Tag Archives: Haikyuu

Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s

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

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


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

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

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

Durarara – Winter 2010 – Studio: Brain’s Base

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

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

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

Wandering Son – Winter 2011 – Studio: AIC Classic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Log Horizon – Fall 2013 – Studio: Satelight

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

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

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

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No Game No Life – Spring 2014 – Studio: Madhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Final Thoughts on Haikyuu: To the Top

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

For now, at least, its over.

The Karasuno high boys have overcome what is arguably their most tuff opponents to date, and despite growing tremendously as a team over the last three seasons, it took everyone’s combined effort to even stand a chance against Inarizaki and the Miyon twins. It was an emotional turbulent season filled with second hand embarrassment, hard works, and most deservedly, triumph. Thought its fifth season has yet to be confirmed by Production I.G., it seems fairly like that the series will get another season. Until that time comes, though, here are my thoughts on “Haikyuu: To the Top.

Hinata’s Endless Determination

It would not be “Haikyuu” without our loveable orange haired protagonist Hinata Shouyou. While Hinata does not feel much different from other shounen/sports anime protagonists, His determination does feel a bit more infectious for a sport like volleyball, where movement, accuracy, and game awareness can make much more of a difference in terms of who wins and loses.

Hinata starts the season with pretty much no skill other than jumping and spiking. However, even as he is left behind by Kageyama and Tsukishima, he is still determined to catch up. How does he accomplish this? Well, he…sneaks into the training camp that Tsukishima was invited to and tries to stay there… and then begs the coach to let him stay…yeah it gets pretty cringe.

Still, as cringe inducing as the first quarter of the show was, it helped to identify just how serious Hinata was about improving his play, and solidify him as a main character worth rooting for.

Insecurities

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One of the most interesting parts of the final match between Karasuno and Inarizaki was the amount of time that was spent on the players during the match, and how that time is used to reveal their insecurities with how they have been playing.

Tanaka, for example, spends a good portion of the match doubting his own spiking abilities because of how good there defense is. It is not until Kageyama calms him down that he is able to focus on game proper, and through that focus get some amazing points. The same can be said for Tsukishima and his defense. Being one of the tallest guys on the team, he is expected to be a good blocker, but his confidence does not rebound until Hinata eggs him on.

These are just examples though, as nearly every member of the team gets at least a moment or two that touches on their feelings during the match. Even a few members of Inarizaki get highlighted.

Kageyama’s Training

Kageayama’s time at the national volleyball meet also did a lot for setting up the story as well as events in the next season. As he arrives at the training center, he immediately meets Atsumu of the Miya twins, and from there, the series does a great job highlighting and foreshadowing there rivalry as setters.

It also helps that their personalities are pretty much total opposites. Both are certainly prideful of their setting skills, but whereas Kageyama tends to be more reserved focusing on matching his partner’s capabilities, Atsumu likes to show off, trying to create what he thinks is the “perfect set” every time. Atsumu’s personality is, of course, off-putting to Kageyama, but also to the other people around him.

Another figure who appears during this meet is the mysteriously vertical Hoshiumi, whose stature certainly matches Hinata’s, but definitely not his jumping ability. In fact, while Kageyama and Atsumu are playing a practice set, both stop to admire his raw height.

While Hoshiumi’s team has yet to face off against Karasuno, it will likely be an explosive match with him and Hinata at the center, pitting the two shortest members of each team against in each other in a battle to see who can get the most air.

Conclusion

This season of “Haikyuu” was undoubtedly the most dramatic and dynamic yet, with a final arc that put most of the one’s before it to shame. There was tension, endurance, rivalry, and pretty much anything a person would want in a good sports story. There is definitely more excitement to come, but it is hard to see how it will compare with what was undoubtedly the show’s high-point, even despite some lackluster animation because of COVID rushing. For those who are already “Haikyuu” fans and have yet to watch this season, well, what are you waiting for?


How do you guys feel about “Haikyuu: To the Top?” 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!

Production I.G. and Two Great Sports Anime

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It has been a while since the last time I talked about these two shows, but considering their quality, I felt it was important to revisit them, especially now that I have seen more of one of them. “Kuroko no Basket” and “Haikyuu” are two shows made by Production I.G., the studio behind a number of classic anime, including “Eden of the East” and “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.”

Production I.G. has worked in a variety of genres. Aside from the two shows listed above, they are also responsible for co-producing “Attack on Titan” with Wit Studio, as well as making “Pyscho-Pass” at the Direction of Shinichiro Watanabe.

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Within the realm of sports anime, the studio has also been relatively sucessful. Aside from the “Haikyuu” and “Kuroko no Basuke,” they were also responsible for both “Ace of Diamond,” co-produced with Studio Madhouse, and “Run with the Wind,” both of which were received relatively positively.

However, I think both “Kuroko no Basket” and “Haikyuu” excel for a number of reasons. For starters, while both shows have a relatively large cast, they do enough with those casts to make each of the minor characters pretty memorable.

A good example from each would be Tsukiyama from “Haikyuu” and Hyuuga from “Kuroko no Basket. In the case of Tsukiyama, his character stands out initially because of how tall he is, but isn’t particularly moved by the idea of playing Volleyball. However, after getting good at blocking, he realizes how much fun it is to use his height to his advantage during play.

Hyuuga’s story is noticeably different. While not possessing any innate skill rather than being somewhat taller than average, he works hard both at leading the team and at being a good player. These two things lead to some pretty great moments of other teams underestimating his skill and him proving them wrong.

Another thing great about each show is the dynamic between their main characters. In “Kuroko no Basket,” Taiga is initially perplexed by Kuroko, as his skills at basketball seemed below average at best. However, as he learns about Kuroko’s specialized skills in passing, he comes to understand just how good of a teammate Kuroko can be. In the first episode Kuroko promises Taiga “to become the shadow to your light.”

Meanwhile, Hinata and Kageyama’s relationship in “Haikyuu” is also quite different. Hinata starts out wanting revenge on Kageyama for beating his middle school team when they first met. Leaving his teammates behind, Hinata trains, practicing almost everyday until he can join his high school volleyball team. Upon arriving to Karasuno High School, Hinata finds out that Kageyama is actually on his team. The two eventually must put aside their differences, though, in order to work together, while still maintaining their rivalry.

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They would not be great sports anime, however, if they were lack in great action scenes, and of course they have those in spades as well. For “Kuroko no Basket,” a great scene that comes to mind is in the second episode, when Kuroko show Taiga and the rest of the team why he was known as the phantom sixth member of the generation of miracles.

While scrimmaging, Kuroko uses his passes to both confuse his opponents and to get the ball to Taiga, who himself uses his incredible height and jumping capability to dunk over everyone. The two work together extremely well, and manage to outscore the other team by a large margin. It is a scene that not only looks cool, but manages to foreshadow the heights the two of them are able to reach.

“Haikyuu” has a lot of great scenes, but one that stands out a lot is when Kageyama and Hinata first play together in Tournament. While their chemistry during practice suggested that the two would not be able to work well together, it turns out not to be the case. The both of them manage to not only work together well, but pull of an impressive series of spikes and fakes that manage to net them the win. In that way, it is very similar to “Kuroko no Basket” in that it manages to foreshadow their success.

Now, that is not to say either series is without fault. “Kuroko no Basket” can often suffer from being a bit to shounen, which can often ruin the atmosphere. For example, it is a bit hard to take a basketball anime seriously when one of the main rival’s abilities is that he can literally make a shot from anywhere on the court. While theoretically it make sense that, given enough time, anyone could make shots consistently from that far away, it does come off a bit silly.

“Haikyuu” certainly is not as bad, but also does not get a free pass. The teams in Haikyuu actually suffer from the opposite reason: being to indistinct. None of them, save for Jousei high school, leave a particularly large impression. Often times it feels like characters are being introduced for the first time when they have been in the series for much longer.

Overall, though these are minor nit-picks. Both “Haikyuu” and “Kuroko no Basket” are great sports anime in their own way, but are similar in their quality. Both manage to have interesting supporting casts, dynamic rivalries, and breath-taking action scenes. While I certainly would not recommenced watching them back to back, they are worth watching at some point.


What are some other great sports anime I should watch? I’ve heard about Slam Dunk quite a bit, and Hanebado also seemed pretty cool, but I would love to hear from you all. 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!

Haikyuu Season Four Episode One Reaction

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

“Haikyuu…” is back.

It is genuinely exciting to be able to write those words on the internet and have it be true. While there have a number of additions between the airing shows third season and its newest final season, such as the release of a few recap movies and OVA’s, nothing beats seeing the Karasuno boys back in action.

It is fair to say that “Haikyuu: To the Top!” opened incredibly strong in setting the stage for the teams journey to nationals. Despite their having been teammates for a while now, the rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama is stronger than ever. The show more or less opens on the two of them making a bet over their current jump height. Hinata, despite looking like he might actually win, he still comes up a few centimeters short.

However, as it turns out, the stakes in their rivalry have gotten a lot more serious. Both Kageyama and Tsukishima were invited to training camps in order to play with some of the best players in both Japan and the prefecture respectively. Hinata is noticeably hurt by his lack of acceptance into either of these programs. He then decides to sneak into the prefecture training camp with Tsukishima, and after getting chewed out by both of his coaches, stays with the group as a ball boy.

This is, without a doubt, one of the best opening episodes to a new season of a show ever written, for a number of reasons. The first is that the show uses this as another opportunity to build on the main characters’ rivalry. Hinata has both literally and figuratively looked up to Kageyama for the entirely of their relationship. However, in latter half of the third season, it felt like they had finally come together as equals. The two of them had found their teamwork, and were able to beat Shiratorizawa to advance to the national tournament.

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Kageyama’s invitation to a national training camp where he could potentially be chosen to represent all of japan is a big blow to not only Hinata’s confidence, but also Hinata’s feeling of being closer in skill level to him.

Hinata is also forced to deal with the prefecture training camp coach’s disrespect. He is told by Takeda that the coach only really looks for height and raw power, leaving him with nothing to be desired. As a result, Hinata is further forced to put his pride aside in hopes of being able to learn something from the top players in Miyagi, which is why he agrees to become a ball boy.

The episode also does well to take time to examine the relationship that Kageyama will have with the other top high school players in the country. When he first gets the the national training camp, Kageyama meets Sakusa, an ace from Itachiyama academy and one of the top three in Japan. While he shows a bit of reverence for the top player, Sakusa shrugs and walks along. The interaction seems to imply that Kageyama will have his work cut out for him while training.

This is going to be an exciting season, for sure, but it also does not hurt to have a killer first episode. “To the Top’s” first episode managed to set up a lot of the future drama and story line that awaits in an incredibly interesting and overall hype way. Long time fans who have been waiting since the end of the third season will definitely not be disappointed.


Are you all excited for the newest season of Haikyuu? 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!

Top Five Things to Look Forward to in 2019

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Alright, I am not going to beat around the bush: 2018 was slow and painful. Maybe its just because I am at the age where I have a consistent job and so everything feels a lot slower because of that, but honestly, that’s not all there is to it. Emotional, politically and cultural it was tough. I lost a lot of friends and family, either through them passing away or just not being able to talk to them as much. I try to keep politics off of this blog as much as possible but it was an absolute dumpster fire when it came to U.S. politics this year. We also had a lot of unfortunate deaths this year, from people like Stan Lee to geniuses like Stephen Hawking. Overall, the year sucked. But as time mandates, the year will soon pass us by and into 2019 we will head. However, there are a lot of things, both anime and non-anime related that I am looking forward to in 2019. So, here are my top five things to look forward to in 2019.

5. Haikyuu! Season 4

Coming in at number five is something that I did not even realize was happening until a few days ago when I happened to stumble across an article on twitter: Haikyuu Season four. The show’s third season left it on a huge cliffhanger that made many fans wondering if a fourth season was even planned, but luckily fans will not have to wait to long, as the fourth season is planned for Fall of 2019.

Haikyuu was one of the first sports anime that I genuinely enjoyed watching. Volleyball is a sport that just seems much more interesting to watch because of how dynamic it can be in a matter of seconds, and most of the time Haikyuu manages to portray that extremely well.

4. Smite

Yeah, sorry League fans, I just have not had the chance to get into it yet, but I will try it at some point. Smite has been one of my favorite past times for about two years now, and it always relaxes me when I can just Que up into a ranked game and have some fun.

The developers at Hi-Rez have already made a few announcements about what the next version of the game, called season six, will look like, including new gods and changes to the main map. All of it has me pretty excited, and I can’t wait to see what they decide to do with game going forward.

3. Hearthstone

Much like Smite, Hearthstone is a game that I have a lot of fun within the time that I have been playing it. Getting involved in the Meta and trying to perfect my decklists are what keep me coming back. The newest expansion, Rastakan’s Rumble, has also added a lot of interesting mechanics and to the format. If I had to complain about one thing, its that Hunter is dominating the format pretty hard, and it is not super fun to have to go up against the same class and the same three decks 50 percent of the time, but other than that I eagerly await to see what will come.

2. Kingdom Hearts 3

It is finally here, the game that a lot of people, including myself, have been waiting a long time for. There are plenty of people, both outside the Kingdom Hearts fan base and within it, that will tell you that the series has a lot of problems, and chances are that a lot of those criticisms are correct. The series’ plotline has way too many characters, the story has become an absolute absurdity, and the number side games that are necessary to make it somewhat coherent only bolster both of these problems.

However, despite all of these problems, the series has still provided as lot of fun. Even if the series final installment ends up being complete garbage, I still feel good knowing the series will finally come to an end.

and now, finally…

1. The Aniwriter

Logo for The Aniwriter

Honestly, it would be a total lie to put anything else in the number one spot. Blogging has been a lot of fun for me, but more than that it has become a home for me, a passion. Here, I can do and say what I want without censorship. I have the creative freedom to write what I feel about any topic I choose.

So yeah, the thing I look forward to in 2019 is doing more of what I love, which is writing on this blog.


What are you guys looking forward to in 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoy reading The Aniwriter, consider donating to me on my Ko-Fi or using my affiliate links to buy stuff:

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. I hope for all of you that your 2019 is better than your 2018. Thank you all for reading. Goodbye, for now, friendos!