Category Archives: Observation Deck

Final Thoughts: Voltron Legendary Defenders

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

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

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

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.

Kun

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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

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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!