Tag Archives: Manga

The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Shouya Ishida

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Well, before we start, I just want to say thank you to everyone, because our review of “A Silent Voice” from nearly a year and a half ago has hit over 2,000 views. Not really sure what specifically is bringing people back to it, though I will say that I am happy about it because that is one of my better reviews that I have written.

While this post is not exactly related to the review, seeing people come back to it this much has made me think about the film a lot recently. Plus, since I have not done one of these in a while, I figured it would be a good idea to come back to “A Silent Voice” while it is still on my mind.

Shouya is a character that, in a lot of ways, represents ignorance about the Deaf community. Now, I want to make this perfectly clear, I myself am not immune to this ignorance in any way, and still have had very little contact with that community. However, there are plenty others who have been insolated from this group entirely, despite the fact that the make up a significantly larger portion of the population than one might expect.

Shouya starts out as just another student, ignorant of Shouko’s situation, and who becomes a bully not out of any particular dislike for her, but simply because of peer pressure, so much so that he ends up being one of the main culprits by the end. In fact, the bullying gets so bad that Shouko is forced to move to another school, and Shouya is scapegoated by all the kids in his class. He himself then becomes the target of the same bullying he inflicted on Shouko.

Fast forward to high school age Shouya, where he attempts to commit suicide, but backs out at the last second, only for his mother to find out and chastise him for it, as well as accidentally burn all of his life savings. After being brought back to his senses, he then makes it his mission to apologize to Shouko, or something like that? He feels unclear at the beginning.

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Shouya is a flawed individual. I do not think anyone is going to argue this, however those who do not feel this way are more than welcome to try and argue in the comments. Even he recognizes that his desire to reconnect with Shouko is at least partially borne out of wanting to feel better about himself, and this selfishness definitely comes at the cost of making her a bit uncomfortable, and potentially even spurring on her suicide attempt at the end of the film.

Once criticism that I have seen made of Shouko is that she is stereotypical in her damsel in distress archetype, and while I do not necessarily disagree, it does not paint a full picture. This is because Shouya is actually the one who is saved throughout the film. Even before the two had met as high schoolers, it was the thought of his horrible actions against her that kept him alive. After all the time the two spend together, it is ultimately she that becomes his savior, and gives him a reason to live again.

Shouya’s journey in “A Silent Voice,” while indeed romanticized in a way that feels unfair to Shouko, is somewhat allegorical to the journey many people have taken in our modern social environment. The tendency of many to otherize people based on characteristics largely outside of their control is one that has ruled human history, and it is only relatively recently that societies have engaged on a large scale with the idea that this otherization is wrong. Whether it be members of the Deaf community or any other marginalized group, it is important to realize the impact of our words and actions on others.


How do you feel about Shouya Ishida? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Does Anime Need to Change?

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As a teenage boy and a younger fan of anime, there were a lot of things that I used to not really think about when it came to the medium. Whether it be the art style which was significantly different to almost anything on TV at the time, or the diversity in topic and storytelling, anime always felt like a breath of fresh air. Sure, I enjoyed a lot of American cartoons and TV shows, but something about anime, much like with other people, really resonated with me.

Even now, as my attention span has shortened significantly and it has become a lot harder to sit down and focus on a single series, anime is still one of my obsessions. However, as is the case when people grow older, our views of the things we hold dear begin to change, and the types of anime which are most interesting change with them.

A recent video made by Gigguk sparked a bit of discussion online after he asked a producer at Studio J.C. Staff whether or not international fans have any effect on production, to which the producer basically said, “no, not really.” There emerged to major sides to the discussion. One side was happy with the response, arguing that a lot of western fans of anime only serve to change anime for the worse. On the other side, there were…well, people saying the opposite? To be honest, it mainly felt like an excuse for right-wing anime fans to air their grievances about SJWs or whatever.

Now, when having conversations like this, it is always important to separate the questions we’re trying to answer. The first is a question of empiricism, i.e. “Do international fans affect production?” It may be true that for J.C. Staff specifically that international fans do not have much sway in their numbers, but for a Studio like bones, which not only debuted “Space Dandy” in the west before airing it in Japan, and which also oversees IPs such as “My Hero Academia” and “Godzilla,” the answer is probably quite a bit different.

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The second question is one of purpose or principal, in other words “Should international fans affect production,” to which the answer there is…it depends. At the end of the day, anime studios are businesses, and like any business in a capitalist system, they ultimately have to balance their principles with their need to make a profit. From their perspective, its a pretty simple math problem. Material aimed at a more international audience equals a larger potential fan base which equals more potential money.

Now, of course, it is a bit more complicated than that. While it is true that a series like Demon Slayer is much more likely to garner an international audience than say your typical ecchi harem series, the audience of that ecchi harem series is also much more likely to sink a couple hundred dollars into figurines and merchandise, because well, anime girls are attractive. Since studios do not often make much off the production itself, and rely on merchandise sales in order to recoup a lot of the initial cost, it makes a lot of sense why they would cater to an established audience. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the business model itself and just how much of a cut places like Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Netflix take, but that is somewhat of a separate topic.

Personally, while I understand why studios adapt the material that they do, the amount of “comedic misunderstandings” that occur in any given episode, even in shows that are primarily not about romance or sex, is annoying. So, as for my answer to this post’s question, yeah there are a number of things that could be changed about anime, whether it be the overuse of sexual comedy or the frankly alarming amount of underage-looking characters that appear in these situations.


While this is my genuine opinion, I wrote this post more as a launching board for discussion, so please do let me know how you feel down in the comments below, as there seems to be a lot of room for nuance on this topic.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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The Observation Deck: Beastars Season 2

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

“Finally…my suffering is over…I can be free again…”

“omg what happened?”

“I watched “Beastars” season 2…”

“Beastars” is a show that continues to exist, and will continue into the future since it has already been confirmed for a third season by Studio Orange. Joy. Now, you as the reader may be asking, “Jack, if you did not like the show that much, why continue to watch it?” Well, unfortunately I like to dabble in a bit of masochism every now and again, and when I saw that the second season would be on Netflix this month, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity.

However, now that the second season is done, so too is the masochism, and now I can get down to brass tacks. Aside from the masochism there is really only one reason I would watch the series again: to talk about how aggressively awful it continues to be.

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The Dub

While I did not talk about it last time, I actually watched both seasons in their English dub. The first season is because at the time I just felt like watching a dubbed anime, and the second season is because I do not like switching languages once I start an anime. Sub versus dub discourse aside, I actually find the English voices to be one of the more tolerable elements of the show.

Almost everyone was cast really well, from the smooth voice of Legoshi, voiced by Jonah Hill, to the rougher, more grizzly voices of both Gouhin and Ritz. Even the nasal tone of Haru works a lot better than it probably should. In all honestly, the only voice that didn’t absolutely blow me away was Lauren Landa playing Juno, and even then she did not do a bad job by any means.

Seriously, What is this Story?

Shameless plug, but for those who have not read my review of season one, I recommend checking that out as well, if you feel like reading the same opinions twice.

I had an argument with someone on that post who basically said that the story makes more sense if I wait for next arc, and so I did. Now, I cannot really be angry, since I was planning on watching the next season when it came out anyway, but I do feel a bit lied to, and by a bit I mean a lot, because this was ABSOLUTELY NOT better than the first season.

Man, where do I begin. I probably should have been taking notes while I was watching cause there are just so many things that do not make sense, and have continued to not make sense. First of all, why does this show insist on introducing things at the beginning of the season only to not touch on them again at all the same season. Like, the anime literally introduces a giant snake security guard that convinces Legoshi to pursue Tem’s killer only to just disappear completely by episode three. Like, ???

Second, if “Beastars” was trying to make some grand social commentary in the first season, it almost completely abandons that idea in the second. Again, the anime is trying to split the difference between “Twilight” and “Zootopia” and thus far as inherited the strengths of neither, basically relying on the viewer to just not think about it to much and buy into all of the carnivorous brooding of its main characters. Speaking of,

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Jesus Christ, These Characters…

Honest question: am I supposed to like any of these people? Do not misunderstand me, of course I want there to be more complex characters, and having defined heroes and villains is not always better for a story, especially one which is relying on the straining relationships of its cast. However, while its important for their to be conflict between characters, at the end of the day, they do need to be at least a little bit likeable, or even just interesting for me to care about them.

Sadly, a pretty large percentage of the cast falls into neither of those categories. I talked about how Legoshi’s entire persona is basically just a fedora wearing nice guy, but like, the others are pretty bad too. Louis comes off as an asshole for most of the series until suddenly he and Legoshi are on good terms? Haru never even really felt like a character to me, probably because the show plays way to hard into Legoshi’s fantasy of protecting thy fair maiden. In fact, the only reason the two have a relationship in the first place is because Haru decided to go down on him as thanks for helping her club.

As much as I wanted to like these characters, (mainly because I have now sunk a collective 10+ hours into this series), I just cannot give them any credit. They feel both underwritten and overwritten at the same time, and because of the anime’s terrible worldbuilding and story, none of them come off as well done characters.

The Music and CG are Still Good, at Least

Apart from the dub, “Beastars” has two other solid qualities: Its soundtrack and its animation. As far as its music goes, the series does a great job supporting its abyssmal writing with some genuinely engaging jazz tracks. From its instrumental pieces produced by Satoru Kosaki, to the talented vocalists who appear scattered throughout, it is a genuinely nice distraction while watching.

Studio Orange also continues their great work in the realm of 3D animation. There is genuinely not a bad looking scene in the entire second season, and the fusion of 2D elements and backgrounds with the largely 3D characters is genuinely impressive. While I still have yet to warm up to the use of 3D in anime as a whole, I certainly have hope for what Studio Orange can do in the future.

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Conclusion

To tell the truth, as a critic, I am relatively easy to please. Just give me an interesting enough premise with a passable execution in the writing, along with some good visuals and ok music, and I will generally be happy. I mean, that is what happened with “Gleipnir” and I will still defend that show as being kind of underrated. “Beastars” cannot even manage that, with its terrible world, sometimes cringe and sometimes boring characters, and ham-fisted attempt at “societal” commentary. There is only so much one person can do pretty up a garbage can.


How do you all feel about “Beastars?” Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

The Observation Deck: Barakamon

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ok, I promise I’ll start covering seasonal stuff soon.

A realization that I have had over the last few weeks is that, while I enjoy keeping up with a few seasonal things, trying to cover everything just gets incredibly frustrating, at least in the sense that it is hard to keep up. Every so often, I find myself scrolling through either Crunchyroll or Funimation’s catalog just to see what is there, and I remember there is so much stuff from previous seasons that I never got the chance to watch. Thus, I decided to finally start catching up on some of these older series, starting with “Barakamon.”

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Comedy in Anime Vs Barakamon

A lot of comedy in anime can be boiled down to “comedic misunderstandings,” in which a given character is caught in a situation that, without, or sometimes even with context, looks really bad. While this type of humor is funny on occasion, it feels like it saturates certain shows to the point of being incredibly dull. Luckily, “Barakamon’s” comedy is a bit more original, and more often than not centers itself around the main character’s personality, as well as his lack of understanding of rural Japan.

A good example of this comes in one of the later episodes, as the village leader asks Handa and the older kids to watch the little ones at the beach. The major running gag of the episode is Handa not only having never been to a rockier beach before, but continually running over the rocks and slipping, despite Miwa saying it should only happen once. The episode even ends on Handa running after Naru, who is jumping off the pier, in order to keep her out of danger. However, he himself slips on the rocks and gets knocked out while Naru is fine.

Ultimately, comedy is, to a large extent, subjective. What I find funny is not necessarily going to be the same as what someone else finds funny, and one person’s “boring misunderstanding” could be another’s genius. However, I do think analyzing how a show’s comedy functions within a series is important. Good comedy will make a person laugh, sure, but great comedy will accomplish other things, in addition to making someone laugh.

Handa the Great?

“Barakamon,” while being a comedy series, is also largely about Handa’s development as a person. As the series begins, We come to understand that Handa is a bit entitled. His father was a master calligrapher, and he has been praised for all throughout his life. So, when the director of the calligraphy organization tells him his work is mediocre, Handa feels as though his identity is being attacked. It is actually a very similar arc to the one that Koko goes through in the series “Golden Time,” as she feels like her identity is under attack when Mitsuo, her childhood friend, rejects her romantic advances.

Given the seriousness of assaulting another person, and not understanding the consequences that come with that, Handa’s father forces him to move out of Tokyo and reflect on his actions. Part of me does find it weird that the people of Goto are so quick to welcome him into the community despite knowing what he did, and even let their kids just go freely over to his house. Granted, having a connection to the community through his father probably helps, but initially, at least it feels wrong.

Part of this, at least, comes from another fairly unexplored theme in the anime: Handa’s relationship with his father. Much of this is due to the fact that his “textbook” style of calligraphy is his father’s. However, living among an entirely different group of people helps Handa to re-evaluate not just himself as a person, but also his writing. Handa soon begins creating out of genuine passion rather than a sense of “what is correct calligraphy?”

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A New Family

Instrumental to that previously mentioned development is the new community Handa finds himself around. The calligraphy prodigy also has a bias towards the people of Goto at the beginning, thinking them to be just a bunch of country hicks. However, the kindness they offered him unconditionally quickly changes his attitude. From the whole town helping him move his stuff inside the house, to Hiroshi bringing him home-cooked meals, to the middle school girls always always checking in to make sure he is ok.

Then there is Naru, one of the show’s more recognizable characters. The mischievous first grader is always running around Handa’s house and causing trouble. While it is never directly stated in the anime, it is heavily implied in one of the latter episodes that Naru’s parents are not around. This, combined with Naru taking a liking to Handa while he stays there, turns Handa into something of a father figure for her. It is through Naru, as well as the other small kids, that Handa seems to grow the most, as he comes to realize his own lack of maturity.

Conclusion

There is a lot to appreciate about Barakamon. Its comedy and characters are top notch, and the way it implements both character and thematic development into that comedy creates a wonderfully paced story that is unfortunately without a second season. I have yet to read the manga, but if there were ever a case for picking it up after an anime, it would definitely be for a series like this.


How do you feel about “Barakamon?” Let me know in the comments below

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Reacting to the Chainsaw Man Anime Trailer (Video)

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This week, while I am working on other projects and trying to get better at video editing, I decided to do a quick reaction to the latest trailer for the upcoming anime production of Chainsaw Man. Check it out!

If you like this video, be sure to subscribe to Animated Observations for more!


How do you all feel about “Chainsaw Man?” Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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Final Thoughts: Don’t Mess With Me, Nagatoro!

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It feels weird to admit that I sat at my desk for almost an hour before actually starting to write this review, not because I was nervous about it, but rather because it felt like there was almost nothing to say about it. Normally, when I start writing about a series, I at least have an idea of what to say and just formulate the review around those ideas. However, this time around, it felt like there was almost nothing to talk about.

Like, really, what is there to say about “Don’t Mess With Me, Nagatoro,” a series so obviously created with little to interest in storytelling or good character development, and was almost certainly created as overpriced troll in an attempt to retain a certain audience of hysterical culture war defenders who are much more in line with the owning the libs types than anything else? Now, this is not to say everyone who watched and enjoyed the show did so for that reason, but it is to say that people of a certain variety are much more likely to have enjoyed it.

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I realize that last paragraph may come off as unnecessarily inflammatory, and it probably is. So, is there anything worth saying about the series, positive or negative?

Well, if there is one thing worth praising about the series, it might actually be Nagatoro’s friends. For as one note and lackluster as the comedy is overall, dumb, dumber, and dumbest actually did have a fair number of good moments. Not only that, their comedic timing was just off-kilter enough to get a couple of legit laughs out of me.

As for negatives, well…it all just feels kind of lazy. From the reusing of animations from the series in the show’s opening to the constant overuse of jokes throughout the series. Again, I might have more good will towards the show if it did not feel like the most obvious bait in the world.

Overall, man I just do not care. There are so many other anime that could better occupy your time, do not spend it watching this nothing of a series.


How do you guys feel about “Nagatoro?” Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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May 2021 Jon’s Creator Showcase #TheJCS

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

and an extra special welcome to everyone who helped make this month’s #TheJCS a success. I was initially a bit worried that, because I had never hosted before that regular submitters to the event might not know thus we would have a depressed turnout. However, this does not appear to be the case, as the event this month still had a wide variety of unique and interesting submissions.

If you are popping in for the first time and are unaware what exactly #TheJCS is, I would encourage you to read the announcement post I did earlier this month, which has an in depth explanation. However, in summary, Jon’s Creator Showcase, or #TheJCS as it is more commonly referred to, is an even in which people submit blog posts, YouTube Videos, Podcasts, etc and aims to celebrate the creative endeavors of those who submit.

So, without further adu, here are this months submitted posts.


Anime: A Variation on the Faust Theme – Fred Heiser/Au Natural

Given how much anime there is in existence now, and how much comes out even on a seasonal basis, it can be pretty easy to forget that which is a bit passed our time. In this post, Fred Heiser of Au Natural looks at the anime film “Belladonna of Sadness,” which came in 1973 and was directed by Eiichi Yamamoto. As Heiser explains in his post, this was not exactly a film for a general audience, ending up a commercial flop. However, hidden behind that deceiving fact is a film that will, quite frankly, have you tripping balls. “Belladonna of Sadness” tells a Faustian tale about a young woman who tries to marry a young farm hand. However, the local lord isn’t to happy about this. Lets just say this movie has love, sex, revenge, devils, and some…strange animation. Heiser’s post does a much better job giving the Juicy dets, so go check it out.

Log Horizon: Three Meals and a Nap – Scott/Mechanical Anime Reviews

Despite having not yet seen season three, I consider “Log Horizon” to be one of my favorite series of all time. The adventuring, the world building, the politics: all of it comes together in a way that is engaging on multiple levels. Princess Raynesia is a character I honestly have never thought too highly of. However, Scott’s post provides a great argument for why she is not only more relatable to the general audience, but arguably goes through more of a struggle over the course of the series. Go watch “Log Horizon” and go read this post as well.

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Top 20 Best Vampire Anime of All Time – YumDeku/MyAnimeGo

I’ll admit that the vampire subgenre is not one I have payed to much attention to when it comes to anime, or any medium for that matter. However, YumDeku has compiled an interesting list to say the least. The rankings themselves are not something I feel comfortable commenting on too heavily, again, because I have yet to see most of these shows. However, As someone who has seen both “Blood+” and “Hellsing,” I appreciate their inclusion on this list. If vampires in anime are something that takes your interest, definitely give this a read.

Rating All the #AniTwitWatches Anime – Aria(MagicConan)/The Animanga Spellbook

If you are not familiar, #Anitwitwatches is another even hosted by the wonderful Jon Spencer, who is the original creator of this event, in which people follow a chosen anime on a weekly basis and post their thoughts on twitter dot com. The event has been going on for quite a while, and thus their are a lot of anime that the #Anitwitwatches group has covered. At least as far as the shows I have also seen, it seems as though Aria does a great job of critiquing the shows’ various strengths and weaknesses. For those who have yet to participate in #Anitwitwatches, definitely consider checking it out, and give Aria’s post a read as well.

Houkago Tea Time’s Real Life Visit to London, England: An Oculus-Powered Armchair Journey of K-On! The Movie – Infinite Zenith/The Infinite Zenith

It is a well known fact that many backgrounds in anime are based on real life places found around Japan. However, as Infinite Zenith explains in this post, that dedication to accuracy extends even to productions set outside of Japan. In the K-On movie, the light music club girls take a sporadic graduation trip to London. Using the historical accuracy of Google Maps and the Oculus Quest, Zenith takes a journey down memory lane, exploring the real life set pieces that became the inspiration for the girls’ English adventure. Posts like these are always interesting to me because, while the backgrounds may not be “original,” it does show a dedication to accuracy that is really inspiring. Putting this together was probably not all that easy, even with the available technology, so please go show this post some love.

Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel III. Spring Song Anime Film Review – Yu Alexis/Yu Alexis

If there is a franchise that I am arguably most excited to continue explore during this year, it is the “Fate/” series, without question. “Fate/Zero” was a time and a half, and Unlimited Blade Works genuinely had my heart racing at some points. As Yu Alexis points out in her post, a lot of this is thanks to UFOtable, who has done absolute wonders for the franchise as a whole. One of the only “Fate/” related media I have yet to see, however, are the Sakura focused trilogy series. Now, do not get me wrong, I was always planning on seeing them once the third film had been released. However, Yu Alexis’ post has made me want to speed that process along, as it feels like they really get at the heart of what makes the movie good. A fantastic review, to be sure.

Wonder Egg Priority: Scrambled Ambition – Dewbond/Shallow Dives in Anime

As my own review of the series can attest, “Wonder Egg Priority” is a complicated show, to say the least. On the one hand, its tackling of these darker themes of anxiety, depression, and suicide in younger girls is incredibly admirable. Even after the show’s finale, I still think it is one of the selling points of the series. However, as Dewbond rightly points out, ideas are only ever going to get a series so far. A good show has to stand on the merit of its execution, and unfortunately “Wonder Egg Priority’s” legs here are shaking at best. Dewbond does a fantastic job of pointing out how, despite 10 or so episodes of relatively good storytelling, a good portion of that good will is thrown out in the final two episodes, where it seems the writers just forgot how much time they actually had, and did their best to throw together an ending that would (maybe) make sense? It is unfortunate to see this much potential be wasted, but the reality is that the series ended up falling flat on its face.

Wonder Egg Priority (Anime) Review – Snow/Well, Are They?

I used to be of the mind set that the ending was really important. While endings are important, and though “Wonder Egg Priority certainly collapsed quite a bit in its ending, It is worth pointing out how much good their was in its execution in other areas. The animation was good in almost every aspect, from character design to sakuga, and, even if they were not necessarily handled in the best way possible, the personal conflicts each of the girls go through is fairly well done. Is the show perfect? Far from it, but Snow does a great job pointing out the series’ better aspects. Definitely give her review a read.

Fruits Basket – The Final Episode 4 Review – The Heart Of Darkness – Crow/Crow’s World of Anime

It feels weird to say, but I honestly have not kept up with the new “Fruits Basket” since before the pandemic, which is weird because I was genuinely excited for this remake. Unfortunately, it is now on a long list of series that have been circumstantially backlogged until further notice. However, Crow’s write up of episode four is extremely detailed. Not only do they do an excellent job of summarizing the episodes events, but reading about the show’s final season has me all the more excited for when I do finally continue the series.

Goodbye, Osamu Kobayashi – Jessi Silver/Season 1 Episode 1

There have been many tragic passing’s in the last few years, both in the anime industry and out of it. From the death of basketball star Kobe Briant and beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, to the death of Isao Takahata, a founder and director at Studio Ghibli. However, someone I was not aware of was director Osamu Kobayashi. Kobayashi not only helmed some notable series such as “Paradise Kiss” and “Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad,” but had his hand in many other projects, including most recently before his passing “Dorororo.” Learning about a standout figure after their passing always feels a bit bittersweet. However, I can tell that this was both a lovely tribute and an extremely personal post.

Who’s the New Higurashi For? – Jon Spencer/Jon Spencer Reviews

Founder of the #TheJCS is back with a brand new video, breaking down the first season of the newest iteration in the “Higurashi” franchise, “Higurashi: Gou.” However, given the story that has told already with the original series and the follow-up “Kai,” Jon asks a serious question: who is “Gou” even meant for? As someone who saw the original Higurashi and most of “Kai,” I was a bit confused when I learned the newest series was not a direct remake. While updated visuals and music are certainly nice for a series like this (I’m still thinking about Rena’s eyes in the third episode, man that was creepy), I ultimately have to agree that the show just ends up pleasing nobody.

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“Love me cancerously… She moves through moonbeams slowly. She knows just how to hold me.” — CMV/AMV Saturday (04/10/21) – Shoujo/Shoujo Thoughts: Otaku Ramblings

Cosplay is not one of those areas that I do not feel all too familiar with. However, I think even for those who are not familiar with it, it is pretty easy to tell when its being done incredibly well. Shoujo’s post shows off professional cosplay partners Svattii and Mishkali, and their Cosplay Music Video (CMV) “Love Me Death Note.” I am really glad that Shoujo decided to submit this because this is a genre of video I was not aware even existed. Well, at least now I know how I can spend my evenings other than watching random gameplay videos.

Anime Corner: Talentless Nana Review – Chris Joynson/Never Argue with a Fish

Good thing I never do, haha!…ok, yeah I’ll see myself out. While I am generally pretty aware of most of the series that come out in any given season, this one flew completely under my radar. Like, so far under that I was surprised to read it came out within the last year. Anyway, their are a lot of ways to do a good first episode, surprise twists are always a strong option (I am still thinking about the first episode of Invincible from earlier this year). While the plot description initially bored me, Joynson’s review felt fairly convincing, enough so that I will probably give this series a shot in the near future. Well done.

MOVIE REVIEW: THE WONDERLAND – Emiko/Emiko the Writer

“The Wonderland” is another project that completely slipped under the radar for me, probably because my anime movie ecosystem for the last few years has mainly been a mix of Ghibli, Hosoda, and Shinkai. Still, that feels a lot more like my fault than anything else. Emiko, on the other hand, has ear on the pulse, as far as some of the more low-key projects go. Reading her thoughts is interesting, as it seems like this film has its share of strong and weak points worth considering. Given its aim at younger audiences, it might still end up a bit boring, but it also might end up being fun regardless.

NANA – Anime Playlist – Derek Lyons/Apprentice Mages Lounge

While this is not a universally law, and there are certainly series who break this rule, it feels like anime that focus on music as part of their core story tend to have better soundtracks. A good example of this is the recent show “Carole and Tuesday.” Like, maybe it had a couple of misses, but in general it was just banger after banger. I imagine I will probably have a similar opinion of “NANA” once I actually get around to watching it. Luckily, Derek Lyons put together an excellent sampler of the series’ musical selection and…yeah, its just really good. In general, the series seems to have a solid variety of Japanese rock. For those who, like me, are not super familiar with the series and want a sense of what the show is like music wise, definitely give this post a look.

The Way of the Househusband Netflix Anime – Final Thoughts – Rose/Wretched and Divine

I think its fair to say that most people had a less than excited reaction to finding out that “The Way of the Househusband” would not be a full anime, but rather an “animated comic” or whatever precursor they decided to use as a shorthand for not being fully animated. However, as Rose points out, there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had with the Netflix adaptation. The comedy still mostly lands, and worse case scenario you have only spent about 2-3 hours watching the series.

Edward and Alphonse Elric: How to Create Believable Brothers in Fiction – Jonah Hunt/Jonah’s Daily Rants

Jonah Hunt is absolutely right when he says that depicting brotherly relations in writing is hard. I will even take it a step further and say that portraying relationships in general without coming across as stiff and off-putting is extremely difficult. However, as his article quite excellently dissects, Fullmetal Alchemist knows how to explore the depth of Edward and Alphonse’s relationship. The fact that they are connected by a shared trauma makes it much more logical that they spend an extended amount of time together looking for a way to get their bodies back. Overall, this is a great analysis and worthy of a read.

Autism in Video Games – Megan/Nerd Rambles

In a world where entertainment. as well as media more broadly speaking, is becoming more and more influential in the daily lives of everyday people, it would seem to make sense that media should reflect the diversity that exists among people, no? Well, as Megan points out one group who seems to be lacking in representation, at least as far as video games go, is people on the Autism spectrum. Representation is a topic I care a lot about, and, if I am being completely honest, her post opened me up to a blindside I did not know I had. Its true: video games feel lacking in explicit representation for people on the spectrum, and that should change.

IN MY VIEW: ANIME AND GAMING MEDIA – Iniksbane/In Search of Number 9

I was honestly expecting to have a few more disagreements with the arguments being made. However, while I could nitpick about exactly how much responsibility a writer has compared to their editor in any given situation, It feels pretty hard to disagree with Iniksbane’s take here. As the competition for attention and retention gets fiercer and more data driven, companies will inevitably start dipping their toes in other waters. While gaming outlets writing about anime is not that new, It does not help their case for quality when every few months another inflammatory article gets written that gets a lot of basic things wrong. This well thought out and understanding piece is definitely worth a read.

Discussion: Does Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe deserve a second chance? – Matt/Matt-in-the-Hat

While I have been interested and involved in the FGC for some time now, Mortal Kombat and the DC aligned fighting games were not an area that I took a strong liking too. However, that is not to say a revived crossover between the two would not be interesting. Matt not only goes over the long and varied history of Midway Games, the original studio behind the “Mortal Kombat” series, but uses the studio’s history to assess whether or not a reboot of the original crossover game “Morkat Kombat vs DC Universe” is possible. Given DC’s darker direction in the last couple years, it certainly would not feel out of place. Additionally, given the popularity of those franchises, a competitive game involving the two would likely draw a lot of eyes and potential for big deals. Overall, it feels like a reboot would be a win-win for everyone.

DOOM Slayer Promo (DOOM Eternal) | The Cyber Den – Jake Parr/Jake the Voice

I imagine that getting to interview someone whose work you appreciate is a big deal. While “DOOM was never much of a big deal for me, and still really is not, It is a massively important series to a lot of people. I also cannot say I have heard to many interview promos, but this sounds truly epic, in every sense of the word. Matthew Waterson’s voice as the “DOOM” guy is incredibly awesome to listen to, and does a great job of selling the identity of “DOOM” as a franchise. The full interview is also out on Jake’s Channel, so if you want to go listen to that as well, than feel free.

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Transistor – Basscape/The Almighty Backlog

If you want to read a reviewer who just knows what they are talking about when it comes to games, give Basscape’s blog “The Almighty Backlog” a read. This review of “Transistor” from game studio Supergiant is not only incredibly educational and interesting, but feels articulate in a way that makes me feel like I have so much more to learn about games and even how to write reviews. Needless to say I have been convinced on giving “Transistor” a try at some point, but please do drop this man a follow. Absolutely deserved.

FNaF: Security Breach Fan Theory: Gregory Is Vanny’s Adopted Son – Matt Doyle/Matt Doyle Media

The last time I made a serious attempt to keep up with “Five Nights at Freddy’s” lore was in like early 2019. However, that does not mean I do not find the series to be interesting, quite the opposite actually. What started as just an indie horror game made by an almost failed Christian game designer has turned into an entire universe, with people of all different backgrounds coming together to try and figure out what the hell is even going on. Even despite how much information I am missing, reading fan theories like Matt’s is incredibly fun. For those actual “FNAF” fans who are curious, give this post a read.

Indietail – Ape Out – MagiWasTaken/Indiecator

You ever just wanna go absolutely ape? no, but like literally? Well, luckily for you, there is a solution. Gaming blogger MagiWasTaken has an excellent review of “Ape Out,” a top-down, beat-em-up which focuses on the player controlling a gorilla and attempting to take out a number of guards in order to escape. he also do an excellent job of identifying how the soundtrack interacts with the game as a whole. Never thought I would read “ape” and “free form jazz” in an indie game review, but now anyone who gives this review a read can say they have, so go check it out.

BL Metamorphosis: A Blossoming Relationship || Manga First Impressions – Takuto/Takuto’s Anime Cafe

I’ll be the first to admit that BL is not exactly my preferred genre. This is probably incredibly shocking coming from a Cishetero dude, I know. However, “BL Metamorphosis” is a series I could see myself genuinely enjoying. Stories about people of vastly different age groups and backgrounds enjoying something together unashamedly are ones that do not feel like they get told all too often. Whether someone is 15 or 50, 45 or 75, there should not be shame in picking up a new hobby, or enjoying something that would not necessarily be targeted at them. So yeah, Takuto does a great job at selling the story of this series and I for one can certainly see myself picking up “BL Metamorphosis” in the near future.

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The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent (Manga) Vol 1-2 Review – Al/ Al’s Manga Blog

A female main character in an isekai who is not defined solely or even primarily by her physical attractiveness? I am interested already. I have been seeing a lot more promotion for this series as of late, and given how Al describes it, I can certainly understand why. This is the type Isekai that honestly feels pretty targeted at me, one because ya boy likes his romantic storylines, and two because these more daunting questions of hidden identities create a lot of potential for big twists down the line. From what I can tell the art is also pretty solid too, which is always a bonus. Overall, this is just a great write-up of the series and definitely will get added to my to read list.

I Hear the Sunspot: Limit Manga Volumes 1-3 Series Review – Ziebruh/Bloom Reviews

There is always a lot to say about series that center the experiences of social minorities and their experiences. Sometimes it can be done well, and other times no so much. However, Ziebruh does a great job at explaining not only the success in “I Hear the Sunspot’s” telling of this kind of story, but also how it is good outside of that framework. While it is always important for reviewers to talk about the underlying sentiments and themes of a work, it is equally important to talk about the story’s actually quality. This is a review that balances both incredibly well.

Anime Discussion: Relating to Fruits basket on a Personal Level – Art of Anime

It is always depressing, but also eye-opening to watch a slice of life/drama story and think about the very real experiences that probably, at least in part, influenced those stories. It is even moreso to read other people’s direct accounts of how true that actually is. As somone who grew up in a relatively privileged position on the economic and social scale, I have to remind myself fairly often that my lived experiences are not other peoples, and many have struggled to even get where they are today. Needless to say that Art of Anime does an amazing job talking about their lived experiences and contextualizing them against a series that should feel more fiction than fact, but making that out to be not the case. Please give this a read and send them a virtual hug while you are at it.

My Guide to Level 30! – Sailor Otome/The Pretty Blerd Guardian

Being an adult is hard. You suddenly are forced to worry about things that were previously insignificant details on your journey through childhood. It becomes even harder when forced to deal with people judging your interests, multiplied by factors of identity that you have no control over. The nerd experience is different for people depending on how they were born, and aging only adds to that disparity. Sailor Otome’s post is one that combines these experiences in a self-reflecting essay which is genuinely heartwarming and encouraging to read. Anyone who is feeling bad about being a nerd as an adult should read this post.

My History with Slimes – Nabe-chan/Geek Nabe

One of the most, if not the most repetitive enemy archetype JRPGs are slimes. They take a variety of forms, whether they be giant monsters or just little blops jumping on the ground. This is a really interesting post because It feels as though most people tend to have a connection with specific archetypes, whether they be characters, monsters, settings. Everyone just has that one aesthetic that really resonates with them, and it was interesting to read about Nabe’s relationship with slimes, especially considering the recent boom in popularity for video game themed isekai.


Just wanna say thank you to everyone who submitted this month and helped make my first ever Jon’s Creator Showcase a success. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any “March Comes in Like a Lion” posts this time around. I guess I just need to shill a bit harder, hehe. Not sure when I will be hosting again in the future, but I do know that Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews will be hosting next month’s Showcase. Also, if you did not get a chance to see last month’s, go check out the April 2021 #TheJCS hosted by Crimson of A Nerdy Fujo Cries.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Final Thoughts: Horimiya

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Literally one of the best romances of the past decade and now its just over…sigh…

Anyway, onto the review.

As much as I enjoy anime romance, still probably to an unhealthy degree, one of the things that has always bothered me about this genre of anime is just how fake it can feel. The constant back and forth, will they, won’t they, never actually getting together only for the main characters to, maybe, hold hands at the end of the first season. Its never satisfying, both on a self-fulfillment level and on a story level. Some of it is understandable, because a not insignificant portion of the audience is younger girls, and that kind of awkwardness is, in a lot of ways more relatable. However, it still feels really bad when you invest 3-6 hours in a story only for their to be no resolution.

“Horimiya,” thankfully, does not have this problem, and is, in a lot of ways, a model for how romance anime should be. Not only does it have a unique cast with a lot of stand-out personalities, it also develops them in ways that feel satisfying. With that being said, here are my final thoughts.

“Horimiya’s” Cast

A lot of romance also suffers from having an extremely lackluster supporting cast who often gets sidelined so that the main characters can be on screen longer and do…nothing. “Horimiya” very much takes the opposite approach, not only focusing more on its supporting cast but giving them almost equal time to Hori and Miyamura. In fact, the only characters that do not get considerably screen time are random parent figures that are only briefly mentioned anyway. In that way, there is a notable comparison between “Horimiya’ and “Tsurezure Children,” which aired almost four years prior introduced a lot of the same ideas, though I would argue “Horimiya” definitely executed a lot better.

One of the more interesting relationships that is presented in the show is Kono and Ishikawa. While Ishikawa spends a lot of time in the show trying to move past getting rejected by Hori, Kono ends up developing a crush on him. However, Yoshikawa also has feelings for him, and so Ishikawa ends up stuck in a love triangle of sorts. In the end, while Ishikawa seems to implicitly choose Yoshikawa over her, Kono still shows him kindness and friendship. This leads into another great thing about this series, which is that it shows a lot of

Maturity

Listen, I get it, not every anime has to be boundary breaking and revolutionary with its focus. However, it is nice, every once and a while, to get a show willing to address things that other shows just do not. A good example of this in “Horimiya” is BDSM. Now, never mind the fact that most romance anime will not even address sex in a way that is not just comedic misunderstandings, but focus an entire section of the show on kinks?

The fact that Hori likes to get yelled at and hurt, and that Miyamura has trouble adjusting to this is presented in a way that is both handled well and also incredibly funny. One scene that stands out is when Hori and Miyamura attempt to find a place where they can eat lunch together, and while Miyamura tries to be angry with Hori, he accidentally scares off a couple freshman girls. Miyamura being Miyamura can’t help but feel sorry for the girls, only to turn back to Hori to see her incredibly turned on.

However, the show is not perfect. There was a bit of controversy around episode 10 due to Hori saying, to Miyamura, “if you are going to cheat on me, at least do it with a girl,” after Hori realizes how much time Miyamura spends with his newfound guy friends. Now, any reasonable person could read this as homophobic and be totally justified in doing so. In addition, the joke just kind of falls flat and ends up being not that funny to begin with.

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Art and Music

Sometimes it is hard to say anything about a show’s animation and music other than, “it sounds and looks good” because these are areas in which my knowledge is still fairly limited. However, as much as it will sound redundant, “Horimiya” does have those things as well.

The animation for the series is bright and colorful, which is always a nice compliment for a romantic-comedy. Additionally, The character designs for the series are aesthetically pleasing, and diverse enough to where I could probably tell the characters apart without having to rely on hair color alone. That may sound like an incredibly low bar, but it is surprising how many character designs still fall into that trap.

While the soundtrack certainly felt above average, there still were not any stand out tracks that could be considered attention-grabbing. The opening and ending were both satisfying as well, with the opening in particular, “Iro Kousui” by You Kamiyama, definitely getting me hype for each episode to come.

Conclusion

“Horimiya” is a lot of fun, and while there were definitely a few things the show could have done differently, including not being randomly homophobic, there is a lot to enjoy, both in the characters and the romance. This is probably going to be a show I recommend to people after they have already watched a few other romances and are looking for something that operates in a slightly different lane.


How do you all feel about “Horimiya?” Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Five Series I’ll Be Watching from Spring 2021

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

While I am planning on finishing out the shows from this season, time inevitably moves forward, and the Spring 2021 season is almost upon us. It definitely does not feel as stacked as the last season, but there are a number of interesting standouts here that might just end up being relatively good shows.

To Your Eternity

I’ll be completely honest, about 90% of my interest in the show thus far has been generated by the name attached to it. Yoshitoki Ooima is also the original creator of “A Silent Voice,” a film that has every right to be called one of the best animated film of the last decade. While I am not necessarily convinced the series will rise to the occasion in the same way, Its trailer certainly has not pulled any punches with regards to its content. The combination of a lonely boy roaming the artic and a strange wolf with many secrets to reveal feels like a recipe for continued excitement throughout the series. Though, I do remember saying something vaguely similar about “Dororo” and, well, lets just say that Final thoughts post isn’t coming any time soon.

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Zombie Land Saga: Revenge

Ok, so maybe I gave up on “Zombieland Saga” a little to early. After all, everything I saw about the show initially was pretty funny, and I only ended up watching one or two episodes. I mean, what is life if not getting hit by a car, becoming a zombie and then joining and all zombie idol group? The show is my type of humor for sure, and in hindsight I am not really sure what turned me off to this series other than just being unmotivated to watch new things. I guess I will just have to try again and see what happens.

Nomad: Megalo Box 2

I still maintain that “Megalo Box” does not need a second season, and that the first season enough. After all, unlike a lot of other anime, the series ends on a feeling of completeness in the story. With that being said, I am still incredibly excited for what the series has to offer this time around. With seven years having gone past and J.D. stuck in a cycle of drinking and underground fighting, a new challenger has seemingly arisen to remind him of the days of old. In much the same way people are fans of the “Rocky” sequels, I feel like this season might open up the space to explore areas of J.D.’s character that otherwise were left fairly unexplored, if at all. So, yeah, I’m all for it.

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Shadow House

Being the first release of Mangaka group Soumatou, “Shadow House” does not appear to have much of a following. However, the people who have watched the series to seem to be in agreement on its quality. Shadow House follows the story of aristocrats living in a western mansion, except their faces are hidden in shadow and are represented by dolls, with more being revealed about these characters as the story moves forward. There are definitely a lot of interesting angles that one could take this kind of premise, and for that reason I am excited to see where the story goes. At the very least, if the series does crash and burn, it will probably end up being pretty spectacular.

Eden’s Zero

Morbid curiousity exists in all of us, and unfortunately for me it has led to wanting to watch Hiro Mashima’s follow up to “Fairytail,” “Eden’s Zero.” I have written a number of articles and posts about my evolving feelings on “Fairytail,” but in summary, my feelings on the series have soured quite a bit since starting it back in 2013. While I may be letting my feelings for the series spill into my assessment of “Eden’s Zero,” I cannot help but feel like the problems of “Fairytail” will end up spilling over into this series as well. Already it feels like the character designs are lackluster, and the story just feels unmotivated, like Mashima took the adventuring in his previous work and just through it into this one.

While I may have some reservations about these series, it definitely feels like there is a lot of potential for quality. The spring season will soon be upon us, and these are the anime I will be watching thus far.


What are you all planning on watching for the upcoming season? Let me know in the comments below.

Discussing the Winter 2021 Anime Season

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Well…yeah, we’re here I guess. I don’t think most people expected the world to get much better just cause a cinderella crystal ball dropped when the clock struck midnight, but there is always that tiny feeling of hope. Anyway, back to anime.

With every change in the trees comes a change in TV, and man did the Winter 2021 season deliver in spades. The combination of a bunch of setbacks and delays for certain series culminated in one of the most exciting seasons of the last few years. There are lots of important sequels and some impressive newcomers to the scene, so let’s talk about it. 

When I say this season is stacked, I really mean it. Just of the most popular series, “Attack on Titan” is back for its fourth and final season, reaching the climax of its most recent arc. “The Promised Neverland” has returned for its second season, as the kids of a strange orphanage continue their dangerous journey.

On top of that, there are sequels for a few popular Isekai shows, including “Reincarnated as a Slime,” “Re:Zero,” and one of my personal favorites “Log Horizon.” Some fairly popular slice of life shows also got new seasons as well, including “Yuru Camp” and “Non-Non Biyori” getting their second and third seasons, respectively. 

On top of the high number of anticipated sequels, the Winter 2021 slate also brought with it some great new series. The first worth talking about is one that many have been anticipating since its announcement late last year. “Horimiya” is a romance show that focuses on two unlikely friends who quickly develop feelings for each other they are both too scared to admit.

The series centers on the idea that people usually have different personalities in different social situations. So far, at least, the show has not done a whole lot beyond that, but its pacing and the depth of its characters implies a much better story to come. 

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Whereas many people were excited for “Horimiya’s” adaptation, pretty much no one saw “Wonder Egg Priority” coming. This makes a bit of sense, though, as the original creator and scriptwriter, Saki Takahashi, has no other credited anime productions under his belt, and has only worked on a handful of relatively short manga before this. 

It may have come out of nowhere, but “Wonder Egg Priority” likely will not leave anyone’s memory for quite a while. It focuses on young girls who have gained the ability to enter a dream-like world where the task is to “break open eggs” and save the girls that come out of them from their trauma and abusers.

The subject matter by its self would make the show memorable, as it touches on everything from bullying, suicide, and sexual assault. However, it is that, combined with its colorful presentation, intricate and yet somehow earworm-y soundtrack, and nuanced characters that makes it so amazing. Not to mention the series is not even halfway done, and already appears to be an easy contender for anime of the year. 

One other show worth a brief mention is “EX-ARM,” a sci-fi series about a young high school student who hates machines, but who seemingly finds himself in the middle of robotic warfare. The newest Crunchyroll original, if the internet is to be believed, is one of if not the worst anime ever made. For people who find themselves fans of hate-watching, this might just be a good watch, though I cannot formally confirm or deny that. 

This definitely feels like one of the better seasons to come out in a while. Sequels, exciting originals, and garbage for people who enjoy garbage, I guess? Seems like there is something for everyone. 


How do you all feel about the winter season? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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