Tag Archives: march comes in like a lion

Highlighting the Best Anime of the 2010s (Part 2)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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Apologies for missing most of this week, but passing my classes does, in fact, take precedent over writing about anime. Speaking of, I promised last week that I would give you all the second half of my 2010s highlight list, so here it is. Enjoy!


Welcome back, tourists. Today I will be finishing off the list for the best anime of the last decade. Who knows, maybe I am giving up the good stuff a little too soon, but might as well get it out there before the 2010s slowly fade away from our collective memory. After all, between the death of beloved athlete Kobe Bryant, huge wildfires that are destroying Australia and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, 2020 seems to have enough to keep people occupied.

March Comes in Like a Lion – Fall 2016 – Studio: Shaft

Nowhere in the universe is there a show nearer and dearer to my heart than Studio Shaft’s masterpiece, March Comes in Like a Lion.

It tells the story of Rei Kiriyama, a middle school shogi prodigy turned high school depression case. While still involved in the world of shogi as one of its better players, Rei faces some of his most traumatic emotional scars, including the death of his birth family and the relationship with his adopted parents and sister. Despite only ever playing shogi because of his dad, Rei’s relationship with the game becomes fundamentally altered as he works out his problems.

It is rare that a singular show ever reaches such a wide range on the emotional spectrum as March Comes in Like a Lion. Even with its seemingly odd subject matter, and also seemingly because of it. The show manages to cover a wide range of topics outside of shogi, such as depression, abuse and bullying. 

Not only that, but the show also covers these topics well. Each of them is explored in-depth and through the perspective of multiple characters, all while resolving the main plot at hand in a way that makes sense narratively. In a lot of ways, the series reflects a lot of what is going on in society today, actively bringing awareness to mental health that was not there before. 

A Silent Voice – Fall 2016 – Studio: Kyoto Animation

I said series and movies at the beginning of this list for a reason, because not recognizing one of the most impactful films of the decade would be incredibly irresponsible, to say the least. 

A Silent Voice focuses on the topic of bullying from the perspective of Shouya Ishida, the resident bully of a girl who transferred to his school, Shouko Nishimiya. Shouko, as is revealed fairly early, is deaf, and because of this is targeted by almost everyone in the school. However, Shouya gets sold out as the main culprit by his classmates. Years later, after almost attempting suicide, Shouya attempts to make amends with Shouko.

Bullying has been and remains a popular topic of conversation, especially as it affects specific communities. A Silent Voice, however, portrays a specific aspect of bullying that is not often explored, that being what happens when a person attempts to befriend the person they bullied. From that perspective, it can be quite a jarring film. 

Still, its emotional resonance and message can not be overstated, and it’s easily one of the best animated films to be released this decade.

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Made in Abyss – Summer 2017 – Studio: Kinema Citrus

If Game of Thrones has shown anything, it is that there is still a large appetite for good fantasy stories among the general population. Luckily, I have got a show that delivers just that. 

Made in Abyss is truly something special. It is set in a world where what is below the earth’s surface is arguably much more interesting than anything above. “The Abyss,” as it is dubbed, is a giant chasm that leads to an entire ecosystem below ground. Riko, a young orphan girl who grows up in the town surrounding the abyss, hopes to find out its secrets, including what happened to her mother.

Joined by Reg, a mysterious humanoid robot that has no memories of his past, Riko journeys into “The Abyss,” despite the dangers that are present. What sets Made in Abyss apart from other fantasy stories is just how unique its story really is. The universe that is constructed both around and within “The Abyss” is both original and interesting, from its creatures and plant life to the abyss explorers’ societal structure.

A Place Further Than the Universe – Winter 2018 – Madhouse

Between Wandering Son and A Silent Voice, there are already a number of emotionally powerful works on this list. Still, I think there is room for at least one more. Trust me, A Place Further Than the Universe deserves it. It is the high school drama adventure of the decade.

A Place Further Than the Universe follows Mari Tamaki and her quest to fulfill her goal of going on an adventure before she leaves high school. Right before giving up on her goal, she finds a million yen lying on the floor of a train station. After finding the girl it belongs to, Shirase Kobuchizawa, Mari decides to join Shirase on her journey to reach Antarctica.

Mari and Shirase’s trip ends up becoming much more than just a journey to Antarctica. Along the way the two meet up with Hinata Miyake and Yuzuki Shiraishi, who help them acquire the means to get there in the first place. Early on in the series, it is also revealed that the reason Shirase wants to go on this journey is because of her mom, who was a researcher in Antarctica but lost her life while on an expedition.

A Place Further Than the Universe is a phenomenal anime and one that hits home for many. At its core, the show is about looking inward, finding oneself and seeing that identity through to the end. 

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“Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” – Fall 2018 – Cloverworks

In case anyone is wondering, no the title for this anime is not wrong. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is, in fact, the real English name. Despite that, it is still a phenomenal work that should be talked about. 

The series makes sure that, even with its incredibly strange title, it lets the audience know it is a serious show. The first episode features Sakuta Azusagawa running into fellow classmate and acclaimed actress Mai Sakurajima, except, as he finds out, she has been affected by a disease that he himself has dealt with in the past, Puberty Syndrome. Puberty Syndrome changes people’s realities by materializing their insecurities. 

Deciding to help Mai through her problem of people suddenly not knowing who she is despite being famous across Japan leads him to meet with others who also have the disease. This includes one of his close friends Rio Futaba. Sakuta’s world becomes even more confusing than his mundane high school life already was. All of it forces him to realize that there are a lot of things that are more important than one’s own comfort. 

That, my lovely tourists, is the list. It is by no means a complete list of everything worth watching from the last decade, but it is what I consider to be the best. After watching a few of the things from this list, it would certainly be worthwhile to venture out further into the world of anime.


Now that the list on this site is complete, I’ll ask again: did I miss anything important? 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!

Special shoutout to Jenn for continuing to support us on Patreon, it is greatly appreciated.

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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My Top 10 Favorite Anime (As of August 2021)

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Well, It certainly has been a while since I made this list, about three years to be exact. Sometimes it can feel a bit pointless to try and nail down favorites because tastes are constantly changing, but I have watched a few series lately that I feel strongly about, and thus I thought it would be fun time to remake this list and share it with all of you. With that being said, let us get started.


10. Terror in Resonance

Honestly, I thought out of all the shows on my previous list, “Terror in Resonance” would have not made it on still, and yet, through hours of internal debate, it still managed to find a spot. I would say that its one thing in particular that keeps me thinking about it, but that would lie. From the gorgeous animation produced by then up and coming studio MAPPA to the gorgeous Icelandic vocal filled soundtrack, this show has so much. As time has gone on, my sympathies for the series’ political messages have also gone up significantly. While “Terror in Resonance” might have just barely made the list, do not take that to mean I think it is bad, because that is far from the truth.

9. Fire Force

Speaking of shows that I did not think would be on this list. Although, what can I say, it grew on me. “Fire Force” may have some serious problems when it comes to its female characters, which I will definitely continue to talk about, but it also just has a really cool premise that it executes on fairly well. Couple that with the fact that the series was created by the original author of “Soul Eater,” and thus has some fairly similar character designs, and yeah I am on board. It may have taken me a bit more time to fully get into it, but it has certainly earned its place on this list.

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8. Robotics;Notes

Oh, look, its the anime that got me somewhat interested in mecha. Not sure how Scott will feel about that, but it is true. Without “Robotics;Notes,” “Gurren Lagann” probably would have ended up as the extent of my mecha experience. However, this show is also just good on its own merits. The character-driven, sci-fi mystery plotline has twists and turns at virtually every stage of its progression, as well as boasting one of the most interesting fictionally diseases in the form of Cat and Mouse Syndrome. I have wanted to revisit this series for a while now, and since I now own the “Robotics;Notes” visual novel, I may just do so…

(This is totally a hint that you should follow me on twitch ;))

7. No Game No Life

Look, I get it, the show is a bit problematic in its depiction of Sora and Shiro’s relationship. Ngl, kinda cringe. However, for those who are willing to look past this, there is a lot to like about “No Game No Life.” Not only did Madhouse do a great job animating the entire series, from the games to conversations between characters, the color palate for this show looks gorgeous, though I am incredibly biased because purple. On top of that, there are some intriguing ideas when it comes to the series’ message and philosophy. For those who are fans of Isekai stories and have somehow not come across “No Game No Life,” this is a much watch.

6. A Place Further Than the Universe

Oh boy. I can count of two hands the number of series that have made me cry, and “A Place Further Than the Universe” happens to be one of them. What is even crazier is that, it does not use any incredibly sappy set up to try and pull at your heart strings immediately. Rather, it just tells the story of a girl who really wants to follow in her mother’s foot steps, and three others who are along for the ride. They share the adventure of a lifetime going to Antarctica and…well, not to spoil too much, but it is certainly an experience.

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5. Log Horizon

Alright, so I have a confession to make. I have yet to watch the third seasons for both of the next two series. I know, I know, it feels a bit weird to still have them on here without having technically watched all of them. In my defense though, the first two season of “Log Horizon” are just good enough on their own. Drama, politics, worldbuilding: “Log Horizon” has it all, and then some. It may not be the best looking show ever, but when its got one of the best hype anthems ever written by Man on a Mission fronting every episode, it does not have to be. I said before that Isekai fans should have “No Game No Life” on their to watch list, and that goes more-so for this series.

4. Oregairu

Truth be told, the only reason I did not end up watching the third season for “Oregairu” is because me and my friend got a little too intoxicated while we were re-watching the first two and, well, let us just say it got messy. Regardless, like with “Log Horizon,” “Oregairu” could be carried by its first two seasons. I am still a little bit salty about the change in art style after season one, but honestly, given how good the show is, that is a minor complaint. There really is not too much else to say for this one other than it is a fantastic slice of life comedy that is certainly worth anyone’s time.

3. Golden Time

What can be said about “Golden Time” that is not already buried in my 1000 word video script on the series (I meant to put out the video a long ass time ago I just kept forgetting to record and edit.) Romance in anime has felt one note for a pretty long time, outside of some recent exceptions like “Horimiya.” However, the romance in “Golden Time” is dynamic and feels real. While it may have a fantastical element as it core premise, it is believable because all of its characters, including the main character, develop relationships that mean something. In show’s best moments, there is a deep sense of investment in the lives of the people on screen, and to think, it all started with a dude getting slapped with a rose bouquet.

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2. Princess Jellyfish

The hardest part about making this list was not writing these blurbs, but rather deciding who would get second and third between the last two entries. In fact, it probably took me at least an hour going back and forth in my head to make a decision. While “Golden Time” is without a doubt great, I only really felt its impact all at once, at the end, when I could barely contain my tears. “Princess Jellyfish,” on the other hand, was different. It hit in waves, as if at the end I was not able to fully process what I had even just watched. After sitting with the series for a few days, I can be assured in the assessment that “Princess Jellyfish” is a remarkable series.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion


As remarkable as “Princess Jellyfish,” It was unlikely that the series that helped me in one of the darkest periods of my life was ever going to get dethroned. “March Comes in Like a Lion” lacks in no category, and while the subject matter may seem a bit inaccessible, shogi is simply a means to a storytelling-end. Rei, and later on Hina, are two of the most complex characters in all of anime, and their arcs are some of the best storytelling I have ever seen. Couple that with studio shaft’s unique, occasionally minimalist art style and you get a series frankly deserves a lot more recognition than it currently gets.


What are some of your favorite series? 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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Five Anime Characters Who Deserve Spinoffs

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Oftentimes anime, and stories in general, are defined by their main characters. “Harry Potter,” “Naruto,” anime aimed at kids such as “Yugioh” and “Pokemon,” as well as a ton of others. Some stories are just better suited to that orientation, which is totally fine. However, there are a lot of series which produce characters who are more interesting than the main character, and sometimes even just more interesting than the rest of the show. With that in mind, today, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about some of these significantly more interesting characters, ones that could probably rock their own spinoff series. Without further adu, let us get into it.

N (Pokemon: Black and White)

Is…this cheating?

Part of me was not sure whether to include a “Pokémon” character here because it feels like the games is the primary medium through which people enjoy the franchise. Still, many people grew up with and still currently enjoy the anime series, so it feels kind of fair.

N still feels like an anomaly as far as “Pokémon” characters go. After all, most character motivation in the anime series goes as far as being a good trainer or breeder and while it is true that the series is aimed at kids, that always came off as kind of lazy. N, however, is one of the sole exceptions. Much of his arc as a villain is him questioning the structure of “Pokémon” society, asking the tough questions like “Are Pokemon treated fairly?” and “Are they better off without humans?” I did not actually watch all of B&W, so I can only really attest to his arc in the original games, but he could easily carry a 12 episode cour set in the “Pokémon” Universe.

Hinata Miyake (A Place Further Than the Universe)

This one is a little less fair because all of the characters in “A Place Further Than the Universe” are actually good. However, of the four main girls, she feels the most interesting, even without having the most development. This is because what we do get of her background is really interesting. Homeschooled most of her life and graduated high school early, now doing college while working part time at a convenience store and just shows up wanting to go to Antarctica.

There are so many questions that surround her throughout the course of the series, and unfortunately, there are not that many answers. Now, maybe she does not carry a whole 12 episode series by herself, but I do think she is worth at least a couple of OVAs focused on her, with a bigger focus on her life as a kid.

Akari Kawamoto (March Comes in Like a Lion)

Speaking of super interesting characters who did not get as much development as they probably should have…

Do not get me wrong, “March” is still one of my favorite shows. However, for as interesting as Hina’s arc was in the second season, it felt like Akari was oftentimes neglected. As the primary maternal figure in the series who essentially had to take on that role at the drop of a hat, one might think that she would have a bit more focus than she does. Like, sure, she definitely has some spotlight episodes, but none that are primarily about her, aside from maybe one or two. This also is not to say that she is more interesting than Rei. But I do think a series which focused on her transformation from a daughter to a guardian figure would be incredibly interesting.

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Shun Aonuma (From the New World)

Re-watching this series recently made me realize just how much depth there is behind the story and characters, even if the production quality is not always there to support it. At the top of the candidates for most interesting from the series is Shun. Yeah, sure, part of that interest is generated from just how early he exits the series. However, his relationship with Saki and Satoru was genuinely one of the most interesting elements, and his home life is left a complete mystery. There is a ton here that could very easily fill up a mini-OVA series.

Arthur Boyle (Fire Force)

Ok, but like seriously, can he talk about him?

I said in my discussion of “Fire Force” that Arthur’s character is…confusing. Like, he’s perpetually stupid, was raised in a happy family until he was not, and thinks he is King Arthur because his parents pretended with him and now he just uses the persona as childhood trauma. Yet, he is relegated in the anime as a…joke character? To be honest, his entire existence just bewilders me so much. I would want to see a spinoff focusing on him for no other reason than clarification, because wtf?!


What characters would you like to see get their own spinoff? 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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The Three Best Characters in March Comes in Like a Lion (Besides Rei)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its been a while since I have had the motivation to spam the blog with “March Comes in Like a Lion” content, especially since college has pretty much drained all of it. I am hoping to start up my episode analyses of the series again soon, but until then, I thought it a good idea to do the thing I do best, and talk about the wonderful series. Today, I want to highlight the three best characters in the series outside of Rei.

For the purposes of this post, when I say the best, what I really mean is a combination of most dynamic, greatest addition to the story, and generally the most interesting. So, in no particular order, here are the three best characters aside from Rei.

Kyouko

It is always fun to keep things at least a little controversial, which is why I decided to start off with a pick that will likely get me a lot of weird looks from other fans of the show.

While Kyouko is to put it nicely, cruel and vindictive, she also suffered from her father’s mistreatment and neglect. Throughout the series she serves as a reminder to Rei of the unwelcoming environment of his adopted home, and why he started living on his own in the first place.

She constantly pushes him to his emotional limit, sometimes even blurring the lines between the Rei that we know, and one that is fueled by the same rage as Kyouko. Her presence within the series is exciting, melodramatic, and anger-inducing all at the same time, and for that she is easily one of the best.

Hayashida

They always ask “what you doing,” never “how you doing?”

In all seriousness though, it feels like the hype men never get as much love as those they hype up. Hayashida is there for Rei since pretty much the first episode. He consoles Rei when he is down, and cheers him on when he is doing well.

Though he does not go through much of a dramatic change himself, Hayashida does become an integral part of the series, and even starts his own journey to becoming better at shogi. His willingness to help others shines through in almost every moment he is on screen, and that alone makes him pretty amazing.

Shimada

I have already detailed Shimada as a character at length in a different post, so I will try and not make this too lengthy. The reason he is such a great character is actually pretty similar to Hayashida, but in a very different way.

Whereas Hayashida helps console Rei in a way that makes him feel better, Shimada is, ironically, much more of a teacher. After beating Rei at the Lion’s Cup, Shimada takes him on as a student, not only offering him advice but forcing him to become his own best advocate.

Seperate from Rei, Shimada is also pretty incredible. He trained for the majority of his life to get where he is, going to the shogi association every week to become a better player, not because he was set up to be a prodigy, but out of a genuine love for the game. Stories like these are always inspiring because they speak to a character’s true passion, and for that, Shimada is truly awesome.


Who do you think are the best characters in March Comes in Like a Lion? 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!

Feeding the Flames: A Series of Hot Takes

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So, yeah, this week has been pretty crazy, to say the least. Online school is already making me rethink even being enrolled in college right now, and on top of that my classes are not holding anything back, even for the first week. Nothing I haven’t dealt with before, but it definitely does not help that I cannot really physically interact with any of my professors and that I do not have access to any of the normal on campus resources.

Long story short, I have not had much time for blog writing this week, and since I never really took the time to write back-up posts, (which I definitely should have) today I’ll be borrowing an idea from K at the Movies (who you all should go follow) and list a few of my hot takes. With that being said, lets get started.

March Comes in Like a Lion is an Easy Top 10 of All Time Contender

If you’ve spent any amount of time on this blog you know that my love for “March Comes in Like a Lion” is huge. I even have a series dedicated to analyzing it in detail. However, I don’t like the series in spite of it being bad, quite the opposite. March is arguably the best thing to come out shaft, period. The way it combines Studio Shaft’s animation style of with incredible character drama and important messages about mental health, bullying, and a load of other subjects is truly an incredible feat.

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Seven Deadly Sins is Lowkey Trash

I remember a bit earlier this year when the Meliodas vs Escanor fight came out and people were blowing up over the quality of the animation. Immediately after seeing a few of those posts I thought “you all are just realizing now that the show is garbage?” Seven Deadly Sins is what I would consider an entry level anime, but its not a particularly good one. The story is fairly basic until much later on in the show, with Meliodas on a journey to gather the sins. On top of that, none of the characters outside of a few of the side characters are particularly interesting, and then on top of THAT the show has the audacity to reuse the same, unfunny sexual harassment joke nearly every episode. If you are desperate for something to watch because you have exhausted all your other options when it comes to Shounen series, honestly just re-watch something cause this is not it, chief.

The Fan-base in the Only Bad Thing about Persona 5

People love to complain about toxic fan-bases when it comes to different media properties, and I agree. It sucks when all you want to do is talk about or interact in other ways with something you love, only to have a large percentage of the people who also love that thing be absolutely trash human beings. However, it still does not make sense to use the toxic nature of a property’s fan-base as a way to judge the quality of said thing. Persona 5 does attract a lot of cringe individuals, especially given the games popularity. Despite this, the game is nearly flawless in every way, especially the updated version “Royal,” and certainly more people should get to experience it without having to deal with its fans.


Thank you all for reading this week. I know this is more of just a filler post, but if nothing else goes horribly wrong than Wednesday and next Sunday will be back to back “Aku no Hana” action! However, if you do enjoy stuff like this than please leave a comment and let me know if you would like to see more.

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!

OWLS June “Mindfulness” Tour: Shimada and Loving Shogi

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for once again stopping by for another OWLS tour. This months theme is mindfulness.

For the past few months, things have been pretty hectic. Everyone’s lives have changed to some degree, and we can’t help but feel anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed. This month we will be focusing on ourselves and keeping a strong peace of mind with our theme, “Mindfulness.” We will be analyzing characters that have crafted and practiced their own philosophy on life and have spread their beliefs to others. We will also be talking about habits, hobbies, and things that are keeping us sane, positive, and peace within our souls. 

As always, be sure to stop and check out some of our other members on the tour. This month it will be Megan on the fourth and Matt on the tenth.

For this month’s post, I wanted to do a follow up to last month, in which I talked about the need to adapt in “March Comes in Like a Lion.” With that said, I hope you all enjoy.


In last month’s post I talked about how the people around Rei were a big reason he was able to adapt to his new life outside his adopted family. Arguably the most important influence outside of the Kawamoto sisters is Shimada.

Before meeting Shimada, Rei was in a place of extreme struggle, both personally and professionally. Not only was his relationship with his family, especially his sister, still incredibly uncomfortable, he was also quickly losing any love he had left for shogi.

While participating in the King’s Tournament, Rei vowed to beat Gotou for supposedly wronging his sister Kyouko. Now, there is a lot wrong here that is also worth dissecting that would probably reveal a good amount of Rei’s thought process. However, before he can get his revenge on Gotou he loses to the A ranked Shimada.

At first, Rei is confused. He barely comprehends what happens, and ultimately does not even remember half of the game. After eventually swallowing his pride about his loss, Rei looks to Shimada for guidance about his play. Shimada then decides to accept him as a student at his shogi summer camp.

While his usual tired, unimpressed expression often hides it, Shimada is someone who has a ton of love for the game of shogi. Not only does he run his summer camp, helping both Rei and Nikaidou, but also actively coaches Rei one on one. Shimada is someone who has a sincere love of the thing he does, and because of that is willing to spend time on others who also want to get better.

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Much of this positive presentation rubs off on Rei, and because of this, he starts to find his love of the game again. While watching Shimada play against shogi grandmaster Souya after the King’s Tournament, Rei realizes just how amazing the game can be at a high level.

This not only inspires Rei’s love for the game again, but makes him want to do better. Before meeting Shimada, Rei’s rank was at risk of slipping while Nikkaidou was ready to become a B ranked player.

For so long Rei had been carried by his natural ability for the game that hitting a wall nearly made him quit. However, meeting Shimada turned out to be one of the best things for him.

While it may seem childish to some, looking up to those who are better than you can be great for improvement at nearly anything. Using myself as an example, starting last year I wanted to get better at playing Smash Bros competitively.

I had always played against my friends, but I was never able to learn much because I did not own the game, and rarely had the ability to practice. However, when Smash Ultimate came out, I got pretty serious about getting better.

I spent about the last year practicing, and the results have definitely paid off. Not only am I able to perform a ton of combos I could not do before, I also am getting much better at going against top players in my region. Ultimately what Shimada ends up teaching Rei is two-fold. One is to love the game again, and two is to dedicate himself to the things he loves.


What other things should we be mindful of in these times? 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!

OWLS May “Adapt” Tour: Rei and the Need to Adapt

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its that time again for another OWLS post. Just in case, for anyone who is not familiar with the group, OWLS is:

A group that promotes the acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and disabilities and highlights the importance of respect and kindness to every human being.

This month’s writing theme is “adapt,” as described below.

Right now, we all have lost something or gained something in return during this dark time. Our lives have been completely altered due to coronavirus. For this month, we will be talking about anime series and other pop culture media where we have characters having to adjust to changes in their environment. Whether it’s adjusting to a new school or heading towards an isekai fantasy world, we will be discussing characters that had to make changes within themselves in order to adapt to the circumstances they are in. This will also give us an opportunity to express our own personal lives as we try to adjust to a “new normal.”

For this month, Megan will be going after me on the 14th, so be sure to give her post a look, and drop her a follow as well.

With all that being said, enjoy the post.


I talked last week about a game called Hearthstone, a card game that features a large amount of random effects, and one that consequently requires its players to be able to adapt to changing situations. Life, in many aspects, is the same way. Things rarely go as people plan them, whether it be their dream job, school of choice, or even just plans for the weekend. In all of those cases, people need to be flexible, adapt, and find a plan B. If most people were not able to accomplish this, life would fall apart pretty quickly.

“March Comes in Like a Lion,” and more specifically Rei, embodies the need for both forms of adaptation very well. When it comes to playing Shogi, its obvious that Rei stands as a cut above many of his fellow competitors. There are many reasons for this, one being his training in the game from a very young age. Another, though, is his ability to adapt.

Episode to episode, Rei meets a great deal of shogi players, each who have their own play style. Some lean heavy into aggression, while others choose to play much more offensively. Rei, however, sits somewhere in the middle. His style is ill-defined, often leaving him to react to his opponent, rather than developing his own unique way of approaching the game.

This ability to adapt to his opponent mid-game and create a new path to victory based on his current board state is what makes Rei such an excellent player. However, the same cannot be said for Rei’s ability to play the game of life, at least initially.

The story of “March Comes in Like a Lion” opens on a Rei still stuck in the past. He is solely focused on his past and what his adopted family put him through. His anger and resentment keep him from seeing anything else important, and he continues to hate shogi as a result.

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It is only after he meets the Kawamoto sisters that things begin to change. The three sisters, Akari, Hina and Momo, show him genuine kindness. They let him stay out there house, they feed him homecooked meals, and even watch his matches after they find out about his career as a pro shogi player.

After meeting them, Rei’s life begins to change drastically. Suddenly he has more to focus on then just shogi and paying bills. While his memories and family members still bother him a lot, he is better able to deal with those things because he has the sisters to help keep him positive.

Throughout the rest of the show, Rei uses this change in attitude to his advantage. Not only does he grow as a player, improving his shogi skills by studying alongside various top players, he continues to grow as a person.

Ultimately, what “March Comes in Like a Lion” shows is that adapting is important. Whether it be in a game or in real life, adapting can be the difference between victory and defeat, and sadness and happiness. While it might feel hard to change while worrying about the existential threat that is COVID-19, it is worth remembering that even taking small steps can eventually lead to a more healthy and desirable version of yourself.


Yeah, so this kind of turned into an advice column more than a post, but I know even just based on my own headspace that people can use a little more positivity. Also, money and healthcare, but that’s a different post entirely. Do you feel like you are adapting well to COVID life? 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!

30 Day Anime Challenge Two: Day 29

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is day 29 of the second 30 Day Anime Challenge.

#29: Favorite Anime Franchise

Lol, I’m not even explaining this. March Comes in Like a Lion is so good, and also I’ve talked about it so much, so yeah.


What is your favorite Anime Franchise? 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!

OWLS February “Legacy” Post: “March Comes in Like a Lion” and a Guide for Depression

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

After taking a month off, I am back with another OWLS post. This month’s theme is “Legacy.”

We have mentors, teachers, coaches, and role models whose stories inspired us in some way. Even when these role models are gone, their stories will live on from generation to generation. For this month, we will be exploring stories that have inspired or taught us some important lessons about life.

After reading this post, be sure to also check out posts from Ange and Crimson.

For this month, I am taking it back to my favorite, “March Comes in Like a Lion,” a show that has helped significantly in the realm of mental health. Please enjoy.


In an era of increased economic and political stability, issues of health care, specifically mental health care, have become much more prominent in mainstream dialogue. Those that were previously ignored, such as those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are now getting the help that they need. Not only that, increased discussion of these conditions has lead to better representation in popular media, including in anime.

I have talked a number of times, and will continue to do so, about the impact that “March Comes in Like a Lion” has had on me personally, and the way that it helped me coup with my depression and suicidal thoughts. I want to do so again, because its legacy on my own life is an important one.

For those who are unaware, my senior year of high school was the year in which all of my mental fortitude that kept me going in the previous year collapsed. All of my motivation as it related to school and work vanished. I dreaded having to wake up every day, and sometimes wished I could just pass away in my sleep.

However, that same year I stumbled upon “March Comes in Like a Lion,” which ended up being a almost literally a lifesaver. I mentioned it recently in one of my columns on The Daily Beacon, but “March” does an incredible job at displaying and dealing with different aspects of mental health, specifically depression as it relates to Rei.

In the wake of his identity crisis at the beginning of the show, Rei leans on shogi because it is all he has known since being a little kid. Not only is it the only connection he had with his father, despite not enjoying it that much, it also becomes his work. Rei realized the potential he had, and became one of the shogi world’s greatest prodigies, and at the ripe old age of 17, is paying the bills with it.

As Rei continues into the world of shogi, and meets new people like the Kawamoto sisters and Shimada, his perspective begins to change. What was once at best ambivalence towards his profession soon becomes something he loves doing, and works hard at getting better towards.

Watching Rei’s transformation in the story really made me want to achieve something myself. It became the wake-up call that I knew I needed but just couldn’t get from anywhere else, especially since it was hard to talk to anyone about my mental health.

Now, I want to be perfectly clear. I am not saying that watching anime is instantly going to fix your mental health, if at all. In fact, it didn’t even really fix mine. Still, at a time in my life where I felt numb to almost everything, the story of a teenage kid rediscovering his passion for something he’s known almost half his life was touching, to say the least.


“Legacy” Blog Tour Schedule
(February 2020)

2/6: Megan from Nerd Rambles

2/8: Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe

2/11: Aria from The AniManga Spellbook
2/12: Hikari from Hikari Otaku Station

2/16: Ange from Just Being Otaku

2/17: Ashley from The Review Heap

2/22: Crimson from Cute Boys Central

2/24: YumDeku from MyAnime2go

2/27: Mel from Mel in Animeland

2/28: Lita from Lita Kino Anime Corner

2/29: Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews

What kind of legacy has anime left on you? 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!