Category Archives: Observation Deck

Final Thoughts: Bokurano

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well, it took about half a year, but, after a lot of dragging my feet and then finally getting bored one night and deciding to watch the last three episodes, I have finally finished Bokurano, and…wow.

For those who don’t know, Bokurano is tells the story of 15 kids who, one day during summer vacation, discover a strange machine sitting inside a cave on the beach. The machine says their needs to be 15 people to play an unspecified “game.” However, the kids soon realize that the game entails fighting in a giant robot one at a time against other giant robots, and then dying after piloting said robot. These 15 kids are now in a contract they can’t escape.

The Animation/CG

My initial thought is that it might not be fair to compare the show’s animation and CG to other shows, especially since it was made by Gonzo, a studio that was known for the hit or miss quality of its shows. But then I remembered that Bones is a studio that existed at the same time, and was making shows like Eureka Seven that are more than double the episode length of Bokurano and look significantly better throughout. Still, I can’t get to mad. The show looks fine enough and the only part that really bothered me was when they reused CG fight scenes towards the end.

Hot Takes: Jun Edition

Jun is honestly the biggest piece of shit in this entire series aside from Koemushi and low key kind of deserved to die. Like, the kid was continually an abusive piece of shit to his sister all throughout their childhood and was just being an edge-lord for attention.

Parallel Universes and Bokurano’s Story

I’ve always like the idea of parallel universes in stories because it means there is a potential to explore a lot more of the story’s lore. It Bokurano’s case, it is really interesting to think about the millions of potential alternate earths in which kids are suddenly taken away from their home in order to fight in a giant robot and then just die. I could see their being a lot of cool spin offs wit h this setup.

Descending into Sadness

Aside from Jun, a lot of the characters in Bokurano had legitimately heartbreaking stories. Chizuru is the most obvious right off the bat, but then there were characters like Daiichi, who was trying to provide for his family as best he could, only to come to the realization that after piloting Zearth, he would no longer be able to.

Overall, though, good series.

Have you guys seen Bokurano? How do you all feel about it? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider supporting me on Ko-fi, or using one of my affiliate links down below:

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Final Thoughts: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

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Another anime, another final thoughts. However, it would be a lie to say that this show in particular is just another final thoughts, because, in reality, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a show that I don’t think I will be forgetting for a long time. In fact, even as I am writing this post now, I don’t know if I could find the right words to describe it. Emotional gripping might be the best way to describe it, but even that fails to express fully just how much this show made me feel about myself and about what it is I want out of life. With that being said though, here are my final thoughts.

Sorata and Having a Unique Main Character

One thing I will absolutely admit up front is that my initial impression of the show was far from accurate. By far one of the things I like most about this show is just how much more interesting the main character is than most other slice of life romances I have seen. Sorata definitely gave me a bland, uninteresting taste in the first episode, but as the series moved on he developed into an equally interesting character compared to those around him.

More specifically, I appreciate that a lot of the focus around not just Sorata, but all of the show’s main cast was there focus on achieving their goals and pursuing their passions, even to the point of compromising their own sanity and health sometimes. Now, I am not advocating that people literally kill themselves over trying to accomplish their goals, but it is was definitely preferable to have seen a cast of characters all passionate about something rather than just a bunch of bland high school idiots running around and almost confessing their feelings to each other, which brings me to my next point.

The Romance

As Karandi of 100WordAnime commented on my first reaction post, romance in the show is a lot less relevant to its overall story and themes. However, the romance that does exist in the show is actually extremely compelling, and at some points in the show, the most important things underlying their current problems.

One good example of this would be Jin and Misaki. Both of them have known each other for basically their entire lives, and it becomes fairly obvious early on in the show that the two of them like each other a lot. However, because of this, Jin puts off his feelings for Misaki during most of the show because he fears being separated from her when they graduate. This is because while Misaki plans on going to the local university, Jin wants to go to Osaka, which is about two and a half hours away.

Finding a Purpose

The last thing which makes this show so emotionally engaging to me, as I touched on above, is the way that all of the show’s main characters have something that they are passionate about outside of the usually “I love that were all friends and want to be together” thing.

To me, what makes Sorata and the rest of the cast so relatable is that, not only do they fail multiple times throughout the show, they also acknowledge in their failures that life is not fair, and will not ever be fair. The reality of life is that some people are born with more talent or more connections and are able to do things that people who are poorer or who do not have those connections need a lot more work to accomplish. Hard work is not satisfying because it is guaranteed that at a certain point you will accomplish everything you set out to do, it is satisfying because most of the time the goals people are working towards are not guaranteed. It is not guaranteed that I will ever get a book published, but I am going to work at it because I know that if I can accomplish it, I will be able to really feel proud of myself.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is truly an amazing show. What in the beginning looked like it was just going to be a somewhat serious gag comedy about an artistic genius ended up being a very serious thematic contemplation of what the real meaning of hard work is, and also a story about friendship and realizing goals together.

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Almost-Final Thoughts: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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With the end of the fall anime season also comes the end of one of my favorite anime experiences of the year: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that this show was surprisingly good. Its promotional material may have made it look like a gimmicky, uninteresting Slice-of-Life, but in reality, the and characters of the show are some that many can relate to, including me. The show still has a few episodes left until its ultimate conclusion, but there are a few things I wanted to talk about in regards to the show. If anything significant about my opinion changes, I will do a follow-up. But, until then, here are my almost-final thoughts on Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai.

The Characters

One of the defining elements of a Rom-Com Slice-of-Life show is that each of the girls in said show receives some amount of development, either in relation to their feelings with the main character or regarding themselves. Some discover their true feelings, others realize that they are satisfied with the way their life is, either way, they progress. It is not often, though, that this progression genuinely feels like it focused on the character at hand. Bunny Girl Senpai, however, has characters who do feel developed.

In each of the main arcs of the show, Sakuta helps the girls with their problems not because the show needs some sort of forward momentum but because Sakuta, as a the focal point around which the show’s plot develops, feels like a much more developed character in his own right. It is because Sakuta feels real that his expression of concern towards Mai, Futaba, and the others feels real as well.

However, this is not to imply that each of the other characters are not interesting on their own as well. Even Tomoe, who’s arc feels the weakest among all six of the main characters, still exhibits oodles more personality then the best characters from some of its other genre competitors.

A top all of the show’s characters, however, sits Mai. Being Sakuta’s main love interest she gets the most screen time and it is well deserved. Mai comes across much like the average high-schooler would: exuding a youthful confidence while also hiding some insecurities that Sakuta helps her deal with. Her back-and-forths with Sakuta are arguably one of the highlights of the show, and not to mention that she is, in fact, best girl.

Puberty Syndrome

I talked about Puberty Syndrome a little bit in a different post I wrote about Bunny Girl Senpai, but I think its something that is worth talking about again. Canonically, Puberty Syndrome is the manifestation of a teenager’s worst fears and insecurities.

To me, this is one of the best aspects of the show aside from its characters. Each of the girls has something that they are going through, and when those fears and doubts become extreme, they end up warping the reality around them. For Mai, her fear of dropping out of showbiz forever lead to the people around her, including Sakuta for a little while, forgetting who she was. In Nodoka’s case, her jealousy of Mai made her and Mai switch identities. For Sakuta’s little sister Kaede, the mean things that people at school said about her online made her feel so bad that she started getting physical injuries because of them.

In each of these character’s cases, their fear became so real that it literally became their reality, and that’s how it can feel being a teenager: like the world is coming after you and there is nothing you can do stop yourself from getting hurt. Overall, the show has been great and I hope the show’s conclusion is great as well so I don’t have to come back and writer a bunch of negative stuff too.

Final Thoughts: Voltron Legendary Defenders

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With the release of season eight, Voltron: Legendary Defenders has officially come to an end. Netflix’s adaptation of the original Voltron was raising eyebrows since its release in 2016. Now, at the show’s end, there are a lot of things to talk about.

The Ending

I’ll be completely honest, Voltron’s ending was not what I was expecting. Ever since season one, the show has always had a more jovial bent even despite its darker moments. The Voltron team faced many trials, but they always came out stronger together. Because of that, the ending hit me a lot harder than I would have ever expected. I will try to avoid saying too much as not to give away spoilers for those who have not seen it yet, but for anyone who was invested enough in the show to make it to season eight, there will probably be tears, as I can personally attest.

The Beginning

Voltron is a show that I started completely on a whim. I had never heard anything about it other than seeing people dress up as the characters at cons. Eventually, bored on a Sunday morning, I decided to watch it. Admittedly, one of the things this show has going against it is that, while the plot is fairly dynamic over the course of its eight-season run, the first season is a fairly standard monster of the week mecha romp. There is not a whole lot of incentive to stick around in the first season for those who become bored. But, passed the first season, the show becomes incredibly entertaining, with each subsequent season raising the stakes at a pace that feels reasonable and earned within the story itself. 

The Animation

I would be remiss to not mention one of the show’s best qualities: its animation. Often times anime will get criticized for having extremely low frame count animation, except during its actions scenes, as a way for the animation studio to save money. However, Studio Mir, who animated Voltron, did not get lazy. Not only are the action scenes great, both when it comes to the characters and the CGI mechs, but the animation remains fluid and interesting even when characters are not trying to kill each other. 

 The CGI especially looks fantastic against the 2D animation of Voltron. There are a lot of shows where the CGI looks absolutely horrendous and makes the show almost unwatchable, but Studio Mir absolutely knows what they are doing. 

Overall, Voltron was an extremely positive experience for me, to say the least. Its message of family and staying together even through hard times is something that, especially recently, has resonated with me. 

Final Thoughts: Mirai

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After being extremely curious about it for a while now, I finally got the chance to go see Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film, Mirai, and, well, there is quite a bit to say, so let me break it down a bit.


Mirai 2.jpg

Much of grip with the film mainly centers around Kun, so I’ll start with him. The story of Mirai follows a family who, until now, had only been three: Mom, Dad, and Kun. After bringing home a newborn baby, Kun starts to notice that all the attention that once went to him now has to go to his new baby sister Mirai, and he does not like this at all. Kun takes out his anger on everyone, hitting Mirai with his to train, calling his mom a hag, and ignoring his dad altogether. Kun continually causes problems for his parents and also tells them that he does not like Mirai. Eventually, Kun gets visited by Mirai from the future, who tells him that he should be nicer to her.

To put it frankly, Kun is annoying. Now, I know that it is not exactly groundbreaking to say that a little kid is annoying, but the point still remains. It seems like the only way that Kun could express anger was screaming at every point possible. Now, I know that this was likely the intention, and was done to make Kun seem immature, but I wish they could have leaned on at least one or two other ways of making him seem immature.

Mamoru Hosoda and Time Travel

Another thing I wanted to point out was that Mamoru Hosoda’s use of time travel as a storytelling mechanic is absolutely fantastic. One of the things that makes Kun somewhat tolerable throughout the film is that each time he gets to meet a new member of his family, he grows and understands just a little bit more. A great example of this comes from the middle of the film, where he dreams about meeting his great-grandfather, and from his great-grandfather learns how to ride both a horse and a motorcycle. This inspires Kun to learn how to ride his bike.

It is also not the first time Mamoru Hosoda has told a great story using time travel. The Girl Who Lept Through Time, which Hosoda directed in 2006, also uses time travel to tell a great story, specifically a story about a young girl who finds herself with the ability to travel through time. Hosoda’s use of time travels gives his film a kind of excitement that elevates both the story and the animation in kind.

Looking towards the Future

Mirai 3

Mamoru Hosoda’s films have always focused more on the importance of family, and in Mirai he does that in a clever way. As Kun’s father mentions in the film, Mirai’s name literally means “Future,” and most of the movie centers around Mirai. Not to give to much away, but at one point towards the end of the movie, Kun has to save Mirai. In this way, he is saving both Mirai, but also what her name represents, i.e the future. It is a neat way to tie in the main thematic element and Mirai herself together.

Have any of you seen Mirai yet? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

Final Thoughts: Made in Abyss

Welcome, weebs and uthors alike, to The Aniwriter.

I recently finished my watch through of Made in Abyss, and honestly, the first thing I need to say is… wow. Going into to the show, I was not at all expecting such a fantastic piece of art. This show has so many absolutely beautiful aspects about it that I might honestly miss something while writing this, but I’ll do my best to try and talk about everything that is worth talking about.

The Soundtrack

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I said it in my episode one review, and I will say it again, with emphasis, here: Made in Abyss has one of the best anime soundtracks period. Everything about this show’s music is absolutely breathtaking, from the way it meshes with the environment of the abyss as well characters, to the music itself just being so excellently composed.

The one song that most people who have seen the show, and even some that have not, including myself before I watched Made in Abyss, is called Hanezeve Caradhina, and features vocals from Takeshi Saito. Now, while it would be inaccurate to say that every song on the soundtrack is as good as this one, the song is fairly representative of the soundtrack as a whole. It’s a beautiful listen on its own, plus it has excellent placement within the show itself and uses that timing to bring out an emotional response that, by the end of the show, had me in tears. I gave Kevin Penkin props for his work even back during the first episode, but after seeing the whole show, he really deserves them. Great work all around.

The Lore of the Abyss

One of the things that make the show for me personally is the lore surrounding the Abyss itself. To me, a world in which one day humanity discovers a giant hole in the ground with an entirely new ecosystem that people then decide to build a society around is super fascinating.

There is also the cave raider society which I think is really interesting and in some ways also kind of disturbing. One the one hand, you have a town and an economy based on rare relics that people bring up from the ground because they are worth a lot to other people. It is fascinating to think about not only the town surrounding the Abyss but also the world outside the town, which we see virtually none of outside of a few medically ships.

There is also, however, a darker aspect to the story. The orphanage, which takes in kids yes, but then essentially forces them to become cave raiders. It is never shown in the story that they have the option of doing anything else. That may be me just grasping at straws, but it is still strange.

The curse of the Abyss is another aspect that I hope we get to learn more about as well. Sure, because of Nanachi we now know how it works, but we don’t know why it happens, or even if there is a why. What kind of natural phenomena causes something like the curse? Why does it get worse as people go down further? There is so much that we don’t know that I really want to.

Nanachi and Mitty

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I said earlier that I cried at the end of the show, and the story of Nanachi and Mitty is exactly why. As I watched the last episode, it became harder and harder to hold back tears. The last episode had more of an emotional impact on me in 49 minutes than most series have in their entire run.

Nanachi and Mitty’s story also says a lot about what the Abyss does to people. As it has done to both Riko and Reg, the Abyss forced Nanachi and Mitty to reckon with their humanity and what it even means to be human in the first place. It seems like in the Abyss, to be human is to be alive, and to be alive is to be conscious, to feel something, to feel… anything.

Riko and Reg

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I honestly do not have much to say about Riko and Reg other than that they are great main characters. They play off of each other well, and despite the beginning feeling a tad rushed, the two develop well together. They are truly great main characters to a great story.

What did you guys think about Made in Abyss? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

Final Thoughts: Re:Creators

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter. After my taking a little while to catch up on what all I’ve been missing when it comes to the world of anime and other personal hobbies, I’ve come to a conclusion: I’ve been missing a ton of good stuff, especially when it comes to anime. One of those fantastic anime that I want to talk a little bit about is Re:Creators, a show that on the surface seems like an otaku’s fantasy come to life but in actuality is a lot deeper and more relevant to today’s society than we might think.

However, instead of doing a formal review, I thought I would just take some time to write about aspects of the show I enjoyed and some that I feel the need to criticize and/or comment on. It will be similar to my reaction on the ending of March Comes in Like a Lion, just a bit more organized.

The Power of Stories

For whatever other criticism someone might have about Re:Creators, I think it’s safe to say that one thing everyone will admit is that Re:Creators understands the power of stories both on an individual level and in the context of a broader cultural mythology.

One of the ways that Re:Creators shows this is through its character’s ability to gain new powers. In the latter part of the show, Meteora, as well as the other main characters, comes to the realization that the only way for a character that has appeared in “the land of the gods” to gain new powers is to have it be excepted by large groups of the story’s fans. If the fans don’t except it as reality, then the new powers won’t materialize. The duration of the new powers is also affected by the belief in the new powers. A stronger belief in the new narrative that has been created means the new powers will last longer. In this way, Re:Creators shows that it understands that a story is only as powerful as the number of people who believe it.

This is true for basically anything that involves a narrative. Whether it be a political campaign, a conspiracy theory, and especially religion, the strength of those narratives is predicated on the number of people who accept them as truth, and when people start to accept those narratives as true, it can be hard to convince them otherwise, even if the narrative they believe is patently false.

Depression and Regret

Re:Creators main character Sota represents a character flaw as old as time that has been molded by the new age that we live in. With the power of the internet, it has become a lot easier for people to create. Whether it be writing, making music, doing crafts, or in Sota’s case, drawing, the internet has turned everyone, with the click of a few buttons and enough time, into an artist.

However, by the same token, the increase in the number of people trying to make it as artists has also made it a lot more competitive. In the age of the internet, it is no longer about the art itself per say, but whether or not it is worth someone’s time, because when there is an endless amount of free and cheap content, time becomes the most valuable resource.

This problem is exactly where the main villain Altier’s vengeance comes from, at least indirectly. Because Sota became jealous of Setsuna, he abandoned her and left her alone to face other people’s jealousy and hatred. Eventually, she felt like she had no one, and decided to end it all. Altier became an incarnation of that hatred of the world that Setsuna felt. Sure, Sota may not be directly responsible for Altier, but in a lot of ways, it was his decision that lead to her being born. Sometimes inaction can speak louder than action.

Fantasy Becoming Reality

One other thing I can appreciate about Re:Creators is how much the people who wrote the show understand what it means to create a story and characters, and just how much those narratives mean to the ones who create them. Many of the creations in the show end up forming deep bonds with their creators. Selesia and Matsubara, while not really liking each other in the beginning, come to understand and appreciate each other by the end. Alicetaria faces a similar situation with her creator but eventually comes to understand him. Even Altier did everything that she did in order to carry out what she thought was Setsuna’s wishes.

As someone who has written a couple of short stories that may or may not ever see the light of day, I understand how easy it is to get attached to the world that you are writing. As more and more detail gets put into a story, characters start to feel alive, like they could jump off the page at any minute, and that is a lot of what Re:Creators is all about. When the creations come alive, we see not just their perspective, but the perspective of their creators, the one who wrote them. To have your creations come to life only to see them disappear would at the very least, be emotional as hell.

Well, that’s all I really have to say for now. The show was absolutely incredible, and if you have not seen it yet, you need to.

What did you guys think about Re:Creators? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!