Like the freshest fashion trend in Shibuya, furries are the new hot thing in Splatoon 2's Inkopolis—and it's raised a few heads. There's even a Reddit post on the r/Nintendo Subreddit asking "Why are there so many furries in Inkopolis Square right now?" which has over a thousand comments. But instead of finger-pointing and anger, there's actually a pretty surprising depth to the conversations happening there.
In fact, reading through the growing comments in the thread, I was constantly surprised to be, well, surprised by the tenor of the conversation. While there were plenty of Redditors debating the merits of having so many furry drawings in the game, others were using this time to educate themselves on the subject, and offering thoughtful responses to questions from commenters who don't know enough about the situation, and are simply asking questions that could easily have been dismissed.
As far as I recall, the first whisper of furries in Splatoon 2 I saw came from a Tweet that showed two image. One pictures showed an Inkling standing by a furry drawing graffiti in one of the arena stages, and the next of the ink kid painting over the graffiti.
The tweet quickly spread and overshadowed the mayo vs. ketchup debate raging in the Splatoon 2 community as a result of the Splatfest theme that asks players to choose between two condiments. No, the furry matter was far more important given that in two days, furry drawings are everywhere in Inkopolis Square. Even the Japanese games press picked up on it.
【ニュース】海外の『スプラトゥーン2』広場に突如大量の「ケモノ」イラストが投稿される、その理由とはhttp://go.redirectingat.com?id=87431X1573192&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FjaFYB78xVT pic.twitter.com/vImi7meznp— AUTOMATON (@AUTOMATONJapan) August 3, 2017
This is because of the mailbox system in Splatoon 2 that lets players draw fun little messages, and giving other players a chance to see and rate their messages. It's a nice passive online feature that was always more appreciated for the artistic merits of the messages than their content. That changed obviously when the furry drawings began appearing en masse.
A quick Google search turns up an unofficial Splatoon fansite with a forum post regarding the furries. That thread, unlike the one currently climbing the Reddit charts, is full of vitriol and anger . The Reddit thread by contrast covers such topic as "What's an OC?" or "How do people draw so good?" or my favorite, "I miss "KNACK 2 the FUTURE"'.
But the real meat-and-bones of the thread come from when commenters who don't know about the furry community, or have just a cursory knowledge about the furry community based on drawings and fanart, begin earnestly trying to grapple with the subject. The results are illuminating conversations that discuss all things furry, including whether or not it's an inherently sexual topic, why there are so many furry artists, to even a conversation about artists who draw furry commissions despite not being furries themselves.
I feel like a lot of what's happening in that Reddit thread is similar to one particular message in Splatoon 2 that simply reads, "I don't know what a furry is, but I like everyone's dog pictures."
Now, despite the warning at the top of the post cautioning users to engage the topic in a respectful manner, people will still use any opportunity to vent and spew anger. But the overall Splatoon 2 thread isn't that bad, and as a platform for discussion, is a nice reminder that yeah, sometimes the best way to engage with a subject is through thoughtful dialogue.
Whether or not Splatoon 2 will continue to see more furry art in Inkopolis Square remains to be seen. It seems that with Splatfest, the conversation has shifted back onto the mayo/ketchup debate. However, what could have easily been a real weird moment for the Splatoon 2 community, ended up prompting a relatively tame, and sometimes informative discussion on the internet. I found myself learning a lot from the Reddit thread, which isn't something I typically say a lot. Now we'll just wait and see if the whole internet can learn to calmly discuss matters related to video games like this.