Tag Archives: Jack Scheibelein

Blog Update: Finishing College and What’s to Come

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My Last Semester

By the time this post is released, there will likely only be a few weeks left until the start of my final undergraduate semester. Seeing as how I have no immediate plans to pursue graduate-level work, it is also going to be my last semester of college for a while.

I definitely have some conflicting feelings. After all, I have met a lot of important friends in college, especially after the last year and a half to two years, and leaving them behind, even if it is only temporarily, is going to sting. Still, I am excited for what the future has in store, which hopefully includes being able to pursue my interests, even if it is just in my free time.

As far as how that affects the blog, well, I say this every time, but hopefully, it will not, though I cannot make any promises as far as post volume. Still, two of my total four classes are online, so hopefully, this one will be a bit calmer.

Website Re-design

I feel like re-designing the website is more or less an annual occurrence at this point, but I have never been fully satisfied with how it looks after any given re-work. I will skip the whole “Guess I’m just a perfectionist bit,” because I do not necessarily think that is true, but I do feel like my tastes change has something to do with it.

This is going to be one of my goals before things get busy again, and so I figured it would be better to at least let everyone know before that happens. At the very least my logo could use some serious updating. After all, if I am being completely honest, I have never felt like it looks particularly inviting.

Flaking on my Writing

This may sound weird considering this blog has been going strong all summer, but I don’t feel like I have lived up to my goals. I really wanted to work on a collection, be it a full collection or even just a chapbook. However, three months since the end of last semester and I barely worked on a single poem all break.

I did make some progress on a short story/potential novel, but that still does not feel like enough. It is difficult to not be hard on myself considering the amount of free time I had, but most of it just amounted to playing video games. No time like the present, though, so I’ll be trying to get back into the grove soon, alongside trying to update Solidly Liquid as well.

What I’m Watching

  • Arakawa Under the Bridge
  • Wolf’s Rain (I haven’t finished it since the last update) 🙂
  • Attack on Titan (Now waiting on the last part)
  • Various Summer Seasonals

What I’m Reading

  • My Alcoholic Escape from Reality
  • My Wandering Warrior Existence
  • Blue Box (officially caught up)
  • Blood on the Tracks
  • Chainsaw Man Pt. 2 (officially caught up)

How are you all doing recently? Have any more questions for me? Let me know down 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 thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog.

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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Secondary Findings: Guilty Gear, MultiVersus, Etc.

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Las Ruinas by Rico Nasty

I have always been much more of a casual fan of Rico Nasty than a dedicated listener. Sure, I heard her featured on tracks with other artists like Denzel Curry and enjoyed her performances. Even on her own singles, she clearly has an aesthetic and direction she enjoys However, nothing has really compelled me to listen to a full project from her. At least, not until now.

I got to say, though, as the only full-length project I have heard from her, this is surprisingly great. The fusion of a wide variety of genres was not something I expected, even despite her singles like “Intrusive” leaning pretty significantly into hyperpop territory. Songs like “Phuckin Lady” demonstrate Rico’s tight flow even on faster, break-core style production, and the slower acoustic ballads such as “Easy on Me” and “Chicken Nugget” show she is more than just a rapper vocally. Even for people who are not “into hip-hop/rap,” I recommend giving this a try.

Creepy Nuts

Call of the Night is currently my favorite seasonal, even above Made in Abyss, for one simple reason: aesthetic. The story is by no means bad. In fact, I would love to do some kind of post breaking down its themes when the series is over. However, the show has cultivated an air that just oozes cool, in no small part to the band Creepy Nuts.

Ok, “band” is maybe slightly inaccurate, at least connotatively. Creepy Nuts is a duo comprised of rapper R-Shitei and producer DJ Matsunaga. The two formed officially in 2017 and have gone on to have a lot of success not just in music but in various other areas of entertainment, even now hosting their own radio show.

What I love about this group is how, while they are indeed centered in hip-hop, they are able to pull off a variety of styles, from their jazz influence which can be felt in the opening and ending of Call of the Night, to their other work which takes from many genres. I have not listened to enough of them to have a favorite project, but needless to say, I will be listening to them quite a bit from now on.

Strangers Things…Again!

The last time I put out one of these posts, Stranger Things season four had only gotten through its first half. However, the second half came out right at the beginning of July, and wow it was incredible. I was not sure what to expect from a nearly four-hour-long finale, but everyone involved was on their A-game when it came to this ending.

The acting was absolutely incredible, but shout-out to Netflix for calling it, I guess, because Caleb Maclaughlin as Lucas arguably had one of the best performances. My favorite of the season, alongside many others from what I can tell, is Gaten Matarazzo playing Dustin. He went from not much more than comic relief to arguably one of the most compelling storylines of the season, alongside fan favorite Eddie, anyway. The worst performance I would actually give to Finn Wolfhard, not because it was actually bad, but rather because everyone else was amazing by comparison.

The settings and background shots were also fantastic. Dumping money into a series may not always be the best way to get good results, but the 30 Million Dollars per episode budget definitely did not hurt when it came to bringing alive Vecna’s House, the Upside-Down, the Russian Prison, and various other locations. Overall, a fantastic way to end the season, and one that most certainly builds the hype for season five.

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Guilty Gear Strive

Slowly, but surely, I am getting back into Guilty Gear Strive. I picked up the game a few months after its release last year and enjoyed the game’s mechanics a lot. Yet, I enjoyed its aesthetics a lot more, which is primarily why I ended up buying it. The metal-inspired soundtrack combined with its unique fantasy world and colorful characters made me want to get into it. However, I ultimately stopped playing because…eh?

While I may be juggling this blog along with competing in Smash, as a casual fan of the traditional FGC, Strive has been one of my favorite viewing experiences of the last year. The mechanics are a bit complicated, but not so much that someone who knows literally nothing about the game cannot enjoy it. So, yeah, hopefully, I will have time to play more in the future.

MultiVersus

Platform fighters as a whole are seeing potentially the largest interest surge in the genre’s history. Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Melee are both doing great in terms of viewership, Rivals continues to draw a decent crowd of its own despite having a significantly smaller competitive community, and while Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl ultimately ended up kind of unfinished, it too had a strong interest grow around the game upon announcement.

MultiVersus seems like it could be adding to that surge, with a cast that spans the Warner Brothers universe, from Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Steven Universe to Shaggy and Velma of Scooby Doo. On top of that, the game’s mechanics are not only fun but show the team’s willingness to experiment beyond being “just another smash game.” In particular, the perks system introduces a new level of strategy and seems designed to test what aspects of a character the player values.

This is only compounded by the game’s emphasis on the two versus two format, where teamwork and communication are essential. Doubles formats in platform fighters have historically been unexplored, largely due to the genre’s emphasis on single-player experiences which tend to mirror normal FGC titles. However, given the genre’s unique emphasis on positioning and the many differences when it comes to executing combos, the two versus two format could very much flourish in a game like MultiVersus.


What non-anime/manga things have you all been enjoying recently? Let me know down 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 thanks to Jenn for supporting us 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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Attack on Titan Final Season Episodes 80-87 and What’s to Come

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The journey through Attack on Titan has been, if nothing else, exciting. It started with a re-ignited spark of interest in the series and has turned into a strong change in opinion about its quality. Whereas my original opinion of AOT was positive but not all that passionate, it has now become one of my favorite series, if not top 10, then at worst top 20.

It is a series like no other and has really proved that over the course of the last season, from its strong political drama and allegorical elements to the production side of the equation which remained equally strong even after swapping studios. So, the ending, at least for now, has finally come. How was it?

Not like this will be much of a surprise, but it was amazing. I was honestly kind of surprised just how many compelling stories beats the show was able to fit into the season’s last eight episodes. There is of course the Rumbling and its initial devastation on Paradis, which transitions pretty smoothly into Gabi’s redemption arc. There is also Armin stopping Coney from killing Falco, and Annie meeting up with Hitch just in time for the Apocolypse, after which they join together with Reiner, Levi, Hange, Piecke, and the Marleyian general.

This would be a lot for a normal 10-12 episode anime, but to fit into the final third of an already reveal filled-season while still remaining totally coherent is an incredible feat. Bubble had about the same time to accomplish that and could barely manage 1-2 engaging plotlines.

As for particular highlights, Coney and Armin’s interaction right before meeting up with the others felt the most compelling. It serves as a reminder that desperation can make people do anything. Coney’s mom is the only one who has a chance of being alive, and so he takes that chance, even despite part of him knowing it was wrong. The final fight at the harbor was also really cool as well. One thing that Attack on Titan is consistently good at is showing both the ease and difficulty of throwing away one’s humanity at the drop of a hat. Again, we see Coney making a difficult choice in order to save Armin.

Speaking of choices, might be worth addressing the founding titan in the room, Eren. It was not much of a surprise to see Eren take back the founding Titan from Zeke (The opening of this half is literally called The Rumbling), but that does not make it any less dramatic. Finding out about Eren’s ability to see the future and therefore have everything already planned down to the second was wild. The screenshot of him staring down Grisha while right next to him is funny, but also indicative of Eren’s willingness to do anything for Paradis.

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All of that ignores the fact that Eren has become a genocidal maniac. However, hindsight is always 2020, and I think what a lot of initial discussions about AOT’s ideology missed is that Eren is rarely the good guy. The only time he is ever cast in a sympathetic light is during the first few episodes. After that, Eren’s reckless and homicidal attitude is very often framed as at best concerning and at worst actively putting others in danger.

The show has always been about ideology. I mean, they live in a post-apocalyptic military state. However, it has never, up to this point at least, actively glorified these repressive beliefs and systems. This could change in the last part, and if it does then we should be having a different conversation, but since I am definitely not reading the manga, we will have to wait and see.

I know I have mentioned it a ton of times already, but man the action scenes in this show are amazing. There is the inherent appeal of Godzilla like battles against two monsters just beating the shit out of each other, or the David and Goliath style battles of man versus titans. Besides those two, the show also takes care to make sure that the human-level conflict is engaging as well. Going back to Coney and Armin, their meeting in Coney’s hometown felt genuinely nerve-wracking in a way that the outcome was unclear until the last second.

Good CGI also helps its case. There are very few anime that can actually claim to have good 3D animation, with Beastars being one of the only ones that I personally have seen. However, the titans and heavy machinery that is rendered in 3D still fit seamlessly into the world.

Ok, but where does the series go from here? Well, ideally up. The reality is that Mappa is working on a number of projects over the next year, including the upcoming Chainsaw Man adaptation that also has a large number of eyes on it. This means that, while it would be awesome to see the last of Attack on Titan go off without any problems, there is a non-zero chance that an extremely overworked production team will inevitably let some things slip through the cracks.

Still, this last season was arguably the best so far. On top of that, Mappa at this point has established itself as one of the best Studios in the industry, employing a lot of talent throughout the years. Hopefully, that means good things to come.


Now that I am officially done with all of Attack on Titan‘s anime available story, what are your thoughts on the series? Let me know down 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 thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

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

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Summer 2022 Episode Reviews: Week Four

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Last week was solid, and so is this one. However, there is one show that I simply have no desire to continue, as you will find out in a bit.

RWBY: Ice Queendom Ep. 4

One thing I have realized about this series is that it kind of suggests that the person watching should have already seen the original. Which, I guess makes sense. The anime never really marketed itself as a remake, after all. Still, I cannot help but feel a little annoyed when shows which are more or less telling the same story rely on the original for character development as opposed to doing the work themselves.

I say this because the show treats Ruby and Weiss’s relationship like the two have known each other for a while as opposed to 3 episodes. It makes sense in the context of their bickering, but there just is not enough history at this point to sell the dramatic impact of their fight. If this arc happened at the mid-point of the season it would make a lot more sense, but definitely not now.

Made in Abyss S2 Ep. 4

Something I love about Made in Abyss is that it is very much in the show not tell camp of storytelling. Rather than info-dumping a million pieces of relevant backstory, it lets the material speak for itself. This episode, in particular, is bridging the gap between the past and the present, both for the island itself and for Reg and Nanachi.

Faputa, who Reg meets at the end of the last episode, is implied to be both a figure in Reg’s past and also, through clever transitions, the native girl who accompanied the original adventurers on their journey. In Nanachi’s case, while shopping at the market with Majikaja, finds out that he knows of Mitty. The two trek through the Hollow village, and in the final frames of the episode Mitty sits underneath a giant guardian. This was a really cleverly planned-out episode and overall one of the highlights of the week.

Call of the Night Ep. 4

I am glad that Akira is sticking around, at least for a little bit longer. There is a lot of great character chemistry between the three of them, and this episode demonstrates that perfectly. The episode starts with Akira not being able to sleep, calling back to Kou in episode one, and so she decides to stay up, running in Kou and gets invited to hang out with him and Nazuna. The three hang out, play video games, and Nazuna kinda just jokes with them and makes them feel awkward.

Akira also spends time dealing with an internal conflict as well. Part of her wants Kou to come back to school so that she can escape her own loneliness, but part of her also recognizes that despite Nazuna literally being a vampire and Kou being a middle schooler, their relationship makes Kou happy. The visuals and music have also been incredible, so that helps too.

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer Ep. 4

Ok yeah, I am done. I wanted to give this series an honest try considering how interesting the opening chapters of the manga were, but man has it just been a snooze fest, and this episode did not do any better.

We get a bit more backstory about Hangetsu which is, admittedly, well included in the episode alongside his growing affections for Hisame. However, that is pretty much the only compliment I can give it, as Yuuhi is somehow unlikeable in the worst way possible, even outside of the questionable relationship with Samidare. On top of that, the studio seems committed to “animating” this show with as few frames as possible. This show has some of the stiffest action scenes I have watched in a while.

If I were rating this right now this would get a 40/100 at best. Please do not bother watching this, and I have not uttered this sentence very many times, but just go read the manga.

Lycoris Recoil Ep. 5

Another solid but ultimately confusing episode from Lycoris Recoil this week. There are a lot of questions about the politics of this series that it could not be bothered to answer. For starters, Kurumi implies within the first minute of the episode that even the current president doesn’t know about the Lycoris, which has a lot of implications on its own, but also the private detectives seem to suggest that the DA has the ability to shut down even the public police force…huh?

The rest of the episode was ok. The lead duo takes on a client who is secretly being hunted by an assassin, only to find out that was not real and what they do not know is that the whole thing is connected to the Alan Institute as well. The show really just has me intrigued, not in a cool and methodical way, but more in a “watching a drunk guy stumble his way around the restaurant looking for the bathroom” kind of way.

The Devil is a Part-Timer S2 Ep. 3

A show that makes a lot more sense is The Devil is a Part-Timer. Well, as much sense as a show about Satan coming to the human realm and now also raising a plant baby can make, anyway. Maou and Emi are enjoying a day off, while also looking out for any potential danger that might come to pass. However, when they least expect it, Gabriel comes down to request Alas Ramus and the holy sword. But, he’s nice enough to give them a day to make their decision.

Definitely, a bit more plot-focused, but that is not much of a bad thing, as the main plot for the series has generally been pretty solid. On top of that, Alus Ramus and this mystery of the World Tree is still really fascinating. Also, Rika and Ashiya as a couple would be hilarious, change my mind.


What did you think of this week? Let me know down 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, a special shout out to our Patron Jenn for supporting the blog.

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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Feeding the Flames: Anime Music, Turn-Based RPGs, Etc.

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Well, as usual, I am behind schedule on the series I was planning on covering this month. So, in order to supplement this, it is time once again for some hot takes.

Length is Not Important in Making Good Art

I thought about this a lot after finishing Goodbye, Eri by Tatsuki Fujimoto. He completed a well-rounded story in just about 200 pages and arguably wrote not only one of the best manga of the year but potentially a contender for best manga of the decade.

If it sounds like I am calling out shounen here, well it is because I am…kind of. Obviously, this applies to all long-running series, but Shounen stories tend to disproportionately fit into the category. However, the probably here is not the length itself, but rather that the longer a series goes on, the more prone it is to losing focus of its main plot.

The most important thing when writing a story is not its length. Rather, it is making sure that each part of said story is purposeful, and engages with its other parts in a way that makes sense.

Turn-Based RPGs Aren’t Inherently Boring

As much as I consider myself a fan of more action-oriented RPGs like Final Fantasy 13 and the very small amount of the Tales series that I have been able to play, something about the turn-based style of gameplay has always held its charm for me.

While I can certainly understand why people would feel strongly about their repetitive nature, part of that come from a lot of games that either focuses heavily on grinding, have little variance in gameplay, or both. Games like 2012’s Bravely Default prove that even small variations in the traditional formula can make for engaging gameplay that requires more attention than simply mashing through menus.

Still, I am not gonna sit here and pretend like most games that stick with the turn-based formula are innovating in that way.

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The Tokyo Ghoul Anime Wasn’t That Bad

There are very few anime that I would say are wholly inferior to their source material. One of those is The Promised Neverland, which…yeah. The other, though, is Tokyo Ghoul. So much of the second season just feels scuffed as hell compared to what we got in the manga.

However, to say that its first season is on the same level feels a bit ludicrous. The adaptation of its story, even if some minor details were left out, was solid, and the animation from Studio Pierrot was above average. It was by no means perfect, but certainly not bad enough to complain endlessly about.

Hiroyuki Sawano

That is the take because my boy Sawano is on fire. On a more serious note, I do think Sawano has, at least at this point, cemented himself as one of the better music producers of anime history. It can certainly feel one-note at times, but at his best, his production is so hard-hitting that it frankly does not matter.

If I were to name some of my favorite music producers, it would likely be Sawano and Yoko Kano. I realize that these are not especially controversial picks, and this series is called Feeding the Flames, but hey, what can I say, quality is quality.

Good Anime Endings are More Memorable than Good Anime Openings

There are a lot of good anime openings, both in turns of animation but also in terms of music. However, the same cannot be said for anime endings, which often feel hand-picked to sound as boring and forgettable as possible. It does make sense, though, as first impressions are often much more important when it comes to sticking to a consistent audience. This is why, despite not thinking much about them, I could very easily name some of my favorite ending themes (more specifically, my favorite anime ending at the moment is Style Helix by Myth&Roid from Re: Zero, while my second favorite is Hibana by The Sixth Lie from Golden Kamuy).


What are some of your hot takes? Let me know down 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 thanks go to Jenn for the support 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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Attack on Titan Final Season: Episodes 72-75

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The walls are coming down, and society on Eldia is in the midst of total collapse. This time, however, it is not because of some mass titan invasion, but rather the military strength of an entire country. Marley has decided the time is now, and in pursuit of Eldia’s demise, they fly into battle alone, without the support of other governments. Eren must now use his newfound power amongst the Jaegerists to fight against this now impending invasion.

Of course, that’s only the finale of this set of episodes, and while it was certainly well done, there are a lot of other things to talk about.

First, watching the various factions related to Sasha come together in order to find out how she died, only to be faced with her killer in Gabi, was a legitimately thrilling moment. For as nice a person as Sasha’s dad is, it would not have been surprising to attempt to kill Gabi in a fit of rage, especially considering how much her character has been set up in the interim between her death and that scene.

For as important as Nicolo has been in this season, though, it would have been nice to get a bit more about their relationship other than “they were probably in love,” but obviously it is nowhere close to the main plot, so I understand why they did not.

Speaking of Gabi, for as annoying as she can be, the internal conflict she has been going through based on her identity as both an Eldian and a Marleyian has been genuinely compelling to watch. On the one hand, she has been indoctrinated by the Marleyian government since birth, raised to believe that only by serving her country can she redeem her sinful existence.

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On the other hand, when faced with Eldians who were cast out and labeled “island devils,” she is faced with nothing but kindness, despite having killed one of their comrades. The psychological conflict between what she has been told versus her immediate reality is something I hope gets resolved by the series’ end.

Sooner than expected, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin manage to reunite while Eren is holding them hostage. It was at this point in the episode that I started having even more conflicted feelings about Attack on Titan and his character than I already do, and where the conversation around the show’s political ideology has taken a decided turn.

Memes upon memes were being thrown around during the early Attack on Titan episodes about how Eren’s goal was simply to kill all of the Titans and get revenge. By the end of the third season, this goal was much closer to being a reality, but it is also at this point where also incredibly meme’d to death scene of Eren at the beach comes in, with him asking “If we kill all our enemies over there, will we truly be free?” This brings us to the restaurant scene, where Eren’s conception of freedom has warped into something decidedly more fascist in nature, where there is a clear black and white boundary between the free and those he would call slaves.

Of course, I am only halfway through this season, and there is of course one final part that is not coming out till next year, so I will save all the think-piecing until then.

Arguably the most compelling section of this group is the episode that focuses on Zeke’s past and his connection to Paradis. Owl, the leader of the group planning to overthrow Marley, is Zeke’s dad, and in order to save himself from being killed, Zeke rats them out at the order of his future mentor, the previous beast titan holder. While not providing a ton of information that was not already known, it is an interesting dive into his character and the origin of his twisted ideology, highlighting the circumstances which lead to his existence today.

Overall, this was a great set of episodes, both in terms of writing and animation, but also one that leaves me conflicted as to AOT’s direction ideologically.


How do you feel about Attack on Titan? Let me know in the comments (no 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!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon

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

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Attack on Titan Final Season: Episodes 68-71

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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And welcome back my friends to our continued coverage of the “final” season of Attack on Titan (for those unaware, the final is in quotes because it has been confirmed that the series will be continuing for one more cour sometime in 2023). We took a bit of a break in order to finish up the coverage for the spring season. Now, though, it is time to find out more.

This series of episodes focused a lot on the politics of the Island of Paradis which were happening before the invasion of Marley, both internal and external. The military retains a large degree of power, by which I mean pretty much all of it. Zachary is still large and in charge, and the major generals, including Pyxis, are also making a lot of decisions. On top of that, it is shown that the nation of Hizuri, Paradis’ sole ally and the place from which Mikasa is a descendent, is primarily interested in Paradis for its natural resources.

As a side note, I also want to talk about the incredibly smart commentary which is happening in its external political affairs. If the traditional Japanese art and the name Lady Azumabito were not obvious enough, Hizuri seems to be a stand-in for Japan. Historically, when it comes to economic policy and foreign relations, Japan has often been incredibly self-interested, even to the point of being fairly amoral. This can be seen even in recent history in its decisions to engage in business with African dictatorships. While this is not particularly relevant to the overall story, at least not yet, it is a smart bit of world-building that is worth pointing out.

Meanwhile, after a mostly successful invasion, Eren is locked up for going out on his own. However, the mission also cost the life of Sasha at the hands of Gabi and Falco who snuck on board the ship and are consequently locked up. This causes a lot of distrust even among his close friends, the most centered of which are Conny, Jean, Armin, and Mikasa.

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The show also gets around to explaining why Eren ventured out on his own in the first place, the most likely reason for which is Yelena. Yelena is the leader of an anti-Marleyian force that hid inside the military and ends up siding with the people of Paradis. Yelena’s character is interesting for a number of reasons. First, her motives at this point seem to be unclear, but the show does draw an interesting parallel between herself and the anti-military uprising which is happening among the people of Paradis.

Because of this uprising, Eren is seen as a leader in his own political faction. Near the end of episode 71, Eren breaks free from prison and causes all hell to break out while the military looks to keep him from speaking with Zeke. The “Jaegerists,” as they have been dubbed, are looking to support Eren in any way they can.

Gabi and Falco’s journey during this time ends up being a lot more philosophically involved. After coincidentally being taken in by Sasha’s parents, they agree to lay low for a while. Yet, one of the other orphans, the girl who was saved by Sasha during season two, sees through them pretty easily. As she tells the story of her mother dying at the hand of a titan, questions of generational guilt arise: Are the Eldians who are long removed from the horrors of their ancestors still responsible for those actions? What sort of punishments do they deserve? Much like in reality, though, these questions are not so easily answered, and Gabi, stunned by her inability to see the people of Paradis as anything other than devils, is left speechless.

The final episode ends with a shot of a stranger reading a newspaper, who is revealed to be Pieck before the credits roll. This seems to confirm what the Marleyian officers were planning, which is to attack Paradis before they are ready, rather than waiting for a worldwide invasion. This, of course, complicates an already tense situation and may result in more lives being lost.

At this point, though, only time will tell.


We’re a little less than halfway through what is out of the final season, and wow this has been a lot of fun. Have you seen all of Attack on Titan at this point? What are your (spoiler-free) thoughts? Let me know down 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 thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

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

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Summer 2022 Episode Reviews: Week One

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Now, I know what you all are thinking: Who are you and what are you doing with that title? Well, do not be scared, my observers, as this is me writing this post, and no your eyes are not lying. Normally, I tend to be a bit lighter when it comes to seasonal content. However, since there are a good amount of shows I want to watch this season, I figured it would be easier to cover them in a more familiar format. So, for the rest of this season at least, there will be a weekly post from me talking about all of the seasonals I will be watching. With that being said, let us get started.

Call of the Night Ep. 1

Call of the Night? More like call me pleasantly surprised because, well, I actually thought this was pretty decent. I mentioned last week that Kotoyama’s other major hit Dagashi Kashi was not exactly my cup of tea. However, his art style and character designs do feel a lot more fitting for this sort of horror aesthetic, even if the most terrifying thing about it is how immediately horny it is. Granted, that is not always a bad thing, but like, cmon, the main character is 14?

Aside from the weird sexual stuff, in a story whose main premise is using the night to escape the inability to sleep due to obligations and stress, middle school is not exactly the demographic of people I would have first suggested. Although Japan does have some pretty toxic culture around education and relationships, so I guess it can get a pass on that one. Overall, looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Made in Abyss S2 Ep. 1

I would call this a pleasant surprise if were not already holding some pretty big expectations for it. Safe to say, though, that it delivered in spades. I will admit to being very confused for the first half of the episode since it was supposed to be a prequel of sorts, but then as soon as they landed on the island it became pretty clear what was happening.

One thing I was not expecting was just how heavy it was going to be right out of the gate. Again, it has been a while for me, and Made in Abyss is nothing if not a boundary pusher. The music was nothing short of phenomenal even in the first episode, as Kevin Pinker returned to do the second season’s soundtrack and has absolutely nailed it. I saw on Twitter him expressing his worry over its quality, and after hearing in the context of the show, that almost feels like a joke. While episode one may have been mostly introductory, it was without a doubt a great start.

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RWBY: Ice Queendom Ep. 1-3

The show that was practically begging to be an anime finally got an anime. It is honestly not that surprising considering it got a manga back in 2018 and likely would have gotten an anime sooner if it were not for pandemic delays and other extenuating circumstances. However, it is here, and yeah the first three episodes were also solid.

Personally, 3D animation has never been my thing, and even though I enjoyed the original first season of RWBY which was made by Rooster Teeth, the 3D aspect was always my least favorite part. This adaptation does not have that flaw, and so my enjoyment has gone up exponentially. The action sequences thus far have been incredibly choreographed and animated, and something about the series’ color palette just rings more with this adaptation. They did skip the final fight near the docs which happens at the end of the first season, which feels like a bit of an odd choice considering the appeal of the show, but oh well.

One of the other things that always felt off about the original is the way earlier episodes really tried to imitate anime mannerisms. Of course, the 3D animation made it incredibly awkward, but then you also had the main characters themselves. The voice acting in the original catered to this a lot, and it felt overall worse for it. However, All of the main crew, Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, feel a bit more…natural? in their new dub. I suppose it feels less out of place only because the VAs are speaking Japanese, but even then, the overall quality, at least from what I can tell, is substantially better. If the new series ever does get a dub, I would be curious to see if any of the original cast makes a re-appearance.

All of this is to say that RWBY: Ice Queendom has a lot of potential. Since I have not seen past season one of the original, it will be hard to judge it as an adaptation, but based on the subtitle and the increased focus on Weiss in these earlier episodes, I get the feeling this one will be moving in a new direction.

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer Ep. 1

Coming off reading a bit of the manga earlier this year after the show had gotten an announcement, I was actually fairly excited to see how the show would come into its own. Safe to say that this season is 4/4 in terms of its opening episodes because Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer also did a solid job.

The comedic timing was there, and the animation was expressive enough to make the visual humor pop. Yuuhi is unlikable, but that is part of his personality, and as it will likely be shown in the next episode or two, there is a pretty big reason for that. The episode did a great job at hinting at what is to come with some of the musical moments, and Asahina looks about as threatening and psychotic as ever. Speaking of Asahina, one thing I am glad is missing is the random panty shots that littered the series’ opening chapters.

The only thing really worth complaining about thus far is the video quality. Idk if it is something on Crunchyroll’s end and it happened because I watched the episode more or less as soon as it came out, but my god does it not look great. Hoping that it is just a glitch and it will be gone by the next episode. If not, the show will become a lot harder to watch.


That, my friends, is our week one. The Devil is a Part-Timer apparently starts next week, and since the first few episodes of RWBY aired early, it will be a few weeks until a new one comes out. What are you looking forward to this season? Let me know down 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 thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon

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What I’m (Probably) Watching for Summer 2022

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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To be honest, it does not even feel like that much time has gone by, and yet the spring season is already done. This of course means, due to the natural progression of time, that summer is on the horizon. Unfortunately, since I do not have access to Disney+ at the moment, I was not able to start or catch up on Summertime Render, but that is how life goes sometimes.

Regardless, I will be using this post to talk about what I will most likely be watching for the summer of 2022. This season is honestly incredibly stacked and so some of these might be obvious, but there are some newer shows that have promise as well.

The Devil is a Part-Timer Season Two

Like last time, I will start with the sequels since there are a number of notable ones this season. The first of these is the sequel to the 2013 action-comedy The Devil is a Part-Timer. The show sort of has a special place in my heart for being one of the first seasonal anime I kept up with weekly. On top of that, however, the series is also just incredibly funny. Maou’s continual surprise at just how awful the real world is compared to literal hell on earth is quite funny. On top of that, his henchman are a great supporting cast that always manages to create some top-notch bits. It has frankly been far too long, but I am happy to see that it is back

Made in Abyss Season Two

Another series that has been kind of left behind, although not nearly as long, seeing Made in Abyss return in the same season has me incredibly excited. The finale of season one rightfully left a lot of non-manga readers in a ton of suspense, and I would be lying if I said it is not still there. It also brings me a little more hope to see that Kinema Citrus, the studio that handled the show’s first season is once again at the helm. There is always room for disappointment, but hopefully, that will not end up being the case.

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Call of the Night

In truth, I do not have a whole lot to say about this series other than expressing my mild curiosity. The premise seems interesting enough, and the story seems like it could go in a lot of unique directions. The main reason it caught my eye, though, is the character designs. While I did end up dropping the series, Kotoyama’s previous work on Dagashi Kashi was memorable. Thus, I am hoping that this series manages to bring at least something interesting to the table.

RWBY: Ice Queendom

As of the writing of this post, the first few episodes of this series are actually already available on Crunchyroll, so those who are curious about this series as much as I am can go ahead and watch. Now, I am not going to sit here and pretend like I was ever the biggest fan of RWBY. I got through one and a half seasons of the original series, and tbh, I found it alright. It certainly felt like a web animation. However, I respect Monty Oum heavily as a creative, and the fact that his passion project is getting its own anime feels like a deserved sign of respect.

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Funny story, I actually completely forgot this show was airing this season until a fellow blogger reminded me in their post. I probably would have remembered if I ever managed to finish that video I was working on about the manga, but alas, here we are. Ever since I finished its first volume, the anime release for this series is something I have been highly anticipating. It is a…strange series, to say the least.

There are definitely some elements that should probably be toned down for a more general audience, but a lot of the charm comes from what feels like a mid-2000s zaniness. Granted, that quality could more or less be summarized in “lol xd so random” terms, but I choose to believe there will be a bit more to it than that. Only time will tell.

The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes

I think my next big project on this blog, whether it be in essay or video essay format, is going to be looking at the anime film landscape post Your Name, because from my general knowledge thus far, it seems like anime films in this era fall into two categories: tie ins/prequels/sequels to existing popular series (Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, etc) and films trying way too hard to be Your Name.

Based off of the plot description and promotional art that has circulated around this film, it definitely gives off the vibes of the latter category. Now, I do not mean to imply that this is necessarily a bad thing. There have been some solid films that fall in line with this category. My biggest hope for this film is that it lives up to the coolness and passion present in its title. Damn, that is such a cool name for a story.


What are you all watching this season? Let me know down 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!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for being a 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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Spy x Family’s First Half is Done, and I Have Some Thoughts

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The spring 2022 anime season is, by the time this gets released, likely finished with most of its major shows. However, Spy x Family, the break-out star of the season, is only done with its first half. Presumably, this is to give the staff a bit of a break before they continue this coming October. Still, since it is the end of the season, I figure now would be as good a time as ever to organize my thoughts as well as list my hopes for the second half.

For those who missed the spring season darling, Spy x Family is about Twilight, a spy for the Westalia government who has recently been given an important mission: to take down a prominent political figure of the neighboring Ostania. In order to do this, he must infiltrate one of the country’s most influential schools by disguising himself as normal family man Loid Forger, living together with his “wife” Yor Forger, and his adopted daughter Anya Forger, both of whom do not know about his Spy occupation.

I will start by saying that Mangaka Tatsuya Endou is a genius. While I am not familiar at all with their other works, the idea behind Spy x Family is honestly the perfect example of simple but effective storytelling. The series draws on some prominent historical parallels in the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. However, alongside its narrative about taking down radical governments and what it means to be a family, the series manages to sprinkle in a lot of humor.

The focus of that humor, though, tends to be Anya, who has, more or less, become the show’s unofficial mascot. Anya is also hiding a secret of her own: she has the ability to read other people’s minds. This power gives her the dynamic of knowing both the secret of Loid and Yor while also having the two of them not know about her, which tends to be the focus of the more comedic moments.

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Speaking of Yor, her secret is a little more…violent. When she is not taking care of Anya or at her day job, Yor works as an Assassin, killing basically whoever she is told to. Apart from having the aesthetic appeal, Yor’s character works because of her budding relationship with Anya, which often leaves her conflicted about her work as a killer.

The same can be said of Twilight, who admits near the beginning of the show that his adoption of Anya has made him less sharp than he would be normally. His occupation necessarily keeps him in and out of various identities, to the point that he has never had the ability to start a family of his own. This is a really compelling point, and it makes it to where there is a continual reason to keep watching even outside of the show’s episodic antics.

Outside of the show’s fantastic characters and narrative, it also just looks incredible. It is clear that there is a lot of attention to detail, from the bustling city backgrounds to the quick moments of action and combat which appear in most episodes. Spy x Family has more love and care put into its most stable moments than some series do at their most animated. *cough cough Seven Deadly Sins cough cough*

The soundtrack also manages to nail the fusion between classic sounds of the 50s and spy movie thrillers. While I would probably have a hard time picking out a favorite track, I can say at least that I do enjoy all of the music that has appeared in the series so far. The opening in particular does a great job at combining these sounds while also giving it a cute, poppier aesthetic that just kinda works.

The anime feels almost flawlessly executed at this point. Every plot point is falling in line and everyone has a role to play. My one wish going forward actually concerns Yor. For as often as she is on one screen, I do not know that the series has properly gotten at the heart of her character. What’s more, her relationship with her brother Yuri, who works for the Ostanian military doing torture, is one that could seriously threaten Loid’s work. Thus, my one hope is that this does not get hand brushed away as a minor inconvenience and that Yor’s character is more thoroughly explored by the end of the next half.

The same could honestly be said for Anya as well, but her appearances on screen do not feel as empty in that regard. Her interior life is much more present, in part because she is often the main focus of the later episodes, but also because her thought process is more laid out when she is reading someone’s mind.

Overall, though, there is fairly little to complain about. Spy x Family is a fun and enjoyable series that seems to be moving in a solid narrative direction. Once the series finishes its second half, I will do a full review, but for now, these are my thoughts.


Have you been watching Spy x Family? How do you feel about the series? Let me know down 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, shout out to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

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

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