Category Archives: The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My own political persuasions aside, how do you feel about “Carole and Tuesday,” both the characters and the show as a whole? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What other characters should I take a more in-depth look at? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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