Tag Archives: Manga

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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The Observation Deck: Komi Can’t Communicate (Pt. 2)

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If there is one thing I realized pretty quickly during my high school experience, it is that managing my anxiety along with communicating things to other people can be extremely difficult. Luckily, though, I had a lot of good friends, and a fairly fast-paced four years which included writing for our school paper and a number of high-level classes which kind of forced me to make decisions and take care of myself. Still, it is not always that easy for others.

Komi Can’t Communicate focuses on its namesake character Komi. While the others in her class view her as basically a walking goddess, Komi herself could not have been blessed with less confidence. This has left her unable to communicate outside of writing down what she wants to say in a notebook or otherwise. Tadano, however, sees the situation she is in, and vows to help her get a hundred friends, even as feelings between them have only gotten more complicated.

Komi Still Can’t Communicate

Oh boy, more Komi…yay.

Alright, maybe that is a little mean. However, season one, while definitely being above average, was not the series I was looking forward to the most. Since part two finished a bit later than the rest of the spring season, I was not able to review it when I talked about Kaguya and Spy x Family. However, even compared to those two, it does little to stand out.

I will re-affirm that the show’s central premise is a good one and that Komi does a lot to be an entertaining character. The switch between her more cartoonish, goofy expressions and the weirdly sensual face which feels like an expression of how people view her on the outside is genuinely entertaining. On top of that, I still appreciate the message the show is trying to deliver: That people with crippling anxiety exist and deserve to be respected.

It is a shame really that the supporting cast, despite adding quite a few new characters in its second half, does little to elevate the series or its message. Tadano is pretty much as boring as ever, though I will give him credit for having at least a little bit more of an internal sense of development. All of the other new characters are either annoying like Shisuto, or get so little development as to not be worth mentioning outside of the fact that progress Komi’s emotional growth

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The lone exception to that is Katai who is by far one of the funnier characters during the second half. While it certainly helps to be one of the only other recurring characters, his dynamic with Komi and Tadano is well written. Katai, much like Komi, is an anxiety-ridden mess who just wants some friends, but whereas the ladder of the two actively attracts attention to herself, the former’s huge build and unintentionally aggressive demeanor leave most people scared of him for most of the second half.

What is more, Katai appreciates Tadano’s kindness and really wants to be friends, and continually looks towards Komi for “guidance” despite being intimidated by her. Meanwhile, Komi is just as scared of him, if not more, and so the two spend a lot of time staring at each other while never really saying anything, which is a solid bit that creates a lot of humorous moments.

A Blossoming Relationship?

The romantic tension between Komi and Tadano has been present since pretty much the end of part one. The more that Tadano helps her, the more he realizes just how much he loves being around her. Conversely, the kindness Tadano has shown Komi has been genuinely life-changing, and so she in turn builds feelings for him.

Despite the continued buildup of this relationship, nothing emerges even during the show’s finale. The two stand next to a classroom window while they reflect on the events of that school year, thinking about just how far the two of them have come. Yet, none of that progress is really shared in their own relationship, at least not romantically.

Interacting with other people can be scary, and even scarier is sharing feelings with someone that they might not have themselves. So, I guess in a way, that sort of ending makes sense. Still, If there is another season in the works, I hope we get to see the two of them in a post-confession world.

Conclusion

Normally I would have a bit more to say, but since I have already talked about part one of this series in-depth, there is not much reason to do so again. The first part was solid, and overall part two is maybe even a small bit better. At the end of the day though, the show is still just ok, lacking in a lot of strong characters and compelling arcs that would maybe propel it a bit higher.

63/100


How did you all feel about Komi Can’t Communicate and it’s second half? 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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Attack on Titan Final Season Episodes 76-79

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Wow. Attack on Titan has been through some crazy arcs. Revelation after revelation has come and gone, and while many of them have been shocking, none have really hit with this level of intensity, outside of the Reiner and Bertolt reveal in season two. These episodes genuinely made me consider abandoning this episode-by-episode format and just marathoning the rest. Without rambling for too much longer, let us get into it.

For starters, the stakes have never been higher. What sets the content of the final season apart from the rest of the series is its sense of scale, which is on full display in these episodes. The Marleyian army has begun their invasion of Paradis, with a large percentage of their strength, including the Titans, helping out. The story of Attack on Titan has gone from the survival of a small group of people trapped inside the walls to a global conflict implicating millions of people. An event like the rumbling does not just affect Eldians, but rather everyone on earth.

We also find out that Eren, who was presumably on board with Zeke’s euthanization plan, was actually only using him to access the founding titan’s power, even if it ultimately backfires. Part of me wants to argue that this was a pretty obvious twist, but at the same time, was it? Eren witnessed the deaths of hundreds, probably thousands of his comrades at the hands of titans. I am by no means saying that euthanization is a proper response to the situation, it is understandable how someone whose mind has been twisted by that kind of trauma might ultimately arrive at that conclusion.

On top of this, Eren…dies? Probably not, but seeing his head gets blown off by a titan rifle was one of the more visceral scenes of the entire series. While in liminal space, Zeke takes it upon himself to show Eren some memories of their father Grisha, but after a while, it seems as though Zeke is coming out of the experience more surprised. Also, the whole attack titan having the ability to predict the future thing both made sense and did not, but it was a pretty cool reveal anyway.

While Eren spends his screen with Zeke time having a, uh, reverse change of heart? Gabi has a normal change of heart. For her entire life up until this point, the people of Paradis were nothing but devils to her, an amorphous blob of evil on some distant island ruining the Eldian identity. However, as she spends time with the locals, and almost gets killed by “one of her own,” she comes to understand the folly in her thinking.

It is a brutal realization to have, not just as a kid, but as a kid who has spent a non-insignificant portion of her waking hours training to inherit a titan that would be used to kill the Eldians as well. It is the kind of identity crisis that can only come to fruition in the midst of something as traumatic as war. 

The stakes were also pretty high for Falco, as despite going with his brother to beg Zeke not to turn him into a titan, he ultimately ends up as one anyway. Well, he was for all of two minutes, anyway, but ultimately end up eating Galliard, and will presumably take the roll of the jaw titan. Still, this was another section where it felt like nothing was guaranteed. His confession to helping Eren back in Marley and admitting his feelings for Gabi ultimately made it seem like his time was coming to an end.

On top of some quality writing, there were also some crazy bits of animation. Specifically, the transition scene between Eren getting shot and finding himself in the liminal space with Zeke was some of the most expressive animation I have seen, not just within Attack on Titan, but across anime period. The way it portrays the slowdown of time alongside the compactness of the battlefield in stark contrast to the empty desert that is the home of the Eldian founder Ymir is breathtaking.

These were without a doubt some of the best episodes in the series, and I am beyond excited to see its conclusion. Speaking of, since it is the end of July, I figured next week would be a good time to marathon the rest of the episodes and wrap up this series, so stay tuned for that!


What are your feelings on the “final” season of Attack on Titan? 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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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 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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Mini-Manga Haul: My Solo Exchange Diary, Kaguya-Sama, and More…

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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As many of those reading could probably tell based on the content I put out, I am not a huge manga reader. It is only recently that I have found myself consistently reading something as opposed to just throwing on some anime or YouTube. One would think it would be a bigger part of my media diet, but no, not really. However, call it a new year’s resolution or whatever, but I wanted to diversify my reading portfolio a bit more.

As it so happens, the Books-a-Million near my house was having a summer sale on manga, so I decided to treat myself a bit and pick out some volumes. Most of it is first volumes, some for newer series, and some for series that have been out for a while, but since I am currently out of school still, I have plenty of time to read and figure out what to continue or not.

Crazy Food Truck by Rokurou Ogaki – Vol. 1

I actually read about this one on the always amazing Mechanical Anime Reviews from fellow blogger Scott, and well, based on the plot description, it certainly earns its title. Gordon runs a normal desert wasteland food truck until one day a girl named Arisa shows up. She has a big appetite and an even bigger problem: an armed militia who is hunting her down.

My impression of this manga is that it is going to be in a similar vein to series like Spice and Wolf or Girls Last Tour, where the focus is half the adventure and half the inward reflections of the characters. If that ends up being the case, this is going to be a series that I both love and hate. Love in the sense that it will be really good, and hate in the sense that it is new and only the first volume is available right now.

Uzumaki by Junji Ito – Vol. 1-3

If I have not said it before, horror is not really my go-to genre. This is not because I think horror as a genre is bad, but because I tend to have a pretty weak constitution when it comes to being scared. Still, even out of context, Junji Ito’s art is horrifying in a way that feels incredibly detailed. The story of Uzumaki is one about a cursed town and the residents who try desperately to fight back.

While I have heard people call this one of his best works, I have also heard that it is one of the better entry points into Ito’s works as a whole. Either way, I’m excited to see where Uzumaki takes me. Hopefully not to another dimension, lol.

X-Gender by Asuka Miyazaki – Vol. 1

This is by far the series I know the least about, which is why I felt a bit more drawn to it than usual. For those who are unaware, X-gender is an identity that exists in a similar space to non-binary (though there are probably some cultural differences which I am not aware of atm).

The manga is also apparently autobiographically, describing the life of Asuka Miyazaki as they make a discovery in their early 30s: being attracted to women. As someone who has only been out for less than a year, I was curious to see how their story would unfold. Also, the art style just looks really cute, so there is that.

My Solo Exchange Diary – Vol. 1-2

So…no one was gonna tell me that My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, has a sequel? Wow…

In all seriousness, though, I had no idea that this even existed. When I saw it in the store, my eyes automatically blinked because I thought there was something wrong. The original one-shot was one of my favorite things I read that year, most of which was not manga.

The series is supposedly a direct continuation of the original, with it also being autobiographical, and detailing events that have happened since the success of her original work. Even as I am writing this post, my head is just kind of filled with the thought of being able to read more from one of the most expressive and personal authors that I have read to date.

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Burn the Witch by Tite Kubo – Vol. 1

While I certainly would not call myself a Kubo fan, Bleach was my favorite out of the big three, and his sense of aesthetic is really solid. Burn the Witch is apparently set in the same universe as Bleach and follows two witches who are working for a branch of the soul society in London.

I honestly do not know how much else I can say about the series without spoiling anything for myself. My expectations are pretty low, but hopefully, Kubo can make me presently surprised.

Orient by Shinobu Ohtaka – Vol. 1

Continuing the list of series that I have little to no expectations for…

Orient only breached my radar recently because of its anime adaptation. However, most people who watched it seemed to agree that it was pretty bad. Ohtaka did create one of my favorite series in Magi: The Labrinth of Magic, though, so I am certainly willing to give it a try. The story revolves around a society in which demons rule and the samurai that fight them have been outlawed. However, young Musashi has been blessed with a special power that might give humanity a fighting chance.

Not going to mince words, compared to the charm and diversity that made up Magi’s universe, Orient sounds pretty ordinary. This is not to say it cannot be good, but I also will not be surprised if this is a series I end up dropping pretty quickly.

I Hear the Sunspot by Yuki Fumino – Vol. 1

This is another series that came to my attention through another blogger whose original post I, unfortunately, cannot seem to find, but which was also featured in this post on Anime Feminist. The story follows Kohei, a college student who is going deaf, and Taichi, also a college student who offers to take notes in exchange for lunch. As the two grow closer, their relationship begins to change, and questions about the future seem to arise.

On top of being one of the more well-regarded queer romance stories of the past few years, the title also drew me in, as the prospect of hearing a sunspot draws such a strange visual in my head.

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War by Aka Akasaka – Vol. 1

At this point, what is there to say about the series that has not been already? The anime’s first two seasons were both fantastic, and it hit a new stride in season three with its well-executed visual comedy and storytelling.

The anime for me is an easy 85-90+/100, but my experience with the manga is non-existent. It could be better, but it could also be significantly worse. I suppose only time and actually reading the thing will tell.


What manga have you picked up recently? What are you most excited to read? Least excited? 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, a special 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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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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The Observation Deck: Kaguya-sama Love is War: Ultra Romantic

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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The end of another season of course means the end of another block of anime. However, this season feels a bit different, and a lot of that can be attributed to the series I am talking about today, Kaguya-sama. I have admitted in the past to not being the warmest on the show when it first came out. In fact, it felt kind of gimmicky. At least, that is how it was at first.

Not only did the series only get more and more entertaining, but the amount of longevity and growth it has had over its now three seasons is also one of the most impressive I have seen from a show in a while. Any hesitancy about its quality on my part has since been replaced with whole-hearted enthusiasm for one of the most charming romantic comedies of the last decade.

For those unaware, Love is War focuses on Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, the president and vice president of the student council of the elite Shuuchin Academy. After working together for about half a year, the two simultaneously develop a crush on the other. However, the driving philosophy among those at the top is as such: Admitting one’s feelings is tantamount to admitting defeat, and so the two engage in war to get the other to confess first.

Ultra Romantic? More Like Ultra in Panic

I said in the plot description that the show focuses on their game of not admitting to one another, and while that is still generally true of the third season, there is a large shift in philosophy that encompasses much of Ultra Romantic. Whereas seasons one and two felt significantly more playful and comedy focuses in their approach to the story, Kaguya-sama’s third season is decidedly not that.

Ultra Romantic instead looks towards the end game. For as much as the antics between Kaguya, Miyuki, and the others are fun, time is not static, and both seemingly want this game to come to an end. Kaguya is as restless about the situation as ever, and at this point is even worried about sending him a message on social media, not only because of their game but because she is genuinely confused about how she should approach the situation.

Meanwhile, Miyuki’s sense of self-worth has always been determined by his ability to outwork others. Consequentially, this has meant that his relationship with this game has become more tied to his self-worth. Thus, this sense of resignation in wanting to confess to Kaguya is a genuine internal conflict that she is only aware of on a surface level.

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Romance Isn’t Just For Protagonists

If Love is War was only good for its leads, I do not think I would be able to leverage the amount of praise for it that I do. What sets the series apart from other romantic comedies is that its side characters are decidedly less one-note in their effect on the story or any individual gag.

A great example of this is Ishigami. While he certainly started out as kind of a nothing character, his evolution throughout the series has been phenomenal. His arc during the final episodes of season two showed that the series is able to handle heavier moments despite its more lighthearted nature.

Season three only built on this development, as the revelation of his feelings for Tsubame creates a funny and heartwarming side-story which at times feels as compelling as the push and pull of Miyuki and Kaguya. If season two was Ishigami’s lowest moment, then the end of season three is a moment of triumphant return.

However, Ishigami is not the only other love-struck idiot desperately hiding their affection. It really could not be any more obvious that Miko herself has started to develop feelings for Ishigami, who does not seem to notice, and yet continually feeds this attraction by showing her continual kindness. This comes to a head when Ishigami hand delivers an IPad so she can watch the campfire that she helped organize in the first place.

As much as the main romance of the series is great, some of my favorite moments have come from the interactions between Hayasaka and Shirogane. Embedded in their encounters is a message about what it means to be one’s genuine self, and how the two of them are forced to hide behind a social mask for fear of being ridiculed. Apart from the obvious romantic dynamic of Hayasaka’s crush on Shirogane, their relationship also symbolizes the hardships that come with being from a lower-class family, which itself makes their relationship feel like a continuous moment of solidarity.

The Visual Gag Level Up

Another thing that Kaguya-sama has always been good at is visual gags. Its ability to utilize moments of extreme sakuga and other weird references to tell a joke is second maybe only to a few others. Much like the previously mentioned character development, the visual gags of season three have only gotten funnier.

One of my personal favorites comes from Maki during the early to mid part of the season, where Ishigami tries to protect her from playing her erotic relaxation soundtrack out loud because she forgot to plug in her headphones, meanwhile the image of cute boys is constantly appearing in her head.

Kaguya’s facial expressions are also amongst my favorite, as she can often go from menacing psychopath to adorable gremlin in a matter of frames. The thing that makes it even more humorous is when the series ops to cut in the moments of heaviness with these strange visual gags, which can certainly feel jarring if done poorly, but is almost always on point.

The Finale/Confession

The climax of the series’ cultural festival arc is one that I did not see coming even despite how obvious it was that something was going to happen. In a final bid to get Kaguya to confess, Shirogane undergoes a secret identity of the phantom thief, leading everyone around so that he can have his moment with Kaguya, and while neither actual confess, they do share a kiss under the thousands of heart-shaped balloons which he had risen up from the campfire below.

Again I am not gonna pretend like I did not see it coming. It is literally in the premise of the show that it was going to happen eventually. However, I am a strong believer in the idea that a plot point being obvious is not necessarily bad as long as it is executed well, which this flashy display of romance most certainly was.

Conclusion

There is not much to comment I that I have not praised the series for before, and on top of that, it has been confirmed that another anime-related project is in the works, which likely means either season four or a sequel movie. Season three was exciting, charming, and overall everything that I could have wanted from the series in its latest incarnation.

91/100


How did you all feel about Kaguya-sama: Love is War? 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!

Attack on Titan Final Season: Episodes 64-67

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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It is once again time to talk about everyone’s favorite dumpster fire: Attack on Titan. The first part is a joke, obviously, because the series has been amazing. These next four episodes have continued to impress as well, highlighting the chaos that has come from the Marleyian government and its focus from the rest of the world.

As it worked out, these next four episodes covered what ended up being a pretty big reveal, not that it was not obvious anyway. As it turns out, the older man that Falco was helping deliver letters outside of the camp was Eren, who managed to sneak in through the military. Eren and the others use the power of the titans to launch a surprise attack inside the camp, on the night that the head of the Tyburs made his big speech.

Again, what surprised me about these episodes is not necessarily the reveal itself or what happened after, but how it happened. While it certainly makes sense after the fact, Eren confronting Reiner directly was not something that I was anticipating. It felt like something that would have happened near the end of the season, rather than it its first quarter. Still, it was a surprisingly powerful moment, one in which neither character came out looking morally good but certainly the emotion behind it was there.

As for the fighting that happened after…look, if there is one thing that I can count on AOT for its some damn good looking fight scenes. Seeing two giant monster swing at each other is always going to be fun as long as there is some reasonable context behind it. On top of that, the lighting in most of these scenes gives off the feeling of war movies set in enemy territory at night, and it absolutely nails the tense atmosphere that comes with those settings. People and titans are moving quickly and often the only light comes from gunshots and the fires burning just a few hundred feet away.

Another element of warfare that Attack on Titan does fairly well is the strategy. A good battle scene not only gets the audience invested in what is happening immediately but subtely draws their attention away from things that they might have lingered on otherwise. A good example of this comes in the middle of the fight between the Eldian titans and Eren, when unbeknowst to everyone else, Armin was getting ready to set of the Fat Guy level bomb that is the Colossal Titan, destroying an entire bay of ships.

The only thing that feels somewhat protest worthy is the character development of Gabi. Whereas Falco has fairly clear motivations for his actions at this point in the series, Gabi, who is important enough to be considered the next Armored Titan, does not give me that same feeling. The episodes this week helped with that a fair amount, which is why I would not consider it a big deal, but I do hope she gets a little bit more development before they inevitably kill her off.

At least, those are the vibes I get from the season thus far. On top of Gabi and Falco’s suicide mission into the blimp and procedeing murder of Sasha, there is also the reveal of Zeke working for Eren and the others. I would be lying if I said that this made total sense to me, but it did happen in the last five minutes of the last episode I happened to watch, so judgement will be reserved for next week’s episodes.


Have you finished season four already? Have you yet to even watch Attack on Titan? Are you a clearly superior manga reader who already knows what’s going to happen? Let me know down in the comments, but please avoid spoilers, for my sake and others.

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 cotinuing to support 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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