Category Archives: Initial Results

Initial Results: My Dress-Up Darling

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It is officially that time of the season. Now that a couple episodes are out for basically every show that is airing, we will be taking a look at what Winter 2022 has to offer, and whether or not it will be worth finishing them. First up on that list is My Dress-Up Darling, a show that has an extremely interesting concept, as it feels like a fairly unexplored angle given anime’s often self-referential culture. So, how does this show stack up so far?

Well, tbh, not great. Do not get me wrong, I absolutely want to like this series. As far as the character arcs are concerned, everything is going nicely. Gojo is set up as the weird, introverted kid with no sense of social awareness in contrast with Kitagawa, whose social life and friends, as far as Gojo is concerned, just seem to come naturally.

However, where I find myself wary of My Dress-Up Darling is in Gojo’s larger personality failures. This could honestly just be chalked up to personal preference, but something about how he is portrayed as a total loser is just kind of annoying at this point. The whole teasing trend across female main characters such as Uzaki and Nagatoro that has been rising in popularity recently just feels a bit antithetical to what its story is trying to accomplish.

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Gojo very obviously wants to enjoy a life in which other people accept him and his hobbies for what they are, and Kitagawa is an understanding person who does not know how to realize her hobbies. Thus, it feels a little weird to spend almost an entire episode just focusing on weird he feels about taking her measurements for an outfit.

Outside of that philosophical gripe, though, there is plenty of potential here. The animation and character designs are pretty as hell, with Kitagawa being the standout. Normally I would say anitwitter fawning over a character is unjustified, but in this case, it makes a lot of sense. Even the designs for the unnamed background characters stand out a lot more than in other shows, so points for that I guess.

The music overall feels pretty meh. While there is certainly no stand-out awful track, there is also nothing incredibly interesting either. The only exception to this is ED which I actually mess with quite a bit. Here is to hoping that it comes on streaming services soon.

Overall, while the series is, at least right now, being dragged down by a fairly awful second episode, it has plenty of room to bounce back. My recently having finished the second season of The Promised Neverland has left me without a lot of faith in Cloverworks, but hopefully, they can pull themselves back up and finish strong.


How do you all feel about My Dress-Up Darling? 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 shoutout as always to our patron Jenn, the support is much appreciated!

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

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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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Initial Results: Sonny Boy

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Alright, I’m gonna be real honest, I still cannot take this show’s name seriously. I’m sure there is a specific reason for it, but it honestly just reminds me of older people who talk like its the 1950s lmao. Idk if there’s a slightly different connotation in the Japanese title, but man is it funny.

“Sonny Boy” focuses on a class of high school seniors who, for whatever reason, have been transported to an alternate dimension. Additionally, an unknown amount of these students have gained supernatural powers that allow them to alter reality. At the center of this story is Nagara, an easy-going nobody who appears to not have any powers, but who has attracted the attention of another girl named Nozomi. The students attempt to uncover the strange rules of these worlds while also looking for a way home.

In all seriousness though, an anime like “Sonny Boy” is one that I really get a craving for on occasion. There is, of course, the ever looming mystery of where they even are and how they got there. Then factor in these strange powers that range from somewhat useful to incredibly powerful, and there is already a ton worth being invested in.

The thing that interests me the most, however, is where the focus of the story and characters often lies. It feels weird to call it this, but with most isekai stories of today, the majority of the time is spent on the main character’s “conquering” of the particular world in which they’ve been summoned to. Not only are there a ton more characters in the same situation, the “world” they’ve appeared is actually more like a seemingly unknown number of worlds, with each actor in it being important to what is happening.

“Sonny Boy” also does not take for granted the implications of being transported into a completely new place with no rules. Quite the opposite, the series is laser-focused on the breakdown of societal norms and how the changing of the rules which govern society effect people’s behavior, or in some cases, don’t. These kinds of narratives are fun because they question the fundamental assumptions that we have about the world, and how easily something everyone assumes is an unbreakable rule can just as easily be thrown out the window.

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I am not particularly fond of the way the term “fallen off” gets thrown around as criticism of media, but it does appear as though Madhouse has been slowing down their production schedule in the last few years. How much of that was caused by the pandemic versus general changes is something I am not aware, but needless to say that “Sonny Boy” has not suffered because of it. The animation looks incredible, and has a more off-putting style that feels in line with the absurd nature of the show.

Overall, while I can’t say I was expecting a whole lot before I started watching it, I certainly am now. Like I’ve said previously, “Wonder Egg Priority” has pretty much ruined my confidence in making predictions on quality, but I would be genuinely surprised at this point if the show doesn’t end up as one of the better ones to come out this year.


“How do you feel about “Sonny Boy?” 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: The Aquatope on White Sand

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Imagine finally getting the thing you have been working your entire life for, only to have it given away to someone else. Fuuka dreamt of being an idol ever since she was a kid, and now that dream is gone. With nothing better to do, she takes a trip to Okinawa, walks the beautiful coastline with luggage in hand, and falls asleep on the beach. A day later, she finds herself inside the city’s local aquarium, and meets the high-school aged summer director Kukuru. Fuuka’s strange adventure is only just beginning.

To be honest, I was not sure what to expect from this series. Not only am I not as familiar with P.A. Works as a studio, I am barely familiar with the show’s writer Yuko Kakihara. Sure, I have seen a bit of “Chihayafuru” and “Cells at Work,” but outside of that I was a bit lost. Luckily, though, the series’ first two episodes have given me a lot of hope as far as expectations go.

The pacing did seem a bit off at first. After all, she spends the whole first episodes running around, and only has a serious discussion with Kukuru at the end of the second. Thankfully, however, Myanimelist has the series at 24 episodes. This means that, unlike a certain disappointment from a few seasons ago, *cough cough* “Wonder Egg Priority *cough cough* there should be plenty of time for character development and backstory.

As far as the overall story goes, I am a big fan of this set-up. The idea of working hard only to have that work not matter is one that is not only relatable, but allows the idea of starting life over again to flow naturally from it. At least as far as I am aware, the idol industry is a legitimately hard one to be successful in, so this kind of story makes sense. mirroring that, it is not at all the surprising to hear that smaller businesses are struggling to keep up with the cost of staying afloat, let alone make a profit.

Something else that makes sense about the series is the blue coloring that influences the series animation. From the oceans, to the color of the aquarium, even down to the wet suits and the school uniforms. Everything has a blue aura about it which matches the scenery and subject matter. P.A. Works also did this with “Nagi no Asukara,” and both shows are definitely better for it.

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Overall, even with just a couple episodes out, there is a lot here to like. I will not make the mistake of hyping it up to any extreme, but if “The Aquatope on White Sand” stays on track, it will turn out pretty good.


How do you feel about “The Aquatope on White Sand” so far? 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!

Shadows House First Impressions

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

*crawls out of bed*

“good morning everyone, today we’ll be studying a primary source in order to investigate the effects of sleep deprivation”

*waves hands over to me*

Yeah, so I have absolutely no idea what’s been going on with me recently, needless to say that sleeping for 12+ hours a day has not done a whole lot for my productivity. I guess in some ways I can actually relate to the main character of “Shadows House” a lot because, much like Emilico thus far, I have absolutely not a clue what is going on. The show itself also seems to be a bit disoriented, but not necessarily in a bad way. So, after watching three episodes of “Shadows House” thus far, here are my first impressions.

A drama, mystery series like this is inevitably going to spend much of its opening raising a lot of questions while making the audience privy to very few answers. This, of course, helps to build a lot of suspense and tension between different characters. “Lord Grandfather,” The “Debut,” “Living Dolls” and their relationships to their “Shadows.” All of these things have been explained on a surface level, but not much beyond that.

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We as the audience learn much of this from the perspective of Emilico, a new born living doll who serves Kate, who appears to be one of the younger Shadows living in this Shadow House. Emilico makes a lot of sense as the eyes and ears of this story. Seeing as how she is knew to this world, she does not have the same ingrained assumptions that other dolls or shadows have about this world, even despite the other dolls attempt to indoctrinate her into this cult of loyalty towards this mysterious “Shadow Family.” This makes her a perfect contrast as we explore the world for the first time alongside her.

There is also a lot of interesting metaphors built into the story itself. For example, their is the most immediate one which is divide of light and dark created by the shadows and the dolls. While Light and dark imagery is not new to storytelling, it is interesting that this contrast is being used to highlight nobility during a time when they would have been extremely powerful, even more so than today. Whether this critique is intended to be explicitly anti-wealth probably requires a bit more time, but it does appear to be trending in that direction.

CloverWorks has had a pretty good track record in the last few years, at least as far as animation goes. I am still reminded of those incredibly expressive scenes in the first episode of “The Promised Neverland.” As far as “Shadows House” goes, the animation has been fairly good quality. The scene with Rosemary being overtaken by scars was high intensity and engaging in pretty much all of the right ways.

Overall, “Shadows House” has been a great series as of episode three. If my recent experience with “Wonder Egg Priority” has taught me anything, though, its that their is always plenty of time to mess a series up, so only time will tell.


How do you all feel about “Shadows House?” 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!

So I Started Watching Toradora! Again…

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Being as ill-prepared as a I usually am, I kind of totally forgot about Valentine’s Day until literally the day before. Because of that, I did not actually have any kind of holiday related post planned, so think of this as my extremely late and now totally irrelevant Valentine’s day post. Yeah? Cool.

So, I was like really in my feels right-

Sorry, my inner gen Z just came out, anyway,

Man, I was feelin down bad-

Sorry, happened again.

Not being in an active relationship makes Valentine’s Day a little awkward for a lot of people. After all, what are you even celebrating at that point? Personally, I spent the day hanging with a couple of friends and then meeting a few co-workers at their house for some drinks and games. But, I also have the habit of thinking about things that bother me for way to long, and of watching re-watching shows that end up matching my mood. I hope you can see where I am going with this…

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So yeah, I started re-watching “Toradora” and, well…its alright. I also have the tendency to make a lot of conclusions about shows before I get to the end of them. Granted, it is a little different because I am vaguely aware of what happens, but the last time I watched the show was the middle of high school…there are a lot of things I am still missing.

This is more or less going to end up as a “first impressions” type of post, so lets just go good and then bad. For starters, the animation is a lot more fluid in certain scenes than I remember. Slice of life/Romance anime tend to get chewed out the least for sub-par animation because the storytelling often does not require it outside a couple of really important scenes. However, shows like “Kaguya-Sama” are definitely upping the anti in that respect, even if the romance in that series is not the primary component.

Still, for what it is, the series does really well. There are definitely a lot of movement heavy scenes even in the first couple of episodes, and the quality stays fairly consistent throughout.

The show also has a solid, albeit fairly unimpressive soundtrack. While there are not any tracks that stand out in particular, the moments where the soundtrack needs to be present it is there, and sounds fairly good all things considered. The first opening song, “Pre-Parade,” performed by the three main female voice actresses, is also a catchy bit of j-pop that helps to sell the idea that its main characters, Taiga and Ryuuji, are both calm and collected but also both a total mess. At least musically that is what it sounds like.

Actually, hold on let me read the lyrics…ok well its actually more about Taiga, but the general idea still stands.

Since I had originally watched the series before there was a dub, or at least before I knew about it, I decided to give the English version a try and…maybe I should have just re-watched it in Japanese.

Ok, ok, that is a little harsh. After all, Cassandra Lee Morris honestly does an amazing job portraying Taiga as the feisty asshole she is, and also appropriately gives her voice the more high pitched tone you might associate with her stature. As for everyone else, well, they did fine. Since I am not as familiar with dubs as I used to be, its hard to gauge any of the actors performances against their other ones. That is, aside from Johnny Yong Bosch, who sounds pretty average all things considered.

Its hard to say what exactly my feelings are on the show, but it feels safe to make the statement that my overall view of the show, at least for now, has gone down slightly. Whether its the high school mellow-drama or the really odd story choices, I am unsure of. However, if I do decide to finish the series, I will be sure to give a more detailed summation.


How do you all feel about “Toradora?” Let me know in the comments. Also, fellow bloggers Moya and NegativePrimes finished an extensive write up of the series around the middle of last year, one that I plan on reading relatively soon. So, if you’re looking for more in-depth analysis, be sure give that a read as well.

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: Wonder Egg Priority

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hey, so remember how I have said for a while now that “The Promised Neverland” holds the spot for best first episode of all time? Yeah, there might just be a new contender in the category.

CloverWorks feels like a rising start when it comes to animation studios, in much the same way the MAPPA did half a decade prior. They have certainly proven themselves time and time again, with shows like “Bunny Girl Senpai” and “The Promised Neverland” already under their belt, and with a solid start to this season’s “Horimiya.” I give the credit to the studio as a whole with regards to “Wonder Egg Priority” for the simple fact that, outside of a scant list of episode credits, director Shin Wakabayashi has little to nothing under his belt.

This is not to say that he is doing a bad job, far from it. In fact, much in the same way that I felt like “The Promised Neverland” was an easy contender for anime of the year at the beginning of 2019, This series is clearly positioned in the same way. With that being said, lets discuss some of the reasons why.

Bullying is a topic that gets brought up a lot in anime, and I think for good reason. A lot of anime is targeted at kids, and bullying in school just so happens to be an issue that kids can relate to, so it makes sense. However, bullying is rarely ever as minor of an issue as someone getting pushed on the playground. In fact, it can often times result in someone’s suicide, which is the situation our main character Ai Ohto finds herself in, as she attempts to bring her friend Koito back to life by saving other girls from their trauma.

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The through line in “Wonder Egg Priority” is that all of its main characters have lost someone to suicide, and it is implied, though not directly stated, which I suspect will come into play much later, that by buying eggs and saving the girls inside them they will eventually be able to bring their late friends and family back to life. The most interesting cases so far are Ai herself, whose friend is implied to have been caught up in a scandal with the school councilor, along with Momoe, a masculine presenting girl who seems to have lost her first girlfriend after she confessed to her.

While its safe to say that most would probably put this under the genre label of magical girl, and while it does seem to borrow a bit from shows like “Madoka Magica” the series has already come very much into its own. there are a lot of shows that bring up the topics of bullying and abuse, but very rarely is it done well. The best example that comes to mind is the second season of “March Comes in Like a Lion.” What a lot of people tend to forget is that stuff like this often happens in silence, with very few people aware of what is actually going on, which is why it makes sense that the girls are transported to a dreamlike world to fight the enemies which are appropriately named “Seeno Evils.”

The show’s main character, Ai Ohto, is also extremely well written. In particular, her Heterochromia is an excellent visual characteristic that accomplishes a number of things. First, it gives her an immediate, stand out characteristic that makes the show that much more memorable. Because of this, it would also explain pretty reasonably why she would got bullied, as kids tend to latch on to things that are different about one another.

Lastly, her eyes serve as a great visual metaphor for a number of things, including how she can see both the real world and this new and exciting dream world, and how these can often blend together in dangerous ways. It could also represent the two different versions of herself that she sees, one that is a victim and one that is a savior.

How such an insanely good series came together is seemingly out of nowhere is still a ways beyond me. But, I will say this much: Given its current trajectory, this is on course to be an amazing series, and maybe even one of my favorites. However, only time will tell.


How do you all feel about “Wonder Egg Priority?” 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!

Higurashi is Scary, and Yes That is Surprising

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It’s no surprise that most horror anime tend to be underwhelming at best when it comes to actually being scary or intimidating. As I have talked about before, there are many inherent limitations that animation has when it comes to penetrating our sense of reality, the main one being that, and the end of the day, they are just drawings. Drawings, at least most of the time, are not scary.

This rings just as true for the original “Higurashi,” as it was limited both by the production quality of mid-2000’s Studio Deen, as well as a lack of overall frames, making the animation even less expressive. While there were still some good moments in the original, it just did not get the adaptation the series needed to achieve its goal. The same holds for the series’ follow-up, “Higurashi: Kai.”

However, Studio Passione is back in force for the…sequel? yeah, so apparently I missed a lot in regards to the specific storyline of the series, as I, along with most of the community were under the impression that this was going to be a remake of the first season. The scene with Rika at the beginning of the second episode made that abundantly clear. Guess I should have finished “Kai,” huh?

Whether or not one is fully caught up on the lore of the “Higurashi” universe is irrelevant to the fact that “Higurashi: Gou” is a strict upgrade, at least in terms of the animation.

For starters, the lighting of the series does a much better job at contrasting the brighter colors of the show’s opening episode with the darker moments that come only 20-30 minutes later. This is most evident in the scenes where Keiichi and Rena are at the trash yard together trying to get out the Kernel Sanders statue, when the glowing red sunset fades into ominously into pitch black.

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There is also the character’s themselves that move much more often. The scene that demonstrates this the best is when Keiichi confronts Rena on their way home, asking if her and the others have been hiding anything from her. Rena goes from her sweet, innocent Persona to her real self in a matter of seconds, completely changing the tone of her voice. On top of that, the way her body is animated makes it look as if she slithers next to Keiichi, looking up at him from below. It happens so fast that it legitimately scared me, but in a way that does not feel like a cheap jump scare.

Still, there have been plenty of welcome changes outside of the animation as well. The one that I noticed most immediately was the symbolic repetition of certain actions as a way of provoking certain scenes in the show. In the first episode, it shows the fate of everyone at the end of the rotation, with everyone accept Keiichi dead, and him violently swinging what looks to be a bat on Rena. The show uses various different instances, whether it be him using a saw to get the statue out for Rena, or Rika’s ceremonial dance, to further remind us of what will happen to those characters.

While I would not say it is a strict improvement, the soundtrack definitely does a great job at setting the tone. The new opening also reintroduces the characters well and has a killer music track to boot.

Overall, there is a lot to like about “Higurashi: Gou,” and despite not being fully caught up with the series myself, although that might change by the time this comes out, I am fully invested in this new season and look forward to the insanity to come.


How do you guys feel about the new “Higurashi?” 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 for #Animexchange: Natsume’s Book of Friends

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It’s not often that I watch show’s based on other people’s recommendation. Anime recently has just been this kind of bump around in the dark experience where I don’t really keep up with trends and just sort of pick what looks interesting. While I am trying to change that and get back into more recent stuff, I decided to take part in Jon’s #animexchange discord event, and let someone else take the wheel for just a little bit longer. By someone, of course, I mean the the lovely and always charming Irina, who decided to recommend me one of her favorite series: “Natsume’s Book of Friends.”

The show features the aforementioned Natsume and his struggle to fit in because of his ability to see “strange things.” These “strange things” are actually youkai, spirits found in Japanese folklore that, in this case, just happen to be real. After releasing the youkai named Madara, Natsume learns from him that his grandmother Reiko battled youkai and kept the names of those she defeated in the book of friends, which gives anyone who owns it control over those youkai. Natsume then decides that the right thing to do is to release the names of these spirits, and by extension give them back their freedom, and pursues this with the help of Madara.

There is certainly a lot to like about Natsume. However, at the same time, this post will probably end up being a lot shorter only because, well, I don’t actually have much to say about it. Natsume, for example, while being underdeveloped so far, definitely has the potential to be a really good character. The story of someone who has faced isolation for their whole life and who now has a purpose outside of normal society is one that I think a lot of people can relate to, at least in a more abstract way.

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This also makes sense as it relates to his reverence of his grandmother, who was the only person similar to him in his family. While it is clear that the two have very different ideological approaches to the existence of youkai, the ability to see them inevitably binds them together, which makes for a unique tension between past and present.

However, episodic shows have always had the problem of having a bit of inherent slow burn built into them, as the overarching is usually split across a lot of episodes. Now, if the overall premise and characters are interesting enough, this usually does not become a problem. For me, though, something about the series just is not clicking. Its entirely possible that the three episode rule is just broken and that I need to give the series just a bit more time to really crank up, but something about it just is not as appealing as I feel it should be.

It might also have to do with the show’s animation. I legitimately cannot tell if it is just Crunchyroll’s player or if this is how the show actually looks, but the series feels just a bit to bright a lot of the time. Its hard to concentrate on the story at hand when everything looks three shades whiter than what it should be. From what I can tell, the newer seasons have seemingly corrected this, but for now its a problem that is really plaguing my enjoyment of the show.

Overall, while the show is enjoyable enough, and I definitely plan on at least getting to twelve episodes, I am not sure how much more I will watch beyond that. Still, nine episodes is a lot of time for the show to grow and develop, so I will not give up on it yet.


How do you all feel about Natsume? Let me know in the comments below.

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