Category Archives: Opinion

Sports and Romance in Blue Box

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I feel like this is cheating since I briefly talked about Blue Box in a secondary findings post a while back, but I actually managed to catch up all the way, which as of the writing of this post is chapter 65.

For those who are still uninitiated with this manga, allow me a brief summary. Taiki is a freshman badminton player who has found himself crushing on his basketball player senpai Chinatsu because they see each other every morning before their respective practices in the gym. Upon learning that she will be moving abroad and thus will not be able to compete in her final year of basketball, Taiki works up the courage to tell her to do what she wants, and not what is dictated by her parents. Chinatsu then ambushes him with the fact that she actually is not moving, and is instead staying with a family friend. Except, that family friend is actually Taiki’s mom, and so the two begin to live together.

Whereas most authors would take that setup, let harem shenanigans ensue, and then promptly cash their checks, Koji Miura has taken a different approach. Well, I say different, but in reality, it is much more standard fair, just done really well.

Romantic comedy and sports is a weird cross-section that I have never taken much time to explore. Like, there have always been elements of it in other shows, with one character centering the sports activities because they themselves are on a team (see Lovely Complex) but I honestly cannot say much for shows where the sports and the budding romantic relationships between those players take center stage. Luckily. Blue Box manages to capitalize on this fusion in a way that, while definitely nothing innovative, is great in execution.

What strikes me the most about this series right off the bat is just how unassuming it tends to be. Taiki, for all his teenage gawking at Chinatsu, never puts his own feelings above hers, and Chinatsu is much the same way. The two very obviously develop feelings for each other, and yet they do basically nothing aside from exchanging some witty dialogue and a few awkward glances. However, where a lot of series would chalk this up to just teenage awkwardness, Blue Box subverts this trope with its focus on sports. The whole reason Chinatsu ends up staying in the first place is so she can finish school and her last two years of basketball, and part of why the two even find each other attractive to begin with is their willingness to dedicate themselves to their sports. Where characters in other high school romances get lost in their aloofness and unwillingness to admit their feelings, Taiki, Chinatsu, and to a lesser extent Hina, are much more focused on accomplishing their own goals.

I was initially going to put the word sports in huge, sarcastic quotations in the title of this post because my impression of this series is that sports were just a mechanism for having these characters meet at specific times and locations and miss each other at different times and locations. That is wrong, though. The matches and competitions that our main characters take part in are exciting and well drawn. Still, sports also serve an important thematic role, one that teaches the ideas of patience, hard work, and dedication, things that are necessary for a healthy romantic relationship. We even see this reiterated in Haryuu’s relationship with his girlfriend Karen later on in the story, which is seemingly built on the idea of putting their own pursuits ahead of their relationship, a sentiment that has become increasingly popular with younger generations.

Despite the fact that I just complimented two of them, If I could point to anywhere this has maybe been lackluster so far, it would probably be in its side characters. Kyou is probably the most immediate example of this, as his role for most of the story thus far has been one of an observer. Rarely does he intervene in any conflict, and oftentimes he is just a mediator between Taiki and Hina. Recently chapters have given him a bit more development, and even hinted at his own romantic feelings for Hina, but he still feels like an afterthought in most cases. I feel like it would have been more interesting to get a bit of backstory on the relationship between Taiki and Chinatsu’s mother at this point, but at the same time, the series is also not over yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.

So, yeah, go read it. Why are you still here?


You can tell I really mean it because I even went through the trouble of avoiding major spoilers (partly because I am also incredibly tired this week, but that is less important). Have you read this series already, though? What are your thoughts? Let me know down 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!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog and being incredibly awesome.

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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What I’m (Probably) Watching for Summer 2022

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To be honest, it does not even feel like that much time has gone by, and yet the spring season is already done. This of course means, due to the natural progression of time, that summer is on the horizon. Unfortunately, since I do not have access to Disney+ at the moment, I was not able to start or catch up on Summertime Render, but that is how life goes sometimes.

Regardless, I will be using this post to talk about what I will most likely be watching for the summer of 2022. This season is honestly incredibly stacked and so some of these might be obvious, but there are some newer shows that have promise as well.

The Devil is a Part-Timer Season Two

Like last time, I will start with the sequels since there are a number of notable ones this season. The first of these is the sequel to the 2013 action-comedy The Devil is a Part-Timer. The show sort of has a special place in my heart for being one of the first seasonal anime I kept up with weekly. On top of that, however, the series is also just incredibly funny. Maou’s continual surprise at just how awful the real world is compared to literal hell on earth is quite funny. On top of that, his henchman are a great supporting cast that always manages to create some top-notch bits. It has frankly been far too long, but I am happy to see that it is back

Made in Abyss Season Two

Another series that has been kind of left behind, although not nearly as long, seeing Made in Abyss return in the same season has me incredibly excited. The finale of season one rightfully left a lot of non-manga readers in a ton of suspense, and I would be lying if I said it is not still there. It also brings me a little more hope to see that Kinema Citrus, the studio that handled the show’s first season is once again at the helm. There is always room for disappointment, but hopefully, that will not end up being the case.

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Call of the Night

In truth, I do not have a whole lot to say about this series other than expressing my mild curiosity. The premise seems interesting enough, and the story seems like it could go in a lot of unique directions. The main reason it caught my eye, though, is the character designs. While I did end up dropping the series, Kotoyama’s previous work on Dagashi Kashi was memorable. Thus, I am hoping that this series manages to bring at least something interesting to the table.

RWBY: Ice Queendom

As of the writing of this post, the first few episodes of this series are actually already available on Crunchyroll, so those who are curious about this series as much as I am can go ahead and watch. Now, I am not going to sit here and pretend like I was ever the biggest fan of RWBY. I got through one and a half seasons of the original series, and tbh, I found it alright. It certainly felt like a web animation. However, I respect Monty Oum heavily as a creative, and the fact that his passion project is getting its own anime feels like a deserved sign of respect.

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Funny story, I actually completely forgot this show was airing this season until a fellow blogger reminded me in their post. I probably would have remembered if I ever managed to finish that video I was working on about the manga, but alas, here we are. Ever since I finished its first volume, the anime release for this series is something I have been highly anticipating. It is a…strange series, to say the least.

There are definitely some elements that should probably be toned down for a more general audience, but a lot of the charm comes from what feels like a mid-2000s zaniness. Granted, that quality could more or less be summarized in “lol xd so random” terms, but I choose to believe there will be a bit more to it than that. Only time will tell.

The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes

I think my next big project on this blog, whether it be in essay or video essay format, is going to be looking at the anime film landscape post Your Name, because from my general knowledge thus far, it seems like anime films in this era fall into two categories: tie ins/prequels/sequels to existing popular series (Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, etc) and films trying way too hard to be Your Name.

Based off of the plot description and promotional art that has circulated around this film, it definitely gives off the vibes of the latter category. Now, I do not mean to imply that this is necessarily a bad thing. There have been some solid films that fall in line with this category. My biggest hope for this film is that it lives up to the coolness and passion present in its title. Damn, that is such a cool name for a story.


What are you all watching this season? Let me know down 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!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for being a supporter on Patreon!

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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Spy x Family’s First Half is Done, and I Have Some Thoughts

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The spring 2022 anime season is, by the time this gets released, likely finished with most of its major shows. However, Spy x Family, the break-out star of the season, is only done with its first half. Presumably, this is to give the staff a bit of a break before they continue this coming October. Still, since it is the end of the season, I figure now would be as good a time as ever to organize my thoughts as well as list my hopes for the second half.

For those who missed the spring season darling, Spy x Family is about Twilight, a spy for the Westalia government who has recently been given an important mission: to take down a prominent political figure of the neighboring Ostania. In order to do this, he must infiltrate one of the country’s most influential schools by disguising himself as normal family man Loid Forger, living together with his “wife” Yor Forger, and his adopted daughter Anya Forger, both of whom do not know about his Spy occupation.

I will start by saying that Mangaka Tatsuya Endou is a genius. While I am not familiar at all with their other works, the idea behind Spy x Family is honestly the perfect example of simple but effective storytelling. The series draws on some prominent historical parallels in the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. However, alongside its narrative about taking down radical governments and what it means to be a family, the series manages to sprinkle in a lot of humor.

The focus of that humor, though, tends to be Anya, who has, more or less, become the show’s unofficial mascot. Anya is also hiding a secret of her own: she has the ability to read other people’s minds. This power gives her the dynamic of knowing both the secret of Loid and Yor while also having the two of them not know about her, which tends to be the focus of the more comedic moments.

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Speaking of Yor, her secret is a little more…violent. When she is not taking care of Anya or at her day job, Yor works as an Assassin, killing basically whoever she is told to. Apart from having the aesthetic appeal, Yor’s character works because of her budding relationship with Anya, which often leaves her conflicted about her work as a killer.

The same can be said of Twilight, who admits near the beginning of the show that his adoption of Anya has made him less sharp than he would be normally. His occupation necessarily keeps him in and out of various identities, to the point that he has never had the ability to start a family of his own. This is a really compelling point, and it makes it to where there is a continual reason to keep watching even outside of the show’s episodic antics.

Outside of the show’s fantastic characters and narrative, it also just looks incredible. It is clear that there is a lot of attention to detail, from the bustling city backgrounds to the quick moments of action and combat which appear in most episodes. Spy x Family has more love and care put into its most stable moments than some series do at their most animated. *cough cough Seven Deadly Sins cough cough*

The soundtrack also manages to nail the fusion between classic sounds of the 50s and spy movie thrillers. While I would probably have a hard time picking out a favorite track, I can say at least that I do enjoy all of the music that has appeared in the series so far. The opening in particular does a great job at combining these sounds while also giving it a cute, poppier aesthetic that just kinda works.

The anime feels almost flawlessly executed at this point. Every plot point is falling in line and everyone has a role to play. My one wish going forward actually concerns Yor. For as often as she is on one screen, I do not know that the series has properly gotten at the heart of her character. What’s more, her relationship with her brother Yuri, who works for the Ostanian military doing torture, is one that could seriously threaten Loid’s work. Thus, my one hope is that this does not get hand brushed away as a minor inconvenience and that Yor’s character is more thoroughly explored by the end of the next half.

The same could honestly be said for Anya as well, but her appearances on screen do not feel as empty in that regard. Her interior life is much more present, in part because she is often the main focus of the later episodes, but also because her thought process is more laid out when she is reading someone’s mind.

Overall, though, there is fairly little to complain about. Spy x Family is a fun and enjoyable series that seems to be moving in a solid narrative direction. Once the series finishes its second half, I will do a full review, but for now, these are my thoughts.


Have you been watching Spy x Family? How do you feel about the series? Let me know down 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!

As always, shout out to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

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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Btooom!: The Anime That Desperately Needs a Remake

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The great thing about scrolling through my WordPress feed is that, not only do I get to interact with my blog friends, but I also get to scout ideas for potential posts. Credit for the idea of this post goes to The Spooky Red Head, who asked a question that, though I definitely have heard discussed before, I have never really had a great answer to, at least until now.

When Btooom! came out back in the fall of 2012, it felt…unique. I mean, a battle royale on a deserted island…but with grenades? On top of a killer color palette and insanely kickass opening, this show had the recipe for success. At least, that is what I thought. While the show is still decently popular in places like MAL and Ani-list, it is not exactly anything to write home about. On top of that, the show never actually got a second season, which means after that season was over, there was little reason to keep talking about it.

First, I feel like I should clarify. When I say the show felt unique, I do not mean that the battle royale format is unique to it. If anything can be credited for the creation of the sub-genre, it would have to be the Japanese film Battle Royale which was released back in 2000, and even then, there are probably a number of other series/films which took a crack at it before then. Rather, I think it is fair to say that Btooom took the format and intensified it in a way that shapes its own identity, i.e. the brighter colors mixed with the grittier backgrounds and character designs.

“Ok, but the show was still solid. Why does it need a remake?”

A reasonable question someone might reasonably reason reasonably, and yes, I agree. Btooom is an above-average show, and yet the lack of discussion it gets in modern circles would seem to suggest otherwise. The motivation behind this theoretical remake is not quality. After all, plenty of franchises have been remade only to come out worse.

The motivation is instead, for a greater level of success. After all, the environment that Btooom! aired almost 10 years ago was significantly different. The idea of a battle royale was a significantly less popular format in media. Worldwide hits like Squid Game were nowhere to be seen, and the battle royale format in video games was much more niche, since titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and PubG were yet to be released.

Fast forward to today, and the battle royale is arguably as popular as it has ever been. A show like Btooom! in today’s anime environment would arguably do much better, and could be a significant moneymaker for any studio that is willing to put the time into marketing it correctly. Of course, there is always a chance the studio fumbles the bag regardless.

Still, I am not here to argue how likely it is the series gets a remake, let alone a good one. What I will say is that, for whatever reason, Btooom was just a little too ahead of its time, especially since it came out during an era where getting any kind of continuation was not particularly common. On the list of media that deserves a heavy spotlight, it is not exactly super high up. On a personal level, though, it is a series I would love to see again.


What series would you like to see get remade? 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!

As always, shoutout to Jenn on Patreon for being absolutely amazing.

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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I Marathoned Three Seasons of Attack on Titan. Here are My Thoughts So Far

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Confession: I originally did not plan on tackling the series in this way. Rather, I would have much preferred covering the series in chunks of episodes, so that they would roughly aline with the major arcs. I had everything set up: a nicely formatted google doc on which to take notes, my laptop on my bed, and an extremely comfy blanket along with Attack on Titan pulled up on Crunchyroll. Only one small problem: I could not stop watching.

Calling myself a big fan of the original series would probably have been a bit of a stretch. It was good for what it was, but it never really left a lasting impression on me. Come time for season two almost four years later and, well, I enjoyed it, but much like the first, it was never anything more than just a well-made show.

Jump back to today, and uh, yeah, I have no idea how this happened. Something in me just really wanted to revisit the series. Call it the echoes of online discussion lingering in the back of my mind, or really whatever, but at that moment I needed to watch Attack on Titan. Before I realized it, an entire weekend and over 40 episodes were gone in the blink of an eye.

Needless to say, my idea of cataloging my rewatch/journey through season three was basically out the window. From that point, I mostly just tried to enjoy it without thinking too much, and safe to say, I did. Anyone who clicked on this post expecting a full review is going to be sorely disappointed. Rather, for this post, in particular, I wanted to describe my thoughts on the series as a whole up to this point, after which I will segway into covering the OADs and then eventually doing an episodic review of season four like I had originally planned for the whole series.

With that being said, here are said thoughts.

Titan Lore

I remember getting to “that scene” in season 2 for the first time and getting a bit of whiplash from how fast I reached for the remote to rewind. Like, what?! At the time I was very confused, but in hindsight dropping the bleak reality that is the titan lineage out of nowhere is pretty tonally consistent with the rest of the series.

Even before that though we get the also crazy, although slightly less surprising reveal about Ymir, which again makes sense. Season three, however, is where the reveals reach a whole new level, and where the worldbuilding comes to a head. I will admit to being a bit concerned about season three after hearing some mixed opinions from others watching at the time. Still, I cannot help by find Attack on Titan‘s third season to be the best out of the three so far.

This is not to say that any of the seasons are bad per se, it is an incredibly high-quality show, but whereas many series get bogged down by their focus on worldbuilding and lore, Attack on Titan feels at its best during its moments of historical reflection, when the truth finally reveals itself after years of sacrifice and hardship, and this is not even including what is still to come in season four.

If I were to finish ranking the others, season one probably gets a slight edge over two, but not by much. The way season one lingers on the surprise that is Annie and just how much there is left to know creates this weird mixture of hope and pessimism which informs the proceeding seasons really well. However, season two also does a great job at fleshing out some of the minor characters like Gaby, so points to it for that.

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Eren and Friends

Eren has always been a mixed bag of a character, and for good reason. The start of the series shows him at his most angry and revenge-filled, his teenage angst out in full force because of the death of his mother. On top of that, Eren has to be a functioning soldier at an age where he would not even be old enough to drive a car in the state where I live.

However, as knowledge and responsibility of his powers dawn on him more and more, especially after many of his fellow Survey Corps members literally die to protect him, that visible anger begins to subside. The show then presents to us an almost completely different Eren, one whose sole focus has shifted to protecting humanity…and also still killing all of the titans, kind of.

Armin has been my favorite character in the series for a while, his development from the scared puppy who just followed around Eren and Mikasa to the next military genius of the Survey Corp is one that I very much appreciated. There are also plenty of times where he feels the most relatable. Like, everyone else will be ready to go and Armin is there saying “you guys aren’t still scared shitless?”

Mikasa is somehow still the coolest character, and yet also the least developed. Though not necessarily a bad thing, the only thing that really changes is just how obvious her affection for Eren is. In fact, her big emotional outbursts are only ever in relation to the safety of Eren or Armin, which says basically all that one would ever need to know about her.

WIT vs Mappa: What to Expect

For those unaware, during the transition between the end of season three and what was then named the “final season” (despite not actually being the final season) Attack on Titan changed studios. WIT, who handled the first three, gave it over to Mappa. Supposedly this had to do with a thematic change present in season four, and thus WIT wanted a new approach to the series, but at the moment, having not seen season four, I am not exactly convinced.

Still, everything that I have seen as far as trailers and promotional material does not leave me with much to complain about. Attack on Titan looks as good as it has ever been, and with an arc that is bound to be action-packed, I am indeed excited.

On top of that, Mappa has a solid track record, producing the hit shounen series Jujutsu Kaisen as well as one of my favorite series Terror in Resonance. Also, apparently, they made Kids on the Slope, which, man I need to watch that series already…

For as much as I appreciate the grittier, more jagged character designs to come out of WIT’s production of the series, it is not an automatic negative to have Mappa at the helm. Rather, the most concerning element is not the animation but rather how the story will resolve from this point on

Conclusion

Safe to say that I am incredibly optimistic about Attack on Titan even despite the studio change. It is a series that has quickly risen through the ranks for me, and while calling it a favorite is not quite a done deal if season four manages to keep pace, it is a high likelihood.


How do you all feel about Attack on Titan? Let me know down in the comments, but please keep any and all spoilers out, as I am going in pretty much blind.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for being an amazing Patron

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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Everyone Should Read This Manga

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Hey, everyone, I’m back haha

The final stretch of this last semester at college was a bit harder than usual, for reasons that honestly have more to do with me than with any of the actual work. I will probably have an update post sometime in the next week detailing more personal stuff, so look out for that. For now, though, I wanted to put out something a bit more substantive to really get back into the writing grind.

One series, in particular, has been holding my attention more than a lot of others, despite the fact that, as of the writing of this post, it only has 8 chapters due to its monthly release schedule. (As an aside, I am actually totally ok with this. Monthly release schedules for manga seem way healthier than the hell that is weekly chapter releases, so I kinda hope that becomes more of an industry-standard).

Show-Ha Shoten is a shounen comedy about a high schooler Azemichi, who in his free time calls into radio shows to deliver the best jokes around, going by the alias Everyday Shijima. One day, he gets to me the famous child actor Taiyo Higashikata while doing some work for the student council. The two quickly realize their shared passion for comedy, and so when Higashikata’s partner bails during the school festival, the two deliver a powerful comedy set that gets the whole school laughing.

Ok, But Why Should I Read It?

Well for starters, it’s only eight chapters. While the feeling of diving into a longer-running series and catching up is certainly fun a lot of the time, there is something to getting in early and seeing how it develops. I can only imagine what it must be like for people who have been reading One Piece religiously for the last decade. The chapters are a bit meatier than most manga, averaging around 40 pages outside of the first, but given the aforementioned monthly release that kind of makes sense. Still, I imagine after reading the title “Everyone Should Read This Manga,” most are probably looking for something a bit more compelling than it is quick to read.

Ok, let us start with the characters then. Azemichi is in a position that I think a lot of people who are at least in high school can probably relate to. Clearly, his interests lie with comedy, but social expectation, both from his parents and from society at large says that comedy is not an option. In that way, there are a lot of comparisons to be drawn between himself and Blue Period‘s Yatora Yaguchi. Azemichi, though, does stand out on his own. His nervous attitude is typical, but not so paralyzing that he is unable to take the risk of doing what he loves.

Higashikata is a bit harder to talk about without giving too much away since a good portion of his backstory is intertwined with developments in the most recent chapters. Still, if the phrase “child actor” did not set off a few alarm bells, well then it definitely should. Even threw his backstory, however, Higashikata has managed to be charming and funny, with his weirdo personality often taking center stage, both literally and metaphorically, in the duo’s relationship.

What’s So Funny?

Talking about the comedy in Show-Ha Shoten is ironically the hardest part of explaining its appeal. On the surface, this feels like it should not be the case. After all, comedy is comedy, right?

Most understand the idea that what one person finds funny is not what other people find funny, and no, I do not mean in the edgy, “politically incorrect” way. That topic is far too big for a series as straightforward as this. Rather what I mean is the cultural differences between American and Japanese humor. While certainly not a new aspect of discussing comedy manga/anime series, given how much focus there is on how the comedy itself is judged and critiqued, it is worth talking about.

To but briefly, Japanese humor, in general, relies a lot more on setup and storytelling than it does on being witty or pun-focused. Thus, the judging and response of the audience reflect that. A duo that fails to tell a compelling story usually scores very poorly, whereas duos that can execute a particular beat well do better. All of this is to say that the comedy which the series tends to focus on, both in and outside of the structure of routines, is a lot different than what most are probably used to.

What makes Show-Ha Shoten so compelling is not necessarily that every joke lands perfectly, but rather that the jokes, in combination with the shounen battle elements, create a cheery, feel-good atmosphere, occasionally challenged by the more serious contemplative moments of whether or not Azemichi can actually make a career out of his passion.

Conclusion

Ok, fair enough, I cannot promise that literally, everyone will enjoy it. Still, while its attempts at humor may not be for everyone, the passion behind the comedy and its well-written main duo makes it something that everyone should at least check out. The artist for death note also did the art for this, so that is a plus.


Have you already read Show-Ha Shoten? How do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Thanks as always to our Patron Jenn for being absolutely amazing!

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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My Top 10 Favorite Anime Openings (As of April 2022)

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In the latter months of last year, I put out a post detailing my favorite anime. For as superficial as it might be to try and pin down favorites, it was a post that I had a lot of fun working on, both organizationally and in writing it. So, I thought it would be a good idea to work on another listicle, and talk about some of my favorite anime openings. While their is some crossover between the two, my favorite openings tend not to be attached to my favorite shows, so this will probably still end up being a surprise for most.

HM: Fiction – Sumika – Wotakoi OP 1

I figured this time around it would be worth including at least one of the honorable mentions so that people know what else was in contention for my top 10. Vocalist Sumika has some damn good pipes, and man is that chorus infectious as hell. On top of that, the visuals are incredibly fun and give a really good representation of the personalities of the main characters. The main reason it is not only the list proper is that, while it is overall a really solid OP, the middle section drags a little bit more than the openings above it. Overall, though, a really solid piece.

10. Shounen Heart – Home Made Kazoku – Eureka 7

Listen, I already warned everyone this is going to be a weird list, so that means no judgment whatsoever (Jk, feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments). In all seriousness, I know this probably is not everyone’s cup of tea, however, the Japanese hip-hop group Home Made Kazoku sells the song with a passion that I kind of respect in a campy, 90’s hip-hop kind of way. Their near yelling over this saxophone accented beat is hype in a way that feels hard to explain. Visually, this is definitely the weakest of the openings on here, which is why it stays at number 10.

9. My Soul, Your Beats! – Lia – Angel Beats! OP 1

A theme that might emerge for some in my discussions of these openings is that I care way more about the music than the visuals. Of course, good visuals are nice, but when being compared to the angelic vocals of singers like Lia it feels way less important. That is not to say that the visuals of Angel Beats‘ first OP are bad. In fact, I think the through-line of Kana playing the Piano in various places across the school grounds is a great visual representation of how she manages to affect all of their lives while they figure out what is even happening to them. The visuals are definitely a lesser factor for me, but certainly not a non-factor.

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8. Chain – BACK-ON – Air Gear OP 1

Call it what you will, Nu Metal, Butt Rock, etc, the combination of rock and hip-hop elements has always been a staple in my musical diet, at least up until recently. Air Gear, meanwhile, feels like the perfect fit for the song. A show about battling on rollerblades might as well embrace the edginess. The opening definitely looks its age, with some pretty barebones movement, but it does at least have a narrative, and while the version above does not show it, the credits are pretty well integrated into said narrative.

7. Jiyuu no Tsubasa – Linked Horizon – Attack on Titan OP 2

On the other hand, maybe sometimes there can be too much narrative. Looking back at “Jiyuu no Tsubasa” while also just so happening to be in the middle of marathoning Attack on Titan (more on that later), it is pretty hilarious how many clues it just hands out. Still, what makes me like it more than its first-season counterpart, other than just being a contrarian, is the way it focuses on that mystery. The series is at its strongest while focusing on the secrets of the world they inhabit, and this opening does that the best, with no questions.

6. Katayoku no Tori – Akiko Skikata – Umineko no Nako Koro Ni

Fun fact: I have yet to watch a single second of the series proper, despite generally enjoying its predecessor Higurashi. On the other hand, why would I when this opening goes as hard as it does? After originally hearing the song in the background of Glass Reflections’ review of the series, I was instantly in love. It is one of the few openings on this list that I have known about for a long time, and musically it has stuck with me. Something about the chants in the beginning and the buildup to the chorus just feels right.

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5. Goodbye Bystander – Yuki – March Comes in Like a Lion OP 2

Of course, if we are talking about openings with a good narrative… Honestly, when everything was said and done, I expected Goodbye Bystander to be a bit closer to the bottom since I had never really remembered any of the March openings super fondly. Yet, as I went back and listened, I could not help but get swept away by the magical instrumentation accompanying Yuki’s heartfelt performance on this song. Both lyrically and visually, the song also talks about an important aspect of the show, one in which Rei is not only becoming more comfortable in his arrangement with the Kawamoto sisters but also realizing the debt he owes them.

4. Gravity Wall – Hiroyuki Sawano, Tielle and Gemi – Re:Creators OP 1

If there is one thing I resent about Amazon’s Anime Strike channel, other than being overpriced for no reason, it is keeping this show behind a paywall and thus not letting as many people see it. Re:Creators is such a phenomenal anime, and alongside it are two incredibly produced OPs, the first of which just happens to be more my speed. Add in the fact that the opening looks just as good as the rest of the anime, and it should be pretty obvious why it is this high.

3. Destiny – Neko – Phi Brain OP 3

I made a rule early on in the creation of this list that their would only be one opening per series. This is because, without that rule, Phi Brain very likely would have snagged three spots on the list. Both of its first two openings “Brain Diver” and “Now or Never” have been heavy in my rotation since I watched the series a few years back. Still, I went with with the third one because it is both visually pleasing and one of the harder hitting songs instrumentally. Neko is an expressive vocalist who commands attention not only during the chorus but throughout the song.

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2. ft. – Funkist – Fairytail OP 3

The reason I clarified my focus on music as opposed to visuals beforehand is because, well, this opening is as high as it is on the music alone. While it is definitely better than some of other openings here as far as the animation, it would definitely be lower were my focus changed. However, that does not matter much considering how incredible the music actually is. The use of flute as one of the primary drivers of melody in the song gives it this really interesting property of being continually hopeful despite some of the darker turns. Fairytail is probably one of the worst when it comes to the whole power of friendship thing.

1. Database – Man With a Mission/Takuma – Log Horizon OP 1

Was it ever really a competition? the answer is yes, it definitely was. However, Log Horizon‘s hard hitting Man With a Mission opening beats it out, partially on nostalgia but also because it takes a lot of what I like about Air Gear‘s opening and turns it up to 11. It may not be as distinct musically as some of the other openings here, but the computerized intro and solid English verse delivered by Takuma certainly give it an identity of its own. On top of that, the art and action present in the series translate really well into the animation, which just looks really cool, even if the storytelling is limited. “Database,” at least for now, is my favorite opening.


And that’s the list, Is there an opening that I missed? One you just want to recommend? Should I do anime endings next? Let me know down 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!

As always, special shoutout to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon

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 Music Quiz Highlights

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Most of the people who end up reading this will probably already be familiar with Anime Music Quiz. However, for those that are unaware of the game, a brief rundown. The game is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, where player(s) get some amount of time, usually 20 seconds, to guess a song from a given anime. It is a fun time, especially when you get to play with other people (shoutouts to the people in the Jon Spencer discord). As such, I wanted to highlight a few songs that I either discovered or rediscovered via the game.

Lullaby of Birdland – Yoko Kanno/Aoi Teshima – Kids on the Slope

Despite the fact that I probably would like it if I ever bothered to watch it, I have yet to experience Kids on the Slope outside of its soundtrack. Yet, this cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s 1947 song is probably one of my favorite of all time. Yoko Kanno’s brilliant as always production combined with the soft, luscious vocals of Aoi Teshima make for such an enjoyable listen. It may not be an all the time type of song for me, but when I am in the mood to hear it calms me down better than pretty much anything.

This is the End – Coldrain – King’s Game

While King’s Game the Animation may have been an exceptionally dull experience when I watched it back in 2017, it was not without its strong points. Mainly, this opening. The visuals are satisfactory, mainly just a run-through of the characters with some visuals which imply the show’s basic premise. However, the metalcore instrumentation and vocals of artist Coldrain is a welcome addition to any otherwise fine opening. On top of that, the all English lyrics make for a much more enjoyable listening experience for my admittedly uncultured ears.

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Kawaki wo Ameku – Minami – Domestic Girlfriend

Domestic Girlfriend’s plot honestly sounds like the writing of a really bad porno. There, I said it. Still, my hesitancy to engage with the show at all certainly will not take away my enjoyment of the series’ opening. The visuals are honestly fairly strong for a romance series, which, in my experience, tend to be uninspired. On top of that, the vocals of singer Minami are out of this world. There is roaring anger that comes out in the build-up to the chorus which probably underscores a lot of the tension that comes out in the anime proper. Even on its own, though, the song is really solid and one that I do not at all mind having on my playlist.

Contradiction – KSUKE/Tyler Carter – The God of High School

EDM is a genre that I feel does not get a whole lot of representation when it comes to anime openings/OSTs. on the one hand, it makes sense, since it is not a genre that fits every story beat. Still, it is a shame since there is honestly a lot of places it does fit, and an anime like The God of High School is one of those. The production of KSUKE is admittedly not the hardest hitting I have ever heard, but the drops are still fun, and the vocal presence of Tyler Carter makes for a complete package.


I realized while writing this that most of the songs have some form of English lyrics, which is probably why they caught my attention, lol. Plz do not flame me in the comments, I am a weeb I swear!

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!

As always, special thanks to Patron Jenn for the support!

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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What I’m (Probably) Watching for Spring 2022

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It is about that time of the year again, where the anime of a given season finishes, and the list of new arrivals is all but determined. I tend not to dip my toes too far into the pool of seasonal offerings, usually because I am either too busy or too lazy to keep up with the series that I start. So, in the interest of not developing bad habits, here are the series that I may or may not watch for the spring season this year.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 3

I honestly do not know what more needs to be said about one of the best romantic comedies of the last few years. Despite its admittedly gimmick-based premise, it has since managed to create many layers of depth within its story, with its central premise of two idiot nerds with way too much pride to even cut through some topical issues like classism. Above all else, though, it is genuinely entertaining to watch Kaguya and Miyuki exchange mental blow after mental blow, all the while the people around them perceive them as the weirdos they really are. I honestly had forgotten that this show was already confirmed for a season three, but there are certainly no complaints.

Komi Can’t Communicate Season 2

Komi is another romantic comedy series that, since its initial episodes, has come to genuinely surprise me, although certainly not to the extent of Kaguya-sama. Its humor is a bit more niche, and the jokes do not land for me as often as I feel they should, but the series also still has a lot to say, particularly about anxiety and its effect on our ability to navigate social interactions. While Komi is always surprised to see her classmates so supportive of her, it does not mean she is satisfied with sitting down and being quiet. I do not expect to get much out of this season outside of a few chuckles, but I am open to being pleasantly surprised once the rubber hits the road.

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Summer Time Render

Studio OLM also has another series airing this season alongside Komi, and that is Summer Time Render. Given my terrible relationship with social media, a lot of my news on upcoming manga adaptations comes from manga tik tok creators, and given that literally none of the many that I follow even so much as mentioned in this series, I am a bit hesitant. That being said, there is a certain allure in the vague plot description which serves as the series intro. On top of the incredibly 0-100 trailer which makes almost no sense, I am really only left with feelings of excitement and possibility.

SPYxFamily

If there was an honorable mention slot on this list it would probably go to SPYxFAMILY, because, while I do want to experience the series at some point, there is also a decent chance that I just end up reading the manga in my spare time. This is nothing against the anime, Cloverworks and Wit Studios have decent track records, after all, but sometimes I just need something to look forward to reading, so the anime will not be high on my priority list.


What are you watching this season? Let me know down in the comments. Also, since the season is starting soon that will mean full reviews for the Winter shows I watched and some initial reactions for the spring, so expect more seasonal content in the coming weeks.

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!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for being an amazing Patron

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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Toradora is Peak Fiction. No, Seriously.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The content meta online is so weird. It is like, did you click on this because of the title, the featured image? Idk, but since you’re here, how about I give you a much more nuanced take on Toradora than what I implied.

Even as weebs become further divided by fandom and sub-culture, I think one thing most of us can agree on is that we all have our comfort media. whether it be an anime, video game, manga, etc., there are always certain series that bring out a sense of either nostalgia or just straight happiness.

Though I would not necessarily call Toradora a comfort anime in that same sense, I have, for a while now, been finding myself happiest as an anime fan while revisiting some of these shows which I have a fond memory of. Toradora certainly invoked some warm feelings, but I had a hard time remembering why exactly that was, at least until now. While it feels difficult to point out a lot of what the show does exceptionally well, it is also is hard to find a lot of weak points.

For example, the series sits at a whopping 25 episodes, which may not seem like a lot given that others like Kimi no Todoke have stretched on for longer, but there are also tons that have dragged with lower episode counts. Yet, there is never a moment in Toradora feels that feels wasted. Character arcs are started and resolved in ways that, though might come off as shallow to some, resolve in a satisfying way.

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The main cast is a drama machine, by which I mean they are a series of interlocking parts which function together smoothly after being oiled by the first few episodes and the introduction of Kawashima. From there, goals become solidified, but the character’s relationships continue to be fluid.

The line that divides good romantic drama from bad or corny can often feel invisible. After all, who or what decides whether dialogue or character interactions feel natural or not largely depends on prior context and the progression of those characters. Still, very few moments if any throughout Toradora feel forced or unnatural given the events which happened before.

When the crew gets back from their beach house extravaganza at Kawashima’s and Taiga looks longingly at Ryuji before she dashes to catch up to him, it feels correct. The two spending time with each other as a way of helping the other get with their best friends naturally brings them closer together. There is never a moment when the two are supposed to fall in love, but between Taiga’s increasingly nonchalant attitude towards Kitamura, and Ryuji’s obvious jealously about the rest of his class wanting to see the two together, nothing has to be said.

Of course, one of the biggest hints the series gives about its romantic direction is the fact that Taiga gets rejected by Yusaku, and that Taiga herself rejected him a year prior, during their first year of high school. It is definitely within the opening episodes of the series which feel the most “high school romance,” and what I would probably call the weakest part of the series. There is a reason I started my re-watch last year and did not finish until this one.

Yet, I would be reluctant to say Toradora has a bad episode. Again, relative feelings of “cheese” are entirely subjective and often have a lot to do with what we consider embarrassing, but even that “cheese” has a purpose because it effectively sets up more powerful moments later on. The strangeness of Ryuji agreeing to secretly take photos of his best friend for Taiga is an act of kindness which shows how much he is willing to care for her.

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Another element worth touching on is the absence of parents in the lives of the main characters, a trope that occurs commonly in anime but in Toradora that serves a stronger purpose. For Ryuji, the absence of his father creates a need for self-reliance as well as a desire to take care of others, something that Taiga becomes the receiving end of. Taiga, meanwhile, has only her deadbeat dad, and as a result desires a normal life, one in which she can rely on someone instead of having to act tough.

What this ultimately creates is a series in which the two main characters are self-reliant. They are forced to rely on each other in order to get their initial love interests (Kitamura for Taiga and Kushieda for Ryuuji). However, it is this reliance on one another that ultimately makes them realize just how much they care for each other.

I could go on for a while, and indeed I probably will in a future post. There is so much about Toradora worth talking about. Still, I would like people to be able to read this post to its finish, so I will stop for now.


What is your opinion on Toradora? Let me know down 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 as always to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon!

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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