Icestripe takes a look at how Warriors and its fans have changed since we first stepped into the wild.
As a young reader, there has always been a wide array of reading options to suit my interests. If I wanted to read a magical adventure story, I’d pick up Harry Potter. If I was feeling more of a dystopian action series, I’d grab The Hunger Games. However the book series that kept me awake late at night reading under the sheets with a flashlight wasn’t Twilight or Lord of the Rings. It was Erin Hunter’s Warriors series.
When it comes to popular children’s book series, the Warriors, sometimes referred to as the Warrior Cats novels, are not only one of the most prominent but also has one of the most active online communities. The series has received numerous recognitions, including various spots on the New York Times bestsellers list throughout the years.
Image from the Warrior Cats Official Website
The Warriors series revolves around four groups of feral cats living in clans. The four clans all struggle to survive and often get into bloody battles over food, territory, and engage in forbidden romances between cats from different clans. The first six books in the series detail the adventures of Rusty, a house cat that leaves his comfortable life to join ThunderClan. Rusty forsakes his given name and is given the name Firepaw. His struggles integrating into the life of a wildcat while navigating the politics among the four clans comprises the bulk of the series’ first six entries.
Since the original series, the Warrior Cats books have exploded into a massive collection of novels, featuring 7 series with six books each. Outside of the main series of books, 12 stand-alone books titled “Super Editions” have been released, each chronicling the experiences of a specific character in the series. Additionally, the series has spawned six field guides, a manga series, and 15 novellas.
However, what makes the Warriors series so interesting outside of the sheer number of titles is the level of online involvement from fans, especially regarding fan animations on YouTube.
When I was about 12 years old, I was obsessed with Warriors. I had every book, novella, and manga that was sold on bookshelves. Eventually I took my love for the series online and began interacting with other Warriors fans on online forums. It was around that time that a user posted a link to a Warriors fan animation titled Yellowfang: On My Own. While the animation has since been removed from YouTube, it had a massive impact on me and ultimately led to a rabbit hole of Warrior Cats animated content. At the time, I was impressed with the anime style the artist choose to animate the cats in and the visual effects throughout the video. I instantly fell in love with the animation and turned to the author of the video, AlliKatNya, for more animated Warriors content.
AlliKatNya, now known by Alli Kat on YouTube, was one of the first big names in the Warriors YouTube community of animators. Alli MacKay, began animating Warriors fan animations in 2007 when they were only 13 years old.
Alli’s “Warriors of the Forest” fan-series quickly garnered a following online and inspired a massive influx of future Warrior animators to dive into the realm of animation themselves, including big names like SSS Warrior Cats, DarkKokiri, TribbleofDoom, and Flightfootwarrior. Soon, there was an over saturation of talented Warriors animators infiltrating YouTube and creating a thriving, vibrant community of animators, voice actors, and viewers.