More Anime Soundtracks to Put in Your Playlist

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It is Friday, which means another column to share from my time at my college’s newspaper. This time, I thought it would be fun to return to the topic of good anime soundtracks, and so here are a few more that should absolutely be on a playlist of yours if they are not already. While a certain show that I have talked about in the past is also on this list, I stand by the argument that it has a great soundtrack, so yeah. With that being said, let us begin.


Welcome back, tourists.

With increasing access to pretty much every kind of music through the internet and various music streaming services, it feels as though there is a soundtrack for pretty much every point in people’s lives. Now, instead of borrowing CDs, people are sharing playlists on Spotify and YouTube. 

I have said it before, and I am here to say it again. Anime has a number of amazing soundtracks with plenty of “banger” tracks, as the kids say, as well as slower, more reflective moments. Today, I want to share more of those worthwhile soundtracks. Content warning for some of the descriptions below.

“Wonder Egg Priority” – Music by De De Mouse

Those who follow seasonal anime might already be familiar with this new addition to the magical girl genre that recently took the community by storm. “Wonder Egg Priority” follows a group of girls who are transported to a dream world in order to rescue their friends who have died of suicide. The strange and dark nature of the show’s story and animation flows into the series’ soundtrack, courtesy of De De Mouse

The 42-year-old music producer pulled no punches on this project, taking his signature electronic music style and turning it up to 11. From the first episode to the latest, there is a sort of Kinetic energy that permeates the entire work. For the best example of this, check out episodes three and four. While it might be confusing, it will definitely also be exciting.

“Bleach” – Music by Shiro Sagisu

“Bleach” is an anime with a long and complicated history in terms of its quality. However, one element of the show that always felt underappreciated was its soundtrack. There are, of course, many openings that are worth talking about, especially its first one “Asterisk” by Orange Range. However, composer Shiro Sagisu knows how to capture the show’s unique flare. 

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The show’s long run time also came with it a much larger than usually soundtrack, and while there are, of course, the occasionally more generic-sounding songs, some, like “Ichigo’s Theme” help to carve out the show’s identity and give it that extra bit of hype that every good shounen anime needs. 

“Your Name” – Music by RADWIMPS

Maybe it is unfair to compare tv anime soundtracks with movies, but it would be an absolute tragedy to not recommend at least one movie from Makoto Shinkai, as his films are pretty much all about the experience. After all, it would not be a Shinkai film with the backing of RADWIMPS.

The J-Rock group has been around since the turn of the millennium but got international acclaim after their work on “Your Name,” and for good reason. Their unique brand of J-rock is both energetic and musically progressive, building on itself constantly until it reaches a fantastic peak. The film would have been much worse off were it not for this group, and it is definitely good car ride material.

It can be hard to find good music given just how much is available, but for those who are up for trying something new, there are plenty of anime soundtracks worth exploring. 


What other soundtracks did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special thanks to patron Jenn Coulter for continuing to support us this month.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Romance Anime, “Golden Time,” and Amazing Drama

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Hey everyone, so quick backstory on this post. I watched the anime series Golden Time earlier this year and I liked it… a lot. I liked it so much in fact that it ended up on my favorites list that I posted back in August. It also inspired me to make a video which, not uncommonly around here, I never actually ended up doing. So, since I ran out of time for today and could not think of anything else, here is the script for that video. Enjoy!


Hot take: most romance anime are not particularly good.

Yeah, I said it. What are you gonna do about it? In all seriousness though, I hope that at this point in the progression of anime as an art form that we can at least recognize the abundance of mediocre romance in anime. You know the ones I’m talking about: the generic Japanese high school main characters have never interacted with a member of the opposite sex will they won’t they until they maybe hold hands at the end of season two if they even get that far bs that feels like it dominated for most of the 2000s and 2010s. 

Thankfully, it seems as though that is slowly beginning to change. While I did not necessarily enjoy it as much as others, I can at least appreciate what a show like Gamers! was trying to do, playing off the traditional popular girl loser main character dynamic and flipping it on its head. Shows like Horimiya have shown that romance anime can come to satisfying conclusions, while also displaying a fair amount of emotional and character development among the whole cast. Granted, Tsuresure Children was doing this back in 2017 to a slightly worse effect, but still good to see regardless. 

Now, this is not to say that this push and pull dynamic can’t work in certain shows. Oftentimes, such as with a series like Kimi no Todoke, this revolves around the idea that the main characters are afraid of what the other one is thinking, which is definitely relatable. In fact, I would say most romances of this persuasion invoke this notion of relatability. However, that by itself is not a payoff or a mark of good storytelling, but merely a part of it. 

This brings me to Golden Time, a 2013 romance and drama produced by J.C. Staff. The story centers around a college-age amnesiac who remembers nothing about his identity due to having been knocked off a bridge. Tada Banri, thus, decides to move to Tokyo and attend law school in order to start his life over. From there, he meets Yana, and the rich girl who’s obsessed with him, Koko. The group begins to grow close while Banri slowly but surely regains his identity.

Funnily enough, I actually ended up hearing about this series at first from an old episode of the Podtaku podcast, which featured some familiar faces of the anime YouTube community, namely Gigguk. He was incredibly enthusiastic about the series at the time, and for whatever reason, his high praise of the show stuck in my mind. Never have I been more thankful for my oddly specific long-term memory, because while I went into Golden Time with relatively few expectations, it delivered a storytelling experience that I can only describe as emotionally cathartic and incredibly well executed.

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A lot of what Golden Time does right comes in the form of the character’s relationships as well as its use of Tada Banri’s Amnesia as a plot device. For starters, it helps that these characters feel like real people. Like I said before, relatability only matters in so much as it allows the viewer to form a connection with the series and the characters. However, forming a direct relationship between viewer and audience is not the only way to do this. 

Instead, the series ops to let the characters’ relationships progress naturally. The fact that Banri and Koko start dating in the first place is a product of both Banri’s longing to build a new identity due to his amnesia, as well as Yana’s refusal to date her. Similarly, Yana’s budding relationship with Linda follows logically from being rejected by Chinami and then hanging out with her in a purely platonic context. None of the relationships that emerge throughout the series feel forced, which allows for more of a genuine experience.

Of course, all of these relationships are centered around Banri, whose journey through college and battle with his amnesia is the focus of the series. Banri, while definitely having the character design of a generic anime protagonist, certainly does not act it. Even as a literal shell of a human being, his progression throughout this 24 episode series is a combination of heartbreaking and victorious that feels like the best roller coaster I have ever ridden. Through the highs and lows of his journey, he remains a moving presence on screen, and the looming worry about the potential consequences of his returning memory makes it all the more engaging.

A theme that emerges early on in the series is one of identity, specifically dealing with the loss of one’s identity and the prospects of beginning life anew. Now, for Banri this is fairly obvious, as his amnesia has forced him to pack up and start fresh in an unfamiliar place. However, the same can also be said of Koko, who built her identity around a version of Mitsuo that only existed in her head. Thus, when he rejected her in the clearest language he could, her identity also falls apart and has to be rebuilt. 

Banri’s amnesia and this theme of identity become foundational for the series and drive a lot of the heavier moments that happen later on. During Golden Time’s latter half, Banri realizes that the re-emergence of his lost memories could also spell the disappearance of his current ones. This becomes more obvious when he begins to have episodes of remembrance, and the previous Tada, Banri reemerges. It is during this time he realizes just how fragile the current version of himself really is.

However, that fragility is not just his own. Just as much as she had built her previous identity around Mitsuo, Koko has similarly become inseparable from Banri. Thus, when it becomes apparent that the boyfriend she knows might not be around for much longer, she breaks up with him in order to save herself the pain of watching their identities collapse simultaneously. 

So much of what makes good drama and romance are the stakes. After all, romance itself can only be so interesting. What matters is what is happening around that romance. For Golden Time, those stakes are the relationships themselves. Banri doesn’t want to lose his entire identity again, and neither does Koko. To live a normal life in the face of the almost supernatural: that is the dream of these two star-crossed lovers. Sure, it turns out ok in the end, but it didn’t have to, and that fear of loss is powerful…


How do you all feel about Golden Time, and about romance anime in general? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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The Best Anime for Halloween

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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I am fashionably late on this front per usual, but for today’s column, I figure I would recommend some Halloween anime. I say Halloween and not horror because not all of these shows are necessarily intended to be scary, but certainly invoke that theme. Also, this was written and intended for a less anime-inclined audience, so those reading it here might have seen some or all of these already. With that being said, I hope you enjoy it.


Considering there is going to be a significantly lower number of people going out this Halloween night, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say many are going to be missing out on the traditional night of Halloween-themed fun. 

Fret not, though, dear reader, as for those who want a bit scarier in their activities this month, I have a solution. While it has been discussed in depth in other places why animation is not the greatest medium for the horror genre, there is still plenty of great anime to fill the void in your schedule this month. With that being said, here are some great Halloween anime watches.

Another

If you have ever craved the sort of pseudo-scary, b movie horror feel but in anime form, well for one I congratulate you on your oddly specific taste in media, but also look no further, as I have just the show for you.

“Another” focuses on the Town of Yorima, which is haunted by the death of a young girl Misaki 20 years prior. 15-year-old Kouichi has just moved in. After settling in at school he notices another girl named Misaki, who everyone seemingly recognizes, but completely ignores.

Que every horror trope imaginable. In all seriousness though, the show is, at the very least, a lot of fun. Though it is certainly predictable at times in all the wrong ways, and certainly has its fair share of absolutely ridiculous scenes, there is a lot to love about it.

It is pretty obvious from the start that most of the animation budget was poured into the more gore-intensive scenes, and the story has a way of turning the pettiness of middle school drama into legitimately scary and violent conflict that ties the who thing together beautifully. While it certainly will not be on anyone’s horror top 10 list, it is certainly worth the watch.

The Promised Neverland

Since I am self-contractually obligated to mention this series as often as possible, here is my pitch.

“The Promised Neverland” focuses on the experience of a group of orphans who grow up under the care of a woman they simply refer to as momma. However, after the two eldest kids, Emma and Norman, venture towards the front of the house to say goodbye to a recently adopted Cindy, they discover a horrific truth.

While the show could certainly be considered scary at parts, it is admittedly much more psychological thriller than straight-up horror, as it mainly focuses on the three eldest kids, including the aforementioned Emma and Norman, as well as Ray, and their experience after learning the dark nature behind their existence in the orphanage. 

While this might be a bit of an ambitious statement on my part, anyone who enjoys movies like “Hannibal Lector” will likely enjoy this series for a lot of the same reasons.

Higurashi: When They Cry (2006)

Ok, so now imagine “Another,” but a lot scarier.

“Higurashi” tells the story of a small, rural village named Hinamizawa. Keiichi has just moved there, and it doing so meets a group of girls. Despite them all being separate in age because the town is so small, they all have class together and get to know each other very well. However, Keiichi eventually discovers the secrets behind the town’s curse and the girls in question.

Fans of the gore elements of horror will certainly appreciate this one a lot, but those more interested in the psychological elements of storytelling should appreciate it as well. This is because “Higurashi” has a sort of groundhog day premise where the main plot of the show is repeated from the perspectives of various characters.

It makes the show feel that much scarier, because, despite ostensibly knowing what is going to happen during each story arc, the new perspective adds another layer of mystery.

The show is older, though, and it definitely shows in the animation, so for those who are not all that interested to begin with, it might put some off. However, if you are interested in watching the show with updated designs, a newer version of the series is being released this season, with some already promising first reactions.

Soul Eater

For those self-admitted posers who do not actually like scary stuff but really like the Halloween aesthetic, here is an action series that might just grab your interest.

“Soul Eater” has been around for over a decade now, and has grabbed the attention of thousands of fans from all over the world. It focuses on a group of high school-aged kids who work as Meisters, those who turn other high school-aged kids from regular weapons into Death Scythes, tools wielded by Lord Death. 

While the first few episodes are a bit of a slog, as they are mainly just character introductions, after that, the series picks up a lot, with arc after arc of great action and world-building. 

The show also has a ton of great music, not just within its openings and endings, but its soundtrack as well. It has a lot of genre variation, from punk rock to psychedelic and even some hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

This is the one series on this list that I would venture to say most have seen already, but for those who have not, I would highly encourage checking it out.

As depressing as this year has been, it is good to take time and find things worth enjoying. Whether that is anime or something entirely different, try and take a load off. However, for those who are looking for some Halloween-themed shows for this year, I hope some of these end up feeling satisfactory. 


What anime would you recommend for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rikka

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

(As a quick aside, this post was significantly better written beforehand, however, my WordPress decided to forget half of the post after I went to sleep one night and so I had to rewrite a significant portion much differently. Regardless, I hope you enjoy).

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Chuunibyou is an oddball series animated by Kyoto Animation. It focuses on the life of Yuuta and his wish to start high school over as a new person. This is because Yuuta spent his middle school days with a “disease” known as Chuunibyou, a condition which invokes in its victims the horrible fate of *checks notes* …writing and acting out a horrible OC while looking like a complete dork. Needless to say, the actual stakes of this series are fairly low. However, while that may be true in an absolute sense, the series does a fairly good job of absorbing us into the world of these “delusions.”

At the center of these delusions, and the show’s secondary main character, is Rikka, a girl who is still afflicted with Chuunibyou, and who ends up slowly dragging Yuuta back into this world. So, “what is this world?” you might ask. Well, it is complicated, but it most often manifests itself as a series of JRPG, action-adventure, and fantasy tropes which the characters have collectively agreed to be a part of. Well, mostly agreed to be a part of, as Yuuta’s hesitancy to embrace his character of “Dark Flame Master,” which left him without any real friends in middle school, becomes a major sticking point throughout the series.

The show does seem primarily concerned, though, with Rikka, and Touka’s, her sister, concern that this Chuunibyou will leave her without the ability to function as a real member of society. From Rikka’s perspective, it is this world of fantasy and delusion that serves as an escape and purpose. Each battle with Touka, imagined as the evil “priestess,” or Nibutani, who Rikka believes to be a false incarnation of her former character “Morisummer,” brings with it a sense of living genuinely.

I said before that the stakes of this series are fairly low, and that is very much the case. While Touka definitely worries for Rikka’s health, she never goes as far as to take her to a doctor or therapist, at least within the confines of the story told. It is possible to imagine her resisting that suggestion strongly, but still. In contrast with that, the death of their father and a subsequent forgotten run-in with the “Dark Flame Master” himself seem to be the catalyzing factors in Rikka’s strong sense of Chuunibyou. This, again, begs the question: what exactly is at stake for Rikka?

At first, it seems to be her father’s memory. When observing Yuuta’s character, Rikka came to believe that her father was trapped in the “horizon” of this Chuunibyou world and that by training and getting stronger she could eventually find and rescue him. While the end of season one, and the resolution of Rikka’s feelings surrounding her father’s death, it becomes Yuuta, and their burgeoning romantic relationship, that keeps her involved in the world of delusion.

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After she reconciles her feelings and beliefs about her father at the end of season one, her primary driver becomes Yuuta, and with the introduction of a little bit of competition for his affection in the form of Satone, her Chuunibyou becomes firmly grounded in their relationship. Her mystical battles become ones of love, rather than a fight to preserve her father’s memory.

Chuunibyou’s existence as a real-world concept is attributed to Japanese comedian and commentator Hikaru Ijuin when he used it in 1999. In that context, he was referring to middle schoolers with wide imaginations and very little shame. However, after psychologists began investigating the condition as potentially real, Ijuin became worried and retracted his statement. As I mentioned above, Chuunibyou has very few actual stakes in its narrative, at least as far as most people would use the term. So, if it is not a real condition, and her problems involving the loss of her father are gone, then what does that mean for Rikka?

While this series is technically one of my favorites from Kyo-Ani, on the whole, not many people rate the show particularly high. I cannot speak for everyone that has watched the series all the way through. Still, I do think it is worth applying a couple different lenses to her character.

When I talked about the series back in 2019, I threw out the idea that the Chuunibyou could be a metaphor for neurodivergent people. After all, Ijuin retracted his statement in 2009, and the first light novel for the series did not come out until 2011. Though the specific cultural connotations of the word are lost on me, it is clear that the term Chuunibyou developed a context outside of the comedian’s initial comments. After all, Rikka’s journey involves fighting against both her sister, at times Yuuta, and others who tell her that she eventually has to become “normal” despite the fact that remains a serious challenge. The metaphor is not totally one to one, however, since Chuunibyou is considered a temporary condition, whereas things like ASD and ADHD are usually with people for life.

Even outside of that more narrow interpretation, however, the influence of magic and fantasy-style games and anime can be evidence of a general appreciation for nerdy subcultures. These groups, almost by definition, exist outside mainstream tastes. As a result, many people in these groups can feel isolated. Finding comfort with people who are also in those groups becomes one of the few avenues for expressing themselves against a conformist society. The backdrop of Japan here also plays a surprisingly relevant role, as cultural homogeneity in Japan is even greater than in places like Western Europe or the U.S.

Ultimately, regardless of the interpretation one might use, Rikka’s character is about breaking hegemony. She exists in a world that is unsympathetic to her as a person, and as much as Yuuta might be embarrassed by her at times, he cannot help but feel grateful to her. Her steadfast sense of self in the face of an uncaring environment is admirable, to say the least.


How do you feel about Chuunibyou and the character of Rikka? Are there other characters I should take a deep dive into? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Secondary Findings: The Mitchells vs The Machines, Kingdom Hearts, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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So, a while ago I started doing posts based on Super EyePatch Wolf’s series “My Favorite Things,” and while I do enjoy doing something similar on this blog, I never actually gave the series a proper title to differentiate it. Since it has been a hot minute since doing one of those posts, I figured now to be a good a time as any. Thus, welcome to the (re)launch of my new series on this blog: Secondary Findings, where we talk about all the things I thought were cool recently that otherwise would not fit as its own post/video.

(As a side note, I never actually intended for the blog to have the astronomy theme that is clearly been developing subconsciously, but it feels oddly fitting.)

Anyway, on with the post!

The Mitchells vs The Machines

The state of children’s media in 2021 is…not something I have enough knowledge to competently discuss. However, it would be a lie to say that all of it is factory-produced, lifeless shells akin to Cocomelon. Though, this movie is clearly aiming for an audience a bit older than that. The Mitchells vs The Machines is a project that I was not expecting to be as entertained by as I was, and was genuinely sad when the credits rolled.

There is so much about this movie worth liking. From its unique animation and character designs courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation to the well-written story and characters that form the base of its title. The movie also is not afraid to cover heavier topics. College-age Katie Mitchell plans on going to film school, but her dad is less than understanding. So, in order to better connect with her daughter, Rick Mitchell decides to take Katie and the rest of his family on a road trip to her new home. All the while, the world is being taken over by the operating system PAL.

I will say, in trying to cover things like the prevalence of technology in people’s lives, being creative in a family that does not accept it, giving up passions in order to start a family, the pacing does suffer a little bit. Additionally, while it never seemed to be the focal point of the movie, Katie’s gay identity feels a bit brushed over as a point of her character. Still, this movie was so much fun that I would not be surprised to find myself going back to it again fairly soon.

Sora in Smash!

Ok, this is cheating a little bit since I did technically do a full write up of Smash Ultimate’s potential last patch. However, the feeling of amazement has not yet been lost on me. Trying to speculate just how much legal effort it took on Nintendo’s part to make this happening is probably in vein, but my simple guess would be “a lot.” Still, everyone’s favorite spiky haired, key blade wielding, anime protagonist is now playable (and most likely going to be my main for competitive play). His skins feel like they were made with purpose, even if Disney’s ownership of certain IPs made the range of selection rather limited, and his overall move set makes him feel purposeful, with nearly every move having a strong role to play in his kit.

While I have little reason to return to his original games at this point outside of a passing fluster of nostalgia, his inclusion is bound to make many of those who grew up with the Kingdom Hearts universe happy. More still, it will be exciting to see just how far he can be pushed from a competitive standpoint.

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Hanasaku Iroha

If it was not clear already from the haphazard times between when I first talk about show to when, or really if, I finish them, I am bad at sticking to one show for an extended length of time. That being said, Hanasaku Iroha is a show that I am most definitely interested in finishing…at some point. Again, I am not going to put a date on it cause that feels sort of pointless, but there is a lot to like about the series.

Ohana has a sort of out there, individualistic spirit that feels rarely represented in a narrative space so focused on characters. Having grown up with an unreliable mom, she is forced to deal with life mostly on her own. Because of this, her philosophy of only relying on herself comes up against her hardline grandmother and the staff of the Inn where she is now forced to work. In spite of this, the first few episodes see the beginning of change, a readjustment to her new environment and the blooming of ability to rely on others for the first time in, basically, forever.

If this were an Initial Results post, I would say just go watch it. But…na, jk still go watch it. Great series thus far.

Franny Choi’s Soft Science

*remembers I have a second blog that I have not been posting on at all for months*

*screams*

Existence is a weird thing, huh? and no, I am not just saying that as a way to ridicule myself further. While I have been contemplating doing reviews over on Solidly Liquid for a while now, that has yet to materialize, so it seemed appropriate to talk about one of my favorite collections in recent memory: Franny Choi’s Soft Science.

There is a lot going on in this collection, but the primary tension seems to be the contrast between how the narrator wants to be seen versus how those identities often appear in reality. It brings up femininity, Asian identity, and how those things are experienced both internally and externally. The running metaphor used throughout Soft Science compares the speaker to a machine, acting and thinking as a stereotype despite the emotionally complex reality of what they go through in every-day life.

Since this is ostensibly an anime focused blog it would be a mistake not to mention one of my favorite pieces in the collection “Chi” based around the main character of Chobits. Visually, it has a very unique presentation, being divided into four sections each with their own unique structure, commenting on the various aspects of Chi’s character and how that relates to the speaker. There are also a ton other nerdy sci-fi references that I know at least a portion of those who read this blog will likely appreciate.


What things have you all been enjoying recently? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Three Great Anime Soundtracks Everyone Should be Listening to

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Well, I still have a few columns left to republish, and what better way to start off the weekend than by recommending some sick tunes for the uninitiated. Today, I’ll be showing off a column from March of 2020…yeah, depressing, but this music certainly is not. Check it out!


Welcome back, tourists. 

Almost everyone has a niche musical taste. Whether it be an obscure genre, or even just a relatively unknown artist, most have their music that others do not know about. Many anime fans, including myself, can relate to this feeling, largely due to the fact that even many of the people who watch anime do not actively listen to the music that accompanies it. 

Well, I am here to change that. Apart from being a great storytelling medium, anime has an incredible amount of good music, so much so that I had to cut it down to three for the sake of word count and time. Midterms are a pain, and I am screaming internally. Regardless, here are some anime soundtracks you should definitely be listening to. 

“Made in Abyss” – Music by Kevin Pinken

I mentioned “Made in Abyss” on my best of the decade list about a month ago, and a large part of the reason that I did so was on the back of its incredible soundtrack. Indeed, a big reason for the show’s appeal is based on the musical accompaniment to the story. Almost all of the music in the show does a great job matching the tone of the anime. 

Almost all of the credit for this goes to the series’ musical composer Kevin Pinken, who got his breakthrough into anime with “Made in Abyss,” and who is working on the soundtrack for the upcoming animated adaptation of “Tower of God.” While the music of the series never really goes beyond a particular tempo range, generally focusing on slower songs, it still manages to capture the emotion of the series in a way that makes it wonderful to listen to on its own.

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“Re:Creators” – Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

Composer Hiroyuki Sawano is well known within the anime community, even among those who do not know his name. He became relatively famous due to his work on “Attack on Titan,” and to a lesser extent “Seven Deadly Sins,” two shows whose music is both electronically driven and bombastic in its tone—see “Reluctant Heroes” for more on that. 

However, some of his best work came on the soundtrack of “Re:Creators.” The series focuses on the story of characters from various video games, anime and manga coming to life due to the power of another character. 

Its theme is based on the power of people to create universes, and the psychological effect that those universes have on its inhabitants. However, it is also a show with a lot of action, and so Sawano’s style fits it perfectly. There are definitely a lot of tracks worth playing on a long car ride.

“Carole and Tuesday” – Music by Mocky

While it is true that Director Shinichiro Watanabe knows how to make a good show, he also needed the help of Canadian musician Mocky to really make “Carole and Tuesday” shine. As an artist, Mocky brought a lot of his diverse prior experience in order to really enhance the show’s sound, and it is really apparent when you listen to its soundtrack. The series, which centers around the lives of two girls hoping to make it in the music industry, boasts a variety of musical genres, including rock, jazz, hip-hop and even opera. 

However, Mocky can’t take all of the credit. A lot of the soundtrack’s standout pieces include those featuring vocals from the likes of Nai Br.XX, Celeina Ann, Thundercat, Denzel Curry and many others. On top of that, all of those same standout pieces, save for a few, are done in English, making them much more accessible to a wider audience. It is a strange soundtrack to be sure, but one that is definitely worth anyone’s time. 

There are definitely a lot of other great soundtracks, but these three also have the quality of wanting to listen to them even after the show is over. Each of these shows has tracks that will make you want to keep it on loop for the foreseeable future.


Have you heard these soundtracks? if so, how do you feel about them? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Initial Results: Komi Can’t Communicate

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Ok, so I already talked about Blue Period on Sunday, so I figured I might as well talk about the other seasonal series I have been watching: Komi Can’t Communicate. Another series that had a lot of manga hype and another series that I have been enjoying a lot for the most part. While, as of the writing of this post, there have only been about three episodes released, there is enough here to warrant talking about it. With that being said, let us get started.

Komi Can’t Communicate hilariously chronicles the unapproachable and yet incredibly loveable Komi, a girl whose social anxiety renders her unable to speak to people in person. Tadano has managed to find himself in the same school as Komi, although given his self-described “average” qualities, feels a bit out of place alongside his…unusual classmates. One day, he begins talking to Komi through a chalkboard, and the two ultimately become friends. Now, Tadano is on a mission to help Komi open up to others and make 100 friends.

Though it was not represented a ton in public discourse, and the comparison has yet to land, I have seen a few people putting this series next to the likes of Nagatoro, Uzaki, and others as “bait,” and while I can understand this comparison on a surface level, I do not necessarily agree. Whereas the main characters in those series feel designed and written to initiate outrage among certain groups, Komi does not really give me the same vibe. Rather than being an outward, almost obnoxiously energetic character, she feels very much like the opposite, subdued by her anxiety and overall reserved. This is not to say it would be impossible to write a “bait” character in that mold, only that the character of Komi and the story being told feels more genuine.

The show also is not as outwardly sexual as those series, at least not at Komi or Tadano’s expense. The most sexual character so far is probably Agari and at the very least it is out of a genuine attraction to Komi rather than just “lol fanservice.” Granted, this could change later on, but the sense I get overall from Komi Can’t Communicate is a desire to have a conversation about social anxiety through comedy. Whether the series will ultimately succeed in that goal has yet to be seen, but, at least for now, it is not doing a terrible job.

Tadano, on the other hand, is, well…ok. He’s not an outright horrible character, but currently, he feels much more like a lens through which to view Komi rather than a distinct character of his own. In many scenarios, he is relegated to the butt of some admittedly pretty funny jokes, but not much else. That is not to say he does not have potential, however. Clearly there is a storyline to be told between himself and Komi, and while his character design feels fairly bland, I would like to know the motivation behind that flower shape on his head.

Overall, while I am less excited about Komi Can’t Communicate than some other series I have been watching recently, there is still plenty of potential, and though I might not necessarily be able to convince people who have written it off as “bait,” I would still encourage everyone to give it a shot.


How do you all feel about Komi Can’t Communicate? Let me know in the comments below

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Initial Results: Blue Period

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Alright, so I have a confession to make: I do not really expect much out of seasonal anime anymore. Maybe it’s a combination of my reviewer mentality of trying to go into everything neutral mixed with my general unfamiliarity, but whenever I sit down to watch something currently airing, I just sort of expect to not be particularly compelled. Luckily, though, the hype surrounding Blue Period was not at all unwarranted, and despite the series only being five episodes in, I can say fairly confidently that I have enjoyed it thus far.

For those who also rarely follow manga hype, Blue Period tells the story of Yatora Yaguchi, a delinquent turned art student whose whole life is still ahead of him. Yaguchi has always been concerned with studying and getting good grades so that he can get into a good school and not have to worry his parents financially. As a byproduct, however, he never really found a passion of his own. That is until he sees art club member Mori’s painting and becomes inspired. Thus, he starts his journey of improving his art enough to get into the only school his family can theoretically afford: the Tokyo University of the Arts.

I generally try and avoid using relatability as the sole factor in judging whether or not a character is good because there are plenty of characters who I would consider good that do not necessarily meet that criteria (see Terror in Resonance). However, Yaguchi is a character that taps into something a lot more recent: a continued sense of unknowing. He wants to pursue his passions but is constantly doubting himself, and even when he does do good work, his mental state is not always healthy enough to agree.

However, it is not just his particular situation and mindset that make him a good character. The series does a great job of reminding us of the clock that Yaguchi is on. Every day that goes by is another day closer to the entrance exams for TUA, and while Yaguchi seems to be making progress on his art, the looming pressure of the exams makes it hard for him to recognize that.

If the series were solely about Yaguchi, I would still think it a great show, but what has so far pushed it over the edge is just how much the series’ subplots are developed even with him as the primary focus. Yaguchi’s relationship with Mori, his extended rivalry/contempt of Takahashi, and his increasingly more complex relationship with Ryuuji, who we find out is a trans woman and is struggling to be accepted by those other than Yaguchi and the art club. Even his friends going from seeming delinquents to supportive and understanding of his art is a Legitimately powerful moment.

I do not want to say too much more, otherwise, I will have little to talk about when I eventually review the series. However, for those who were not aware or are currently on the fence about starting the series, Blue Period is worth at least a little of your time.


How are you all feeling about Blue Period? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Dealing with Mental Burnout

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As I get back into the swing of posting articles again, I decided it would be easier to also continue to post some of my old columns. Today’s column is one I wrote about a couple years ago and is still incredibly applicable to my life currently since I often find it hard to keep with my hobbies while also doing school. This is an article about burnout, both on how to avoid it and how to deal with it if it’s already happened. With that being said, here it is.


Most people have experienced burnout of some kind at some point in their life. It seems that the most common form of this is with a favorite food or drink. After consuming it a lot within a short time frame, the taste buds start to get bored of it, and eventually, it loses that special something that made it so good in the first place. 

This also happens a lot with people’s hobbies. Given that hobbies are something people choose to do in their free time, it makes sense that they would want to spend a lot of time doing it. However, it can also reach a point where doing it too much leads us to falling out of favor with that hobby. For me, this has happened a couple of times with anime.

I would get into a routine of spending nearly all my time either watching anime, looking for new anime to watch, or talking about anime with people online, and while I did have a ton of fun, it got unhealthy. Eventually, I would just get tired of it, and watch nothing for a few months at least. 

As of writing this article, this has happened about three times now. The first was near the end of freshman year, where I had spent most of my summer break bingeing different series, never really giving myself any time to recover. The second was during my junior year, where the stress of taking four AP classes and joining multiple clubs had my head rolling constantly.

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The third was more recently. I had been watching so much anime, and then I started thinking about why I was even doing so to begin with, to the point where I even questioned my passion for it. All of this is to say that, no matter what hobby a person has, they can always get burnt out. With that being said, here are a few helpful tips to avoid doing so. 

First, it is important that a hobby not be the only thing a person does. While it might not immediately make sense to limit doing something a person likes, if it becomes their sole reason for living, then it can become unhealthy. Mixing in other hobbies into a person’s free time, or hanging out with friends one meets from that hobby can be great ways to avoid this.

Second, it is also important that a person not attach success or failure in that hobby to their self-worth. As someone who has played a lot of “Super Smash Bros” and competed against others in weekly tournaments, it can be pretty easy to get discouraged and feel bad when one does poorly. It helps to take those negative thoughts and turn them into goals if that’s applicable. If not, just take a break, whether that be a day or week, and then come back. 

Burnout is something that almost everyone experiences, even in their own hobbies. We all get sick of doing stuff, especially when we do it too much. However, there are ways to avoid it, and by taking the proper steps now, it becomes much less likely later on. 


What are your experiences with burnout, and how have you dealt with them? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Smash’s Final Character: Smash Ultimate Patch 13.0

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I know, I know, don’t worry about it.

Smash’s presumed final, although not confirmed, patch for Super Smash Brother Ultimate is here, and with it has come a lot of excitement. New character, new changes, a new stage, and lots of talk among the community as usually. With that being said, lets get into it.

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The Final DLC

This is it, the last character, the one that so many people requested in Nintendo’s fan poll almost six years. Sora from Kingdom Hearts is finally in smash. I have a few friends who were hesitant to be happy about Sora, not because they disliked the character for any reason, but rather because the smash community has seen a number of people who are just ok with sending death threats to people, and while the existence does sour my enjoyment a bit, it still pales in comparison to the joy I feel now that he is finally here.

After my finishing the original Persona 5 was followed by the reveal of Joker only a few months later, I did not think anyone else could reach that level of hype. That is, except for one. When I tell you that I could barely contain myself while watching the final reveal during my nine in the morning political philosophy lecture, I am not kidding. Seeing Sora fly out of Kingdom Hearts into that dark and desolate void was truly a dream come true.

As far as how he actually plays, well…Sora is a real mixed bag. On the one hand, going from playing mostly Joker, a character with a significantly faster than average fall speed, great mobility both in the air and on the ground, and an insane punish game to now the floatiest character in the game has been a significant change. On the other, though, Sora himself seems like a better than average fighter with a lot of unique tools and mix-up potential. Not only does he have multiple two hit kill confirms off of his aerials, his neutral is significantly better than expected, with nair serving as a solid out of shield option and his first hit jab and up tilt being excellent anti-air tools.

The hardest part about the character thus far has been his disadvantage. Being so floaty, along with having a relatively slow double-jump makes getting out of disadvantage fairly difficult against competent players. similarly, while Sora arguably has the best edge-guarding of any character in the game, by contrast, his ability to get off ledge is severely limited, and requires really good mix-ups on the part of the person playing him. Despite all of that, however, I have decided to pursue maining him for the moment, as I want to see how much I can develop my skill with arguably now my favorite character in all of smash.

Balance Changes

I’m only going to talk briefly about the balance changes in 13.0, so for anyone who wants to see the whole list of changes and their implications, please watch the video Beefy Smash Doods made, or just look at the original patch notes here.

TL;DR, the main aim of this patch, like many previous ones, was to buff characters who are generally considered to be fairly bad by the competitive community and even casual players. Among those who received major changes are Dr. Mario, Incineroar, Jigglypuff, King K. Rool, Isabelle, Zelda, Lucario, and Little Mac. Judging based on the criteria of most significant changes relative to their character, Jigglypuff and Mac walked away with the most influential buffs. Jigglypuff now has access to a handful of new confirms and high damage combos, and Little Mac became significantly better and what he does best: pressuring opponents on the ground.

While none of these changes are likely the make the characters that much more viable in the competitive scene, except maybe in the case of Jigglypuff, they did seem to accomplish the goal of giving them a higher quality of life and making certain interactions slightly better off for the respective fighters. Overall, outside of my general dislike of what I would consider to be a lot of “Wi-Fi characters,” I do think these buffs were warranted and not particularly egregious.

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The Meta of Smash Ultimate

Based on previous patterns from Smash for Wii U, this is likely to be the last or second to last patch for the game. This means that Ultimate‘s competitive meta will likely solidify in the coming months. Whether or not the addition of such an iconic and fan-loved character will spark an unprecedented wave of new interest in the game has yet to be seen. However, even through a global pandemic in which offline tournaments, the heart of smash community, were shut down completely, the game has retained competitive interest. This has been even more true now that offline locals and majors have begun resurfacing.

The reality, however, is that COVID-19 is far from over, with resurgences of the disease and offspring of new variants helping to maintain its spread. This means that smash could be forced to move online once again at a moments notice. For Smash Ultimate, this means players would be forced to resort to using the game’s notoriously awful online system as their only means of play. Most are aware of this problem, which is why many top players, such as New England’s Light barely played during Quarantine, and others have moved on from the game entirely.

Still, even with a shrink in the community, there has been plenty of development among individual characters. Steve, who many notoriously though was going to be among the worst in the game, is now considered high tier at a minimum among many. This is due to significant developments in the character’s combo and camping game, with many realizing the vast potential Steve has with his ability to build blocks while in the air. Min Min, another terror of online play, seen a similar rise in respectability, with players like ESAM and Pink Fresh performing relatively well at recent offline events.

Sora’s meta is still being explored, but early signs show a lot of promise. As mentioned previously, he has a few easy to perform kill confirms, great edge-guarding capability, and even a recently discovered loop with both his fair and nair, which allows him to combo opponents for massive amounts of damage. Currently, many are of the opinion that the character only rises to mid-tier status, but opinions among top players who have experimented with Sora are quickly changing. This includes PGR rank one player MKLeo, who believes the character to be incredibly strong.

Conclusion

Overall, this has been an incredibly successful patch, both personally and competitively. While I honestly have no idea what the future of smash is at this point, with Masahiro Sakurai saying that he will be stepping down from working on the game, I am excited to see any future content, as well as continue to watch and participate in the growth of the competitive scene.


I hope you all enjoyed this analysis of Smash’s recent patch. I try to only talk about competitive gaming occasionally, since these posts tend to perform relatively poorly. However, for those that are interested in this kind of content, please let me know, since I do enjoy writing it. Otherwise, thanks for reading.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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