Category Archives: OWLS Posts

OWLS August “Believe” Post: Hyouka’s Greatness and What it Means to Me

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I think many of my fellow OWLS members would agree that August is one of the more important months we have done here. As you probably already know if you have read any of the other members posts thus far, this month is a dedication to Kyoto Animation and those who lost their lives in the recent attack on the studio’s first building. Here is the specific theme for this month:

Kyoto Animation. We all have that one anime we enjoyed from Kyoto Animation. Whether it is pain or joy, Kyoto Animation has brought to life stories that can touch our emotions. For the month of August, we will be honoring Kyoto Animation and all it has done for art, storytelling, and popular culture by discussing some of our favorite Kyoto Animation series. We will discuss what we love about these series and what they taught us.

Be sure to also give some love to fellow OWLS bloggers Shay and Kat, who will be going on the 17th and 21st, respectively. With that said though, here is my post.


On July 18th of this year, Japan experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks in its history since World War 2. A man carrying gasoline into Studio one of Kyoto Animation poured said gasoline onto the floor of the building’s entrance. He then immediately ignited the the gasoline and ran off, only to be caught after running a few hundred feet away. The result: In total, 35 people lost their lives and many more were injured. In the wake of this horrific attack, the members of OWLS thought it appropriate to talk about our favorite works from the beloved KyoAni, and the effects those shows have had on us. So, for an unfortunate and tragic reason, I will be discussing Hyouka. 

Hyouka is a mystery series that tells the story of Houtaro Oreki, a newly crowned high-schooler who has vowed to ignore the rose-colored life of high school romance in favor of an energy-conservation motto, in which he vows “If I don’t have to do something I won’t, and If I do have to, I’ll do it quickly.” However, this motto begins to show some cracks almost immediately when Houtaro’s sister asks him to join the classics club at his high school. It is while visiting the clubroom where he meets the girl who creates these cracks, Eru Chitanda, whose very presence seems to disrupt his entire world-view. From there, Houtaru continues to solve the many mysteries that cross the club’s path. 

The series is definitely one of Kyoto Animations more underappreciated works but is one that is worth talking about, largely because of what it represents. As the channel Replay Value has explained in their great work on dissecting the series, Hyouka’s core conflict revolves around Houtaro, but not just him. It is a show that primarily focuses on the transformation of Houtaro from a dark introvert with a gray-colored world-view all the way to the end where he finally caves, giving into the rose-colored world he thought he would never want. 

Chitanda is the other half of Houtaro’s transformation, and largely the catalyst of it. When the two first meet inside the club room, it is immediately obvious that she has a large effect on him, a kind of love at first sight scenario. In what is probably the series most memorable moment, Houtaro’s vision of Chitanda becomes distorted, seeing her hair wrap around him, approaching him so that the only thing he can see is her. It is from this point that the only thing Chitanda has to do to get Houtaro to do something is say, “I’m curious,” and he immediately jumps to solve whatever the new mystery is. 

While the Classics Club itself is what initially unites most of the main cast, the mysteries in Hyouka are what serve to bring both Houtaro and Chitanda, as well as his friends Satoshi and Mayaka, together. Each new mystery is both unique in its problem, but also in its solution, which makes it always worth following them to the end worth. They range from small in scale, like in the first episode where the group tries to figure out how the door to the club room gets locked with Chitanda still in it, to the much larger, like figuring out the ending to an amateur mystery film done by class 2-F. However, despite being interesting enough mysteries on their own, it is the members of the Classics Club that elevate those mysteries to being something much more special.

Each of the characters in Hyouka brings something unique in their personality. Houtaro serves as the main detective of the group, often using his incredible deductive reasoning skills to solve mysteries within a matter of minutes. However, he is also a somewhat more awkward person, and also does not much care for social interaction. Chitanda is somewhat his opposite. She is always cheerful and ready to explore whatever the world throws her way. Satoshi, Houtaro’s best friend, has an uncanny ability to pull knowledge from a seemingly endless pool inside his head, and Mayaka is the one ready to control the group.

However, out of all the things that I have mentioned so far that make Hyouka what it is, there is one thing in particular that makes the show a personal favorite of mine: The relationship between Houtaro and Chitanda. For me, these two represent a sort of awakening that I had while in high school, not unlike Houtaro’s, that signaled a huge change. At first, I was socially awkward and did not much like interacting with others. I had a similar energy conservation policy. Despite my initial attitude, though, I learned over time that other people are not so bad, and slowly but surely I managed to come out of my shell. I also had a similar romantic experience, where I had sort of met this person on the first day and was immediately interested. I never got beyond friends with this person, but, to be honest, I do not mind. The time I spent with them was good, even if we do not talk anymore. 

I know it might seem like a shallow connection at best, but for me, Hyouka is another show that made me reflect on who I am and where exactly I am going. It is a show that ultimately forces people to confront themselves, and in doing so find out just how passionate they really are. I think something similar could also be said of Kyoto Animation.


Thank you all so much for reading, and goodbye, for now, friendos!

OWLS July “Technology” Post: Psycho-Pass, Technology, and the Reality of Privacy and Justice

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I don’t have a whole lot to say for this intro, other than just introducing the topic for this month, which is Technology:

For this month’s topic, we will be discussing how technology impacts our relationships with others and how it improves our lives (such as in communication, education, and etc.) by exploring the technology used in various anime and pop culture worlds.

As always, be sure to check out posts from my other lovely OWLS friends who will be posting before and after me, and for this month that will be Aria and Takuto, and try checking out our posts from last month as well.

With that said, here is the post:


In an age where technological advancement has increased rapidly over a relatively small period of time, many take for granted that same technology and its wide-scale usage and application. Another thing people often take for granted are the values that technology holds. Now, many might respond with the idea that most technology is value-neutral, and can be used in both good and bad ways, but what if it was technology was determining and enforcing values?

Enter Pyscho-Pass, the story of a society governed and orchestrated by the Sibyl System, a technology that scans the brain and assigns a score based on a person’s likelihood of committing a crime. The main story centers around Akane, a new member of the police force assigned to be an Enforcer, someone who uses a weapon known as a Dominator to catch those the Sibyl System has determined to be a threat and even kill them if necessary. The main villain of the show’s first season is named Makishima, a man whose aim is to destroy the Sibyl system, and also someone who is able to avoid detection by it, due to being Criminally Asymptomatic.

It is easy to see the Sibyl System as just fantasy, and that nothing like it could ever possibly come to life, but, as this article from Purdue Global points out, with a rise in the technology used to commit crimes, there is also a rise in the technology used to stop it. For example, computers have enabled the widespread adoption and application of Rapid Identification Systems, store a wide variety of data related to a person’s criminal history. Technology such as Drones can even help stop crime in real time by giving police an aerial view of a situation. Now, in a lot of cases, these things can be considered good, and worth pursuing. However, the government and those agencies in charge of protecting citizens are not always as noble as they may appear. 

On the other side of the equation rest things like PRISM, a program under the National Security Agency (NSA) that was originally intended to gather intelligence on citizens of other countries. However, the reality of the program is quite different. In 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information from inside the agency that suggested those working there had “direct access” to major technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, meaning those working at the NSA had the ability to look at millions of people’s data without them knowing. In other words, PRISM Constitutes one of the larges violations of the fourth amendment in U.S. history. 

The Sibyl System is similar in many ways. It is a giant agency free from outside pressure that is working to rein in criminals through extremely questionable methods. In fact, much of what actually determines a person’s “latent criminality” in Psycho-Pass in never really well explained, and at the end of the first season, it is revealed why. Akane, after a long battle with Makishima, discovers that the Sibyl System is actually made of brains of individuals who are also Criminally Asymptomatic. At this point, it becomes clear to Akane that the system she thought stood for Justice and fairness is, in reality, much different, and that maybe Makishima’s plan was not so crazy after all.

The reality is that while technology can be used for good, it can also be used by governments to help in the violation of people’s rights. Technology’s infinite possibilities, while tempting to pursue in the short term, should always be managed with a long term vision of having people benefit from it. 


How do you guys feel about Technology? About Pyscho-Pass? Let me know in the comments. If you guys would like to support Animated Observations consider donating on Ko-fi or through Paypal:

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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 June “Vunerable” Post – Wandering Son: When Being Vunerable isn’t an Option

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is time once again for another OWLS post. This month’s theme is Vunerable:

In the month of June, we will be discussing what it means to be vulnerable. To some individuals, being vulnerable could be seen as a sign of weakness, but in fact, vulnerability is actually a sign of strength. In this month’s posts, we will explore what it means to be vulnerable and how certain characters in pop culture glamorize vulnerability. When do we show our vulnerability? How do we express vulnerability? Why should we show vulnerability?

Definitely make sure to check out my other fellow OWLS members, Lyn and Ange and there posts for this months.

Also, since I haven’t done anything for pride month, due to me being on vacation, I figured I would take some time to dedicate a post for that very purpose, which is why the anime I will be talking about for this month is Wandering Son. I know I’ve talked about it before for OWLS, but I think its an important enough show that its worth talking about and sharing again. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would definitely recommend watching it.

With all that done, here is the post:


For almost everyone, there are going to be things that remain hidden behind a certain level of self-consciousness. Some of the things people hide are more innocuous, like an embarrassing habit or a cringe favorite thing. Either way, it is hard for people to talk to others about these things because making themselves vulnerable is often both emotionally and mentally difficult. However, for members of the LGBTQ community, the ability to be vulnerable about their specific situations is much harder due to the history of treatment of that group of people.

More specifically though, transgender people have a harder time due to their being a lot of confusion about what being transgender actually means. Many still have to live in the shadows about their identity, and often times it means that they feel alone.

A good example of this is Wandering Son, an anime that explores the story of two transgender individuals named Shuichi and Yoshino. As it is explained in the show, before the two met, they had no way of talking to others about being transgender and no one to talk to about their experience, because doing so would have likely meant rejection from friends and family. With their friendship, it becomes easier for the two to be more open.

Unfortunately, though, even their journey was not that simple. Despite having Yoshino to talk to, Shuichi still has to deal with his sister, who finds out about Shuichi being transgender, and throughout most of the show is still unwelcoming to his identity. Meanwhile, Yoshino dresses as a guy at school and gets accused of simply doing it for attention. In both of their situations, vulnerability is not something they feel safe enough to show.

It is also important to remember that the ignorance surrounding transgender issues and the treatment of transgender people in horrible ways has real world consequences. A CDC study from 2016 shows that transgender people are much more likely to have attempted suicide, with as many as 40 percent admitting to doing so. Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people are also disproportionately likely to have attempted suicide. These numbers mean that many of both transgender people and other members of the LGBTQ community still feel like Shuichi and Yoshino.

Sadly, some of this ignorance and often unintended hate can also be seen and felt in the anime community. The word “trap” has come under fire within the past year or so in many online anime communities for being a somewhat bigoted term that has implications about why someone is transgender, the implication being that specifically trans women only dress as women in order to trick men. Some defend the term by arguing that there is no malicious intent, and that it is only used as a joke, but it is still hard to argue against its influence and meaning, especially considering that there have been hate crimes against transgender people which were justified using this same logic. If the word is recognized by transgender people as a slur, it might just be best to stop using it if it makes them feel marginalized.

What’s important is this: Being vunerable around someone means that you feel safe, and feeling safe in the environment you grow up and live in can be important both to one’s mental development and their adult mental health. If people continue to ignore the urgency of these problems, then many more lives could be in danger.


Thanks for reading friends. Be sure to be there for your friends and family, and help them when they need it. Also, have a good rest of Pride Month.

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Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

OWLS May “Happiness” Post: Anime, Writing, and The Endgame

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hello again, friends! For this months OWLS post, I’ll be talking on a bit more of a personal level, as the topic for this month is Happiness.

Happiness is subjective. We all have different definitions of what happiness means to us and we also feel happiness in varying degrees. This month we will be exploring several questions describing our happiness in our fandoms, communities, and hobbies. Why do we find enjoyment watching anime or reading manga? Why did we decide to join the anime or pop culture communities?  Why do we blog about our hobbies or cosplay as our favorite characters? This topic is all about the passions we have for our interests and why they are important to us.

As always, make sure to check out more of the OWLS by looking at some of our other members posts, such as Karandi whose post will be coming after mine.

With that being said, here is the post:


Anime

Most people get to a certain point in their lives where they all start asking each other the same two questions: how and why are we even here? This is no less true in the anime community, a group of people who have come together to bask in the glory of Japanese animation. It seems like most people in the anime community have a fairly interesting story to tell when it comes to these questions, so for anyone who cares, here is mine.

Before I found anime as a hobby, I pretty much did nothing. In middle school, I played games on my Nintendo DS and that was about it. Every day was me finishing my homework and chilling alone in my room. I also did not have many friends at the time, and it seems like the ones I did manage to find were constantly moving away. One day, however, the person who would become my best friend introduced me to two different shows: Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist. This was around the time I got my first computer, so of course, I looked them up and started binging them. Bleach was technically the first show I watched, with FMA coming Immediately after.

After watching these two shows, I was hooked and I wanted more. For a while, I went on a quest to find new shows like Bleach and FMA, watching all manner of YouTube top ten videos and reviews for shows that looked interesting. Before I knew it, I stumbled upon what would be one of my favorite shows for a long time to come: Fairytail. After that, I met a friend in the seventh grade who was also an avid anime watcher and gave me even more great recommendations like Death Note, Fruits Basket (the original Deen adaptation), and Hetalia. With that, anime was a part of my life.

Writing

Writing as a passion for me came much later. It was not until I joined my school’s newspaper that I found out just how much I enjoyed writing. Every week I would find something new to report on and make an effort to deep dive into that topic. Sometimes I would even be opinionated enough to make an article talking about something I cared about.

Later on in high school during my sophomore year, I took a creative writing class, where I met a lot of similarly minded people like me, and we just took time enjoying and creating whatever we wanted. Creative writing is also where I discovered my love of poetry and short stories, so there is that.

It wasn’t until my Junior year of high school, where I was overwhelmed with the amount of work I had going on, that I decided to create a blog for fun. At the time I just needed something to get my mind of all my stress and just have control over something creatively. Quickly, though, it turned from something to do in my free time to a hobby to something I love doing (almost) all the time.

Where Do I Go from Here?

Honestly, I don’t know yet. I still want to try and make this something of a part-time or even full-time job if possible, but I also still have a lot to learn when it comes to being creative on the internet. I’m still not even fully sure if what I am doing with my blog now is what I will be doing in a few years from now. However, I do know one thing, that it is enjoyable for me, and right now that is a lot of what matters. Anime, Writing, and this blog are a lot of what brings me happiness.


What are your guy’s plans for the future? Let me know in comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on ko-fi or using one of the affiliate links below:

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 April “Masculinity” Post: Fullmetal Alchemist and Power Dynamics

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I am back once again to bring you another contemplative piece about… well, something. The topic for this month is masculinity, as described down below:


This month the OWLS bloggers will explore the concept of masculinity. We each have our own definition of what it means to be masculine and we will explore our definitions using “masculine” characters from various pop culture fandoms. We will discuss how these characters are “masculine” or show signs of a masculine persona. We will also share our personal stories about the amazing men that supported us in our lives as well as sharing some of our experiences growing up as a man or knowing men who struggled with the masculine identity.

Also, be sure to check out Scott and Lyn’s posts that will be coming out before and after mine, respectively.

With that said, my post today will be about Fullmetal Alchemist, so here it is:


One of the most iconic moments from both the original Fullmetal Alchemist as well as the Brotherhood remake is one of the opening episodes which takes place in the city of Lior. The Elric brothers end up in Lior after hearing about a miracle worker named Father Cornello, who also claims to be the prophet of the sun god Leto, and who also appears to have a philosopher’s stone, the thing the Elric brothers have been searching for in order to get Alphonse’s body back.

In their first meeting with Father Cornello, and Rose, one of Cornello’s devout followers who told Rose that he would help bring back her dead lover, Ed gives a description of the elements that make up a human body, and after said description explains that even with the power of science, bringing back a human life is impossible, and that Rose’s trust of religion to do the same is misguided. Eventually, after a short battle between ed and Cornello, the two brothers expose to the people of Lior that Cornello’s miracles are fake and that he is no profit at all, only a phony with a fake philosopher stone. Of course, the message of the episode is fairly pro-science, or in this case pro-alchemy and anti-religion, but when it comes to similarities, there is one big one that science and religion in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe share: the problem of masculinity.

It is important to realize that when I talk about these things, I am talking about them in terms of how they manifest in institutions and not necessarily about them as general concepts. With religion, well, that should be fairly self-explanatory. Cornello leads the church of Leto which tricks its followers into believing he is the prophet in order to gain power over him and so that they will do what they say. As for Alchemy, well, that is a long story.

Per the lore of the franchise, many of Amestris’ most successful alchemists work for the Amestrian government. Some work for government grants that are given based on an evaluation done every two years, while others are employed in the army. However, in the field of Alchemy, one thing, or rather one gender, is often missing. Women, while playing substantial roles in story of Fullmetal Alchemist, are generally missing in the field of Alchemy. Sure, Riza Hawkeye and the Elric Brother’s teacher Izumi are there, but they generally seem to be the exception to the rule. Alchemy, much like religion, seems to be a bit of a boy’s club.

I point this out not to say that Fullmetal Alchemist as a show is sexist or that no one should watch it, but rather to say this: much like in the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, power can corrupt, and it does not even have to be absolute power. When talking about Masculinity, one of the most important things to bring up is power dynamics. Whether it be in a work environment or even in a committed relationship between two people, unhealthy power dynamics based on gender can, and likely do exist. It is important to be vigilant so that unhealthy and discriminatory institutions can be called out.


How do you folks feel about Masculinity? Leave your hot takes down in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi or use one of my affiliate links down below:

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 “Feminine” Post: Aggretusko and Dealing with Harassment

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well, its women’s history month, and in honor of that OWLS is celebrating by making our theme this month “Feminine”

In honor of Women’s History Month, the OWLS bloggers will explore the concepts of femininity and feminism. We each have our own definition of these two terms and we will explore our definitions using “feminine” characters from various pop culture fandoms. We will discuss how these characters are “feminine” or show signs of a feminist agenda. We will also share our personal stories about the amazing women that supported us in our lives as well as sharing experiences involving women’s rights, oppression within the patriarchy, and/or issues of growing up as a woman or having a feminine persona.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Megan from Nerdy Rambles‘ post for this month, and make sure you look out for Irina’s post on the 25th.

Now, without further ado, here is the post.


This may or may not come as a surprise but in many places around the world, women deal with a lot of unequal treatment. For many places, like Saudi Arabia, this inequality is quite famous, as the country just recently lifted its ban on female drivers. Even the U.S. has largely lagged behind other developed nations in this category, with the makeup of Congress still largely under representing women. However, one country that also deals with a lot of inequality is Japan. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Japan remains in the bottom third, at 110 of 149 countries. For reference, Saudi Arabia sits at 141 and the U.S. actually sits at a 51.

Source: Polygon.com

Aggretsuko can be seen as somewhat of a microcosm of the problem with Japan’s inequality. The show follows Retsuko, as she deals with the problems of being both a woman and a salaried worker in Japan. Her boss is probably the worst person to ever live and constantly makes her life miserable by giving her more and more work. Each day is a new problem, but at the end of it she goes out for Karaoke and sings her favorite genre: Heavy Metal. However, despite her temporary relief, she still has to go back to her job each day. and deal with more work and more harassment.

This is also the experience of a lot of Japanese working women. According to a Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare study that was conducted in 2016, a little over 32 percent of women have experienced Sexual Harassment. That includes 30 percent of part-time workers and 35 percent of full-time workers. There is, however, no law that specifically criminalizes Sexual Harassment, only laws that help identify companies that fail to prevent it, and no such company has been identified since 2015, according to the U.S. Human Rights Report.

There is also another layer to this problem. In Aggretsuko, one of Retsuko’s coworkers, Fenneko, provides the perfect example of how females must act in order to get by. Fenneko is always agreeable, always has a welcoming smile on her face, is always giggling at her male coworkers jokes even when they are not funny. Fenneko always takes the path of least resistance, and for most Japanese women, this is what is encouraged.

In his article for the Daily Beast, Writer Jake Adelstein goes into a large amount of detail about a few distinct cases that highlight the massive amount of misogyny that exists and is directed at female workers. In one instance, a weekly news magazine called Shukan Shincho reported on a story about Vice Finance Minister Junichi Fukada verbal harassing a female reporting while attempting to ask him questions. Adelstein also quoted an anonymous female reporter as saying that “In Japanese society, any woman working outside the office is expected to be like a mama-san [manager] at a bar in Ginza—to laugh off lewd comments and unwanted touches, while using their female wiles and cuteness to squeeze as much money out of the customer as possible.”

However, the lack of attention on these problems also speaks to another problem: The unconditional veneration of Japanese culture. Its seems as though, for the many fans of anime and other forms of Japanese culture that recognize and understand the problems with said culture, there are just as many who would just rather be in love with the idea of Japan rather than the sociocultural reality.

Aggretsuko is a show that highlights many of the problems not only with harassment but also with Japanese work life in general, and the increasingly large amount of stress that comes with it. However, for working women, that stress is then multiplied by the justified fear that someone may at their workplace try and use the power they have over them to get whatever it is they want, with little in the way for recourse.


Thank you all for reading. If you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi, or using one of my affiliate links down below.

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 February “Adore” Post: For the Love of Adventure

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its that time of the month again for an OWLS post. This month’s theme is “Adore,” as described down below:


In February, we will be exploring love and romance. The word selected is “adore” because it has two main connotations: to be loved and respected or to feel worshipped. We will analyze characters that give us a feeling of admiration and explain why we love those characters. We will also be exploring different forms of love (familial, friendship, and even self-love) and how those types of love influence our lives.

OwLs

For this months topic, I decided to pick an anime that I have not had a lot of time to discuss, but one that I still feel passionate about: A Place Further Than the Universe.

Be sure to check posts from fellow OWLS members Irina and Rai, as well.

With all that said, here is the post:


It is sometimes easy to become enamored with the beauty of the world around us. If travel blogs and hundreds of Instagram photos have taught me anything, its that there are some many wonderful places to get lost in. Whether it be on the beach in Europe, or a hiking path on a remote Carribean island, the world has proven itself to be filled with wonder. However, experiences like those, for as cool as they would be by themselves, are often made so much better in the company of others.

Enter Mari, a high school girl whose monotonous daily routine has finally caught up with her. Despite living a fairly peaceful and privileged life, Mari feels as though she has not had a truly life-changing experience, and that if she does not have one before she leaves high school, the busy schedule of adult life will make it impossible for her to do so. One day, Mari runs into Shirase, a girl known infamously throughout her high school for being a bit of a weirdo. After the two meet up after Mari gives back some lost money she found, Shirase explains that it is her dream to follow in her mother’s footsteps and go to Antartica. Amazed by her confidence and determination, Mari decides that this will be her life-changing experience. The two of them eventually meet up with Hinata and Yuzuki and are able to make it on the trip to Antartica, despite some major difficulty.

However, as it is often said, the journey is much more important than the destination, which is why a good portion of the show is dedicated to just getting there. First, they need Yuzuki to even be allowed on the trip. Then, they have to train and learn about the landscape and harsh conditions of their environment. Even just getting to the ship’s starting point ends up being a difficult part of their journey, even if most of it was self-caused. But, even with all of the difficulty, they confide in each other.

Even their friendship was unlikely. Mari only meets Shirase after she drops money at the train station and Mari finds her crying, and she only meets Hinata after deciding to start a part-time job to earn money for the trip. The three of them are approached by Yuzuki because she does not want to go. Mari, Shirase and Hinata convince her to come on the trip so that all of them can go, and in the process they become friends.

As the four of them start and follow through on their journey, documenting the whole thing along the way, their bond grows. Getting the chance to go on a trip to Antartica, a place with some of the harshest conditions in the world, and having to help each other along the way makes it a much more worthwhile experience.

The power of adventure is one that should not be forgotten about. Experiences, more than anything else, have the power to set aside differences and bring people together, even in the most unlikely of conditions. Whether it be a journey to Antarctica or even just a trip to the beach together, adventure can often be an important form of love.


What do you guys think about A Place Further Than the Universe? Let me know in the comments down below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi or using one of my affiliate links:

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 January “Metamorphosis” Post: Becoming the Change We Want to Be

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Another month, another OWLS post, and this months topic is one that I actually like a lot. For January, our topic is Metamorphosis, as described below:

A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become. Lastly, we would like to say “Happy New Year, everyone!”

I would also recommend that you check out the other OWLS members like Takuto.

For this month’s topic, I’ve chosen to focus on a show that I have thought about a lot recently: Wandering Son. With that being said, here is the post:


With the coming of and going of each new year brings with it change. People resolve to change an aspect of themselves they don’t like, sometimes several, and more often than not just end up throwing out said resolutions a month into the new year, returning to the same habits that brought them unhappiness in the first place. However, for a certain group of people, the change that comes with resolving to be better is often scary, because it requires an outright rejection of societal norms.

Wandering Son is mainly the story of Takatsuki and Shuichi. Shuichi, or as she is more affectionately referred to in the story, Shu, is a boy who wishes to be a girl. Takatsuki is a girl who wishes to be a guy. In other words, they are transgender. However, their ability to express their gender is met with scorn and many societal roadblocks.

For those whose true gender is not as it was assigned to them at birth, the idea of change is both liberating and terrifying. On one hand, being able to express your gender in the way that you see as comfortable is great, but it often is not that simple. Many of those of attempt to do this are often met with resistance in the form of being told they are being silly, being rejected by family members, and sometimes even violence. In Wandering Son, many similar things happen.

At the beginning of the story, Shu and Takatsuki both start off in relatively similar places. Both are beginning to feel the social pressures of school clash with their desire to express their true gender, however, both of them have people who understand them enough to support and encourage their true identities. For Shu, that would Takatsuki and Makoto, another boy in his grade who wishes to be a girl. For Takatsuki, its Shu and Chizuru and Sasa. But, even though both Takatsuki and Shu have friends there to support them, the idea of making the change that they desperately want to is still extremely scary. It becomes even scarier for Shu when her sister Maho find her cross-dressing and starts calling her weird.

Fortunately, courage seems to find the two of them, or rather the two of them end up finding courage. While most of the first half of the show revolves around both Takatsuki and Shu being fairly uncomfortable with the idea of expressing their true gender, by the second half of the show, the two of them get a relative confidence boost. Shu starts going out in feminine clothes much more often then she used to, and Takatsuki starts moving towards wearing the male uniform at school. Even Yuki, a trans woman who befriends both Takatsuki and Shu before the beginning of the show’s story, by the end of the show, feels enough courage to go and see the kid’s school play while presenting as female.

Change can definitely be scary. It is by definition unfamiliar, and as animals we are biologically programmed to be scared of the unknown, to be distrustful of the good it can bring. However, much like Shu and Takatsuki are able to do throughout the course of Wandering Son, it is better to let change happen then to be scared of it because it can also be liberating.


Before I end the post, I just have to give respect to The Pendantic Romantic’s Video on Wandering Son that inspired this post in the first place. Her video is way more in-depth than anything I have ever written about… well anything, frankly. It is a fairly long watch, but highly worth it if you have the time. definitely give it a watch.

What kind of changes are you hoping to make this year? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-Fi or using my Amazon Affiliate Link to buy stuff:

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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 December “Miracles” Post: Shonen Protagonists and Creating Miracles

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is time once again for another OWLS post. This months theme is “miracles,” as described down below:

Tis the season where miracles happen. For December’s theme, we will be exploring faith in anime and pop culture. We will discuss some of the miracles that enter a character’s life during their darkest moments. Some of their questions we will explore is how does a “miracle” change a person’s life? How do we define miracles? Can miracles only happen due to a legend or a mystical being? Or do miracles happen every day, but we just don’t see it?

Also, I want to be sure and give a shout out to a few of my fellow OWLS bloggers: Megan Peoples and Karandi, so be sure to check out their posts as well. With that being said, here is my post:

In much of mythology and religion, miracles are often something delivered to someone in their greatest time of need, when they are helpless and cannot do anything for themselves. In that way, they are a fairly passive phenomenon. Nothing needs to happen for you to receive a miracle, really, other than for you to believe it will happen. This same logic underlies the idea of thoughts and prayers that many offer up after a mass shooting in the U.S. Instead of doing anything proactive, it is much easier for certain groups of people to remain passive and simply do nothing. However, as much as many would like to believe it to be the case, most things that people would consider good to not just appear out of thin air, and, in fact, many people have to work hard for things that others would consider miracles. A lot of Shonen protagonists operate under similar principles.

Source: Japan Powered

Take Goku from Dragon Ball Z for example. After he and Piccolo defeated Radditz, they learned that Vegeta and Nappa would be coming to destroy the earth. If Goku had just assumed that a miracle would have happened and that he would be able to defeat them both no problem, then he probably would not have gone and gotten training from King Kai. However, Goku realizes that the power he needs to defeat the two Saiyans is not just going to appear before him, so he goes to work and trains. This also happens later on when Goku needs to visit the planet Namek in order to help his friends obtain the Dragon Balls. He uses the time he has aboard the Spaceship in order to train even more, because of Frieza.

Source: Bleach Wiki

Another great example would be Bleach. Many fans of the show talk about the Soul Society arc, the part of the show in which Ichigo goes to save Rukia, as being one of if not the best part of the show, and with good reason. The story of that arc is great. One of the reasons its great though is because of Ichigo’s training. Ichigo and those around him realize that saving Rukia is not going to be as easy as walking into the Soul Society and taking her back. So, Ichigo prepares by training and eventually becoming strong enough to get her back.

In fact, this idea is by no means limited to Shonen series. One great show from this year that demonstrates this fact is A Place Further than the Universe. The show focuses on Mari, a high school girl who wants to do something incredibly before she leaves high school and becomes engulfed by societal responsibilities, and Shirase, a girl who has been outcast-ed by her classmates because of her goal of making it to Antarctica like her mother. The two work together in order to make their dream come true, even despite the overwhelming odds that they were never going to be able to go.

The point I am ultimately trying to make is whether it be characters in a fictional universe or people in real life, most things do not just happen because they believe hard enough. 99 percent of the time, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create our own miracles. But, overcoming the odds and enjoying the fruits of that hard work is what makes them miracles in the first place.

OWLS November “Thankful” Post: March Came in Like a Lion and Became My Inspiration

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I’m back this month with my first OWLS post in a while, and it just so happened to be with a theme that I was quite prepared to write about. This months theme is “Thankful.”


Here at OWLS, we are pretty thankful that we are able to come together as a community and share a love and appreciation for anime and manga. This month we will be showcasing our appreciation by giving a shout out post to our favorite manga artists, creators, production companies, and writers who produced some of our favorite works. We will be discussing our favorite works by these creators and our reasons as to why we appreciate them.

Also, as always, be sure to check out some of the other lovely posts from other OWLS blogger members:

Z from Let’s Talk Anime

Dylan from DynamicDylan

For this post, I thought I would once again give some love to my favorite anime: March Comes in Like a Lion. 

As I’ve talked about many times on this blog before, March Comes in like a lion is one of my favorite anime. Ever since I watched its first episode, I’ve been enthralled with its characters and invested in their development. Every second I have spent watching and writing about March Comes in Like a Lion is a time that I have been incredibly happy. 

March Comes in Like a Lion is also a show that I would consider one of the best anime of all time. Its writing is brilliant, from the small, episodic stories to the overarching narrative of Rei’s road to healing. Its visual’s remain some of the most impressive that I’ve seen in an anime, with Studio Shaft’s personal touch making it all the more wonderful. 

Considering the number of articles I have written, it would be boring just to ramble on for a few more paragraphs. So, for this post, I thought I would complete it by combining my love of anime and writing, and write a poem about March Comes in Like a Lion. 

When March Came in Like a Lion

Life is often about tactical discretion 

moving pieces carefully on a board

protecting what is most important,

while advancing forward and conquering life.

Much is often left unsaid when playing the game of life. 

We make the moves we think are necessary,

without disclosing much of what our master plan is. 

Remember that life is more than winning,

much more than one game could ever give you. 

Life is family and friends, and those that care about you.


What anime, manga, or creator are you guys thankful for this November? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!