Tag Archives: Animated Observations

Final Thoughts: Aggretsuko

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The first season of Aggretsuko was a show that I enjoyed thoroughly. Now that season two is out on Netflix, I got a chance to watch it while it was laying in my bed with literally nothing else to do. I was definitely hoping season two would live up to the first, and on that front I can say with confidence that it did. However, aside from Aggretsuko as a show being generally good, here are some more of my final thoughts.

#Relatable

As much as I think relatability, like the word “dark” has become an overused buzzword in reviews and commentary, for which I myself am also guilty, I do still think it a lot of contexts that it is important, especially in a Slice-of-life context. Retsuko, despite being a much different person, and living in a much different scenario, is someone that I relate to a lot, especially in the realm of self-confidence and goals. She has friends, but doesn’t have a whole lot of interests or goals, and that is definitely something I have experienced. However, its not only Retsuko. Haida, Retsuko’s office friend, is also relatable in a lot of ways. For example, when he asks Retsuko to go out with him, only to get rejected. Haida, for a lot of season two is left in the support role, still having feelings for her, but also still wanting to be a good friend. Even Anai, the newest character in the series, is somewhat relatable. His fear about not being able to make it in an oppressive corporate environment makes him paranoid, and I can definitely say cheers to that, brother!

Retsuko as a Metalhead

If you know anything about the show, its probably that a lot of Aggretsuko’s, more so in its first season, revolving around Retsuko’s secret love of Metal music and karaoke. Whenever she is sad, angry, or otherwise feeling negative, she generally defaults to hitting up a karaoke bar after work and screaming her lungs out. Eventually, Retsuko finds friends in the form of Washimi and Gori who help her work out her problems. Despite not being that big a fan of metal, I actually quite enjoyed a lot of the musically bits, especially when used as a comedic punchline. One of my favorite parts was probably near the end of season one where Retsuko goes to an office party which just so happens to have Karaoke. Retsuko makes a very drunk decision, screams her brains out, and insults her boss Ton while doing so. She later realizes that no one remembers because they were also drunk, and so she lets out a huge sigh of relief. It is one of the funnier scenes in the entire series.

Conflict, Resolution, and Marriage

One of the more interesting internal discussions that Aggretsuko has in its second season is about the concept of marriage. Near the end of the second season, Retsuko’s super rich visionary CEO boyfriend Tadano tells her that she does not want to get married, but that he still wants to spend the rest of his life with her. At first, Retsuko is conflicted, not sure if she is willing to accept just being together. Later, Retsuko confronts Ton and tries to hand him her letter of resignation after being gone from work for almost a week. However, Ton can tell something is wrong, and advises Retsuko that she should stand up for what she believes in and not let others make decisions for her. Retsuko, with the assitance of Haida, Washimi, and Gori, confronts Tadano, letting him no that its marriage or nothing.

It is definitely a timely discussion. The reality is that many in both the millennial generation as well as Gen Z are much less inclined, for a wide variety of reasons, to get married. It is a symbol of permanence, a commitment to another that is supposed to last a lifetime, but as much as some might like to, many in these generations are not in a position to get married. Economic conditions, both in Japan and the U.S. are getting worse by the day, and it is becoming harder for regular people to afford basic things, and as such most people are not focused on marriage. However, another reason marriage is less appealing is that many more people, especially women and certain minorities, also feel empowered to be free and independent due to many more people having access to higher education, and as such marriage is less appealing from that perspective as well, because it ties you to someone.

Retsuko, on the other hand, views marriage as an institution of stability. Being that she does not know what she wants to do with her life, Retsuko sees marriage as a way to not only to be stable, but also as way to become invested in another person, and even more people if she were to have kids. Its a strange, yet understandably pure feeling. It is also very #relatable.

Conclusion

Retsuko is one of the best new Slice-of-life comedies to come out in a while. Its first season was captivatingly funny, while hinting at a lot more to come, and the second season felt like the perfect delivery on that more to come. Overall, it is absolutely 100 percent worth your time.


What parts of Aggretsuko did you all enjoy? Did you enjoy it at all? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support Animated Observations, consider buying me a coffee on kofi:

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Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Animated Observations Update #2: New Blog and What I’ve Been Up To

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well, here I am, back again with very little to report. I wish I could say I have been up to a whole lot, but I haven’t been. Anyway, lets get into everything I need to tell you all about.

Before that, though, I’ve decided to make my updates monthly instead of biweekly. I feel it will make for more interesting update posts when I have more things to report back on. If something comes up that requires an immediate answer to, I will just make a separate post.

Solidly Liquid

First up, if you followed me for my poetry/short stories, then I would highly suggest going over to my new blog, Solidly Liquid, as that’s where I will be posting that type of content from now on. As of right now I have been slowly re-uploading some older poetry, but I will get back to posting new stuff extremely soon.

Summer Anime Season

The summer anime season will be here within a matter or weeks, and I am definitely looking forward to at least a few of the new shows, so do expect to see some episode reactions coming soon.

A New Hobby Approaches…

If you all are following me on Twitter, than you probably know that I’ve gotten really into Smash Bros Ultimate since I got a switch. I’m still pretty bad, but its something I enjoy playing, and also enjoy watching a lot. At this point my goal is to get good enough to make it to Grand Finals at a locals, so hopefully in time I can succeed at that.

That’s all I have to talk about right now. Thanks for reading, and stick around for great anime content/discussion.


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The Lion Cub Can Grow Again: Season One Episode Seven

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Welcome back, friends, to my March Comes in Like a Lion re-watch/analysis. In the last episode, Rei explains how events led to the present, and his current feelings of isolation and stagnation. The show had also revealed in episode five a lot of the emotional, physical, and possibly even sexual abuse Rei’s adopted sister Kyoko had been putting him through while they were living together. Also, Hina has a crush and can’t deal with actually talking to him.

Arguably the most important part of the episode in terms of character development comes during “Child of God (Part Three),” where Rei talks to Hina’s crush and middle school baseball star, Yuusuke. It is here where Rei is surprised to learn that Yuusuke knows who he is. After, Yuusuke recognizes Rei as a professional Shogi player since middle school, he asks him why it is Rei decided to go back to high school. Previously, Rei’s teacher Takashi had pondered with him on this same subject, noting that Rei didn’t need to come to school to learn, and thus deducing that he must have come for connections.

When answering Yuusuke, Rei more or less says the same thing, emphasizing that he didn’t want to run away and then have regrets.

Its important to note that Rei also says that this encounter also made him feel a lot more comfortable, and that getting to talk to Yuusuke helped him understand and deal with his own feelings a little better. which makes sense. People often feel better talking about there problems to those who they do not know very well, because it take away any feeling of judgement from those they care about.

The next part of the episode happens after both Yuusuke and Rei both agree to meet again on Saturday with Hina. Hina is, of course, extremely nervous about having her crush over, but nonetheless it happens. It is here where Rei has another interesting experience. Yuusuke shows Rei a video of him playing live on TV, to which Hina and Momo respond with surprise, as they did not know he was a professional player. Yuusuke asks him about a match which he had lost, and why he made the move that was a losing move. Rei, aware that the move he made was in fact a losing one, again answers honestly.

However, what sets Rei off into one of his most emotional displays in the series so far is when Nikaidou, acting as a commentator, yells at him to “treat him and his Shogi better.” Rei then proceeds to yell at Nikaidou through the TV screen. In this scene, its pretty obvious why Rei is angry. He still feels stuck, with Shogi as the only thing he has been attached to for most of his life, but yet resents it because of his adopted family. For Nikaidou to essentially just say “do better” as if its that easy is, of course, a little patronizing, to say the least.

Another not insignificant part of the episode from the same section comes when Hina starts laughing when he gets angry. For Hina, seeing Rei as energetic about the whole situation as he was was probably a relief, considering what she has learned about his past up until this point. It is also an interesting parallel to how Rei described Hina at the beginning of the chapter, mainly that she is usually always energetic.

The last section of the show involves Rei teaching Hina about Shogi after she asks him to do so. However, Rei is not that great at explaining, so Nikaidou, who tagged along, steps in to help. There is not a whole lot going with this section of the episode, but still there is an important takeaway, mainly that Rei is now involved enough in Hina’s life that she has become interested in what he does. Now, some might respond to me pointing this out and say, “well, yeah, that’s character development,” and those people would not be wrong. However, considering what goes on later in season two, I think it has a lot of extra significance.


How do you guys feel about the series up to this point? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support Animated Observations, consider buying me a coffee on Kofi:

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Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Final Thoughts: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well, its been a long time in the making, but with its recent arrival on Netflix I was finally able to watch one of the most iconic anime of all time: Neon Genesis Evangelion. As of writing this post I have yet to watch End of Evangelion, the sequel film which, by many critics accounts, is supposed to be the “proper” ending, not because I want to be a contrarian, but rather because I wanted to absorb the original for what it is. With that said, here are my final thoughts on the show.

Evangelion’s Animation

The most common criticism I heard from people who saw Evangelion and who had talked about the show was its horrible animation, and the long sequences of time where literally nothing happens. At first, I thought this was just a really long-running joke within the anime community, but as I watched the show I started to realize that, well, those people were not kidding. In fact, there are a lot of scenes that have still frames that last up to thirty seconds, sometimes even longer. This becomes even more prevalent towards the end of the show, with the last few episodes being particularly bad. There were definitely some parts that could be dramatically justified in being still frames, but even then it was used far to often for it to not be a negative.

Evangelion, Religion, and Acknowledging My Lack of Understanding

Since I’m talking about a show that is not only universally praised for how good its story is, but also one that has a story filled with religious imagery and references, I felt I should be completely honest about my understanding of the show: I know little to nothing about Christianity. Even though I was raised Catholic, I honestly do not have the first clue about the bible and a lot of stories contained within it. I have a vague recollection of the story of Adam and Eve, but that is about it. Still, despite lack of understanding, the show’s story and ideas are not entirely lost on me.

Loneliness and Self-Hatred. That’s it, That’s the Show

Well, not entirely, but they do play a major factor in the story of Evangelion. Almost all of the main cast, including Rei, Asuka, and Misato, along with Shinji at the center, are dealing with Loneliness in their own way. Shinji famously deals with his loneliness by running away, Misato by distracting herself with guys, Rei by finding comfort in Shinji’s father, and Asuka by trying to act tough and put her effort into piloting her Eva. Shinji in particular becomes lonely to the point of self-hatred, and begins to wonder pretty quickly in the series why he pilots an Eva to begin with.

However, the ending of the show is where I think a lot of people find solace. In the end, despite all of the horrible things that have happened up to this point, Shinji learns that reality is only as powerful as you want it to be, and that your outlook on life can change a lot by just thinking about it differently. When Shinji finally comes to understand this, he is greeted with all of his friends and family, telling him “Congratulations.” It feels weirdly like the end of a video game, almost like the final boss was himself all along, and that all he had to do was just not hate himself. Personally, I find the message a little troubling from a mental health perspective, as most people with depression and anxiety will tell you it is not as simple as just getting over it, but I do appreciate the idea of trying to have a more positive outlook.

Still, despite the extremely budgeted animation and my lack of understanding of the show’s religious references, I found myself really liking it overall. Definitely worthy of the title “classic.”


How do you all feel about Evangelion? I did think about touching on the translation controversy, but my feelings can basically be summed up like this: Its a dumb translation, and not only does is it not cool to get rid of the gay elements of the story, it also just sounds horrible when watching the show. It should be changed if possible. Still, I’m curious as to your thoughts. Let me know in the comments. If you want to support Animated Observation, check out my Kofi:

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Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

A.I.C.O. Incarnation and Violet Evergarden: A Tale of Two Journeys

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

While, I was on vacation, I got the opportunity to watch two different series on Netflix: Violet Evergarden and A.I.C.O Incarnation. There were a lot of good parts to both, but I would only consider one of them to be particularly good overall, that being Violet Evergarden. However, the reason why I consider Evergarden to be significantly better than Incarnation is because of the way each show handles the journey of each of its main Heroines.

For those who don’t know, Violet Evergarden tells the story of, well, Violet Evergarden, and her reintegration into society after the end of a civil war between the northern and southern factions of her country. Violet, being an emotionless child soldier, is unsure what to do initially, as she only ever took commands from her Major. She does, however, decide to become a Doll, someone who writes letters for those who can’t so that she can understand what the Major meant when he said “I love you” to Violet.

By contrast, A.I.C.O. Incarnation stars a fairly normal High School girl named Aiko, who, after losing her father to a car crash and her mother and brother in an accident known as “the burst,” relocates to a hospital/high school so that she can be looked after. Still, it is not long before things get weird for her. One day, a transfer student named Yuuya shows up only kidnap Aiko and tell her that the body she inhabits is fake, that her mother and brother are still alive, and that there is a way to get both her body and family back.

What most separates the two shows in terms of quality is A.I.C.O.’s failings, so I will start there. The most apparent problem with the show is how it front-loads a lot of information at the beginning, particularly near the end of episode one and the start of episode two, and because of this it feels confusing to try and fully understand the story. For instance, even the “burst,” the main event that is the catalyst for the show’s entire story, is only explained in vague terms at the beginning, and does not get properly explained until about episode three or four.

Another problem that the A.I.C.O suffers from which is a direct result the first problem is that because of a lack of understanding of the circumstances, it becomes a lot harder to feel invested in Aiko as a character. The rushed nature of the first couple of episodes makes it to where there is no real reason to pay attention and as a result the opening feels sluggish and boring.

However, Aiko herself is actually a fairly compelling main character. When it does finally become apparent whats going on, it feels like a high pressure situation and even when the truth of the situation is revealed at the end, the show still makes the audience want to root for Aiko.

Violet Evergarden, meanwhile, supports its main character in ways that make the show much more enjoyable. For instance, in contrast with A.I.C.O., Violet Evergarden takes its time in establishing and developing Violet as a character, not wasting a single bit of screen time. The show always makes it feel as if something new is being learned about Violet or as though she is continuing towards her goal and becoming more human. A good example of this is the episode where her new found friend Luculia’s brother is struggling to get his life back together. It is in this episode that Violet finally begins to understand how to write a letter, and in the process gives Luculia’s brother the strength to finally start over. Even over the course of just one ten minute interaction, Violet has a subtle yet immensely powerful transformation.

Another good example of this is near the end of the show, when after the climax of the series, Violet visits the Major’s brother, Gietfried, who has resented Violet since her brother’s death during the war. After realizing that there was not point in resent her, Gietfried says that the Major’s final order was to live free and happy, and that he knows that what his brother would have wanted. Up until this point, Violet had repeated the idea that she does not need to take orders from anyone, but did so rather unconvincingly. This time, however, as Violet turns to Gietfried and ends her visit, she says “I don’t need to take orders anymore,” and does so with a determined and reassured smile.

Violet also takes many other journeys because of her job as a Doll, and to be honest it would take a lot of time to go through all of them, but it is clear that the show makes a point to make sure that each of the journeys mean something. Whether it be a mom writing letters to her daughter before she dies, or unintentionally helping a young astronomer understand what he wants to do with his life, Violet’s episodic journeys not only help those that she visits, but are the reason she can be confident in herself by the end.

While I definitely enjoyed watching both shows, there is an important storytelling distinction that separates the two: A journey only is only as important and powerful as the character who takes it. Even more importantly, a great journey can redeem even the most uninteresting of characters, and Violet Evergarden seems to understand that a lot more.


How do you guys feel about these two shows? Let me know in the comments. If you would like to support Animated Observations, check out my Ko-fi:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Animated Observations Update #1: Returning Soon, and Things to Come

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Alright, so I know I’ve been gone for a minute, but I promise I will be coming back soon. Here is what’s going on.

As of either Saturday or Sunday I will be leaving to visit family up in Connecticut, which for anyone who doesn’t live in the U.S. is in the northeast, about 14 hours away from where I live. Specifically, I am helping my grandmother move into a new apartment. I will be getting back from my trip the following Saturday and from that point on will be resuming regular blogging activities.

Until that time comes I will probably post one or two things somewhat sporadically over the next week, both on this blog and on my new writing blog, Solidly Liquid. I can’t say it enough times, but thank you to everyone who has continued to stay with me and read my stuff. It is much appreciated.

As always, if you want to support me, you can donate on ko-fi:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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