Tag Archives: A Place Further Than The Universe

Five Anime to Bring in The New Year

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


2022 is right around the corner, and while it feels fair to say that most are not exactly excited for the new year itself, they are excited to leave 2021 in the past, and I find myself there as well. Thus, rather than sitting around and feeling bummed, I was thinking about the kind of shows that have made me feel hopeful about things to come. So, in dishonor of 2022, here are some shows that will (hopefully) give you some warm feelings going into the new year.

Kuroko no Basket

Part of me wanted to just find five comedy anime for this list and call it a day, and while comedy does often make us happy, they rarely bridge the gap into inspiring hope. Sports stories, on the other hand, can do that pretty effectively. Kuroko no Basket is one such series.

Though the show’s namesake character is not always the underdog, the show does a great job at making one want to root for him, because even during his moments of brilliance, it becomes obvious how much further he has to go. That, combined with its typical never-give-up shonen attitude, makes it an inspiring anime to watch.

Megalo Box

Speaking of inspiring sports stories,

The 2018 smash hit Megalobox is not only fun to watch but brings back a nostalgic feeling for a certain era of 1980s film, one where people were justified in being excited about a Mel Gibson movie. Regardless of the obvious Rocky influences, this is an anime that, even more so than Kuroko no Basket, inspires you to root for the main character Junk Dog.

Trapped in poverty, he has resorted to underground fighting rings in order to scrape by. However, given the challenge of Megalonia, along with the opportunity to once again face his rival, he feels more motivated than ever.

While I cannot speak to the quality of the show’s second season, since it ultimately got lost in a sea of seasonal watches to keep up with, the first season of Megalo Box is one that will definitely get you motivated.


A Place Further Than the Universe

Given the events of a…certain episode, which I will spare detailing here for anyone who has yet to see the series, including A Place Further Than the Universe on this list might be a bit controversial. Still, if there is any anime that rises above its somber moments to instill a bit of hope, it is this one.

Whether it be Mari’s desire to live her life outside of the anticipation of adulthood, Hinata’s drive to escape already pending adulthood, or Yuzuki’s wish to be like, and secretly find, her mother, all of these stories collide together beautifully. What is created at the end is an unbreakable bond formed by those who love adventure.

Violet Evergarden

I could honestly say the same thing I said about A Place Further Than the Universe about Violet Evergarden as well, but like, multiplied by five. Still, though there are a lot of moments of tragedy, including in the case of the main character herself, it is those same moments that drive the series’ more hopeful moments.

The profession of auto memory doll, in the context of the series, is one that is deeply intimate, as it requires the auto memory doll to understand the person they are servicing on a familial or even romantic level. While dealing with the trauma of others, Violet learns how to contextualize her own, and comes to love herself even more.

Golden Time

Would it really be my list if I did not include some sappy romance?

Apart from becoming one of my all-time favorite anime, this series does an incredible job at creating a complex romantic dynamic and exploring its implications fully. Almost every character’s arc feels fully resolved, everyone from the main couple, to even Nana, the rockstar who seems to be making a guest appearance from the manga of the same name. Golden Time is a series that not only makes one feel good by the end, but it may even leave some questioning the state of their own relationships.

Which shows have made you feel good recently? Let me know in the comments below. Also, Animated Observations is currently running a survey to gather opinions on the content we put out here, so if you have a few minutes and are willing to help out, it would be greatly appreciated.

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

Special shoutout to Jenn for continuing to support us on Patreon, much appreciated!

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


Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s (Part 2)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Apologies for missing most of this week, but passing my classes does, in fact, take precedent over writing about anime. Speaking of, I promised last week that I would give you all the second half of my 2010s highlight list, so here it is. Enjoy!

Welcome back, tourists. Today I will be finishing off the list for the best anime of the last decade. Who knows, maybe I am giving up the good stuff a little too soon, but might as well get it out there before the 2010s slowly fade away from our collective memory. After all, between the death of beloved athlete Kobe Bryant, huge wildfires that are destroying Australia and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, 2020 seems to have enough to keep people occupied.

March Comes in Like a Lion – Fall 2016 – Studio: Shaft

Nowhere in the universe is there a show nearer and dearer to my heart than Studio Shaft’s masterpiece, March Comes in Like a Lion.

It tells the story of Rei Kiriyama, a middle school shogi prodigy turned high school depression case. While still involved in the world of shogi as one of its better players, Rei faces some of his most traumatic emotional scars, including the death of his birth family and the relationship with his adopted parents and sister. Despite only ever playing shogi because of his dad, Rei’s relationship with the game becomes fundamentally altered as he works out his problems.

It is rare that a singular show ever reaches such a wide range on the emotional spectrum as March Comes in Like a Lion. Even with its seemingly odd subject matter, and also seemingly because of it. The show manages to cover a wide range of topics outside of shogi, such as depression, abuse and bullying. 

Not only that, but the show also covers these topics well. Each of them is explored in-depth and through the perspective of multiple characters, all while resolving the main plot at hand in a way that makes sense narratively. In a lot of ways, the series reflects a lot of what is going on in society today, actively bringing awareness to mental health that was not there before. 

A Silent Voice – Fall 2016 – Studio: Kyoto Animation

I said series and movies at the beginning of this list for a reason, because not recognizing one of the most impactful films of the decade would be incredibly irresponsible, to say the least. 

A Silent Voice focuses on the topic of bullying from the perspective of Shouya Ishida, the resident bully of a girl who transferred to his school, Shouko Nishimiya. Shouko, as is revealed fairly early, is deaf, and because of this is targeted by almost everyone in the school. However, Shouya gets sold out as the main culprit by his classmates. Years later, after almost attempting suicide, Shouya attempts to make amends with Shouko.

Bullying has been and remains a popular topic of conversation, especially as it affects specific communities. A Silent Voice, however, portrays a specific aspect of bullying that is not often explored, that being what happens when a person attempts to befriend the person they bullied. From that perspective, it can be quite a jarring film. 

Still, its emotional resonance and message can not be overstated, and it’s easily one of the best animated films to be released this decade.


Made in Abyss – Summer 2017 – Studio: Kinema Citrus

If Game of Thrones has shown anything, it is that there is still a large appetite for good fantasy stories among the general population. Luckily, I have got a show that delivers just that. 

Made in Abyss is truly something special. It is set in a world where what is below the earth’s surface is arguably much more interesting than anything above. “The Abyss,” as it is dubbed, is a giant chasm that leads to an entire ecosystem below ground. Riko, a young orphan girl who grows up in the town surrounding the abyss, hopes to find out its secrets, including what happened to her mother.

Joined by Reg, a mysterious humanoid robot that has no memories of his past, Riko journeys into “The Abyss,” despite the dangers that are present. What sets Made in Abyss apart from other fantasy stories is just how unique its story really is. The universe that is constructed both around and within “The Abyss” is both original and interesting, from its creatures and plant life to the abyss explorers’ societal structure.

A Place Further Than the Universe – Winter 2018 – Madhouse

Between Wandering Son and A Silent Voice, there are already a number of emotionally powerful works on this list. Still, I think there is room for at least one more. Trust me, A Place Further Than the Universe deserves it. It is the high school drama adventure of the decade.

A Place Further Than the Universe follows Mari Tamaki and her quest to fulfill her goal of going on an adventure before she leaves high school. Right before giving up on her goal, she finds a million yen lying on the floor of a train station. After finding the girl it belongs to, Shirase Kobuchizawa, Mari decides to join Shirase on her journey to reach Antarctica.

Mari and Shirase’s trip ends up becoming much more than just a journey to Antarctica. Along the way the two meet up with Hinata Miyake and Yuzuki Shiraishi, who help them acquire the means to get there in the first place. Early on in the series, it is also revealed that the reason Shirase wants to go on this journey is because of her mom, who was a researcher in Antarctica but lost her life while on an expedition.

A Place Further Than the Universe is a phenomenal anime and one that hits home for many. At its core, the show is about looking inward, finding oneself and seeing that identity through to the end. 


“Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” – Fall 2018 – Cloverworks

In case anyone is wondering, no the title for this anime is not wrong. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is, in fact, the real English name. Despite that, it is still a phenomenal work that should be talked about. 

The series makes sure that, even with its incredibly strange title, it lets the audience know it is a serious show. The first episode features Sakuta Azusagawa running into fellow classmate and acclaimed actress Mai Sakurajima, except, as he finds out, she has been affected by a disease that he himself has dealt with in the past, Puberty Syndrome. Puberty Syndrome changes people’s realities by materializing their insecurities. 

Deciding to help Mai through her problem of people suddenly not knowing who she is despite being famous across Japan leads him to meet with others who also have the disease. This includes one of his close friends Rio Futaba. Sakuta’s world becomes even more confusing than his mundane high school life already was. All of it forces him to realize that there are a lot of things that are more important than one’s own comfort. 

That, my lovely tourists, is the list. It is by no means a complete list of everything worth watching from the last decade, but it is what I consider to be the best. After watching a few of the things from this list, it would certainly be worthwhile to venture out further into the world of anime.

Now that the list on this site is complete, I’ll ask again: did I miss anything important? 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

Special shoutout to Jenn for continuing to support us on Patreon, it is greatly appreciated.

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


My Top 10 Favorite Anime (As of August 2021)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Well, It certainly has been a while since I made this list, about three years to be exact. Sometimes it can feel a bit pointless to try and nail down favorites because tastes are constantly changing, but I have watched a few series lately that I feel strongly about, and thus I thought it would be fun time to remake this list and share it with all of you. With that being said, let us get started.

10. Terror in Resonance

Honestly, I thought out of all the shows on my previous list, “Terror in Resonance” would have not made it on still, and yet, through hours of internal debate, it still managed to find a spot. I would say that its one thing in particular that keeps me thinking about it, but that would lie. From the gorgeous animation produced by then up and coming studio MAPPA to the gorgeous Icelandic vocal filled soundtrack, this show has so much. As time has gone on, my sympathies for the series’ political messages have also gone up significantly. While “Terror in Resonance” might have just barely made the list, do not take that to mean I think it is bad, because that is far from the truth.

9. Fire Force

Speaking of shows that I did not think would be on this list. Although, what can I say, it grew on me. “Fire Force” may have some serious problems when it comes to its female characters, which I will definitely continue to talk about, but it also just has a really cool premise that it executes on fairly well. Couple that with the fact that the series was created by the original author of “Soul Eater,” and thus has some fairly similar character designs, and yeah I am on board. It may have taken me a bit more time to fully get into it, but it has certainly earned its place on this list.


8. Robotics;Notes

Oh, look, its the anime that got me somewhat interested in mecha. Not sure how Scott will feel about that, but it is true. Without “Robotics;Notes,” “Gurren Lagann” probably would have ended up as the extent of my mecha experience. However, this show is also just good on its own merits. The character-driven, sci-fi mystery plotline has twists and turns at virtually every stage of its progression, as well as boasting one of the most interesting fictionally diseases in the form of Cat and Mouse Syndrome. I have wanted to revisit this series for a while now, and since I now own the “Robotics;Notes” visual novel, I may just do so…

(This is totally a hint that you should follow me on twitch ;))

7. No Game No Life

Look, I get it, the show is a bit problematic in its depiction of Sora and Shiro’s relationship. Ngl, kinda cringe. However, for those who are willing to look past this, there is a lot to like about “No Game No Life.” Not only did Madhouse do a great job animating the entire series, from the games to conversations between characters, the color palate for this show looks gorgeous, though I am incredibly biased because purple. On top of that, there are some intriguing ideas when it comes to the series’ message and philosophy. For those who are fans of Isekai stories and have somehow not come across “No Game No Life,” this is a much watch.

6. A Place Further Than the Universe

Oh boy. I can count of two hands the number of series that have made me cry, and “A Place Further Than the Universe” happens to be one of them. What is even crazier is that, it does not use any incredibly sappy set up to try and pull at your heart strings immediately. Rather, it just tells the story of a girl who really wants to follow in her mother’s foot steps, and three others who are along for the ride. They share the adventure of a lifetime going to Antarctica and…well, not to spoil too much, but it is certainly an experience.


5. Log Horizon

Alright, so I have a confession to make. I have yet to watch the third seasons for both of the next two series. I know, I know, it feels a bit weird to still have them on here without having technically watched all of them. In my defense though, the first two season of “Log Horizon” are just good enough on their own. Drama, politics, worldbuilding: “Log Horizon” has it all, and then some. It may not be the best looking show ever, but when its got one of the best hype anthems ever written by Man on a Mission fronting every episode, it does not have to be. I said before that Isekai fans should have “No Game No Life” on their to watch list, and that goes more-so for this series.

4. Oregairu

Truth be told, the only reason I did not end up watching the third season for “Oregairu” is because me and my friend got a little too intoxicated while we were re-watching the first two and, well, let us just say it got messy. Regardless, like with “Log Horizon,” “Oregairu” could be carried by its first two seasons. I am still a little bit salty about the change in art style after season one, but honestly, given how good the show is, that is a minor complaint. There really is not too much else to say for this one other than it is a fantastic slice of life comedy that is certainly worth anyone’s time.

3. Golden Time

What can be said about “Golden Time” that is not already buried in my 1000 word video script on the series (I meant to put out the video a long ass time ago I just kept forgetting to record and edit.) Romance in anime has felt one note for a pretty long time, outside of some recent exceptions like “Horimiya.” However, the romance in “Golden Time” is dynamic and feels real. While it may have a fantastical element as it core premise, it is believable because all of its characters, including the main character, develop relationships that mean something. In show’s best moments, there is a deep sense of investment in the lives of the people on screen, and to think, it all started with a dude getting slapped with a rose bouquet.


2. Princess Jellyfish

The hardest part about making this list was not writing these blurbs, but rather deciding who would get second and third between the last two entries. In fact, it probably took me at least an hour going back and forth in my head to make a decision. While “Golden Time” is without a doubt great, I only really felt its impact all at once, at the end, when I could barely contain my tears. “Princess Jellyfish,” on the other hand, was different. It hit in waves, as if at the end I was not able to fully process what I had even just watched. After sitting with the series for a few days, I can be assured in the assessment that “Princess Jellyfish” is a remarkable series.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

As remarkable as “Princess Jellyfish,” It was unlikely that the series that helped me in one of the darkest periods of my life was ever going to get dethroned. “March Comes in Like a Lion” lacks in no category, and while the subject matter may seem a bit inaccessible, shogi is simply a means to a storytelling-end. Rei, and later on Hina, are two of the most complex characters in all of anime, and their arcs are some of the best storytelling I have ever seen. Couple that with studio shaft’s unique, occasionally minimalist art style and you get a series frankly deserves a lot more recognition than it currently gets.

What are some of your favorite series? 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!


Five Anime Characters Who Deserve Spinoffs

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Oftentimes anime, and stories in general, are defined by their main characters. “Harry Potter,” “Naruto,” anime aimed at kids such as “Yugioh” and “Pokemon,” as well as a ton of others. Some stories are just better suited to that orientation, which is totally fine. However, there are a lot of series which produce characters who are more interesting than the main character, and sometimes even just more interesting than the rest of the show. With that in mind, today, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about some of these significantly more interesting characters, ones that could probably rock their own spinoff series. Without further adu, let us get into it.

N (Pokemon: Black and White)

Is…this cheating?

Part of me was not sure whether to include a “Pokémon” character here because it feels like the games is the primary medium through which people enjoy the franchise. Still, many people grew up with and still currently enjoy the anime series, so it feels kind of fair.

N still feels like an anomaly as far as “Pokémon” characters go. After all, most character motivation in the anime series goes as far as being a good trainer or breeder and while it is true that the series is aimed at kids, that always came off as kind of lazy. N, however, is one of the sole exceptions. Much of his arc as a villain is him questioning the structure of “Pokémon” society, asking the tough questions like “Are Pokemon treated fairly?” and “Are they better off without humans?” I did not actually watch all of B&W, so I can only really attest to his arc in the original games, but he could easily carry a 12 episode cour set in the “Pokémon” Universe.

Hinata Miyake (A Place Further Than the Universe)

This one is a little less fair because all of the characters in “A Place Further Than the Universe” are actually good. However, of the four main girls, she feels the most interesting, even without having the most development. This is because what we do get of her background is really interesting. Homeschooled most of her life and graduated high school early, now doing college while working part time at a convenience store and just shows up wanting to go to Antarctica.

There are so many questions that surround her throughout the course of the series, and unfortunately, there are not that many answers. Now, maybe she does not carry a whole 12 episode series by herself, but I do think she is worth at least a couple of OVAs focused on her, with a bigger focus on her life as a kid.

Akari Kawamoto (March Comes in Like a Lion)

Speaking of super interesting characters who did not get as much development as they probably should have…

Do not get me wrong, “March” is still one of my favorite shows. However, for as interesting as Hina’s arc was in the second season, it felt like Akari was oftentimes neglected. As the primary maternal figure in the series who essentially had to take on that role at the drop of a hat, one might think that she would have a bit more focus than she does. Like, sure, she definitely has some spotlight episodes, but none that are primarily about her, aside from maybe one or two. This also is not to say that she is more interesting than Rei. But I do think a series which focused on her transformation from a daughter to a guardian figure would be incredibly interesting.


Shun Aonuma (From the New World)

Re-watching this series recently made me realize just how much depth there is behind the story and characters, even if the production quality is not always there to support it. At the top of the candidates for most interesting from the series is Shun. Yeah, sure, part of that interest is generated from just how early he exits the series. However, his relationship with Saki and Satoru was genuinely one of the most interesting elements, and his home life is left a complete mystery. There is a ton here that could very easily fill up a mini-OVA series.

Arthur Boyle (Fire Force)

Ok, but like seriously, can he talk about him?

I said in my discussion of “Fire Force” that Arthur’s character is…confusing. Like, he’s perpetually stupid, was raised in a happy family until he was not, and thinks he is King Arthur because his parents pretended with him and now he just uses the persona as childhood trauma. Yet, he is relegated in the anime as a…joke character? To be honest, his entire existence just bewilders me so much. I would want to see a spinoff focusing on him for no other reason than clarification, because wtf?!

What characters would you like to see get their own spinoff? 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!


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.


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

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.

In Defense of Slice of Life

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter.

In my time watching anime, one genre, in particular, has often been criticized as being the least interesting and lacking in a lot of substance, and that would be the Slice of Life genre. Slice of Life is a genre that fans use to describe series where the focus is on the characters and the day to day happenings in each of their lives.

I thought I would take a bit of time to talk about the Slice of Life genre in a bit more depth because I feel like a lot of those same criticisms are still very much around, even despite the amount of high-quality Slice of Life shows that have been coming out as of late.

As I see it there are two major criticisms that still get lodged at the Slice of Life genre, so as such, I’ll be making this a two-parter. Those criticisms are as follows:

  1. “Slice of Life shows often lack any serious development on the part of both the characters and the story, and as such don’t really make for interesting pieces of entertainment.”
  2. “Slice of Life shows are so loosely defined that it doesn’t make sense to call it a genre at all.”

Today, I’ll be addressing the first of these criticisms, so without further ado, let’s get started.

First, I’d like to just get this out of the way: yes, I understand that what is entertaining or even interesting is completely subjective, but to that, I would say that I think it’s important to be able to at least make an argument as to why you believe something.

It’s also a pretty grandiose claim to make that an entire genre has no development whatsoever, so I’ll address it now: the idea that the Slice of Life genre has no development whatsoever is kind of ridiculous.

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The first major example I can give to refute this point is Spice and Wolf. The show follows Holo and Lawrence for two seasons, through all kinds of adventures and situations. Holo starts the show looking down on humans, assuming that none of them are worth her time. But, as the two continue, she comes to understand through Lawrence that humans are all living their lives the best they can.

A similar change happens inside Lawrence. At the beginning of the show, Lawrence starts out with a much more cynical view of the world. Holo, however, gets him to believe in the idea that life doesn’t have to be so doom and gloom all the time. Not to mention that by the end of the second season, the two have obvious romantic feelings for each other that aren’t just going to go away without any resolution.

Another great example of a Slice of Life with major development is Nagi no Asakura. Now, I’ll freely admit that I haven’t seen all of the show, but even despite only having seen the first 9 episodes or so, if already feels like it’s going through plenty of development. Hikari has already gone from someone who unconditionally hates humans to someone who realizes his friend might be in love with a human, and as such tries to support her.

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Even in more recent editions to the genre like A Place Further than the Universe, there is obvious development in the relationships between all of the characters. Mari starts the show as an unfulfilled high schooler who wants more out of life than just to sit around and do nothing. After she meets Shirase and decides to pursue a trip to Antartica with her, she realizes there is a lot more out there that she could be doing, and that doing those things with great friends makes them much more enjoyable.

Shirase especially sees a ton of development over the course of the series. Despite starting out as just a meek, somewhat quirky teenage girl who only seems to be the butt of everyone’s jokes, she manages to finally find her place in the world. The trip to Antartica allows her to finally fulfill her dream, and near the end of the show, she manages to get some closure about her mother.

It’s also worth pointing out that among the three series I just listed that there is an incredibly diverse set of story and characters, each with their own unique goals and hopes. One thing that is consistent in all definitions of Slice of Life is a character-driven show, but that doesn’t mean a show has to sacrifice any development in order to be more character focused.

Next week, I’ll spend some time revisiting the idea of how to classify what exactly is a Slice of Life.

How do you guys feel about Slice of Life as a whole? Do you have any favorites that you would consider Slice of Life? 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!

A Place Further Than The Universe: A Tragic Tale of Overcoming the Odds(SPOILERS)

Anime has a lot of things that most viewers assume just come with the territory: awkward shots of female characters, painfully generic character archetypes, and plots that do not get resolved after one season and the show not getting a second season. Even looking as good as the show did from promotional videos, there was always an inkling of worry that the show was just going to be plagued with those aforementioned anime staples. However, not only was A Place Further Than The Universe not that, it ended up going above and beyond my wildest expectations, and is probably going to be in the running best anime of the year.

A Place Further Than The Universe centers around a story of getting to Antartica, mostly driven by Shirase, a quiet and awkward girl who everyone is more than content with just making fun of her for her goal. Mari, a girl who is tired of wasting her youth and doing nothing in high school, runs into Shirase after she drops a million yen in a rush to catch her train. Mari, after returning the money Shirase dropped, tells her that she wants to come with Shirase on her journey. After meeting up with Hinata, a worker at one of the convenience stores near there school, and Yuzuki, a child actor tired of her controlling mother, the group manages to get a spot on the first expedition to Antartica in three years.

Even from the show’s setup, it is compelling. The show first introduces Mari, who remains unsatisfied with how her life is going. She feels like there is so much that she could be doing, but that she is too scared to take the risk. After meeting Shirase and learning about her planned trip to Antartica, she is determined to join her and break away from her normal, everyday routine.

It seems like a generic compliment at this point, but each of the characters in the show feels so human. Mari’s situation is something I can find myself relating to in a lot of ways, especially since I am about to graduate high school. Shirase too is someone that I think a lot of people can relate to. It is hard losing a family member, and when we do it just feels like a natural instinct to carry on their memory in any way we can. Hinata and Yuzuki also play a vital role in rounding out the cast, and are unique and interesting characters in their own way. Hinata, eccentric and lovable, is probably the most compelling of the four. Having gone through bullying from her classmates, she starts homeschooling so that she can take control of her own life, but in the process becomes removed from the world. Yuzuki, on the other hand, is a child actor who has been surrounded by people her whole life, and is used to being in the spotlight. Not content with her life of fame, Yuzuki meets up with the other girls and decides to bring them along on the trip, and simultaneously makes some friends.

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Seeing as how there is not a lot of action in A Place Further Than The Universe, most of the show’s budget goes into making every shot look as detailed as humanly possible. Everything, from the details of the ship to the background shots of the artic, and even the random background characters look good in this show. It is kind of amazing when you consider that Saho Yamane, the show’s art director, has only this show on her list of credits. A very good first job, to say the least.

The music is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The best part musically about A Place Further Than The Universe is probably the opening, which I talked about in one of my Opening of the Week posts, so check that out if you want to hear more about it.

I really cannot stress enough how great this show is. It has an infectious, adventurous spirit, and its characters embody everything that makes us human, and all of the things we should strive to be: honest, with ourselves and other, persistent, and courageous. Check this show out. Now.

What do you guys think of this A Place Further Than The Universe? 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!

Opening of the Week: The Girls Are Alright by Saya(A Place Further Than The Universe OP)

A Place Further Than The Universe has been slowly becoming one of my favorite shows of the Year, even though its only been one season. It has a lot of charm, the characters are all likable, and the message it sends about following your own path in life is something that really resonates with me. Its opening has a similar element of cheery, exploratory spirit that permeates through the rest of the show. For today’s opening of the week, The Girls Are Alright by Saya.

As I said before, the show’s wonderfully adventurous spirit is largely reflected in its opening. The music consists of a J-Pop tune whose instrumentation is made up largely of classical instruments. What sounds like a wonderful string section carries most of the song to the end, giving it a calming, and yet at the same time exciting feeling. It also sprinkles in a bit of J-Pop magic for good measure.

Saya, the singer in the OP, does a fairly good job at selling her part of the song. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of her vocals overall, but the way she delivers the lyrics adds to the atmosphere and makes it that much more bright and cheerful.

The visuals are actually a key element to the opening, as they add a lot to the characters personalities, showing off a lot of their individual quirks, as well as hinting at their development through the story. Mari especially seems to be the focus at the beginning, as The opening shows her laying down, and then rolling over, flipping the camera over with her, as if to take those watching along for the journey.

Overall, It is probably going to remain one of my favorite openings of the year as well. I would encourage you to give it a listen and watch the show as well, which you can do on Crunchyroll. Not sponsored, just honestly the most convenient legal place to watch it.

How do you guys feel about this opening? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!