Tag Archives: book

Monk and Robot and the Spirit of Iyashikei

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


It has been a while since I properly rambled about a niche topic…well, actually, no it has not, since that happens two times every week. Rather, it has been a while since doing so in a purely opinion piece/essay style format. Call it a lack of motivation or maybe even a moderation of my stronger, more out there opinions, but I have not had that much to say.

However, today is different. After recently finishing both halves of Becky Chamber’s Monk and Robot series “A Psalm for the Wild Built” and “A Prayer for the Crown Shy,” a lot of things ran through my mind. Most of them were about how damn good the novella actually was. Which is true, definitely go read it. However, a few of those thoughts drifted towards series like Yokohama Shopping Trip and one I started recently: Aria the animation.

The sub genre of Iyashikei is not one that gets talked particularly often, usually drowned out by discussion of the latest one piece arc or whatever seasonal powerhouse has ahold of people’s attention. This is not to say these conversations cannot exist simultaneously, only that they usually do not. Which, in my eyes, is a real shame.

For those unaware, Iyashikei (literally “healing type” or “healing”) refers more specifically to shows intended to have a calming effect on its audience. This is usually done with more laidback storylines, either by focusing on characters’ individual journeys, their connection with their immediate environment, or a combination of both. This often results in less overarching story and more of a focus on episodic or segmented story beats.

In anime and manga, Iyashikei tends to overlap quite a bit with the concept of slice of life, since many stories focus on one or just a few characters. Additionally, there is often a sense of intimacy within that focus, both from the characters’ previously mentioned connections with their environment, but also in their self-discovery-oriented journeys, regardless of whether they realize that is happening.

Pretty much all of what I have just described as Iyashikei is represented and celebrated within Monk and Robot, a series about a traveling tea monk who gets bored of their everyday routine, only to travel off-road into woods set aside for the Robots that gained consciousness and left society several generations ago. Said tea monk Dex then meets Mosscap, a robot who’s mission involves reconnecting with human society and finding out what it is people “need.”

It’s a big question for what feels like a relatively short series. Still, despite the sci-fi, solar-punk aesthetic that frames a large portion of the story’s setting, Monk and Robot is arguably one of the most Iyashikei stories to be released in a long time. This is because, rather than turning into some kind of big action adventure story about a society that rejects and becomes afraid of technology that has “turned against them,” the premise is very much taken at face value.

We are instead dropped into a much more understanding society. Humans in Monk and Robot, while clearly having some differences in opinion on the nature of the robot awakening, as well as on matters of ethics and religious philosophy, seem to by and large accept the idea that their abuse and exploitation of these now sentient creatures was and is wrong.

This is even true of Dex. Despite being well-traveled and seemingly enlightened, their knowledge of how Robots work is basically zero. This is probably true of most others in modern human society (the novellas are less focused on “expert scientific opinion” than it is on the nature and implications of human and robot sentience) but, of course, the main focus is Dex’s relationship with Mosscap.


Speaking of, Mosscap comes across as a classic non-human mannerism adjusted robot, an entity whose curiosity directs them just as much as their stereotypically logic infused personality. As such, they serve as a great foil to the occasionally hot-headed and distraught Dex, who finds the robot right around the time they begin asking the same question Mosscap hopes to answer.

What starts as an incredibly awkward meeting with Dex naked in a forest quickly turns into a mutually enjoyable journey in which the two find purpose in each other. Every chapter lends itself a new adventure worth pursuing, even at the expense of some immediate comfort, which is saying a lot considering Dex’s entire religion basically revolves around small comforts like the tea they serve.

Regardless of whatever town or long stretch of road they happen to be arriving at or treading through, Mosscap manages to find something worth appreciating in a way Dex never could, at least not in their current mental state. The teachings of Allalae say that, as long it is not hurting the land or any people, that engaging in comforts is ok. However, it seems that lost in those teachings were the idea that the land and people themselves could also be those comforts.

The end of their journey feels representative of this. During the final chapter of book two, rather than going back towards the city where Dex trained to be a monk, the two instead take a detour to the beach. They eat, sleep, play, until the weight of their final journey forces them to have a candid conversation. The two ultimately conclude that, while everyone might have a purpose or something they feel like they need to do, that purpose is not something that needs to be figured out right away.

The story of Monk and Robot certainly is not always immediately feel good. It does throw out a lot of big questions with very little in the way of warning. Questions about what it means for things other than humans to be as intelligent as them. Questions about the nature of belief and its effects on our lives as people. Questions especially about human purpose.

However, most Iyashikei stories, even most stories period, operate on this principle of self-reflection before significant change or decisions. Yokohama Shopping Trip, set in the distance future and with a considerably lower human population, sees Alpha deal with extreme loneliness before she sets off on her trip in search of her boss. Though I have not seen it myself, one of the more popular anime that draws on ideas of Iyashikei is Yuru Camp. The series revolves around four teens who go camping in various locations around Japan. Despite the difficulty involved in said process, there is a joy at the end when they can wake up the next day to a beautiful sunrise.

There are certainly elements of the story that someone could nit pick at and find problems in. The beginning does border on being a little bit info-dumpy, especially when it comes to lore that feels less consequential than it really should. On top of that, while the non-binary representation is greatly appreciated, there is some really awkward sentence construction around gender neutral pronouns which could have been done a bit better.

However, none of these minor problems really take away from the point of Monk and Robot. It is a story about a transformational journey, sure, but it is also a story about enjoying life’s comfort and finding one’s place. Peace in the truest sense is hard to come by nowadays, especially in a post pandemic landscape where the general social attitude feels continually pessimistic in a way that’s hard to escape. This is not to say the correct response is throwing hands up at social ills and ignoring real problems. However, in between these battles for equality and better living conditions, there should be time for finding moments of real happiness and relaxation.

This turned out…ok. In all seriousness, I had the idea for this post a month ago when I started reading Monk and Robot’s first book. However, I also read The Afictionado’s post about cozy sci-fi during the pandemic and that inspired it even more, so shout out to them. Have you all ready this series? What do you think? Let me know down 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!


Aniwriter Update #14: Becoming a *Serious* Author and Trying to Stay Focused

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well, I did say I was going to be busy, lol. Anyway, I already said it on Twitter, but I wanted to apologize again for the lack of content. Being unorganized and unfocused has been hitting me pretty hard lately, and I am finally at that point in the semester where I have actual work to do, like writing a research paper about tax policy in Intro to Poli Sci. So, you know, the fun stuff.


Anyway, here is the update:

Writing a Book

So, yeah, part of the reason I’ve not been posting is because I have tried to dedicate a bit of time to working on a book idea I had about a week ago. As of right now, I am still in the beginning/planning stages and have yet to actually start any writing. This is because I want to do a bit more research before I do so. The story is going to revolve around a young boy named Alexadrium whose home country’s government is overthrown in a coup attempt and must resettle in a new country, only to be treated like human garbage once arriving. I would talk about it more, but I don’t actually have many names for things written down, so once that is done I’ll get back to you.

Finishing Kingdom Hearts 3

Well, Kingdom Hearts 3 happened, and it was pretty good. I’ll admit, though, there were some things that I was disappointed with though. For a game that is supposed to be the finale of the original trilogy, it felt a little light on content overall, and even some of the content that we did get, like the Frozen world, just came across as boring. I also thought there were far too many mini-games and trials mixed in with the gameplay in place of actual fights, but that is just me. Even with those complaints though, it was fun. Of course, being the first main series game on PS4, it looked absolutely amazing. The soundtrack is an area that Kingdom Hearts games have always been good out, although aside from the opening and ending songs, “Face My Fears” and “Don’t Think Twice,” none of the tracks in the main game stood out to me in particular. Of course, the story is what had me the most excited, especially the ending. No spoilers, just for anyone who has yet to beat it, but man am I looking forward to what comes next for the series.

Sleeping Problems are Awful

I honestly still have no idea why, but it has been incredibly hard for me to go to sleep sometimes. Maybe its the food I eat right before bed, or the large amount of Caffeine, I don’t know. Even on the nights that I don’t do that stuff, I still ending up lying in my bed for hours trying to go to sleep. The worst part about it is that it affects my ability to do anything productive. Hopefully, I can get over it soon, or maybe never. Guess I’ll find out.

Thanks for reading, everyone. If you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi or using one of my affiliate links:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

The Make it Anime Tag!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its been a while since I have done any tags or really anything in the blogging community. So, I thought I would change up my regularly scheduled program in favor of something new. Recently, Average Joe Reviews came up with an awesome idea for a tag, so I thought I would participate. Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog post.
  • Choose 1 Book, Movie and TV show of your choice that you think could work as an anime. (A series of books or movies is allowed e.g. Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games)
    • If you want to pick more than 1 from each section that’s fine. Or if you can’t think of one for a specific category that’s fine also.
  • Explain why you think your choices could work as an anime. Maybe the advent of animation would enhance it, maybe the different anime genres could help expand and improve the story. Just go crazy with it.
  • Link back to the original post (this post) so I can read people’s suggestions, I’d love to read everyone’s ideas.
  • Include Make it Anime in your tags so everyone including myself can find them all easily.
  • Nominate around 5-10 bloggers.

With that out of the way, here are my choices for the tag:

Book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

If I were to ever to start doing book reviews on The Aniwriter in any series capacity, I would probably make a lot of comparisons to this book, because Never Let Me Go is by far and away one of my favorite books of all time. However, not only is it a great book, it would also make a great anime. Never Let Me Go’s story centers around an alternative version of Britain in which cloning has been discovered, and in order to keep everything going smoothly, cloned children are kept and taught at separate facilities. The story follows Kathy, who reminisces about her life growing up as a clone, and the many adventures that she went on with her friends Tommy and Ruth.

The main reason I see Never Let Me Go working as an anime is that of the love triangle aspect of the story. Much of Never Let Me Go focuses on Kathy’s experience with relationships, and how Tommy is the first boy that she feels like she has an actual connection with. Growing up in an environment that teaches kids that it is ok to have sex with anyone because clones have no way of reproducing leaves Kathy confused on how she should feel.

Movie: The Breakfast Club

I think one of the major things that Breakfast club would have going for it is its main cast. For those who do not know, Breakfast club is a movie about five teens from very different walks of social life when it comes to high school. There is Andrew, the jock, Claire, the popular girl princess, Allison, the weird one, Brian, the smart one, and John, the outcast. The five of them are forced to sit together in detention for a whole Saturday. Initially, they are all at each other’s throats, highlighting the differences between their social standings and using them as insults. However, the five of them are able to come together, smoke some weed, and realize that all of the differences between them are extremely artificial and pointless.

If there is one thing anime does right, its Slice of Life. the genre is incredibly diverse and knows how to make emotional moments between characters even more important than they really are. Breakfast Club seems like a great setup for a Slice of Life anime, especially considering subject matter. I can see it being relatively similar to something like Oregairu, the only difference being is that there is five of them, and they are all just as cynical as Hachiman.

TV Series: Riverdale

Riverdale works as an anime for the same reason that I feel like Breakfast Club would: the strength of its main cast. However, the strength of Riverdale’s main cast comes from a slightly different place. Because Riverdale has much more of an overarching story rather than just being an episodic series, the constant drama between characters is what makes the show that much more interesting.

In this way, Riverdale would absolutely work as an anime. In this case, I would compare the show to something like Orange, where the slice of life aspect is still very much there, but there is something of a thriller-Esq twist to make its core story much more appealing.


Well, I am required to nominate people, so here we go. Feel free to ignore this if you don’t have the time or just don’t want to.

One Sad Boi

Lynn Sheridan

Terrence Crow

Mirror Purple

That Baka Blog

What kinds of media do you think would do well as an anime? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi:

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!

Let’s All Write A Book | Chapter 1 | Part 9

I got tagged my Moyatori and I’m excited to add more to this awesome story.

The rules:

  1. Copy the post you’ve been tagged from the rules down (with the links).
  2. Go here and read the rules.
  3. Write your name and link it to one of your posts (The main character is called NoGender and as the name indicates, does not have a gender, so if you want to speak in the third person use the word “it”).
  4. Write your paragraph (max 200 words with 100 words margin).
  5. Tag someone’s post who wasn’t tagged before and say the following rule in the same phrase “You have 3 days to accept this tag”.
  6. If the person you tagged doesn’t answer or doesn’t want to participate tag other person (again, tag a post and not a page).
  7. Write the Title “Let’s All Write a Book | Chapter 1 | Paragraph X”, being X your paragraph.

– – – – – – –

Arthifis Chapter 1.1

It was the same dream again, for a week NoGender was always having the same dream. Drowning… It was funny actually, since “it” had the power of controlling water.

NoGender woke up breathing heavily as always… Next morning would be the final exam for him to be a full edge water bender, but without having proper sleep for a week, NoGender was getting nervous about it… “Its” concentration was not as good as normal, “It” had found itself almost falling asleep countless times while trying to train its skills the best it could and, at this moment “it” was getting anxious that it would just fall asleep in the middle of the exam. With these kind of thoughts, “It” bent over to the other side and fell asleep again.

NoGender was part of one of the most important schools of the kingdom. It was usual for someone to bend any kind of elemental, however only until a certain point… Having really the power to bend an elemental power to someone’s will was extremely rare. Every kid with age of 5 needed to do the national yearly exam to show their abilities, although simple, the exam was enough to see if the bender had enough capabilities to be a “true” bender or not. In thousands of children only 1%, in average, would be good enough to enter this prestigious school. However, being chosen and being in this school didn’t meant they would be benders all their lives, when these already special children got to 18 years old, their powers could just disappear from night to day, because of that, everyone did the final exam in their 18th birthday day, if they passed they could choose which path they wanted to continue and join one of the specialized schools they preferred.

Irina Chapter 1.2

It was no good. The worries and anxieties could only be pushed aside so far before they needed to be dealt with.

OK NoGender thought, this is going nowhere. Might as well get this day started so I can get it over with. It figured the library would be a good place to while away the remaining hours before the exam. It was way too nervous to get any actual studying done but at least it could pretend, that’s what **good** students did, right? Fake it till you make it! It was starting to get a sinking feeling that making it was always a bit fake anyways. At least the library was close to the main campus.

As NoGender distractedly ambled into the stuffy reading room, with the comfy leather chairs, that were now considerably more patchwork than leather, and the assorted desk and floor lamps that all gave off different lights, it noticed that the room was already stuffed with nervous looking students, all seemingly at a loss as to what to do with themselves.

A tall skinny boy with a smile that was the polar opposite of comforting, caught his eye. If NoGender was this anxious, he could only imagine what poor Schickley was going through, that kid had trouble handling the stress of ordering lunch. NoGender worried about him. As their eyes met, it greeted its friend in what it hoped was a reassuring manner:

-Hey Shakes, wanna go get a drink after this?

-Geni, oh good you’re here! Did you hear what happened?

Raistlin Chapter 1.3

NoGender looked at its friend in puzzlement. “Hear what?” it asked.

If anything, it seemed Schickley was even more nervous than normal. Which was saying something. Just as Schickley was about to answer, a small tremor rocked the floor of the library. Students began looking up from their books, and just then the tremors started getting worse. People screamed in fright, and small cracks appeared in the marble floors of the library.

A real panic now began to take a hold of the students and everyone started rushing towards the great double doors that formed the exit. Schickley and NoGender got swept up in the crowd and lost sight of each other. Then someone yelled ” The doors are locked!! ” NoGender wasn’t someone that was quick to panic, but it began to creep up on “it”. What was going on? But then the worst tremor yet shook the building.

Bookcases began to fall over, and great chunks of the ceiling came loose and started falling on students. NoGender dove under a table just in time, as a big block of rubble crashed down on the space where he had just stood. And then a terrible inhuman howling sound started……..

Shokamoka Chapter 1.4

“I-is this for real?” NoGender sighed.

Of all places it could have come knocking — the library was chosen.

“Those three previous days of earthquake were absolutely no coincidences, I take.”

NoGender remained nervous under the table. On a different matter; it became more sure of the threat lurking in as inhuman howls endlessly echoed within the library hall. Its concentration got a surprise interruption from Schickley, who was sure to be scarred down his pants anytime then.

“Yo. Wanna go check it out? he teased.
What was with this guy, really…

“I could have sworn that you were deeply intimidated just a while ago.”

Schickley gave it some excited nudges, “This is far different.”
And then a wide, snarky grin.
“God knows how often our people had to deal with these things on a daily basis.”

Tremors died down and the two started tracking the source of those howls. Inhuman was certainly the best description anyone would have come up on the spot; everything else that went along with the sound were along the lines of agony, hopelessness and odd enough, thirst. Just how potent was this dark element, to the point that some would even abandon humanity for?

AstralGemini Chapter 1.5

Reaching the main hall, what the two discovered was absolute chaos. Students scurried frantically around the place, many holding their ears and crying.

“Hey!” Schickley called out to one of his fellow students, stopping her in her tracks. “Is everything ok? Did you get a look at one??” Schickley crowed, gripping the girl by both shoulders, his eyes wide in excitement. “What were they like?”

The girl… Fernelle, right? adjusted her glasses. “They came… they attacked… the school… The teachers… went out to fight them… I didn’t…” before she could finish, the great doors of the hall groaned as they slowly parted to reveal… a teacher, his clothes torn and shredded.

“R… run… run away…” The teacher spluttered, before collapsing. Only then did they notice the hulking, misshapen creature in the shadows behind the doorway.

Black, shiny skin drips with an oily liquid as the creature shambled forward, its wolfish face parting to reveal a mouth full of jagged teeth. The creature’s arms hung behind it, claws dragging across the ground, scoring the granite floor tiles. Lumbering through the doorway, it stood up to its full height, and, eyeing NoGender with sickly yellow eyes, let out a ferocious howl.

TPAB 1.6

The creature locks eyes with NoGender. The three students know they are in trouble and they should run away. NoGender thinks it’s a bad idea though, as it looks onto the eyes of the beast as if it knows what the monster is thinking.

Suddenly, Fernelle screamed and ran away from the monster. In a split second, NoGender and Shickley felt the body of the oily monster pass them. It caught up to Fernelle, and NoGender could only focus on her glasses, as it flies upwards from the swift impact of the monster’s motion. Her severed head hit the ground first while the glasses soon break afterwards. The two looks on as Fernelle’s body slowly turns cold, but then the monster rushes again.

This time, it goes after Shickley.

NoGender pushed him away, and the claws of the monster dug into It’s shoulder bringing both to the ground. Once again, they lock eyes. The monster stares, as if examining NoGender’s face, before opening its mouth.

And then the grandfather clock of the library rang. NoGender scans the place in a panic. The tall skinny boy is immediately concerned and comes over to It’s aid.

“What just happened?” NoGender asks himself.

Keiko 1.7

NoGender slowly sat up. It looked to see a gaping hole where the shoulder once was. There was no blood. No pain shot through its body. In fact, it felt nothing at all. NoGender saw nothing where its shoulder once was. It tried to raise its arm and found that it was possible. Funny that, there was no shoulder linking the arm to the main body yet the arm still moved.

NoGender looked up to find everyone staring. Not at it, but at Fernelle. Fernelle had been killed in front of them. There was no denying that. Fernelle had walked through the doors of death from which there’s no return. But now, Fernelle’s head was moving. Her head moved towards her body as though being pulled by some invisible force but the two never truly became one. A nothingness linked the head to body. She was pale from the kiss of death, looking more like a broken porcelain doll than a human. Blood that should have covered her neck where the head separated was gone, replaced by nothingness. Fernelle blinked.

A silent gasp filled the room as the unspoken question echoed off the walls. What just happened?

Moyatori 1.8

“Move,” somebody growled such a warning from behind NoGender. Before anybody had the time to move, however, a jet of water shot past Fernelle’s disturbing form and aimed straight for the monster’s right eye, with a force NoGender has never witnessed anyone accomplish. The monster howled wretchedly and was sent crashing against the wall in an explosion of debris and black sludge.

Instinctively, NoGender’s eyes scoured the room for the water source for such enormous feat. It was astonished to see that all of it came flowing out of the slit beneath the bathroom door, and that its own left hand was what transformed the ebbing water into the majestic jet that pinned the monster to the wall.

“H-how…” Before NoGender could finish phrasing its question, he felt a hand on its remaining shoulder. NoGender gasped when it saw the shock red hair and opal earrings beneath the black cloak of the person who touched it.

It hadn’t been it after all – how could it ever come to possess such power! It had been her all along – the figure controversial for bending souls rather than natural elements – the Sanguine Necromancer, Ligeia D. Mortem.


Ya Boy Jack 1.9

Get back, all of you!” Legeia yelled to the students, who were still in shock about Fernelle’s new porcelain white appearance. NoGender couldn’t help but sit and stare at who was likely one of the most powerful benders of all time. “Hey, what are you doing? I said get back!” Without much thought, Shickley grabbed NoGender from the floor and the two ran towards the other students.

While the students watched with a strange mix of awe and fear clearly visible on their face, Legeia prepared for the the monsters retaliation. As the monster attempted to get up, he through out his claw, which extended towards the soul bender at an incredible speed. Reacting quickly, Legeia once again channeled the power of NoGender’s dismembered arm, knocking it out of its projected path and against the wall of the main hall, after which she bolted forward at an alarming speed.

The monster attempted to throw its second arm, but Legeia was to fast, easily dodging its last ditch effort to stop the high speed bender. Upon reaching the monster, Legeia jumped, pulling a sword from her cloak and slashing the monster head off. “I know that’s not the last of you,” she whispered to herself.

Woah! this has been pretty fun. for the last part of chapter one, I’m tagging… Chizurue! Have fun!