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Game Review: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. By now, it should come as no surprise to you that I’m a huge fan of the Resident Evil franchise, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis from 1999 is by far my favorite title in the old series of games. I love this game, and I return to it often on my PlayStation that has seen far better days.

That being said, Resident Evil 3 is not a perfect game. Objectively Resident Evil 2 stands as the far better game, and the reasons why I like Resident Evil 3 are personal to me. Don’t worry, I won’t be speaking through rose tinted glasses here. Just because it is my absolute favorite, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the flaws.

The game has some very clunky elements. Questionable decisions were made that just don’t allow the game to have that same polished feel that its predecessor had. The game is certainly a step sideways rather than forwards when it comes to enhanced gameplay.

So let’s dive in and take a look at this amazing game, and why it fell a little short.

The Burdens of an Acclaimed Reputation

As I explained in my Resident Evil review, the game was a spiritual successor to Sweet Home, and the birth of survival horror as a genre. Due to the huge success, a second game came shortly after, and the fans clamored over all of the wonderful new additions Resident Evil 2 had to offer.

In the late 90’s Resident Evil had proven itself to be a series that was beloved by gamers everywhere, and this made it a hit. With two widely successful games in the series so far, and sales filling their pockets, Capcom knew they had a real gem to work with. A few spin-off games were already in production, but Capcom didn’t want the fans to wait too long. This resulted in another developmental kerfuffle.

They had faced one of these controversies in the past. I’ve highlighted that particular mess with my review of Resident Evil 1.5, which you can read here. The short version is this; Resident Evil 2 had a prototype that was scrapped due to disagreements in the development process.

Ultimately, this resulted in a lackluster game that was never finished. This prototype is loved by a select few, and is known in the fandom as Resident Evil 1.5.

Those still on the team at the time revitalized the game from the ground up. This was the right decision, making Resident Evil 2 the success it stands as today. Upon release, it quickly made incredible sales numbers. Many fans argue it’s the best game in the entire series, and really among the classic games it is very hard to dispute this fact.

Anyway, perhaps these past lessons about rushing the development process hadn’t been learned. Two spin-off titles were being produced at the time, and instead of making an entirely new title, both of these spin-off titles were in the running to take the place as the third official entry in the series.

For clarification, one game was Resident Evil: Nemesis. The other was Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

Quite frankly, I believe this is the core issue with a lot of the problems the game has. It stands to reason that taking a spin-off title and trying to contort it into a main story leaves, much to be desired.

Side Note: A Theory I Have

To be honest though, I don’t think the rush to release a new title was entirely unsound. Even though I do think the game did suffer a bit because of it. I’m sure that the precedent set by the swift release of prior games made the developers and the production staff behind the game feel a true sense of urgency.

Other horror titles were also in production by competing studios at the time, and this likely had a part to play in the decision to rush to a release. The games slipping into the market would promise some very heavy competition. What games you ask? That’s a very good question.

There are a few, but namely Silent Hill comes to mind as one such powerhouse title. It was in production at the time, and saw an earlier release in 1999 as well.

I can only imagine that the knowledge of Konami working to release Silent Hill in a timely manner, and Squaresoft releasing Parasite Eve in 1998 proved to Capcom that their hold over horror games on the PlayStation could be considered fickle at best. It is merely a theory, but I’m sure this contributed to some of the rushed decisions we ultimately see when in regards to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

What is important to remember is that while there were many horror titles in the original PlayStation era, few series were as popular, or as widely loved as Resident Evil or Silent Hill.

It is true that Clock Tower comes to mind as one such series that may stand up well against them, but due to gamers already knowing of that franchise as early as 1995, it’s hardly a fitting comparison. It released before the first Resident Evil had even seen the light of day, and Clock Tower already had a strong fan base crossing over from other platforms.

The Chosen Successor

From here on out, I will be calling the prototype to the game the “Nemesis prototype”. Capcom eventually chose their Nemesis prototype to become the third game in the series. It would proudly bear the number three upon it’s front casing, with the titular monster standing menacingly behind the title. When fans saw the game, we were hyped, and we just couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.

The game is known to us now as Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, released in September of 1999.

The issue is, this game was crafted to be a spin-off title first and foremost. It was never built or conceptualized to be a main series title. Originally, it had been handed to a small, and frankly very inexperienced team of people. The sort just getting their feet wet with larger and widely loved titles.

There was little knowledge among the group when it came to the vast lore of Resident Evil as a series. The game was intended to star an entirely new character, attempting to escape the horrors of the city now infested with zombies. However, this creative choice would not stand well against the already released and widely popular Resident Evil 2. The story was just too similar in thematic beats and story telling.

With two games out and set in stone, it was imperative that the next story reflected the already loved and established characters. With stories that hadn’t been entirely finished yet, the world needed building. The environment and threat from Umbrella needed to be extrapolated upon. When the “Nemesis Prototype” was chosen, and it underwent an exclusivity deal with PlayStation, cementing it firmly in place.

From there the wheels began turning into motion. Key plot lines were changed to include Jill Valentine from the first game as the main character for this new title.

She was chosen because she could still escape the city, and tying the story in closely with the events from the second game allowed many of the thematic elements to be kept from the initial prototype. They could still keep them well in-hand, without crapping all over the general premise that the “Nemesis Prototype” started with.

Shinji Mikami stepped in to help, as his previous experience gave him insight as to just how the game should be produced. Ultimately, the game is a mixed bag. Now let’s discuss why.

Story Troubles

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis makes the entire Resident Evil lore a bit messy thematically. Some parts take places before the events of Resident Evil 2. Meanwhile, others take place during the events, and some take place after the events. This makes the game stand as a strange narrative window into almost all of the early Resident Evil plot lines.

Jill is a former S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team member. She is coined by Berry, another teammate as the maser of unlocking.

In the first game, what started as a search for missing Bravo team members went south when monsters chased the group deep into the forest. Taking refuge inside the mansion, sinister truths began to unfold as zombies and other monsters run rampant.

At the start of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Jill recounts the events. When the team returned to report what they’d seen at the mansion, the truth wasn’t received well. Due to the mishandling of information, and conspiratorial cover-ups, the dangerous T-virus has run rampant in the heart of the city. Now she must survive the hordes of zombies all over again.

Umbrella wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They had a new master plan. The pharmaceutical company gone wrong had a new bio-weapon they’ve been working on. This one is intelligent and deadly. Releasing it into the city streets, they’ve given this abomination one single mission. To eradicate remaining S.T.A.R.S. team members, and this creature will prove to be Jill’s most dangerous opponent yet.

As she calls it “My last chance, my last escape“. She attempts to flee the city, and bring light to these new horrors. During her escape, Jill teams up with a member of Umbrella’s own mercenary unit. A man by the name of Carlos Oliveira.

While it’s true that plot line itself is fairly straightforward, trying to break down exactly when certain events take place in relation to Resident Evil 2 can be a bit difficult. Thankfully though, this only really influences the most die-hard fans. An average player won’t be impacted by the questionable bits of lore buried deep.

Resident Evil has never really had the knack for complicated storytelling, particularly in it’s earliest games. What makes the plot of Resident Evil 2 so good is that it is very cleanly cut and masterfully written upon those surface level ideas. The details embedded into the core of the game need not be considered by the casual fans, and I think that has a lot going for it.

Meanwhile, Resident Evil 3 just can’t hold up as well. It can be too easily compared on a surface level, and to differentiate the game from its predecessor you need those finer details and several times playing the game due to branching paths. I’ll get to that later. For now the only point I want to make here is that most titles in the franchise linger on the surface elements.

That is where most gamers will collect the vast majority of the plot elements, and Resident Evil 3 fails to accomplish surface level storytelling. You need to be willing to dive deep to get the best out of it, and that shouldn’t happen in a zombie shooter.

This game requires that you understand the entire lore of Resident Evil up to that point. The events at the manor play a large role in the backstory. The corruption between Umbrella several key characters from the previous two games can’t be understated either. If you don’t know of these games, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s my direct point. The devil really is in the details on this one, and that makes Resident Evil 3: Nemesis much harder to simply dive into blindly.

Nemesis or Mr. X Clone?

Welcome to the devil within those details I mentioned above, the main big baddie of the game. This is another point of contention for the game. Nemesis is a clunky bugger on a good day, but we’ve already seen his mechanical style before. He chases the player in key moment of gameplay. Sound like something we’ve seen before? Well, it should because Mr. X does this during Resident Evil 2.

Many times when Nemesis crops up, the player can choose to fight or run away. Some battles are scripted boss battles that can’t be avoided, but there are plenty of times you can just run away too. This is a good time to discuss the multilayered storytelling, and the choose your own adventure style of gameplay. Occasionally, the player will encounter a moment when time slows down and the screen fades a bit to a whiteout.

Two choices will come onto the screen, and you have a few moments to choose one before the game picks for you. Doing nothing will always choose the option highlighted first. These moments don’t always include Nemesis, but it happens often enough with him that this is as good a section as any to discuss it.

I think this is why I love the game so much, and why it is my favorite. The layering of complex choices upon a first or second run of the game are staggering. For example, the first time this happens is an encounter with Nemeses. You can choose to run away, or you can choose to fight him. Here’s the funny thing though, you don’t have to fight him even if you choose the option to do so. Instead, you can run up to the dead body of one of your teammates and collect his identification card so that you don’t have to find yours later.

After grabbing it, you can run inside the police station and avoid the fight. Or if you choose to fight him accidentally, you can just run inside the police station anyway having done nothing.

This sort of complex narrative is done through player interaction, and it builds a very distinct style of gameplay that just can’t be overstated. You have options, often times way more than you think you do. Being creative and thinking about how best to tackle a situation is the core of the Resident evil formula, but here it really thrives.

How you choose to play after you’ve made a clear cut choice matters. It can and often does split the narrative path.

This matters on a personal level, and tactically it offers a far more robust gameplay experience on top of it. Without this key detail, Nemesis would certainly be a Mr. X clone many claim him to be. However, because these events are so often tied to a Nemesis encounters in some way, he’s absolutely not a clone, he stands on his own merits.

Your choices change some of your item pick-ups, bits of the narrative, and other small details. Each choice gives you a lot of tiny tactical options. Therefore, I firmly stand on the opinion that Nemesis is a much more improved villain over all. This is simply because the main story ties to him in a way that Mr. X could never hope for. Mr.X is an on rails experience, and he feels that way. Nemesis is on rails too, but at the time the game released he didn’t feel that way. That’s the difference here.

That being said, I still stand by what I mentioned before too. A casual player will miss out on the value this can offer. This concept is made for a hard core Resident Evil fan first and foremost. If you’re not going to think around the choice you pick, or you can’t think fast on your feet with all of the previous knowledge of Resident Evil games you should have by this point, most of the super small details will be lost on you.

Tank Controls and Dodge Maneuvers

Let’s talk about the new mechanics and the old. You know the game looks good for it’s time, even if it looks a bit trashy nowadays. You also know the soundtrack had to be good, and that’s a fact too. Typewriters and ink ribbons return, as well as all of the other stuff from previous games. There’s not much new here, though now there’s a gun powder system, that’s fairly standard and expected in the franchise now. Back in the day it was really cool, but why gush about something we’ve all been exposed to by this point?

So, we go to the core contentious mechanics that heavily influence the fandom. The Tank controls, and that dodge mechanic from hell. First however, let’s discuss something very few people bring up, in a segment I like to call “zombie eats bookshelf”. See for yourself…

See the zombie? See that bookshelf? He does that every single time! Without fail, I have yet to see him not have a go at the bookshelf instead of me, the fleshy person he should be after. This zombie absolutely loves that shelf. He won’t ever attack me unless I stand there long enough for him to figure out how to turn around. All of the other zombies could be dead, and he’s still playing with that shelf. Every single time, on any play through. He is not the only zombie to favor a wall or some other object either. The zombies are dumb, very, very dumb.

The enemies have never been too bright in these games, but certain ones are regularly more stupid this time around. It’s a real issue in this game because I notice it more in this one than in previous titles. This zombie tends to be the worst of them, which is why he gets the spotlight for most idiotic bullet sponge in the game in my opinion.

Okay, now then, onto take controls. I’ve said this before but tank controls deserve to be a gameplay choice, and I will 100% fight on that hill until the day I die for one simple reason. For me, it makes many games easier to play and enjoy. It doesn’t suit all gameplay styles though, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis proves this in spades.

Now the tank controls themselves are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them even slightly, however a new gameplay mechanic was added that is without question very problematic. This little piece of unholy garbage is known as the “dodge maneuver”, and it’s just as crappy as you’d think it is by name alone.

What make tank controls fun for me is their predictability in the right sort of space. I know that when controlling my character, it will only run forward in very specific ways, and turn under very direct parameters. Tank controls aren’t a fluid control system. That’s why I like them.

However, the dodge maneuver takes everything I love about tank controls, and it ruins them. First of all, not only is the move clunky, it is very unpredictable. You might as well just send your character directly into the enemy you were trying to avoid. Trying to dodge will likely do it anyway, the thing is useless to anyone who isn’t a seasoned pro at the game.

The maneuver isn’t exactly player friendly, not to mention entirely not needed. That is the maneuver’s only saving grace. You don’t actually need to use it, and you can beat the entire game without having to use it at all.

Yep, you read that right. We don’t need this thing, the good ole fashioned Resident Evil “bait-and-run” works well enough on zombies. It’s the tried and true method. As for Dogs and other dangerous enemies, your old skills in previous games will serve you better than that maneuver.

Stop, look, and listen in every new area. All of the old hallmarks are there, including obvious warnings and attack patterns. Yes, some enemies move faster in this game sometimes, but you can and should be outsmarting or outrunning them. Classic Resident Evil has never been about blasting your way through everything, and it’s not about that here either.

If you ignore the dodging mechanic will you take a few hits? Oh yeah, sure, you will. However, you probably would have taken just as many, if not more hits just by using the damn maneuver anyway. You can still get the best rank in the game, never having used it once. Leave that thing to the top tier speed runners, the rest of us don’t ever need it.

Virtues of Easy Mode

This is the one and only game in the series that I will praise for having an easy setting. In most other Resident Evil games, having an easy mode only makes enemy placement or some puzzles easier to contend with. Enemies in these games are “bullet sponges” nine times out of ten on harder difficulties. Killing certain zombies qualifies as a strategy, and you don’t earn your Resident Evil stripes unless you know what zombies will screw you later. In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, though having an easy mode set up the way it does actually has replay value.

On this mode, you’re geared out hard core. You have a wealth of bullets and ammunition at your disposal, and you can basically blast your way through the entire game. Unlimited ink ribbons and even coveted Magnum rounds are in the first item box you come across along with a slew of other healing items and weaponry.

You don’t have to play by the rules. You can run the early game with that high end weaponry. With unlimited saves, and more firepower than most people would ever know what to do with, this thing isn’t exactly an “Easy Mode” as much as it is a “Fun Mode”.

I’m actually kind of sad not all the games utilize this mentality, because easy mode turns Resident Evil 3: Nemesis into a glorified fun house and there’s something to be said for just toying around in the game every now and then.

In other games, this would be the worst idea possible, but Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has branching paths. Having a mode like this allows even the most casual players to see all of the options without investing too much time into the game. They can just recklessly blast their way through with no loss of difficulty later when they play for real.

This mode is far too easy to prepare you for harder difficulties, so the addition hurts nothing. Enemies basically melt, and your item boxes are bursting with all the equipment you need to thoroughly trounce Nemesis in every encounter you have with him if you’re even halfway competent. If you want the true ending, you still have the play and beat the game on the hard setting with absolutely none of the advantages easy mode gave you.

After playing easy mode, the curve in difficulty will be absolutely astronomical for the unsuspecting player.

As much as I love the typical way to play the game, I’ve got to admit, toying around in easy mode every now and then isn’t half bad either. Yeah, there’s absolutely no real difficulty at all, but it is fun. It has a real place here, and this is the only Resident Evil game where I will praise its inclusion.

Final Thoughts

This is a hard final thoughts to write. It doesn’t come easy to me, because I love this game, but at the same time it is a mess beyond words sometimes. I guess that’s the acknowledgement I need to give it. Let’s do that, then.

Let’s end right back where I started. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Just because Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is my absolute favorite game in the classic series, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the flaws. I do, trust me, they’re everywhere.

The game is a mixed bag. I’ve praised it, I’ve bashed it, and I still can’t help thinking that my not so favorite zombie will still toy with the bookshelf next time I play the game. I’ve got my complaints with the game mechanics, and yeah the story was a bit clunky. Nemesis isn’t perfect, and although the branching paths are my favorite part of the game personally, I can see why people wouldn’t like them.

When you boil it all down, the game can’t possibly stand on the same level of quality as Resident Evil 2. There’s no denying it, I won’t try. The game was a major letdown for a lot of people. They had high expectations, and the game couldn’t live up to them.

Still, it’s not a complete failure either. This game had a lot of things going for it, and it was nice to have Jill back for another main series title. The easy mode is pure fun to play, and the freedom of gameplay and narrative choice surpasses both of its predecessors by far.

That being said, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is the game that I like best. At least when it comes to the classic Resident Evil titles. I can’t urge you to play it, objectively it just isn’t that earth shattering. I refuse to tell you to avoid it, because I like it too much, and maybe someone else will to.

This thing is a very old game. If you you must play every Resident Evil game out there, pick it up and enjoy. If not, that’s okay too. Don’t feel like you’ve lost your chance at a true piece of monumental survival horror history. This game isn’t like the ones that came before it. Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 have the claim to fame, and those are the ones you should pick up if that really matters to you.

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

Anime Review: Claymore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dark World Done Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know the kind I’m talking about…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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

Patreon Supporters

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

($1) Little Ferrets: None
($3) Fandom Ferret: None
($5) Demented Minions: Francis Murphy, Josh Sayer, and Andrew Wheal.
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RWBY White Trailer Retrospective Review

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


Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for great content too! If you like what we do, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Supporters will get access to our Discord server.

The Retrospective Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

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

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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

Patreon Supporters

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

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

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
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Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 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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Sabin’s MisADVENTURe (Kern’s suffering).

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, or Kern for short. Now I gave you the “proper” The Demented Ferrets update on Monday, but today I wanted to offer something a bit more personal.

We’ll get to this little furry jerk in a moment, and why he decided to find all manners of trouble yesterday, but first the obligatory other updates. If he looks like he’s particularly interested in something, that would be my coffee cup just out of camera shot. He knows morning coffee also means his morning treats, and he knows they’re sitting behind the cup as I type this.

For those who care, you may keep up with how my mother is doing. I sometimes talk about her on this blog.

You may be noticing a lack of blog posts, and that’s because she wasn’t doing very well. On top of video footage kerfuffles regarding Kern’s Collections, and Kresh needed to step away from live streaming for a bit for the last few weeks, everything was a total mess. So, apologies for that complete shit show.

So, anyway, last week Wednesday my mother had a low blood count again, and needed two more units of blood. So that was an 8 hour extravaganza on Wednesday. This week, we have 3 different doctors appointments to attend, one was yesterday, one is today, one is tomorrow.

Also, thank you to all of you who donate blood on a regular basis for the good and support of other people. It saves lives, it really does.

My mother is doing much better for now, but the cause for why she keeps needing the transfusions is an ongoing thing. She’s been seeing doctors, more tests were scheduled. She’s doing okay for the moment, simply tired, but that’s what happens when you get old. She’s in her 70’s, so being tired is to be expected.

In other news, more on The Demented Ferrets related side of things, videos are in production, and scripts are being written (I can’t WAIT for Friday). It’s a long haul kind of thing, life balance is important so we don’t burn out. Kresh and I noticed that our Saturday morning time slot for streaming isn’t working out as well as we would like, so we’ve changed the time as a test.

I’ve listed all of our days/times below, but Saturday is the notable change.

Tuesday: (Normally a FFXI stream of some nature)
9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
4:00PM – 7:00 PM (EST)
Wednesday:
9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
 4:00PM – 7:00 PM (EST)
Saturday:
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT)
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (EST)

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with that stuff, but let’s move onto the more personal update.

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for great content too! It would be best to follow us on Twitter in order to see all of the content we have to offer as it comes out. This includes gaming live streams, and YouTube video essays regarding anime and other media. If you like what we do, please consider supporting us.

Sabin’s Fun Filled Day (My Torment)

Dad and I toyed around with the yard a bit yesterday since the weather was nice, we have to get it ready for springtime. We’d do more today but it’s not exactly going to be warm. The stupid weather here can’t decide if it wants to warm up or spit sleet everywhere. On that note, Sabin, glorious little fuzzball that he is, attempted to “help” us clean the yard.

This is Sabin, in case you have no idea who I’m talking about. He’s about 15 years old now. Sabin by his nature is mostly a one personal animal. He isn’t very easy to socialize with other people, and that’s just his way. He likes my dad well enough and he tolerates my mother, but he’s my little shadow.

Even as I’m writing this, Sabin is laying across my feet. He rarely leaves my side, and that’s been his habit from kitten-hood. He goes wherever I go around the house, and if I’m not there he affixes himself to my father instead. He is now the only pet I have, as he never took well to any other animals inside the house besides Frisky (the elder cat we had at the time of Sabin being small) and Haley (The family dog we also had at the time).

Really he could use another companion, but he really doesn’t want one. We’ve always considered getting another cat, but Sabin will have none of that idea. Those two really were the only exceptions, and likely because Sabin was so young frightened at the time we got him. He was such a little thing back then.

In his adult life, every time we try to introduce him to another creature, (cat, dog, ferret, bird,) it’s clear he’s not at all happy about the prospect of it saying. The house is usually his territory, and that’s the way it stays. He tolerates the other pets my family bring over when they stay for the summer, but you can tell it’s a grudging toleration at best.

Anyway, I’m always looking for ways to keep him entertained. A good way to do that is to sit out in the yard on warm days and let him have his fun. It’s completely fenced in, so he can’t exactly get into too much trouble if I’m outside with him. During summer he’ll lay around on the pool floats, in the spring and fall he’ll romp around the yard in the grass.

He will also inevitably disrupting any cleaning I’m doing, as he did yesterday. I’m sure he found it great fun to be “helpful”. By help, I mean he tried to climb into every bush I was snipping, tipping over the can of trimmed foliage and climbing into it with glee. He took no small amount of joy in romping around in the worst places (constantly under foot). This on top of harassing every little bug he could find filled his afternoon. He never bothers the wild rabbits, birds or squirrels that come in the yard. For those of you that are worried I’d let a cat roam near the local animals, no need to be. He just watches them, he’s never tried to hurt them.

You know, on that note, I don’t actually think he has any concept that a cat can hunt. Well, at least not anything besides a ball or a squeaky toy. He is also completely terrified of butterflies, which is just too funny considering that his favorite place is under the bird feeders. Which is where ALL the flowers tend to be, and thus also the butterflies. If one comes by, he will absolutely yowl under the nearby table until you chase it away. No I’m not kidding, he hates them. It seems like a real, actual phobia for him.

Maybe it’s because they fly erratically? That’s my best guess. He’s never been a fan of things with sudden movements. Sabin is many things, but a big mighty hunter, he is not. Hes just a coward that likes to find his own brand of havoc. Which leads into the other oh so joyous event of yesterday (note my displeasure). He also climbed the tree. He loves to climb that stupid thing, but I hate when he does that for reasons you will find out in a moment.

It was a fun little adventure I’m sure, except he pointedly needed a bath after he came inside. He had tree sap everywhere, and leaves were sticking to him. I honestly wish I had thought to take a picture of that, it was a sight to behold. I’ve never seen a cat choose to get that dirty in the span of two hours. Well, except for the time he followed the family dog into the mud after a rainstorm, but he was still just a tiny kitten back then. As I said that was well over a decade and a half ago.

Anyway, as you can guess, he desperately needed a bath. Now, before I hear the “never bathe your cat unnecessarily” speech, let me just say I fully agree. You shouldn’t just bathe a cat at whim. However, Sabin is a special case. He’s a very good boy, but he was taken away from his mom when he was too young of a kitten, so he really isn’t the best self-cleaner out there. He never really learned how to be a cat in a lot of ways.

When we got him, he was only just barely 8 weeks old at the time, and considering how small he was, I really do doubt he was even that old. Anyway, developmentally he just didn’t have the time with his mom that he needed to really learn how to be a cat. We were already dog and cat owners when Sabin was a kitten, and he mimicked them a little, especially the dog. However he never really learned the way a normal cat would.

Anyway, in the winter season his terrible skills in cleaning himself usually isn’t a problem. He can’t get dirty enough in the house to require a bath. There’s just nothing that messy for him to get into. In the spring and summer, all bets are off.

Anyway, needlessness to say Sabin protested the bath. It’s not water he hates, it’s the soap. I know it’s the soap because he has no issues playing with the pool water whenever I’m doing laps in the summer, and he’ll play in the bathtub if you fill it up for him. That’s actually a good thing, because nine times out of ten a wet washcloth alone will do the trick, but not this time. This the bath had to be a complete with shampoo. I tried just scrubbing the sap off with washcloth, but that hadn’t been working. So, yeah, full bath for him.

Side note: Always, always, always get the shampoo for your animals from a trusted source. Never randomly use your own hair care products if you can avoid it. Fur is not the same as human hair. If you’re ever in doubt, ask your vet or primary animal care professional. They will tell you what is best to use.

For Sabin, we use the same kitten shampoo from his vet that we’ve used since the day we brought him home as a tiny little ball of fluff. It works, it’s gentle, and there’s no need to change it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

After he was clean and mostly dry I attempted a picture. As you an see, it didn’t go as well as I would hope.

As soon as I pulled out my phone camera, his retort was to retort was to headbutt and lick the camera on my phone, resulting in this perplexed image. So yeah, that went well.

Thankfully, he was much less difficult to get a nicer photo of later on that night.

So, yes blame this little furry asshole for my torment yesterday. I hate giving him baths more than he hates receiving them. Clearly he’s forgiven me, because he is my little shadow, and he always will be. Also at treats…

Off to the side you can find some more posts. For more about Sabin, you can always follow us on Twitter. There’s a short video of him today, being himself. You can watch it here.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

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

The Demented Ferrets…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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

Patreon Supporters

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

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

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeStream archive. Occasional Anime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

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

May Mega Update Post

Hi everyone, Kern here. Well, it’s May. The month of April was super stressful, with lots of things going on behind the scenes, but the month has passed us by, and now it’s time to dig into what’s happening for the month of May.

First of all, as you know we’ve switched time slots for Saturday. We didn’t get to really test it out because Kresh was sick on Saturday, so I pulled a later night stream as a result. Next week we will both try to be there with bells on. If not, i’ll do another late night stream again.

Late Night Jurassic World Evolution and The Tenants streams are what’s keeping me occupied the most. Tuesdays contain Final Fantasy XI content, and Wednesdays and Saturdays really depend on what game we happen to be playing.

So with all of that said, let’s get into what you can expect for content for the month ahead.

Live Streaming Content:

  • Random casual late night streams (FFXI, Simulators, whatever Kern feels like)
  • Tuesdays: Primarily FFXI content.
  • Wednesdays: Whatever Kern happens to be playing, with Kresh on co-comm.
  • Saturday: Whatever Kresh happens to be playing, with Kern on co-comm.

We had a lot of real setbacks last month that prevented us from performing at our fullest potential. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be around more often at our usual times, it was that we couldn’t.

Kresh had some minor surgery that prevented headset wearing for a while. We tested out different set-ups for audio, but none of them sufficed to our liking on such sort notice. That and the simple fact that Kresh needed to recover put us in a tough situation for streaming reguarly like we wanted.

In the meantime, my mother (Reminder: Kern here) has been in and out of several doctors appointments on a weekly basis. If you’ve been around the streams or seen a few of my previous blogs on the subject, you know that her health is an ongoing uphill battle, and has been since last November. With blood transfusions taking place for her every Wednesday for the past 3 weeks, it’s been a bit of a mess, and one that my family is still sorting out.

Hopefully my late night streaming has provided adequate content for my absence. I’m doing the absolute best that I can.

YouTube Video Content:

The struggle is real here. You may notice that there is more gameplay content than edited videos. That’s because edited content takes so long to make. We are doing our absolute best though, you can be sure of that. 

Later this week the RWBY White Trailer Review will be released (with the included blog post here, as you can expect). Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.  I really hope you do.

Other content planned comes in the form of more Kern’s Collections, and a new segment is also coming called “Kern’s Character Spotlight”. I have high hopes that you will come to enjoy these segments as we continue to work on getting them out. 

The Blog:

The meat and potatoes of this post for all of you can be found here, because this is the blog. As usual our blog stands as our most diverse and robust section of content we offer, with all sorts of things to be had.

The video format of Kern’s Collections, reviews, and analysis come accompanied with the written script here. When the Character Spotlights videos come out, they will be treated the same way. 

On top of anime, gaming and fandom related content there are other bits and pieces here too, and I hope our website will only continue to grow in number as time marches on.

Written reviews in the works for gaming Include Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (the 90’s one). Once I’m finished with that, I’ll move away to a few non-horror rated titles for a while. I’m not sure what yet, but something. I have a few outlines, but nothing I’m ready to announce.

For anime, I’m working on a Claymore review.

Kern’s Collections posts upcoming in the process include Emma: A Victorian Romance and we’re still trying to sort out the Death Note video so that it can accompany the blog.

Character Spotlight outlines are still being worked on, but you’ll see the first one this month if all goes well.

Artwork/Other:

We have Ruka hard at work designing some stream cards and other things when Ruka isn’t helping me with video content. There isn’t much to say here except that artwork is in fact being worked on.

In Closing:

All in all, we’re all hard at work doing our best to provide you with the content we can, in the way best we can. It’s a bit rocky, no one can deny that, but we are doing our best to provide you guys wonderful entertainment, and we hope you enjoy it.

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course. See you all next time.

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…

To Our Supporters: Thank You!

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

Patreon Supporters

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

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

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeStream archive. Occasional Anime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

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

Kern’s Collections: Assassination Classroom

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

Video Production of This Script

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


The Script

A world filled with unreasonable expectations, and a class of students unable to match them. For them, it’s the end of the line, What sits before them is a task they can’t hope to achieve as they are, and this world will only accept them at their best. Their job is to do what the adult world cannot. They need to take down their teacher, and do it before the planet itself ceases to exist.

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here, and welcome to another Kern’s Collections.

Today I’ll be speaking about Assassination Classroom.

Once again. these are not full fledged review. These are merely glimpses of media, any why they may be worth your time.

So, let’s take a look at the misfit students who’ve been cast aside to the small schoolhouse on the hill, and the monster that is their teacher.

On the surface, Assassination Classroom has a school life vibe from the very start, mixed with more than a few shounen elements for good measure. The series doesn’t let you be fooled by this for long. Sure, it may seem to have all of the trappings of both genre’s crammed together, but that’s just the surface.

Instead of merely the protagonist being down on his luck, the whole class are labeled outcasts in a society that expects only the best out of them. These students are a strong ensemble cast, each of them unique, and with their own views of the world around them.

There’s an innocence that has been corrupted here, twisted by the malignancy of their own minds. Be it a poor self image, discontentment with their lots in life, or merely a failure to mold themselves into the people they wish to be, every student in this class faces adversity in one way, shape, or form.

They’re all underdogs to the world at large, even if among themselves there is clear pecking order when it comes to popularity and the friends they surround themselves with. Even from the first episode there’s a thick tension in the room, all of it made worse by their teacher.

Korosensei is not quite a monster, but he’s certainly no longer human either. His reasons for his current existence is a spoiler, so I’m not going to dig into it. What I will say instead, is that he is a reflection of his students in many ways, and therefore proves himself to be their ultimate foe.

Korosensi is in every way their superior. In fact, he is in every way superior to humanity itself. This is both because he understands human nature, and values the concept of nurturing the youths that will grab hold of the future.

If the students can beat him, they can beat anyone. If they can aspire to learn what he has to teach, they will no doubt be better for it. Ultimately the real battle is the one that takes place within themselves, however it manifests on screen in the form of combat against Korosensi purely icing on the cake.

This is a battle of wits. It all comes down to the heart and soul of the matter. How the students feel, and what they hope to gain largely influences the entire series to a point that the on screen battles never could.

Viewers will find at least one character to relate to, of that I am sure. What can be questioned are the characters themselves, and just how far they will eventually go. The ending is very fitting, but it’s laid out from the start.

This series doesn’t have a lot of plot twists, but the ones it has are darkly implied. In practice it never goes too far, the series is usually very light and easy to consume, but there are a few villains in the series that well and truly mean to do harm in ways that are not forgivable.

This brings me to the subject of morality, a key focal point in the series. Things are morally gray, both for the students aiming to take down their teacher, and the seedy underbelly they’re introduced to because of it. The students are trained by assassins, military, and their teacher directly.

The series paints two logical ideologies for the students to cling onto. Self worth can be found both in their own personal merits as people, or it can be found at the sharp end of a blade and forced victory. Neither of these ideologies are painted as wrong, or inaccurate. Therefore it’s up to the students to decide how best to go about reaching their ambitions.

Korosensei is the the vessel for all of this. Contrasting world views muddle and mix in a way that I find more interesting than the fights themselves. While it’s true you could just enjoy the anime like your typical popcorn shounen, there is a deeper narrative to be found here. All you have to do is search for those darker implications buried beneath the dialogue.

Ultimately, I really enjoy this series. Assassination Classroom is an anime that touches on the heart and soul of the matter. For these characters, victory would be biter sweet, and failure isn’t an option that they can accept. The struggle is as much personal to each character, as it is a group endeavor.

The series is not gigantically long, making it very easy to enjoy. At forty-seven episodes and an OVA, there’s enough content to dive deep into many of the characters, while keeping the plot fairly tight.

This is where I leave it for now. The rest is up to you. If you want to watch Assassination Classroom, you can do that on the Funimation and Hulu…

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.

As a reminder, our streaming times have changed for Saturday. Please look at the table below for our stream times and be sure to follow the proper platforms for the content you like best.

If You Enjoyed This Content…

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

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeStream archive. Occasional Anime/Game/Movie reviews. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

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

New Streaming Time: Saturday Change

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. It’s time for another little update about what’s going on behind the scenes. Our numbers have been good or at least decent for Tuesday and Wednesday stream blocks, we are growing (it is just incredibly slowly). However, that being said, we’re not happy with Saturday’s numbers.

To attempt to fix this, we’re changing time slots. We will now stream at 3:00-6:00 PM (GMT) That means that in the Eastern USA you can expect us to begin at 10:00 AM.

We hope this will allow us to reach a wider audience going forward. We will see you there!

The home page and support us page have been changed to reflect the new time slot. Also expect a bit of a site changes over the next few weeks as I adjust things.

PLATFORMCONTENTSCHEDULE
TwitchLive streamsTuesday: 9:00 PM – 12 AM (GMT)
Wednesday: 9:00 PM – 12:00 AM (GMT)
Saturday: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT)
YouTubeArchived live stream content. Planned for 2021: Anime/Game/Movie content. Deep dives/analysis of RWBY.Videos upload Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)
TwitterAnnouncements, Random tweetsWhenever a live stream begins or content releases. Doesn’t have a set schedule.
Our BlogAll kinds of written media including anime, games, RWBY and more.Posts are published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:00 PM (GMT)

2021 Spring Anime Season- What I’m Excited For

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. I just wanted to highlight some series I’m looking forward to in this new anime line-up. The winter season made big promises, but in some ways a few series just couldn’t live up to the hype (Promised Neverland I’m looking at you).

Then there were shows with the hype that still contained a few scheduling kerfuffles. Seriously, Cells at Work and Cells at Work: Code Black were both aired in the winter season, and that was just too much. I haven’t gotten around to Cells at Work: Code Black because I just didn’t have the time to dive into it.

A few very dishonorable mentions and profound levels of idiocy aside, there is no question that the winter season gave us some very good shows. New anime and sequel fodder alike had this season bursting at the seams with compelling content. Depending on what your tastes in anime are, you could probably find something in your wheelhouse.

The problem could be for a hard core anime fan, there was almost too much to pick from. For example, I dropped Dr. Stone entirely because it couldn’t keep my interest the way that other series did. That’s not a slight to the franchise, and I might pick it up again later. It’s just that for me there was other compelling content to watch.

That said, I’ve always known that for me spring, summer, and fall would contain the bulk of my interests this year.

Before I get into that though, I wanted to give a brief nod to the anime Wonder Egg Priority for surprising the absolute crap out of me. It was a series I went into tentatively, but I’m so glad I did. It was far deeper and more complex than I could have ever initially given it credit for.

I had an idea of what the show was going for, but I thought it might end up convoluted, or perhaps too convoluted for it’s own narrative ambition. It proved me wrong on so many levels. I had to watch the series twice, merely because the narrative it tries to tell has merit in re-watching it. I wouldn’t say that the series is perfect by far. Still, highly enjoyable though.

So, kudos to Wonder Egg Priority, for not being the mindless drivel I presumed the show would be when it first released. For me it was one of many highlights in the winter season, and honestly I can’t praise it enough.

With that said though, while the winter season was a grab bag of many anime, spring’s line-up has a narrower focus. There aren’t as many highly anticipated series, and I suspect there will be a few sleepers this time around.

So, let’s look at a few shows I’m excited for in the spring seasonal line-up.

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Brief Mentions of Sequles

I don’t want to linger too long on this, but the spring anime line-up has a bunch of sequel fodder as well. Perhaps too much, all things considered. There is only one that I am super excited for, but that said the usual expectations make their appearance.

Zombieland Saga: Revenge will be offering a second season to the pop idol zombie series. On top of that you have the obvious choices such as the final season of Fruits Basket and My Hero Academia: Season 5.

Those series, coupled with the dredges of last season’s holdovers gives us just enough to get by. That being said though, there is one sequel that I think really is worth talking about.

Nomad: Megalo Box Season 2

Megalo Box was by far one of the most enjoyable anime for me back in 2018, and for good reason. The boxing anime had a decent amount of action, but it was the characters that had me coming back for more. I can’t say I’m a fan of boxing, but to me that’s what makes this series so interesting.

Generally, with sports anime, the thing that keeps the viewer most entertained is the confines of the sport itself. Compelling characters are vastly important, sure, but the sport is generally their fixation. This means that if you can’t relate to the character, it can be incredibly hard to relate with them.

I may not be a huge boxing fan, but Megalo Box held my interest due to the struggle of the main protagonist. It was a gritty anime, rough around the edges with animation and a soundtrack to match, and this appealed to me.

The first episode of season two aired earlier this month. Aptly named Nomad: Megalo Box 2, it takes place five years after the events of season 1.

This is one of the anime I was talking about when I said it may be a bit of a sleeper. See, as much as I loved Megalo Box during it’s initial run, and still enjoy it today, that doesn’t seem the case across wider anime fandom. It fell out of discussion rather quickly, all things considered. Almost as if it had been forgotten about and tossed to the side.

I don’t know about you, but I’m actually pretty excited for this anime. The next one on my watch-list list isn’t so

Eden Zero

Every season I pick an anime that I’m incredibly dubious about, and Eden Zero is that anime for the spring line-up. See, I wasn’t a huge fan of Fairy Tail and this series is from the same manga artist. So, needless to say, it was the perfect choice.

Why am I excited about an anime that I fully admit to being skeptical about? Good question, for me it comes down to the challenge. If I complete disregard anime I assume I won’t like, I limit myself in ways I find unsatisfactory.

My dislike of Fairy Tail came from its pacing. I entered into the series late in the game, and trying to slog through the series ended up making it wholly enjoyable. Then again, taking it slow held little merit for me because I had friends heavily invested in the series, which resulted in massive spoilers. In the end, dropping Fairy Tail was a no brainier, because I missed out on what makes such long running series enjoyable for me. Talking about it with my friends are the reason I’d even enjoy such a series in the first place, and lacking that there was no reason for me to continue.

Eden Zero offers that opportunity. Now weather it will hold my attention or not is up in the air. However, the hype my personal friends and I have for the series is enough to make me excited.

There is just one little problem. Netflix has the streaming rights to this thing. Meaning that sadly it’ll be held back from viewers until the season is complete and able to be binge watched. That could be the deal breaker for me depending on how long I have to wait, but I can ride the hype train for now.

So that’s what I looking forward to in this line-up. I need some time to catch up on some holdovers from the winter season, so this is the perfect time for that.

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.

Game Review: Silent Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Each path worthy in their own right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surface Level Shenanigans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Town’s Sinister Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intuitive Design Done Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbinding From Hardware Limitations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…

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

The Demented Ferrets…

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