Tag Archives: MAPPA

The Observation Deck: Chainsaw Man (Anime)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


While I did not get to talk about it at all during its run, anyone with even surface-level knowledge of the medium could have told you that 2022 was expected to be the year of Chainsaw Man. Indeed, even other notable manga adaptations like Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer did not drive nearly as much conversation (mostly because of how bad it was but that is a different post entirely).

To be clear, the hype around the series has been there since early 2021, when the manga was starting to pick up steam. Still, in light of, and maybe also because of, the aforementioned disappointment that was Biscuit Hammer, there were some questions about whether Chainsaw Man‘s anime debut would live up to the expectations of die-hard fans. Then again, MAPPA as a studio has been on the relative upswing in terms of what they chose to adapt recently, and even a lesser adaptation could probably be carried by just how fucking awesome the material is.

So, did Tatsuki Fujimoto’s smash hit get the adaptation it deserved? Well…yeah, it feels fair to say it absolutely did. And no, this is not one of those weird twists where I talk about how actually Chainsaw Man is bad therefore a mediocre adaptation would be fitting. No, MAPPA’s approach not only fit the material well but actively innovated and made the series something worth watching rather than just reading.

(Since this is a relatively high-profile series I did try my best to avoid talking about anything manga related, so there shouldn’t be any spoilers for anyone who is only planning on watching the anime).

Good Use of 3D Animation

For a reason I will never be able to fathom, Chainsaw Man‘s first episode was marred in controversy for its use of 3D CGI during its first major fight. Now, if there is one thing that irks me in anime more than anything, it is poorly produced 3D shows and portions thereof. Hell, forget poorly produced, I just am not partial to it period. Therefore, I can understand if people say they do not like 3D in general.

However, people trying to argue that MAPPA’s use of it in the show is somehow particularly egregious have clearly never watched actual bad CGI like EX-Arm. Sure, there were some portions that did not transition as smoothly between 2D and 3D as they could have, and though I did not notice it myself, the claims about frame rate drops are probably true.

Still, even the technical imperfections, I would argue, actually benefit the show artistically. After all, what would transforming into a devil with a chainsaw on their head and arms even entail? What sense of balance and fighting ability comes with that? Though the 3D scenes do ultimately feel sluggish, they seem to unintentionally convey the immediate experience of having that newfound power.

Now, as the series goes on, this becomes less convincing. Denji does learn how to wield his abilities pretty effectively, so safe to say that does not really fit. However, it is also the case, at least for myself, that the 3D elements blend a lot better with the 2D environments as it goes on. By the time they get the hotel arc, I forget there is even a difference in animation, to begin with. Normally I would stick to more thematically related topics, but in a way, the show’s use of 3D is thematically related, as it often helps to create an initial distinction between Denji and the rest of the world. Speaking of…


Thematic Translation

At the core of Chainsaw Man is really a story about what it means to be human, and also what sorts of dignity and respect should come with that label, but also how easy it is to blur that line when devils with awesome power come into the mix. I say this in case the last section somehow confused anyone into thinking I was some sort of MAPPA fanboy because now is the time where, surprising no one, we talk about the dirty word-

What? No, not boobs: politics.

Chainsaw Man actually had a number of small controversies throughout its seasonal airing, which makes sense given just how unprecedented the anticipation was. One that was maybe worth the outrage was a scene from episode two, where Denji takes a warm bath for the first time in forever. The same scene in the manga shows Denji singing about being in a union and getting benefits, but the anime notably took this part out in favor of some mild humming.

Now, in most cases, stuff like this is not really worth getting boggled down in because it could have very easily been an oversight, a missed conversation between scriptwriters, etc, etc. However, given the studio’s pretty atrocious record with worker’s rights and overworking employees, along with most of the anime industry for that matter, I cannot imagine there not have been at least some mention of this during production.

It would be one thing if the scene did not make sense in the context of the manga so they took it out in order to make the series flow a bit better in an episode format. Yet, that is not what happened. The fulfillment of basic human needs, including economic ones, is what makes Denji’s character so unique. His existence subverts typical shonen/action protagonist motivations of seeking justice, truth, and friendship by laying out the selfish, though ultimately relatable, human desires and having that be enough.

In case this sounds like a reach, a lot of my research for my last semester of undergrad this past fall involved looking at the decline in union coverage among western newspapers and why tonally it became decidedly more negative. At the risk of dumbing it down too much, a not-insignificant part of the equation is that newspapers are, at the end of the day, also businesses (Mostly, assuming we are not talking about the BBC, NPR, etc, that gets a little more complicated). Thus, reporting on unions would inevitably draw attention to their own legal struggles.

This is not to say MAPPA neutered the series completely. A lot of those ideas still shine through in subtext and through various conversations between characters. Still, it does actively hurt the storytelling when the message being shared is averse to the interests of the entity making it.

The Opening

That’s it, that’s the section.

In all seriousness, though, while I do think the soundtrack was handled fairly well, utilizing a lot of distorted noise and heavy guitars to create a fantastic atmosphere, I do not have much to say about it beyond that. Like, yeah, it is a great soundtrack, go listen to it.

However, the opening for the series, as analyzed to death as it is already, does have some of the craziest art direction of any opening in recent memory. It manages to pack in a stupid amount of references, both in and out of series, while also still being enjoyable to watch.

I have enjoyed plenty of j-rock throughout my anime journey, but the song “Kick Back” by Kenshi Yonezu is a banger among bangers. It perfectly encapsulates a lot of the chaotic energy of the show, and then on top of that interpolates the lyrics of a random pop song from the 90s, which translates as “Striving, future, a beautiful star,” which when sung by Yonezu’s distorted vocals not only sounds awesome but alludes to the darker elements of the story left to come.


While I would not call it one of the best adaptations or even necessarily my favorite, the Chainsaw Man anime is still great, at least for now. There are some other changes that I did not explore the implications that also might affect how a manga reader views the series, but as far as being a viewing experience for newcomers, it brings enough unique flare without compromising too much of the work’s original intent to still be worth it.


What did you think of Chainsaw Man‘s anime adaptation? Let me know down in the comments. Also, if you are someone who did read the manga, I did a review of part one about a year ago when I finished it, so feel free to check that out as well.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting us on Patreon.

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


Attack on Titan Final Season: Episodes 60-63

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


The time, my friends, has come. It has been a long and perilous journey, with many hardships, including having to swap ps4 controllers while watching. Hours and hours of catching up on all of the previous seasons, along with the surprisingly impressive OADs, have brought me to this point. It is with great pleasure that I announce the weekly Attack on Titan final season coverage.

In order to fully immerse myself in Attack on Titan over the next couple of months, I will be covering three or four episodes until I finish what has been released. Then, once the last of the final season begins airing, I’ll be doing a final post wrapping up the series along with another post of some kind to finish my coverage.

Rediscovering Attack on Titan this year has been some of the most fun I have had with anime in a while. Not to say that I have been particularly bored with anime, far from it in fact. However, AOT in particular has been one of my main points of enjoyment. With that being said, let’s talk about the final season.

The opening episodes place us sometime in the future, where Reiner has successfully returned home and is helping the Marleyians fight against a nearby middle-eastern nation. In order to accomplish this feat, the country continues to rely on the power of the titans held by the Eldians and their descendants. He has started looking after the next candidates to host the armored titan, of which a young girl named Gabi seems to be the most promising.

However, these opening episodes are, for the most part, viewed from the perspective of Falco, another of the armored titan candidates and the younger brother of Colt, the successor to the beast titan legacy. Falco, in a lot of ways, seems to be a mirror to Eren Jeager: a young upstart who wants to help his family, blood-related or not, by putting himself through immense self-sacrifice. In his case, his most immediate motivation seems to be protecting Gabi, who he has a crush on.

Zeke has also resurfaced as a relevant character. His standing within the Marleyian army has given him enough power to engage on a mission to secure the founding titan. His reasoning for this, which the other top brass seem to agree with, is that the rest of the world has caught up to Marley in terms of military strength and that the founding titan will be needed in order to reassert dominance.

What I like about this series so far is not necessarily the characters, however, although they certainly are good. Rather, what makes this season so intriguing is how the scale of its politics has jumped from the island outside of Marley to basically the entire world. The perspective has shifted from those trapped inside the wall to the ones who banished them, to begin with.

The parallel between the two groups of Eldians still exists, though. One group is trapped behind the wall due to the titans, and the other is trapped behind the walls of internment. Both are suffering at the hands of Marley, just in different ways.

The change in animation styles has definitely thrown me for a loop. Character designs among the Eldians look pretty similar to the point it was hard to tell characters apart at times during the first two episodes or so. Still, despite being lukewarm on the change initially, I have come to appreciate it. In the context of the story being told, the change in style certainly makes some sense. Although, I do maintain that the series would have looked fine even in its previous look.

Overall, the direction Attack on Titan has taken is an exciting one. So many questions are yet to be answered, and it is clear that many unnamed forces are still at play, driving the series’ world in ways that maybe do not make any immediate sense. Will the oppression of the Eldians finally come to an end? probably not yet at least since we are not even a quarter of the way through, but whatever happens is sure to be a good time.

Have you started the final season of Attack on Titan yet? Are you still behind? Let me know in the comments, but please leave out any spoilers.

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

As always, thanks to our patron Jenn for the support.

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


I Marathoned Three Seasons of Attack on Titan. Here are My Thoughts So Far

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Confession: I originally did not plan on tackling the series in this way. Rather, I would have much preferred covering the series in chunks of episodes, so that they would roughly aline with the major arcs. I had everything set up: a nicely formatted google doc on which to take notes, my laptop on my bed, and an extremely comfy blanket along with Attack on Titan pulled up on Crunchyroll. Only one small problem: I could not stop watching.

Calling myself a big fan of the original series would probably have been a bit of a stretch. It was good for what it was, but it never really left a lasting impression on me. Come time for season two almost four years later and, well, I enjoyed it, but much like the first, it was never anything more than just a well-made show.

Jump back to today, and uh, yeah, I have no idea how this happened. Something in me just really wanted to revisit the series. Call it the echoes of online discussion lingering in the back of my mind, or really whatever, but at that moment I needed to watch Attack on Titan. Before I realized it, an entire weekend and over 40 episodes were gone in the blink of an eye.

Needless to say, my idea of cataloging my rewatch/journey through season three was basically out the window. From that point, I mostly just tried to enjoy it without thinking too much, and safe to say, I did. Anyone who clicked on this post expecting a full review is going to be sorely disappointed. Rather, for this post, in particular, I wanted to describe my thoughts on the series as a whole up to this point, after which I will segway into covering the OADs and then eventually doing an episodic review of season four like I had originally planned for the whole series.

With that being said, here are said thoughts.

Titan Lore

I remember getting to “that scene” in season 2 for the first time and getting a bit of whiplash from how fast I reached for the remote to rewind. Like, what?! At the time I was very confused, but in hindsight dropping the bleak reality that is the titan lineage out of nowhere is pretty tonally consistent with the rest of the series.

Even before that though we get the also crazy, although slightly less surprising reveal about Ymir, which again makes sense. Season three, however, is where the reveals reach a whole new level, and where the worldbuilding comes to a head. I will admit to being a bit concerned about season three after hearing some mixed opinions from others watching at the time. Still, I cannot help by find Attack on Titan‘s third season to be the best out of the three so far.

This is not to say that any of the seasons are bad per se, it is an incredibly high-quality show, but whereas many series get bogged down by their focus on worldbuilding and lore, Attack on Titan feels at its best during its moments of historical reflection, when the truth finally reveals itself after years of sacrifice and hardship, and this is not even including what is still to come in season four.

If I were to finish ranking the others, season one probably gets a slight edge over two, but not by much. The way season one lingers on the surprise that is Annie and just how much there is left to know creates this weird mixture of hope and pessimism which informs the proceeding seasons really well. However, season two also does a great job at fleshing out some of the minor characters like Gaby, so points to it for that.


Eren and Friends

Eren has always been a mixed bag of a character, and for good reason. The start of the series shows him at his most angry and revenge-filled, his teenage angst out in full force because of the death of his mother. On top of that, Eren has to be a functioning soldier at an age where he would not even be old enough to drive a car in the state where I live.

However, as knowledge and responsibility of his powers dawn on him more and more, especially after many of his fellow Survey Corps members literally die to protect him, that visible anger begins to subside. The show then presents to us an almost completely different Eren, one whose sole focus has shifted to protecting humanity…and also still killing all of the titans, kind of.

Armin has been my favorite character in the series for a while, his development from the scared puppy who just followed around Eren and Mikasa to the next military genius of the Survey Corp is one that I very much appreciated. There are also plenty of times where he feels the most relatable. Like, everyone else will be ready to go and Armin is there saying “you guys aren’t still scared shitless?”

Mikasa is somehow still the coolest character, and yet also the least developed. Though not necessarily a bad thing, the only thing that really changes is just how obvious her affection for Eren is. In fact, her big emotional outbursts are only ever in relation to the safety of Eren or Armin, which says basically all that one would ever need to know about her.

WIT vs Mappa: What to Expect

For those unaware, during the transition between the end of season three and what was then named the “final season” (despite not actually being the final season) Attack on Titan changed studios. WIT, who handled the first three, gave it over to Mappa. Supposedly this had to do with a thematic change present in season four, and thus WIT wanted a new approach to the series, but at the moment, having not seen season four, I am not exactly convinced.

Still, everything that I have seen as far as trailers and promotional material does not leave me with much to complain about. Attack on Titan looks as good as it has ever been, and with an arc that is bound to be action-packed, I am indeed excited.

On top of that, Mappa has a solid track record, producing the hit shounen series Jujutsu Kaisen as well as one of my favorite series Terror in Resonance. Also, apparently, they made Kids on the Slope, which, man I need to watch that series already…

For as much as I appreciate the grittier, more jagged character designs to come out of WIT’s production of the series, it is not an automatic negative to have Mappa at the helm. Rather, the most concerning element is not the animation but rather how the story will resolve from this point on


Safe to say that I am incredibly optimistic about Attack on Titan even despite the studio change. It is a series that has quickly risen through the ranks for me, and while calling it a favorite is not quite a done deal if season four manages to keep pace, it is a high likelihood.

How do you all feel about Attack on Titan? Let me know down in the comments, but please keep any and all spoilers out, as I am going in pretty much blind.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks to Jenn for being an amazing Patron

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: Kakegurui

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It seems as though the show I will be talking about today left just as quick as it came. Kakegurui was indeed an action packed gamble fest, just as advertised, and while my feelings on the show overall are somewhat mixed, there was still plenty that had me enjoying it from beginning to end, including anime’s favorite gambling girl Yumeko.

Source: Heroxyz on Deviant Art

With that being said, here are my final thoughts:

Gambling has Stakes, Usually

One of the criticisms that was levied against the first season was that it quickly went from an interesting take on the gambling genre to a sort Shonen power fest in which the bets got bigger and more unnecessary for seemingly no reason other than trying to cheaply raise stakes. While I don’t fully agree with that criticism, I can certainly understand where it comes from. The show’s first season started out pretty harmlessly, with Yumeko showing that she knows a thing or two about gambling, but by the end of it, people were literally betting away their life in order to play. Now, the reason I don’t fully agree with the criticism is because of Yumeko, who seems to be representative of gambling herself. She’s unpredictable, insane, and always willing to go as far as possible to get the most thrills, and she throws herself on everybody, driving them to go as far as humanly possible. Indeed, Yumeko is the toxicity of gambling embodied in a high school girl, and in that context the insane stakes actually make a lot of sense.

Creating Investment Through Facial Expressions

One of the more consistent, and arguably more famous, elements of Kakegurui is the famous faces of the characters in the show. When any of them are feeling a strong emotion, or are getting more emotionally invested in their gamble, their faces contort in extremely animated ways. The most famous of these faces is, of course, Yumeko’s herself, but there are plenty of other notable ones.

These faces are effective in a couple of different ways. One, because of their exaggerated nature, it becomes extremely easy to tell the emotions that the characters are feeling, and two, because these faces are generally not pleasant to look at, they make it much easier to feel what the characters are feeling, because in that way they are much more human.

Where Does Ryota Stand in All This?

From the very beginning Ryota has always kind of seemed like an irrelevant character in Kakegurui’s story, which is why the fact that he still has so much screen time kind of bothers me. The only real purpose he’s had in the series in either being Yumeko’s play thing near the end of season one, or helping her by calling other people to come gamble in her place, i.e. Mary near the midpoint of season two. I do think that he is also maybe representative of something, in the same way that Yumeko is, but for as much as I have thought about it nothing really comes to mind. I also do not think he is a bad character, mostly that he’s underdeveloped, which brings me to my last section:

Season 3

As the show has now caught up with the source material that spawned it, the possibility of a season three soon is unlikely. Because of this, my feelings about the ending are as follows:

I do also hope they do something with Ryota and allow him to grow as a character, cause otherwise he will also be boring and not good.


Kakegurui is a deceptively enjoyable show. Despite having a few somewhat grading downfalls, the show is still enjoyable enough to watch all the way through and feel like it was worth your time, especially if you like anime that revolve around gambling and games. Give it a watch if you have time.

What do you guys like about Kakegurui? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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