fans nurture and continue to hold in high regard.

Fan fiction is usually far from perfect. It cannot be perfect due to what it is, but that’s why I love it so much. That alone is the simple reason why.

Mushoku Tensei – A Grandfather of Isekai

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Mushoku Tensei is one of the 2021 anime that has a lot of people taking about it, and for good reason. It’s an interesting show, adapted from a wealth of written media. Now having not read all of the written material, I can only speak to some of it. Today though I’m going to focus on it’s anime adaptation, and the problems that are creeping to the surface because of its vast popularity.

The written media for Mushoku Tensei has been around since 2012, that’s why the series is so popular. It not exactly a huge stretch to say that this series would generally appeal to a far wider audience than most anime out there.

You see, this series contains actual full length novels, light novels, manga, an audio drama, and as of 2021 it now has an anime and a video game as well.

So, what’s the problem then? Well, you could call this series one of the grandfathers of the Isekai genre.

In these types of stories, characters will teleport into a different world in one way, shape, or form. Generally a character dies and is reincarnated, or they’re sucked into the world through some other event. Then that character lives in the newfound world after that.

The entire crux of these stories is the characters and the world they now reside in. Key plot points include living among the peoples that reside in these new lands, learning the laws and the way the world works.

Isekai anime all have a gimmick of some nature, and to be fair it’s not a genre I actively dive into regularly. This is mostly because the industry is flooded with them. Since the beginning of anime itself, we’ve all seen the series where a character goes to some mystical place, or our titular hero gets trapped in a video game. It’s standard, it’s common, and even before the term “Isekai” became part of the anime narrative, it has always been around.

Even anime that aren’t true Isekai can still feel like one. Think of anime such as Inuyasha, for prime example. I wouldn’t call it a true Isekai, but it does have many trappings of the genre.

If you want a good example of a great Isekai in the genre, look no further than “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime“. The manga and anime are both solid, and it also has novels and light novels. That is the reason I use this example. The wealth of contented provided is very similar.

When it comes to written media, Mushoku Tensei is the modern-day juggernaut for the Isekai genre. Prior to this series, Isekai were more fluid in it’s nature. What we considered Isekai was also vastly different.

This series established most of the tropes we know today. Predominately, this includes the concept of reincarnation into a new world, our favorite murderous device often named by fans as “truck-kun”, and the asshole protagonist that requires a new lease on life.

Does any of that sound like something you’ve seen before? Well, that is the ultimate issue for us anime fans.

The series took too long to be animated. More creative Isekai anime out there are using these established tropes. Some of them are actually doing it better than Mushoku Tensei ever could. This is simply because they had the benefit of learning from their grandfathers of the genre.

Thanks to these improvements on the genre, we’re getting some decent content. “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” is the primary example I use. However, there are other solid choices out there if this is a genre you really enjoy. I just don’t, so it’s hard for me to really decipher what ones are best to list.

Sadly, Mushoku Tensei cannot live up to it’s competitors. If you’re a fan of the series already, it’s probably right up your ally and on your “to watch” list. For the rest of us it’s a “been there, done that, seen this before” type of show.

This doesn’t make Mushoku Tensei bad, not even in the slightest. It just means that despite the pretty visuals and decent voice acting, it feels dated. It’s hard for me to suggest this anime simply because of that, but there is a reason to watch it.

As I said before, Mushoku Tensei is one of the founding grandfathers of the genre. It would be ridiculous to overlook this series simply because any fan of this genre should watch it at least once. It is important to understand how this genre came to be what it is today, and this series allows you to do that.

The anime adaptation is still ongoing, so this isn’t a review on its quality. This is just a firmly placed suggestion. If you enjoy Isekai anime, you owe it to yourself to watch this series.

I know that I am enjoying it despite the dated feel, and I hope you will too.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

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

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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

Patreon Supporters

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

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

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
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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)

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