Category Archives: Lists

Top 10 Naruto Characters

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here… I’ve always loved the Naruto universe with its compelling cast and complex ninja world. However the cast is so large that narrowing down a top ten list isn’t easy. I love so many of the characters for an assortment of reasons, so this is my list. It might not be yours. There’s also a caveat that should be kept in mind.

None of the core cast of the rookie nine were included in this list. That would be unfair, because so many of them are beloved fan favorites for myself included. I had to prune this list massively, as I doubt a gigantic list of top 50 or top 70 Naruto characters would go over very well… plus it would be very long to write.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the list.

#10. Jiraiya

The resident pervert sage ranks number ten in my list because he’s honestly one of the characters that really sticks out to me. All of the Naruto characters have some sort of fatal flaw, none of them are perfect. That’s the hallmark of good writing. The man is a pervert though, make no mistakes about it. His love for writing erotic books aside, he’s earnest and he’s kind.

Jiraiya is a complex man with simple pleasures in life, and he’s old enough to carry the perspective needed in a good mentor. As a sage, he’s probably not the best example of the discipline or demeanor. However, there’s no question that he is a wonderful mentor and friend to those that need his support.

He ranks number 10 because his death is literally one of the saddest in the series for me. It’s secondary only to Asuma Sarutobi. Quite frankly even after Jiraiya is gone, he plays such a paramount role in Naruto’s development that he just needs a spot on this list.

#9. Iruka Umino

I honestly believe that Iruka is one of the most earnest characters in the entire series. He’s devoted to his village, and to his place in the ninja world in a way few others are. He’s a middling villager in almost every way, and he’s just fine with his lot in life. Given his own sad past and how it reflects Naruto’s own, there’s something to be said for a guy like him.

We can only really appreciate the tragic stories of others by looking back on where they came from. A lot of prominent youths in the series come from broken homes, left as orphans to fend for themselves. Iruka is one such character who grew into a well-adjusted adult.

For all of the characters achieving greatness, showing off insane feats at every turn, it’s nice to see a regular guy. He’s just living out the average ninja lifestyle the best way he can, and really I’ve got to give him a lot of credit for that.

#8. Asuma Sarutobi

This guy has a story for the record books. A man does his job valiantly, only to leave behind a woman he loves, and his unborn child. His students surround him in his final moments, rain falling from the sky as he doles out his last words. Asuma has one of the most memorable deaths in the Naruto series…

Here’s the thing, when it comes to the wider universe, this series heavily focuses on legacy and the passing of the torch from one person onto another. Youth grow up, inheriting the responsibilities of their successors. Passing on those lessons becomes intrinsic to the “ninja way”, and there’s just a lot of heart and soul you can’t fit into a few simple paragraphs hoping to do it justice.

There is no greater example of this than Asuma’s bond with Shikamaru. To me, that is the absolute pinnacle of what the core themes of the series attempt to convey. Found family and honor clings heavily upon the young upstarts aging into their positions in the village…

Facing down the difficulties of childish dreams slowly taken away, and replaced by adult ambition. Asuma to me is one of the most tragic characters. Outcomes like his are what lead to so much suffering among the hidden villages. It’s also what breeds the war and continued suffering of countless others.

If Iruka is one of my favorites due to his earnest average-joe lifestyle, then Asuma is one of my favorites because he represents the average casualty among villages and just how deeply it impacts those closest to them. We see on screen exactly what that does to the people he inadvertently leaves behind.

#7. Karui (Later, Karui Akimichi) 

This was a difficult choice, because when it comes to Karui and Temari, it’s a toss up of what style of bad-assery you like better. Both of these women refuse to take crap from anyone, and both are self-assured. Ultimately, I settled on Karui because she’s not as charismatic, and she doesn’t even care what we think of her.

Beating Naruto bloody might have been a bridge too far, but that just goes to show how tenacious and ruthless she is. When she feels she has to act, she does. Temari is just a bit softer, and a tiny bit more timid, which is what made her lose the spot in the running.

You have to take Karui as she is. She won’t tolerate anyone doing otherwise. She won’t conform, she doesn’t want to. Her loyalty can’t be bought, and her ability to see the value in others comes from a very personal place. What I absolutely love about her character is that she eventually finds romance with Choji, and the romance is a mature thing from the get-go… neither of them act like profound idiots… beyond that, it gives all the proof we need that Karui has a gentle side.

So many stereotypes flip on their head when Karui is on screen. In a series like Naruto, that can be pretty hard to come by. So many of the core members within the series are taken up by women who can’t seem to figure themselves out… or when they do, it isn’t on firm ground.

Karui knows who she is and what she wants out of her future. She’s also one of the few women who shows romantic interest because it empowers her own personal sense of pride and self-worth. In a series where young, emotionally independent women can be somewhat hard to find, Karui is a breath of fresh air…

But, like I said, Temari isn’t too far removed from that, either. In that way, she’s certainly an honorable mention not soon to be left out or forgotten.

#6. Might Guy and Kakashi Hatake

Call this a cop-out if you want, but in my opinion you just can’t have one without the other on any character list. You also can’t place one of them above the other in my opinion. That diminishes the bond these two share. They’re rivals, but they’re also sincerely good friends. The connection of their male bond is so incredibly important for so many characters in the series. It gives us viewers context for so many key themes in the show.

Male bonds are a driving factor for so many things the young men in the series do. Separating these two is just impossible to me. It would be like having a Naruto anime without Sasuke… you just can’t freakin’ do it… and that’s why these two need to be on the list.

It’s the entire point of the show… the forged bonds that last the test of time. That’s what the series is about. That’s the core ethos.

These two characters showcase this bond when it’s in synergy. There’s a brotherhood here. When both of them are on the same wavelength, the two of them harbor the same sort of profound loyalty and companionship that Naruto has for Sasuke.

I just can’t overlook that, not for anything…

However, that’s why they’re not in the top five, that wouldn’t be fair either. As important to the series as these characters are, and as deeply compelling the friendship they keep is, it’s only fair I place them in the number 6 spot.

#5. Killer Bee

It’s funny to me that when it comes to Naruto’s long list of mentors Killer Bee stands out on top for me, but it’s true. I really do like Jiraiya, but there’s just something so unassuming about Killer Bee. He’s fun to watch, charismatic and goofy at times, but he knows when to get serious too.

Honestly, I love this character because what you see is what you get with this guy. Much like Karui, you’ve got to take him as he is, and if you don’t that’s not his problem… he doesn’t care.

He’s been through the ringer, there’s some real grit and trauma attached to him. He doesn’t let that history get the better of him. As a Jinchūriki, he’s the most emotionally well-rounded when we first see him on screen. He has such a fundamental role in the series, and also the one so easy to overlook. Yeah, it’s true, he’s always spouting off nonsense and driving everyone crazy… still, if he weren’t so well respected, he wouldn’t be where he is when he enters into the show.

Common sense does not always equate to wisdom, but Killer Bee has both. He knows what it takes to earn the respect of those around him, and exactly how to keep it. For a Jinchūriki that’s not an easy road. We’ve seen what happens to Naruto and Gaara when communities turn their back on one.

Killer Bee walked that path too, but he did it with a smile on his face and he continues to do so even when the chips are down. Killer Bee is just an uplifting guy all around.

What isn’t to like about that?

#4. Nagato (Pain)

Once again, we turn to the deeper ties that bind these characters together. Pain’s character accomplishes 2 things. Firstly, he brings the full ramification of the Akatsuki’s story to a boiling point. Secondly he forces viewers to ask themselves deeper questions about the series as a whole. There is, in a way a “circle-of-life” vibe from this true and iconic villain… even if it is the darker, grittier sort.

In a world where war tarnishes what characters love most, and rips innocence away from them, Nagato provides a rather insidious bone to chew. He’s as tragic a character as he is completely dangerous. Seeing his true form, a withered husk of a person really hits home in ways so few of Naruto’s villains do.

He trained under Jiraiya in his younger days, but sadly, that peaceful philosophy became warped and sent askew. Although Jiraiya had spent the time to teach many things, all of those lessons became corrupted entirely by years of atrocities… death, war, emotional hardship and the continued loss of community and innocence.

In a way, you might say this man became Jiraiya’s greatest failing, and in another way turned into what I believe to be Naruto’s greatest foil…

#3. Itachi Uchiha

You know what they say. Assumptions make asses out of people, and it made an ass out of Sasuke. First assumed as a villain, Itachi Uchiha was a guy that completely massacred the Uchiha clan, aside from his younger brother. However, that’s a slanted view… a child’s view of something much larger and far more complicated.

If growing up is part of the core ethos in this series, so is learning to see the truth for yourself. To gain a clearer insight, and forge one’s own opinions based on the facts presented. Sasuke later finds out that his brother is no sick and twisted murderer.

He did kill the rest of the clan, but that was only to protect the Hidden Leaf village, and it was something he did in service to it. Even the Hokage knew what had to be done, and Itachi did exactly that.

What makes these bonds of bloodline and vengeance so entirely heartbreaking is that Itachi had no intention to truly harm his little brother with his actions. Morally bankrupt or not, someone had to do it, and Itachi took up the task… in a way it ruined his spirit and forged him anew in ways he least wished for.

I will never forget Itachi’s last apology as he’s bleeding from the mouth and facing his own death. For countless episodes there are flashbacks, and promises of later. Sadly, later never comes for these two brothers. Instead, it’s only a final apology and a goodbye… a death and loss that holds no comfort or even vindication. All that Sasuke has left is an understanding that he didn’t know a single thing, blinded by his own grief and anger as he was, there was nothing he could have done.

Itachi is without question one of my most favorite characters that as a fan, I never had the chance to understand. Having viewed the entire event through Sasuke’s eyes, I never had the chance to really get to know Itachi until it was too late and he was gone…

The series played this one close to the chest right up until the end, and they did a damn good job of it. Itachi sits at number 3 because there is so much more to this character than I ever gave him credit for. That sticks with me to this day…

As long as i continue to be an anime fan, it probably always will.

#2. Zabuza Momochi and Haku

Yes, we’ve got another two-for-one deal here. Sorry, it just needs to happen, because you just can’t have one without the other. It just cannot work for me. What makes these two so interesting is the bond they have for each other and the true and imminent threat these two pose to the rookie members of Team Seven.

These two characters are the first real time that we’re shown what kind of actual danger these kids are in, and just what happens when adults cannot keep them safe or protected. There’s a cruelty and hardship laced down deep among many of these characters, Zabuza is one of them, Haku is another…

However, for many of us, these were some of the first characters to value their lives not based upon their own self-worth, but rather the worth of another found within them instead… and there was nothing heroic about the way either of these two characters chose to think.

Yet, in his dying breaths, Zabuza makes his way bodily over to Haku and spends his final moments reflecting upon everything that he ever was, and everything he tossed away. For the rookies, it’s their first real taste of this dark and gritty world that they live in. For us viewers, it’s the first time we’ve got to contend with the truth.

This moment did one thing. It promised that we were going to have to swallow down some pretty uncomfortable realities. We had to accept that no, this really wasn’t a kid’s show, and it wasn’t all fun and games.

In these moments nothing could be sanctimonious anymore. We were going to lose characters we enjoyed, and not all of them would be hard and grizzled adults going out in a bad-ass blaze of glory… no, sometimes it would be a death that could have damn-well been prevented, and in all honesty damn-well should have been.

After this battle, there’s a burial. Although it isn’t the hardest hitting one that we run into across this series, it is one of the first that really made us think about what the show was going to send at us next.

Mark my words; if Zabuza and Haku were not so wonderfully written and conceptualized as characters, the early establishment of so many themes would have entirely suffered for it.

This line-up is a start-studed one to be sure, but how do you beat these guys in my book and take the number one spot on this list? Good question…

#1. You Don’t! The Hidden Villages Take the Top Spot!

Hidden villages are their own character within the show, translucent and on the back-burner but no less dynamic. There’s an intuitive understanding among those that live within them, and that understanding forces so much of the good and the bad within this wider ninja world that we fans enjoy.

Hear me out here, the series wouldn’t be so good if we didn’t get to have a taste of the complex and diverse ideology found within these villages. Some of the best and beloved moments come from a cast of characters that come from far away places. Be it the battle Gaara has with Rock Lee during the Chunin Exams early on, or some of the saddest battles in the series later on, we get a taste of it all.

What makes these characters so prolific are the communities and cultures they hail from. These identities can’t only come down to the characters we follow on the screen, but the masses that we don’t see. Naruto and Gaara want to be Kage simply because of their villages and the ambitions they have… to belong among them.

I am always taken aback by the scenes that truly highlight the wider world, the changes it’s made for the better, the faults it still has… the world building in this series is absolutely a master craft in and of itself.

The countless peoples inhabiting this world are what breathes real life into the fights. When villages are on the verge of ruin and war takes so much away, the villages still persist and persevere.

So much about this series comes down to protecting what is valuable, and mourning what is lost. To fight for the things that matter, and to let go of the things that don’t. To love despite pain, and to trust despite war. These themes are only made so incredibly powerful, because we get to experience the realities of a village attacked so brutally.

We are forced to see the cold and hard realities for those that call themselves ninja. Neji says it best, when he says that Hinata is prepared to die for Naruto. That he holds more than his own life in his hands.

This, I believe is true of all ninja to a point. To choose to kill and cultivate more war is the end result. Years of bloodshed continue to harbor old grudges. So much if that could be avoided, and is shown to be mitigated once this new enlightened generation matures to take center stage.

From characters like Nagato and Jiraiya, to those like Neji and Itchai, those who are raised to become a ninja are at the mercy of the world they’re thrown into… and there is really little mercy to be found.

This scene would not be so powerful if it was only Neji that died. Many nameless characters lay dead and each one meant something to someone out there. That is implied, but Naruto knows it to be true. He is horrified to see these things around him, and these atrocities continue to occur in ways he just cannot abide.

The villages, the peoples, and the journeys all of the characters take really rely on where they came from, who impacted them the most. What lessons were passed down during their formative years are the ones that will forge either peace, or more bloodshed.

That is something only the villages do, for better and for worse, and that is why they take the top spot on this list.

From the little ramen shop that Naruto frequents, to the barbecue Choji enjoys, and the shogi matches Shikmaru spent his childhood playing, all of the characters we come to care for learn one thing.

You always protect the “king”, and that metaphor will never die, nor will it ever become weak or overstated.

Then again, this is my list. you may disagree. You’re free to do so. No matter what your opinion might be, the hidden villages, with their diverse cultures and complex mindsets take the number one spot for me.

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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5 Great Anime from the 90’s

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, from The Demented Ferrets, and I’m here to bring you another anime post. I’d hesitate to call this a “top list”. Frankly, I think that does a grave disservice to all of the amazing anime that you can find from this particular decade.

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 There should be more to the medium of anime than top lists of series that dominated the billboard charts. Honestly, a “top ten” list is difficult to make because the 90’s were a treasure trove of anime to discover and love. Therefore, these are merely the suggestions of a humble anime fan.

Those of you who happen to be older anime fans like myself have likely heard of most of these. For those who haven’t, or for those who missed out on that decade entirely, I hope this list finds you well. 

Very Honorable Mention: Cowboy Bebop

So, you may be wondering; why isn’t this number 1 on the list. You’d be right for asking about that. This list isn’t in any particular order. The genres involved are so varied you can’t force them to compete. If we were discussing the space opera genre particularly, this would top that list.

Frankly put, it would smash out the other contenders by such a wide and far margin it would be astronomical. Let’s be real honest with ourselves here. It wouldn’t even be fair to the other candidates in the list. This series is that good, and no, that’s not hyperbole.

Here is the thing, I should not have to tell you to go watch Cowboy Bebop. If you don’t know that you need to watch this series, I can’t help you. The only reason this isn’t taking the number 1 spot is because I want to save that one. There are plenty of anime that may be lesser known to someone. This anime will never have need to fear getting buried by time. It’s a classic and always will be.

For the rest of you connoisseurs out there, if you just spit your drinks at the screen, I’ve done my job and gotten your attention. While I have that attention, make sure to follow me here or on medium for more content.

5. Master Keaton

This amazing anime was adapted from its manga counterpart by studio Madhouse, so you know you’re going to get wonderful animation quality here. The anime has a sub and a dub. It can also be a little hard to find these days, but it is worth your time.

Truth be told, I really do enjoy watching Master Keaton every now and then. It doesn’t feel too dated. There’s a real charm to this compelling series. It isn’t so centrally focused Keaton, but rather he feels as though he belongs in this wider world of character focused narratives.

Moreover, this is an intelligent series, and prides itself on showing off Keaton’s many skill sets. You’ll get a little taste of everything in this show, a little romance, a tiny sense of adventure, and a feeling that will leave you satisfied after the show concludes.

4. Martian Successor Nadesico

Now this one is a true sci-fi classic. Like many anime of this genre, you’re going to get strong characters and an awesome setting. Any anime fan of the 90’s will truly want to have this on their shelves.

To simplify the plot in the best way that I can, in the year 2196 it seems that planet Earth is in the middle of waging war with a race of aliens. These notorious invaders are called “Jovian Lizards” and the people of Earth see them as a well and true threat to mankind.

A company called Nergal gets the bright idea to design a space battleship, lovingly called the ND-001 Nadesico. This ship is built for war, and it is a powerhouse. There’s just one problem. The crew consists of the top civilian experts in their fields, these characters are total screw-balls. There’s some humor to find in that. 

It isn’t all fun and games though. These characters will have to face down a decent level of hardship. Like most mecha out there, you’re going to get decent battles and compelling sci-fi action. You’re also going to get some drama too.

3. Serial Experiments Lain

Okay, so now it’s time for something darker, edgier, and profoundly more confusing. Serial Experiments Lain isn’t exactly for the average popcorn anime viewer. It isn’t mindless in the slightest and it will expect a fair bit from you, the viewer.

This series is packed with subversive symbolism and darker themes about how technology can directly and indirectly impact society. Like its name suggests, it feels like a largely experimental show, rife with physiological horror elements that are sure to leave you unsettled. 

I wouldn’t say that the show is for everyone, far from it. This is for the sort of viewer that enjoys physiologically bent series, and the study of unsound minds. 

2. Initial D

Okay, this one is kind of a sleeper. We all knew that it would end up on this list, because you just can’t talk about 90’s anime as an adult without bringing it up. It’s a bit clunky by today’s standards too, and I wouldn’t fault you for asking me why I would put this series on this list. I’ll be honest, the CGI is absolutely awful by today’s standards. 

That being said, Initial D is all about street racing and the underground counter-culture that you find within that particular community. It’s bombastic at times, very slow paced and thoughtful during others.

Car fanatics will love this series for one distinct reason; the show gives accurate explanations about how cars need to be handled. There’s a real technical element here that makes me want to place the series on the list. It hasn’t aged the most gracefully, no…

However, it still stands out to me as an iconic 90’s anime that is worth your time to watch. This is particularly true if you like faced paced drag-racing.

1. Yu Yu Hakusho

Okay, shounen fans listen up, this one is for you. I don’t think I’m overstating the matter when I say point blank; this is one of the best shounen anime from its time… and dare I say it, all time. You’ll be hard pressed to find one that’s better. On par perhaps, more innovate surely, but not done better. 

Even if you watch nothing else from this show, at the very least sit through enough of the series to complete Season 2’s black tournament arc. Trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. This holds especially true if you’re a Naruto fan who praises the chunin exam arc in that series. 

Do not bypass Yu Yu Hakusho, just don’t it… it’s too fundamental of a series for any hard core shounen fan to ignore.

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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Anime: Top 5 Ways to Build Your Watch-list Every Season.

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here, coming to you with a few ideas of how to build your watch-list during packed seasonal line-ups that always seem to get bigger as time goes on. How do you pick and choose the right anime? Well let’s discuss that.

First though, if you aren’t following out other platforms, you totally should be. Particularly if you like gaming and anime content.

If you’re an anime fan, you probably have a list of the seasonal line-ups that you know you’re just going to have to watch. These are obvious to you, and you know you’ve got to catch that anime every week in a timely manner.

Well, what about anime that aren’t on your watch list? How do you choose more anime? There are so many out there, the season floods make it difficult to decide what to watch next. I’ve got a way to build my watch-list and I’m going to share that with you today.

I’m just going to dive into it, there’s no sense in beating around the bush. Before that, let’s cover the obvious ones that need no explanation. They are as follows:

  • Follow the trends.
  • Choose anime from productions houses and creators that you already enjoy.
  • Word of mouth.
  • Squeal fodder.

Okay, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s begin.

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#1) Challenge Yourself

Every season that my watch-list isn’t bursting at the seams, I choose an anime I know I’ll probably hate just to give it a try. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past by this method. On occasion I do get hooked into a series and find that I truly enjoy it.

This was the case with Beastars in spades and to a lesser degree Made in Abyss. These sorts of anime don’t fall into my typical watch-list. Both of them have content that I generally find to be unpalatable. That being said, I have come to love these anime despite that.

Although they’re not always easy to suggest to others, they’re anime that really resound with me. When it comes to Beastars, the social commentary on society at large is well thought out. It doesn’t fit the typical mold for many reasons and it me it is a series right up there with Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass for compelling stories regarding the human condition.

Another anime that strikes true to this rule is RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne. This anime not only has unpalatable content, some of it is very sexually explicit in its nature. Usually I don’t watch anime with gratuitous sexual content, certainly not anime with this level of depravity. This is a very dark and gritty series, but it is also intellectual in a way few can really match.

That being said, I’m glad I did sit through it, because everything has a point . Mind you, it’s not always a point I agree with. Often times I don’t. However, I don’t think that my disagreement with the content lessens the experience I had watching this show.

I find myself to be a better anime fan because I’ve truly stepped outside of my comfort zone. That I continue to make a habit of doing so only broadens my horizons. I can appreciate the narrative of certain series because I force myself to try and look beyond my own preconceived notions.

Does this method work all the time? No, I’ve dropped a lot of series I knew I probably wouldn’t like simply because of that. I didn’t like them, and the chance I gave them wasn’t enough for me to like them.

So, if you’re having issues building a solid watch-list, find an anime you typically wouldn’t like and give it a watch. This is also a logical option when building watch-lists, but I often feel it isn’t brought up enough. As fans, we typically find an echo chamber and stick to it.

Moving out of your usual anime viewing will lessen the echo chamber and teach you about yourself. You’ll also be able to have a window into the wider community of anime fans out there.

#2) Find A Quirk

A lot of anime out there has a gimmick to put itself above the onslaught of other shows. Find a quirk you like about your favorite series, and choose an anime based on that. It can be as superficial or as deep as you’d like it to be.

Do you like anime that feature a particular type of protagonist? Choose an anime only based on that. Would you rather see the world at large, choose based on that alone.

Don’t worry about the other qualifiers such as genre or tropes common in the medium. Just focus your search on one thing and give it a try. This is how I came to enjoy Vinland Saga.

Vinland Saga is by far one of the best anime I nearly bypassed because I didn’t care for the manga. I absolutely hate a lot of the characters, but I do like the history and lore of Vikings. This was enough for me to pick it up and stay with it. Even after the narrative took a sharp turn outside of the things I hoped the series would be, the one thing I cared about was enough for me to want to stick with it.

Ultimately why I came to love the anime so much is because it does what the written media couldn’t do by its nature. It gave me beautiful animation, a powerful soundtrack, and a voice cast that make these characters easier deal with… the main protagonist is way easier for me to deal with in the anime because he’s so wonderfully conceptualized and brought to life by his actor. This applies to both sub and dub versions. I’ve seen both, I prose both.

I get to love everything about the story, and the world, My one joy for this series was magnified beyond any level that I thought it could be, all because I chose to side with my love of vikings, and not my hatred of the manga.

This is why it can be a good idea to focus on a topic, rather than the series itself.

#3) Pick the Worst of the Worst

Every season there is one anime that is absolute crap. There is no saving an anime like this, there is no redeeming how awful it is. You know it’s garbage from day one, you’re sure it will continue being garbage by the end. If you’re really unlucky then that dumpster will catch fire ingloriously and you’ll be left with an even worse pile of crap than when you started.

So, why do this then? Honestly, sometimes it can be fun. Others, it can be educational.

If you watch truly bad anime, then least then you have a metric for what a really bad anime even is. Anime reviewers, this goes triple for us! We have to watch this kind of crap, because we need the insight between mediocrity and a true actual trash heap.

There are some truly terrible anime out there, and I’m not talking about the content. I mean it’s just all around bad. The acting, the animation, and everything in between is all just terrible.

Why torture yourself this way if you’re not an anime reviewer? Well, bad anime can be fun. Sitting together with group of friends as you suffer a terrible anime together can be just as fun as watching an awesome anime together. With streaming services aplenty and VOIP being a thing, there’s no reason not to sit together and watch something that you all know you’re going to hate.

The inside jokes and idiocy that can result might give you years of fond memories. For me, Green Green is the series that gave me this insight. It’s been well over a decade, and we still make jokes about it.

Years ago, a friend of mine (a self proclaimed asshole) decided one day to buy this pure unfiltered unfiltered garbage. He did this purely to enjoy our suffering on the next group anime night. The night comes, and there’s a group of us eating pizza out of a box and watching this absolute abomination of a series.

Green Green is all around bad in so many ways that it won’t ever hit bar of mediocrity. Too many things are just below average in presentation that even for its time, it wasn’t even decent back then. Funny thing is, it’s not even once of those “so bad it’s good” series either. The pure enjoyment of this anime comes strictly from fond memories that were induced by complete idiocy.

It’s worth it to make memories like that, and to cherish them fondly. Obviously if you do this, Just don’t take anything too seriously. In fact, this suggestion is the antithesis of seriousness, because you know you’re going to make fun of it.

#4) Random Roll

Too many good shows and not enough time? I feel that, and it sucks. So, how do you choose when a seasonal line-up is a smash hit and you know you’ve got too many anime to pick from?

Get a few dice, plunk in the series names, and let fate decide. I’ve had to do this many times. The year 2018 comes to mind. I was busy that year, and it was one of the best years for anime in a very long time. Every season in that year easily had ten or more anime that I wanted to watch. It was a flat out crazy year.

I picked five that I knew I couldn’t let slip by, but the rest I rolled on randomly just to see what I’d end up picking if the dice were to decide. That’s what got me by that year, and I still had anime to go back and watch or finish in 2019.

Without rolling on it randomly, I would have been in a very sad situation. There were just too many good shows, and I had to axe a few somehow.

#5) The Sleeper Anime

I don’t have a good example for this one. However, this is a rule I cling to, because one day I just might.

Every year there’s at least one or two anime in a season that falls off radar fairly early on in the line-up. They may not be popular from the start, or they may be overshadowed by the mega hits and squeal fodder that keeps anime alive and well.

You can’t always rely on anime reviewers to see every single anime out there. Frankly there is just too many to keep up with. If a reviewer attempts to watch every singe one, they’re very likely to burn themselves out. Even if they do watch every single one, they may not bring up the anime at all.

If you notice an anime that isn’t being talked about on a seasonal line-up, pick it up. See for yourself just how good it is. If it isn’t circulating around in discussion the reason is simply that it’s not worth the discourse in the first place. it’s either not annoying enough to piss off the anime community, or it was never made to be a mega hit. Very likely, and very commonly, it probably wasn’t widely advertised in the first place.

The thing is these shows will be average to most viewers. They won’t be amazing, and the reason they were dropped is because they may be unremarkable or easily forgettable. That’s what is most likely to happen, but there’s a chance you’ll find it to be amazing.

That’s a chance worth taking. For you, that seemingly unremarkable anime might be a diamond in the rough. It would be unfortunate if you didn’t hear of an anime that could become your absolute favorite for one reason or another.

Picking up the anime that get buried prevents you from missing out on a real gem. Yes, it make take a bit of digging and research, but you may find that to be well worth it in the end.

Final Thoughts

Anime is and will always be a very subjective medium. There are thousands of hours of content worth your time, and every season brings more of it. What used to be traditional classics are now buried under a sea of new content every single year.

When I was young, watch-lists were simple and easy to come by. Anime wasn’t incredibly abundant. When it came to sub-genres there were lists that everyone followed like gospel, because we had little else. Fandom followed a certain flow, you might say.

There were probably only six or so squeals even worth talking about every year, and the Shonen trinity (One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball)  was pretty much expected viewing. Since they were all on television and easy to access, everyone knew of them.

Other shows made it onto Adult Swim or early Saturday morning line-ups, and those shows also padded out the majority of anime related discussions. Anime movies were rarely discussed, and often times were off the beaten path.

Anime films were hard to come by back in those days. They weren’t widely talked about or discussed unless they were off shoots of major anime programming. Naruto and Inuyasha movies had the benefit of originating from known anime on television, so those movies were widely talked about. Meanwhile other masterworks slipped into obscurity.

Perfect Blue is a perfect example of a film that wasn’t family friendly and hard to find in theaters. It wasn’t on the radar here in in america, and therefore only very strong anime inclined viewers even knew of it back when it released.

Nowadays, none of that holds true. The anime medium is too large and vast to see everything. Sometimes you just have to pick and choose. That’s why I made this list of suggestions. Hopefully, it will make your watch-list choices just a little bit easier for you.

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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Fandom: Three TIps To Combat Writer’s Block

I feel like absolute garbage today thanks to my ongoing cold that has decided to make my nose all stuffy. Therefore I wanted something easy to write about. Also, my tags aren’t click bait, I’ve linked my recently completed RWBY fan fiction at the bottom of the page for those who want to read it.

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Now, onto the reason for this post; writers block…

To put it simply, “writer’s block” is the inability to put a thought into its written form. Make no mistake about it. Writing is a craft, and it isn’t always easy. These are some of the ways I stave off writers block. They help me, hopefully they help you too.

Before we begin, a disclaimer needs to be said.

This is aimed at the writers who do so for the fun of it. Writers who love to just write. This isn’t advice aimed at creative writers who earn a living through the power of the pen and their own ambitions, though you may find some value in this post as well.

If you are a professional writer just know that number three on this list certainly won’t apply to you. It wasn’t written to apply to a career writer, and isn’t aimed at a person who does this for a living.

With that’s said, let’s begin.

#1) Respect your mental health.

I’m not kidding. This really is important. You should know where your mind is when you sit down to write a new chapter in a fan fiction, or begin your own novel. More often than not it matters beyond belief. Your emotions will fuel your writing from a creative standpoint. That is indisputable. You cannot completely remove yourself from your own written word.

Why do you write? That’s the first question you should know the answer to when figuring this out. Even if all you have to say is “I like it”, at least have that. Have something.

Anything. Any reason. Just so long as its your reason to write.

For example, some writers take to the practice so that they can vent their emotions in a safe way. Other tend to explore different parts of the human condition insofar as it applies to themselves. Others write based strictly on where their mood takes them.

A very lucky few may not have their writing changed at all by their head space. Anecdotally speaking though, I find this to be rare. Particularly in those who are not professionally inclined.

No matter your content or your style, ultimately the first key to solving writers block is to understand where your head is creatively. How does that mood impact you? That is without a doubt something you should discover and explore.

If you’re in a bad head space, it may reflect in your writing in ways you don’t want it to. If you’re in a general bad mood, it could be difficult to write a happy-go-lucky scene. If you’re in a really good mood, you may find that writing something sad or heavy just isn’t going to work at that moment.

Work with you mind creatively, not against it.

In cases where you mood just doesn’t fit the content, it may be best to begin a small side project. Use that idea to explore your capabilities as a writer, even if very little comes from it. Don’t start frustrating yourself by trying to cram the idea into a work already in progress. Especially if that idea simply doesn’t fit to begin with.

In other cases, it may just be best not to write at all for that moment. Instead, take some time to put yourself into best frame of mind for your personal goals. As a writer, it’s always important to be aware of yourself, even if you just do this for fun.

#2) Redefine your methods.

Let’s say you’ve been writing for a long time, perhaps years. Let’s also assume this is the first real rut you’ve ever been in as a writer. Lastly, let’s assume it seems to be a bad one this time.

What do you do?

You begin by looking at your creative work. Is it bringing you the emotional fulfillment you need? If not, cram that thing on the back burner and begin a new project entirely. Try a different topic to invigorate your passion for writing.

If it’s not the creative work itself that brings you discomfort, perhaps the problem can be blamed on your workspace. Does it suit you creatively at the time?

If not, fix that. No, really I mean it. Fix that as soon as you can. Sometimes it really is that stupidly simple.

People always harp on clean writing spaces, but I get the worst writer’s block when my area is too clean. I’m actually writing this post in my garage next to my space heater. No, I’m not joking, this has become a thing…

Normally I write blogs at my computer desk. However, I just recently cleaned my desk thoroughly, not a spec of dust remains. It smells of wood polish. I do that about once a month because I’m not a complete slob, but this is the downside. I just can’t write there at the moment.

My computer room is just too neat for me right now, and that’s just the way it is. In a day or two the general clutter of daily life will have sorted that out. Until then I’m sitting in a place more conducive to my own personal creativity.

I like to write in conditions that are casual, comfortable and lived in. My garage isn’t ideal, either. It’s the middle of winter. Snow is littered all over the ground outside at the moment, and I can see my breath. Still, it was the need to get out of my “too clean” location that inspired this entire ramble of a blog post.

Yes, this time the cure for my writers block really was that simple. Is it the best I can do when I’m at the peek of my writing? Most certainly not, but that brings me to my next point…

#3) Perfectionism is flat out stupid.

Spelling errors? Yep me too, we all have them. Words repeating themselves over and over and over again? That’s a thing. Run on sentences? Sure!

Does it really matter in the moment? That’s up to you. Don’t make a huge deal out of it, though.

To prove my point, i’m putting my feet to the fire on this one. I’m not even going to edit this stupid thing. It’s what I like to call a “write and toss”. Anyone who reads my fan fiction knows I make the habit of just enjoying the creative process because it’s the part I like best.

Hence the writing, and the tossing, and the no editing…and my god we have a lot of “and’s in and grammatical hullabaloo this sentence now down’t we? Yes, I’m aware I misspelled at least one word in this paragraph. Do I look like I care?

Nope don’t care! There it is, welcome to my lack of caring…

No, seriously though, to me creativity is the fun part of writing, and fan fiction to me stands out as a hobby only. I don’t get paid for fan fiction. That’s both a legal and moral grey area I won’t get into on this blog post but the point stands.

For most of us, creatively writing pieces of art won’t be a job. For those of us who use certain written media as an outlet, it might not ever be one. If earning a paycheck through writing isn’t your goal, don’t strive for perfection.

Is there a place and time for carefully edited works? Most certainly. Does it need to be every single tiny thing you write? Absolutely not.

Professionals spend years honing their craft to reach the standard of “Best seller” or other critical acclaims. Sometimes it’s just raw skill. Sometimes that raw skill mixed with pure luck. Sometimes it’s a fluke that their hard work was a best seller at all. Right time, right place, all that jazz.

Do not listen to every person out there who demands your creative process needs to be a certain way. It doesn’t to fit their mold. The only standard of quality your writing needs to fit is your own.

You can clean up and revisit your old works when you feel ready to do that. If you don’t feel like doing that, well, just don’t. Edit and revise at your own pace, but never to the point that you burn yourself out.

If you write only for the fun of it, then just have your fun. Let yourself love it, and don’t let the need for perfectionism get in the way.

I feel like I can’t say that enough, because there are a lot of mean spirited people that bully new writers and discourage them. Writing isn’t meant to be torture, and if it’s turning out to be that way due to editing, lighten up on yourself and your creative process. Don’t let yourself feel like you’re losing control of your vision.

No one likes to feel that way. Writers hate losing their creative voice. Even the best writer out there wouldn’t want to lose what makes their writing special to them. Don’t allow yours to be stifled.

In closing…

Welcome to an incredibly casual blog post that’s finally reached its end. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world. Just a wall of text really. Still, I know someone will read this thing to its conclusion and take some value from it. So long as just one person does, then that’s good enough for me.

If that wasn’t you, sorry. You’re probably just in a different place as a writer than the people I’m addressing. Maybe you’re way more advanced, or perhaps you’ve never experienced a writer’s block like the one I’m talking about. Perhaps you simply see the world differently that I do. Either way, I wish you well on your writing adventures.

So, the best advice I can give you is right here. Down at the bottom, for those who truly do love this medium. This final piece of advice is just for you.

Just… love it.

Love your writing, love yourself as a writer, and love the journey it takes you on as a person. Learn to love this writers block and what it can teach you about the craft. Let it inspire you. Let yourself discover this side of your creative mind.

If you can do that, you’ll overcome any writers block eventually. It might take some time, and it might be annoying, but inspiration comes from strange places. Embrace that, and embrace your ambition to write.

As for critics who have a bad side?

If you do decide to share written works for the world, just decide if you care about the criticism you receive. You can take it or leave it. The choice really is yours. If the criticism comes up a lot, it might be worth thinking about. In the end though, it all comes down to your goals as a writer.

When it comes to fan fiction, I certainly don’t care about any tiny nitpick that crosses my path. It’s not a job, it’s a hobby. The phrase “Don’t like? Don’t read…” may be hyperbolic, but there’s a lot of truth in it too.

I live by that truth, because in the end I’m selfish when it comes to my creative writing. It’s not meant for everyone else, it’s meant for me. If I share it, that’s on my terms. It’s not for anyone else to decide.

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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Top 3 Reasons to Watch: All Out

Hello everyone, Kernook here. In honor of the Superbowl here in the states I thought that it would be nice to discuss a rugby anime today. This one happens to be called All Out.

Now typically I don’t watch many sports anime, although the ones I do watch tend to be a few of my favorites. From Yuri on Ice and Ballroom e Youkoso, to Baby Steps and Megalo Box, I’ve seen my fair share of the sports anime medium. Not only one type of sport anime, but the wide range of them, including competitive dance.

Yes… even competitive dancing is a sport, believe it.

So, why am I suggesting All Out when objectively there are far better options out there for the rugby sport? Well, here’s the thing, the better ones are only better for anime fans. I wanted to suggest something that could also apply to regular sports fans too.

Have a relative or a friend who loves rugby? Are they reluctant to watch anime? Well, that’s the demographic that’s perfect for this anime.

I don’t suggest All Out because it’s a favorite of mine. Actually, it’s far from a favorite for me. That’s because I am not a hardcore rugby fan. In general find other sports more enjoyable.

Believe it or not though, I do enjoy this anime enough to have watched it several times. That’s why I can suggest it to you now.

As a Madhouse production made in 2016, it ticks all of the basic boxes of a typical sports anime without being an eyesore. It’s old enough to have fallen out of the discussion among anime fans, without being so old as to look like crap.

This anime is a great “catch-all” of sorts. If you like sports anime, or rugby in general, you’ll probably like this. So with that let’s get into my top three reasons to watch it.

#1. It’s Great for Beginners.

For those of you who don’t typically watch anime, this is a starter for you. This anime has all the trappings of your typical school life anime with sports mixed into it.

It has a subtitled version and a dubbed version. If you don’t want to read subtitles, you don’t have to. It also lacks a lot of the maddening tropes that are in other types of sports anime. It’s perfect for a beginners to the medium.

If you like testosterone ridden victories, action, and the highs and lows that comes with sports, All Out has it in spades. The anime is bursting with everything that you’d expect from any sport such as Rugby.

This is an anime, but it doesn’t feel like it panders only to anime fans.

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#2. The Team

All Out features a large cast, as expected of sports anime. You might not get to know some characters as well as you might like, and others are perhaps hogging screen time every now and then. That being said, you’ll find someone to enjoy.

In general the characters are mostly what you’d expect of them and the struggles in the show are too. As a team, they have a strong chemistry, so that certainly helps to make them interesting.

They experience highs and lows with their ability to play the game and within their lives. That said, it’s never too dramatic, and never over the top. Personal story arcs align well with the themes of the show. All in all, there’s a good chance you’re going to find a character you like.

#3. The Plot

If you’re a huge fan of sports anime you’ve seen this sort of story countless times. Don’t believe me? Let me give you a synopsis and you can decide just how many times you’ve seen this set-up before.

Gion is a short guy. He’s the typical average anime protagonist. Due to his love of sports he watches a rugby match. When he does, finds out that you don’t have to be huge to be a good player. He’s invigorated by this and feels absolutely convinced that he finally found a sport he can be great at. Like most sport anime, he also drags a friend along for the ride. Obviously, he becomes part of the team. Once in the Rugby team, they train hard and aim to become national high school rugby champions.

See what I mean? It’s standard, it’s typical, but that also makes it a good choice to those who *don’t* typically watch this style of anime. It has just enough of its own heart and soul to stand out without deviating from the standard formula. Plus, the nods to the school life genre also make it an easy show to watch for non-sports fans.

Though, as with all sports anime, your enjoyment of several scenes will completely depends on if you like the sport in question. In this case, it’s rugby.

In Conclusion

All in all, All Out is a solid choice for the reasons above. There’s probably a fair few anime fans who haven’t seen it. It’s great for beginners to the medium. The characters are enjoyable and the animation is from Madhouse, so you know it’s quality.

It’s also fairly easy to locate. Seriously, a single google search will direct you to legal streaming sites in a matter of moments. Crunchyroll and Funimation both have the series for viewing.

So that’s where I’ll leave you for today. If you need some anime sports action, give All Out a try. It’s a solid entry to the rugby fandom and honestly it’s worth a watch at least once.

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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