The Observation Deck: Chainsaw Man (Anime)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

While I did not get to talk about it at all during its run, anyone with even surface-level knowledge of the medium could have told you that 2022 was expected to be the year of Chainsaw Man. Indeed, even other notable manga adaptations like Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer did not drive nearly as much conversation (mostly because of how bad it was but that is a different post entirely).

To be clear, the hype around the series has been there since early 2021, when the manga was starting to pick up steam. Still, in light of, and maybe also because of, the aforementioned disappointment that was Biscuit Hammer, there were some questions about whether Chainsaw Man‘s anime debut would live up to the expectations of die-hard fans. Then again, MAPPA as a studio has been on the relative upswing in terms of what they chose to adapt recently, and even a lesser adaptation could probably be carried by just how fucking awesome the material is.

So, did Tatsuki Fujimoto’s smash hit get the adaptation it deserved? Well…yeah, it feels fair to say it absolutely did. And no, this is not one of those weird twists where I talk about how actually Chainsaw Man is bad therefore a mediocre adaptation would be fitting. No, MAPPA’s approach not only fit the material well but actively innovated and made the series something worth watching rather than just reading.

(Since this is a relatively high-profile series I did try my best to avoid talking about anything manga related, so there shouldn’t be any spoilers for anyone who is only planning on watching the anime).

Good Use of 3D Animation

For a reason I will never be able to fathom, Chainsaw Man‘s first episode was marred in controversy for its use of 3D CGI during its first major fight. Now, if there is one thing that irks me in anime more than anything, it is poorly produced 3D shows and portions thereof. Hell, forget poorly produced, I just am not partial to it period. Therefore, I can understand if people say they do not like 3D in general.

However, people trying to argue that MAPPA’s use of it in the show is somehow particularly egregious have clearly never watched actual bad CGI like EX-Arm. Sure, there were some portions that did not transition as smoothly between 2D and 3D as they could have, and though I did not notice it myself, the claims about frame rate drops are probably true.

Still, even the technical imperfections, I would argue, actually benefit the show artistically. After all, what would transforming into a devil with a chainsaw on their head and arms even entail? What sense of balance and fighting ability comes with that? Though the 3D scenes do ultimately feel sluggish, they seem to unintentionally convey the immediate experience of having that newfound power.

Now, as the series goes on, this becomes less convincing. Denji does learn how to wield his abilities pretty effectively, so safe to say that does not really fit. However, it is also the case, at least for myself, that the 3D elements blend a lot better with the 2D environments as it goes on. By the time they get the hotel arc, I forget there is even a difference in animation, to begin with. Normally I would stick to more thematically related topics, but in a way, the show’s use of 3D is thematically related, as it often helps to create an initial distinction between Denji and the rest of the world. Speaking of…

Advertisements

Thematic Translation

At the core of Chainsaw Man is really a story about what it means to be human, and also what sorts of dignity and respect should come with that label, but also how easy it is to blur that line when devils with awesome power come into the mix. I say this in case the last section somehow confused anyone into thinking I was some sort of MAPPA fanboy because now is the time where, surprising no one, we talk about the dirty word-

What? No, not boobs: politics.

Chainsaw Man actually had a number of small controversies throughout its seasonal airing, which makes sense given just how unprecedented the anticipation was. One that was maybe worth the outrage was a scene from episode two, where Denji takes a warm bath for the first time in forever. The same scene in the manga shows Denji singing about being in a union and getting benefits, but the anime notably took this part out in favor of some mild humming.

Now, in most cases, stuff like this is not really worth getting boggled down in because it could have very easily been an oversight, a missed conversation between scriptwriters, etc, etc. However, given the studio’s pretty atrocious record with worker’s rights and overworking employees, along with most of the anime industry for that matter, I cannot imagine there not have been at least some mention of this during production.

It would be one thing if the scene did not make sense in the context of the manga so they took it out in order to make the series flow a bit better in an episode format. Yet, that is not what happened. The fulfillment of basic human needs, including economic ones, is what makes Denji’s character so unique. His existence subverts typical shonen/action protagonist motivations of seeking justice, truth, and friendship by laying out the selfish, though ultimately relatable, human desires and having that be enough.

In case this sounds like a reach, a lot of my research for my last semester of undergrad this past fall involved looking at the decline in union coverage among western newspapers and why tonally it became decidedly more negative. At the risk of dumbing it down too much, a not-insignificant part of the equation is that newspapers are, at the end of the day, also businesses (Mostly, assuming we are not talking about the BBC, NPR, etc, that gets a little more complicated). Thus, reporting on unions would inevitably draw attention to their own legal struggles.

This is not to say MAPPA neutered the series completely. A lot of those ideas still shine through in subtext and through various conversations between characters. Still, it does actively hurt the storytelling when the message being shared is averse to the interests of the entity making it.

The Opening

That’s it, that’s the section.

In all seriousness, though, while I do think the soundtrack was handled fairly well, utilizing a lot of distorted noise and heavy guitars to create a fantastic atmosphere, I do not have much to say about it beyond that. Like, yeah, it is a great soundtrack, go listen to it.

However, the opening for the series, as analyzed to death as it is already, does have some of the craziest art direction of any opening in recent memory. It manages to pack in a stupid amount of references, both in and out of series, while also still being enjoyable to watch.

I have enjoyed plenty of j-rock throughout my anime journey, but the song “Kick Back” by Kenshi Yonezu is a banger among bangers. It perfectly encapsulates a lot of the chaotic energy of the show, and then on top of that interpolates the lyrics of a random pop song from the 90s, which translates as “Striving, future, a beautiful star,” which when sung by Yonezu’s distorted vocals not only sounds awesome but alludes to the darker elements of the story left to come.

Conclusion

While I would not call it one of the best adaptations or even necessarily my favorite, the Chainsaw Man anime is still great, at least for now. There are some other changes that I did not explore the implications that also might affect how a manga reader views the series, but as far as being a viewing experience for newcomers, it brings enough unique flare without compromising too much of the work’s original intent to still be worth it.

82/100


What did you think of Chainsaw Man‘s anime adaptation? Let me know down in the comments. Also, if you are someone who did read the manga, I did a review of part one about a year ago when I finished it, so feel free to check that out as well.

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

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon.

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

Advertisements
Advertisement

I’m Back!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

The votes are in…and by votes I mean my free time, which is now quite plentiful. So, rather than bore everyone reading with an extended introduction, why not just talk about what has happened.

I Graduated from da School

It took what felt like a decade, but after 3-1/2 years at my city’s university, I managed to get my funny little piece of paper. In all seriousness though, keeping the motivation to finish school in a timely manner, especially through covid and a number of other personal things was kind of hard. There were a lot of times I felt like giving up and just never going back.

Thankfully, though, I managed to avoid giving into my less…macro-oriented desires and finished with a Bachelor’s in English. Part of me does want to go back to school eventually, but as for right now, I am happy to be done. So, what is next?

Looking for a Job

Aside from the occasional scrolling of job boards and looking at random fields I would be interested in, unfortunately, I have yet to do much in the way of job hunting (at least as of the writing of this post). Most of my free time was spent practicing smash, playing some other game, or stressing about schoolwork to the point that I do not get anything done.

However, since school is over, it would be hard to justify using that as an excuse. My dream field, if it can be called that, would probably be somewhere in publishing, or as a copy editor or technical writer, something along those lines. At this point, though, anything that pays in real U.S. dollars that is not food service is pretty much cool with me.

2023 Resolutions/Goals

Last year I set a lot of pretty ambitious goals, most of which I did not hit, for that reason. However, rather than focusing on numbers (which I inevitably will still focus on) I would like to try and put stuff out more consistently and write stuff I can be proud of.

Another goal I have is to read more, not just in terms of manga or novels, but non-fiction as well: keeping up with new and public events, as well as educating myself on more topics related to politics, sociology, etc. While I sometimes pay attention to random YouTube videos, I would like to get back to a place of feeling confident talking about important events, such as the massive spike in anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans legislation, and relating it to the anime and manga I discuss. The hardest part has always been the daunting task of actually starting to read something, and then momentum usually carries me through.

Lastly, I would like to lose weight. Of course, by including anything related to New Years, I have now inevitably cursed myself into staying roughly the same weight or getting heavier. Despite wishing the same thing last year, I actually ended up gaining about 20 pounds, and at this point, it is just exacerbating other problems as well. Oh well, maybe forgetting to cancel my gym membership will be a blessing in disguise.

Shameless Plug for my Website

In place of Solidly Liquid, I am now going to be publishing various pieces of poetry, short fiction, and other project teasers on my own personal website so as to better help myself build a brand…or something like that. Since Animated Observations is usually where I publish reviews and stuff about the media I enjoy, my own website will also likely be used to talk about opinions that do not specifically relate to the media I am consuming. I already have a piece coming out later this week, so stay tuned for that.

Topics Coming Up

Though I haven’t been writing, I have certainly been watching and reading, and oh boy has there been a lot to talk about. 2022 was one of the most stacked years of anime, like, ever? Yeah, that feels fair to say. There were also a lot of summer shows I never ended up finishing because my workload just got that overwhelming. So, here is the stuff I will (probably) talk about over the coming month or so:

  • Monster (Since it got added to Netflix recently)
  • Romantic Killer
  • Bocchi the Rock
  • Blood on the Tracks and Welcome Back, Alice (Been wanting to get back into Oshimi).
  • Chainsaw Man
  • Potential 2022 Lists

Queue the usual I reserve the right to cover whatever random bs comes up in the meantime statement. But yeah, the above titles are the plan, anyway.


What are your 2023 plans? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Advertisements

The Observation Deck: Brothers Conflict

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary folks, we are gathered here today to talk about an anime. Not just any anime, mind you, but the one, the only, Brothers Conflict. This is a show that is so genuinely awful it is honestly not worth it to even pretend there are redeeming qualities about it, an adaptation so lazy that the cast barely has a workable personality split among its almost 20-something-odd list of characters.

I could sit here and do any amount of research about the development process or its source material, but honestly, I do not care that much and yes, the source material, both the light novel and the game adaptation, are almost certainly better than this garbage. Calling this show Oreimo levels of trash is frankly insulting to Oreimo, because that would imply that anything about it is remotely interesting or worth caring about. With that being said, let’s get started, I guess…

What is Brothers Conflict?

Some-no, most-no, nearly all of you probably read the title of this review and went “huh?” and yeah, that is totally reasonable. In short, Brothers Conflict is a light novel/Otome dating sim adaptation about Ema Hinata, later Ema Asahina, a girl whose rich and famous dad remarries a mom with 13 other sons. As part of this new stage of their life, Ema moves into her mom’s luxurious mansion with room enough for all of them. However, Ema quickly discovers that nearly all of her brothers have some sort of romantic feelings for her…yeah, it is one of those.

Boring Main Character is Boring

Ema is the main character in the same way that your avatar during a multiplayer fps game is technically the main character. Literally, the only purpose she serves is to show you around and get a better view of the brother characters who you are supposed to fall in love with. She is so shamelessly a self-insert that when I did bother to look at the Wikipedia page for this franchise, I was genuinely surprised to find out the light novels were the original source material.

Ema not only has no personality worth mentioning, but the only interests she is given are also to better connect her with the potential relationship matches she might have. Her liking video games? an excuse to get more involved with her brother that works at a video game company and her brothers that work as voice actors respectively. Her interest in flowers? so she can talk to the one that works in their home garden and give a nice romantic background for later romantic encounters. Seriously, how was this not a dating sim first?

Fun fact, I wrote most of this review and almost completely forgot to mention Juli, the talking squirrel character who only Ema and Louis can understand. This is never explained and is treated as totally and completely normal.

Boring Brother Characters are Boring

I could sit here and give you a sentence-long blurb about each of the other main characters and pretend like I care about their development, and yeah, that would probably be the responsible critic thing to do. However, this is an anime blog, and also there are thirteen of them, none of who have any remotely notable personality traits outside of their occupations and their insatiable lust for their 16-year-old step-sister.

I will mention that Louis and Hikaru, two of the older brothers, have mildly more interesting character designs, but that is only because it seems like they were intended to be some flavor of queer, but of course, the anime would never dare to be that interesting. The ongoing antagonism between Natsume and Subaru ends up being the “main” storyline near the final few episodes, but that is only because it is really the only plotline the series bothers trying to resolve.

Advertisements

Yeah It’s Problematic, But Man It’s Hard to Care

It absolutely should not be overlooked that much of what happens in this series is older, college age and above men going after a 16-year-old girl. It is most definitely weird and creepy and Brothers Conflict should be criticized for it, especially since at no point is this fact ever addressed, let alone framed in a negative light.

At the very least, when it comes to a show like Oreimo, there are points where the weird incest vibes are less distracting because the characters are notably interesting and have conflicts outside of that dynamic. Because this show is only interested in romantics to the point of being one-dimensional, it becomes hard to ignore. So, not only is the show painfully boring, but it is also incredibly gross and creepy.

Animator? I Barely Know Her!

For how much the characters and backgrounds in this show actually move in any dynamic or interesting way, they might as well just have ported over the png files from the Otome adaptation, which I will remind everyone for the third time came after the light novel (seriously wtf?!). The most “well-animated” moments in the series, if one could even call them that, are the sequences at the beginning which only serve to remind you just how interested her brothers are in f***ing her.

This is by no means meant as a criticism of the animators themselves, as they were likely operating with pretty spare time and coordination and thus just had to put something together. Rather, it is pretty clear that Brothers Conflict was only greenlit as a way of selling merch and copies of the existing materials.

Conclusion

I’m sure there were some amount of people who saw this series and genuinely enjoyed it, mostly in the sense that it did something for them sexually. Still, I just do not get it. There are so many other series in this same lane that are not only better at being hot but are also legitimately more interesting from a storytelling and character perspective.

Brothers Conflict is a half-assed, quantity-over-quality approach to making a reverse harem that does not come close to overcoming its problematic and boring execution. I reached some of the highest highs this year when it came to the medium of anime, so I suppose it only makes some sort of weird cosmic sense to torture myself with the lowest of lows.

25/100


Have you seen this abomination? 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

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

Advertisements

Sorry For Being Gone

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

Hey friends, hope all of you have been doing well. As many of you reading may or may not have noticed, I have been gone for about a month.

I genuinely try not to take huge unannounced breaks from blogging for a couple reasons. First, the fact that anyone is willing to read my articles makes me truly thankful, and so I usually try to stay working on something. Second, for me personally, I use this blog as a way to keep my writing skills honed, and so when I’m not writing, there is a sense of personal responsibility.

That being said, I always try and let people know ahead of time that school is going to be my primary focus when the semester begins. Given that it is currently the fall semester, and also the last semester of my undergraduate degree (assuming everything goes ok), I don’t feel as bad for the sudden departure.

Outside of the more obvious reasons, however, part of it is a bit of burnout. Writing two plus decent quality posts every week alongside my normal school assignments can be a bit much sometimes. I don’t mean to complain when I say this, because generally speaking, I enjoy writing those posts. Still, I do tend to experience a bit of mental fatigue when doing that much writing all the time.

This past summer season definitely did not help either. While I enjoyed covering some of the newer shows, keeping up with that many shows was not always easy. I wanted to do the same with the fall, considering how many fantastic series are gonna be airing, as well as the seasons to come. However, trying to do that with all of the other stuff I have going on just did not feel feasible.

As for what that means for this blog…well, mainly just a bit more irregularity. My goal is to finish up the shows from summer relatively soon and write some reviews on them. Outside of that, however, it will be a lot more sporadic. I would like to finish Utena at some point and cover that, plus I will more than likely still be watching things from fall. I just won’t be giving as frequent of updates.

As far as regular content goes, that will probably be back sometimes in December after the semester is done and graduation is over. Probably. I definitely do not want to overpromise and under-deliver, so anybody who cares about this blog at all should consider me still on hiatus for at least the next few months.

Also, I want to clear that this is not the beginning of the end. Probably. As I have highlighted in the past, writing is definitely my preferred method of expression. Still, experimenting with other formats and forms of content is also something I like to do. So, if a video or two pops out on the YouTube Channel or Tik Tok, or Solidly Liquid randomly comes back to life for a bit, that also should be taken without much surprise.

Basically, this is just an extended way of saying I’m taking it easy for a while. Still want to be involved in the community, of course, but content creation just isn’t a priority, at least for right now. That will likely change in the future, though, once I have a steady job and time to work on my passion projects, including this one.

Thank you all for understanding!


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

As always, special thanks to Jenn for the support on Patreon.

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

Advertisements

Initial Results: Revolutionary Girl Utena

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

I have spent a lot time thinking about this series, not because I have any real connection to it myself, but rather because of how widespread its influence seems to be. Not only have I heard this show cited in a number of video essays, even ones not about anime, but but also from western creators of other animated series, like Rebecca Sugar of Steven Universe/Adventure Time, and Michael Dante Dimartino, one of the creators behind Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Seeing as how my journey with Wolf’s Rain came to a close not too long ago, I figured it a good a time as any to get back into another relatively older series. After all, given its influence within the medium of animation, its worth at least having as a point of reference, right? So, after the first six episodes of the series, here are a few of my thoughts.

I will say this first because it has nothing to do with the quality of the series, but the modern anime season really made me forget that series did not have to be 12 or 24 episodes, and could literally just be however long is needed to have a satisfying conclusion. Seeing 39 episodes for this series really threw me for a loop is all.

Now, as for the series itself, there is certainly a lot to like. I have never been overly crazy about the aesthetic of a lot of 80s or 90s anime series, but Revolutionary Girl Utena is one I can get behind. A lot of the colors are fiery and bright, including those on the members of the student council. The overall vibe of the school is very regal and upper-class, showcasing very intricate designs on the outfits of its primary cast, which itself begs the question of why any of the main characters are there to begin with.

Speaking of, Utena and Anthy, the show’s lead characters, offer a nice contrast both in personality and design. Utena takes on a more masculine role, subverting the the damsel in distress trope by vowing in the series intro to become a prince herself, though she does say specifically that this desire still exists within her own identity as a girl. Anthy, meanwhile is apparently what is known as the “rose bride,” who will help “revolutionize the world.” At this point, all of that still feels a bit esoteric and clouded in mystery, which is appropriate because Anthy herself feels much the same way, opting to take a more passive role in the opening episodes.

The two have yet to build a ton of chemistry, other than the fact that they just look cute together. I suspect, though, that will come with time, as the series is divided into four main arcs, of which I am barely halfway into the first. It will be interesting to see both how the contrast in their personalities is shown, and how that contrast will then affect their relationship.

Series creator Kuniko Ikuhara has been praised not only for his work on this series, but also for his previous work on Sailor Moon, as well as a number of other projects later on the in the 2010s. It is clear even from the show’s opening episodes that there is a strong creative drive that went into Revolutionary Girl Utena as a series.

While I cannot say my my attention has been fully retained at every point so far, the show is fascinating, and I do want to see where it ends up. So yeah, I will probably keep watching.


Have you seen Revolutionary Girl Utena? Maybe not? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon.

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

Advertisements

What I’m (Probably) Watching for Fall 2022

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

I know, I know, it is a bit early to be talking about fall, but honestly, I had nothing planned for this week other than maybe talking about Revolutionary Girl Utena, but might as well save that until a bit more progress is made.

While I am still mostly excited for this season, part of me is also not. Most of this is to do with the fact that I am graduating this semester which has brought with it another set of problems, but also because I was hoping to find something a bit more under the radar this season, but that does not seem to be the case. With that being said, though, here is what I am probably watching for fall 2022.

Chainsaw Man

I think it would be a mistake for anyone, including myself to miss out on what could potentially be one of the better adaptations in recentl history. It is clear based on the names attached to the series and the absolutely gorgeous trailers that Chainsaw Man has the potential. The question now is whether those working on the series can follow through.

Mappa has often been a source of inconsistency when it comes to the quality of shows they put out, but their recent offerings, including Jujutsu Kaisen and the latest season of Attack on Titan have inspired a lot of confidence. If Chainsaw Man is even a fraction as good as those series, than their will definitely be something worth looking forward to.

Spy x Family Part 2

Me, watching the other most popular show of the season, whaaaaaat? Listen, can you really blame me for wanting to finish one of the most consistently entertaining series to come out in the last few years? Spy x Family not only has a killler premise and great characters, but consistently executed on them for all of its first part. There is not really much else to say other than that I look forward to another amazing bit of this show.

Advertisements

Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War

Bleach will always have a special place in my heart as one of the first anime I watched that I truly recognized as anime. It, and Fullmetal Alchemist, were also the first anime series recommended to me by a close friend. However, as the years have gone on my interest in seeing Bleach continued slowly decreased, not because my opinion of it changed significantly, but rather because some many other blips have popped up on my metaphorically radar that I could kind of live without it. Still, I am happy to see the series get the resolution it rightfully deserves. Also, I know this is a pretty big arc, so chances are if I do not watch it now it will be gone from my mind forever.

My Hero Academia Season 6

I know people like to project the incredibly strange fandom onto the actually quality of this show a lot, but it honestly remains a pretty enjoyable series. Certainly not the best thing since sliced bread, but good enough that I would be disappointed if it did not conclude, especially after season five. The stakes in My Hero have always been relatively high, but scale of the fights has larger and more interesting, and even the league of villains has turned out to be much more than stereotypically evil people doing evil things.

Now would be the part where I talk about Golden Kamuy season four and how most of what I am watching this season is just sequels, except that the chances of me actually finishing the series in time to watch season four are pretty low. It sucks, too, because Golden Kamuy is one of those shows that feels like it does not get enough attention for how good it is, but unfortunately I just do not have the time to do all of that while also covering the other stuff I want to.


So yeah, that is what I am (probably) watching for the upcoming season. There is always the chance I pick up one thing or drop something on this list, but we will just have to see.

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

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon.

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

Advertisements

Summer 2022 Episode Reviews: Week Nine

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

Welcome back, everyone, to another edition of our weekly seasonal review, where this week showed a lot of promise, but also some lows that were maybe a bit lower than last week. With that being said, let us get started.

The Devil is a Part-Timer S2 Ep. 8

Honestly, I was expecting a bit of a change of pace after the way the last episode ended, but it appears the series is still on a temporary job arc. Seeing as how McRonalds is still under repair, the boys accept an offer to work on Chiho’s family farm, accept that Emi and Suzuno have brought Alas Ramus and are ready to work with them.

This episode was…fine. I appreciate the attempt this season to seriously question the nature of Emi and Maou’s relationship, given the events that have already transpired. Sure, they have to take care of a kid, but that by no means negates what their relationship was previously. On top of that, Chiho still has to deal with the fact that they are both literally from another world and are always going to be at odds. Not particularly amazing, but not especially bad either.

RWBY: Ice Queendom Ep. 10

I usually try to be polite, but sometimes that is really hard because when I talked about lower low points, I definitely meant this show. Time is of the essence, and with the chances of rescuing Weiss becoming slimmer than ever, Blake resorts to a dangerous plan: infecting herself with the nightmare and using its power to fight negative Weiss.

Honestly, my complaints have not changed much from episode to episode, as the weakest and most obviously bad part of Ice Queendom continues to be the series’ animation. Some look incredibly well coordinated and movie-esk, while others look like the work of one animator who was given an hour’s notice. This is not to say that the results are the fault of any individual in a literal sense, but the inconsistency is notable because of how obvious it is.

Lycoris Recoil Ep. 10

Am I ready to admit this show is good yet? no, I think I will just wait and see how they wrap it up first. While Chisato is saying her goodbyes and coming to peace with herself, Takina is engaged on the mission to catch Majima, while herself looking for answers to where Yoshimatsu could be hiding.

Look, it is not like I am saying Lycoris Recoil is bad, far from it. However, where RWBY has a problem with inconsistent animation, this series has had some real ups and downs in its story. So much about the world just feels poorly explained or underutilized. To its credit, this episode did do some much-needed addressing of the show’s underlying philosophy, with Majima arguing with the head of the DA about why the organization should even exist. After all, it operates with seemingly no accountability to any other form of government. Idk, something worth thinking about in there.

Call of the Night Ep. 9

Things are certainly heating up this week, especially for what I would still consider the two best shows on this list. Though their relationship has been…strange up until this point, Kou decides to spend some time with Seri, noticing that she seems to be bothered by something. This turns out to be the case, as one of her stalkers shows up at their karaoke bar, and Kou has to stop her from killing him.

This was definitely not the episode I expected this week, especially after the reveal at the end of the last episode. Yet, It still managed to be emotionally engaging, just in a very different way. Seri, who exists as a vampire, has for a long time only been able to look at relationships with humans through the lens of romance, which for her has become tiring.

She is introduced just a few episodes earlier as a foil to Nazuna, and yet the two seem to have a lot more in common than what the series lets on. Giving the stalker dude a happy ending was maybe a little bit questionable, but it seems like even he had a similar problem to Seri, in that he was only able to view his relationship with her through romance. So, from that perspective, it at least makes sense.

Made in Abyss S2 Ep. 9

Have I mentioned that I like this arc a lot? While it certainly has its share of stomach-turning moments, even those have contributed to a world that feels even more its own now compared to just the first season. While Riko finishes learning about the secrets of the village from Vueko, Reg brings home one of Faputa’s limbs because…ok imma be honest I already forgot the reason. Regardless, a monster appears to protect the village, and Reg has to blast a hole in the wall to kill it, letting Faputa come inside.

That ending…sheesh. Granted, it was heavily implied over the last few episodes, but that does not make it any less exciting. Though, exciting feels like a weirdly inappropriate word what is at stake in this story. After all, the literal child of a living village is taking revenge on its inhabitants for abusing said mother in order to survive. It is heavy, but in a way that makes total sense given the events that have transpired. It is a conclusion I do not want to miss.


What are your thoughts on the shows this season? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

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

Advertisements

Sports and Romance in Blue Box

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

I feel like this is cheating since I briefly talked about Blue Box in a secondary findings post a while back, but I actually managed to catch up all the way, which as of the writing of this post is chapter 65.

For those who are still uninitiated with this manga, allow me a brief summary. Taiki is a freshman badminton player who has found himself crushing on his basketball player senpai Chinatsu because they see each other every morning before their respective practices in the gym. Upon learning that she will be moving abroad and thus will not be able to compete in her final year of basketball, Taiki works up the courage to tell her to do what she wants, and not what is dictated by her parents. Chinatsu then ambushes him with the fact that she actually is not moving, and is instead staying with a family friend. Except, that family friend is actually Taiki’s mom, and so the two begin to live together.

Whereas most authors would take that setup, let harem shenanigans ensue, and then promptly cash their checks, Koji Miura has taken a different approach. Well, I say different, but in reality, it is much more standard fair, just done really well.

Romantic comedy and sports is a weird cross-section that I have never taken much time to explore. Like, there have always been elements of it in other shows, with one character centering the sports activities because they themselves are on a team (see Lovely Complex) but I honestly cannot say much for shows where the sports and the budding romantic relationships between those players take center stage. Luckily. Blue Box manages to capitalize on this fusion in a way that, while definitely nothing innovative, is great in execution.

What strikes me the most about this series right off the bat is just how unassuming it tends to be. Taiki, for all his teenage gawking at Chinatsu, never puts his own feelings above hers, and Chinatsu is much the same way. The two very obviously develop feelings for each other, and yet they do basically nothing aside from exchanging some witty dialogue and a few awkward glances. However, where a lot of series would chalk this up to just teenage awkwardness, Blue Box subverts this trope with its focus on sports. The whole reason Chinatsu ends up staying in the first place is so she can finish school and her last two years of basketball, and part of why the two even find each other attractive to begin with is their willingness to dedicate themselves to their sports. Where characters in other high school romances get lost in their aloofness and unwillingness to admit their feelings, Taiki, Chinatsu, and to a lesser extent Hina, are much more focused on accomplishing their own goals.

I was initially going to put the word sports in huge, sarcastic quotations in the title of this post because my impression of this series is that sports were just a mechanism for having these characters meet at specific times and locations and miss each other at different times and locations. That is wrong, though. The matches and competitions that our main characters take part in are exciting and well drawn. Still, sports also serve an important thematic role, one that teaches the ideas of patience, hard work, and dedication, things that are necessary for a healthy romantic relationship. We even see this reiterated in Haryuu’s relationship with his girlfriend Karen later on in the story, which is seemingly built on the idea of putting their own pursuits ahead of their relationship, a sentiment that has become increasingly popular with younger generations.

Despite the fact that I just complimented two of them, If I could point to anywhere this has maybe been lackluster so far, it would probably be in its side characters. Kyou is probably the most immediate example of this, as his role for most of the story thus far has been one of an observer. Rarely does he intervene in any conflict, and oftentimes he is just a mediator between Taiki and Hina. Recently chapters have given him a bit more development, and even hinted at his own romantic feelings for Hina, but he still feels like an afterthought in most cases. I feel like it would have been more interesting to get a bit of backstory on the relationship between Taiki and Chinatsu’s mother at this point, but at the same time, the series is also not over yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.

So, yeah, go read it. Why are you still here?


You can tell I really mean it because I even went through the trouble of avoiding major spoilers (partly because I am also incredibly tired this week, but that is less important). Have you read this series already, though? What are your thoughts? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog and being incredibly awesome.

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

Advertisements

Summer 2022 Episode Reviews: Week Eight

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

Apologies again for the delay folks. Sometimes you just get tired, crack open a couple of drinks and then decide it is a bit too late to finish a post. It has certainly been a week for me, but it is also been a week for summer 2022. With that being said, let us get started.

RWBY: Ice Queendom Eps. 8-9

My opinion on RWBY has gone up and down quite a bit, but these last couple of episodes have been all around really good. The rest of the gang plus Jaune are still fighting, but once again fail to destroy the nightmare. Still trapped inside the dream, Ruby is forced to deal with her own nightmare while Blake and Yang are banished from inside the city to someplace much darker.

The scenes that involve Ruby’s dream within a dream are a real awakening into her character. They visualize her worst insecurities in a way that almost feels genuinely horrifying in a way that feels similar, but maybe slightly more hopeless than even “Congratulations, Shinji” did for Evangelion. Even more central, though, is Weiss’ internal struggle, which is also well done. Even in this dreamt-up city, there is a visible sense of collapse and decay which furthers episode to episode. Still a lot of potential, but I will wait to hand out any more praise.

The Devil is a Part-Timer S2 Ep. 7

While I certainly understand and agree with some of the criticisms surrounding this show’s second season, there is still a good bit of fun to be had with The Devil is a Part-Timer, and this episode shows that its focus on narrative doesn’t have to be boring. Maou and friends fight off a demon army only to find out from its commander that Olba has been working with Hell, after which Maou and the others promptly send them back alongside birdman, but not before finding out their temporary boss is incredibly powerful. She then disappears in order to protect the ghosts which inhabit the beach, leaving everyone incredibly confused.

How does Amane have a sword made of Maou’s missing horn? Why is it suddenly canon that their landlord knows about Maou literally being the devil? IDK. Is it possible I am forgetting something incredibly important? Possibly. Again, a more narratively focused season is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean the show has to operate at a much faster pace if it wants to maintain any forward momentum.

Lycoris Recoil Ep. 9

I really wanted to say that this show was bad, or maybe even just “mid,” as the kids say. Much like Ice Queedom, though, it has enough good moments through all of its confusing sub-plots to warrant sticking around, even if its just to see how this weird mess unfolds. We get a pretty emotional episode, however, as an attack from an Alan Institute “nurse” leaves Chisato’s artificial heart unable to be recharged, meaning she only has two months left of her already likely short lifespan.

I could tell from episode one that, despite a strange setup, Chisato’s and Takina’s chemistry would go beyond a simple “cute girls doing cute things dynamic,” in part due to the nature of said story, but also because of their constant working together allows them to see things about each other even her teacher (father) might not. Takina’s attempt to put Chisato’s mind at ease before heading off to fight Majima shows growth both in her character and her relationship with Chisato.

Call of the Night Ep. 8

Speaking of good character dynamics…

Call of the Night is so damn fun. I know I have been saying some iteration of that for the past month and a half now, but it becomes no less true with each passing week. This episode is a bit more serious, however, as we get the revelations that Kou must become a vampire within the year or he will be unable to, and thus will likely be killed by the others. In light of this information, he turns to Akira, and the newly introduced Mahiru, another person that Kou decidedly considers his friend, but one who is revealed to also potentially be involved with a vampire.

This was a much more reflective episode, and rightly so given recent events. Still, rather than spiraling into a moody atmosphere, it takes the occasion to make fun of Kou’s middle school attempts at romance, which Nazuna initially rejects before ultimately deciding to save his ego. Also, I have no idea what is going to become of Kou and Mahiru’s relationship, but the show isn’t shy about poking fun at how obviously obsessed Kou is with his approval, so I guess we will see.

Made in Abyss Ep. 8

Every time I think this show can’t get more disturbing, it says “hold my beer” and horribly mutilates a child. In all seriousness though, the golden city arc has been one of the most endlessly fascinating pieces of media I have seen this year. We get the rest of the island’s origin story from the perspective of Vueko, who, even in the present, shows great concern for Irumyuui, with her only wish being that she remembers her. Importantly, we also find out that Faputa is Irumyuui’s last living daughter.

Wazukyan has become a complicated figure over the course of these last few episodes, and the characterization of him and the rest of the original crew has been genuinely fascinating. Vueko, while being largely shrouded in mystery up until this point, is equally so, though arguably a bit less morally reprehensible. At the end of the day, though, it perfectly encapsulates Made in Abyss: a story about adventure and finding hope even in the most brutal of environments.


How did you all feel about this weeks episodes? 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

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon.

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

Advertisements

I’ve Been Nominated for an Award?!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Advertisements

It would appear I have been nominated for an award…a blogging award that is. I am nonetheless grateful to have been tagged by the amazingly wonderful Moya of The Moyatorium for the Liebster Award. It has been a while since I have done one of these, but I sometimes like answering oddly specific questions about myself. So, the Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Answer 11 questions given to yoby the blogger.
  3. Nominate 11 more bloggers.
  4. Ask your nominees 11 questions too.
  5. Notify the selected nominees you chose after uploading your post, like commenting on their post.

Moya has provided such a list of oddly specific questions, and so I will try my best at the end to do the same. With that being said, here they are:

1. What is your best tip for a good night’s sleep

I’ll start by saying that (obviously) I am not a sleep expert, so I can only speak from experience. Usually, the best nights of sleep I get are after a long day of either work or studying, and going to bed immediately without scrolling social media or looking at my phone at all. Lots of devices emit a certain kind of light which can reduce melatonin, the thing that helps regulate sleep. So yeah, at the risk of sounding like a boomer, get off your phone.

2. if you get to own three plants that magically never have to be watered and always thrive on their own, which three plants would you choose?

The answer to this question probably depends on my living situation tbh, but right now I would probably say Rose, Hydrangea, and Daffodil since they all look very nice.

3. What’s your opinion on the true crime genre

I don’t really have anything against it, it is just not for me. Personally, if I am going to listen to a podcast I would rather it be something a bit more immediately entertaining like 2-4 people just talking about random stuff and making jokes or something more politically informative.

4. if you had to doodle a sun, how many rays would you typically give it?

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…3

5. Do you like chocolates with caramel inside (why would anyone like those)?

eh, If they are the only thing around and I am craving something sweet they will do the job, but generally not the first thing I go to. I would rather eat ice cream of some kind or a Mound bar if we are talking chocolate still.

6. Do you like Blueberries?

I suppose so, rarely if ever eat them though outside of being baked into a muffin.

7. What Diet Trend can you never imagine yourself trying?

Keto, without a doubt. Had a lot of IRL friends and coworkers try it and they almost never looked happy.

8. What’s the worst nickname you’ve heard someone call their significant other?

I do not think I have a good answer for this. I use to think people calling each other Bae was kind of cringe, but then I grew up and stopped caring.

9. Tie or Bowtie

Ideally neither, since I think most of them look tacky. If I am picking one though, probably Tie.

10. Are you a good liar?

oh yeah, totally, pffttt…*yawns literally every time I lie*

11. What Kind of cake should I bake for your birthday?

tbh, idk how inconvenient it would be to ship a cake to the States, but I do really like a good coconut cake every once in a while.

Thanks again Moya for the tag and the questions. I did a number of these in the past, and the people I would typically tag are probably busy, so I’ll try tagging some bloggers I’ve found in the last year or so. If they are so inclined, they can use this to introduce/reintroduce themselves, but obviously, it’s no big deal if they don’t feel like it.

Tagging

The Questions

  1. Worst airport/taxi experience?
  2. Weirdest encounter with a stranger?
  3. Hardest test you’ve ever taken?
  4. Is water wet?
  5. Highest number of sodas you’ve mixed together and drunk?
  6. What day-to-day task would you consider relaxing?
  7. You are making a list of your 10 favorite anime. What show gets close, but doesn’t make the cut?
  8. What is manga/comic series you would not like to see adapted into movie/television?
  9. How many pieces of media would you say have significantly altered the trajectory of your life?
  10. If you could pick any job, but you had to give up retirement before 75 no matter what, would you pick a new job?
  11. Where do you see yourself next month?

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

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon

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

Advertisements

Exploring Anime and Entertainment