Category Archives: OWLS Posts

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.


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 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.


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

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


OWLS June “Mindfulness” Tour: Shimada and Loving Shogi

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for once again stopping by for another OWLS tour. This months theme is mindfulness.

For the past few months, things have been pretty hectic. Everyone’s lives have changed to some degree, and we can’t help but feel anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed. This month we will be focusing on ourselves and keeping a strong peace of mind with our theme, “Mindfulness.” We will be analyzing characters that have crafted and practiced their own philosophy on life and have spread their beliefs to others. We will also be talking about habits, hobbies, and things that are keeping us sane, positive, and peace within our souls. 

As always, be sure to stop and check out some of our other members on the tour. This month it will be Megan on the fourth and Matt on the tenth.

For this month’s post, I wanted to do a follow up to last month, in which I talked about the need to adapt in “March Comes in Like a Lion.” With that said, I hope you all enjoy.

In last month’s post I talked about how the people around Rei were a big reason he was able to adapt to his new life outside his adopted family. Arguably the most important influence outside of the Kawamoto sisters is Shimada.

Before meeting Shimada, Rei was in a place of extreme struggle, both personally and professionally. Not only was his relationship with his family, especially his sister, still incredibly uncomfortable, he was also quickly losing any love he had left for shogi.

While participating in the King’s Tournament, Rei vowed to beat Gotou for supposedly wronging his sister Kyouko. Now, there is a lot wrong here that is also worth dissecting that would probably reveal a good amount of Rei’s thought process. However, before he can get his revenge on Gotou he loses to the A ranked Shimada.

At first, Rei is confused. He barely comprehends what happens, and ultimately does not even remember half of the game. After eventually swallowing his pride about his loss, Rei looks to Shimada for guidance about his play. Shimada then decides to accept him as a student at his shogi summer camp.

While his usual tired, unimpressed expression often hides it, Shimada is someone who has a ton of love for the game of shogi. Not only does he run his summer camp, helping both Rei and Nikaidou, but also actively coaches Rei one on one. Shimada is someone who has a sincere love of the thing he does, and because of that is willing to spend time on others who also want to get better.


Much of this positive presentation rubs off on Rei, and because of this, he starts to find his love of the game again. While watching Shimada play against shogi grandmaster Souya after the King’s Tournament, Rei realizes just how amazing the game can be at a high level.

This not only inspires Rei’s love for the game again, but makes him want to do better. Before meeting Shimada, Rei’s rank was at risk of slipping while Nikkaidou was ready to become a B ranked player.

For so long Rei had been carried by his natural ability for the game that hitting a wall nearly made him quit. However, meeting Shimada turned out to be one of the best things for him.

While it may seem childish to some, looking up to those who are better than you can be great for improvement at nearly anything. Using myself as an example, starting last year I wanted to get better at playing Smash Bros competitively.

I had always played against my friends, but I was never able to learn much because I did not own the game, and rarely had the ability to practice. However, when Smash Ultimate came out, I got pretty serious about getting better.

I spent about the last year practicing, and the results have definitely paid off. Not only am I able to perform a ton of combos I could not do before, I also am getting much better at going against top players in my region. Ultimately what Shimada ends up teaching Rei is two-fold. One is to love the game again, and two is to dedicate himself to the things he loves.

What other things should we be mindful of in these times? 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

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

OWLS May “Adapt” Tour: Rei and the Need to Adapt

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its that time again for another OWLS post. Just in case, for anyone who is not familiar with the group, OWLS is:

A group that promotes the acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and disabilities and highlights the importance of respect and kindness to every human being.

This month’s writing theme is “adapt,” as described below.

Right now, we all have lost something or gained something in return during this dark time. Our lives have been completely altered due to coronavirus. For this month, we will be talking about anime series and other pop culture media where we have characters having to adjust to changes in their environment. Whether it’s adjusting to a new school or heading towards an isekai fantasy world, we will be discussing characters that had to make changes within themselves in order to adapt to the circumstances they are in. This will also give us an opportunity to express our own personal lives as we try to adjust to a “new normal.”

For this month, Megan will be going after me on the 14th, so be sure to give her post a look, and drop her a follow as well.

With all that being said, enjoy the post.

I talked last week about a game called Hearthstone, a card game that features a large amount of random effects, and one that consequently requires its players to be able to adapt to changing situations. Life, in many aspects, is the same way. Things rarely go as people plan them, whether it be their dream job, school of choice, or even just plans for the weekend. In all of those cases, people need to be flexible, adapt, and find a plan B. If most people were not able to accomplish this, life would fall apart pretty quickly.

“March Comes in Like a Lion,” and more specifically Rei, embodies the need for both forms of adaptation very well. When it comes to playing Shogi, its obvious that Rei stands as a cut above many of his fellow competitors. There are many reasons for this, one being his training in the game from a very young age. Another, though, is his ability to adapt.

Episode to episode, Rei meets a great deal of shogi players, each who have their own play style. Some lean heavy into aggression, while others choose to play much more offensively. Rei, however, sits somewhere in the middle. His style is ill-defined, often leaving him to react to his opponent, rather than developing his own unique way of approaching the game.

This ability to adapt to his opponent mid-game and create a new path to victory based on his current board state is what makes Rei such an excellent player. However, the same cannot be said for Rei’s ability to play the game of life, at least initially.

The story of “March Comes in Like a Lion” opens on a Rei still stuck in the past. He is solely focused on his past and what his adopted family put him through. His anger and resentment keep him from seeing anything else important, and he continues to hate shogi as a result.


It is only after he meets the Kawamoto sisters that things begin to change. The three sisters, Akari, Hina and Momo, show him genuine kindness. They let him stay out there house, they feed him homecooked meals, and even watch his matches after they find out about his career as a pro shogi player.

After meeting them, Rei’s life begins to change drastically. Suddenly he has more to focus on then just shogi and paying bills. While his memories and family members still bother him a lot, he is better able to deal with those things because he has the sisters to help keep him positive.

Throughout the rest of the show, Rei uses this change in attitude to his advantage. Not only does he grow as a player, improving his shogi skills by studying alongside various top players, he continues to grow as a person.

Ultimately, what “March Comes in Like a Lion” shows is that adapting is important. Whether it be in a game or in real life, adapting can be the difference between victory and defeat, and sadness and happiness. While it might feel hard to change while worrying about the existential threat that is COVID-19, it is worth remembering that even taking small steps can eventually lead to a more healthy and desirable version of yourself.

Yeah, so this kind of turned into an advice column more than a post, but I know even just based on my own headspace that people can use a little more positivity. Also, money and healthcare, but that’s a different post entirely. Do you feel like you are adapting well to COVID life? 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

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

OWLS April “Hope” Post: When the World is in Crisis, Why Not Laugh?

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

This month on OWLS, our theme has to do with the virus known as COVID-19 that has greatly affected the world recently: Hope

We are in the midst of a pandemic which has led people to live in fear and anxiety over the coronavirus. For this month, rather than seeing the dark side of the situation we are living in, we will be exploring anime and other pop culture mediums that bring hope for humanity and why they have such a positive impact on us.

As always, be sure to check out some of the posts from my fellow OWLS members Megan and Lita as well.

With that said, enjoy the post.

I do not think it is at all an exaggeration to say that the world is in crisis right now. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused mass panic, spurred on by a flurry of misinformation and fear of poverty and starvation. This in turn has lead to hoarding of important medical supplies and food.

What is worse, in a time when political trust in institutions is already at an all time low, our leaders have failed to provide necessary relief, and in some cases have actively impeded attempts to get said relief. The severity of the situation is beginning to rival even events such as Word War Two, and it seems like there is little to be hopeful about. All the more reason then to…*checks notes*…laugh?

In times of extreme discomfort, pain, and worry, it can be incredibly easy to give into our bleakest of feelings and spend all of our time depressed. However, it is exactly because of these feelings that people should be occupying their time by with things that make them feel good. More specifically, comedy.


If social media apps such as Tic Tok and Twitter have made one thing clear, its that many are predisposed to responding to negative feelings like fear and awkwardness with laughter, and that makes sense. Laughter is naturally elevating process. Not only does it make the person doing it feel good, but one someone else is laughing, it makes other feel like they should be too.

Anime also has a lot of great comedy. I talked a while ago on KawaiiPaperPandas about Asobi Asobase, a comedy anime that focuses on the strange antics of a club of high school girls. Each of the girls seems innocent at first, especially in the opening for the show. However, as it turns, each of them is pretty vulgar and mean-spirited.

Normally I would say this show is not for everyone, and to be honest that still might be the case. However, given the situation the world is in right, this kind of over the top, raunchy humor might be just the thing to lift up someone’s spirits.

“Dog and Scissors” is another show in this vein, although with a much different plot. After being killed in a cafe, high school student Kazuhito is reborn as the pet dog of his favorite author, only to find out that she is pretty much a sadist. While it is not as consistently funny as a show like “Asobi Asobase,” “Dog and Scissors” does manage to knock enough absurdist jokes that make it worth watching at least the first few episodes.

Romance is another genre that often pairs well with comedy, and one of my favorite Rom-Coms, “Lovely Complex,” also happens to be incredibly funny. The show tells the story of Koizumi and Ootani, two high school students who to their friends are known as a comedy duo, but who, as it turns out, have feelings for each other.


One might point out that a lot of the comedy in the show could come off as one dimensional, given that a lot of the jokes in the show revolve around their height, and the fact that Ootani does not realize Koizumi like him until pretty late in the series. In fairness, this is not an unreasonable criticism.

I would however argue to things. One is that I think a lot of the cliched jokes in the show are fairly justified given that both are shown to be socially unintelligent in a number of ways. Another is a point I echoed earlier. Given the situation going on right now, and a heightened sense of awareness about friends and loved ones, I think a lot of the show’s core message will resonate, and the comedy by effect will shine through.

I also know that, like myself, many people go through periods of anime burnout, where they simply do not want to watch anything anime related. In that case, stand up comedy is a great place to get a lot of good laughs. A good place to find a lot of stand up comedy right now is Netflix.

Over the past couple of years, Netflix, at least in the U.S., has built a pretty impressive library of comedy specials. A few comedians who stand out are Ally Wong, whose stories about her marriage and personally life are always incredibly funny, and Trevor Noah, whose backstory makes him incredibly interesting to listen to.

As for comedy movies, well… I got nothing there, sorry.

Whatever it is, Now more than ever is a time to be laughing. Is is not healthy, both mentally and physically, to keep those fears and worries bottled up. So, keep watching the news, and stay informed. Those are also important, but make sure to keep yourself laughing so that it does not get your health down.

Everyone reading this is awesome, and I hope all of you are staying safe. What have you guys been doing to pass the time? 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

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

OWLS March "Devotion" Post: Hachiman and the Problem of Self-Devotion

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

At this point, I do not know if I need to explain what OWLS is, but just in case, I will. For those who are totally unaware, OWLS is a group of bloggers and other content creators dedicated to promoting acceptance of all groups, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. In dedication to that mission, members make one post/video each month dedicated to this idea.

For this month, our theme is “devotion:”

When we talked about fandoms, we show our appreciation and support by buying merchandise, cosplaying, writing fanfiction and etc. In fact, our appreciation can end up looking like a sign of religious worship. For this month, we will be talking about how certain characters express devotion to others, objects, and values. We will also be discussing how devotion can turn into an unhealthy form of passion and obsession and the implications of that.

As always, make sure you also check out posts from the members going before me and after me, which this month is Nyan and Matt Doyle, respectively. The full schedule for this month can be found at the end of this post. With all of that being said though, my post this month focuses on Oregairu. Please enjoy.

The return of Oregairu will likely mean continued growth for its main character Hikigaya. However, even despite this, it is worth remembering where his character started off, and how his progression throughout the series has affected him.

Hachiman Hikigaya started off in the series as fairly sure of himself. Distinct from the rest of his classmates, he felt that most were wasting their lives doing nothing, and that enjoying himself was completely worthless. This attitude attracts the attention of one of his teachers, and is then forced to join the Volunteer Service Club, one which is dedicated to helping others with their problems.

Hachiman, being someone who cares very little about others, takes issue with this immediately. He sees using his time to help others as completely nonsensical, but is forced to nonetheless. Arguably more problematic than his outlook, though, is the way in which he chooses to help others. Hachiman usually takes a more selfish root to solving problems, and even if they do end up working, they usually hurt both others and himself in the process.

A good example of this comes in the final moments of the first season, when the student council president is tasked with giving a speech to open the school festival, but gets stage fright and is unable to do so. In order to save the school festival, Hachiman takes it upon himself to guilt the president into doing her job. Everyone else sees this as going to far, but, at least initially, he accepts this as a necessary evil.


Hachiman’s biggest problem in this case is his lack of trust in people. Again, he see’s himself as distant from others, and relying on only himself in times of need.

In the show’s second season, Hachiman comes to have a radically different view of people. After spending a lot of time helping others with his club mates Yukino and Yui, he begins to realize that having relationships with other people is important. The bitterness of his past was simply him not giving people a chance.

Hachiman comes to start approaching people’s problem not with a thick-headed, emotionless boredom, but rather with active consideration for people’s feelings. He goes from a die hard individualist to a member of a group, in more ways than one.

His initial problem was that, because of the accident that kept him in a hospital for months, he became devoted to an idea of how he thought things should be, rather than adapting to the situation as it was. People do not make relationship with others by always considering themselves first. They form relationships by understanding others, and coming to rely on others in meaningful ways.

A relationship will only ever be as healthy as those involved allow it to be, and those who take Hachiman’s initial approach likely will not find much success in interacting with others.

How do you all feel about Oregairu and the idea of devotion? 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

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

March Schedule:

10th  Aria from The AniManga Spellbook

12th Megan from Nerd Rambles

17th  Matt from Matt in the Hat

20th Hazel from heyitszel 

21st Neha from Biblionyan 

25th Matt from mattdoylemedia 

26th Mel from melinanimeland 

27th Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe

30th Megan from Geeky Gal

31st Lita from Lita Kino Anime Corner

OWLS February “Legacy” Post: “March Comes in Like a Lion” and a Guide for Depression

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

After taking a month off, I am back with another OWLS post. This month’s theme is “Legacy.”

We have mentors, teachers, coaches, and role models whose stories inspired us in some way. Even when these role models are gone, their stories will live on from generation to generation. For this month, we will be exploring stories that have inspired or taught us some important lessons about life.

After reading this post, be sure to also check out posts from Ange and Crimson.

For this month, I am taking it back to my favorite, “March Comes in Like a Lion,” a show that has helped significantly in the realm of mental health. Please enjoy.

In an era of increased economic and political stability, issues of health care, specifically mental health care, have become much more prominent in mainstream dialogue. Those that were previously ignored, such as those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are now getting the help that they need. Not only that, increased discussion of these conditions has lead to better representation in popular media, including in anime.

I have talked a number of times, and will continue to do so, about the impact that “March Comes in Like a Lion” has had on me personally, and the way that it helped me coup with my depression and suicidal thoughts. I want to do so again, because its legacy on my own life is an important one.

For those who are unaware, my senior year of high school was the year in which all of my mental fortitude that kept me going in the previous year collapsed. All of my motivation as it related to school and work vanished. I dreaded having to wake up every day, and sometimes wished I could just pass away in my sleep.

However, that same year I stumbled upon “March Comes in Like a Lion,” which ended up being a almost literally a lifesaver. I mentioned it recently in one of my columns on The Daily Beacon, but “March” does an incredible job at displaying and dealing with different aspects of mental health, specifically depression as it relates to Rei.

In the wake of his identity crisis at the beginning of the show, Rei leans on shogi because it is all he has known since being a little kid. Not only is it the only connection he had with his father, despite not enjoying it that much, it also becomes his work. Rei realized the potential he had, and became one of the shogi world’s greatest prodigies, and at the ripe old age of 17, is paying the bills with it.

As Rei continues into the world of shogi, and meets new people like the Kawamoto sisters and Shimada, his perspective begins to change. What was once at best ambivalence towards his profession soon becomes something he loves doing, and works hard at getting better towards.

Watching Rei’s transformation in the story really made me want to achieve something myself. It became the wake-up call that I knew I needed but just couldn’t get from anywhere else, especially since it was hard to talk to anyone about my mental health.

Now, I want to be perfectly clear. I am not saying that watching anime is instantly going to fix your mental health, if at all. In fact, it didn’t even really fix mine. Still, at a time in my life where I felt numb to almost everything, the story of a teenage kid rediscovering his passion for something he’s known almost half his life was touching, to say the least.

“Legacy” Blog Tour Schedule
(February 2020)

2/6: Megan from Nerd Rambles

2/8: Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe

2/11: Aria from The AniManga Spellbook
2/12: Hikari from Hikari Otaku Station

2/16: Ange from Just Being Otaku

2/17: Ashley from The Review Heap

2/22: Crimson from Cute Boys Central

2/24: YumDeku from MyAnime2go

2/27: Mel from Mel in Animeland

2/28: Lita from Lita Kino Anime Corner

2/29: Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews

What kind of legacy has anime left on you? 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

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

OWLS December “Holiday” Post: Toradora and Loneliness

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The holiday season is here, and with it comes a whole lot of celebration, which is why the OWLS theme for this month is “Holiday:”

We are at the end of the year! YAY! For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS Team 

This month is a little less busy for the OWLS team, as many members have opted to take a bit of a well deserved break, but you should still check out Crimson and Karandi‘s posts as well. With that being said, here is mine.

Does anyone remember episode 19 of Toradora? You know, the one where the emotional power of the show cranks up to 11? Toradora is one of those anime that most people bring up when talking about good romance anime, and I think a lot of the reason for that comes from this episode in particular.

For those who do not know, Toradora is an anime about about Taiga and Ryuuji, two high school students with almost polar opposite personalities. The two meet one day, only to discover that they each have a crush on each other’s best friend. So, in classic ROM-COM fashion, the two decide to help each other out, growing much closer in the process. Episode 19 focuses on Taiga’s attempt to get her best friend Minori to come to a Christmas party so that her and Ryuuji can get closer. After a little while, Taiga leaves the party, worrying Ryuuji, and causing him to come check on her, knowing that she will be alone. After coming to see her, Taiga feels much better, but insists that Ryuuji should go back to the party. Soon after, Taiga is alone in her apartment, alone and sad. It becomes even more obvious before that the feelings Taiga has are not for Yuusaku, but rather Ryuuji himself. Her unwillingness to admit these feelings in a moment when she could have caused her to be lonely on Christmas Eve.

This kind of loneliness, while emotional jarring to watch for fictional characters, is something that impacts real people as well. Though the research on this relatively recent, doctors and other health professionals have made great strides in finding out the mental and physical health impacts of loneliness on people.


Despite there still be a lot left to discover about the impacts of loneliness on health, one thing that has been demonstrated repeatedly is that being physically isolated and being lonely are not the same thing. As a report from the Administration on Aging notes, it is entirely possible and also fairly common for people to be socially isolated and also not feel lonely. Conversely, people can be surrounded by good friends and family and still be prone to loneliness.

Still, both of these things can have major impacts on health. On the mental side of things, loneliness and social isolation are linked to increased likelihood of depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. One might not think Loneliness would affect physical health, but it can hurt that too. This can include higher blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

It is also worth noting that there is a growing body of research that suggests that loneliness is at least in part genetically inherited. For example, previous studies have found a heritability rate for loneliness of anywhere between 37 and 55 percent. This would suggest that there are people who are significantly more likely to experience loneliness than others.

If there was ever a time to bring awareness to the epidemic that is loneliness, it would be during the holidays, when people are supposed to feel a sense of fulfillment and togetherness. It is also important to recognize that just because someone looks ok, it does not mean that they are. These are the times that people should be doing the most to make sure others do not feel lonely.

Since this will be out on the 27th, how have your holiday’s been? Let me know in 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.

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

OWLS November “Failure” Post: What Card Game Anime Have Taught Me About Failure

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hello everyone, and welcome once again to my monthly OWLS post. The topic for this month is failure, as described below:

One of the best ways we can learn is through failure. This month we will be talking about the failures of our favorite characters in pop culture media and what we can learn from them. We will also reflect on our own mistakes and failures and how those experiences have allowed us to grow as human beings

As I am the first person going this month, I would encourage you all heavily to check out Megan’s post when it come out on the 7th. For my post today, I thought I would talk about something that I do not often talk about anymore: Trading Card Games (TCG’s) and their related anime. With that said, let us get started.

As I stated above, I have a pretty long history TCGs and their anime, most notably Yugioh and Cardfight Vanguard. However, I do not often talk about either because I have not consistently watched the anime for either in a long time, and since this is not really a blog related to card games, I tend to avoid that subject as well. Still, there is no denying that both of these franchises have had a big impact on me, and have taught me quite a few things in my time watching them.

The first of the card game anime that I spent a long time with is Yugioh. For many reading this post, that probably is not surprising, considering just how popular it was for so many growing up. The show has thus far had six different iterations, with roughly one new game mechanic being introduced with each series. Despite the change, however, each one has roughly the same story line and central focus for its main characters, that being wanting to become the best pro duelist.

The one I think does the best job with this concept is Yugioh 5ds, which tells the story of Yusei, a young duelist who grows up on an island disconnected from the mainland of Domino City. After finding his way off of the island, battling the security and riding his bike through a garbage shoot all the way to the mainland, Yusei attempts to connect with his former friend Jack Atlas, who betrayed him in order to get off the island and make it as a pro turbo duelist.

One of the biggest character traits among Yugioh main characters as well as Shounen protagonists more broadly speaking is a sense of unwavering confidence. No matter the situation they find themselves in, whether it be fighting against a powerful opponent, or trying to solve a difficult mystery about their identity, they generally take on everything with a smile. This is even more true in shows aimed at kids where the stakes are much lower story-wise. Because of this, the franchise’s many iterations do not often deal with the concept of failure. Rather, through the main characters’ confident exteriors implies that the best cover against failure is to shield one’s self with, well, confidence.

However, other card game anime, like Cardfight Vanguard, take an opposite approach when it comes their main characters. Cardfight Vanguard centers around Aichi Sendou, a middle school student with a passing interest in the game of Cardfight. Aichi is fairly shy and timid, and often does not stand up for himself. Morikawa, his school’s bully, recognizes this and uses it to steal Aichi’s favorite card Blaster Blade. After getting his card stolen, Aichi reunites and plays against Kai, who originally gave him Blaster Blade.

Aichi arguably deals with failure much more throughout the series than any of the Yugioh protagonists did during the course of their series, excluding Yusei. After forming a team with a few other people at a local card shop, Aichi then begins competing in tournaments. However, at first, it does not work out that well. Team Q4, as he, Misaki, Kai, and Kamui are then known, do terribly at the first regional event they participate in, and as such, are unable to qualify for the national tournament. Even after initially qualifying for team Q4, Aichi is only a stand-in member, and does not play much.

Still, instead of giving up, Aichi takes note, and learns from both his teammates matches and his own. He eventually is able to compete among the best in Japan, and later on the best in the world. To him, failure is simply an opportunity for learning and improving, and he is not the only one. The other members of Q4 also face their fair share of rivalries and challenges, but do not give up when the going gets tough. Except for Kamui in the beginning, he kinda sucks, lol.

The most important takeaways from these series are, as cheesy as they may be, to always be confident when working towards your goal, but also to be humble and learn from failure. Failure does not have to be scary. In fact, most of the time it is good.

What else is important about failure? 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

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

OWLS October “Fantasy” Post: Chuunibyou and Fantasy as a Means of Coping

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for joining me once again for my OWLS post this month. The theme for this month is Fantasy. Here is the full prompt:

In the month of October, we will be exploring the world of fantasy in pop culture. The genre of fantasy focuses on telling stories about our external and internal environments. There are many ways we can interpret the word, fantasy. For example, we can talk about how a fantastical place could glorify what reality should be or the dangers of ideal expectations. Fantasy could also be seen as taking a “wild journey” or a “hallucination” and how that can affect our psyche and well-being.  Fantasy can also focus on our personal dreams and expectations and how those expectations do not align with our reality. Overall, our posts will reflect on how we view the fantasy genre and what we can learn about these pop culture mediums.

Also, do be sure to check out both Irina and Megan, who will be talking about Natsume and respectively.

Now, for this month’s topic, I decided to do something a little different, as you might have gleaned from the title. I just so happened to be re-watching Chuunibyou, and since the show has plenty of fantasy elements in it without specifically being fantasy, I figured it would be a good enough fit.

Now, onto the post.

Life is hard. I know that might not seem like a bold, ground-breaking discover, but it is worth reminding ourselves. The world is filled with tragedy, from big events like 9/11 and the Kyoto Animation fire that happened just a few months ago to smaller things, like a family member passing a way. It is pretty much inevitable that people will experience some kind of tragedy in their lifetimes. However, what is often more important than the tragedy itself is how those affected by it respond.

Fantasy, as genre in fiction, dominated by many things: the myths of old, dangerous adventures, and tales of legendary heroes. One thing that Chuunibyou explores quite well is what happens when those types of stories become a mechanism for avoiding reality.

Chuunibyou’s story follows Yuta, who has just entered high school far away from where he went to middle school. The reason? Chuunibyou. Chuunibyou is a condition where middle schoolers fall into fantastical delusions, perceiving a different reality entirely, often times one in which they have magical powers, and fight against forces of darkness or light. Embarrassed by his persona as the “Dark Flame Master,” Yuta vows to leave his past behind him and start again as a normal teenager. Unfortunately, Rika Takanashi, does not make that easy for him.

Rika is also a Chuunibyou, except she has not gotten over hers. During their first day of school, she finds Yuta pretending to be the Dark Flame Master one last time. Later, she confronts him about it while the two are in the nurses office. Rika wants him to become his old self once again. Of course, Yuta, still wanting nothing to do with his old Persona, tells her no, and from there the two begin hanging out, with Rika trying her hardest to get the Dark Flame Master to come back.

The show starts out innocently enough. Rika drags Yuta into starting a club, recruits her “servant” Dekomori, and even invites Yuta to come to her grandparents home during the summer. All of this is for her ultimate goal of finding what she calls the “Invisible Boundary Lines.” Of course, Yuta remains clueless about what she means for most of the show. However, around the time episode seven comes around, it is revealed why Rika continues to believe her Chuunibyou delusions and the Invisible Boundary Lines.

When Rika was younger, her dad got became terribly ill, to the point of not being able to recover. Not wanting to her to be sad, Rika’s sister Toka and her mother hid it from her, until the day he passed away. As a result, her father’s death came out of nowhere, and Rika was devastated. While living with her sister for a while, Rika saw Yuta, concealed from the world in his Chuunibyou, unhurt and happy. She then made the decision to cope with her father’s death by pretending it did not happen, and began her own Chuunibyou. Her search for the Invisble Boundary Lines is, in reality, just a way of prolonging the task of accepting the truth.

Of course, Yuta is unaware that he is the source of all this until the show’s final episode of the first season, only that Rika remains unable to come to terms with her father’s passing. It is clear to Yuta after his visit to her grandparents home that Rika is suffering. He tries in his own way to help, but it simply does not work. What he is left with at that point is a feeling of uselessness, one where he wants to help but cannot.

What started as a sweet and innocent show about a somewhat strange high school girl and teens trying to leave the past behind turns out to be a tale of using the world of fantasy to deal with her own tragedy.

However, it also becomes a tale of how one chooses to cope with said tragedy. Near the end of the show, Rika’s sister asks Yuta to get Rika to stop being a Chuunibyou. Initially, Yuta somewhat agreed with Toka, thinking that breaking Rika out of her delusion would be best.

However, after going back to being normal, Rika decides to move away, and live with her grandparents again. She ultimately decides that, after years of being a Chuunibyou, she wants to do whatever will make her mother happy. Yuta, who thought he was okay with her living a normal life, realizes Rika is suffering even more now than she was before. The show ends after he comes to rescue Rika from her normal life and encourages her to be herself.

The message is clear: coping with tragedy is something people do in their own ways, and while it may not always be the healthiest way, embracing a world of fantasy might be better than simply living in a tragic reality.

How do you all feel about Chuunibyou? 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

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

OWLS September “Lover” Post: Lovely Complex and Finding Someone

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all once again for taking the time to read my OWLS post for this month. If you all still are not aware of this wonderful group, Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, also known as OWLS, is a group of bloggers dedicated promoting social justice. This month’s blogging theme is “Lover”

When it comes to romantic relationships, what do we look for in a partner? What core values do we seek when it comes to building a healthy and loving relationship? For this topic, we will be discussing some of our favorite couples in pop culture and what they have taught us about love and relationships, the good and the bad. 

As always, I want to give a shout out to my other fellow OWLS creators. Please be sure to check out Megan of Nerd Rambles, as well as Shay Taree. With that said, though, lets get into the post.

So, I have a confession to make: turns out I’m actually a pretty big fan of Romantic Comedies, especially ones from the mid to late 2000’s. Especially if their made by Toei Animation. What I really mean to say is that I am a fan of a show called Lovely Complex, and the show’s main characters Koizumi and Otani.

I remember first watching the show back in middle school, when I was on an anime binge, looking for just about anything and everything to watch. When I saw it for the first time, it looked different enough to be interesting, and so I started it. Because of this, I have always remembered the show with a certain fondness, which is why I decided to rewatch Lovely Complex, just to see if it held up against my Nostalgia

Fast forward to today. As of writing this post, I think I can safely say that Lovely Complex as a whole, as well as Koizumi and Otani are indeed some of my favorite. However, the story of there relationship is also important, which I will talk about now.

Otani and Koizumi’s Relationship

It is a fair assumption to make that most people have friends in some form or another. Humans are social creatures, after all, and even the most introverted of introverts occasionally crave contact with other people. This is how Koizumi and Otani started out, just a couple of nerds making fun of each other and geeking out over their favorite musician, Umibozu.

However, somewhere along the way, Koizumi realized that she wanted more than just friendship from Otani. She realized that friendship was great, but being in a romantic relationship would be better. That brings us to the main storyline: Koizumi try, trying again and again until eventually Otani realizes that he also has feelings for her.

Admittedly, their journey is a little stupid, what with the incredible levels the show goes to make Otani not realize how Koizumi feels. Still, it is heartwarming. However, at least part of this can be explained away with what Otani says in one of the later episode, that he just does not see Koizumi in that way.

Still, by the end of the show it all works out, and the two end up together.

Comedy and All Hashin-Kyojin

A lot of what makes this show work at all is the comedic aspect of their relationship. In the beginning, Koizumi and Otani bounce back and forth between arguing with each other and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. A lot of this has to do with their insecurities about their height, with Otani being much shorter than the average guy, and Koizumi being much taller than the average girl.

Of course, the downside of this kind of dynamic is that it makes the earlier parts of the show a bit more juvenile than it really had to be. After a while, though, a lot that becomes more of a joke than an actual concern for the two of them. As time passes they both become more confident in themselves, with Koizumi not worried about her looks, and Otani not worried about how his height will affect him playing basketball.

Still, the difference in their height is somewhat amusing when used as a joke. The two of them often play off of each other when they are going back and forth, which is what got them the title of “Comedy Duo” and “All Hashin-Kyojin” in the first place.

Wanting to be with Someone

I think the most important message the show addresses in its 24 episode span is that it’s ok to just want to be with someone. Throughout the show, Koizumi often times holds back her true feelings in favor of just having a good time, and while that may not necessarily be the healthiest thing in the long run, she cared enough about Otani to try and make that sacrifice. At the end of the day, if your with their person you care about, it might just be the case that things will turn out alright.

What are some of your favorite couples in anime. 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

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