Tag Archives: Beastars

Rating My Old Reviews: Huh?

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For those who are not aware, Animated Observations recently received a rating system courtesy of yours truly. The reasons for this are multifaceted, but the primary one is that It allows me to summarize my overall feelings about an anime/manga/video game without taking away anything from the review itself. However, since this system was only implemented a couple of months ago, a lot of my older reviews are without a proper rating. So, I figured it would be fun to go back and give some of said reviews a numerical score.

Princess Jellyfish

Hard to believe that the show which has validated my recent revelations surrounding my gender Identity was something I only watched in the last six months or so. On top of that, it is easily one of my favorite series of all time, and so giving it a score is both satisfying and scary. This is because, while it is satisfying to recognize and promote what I consider to be a great piece of art, it also feels strange to give it something as permanent as a number. The possibility of its score changing in the future certainly exists, but for now, I can only give it the highest possible praise.

94/100

Beastars (Seasons One and Two)

Some of my hatred of this series in the past has come off a bit hyperbolic, mainly because of me, but in all honesty, I can only summon up so much hatred for it. Yeah, the plot is an absolute mess, the characters are painfully underdeveloped and the pacing feels like when getting stuck in an elevator multiple times while almost falling down every time it buckles. Yet, a really solid soundtrack filled with some of the smoothest jazz instrumentals I think I have ever heard along with Studio Orange’s amazing 3D animation work saves it some slack.

40/100

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The Flowers of Evil

I only just realized while looking back at my posts that I never gave Aku no Hana a final full review, but it has been a hot minute since I have talked about the series, so I figured it would be worth doing so again. While definitely not a manga I would think about returning to all that often, it is one that I feel like most people should read if they have the ability to. It has some important commentary on a lot of current issues: mental health, the boundaries in relationships, where people derive happiness from, etc. While it can in a lot of scenarios come across as unnecessarily provocative and frankly degenerate, the message is far more important.

75/100


How do you all feel about this type of post? I am working on finishing a few other things at the moment, so normal reviews/content will hopefully be back soon. But, if you would like to see me go over series that I have done in the past, let me know.

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.

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Special thanks to our patron Jenn for being amazing as always

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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Top 5 Least Favorite Anime (As of September 2021)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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yeah, yeah, I get it, I’m lazy

*insert joke about not being able to stick to a schedule here*

Listen, school is hard, okay? 😦

In all seriousness though, it has been hard to keep the energy to both read hundreds of pages a week in class material while also keeping up with reading and writing in the blog sphere, it just is. But, hopefully I can get back into some routine, even if its just a couple posts a week as opposed to three or four. For today though, since I did my favorite anime of all time, I thought I would cover the flipside of things. The reason it is five and not also 10 like the other post is because, in all honest, I have not watched that many series which I would consider my least favorite. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, some of these might come as a surprise, and others not so much.

Just to reiterate, as well, these are my least favorite, and not the shows I think are the worst, although for some those do overlap. With that being said, lets get started.

5. My Mental Choices Are Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy

Its not so much that this show is bad as it is embarrassingly and uninteresting. The entire gimmick of being forced to make strange choices and then being forced to deal with their consequences is entertaining up to a point, but even though the series is only 10 episodes long, it gets old by about halfway through. Add on top of that the lack of anything notable as far as characters, animation, or music goes, and you’ve got a recipe for something pretty unlikable. I wouldn’t say its aggressively unlikeable, which is why its only at number five, but still pretty bad.

4. Rosaria + Vampire

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I could honestly just copy and paste the last paragraph here and replace the decision making gimmick with the monster school and call it a day. Rosario + Vampire falls into that category things I watched as a teenager when I was slightly horny, and while it never god so bad as to be awful, it also never really achieved anything across two seasons. There was the occasionally funny gag, and Mizore was fairly entertaining every time she appeared on screen, but really I am reaching at this point. If I would not sit through 10 episodes again, I certainly would not sit through 24.

3. Seven Deadly Sins

If the first two shows on this list could be described as meh, then this is where I get to the point of actively disliking series. “Seven Deadly Sins” not only fails to stand out as a unique entry in the Shonen genre, but also fails in *checks notes* not having the main character grope an underage girl every episode…yeah. Meliodas as a main character is just all around obnoxious and not really interesting to have on screen. On top of that, the “cool” moments he has are few and far between. There is a reason that this show ended up as one of the worst on my Shonen tier list.

2. Beastars

Those who have been reading me at all recently have probably seen me complain about this series at least, probably more. What’s even crazier to me is how much praise is coming to “Beastars” even from casual fans. Like, the furry anime nerds I could understand getting a kick out of this, but the less context one has about anime as a whole the worse the series becomes. I will not go over too many of my complaints here again, but those who are reading this and have been on the fence about whether to watch it: take this as a warning.

1. Pupa

When I first started conceptualizing this list internally, I thought “surely there cannot be anything I like less than ‘Beastars,’ right?” Then, I remembered that “Pupa” exists. This 2014 horror anime, along with being my least favorite series, also has the distinction of having one of the lowest scores on MyAnimeList at a whapping 3.35 as of the writing of this post. it is not normally the case that I defer to MyAnimeList when it comes to anime opinions, but in this case the nail has been hit right on the head. I feel like I might use the phrase “aggressively awful” a bit to much, but it is most certainly warranted here. Also probably the worst thing Studio Deen has ever produced, and that is saying a lot.


What are some of your least favorite anime? 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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The Observation Deck: Beastars Season 2

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

“Finally…my suffering is over…I can be free again…”

“omg what happened?”

“I watched “Beastars” season 2…”

“Beastars” is a show that continues to exist, and will continue into the future since it has already been confirmed for a third season by Studio Orange. Joy. Now, you as the reader may be asking, “Jack, if you did not like the show that much, why continue to watch it?” Well, unfortunately I like to dabble in a bit of masochism every now and again, and when I saw that the second season would be on Netflix this month, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity.

However, now that the second season is done, so too is the masochism, and now I can get down to brass tacks. Aside from the masochism there is really only one reason I would watch the series again: to talk about how aggressively awful it continues to be.

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The Dub

While I did not talk about it last time, I actually watched both seasons in their English dub. The first season is because at the time I just felt like watching a dubbed anime, and the second season is because I do not like switching languages once I start an anime. Sub versus dub discourse aside, I actually find the English voices to be one of the more tolerable elements of the show.

Almost everyone was cast really well, from the smooth voice of Legoshi, voiced by Jonah Hill, to the rougher, more grizzly voices of both Gouhin and Ritz. Even the nasal tone of Haru works a lot better than it probably should. In all honestly, the only voice that didn’t absolutely blow me away was Lauren Landa playing Juno, and even then she did not do a bad job by any means.

Seriously, What is this Story?

Shameless plug, but for those who have not read my review of season one, I recommend checking that out as well, if you feel like reading the same opinions twice.

I had an argument with someone on that post who basically said that the story makes more sense if I wait for next arc, and so I did. Now, I cannot really be angry, since I was planning on watching the next season when it came out anyway, but I do feel a bit lied to, and by a bit I mean a lot, because this was ABSOLUTELY NOT better than the first season.

Man, where do I begin. I probably should have been taking notes while I was watching cause there are just so many things that do not make sense, and have continued to not make sense. First of all, why does this show insist on introducing things at the beginning of the season only to not touch on them again at all the same season. Like, the anime literally introduces a giant snake security guard that convinces Legoshi to pursue Tem’s killer only to just disappear completely by episode three. Like, ???

Second, if “Beastars” was trying to make some grand social commentary in the first season, it almost completely abandons that idea in the second. Again, the anime is trying to split the difference between “Twilight” and “Zootopia” and thus far as inherited the strengths of neither, basically relying on the viewer to just not think about it to much and buy into all of the carnivorous brooding of its main characters. Speaking of,

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Jesus Christ, These Characters…

Honest question: am I supposed to like any of these people? Do not misunderstand me, of course I want there to be more complex characters, and having defined heroes and villains is not always better for a story, especially one which is relying on the straining relationships of its cast. However, while its important for their to be conflict between characters, at the end of the day, they do need to be at least a little bit likeable, or even just interesting for me to care about them.

Sadly, a pretty large percentage of the cast falls into neither of those categories. I talked about how Legoshi’s entire persona is basically just a fedora wearing nice guy, but like, the others are pretty bad too. Louis comes off as an asshole for most of the series until suddenly he and Legoshi are on good terms? Haru never even really felt like a character to me, probably because the show plays way to hard into Legoshi’s fantasy of protecting thy fair maiden. In fact, the only reason the two have a relationship in the first place is because Haru decided to go down on him as thanks for helping her club.

As much as I wanted to like these characters, (mainly because I have now sunk a collective 10+ hours into this series), I just cannot give them any credit. They feel both underwritten and overwritten at the same time, and because of the anime’s terrible worldbuilding and story, none of them come off as well done characters.

The Music and CG are Still Good, at Least

Apart from the dub, “Beastars” has two other solid qualities: Its soundtrack and its animation. As far as its music goes, the series does a great job supporting its abyssmal writing with some genuinely engaging jazz tracks. From its instrumental pieces produced by Satoru Kosaki, to the talented vocalists who appear scattered throughout, it is a genuinely nice distraction while watching.

Studio Orange also continues their great work in the realm of 3D animation. There is genuinely not a bad looking scene in the entire second season, and the fusion of 2D elements and backgrounds with the largely 3D characters is genuinely impressive. While I still have yet to warm up to the use of 3D in anime as a whole, I certainly have hope for what Studio Orange can do in the future.

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Conclusion

To tell the truth, as a critic, I am relatively easy to please. Just give me an interesting enough premise with a passable execution in the writing, along with some good visuals and ok music, and I will generally be happy. I mean, that is what happened with “Gleipnir” and I will still defend that show as being kind of underrated. “Beastars” cannot even manage that, with its terrible world, sometimes cringe and sometimes boring characters, and ham-fisted attempt at “societal” commentary. There is only so much one person can do pretty up a garbage can.


How do you all feel about “Beastars?” 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!

5 Anime I am Looking Forward to Next Year

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Surprisingly, the never-ending hell-scape that is 2020 is, in fact, ending pretty soon. While I personally have very little hope that the U.S. will be recovering from COVID-19 anytime soon, there is still plenty to look forward to, and one of those things is anime. While my attention largely drifted away from seasonal shows in 2020, what has been revealed for next year has me as excited as ever to be an anime fan. With that being said, here are the five anime I am most looking forward to, as of right now.

Megalo Box 2

Ok, so maybe most of the series on this list are sequels, but hey, there’s very little chance of them being bad, right? Bad might not be the right word for “Megalo Box,” however. The original “Megalo Box” was not only one of the best anime of 2018, it arguably competes with the best of the last decade. Despite its more traditional sports narrative, it still feels like a powerful story of man willing to bet everything in order to succeed in the thing he loves. Not to mention, his rivalry with Yuri gives the series a serious “Rocky” vibe.

All of this is to say that the second season has a lot to live up to. With the first season already being a complete and fulfilling narrative, it feels unlikely that the second season will be able to match its profound impact.

Eden’s Zero

My falling out of love with “Fairytail” in past years has left me wondering about whether or not Hiro Mashima actually has what it takes to write anything of quality. While I did consider reading the manga for “Edens Zero” a while back when it first came out, I decided against it only because there was other stuff I wanted to get to first at the time. While, at the end of the day, I still do not expect much out of the series, I am hoping at the very least that it is entertaining.

The Promised Neverland 2

“The Promised Neverland” has become one of my favorite series of the last few years, and much like “Megalo Box,” it has an ingrained legacy to live up to. However, unlike “Megalo Box,” the second season of “The Promised Neverland” is a true continuation, and given where the series left off relative to the manga, it is likely to be an exciting second season. Studio CloverWorks did an amazing job with the first season, so now its time to see if they can replicate what made it so great.

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Dr. Stone: Stone Wars

“Dr. Stone” also left off on the beginning of a pretty important arc in its story, where Senku is preparing to go to war with Tsubasa after their ideological differences lead them to splitting up. While Senku is working to revive all of humanity, Tsubasa believes that it is the adults who have ruined society, and wishes to leave them in stone. Since it is likely that this ideological dispute will be at the center of the story, I am totally on board.

Log Horizon 3

Man, to think after so long its finally back… Log Horizon has been one of my favorite series since its release in 2013. While not being as highly regarded in the Isekai sub-genre as some other shows, its unique focus on the politics of running a society of people trapped in a video game, combined with its diverse cast of characters makes it a stimulating watch. Unfortunately, after the author got in trouble for Tax Evasion, the series got put on hold. But after getting out at the end of 2018, and continuing his work while under house arrest, he managed to continue the series. Now a new 12 episode 3rd season is coming and I am excited.

Honorable Mention: Beastars 2

This is only kind of a joke. While anyone who has read my final thoughts on the series knows that I do not like “Beastars,” its ending left me extremely confused about the direction of its story. Granted, the entire series left me confused about the direction of its story, but that is an argument for another post. If I hate watch anything next year, it will be this series without a doubt.


Thanks for reading! What shows are you most looking forward to for next year? 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!

Final Thoughts: Beastars

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

“Beastars” is certainly a show that exists. Because this show exists, and because I made the decision to watch it all the way through to the end, I am now going to talk about it. Of course, when I say talk about it, what I mean to say is that I am going to talk about how absolutely garbage it is.

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What is this Story?

Its been a while since I’ve talked about a show that I thought was particularly offensive in terms of just how bad it is, so for this post, I will try to go in depth in why I think why certain things do or do not work. For starters, lets look at the kind of story Beastars is trying to tell.

The series focuses on a world of semi-anthropomorphized animals, who are divided into into to two broad categories based on their animal types, carnivores and herbivores. In this world, there is a lot of prejudice against carnivores due to their natural inclination towards eating meat, and more specifically small herbivores. Still, the two groups mostly get along.

At the beginning of the show, an herbivore lama named Tem has been murdered by someone presumed to be a carnivore. From there, the show follows Legushi, a social awkward grey wolf who is just trying to fit in at Cherryton High School. From there he meets Luis, the leader of the drama club, and Haru, a bunny who runs the school’s gardening club.

Story wise, there is just way too much going on. For starters, instead picking a lane and running with it, the show basically tries to split the difference between Zootopia and Twilight. From there the show goes from being a murder mystery to a shoujou drama to an action adventure and then back to a drama all within the span of twelve episodes. The worst part, though, is that the series succeeds at almost none of these, with the exception of a few things which I will talk about later.

Social Commentary: Beastars is…Accidentally Racist?

When I said that Beastars was splitting the difference between “Zootopia” and “Twilight,” I was not kidding. Pretty much all of Beastars characters, settings, and story-lines allude to a similar social tension between those identified as herbivores and those as carnivores.

This tension is shown most obviously in the first episode after Tem is murdered. The pain of his death was felt among all of the students, but specifically within the drama club, which he was a part of. After the incident, many of the herbivore members of the club felt immediately suspicious.

Now, “Zootopia” had a fairly similar message, although it dealt with more specifically with the idea that there was discrimination in the law against carnivores. In this way, it felt much more like an allegory for race relations rather than just another Disney movie about animals.

“Beastars” takes this message in a fairly different direction. The show actively incorporates the idea that carnivores are more naturally likely to kill, and even has an entire section of the series dedicated to show a secret black market where carnivores can eat meat, which has been strictly outlawed.

Basically, the show seems to imply that carnivores are naturally worse in some ways than herbivores. Hmmm…interesting.

Now, I want to be perfectly clear. I am not literally saying the show is racist, and in all honesty, I do not expect most people to pick up on this, considering most are probably watching the show for the drama anyway. However, it is something worth thinking about, because messages like this, even subtle ones, can have an impact on people.

Legushi

Clearly I have much to learn when it comes to ways of character writing. In fact, maybe I should try and reach out to the original mangaka Paru Itagaki, because I did not think it was possible to write a character who is simultaneously the edgiest character, and yet also the most literal Beta I have every had the displeasure of watching.

My god, I have seen harem anime characters with more decision making ability than Legushi. For over half the series, this emo wolf cannot decide if he is pyschopath or in love, and then when he does, and then actually has the opportunity to be romantically involved with Haru, he just does nothing. Absolutely some of the worst payoff for sitting through 12 episodes of drama that I have ever watched.

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Jazz is Cool, but Not in this Show

I was originally going to give “Beastars” some credit for its soundtrack. After all, Jazz often feels like like an underrepresented genre when it comes to anime soundtracks, with one of the only notable exceptions recently being “Kids on the Slope,” which aired back in 2012.

However, I then remembered that most of the scenes where Jazz is playing is either when Legushi almost gets romantic but then does not, and when he is doing one of his stupid emo monologues, which ruins any enjoyment of the music.

Does this Show do Anything Right?

Yes, actually. As much as I hate to admit, the blend between 2D and 3D animation, as well as the 3D animation itself, looks incredibly good. Normally I steer clear of CG heavy anime because of the way they look (see Berserk 2016), but in this case the CG almost always added to the show’s presentation rather than taking away from it.

One area of the show where this is most evident is in during the play held by the drama club. Even despite these episodes having a heavy amount of action, the CG never looks bad, even against 2D backgrounds. The fights between Bill and Legushi were especially entertaining in this regard. It is truly a shame that Studio Orange’s talent for 3D animation was wasted on this material.

Conclusion

Overall, though, I cannot say I am disappointed. “Beastars” turned out to be exactly the poorly written furry drama I expected it to be. There is something to be said for it as purely popcorn entertainment. Plus, those who are only looking for a show with good CG visual definitely will not be let down. Otherwise, this is worth nobodies time.


How do you all feel about Beastars? 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!