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.

Finishing Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood with My Dad

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

In the long time that I have spent watching and talking about anime, never had I actually shared those experiences with my parents. While they have been aware of my hobby for quite some time, I was never really keen on introducing it to them, as I kind of just assumed they would not get it.

Which, to be fair, is not always a wrong assumption to make. Anime is a very different space for storytelling, and as most anime fans know, it comes with its own weird niches that make a lot of it still pretty inaccessible, at least in a cultural sense, to older, western audiences even today.

Still, after a long, somewhat awkward period of my dad being interested in it and me not knowing what exactly to show him, it finally came to be that I sat down with him and we watched some anime. I picked “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” for a few reasons.

One, “FMAB” is probably one of the least niche filled anime there is in recent memory. While it for sure is an anime in every possible incarnation of that definition, it still lacks a lot of the strange, more common tropes that are associated with an average show. As such, it seemed like the perfect show to ease my dad into the medium.

Two, “FMAB” also has a lot more in common with modern American productions in terms of its structure and content. For example, at its core, “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” is a fairly long, fantasy military story that revolves around a lot of politics and different warring factions. When thought of in this way, it can be pretty easily compared to “Game of Thrones,” or even “The Walking Dead.”

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I came into this viewing with a lot of knowledge. Before I watched it with my dad, I had already seen the show three or four times. However, I will say that “FMAB” is a show that definitely benefits from a few repeat watches and a varied perspective on politics and cultural issues, given that it is most of the show’s focus.

My dad, of course, was on the opposite side of the spectrum. Not only did he not have any experience with “FMAB,” he, again, has had almost no experience with anime. Admittedly this made me a little worried about whether or not he would actually enjoy it.

Another thing that made his viewing experience less than ideal was the time it took to finish the show. We started “FMAB” in the fall of last year and did not finish until last week, and while I cannot remember exactly when it was, it was long enough, that it made it harder to remember key details.

Still, it seemed like overall he enjoyed it. My dad has never been overly judgmental, and it felt like he came into the series with an open mind. One of the things he said he enjoyed most was the more overtly political aspects of the show. This surprised me a lot, as I knew my dad was aware of political discourse, but thought he was not much interested in it.

While watching anime by yourself can definitely be a lot of fun, there is something to be said about trying to show it to other people, especially those who are not as familiar with it, if at all.


Ok, so serious proposal. I do want to show my dad a lot more stuff, so I thought about doing regular posts or videos where, after we watch a few episodes, I do a kind of discussion video about the episodes we watched. If any of you are interested, I would appreciate you letting me know.

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 May “Adapt” Tour: Rei and the Need to Adapt

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its that time again for another OWLS post. Just in case, for anyone who is not familiar with the group, OWLS is:

A group that promotes the acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and disabilities and highlights the importance of respect and kindness to every human being.

This month’s writing theme is “adapt,” as described below.

Right now, we all have lost something or gained something in return during this dark time. Our lives have been completely altered due to coronavirus. For this month, we will be talking about anime series and other pop culture media where we have characters having to adjust to changes in their environment. Whether it’s adjusting to a new school or heading towards an isekai fantasy world, we will be discussing characters that had to make changes within themselves in order to adapt to the circumstances they are in. This will also give us an opportunity to express our own personal lives as we try to adjust to a “new normal.”

For this month, Megan will be going after me on the 14th, so be sure to give her post a look, and drop her a follow as well.

With all that being said, enjoy the post.


I talked last week about a game called Hearthstone, a card game that features a large amount of random effects, and one that consequently requires its players to be able to adapt to changing situations. Life, in many aspects, is the same way. Things rarely go as people plan them, whether it be their dream job, school of choice, or even just plans for the weekend. In all of those cases, people need to be flexible, adapt, and find a plan B. If most people were not able to accomplish this, life would fall apart pretty quickly.

“March Comes in Like a Lion,” and more specifically Rei, embodies the need for both forms of adaptation very well. When it comes to playing Shogi, its obvious that Rei stands as a cut above many of his fellow competitors. There are many reasons for this, one being his training in the game from a very young age. Another, though, is his ability to adapt.

Episode to episode, Rei meets a great deal of shogi players, each who have their own play style. Some lean heavy into aggression, while others choose to play much more offensively. Rei, however, sits somewhere in the middle. His style is ill-defined, often leaving him to react to his opponent, rather than developing his own unique way of approaching the game.

This ability to adapt to his opponent mid-game and create a new path to victory based on his current board state is what makes Rei such an excellent player. However, the same cannot be said for Rei’s ability to play the game of life, at least initially.

The story of “March Comes in Like a Lion” opens on a Rei still stuck in the past. He is solely focused on his past and what his adopted family put him through. His anger and resentment keep him from seeing anything else important, and he continues to hate shogi as a result.

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It is only after he meets the Kawamoto sisters that things begin to change. The three sisters, Akari, Hina and Momo, show him genuine kindness. They let him stay out there house, they feed him homecooked meals, and even watch his matches after they find out about his career as a pro shogi player.

After meeting them, Rei’s life begins to change drastically. Suddenly he has more to focus on then just shogi and paying bills. While his memories and family members still bother him a lot, he is better able to deal with those things because he has the sisters to help keep him positive.

Throughout the rest of the show, Rei uses this change in attitude to his advantage. Not only does he grow as a player, improving his shogi skills by studying alongside various top players, he continues to grow as a person.

Ultimately, what “March Comes in Like a Lion” shows is that adapting is important. Whether it be in a game or in real life, adapting can be the difference between victory and defeat, and sadness and happiness. While it might feel hard to change while worrying about the existential threat that is COVID-19, it is worth remembering that even taking small steps can eventually lead to a more healthy and desirable version of yourself.


Yeah, so this kind of turned into an advice column more than a post, but I know even just based on my own headspace that people can use a little more positivity. Also, money and healthcare, but that’s a different post entirely. Do you feel like you are adapting well to COVID life? 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!

First Impressions: Honey and Clover

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It has been a long time coming. As I have documented pretty extensively on this website, “March Comes in Like a Lion” has a had a profound impact on both my mental health as well as my personality. The amount of time I have spent thinking about the series and its various messages about self-positivity and bullying have made me a whole different person, on top of bringing lots of enjoyment.

It is not only well-written, but well executed on the part of Studio Shaft, whose odd style of animation lended even more personality to the show as a whole. It is because of Chica Umino’s excellent characters and storytelling that my expectations for “Honey and Clover” were, and still are, extremely high. Safe to say that, at least so far, those expectations have been met.

“Honey and Clover” definitely does a lot right as far as its story and characters. For starters, it is rare that anime uses college as a setting for a story. Most often characters are shown in high school, where their future is yet to be determined. However, given that the setting is an art school, it is pretty obvious, at least to most of the main characters, what it is they are doing.

Yuta is the exception in this case, as he went to art school thinking that he wanted to create, but is unsure exactly as to what. Although he is shown as the entry point to a lot of the relationships in the show, he never feels like the main character, and is in stark contrast to Rei, who feels like the main character from the very beginning.

The show is also similar to march in that it is going to be something of a slow burn. While all of the characters have been introduced so far, it is apparent that the series is going to need all 24 of its episodes to properly flush them out. For example, Shinobou’s work life has yet to be fully revealed, and Shinobou’s competition with Yuta for Haru’s affection, while having been clearly established, has not yet ramped up in any significant way, even though Yuta clearly knows about his feelings.

In that respect, the setup for the show is extremely good. The pace is not so slow that it feels boring, but not so fast that it feels like there are things that could have been explored further.

Beyond the writing aspects, the show as a really nostalgic vibe. “Honey and Clover” came out in 2005, and it definitely feels like it. Maybe its just my personal taste, but a lot of 2000’s slice of life shows have this strange ability to shift between their more light-hearted and serious moments exceptionally well.

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The show’s animation adds to this as well. J.C. Staff tends to have pretty plain animation, all things considered, but here it actually helps to ground attention on the characters, as opposed to just being distracting. Chica Umino’s character designs are also really reflective of this era, and thus fit right in.

While I would hesitate to say the show is as good as “March” three episodes in, “Honey and Clover” still does a fantastic job of setting up its characters in a way that keeps the show worth watching. I definitely look forward to seeing how the series will continue.


Have you all seen “Honey and Clover?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments (but please no spoilers cause I really want to finish it blind).

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!

Looking Back at Hearthstone: An RNG Nightmare, but Still Incredible Fun

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ever Since its release in March of 2014, “Hearthstone” has enjoyed an incredible amount of popular support. Even after more than six years since its initial release, it still has 10,000’s of players. On top of that, despite Blizzard’s relatively recent controversy over its position on player speech during its Grandmasters event, It still boasts a solid competitive scene, with many prominent esports teams, including Liquid and T1.

However, despite both of those things, “Hearthstone” has almost always been a gamed ruled by RNG. Whether it be the card that started it all, Yogg-Saron, or the more recent mechanic Discover, which prompts a player to pick one card of a given three, it has become an accepted part of reality for those playing the game.

There are, of course, benefits and drawbacks to RNG. It definitely makes watching the game more interesting. Given that there is an increasing RNG in the game, it becomes even more likely that a given player high rolls on a given effect. The possibility of that high roll always keeps the entertainment value high as well.

RNG also presents an interesting challenge for the player. Even though the effects are by definition random, one could argue that being able to manage ones resources well enough to overcome any potential random benefit for the opponent is the sign of a truly good player.

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However, that is not necessarily always the case. Some RNG is so powerful that it can be hard to deal with even as a good player. A good example is the recent card Dragon Queen Alexstrasza, who when played adds two random dragons to that players hand. There is currently a larger number dragons in standard play, which means the variance on its effect can range from a minor benefit, to a game swinging play.

This can be frustrating to deal with, especially in situations where one player has performed nearly perfect in a game, but even so losses to one good random effect.

Despite these large competitive failings, though, “Hearthstone” still remains a largely entertaining game. With every expansion comes many new cards, play-styles, and experimental decks worth trying. Even though some competitive metas can feel stale, as was the case after the release of “The Witchwood,” the balancing team has become much more liberal in fixing problem cards and has definitely made more of an effort to limit big RNG effects, like Yogg-Saron.

On top of that, with the addition of battlegrounds and more content in Solo-adventures, Blizzard has also given players more of a reason to stick around aside from just climbing ladder.

“Hearthstone” is definitely not a perfect game by any means. The RNG can be frustrating for sure, especially on top of already being a card game. Still, if one can get over that aspect, there is still plenty about it worth enjoying.


How do you all feel about “Hearthstone?” 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!

Gleipnir Episode One Reaction

“Oh boy, now that the semester is over, I have so much free time. I wonder what the seasonal stuff looks like.” *watches one episode of Gleipnir* …huuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

While it is true that I have not been actively watching the stuff that has been coming out, I have still been following enough of it to know that Gleipnir was going to be weird, even before its release. Just based off the description of the manga, it was likely that Gleipnir was going to be bringing something strange. However, strange does not always necessarily mean good.

The show’s first episode was…ok. There were a lot of unique elements to be sure. The opening scene where a monster of some kind was looking for a vending machine, only for another person to pop out was great. Not only did it highlight what is likely to be a key plot point, but also had an indie-horror vibe without even being based on a game, which is pretty cool.

Shuuichi is where a lot of the show’s strengths and weaknesses will likely be based. On the one hand, there is a lot of potential for interesting storytelling through his monstrous powers. The fact that he is a monster but does not really look like one is already something that has been highlighted by Shuuichi himself, and Clair has already said, albeit mockingly, that he looks cuter in that form.

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Still, there is a lot of potential for him to be pretty boring. The first episode is already relying on a lot of ecchi elements that do not necessarily fit the horror vibe that it is trying to establish. What’s more, I get the feeling that Clair might not get the proper development that she honestly deserves. It was really intriguing when after Shuuichi says he is the one who save her from the fire, she responds by telling him that was her suicide attempt.

The show’s music and animation, at least so far, can be summarized as not particularly interesting. A lot of the color combinations in Gleipnir, along with the show’s character designs, feel pretty normal for this era of anime. The only thing slightly unique is that, for some reason, it feels like everyone’s face is slightly flatter than they should be.

The music is passable for what the show is trying to do, but again, not that notable. It relies on a lot of modern sounds, such as high-hats and a little bass mixed with more traditionally horror-sounding music in order to get through its more action heavy scenes.

Overall, I feel like this could end up being a great show, but it really depends on where they go from here. I will likely continue to watch it even if it is just to see the train wreck that it end up becoming.


Are you all caught up with Gleipnir? How do you you folks feel about it? 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!

Animated Observations Update #10: Just Vibin’ in Quarantine

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

By the time this comes out I will likely be done with everything college related for a while, which means I will be back to having lots of free time, and probably not using it well tbh. However, that also means I will be back on the blogging grind pretty consistently. Anyway, here is what has been going on.

Trying to be an Opinion Editor

So I applied for the position of Opinion Editor at The Daily Beacon. I figured I would have a pretty decent shot considering I literally have experience being an opinion editor, and worked in my high school newspaper for 4 years. Sadly, though, I did not get the position. It does make sense, considering there are probably people who have more leadership skills than me, and more experience in general. I will probably end up applying again next year, so here’s to hoping that goes well.

A Reminder that Soul Eater is Great

I recently got a chance to read something interesting Soul Eater related. LiteratureFuckBoi has a pretty interesting continuation for Soul Eater’s second season. While I am aware that Soul Eater’s original manga continues well past where the first season ends, I have also been of the opinion for a while now that anime adaptations do not have to follow the manga exactly, and that often times changes are necessary to make a good adaptation. I would definitely encourage giving this a read and giving him a follow as well.

What is with Solidly Liquid?

Since most of the blogging time that I have had recently has gone to talking about anime and gaming I have very much neglected my fiction and poetry writing. I do plan to remedy this soon, so stay tuned for more content on Solidly Liquid.


What have you all been up to? 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!

First Impressions: Dragon Quest 11 Echoes of an Elusive Age

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Although I greatly enjoyed, and am still on my way towards completing, “Fire Emblem Three Houses,” I took a break because I wanted to play something a little more traditional. I could think of nothing else more traditional than the latest entry in one of the series that helped define the JRPG genre. While it has not fully impressed me as of yet, despite it in all likelyhood a fairly long game, I have seen enough within the first eight or so hours of the game that makes me want to continue on.

For Starters, despite being presented well, Dragon Quest 11’s story does not seem out of the ordinary for the series. It focuses on a main character who was born as the reincarnation of the luminary, a being of light who is destined to battle the dark one. Along the way, he meets a number of individuals who are either told to or tasked with meeting the luminary and helping them on their journey.

While the main character, who is simply dubbed “The Destined Hero,” does not have much in the way of compelling traits, the rest of the cast, at least so far, more than carries the weight. Erik, for instance, starts out as a totally mystery, fitting of his rouge-like origins. However, it becomes apparent that he has only the intentions of helping the luminary. His gestures and manner of dialogue make him pretty entertaining.

The game does not due much to alter the classic RPG formula of game-play. It mainly consists of fighting monsters, gaining levels and skills points, and doing various missions and side-missions along the way. While some might argue that there is something to be said for keeping it simple, Dragon Quest is a series that could arguably stand to benefit from a serious overall in its combat.

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The enemies by themselves are not particularly difficult to fight, including many of the bosses. In fact, the only way the combat becomes even remotely difficult is by altering the game through the draconian mode, which allows the player to put certain restrictions and challenges on while they play.

Outside of these restrictions however, it is fair to say that the combat is uncompelling at best.

However, despite a fair amount of mediocrity, their remains a lot to be liked about the game. For instance, nearly all of the games cut scenes are beautifully animated and worthy of extreme praise. Leave it to Square Enix to create yet another incredibly animated game that breathes life into the characters it is portraying.

One scene that was incredibly well done is when the main character returns to his home village with Erik. He is shown a vision of his grandfather, as well as himself when he was younger, and gets the chance to talk with him. Upon being released from his allusion, he sees his home village burnt to the ground, with homes and other buildings destroyed by the King’s troops.

Another aspect of the game that is well done is the soundtrack. This is not really a surprise, considering Square Enix is also well known for their incredibly soundtracks, but it is worth noting regardless. Often times game soundtracks have little diversity, or just do not have very interesting music, and make the person playing want to turn on their own music. However, this is simply not the case with “Dragon Quest 11.”

Overall, I will likely continue on with the game, if only to meet the rest of the cast. Despite having a few mediocre elements, “Dragon Quest 11” still has enough elements going for it that make it worth seeing through.


Have you guys played “Dragon Quest 11?” What did you think? 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 One

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Kaori Ozaki’s “The Gods Lie,” was, in a lot of ways, a devastatingly sad tale. From the initial story of a young boy growing up disillusioned with, to the evolution of its characters, and its seamless transition into a romantic tragedy gone wrong, it is a work that is not only heartbreaking to read, but touches on issues that are important in the real world. Her follow up work “The Golden Sheep” follows a similar path.

It revolves around Tsugu, a high school girl who, after leaving her hometown for a few years, returns to find her friends Sora, Sally and Yuushin exactly as she left them, or so she thinks. As time passes she discovers that the friends she left behind in elementary school are not the same as they used to be.

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Tsugu’s return to her hometown marks a noticeable change in both her friends and herself. What Tsugu initially does not realize about them is that their relationship dynamic has changed dramatically. Yuushin, who was once the proud protector of the group, now bullies Sora for his money, and Sora feels so bad about what happened to Yuushin when he was younger that he just sits there and takes it.

Meanwhile, Sally, who has yet to muster the courage to confess to Yuushin, now feels like she is competing with Tsugu. As a result, Sally takes her anger out on Tsugu, pushing her away by bullying her quite literally behind her back. Tsugu realizes that life is not the same as it was when she left. Her friends are different.

Much like its predecessor, “The Golden Sheep” is incredibly well written, at least so far, and does a great job at layering important messages into the story. Whereas “The Gods Lie” focused on child neglect and abuse, “The Golden Sheep” tells a very similar tale about bullying, and how time changes people, both for the better and the worse.

The way this is mainly told is through the Yuushin and Sora. After Tsugu left the year they graduated from grade school, Yuushin was bullied due to a news story about his father having sexual relations with a teenage girl. After reuniting with Sora in middle school, he begins to bully him, as a way to take out his aggression on him.

Sora, on the other hand, feels as though he abandoned Yuushin, and as a result simply takes Yuushin’s bullying without much resistance. In fact, Sora feels so bad about his situation, with a mixed sense of guilt and anger, that he attempts to commit suicide by locking himself in a car and suffocating from burning charcoal. It is only after Tsugu notices and saves him that he realizes his own value.

One thing that seems not necessarily problematic, but more so interesting, is her characters tendency to use running away as a problem solving mechanic, even though both mentally and materially it solves almost nothing. In both “The Gods Lie” and “The Golden Sheep,” running away becomes more a means of momentary relief than anything else.

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Another thing this manga and the “The Gods Lie” share is amazingly detailed artwork that works to enhance he storytelling. One scene that stand out really well is the one featured at the beginning of the first volume depicting Tsugu rescuing Sora. Out of context, the scene is depressing, sure but is on its own not incredibly emotional.

It is only after hearing Tsugu and Sora’s backstory that the artwork really enhances the scene. It shows a crying Tsugu, her favorite guitar in hand, shattered in half trying to save one of her only friends from himself. The detail in Tsugu and Sora’s face, as well as on the guitar really adds to the power of the scene as a whole.

The dynamic between the four main characters is also incredibly complex. Each new piece of information that is revealed about one of them feels like it affects all of them. When it is revealed that Sally has a crush on Yuushin, and that Sally is jealous of Tsugu, she begins to bully her. This in turn makes their relationship more similar to Yuushin and Sora’s than to the relationship of true friends.

Overall, the first volume of “The Golden Sheep” feels like an excellent opener to what will undoubtedly be an emotional complex series.


How do you all feel about “The Golden Sheep?” 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 Gods Lie

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It has been a while since I have actually read anything manga wise. Most of the time I usually just look to see if there is an anime, and if not I move on. However, I felt drawn in by this manga in particular, if for no other reason than it was a one-shot and something I could finish pretty quickly. However, while I finished the manga in a little less than an hour, I can tell “The Gods Lie” is one that will stick in my mind for a long time to come.

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Why Do the Gods Lie?

One of the things that I really liked right off the bat about this story is how much it feels like a refined version of Makoto Shinkai’s storytelling formula. Now, part of this might just be that the manga is, overall, a little bit shorter than the amount of time it would take to watch a Shinkai movie, and I think one of the things his movies suffer from to some degree is a lack of brevity.

Author Kaori Ozaki not only brings that needed brevity into the form of a one shot manga, but also manages to add a little more substance to the story, something that “Your Name” lacked a lot of.

The message of the “The Gods Lie” is one that resonates not only in more peaceful times, but especially during times of tragedy and unrest. Ultimately, no matter who it is, at some point, there will be an event that is beyond there control. Sometimes, its good to be lied to. Constant tragedy and unfairness make life so much worse, and so if they do not know about it, people do not have to be as hurt by it.

Subtlety

When it comes to shifting a story into the visual realm, there is a lot to be said for using still saying the loud parts quietly. One of the things Ozaki excels at when it comes to her storytelling is the way she is able to foreshadow using just one or two frames and very little dialogue.

A good example of this comes in chapter four, when Rio explains why her grandfathers remains are buried in the ground, and also why there father is gone. Instead of their father saying that he’s leaving, Ozaki uses the Yuuta’s request for real crab as an excuse to leave, saying that he’s going crab fishing in Alaska as an excuse to leave the two of them. Their father’s sullen expression in a few of the panels makes this a bit more obvious.

Natsuru

Originally, I thought that the main character Natsuru was actually going to be the weakest part of the story, and while it could be argued that he is, I still think he adds much more than he takes away.

Much like Rio and Yuuta, Natsuru is going through a lot in his home, although to a much lesser extent. With his father gone, Natsuru’s mother is the only one supporting him. On top of that, although he loves soccer, his friends are likely going to stop playing when they go to middle school, and his old coach is in the hospital with cancer.

It seems as though the two of them see a lot in each other, in the sense that the two of them are missing a lot from their life, and so when they meet, the two help to heal each other emotionally.

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Names in Storytelling

While this is nothing new, I really appreciate when a writer goes the extra mile to incorporate the meaning of the characters names into the story itself. Natsuru’s name, being a combination of “summer” and ” has two major meanings within the story. One comes from his birth, as his mother explains, and the other is tied to the overall story. up until they met Natsuru, Rio and Yuuta had been holding out for hope.

When the three of them meet, it changes each other’s lives significantly, to the point where Rio and Yuuta are saved from their terrible situation. Because Rio and Yuuta were able to stay until summer, their lives were made better. In the same vein, Rio last name, which means “a reason to live,” is relevant because Natsuru became her reason to live.

Conclusion

This manga, much like the works of Makoto Shinkai, is an emotional roller coaster, to say the very least. While it may only be one volume, the amount of depth and character development present is equal to a series ten times its size. “The Gods Lie” is a story that will make people forget its ending was even happy.

Still, Kaori Ozaki’s creativity and writing ability, combined with her detailed drawings and refined style make this manga worth reading and re-reading. This is an easy insta-buy for any fan of shorter manga, and manga in general.


No, but like seriously, go read this, and if you have already, what did you think? 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!

A Smash Ultimate Tier List (for When Things Go Back to Normal)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly across all parts of the world, its fair to say that the number of in person smash events has dropped to an all time low. Presumably though, with the right combination of government policy and social distancing to stop the virus’ spread, it will end at some point, and when it does it is likely that tournaments will start again en masse. Here is what I think the meta will look like when tournaments start again.

To start, only the section labled high tier, top tier, and bottom tier are in numeric order. Every tier below and above that is a rough estimation.

Also, I thought it might be worth briefly explaining my own personal methodology on how I made this tier list. Basically, my opinion is made up of equal parts pro opinion, major tournament results, and theory crafting. Personally, I think when it comes to evaluating the potential of a character, it is important to take into account all three.

Additionally, I try to weigh whether or not the character has more advantages than disadvantages. For example, if a character has a larger than average number of moves that are safe on shield, that would be considered an advantage. conversely, if a character has a recovery that is weaker than average, that would be considered a disadvantage.

Other than that, I will address a few placements that I think might cause contention, and that need clarification.

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Pikachu is the Best Character

Largely due to its much more balanced characters than in previous iterations, Smash Ultimate’s best character is a tough thing to figure out. However, Pikachu stands out as the best for a number of reasons.

First, Pikachu has a lot of fast aerials, and against a number of characters on the roster, his moves come out so fast and have so little lag that effectively, he cannot be punished. This makes pressuring the opponents shield safe and incredibly easy.

Second, Pikachu’s now infamous “pancakes” mean that during the animation of certain attacks, his hurt box shrinks so that even during unsafe moves where he theoretically could be punished, he often times is not. In situations where this happens, it often times means the pikachu gets to go back on the offensive because the opponent whiffed an attack.

Lastly, Pikachu’s combo game is second to none. Those who are familiar with the character competitively are likely also familiar with his “lighting loops” a drag down combo consisting of a grab down-throw, nair drag, up tilt and then repeat.

Pikachu not only competes with the best, but often beats them by a lot.

Shulk in High Tier

Those who pay attention to competitive “Smash Ultimate” are probably aware of Shulk’s continued rise to prominence. Originally starting in the meta as a high-mid tier, players such as Nicko and Kome have proven Shulk’s power again and again. As such his position has raised significantly among both pro opinion and tournament results.

However, new tech that was discovered more recently, as explained in the video above, allows Shulk to perform techniques such as L-cancelling and wave-dashing, techniques that are only available in two other smash games, Melee and Project+. While Shulk is currently held back by his more lag ridden aerials and poor movement, if pro players were to master these techniques, it is possible he could move even higher up.

Young Link in High Tier

Many players saw promise in Young Link upon the games release. His quick projectiles and low lag aerials made him, at least theoretically, one of the best characters in the game.

However, as time went on, many lost faith, and as a result, was not valued as highly. After a recent patch blessed the character with many new buffs, including now a forward throw that can kill near the ledge fairly early, and a recent top 8 placement at Frostbite 2020, players are again changing their minds about the character.


Do any of you play Smash Ultimate? If so, which characters do you enjoy playing? 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!