Category Archives: Series

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!

The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Carole and Tuesday

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

For as much initial interest as there was in the show, it feels like “Carole and Tuesday” got tossed aside rather quickly. This is to say nothing of the quality of the show. After all, most who finished it thought pretty highly of it, if the cumulative score on MAL is anything to go off of. Rather, the subject matter of the show was something new for both Shinichiro Watanabe as well as anime fans in general.

This is not to say that Watanabe and those who enjoy his works have not experienced social commentary in the past. Pretty much all of his shows have that, especially one of his most recent works before “Carole and Tuesday”: “Terror in Resonance,” which followed the story of two would-be high school age terrorists trying to reclaim their lost lives in any way they can.

Carole and Tuesday,” though, is a much different breed. While it certainly starts out as a in much the same way as his previous work, vaguely alluding to the social ills of the present day, by the second half it turns into a straight up modern allegory about current U.S. politics, doing very little to hide it.

At the center of this Allegory are the show’s main characters, Carole and Tuesday, who serve as representatives of both the most well off and the least. Of the former, Tuesday is a young girl who wants to play music, but whose politician mom sees it as a waist of time. Realizing that she likely will not be happy in her current situation, Tuesday decided to run away from home, taking a suitcase full of clothes, her guitar, and a dream.

In the middle of downtown Alba City, Tuesday runs into Carole, an immigrant from Earth who wants to make it on Mars, but cannot seem to keep a stable income, and who is only able to stay in the city due to the generosity of a random old man renting out his storage room. The two meet on a bridge, at which point they start making music together, and then immediately run away as they get chased down by a cop.

The two of them mostly get along throughout the series, and they spend the majority of the first half in their honeymoon phase, trying to get their career of the ground and just enjoying making music. However, the second half of the series turns up the drama to 11, as it becomes less about Carole and Tuesday themselves and more about what each of their backgrounds represent.

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Tuesday’s mom, being a prominent politician, decides to run for president on a platform of limiting immigration and restoring Mar’s greatness. Sound Familiar? Not wanting Carole to think ill of her, Tuesday decides to keep this a secret. However, Tuesday is not the only one.

While Carole does reveal to Tuesday that she is an immigrant, she fails to mention that she came illegally, which causes her to worry about the prospects of Tuesday’s mom getting elected. The two eventually find out about the other’s secrets, but ultimately work things out. The show ends with a big musical number featuring most of the cast which serves as a celebration of Mar’s diversity and talent.

Something that upsets me about the ending of the show is the sort open-endedness of it, and the way it seems to imply that if people just come together and talk about things that they will eventually come to understand each other. While I do think that is true for certain people, it does not reflect the reality of U.S. politics, and comes across more as wishful thinking.

Though it certainly highlights the gullible nature of Trump through Tuesday’s mom and her criminal campaign manager, it feels like it is unwilling to make a systemic critique, and lays the blame on individuals instead. The real world problems the series highlights are not going to be solved by making music and holding charity events. Do not misunderstand, it is important to highlight these issues and the way demagogues scapegoat various groups as a way of cementing power. It just feels as though their was a missed opportunity to come to a more radical conclusion.


My own political persuasions aside, how do you feel about “Carole and Tuesday,” both the characters and the show as a whole? 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!

The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rei Kiriyama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Alright, I know I said it before, and will likely say it repeatedly, but moving/online college sucks. Not only is it stressful, but it make it that much harder to get the things that I need to get done, done. Aside from that, though, I thought I would take today to focus on something I actually enjoy: “March Comes in Like a Lion.”

March has been one of my favorite series since I watched it back in early 2018, and one of the reasons for that is Rei Kiriyama, the series’ main character.

I have gone into detail about this in a number of previous posts, but since I have never really done a character specific post outside of writing for OWLS, I thought it would be good to take some time and focus on why exactly Rei Kiriyama is so compelling.

Arguably the strongest reason is because of how well his character highlights issues of mental health. Throughout his journey in series, Rei deals with depression, abuse from his step-family, professional slumps due to his lost love for Shogi, and a lot of overwhelming defeats. Despite all of this, however, Rei never gives into these negative feelings, and learns to rely on the others around him who become his new family, namely the Kawamoto sisters.

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These mental struggles, while certainly not positive, do help strengthen Rei’s mental fortitude, thus making him a better player. A good example of this comes from after his loss to Shimada. While initially the loss during the King’s Tournament leaves him devastated and unable to even play, he eventually bounces back, so much so that Rei decides to go to Shimada for coaching.

However, Rei also shows that being weak is something that everyone goes through, and that no one can be strong and composed all of the time. The first half of the second season makes this most obvious, with Hina at the center of a bullying ring and Rei unable to do anything about it. Rather than blame her for getting bullied, Rei does everything he can to comfort her, including just being with her much more often than normal.

Overall, Rei’s character highlights just how much one person can change over a short amount of time. He went from being a alone without anyone to help him to finding people who not only love and support him, but make sure that he is okay time and time again. Rei Kiriyama is truly one of the most dynamic characters to enter popular media, and is also without a doubt one of the best.


What other characters should I take a more in-depth look at? 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!

OWlS August “Folklore” Post: Durarara, Celty, and Folklore

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I think by now you folks know what time it is, but just in case you do not, I will fill you in. It is time once again for my monthly OWLS post, for those who are unaware, OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, and is an organization of bloggers and other content creators dedicated to promoting acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

This month’s theme for OWLS is Folklore, as described below:

This month’s OWLS topic was inspired by the name of Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore.  Yet rather than using her conceptual definition of what “Folklore” means, we are going to use its original meaning: we are going to explore the traditions and cultures of a specific group and community within pop cultural texts.

I would also encourage everyone to check out the other bloggers featured on the tour, as they are all wonderful human beings:

3rd – Ashley (The Review Heap)

11th – Aria (The Animanga Spellbook)

13th – Megan (Nerd Rambles)

14th – Hikari (Hikari Otaku Station)

17th – Jack (Animated Observations) (Note: This post was originally supposed to go out on the 17th, but had to be moved back because of my schedule).

19th – Irina (I Drink and Watch Anime)

20th – Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

25th – Dale (That Baka Blog)

30th – Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

Without further pause, here is my post for this month:


Urban legends are apart of almost every modern culture in the world. In America, many states have their own local legends, and some, like Nessie, aka the Lockness Monster have risen to international fame. While their popularity has gradually risen and waned with the shift from oral storytelling to the internet, some have remained just as popular as ever. Another folklore taled turned urban legend that remains quite popular is the headless horseman, originally called the Dullahan.

Originating from Irish folklore, the Dullahan is said to be the reincarnation of the Irish god of fertility Crom Dubh. It is believed that the original story of the Dullahan comes from shortly after Christianity was introduced to the Irish people, when the then King of Ireland Tighermas mandated human sacrifice as a way of appeasing him. As Christianity was slowly phased in, new tales about Crom riding through the night, still seeking human lives came about, and thus the modern idea of the Dullahan was born.

The Dullahan has since been featured in a number of media franchises, most notably so in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” where a soldier who lost his head during the American Revolution rises from the dead to find it. It has even found its way into the fairly mainstream anime series “Durarara,” originally written by Ryougo Narita. Durarara’s story is…eclectic, to say the least. It focuses on the life of high school students, gang members, a street doctor, and a few others as they live their life in the dangerous city of Ikebukuro.

However, one of its most notable characters is the Celty Sturluson, a Dullahan who came by boat to Japan to look for her missing head that was supposedly stolen. In the story of Durarara, she is given the title of “Black Rider,” for her Jet black motorcycle that shes uses to perform various jobs for Ikebukuro’s more “underground” residents.

Celty is also framed as being notably feared by most of the city, even despite the fact that she is actually extremely kind. Despite coming to Japan to look for her missing head, Celty’s memories are hazy at best, and as such she uses all the help she can get when it comes to accomplishing her goal.

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However, “Durarara’s” representation of the Dullahan goes even further beyond that. Celty, along with the majority of the cast, have very ironic character arcs. Not only does Celty not know where her head is or much about her past, one of her most consistent fears throughout the story is that when she finds her head she will turn back into the Dullahan of popular legend, and it is only through her street doctor partner Shinra Kishitani that she is able to stay calm in a lot of situations.

“Durarara” is a standout story for a number of reasons. For one, its unique storytelling which shifts perspectives from episode to episode, and even sometimes scene to scene makes it to where it almost never gets boring. On top of that, the characters are all usually dealing with the same problem, whether it be a gang rivalry, the illegal activity of suspicious corporations, or even the revival of dead spirits, and because of that, the story can have a variety of perspectives on the same events.

However, its handling of urban legends, and the way it makes use of those legends as plot points in its story makes it all the more unique. Whether it be Celty and the myth of the Dullahan, or the variety of Japanese folklore and gang stories, the series continual delivers an interesting story line that often works to subvert the original meaning of the stories from which “Durarara” draws inspiration. While the show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is absolutely worth checking out at least once. If not, maybe the Dullahan will come for you!


Something that I couldn’t really work into the post organically but that I thought was interesting regardless was this article from Nippon.com. In it, the author Itakura Kimie interviews Professor Iikura YoshiYuki, whose work focuses on oral literature and contemporary Folklore. The article focuses on how urban legends have shifted from oral tradition to online mediums, but also how the social spaces through which urban legends have traditionally risen are shrinking.

Professor YoshiYuki attributes this to a few things. First, the internet is becoming much more insular. It is becoming more and more rare for people to reach out in good faith to discuss whether or not something is real, thus leading to less discussion and less spreading of such legends. Second, urban legends have often been place where people project their real world fears. However, with false information available in excess, and political actors creating narratives about many different real world groups such as immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community, it is becoming significantly more likely for people to project their fears into the real world, rather than through tongue and cheek myths.

I guess the lesson for today then is to always question narratives, even if it comes from people you agree with, and do research comes from provably reliable sources.

So…YEAH!

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!