Tag Archives: Initial Results

Initial Results: Wolf’s Rain

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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There are a lot of shows that sit in the back of my mind, every so often popping into my immediate consciousness after a brief interaction via a mention on social media or a peer talking about the series in passing. This time, however, it was a little bit more forward than even that, as a friend of mine lent me the series since it is one of their favorites. After sitting on it for a month, I decided to finally start Wolf’s Rain and see for myself why this 2003 Bones original is remembered fondly by so many.

The story of Wolf’s Rain details a world much different from our own, where legends say humans are descended from wolves, and that their ultimate goal is to return to paradise. The only problem is, the last wolves were seen over 200 years ago, and are believed to be extinct…so it is thought by most, anyway. Enter Kiba, a lone wolf who has recently come to town following the scent of the Lunar Flower. He then meets a few others, Tsume, Toboe, and Hige, who flee the town and join him on his journey.

There are a lot of individual storylines which are introduced in the opening episodes of the series. The majority of the time thus far has been spent on the wolf boys themselves. However, there is the story of the sheriff who came to Freeze City looking for wolves, the detective whose head researcher ex-wife knows a lot more than she lets on, and a mysterious masked man who is trying to gather the “flower maidens.” Yet, despite all that, it never feels like these storylines are fighting each other. Rather, they serve as a compliment in a mystery that is clearly bigger than all of them.

Not only are the storylines immediately interesting, but the world itself is also fascinating. Not much about the landscape outside of major cities is known, but a lot can implicitly be drawn from episode four, where the crew travels across what looks to be a war-torn area, and Toboe’s reactivation of a mech that was buried underground seems to imply that much of the world was burned down from advanced military technology. There is a sense of bleakness not just in the landscape but in the colors as well. The four wolves trek across what is essentially open, frozen land, with nothing but snow for miles.

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The wolf boys themselves are fairly compelling, and each of them clearly has their own problems. Tsume has been leading a gang in order to make enough money to survive, but clearly does not fit in with human society. Toboe, at least at first, is a bit more optimistic. A chance encounter with a young girl gives him hope that wolves might be accepted by humans but is later betrayed when the girl cowers after he reveals his wolf form. Hige is admittedly the most underdeveloped of the three since he more or less just meets Kiba and sticks along for the ride. However, I am hopeful that his own storyline will come to fruition.

I did choose to watch the series in dub, only because that is how the DVD is set by default (I am that lazy). Still, I do not at all regret that decision. Not only does Johnny Young’s Bosch play the role of Kiba, but a younger Crispin Freeman takes the role of Tsume, and oh boy do I miss his buttery voice when watching anime dubs. Hige, played by Joshua Seth, and Toboe, voiced by Mona Marshall, also do a great job in their respective roles. Although, in the case of the latter, I cannot help but laugh a little every time I hear his voice.

The only thing I can really complain about at the moment is the format in which I am watching it. The show is almost 20 years old at this point, and as such, is sadly stuck in 4:3 aspect ratio. Not only that, the latent audio is incredibly quiet, and the English subtitles do not at all match the dub script, meaning I am basically required to wear headphones when I want to watch it.

Minor annoyances aside, Wolf’s Rain is looking set up for success. Not does it excel at visual storytelling, but its cast is just big enough to keep it interesting at all times without having to fight for screen time.


Have you all seen Wolf’s Rain? Let me know in the comments, but please avoid spoilers, as by the time this gets released I may or may not be finished with the series.

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!

As always, thank you to our Patron Jenn for being amazing!

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

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Initial Results: Kaguya-Sama Season Three

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Love is war, indeed, and the war now continues into the series’ third season. The competition: fierce, the battles: just as high stakes as ever. Even Chika is resorting to cheating just to get a leg up, much to Ishigami’s continued annoyance. Those who have watched the first few episodes already will understand what I am talking about, and those who have not…what are you doing reading this?

I mentioned in my seasonal intro that Kaguya was the series I was most hyped for. The first two seasons not only had me laughing my ass off but also genuinely had me invested in the characters as people. Luckily, the first episodes of the season have yet to disappoint.

Part of what has made Kaguya-sama work up until this point is its previously mentioned characters. Sure, Kaguya and Miyuki themselves could probably carry a good portion of the show. After all, their dynamic is well thought out on a comedic level. However, they can only be that funny for so long, and the elevated role of Chika, Ishigami, and the recent addition to the student council Miko has helped to prolong the show’s comedic value.

Still, the opening bit between Miyuki and Kaguya is no less funny. With her first-ever smartphone now in hand, Kaguya attempts the daunting task of responding to Miyuki’s messages. The 4D chess of trying to get her to admit to staring at her LINE app for hours and then getting saved by Hayasaka and the “computer system” at the last minute is honestly brilliant.

The growing relationship between Ishigami and Miko is another that I am intensely curious about going into the rest of the season. At times, it can be hard to tell whether the two actually hate each other or if the combative aspects of their personality are just being played up for maximum effect. Personally, I am not complaining either way, but I do hope we get a real conclusion in that regard.

The anime is also no less beautiful than it was last time around. A-1 Pictures seems to be handling the production well enough, and director Shinichi Omata, who handled the first two seasons as well, seems poised to deliver on quality, per the usual. Musically, the series is still quite interesting. the OST feels as strong as ever, and both the opening and ending themes also have their strengths, along with also being incredibly well animated to boot.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic seems to be on track to be one of the better entries of the spring season. Though I have definitely cursed other series with those same predictions into a spiral of bad writing, this series has a proven track record and a convincing one at that.


Are you excited about Kaguya-sama season 3? 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!

As always, thanks to Jenn for being our amazing supporter on Patreon.

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

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Initial Results: In the Land of Leadale

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It has been a while since I have taken the time to talk about a seasonal isekai, since generally, it feels like most of them exist only to promote the light novels and move figurines. I get that is the case for most anime as a business model, but a lot of isekai in particular just feels like soleless, trend riding made only for a quick cash grab.

It would be hard for me to say much else about today’s series, In the Land of Leadale, if it were not for a few things. First, while having a male main character does not make a series inherently bad, far from it, it does tend to manifest in isekai in some pretty fanservice-ee, gross ways. Leadale’s main character is considerably not that. Rather, Cayna story feels like a much more genuine one, albeit told in the same bass assumptions and framework that is typical for the genre.

After dying due to a power outage at her hospital while on life support, Cayna wakes up to find she is in a realm not unfamiliar to her. In fact, it is quite similar to her favorite VRMMORPG, Leadale. However, some significant changes have happened in the 200 years since her last visit, including a major political realignment between major kingdoms. It also seems to be the case that none of Leadale’s players can be found in this future timeline.

The first few episodes remain largely about establishing her purpose in this world. Cayna is already at a super high level and has retained all of her items and magic from before she passed. So, what else does she need to do? Well, obviously, visit her kids in the nearby kingdom along with visit the other towers that were owned by players.

The amount of subtle world-building the series manages to achieve in just its first three episodes is frankly quite impressive. The backgrounds are not anything special, but they feel unique enough to give us the impression that the royale capital is its own vibrant, magical location. The animation overall, though, feels pretty sub-standard and in line with how these shows generally play out.

Even with all that in mind, this is a series that I will definitely find myself rooting for. It has enough that differentiates itself to make it feel like something that could be above average.


How do you feel about In the Land of Leadale so far? 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!

As always, special shout out to our patron Jenn, who is amazing!

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

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Initial Results: Blue Period

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Alright, so I have a confession to make: I do not really expect much out of seasonal anime anymore. Maybe it’s a combination of my reviewer mentality of trying to go into everything neutral mixed with my general unfamiliarity, but whenever I sit down to watch something currently airing, I just sort of expect to not be particularly compelled. Luckily, though, the hype surrounding Blue Period was not at all unwarranted, and despite the series only being five episodes in, I can say fairly confidently that I have enjoyed it thus far.

For those who also rarely follow manga hype, Blue Period tells the story of Yatora Yaguchi, a delinquent turned art student whose whole life is still ahead of him. Yaguchi has always been concerned with studying and getting good grades so that he can get into a good school and not have to worry his parents financially. As a byproduct, however, he never really found a passion of his own. That is until he sees art club member Mori’s painting and becomes inspired. Thus, he starts his journey of improving his art enough to get into the only school his family can theoretically afford: the Tokyo University of the Arts.

I generally try and avoid using relatability as the sole factor in judging whether or not a character is good because there are plenty of characters who I would consider good that do not necessarily meet that criteria (see Terror in Resonance). However, Yaguchi is a character that taps into something a lot more recent: a continued sense of unknowing. He wants to pursue his passions but is constantly doubting himself, and even when he does do good work, his mental state is not always healthy enough to agree.

However, it is not just his particular situation and mindset that make him a good character. The series does a great job of reminding us of the clock that Yaguchi is on. Every day that goes by is another day closer to the entrance exams for TUA, and while Yaguchi seems to be making progress on his art, the looming pressure of the exams makes it hard for him to recognize that.

If the series were solely about Yaguchi, I would still think it a great show, but what has so far pushed it over the edge is just how much the series’ subplots are developed even with him as the primary focus. Yaguchi’s relationship with Mori, his extended rivalry/contempt of Takahashi, and his increasingly more complex relationship with Ryuuji, who we find out is a trans woman and is struggling to be accepted by those other than Yaguchi and the art club. Even his friends going from seeming delinquents to supportive and understanding of his art is a Legitimately powerful moment.

I do not want to say too much more, otherwise, I will have little to talk about when I eventually review the series. However, for those who were not aware or are currently on the fence about starting the series, Blue Period is worth at least a little of your time.


How are you all feeling about Blue Period? 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!

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Shadows House First Impressions

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

*crawls out of bed*

“good morning everyone, today we’ll be studying a primary source in order to investigate the effects of sleep deprivation”

*waves hands over to me*

Yeah, so I have absolutely no idea what’s been going on with me recently, needless to say that sleeping for 12+ hours a day has not done a whole lot for my productivity. I guess in some ways I can actually relate to the main character of “Shadows House” a lot because, much like Emilico thus far, I have absolutely not a clue what is going on. The show itself also seems to be a bit disoriented, but not necessarily in a bad way. So, after watching three episodes of “Shadows House” thus far, here are my first impressions.

A drama, mystery series like this is inevitably going to spend much of its opening raising a lot of questions while making the audience privy to very few answers. This, of course, helps to build a lot of suspense and tension between different characters. “Lord Grandfather,” The “Debut,” “Living Dolls” and their relationships to their “Shadows.” All of these things have been explained on a surface level, but not much beyond that.

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We as the audience learn much of this from the perspective of Emilico, a new born living doll who serves Kate, who appears to be one of the younger Shadows living in this Shadow House. Emilico makes a lot of sense as the eyes and ears of this story. Seeing as how she is knew to this world, she does not have the same ingrained assumptions that other dolls or shadows have about this world, even despite the other dolls attempt to indoctrinate her into this cult of loyalty towards this mysterious “Shadow Family.” This makes her a perfect contrast as we explore the world for the first time alongside her.

There is also a lot of interesting metaphors built into the story itself. For example, their is the most immediate one which is divide of light and dark created by the shadows and the dolls. While Light and dark imagery is not new to storytelling, it is interesting that this contrast is being used to highlight nobility during a time when they would have been extremely powerful, even more so than today. Whether this critique is intended to be explicitly anti-wealth probably requires a bit more time, but it does appear to be trending in that direction.

CloverWorks has had a pretty good track record in the last few years, at least as far as animation goes. I am still reminded of those incredibly expressive scenes in the first episode of “The Promised Neverland.” As far as “Shadows House” goes, the animation has been fairly good quality. The scene with Rosemary being overtaken by scars was high intensity and engaging in pretty much all of the right ways.

Overall, “Shadows House” has been a great series as of episode three. If my recent experience with “Wonder Egg Priority” has taught me anything, though, its that their is always plenty of time to mess a series up, so only time will tell.


How do you all feel about “Shadows House?” 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!

So I Started Watching Toradora! Again…

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Being as ill-prepared as a I usually am, I kind of totally forgot about Valentine’s Day until literally the day before. Because of that, I did not actually have any kind of holiday related post planned, so think of this as my extremely late and now totally irrelevant Valentine’s day post. Yeah? Cool.

So, I was like really in my feels right-

Sorry, my inner gen Z just came out, anyway,

Man, I was feelin down bad-

Sorry, happened again.

Not being in an active relationship makes Valentine’s Day a little awkward for a lot of people. After all, what are you even celebrating at that point? Personally, I spent the day hanging with a couple of friends and then meeting a few co-workers at their house for some drinks and games. But, I also have the habit of thinking about things that bother me for way to long, and of watching re-watching shows that end up matching my mood. I hope you can see where I am going with this…

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So yeah, I started re-watching “Toradora” and, well…its alright. I also have the tendency to make a lot of conclusions about shows before I get to the end of them. Granted, it is a little different because I am vaguely aware of what happens, but the last time I watched the show was the middle of high school…there are a lot of things I am still missing.

This is more or less going to end up as a “first impressions” type of post, so lets just go good and then bad. For starters, the animation is a lot more fluid in certain scenes than I remember. Slice of life/Romance anime tend to get chewed out the least for sub-par animation because the storytelling often does not require it outside a couple of really important scenes. However, shows like “Kaguya-Sama” are definitely upping the anti in that respect, even if the romance in that series is not the primary component.

Still, for what it is, the series does really well. There are definitely a lot of movement heavy scenes even in the first couple of episodes, and the quality stays fairly consistent throughout.

The show also has a solid, albeit fairly unimpressive soundtrack. While there are not any tracks that stand out in particular, the moments where the soundtrack needs to be present it is there, and sounds fairly good all things considered. The first opening song, “Pre-Parade,” performed by the three main female voice actresses, is also a catchy bit of j-pop that helps to sell the idea that its main characters, Taiga and Ryuuji, are both calm and collected but also both a total mess. At least musically that is what it sounds like.

Actually, hold on let me read the lyrics…ok well its actually more about Taiga, but the general idea still stands.

Since I had originally watched the series before there was a dub, or at least before I knew about it, I decided to give the English version a try and…maybe I should have just re-watched it in Japanese.

Ok, ok, that is a little harsh. After all, Cassandra Lee Morris honestly does an amazing job portraying Taiga as the feisty asshole she is, and also appropriately gives her voice the more high pitched tone you might associate with her stature. As for everyone else, well, they did fine. Since I am not as familiar with dubs as I used to be, its hard to gauge any of the actors performances against their other ones. That is, aside from Johnny Yong Bosch, who sounds pretty average all things considered.

Its hard to say what exactly my feelings are on the show, but it feels safe to make the statement that my overall view of the show, at least for now, has gone down slightly. Whether its the high school mellow-drama or the really odd story choices, I am unsure of. However, if I do decide to finish the series, I will be sure to give a more detailed summation.


How do you all feel about “Toradora?” Let me know in the comments. Also, fellow bloggers Moya and NegativePrimes finished an extensive write up of the series around the middle of last year, one that I plan on reading relatively soon. So, if you’re looking for more in-depth analysis, be sure give that a read as well.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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!

First Impressions: Wonder Egg Priority

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hey, so remember how I have said for a while now that “The Promised Neverland” holds the spot for best first episode of all time? Yeah, there might just be a new contender in the category.

CloverWorks feels like a rising start when it comes to animation studios, in much the same way the MAPPA did half a decade prior. They have certainly proven themselves time and time again, with shows like “Bunny Girl Senpai” and “The Promised Neverland” already under their belt, and with a solid start to this season’s “Horimiya.” I give the credit to the studio as a whole with regards to “Wonder Egg Priority” for the simple fact that, outside of a scant list of episode credits, director Shin Wakabayashi has little to nothing under his belt.

This is not to say that he is doing a bad job, far from it. In fact, much in the same way that I felt like “The Promised Neverland” was an easy contender for anime of the year at the beginning of 2019, This series is clearly positioned in the same way. With that being said, lets discuss some of the reasons why.

Bullying is a topic that gets brought up a lot in anime, and I think for good reason. A lot of anime is targeted at kids, and bullying in school just so happens to be an issue that kids can relate to, so it makes sense. However, bullying is rarely ever as minor of an issue as someone getting pushed on the playground. In fact, it can often times result in someone’s suicide, which is the situation our main character Ai Ohto finds herself in, as she attempts to bring her friend Koito back to life by saving other girls from their trauma.

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The through line in “Wonder Egg Priority” is that all of its main characters have lost someone to suicide, and it is implied, though not directly stated, which I suspect will come into play much later, that by buying eggs and saving the girls inside them they will eventually be able to bring their late friends and family back to life. The most interesting cases so far are Ai herself, whose friend is implied to have been caught up in a scandal with the school councilor, along with Momoe, a masculine presenting girl who seems to have lost her first girlfriend after she confessed to her.

While its safe to say that most would probably put this under the genre label of magical girl, and while it does seem to borrow a bit from shows like “Madoka Magica” the series has already come very much into its own. there are a lot of shows that bring up the topics of bullying and abuse, but very rarely is it done well. The best example that comes to mind is the second season of “March Comes in Like a Lion.” What a lot of people tend to forget is that stuff like this often happens in silence, with very few people aware of what is actually going on, which is why it makes sense that the girls are transported to a dreamlike world to fight the enemies which are appropriately named “Seeno Evils.”

The show’s main character, Ai Ohto, is also extremely well written. In particular, her Heterochromia is an excellent visual characteristic that accomplishes a number of things. First, it gives her an immediate, stand out characteristic that makes the show that much more memorable. Because of this, it would also explain pretty reasonably why she would got bullied, as kids tend to latch on to things that are different about one another.

Lastly, her eyes serve as a great visual metaphor for a number of things, including how she can see both the real world and this new and exciting dream world, and how these can often blend together in dangerous ways. It could also represent the two different versions of herself that she sees, one that is a victim and one that is a savior.

How such an insanely good series came together is seemingly out of nowhere is still a ways beyond me. But, I will say this much: Given its current trajectory, this is on course to be an amazing series, and maybe even one of my favorites. However, only time will tell.


How do you all feel about “Wonder Egg Priority?” 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!

First Impressions: Jujutsu Kaisen

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

For anyone reading me at this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I haven’t exactly been keeping up with what’s been trending in the anime community. Initially, I did this for own sanity, as keeping up with every show I wanted to watch in a give season eventually became a hassle. Still, I do miss the ability to talk about anime with other people, and it gets kind of boring when all I have seen are older shows. So, in the interest of keeping myself up to date, I thought it best to at least check out something from this season, and what better than the show everyone’s already talking about: Jujutsu Kaisen.

Its always really hard when talking about new shounen anime to refrain from comparisons to other shows, and since I am an unoriginal hack, I will ignore my better instincts and make a few comparisons right off the bat. Firstly, the main character, Yuji Itadori, reminds me a lot of “Black Clover” in just how generically positive he is about his situation. Like, within one episode, his grandpa dies and then his friends are taken hostage by demons.

I don’t mean to imply that every character needs to go on for half the series thinking about their dead friends and family, but his reaction leaned way to far into “yeah, whatever” territory for my liking.

Still, despite being the main character of the show, the little personality he has does not actually bother me all that much. In fact, the story in concept is fairly interesting, to say the least. After swallowing a special grade cursed item, Yuji must now serve as both a storage device and locator for the remaining fingers of Sakuna, an all powerful curse that existed during the golden age of Jujutsu.

In this way, it feels a lot like “Dororo,” in that Yuji is going on a mission to find what will eventually become part of himself. Though, I do like the distinction hear that Yuji is doing this because only he can, and that Sakuna serves as both a motivator and a deterrent in living out the rest of his life.

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Speaking of good writing, the side characters in “Jujutsu Kaisen” are loads better than most of the recent shounen I have watched. While I have only seen three episode so far, the way the show has built up Gojo, Fushiguro and Kugisaki while still leaving a lot of their backstory left to be told is magnificently done. Props to Gege Akutami on the original story for doing such a great job.

Their is also a lot of be said about the fight scenes as well. Fluidity is something I, along with many other anime critics, talk about a lot, but it is always worth emphasizing. The Fluidity of an action scene can be the difference between something looking cool in theory but having terrible execution and looking cool and theory and having fantastic execution.

“Jujutsu Kaisen” is firmly on the later end of that comparison, as the sorcerers all look incredibly cool when they are fighting. Yuji, in particular, has lot of great moments where the detail on a punch or a kick is so incredibly thorough that it feels like I could actually find the exact frame when an attack connects without even trying.

As far as music goes, while I cannot say with a hundred percent certainty since I have not heard the whole thing, the soundtrack is shaping up to be pretty average. It feels pretty stereotypical to have a lot of hard rock and rap mixture as the basis for shounen soundtracks nowadays, and so far I have not heard much different. Still, I can’t deny that the show’s opening and ending are very fun to jam out to.

Overall, while I do think the series is already bogged down a bit by reliance on tropes, it certainly does not make the show bad, and the good more than makes up for any mediocrity.


How do you all feel about “Jujutsu Kaisen?” Let me know in the comments below (no manga spoilers please).

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!

First Impressions: Fire Force

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

If you have been following this blog for a while, you all may remember that this is not actually going to be my first impressions of “Fire Force,” as I did do a reaction to the first episode a while back. However, seeing as how I was initially pretty lukewarm on the series when I first watched it, I wanted to try revisiting it, given that its second season is now airing. Despite not having much interest initially, I will say that upon re-watching the first few episodes, I am much more invested in the show than I was previously.

For those unaware, “Fire Force” tells the story of Shinra Kusakabe, a new recruit to the 8th division of Special Fire Force Company. The company’s mission is two fold: to defend against spontaneous human combustion, which creates beings called infernals, and to find out the reason behind why these beings began appearing at random. As for Shinra, not only does he want to become a hero, but aims to solve the mystery behind his mom and brother’s death 12 years ago.

The thing that initially turned me off from the series, aside from all of the people singing its praise and my irrational need to be skeptical of things other people enjoy, was actually Shinra himself. I felt like I could not really pin him as a character, but now that I have watched a little more, I can see that he is actually a mix of Okubo’s previous work, most immediately like a mix of Soul and Black Star from “Soul Eater”

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While it may not be immediately obvious given the studio’s relatively recent rise to prominence, David Production has done some amazing work, most notably with everyone’s favorite meme “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.” It seems as though the studio has indeed put the same level of love into “Fire Force,” as the quality of the animation is almost always on point. There are a few awkward moments, like near the end of the third episode where there were clearly some very liberal uses of still frames, but otherwise the show’s action scenes more than make up for it, at least so far.

The music is also a high point for the series. Not only are the opening and ending both great listens, but the rest of the soundtrack manages to bring at the best in the series, especially during action scenes.

Overall, my feelings of doubt in “Fire Force” were extremely misplaced. The series is fun and exciting, and sometimes that is all you really need to make a good series. While I honestly cannot say where it will go from here, I sure am excited for the journey.


What do you all think of “Fire Force?” 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.

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First Impressions: Honey and Clover

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It has been a long time coming. As I have documented pretty extensively on this website, “March Comes in Like a Lion” has a had a profound impact on both my mental health as well as my personality. The amount of time I have spent thinking about the series and its various messages about self-positivity and bullying have made me a whole different person, on top of bringing lots of enjoyment.

It is not only well-written, but well executed on the part of Studio Shaft, whose odd style of animation lended even more personality to the show as a whole. It is because of Chica Umino’s excellent characters and storytelling that my expectations for “Honey and Clover” were, and still are, extremely high. Safe to say that, at least so far, those expectations have been met.

“Honey and Clover” definitely does a lot right as far as its story and characters. For starters, it is rare that anime uses college as a setting for a story. Most often characters are shown in high school, where their future is yet to be determined. However, given that the setting is an art school, it is pretty obvious, at least to most of the main characters, what it is they are doing.

Yuta is the exception in this case, as he went to art school thinking that he wanted to create, but is unsure exactly as to what. Although he is shown as the entry point to a lot of the relationships in the show, he never feels like the main character, and is in stark contrast to Rei, who feels like the main character from the very beginning.

The show is also similar to march in that it is going to be something of a slow burn. While all of the characters have been introduced so far, it is apparent that the series is going to need all 24 of its episodes to properly flush them out. For example, Shinobou’s work life has yet to be fully revealed, and Shinobou’s competition with Yuta for Haru’s affection, while having been clearly established, has not yet ramped up in any significant way, even though Yuta clearly knows about his feelings.

In that respect, the setup for the show is extremely good. The pace is not so slow that it feels boring, but not so fast that it feels like there are things that could have been explored further.

Beyond the writing aspects, the show as a really nostalgic vibe. “Honey and Clover” came out in 2005, and it definitely feels like it. Maybe its just my personal taste, but a lot of 2000’s slice of life shows have this strange ability to shift between their more light-hearted and serious moments exceptionally well.

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The show’s animation adds to this as well. J.C. Staff tends to have pretty plain animation, all things considered, but here it actually helps to ground attention on the characters, as opposed to just being distracting. Chica Umino’s character designs are also really reflective of this era, and thus fit right in.

While I would hesitate to say the show is as good as “March” three episodes in, “Honey and Clover” still does a fantastic job of setting up its characters in a way that keeps the show worth watching. I definitely look forward to seeing how the series will continue.


Have you all seen “Honey and Clover?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments (but please no spoilers cause I really want to finish it blind).

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!