All posts by Jack Scheibelein

Former Opinion Editor of the HVA Hawkeye. Current Writer at SakugaCity.com. I write about Anime and Politics, along with publishing a ton of poetry and short stories. Hoping to be a successful person, at some point.

IPCC Finds Weebs May Be Forced to Use Manga as Toilet Paper in the Future

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

(The Following is Satire)

In a recent, very real report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), researchers found that deforestation and lack of soil management may lead to lack of available paper products. They specified that this would include lack of access to things like drawing paper, napkins, and toilet paper. The researchers project that this will begin to become a serious problem somewhere between 2050 and 2060, with an even worse timeline if people forget this information two second after reading it.

Among the researchers working on this report, Dr. Wee Aboo said that those who enjoy reading physical media of any kind may even be forced to use their favorite books and comics for other things. “What’s happening right now is unprecedented. Climate change is having such an incredible impact on our planet that it might get to the point where manga fans have to use their favorite series as toilet paper.


Thank you all 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!

OWLS June “Mindfulness” Tour: Shimada and Loving Shogi

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for once again stopping by for another OWLS tour. This months theme is mindfulness.

For the past few months, things have been pretty hectic. Everyone’s lives have changed to some degree, and we can’t help but feel anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed. This month we will be focusing on ourselves and keeping a strong peace of mind with our theme, “Mindfulness.” We will be analyzing characters that have crafted and practiced their own philosophy on life and have spread their beliefs to others. We will also be talking about habits, hobbies, and things that are keeping us sane, positive, and peace within our souls. 

As always, be sure to stop and check out some of our other members on the tour. This month it will be Megan on the fourth and Matt on the tenth.

For this month’s post, I wanted to do a follow up to last month, in which I talked about the need to adapt in “March Comes in Like a Lion.” With that said, I hope you all enjoy.


In last month’s post I talked about how the people around Rei were a big reason he was able to adapt to his new life outside his adopted family. Arguably the most important influence outside of the Kawamoto sisters is Shimada.

Before meeting Shimada, Rei was in a place of extreme struggle, both personally and professionally. Not only was his relationship with his family, especially his sister, still incredibly uncomfortable, he was also quickly losing any love he had left for shogi.

While participating in the King’s Tournament, Rei vowed to beat Gotou for supposedly wronging his sister Kyouko. Now, there is a lot wrong here that is also worth dissecting that would probably reveal a good amount of Rei’s thought process. However, before he can get his revenge on Gotou he loses to the A ranked Shimada.

At first, Rei is confused. He barely comprehends what happens, and ultimately does not even remember half of the game. After eventually swallowing his pride about his loss, Rei looks to Shimada for guidance about his play. Shimada then decides to accept him as a student at his shogi summer camp.

While his usual tired, unimpressed expression often hides it, Shimada is someone who has a ton of love for the game of shogi. Not only does he run his summer camp, helping both Rei and Nikaidou, but also actively coaches Rei one on one. Shimada is someone who has a sincere love of the thing he does, and because of that is willing to spend time on others who also want to get better.

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Much of this positive presentation rubs off on Rei, and because of this, he starts to find his love of the game again. While watching Shimada play against shogi grandmaster Souya after the King’s Tournament, Rei realizes just how amazing the game can be at a high level.

This not only inspires Rei’s love for the game again, but makes him want to do better. Before meeting Shimada, Rei’s rank was at risk of slipping while Nikkaidou was ready to become a B ranked player.

For so long Rei had been carried by his natural ability for the game that hitting a wall nearly made him quit. However, meeting Shimada turned out to be one of the best things for him.

While it may seem childish to some, looking up to those who are better than you can be great for improvement at nearly anything. Using myself as an example, starting last year I wanted to get better at playing Smash Bros competitively.

I had always played against my friends, but I was never able to learn much because I did not own the game, and rarely had the ability to practice. However, when Smash Ultimate came out, I got pretty serious about getting better.

I spent about the last year practicing, and the results have definitely paid off. Not only am I able to perform a ton of combos I could not do before, I also am getting much better at going against top players in my region. Ultimately what Shimada ends up teaching Rei is two-fold. One is to love the game again, and two is to dedicate himself to the things he loves.


What other things should we be mindful of in these times? 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!

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume Three

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So…”The Golden Sheep”…huh.

I’ll be completely honest and say that considering how depressing the first volume was this was not how I saw the manga ending. It definitely felt like it was building up to some sort of dramatic climax where pretty much no one was going to be happy, but in the end became much more like her previous work “The Gods Lie.” Still, there was plenty of good, and also some bad. Here are my final thoughts.

Bullying is Bad…or so I thought?

One of the reasons the ending was so surprising was because the message that was implied by the first two volumes was that bullying only leads to everyone involved being miserable. Yuushin spends years bullying Sora as a way to vent about his family life. Asari takes out her frustrations on Tsugu as soon as she returns, and even Tsugu remains oblivious to how her actions affect the others feelings.

Yet, despite all of this, in the final chapter of the series, the four reunite almost as though nothing happened to begin with. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Its an important part of life to be able to forgive and move on. However, it seems as though this aspect was almost entire glossed over. The series definitely could have benefited from at least one more chapter, and likely would have resolved this sudden shift in both pace and message.

Its Okay to be Not be Okay

Despite the initially confusing messaging of the series, one thing that the ending does convey is that having people with whom one can emotional and mental distress is important. Even though there is a lot of tension between the four main characters, by the end of the series they all lay their problems bair.

Tsugu struggles to accept the fact that her dad and mom simply do not want to be together, Sora struggles to admit his feelings to but ultimately comes to terms with it and waits, Asari’s guilt for bullying Tsugu comes crashing down on her, and Yuushin finally stops being an asshole to the people who actively care about him.

The reason the four of them are able to be friends again is because of their shared sense of guilt for how their relationship ended up. They all realized that they were at least in part responsible for how the others feel due their insecurities running unchecked and thus becoming more hostile towards one another.

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The Art? Still Amazing

It would have been generally surprising to see the quality change so abrubtly in such a short series, but that still does not take away from the consistently gorgeous art in “The Golden Sheep.” Just like the other volumes, the final one manages to bring great art, both in the more detailed shots of the city, and in the more character focused shots that make up the majority of the series.

Love Letter

So…”Love Letter”…huh.

This was another curve ball that honestly just served as a nice addition to an already really good series, and while I did say that “The Golden Sheep” could have used another chapter, sacrificing this wonderful short story would be pretty tragic.

The story centers around a spirit who has to decide his earthly role and what to be born as. After seeing a run-away high school girl named Asako, he admires how pretty she is and decides to be born with her as their mother. The story gets sad very quickly as the spirit is neglected by Asako, and dies. However, not experiencing the pain of growing up to hate her, he decides he want to be with her for as long as possible, and so continues to be reborn into almost everything around her.

One thing that stands out is its use of reincarnation as a storytelling mechanic. Generally, in most eastern philosophies, reincarnation is something that happens outside of a person control, and most people who get reincarnated do not get to choose what it is they come back as. Additionally, people are usually reincarnated because they have some worldly thing binding them.

While the latter is true in this story, the first two things are flipped on their head. Even though the spirit acknowledges that he probably would have grown to resent Asako had he lived in his human form, he still want to make sure she is ok, and spends all of their time making sure she gets to live a happy life. It is a very powerful story that I think works well in a one chapter format.


What do you all think of “The Golden Sheep” Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it.

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!

Animated Observations Update #11: More Fun to Come and Other Important Matters

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The last month has been, well, pretty wild. The world is slowly reemerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, despite many warnings from experts, the U.S. is currently in the middle of large scale protests over the deaths of George Floyd, and I have spent most of the month trying to get back on a regular sleep schedule. So yeah, different levels of importance.

On George Floyd, BLM, and the Protests

Since I am someone with a larger than average platform, I feel the need to say at least something. George Floyd’s death was a murder, and the many protests going on in major cities across the U.S. are both justified and needed if we hope to see any level of meaningful change in addressing systemic racism and oppression. I do not support the people taking advantage of these protests as a way of looking trendy or using it as an excuse to do violence.

However it should also not be understated just how much of the violence that is happening is being instigated and sustained by police officers. While I am in no way saying that all cops are to blame for this, there cannot continue to be a blanket defense of police rooted in the “just a few bad apples” mentality.

Animated Observations was always meant to be a place for me to express my ideas and create things worth reading. There is no place here for hate, and certainly no place here for defenders of George Floyd’s murderer. Period.

Future Content

Recently I have had the common sense revelation that people like to be entertained. I know, right, crazy. So, in light of this, I am going to be working even harder to make that happen for readers of this blog. I just recently posted another satire piece, and I enjoy writing those.

Beyond that, however, I am still looking into what else I want to write. Potentially some more informative stuff, or reorganizing the way I do my reviews in order to make them more fun to read. The latter is probably going to happen anyway, but if anyone reading has any suggestions as to the stuff they want to see, please do let me know in the comments. To go along with this…

Getting on a Schedule

As much as I want to write more stuff, I also want to have a set schedule so that everyone know when to expect stuff from me. I haven’t decided specifically when stuff will be regularly uploaded, but their will be a minimum of two posts a week, and then occasionally some bonus stuff when I feel like writing a lot more.

A General Thank You

I feel like I do this a lot, but honestly I don’t know if I could ever do this enough. Thank you to everyone who continually reads my stuff and supports me. Even though life is hard right now, I feel incredibly grateful that I have a platform to where I can just be myself.


I hope everyone reading is still doing ok. Leave a comment below to let me know how you are feeling.

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!

Anime Fan Protests COVID-19 Delays by Burning Collection

(Not Real)

After many announcements of delays in anime series due to COVID-19, many fans have taken to social media to voice their frustration, but one has taken it even further. Steven Smith took to Twitter, posting a picture of what he says is his burned anime collection.

Smith explains in his tweet that he is “tired of seeing everyone get so lazy because of COVID-19.” He then goes on to explain that his decision to burn his anime collection was inspired by what he called the “brilliant and well-informed Keurig protesters,” a reference to many who destroyed their Keurig coffee machines after the company pulled their advertising from Fox Host Sean Hannity in 2017.

After following up with Smith earlier this week, he elaborated on his decision. “I simply don’t want to support an industry that believes that sitting around doing nothing is ok. Using COVID-19 as an excuse to not go back to work is simply Immoral.”

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Smith’s now viral series of tweets supposedly came after learning that the staff behind the popular series “The Promised Neverland” decided to delay its second season until next year over safety concerns.

When asked to respond to this decision, Smith simply said that studio Cloverworks was “just being ridiculous. There is no reason they can’t release the show in October.”

Animated Observations also asked Smith about his current work and living situation. “Me? I’m doing just fine. I mean, I work from home anyway, but this whole COVID-19 thing has been way overblown. First they want me to stay inside, and now I can only leave without a mask? Its absurd. The government shouldn’t be telling me what to do.

After pointing out that many of the more severe restrictions placed in other countries helped to save lives, and that many thousands more people are likely to die because of the recent reopenings, Smith proceeded to call us “fake news” and then hung up the call.

He has since declined any further comment.


Thanks for reading everyone.

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!

Final Thoughts: Fairy Tail

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

A little less than a year ago now I wrote a retrospective on “Fairy Tail” over on Anime Shelter, who you should all go follow btw. In it, I summarized my feelings on it as more or less a Facebook status: its complicated. While I still enjoy the core of “Fairy tail’s” story a great deal, its largely unchanged aesthetics, combined with its painfully stale sense of humor and needless filler make it much harder to enjoy eight years later.

However, I had yet to finish the series until now, for two reasons. One is the usual “I’m lazy and because I’m lazy I am going to put this off for as long as humanly possible.” The other, although less prominent, was that part of me did not want to finish the series. So much of my childhood was that show, and to think that it is just over was almost inconceivable. However, I finally did it, and well, my feelings have not really changed a whole lot.

The Problems with “Fairy Tail’s” Writing

As I mentioned above, their are quite a few problems with “Fairy Tail,” and a lot of them come from the the show’s writing. For starters, while I do not know which arcs in particular are actually filler arcs relative to manga, their are plenty that feel like it.

A good example of this is the Oracion Seis arcs, and I do mean all of them. While it can be argued that some of the action scenes in particular from these arcs were pretty cool, overall the characters that make up the Oracion Seis never felt particularly necessary to the story as a whole.

While the show was putting up these needless filler arcs, the series also failed to develop a large portion of its supporting cast. Characters like Jet, Levy, Cana, Warren, and a ton of other minor members in Fairy Tail never really got a time to shine despite the guild being the main focus of the series.

It also did not help that many of the minor characters of different guilds were also painfully boring or outright annoying. Although many members of Blue Pegasus and Lamia Scale become fairly prominent near the end of the series, none of them came off as particularly memorable. In fact, outside of Ichiya, the leader of Blue Pegasus, I actually struggle to remember any of their names. For the ones I did remember it was mainly because I could not stand them.

*cough* Tobio and Ichiya *cough*

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The show’s humor is also painfully stale at this point. I will admit that when I started watching the show around 13 and even into my late teens, the low effort humor of someone randomly getting naked and/or Natsu, Gray, and Erza fighting was pretty funny, but especially towards the end of the series it gets old fast. “Fairy Tail” uses these same jokes a lot, to the point where it has almost become predictable as to which joke is going to be used and when in any given episode or season.

The Character Design Change

Post the year and a half hiatus following episode 175 of the series, the show got a serious character design change. This was due to both a change in studio and character designer.

Previously, studio A-1 pictures and Satelight had been jointly working on the series, but after the hiatus a studio named Bridge took Satelight’s place. Character designer Aoi Yamamoto was also replaced with Shinji Takeuchi and Toshihiko Sano.

Like with any design change that happens between seasons, such as with Oregairu, people were conflicted. However, looking back at the two designs now, its pretty obvious which one looks better.

Not only did post 175 designs look better, they also visually breathed life into the series and made it much more digestible, despite the plot overall not actually changing.

Aside from just the character designs, however, many of the action scenes also looked incredibly good after the change. The magic designs felt more colorful and explosive while characters were fighting, and as a result gained a more distinct identity that was associated with specific characters.

The Music Never Changes

One can only listen to a particular music track for so long without getting bored. It is one thing to have a prominent main theme in a series that is only 12 or even 24 episodes long, but when a series runs for over 300 episodes and the soundtrack consists of mainly remixes of its main theme for the majority of its more important moments, then there is a problem.

However, this is not just an issue with the main theme. The show reuses a lot of its original soundtrack for similar moments. Whenever a villain is revealed, the same chilling, Gregorian chants kick in. Whenever there is not much going on, the same whistles turn on, etc, etc.

Conclusion

If I had to summarize “Fairy Tail’s” problems in just a sentence, it would be this: The show is far to long to justify its use of repetition in almost every aspect of its execution. If there was even a little more to the show’s presentation, or even a removal of some filler, it would be more enjoyable. As it stands now, the show is still just OK.


How do you all feel about Fairytail? 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!

Anime Sequels and “News” Sites

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I want to start out this post by saying that the anime community as a whole has brought me a lot of joy over the past eight years or so. I have gotten to know so many people who enjoy the same things I do, and I have even gotten to attend a number of anime conventions and start this blog because of it. There is so much about the anime community that is worth exploring and enjoying.

With that being said, there are also many terrible elements within the community as well, and while I could talk about the more serious ones, such as racism against cosplayers, the uncritical defense of sexually depicting young girls in anime, or even the toxic fan bases of specific shows, I wanted to take some time to talk about something more near and dear to my heart.

Now, when I was in high school just a few years ago, I worked for my school’s newspaper. Despite the fact that not many people read the paper, both online and print forms, I still took our work seriously, because getting people accurate information is an important job, and one that should be taken up with the utmost responsibility.

That leads me to one of my pet peeves in the anime community, more specifically with how “news” is delivered by certain publications. While websites like Crunchyroll, Anime News Network, and a few others do a relatively good job at delivering accurate information, it seems as though the vast majority of those who supposedly do this work are just in it for clicks.

My primary example of this has to do with the way that many of these sites talk about anime getting second seasons. Many untrustworthy anime sites will write a headline implying that the second season of popular show has been officially confirmed, when in reality it will be something as minor as the director or assistant director of a show having made some passing comments about wanting to do a sequel.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time doing research on a given show will know what I am talking about. Specifically, I ran into this problem early last year while looking for information about Oregairu season three, and while as of this year the show has been officially confirmed for a third season, despite being pushed back, before then, there was a lot of misinformation running around about its release.

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Another problem that comes up with these “news” sites is that many of them will often not update there articles as new information comes out, which is something responsible news outlets are supposed to do. This can leave many readers thinking that a show might not actually have a sequel when, such as the case with many shows right now due to COVID-19, it is simply just delayed.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, reporting on entertainment and art could be considered significantly less important than on normal world events and politics, and while I might be inclined to agree with that, this sort of lazy misinformation can still create problems.

Back during the initial release of Pokemon Sword and Shield, many articles were making false reports about what would and would not be in the game, thus fueling death threats against the creators.

Ultimately, misinformation is bad for pretty much everyone. On the side of the reader, since many already have a hard time distinguishing between opinion and news, it will likely create even more mistrust of news outlets, even ones that have the reputation to back up their reporting, entertainment or otherwise.

As for the news outlet itself, it not only makes themselves look bad, but will further add to the collapse of journalism by making normal advertisers less likely to trust them. Not to mention, that, in an age where news sites, even primarily online based ones, are relying more on crowdfunding and subscriptions than ever, trust becomes even more important.

Now, I want to be perfectly clear with what I am saying. This article is not an invitation to harass those with whom some might have perceived political differences. As long as reporters are delivering accurate information in their news sections, their should not be a problem with how those same people choose to express themselves through editorial.

In fact, it is quite the opposite. There are many smaller “news” sites that have cropped up only to deliver misinformation and false reporting, and I think it is worth calling those sites out as a group, because not only are they doing a disservice to readers, they are simply adding to the mistrust that people have about the media.

This is not to say that all of this mistrust is justified, however. If president Donald Trump has demonstrated one thing continuously it is that authoritarians love calling those that hold them accountable “fake” and “biased.” However, for a variety of reasons, it is better to not justify these opinions through actual misinformation.


Alright, so I got out one of my anime community frustrations, but what are some of yours? 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!

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume Two

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its creating a strong opening for a story can be relatively easy, continuing the same level of emotional investment for a story can often be pretty difficult. Weaving together even two or three different story lines so that they make sense in the context of a broader narrative requires a lot of good writing ability. Luckily, mangaka Kaori Ozaki has that in spades, as the second volume of “The Golden Sheep” was, to put it light, very good.

The Golden Sheep, as a slice of life romance, has a lot going on with its characters. As a result, there is stuff going on both on the surface and underneath it.

Most of the stuff that’s actually happening has to do with Tsugu and Sora. After running away near the end of the first volume, the two find themselves working at Tsugu’s grandpa’s croquette shop. At this point, Sora is still very confused with his current situation. Although he wants to be there for Tsugu, he also finds himself thinking about why he is even in Tokyo to begin with.

While there, the two start to really enjoy themselves. Sora becomes pretty invested in working at the shop, and also starts developing feelings for Tsugu. These feelings, while not obvious at first, become strong to the point of him actively avoiding her, throwing himself even further into his work making croquettes.

Meanwhile, it seems like Tsugu is generally happier than when she was living with her mom, even if she is reticent to admit it. She also gets her guitar back from her dad, but when she asks him if he wants to see grandpa, he just runs off. While the scene itself was not anything special, it demonstrated even further just how dysfunctional Tsugu’s family really is.

On the other side of things, Yuushin continues to deal with a lot of emotional baggage throughout the second volume. Tsugu’s return to her hometown has clearly stoked a lot of bad memories for Yuushin, and it certainly did not help make Sora’s situation any better.

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It seems as though, despite it having been a long time since then, Yuushin still ultimately blames his father’s explicit interactions and the subsequent shame that he felt from it for his current state. People were quick to turn their backs on him, assuming “like father, like sun,” and simply were not wiling to trust him.

As a result, Yuushin has, understandably so, become jaded and not willing to accept other people into his life. However, this type of attitude is only understandable up to a point, which is something the manga demonstrates quite well. Not only does bully Sora to the point of suicide, he also takes advantage of Asari and sexually assaults her, afterward telling her that he’s not who she thinks he is.

Up until this point it seemed as though Tsugu was also a good friend who was being hurt by Yuushin, and while to a large extent that is true, it also seems that Tsugu, despite knowing about Yuushin’s toxic behavior, is still encouraging it.

After the incident with Asari, Yuushin decides he wants to take the pro-boxing license test, and thus begins training. His coach eventually gets his parents permission for him, and the two head to Tokyo for the exam. When the two first get there, they find Tsugu and Sora after they were featured on a popular TV show.

Yuushin comes to the croquette shop, at which point he knocks food out of Tsugu’s hand and attacks Sora after being told to leave. Even after all of this, though, Tsugu still wants to go see him. Whether or not this will ultimately lead to some dramatic change from Yuushin has yet to be seen, but Ozaki definitely does a good job of making him out as the stories ultimate villain.

Just like the first volume, the second keeps up the amazing quality of its art until the end. Each frame is incredibly detailed, even during the scenes where there are lots of buildings and people. On top of that, there are very few scenes that feel unused. Each frame feels important the story, even in a very minor way.

The Golden Sheep continues to be an excellent romantic slice of life even into its second volume. It is clear from the quality of the writing here that Kaori Ozaki knows how to continue stories beyond the one volume framework. There is of course one more volume left to go, but my guess is that its also going to be incredible.


What did you all think of the second volume? Let me know in the comments, but please no spoilers if you have already read the series.

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!

Wolf: From Powerhouse to Barely a Pocket Pick

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The early meta of “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” was defined by a much different group of characters than what is popularly seen today. In the beginning of the game’s competitive lifespan, characters fell into two main groups based on their strengths. Either they had ridiculously strong combo games, such as Pichu and Olimar, or they rewarded strong fundamentals and game knowledge, such as Lucina.

Wolf falls into the latter category, and was indeed an incredibly strong character. He was introduced in “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” and has since been a fan favorite. His return in “Smash Ultimate” came with the support of nearly everyone.

Not only are many of his moves somewhat disjointed, meaning the hit-box of those moves is separated from the rest of the character, Many of his moves serve as combo starters, including his down throw, up throw, forward aerial, and many others. Wolf at his core rewards those who are aware of his advantages and know how to play the game on a more fundamental level.

This, in large part, explains his popularity among the competitive scene at the time. His reliance on fundamentals to do well made him easier to pick up, and his strong reward because of his easier combos and strong down smash used for reads made him well worth the relatively small time investment.

This lead to many top players, including Nairo, Void, MKLeo, and Zachray, to picking up the character as a secondary and many more to outright main the character. In fact, on the first PGRU, the official ranking of top smash players created by Panda Global, lists wolf five times, with most of his appearances in the top half of the list.

However, after the first few months of the game, many began developing the meta for other characters, most notably MKLeo rising in skill with his Joker, Nairo with Palutena, Marss with ZSS, Samsora with Peach, and Ally with Snake.

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Wolf also suffered from some compromising nerfs, which included a base knockback reduction on his down smash, and a increase in ending lag on his blaster. While he did get lots of other minor buffs, overall the character seemed to lose more than he gained.

Both of these things, combined with Wolf’s lackluster offstage options, lead many to abandoning the character. By the time the second official PGRU rolled around in the following fall, Wolf’s appearances went from five to just one in the form of Zachray, who only occasional played the character in specific match-ups.

While his popularity has certainly been at a low point, not all hope is lost for the furry villain. Many regions across the United States have a number of prominent Wolfs. Of these regions, SoCal stands out the most, who is home top Smash 4 player Larry Lurr, as well as rising star Charlie “Charliedaking” Haruno, the latter of whom recently made an incredible run at Genesis 7, getting ninth out of over 1,600 entrants and who almost beat current number six Maister.

Current number three Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey has also show much interest in the character as of late, using him most recently at Frostbite 2020 and getting third out of over 1,200 players. Even Zachray, who lost faith in the character fairly early on, has continued to use him sparingly in tournament play.

While it is hard to see the character’s widespread popularity returning anytime soon, his history in “Smash Ultimate” is interesting. At the end of the day, Wolf alongside others like Lucina felt a lot like characters that people were just messing around with while they got a feel for the game. Even despite the competitive scene’s strange online transition, it is possible that Wolf may see a minor return in the form of new and old top players.


Something a little different, this time around. I haven’t spent much time talking about competitive smash on this blog, most recently because pretty much all offline tournaments have grinded to a halt. However, I had a sudden inspiration and so this is the final product. Who is your favorite “Smash Bros” character? 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!

Final Thoughts: Kuroko no Basket

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It took a while, but I finally managed to finish Production I.G.’s other great sports anime accomplishment: “Kuroko no Basuke.” The show has the feel of being mostly a giant tournament arc, but there were still a lot of ups and downs, especially near the end. With that said, here are some of my Final Thoughts.

“Kuroko no Basket”: Friendship is Magic

Although I have still yet to watch many sports anime, one thing that I have noticed among the ones I have seen is there tends to be a bit of weakness when it comes to thematic endings. The same seems to be true of “Kuroko no Basket.”

While the road to get to the show’s thesis was certainly exciting, and I would happily watch another season were one to be made, the series seems to suffer from the same lack of a greater overall point. At the end of the series, after beating Akashi, the takeaway seems to just be that “everything will be OK as long as you’re having fun.”

While this is not even a bad message, it does feel a little boring from a show that was otherwise action packed and pretty much always delivering in its game scenes. Speaking of the games, though…

The Games are Incredible

One of the reasons I initially did not want to watch the series was because, out of context, the scenes where characters use their special techniques look pretty dumb. However, plenty of things do not make sense out of context, so of course I ignored this and just gave the series a chance.

Even though the abilities themselves still do not make a ton of sense in context, it works enough to where there is still plenty of room for hype when Seirin faces their next opponent. Specifically, all of the games against the “Generation of Miracles” are extremely well done. There is a lot of back and forth, emphasis on the decision making and technical abilities of each of the players, and exploration of character motivation during the games.

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One game, or rather series of games, that stands out is Seirin vs Shutoku, where Kurkoko and Kagami have to contend with Midorima’s insane shooting ability. Through a series of extended flashbacks, the show demonstrates just how much practice Midorima has put into his shots, to the point where he can easily make three pointers from full court. Most of their games are spent figuring out how to counter Midorima and make up for lost points that they could not defend against.

Even during the games without the “Generation of Miracles, there is still plenty of strategy and play-making that gets explored, which makes them all the more interesting to watch.

Kuroko and Kagami

Previously, I wrote about my feelings on the similarities and differences between “Haikyuu” and “Kuroko no Basket.” While the two can definitely feel a bit one-dimensional at times, there relationship certainly stands out from the first episode.

Using the power of misdirection, Kuroko can seemingly make himself invisible. This, combined with his ability to pass incredibly fast give him the title of the “Phantom Sixth Man of the Generation of Miracles.” At the beginning of the series, Kuroko makes a promise to Kagami that he will make him number one, and will become the shadow to his light.

It is a really cool dynamic and also allows for a pretty powerful visual metaphor for their play style. Kagami likes to be flashy, often using his incredible jumping power both on defense and to score, and Kuroko works from people’s blind spots, making passes and steals with ease.

Conclusion

Exciting really only begins to describe the sports anime experience that is “Kuroko no Basket.” It combines a sport that is already pretty high energy with a storyline that, while thematically weak, creates a lot of tension among its characters, almost all of whom are fleshed out incredibly well. Fans of sports anime who somehow have not seen this show should definitely fix that immediately.


How do you all feel about Kuroko no Basket? 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!