Tag Archives: Manga

First Impressions for #Animexchange: Natsume’s Book of Friends

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It’s not often that I watch show’s based on other people’s recommendation. Anime recently has just been this kind of bump around in the dark experience where I don’t really keep up with trends and just sort of pick what looks interesting. While I am trying to change that and get back into more recent stuff, I decided to take part in Jon’s #animexchange discord event, and let someone else take the wheel for just a little bit longer. By someone, of course, I mean the the lovely and always charming Irina, who decided to recommend me one of her favorite series: “Natsume’s Book of Friends.”

The show features the aforementioned Natsume and his struggle to fit in because of his ability to see “strange things.” These “strange things” are actually youkai, spirits found in Japanese folklore that, in this case, just happen to be real. After releasing the youkai named Madara, Natsume learns from him that his grandmother Reiko battled youkai and kept the names of those she defeated in the book of friends, which gives anyone who owns it control over those youkai. Natsume then decides that the right thing to do is to release the names of these spirits, and by extension give them back their freedom, and pursues this with the help of Madara.

There is certainly a lot to like about Natsume. However, at the same time, this post will probably end up being a lot shorter only because, well, I don’t actually have much to say about it. Natsume, for example, while being underdeveloped so far, definitely has the potential to be a really good character. The story of someone who has faced isolation for their whole life and who now has a purpose outside of normal society is one that I think a lot of people can relate to, at least in a more abstract way.

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This also makes sense as it relates to his reverence of his grandmother, who was the only person similar to him in his family. While it is clear that the two have very different ideological approaches to the existence of youkai, the ability to see them inevitably binds them together, which makes for a unique tension between past and present.

However, episodic shows have always had the problem of having a bit of inherent slow burn built into them, as the overarching is usually split across a lot of episodes. Now, if the overall premise and characters are interesting enough, this usually does not become a problem. For me, though, something about the series just is not clicking. Its entirely possible that the three episode rule is just broken and that I need to give the series just a bit more time to really crank up, but something about it just is not as appealing as I feel it should be.

It might also have to do with the show’s animation. I legitimately cannot tell if it is just Crunchyroll’s player or if this is how the show actually looks, but the series feels just a bit to bright a lot of the time. Its hard to concentrate on the story at hand when everything looks three shades whiter than what it should be. From what I can tell, the newer seasons have seemingly corrected this, but for now its a problem that is really plaguing my enjoyment of the show.

Overall, while the show is enjoyable enough, and I definitely plan on at least getting to twelve episodes, I am not sure how much more I will watch beyond that. Still, nine episodes is a lot of time for the show to grow and develop, so I will not give up on it yet.


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

First Impressions: Jujutsu Kaisen

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

AnoHana Episode 11: In the End, They Found Her

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

In the moments when I really did not need to be sad, I ended a series known for being one of the saddest. Absolutely brilliant. I started my re-watch of “AnoHana” just a few short months ago, and now it has finally come to a close. What began as a poll on Twitter has ended with me reflecting and reconsidering a lot of my feelings in the past few months. With that being said, let’s close the book on “AnoHana” by talking about episode 11.

True Feelings Revealed

The episode begins with the group having a late night meeting after the fireworks failed to send Menma to heaven. Both Tsuruko and Yadomi suggest that maybe the rocket was not Menma’s real wish afterall. However, it is Anjo that tells them their feelings are the ones blocking her path to heaven, and all of them begin talking about how they really feel.

Anjo only wanted Menma to go to Heaven so she could be with Yadomi. Yukiatsu did not actually want Menma to go to Heaven because, as he admits, he is still very much in love with her. Tsuruko admits that she is jealous of Anjo and knows that Yukiatsu would simply use her as a replacement after Menma is gone, and Poppo feels guilty because he saw what happened to Menma on the day. Yadomi, meanwhile, reveals that he was happy to be the only one who could see Menma, but that it is time to do the right thing, and say goodbye to her properly.

A lot of the elements of the story seem to match up with a lot of people’s actually grieving process, as well as the five stages of grief described by psychologists: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. All of the characters start at denial in the beginning, but then slowly transition through the process at different rates as the series. Additionally, everyone outside of Yadomi seems to spend a much longer time in denial because they cannot see her, which makes sense. Most people would rather forget than deal with their emotions.

The Mission

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After they finish dumping out their hearts to each other, they agree it is not fair to keep Menma their because of their own selfishness. Yadomi then rushes home to get Menma, only to find her lying on the floor, slowly becoming transparent. Once regaining a bit of her strength, Menma tells Yadomi about her promise to her mom, that she would find a way to make him cry, which is why she had everyone gather at the club house that day, and why Yukiatsu asked Yadomi about his feelings for her. Not having much time left, Yadomi rushes her to clubroom, only for her to disappear as they arrive.

This kind of build up to the final moment in the series is honestly some best I have seen in any slice of life or drama. Because the others still cannot see her, it mirrors the moments in the series before, where Yadomi is looking for Menma but cannot find her. Despite the fact that his friends now know about and believe in Menma’s ghost, he still feels alone in those few minutes. Now though, even he has lost sight of Menma, which is probably even scarier, because he has yet to say a proper goodbye.

The Final Goodbye

After running through the forest looking for Menma, they come across a tree with notes addressed to each of them from Menma, with each saying something Menma liked about them, and Yadomi’s saying I love you. They scream out to her, saying “Are you ready?” signaling her goodbye. Before she goes, she reveals herself to all of them, saying “You…found me.”

The framing of the whole scene as a final game of hide and seek is a really good writing technique, as it highlights not only the events of the story as they happened, but the past that each of them was stuck in and unwilling to let go off until this moment. Of course, I don’t think I need to say it, but I will regardless: The final scene of AnoHana was so incredibly powerful. For as sappy and heartfelt as the show can feel at some points, it remains one of the hardest hitting dramas in all of anime, and it is not an exaggeration to say that I was on the brink of tears multiple times while watching it.

Conclusion

If you did watch the series along with me, I hope it sparked something in you as well. It was a nice trip down memory lane despite the fact that I did not actually remember most of the series. It still was probably a bad idea given just how much my mental health is suffering right now, but hey, what can you do?


How did you all feel about this episode? 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!

AnoHana Episode 10: The End is Not the End

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is hard to see those you love the most leave, or do you even half to? What makes this episode so much more interesting is the realization from the group that Menma is leaving, and that fulfilling her wish means giving up there chance to be with her again, even for all of the emotional damage it has caused thus far. Lets talk about AnoHana episode 10.

Preparation

As the day of the Fireworks launch approaches, everyone seems to be preparing, physically, mentally, emotionally. At the beginning of the episode, Yadomi and Menma both says “its tomorrow,” with Yadomi holding a piece of mail, and Menma praying to Yadomi’s mother’s shrine. Meanwhile, Yukiatsu realizes there is so bitterness between himself and Tsurumi after she tells his crossdressing secret to a couple of girls at there school. Anjo is still sulking because, as she mentions to Tsurumi near the end of the episode, it feels like the gap between herself and Jintan will never be together, and are only as close as they are now because of Menma’s return. Poppo is, well, sad and confused, as he confesses to Yadomi while making decorations that he felt as though back then that all he ever did was watch the others.

The whole situation is clearly a high stress one, and for good reason. As most of them realized just a couple episode ago, Menma is very much real, and now just as soon as her presence has been made known, they will have to all say goodbye.

The Gang is All Here

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In an attempt to celebrate one final time before Menma’s sendoff to Heaven, the group throw’s a party for her at their secret base, with Menma even helping prepare for her own party. Poppo in particular wants to make sure that her last memory of the group before they leave is a happy one. Everyone arrives, Tsurumi with snacks and Anjo and Yukiatsu with drinks. The past will soon be in the past.

Except, not. Yukiatsu, in an attempt to bring some “entertainment,” suggest reenacting what happened the day Menma died. Anjo, immediately afterwards, asks Yadomi if he likes Menma. In a show of hesitant honesty, Yadomi says yes, but then attempts to run away, at which point they tell him not to. The whole ordeal leaves him flustered, and Menma crying.

The whole thing is undoubtedly an act of cruetly on Yukiatsu’s part, but it does reveal that not much has changed in the years since Menma’s death. Yadomi is still unwilling to admit his feelings confidently, Anjo is still hopelessly in love with him, and the girl who drowned in a river is still needlessly caught in the crossfire. Instead of a resolution, time is needless repeating itself, and the inevitability of it all there is a sort of cruel tension between everyone.

Love is like…Fireworks

Night shifted to day, and soon the end was upon them, at least that is what they assumed. The group met in the evening, as the sun was setting and day shifted to night once more. None of them were really ready to send Menma to heaven, and yet, they still put on the decoration, still set up the rocket. One of them was not ready at all. As the Rocket was finally set up and ready to launch, Poppo offered to let Yadomi say the final words, and yet, nothing. The fuse was lit, the fireworks flew into the sky. Menma was still there.

They say that reincarnation can only happen after all earthly attachments have been let go of. However, Menma was still there after the rocket launched. Who or what specifically she is still attached to seems pretty obvious, but there is still a lot of room for interpretation. Regardless, We will end the series next time.


How did you feel about this episode? 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!

AnoHana Episode Nine: The Past They Cannot Leave Behind

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

One thing that I have talked about endlessly during this re-watch is the idea that, in the aftermath of tragedy, it can become extremely difficult to move on, at least emotionally. I do not think I need to cite a Harvard, peer reviewed study for this one, cause its something that, statistically, a lot of us have probably gone through. The way it feels like our hearts are contracting in on themselves, the unwanted lubrication of our eyes, the way it feels like we just gained 200 pounds, all of which is conveniently located on our shoulders. Episode Nine serves as a reminder of that very feelings, but also seems to imply a sort of destiny that cannot be avoided between Yadomi and Menma. So, let’s talk about it.

The Realization

It has now become obvious to the others, after seeing a notebook and a bowl of food floating around them, that the “cruel joke” Yadomi has been playing is definitely not a joke. The six of them meet at Yadomi’s house, only for everyone to still be freaked out, even after seeing the truth. Anjo and Tsurumi are visibly frightened, and Yukiatsu and Poppo are nervous. The four of them leave Yadomi’s house in disbelief.

“C’mon, Yukiatsu, don’t be such a negative nelly” he says, knowing full well that he is talking to a fictional character. Sadly, though, it is kind of justified. As I talked about last week, it feels like one of those situations that could have been very easily resolved through Yadomi just revealing to everyone else that she is real way earlier, something that Poppo points out immediately after the group leaves.

Again, however, I will make the argument that its not really the point. In fact, as this episode goes on to imply, the reunification of Yadomi and Menma appears to be some act of fate.

Unite and Self-Conquer

After Yukiatsu literally gets on his hands and knees, begging Menma’s father to let them build the fireworks, their plan to send Menma to heaven is able to move forward. Of course, its not hard to see that all of this has not quite settled in for them yet. In particular, Anjo seems to have come to the conclusion that Yadomi’s motivation to save Menma means that her feelings towards him will never get through.

Much like everyone else, the realization of Menma being with them for real has taken a silent toll, one that brings her to tears while working on the fireworks. Yukiatsu, understanding that pain, goes to help her. A wandering Tsurumi find the two discussing plans of dating, while she bends and breaks in the background.

Yadomi, meanwhile, is oblivious. He singlemindedness has caused him to only focus on Menma, and his admittedly justified anger at his friends has locked his emotions on the

The Girl Who Will Soon Disappear

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The series very purposefully leads with the idea that once Menma’s wish has been granted, it is likely that she will disappear for good. This invokes the idea that the group will both literally and figuratively be laying her to rest, and thus allowing her to move on. It has already been shown how this is affecting the others, but Yadomi in particular does not seem to be able to let her go.

After getting home from work and seeing Menma is not there, he goes running, running so much he does not even know why. He eventually reaches the bridge, only to see her down by the river, a sight that immediately triggers his memories from long ago. Yadomi tries to catch a fish, tries to protect Menma, to keep her from leaving. Menma just seems angry…


Listen, I know this wasn’t a good idea, but there’s only two more episodes left, so might as well finish it out, right? If you’ve been following along with me, what has your experience been revisiting the series? 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!

AnoHana Episode Eight: Refraction

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Oh, how interesting it can get. The curtains have been drawn, and the stage has been set. Each actor has been put into position. I honestly kind of forgot how dramatic the reveal of Menma to the rest of the group actually was, and what is crazy is that during this very episode I began to wonder why Menma does not just reveal herself to the rest of the group, but, over the course of this episode, it became pretty clear. With that being said, lets look at AnoHana episode eight.

Last-Ditch Efforts

In a final attempt to get the permission they need for the fireworks, the group goes to Menma’s house once more, to try and convince her mother. However, the sight of all of Menma’s friends together without her causes a mental breakdown, at which point they leave. While hanging out at the nearby temple, everyone else tries to convince Yadomi to give up on Menma’s wish. Yadomi, clearly frustrated with everyone’s dismissive attitudes, commits to getting the money on his own.

Yukiatsu has quite often been the closest thing this show has to a protagonist, with Tsurumi acting as his sidekick, and that seems to be no less true here. Still himself bothered by Menma’s loss to a great extent, he criticizes Yadomi for focusing on the past too much, projecting his own feelings a great deal. While Anjo is afraid to say it most of the time, even she seems more willing to try and stop Yadomi, especially in

The Breakroom.

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What is so interesting about “AnoHana” from a character and drama standpoint is just how much the motivations of each person shine through in their actions. Yukiatsu, for example, is clearly much more motivated by a desire to not think about Menma’s passing, whereas Anjo seemingly acts more out of conern for her friend. However, it is clearer still that both motivations are present in the rest of the group. There is part of Yukiatsu that cares for Yadomi, and there is part of Anjo that would rather just be done with the whole thing.

After collapsing from exhaustion at the game store, Anjo finally confronts Yadomi herself about Menma’s wish, telling him that it is time to stop. She also reveals to him that she was happy the day that Menma died because it was obvious just how much Yadomi likes Menma.

There is, to some extent, an argument here about the selfishness of Yadomi’s behavior, but I would argue that, at least before Menma reappeared, Yadomi was the least affected by Menma. That is not to say that he was not affected, only that his feelings of guilt and sadness were weaker than the others. The part of the scene that strikes the hardest is when the two finish arguing, at which point Anjo says “you’re really gonna leave like this?” to which Yadomi simply walks out and greets the next customer.

Revelation

It is near the end of the episode where Yadomi is once again confronted by the rest of the group at the hideout. Yukiatsu, tired of it all, almost beats him up for continuing to bring up Menma. However, just before he follows through, Menma shows up, proving her own existence by writing in her journal and pushing it to the ground.

Why things escalated to this point when Menma could have just proved herself like that before is certainly a worthwhile question here, but it is also one with a relatively simple answer: She didn’t know. As far as Menma was concerned up until this point, They were all getting along and genuinely wanted to help her with her wish, but since that clearly was not the case, she had to make herself known.

Conclusion

I picked a really bad time to start rewatching this show, like a really bad time. Emotions are riding high right now with almost everything, and being locked inside my house most of the time has certainly not helped my mental health. But, I intend to see this through to the end, if for no other reason than to maybe feel something again. Anyways, thanks for joining me this week.


How did you all feel about this episode? 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!

AnoHana Episode Seven: Determination

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Throughout the course of the the series thus far, Yadomi has continually defined himself as someone puts others above himself, even sometimes to his own detriment. He seems to greatly share this characteristic with Menma, which is why it made so much sense that he was angry at her in the last episode. Today, I’ll be talking about how that sense of selflessness and righteousness are leading him to go even farther.

The Journal

After looking through the journal they got from Menma’s mother, the group remembers an important mission they had when they were kids: To send a letter to god wishing for Yadomi’s mom to get better. The plan, at least from their perspective was simple: Launch a firework into the sky with the letter. However, it was not so. The group then decides to move forward with getting together the firework, only for them to find out that the cheapest firework would cost about 200000 Yen (about 2,000 U.S.).

Yadomi, in his endless determination, decides to get a part time job, which serves both as a way to earn money for the fireworks, and as an excuse for avoiding Menma, since he does not want her finding out for fear that she will get mad. For everyone else, however, there is less enthusiasm. While Menma is all too real to Yadomi, the inability to see her casts a large cloud of doubt on the rest.

Despite Yukiatsu and Tsurumi remembering some important information about Menma’s wish, they choose to keep it secret, because Menma did not want Yadomi to know when they were going to meet up. What impact the absense of this information will have is hard to say, but it does speak to Yukiatsu’s somewhat jealous nature, whether or not it is actually a good idea.

Part-Timer

In his quest to help realize what seems to be Menma’s true wish, Yadomi works day and night, picking up not only one but two part time jobs to quickly realize his goal, working both at the game store where Anjo works and on a construction site with Poppo.

While I could address the romantic dynamic between Yadomi and Anjo, I honestly don’t know if its worth going over in detail. After all, it is clear the two have feelings for each other, but it does not appear likely that anything between them will happen, at within the events of the anime. Their dynamic is cute, however, and does add some needed moments of levity in-between the massive moments of tension brought on by the rest of the group’s disconnection.

It is also interesting to note how willing Anjo was to voice her opinion on Menma while they were alone, which implies both a level of comfort between the two but also a very obvious distance from his problems, a contrast which only further serves to layer the feeling of uncomfortability that blankets most of the series.

Poppo, on the other hand, seems more genuinely concerned for his well-being and more understanding of his visions of Menma than most of the group. This likely comes from his outsider status which is cemented early on, when he is first introduced literally living on the outskirts of town.

Menma and Yadomi’s Mother

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One last thing I want to talk about this week is just how much I absolutely love the use of foreshadowing in “AnoHana.” From very early on, the show establishes a connection between Menma and Yadomi’s mom. The first point of connection, most apparently, is their deaths. The two are the only characters in the show that are dead, and are both remembered fondly by their respectively family.

However, after Menma sees how her mother prays for her, she begins to do the same for Yadomi’s mom, talking with her while Yadomi is not home. Whether or not this felt obvious, connections like these help strengthen reveals later on by giving them some level of sense, even for a show as strange as “AnoHana.”

Conclusion

There is still so much drama left ahead, even within the last four episodes. Still, there was a lot revealed in just this episode, including how willing Yadomi is to go the distance for this “hallucination.” Whether or not Menma is real is not the point, but rather the willingness to resolve these feeling that were likely weighing him, and everyone else down. Next week will continue on with episode eight, so be sure to tune in!


Man Rushes back into Major Apartment Fire after Forgetting Body Pillow

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

(The following is satire).

On Sunday, A major apartment fire occurred near downtown, causing everyone within roughly 10 blocks to evacuate. However, according to multiple eyewitness reports, one man decided to rush back into the flames after being evacuated. Luckily, he managed to make it back out. According to the man in question, James Alton, he rushed back inside to get what he described as “valuable cargo.” “I couldn’t just let my Asuna Zero-Two body pillow get burned to ashes, I paid almost 200 dollars for my favorite waifu.” Alton later added that he managed to retrieve other items, such as a Rei Ayanami figure and an Eureka Seven wall scroll. Alton also managed to escape with only 3rd Degree burns. “It was worth it, those are my babies.”

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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!

AnoHana Episode Three: A Turning Point

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It has become increasingly evident that I seem to have forgotten just how good this show really is. One thing that I love about going and revisiting shows in general is just how subtlety there is to be found in the writing that I did not notice the first time, and there is definitely a lot of truth to that when it comes to “AnoHana.” The series is not only emotionally compelling, it most obvious strength, but is also incredible good at laying the groundwork for its big payoffs. With that being said, lets talk a little more about “AnoHana” episode three.

Jintan Goes to School

Though it was not particularly surprising, Jintan as a person does care a lot about the opinions of others, specifically his childhood friends, which, as I discussed in my last episode review, appears to be a defining characteristic of the whole group.

Even more specifically, he still cares deeply for Anjo, and so per asking, Jintan attempts to go back to school after having been absent for nearly a third of the year. However, after making it halfway there, meeting Anjo and her “friends,” and getting insulted, he decides to leave.

More than anything, this scene in particular feels symbolic of Jintan’s uncertainty about the future, and unwillingness to move on without resolving Menma’s wish first.

However, it also shows that Jintan still isn’t willing to be honest about his feelings towards Anjo, which also might have something to do with Menma, and specifically what he said to her before she died. “Who would like and ugly girl like that?” A thought never completed, a life not continued, feelings not resolved.

Menma’s Strength

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Aside from the all of the other “really sad shit,” to put it analytically, It never occured to me just how much emotional tension is created through the moments Menma has to herself.

Specifically in this episode, there is a scene where, before Jintan comes home from school, Menma prays to his late mother. Now, its already been established how Menma reflects on her own death and the obvious pain of her family, but it is even more heart wrenching seeing Menma talk about how she and Jintan’s mom are dead Juxtaposed against her attempts to stay positive about the situation.

Its smaller moments like these that really add to the show’s already unrelenting subject matter and make it that much more engaging.

The Barbeque

A gathering of friends…enemies…lovers? There is clearly still a lot of animosity among the group even when Poppo invites everyone out to an end of summer barbeque in Menma’s honor. Still, there is a surprising amount of resolution that comes in just the last third of the episode.

Anjo admits to Tsurumi that she has been following the influence of others the whole time, and that she did feel like she lived in the shadow of Menma when they were younger. This prompts Tsurumi to ask “what am I supposed to say to that? Do you want me to be proud of you?” to which Anjo then responds “I was hoping you would yell at me.” The two appear to make-up, at which point Matsuyuki shows up with more food.

Matsuyuki then reveals before the end of the episode that he too can see Menma. This kind of a bombshell is a great place to end on, at least from an episodic standpoint, as it clearly drives further interest in the series.

Conclusion

As I mentioned also in the last post, “Anohana” appears to have a lot of setup episodes, but within those setup episodes are important moments for the characters, as well as smaller, but still emotional powerful moments, such as those with Menma by herself. All of these serve to make the bigger reveals hit that much harder, as the smaller moments work well in giving more information about Menma and the rest of the group.


How do you all feel about this episode? 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 Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rei Kiriyama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Alright, I know I said it before, and will likely say it repeatedly, but moving/online college sucks. Not only is it stressful, but it make it that much harder to get the things that I need to get done, done. Aside from that, though, I thought I would take today to focus on something I actually enjoy: “March Comes in Like a Lion.”

March has been one of my favorite series since I watched it back in early 2018, and one of the reasons for that is Rei Kiriyama, the series’ main character.

I have gone into detail about this in a number of previous posts, but since I have never really done a character specific post outside of writing for OWLS, I thought it would be good to take some time and focus on why exactly Rei Kiriyama is so compelling.

Arguably the strongest reason is because of how well his character highlights issues of mental health. Throughout his journey in series, Rei deals with depression, abuse from his step-family, professional slumps due to his lost love for Shogi, and a lot of overwhelming defeats. Despite all of this, however, Rei never gives into these negative feelings, and learns to rely on the others around him who become his new family, namely the Kawamoto sisters.

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These mental struggles, while certainly not positive, do help strengthen Rei’s mental fortitude, thus making him a better player. A good example of this comes from after his loss to Shimada. While initially the loss during the King’s Tournament leaves him devastated and unable to even play, he eventually bounces back, so much so that Rei decides to go to Shimada for coaching.

However, Rei also shows that being weak is something that everyone goes through, and that no one can be strong and composed all of the time. The first half of the second season makes this most obvious, with Hina at the center of a bullying ring and Rei unable to do anything about it. Rather than blame her for getting bullied, Rei does everything he can to comfort her, including just being with her much more often than normal.

Overall, Rei’s character highlights just how much one person can change over a short amount of time. He went from being a alone without anyone to help him to finding people who not only love and support him, but make sure that he is okay time and time again. Rei Kiriyama is truly one of the most dynamic characters to enter popular media, and is also without a doubt one of the best.


What other characters should I take a more in-depth look at? 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!