Tag Archives: Music

Secondary Findings January 2023

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Well, it is still the first month of the year, and what better way to start off the year than by sharing some of my more recent favorite things with you, the lovely readers? Also, a slight change in format: for the sake of general organization, I am going to start dividing everything by medium (i.e. movies, tv shows, books, etc) so people can find things a bit easier.

For those who are reading for the first time, Secondary Findings is a series where I talk briefly about all the stuff that is either not anime or manga related or that would not be talked about otherwise. It is a fun way to share a little more about me while hopefully putting people on to some cool media that I enjoy.


First up, here is some of the music I have been enjoying:

Hypochondriac by Brakence

If there was ever an album worth being annoying about, it is this one. I did a favorite album of 2022 list over on my other site, and this…this came in first by a pretty comfortable margin. Elements of emo and math rock, hyperpop, hip-hop, EDM, and pop, basically all of my favorite genres, come together to make one of the most memorable and infectious listening experiences to date. Absolutely slaps.

I Didn’t Mean to Haunt You by Quadeca

Though I certainly was not as big on this album as some others, it does represent a pretty big artistic shift in Quadeca’s career. It is not always the easiest to listen to, but as an experience it is probably one of the most interesting things one could listen to from last year. Of course, concept albums work much better when listened to all the way through. However, more specifically, check out the songs “tell me a joke” and “fractions of infinity” featuring the Sunday Service Choir. It really is some magical stuff.


Now for the games.

Coffee Talk

Even after just a couple hours of gameplay, the charm of this game shines through tremendously. Although, “gameplay” is maybe not the right word for what is otherwise just a visual story where you occasionally mix together ingredients and try your best to do latte art.

Still, it is an imaginative world where the political implications of a fantasy-esc alternate universe with fairies, orcs, vampires, werewolves, and others are filtered through the door of an otherwise ordinary late-night coffee shop run by none other than yourself. It is a great game, especially for people like me who find themselves up late at night with nothing better to do. Might not be worth the almost 15-dollar price tag for some, but I still recommend it wholeheartedly.

Persona 5 Royal

*insert 200-hour-long JRPG joke here*

I started Persona 5 Royal back in 2020, and somehow never found the time to finish it during the global pandemic…huh, funny how that works. However, since graduating college left me with a lot more time on my hands, I figure why not give it another shot?

The game is really solid mechanically and narratively, with Royal more or less improving on just about every aspect of the original. There are more side characters as well as more things to do with your days in between dungeons. However, Persona 5 has always been a franchise more focused on aesthetics, at least for me, and it does that very well. The soundtrack of this game alone is reason enough to at least check it out. Obviously, finding the time to complete a game this long can be tough for people with busy schedules, but for those who are looking for a fun time sink and somehow have not heard about this game, well, here ya go.


Here are some videos/channels I think are worth watching.


I basically spent a good two hours just binging videos from this channel and man was it a good time. SugarPunch focuses primarily on fighting games and their most famous series breaks down the use of various fighting styles in said games, including their history and implementation across various titles.

However, my personal favorite video is linked above and goes into the history of queer representation in fighting games, which to my pleasant surprise is quite abundant. The video is a little bit outdated in regards to the section on Guilty Gear since Bridget was confirmed in canon to be a trans woman upon her release in Strive, but otherwise, it is a great video. Overall, a really fun channel, even for people who are not the biggest fans of the genre.

Smosh Pit

Anyone who was on the internet, specifically YouTube, in the late 2000s and early 2010s probably stumbled across a Smosh video, even if it was by accident. The whole thing has become a lot more… corporate, with one of the original creators Anthony Padilla leaving a few years ago. However, if one good thing has come out of the brand since then, it would be Smosh Pit, specifically their version of a “try not to laugh” series using prop comedy. Something about the regulars they have along with the assortment of guests makes it where the video can go from relatively dry and clean humor to entirely unhinged in a matter of one skit.


I’ve never done a blog section in this series, for some reason, so I figured it might be time to change that.

I drink and watch anime – Irina

Part of the reason might be that I am really bad about keeping up with my fellow bloggers. However, if there is one person who I do read pretty consistently, on the part of her putting out genuinely interesting content, it is Irina. I have mentioned her a few time on the site back when it was going by different names, and her perspective on a lot of series and issues within the medium of anime have stayed incredibly thoughtful and reflective.

She recently wrote a piece about the “adorable glutton” trope that pops up in a lot of cute girls doing cute things type series, and it genuinely made me stop and think for a bit about just how much issues of implicit bias towards heavier people go unchecked in media. So yeah, do yourself a favor and go read some more stuff from her. When she’s not being incredibly thought-provoking, which is rare, she’s also recommending anime series-based drinking games and various alcoholic beverages to do them with.

The Afictionado – Alex Henderson

This is another blog that I have been reading for a while, but have yet to properly shout out for just how awesome it is. Given her Doctoral work focusing on young adult literature, Henderson’s writing, even about more casual and very odd anime, takes a decidedly more academic tone and approach, something I try and ultimately fail and replicating.

However, Henderson also has an impressive body of work outside of the blogosphere and academia. One of my favorite articles, as it relates to anime, is one she wrote about Spy x Family and its relationship with queer families. Queer representation is something I try to talk about as much as I can, and I have learned a lot just from reading her articles, so please do yourself another favor and go check out her work as well.

And that, my friends, is pretty much all of what I have been consuming outside of anime and manga recently. Normally these end up being quarterly posts since I do end up reviewing most of the stuff I consume in any given week or month.

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!


The Observation Deck: Bocchi the Rock

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


What? you’re telling me they remade K-ON? oh boy, can’t wait to review i- oh, wait, never mind.

Actually, that intro is kind of insulting to Bocchi the Rock, since K-ON is definitely worse in like every way, but I will save that conversation for a Feeding the Flames post (whenever that comes out).

Bocchi was a show that was not at all on my radar until the beginning of this year, and considering the amount of backlog I have from just 2022, I was skeptical about giving it a chance. However, after watching anitwitter go crazy for it week after week, I caved and ultimately gave in to my own curiosity.

For those unaware, Bocchi the Rock is adapted from a four-panel manga of the same name, detailing the adventures of Hitori Gotoh, a high school first year who spent the last three years of her life learning guitar and making solo covers of popular songs in her closet and uploading them to YouTube under the name Guitarhero. Her dream, however, is to overcome her extreme social ineptitude, make friends, and form a band where she can become famous, and it seems as though she might finally get that chance.

Bocchi is…Cool

Any show that focuses heavily on one character is, of course, going to live or die depending on how that character is perceived. It is unlikely that a show like Naruto would be as well-liked by fans if the character was poorly written and hard to root for.

Though I certainly would not call Bocchi poorly written, by any means, she…well, has a pretty abrasively introverted personality. For her, even thinking about archetypical high school summer romances or bonding with friends is enough to send her into a spiral, mostly because she then has to think about how she can’t enjoy any of that.

Granted, none of this is inherently a bad thing. The socially incompetent loner trope is one that anime is all too familiar with, especially given the audience that anime as a medium tends to attract. That said, Bocchi’s character does ride a pretty fine line when it comes to enacting that personality, and sometimes it can be a bit grating.

I do understand that its source material and the format thereof do kind of limit the possible character development since four-panel manga are made for quick witty punchlines. However, given the fact that the anime does set up her desire to grow as a person, having her overreact in literally every situation can get a tad annoying.


Band Life, Baby!

Luckily, though, the show also has a great supporting cast to balance out the semi-repetitive bits that pop up around Bocchi. This includes Nijika, the band’s drummer and usually the one with her head on straight, as well as Ryou, the bassist who can be generally dubbed the “weird one,” and then Kita, the band’s vocalist and second guitarist whose outgoing, extroverted attitudes often clashes with the other three in admittedly hilarious ways.

There are a number of others as well, all of whom are also generally likable and fun to see on screen, most notable of which are Nijika’s sister Seika, who is the manager and owner of Starry, the club where they often perform, along with Bocchi’s family. A lot of the humor in the show usually derives from one or more of the supporting cast contrasting their relatively normal personalities against Bocchi’s often insane delusions about where her life will be and her relationship with performing

Though this can be somewhat grating as previously mentioned, enough of the bits are focused on other characters so that it does always feel like Bocchi is the center of attention, even though she is supposed to be.

Still, even when the show is not trying to be funny, it does land quite a bit with its more thoughtful and reflective moments. Music is clearly a passion for the characters it affects, and Bocchi’s story of overcoming social anxiety and making friends, when not being played up to the extreme, is genuinely heartwarming. The passion the bandmates share for their work is something that feels real, and it is much appreciated.

Visual Humor

There are two comedy anime in the last year that have actually made me laugh out loud multiple times: Kaguya-sama: Love is War and Bocchi the Rock and the reason why is actually pretty similar between the two. I talked about visual humor a lot over the course of my reviews of Kaguya-sama, and one of the things that made it work, especially in later seasons, is its ability to execute jokes really well, playing up each character’s defining personality traits or central conflicts with visually stimulating elements.

Though, there is definitely a difference in approach stylistically. Whereas Kaguya-sama often opts to play into ideas surrounding high school romance and uses its visual humor to express how characters are feeling about the social ideas, Bocchi leans way more into an absurdist style of humor, with a healthy dose of anime, internet, and musical references mixed in for good measure.

Part of this simply comes from it being a four-panel manga originally. From what I understand, other adaptations like Azumanga Daioh approach their stories with similar humor. However, Bocchi brings its own unique flare, always coming back to the aforementioned absurdism influenced heavily by what would more accurately be described as “gen z” or “chronically online” humor.


Looks Good, Feels Good

In that regard, the anime also just looks really solid. Cloverworks as a studio has been on the come-up recently (outside of The Promised Neverland season two but we can just ignore that for now). Even so, more of the credit should probably be going towards director Keiichirou Saitou and animation director/character designer Kiyoki Rikuta, because a lot of this show just would not work if it were not for how amazing it looks, especially during its visual gags.

Oh Right, It’s a Music Anime

Somehow I almost forgot to talk about the music in this BAND anime. Whoopsie. The music is…well, a lot better than I expected, especially the songs directly related to the girls as a band. Sonically it sounds like normal J-rock that I would hear turning on any Japanese Spotify playlist. However, I do appreciate the lyrical segments of the songs and how they feel like a combination of everyone’s more eclectic personalities.

The soundtrack was also pretty solid if maybe a little bit more on the unremarkable side. However, I suppose in a way it kind of works, since the show is focusing more on the girls’ early period as a band. So, yeah, not bad.


I actually ended up watching a fair bit more in 2022 than expected, but even so, Bocchi definitely ranks toward my top end. It certainly is not making any grand artistic statements about society or the universe, but what it does have to say in combination with its well-executed humor and only slightly obnoxious main character hits where it needs to. Definitely something worth checking out.


How did you feel about Bocchi the Rock? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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!


Feeding the Flames: Anime Music, Turn-Based RPGs, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Well, as usual, I am behind schedule on the series I was planning on covering this month. So, in order to supplement this, it is time once again for some hot takes.

Length is Not Important in Making Good Art

I thought about this a lot after finishing Goodbye, Eri by Tatsuki Fujimoto. He completed a well-rounded story in just about 200 pages and arguably wrote not only one of the best manga of the year but potentially a contender for best manga of the decade.

If it sounds like I am calling out shounen here, well it is because I am…kind of. Obviously, this applies to all long-running series, but Shounen stories tend to disproportionately fit into the category. However, the probably here is not the length itself, but rather that the longer a series goes on, the more prone it is to losing focus of its main plot.

The most important thing when writing a story is not its length. Rather, it is making sure that each part of said story is purposeful, and engages with its other parts in a way that makes sense.

Turn-Based RPGs Aren’t Inherently Boring

As much as I consider myself a fan of more action-oriented RPGs like Final Fantasy 13 and the very small amount of the Tales series that I have been able to play, something about the turn-based style of gameplay has always held its charm for me.

While I can certainly understand why people would feel strongly about their repetitive nature, part of that come from a lot of games that either focuses heavily on grinding, have little variance in gameplay, or both. Games like 2012’s Bravely Default prove that even small variations in the traditional formula can make for engaging gameplay that requires more attention than simply mashing through menus.

Still, I am not gonna sit here and pretend like most games that stick with the turn-based formula are innovating in that way.


The Tokyo Ghoul Anime Wasn’t That Bad

There are very few anime that I would say are wholly inferior to their source material. One of those is The Promised Neverland, which…yeah. The other, though, is Tokyo Ghoul. So much of the second season just feels scuffed as hell compared to what we got in the manga.

However, to say that its first season is on the same level feels a bit ludicrous. The adaptation of its story, even if some minor details were left out, was solid, and the animation from Studio Pierrot was above average. It was by no means perfect, but certainly not bad enough to complain endlessly about.

Hiroyuki Sawano

That is the take because my boy Sawano is on fire. On a more serious note, I do think Sawano has, at least at this point, cemented himself as one of the better music producers of anime history. It can certainly feel one-note at times, but at his best, his production is so hard-hitting that it frankly does not matter.

If I were to name some of my favorite music producers, it would likely be Sawano and Yoko Kano. I realize that these are not especially controversial picks, and this series is called Feeding the Flames, but hey, what can I say, quality is quality.

Good Anime Endings are More Memorable than Good Anime Openings

There are a lot of good anime openings, both in turns of animation but also in terms of music. However, the same cannot be said for anime endings, which often feel hand-picked to sound as boring and forgettable as possible. It does make sense, though, as first impressions are often much more important when it comes to sticking to a consistent audience. This is why, despite not thinking much about them, I could very easily name some of my favorite ending themes (more specifically, my favorite anime ending at the moment is Style Helix by Myth&Roid from Re: Zero, while my second favorite is Hibana by The Sixth Lie from Golden Kamuy).

What are some of your hot takes? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special thanks go to Jenn for the support on Patreon.

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


My Top 10 Favorite Anime Openings (As of April 2022)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


In the latter months of last year, I put out a post detailing my favorite anime. For as superficial as it might be to try and pin down favorites, it was a post that I had a lot of fun working on, both organizationally and in writing it. So, I thought it would be a good idea to work on another listicle, and talk about some of my favorite anime openings. While their is some crossover between the two, my favorite openings tend not to be attached to my favorite shows, so this will probably still end up being a surprise for most.

HM: Fiction – Sumika – Wotakoi OP 1

I figured this time around it would be worth including at least one of the honorable mentions so that people know what else was in contention for my top 10. Vocalist Sumika has some damn good pipes, and man is that chorus infectious as hell. On top of that, the visuals are incredibly fun and give a really good representation of the personalities of the main characters. The main reason it is not only the list proper is that, while it is overall a really solid OP, the middle section drags a little bit more than the openings above it. Overall, though, a really solid piece.

10. Shounen Heart – Home Made Kazoku – Eureka 7

Listen, I already warned everyone this is going to be a weird list, so that means no judgment whatsoever (Jk, feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments). In all seriousness, I know this probably is not everyone’s cup of tea, however, the Japanese hip-hop group Home Made Kazoku sells the song with a passion that I kind of respect in a campy, 90’s hip-hop kind of way. Their near yelling over this saxophone accented beat is hype in a way that feels hard to explain. Visually, this is definitely the weakest of the openings on here, which is why it stays at number 10.

9. My Soul, Your Beats! – Lia – Angel Beats! OP 1

A theme that might emerge for some in my discussions of these openings is that I care way more about the music than the visuals. Of course, good visuals are nice, but when being compared to the angelic vocals of singers like Lia it feels way less important. That is not to say that the visuals of Angel Beats‘ first OP are bad. In fact, I think the through-line of Kana playing the Piano in various places across the school grounds is a great visual representation of how she manages to affect all of their lives while they figure out what is even happening to them. The visuals are definitely a lesser factor for me, but certainly not a non-factor.


8. Chain – BACK-ON – Air Gear OP 1

Call it what you will, Nu Metal, Butt Rock, etc, the combination of rock and hip-hop elements has always been a staple in my musical diet, at least up until recently. Air Gear, meanwhile, feels like the perfect fit for the song. A show about battling on rollerblades might as well embrace the edginess. The opening definitely looks its age, with some pretty barebones movement, but it does at least have a narrative, and while the version above does not show it, the credits are pretty well integrated into said narrative.

7. Jiyuu no Tsubasa – Linked Horizon – Attack on Titan OP 2

On the other hand, maybe sometimes there can be too much narrative. Looking back at “Jiyuu no Tsubasa” while also just so happening to be in the middle of marathoning Attack on Titan (more on that later), it is pretty hilarious how many clues it just hands out. Still, what makes me like it more than its first-season counterpart, other than just being a contrarian, is the way it focuses on that mystery. The series is at its strongest while focusing on the secrets of the world they inhabit, and this opening does that the best, with no questions.

6. Katayoku no Tori – Akiko Skikata – Umineko no Nako Koro Ni

Fun fact: I have yet to watch a single second of the series proper, despite generally enjoying its predecessor Higurashi. On the other hand, why would I when this opening goes as hard as it does? After originally hearing the song in the background of Glass Reflections’ review of the series, I was instantly in love. It is one of the few openings on this list that I have known about for a long time, and musically it has stuck with me. Something about the chants in the beginning and the buildup to the chorus just feels right.


5. Goodbye Bystander – Yuki – March Comes in Like a Lion OP 2

Of course, if we are talking about openings with a good narrative… Honestly, when everything was said and done, I expected Goodbye Bystander to be a bit closer to the bottom since I had never really remembered any of the March openings super fondly. Yet, as I went back and listened, I could not help but get swept away by the magical instrumentation accompanying Yuki’s heartfelt performance on this song. Both lyrically and visually, the song also talks about an important aspect of the show, one in which Rei is not only becoming more comfortable in his arrangement with the Kawamoto sisters but also realizing the debt he owes them.

4. Gravity Wall – Hiroyuki Sawano, Tielle and Gemi – Re:Creators OP 1

If there is one thing I resent about Amazon’s Anime Strike channel, other than being overpriced for no reason, it is keeping this show behind a paywall and thus not letting as many people see it. Re:Creators is such a phenomenal anime, and alongside it are two incredibly produced OPs, the first of which just happens to be more my speed. Add in the fact that the opening looks just as good as the rest of the anime, and it should be pretty obvious why it is this high.

3. Destiny – Neko – Phi Brain OP 3

I made a rule early on in the creation of this list that their would only be one opening per series. This is because, without that rule, Phi Brain very likely would have snagged three spots on the list. Both of its first two openings “Brain Diver” and “Now or Never” have been heavy in my rotation since I watched the series a few years back. Still, I went with with the third one because it is both visually pleasing and one of the harder hitting songs instrumentally. Neko is an expressive vocalist who commands attention not only during the chorus but throughout the song.


2. ft. – Funkist – Fairytail OP 3

The reason I clarified my focus on music as opposed to visuals beforehand is because, well, this opening is as high as it is on the music alone. While it is definitely better than some of other openings here as far as the animation, it would definitely be lower were my focus changed. However, that does not matter much considering how incredible the music actually is. The use of flute as one of the primary drivers of melody in the song gives it this really interesting property of being continually hopeful despite some of the darker turns. Fairytail is probably one of the worst when it comes to the whole power of friendship thing.

1. Database – Man With a Mission/Takuma – Log Horizon OP 1

Was it ever really a competition? the answer is yes, it definitely was. However, Log Horizon‘s hard hitting Man With a Mission opening beats it out, partially on nostalgia but also because it takes a lot of what I like about Air Gear‘s opening and turns it up to 11. It may not be as distinct musically as some of the other openings here, but the computerized intro and solid English verse delivered by Takuma certainly give it an identity of its own. On top of that, the art and action present in the series translate really well into the animation, which just looks really cool, even if the storytelling is limited. “Database,” at least for now, is my favorite opening.

And that’s the list, Is there an opening that I missed? One you just want to recommend? Should I do anime endings next? Let me know down in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

As always, special shoutout to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon

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


Anime Music Quiz Highlights

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Most of the people who end up reading this will probably already be familiar with Anime Music Quiz. However, for those that are unaware of the game, a brief rundown. The game is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, where player(s) get some amount of time, usually 20 seconds, to guess a song from a given anime. It is a fun time, especially when you get to play with other people (shoutouts to the people in the Jon Spencer discord). As such, I wanted to highlight a few songs that I either discovered or rediscovered via the game.

Lullaby of Birdland – Yoko Kanno/Aoi Teshima – Kids on the Slope

Despite the fact that I probably would like it if I ever bothered to watch it, I have yet to experience Kids on the Slope outside of its soundtrack. Yet, this cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s 1947 song is probably one of my favorite of all time. Yoko Kanno’s brilliant as always production combined with the soft, luscious vocals of Aoi Teshima make for such an enjoyable listen. It may not be an all the time type of song for me, but when I am in the mood to hear it calms me down better than pretty much anything.

This is the End – Coldrain – King’s Game

While King’s Game the Animation may have been an exceptionally dull experience when I watched it back in 2017, it was not without its strong points. Mainly, this opening. The visuals are satisfactory, mainly just a run-through of the characters with some visuals which imply the show’s basic premise. However, the metalcore instrumentation and vocals of artist Coldrain is a welcome addition to any otherwise fine opening. On top of that, the all English lyrics make for a much more enjoyable listening experience for my admittedly uncultured ears.


Kawaki wo Ameku – Minami – Domestic Girlfriend

Domestic Girlfriend’s plot honestly sounds like the writing of a really bad porno. There, I said it. Still, my hesitancy to engage with the show at all certainly will not take away my enjoyment of the series’ opening. The visuals are honestly fairly strong for a romance series, which, in my experience, tend to be uninspired. On top of that, the vocals of singer Minami are out of this world. There is roaring anger that comes out in the build-up to the chorus which probably underscores a lot of the tension that comes out in the anime proper. Even on its own, though, the song is really solid and one that I do not at all mind having on my playlist.

Contradiction – KSUKE/Tyler Carter – The God of High School

EDM is a genre that I feel does not get a whole lot of representation when it comes to anime openings/OSTs. on the one hand, it makes sense, since it is not a genre that fits every story beat. Still, it is a shame since there is honestly a lot of places it does fit, and an anime like The God of High School is one of those. The production of KSUKE is admittedly not the hardest hitting I have ever heard, but the drops are still fun, and the vocal presence of Tyler Carter makes for a complete package.

I realized while writing this that most of the songs have some form of English lyrics, which is probably why they caught my attention, lol. Plz do not flame me in the comments, I am a weeb I swear!

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 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!


Secondary Findings: Hades, All of Us Are Dead, Etc.

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


As much as I love talking about all of the things I review for this blog, there is also a lot of stuff that I watch, play casually that does not get its own dedicated post. This is either because I have yet to finish it or because it does not fit in with the normal stuff I talk about. So, we are back with another edition of Secondary Findings, a series where I do just that.


This game probably will end up getting a full review on this blog at some point. However, with the little free time I have already, it has been hard to dedicate the proper hours to actually finish it. On top of that, Hades is the type of game where exploring it in depth could mean going through multiple runs, as it has become the poster child for indie rogue-likes.

It is not hard to see why, though. Between the relatively straightforward gameplay, unique build paths for different styles, and the incredible fluidity with which to make combos. That is not even getting into the super-inspired character designs which re-imagine the greek gods and goddesses in a way that gives them a lot of charm. While I cannot speak to anything beyond a few hours of gameplay, it is fairly obvious why Hades has such a strong fanbase.

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Though the series has yet to get its recently announced anime adaptation, its 15 minutes of Twitter fame was enough to ensnare my interest, and so I decided to give its first volume a read. To my surprise, the hype felt mostly deserved.

Even with its incredibly convoluted plot about saving the world from a wizard and a giant hammer with the help of a girl who also wants to destroy the world, this shounen comedy has thus far been a delight. Its funnier moments are indeed funny, but in the moments where the series calms down and starts to do a bit of introspection, these moments of malice slowly creep in and reveal some things that really drive a lot of interest.

It is hard to say what exactly will happen from here, but Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is definitely a manga that I am going to pursue further. if those moments of darkness are any indication of what is to come, there will certainly be something worthwhile on the other side.



I generally try to avoid talking about music on this blog unless it is in the context of an anime or video game soundtrack since that is fairly outside my wheelhouse. Though, of course, I have made exceptions for albums and artists who have had a significant impact on my thinking, with the most recent example being From Me to You by Quadeca.

However, since this is a more casual series focused on the stuff I enjoy, it would be weird not to talk about this strange musical subgenre that has taken up a not-insignificant portion of my music diet. Anyone who has been paying attention to internet culture has probably at least heard the name 100 gecs, who are the most recent act to popularize hyperpop.

However, the subgenre goes has been developing a lot over the past couple of years, often with the artists themselves having a love-hate relationship with the label. Personally, what I love about it is the way it combines elements of EDM reminiscent of the early 2010s, as well as modern pop and hip-hop trends.

The song linked above serves as a good example of what a lot of modern hyperpop has leaned into. I have heard it described more than once as “a musical genre for people with ADHD,” and while I am not sure if I actually have ADHD, it does help scratch a certain brain itch when listening to it.

All of Us are Dead

All of Us are Dead is a Korean zombie horror series that was released on Netflix in a manner similar to the now hit series Squid Game. It focuses on a Korean high school where a new illness has broken out which rapidly transforms the students into zombies, and now they must survive while being quarantined inside the school.

This is another property I have yet to fully dive into, having only watched one episode as of writing. It does take a while to build to its crescendo, with the first episode clocking in at just above an hour in total runtime. Yet, even with that long run time, it still manages to set up a lot of unique storylines without feeling bogged down by the number of characters.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not the series can actually stick the landing, but considering the last semi-competent zombie story I consumed was roughly seasons 3-4 of The Walking Dead, I am excited to see where this goes.

What all have you been enjoying recently? 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

Special thanks as always to our amazing Patreon supporter Jenn!

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


More Anime Soundtracks to Put in Your Playlist

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


It is Friday, which means another column to share from my time at my college’s newspaper. This time, I thought it would be fun to return to the topic of good anime soundtracks, and so here are a few more that should absolutely be on a playlist of yours if they are not already. While a certain show that I have talked about in the past is also on this list, I stand by the argument that it has a great soundtrack, so yeah. With that being said, let us begin.

Welcome back, tourists.

With increasing access to pretty much every kind of music through the internet and various music streaming services, it feels as though there is a soundtrack for pretty much every point in people’s lives. Now, instead of borrowing CDs, people are sharing playlists on Spotify and YouTube. 

I have said it before, and I am here to say it again. Anime has a number of amazing soundtracks with plenty of “banger” tracks, as the kids say, as well as slower, more reflective moments. Today, I want to share more of those worthwhile soundtracks. Content warning for some of the descriptions below.

“Wonder Egg Priority” – Music by De De Mouse

Those who follow seasonal anime might already be familiar with this new addition to the magical girl genre that recently took the community by storm. “Wonder Egg Priority” follows a group of girls who are transported to a dream world in order to rescue their friends who have died of suicide. The strange and dark nature of the show’s story and animation flows into the series’ soundtrack, courtesy of De De Mouse

The 42-year-old music producer pulled no punches on this project, taking his signature electronic music style and turning it up to 11. From the first episode to the latest, there is a sort of Kinetic energy that permeates the entire work. For the best example of this, check out episodes three and four. While it might be confusing, it will definitely also be exciting.

“Bleach” – Music by Shiro Sagisu

“Bleach” is an anime with a long and complicated history in terms of its quality. However, one element of the show that always felt underappreciated was its soundtrack. There are, of course, many openings that are worth talking about, especially its first one “Asterisk” by Orange Range. However, composer Shiro Sagisu knows how to capture the show’s unique flare. 


The show’s long run time also came with it a much larger than usually soundtrack, and while there are, of course, the occasionally more generic-sounding songs, some, like “Ichigo’s Theme” help to carve out the show’s identity and give it that extra bit of hype that every good shounen anime needs. 

“Your Name” – Music by RADWIMPS

Maybe it is unfair to compare tv anime soundtracks with movies, but it would be an absolute tragedy to not recommend at least one movie from Makoto Shinkai, as his films are pretty much all about the experience. After all, it would not be a Shinkai film with the backing of RADWIMPS.

The J-Rock group has been around since the turn of the millennium but got international acclaim after their work on “Your Name,” and for good reason. Their unique brand of J-rock is both energetic and musically progressive, building on itself constantly until it reaches a fantastic peak. The film would have been much worse off were it not for this group, and it is definitely good car ride material.

It can be hard to find good music given just how much is available, but for those who are up for trying something new, there are plenty of anime soundtracks worth exploring. 

What other soundtracks did I miss? 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.

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Special thanks to patron Jenn Coulter for continuing to support us this month.

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


Quadeca, “From Me to You,” and the Internet

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


I do not often talk about music on this blog because I rarely have opinions strong enough to justify writing a whole article about them. However, this is without a doubt of of my favorite projects of the last year, which is strange because I definitely would not consider Quadeca to be one of my favorite artists. Still there is a lot to talk about when it comes to “From Me to You,” which is why I thought it was worth taking another post to explore. In particular, I want to take a bit of time to talk about the storyline of the album and some of the implications of its subject matter.

The story of course starts with the track “Sisyphus,” named after a Greek god who was cursed to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it fall over and over again. The track mainly concerns itself with Quadeca’s internal monologue, with the story of Sisyphus being used as a metaphor for his relationship with his own success and self-growth. Try as he might, the fear of getting to the top of that mountain, only to fall back down and have it start all over is a scary prospect.

While Quadeca, or at least the character that he plays in the album, is not the only one in this story. There is, of course, another, indicated in the chorus: “You’ve got a mountain of your own,” and throughout the rest of the album. So, who exactly is this “you?” Well, at first glance it might feel reasonable to answer that question with some variant of romantic partner, and to an extent, that is right. In the song “Shades of Us” he does mention that “[he] just wants love,” but also says that its “outside my reach, always inside my aim.” This would rather imply that he is currently single, so at best this might be addressing some future relationship.

Instead, the “you” here feels a lot more literal, as though he is addressing the audience directly. Quadeca appears to be telling both the story of his experience with internet fame, as well as reflecting on the creation of the album itself, both of which have come with their ups and downs.

This becomes much more apparent on the song “Smiling at the Ground,” in which he raps about a crazy fan who would rather see him break up with a potential girlfriend as opposed to being genuinely happy, as well as the music labels which resent him for staying independent. These things are so stressful that he “searches his fake name” only to be relieved when neither of them appear together with it. The following track “Can’t You See” also speaks to this idea as well, where Quadeca equates this Sisyphean journey to being “lost in the fog,” and that it is both “hard to stay, hard to stay gone,” again repeating the idea that his situation is very much damned if you do, damned if you don’t.


While it is fair to say that most artists and/or people who create things, especially on the internet, hope for some level of success, it does not necessarily mean they want all of that attention at once, or even really at all. The process of virality, in which a person can become famous overnight, is an area that feels like it has been overlooked in cultural discussion. Having thousands or even hundreds of thousands of new eyes on you, as well as a mountain of new expectations can be incredibly nerve wracking. Even now that Quadeca has an established fanbase who probably will not abandon him, the fear alone can make an album that was supposed to come out in 2020 take a whole extra year.

Another major theme of the album is the idea of balancing work and the rest of one’s life. This theme comes to a head much later in the album on the three tracks “Burnin Bridges/Long Day,” “Work!” and “People Pleaser.” Each of these tracks aims to address a different aspect of Quadeca’s relationship with his work and how it has affected his other relationships.

“Burnin Bridges/Long Day” sees him playing the part of “the villain,” but also directly states how he’s “burning all [his] fuckin bridges til there’s nothin left,” and that he “trusts no one but myself, the only one that hasn’t fuckin left.” In other words, from his perspective, Quadeca is taking people out of his life who never really cared for him anyway. While this is a pretty common sentiment across rap as a genre, it feels even more important here given how the internal monologue established in earlier songs has made it clear just how much he doubts himself.

“Work,” in contrast, sees Quadeca satirizing the unhealthy relationship with work that many have come to understand as grind culture, or the idea that one should always be focused monetary or social gains, even at the expense of interpersonal relationships. Though it may not seem like it, the exaggerated lyrics as well as the fax machine noise which slowly ingrains and distorts itself into the beat make it fairly obvious. Some of the best lines, in this regard, are when he talks about “only loving you from like 3:15 to 5 PM,” as well as having “like twenty-five Red Bulls still tryna find them wings, like a blind Rick Ross.”

It becomes even more apparent when beat comes to a halt, and Quadeca talks about how “[his] mind got carpal tunnel” and that “[he] wants it all to double, even the stress, even the mess, even the largest struggle.” In this final verse, he point out how those who have bought into this grind mentality put themselves through all of this work, in part at least, so that they can where it as a badge of honor around others. The song “People Pleaser” serves almost as a prequel, describing how Quadeca’s innate need for validation from others got him into the cycle he is in, with the ever increasing quantities of money he manages to acquire never being enough for this “you.” The line “feelin’ like its eight-bit, lookin like its IMAX” also helps to reinforce the idea that, while his life on the outside looks great, self-doubt is still very much central to his problems.


All of this comes to a pinnacle, almost literally, on the song “Summit Pt. 1” in which the major themes get reinforced. Despite how much progress has been made, both in Quadeca as a person and on the album itself, he still does not believe he has made it particularly far, evidenced by the refrain “And I’ve been lookin’ at the summit. They say we’re halfway there, I think we’re halfway from it.” Still, it would be unfair to say that he has made no progress at all, as it he also says that “me and my boulder grew a bond,” implying that, despite still not being confident, he has managed to get something of a handle on these mental burdens.

Additionally, the question of who exactly “you” is becomes an issue again, because although earlier in the album Quadeca implied a lack of romantic relationship, the song “Its All a Game” does seem to present a major romantic interest. Still, interpreting the “you” as still talking directly to the audience makes a lot of sense. When he says “I swallowed it, thank god that it was you that shared the key” in reference to the previous interlude, Quadeca seems to be saying that if there was anyone who he was going to share his most vulnerable self too, he would rather it be an audience that has expectations of him rather than random strangers.

The journey is still not going to end, both as an artist and as a person, until he meets his. In a way, acknowledging that “we’re halfway from it” is saying that not just he, but everyone has yet to reach their full potential, and although everyone might have a mountain to climb and a bolder to climb with it, seeing what is at the top might just be worth it.

There is a lot more about this album that I can and probably will talk about, from the incredibly constructing bars and ryhme schemes, as well as the amazing production. Still, if I did try and talk about it all in one post this would probably end up being a 20 minute read, and as someone with an incredibly small attention span myself, I do not want to do that to other people. So, have you heard “From Me to You?” What do you think of it? 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

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


Quedeca’s “From Me to You” is Really, Really Good

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I don’t often talk about music on this blog, and when I do, its usually in relation to anime or video games. A lot of this is because the music I listen to outside of anime and game soundtracks is, well…repetitive, to say the least. Most of it is Trap flavored Hip-Hop which I mostly use as a way to pass the time to and from work or on errands, when I am not listening to podcasts anyway. I say this as a way of prefacing that I do not tend to consume a lot of experimental stuff. Still, the album showed up in my recommended on Spotify, and, well, here we are.

I was always vaguely familiar with the sort of YouTube Rap-scene that developed in the mid-2010s because of how much time I spent on the site, especially in high school. However, the scene never stood out as being a group of “serious music makers,” even to dumb 15-16 year old me. Quedeca, in particular though, while certainly being above average in terms of his flows, rhyme-schemes and delivery, never felt like he was doing anything special. As Anthony Fantano put it, Quedeca has always felt like more of a chameleon.

I tried revisiting some of his 2019 project “Voice Memos” just to see if there was anything there I had potentially missed, and while there are definitely shades of introspection in some of the bars on that, it pales in comparison to his latest project “From Me to You.” The album is 18 songs and clocks in at just under an hour of total run time, and while that is certainly longer than the average Rap project, it is absolutely worth every second.


There is…so much going on here. Quedeca’s reputation proceeded him a lot while listening to this album. For the first few tracks of the album I was confused and though maybe I had put on something else, but no. This is very much his project, and I say that pretty literally, as it appears most of the album was written, produced, and recorded by himself.

The production on “From Me to You” is probably the most surprising element of the album, especially considering what his production has sounded like in the past. Experimental is probably the most accurate way to describe it, but even that does not necessarily speak to the precision in which the sonic elements of the project are employed. It truly stands out as being unique to this album, and not something I could find by going to a Kid Cudi and especially not a Lil Uzi Vert.

Part of that is the noise and distortion that is present throughout many parts of the track list. The most obvious example of this comes from the opening song “Sisyphus,” which also serves as the thesis statement of the album, both in the production and writing. A lot of it is used to emphasize the heavier moments and to transition between different sections of particular tracks, such as “Burnin Bridges/Long Day” featuring IDK and “It’s All a Game.”

There is also just a ton of variety when it comes to the musical instruments used. “Sisyphus” not only has well made vocal harmonies backing up the song, but has piano, acoustic and electric guitar, ukulele, and drums all within a five minute time span. The violins on the intro to “Smiling at the Ground” were another element that really heightened the effectiveness of the track, and added to the overall atmosphere of the album.


Good production can only carry an album so far, however, and as surprising as the production of the album is, the writing is where the album really shines. Much of the album is littered with imagery of mountains and the idea of climbing them. “Sisyphus,” which I mentioned before, makes this most apparent, as the title is a reference to a Greek god who, after cheating death multiple times, is condemned by Zeus to push a boulder up a mountain for eternity. The invocation here is meant to represent the loneliness and mental health problems Quedeca is dealing with. One line in particular that stands out with the track is “Even our bickerin’ getting nostalgic, all of those little things meld into mountains in my mind, uh,” which expands on the metaphor he has created by implying that his past struggles are something that he has to climb past.

This can be seen as well with some of the interludes that appear at various points in the album. “Verglas,” whose title refers to a frost typically found on mountains, has a similarly cold, yet inviting atmosphere which leads into “Maybe Another Day.” “Hallstatt” references a small Austrian town located in a mountainous region, which proceeds the track “Work!” with PlayThatBoiZay.

A straightforward reading of this album would be Quedeca reflecting on a past romantic relationship in which he acknowledges the struggles his partner had to go through, the mountains they had to climb, so to speak, but ultimately still wishing they could be together. While that is definitely a significant portion of the album, songs like “Smiling at the Ground,” “People Pleaser,” and “Summit, Pt.1” seem to confront another aspect of his struggle, which is dealing with expectations created by the parasocial relationships which exist for someone who makes YouTube videos and music.

There also appears to be a pretty explicit critique of this “grind” mentality which has come to dominate a lot of places on the internet. “Work!” and “People Pleaser” do this fairly effectively by illustrating that this mentality, while maybe netting some monetary success, is ultimately harmful by linking productivity with self-worth. These ideas come to a head on “Summit Pt.1,” where Quadeca reiterates the idea that he, along with everyone, is destined to climb up the same mountains, carrying the same boulders with us, only to fall back down. There is also a version of the glass half-empty, glass half-full idea present in the refrain, where he says “And I’ve been lookin’ at the summit
They say we’re halfway there, I think we’re halfway from it.”

Now, I do not want to make anyone think that Quadeca is somehow unique in his experimental sound. I know enough about modern music to know there are plenty of other artists who are similarly experimental in there Rap. Brockhampton immediately come to mind, and even some of the featured artists like IDK have been exploring new sounds long before this album came out. Even within the sub-genre of Emo-Rap, there have been a lot of interesting developments, with artists like the late Juice WRLD being at the forefront.

Also, the album is definitely not perfect. As pretty as they do sound, almost all of the interludes on the project overstay there welcome just a bit too long. Also, while there are some lyrical and sonic connections to the rest of the album, the track “Where’d You Go?” feels almost entirely unnecessary, and in a way kind of lowers the emotional impact that “Summit Pt. 1” has while listening through the album.

For those who did not give this album a second thought because of the name attached to it, I totally understand. However, even for those who are not particularly big fans of Rap and Hip-Hop, there is enough going on in the production and writing of “From Me to You” that it is worth at least a try.

Well, this is definitely my longest post in a while. Not really sure why, but I just felt a lot of love for this project after hearing it, so I wanted to write about it. Have you all listened to “From Me to You?” If you have, what did you think? 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

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: Carole and Tuesday

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

For as much initial interest as there was in the show, it feels like “Carole and Tuesday” got tossed aside rather quickly. This is to say nothing of the quality of the show. After all, most who finished it thought pretty highly of it, if the cumulative score on MAL is anything to go off of. Rather, the subject matter of the show was something new for both Shinichiro Watanabe as well as anime fans in general.

This is not to say that Watanabe and those who enjoy his works have not experienced social commentary in the past. Pretty much all of his shows have that, especially one of his most recent works before “Carole and Tuesday”: “Terror in Resonance,” which followed the story of two would-be high school age terrorists trying to reclaim their lost lives in any way they can.

Carole and Tuesday,” though, is a much different breed. While it certainly starts out as a in much the same way as his previous work, vaguely alluding to the social ills of the present day, by the second half it turns into a straight up modern allegory about current U.S. politics, doing very little to hide it.

At the center of this Allegory are the show’s main characters, Carole and Tuesday, who serve as representatives of both the most well off and the least. Of the former, Tuesday is a young girl who wants to play music, but whose politician mom sees it as a waist of time. Realizing that she likely will not be happy in her current situation, Tuesday decided to run away from home, taking a suitcase full of clothes, her guitar, and a dream.

In the middle of downtown Alba City, Tuesday runs into Carole, an immigrant from Earth who wants to make it on Mars, but cannot seem to keep a stable income, and who is only able to stay in the city due to the generosity of a random old man renting out his storage room. The two meet on a bridge, at which point they start making music together, and then immediately run away as they get chased down by a cop.

The two of them mostly get along throughout the series, and they spend the majority of the first half in their honeymoon phase, trying to get their career of the ground and just enjoying making music. However, the second half of the series turns up the drama to 11, as it becomes less about Carole and Tuesday themselves and more about what each of their backgrounds represent.


Tuesday’s mom, being a prominent politician, decides to run for president on a platform of limiting immigration and restoring Mar’s greatness. Sound Familiar? Not wanting Carole to think ill of her, Tuesday decides to keep this a secret. However, Tuesday is not the only one.

While Carole does reveal to Tuesday that she is an immigrant, she fails to mention that she came illegally, which causes her to worry about the prospects of Tuesday’s mom getting elected. The two eventually find out about the other’s secrets, but ultimately work things out. The show ends with a big musical number featuring most of the cast which serves as a celebration of Mar’s diversity and talent.

Something that upsets me about the ending of the show is the sort open-endedness of it, and the way it seems to imply that if people just come together and talk about things that they will eventually come to understand each other. While I do think that is true for certain people, it does not reflect the reality of U.S. politics, and comes across more as wishful thinking.

Though it certainly highlights the gullible nature of Trump through Tuesday’s mom and her criminal campaign manager, it feels like it is unwilling to make a systemic critique, and lays the blame on individuals instead. The real world problems the series highlights are not going to be solved by making music and holding charity events. Do not misunderstand, it is important to highlight these issues and the way demagogues scapegoat various groups as a way of cementing power. It just feels as though their was a missed opportunity to come to a more radical conclusion.

My own political persuasions aside, how do you feel about “Carole and Tuesday,” both the characters and the show as a whole? 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

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