Tag Archives: Durarara

Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


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

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

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

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

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

Durarara – Winter 2010 – Studio: Brain’s Base

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

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

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

Wandering Son – Winter 2011 – Studio: AIC Classic

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

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


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

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

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

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

Log Horizon – Fall 2013 – Studio: Satelight

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

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

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


No Game No Life – Spring 2014 – Studio: Madhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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


OWlS August “Folklore” Post: Durarara, Celty, and Folklore

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I think by now you folks know what time it is, but just in case you do not, I will fill you in. It is time once again for my monthly OWLS post, for those who are unaware, OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, and is an organization of bloggers and other content creators dedicated to promoting acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

This month’s theme for OWLS is Folklore, as described below:

This month’s OWLS topic was inspired by the name of Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore.  Yet rather than using her conceptual definition of what “Folklore” means, we are going to use its original meaning: we are going to explore the traditions and cultures of a specific group and community within pop cultural texts.

I would also encourage everyone to check out the other bloggers featured on the tour, as they are all wonderful human beings:

3rd – Ashley (The Review Heap)

11th – Aria (The Animanga Spellbook)

13th – Megan (Nerd Rambles)

14th – Hikari (Hikari Otaku Station)

17th – Jack (Animated Observations) (Note: This post was originally supposed to go out on the 17th, but had to be moved back because of my schedule).

19th – Irina (I Drink and Watch Anime)

20th – Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

25th – Dale (That Baka Blog)

30th – Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

Without further pause, here is my post for this month:

Urban legends are apart of almost every modern culture in the world. In America, many states have their own local legends, and some, like Nessie, aka the Lockness Monster have risen to international fame. While their popularity has gradually risen and waned with the shift from oral storytelling to the internet, some have remained just as popular as ever. Another folklore taled turned urban legend that remains quite popular is the headless horseman, originally called the Dullahan.

Originating from Irish folklore, the Dullahan is said to be the reincarnation of the Irish god of fertility Crom Dubh. It is believed that the original story of the Dullahan comes from shortly after Christianity was introduced to the Irish people, when the then King of Ireland Tighermas mandated human sacrifice as a way of appeasing him. As Christianity was slowly phased in, new tales about Crom riding through the night, still seeking human lives came about, and thus the modern idea of the Dullahan was born.

The Dullahan has since been featured in a number of media franchises, most notably so in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” where a soldier who lost his head during the American Revolution rises from the dead to find it. It has even found its way into the fairly mainstream anime series “Durarara,” originally written by Ryougo Narita. Durarara’s story is…eclectic, to say the least. It focuses on the life of high school students, gang members, a street doctor, and a few others as they live their life in the dangerous city of Ikebukuro.

However, one of its most notable characters is the Celty Sturluson, a Dullahan who came by boat to Japan to look for her missing head that was supposedly stolen. In the story of Durarara, she is given the title of “Black Rider,” for her Jet black motorcycle that shes uses to perform various jobs for Ikebukuro’s more “underground” residents.

Celty is also framed as being notably feared by most of the city, even despite the fact that she is actually extremely kind. Despite coming to Japan to look for her missing head, Celty’s memories are hazy at best, and as such she uses all the help she can get when it comes to accomplishing her goal.


However, “Durarara’s” representation of the Dullahan goes even further beyond that. Celty, along with the majority of the cast, have very ironic character arcs. Not only does Celty not know where her head is or much about her past, one of her most consistent fears throughout the story is that when she finds her head she will turn back into the Dullahan of popular legend, and it is only through her street doctor partner Shinra Kishitani that she is able to stay calm in a lot of situations.

“Durarara” is a standout story for a number of reasons. For one, its unique storytelling which shifts perspectives from episode to episode, and even sometimes scene to scene makes it to where it almost never gets boring. On top of that, the characters are all usually dealing with the same problem, whether it be a gang rivalry, the illegal activity of suspicious corporations, or even the revival of dead spirits, and because of that, the story can have a variety of perspectives on the same events.

However, its handling of urban legends, and the way it makes use of those legends as plot points in its story makes it all the more unique. Whether it be Celty and the myth of the Dullahan, or the variety of Japanese folklore and gang stories, the series continual delivers an interesting story line that often works to subvert the original meaning of the stories from which “Durarara” draws inspiration. While the show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is absolutely worth checking out at least once. If not, maybe the Dullahan will come for you!

Something that I couldn’t really work into the post organically but that I thought was interesting regardless was this article from Nippon.com. In it, the author Itakura Kimie interviews Professor Iikura YoshiYuki, whose work focuses on oral literature and contemporary Folklore. The article focuses on how urban legends have shifted from oral tradition to online mediums, but also how the social spaces through which urban legends have traditionally risen are shrinking.

Professor YoshiYuki attributes this to a few things. First, the internet is becoming much more insular. It is becoming more and more rare for people to reach out in good faith to discuss whether or not something is real, thus leading to less discussion and less spreading of such legends. Second, urban legends have often been place where people project their real world fears. However, with false information available in excess, and political actors creating narratives about many different real world groups such as immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community, it is becoming significantly more likely for people to project their fears into the real world, rather than through tongue and cheek myths.

I guess the lesson for today then is to always question narratives, even if it comes from people you agree with, and do research comes from provably reliable sources.


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!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 8: My Favorite Anime Couple

Hello, Anifriends

Whether it be from a movie, TV show or anime, I think its fair to say that everyone has a least one couple that they love to watch. Their chemistry is great, and every second their on-screen makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Today I’ll be talking about my favorite couple in anime.


As soon as I saw this category, I immediately knew who I would be writing about. Without a doubt, my favorite anime couple is Shinra and Celty from Durarara!!

Celty and Shinra.png

There were a lot of great things about the first season of Durarara!!, especially the first half. The characters were always on crazy adventures, and the relationships between the main three, as well as the other side characters, kept the show interesting and exciting. But easily the best part for me was Celty and Shinra’s relationship.

Celty, a legendary figure known as a Duluhan, was being studied by Shinra’s father. As Shinra interacted with Celty more and more, he began to fall in love with her, which lead to them living together in Ikebukuro. I mean, what is there to say about them other than that there weirdly adorable?

Well, a lot actually. Not only is their setup uniquely engaging in its own right, the ever-changing dynamic between the two and the way they continue to see both themselves and each other in new light makes their story one of the most legitimately emotional parts of the show.

To be completely honest, I would recommend people watch Durarara!! just so they could see these two together. It is absolutely something worth your time.

Who is your favorite anime couple? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!


12 Days of Anime #6: Top 5 Best Soundtracks I Listened This Year

Music, for me, is an integral part of any anime production. Music is what sets the tone for a battle of all ages and for a romantic climax. It lets people know when to expect a heartfelt tearfest and also when its time to laugh, even if the joke doesn’t exactly land. Without music, many of the best moments in anime would not have nearly the emotional punch that they do. For another end of the year list, here are my top 5 best soundtracks of the year.

5. Durarara!!


No show set in the bustling and always exciting city of Ikebukuro would be complete without Durarara’s equally as bombastic and overactive soundtrack. It takes everything great about the show and transforms itself into the music equivalent. Its mix of Urban and J-Pop sounds makes for a wonderfully diverse listening experience.

4. Jormungand


Jormungand’s soundtrack was a large part of my initial love of the show. Tracks like Time to Attack and Cul-de-sac know how to set the mood of the more action-packed and darker moments of the show. It always felt that the music knew exactly when to come in and when to leave, which is part of why it is such a good soundtrack.

3. Sound! Euphonium


One would hope going into a show about a high school with a dream of reaching 1st place in the national competition that it would have a good soundtrack to support it, and luckily Sound! Euphonium delivers on that front. A highly expressive soundtrack for a highly expressive cast of characters.

2. The Ancient Magus Bride

the ancient magus bride

While Ancient Magus Bride is an appealing show for many reasons, its soundtrack is one I find to be a particularly convincing one. Its opening Here is one of the many examples of what the show does right, blending Celtic origins of many of the myths that appear in the show with just the right amount of fantastical energy to give it a particular feel.

1. No Game No Life Zero


Everything about this movie is great. It recreates an entirely new world that otherwise hadn’t been mentioned in the No Game No Life anime and manages to bring it to life with exceptionally high quality. I’ll admit that I never thought much of the music in the original, but No Game No Life Zero cranks it up to 10 and breathes life into what would otherwise have been just another J-Pop/electronic filled soundtrack, making it feel vital to the movies overall feeling.

What was your favorite soundtrack of the year? Was it even an anime soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

What Else Should You Watch?: Durarara!!

I wanted to challenge myself this week, so I decided to pick a show that’s much harder to recommend other shows for, and Durara is certainly one of those shows. It’s a lot of genre’s all at once, and that’s why people like it: because it’s noticeably unique. Sure, you have to have a huge level of suspension of disbelief, but after you’ve jumped that hurdle there’s so much uniqueness to appreciate, which is why this week’s post is hard. But regardless, here’s my best attempt to recommend shows based on Durarara.

Fooly Cooly

Fooly Cooly
Craziness = Fooly Cooly

If you loved the always busy, always wild feel of Durarara than this is certainly the show for you. Already being infamous throughout the community, FLCL is a show known for not making any sense whatsoever.

The story centers around Naoto, a boy who’s been left behind by his brother in their small town where nothing ever happens. Then, one day, Haruko, a bass-playing, Vespa-riding, pink-haired girl comes and changes his life forever. The two now have to fight to protect the earth. Also, Naoto now has a horn on his head.

In fact, crazy might not even be a strong word for this show. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this show in a long time, but the only thing that seems to appear in my mind when I think about it is the scene from the first episode where Naoto’s horn turns into a mech. Truly, I don’t think you could pack more random into six episodes.

Also, season two and three are coming soon, so there’s that.


Source: Funimation.com

This might be a stretch, but also think the urban setting in both plays a huge role in their stories.

Psycho-pass is a sci-fi cop show where traditional means of evaluating a criminal have been thrown out in favor of the Sibyl system, where each person get’s a number that changes in real time based on the system’s evaluation of their threat to society. Officers can read these number by pointing their weapons at them.

Both Psycho-pass and Durara take advantage of different aspects of their Urban setting. Whereas Durarara focuses heavily on the large amount of diversity that is present in sprawling Urban centers, Psycho-pass focuses more on the large pockets of crime that exist in cities, largely due to the overwhelming amount of poverty that is generally present.

The question of whether or not someone is truly guilty when judged by a questionable system is at the heart of Psycho-pass, and the show works much better in the heart of the city than it would in the rural outskirts.

Sakurako-san’s Bones

Yes, a human Skull

Based on what I’ve seen on MAL, there are a lot of people who didn’t like this show or just found it generic. I, however, largely disagree. Sakurako-san brings an interesting, mystery detective story about a teenage boy and his favorite scientist

The story centers around Shoutarou and the title character Sakurako. Shoutarou is a high schooler who one day on his way home meets Sakurako while walking through the woods. Immediately, Shoutarou became interested in her and later learns that she is an Osteologist who helps police in solving crimes based on human remains.

There are a few things I’ll admit right off the bat. Shoutarou is not a ground-breaking, dynamic character, and nothing about the animation or music is especially high-quality. That being said, Sakurako-san’s Bones is still a wonderfully-interesting and worthwhile show. It uses the past as a way to tell the story of the present, and because of that, you get a lot of side characters who get considerably well developed for most of the time only being in one episode.

It is definitely reminiscent of the mystery elements of the first half of Durarara, so if that’s something you like, you’ll definitely enjoy this.

What did you guys think of these recommendations? What have you already seen? Is Sakurako-san’s Bones actually the worst anime ever, as I’ve heard some say? Let me know in the comments. I hope you all enjoyed. Thanks for Reading and bye for now, Friendos!