Tag Archives: Anime

The Observation Deck: Spy x Family

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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“huh, I never thought I’d get this far” -Plankton

Well, it has been less than a month, and I have already covered or started covering most of the stuff I wanted to since coming back. On top of that, being four-plus weeks late on seasonal stuff means now is as good a time as any to go through some of the stuff I wasn’t able to talk about in 2022. With that being said, Spy x Family

Yor Forger

The show’s first cour was a lot of fun, and there really was not a ton to complain about outside of Yor feeling a bit less developed as a character than Loid or Anya. On that front…well, actually, Idk. Yor definitely did get some moments in the season’s second half, but it felt like a lot of those moments were connected to Loid or Anya as opposed to the fact that she is an assassin, a fact that feels continually lost outside of some recurring bits or an occasional laugh.

My expectation, maybe wrongfully placed, was that her assassin job would start to come into conflict with the family dynamic, even if only as a minor plot point in an episode or two. However, that simply is not the case, and it makes Yor feel a bit more like a supporting character than one of the main ones. This is not to her screen time is unenjoyable, only that she feels a bit forgotten about.

The Goodest of Boys

Granted, a lot of the reason for Yor’s lack of focus probably has to do with the introduction of Bondman, Anya’s adopted pet whose introduction takes up three episodes. Again, not complaining, since he feels right at home (literally and metaphorically) with the rest of the family.

His ability to predict the future due to the numerous scientific experiments performed on him by the government gives the series an interesting new dynamic, one that even saves Yor’s life due to Anya’s having read his mind. Bondman is also just goofy and funny in a way that adds a lot to the show’s comedic bits.

Romantic Rivalry

One more important introduction during this season is Fiona, another spy from Loid’s agency who also just happens to be madly in love with him. This is so much the case that she attempts to take Yor’s place in the mission to contact Desmond, which fails miserably and hilariously multiple times.

The two also go on a mission towards the end of the season to recover an important piece of art and the whole time she is just fawning over him, barely paying attention to the mission. It was the biggest example of the “does he know” meme but in an anime, which, again, contributed to the comedic elements of the series.

The Climax

Spy x Family ends the season with Loid’s first interaction with Desmond, brought about by Damian’s desire to see him after being stuck in school for the whole year. Of course, the risk of being found out as a spy by a member of the Ostanian government makes the who situation feel as tense as it probably should.

The series spends a lot of time building up Desmond as this monster who cannot be stopped. Thus, when Loid interacts with him in person, there is a sense of who he really is, a stuffy, rich government official who feels as suffocating as the evil he represents.

Conclusion

Most of my feelings about part one carry over here: The show is well-animated with beautiful action scenes, the music still slaps (including the new opening and ending), and the show has a great balance between comedy and serious moments that don’t feel the need to constantly overtake one another. Thus, my comments here are fairly limited. For those who have yet to watch one of the most hyped-up shows of the last few years, give it a chance, because it does live up.

85/100


How do you all feel about Spy x Family? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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Initial Results: Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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(Spoilers for the first for episodes, so if you want to go in blind feel free to click off).

Going into a series with a lot of critical acclaim can sometimes be nerve-wracking, not because I care about having the “wrong” opinion or whatever, but more because it feels like I might be missing something that would significantly affect my enjoyment of the series way or another. With the anime adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, however, I do not really get that feeling. What makes the series the incredibly nerve-wracking psychological thriller it is known to be is very much self-contained, in a way that often makes one feel like they are there watching the events of the story in person.

For those unaware, Monster tells the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a genius neurosurgeon who moved to Germany from Japan in order to study medicine. However, his fairly cushy life goes from looking up to depressing when defying the orders of his hospital director/future father in law leaves him without his position as the head of neurosurgery and the ire of the other doctors at the hospital. What is worse, the patient he chose to save when defying said orders turns out to be a serial killer, one who seems likely to haunt him.

One thing that stands out about this series is how terrifying the atmosphere can be at times. The show uses a lot of muted colors in order to create a feeling of stuffiness which is often associated with hospitals, which is where much of the opening episodes take place. However, this also has the affect of drawing attention to colors when they do appear, such as with blond hair and the uniforms of police. This makes it more likely that people will focus on certain characters, such as Johan.

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Speaking of Johan, though I cannot speak to the strength of his motivations for becoming a serial killer, it is a fascinating development. Dr. Tenma, for better or for worse, made what he thought was a moral decision that ultimately came back to bite him. In fact, the name Monster along with the series general setting and aesthetic feels reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in a way that feels too intentional to be coincidence. Not a direct allusion, per say, but certainly an interesting nod to the classic western novel.

Dr. Tenma, meanwhile, at least at this point in the story, feels like an unfortunate victim. After all, how was he supposed to know that saving a kid and then getting angry at his fellow co-workers was going to result in a home-grown murderer? Going back to the Frankenstein comparison, he very much feels like a modern interpretation of Victor, someone who is trying to do right by others but ends up making a terrible decision in the pursuit of morality. Though, Tenma almost certainly deserves this less than Victor did his punishment.

Seeing the politics of the hospital was also fairly interesting as well. It is clear that the director, before he dies anyway, only cares about himself. The same is also true of his daughter and Tenma’s ex-fiancĂ© Eva, who seems to be coasting through life off of her father’s success. Despite the fact that Tenma is innocent, his connection to Johan puts that innocence in question, given that he does have a motive for killing the director and the other doctors.

The show is in a great place, both stylistically and narratively. Even though it has only been four episodes for me, I can certainly understand why this series has been given so much praise in the past. From what I have read, however, it does not seem as though Netflix has the full series just yet, so it might be a while before I do actually finish it. Still, it will probably be worth the wait.


How do you feel about Naoki Urasawa’s Monster? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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The Observation Deck: Bocchi the Rock

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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What? you’re telling me they remade K-ON? oh boy, can’t wait to review i- oh, wait, never mind.

Actually, that intro is kind of insulting to Bocchi the Rock, since K-ON is definitely worse in like every way, but I will save that conversation for a Feeding the Flames post (whenever that comes out).

Bocchi was a show that was not at all on my radar until the beginning of this year, and considering the amount of backlog I have from just 2022, I was skeptical about giving it a chance. However, after watching anitwitter go crazy for it week after week, I caved and ultimately gave in to my own curiosity.

For those unaware, Bocchi the Rock is adapted from a four-panel manga of the same name, detailing the adventures of Hitori Gotoh, a high school first year who spent the last three years of her life learning guitar and making solo covers of popular songs in her closet and uploading them to YouTube under the name Guitarhero. Her dream, however, is to overcome her extreme social ineptitude, make friends, and form a band where she can become famous, and it seems as though she might finally get that chance.

Bocchi is…Cool

Any show that focuses heavily on one character is, of course, going to live or die depending on how that character is perceived. It is unlikely that a show like Naruto would be as well-liked by fans if the character was poorly written and hard to root for.

Though I certainly would not call Bocchi poorly written, by any means, she…well, has a pretty abrasively introverted personality. For her, even thinking about archetypical high school summer romances or bonding with friends is enough to send her into a spiral, mostly because she then has to think about how she can’t enjoy any of that.

Granted, none of this is inherently a bad thing. The socially incompetent loner trope is one that anime is all too familiar with, especially given the audience that anime as a medium tends to attract. That said, Bocchi’s character does ride a pretty fine line when it comes to enacting that personality, and sometimes it can be a bit grating.

I do understand that its source material and the format thereof do kind of limit the possible character development since four-panel manga are made for quick witty punchlines. However, given the fact that the anime does set up her desire to grow as a person, having her overreact in literally every situation can get a tad annoying.

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Band Life, Baby!

Luckily, though, the show also has a great supporting cast to balance out the semi-repetitive bits that pop up around Bocchi. This includes Nijika, the band’s drummer and usually the one with her head on straight, as well as Ryou, the bassist who can be generally dubbed the “weird one,” and then Kita, the band’s vocalist and second guitarist whose outgoing, extroverted attitudes often clashes with the other three in admittedly hilarious ways.

There are a number of others as well, all of whom are also generally likable and fun to see on screen, most notable of which are Nijika’s sister Seika, who is the manager and owner of Starry, the club where they often perform, along with Bocchi’s family. A lot of the humor in the show usually derives from one or more of the supporting cast contrasting their relatively normal personalities against Bocchi’s often insane delusions about where her life will be and her relationship with performing

Though this can be somewhat grating as previously mentioned, enough of the bits are focused on other characters so that it does always feel like Bocchi is the center of attention, even though she is supposed to be.

Still, even when the show is not trying to be funny, it does land quite a bit with its more thoughtful and reflective moments. Music is clearly a passion for the characters it affects, and Bocchi’s story of overcoming social anxiety and making friends, when not being played up to the extreme, is genuinely heartwarming. The passion the bandmates share for their work is something that feels real, and it is much appreciated.

Visual Humor

There are two comedy anime in the last year that have actually made me laugh out loud multiple times: Kaguya-sama: Love is War and Bocchi the Rock and the reason why is actually pretty similar between the two. I talked about visual humor a lot over the course of my reviews of Kaguya-sama, and one of the things that made it work, especially in later seasons, is its ability to execute jokes really well, playing up each character’s defining personality traits or central conflicts with visually stimulating elements.

Though, there is definitely a difference in approach stylistically. Whereas Kaguya-sama often opts to play into ideas surrounding high school romance and uses its visual humor to express how characters are feeling about the social ideas, Bocchi leans way more into an absurdist style of humor, with a healthy dose of anime, internet, and musical references mixed in for good measure.

Part of this simply comes from it being a four-panel manga originally. From what I understand, other adaptations like Azumanga Daioh approach their stories with similar humor. However, Bocchi brings its own unique flare, always coming back to the aforementioned absurdism influenced heavily by what would more accurately be described as “gen z” or “chronically online” humor.

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Looks Good, Feels Good

In that regard, the anime also just looks really solid. Cloverworks as a studio has been on the come-up recently (outside of The Promised Neverland season two but we can just ignore that for now). Even so, more of the credit should probably be going towards director Keiichirou Saitou and animation director/character designer Kiyoki Rikuta, because a lot of this show just would not work if it were not for how amazing it looks, especially during its visual gags.

Oh Right, It’s a Music Anime

Somehow I almost forgot to talk about the music in this BAND anime. Whoopsie. The music is…well, a lot better than I expected, especially the songs directly related to the girls as a band. Sonically it sounds like normal J-rock that I would hear turning on any Japanese Spotify playlist. However, I do appreciate the lyrical segments of the songs and how they feel like a combination of everyone’s more eclectic personalities.

The soundtrack was also pretty solid if maybe a little bit more on the unremarkable side. However, I suppose in a way it kind of works, since the show is focusing more on the girls’ early period as a band. So, yeah, not bad.

Conclusion

I actually ended up watching a fair bit more in 2022 than expected, but even so, Bocchi definitely ranks toward my top end. It certainly is not making any grand artistic statements about society or the universe, but what it does have to say in combination with its well-executed humor and only slightly obnoxious main character hits where it needs to. Definitely something worth checking out.

80/100


How did you feel about Bocchi the Rock? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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The Observation Deck: Chainsaw Man (Anime)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

Good Use of 3D Animation

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

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

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

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

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Thematic Translation

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

What? No, not boobs: politics.

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

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

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

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

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

The Opening

That’s it, that’s the section.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

82/100


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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I’m Back!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

I Graduated from da School

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

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

Looking for a Job

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

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

2023 Resolutions/Goals

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

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

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

Shameless Plug for my Website

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

Topics Coming Up

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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The Observation Deck: Brothers Conflict

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

What is Brothers Conflict?

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

Boring Main Character is Boring

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

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

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

Boring Brother Characters are Boring

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

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

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

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

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

Animator? I Barely Know Her!

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

25/100


Have you seen this abomination? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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Sorry For Being Gone

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for understanding!


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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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Initial Results: Revolutionary Girl Utena

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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What I’m (Probably) Watching for Fall 2022

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

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

Chainsaw Man

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

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

Spy x Family Part 2

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

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Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War

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

My Hero Academia Season 6

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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Summer 2022 Episode Reviews: Week Nine

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

The Devil is a Part-Timer S2 Ep. 8

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

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

RWBY: Ice Queendom Ep. 10

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

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

Lycoris Recoil Ep. 10

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

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

Call of the Night Ep. 9

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

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

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

Made in Abyss S2 Ep. 9

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

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

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