May 2021 Jon’s Creator Showcase #TheJCS
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
and an extra special welcome to everyone who helped make this month’s #TheJCS a success. I was initially a bit worried that, because I had never hosted before that regular submitters to the event might not know thus we would have a depressed turnout. However, this does not appear to be the case, as the event this month still had a wide variety of unique and interesting submissions.
If you are popping in for the first time and are unaware what exactly #TheJCS is, I would encourage you to read the announcement post I did earlier this month, which has an in depth explanation. However, in summary, Jon’s Creator Showcase, or #TheJCS as it is more commonly referred to, is an even in which people submit blog posts, YouTube Videos, Podcasts, etc and aims to celebrate the creative endeavors of those who submit.
So, without further adu, here are this months submitted posts.
Given how much anime there is in existence now, and how much comes out even on a seasonal basis, it can be pretty easy to forget that which is a bit passed our time. In this post, Fred Heiser of Au Natural looks at the anime film “Belladonna of Sadness,” which came in 1973 and was directed by Eiichi Yamamoto. As Heiser explains in his post, this was not exactly a film for a general audience, ending up a commercial flop. However, hidden behind that deceiving fact is a film that will, quite frankly, have you tripping balls. “Belladonna of Sadness” tells a Faustian tale about a young woman who tries to marry a young farm hand. However, the local lord isn’t to happy about this. Lets just say this movie has love, sex, revenge, devils, and some…strange animation. Heiser’s post does a much better job giving the Juicy dets, so go check it out.
Despite having not yet seen season three, I consider “Log Horizon” to be one of my favorite series of all time. The adventuring, the world building, the politics: all of it comes together in a way that is engaging on multiple levels. Princess Raynesia is a character I honestly have never thought too highly of. However, Scott’s post provides a great argument for why she is not only more relatable to the general audience, but arguably goes through more of a struggle over the course of the series. Go watch “Log Horizon” and go read this post as well.
I’ll admit that the vampire subgenre is not one I have payed to much attention to when it comes to anime, or any medium for that matter. However, YumDeku has compiled an interesting list to say the least. The rankings themselves are not something I feel comfortable commenting on too heavily, again, because I have yet to see most of these shows. However, As someone who has seen both “Blood+” and “Hellsing,” I appreciate their inclusion on this list. If vampires in anime are something that takes your interest, definitely give this a read.
If you are not familiar, #Anitwitwatches is another even hosted by the wonderful Jon Spencer, who is the original creator of this event, in which people follow a chosen anime on a weekly basis and post their thoughts on twitter dot com. The event has been going on for quite a while, and thus their are a lot of anime that the #Anitwitwatches group has covered. At least as far as the shows I have also seen, it seems as though Aria does a great job of critiquing the shows’ various strengths and weaknesses. For those who have yet to participate in #Anitwitwatches, definitely consider checking it out, and give Aria’s post a read as well.
Houkago Tea Time’s Real Life Visit to London, England: An Oculus-Powered Armchair Journey of K-On! The Movie – Infinite Zenith/The Infinite Zenith
It is a well known fact that many backgrounds in anime are based on real life places found around Japan. However, as Infinite Zenith explains in this post, that dedication to accuracy extends even to productions set outside of Japan. In the K-On movie, the light music club girls take a sporadic graduation trip to London. Using the historical accuracy of Google Maps and the Oculus Quest, Zenith takes a journey down memory lane, exploring the real life set pieces that became the inspiration for the girls’ English adventure. Posts like these are always interesting to me because, while the backgrounds may not be “original,” it does show a dedication to accuracy that is really inspiring. Putting this together was probably not all that easy, even with the available technology, so please go show this post some love.
If there is a franchise that I am arguably most excited to continue explore during this year, it is the “Fate/” series, without question. “Fate/Zero” was a time and a half, and Unlimited Blade Works genuinely had my heart racing at some points. As Yu Alexis points out in her post, a lot of this is thanks to UFOtable, who has done absolute wonders for the franchise as a whole. One of the only “Fate/” related media I have yet to see, however, are the Sakura focused trilogy series. Now, do not get me wrong, I was always planning on seeing them once the third film had been released. However, Yu Alexis’ post has made me want to speed that process along, as it feels like they really get at the heart of what makes the movie good. A fantastic review, to be sure.
As my own review of the series can attest, “Wonder Egg Priority” is a complicated show, to say the least. On the one hand, its tackling of these darker themes of anxiety, depression, and suicide in younger girls is incredibly admirable. Even after the show’s finale, I still think it is one of the selling points of the series. However, as Dewbond rightly points out, ideas are only ever going to get a series so far. A good show has to stand on the merit of its execution, and unfortunately “Wonder Egg Priority’s” legs here are shaking at best. Dewbond does a fantastic job of pointing out how, despite 10 or so episodes of relatively good storytelling, a good portion of that good will is thrown out in the final two episodes, where it seems the writers just forgot how much time they actually had, and did their best to throw together an ending that would (maybe) make sense? It is unfortunate to see this much potential be wasted, but the reality is that the series ended up falling flat on its face.
I used to be of the mind set that the ending was really important. While endings are important, and though “Wonder Egg Priority certainly collapsed quite a bit in its ending, It is worth pointing out how much good their was in its execution in other areas. The animation was good in almost every aspect, from character design to sakuga, and, even if they were not necessarily handled in the best way possible, the personal conflicts each of the girls go through is fairly well done. Is the show perfect? Far from it, but Snow does a great job pointing out the series’ better aspects. Definitely give her review a read.
It feels weird to say, but I honestly have not kept up with the new “Fruits Basket” since before the pandemic, which is weird because I was genuinely excited for this remake. Unfortunately, it is now on a long list of series that have been circumstantially backlogged until further notice. However, Crow’s write up of episode four is extremely detailed. Not only do they do an excellent job of summarizing the episodes events, but reading about the show’s final season has me all the more excited for when I do finally continue the series.
There have been many tragic passing’s in the last few years, both in the anime industry and out of it. From the death of basketball star Kobe Briant and beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, to the death of Isao Takahata, a founder and director at Studio Ghibli. However, someone I was not aware of was director Osamu Kobayashi. Kobayashi not only helmed some notable series such as “Paradise Kiss” and “Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad,” but had his hand in many other projects, including most recently before his passing “Dorororo.” Learning about a standout figure after their passing always feels a bit bittersweet. However, I can tell that this was both a lovely tribute and an extremely personal post.
Founder of the #TheJCS is back with a brand new video, breaking down the first season of the newest iteration in the “Higurashi” franchise, “Higurashi: Gou.” However, given the story that has told already with the original series and the follow-up “Kai,” Jon asks a serious question: who is “Gou” even meant for? As someone who saw the original Higurashi and most of “Kai,” I was a bit confused when I learned the newest series was not a direct remake. While updated visuals and music are certainly nice for a series like this (I’m still thinking about Rena’s eyes in the third episode, man that was creepy), I ultimately have to agree that the show just ends up pleasing nobody.
“Love me cancerously… She moves through moonbeams slowly. She knows just how to hold me.” — CMV/AMV Saturday (04/10/21) – Shoujo/Shoujo Thoughts: Otaku Ramblings
Cosplay is not one of those areas that I do not feel all too familiar with. However, I think even for those who are not familiar with it, it is pretty easy to tell when its being done incredibly well. Shoujo’s post shows off professional cosplay partners Svattii and Mishkali, and their Cosplay Music Video (CMV) “Love Me Death Note.” I am really glad that Shoujo decided to submit this because this is a genre of video I was not aware even existed. Well, at least now I know how I can spend my evenings other than watching random gameplay videos.
Good thing I never do, haha!…ok, yeah I’ll see myself out. While I am generally pretty aware of most of the series that come out in any given season, this one flew completely under my radar. Like, so far under that I was surprised to read it came out within the last year. Anyway, their are a lot of ways to do a good first episode, surprise twists are always a strong option (I am still thinking about the first episode of Invincible from earlier this year). While the plot description initially bored me, Joynson’s review felt fairly convincing, enough so that I will probably give this series a shot in the near future. Well done.
“The Wonderland” is another project that completely slipped under the radar for me, probably because my anime movie ecosystem for the last few years has mainly been a mix of Ghibli, Hosoda, and Shinkai. Still, that feels a lot more like my fault than anything else. Emiko, on the other hand, has ear on the pulse, as far as some of the more low-key projects go. Reading her thoughts is interesting, as it seems like this film has its share of strong and weak points worth considering. Given its aim at younger audiences, it might still end up a bit boring, but it also might end up being fun regardless.
While this is not a universally law, and there are certainly series who break this rule, it feels like anime that focus on music as part of their core story tend to have better soundtracks. A good example of this is the recent show “Carole and Tuesday.” Like, maybe it had a couple of misses, but in general it was just banger after banger. I imagine I will probably have a similar opinion of “NANA” once I actually get around to watching it. Luckily, Derek Lyons put together an excellent sampler of the series’ musical selection and…yeah, its just really good. In general, the series seems to have a solid variety of Japanese rock. For those who, like me, are not super familiar with the series and want a sense of what the show is like music wise, definitely give this post a look.
I think its fair to say that most people had a less than excited reaction to finding out that “The Way of the Househusband” would not be a full anime, but rather an “animated comic” or whatever precursor they decided to use as a shorthand for not being fully animated. However, as Rose points out, there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had with the Netflix adaptation. The comedy still mostly lands, and worse case scenario you have only spent about 2-3 hours watching the series.
Edward and Alphonse Elric: How to Create Believable Brothers in Fiction – Jonah Hunt/Jonah’s Daily Rants
Jonah Hunt is absolutely right when he says that depicting brotherly relations in writing is hard. I will even take it a step further and say that portraying relationships in general without coming across as stiff and off-putting is extremely difficult. However, as his article quite excellently dissects, Fullmetal Alchemist knows how to explore the depth of Edward and Alphonse’s relationship. The fact that they are connected by a shared trauma makes it much more logical that they spend an extended amount of time together looking for a way to get their bodies back. Overall, this is a great analysis and worthy of a read.
In a world where entertainment. as well as media more broadly speaking, is becoming more and more influential in the daily lives of everyday people, it would seem to make sense that media should reflect the diversity that exists among people, no? Well, as Megan points out one group who seems to be lacking in representation, at least as far as video games go, is people on the Autism spectrum. Representation is a topic I care a lot about, and, if I am being completely honest, her post opened me up to a blindside I did not know I had. Its true: video games feel lacking in explicit representation for people on the spectrum, and that should change.
I was honestly expecting to have a few more disagreements with the arguments being made. However, while I could nitpick about exactly how much responsibility a writer has compared to their editor in any given situation, It feels pretty hard to disagree with Iniksbane’s take here. As the competition for attention and retention gets fiercer and more data driven, companies will inevitably start dipping their toes in other waters. While gaming outlets writing about anime is not that new, It does not help their case for quality when every few months another inflammatory article gets written that gets a lot of basic things wrong. This well thought out and understanding piece is definitely worth a read.
While I have been interested and involved in the FGC for some time now, Mortal Kombat and the DC aligned fighting games were not an area that I took a strong liking too. However, that is not to say a revived crossover between the two would not be interesting. Matt not only goes over the long and varied history of Midway Games, the original studio behind the “Mortal Kombat” series, but uses the studio’s history to assess whether or not a reboot of the original crossover game “Morkat Kombat vs DC Universe” is possible. Given DC’s darker direction in the last couple years, it certainly would not feel out of place. Additionally, given the popularity of those franchises, a competitive game involving the two would likely draw a lot of eyes and potential for big deals. Overall, it feels like a reboot would be a win-win for everyone.
I imagine that getting to interview someone whose work you appreciate is a big deal. While “DOOM was never much of a big deal for me, and still really is not, It is a massively important series to a lot of people. I also cannot say I have heard to many interview promos, but this sounds truly epic, in every sense of the word. Matthew Waterson’s voice as the “DOOM” guy is incredibly awesome to listen to, and does a great job of selling the identity of “DOOM” as a franchise. The full interview is also out on Jake’s Channel, so if you want to go listen to that as well, than feel free.
If you want to read a reviewer who just knows what they are talking about when it comes to games, give Basscape’s blog “The Almighty Backlog” a read. This review of “Transistor” from game studio Supergiant is not only incredibly educational and interesting, but feels articulate in a way that makes me feel like I have so much more to learn about games and even how to write reviews. Needless to say I have been convinced on giving “Transistor” a try at some point, but please do drop this man a follow. Absolutely deserved.
The last time I made a serious attempt to keep up with “Five Nights at Freddy’s” lore was in like early 2019. However, that does not mean I do not find the series to be interesting, quite the opposite actually. What started as just an indie horror game made by an almost failed Christian game designer has turned into an entire universe, with people of all different backgrounds coming together to try and figure out what the hell is even going on. Even despite how much information I am missing, reading fan theories like Matt’s is incredibly fun. For those actual “FNAF” fans who are curious, give this post a read.
You ever just wanna go absolutely ape? no, but like literally? Well, luckily for you, there is a solution. Gaming blogger MagiWasTaken has an excellent review of “Ape Out,” a top-down, beat-em-up which focuses on the player controlling a gorilla and attempting to take out a number of guards in order to escape. he also do an excellent job of identifying how the soundtrack interacts with the game as a whole. Never thought I would read “ape” and “free form jazz” in an indie game review, but now anyone who gives this review a read can say they have, so go check it out.
I’ll be the first to admit that BL is not exactly my preferred genre. This is probably incredibly shocking coming from a Cishetero dude, I know. However, “BL Metamorphosis” is a series I could see myself genuinely enjoying. Stories about people of vastly different age groups and backgrounds enjoying something together unashamedly are ones that do not feel like they get told all too often. Whether someone is 15 or 50, 45 or 75, there should not be shame in picking up a new hobby, or enjoying something that would not necessarily be targeted at them. So yeah, Takuto does a great job at selling the story of this series and I for one can certainly see myself picking up “BL Metamorphosis” in the near future.
A female main character in an isekai who is not defined solely or even primarily by her physical attractiveness? I am interested already. I have been seeing a lot more promotion for this series as of late, and given how Al describes it, I can certainly understand why. This is the type Isekai that honestly feels pretty targeted at me, one because ya boy likes his romantic storylines, and two because these more daunting questions of hidden identities create a lot of potential for big twists down the line. From what I can tell the art is also pretty solid too, which is always a bonus. Overall, this is just a great write-up of the series and definitely will get added to my to read list.
There is always a lot to say about series that center the experiences of social minorities and their experiences. Sometimes it can be done well, and other times no so much. However, Ziebruh does a great job at explaining not only the success in “I Hear the Sunspot’s” telling of this kind of story, but also how it is good outside of that framework. While it is always important for reviewers to talk about the underlying sentiments and themes of a work, it is equally important to talk about the story’s actually quality. This is a review that balances both incredibly well.
It is always depressing, but also eye-opening to watch a slice of life/drama story and think about the very real experiences that probably, at least in part, influenced those stories. It is even moreso to read other people’s direct accounts of how true that actually is. As somone who grew up in a relatively privileged position on the economic and social scale, I have to remind myself fairly often that my lived experiences are not other peoples, and many have struggled to even get where they are today. Needless to say that Art of Anime does an amazing job talking about their lived experiences and contextualizing them against a series that should feel more fiction than fact, but making that out to be not the case. Please give this a read and send them a virtual hug while you are at it.
Being an adult is hard. You suddenly are forced to worry about things that were previously insignificant details on your journey through childhood. It becomes even harder when forced to deal with people judging your interests, multiplied by factors of identity that you have no control over. The nerd experience is different for people depending on how they were born, and aging only adds to that disparity. Sailor Otome’s post is one that combines these experiences in a self-reflecting essay which is genuinely heartwarming and encouraging to read. Anyone who is feeling bad about being a nerd as an adult should read this post.
One of the most, if not the most repetitive enemy archetype JRPGs are slimes. They take a variety of forms, whether they be giant monsters or just little blops jumping on the ground. This is a really interesting post because It feels as though most people tend to have a connection with specific archetypes, whether they be characters, monsters, settings. Everyone just has that one aesthetic that really resonates with them, and it was interesting to read about Nabe’s relationship with slimes, especially considering the recent boom in popularity for video game themed isekai.
Just wanna say thank you to everyone who submitted this month and helped make my first ever Jon’s Creator Showcase a success. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any “March Comes in Like a Lion” posts this time around. I guess I just need to shill a bit harder, hehe. Not sure when I will be hosting again in the future, but I do know that Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews will be hosting next month’s Showcase. Also, if you did not get a chance to see last month’s, go check out the April 2021 #TheJCS hosted by Crimson of A Nerdy Fujo Cries.
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