Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
and welcome back everyone to the second-ever edition of the Jon Spencer Showcase hosted by Animated Observations.
As always, a quick explanation for those uninitiated. The Jon Spencer Showcase, abbreviated as TheJCS, is an event organized by members of the Jon Spencer community as a way of sharing each other’s creative endeavors. This can be anything from blog posts to videos, artwork, and really anything that one has worked on from the previous month. So, for this JCS, we’re looking at projects from January of 2022. If you would like to be a part of the community, you can do so using the discord link here.
Per usual, posts will be organized by general subject matter (i.e, anime, video games, etc.) for ease of browsing. With that being said, here are your community posts for this month!
Anime Fans & Children’s Media – A Look at Muteking the Dancing Hero – Jon Spencer/ Jon Spencer Reviews
In this fairly in-depth post, Jon from Jon Spencer Reviews talks about a subject that does not usually come up among more casual audiences: children’s anime. Specifically, he takes a look at why studying children’s media can be important, along with a show that is apparently a lot weirder than it sounds, that being Muteking the Dancing Hero. My personal experience with children’s anime is limited to a few shows that I have a bit of nostalgia for, such as Bakugan, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc. However, Jon’s post highlights a series that is both experimental and formulaic, but ultimately still does a lot right.
Masterpiece Anime Showcase: Tamayura ~More Aggressive~, A Thank You For the Past Year and Welcoming the Brand New Year – Infinitezenith/The Infinite Zenith
This impressively thorough piece details author infinitezenith’s relationship with a series that I had never heard of, Tamayura More Aggressive. Additionally, they give a detailed account of how the series affected them personally and how it also “helped [them] to take a step back and count [their] blessings at a time when my future seemed uncertain. It is a bit of a lengthier piece, but it is genuinely nice to read about how anime helps people through personal struggle, so for those that are into stuff like that, I highly recommend you check it out.
Jobless Reincarnation was met with a lot of criticism upon its completion late last year, specifically for its main character Rudy. In this post, blogger Dewbond seeks to address that criticism by offering up an argument for why the series was not only a welcome departure from the isekai formula but also a unique approach to the isekai protagonist that has become the norm. Not everyone will necessarily agree with their conclusion, but it is a thought-provoking read nonetheless.
Fan service can often be a touchy subject in the anime community, and often invites a lot of conversation for merely existing. People can enjoy or not enjoy fan service, but Lynn is here to argue that regardless of that personal preference, fan service does have a reason to exist. This is another piece that is obviously not going to draw agreement from everyone but is a worthwhile perspective regardless.
The space of increasingly popular Chinese Donghua is one that has alluded me for a long time. I would also be willing to bet the same is true for many of the people reading this. However, Yu Alexis is here to discuss the most popular of these series from 2021 and why they are doing so well. After looking into some of these series, I am genuinely curious about getting into Donghua, but before any of you do I highly suggest checking out their full list.
Episode 4 of My Dress-Up Darling is right around the point where the show genuinely comes into its own. What in its initial couple of episodes felt a little shallow and painfully unfunny suddenly brought out the best in its two leads. Crow, of course, talks about this much better than I ever could and in a way that really highlights the episode’s strengths. Definitely a worthwhile read.
I do hope that in the year 2022 the anime community can still appreciate a good AMV every once in a while, yeah? Well, Lita is here to deliver. Using the 2018 anime After the Rain along with the song by Nickelback of the same title, she retells the story of the anime in the context of the song. It focuses on the difficult nature of the main characters’ relationship and how it may look weird from the outside, but that it should not influence their support for each other in a non-romantic context. Overall a great post and one that deserves some attention.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has long been a cultural phenomenon, with people around the world enjoying anime and manga alike. However, Tequila has brought it back to the beginning, reviewing the show’s first season Phantom Blood. She discusses elements of the series like the relationship between Jonathan and Dio, and the series’ overall unpredictability. Overall, a great review, and one that I recommend.
Fruits Basket is a series that for many in the anime community has some very fond memories associated with it. Well, Courtney is here to talk about the 2019 remake which, for the most part, was received fairly well. Does this also include The Anime Tourist? Well, you’ll have to read to find out, but regardless it is a great review. I highly recommend giving her review a read.
How Anime Episode Reviews Capture The Moment and Promote Conversation – Karandi James/100 Word Anime
Recently, the conversation of how people enjoy anime has arguably become just as important as what anime they are enjoying. In their submission, Karandi takes the time to talk about episode reviews and why they are important to the community. The debate rests on the bigger divide which has occurred recently between companies like Netflix who traditionally release their series in batches and traditional anime release schedules which are usually weekly. Regardless of your opinion, it is an interesting discussion to have and definitely a worthwhile read.
Spoiler-Free Review: Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of the Starless Night – Matt/Matt-in-the-Hat
I’ll be totally honest: I have not watched anything Sword Art Online-related since I finished the first series back in 2014. However, its universe has expanded significantly since its debut in 2012. multiple seasons, spinoffs, and even movies, including the one Matt discusses in this review. While I will not give away his entire opinion, he does seem to think fans of the series will not be disappointed.
For better or for worse, it feels like a lot of people’s image of food-centric anime looks like Food Wars. This is not to say it is a bad show, but there are a lot of great series that inhabit this anime sub-genre. Luckily, Yum Deku is here to show everyone exactly that, as he goes through a laundry list of great series on the subject including one of my personal favorites Sweetness and Lightning. Given its length, I am sure those reading will also find something they enjoy.
It is crazy to think that the winter season of 2022 is already coming to a close relatively soon. However, It is always fun to take a look back to the beginning of a season. After all, some perceptions can change rapidly from episode to episode. This is why it was especially fun to read Nora’s thoughts on the winter season when there were only 2-3 episodes out. Anyone who is feeling that end-of-season nostalgia should check out this post.
Continuing our theme of the winter season, this post looks at a show that I think had a pretty collective response from the anime community of “foot fetish? foot fetish.” Still, as Roki points out, there are other things to appreciate such as the dynamic between the main character and her sister, while also giving off the typical “cute girl” vibe. I still recommend reading the entire post, as it is short and gets to the heart of the show very quickly.
I think it might be fair to say that most of us in the ani-blogging community, at least to some extent, take for granted the fact that we have an audience, to begin with. After all, not everyone approaches reviews in the same way, as is evidenced by Lyn’s post here. Sure, lots of us appreciate reviews and the perspective they bring, but not everyone reads them, nor is everyone necessarily a person who writes them. She provides a genuinely interesting perspective on criticism which I think is well worth anyone’s time.
Writer Scorpz talks briefly about another Winter premier: Sabikui Bisco. It is a series set in post-apocalyptic Japan which was supposedly caused by mushroom spores. Bisco, wanted as a criminal for spreading these spores, is, in reality, using them to help return the earth to its previous state. Scorpz provides some key information as well as showcases the show’s trailer, so if this is a series that sounds interesting, definitely give it a look.
Lupin the 3rd is a series with a lot of history behind it, and I do mean a lot, as its original manga was released in 1967. However, the series has continually been updated and redone in a variety of fashions, including in its latest film. Here, Chris Joynson of Never Argue with a Fish breaks down the film and gives his final opinion on the matter. Lupin is not a series I traditionally keep up with, but it was nice to read his thoughts regardless.
Make no mistake about it, Celeste is an indie video game darling. It has received nothing but praise since its release back in 2018 and has been released on virtually every console. Yet, for as much as the game seems to be loved, Ellie has a different take. While she certainly gives the game its due diligence, she also discusses the nature of games that are made challenging on purpose, and how not everyone plays games for a challenge, a conversation that has only gotten more widespread in the last few years. It is a substantive review, regardless, and highly worth the read.
Top 10 Cosy Comfort Characters For When You’re Feeling Under the Weather – Oona Tempest/Sweet and Spicy Otome Game Reviews
Hey, all you *check notes* “plague-infested couch gremlins…” Are you looking for some comfort characters? Well, then this is the right place. Otome enthusiast Oona Tempest has some great recommendations. At least, I think so? I have never actually played an otome game before, but I can definitely see how some of these characters would come off as fairly attractive. Regardless, give it a read.
In a gaming landscape that spans triple AAA developers to single-digit indie studio teams, it is actually pretty easy to find hidden gems. I get the feeling that Ziggurat 2 might be one such game. Writer Static talks about the sequel to the original Ziggurat, a game that focuses on rebuilding its namesake, a prison that houses magical creatures. They go pretty in-depth while focusing on and scoring the categories of graphics, sound, gameplay, and how much fun the game is. Idk, it has me pretty convinced, and I think those reading might be as well.
Want a werewolf story with visual novel mechanics, replayability, and good gender/sex representation? Well now you’re just being a little specific, huh? Still, Matt seems to have a good game for that. In this post, They talk about the game Moonrise, a romance werewolf story where choices matter and there are plenty of love interests to choose from. Those who enjoy this genre of game will probably get a kick out of it, but I highly recommend reading the whole post for a full breakdown.
Oh, golly gee do I love me a good romance. It is a genre that has a pretty big market across both anime and, in particular, manga, webtoons, etc, and yet, there are probably plenty of those reading who are looking for more romance stories. Well, you’re in luck. This article from Nabe recommends some romance webtoons that she thinks many of those reading will enjoy. In particular, I found her description of Under the Oak Tree by Kim Soo-ji to be fairly enticing. Hopefully, there is also something on this list for all of you as well.
Hopefully, after reading this JCS you’ll be set with recommendations for a while. Here, Naja gives some recommendations for those who also happen to be fans of otome games. There are a lot of great series on this list, but the one that stands out for me is definitely Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku. While I have yet to read the manga proper, its anime adaptation was a lot of fun, so imagine there to be plenty in the manga as well. Before reading that though, definitely check out the rest of Naja’s post.
Rather than regular recommendations, Alyssa talks about her most anticipated manga of the coming year, with the focus being on physical releases to North America. There is a lot to like on this list, as it has a lot of titles which I have heard a good amount of buzz over. I myself am looking forward to The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes by Mei Hachimoku, although given how interesting it looks, I may end up reading the light novel instead. Regardless, she has some great taste and I highly recommend checking out this article.
It is always fun seeing what people are watching and reading, and what better way to do that than with a giant haul video? I have not seen a ton of these pop up on my YouTube page, partially because I am not as tuned into to mangaTube, but also because it seems that supply chain shortages are making them harder to do. Still, Takuto gets a lot of interesting stuff in this one. In particular, a series I am looking forward to checking out is A School Frozen in Time, which gives me a lot of Sunny Boy vibes (despite the fact that I have yet to finish it). Definitely give this video a watch.
Sometimes, when a person is feeling down and they are not really sure what to do, all they really need is a story about anthropomorphic animals. In this post, Millia writes about a BL manga centered around a squirrel at the zoo. Well, to be more accurate it is about the animals at the zoo, which artist Kurihara can talk to. Definitely seems like a fun enough read, and I highly recommend reading Millia’s post.
Craving a mystery about a palace worker and her dreams of escaping her boring day job? It looks like this may be the series for you. Elizabeth Howie of Religiously nerdy writes about The Apothecary Diaries, a series that, on the surface, looks pretty normal. However, I also get the feeling that there is a lot more going on, especially with the main character MaoMao. I suppose I will just have to read and find out, and while I am doing that, read this post to find out more about the series.
War films are very often not about the wars themselves, but rather the tolls they take on the individuals involved. Red Angel, as ManInBlack discusses in this piece, is one such film. An enthralling drama about the horrific experiences of a nurse during the second Sino-Japanese War, it reveals the tragedy of “the effects of war on those whose role is crucial yet always seen as peripheral.” This review does a great job at breaking down the film into its baser elements while also understanding how they come together to be even greater.
Life…is hard. Controversial statement I am sure, but it is true. However, I cannot imagine what it must be like living with two separate selves. In this post, Leth and Yuki talk about his and her experiences with Plurality and why those whose additional selves who were not born out of trauma, known as Endogenic Systems are valid. It is a subject in which I am nonetheless fairly ignorant, but the two of them do a great job at explaining regardless. Highly suggested reading for those who are interested in the topic.
I am ashamed to say that I did not know that the mecha man himself also happens to do music?! Maybe it should not be that much of a surprise considering how talented and awesome he is. Regardless, Scott shares a bit of new music he has recorded, covering both jazz and classical music on the trumpet. All of it is genuinely very good and entertaining to listen to, so take five minutes and give it a listen.
I think it is fair to say that most of the people reading this are also fans of reading, otherwise, why are you reading a blog? However, when it comes to sitting down with a good book, is it possible people are doing it wrong? Ok, maybe not wrong, but as Megan argues, immersive reading can be a great way to enhance one’s experience with a piece of literature. It is something that I feel gets made fun of in a lot of sitcoms, mainly at the expense of middle-aged women characters, but there are definitely a lot of positives, so give this a read.
Thank you all for reading. I know this is coming out a bit later than usual, so I would like to apologize once again, and also say thank you for all of the wonderful submissions. The next Jon’s Creator Showcase will be hosted by none other than Art of Anime. For those who missed out this time, or those who want to participate again this month, feel free to submit here.
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