Tag Archives: Anime

Five Anime to Bring in The New Year

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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.

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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.

Initial Results: In the Land of Leadale

A few first impressions on the isekai series In the Land of Leadale.

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

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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!

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No, You Don’t Have to Watch Everything

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A topic I frequently go back and forth on is the best way to consume anime as a medium. This involves a number of things: streaming vs owning, weekly viewing vs marathoning, and the thing I am concerned about most in this column: watching everything from a season vs watching just a few shows. There is of course a lot of nuance to this discussion, and I do not think this post is comprehensive in any way, but I tried to bring some light to the subject regardless. I hope you all enjoy it!


One of the most prominent parts of the anime community is the seasonal watchlist. It is incredibly common for fans to sit down, go through every anime that is airing and in a given season, and pick out everything they want to watch beforehand. I myself used to do this quite often, back when I had a lot more time. 

However, as time has gone on, My feelings about seasonal anime watching have become a bit more complicated. For starters, there is the issue of watching something weekly versus marathoning. Watching something weekly can certainly be fun, as it allows one to keep up with series in real-time, as well as share experiences with others who are doing the same by talking about it with others online.

Still, there are some disadvantages. In the age of much shorter attention spans, waiting a week or longer for a new episode of a series can feel like a drag. It gets even worse when you find an anime that seems really interesting only to learn that it is only halfway over and that you now have to wait for the rest. 

Marathoning also has its ups and downs. On the one hand, it’s a lot more satisfying knowing you have access to the whole series or at least the whole season and can watch it without pause. However, unless you have a friend who also enjoys watching anime to join you, the sense of community becomes lost. 

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Whether or not one’s anime watching preference falls more towards seasonal, weekly watching or marathoning, or somewhere in between, it is important to remember that both are perfectly valid ways to enjoy the wonderful medium that is anime. 

One thing that does appear to be a problem is gatekeeping. Gatekeeping, for those unaware, is the act of controlling or limiting access to something. It is commonly used in modern popular culture to refer to those who try and limit those who can enjoy a specific cultural product or event, such as anime. 

Gatekeeping has been a problem in the anime community for a while now and has most recently manifested itself in the subculture of cosplay. Many have tried to argue that, despite most of the characters being Japanese, black cosplayers should not be allowed to cosplay anime characters unless they are also black. 

This kind of behavior creates feelings of unwelcomeness and makes it less likely that people will want to be associated with the community in the future. At the end of the day, anime is something available to everyone and it should not normally be the case that others get to police how someone enjoys something. 

All of this is to say that the same feelings should be applied to how one watches anime as well. It does not matter if you watch everything in a given season or only marathon an anime every other weekend. How you enjoy anime is, and always should be, up to you.


How do you like to watch anime? Let me know in the comments down below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon, they are absolutely incredible!

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

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A Comprehensive List of What I (Might) Watch for the Winter 2022 Anime Season

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The Winter 2022 season is basically here, and thus it is time to look over the seasonal offerings and find out what will be worth watching. Compared to the last year of anime, which has honestly been one of the most stacked years in recent memory, this Winter is looking kind of dull in comparison. Still, that does not mean there are not a few fun things to look forward to.

Demons Slayer Season 2

Getting the obvious one out of the way, yes I will more than likely be watching Demon Slayer‘s second season. What can I say? Though its first season was not a masterpiece, it was still highly entertaining with enough story to keep me interested in its high-impact action sequences. I do not actively keep myself updated on the arcs themselves, but I have already seen quite a few memes about the episodes that are out, and it does look to be just as exciting as what preceded it.

My Dress-Up Darling

I wish I could credit the specific user whose video introduced this series to me, but unfortunately, I did not save the video. Still, shout-out to manga Tik-Tok, they are doing a lot of great work. As soon as I saw that video, I knew I was going to be hyped about this series. Does it look like a typical seasonal romance anime? Yes, but it feels like the romance anime that have been adapted recently are coming from a newer, more real strain of writing that does away with the will-they, won’t-they nonsense and gets to the heart of what makes a good romance. Now, I could still be wrong, but My Dress-Up Darling has the potential to be absolutely fantastic.

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In the Land of Leadale

I am almost never hyped about Isekai series in the same way I am about other shows, but I am certainly interested in In the Land of Leadale. Most Isekai series released nowadays tend to get told from the perspective of a male main character, so I usually find it of interest when that is not the case. This is not to say that having a female main character inherently makes a story more interesting, only that it provides a different change of pace. So, yeah, while I do not expect much from this series, I am hoping it will at least provide a unique perspective.

That, my friends, is the list. What? I said it would be comprehensive, I never said it would be long. The reality is, while new shows are always exciting my backlog is inevitably getting longer and longer, and I have yet to make a dent in it. Thus, as part of my new year’s resolution, I will be trying to strike a balance between covering new things and re-visiting old series.


What are you watching this season? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special thank you to Jenn for continuing to support us on Patreon. It means the world!

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

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The Observation Deck: Aggretsuko Season 3

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This is probably the closest I’m going to get to having a timely holiday-themed-ish post, so that is an accomplishment, I guess.

Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, I did not actually watch the third season of Aggretsuko when it came out in August of last year. Why? idk, I was probably busy with not watching anime or wanting to watch anime but not actually having the mental focus to start one. Either way, it gave me the opportunity to sit down with it this year, and man was it a treat.

For those uninitiated with the series, Aggretsuko tells the story of a set of Sanrio-designed characters who work mediocre office jobs. The main character, retsuko, is a red panda who does accounting and is constantly harassed by her boss, and is slowly losing her sanity. Luckily, she has Fenneko the fox and Haida the hyena to help keep her sane. When the show last left off at season 2, Retsuko had just gone through a pretty big relationship, but ultimately ended it because Tadano said he was not willing to get married.

Sanrio’s Character Designs

I somehow failed to discuss this in my last review of the series, maybe because it felt a little bit obvious, but the character designs of Sanrio contribute so much to this series. I am willing to bet that most people’s only familiarity with the mascot company is Hello Kitty, a character that, at least in the U.S., has only ever been marketed towards young girls.

Thus, it becomes that much more impactful to see similar-looking characters in a modern Japanese work environment, where the colorfulness clashes with just how dull the office feels. It creates a level of confusion and absurdity that you just cannot help but laugh at.

Retsuko is an…Idol?

Initially, the whole idol storyline felt way out of place for a series in which the primary focus is Retsuko going insane every other day. However, as the events unfolded and the season began making its point, it really came together. After two seasons of torturing her character for comedic effect, it did feel nice to see her girl boss her way to the front of an Idol group, taking them from unknown to one of the biggest stars in the country.

On top of that, watching Haida wrestle with his feelings for Retsuko and Inui was entertaining, to say the least, and not for the reason you might think. As compelling as his arc was during this last season, it became pretty obvious that he was only ever going to want to be with Retsuko, which after a certain point, just added the comedy of it all.

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Gori and Washimi are Fighting…

If I was forced to pick my favorite side characters, it would probably be Director Gori and Ms. Washimi. The way they started as these two ominous figures at Retsuko’s company but then end becoming two of her best friends is genuinely charming. Their dynamic together helped to drive a lot of important story and comedy moments, such as when they all took a trip to the bathhouse.

Sad to say, though, that this dynamic is unfortunately absent from a lot of season three. Gori and Washimi are mad at each other for… some reason, Gori is pursuing her goal of creating a dating app and Washimi is…doing something? It is not made particularly clear, which kind of adds the overall disappointment. Still, given the storyline being told, the lack of this dynamic is more a personal dissatisfaction than a failing of the show itself.

Haida’s Love for Retsuko, and Also His Stupidity

The ending for the season honestly just felt appropriate. Well, maybe that is a bad way of phrasing it, cause describing Retsuko getting knife attacked by her crazy stalker as “appropriate” feels wrong. Still, it is a pretty dramatic ending with Haida coming to rescue and Retsuko barely avoiding a terrible injury, at best.

Then, for some reason, Haida decides that this is the best time to confess his feelings to her, and everyone else agrees, I guess? Of course, not surprisingly, Retsuko expresses her feelings in the form of a metal song, where he essentially tells Haida to H*ck off. More specifically though, she confronts him with the reality that, regardless of her feelings, she isn’t really in a place where she can trust people, and it is rude of him to push her on it when she does not want to.

Conclusion

Season three of Aggretsuko was a fantastic watch. Maybe not as much of a holiday viewing as I initially implied, but still filled with the drama, romance, and fun one could ask for out of any Christmas special. Although, the series does have an actual Christmas special which is also available on Netflix, so maybe watch that as well.


How did you all feel about Aggretsuko season three? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special thanks to Jenn for the continuous support on Patreon, it is 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!

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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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.

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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. 

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“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

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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!

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Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The 2010s were a strange time. I went through middle school, became an anime fan, went to high school, stopped being an anime fan, became isolated and depressed, became an anime fan again, started this blog, and then became depressed again. Truly, it is a cycle that never ends. One of the other things I did during that time is enter college and start writing for my college’s newspaper.

Since the decade ended in the same semester I did so, I ended up writing a retrospective on some of the best anime of the decade. Now, because I have consumed a lot more, my opinions have largely changed and expanded. Even so, I thought it would be fun to throw up on here as a fun read and reminder of just how much time has passed. Anyway, hope you enjoy it!


Welcome back, tourists. With 2019 over, the decade has officially reached its end. While the constant seasonal cycle still continues, it is worth remembering anime in the 2010s. 

The 2010s were an explosive decade for the anime industry overall and for fans like myself who love the variety that the medium brings. Indeed, the anime industry’s net worth topped 19 billion U.S. dollars, and the number of shows coming out each season increased dramatically from the beginning of the decade to the end.

Because of this increased growth and diversity, the decade produced a number of incredible anime, both in series and film, that are worth remembering. Here is a list of some of the best anime from the 2010s.

Durarara – Winter 2010 – Studio: Brain’s Base

The decade started off strong with Durarara, a show where almost anything can and will happen. 

The series focuses on Mikado, a high school student who moves to Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district at the behest of his friend Masaomi. Soon after, the two begin hanging out again, only for Mikado to find out that there is a lot more going on in Tokyo than he initially thought. Before he knows it, Mikado is caught up in gang wars, urban legends and battles for mysterious ancient weapons.

There is a lot to love about Durarara. It is a series where new adventures unfold every episode, only to then later reveal something about another previous adventure, culminating into a season finale that, while admittedly somewhat weak, leaves one begging for more—that is, until you realize there is an excellent second season which more or less picks up from where season one left off. 

Wandering Son – Winter 2011 – Studio: AIC Classic

The issues faced by transgender people in today’s world are something not often explored in storytelling media. While representation for trans people is catching up somewhat, it is still lagging behind what it should be, given that nearly one percent of the population identifies as such. Luckily, some creators, like author and illustrator Takako Shimura, were ahead of the game. 

The 2011 adaptation of her manga tells the story of two kids, Yoshino and Yuuichi, who have struggled with their gender identity since entering middle school. The two are able to confide in each other over their confusion but still ultimately struggle to fit in. Luckily, they have other friends to help them through it in a story that explores bullying, relationships and identity for transgender kids.

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Psycho-Pass – Fall 2012 – Studio: Production I.G.

There are a number of influential figures in anime whose work has shaped the medium, both for better and for worse. One of its more positive influences, Shinichiro Watanabe, created many amazing works throughout the 2010s, but arguably his best was Production I.G.’s Psycho-Pass.

Psycho-Pass is set in a futuristic Japan, but this time there is a twist. In an age of advanced technology, the country’s justice system has also caught up and uses an invention known as Sibyl. Sibyl allows police to determine the likelihood of any individual committing a crime, and because of this, the entire criminal justice system is based on this technology. However, it becomes a problem when those such as Makishima appear with the unique trait of being undetectable.

To put it bluntly, Psycho-Pass is like if every procedural crime drama show was even remotely interesting. It comes jam-packed with plenty of action, while still holding true to its themes of the inherent injustice in criminal convictions, as well as the problems of relying too much on technology. While its subsequent seasons were less than stellar compared to the first, it is still worth watching nonetheless. 

Log Horizon – Fall 2013 – Studio: Satelight

There are also a ton of individual anime that are influential as well, one of those being Sword Art Online, a series whose trapped-in-a-video-game storyline inspired many similar premises to receive adaptations of their own. However, coming before does not necessarily mean that a show is better.

Enter Log Horizon, a series about a group of friends who get trapped in a world that looks a lot like their favorite MMORPG “Elder Tale.” Although initially comforted by their new environment’s seeming familiarity, they soon realize there are many things about this world they do not yet know. 

While it definitely helps to have some knowledge of how MMOs generally work, it is not necessary for understanding just how amazing this show is. A lot of what makes it so great is its main character Shiroe. For most of the series, Shiroe acts as the not so charismatic leader, helping organize the players in a way that lets everyone live comfortably. Despite not initially coming off as that interesting, Shiroe becomes an even bigger focal point later on as the mystery behind his old guild, The Boston Tea Party, is slowly revealed. 

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No Game No Life – Spring 2014 – Studio: Madhouse

Imagine a world in which war, robbery, theft and murder are all gone. It is one where physical violence is impossible due to an ancient war in which the god of play took over and remade the world into one in which all conflict is to be settled by games. Now, imagine the story of a brother and sister who get transported to this world by God himself, and who soon realize the secret hidden within. 

Put all of that together and outcomes No Game No Life, one of the most exciting anime to come out in recent memory. Sora and Shiro, the aforementioned brother and sister, come to the world of Disboard because they wished for a new life, one where their incredible skills at games can shine through.

The thing that makes it a remarkable series is the tag team of Sora and Shiro. Even when it looks like they might lose, the two of them always believe in each other and find a way to beat the odds.

Haikyuu – Spring 2014 – Studio: Production I.G.

Not often talked about in the world of sports is volleyball, a game whose rules and skillsets create a scenario where a play can start and end within a matter of seconds. Luckily, this high-octane sport has not been forgotten about. 

Haikyuu stars Shoyou Hinata who in middle school dreams of playing volleyball on the national stage. In middle school, he forms a team with a few of his friends. The team practices quite a bit, only to be stuffed out in their first tournament by Hinata’s eventual rival Tobio Kageyama. When the two find out that they are attending the same high school, they realize that, for the better of the team, they need to put aside their differences in order to strive for victory.

Good sports stories are often just good underdog stories with sports being the main conflict, and Haikyuu fits that bill easily. Due to his small stature, Hinata initially struggles to find his spot on the Kurasuno High team. Eventually, with the help of Kageyama, who becomes the team’s setter, Hinata is able to become an amazing spiker. 

Tune in next week as I finish highlighting the best of the 2010s.

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Now, since this is the future if you want to see the rest of this list it is available already on The Daily Beacon, but I will also be posting the second half next Friday. Now, I know what I think I missed, but is there another show that should be on here? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Feeding the Flames: Wonder Egg Priority, Hearthstone, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It has been a while since I did a post like this, but Dewbond’s similarly focused series Don’t @ Me made me realize just how much fun giving random, semi-related hot takes about things can be. After all, what is the point of the internet if not to get people arguing in the comments section?

With that being said, let us get started.

One Piece isn’t worth it

We are starting off strong in this one, and yeah, sorry not sorry. Maybe this is easy for me to say because I am not on the other side of it, but a series that takes 50 episodes minimum to get anywhere close to interesting, let alone getting through now 1000 episodes. While I can understand and even appreciate people’s passion for the series, I just have no reason to invest that much time into a show while barely enjoying it.

Wonder Egg Priority is almost certainly getting nominated for Anime of the Year

For as much of a disappointment as this series was, and much to many people’s, including my own, dismay, Wonder Egg Priority will likely see at least one nomination at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for next year. Now, this does not mean that anime awards are always a perfect measure of quality, but the series does appeal enough to reviewer types like myself and probably a lot of the people who will act as judges to land at least a nomination. This will almost certainly be the case even despite the series lackluster ending.

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Sora has the best Smash reveal trailer in all of smash

Listen, I know I’m milking this one for all its worth, but just let me have this, ok?! Obviously, full bias here, as Kingdom Hearts is a cherished memory of mine, but even so, Sora’s reveal for Smash is the most hype trailer for a couple of reasons. First, The main plotline serves as a callback to the World of Light story, in which the characters are captured by darkness. This mirrors perfectly the story of Kingdom Hearts, in which Sora must use the power of light to defeat the darkness. On top of that, the trailer has some top-tier animation along with some amazing meme potential without feeling entirely like a joke. Iconic is an understatement.

Fractured in Alterac Valley will be a good set, actually

This one will be for all two of my readers who are also Hearthstone players, but the upcoming set “Fractured in Alterac Valley” looks to be an exciting set, even without the addition of new hero cards. The cards seem significantly more measured in their impact even while looking incredibly powerful. In particular, the callback to burgle Rogue, while not super convincing from a power level perspective, does seem to be lining up as a fun archetype. Big Mage, even more, seems to be a legitimate threat as far the meta is concerned. Despite the popularity of standard format going down a significant amount, there is still plenty of fun to be had.


Have a hot take of your own? Just want to argue? Leave a comment down below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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More Anime Soundtracks to Put in Your Playlist

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It is Friday, which means another column to share from my time at my college’s newspaper. This time, I thought it would be fun to return to the topic of good anime soundtracks, and so here are a few more that should absolutely be on a playlist of yours if they are not already. While a certain show that I have talked about in the past is also on this list, I stand by the argument that it has a great soundtrack, so yeah. With that being said, let us begin.


Welcome back, tourists.

With increasing access to pretty much every kind of music through the internet and various music streaming services, it feels as though there is a soundtrack for pretty much every point in people’s lives. Now, instead of borrowing CDs, people are sharing playlists on Spotify and YouTube. 

I have said it before, and I am here to say it again. Anime has a number of amazing soundtracks with plenty of “banger” tracks, as the kids say, as well as slower, more reflective moments. Today, I want to share more of those worthwhile soundtracks. Content warning for some of the descriptions below.

“Wonder Egg Priority” – Music by De De Mouse

Those who follow seasonal anime might already be familiar with this new addition to the magical girl genre that recently took the community by storm. “Wonder Egg Priority” follows a group of girls who are transported to a dream world in order to rescue their friends who have died of suicide. The strange and dark nature of the show’s story and animation flows into the series’ soundtrack, courtesy of De De Mouse

The 42-year-old music producer pulled no punches on this project, taking his signature electronic music style and turning it up to 11. From the first episode to the latest, there is a sort of Kinetic energy that permeates the entire work. For the best example of this, check out episodes three and four. While it might be confusing, it will definitely also be exciting.

“Bleach” – Music by Shiro Sagisu

“Bleach” is an anime with a long and complicated history in terms of its quality. However, one element of the show that always felt underappreciated was its soundtrack. There are, of course, many openings that are worth talking about, especially its first one “Asterisk” by Orange Range. However, composer Shiro Sagisu knows how to capture the show’s unique flare. 

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The show’s long run time also came with it a much larger than usually soundtrack, and while there are, of course, the occasionally more generic-sounding songs, some, like “Ichigo’s Theme” help to carve out the show’s identity and give it that extra bit of hype that every good shounen anime needs. 

“Your Name” – Music by RADWIMPS

Maybe it is unfair to compare tv anime soundtracks with movies, but it would be an absolute tragedy to not recommend at least one movie from Makoto Shinkai, as his films are pretty much all about the experience. After all, it would not be a Shinkai film with the backing of RADWIMPS.

The J-Rock group has been around since the turn of the millennium but got international acclaim after their work on “Your Name,” and for good reason. Their unique brand of J-rock is both energetic and musically progressive, building on itself constantly until it reaches a fantastic peak. The film would have been much worse off were it not for this group, and it is definitely good car ride material.

It can be hard to find good music given just how much is available, but for those who are up for trying something new, there are plenty of anime soundtracks worth exploring. 


What other soundtracks did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special thanks to patron Jenn Coulter for continuing to support us this month.

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

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Romance Anime, “Golden Time,” and Amazing Drama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Hey everyone, so quick backstory on this post. I watched the anime series Golden Time earlier this year and I liked it… a lot. I liked it so much in fact that it ended up on my favorites list that I posted back in August. It also inspired me to make a video which, not uncommonly around here, I never actually ended up doing. So, since I ran out of time for today and could not think of anything else, here is the script for that video. Enjoy!


Hot take: most romance anime are not particularly good.

Yeah, I said it. What are you gonna do about it? In all seriousness though, I hope that at this point in the progression of anime as an art form that we can at least recognize the abundance of mediocre romance in anime. You know the ones I’m talking about: the generic Japanese high school main characters have never interacted with a member of the opposite sex will they won’t they until they maybe hold hands at the end of season two if they even get that far bs that feels like it dominated for most of the 2000s and 2010s. 

Thankfully, it seems as though that is slowly beginning to change. While I did not necessarily enjoy it as much as others, I can at least appreciate what a show like Gamers! was trying to do, playing off the traditional popular girl loser main character dynamic and flipping it on its head. Shows like Horimiya have shown that romance anime can come to satisfying conclusions, while also displaying a fair amount of emotional and character development among the whole cast. Granted, Tsuresure Children was doing this back in 2017 to a slightly worse effect, but still good to see regardless. 

Now, this is not to say that this push and pull dynamic can’t work in certain shows. Oftentimes, such as with a series like Kimi no Todoke, this revolves around the idea that the main characters are afraid of what the other one is thinking, which is definitely relatable. In fact, I would say most romances of this persuasion invoke this notion of relatability. However, that by itself is not a payoff or a mark of good storytelling, but merely a part of it. 

This brings me to Golden Time, a 2013 romance and drama produced by J.C. Staff. The story centers around a college-age amnesiac who remembers nothing about his identity due to having been knocked off a bridge. Tada Banri, thus, decides to move to Tokyo and attend law school in order to start his life over. From there, he meets Yana, and the rich girl who’s obsessed with him, Koko. The group begins to grow close while Banri slowly but surely regains his identity.

Funnily enough, I actually ended up hearing about this series at first from an old episode of the Podtaku podcast, which featured some familiar faces of the anime YouTube community, namely Gigguk. He was incredibly enthusiastic about the series at the time, and for whatever reason, his high praise of the show stuck in my mind. Never have I been more thankful for my oddly specific long-term memory, because while I went into Golden Time with relatively few expectations, it delivered a storytelling experience that I can only describe as emotionally cathartic and incredibly well executed.

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A lot of what Golden Time does right comes in the form of the character’s relationships as well as its use of Tada Banri’s Amnesia as a plot device. For starters, it helps that these characters feel like real people. Like I said before, relatability only matters in so much as it allows the viewer to form a connection with the series and the characters. However, forming a direct relationship between viewer and audience is not the only way to do this. 

Instead, the series ops to let the characters’ relationships progress naturally. The fact that Banri and Koko start dating in the first place is a product of both Banri’s longing to build a new identity due to his amnesia, as well as Yana’s refusal to date her. Similarly, Yana’s budding relationship with Linda follows logically from being rejected by Chinami and then hanging out with her in a purely platonic context. None of the relationships that emerge throughout the series feel forced, which allows for more of a genuine experience.

Of course, all of these relationships are centered around Banri, whose journey through college and battle with his amnesia is the focus of the series. Banri, while definitely having the character design of a generic anime protagonist, certainly does not act it. Even as a literal shell of a human being, his progression throughout this 24 episode series is a combination of heartbreaking and victorious that feels like the best roller coaster I have ever ridden. Through the highs and lows of his journey, he remains a moving presence on screen, and the looming worry about the potential consequences of his returning memory makes it all the more engaging.

A theme that emerges early on in the series is one of identity, specifically dealing with the loss of one’s identity and the prospects of beginning life anew. Now, for Banri this is fairly obvious, as his amnesia has forced him to pack up and start fresh in an unfamiliar place. However, the same can also be said of Koko, who built her identity around a version of Mitsuo that only existed in her head. Thus, when he rejected her in the clearest language he could, her identity also falls apart and has to be rebuilt. 

Banri’s amnesia and this theme of identity become foundational for the series and drive a lot of the heavier moments that happen later on. During Golden Time’s latter half, Banri realizes that the re-emergence of his lost memories could also spell the disappearance of his current ones. This becomes more obvious when he begins to have episodes of remembrance, and the previous Tada, Banri reemerges. It is during this time he realizes just how fragile the current version of himself really is.

However, that fragility is not just his own. Just as much as she had built her previous identity around Mitsuo, Koko has similarly become inseparable from Banri. Thus, when it becomes apparent that the boyfriend she knows might not be around for much longer, she breaks up with him in order to save herself the pain of watching their identities collapse simultaneously. 

So much of what makes good drama and romance are the stakes. After all, romance itself can only be so interesting. What matters is what is happening around that romance. For Golden Time, those stakes are the relationships themselves. Banri doesn’t want to lose his entire identity again, and neither does Koko. To live a normal life in the face of the almost supernatural: that is the dream of these two star-crossed lovers. Sure, it turns out ok in the end, but it didn’t have to, and that fear of loss is powerful…


How do you all feel about Golden Time, and about romance anime in general? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Best Anime for Halloween

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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I am fashionably late on this front per usual, but for today’s column, I figure I would recommend some Halloween anime. I say Halloween and not horror because not all of these shows are necessarily intended to be scary, but certainly invoke that theme. Also, this was written and intended for a less anime-inclined audience, so those reading it here might have seen some or all of these already. With that being said, I hope you enjoy it.


Considering there is going to be a significantly lower number of people going out this Halloween night, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say many are going to be missing out on the traditional night of Halloween-themed fun. 

Fret not, though, dear reader, as for those who want a bit scarier in their activities this month, I have a solution. While it has been discussed in depth in other places why animation is not the greatest medium for the horror genre, there is still plenty of great anime to fill the void in your schedule this month. With that being said, here are some great Halloween anime watches.

Another

If you have ever craved the sort of pseudo-scary, b movie horror feel but in anime form, well for one I congratulate you on your oddly specific taste in media, but also look no further, as I have just the show for you.

“Another” focuses on the Town of Yorima, which is haunted by the death of a young girl Misaki 20 years prior. 15-year-old Kouichi has just moved in. After settling in at school he notices another girl named Misaki, who everyone seemingly recognizes, but completely ignores.

Que every horror trope imaginable. In all seriousness though, the show is, at the very least, a lot of fun. Though it is certainly predictable at times in all the wrong ways, and certainly has its fair share of absolutely ridiculous scenes, there is a lot to love about it.

It is pretty obvious from the start that most of the animation budget was poured into the more gore-intensive scenes, and the story has a way of turning the pettiness of middle school drama into legitimately scary and violent conflict that ties the who thing together beautifully. While it certainly will not be on anyone’s horror top 10 list, it is certainly worth the watch.

The Promised Neverland

Since I am self-contractually obligated to mention this series as often as possible, here is my pitch.

“The Promised Neverland” focuses on the experience of a group of orphans who grow up under the care of a woman they simply refer to as momma. However, after the two eldest kids, Emma and Norman, venture towards the front of the house to say goodbye to a recently adopted Cindy, they discover a horrific truth.

While the show could certainly be considered scary at parts, it is admittedly much more psychological thriller than straight-up horror, as it mainly focuses on the three eldest kids, including the aforementioned Emma and Norman, as well as Ray, and their experience after learning the dark nature behind their existence in the orphanage. 

While this might be a bit of an ambitious statement on my part, anyone who enjoys movies like “Hannibal Lector” will likely enjoy this series for a lot of the same reasons.

Higurashi: When They Cry (2006)

Ok, so now imagine “Another,” but a lot scarier.

“Higurashi” tells the story of a small, rural village named Hinamizawa. Keiichi has just moved there, and it doing so meets a group of girls. Despite them all being separate in age because the town is so small, they all have class together and get to know each other very well. However, Keiichi eventually discovers the secrets behind the town’s curse and the girls in question.

Fans of the gore elements of horror will certainly appreciate this one a lot, but those more interested in the psychological elements of storytelling should appreciate it as well. This is because “Higurashi” has a sort of groundhog day premise where the main plot of the show is repeated from the perspectives of various characters.

It makes the show feel that much scarier, because, despite ostensibly knowing what is going to happen during each story arc, the new perspective adds another layer of mystery.

The show is older, though, and it definitely shows in the animation, so for those who are not all that interested to begin with, it might put some off. However, if you are interested in watching the show with updated designs, a newer version of the series is being released this season, with some already promising first reactions.

Soul Eater

For those self-admitted posers who do not actually like scary stuff but really like the Halloween aesthetic, here is an action series that might just grab your interest.

“Soul Eater” has been around for over a decade now, and has grabbed the attention of thousands of fans from all over the world. It focuses on a group of high school-aged kids who work as Meisters, those who turn other high school-aged kids from regular weapons into Death Scythes, tools wielded by Lord Death. 

While the first few episodes are a bit of a slog, as they are mainly just character introductions, after that, the series picks up a lot, with arc after arc of great action and world-building. 

The show also has a ton of great music, not just within its openings and endings, but its soundtrack as well. It has a lot of genre variation, from punk rock to psychedelic and even some hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

This is the one series on this list that I would venture to say most have seen already, but for those who have not, I would highly encourage checking it out.

As depressing as this year has been, it is good to take time and find things worth enjoying. Whether that is anime or something entirely different, try and take a load off. However, for those who are looking for some Halloween-themed shows for this year, I hope some of these end up feeling satisfactory. 


What anime would you recommend for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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