Category Archives: Series

Secondary Findings: Guilty Gear, MultiVersus, Etc.

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Las Ruinas by Rico Nasty

I have always been much more of a casual fan of Rico Nasty than a dedicated listener. Sure, I heard her featured on tracks with other artists like Denzel Curry and enjoyed her performances. Even on her own singles, she clearly has an aesthetic and direction she enjoys However, nothing has really compelled me to listen to a full project from her. At least, not until now.

I got to say, though, as the only full-length project I have heard from her, this is surprisingly great. The fusion of a wide variety of genres was not something I expected, even despite her singles like “Intrusive” leaning pretty significantly into hyperpop territory. Songs like “Phuckin Lady” demonstrate Rico’s tight flow even on faster, break-core style production, and the slower acoustic ballads such as “Easy on Me” and “Chicken Nugget” show she is more than just a rapper vocally. Even for people who are not “into hip-hop/rap,” I recommend giving this a try.

Creepy Nuts

Call of the Night is currently my favorite seasonal, even above Made in Abyss, for one simple reason: aesthetic. The story is by no means bad. In fact, I would love to do some kind of post breaking down its themes when the series is over. However, the show has cultivated an air that just oozes cool, in no small part to the band Creepy Nuts.

Ok, “band” is maybe slightly inaccurate, at least connotatively. Creepy Nuts is a duo comprised of rapper R-Shitei and producer DJ Matsunaga. The two formed officially in 2017 and have gone on to have a lot of success not just in music but in various other areas of entertainment, even now hosting their own radio show.

What I love about this group is how, while they are indeed centered in hip-hop, they are able to pull off a variety of styles, from their jazz influence which can be felt in the opening and ending of Call of the Night, to their other work which takes from many genres. I have not listened to enough of them to have a favorite project, but needless to say, I will be listening to them quite a bit from now on.

Strangers Things…Again!

The last time I put out one of these posts, Stranger Things season four had only gotten through its first half. However, the second half came out right at the beginning of July, and wow it was incredible. I was not sure what to expect from a nearly four-hour-long finale, but everyone involved was on their A-game when it came to this ending.

The acting was absolutely incredible, but shout-out to Netflix for calling it, I guess, because Caleb Maclaughlin as Lucas arguably had one of the best performances. My favorite of the season, alongside many others from what I can tell, is Gaten Matarazzo playing Dustin. He went from not much more than comic relief to arguably one of the most compelling storylines of the season, alongside fan favorite Eddie, anyway. The worst performance I would actually give to Finn Wolfhard, not because it was actually bad, but rather because everyone else was amazing by comparison.

The settings and background shots were also fantastic. Dumping money into a series may not always be the best way to get good results, but the 30 Million Dollars per episode budget definitely did not hurt when it came to bringing alive Vecna’s House, the Upside-Down, the Russian Prison, and various other locations. Overall, a fantastic way to end the season, and one that most certainly builds the hype for season five.

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Guilty Gear Strive

Slowly, but surely, I am getting back into Guilty Gear Strive. I picked up the game a few months after its release last year and enjoyed the game’s mechanics a lot. Yet, I enjoyed its aesthetics a lot more, which is primarily why I ended up buying it. The metal-inspired soundtrack combined with its unique fantasy world and colorful characters made me want to get into it. However, I ultimately stopped playing because…eh?

While I may be juggling this blog along with competing in Smash, as a casual fan of the traditional FGC, Strive has been one of my favorite viewing experiences of the last year. The mechanics are a bit complicated, but not so much that someone who knows literally nothing about the game cannot enjoy it. So, yeah, hopefully, I will have time to play more in the future.

MultiVersus

Platform fighters as a whole are seeing potentially the largest interest surge in the genre’s history. Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Melee are both doing great in terms of viewership, Rivals continues to draw a decent crowd of its own despite having a significantly smaller competitive community, and while Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl ultimately ended up kind of unfinished, it too had a strong interest grow around the game upon announcement.

MultiVersus seems like it could be adding to that surge, with a cast that spans the Warner Brothers universe, from Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Steven Universe to Shaggy and Velma of Scooby Doo. On top of that, the game’s mechanics are not only fun but show the team’s willingness to experiment beyond being “just another smash game.” In particular, the perks system introduces a new level of strategy and seems designed to test what aspects of a character the player values.

This is only compounded by the game’s emphasis on the two versus two format, where teamwork and communication are essential. Doubles formats in platform fighters have historically been unexplored, largely due to the genre’s emphasis on single-player experiences which tend to mirror normal FGC titles. However, given the genre’s unique emphasis on positioning and the many differences when it comes to executing combos, the two versus two format could very much flourish in a game like MultiVersus.


What non-anime/manga things have you all been enjoying recently? 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 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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Feeding the Flames: Anime Music, Turn-Based RPGs, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Well, as usual, I am behind schedule on the series I was planning on covering this month. So, in order to supplement this, it is time once again for some hot takes.

Length is Not Important in Making Good Art

I thought about this a lot after finishing Goodbye, Eri by Tatsuki Fujimoto. He completed a well-rounded story in just about 200 pages and arguably wrote not only one of the best manga of the year but potentially a contender for best manga of the decade.

If it sounds like I am calling out shounen here, well it is because I am…kind of. Obviously, this applies to all long-running series, but Shounen stories tend to disproportionately fit into the category. However, the probably here is not the length itself, but rather that the longer a series goes on, the more prone it is to losing focus of its main plot.

The most important thing when writing a story is not its length. Rather, it is making sure that each part of said story is purposeful, and engages with its other parts in a way that makes sense.

Turn-Based RPGs Aren’t Inherently Boring

As much as I consider myself a fan of more action-oriented RPGs like Final Fantasy 13 and the very small amount of the Tales series that I have been able to play, something about the turn-based style of gameplay has always held its charm for me.

While I can certainly understand why people would feel strongly about their repetitive nature, part of that come from a lot of games that either focuses heavily on grinding, have little variance in gameplay, or both. Games like 2012’s Bravely Default prove that even small variations in the traditional formula can make for engaging gameplay that requires more attention than simply mashing through menus.

Still, I am not gonna sit here and pretend like most games that stick with the turn-based formula are innovating in that way.

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The Tokyo Ghoul Anime Wasn’t That Bad

There are very few anime that I would say are wholly inferior to their source material. One of those is The Promised Neverland, which…yeah. The other, though, is Tokyo Ghoul. So much of the second season just feels scuffed as hell compared to what we got in the manga.

However, to say that its first season is on the same level feels a bit ludicrous. The adaptation of its story, even if some minor details were left out, was solid, and the animation from Studio Pierrot was above average. It was by no means perfect, but certainly not bad enough to complain endlessly about.

Hiroyuki Sawano

That is the take because my boy Sawano is on fire. On a more serious note, I do think Sawano has, at least at this point, cemented himself as one of the better music producers of anime history. It can certainly feel one-note at times, but at his best, his production is so hard-hitting that it frankly does not matter.

If I were to name some of my favorite music producers, it would likely be Sawano and Yoko Kano. I realize that these are not especially controversial picks, and this series is called Feeding the Flames, but hey, what can I say, quality is quality.

Good Anime Endings are More Memorable than Good Anime Openings

There are a lot of good anime openings, both in turns of animation but also in terms of music. However, the same cannot be said for anime endings, which often feel hand-picked to sound as boring and forgettable as possible. It does make sense, though, as first impressions are often much more important when it comes to sticking to a consistent audience. This is why, despite not thinking much about them, I could very easily name some of my favorite ending themes (more specifically, my favorite anime ending at the moment is Style Helix by Myth&Roid from Re: Zero, while my second favorite is Hibana by The Sixth Lie from Golden Kamuy).


What are some of your hot takes? 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 go to Jenn for the support 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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Secondary Findings: Redveil, Stranger Things, Blue Box, etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Welcome back to another edition of “talking about random things I like cause it makes me feel good.” For those joining this series for the first time, Basically, anything that either I do not feel like covering in full or does not fit within the usual scope of the blog. I try to keep these a few months spread apart so that people do not get bored and I actually have stuff to talk about. With that being said, I hope you Enjoy

learn 2 swim by redveil

Something that most probably do not know about me is that I am a pretty big RAP and Hip-Hop. In 2022? I know, very surprising, but it is true. However, since I do not talk about music that much on this site, I figured this would be a great place to talk about said music.

First on that list is an album that seemed to take a lot of critics by surprise, learn 2 swim. Redveil is an artist that I honestly knew nothing about before this project, but he certainly has my attention after its release. A lot of the instrumentals seem to be sampling or inspired by jazz and soul, with most of the tracks having a flare reminiscent of a downtown street performance. My only gripe with it musically is that some of the tracks can sound a little samey, but given its overall narrative arc that makes sense.

Speaking of, the lyrical capability on this album is absolutely insane. Lines like “growth ain’t one direction it’s a tour” gave me pause and honestly sent me into a bit of self-reflection. The over-arching narrative is one of self-growth, looking back on the past as a way of informing the present. All of this is made even more impressive by the fact that redveil himself is only 18 and produced the majority of the album by himself.

At the end of the day, learn 2 swim is an incredible album. It has basically everything one could want out of a hip-hop record, so if you’re looking for something a little more low-key and experimental I would highly recommend it.

Things with Wings by ericdoa

On the note of experimental, I talked previously about my love hyperpop and its adjacent sounds. ericdoa’s previous solely record COA is considered largely a success in that regard, with a variety of hyperpop/EDM-focused sounds, leaning on a good amount of vocal modulation to boot.

Things with Wings is taken a bit of a departure while still retaining a bit of what gave COA its hyperpop identity. It is decidedly more pop, with songs like “phases” leaning into more funk sounds and “victim” feeling more like traditionally dance-pop.

Surprisingly, there are no features of which to speak, which is a bit of a shame since some of the songs could have used the additional length as many feel a tad too short. Most of the songs have a verse and maybe a small breakdown. Still, eric is a capable vocalist and manages to carry the majority of the songs pretty well.

The album definitely has its shortcomings, but it is still a lot of fun. So, anyone who is interested in that sort of sound should give it a chance as well.

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Stranger Things

Well, I was supposed to finish part one of season four with my siblings and my mom…but, that did not really work out. Everyone kept having something going on, and so I just said screw it and finished it by myself.

I do actually feel a bit bad though, cause wow, that was an amazing way to start the final season. The hype may have died down a bit from the series being delayed by COVID and Netflix’s general incompetence but it still felt well worth the wait.

Stranger Things has always felt at its best when disconnected storylines build and then eventually meet, and thus far the series has done an excellent job of that. I will leave this section spoiler-free since, by the time this comes out, the series will still be relatively new. What I will say, though, is that the horror in this season has been turned up to eleven (all puns intended). That 30 million per episode budget may feel ridiculous, but it seems to have accomplished something at least.

If I were to pick a favorite character, however, it would probably be Dustin. In the past, Dustin has come off as mainly just the comic relief of the group, for better or for worse. In season four, it feels as though he is finally coming into his own, almost becoming the “mad scientist” of the group. Overall, it was a fantastic start and I am genuinely excited to see how part 2 wraps ups the series.

Trash Taste Podcast

Putting this here almost feels stupid since the number of views they get on one episode seems to suggest that just about everyone watches them at this point. However, I recently got back into watching the Trash Taste Podcast, so I figured I would talk about it.

Despite having the least history watching him as a creator, it was actually CDawgVA that got me back into it. His second channel just happened to show up in my recommendations, after which I started watching his videos which eventually lead me back to Trash Taste.

I am not gonna sit here and pretend like I have always been the biggest fan of their work. (The whole Flying Colors Foundation thing from years back still makes me seriously question their trustworthiness). However, I have been missing something to put on in the background while I fall asleep, and so it fills a nice role that way.

For what it is worth, though, I do think they are genuinely pretty entertaining. The way they go off on stupid tangents at basically every point of a given episode makes it a lot more engaging and fun to listen to. It is a tad disappointing that do not talk about anime more, considering that is kind of what it was originally advertised as, but still a great podcast overall.

Blue Box

I am putting this here only because I honestly do not know if I will end up covering it for the blog or not. However, I did manage to read the first few chapters of Blue Box, a sports/romance manga that is currently being serialized in Shonen Jump. I found out about it after watching Super Eyepatch Wolf’s recent breakdown of Shonen Jump, and I have to say, I am impressed so far.

The introductory chapters are about what one would expect from the above description. However, there is an earnestness in the characters’ feelings which does resonate quite a bit. Also, despite how obvious it was, I would be lying if I said the reveal at the end of chapter two did not catch me off guard.

The art, while not particularly detailed, is nice enough to look at, and the character designs are distinct enough that I do not have to do a double-take while reading, which is more than I can say for some other series. The whole thing honestly reminds me more of a shoujo aesthetic than it does a sports manga, which makes sense considering the romance seems to be the main focus. I am excited to eventually catch up and see where exactly the series will go.


What have you all been enjoying recently? 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, thank you to our Patron Jenn for being absolutely fantastic!

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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Feeding the Flames Pt. 3: Even More Spicy Hot Takes

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The internet certainly is a place, or rather a space? It does feel a little weird to try and quantify it in terms of geographical space when for all practical purposes the internet is more or less infinite. Yet, increasingly it feels as though there is less and less space for people’s terrible opinions. Well, unfortunately you all are getting mine today, as it is time for another installation of feeding the flames.

Mamoru Hosoda makes better films than Makoto Shinkai

I had been thinking about this one for a while, and prior to the release of Belle I was still somewhat in the camp of both of them being relatively equal. However, while I still have plenty of criticism of the film itself, Belle did make me realize that Hosoda is just a better storyteller, straight up. While the more style over substance approach Shinkai has since popularized works sometimes, riding on it for a significant portion of his career leaves a lot to be desired.

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Marin from My Dress-Up Darling is a good character, actually

The early episodes of My Dress-Up Darling seemed to promise a fun albeit uncompelling slice of life/romance. After all, its entire second episode was dedicated to an unfunny bit where Gojo was nervous about taking her measurement. Yet, as the series has continued over the season, Marin has become significantly more 3-Dimensional in terms of her development and is otherwise turning out to be incredibly likable. Assuming this blurb does not jinx the series into a terrible ending, it feels like Marin will only continue to get better as a character.

The Tokyo Ghoul manga is better

This is probably only a hot take amongst the hardcore anime fans, but yeah, it is true. As much as I enjoyed both seasons of the original Tokyo Ghoul, it would be hard to argue that it’s handling of the manga’s original story was worthwhile. Whereas the manga took the time to tie together threads which gave some of the side characters and villains the characterization they needed to be compelling, the anime forgoes this development in favor of a more rushed and sloppy ending.

Fanservice is only good in context

People have been arguing about the merits and demerits of fanservice basically as long as the anime community. However, fanservice as a concept is not just good or bad. What counts as good fanservice depends entirely on what is happening in the story. the fanservice in Fire Force, for example, is not bad because it is fanservice but rather because it often takes a very serious tone and immediately interrupts it.


Got some hot takes yourself? Feel free to share down 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, thank you to Jenn for continuing to support the blog!

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

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The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Hidenori Gotou

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Most will read the character name in that title and immediately think, “who?” This is a completely appropriate response, given that the character I am focusing on today is from Samurai Flamenco. One could be forgiven for not having heard of this series before today, as it was a seasonal series from back in Fall of 2013 that it seems like most people dropped after just a few episodes.

Which, given how Samurai Flamenco turned out…was probably the correct decision. It came out during a time when Isekai was just getting big and Japan was still trying to market superhero stories, and well, outside of break-through series like My Hero Academia, it is pretty easy to tell how that ploy worked out.

Even outside of general genre unpopularity, the series did not do itself any favors, as It feels as though director Takahiro Oomori and studio Manglobe were really asleep at the wheel. This is a real shame, considering Oomori also directed Durarara and Princess Jellyfish, two of my favorite series.

However, what makes Flamenco such as special case is not its subpar storytelling or pacing, but rather its characters and how it attempts to define what it means to be a hero. The most interesting of all its characters is not its primary main character, Samurai Flamenco. Rather, it is the even more wannabe hero: Hidenori Gotou

The main story of Samurai Flamenco stars Masayoshi Hazama, a male model who wants to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a superhero. With the help of some crazy technology, he does so. However, local cop Gotou eventually finds out, but rather than turning him in, he decides to help Hazama in his endeavor…

And that is about as normal a description I can justify without underselling the series because believe me, it gets weird. What starts out as the hero Samurai Flamenco, alongside a group of idols, fighting petty criminals quickly escalates into life or death scenarios with actual supervillains. These supervillains not only have real powers but some end up threatening the safety of the entire planet.

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While its sense of scale and pacing are indeed incredibly terrible, it is those same qualities that make Gotou’s story possible. After the last major arc of the series, Hazama is forced to take on the task of helping Gotou himself. It is revealed near the end that the wonder cop’s girlfriend, which the show takes great care to depict him texting quite often, has actually been missing since high school. Thus, he has been texting himself as a way of coping with her loss.

What makes the arc even more perplexing is that despite how much the show sets up the reveal with tiny hints, it never becomes clear until exactly when his situation is revealed. Gotou, despite going along with the antics of his superhero partner, still remains the most stable throughout most of the show. That is, until the end.

After this information about his girlfriend comes out, Gotou breaks down. What’s worse, Haiji, one of the main villains of the series, comes back and uses this information to torture him, kidnapping him and deleting all of the text messages he sends his “girlfriend.” The show ends in a slightly predictable fashion, with Hazama defeating Haiji and rescuing Gotou, but that is really it. Despite the now loved and appreciated Samurai Flamenco saving the day, it never feels like a victory, as Gotou experience is one of immense trauma.

Superhero stories in anime, despite their scattered presence, have always been incredibly fascinating compared to their western counterparts. There are some that attempt to copy the traditional formula, like Marvel Future Avengers, which attempts to tell a pretty by the comics rendition of the popular franchise. My Hero Academia takes a more centrist philosophical position in its assertion that peace and justice are the most important elements of a heroic society.

Tiger and Bunny has a much more radical perspective. It depicts a superhero society in which the primary motive for justice exists not in and of itself, as one might expect, but rather built on the profit motive of large corporations who sponsor particular heroes.

What separates Gotou as a character, as well as Samurai Flamenco as a whole, is its willingness to deconstruct the identity of a hero. Rather than defaulting to superheroes as the good guys, it takes a broader look at their existence in relation to the traditional systems of criminal justice. On a more personal level, a hero is not only someone who helps others, but often someone who has suffered great loss, persisting despite whatever failings they perceive themselves to have.

To put it a bit more bluntly, Gotou suffers most of the series because he blames himself for his girlfriend’s disappearance. What his arc in Samurai Flamenco ultimately argues is that, sometimes, people need to be saved not just from the threat of physical harm, but from the mental and emotional damage of their own past. Whether or not that idea is good or not is a much larger argument that I do not believe I would do much justice in this article, but considering these perspectives is nonetheless important.


How do you all feel about the character of Gotou, or about Samurai Flamenco in general? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special shoutout to our Patreon Jenn for their continued support! As always, it is greatly appreciated.

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

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Feeding the Flames: Wonder Egg Priority, Hearthstone, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It has been a while since I did a post like this, but Dewbond’s similarly focused series Don’t @ Me made me realize just how much fun giving random, semi-related hot takes about things can be. After all, what is the point of the internet if not to get people arguing in the comments section?

With that being said, let us get started.

One Piece isn’t worth it

We are starting off strong in this one, and yeah, sorry not sorry. Maybe this is easy for me to say because I am not on the other side of it, but a series that takes 50 episodes minimum to get anywhere close to interesting, let alone getting through now 1000 episodes. While I can understand and even appreciate people’s passion for the series, I just have no reason to invest that much time into a show while barely enjoying it.

Wonder Egg Priority is almost certainly getting nominated for Anime of the Year

For as much of a disappointment as this series was, and much to many people’s, including my own, dismay, Wonder Egg Priority will likely see at least one nomination at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for next year. Now, this does not mean that anime awards are always a perfect measure of quality, but the series does appeal enough to reviewer types like myself and probably a lot of the people who will act as judges to land at least a nomination. This will almost certainly be the case even despite the series lackluster ending.

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Sora has the best Smash reveal trailer in all of smash

Listen, I know I’m milking this one for all its worth, but just let me have this, ok?! Obviously, full bias here, as Kingdom Hearts is a cherished memory of mine, but even so, Sora’s reveal for Smash is the most hype trailer for a couple of reasons. First, The main plotline serves as a callback to the World of Light story, in which the characters are captured by darkness. This mirrors perfectly the story of Kingdom Hearts, in which Sora must use the power of light to defeat the darkness. On top of that, the trailer has some top-tier animation along with some amazing meme potential without feeling entirely like a joke. Iconic is an understatement.

Fractured in Alterac Valley will be a good set, actually

This one will be for all two of my readers who are also Hearthstone players, but the upcoming set “Fractured in Alterac Valley” looks to be an exciting set, even without the addition of new hero cards. The cards seem significantly more measured in their impact even while looking incredibly powerful. In particular, the callback to burgle Rogue, while not super convincing from a power level perspective, does seem to be lining up as a fun archetype. Big Mage, even more, seems to be a legitimate threat as far the meta is concerned. Despite the popularity of standard format going down a significant amount, there is still plenty of fun to be had.


Have a hot take of your own? Just want to argue? Leave a comment down below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rikka

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

(As a quick aside, this post was significantly better written beforehand, however, my WordPress decided to forget half of the post after I went to sleep one night and so I had to rewrite a significant portion much differently. Regardless, I hope you enjoy).

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Chuunibyou is an oddball series animated by Kyoto Animation. It focuses on the life of Yuuta and his wish to start high school over as a new person. This is because Yuuta spent his middle school days with a “disease” known as Chuunibyou, a condition which invokes in its victims the horrible fate of *checks notes* …writing and acting out a horrible OC while looking like a complete dork. Needless to say, the actual stakes of this series are fairly low. However, while that may be true in an absolute sense, the series does a fairly good job of absorbing us into the world of these “delusions.”

At the center of these delusions, and the show’s secondary main character, is Rikka, a girl who is still afflicted with Chuunibyou, and who ends up slowly dragging Yuuta back into this world. So, “what is this world?” you might ask. Well, it is complicated, but it most often manifests itself as a series of JRPG, action-adventure, and fantasy tropes which the characters have collectively agreed to be a part of. Well, mostly agreed to be a part of, as Yuuta’s hesitancy to embrace his character of “Dark Flame Master,” which left him without any real friends in middle school, becomes a major sticking point throughout the series.

The show does seem primarily concerned, though, with Rikka, and Touka’s, her sister, concern that this Chuunibyou will leave her without the ability to function as a real member of society. From Rikka’s perspective, it is this world of fantasy and delusion that serves as an escape and purpose. Each battle with Touka, imagined as the evil “priestess,” or Nibutani, who Rikka believes to be a false incarnation of her former character “Morisummer,” brings with it a sense of living genuinely.

I said before that the stakes of this series are fairly low, and that is very much the case. While Touka definitely worries for Rikka’s health, she never goes as far as to take her to a doctor or therapist, at least within the confines of the story told. It is possible to imagine her resisting that suggestion strongly, but still. In contrast with that, the death of their father and a subsequent forgotten run-in with the “Dark Flame Master” himself seem to be the catalyzing factors in Rikka’s strong sense of Chuunibyou. This, again, begs the question: what exactly is at stake for Rikka?

At first, it seems to be her father’s memory. When observing Yuuta’s character, Rikka came to believe that her father was trapped in the “horizon” of this Chuunibyou world and that by training and getting stronger she could eventually find and rescue him. While the end of season one, and the resolution of Rikka’s feelings surrounding her father’s death, it becomes Yuuta, and their burgeoning romantic relationship, that keeps her involved in the world of delusion.

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After she reconciles her feelings and beliefs about her father at the end of season one, her primary driver becomes Yuuta, and with the introduction of a little bit of competition for his affection in the form of Satone, her Chuunibyou becomes firmly grounded in their relationship. Her mystical battles become ones of love, rather than a fight to preserve her father’s memory.

Chuunibyou’s existence as a real-world concept is attributed to Japanese comedian and commentator Hikaru Ijuin when he used it in 1999. In that context, he was referring to middle schoolers with wide imaginations and very little shame. However, after psychologists began investigating the condition as potentially real, Ijuin became worried and retracted his statement. As I mentioned above, Chuunibyou has very few actual stakes in its narrative, at least as far as most people would use the term. So, if it is not a real condition, and her problems involving the loss of her father are gone, then what does that mean for Rikka?

While this series is technically one of my favorites from Kyo-Ani, on the whole, not many people rate the show particularly high. I cannot speak for everyone that has watched the series all the way through. Still, I do think it is worth applying a couple different lenses to her character.

When I talked about the series back in 2019, I threw out the idea that the Chuunibyou could be a metaphor for neurodivergent people. After all, Ijuin retracted his statement in 2009, and the first light novel for the series did not come out until 2011. Though the specific cultural connotations of the word are lost on me, it is clear that the term Chuunibyou developed a context outside of the comedian’s initial comments. After all, Rikka’s journey involves fighting against both her sister, at times Yuuta, and others who tell her that she eventually has to become “normal” despite the fact that remains a serious challenge. The metaphor is not totally one to one, however, since Chuunibyou is considered a temporary condition, whereas things like ASD and ADHD are usually with people for life.

Even outside of that more narrow interpretation, however, the influence of magic and fantasy-style games and anime can be evidence of a general appreciation for nerdy subcultures. These groups, almost by definition, exist outside mainstream tastes. As a result, many people in these groups can feel isolated. Finding comfort with people who are also in those groups becomes one of the few avenues for expressing themselves against a conformist society. The backdrop of Japan here also plays a surprisingly relevant role, as cultural homogeneity in Japan is even greater than in places like Western Europe or the U.S.

Ultimately, regardless of the interpretation one might use, Rikka’s character is about breaking hegemony. She exists in a world that is unsympathetic to her as a person, and as much as Yuuta might be embarrassed by her at times, he cannot help but feel grateful to her. Her steadfast sense of self in the face of an uncaring environment is admirable, to say the least.


How do you feel about Chuunibyou and the character of Rikka? Are there other characters I should take a deep dive into? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Secondary Findings: The Mitchells vs The Machines, Kingdom Hearts, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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So, a while ago I started doing posts based on Super EyePatch Wolf’s series “My Favorite Things,” and while I do enjoy doing something similar on this blog, I never actually gave the series a proper title to differentiate it. Since it has been a hot minute since doing one of those posts, I figured now to be a good a time as any. Thus, welcome to the (re)launch of my new series on this blog: Secondary Findings, where we talk about all the things I thought were cool recently that otherwise would not fit as its own post/video.

(As a side note, I never actually intended for the blog to have the astronomy theme that is clearly been developing subconsciously, but it feels oddly fitting.)

Anyway, on with the post!

The Mitchells vs The Machines

The state of children’s media in 2021 is…not something I have enough knowledge to competently discuss. However, it would be a lie to say that all of it is factory-produced, lifeless shells akin to Cocomelon. Though, this movie is clearly aiming for an audience a bit older than that. The Mitchells vs The Machines is a project that I was not expecting to be as entertained by as I was, and was genuinely sad when the credits rolled.

There is so much about this movie worth liking. From its unique animation and character designs courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation to the well-written story and characters that form the base of its title. The movie also is not afraid to cover heavier topics. College-age Katie Mitchell plans on going to film school, but her dad is less than understanding. So, in order to better connect with her daughter, Rick Mitchell decides to take Katie and the rest of his family on a road trip to her new home. All the while, the world is being taken over by the operating system PAL.

I will say, in trying to cover things like the prevalence of technology in people’s lives, being creative in a family that does not accept it, giving up passions in order to start a family, the pacing does suffer a little bit. Additionally, while it never seemed to be the focal point of the movie, Katie’s gay identity feels a bit brushed over as a point of her character. Still, this movie was so much fun that I would not be surprised to find myself going back to it again fairly soon.

Sora in Smash!

Ok, this is cheating a little bit since I did technically do a full write up of Smash Ultimate’s potential last patch. However, the feeling of amazement has not yet been lost on me. Trying to speculate just how much legal effort it took on Nintendo’s part to make this happening is probably in vein, but my simple guess would be “a lot.” Still, everyone’s favorite spiky haired, key blade wielding, anime protagonist is now playable (and most likely going to be my main for competitive play). His skins feel like they were made with purpose, even if Disney’s ownership of certain IPs made the range of selection rather limited, and his overall move set makes him feel purposeful, with nearly every move having a strong role to play in his kit.

While I have little reason to return to his original games at this point outside of a passing fluster of nostalgia, his inclusion is bound to make many of those who grew up with the Kingdom Hearts universe happy. More still, it will be exciting to see just how far he can be pushed from a competitive standpoint.

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Hanasaku Iroha

If it was not clear already from the haphazard times between when I first talk about show to when, or really if, I finish them, I am bad at sticking to one show for an extended length of time. That being said, Hanasaku Iroha is a show that I am most definitely interested in finishing…at some point. Again, I am not going to put a date on it cause that feels sort of pointless, but there is a lot to like about the series.

Ohana has a sort of out there, individualistic spirit that feels rarely represented in a narrative space so focused on characters. Having grown up with an unreliable mom, she is forced to deal with life mostly on her own. Because of this, her philosophy of only relying on herself comes up against her hardline grandmother and the staff of the Inn where she is now forced to work. In spite of this, the first few episodes see the beginning of change, a readjustment to her new environment and the blooming of ability to rely on others for the first time in, basically, forever.

If this were an Initial Results post, I would say just go watch it. But…na, jk still go watch it. Great series thus far.

Franny Choi’s Soft Science

*remembers I have a second blog that I have not been posting on at all for months*

*screams*

Existence is a weird thing, huh? and no, I am not just saying that as a way to ridicule myself further. While I have been contemplating doing reviews over on Solidly Liquid for a while now, that has yet to materialize, so it seemed appropriate to talk about one of my favorite collections in recent memory: Franny Choi’s Soft Science.

There is a lot going on in this collection, but the primary tension seems to be the contrast between how the narrator wants to be seen versus how those identities often appear in reality. It brings up femininity, Asian identity, and how those things are experienced both internally and externally. The running metaphor used throughout Soft Science compares the speaker to a machine, acting and thinking as a stereotype despite the emotionally complex reality of what they go through in every-day life.

Since this is ostensibly an anime focused blog it would be a mistake not to mention one of my favorite pieces in the collection “Chi” based around the main character of Chobits. Visually, it has a very unique presentation, being divided into four sections each with their own unique structure, commenting on the various aspects of Chi’s character and how that relates to the speaker. There are also a ton other nerdy sci-fi references that I know at least a portion of those who read this blog will likely appreciate.


What things have you all been enjoying recently? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Shouya Ishida

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Well, before we start, I just want to say thank you to everyone, because our review of “A Silent Voice” from nearly a year and a half ago has hit over 2,000 views. Not really sure what specifically is bringing people back to it, though I will say that I am happy about it because that is one of my better reviews that I have written.

While this post is not exactly related to the review, seeing people come back to it this much has made me think about the film a lot recently. Plus, since I have not done one of these in a while, I figured it would be a good idea to come back to “A Silent Voice” while it is still on my mind.

Shouya is a character that, in a lot of ways, represents ignorance about the Deaf community. Now, I want to make this perfectly clear, I myself am not immune to this ignorance in any way, and still have had very little contact with that community. However, there are plenty others who have been insolated from this group entirely, despite the fact that the make up a significantly larger portion of the population than one might expect.

Shouya starts out as just another student, ignorant of Shouko’s situation, and who becomes a bully not out of any particular dislike for her, but simply because of peer pressure, so much so that he ends up being one of the main culprits by the end. In fact, the bullying gets so bad that Shouko is forced to move to another school, and Shouya is scapegoated by all the kids in his class. He himself then becomes the target of the same bullying he inflicted on Shouko.

Fast forward to high school age Shouya, where he attempts to commit suicide, but backs out at the last second, only for his mother to find out and chastise him for it, as well as accidentally burn all of his life savings. After being brought back to his senses, he then makes it his mission to apologize to Shouko, or something like that? He feels unclear at the beginning.

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Shouya is a flawed individual. I do not think anyone is going to argue this, however those who do not feel this way are more than welcome to try and argue in the comments. Even he recognizes that his desire to reconnect with Shouko is at least partially borne out of wanting to feel better about himself, and this selfishness definitely comes at the cost of making her a bit uncomfortable, and potentially even spurring on her suicide attempt at the end of the film.

Once criticism that I have seen made of Shouko is that she is stereotypical in her damsel in distress archetype, and while I do not necessarily disagree, it does not paint a full picture. This is because Shouya is actually the one who is saved throughout the film. Even before the two had met as high schoolers, it was the thought of his horrible actions against her that kept him alive. After all the time the two spend together, it is ultimately she that becomes his savior, and gives him a reason to live again.

Shouya’s journey in “A Silent Voice,” while indeed romanticized in a way that feels unfair to Shouko, is somewhat allegorical to the journey many people have taken in our modern social environment. The tendency of many to otherize people based on characteristics largely outside of their control is one that has ruled human history, and it is only relatively recently that societies have engaged on a large scale with the idea that this otherization is wrong. Whether it be members of the Deaf community or any other marginalized group, it is important to realize the impact of our words and actions on others.


How do you feel about Shouya Ishida? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Saitama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It’s been a while since I talked about “One Punch Man” at any serious length. Now, it’s not that I have not wanted to, but rather I just have not had much of a reason. But now that I have this mini-series, I figured now would be as good a time as ever to revisit both Saitama and what makes the show so great.

I think most had the impression that “One Punch Man” would be just a one trick pony comedy show without much to offer beyond just a few laughs in the first couple of episodes. Now, if “Kaguya-Sama” as taught me anything, it’s that an interesting enough story can carry one joke pretty far.

Indeed, “One Punch Man’s” story definitely qualifies as interesting enough. At the center of that story, though, is Saitama. Arguably one of the most populist heroes in media, Saitama gains his immense strength through nothing but his hard work and famous workout routine: 100 push-ups, 100 squats, 100 sit-ups, and a 10km run, Every. Single. Day.

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How extreme this sounds probably depends on one’s current workout schedule, as, at least for me, I do not know if I could do this at my current level. However, someone who works out consistently 3-4 times a week probably would not have much of a problem with this.

Regardless, the point is that Saitama is a hero that most people can relate to, because everything else about him is average. He lives in a normal downtown apartment, has to go grocery shopping, and loves to get sales.

Saitama also famously does hero work for fun, rather than as a job, which is what most other heroes work for. His main mission is simply to find an opponent who doesn’t lose in one punch.

To be such an average guy in so many different ways while also being this unstoppable force creates and incredibly funny juxtaposition. This continuous juxtaposition in turn keeps the show funny even past it’s initial episodes.

Saitama may not be the best hero overall, but he is certainly the funniest. His struggle to find a worthy opponent is both encouraging because of his relatability, but demoralizing because he always wins so easily.


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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