Category Archives: Anime/Manga

More Anime Soundtracks to Put in Your Playlist

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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


Welcome back, tourists.

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

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

“Wonder Egg Priority” – Music by De De Mouse

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

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

“Bleach” – Music by Shiro Sagisu

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

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

“Your Name” – Music by RADWIMPS

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

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Romance Anime, “Golden Time,” and Amazing Drama

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


Hot take: most romance anime are not particularly good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Best Anime for Halloween

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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


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

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

Another

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

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

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

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

The Promised Neverland

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

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

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

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

Higurashi: When They Cry (2006)

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

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

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

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

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

Soul Eater

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Three Great Anime Soundtracks Everyone Should be Listening to

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


Welcome back, tourists. 

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

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

“Made in Abyss” – Music by Kevin Pinken

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

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

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“Re:Creators” – Music by Hiroyuki Sawano

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

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

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

“Carole and Tuesday” – Music by Mocky

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Initial Results: Komi Can’t Communicate

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Initial Results: Blue Period

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Dealing with Mental Burnout

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Anime and the Environment

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You ever just think about how are existence on this planet is becoming increasingly fragile and that human activity is largely contributing to our own demise? Yeah, me too. The amount of immediate world issues that are important tend to overshadow environmental policy, even during a time when these issues are too crucial to ignore. Luckily, the lineage of great anime directors seem to understand their importance. In my column for this week, I touch on Anime’s environmental messages. Enjoy!


If the quarantine regarding COVID-19 has revealed anything, it is that human impact on the environment is still at an all-time high. The empty roads, the parks littered with trash and gas stations are all a reminder that humans have, for the better but mostly for the worse, altered the planet to suit our needs, causing pollution and the rise of man-made climate change. 

While its oftentimes quirky and abundantly random nature may make it an odd choice for messages about the environment, directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai have already used anime as a way to warn people about the importance of environmental awareness.

Miyazaki’s work on this topic goes back to his earliest films working as a director. In “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” Nausicaa attempts to learn the secrets of an ancient forest that has been attempting to communicate with her. However, she has to do so before the kingdom of Tolmekia succeeds in wiping it out for good. The film subtly represents the idea that humans are not above nature, but rather a part of it.

A similar concept appears in Ghibli and Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” where a young prince named Ashitaka must find a cure for a disease given to him by a demon. After journeying to a place called Irontown, he finds out that the mining and crafting of iron products have polluted the nearby area and made the spirits of the surrounding forest angry. Again the film shows a conflict between humans who wish to alter the environment for selfish gain and nature itself. 

Rising star and director of the 2016 hit film “Your Name” has also contributed to environmental consciousness. His latest film “Weathering with You” features a story about a girl named Hina who gains the power to control the weather. However, after using her powers in order to make money, she is forced to join the sky with the weather spirits, although not before being rescued by Hodoka, a boy who recently moved to Tokyo. 

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As a result of not paying the price for her powers, Tokyo becomes cursed with constant rain, leaving much of the city underwater. These depictions of a new dystopian world reflect the director’s concern for climate change, not just as a threat to nature but as a threat to human existence. 

However, these depictions of human impact on the environment in anime are not surprising given the cultural context of Japan. Ever since Japan’s emergence as a world leader on environmental policy in the late 1980s, its government has continued to emphasize reducing citizen impact on the environment.

Much of this has been done by introducing recycling in major metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo, as well as across the country. Japan has also asked private businesses to consider the environmental impact of their day-to-day operations. They have even gone as far as to introduce a number of voluntary programs and campaigns encouraging citizens to participate.

While it is true that younger people are increasingly skeptical of the government’s efforts, many in Japan are of the opinion that environmental regulations should be stronger, not weaker. 

It seems common knowledge at this point, but the media people consume can affect their positions on political issues. Even though environmental issues can seem far removed from people’s everyday lives, they are an ever-looming presence that is inescapable. Both Miyazaki’s and Shinkai’s films are not only great entertainment but emphasize one of the defining issues of this generation.   


How do you all feel about these issues? Are you fans of Ghibli and Shinkai? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Observation Deck: My Hero Academia Season Five

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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You thought it was someone who posts consistently? It was actually me, DIO!

Anyway, outdated references aside, hope you all have been well while I’m away. At least, as well as anyone can be doing right now. Regardless, I finally got the chance to catch up on some anime over the weekend and it was, first and foremost, at very much needed relaxer for myself. College is hard, especially when the productivity sirens are constantly blaring in your head despite having zero energy to actually accomplish anything. What I have managed to accomplish is finishing season five of “My Hero Academia,” and I want to talk about it.

What is Peace?

One of my favorite video essays on YouTube is actually about “My Hero Academia,” and given how the last season has played out, with its refocus on the League of Villains and Meta Liberation Army, it feels worthwhile to talk about. Pause and Select’s “Boku no Hero Academia and Peace” discusses how All Might, serving as the symbol of peace, not only upholds society on a day to day level, but himself serves as a goal, or what he describes as a metanarrative, around which people build there worldviews. This metanarrative of peace, rather than any particular ideology, serves as the object of Shigaraki’s, as well as many other villain’s, hatred.

It becomes that much more obvious then, as he explains, that peace could be a stand in for a number of things: justice, preservation, etc. The important thing is that their is a metanarrative to stand for or against, rather than what that metanarrative is exactly. What struck me as most interesting while re-watching it is that contrast, that villains are defined not by an ideology per se, but by their opposition to peace. This has become even more true after the last arc, where Shigaraki has not only powered up his quirk, but has undergone a sort of transformation.

This transformation, which occurred during his fight with Re-Destro, had him realize that his vision for society was non-existent, and that he does not need a future because the present is all that matters. What really matters for Shigaraki, symbolized by his evolving quirk, is destruction. This arc not only had some deep ideological implications for the villains, but also characterized them in a way that was both incredibly dramatic and deeply humanizing. Twice’s backstory, in particular, was a testament to the idea that the villains in this series are often a product of environment rather than a representative of some inherent evil.

Meta Liberation

Speaking of not being inherently evil, the meta liberation army was another important part of the season’s narrative. A group that is initially presented as “just another villain group” turns out to be a rather unique allegory for the real world.

The series spends a fair amount of time discussing the era in which having a “quirk,” was not only not normal, but actively despised by the majority. This lead to many people with quirks being attacked by those without. A man named Destro eventually rose up to help those with quirks be allowed to freely use them. The movement ultimately became violent, and was squashed by the government at the time, but many still held onto their beliefs.

It is interesting how this group is cast in the villain role and, again, I think they are treated to some dynamic characterization. Still, despite being fairly sympathetic in their quest to give equality to those with quirks, they are still ultimately thwarted by the League of Villains, who forces them to come together under one umbrella. The final fight between Shigaraki and Re-Destro was somehow fairly slow paced but also incredibly exciting, as the devolution of Shigaraki’s character lent the fight to a build-up of anticipation and stakes.

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Oh Wait, This is About High School Kids

It would not be “My Hero” without the band of dorks that 15-year-old cosplayers love to dress up as (no disrespect though, just really funny that there are so many).

Seeing as how most of the cast was not the major focus of the season, it makes sense they would not get as much screen time. Even so, the initial team matches are a great way to show off the character’s skill development between the previous season and now. Shinsou was a a great highlight in this regard, as his appearance in season two left a lot to be desired. But, his participation in the hero matches and evolution as a hero under Aizawa’s teaching was a great addition to the season.

There is also a lot to be said of Deku, Bakugou, and especially Shouto’s development during the season as well. Finding out that Deku had access to the quirks of all his successors, the first one being “Black Whip” was hype., to say the least. The explosion of that power during the initial team battles felt like a serious awakening in him, with Deku realizing that beating Shigaraki and One for All would mean unlocking all of these powers and controlling them successfully.

The story of Shouto’ s relationship with his father has always been a rather complex one. This has become even more evident over the last season, as Endeavor now feels regret for his actions, but is also unable to connect with Shouto, or the rest of his family, in a serious way. While Shouto seems to be approaching a place of forgiveness, Natsu is not. On top of that, it is hard to imagine that his wife will want anything to do with Endeavor given how he treated her in the past. The initial comparisons of Shouto’s character to Zuko of “Avatar,” while done jokingly, seem fairly apt given his development.

Solid Animation, as Usual

The problem with talking about the animation of “My Hero Academia” is that there is not that much I can say that has not already been said by me or others. While it is not bad, it is also not particularly exciting in any way. The main exception of this is, of course, the beautiful moments of Sakuga that the series is well known for. Though there were not as many in this season as in previous ones, some shout outs do have to have to go out to Iida and Shouto during their match, and to the already discussed Shigaraki and Re-Destro fight.

Conclusion

Though I do not know if it reaches the same heights that season two did for me, season five was certainly a welcome change of pace that introduced a number of new storylines while also developing some previously established ones in a big way. With “My Hero” being the big series that it is, it would be easy for a studio like Bones to cut corners, but luckily they have continued to put their effort into this series and it shows. Those who are at all a fan of the series should continue on to season five.


How do you all feel about “My Hero Academia?” Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Top 5 Least Favorite Anime (As of September 2021)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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yeah, yeah, I get it, I’m lazy

*insert joke about not being able to stick to a schedule here*

Listen, school is hard, okay? 😦

In all seriousness though, it has been hard to keep the energy to both read hundreds of pages a week in class material while also keeping up with reading and writing in the blog sphere, it just is. But, hopefully I can get back into some routine, even if its just a couple posts a week as opposed to three or four. For today though, since I did my favorite anime of all time, I thought I would cover the flipside of things. The reason it is five and not also 10 like the other post is because, in all honest, I have not watched that many series which I would consider my least favorite. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, some of these might come as a surprise, and others not so much.

Just to reiterate, as well, these are my least favorite, and not the shows I think are the worst, although for some those do overlap. With that being said, lets get started.

5. My Mental Choices Are Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy

Its not so much that this show is bad as it is embarrassingly and uninteresting. The entire gimmick of being forced to make strange choices and then being forced to deal with their consequences is entertaining up to a point, but even though the series is only 10 episodes long, it gets old by about halfway through. Add on top of that the lack of anything notable as far as characters, animation, or music goes, and you’ve got a recipe for something pretty unlikable. I wouldn’t say its aggressively unlikeable, which is why its only at number five, but still pretty bad.

4. Rosaria + Vampire

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I could honestly just copy and paste the last paragraph here and replace the decision making gimmick with the monster school and call it a day. Rosario + Vampire falls into that category things I watched as a teenager when I was slightly horny, and while it never god so bad as to be awful, it also never really achieved anything across two seasons. There was the occasionally funny gag, and Mizore was fairly entertaining every time she appeared on screen, but really I am reaching at this point. If I would not sit through 10 episodes again, I certainly would not sit through 24.

3. Seven Deadly Sins

If the first two shows on this list could be described as meh, then this is where I get to the point of actively disliking series. “Seven Deadly Sins” not only fails to stand out as a unique entry in the Shonen genre, but also fails in *checks notes* not having the main character grope an underage girl every episode…yeah. Meliodas as a main character is just all around obnoxious and not really interesting to have on screen. On top of that, the “cool” moments he has are few and far between. There is a reason that this show ended up as one of the worst on my Shonen tier list.

2. Beastars

Those who have been reading me at all recently have probably seen me complain about this series at least, probably more. What’s even crazier to me is how much praise is coming to “Beastars” even from casual fans. Like, the furry anime nerds I could understand getting a kick out of this, but the less context one has about anime as a whole the worse the series becomes. I will not go over too many of my complaints here again, but those who are reading this and have been on the fence about whether to watch it: take this as a warning.

1. Pupa

When I first started conceptualizing this list internally, I thought “surely there cannot be anything I like less than ‘Beastars,’ right?” Then, I remembered that “Pupa” exists. This 2014 horror anime, along with being my least favorite series, also has the distinction of having one of the lowest scores on MyAnimeList at a whapping 3.35 as of the writing of this post. it is not normally the case that I defer to MyAnimeList when it comes to anime opinions, but in this case the nail has been hit right on the head. I feel like I might use the phrase “aggressively awful” a bit to much, but it is most certainly warranted here. Also probably the worst thing Studio Deen has ever produced, and that is saying a lot.


What are some of your least favorite anime? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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