Tag Archives: OWLS Blog Post

OWLS January “Metamorphosis” Post: Becoming the Change We Want to Be

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Another month, another OWLS post, and this months topic is one that I actually like a lot. For January, our topic is Metamorphosis, as described below:

A brand new year means new beginnings and opportunities. We have a tendency to embrace the new year because it’s a time when we can start fresh. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring our favorite dynamic characters who undergo changes for better or for worse. We will analyze these characters’ transformations and how these transformations benefited or minimized these characters’ potential in becoming “great people/beings.” We will also use these characters as a way for us to reflect on our own lives and who we want to become. Lastly, we would like to say “Happy New Year, everyone!”

I would also recommend that you check out the other OWLS members like Takuto.

For this month’s topic, I’ve chosen to focus on a show that I have thought about a lot recently: Wandering Son. With that being said, here is the post:


With the coming of and going of each new year brings with it change. People resolve to change an aspect of themselves they don’t like, sometimes several, and more often than not just end up throwing out said resolutions a month into the new year, returning to the same habits that brought them unhappiness in the first place. However, for a certain group of people, the change that comes with resolving to be better is often scary, because it requires an outright rejection of societal norms.

Wandering Son is mainly the story of Takatsuki and Shuichi. Shuichi, or as she is more affectionately referred to in the story, Shu, is a boy who wishes to be a girl. Takatsuki is a girl who wishes to be a guy. In other words, they are transgender. However, their ability to express their gender is met with scorn and many societal roadblocks.

For those whose true gender is not as it was assigned to them at birth, the idea of change is both liberating and terrifying. On one hand, being able to express your gender in the way that you see as comfortable is great, but it often is not that simple. Many of those of attempt to do this are often met with resistance in the form of being told they are being silly, being rejected by family members, and sometimes even violence. In Wandering Son, many similar things happen.

At the beginning of the story, Shu and Takatsuki both start off in relatively similar places. Both are beginning to feel the social pressures of school clash with their desire to express their true gender, however, both of them have people who understand them enough to support and encourage their true identities. For Shu, that would Takatsuki and Makoto, another boy in his grade who wishes to be a girl. For Takatsuki, its Shu and Chizuru and Sasa. But, even though both Takatsuki and Shu have friends there to support them, the idea of making the change that they desperately want to is still extremely scary. It becomes even scarier for Shu when her sister Maho find her cross-dressing and starts calling her weird.

Fortunately, courage seems to find the two of them, or rather the two of them end up finding courage. While most of the first half of the show revolves around both Takatsuki and Shu being fairly uncomfortable with the idea of expressing their true gender, by the second half of the show, the two of them get a relative confidence boost. Shu starts going out in feminine clothes much more often then she used to, and Takatsuki starts moving towards wearing the male uniform at school. Even Yuki, a trans woman who befriends both Takatsuki and Shu before the beginning of the show’s story, by the end of the show, feels enough courage to go and see the kid’s school play while presenting as female.

Change can definitely be scary. It is by definition unfamiliar, and as animals we are biologically programmed to be scared of the unknown, to be distrustful of the good it can bring. However, much like Shu and Takatsuki are able to do throughout the course of Wandering Son, it is better to let change happen then to be scared of it because it can also be liberating.


Before I end the post, I just have to give respect to The Pendantic Romantic’s Video on Wandering Son that inspired this post in the first place. Her video is way more in-depth than anything I have ever written about… well anything, frankly. It is a fairly long watch, but highly worth it if you have the time. definitely give it a watch.

What kind of changes are you hoping to make this year? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-Fi or using my Amazon Affiliate Link to buy stuff:

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 December “Miracles” Post: Shonen Protagonists and Creating Miracles

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is time once again for another OWLS post. This months theme is “miracles,” as described down below:

Tis the season where miracles happen. For December’s theme, we will be exploring faith in anime and pop culture. We will discuss some of the miracles that enter a character’s life during their darkest moments. Some of their questions we will explore is how does a “miracle” change a person’s life? How do we define miracles? Can miracles only happen due to a legend or a mystical being? Or do miracles happen every day, but we just don’t see it?

Also, I want to be sure and give a shout out to a few of my fellow OWLS bloggers: Megan Peoples and Karandi, so be sure to check out their posts as well. With that being said, here is my post:

In much of mythology and religion, miracles are often something delivered to someone in their greatest time of need, when they are helpless and cannot do anything for themselves. In that way, they are a fairly passive phenomenon. Nothing needs to happen for you to receive a miracle, really, other than for you to believe it will happen. This same logic underlies the idea of thoughts and prayers that many offer up after a mass shooting in the U.S. Instead of doing anything proactive, it is much easier for certain groups of people to remain passive and simply do nothing. However, as much as many would like to believe it to be the case, most things that people would consider good to not just appear out of thin air, and, in fact, many people have to work hard for things that others would consider miracles. A lot of Shonen protagonists operate under similar principles.

Source: Japan Powered

Take Goku from Dragon Ball Z for example. After he and Piccolo defeated Radditz, they learned that Vegeta and Nappa would be coming to destroy the earth. If Goku had just assumed that a miracle would have happened and that he would be able to defeat them both no problem, then he probably would not have gone and gotten training from King Kai. However, Goku realizes that the power he needs to defeat the two Saiyans is not just going to appear before him, so he goes to work and trains. This also happens later on when Goku needs to visit the planet Namek in order to help his friends obtain the Dragon Balls. He uses the time he has aboard the Spaceship in order to train even more, because of Frieza.

Source: Bleach Wiki

Another great example would be Bleach. Many fans of the show talk about the Soul Society arc, the part of the show in which Ichigo goes to save Rukia, as being one of if not the best part of the show, and with good reason. The story of that arc is great. One of the reasons its great though is because of Ichigo’s training. Ichigo and those around him realize that saving Rukia is not going to be as easy as walking into the Soul Society and taking her back. So, Ichigo prepares by training and eventually becoming strong enough to get her back.

In fact, this idea is by no means limited to Shonen series. One great show from this year that demonstrates this fact is A Place Further than the Universe. The show focuses on Mari, a high school girl who wants to do something incredibly before she leaves high school and becomes engulfed by societal responsibilities, and Shirase, a girl who has been outcast-ed by her classmates because of her goal of making it to Antarctica like her mother. The two work together in order to make their dream come true, even despite the overwhelming odds that they were never going to be able to go.

The point I am ultimately trying to make is whether it be characters in a fictional universe or people in real life, most things do not just happen because they believe hard enough. 99 percent of the time, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create our own miracles. But, overcoming the odds and enjoying the fruits of that hard work is what makes them miracles in the first place.

OWLS November “Thankful” Post: March Came in Like a Lion and Became My Inspiration

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I’m back this month with my first OWLS post in a while, and it just so happened to be with a theme that I was quite prepared to write about. This months theme is “Thankful.”


Here at OWLS, we are pretty thankful that we are able to come together as a community and share a love and appreciation for anime and manga. This month we will be showcasing our appreciation by giving a shout out post to our favorite manga artists, creators, production companies, and writers who produced some of our favorite works. We will be discussing our favorite works by these creators and our reasons as to why we appreciate them.

Also, as always, be sure to check out some of the other lovely posts from other OWLS blogger members:

Z from Let’s Talk Anime

Dylan from DynamicDylan

For this post, I thought I would once again give some love to my favorite anime: March Comes in Like a Lion. 

As I’ve talked about many times on this blog before, March Comes in like a lion is one of my favorite anime. Ever since I watched its first episode, I’ve been enthralled with its characters and invested in their development. Every second I have spent watching and writing about March Comes in Like a Lion is a time that I have been incredibly happy. 

March Comes in Like a Lion is also a show that I would consider one of the best anime of all time. Its writing is brilliant, from the small, episodic stories to the overarching narrative of Rei’s road to healing. Its visual’s remain some of the most impressive that I’ve seen in an anime, with Studio Shaft’s personal touch making it all the more wonderful. 

Considering the number of articles I have written, it would be boring just to ramble on for a few more paragraphs. So, for this post, I thought I would complete it by combining my love of anime and writing, and write a poem about March Comes in Like a Lion. 

When March Came in Like a Lion

Life is often about tactical discretion 

moving pieces carefully on a board

protecting what is most important,

while advancing forward and conquering life.

Much is often left unsaid when playing the game of life. 

We make the moves we think are necessary,

without disclosing much of what our master plan is. 

Remember that life is more than winning,

much more than one game could ever give you. 

Life is family and friends, and those that care about you.


What anime, manga, or creator are you guys thankful for this November? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

OWLS September “Self-Care” Post: The Great Passage and Remembering Something Important

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

For today I have another OWLS post, this time focused on a show that I just recently finished and have had a great experience with: The Great Passage.

This months topic is “Self-Care,” described below:

In favor of positivity and good mental health, we will be exploring the importance of self-care. Sometimes, we are lost in our thoughts and emotions that it can cause a negative impact on our lifestyle and our relationships. For this month’s topic, the OWLS bloggers will be exploring the mental health of pop culture characters and how their mental health affects their environments. We will explore the dangers of mental health illnesses and how it might lead to self-destruction and/or how one has the power to overcome their demons. In addition, we will share our personal stories and struggles about mental health and discuss positive ways in handling mental health issues.

Also, make sure to check out Dale from That Baka Blog for his post yesterday, and Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews for his tomorrow.

Now, with all that out of the way, here is the post.


Sleeping is something that I often have trouble doing. I’ll get ready for bed, start to lie down, and then suddenly a million thoughts will come rushing into my head. Some good, like thinking about the pizza that I probably ate that day, but most bad, like crippling insecurities and lack of confidence. It isn’t that I want to think about these things, but a certain combination of chemicals keeps them looping in the back of my mind like a bad movie that my friend forces me to watch every time I come over.

I say all this to let you that this post isn’t going to be anything special. I can promise you that know the unknown universal truth will be revealed about why we’re all here, or about the meaning of life. I am writing this post only to tell you one thing: you matter, and that includes people like Majime.

The Great Passage

The Great Passage is a show that, until recently, I had not gotten a chance to watch. I had read the description of the story and thought about it until one day I finally sat down to watch it. It focuses on Majime Mitsuya, a sales guy who only works the job he has because it allows him to keep to himself, not having to talk to anyone. One day, though, he gets transferred to the Dictionary Department of Genbu Publishing.

In the opening episode of the show, Majime appears to be at a crossroad. His life seems to have been mostly constant and unchanging, largely because of his lack of confidence and his feeling that nothing will get better. But, the dictionary department changes all of that.

The Great Passage 2

When Majime starts his work at the dictionary department, he realizes that much of what he thought about his life before is wrong. He understands that life does not have to be a constant, unchanging phenomenon. It is possible to get friends like Nishioka, or fall in love and get married to the person you most care about.

The dictionary department also taught Majime that words matter, and that what you say to someone can have a huge impact on their lives. I think that in a world in which people can more and more easily isolate themselves from others, that impact of words becomes much more felt and the sensation much more genuine.

As he studies new words and continues to work on the Daitokai, “The Great Passage,” Majime learns more and more about the world around him and all of the experiences he has never had. Words are the only form of expression he has to alleviate those feelings of dread, and he finds comfort in making a dictionary.

This may just sound like a bunch of rambling nonsense from some dude on the internet, but this rambling does have a purpose. If there were ever two words that Majime and I could both agree on that are important, they would be: you matter.


What do you guys think the definition of Slice of Life is? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

OWLS Blog Tour August “Journey” Post: Magi’s Wonderful Adventure

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

Its that time again, and I am back with another OWLS post. For those who don’t know, OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect. OWLS is a group of bloggers dedicated to ideals of acceptance of all people no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Each month, The OWLS Bloggers crew chooses a topic to write about, and this month that topic is “Journey.”

We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. Along the way, we encounter some personal struggles. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route or path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.

For my own post this month, I decided to focus on an old favorite of mine: Magi: The Magic of the Labyrinth, a show that I feel like has one of the most awesome journeys in all of anime.

Also, be sure to check out yesterday’s OWLS post by Moonid about what a journey is, to begin with. Now, without further ado, let’s get started.


In almost every anime, even in much of the slice of life genre, the characters almost always go on a journey. Whether it be a one-off side character episode where they take a walk to someone else’s house or start from nothing and rise up to become the most important figure in a revolutionary army, journeys are as much a staple of storytelling as settings and a climax.

One show in particular, though, has what is one of the most epic and engaging journeys that anime has to offer. That show is Magi, and for this month’s OWLS post, I thought I would take a look at the elements that make up that epic journey, while also analyzing some of the admittedly weaker points.

Motivation

Screenshot 2018-08-04 03.00.06

In his book How to Read Literature like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster points out that in the quest format of storytelling, every journey begins with an initial motivation that sends the characters on the start of their journey. Alibaba, who the show opens on, wants to return to Balbadd, the country in which he grew up so that he can right his past wrongs. However, having no money and no power, Alibaba is forced to work in the small town of Quishan. In the short term, Alibaba wants to concur the Dungeon in Quishan, giving him access to money and power. Alibaba’s motivation doesn’t really change at all throughout the first half of the show, but it becomes forever affected by his introduction to Aladdin.

Screenshot 2018-08-09 20.24.28.png

It’s easy to tell, even from when the two first meet that Alibaba is much more cynical, whereas Aladdin is extremely idealistic, and admittedly a lot more carefree, and that’s reflected in his initial motivation. Given that he ignorant as to most of the world and how it works, Aladdin wants to journey the earth and gain the knowledge he didn’t have before. As their journeys continue on and on, the two find out more about themselves. Alibaba confronts his ghosts, in the form of Cassim, in one of the major arcs of the first season after he, Aladdin, and Morgiana get separated. Alibaba initially joins Cassim’s group known as the Fog Troop in order to help alleviate the extreme poverty in the country of Balbadd, his home. Alibaba wants to help them but isn’t really sure if what he’s doing is the right answer, especially after Aladdin show up to find him.

Alibaba’s struggle in the first season not only sets him up to be a much more interesting character than he otherwise would have been but wanting to solve the problems of his home country is something that I think many can relate to, especially given the current political and socio-economic climate.

Magic

Screenshot 2018-08-09 23.44.48.png

It wouldn’t be a shounen manga without some kind of extraordinary powers to back up the already ridiculous fights. Even with magic being an already played out concept, though, Magi definitely works to make it more interesting. In the world of Magi, the world is made up of Rukh, or what is essentially the essence of every living thing. Rukh contains Magoi, which allows humans to perform feats of magic, including being able to use the power of Djinns found in Dungeons. Magi have unlimited access to Rukh because they can use other living being’s as well as their own.

It should be noted that most of the lore of Magi is loosely based on the stories in 1001 Arabian Nights, a collection of middle eastern folk tales about varying individuals, including Alibaba and Sinbad. Since I haven’t read the stories for myself, I can’t really determine how much of the story of the show is based on those original stories. What I can say is that the Magi as a concept makes the show that much cooler. Having an all-powerful being at the center of the story makes for a much more exciting journey. Not necessarily because it is expected that Aladdin will face a lot of challenges, although he does do that. It is more because 1) how he solves his problems, and 2) how solving those problems affects his growth.

Screenshot 2018-08-09 20.27.12.png

An interesting part of the story in which this process plays out is right at the beginning, just after the three leads are separated and scattered across the continent. Aladdin gets sent to a small native village in the territory of the Kou Empire, known as the Kouga Clan. He comes to learn quickly that despite once being a force to be reckoned with, the clan has certainly seen better days. Shortly after Aladdin arrives, Hakuei, representing the Kou Empire, comes to the Kouga Clan in order to offer the empire’s protection. Even despite the attempted kidnapping of multiple female clan members, the murder of their clan leader, and an attempted invasion by the Kou army, the Kouga Clan, and Aladdin, came together, and as a family, they got through it. Aladdin’s safety during the arc was never really in question, but his ability to find out who he really is was. Self-doubt and an inability to figure out what he needed/wanted to do could have kept him stranded on the journey of life, but he got through it.

Manifest Destiny

No, I’m not talking about the 19th-century philosophy used as a backdrop by political leaders to encourage illegal settlement westward as a justification to start wars over land and natural resources while also treating Native Americans terribly, although there is a lot to talk about there. When I say Manifest Destiny, I mean it in a much more literal sense, as in one of Magi’s core themes is the ability to manifest your own destiny.

Many of the show’s main cast, as well as a lot of the side characters, are caught up in an ideological battle of letting nature run its course vs cursing fate and changing destiny altogether, which is represented in the show as more or less a contest of good vs evil, dark vs light. Those who wish to see destiny play out naturally, like Aladdin, have normal colored Rukh. On the other hand, those who do not wish to take their given path and who curse fate are known as the “Fallen,” and have black Rukh.

Screenshot 2018-08-13 01.49.58

What Magi does in the final moments of its first season is break this false dichotomy, as Aladdin, after rescuing Alibaba when he became fallen, tells him that while it is important to recognize the place we have been given in life, it is also important to forge our own path and make our own decisions. Even before the last episode though, Alibaba seems to recognize this idea when he proposes that the newly reborn Balbadd should relinquish the power of its monarchy in favor of a Representative Republic.

In Summary:

Screenshot 2018-08-09 22.52.53.png

I wasn’t expecting this to be the three M’s of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, but that is what it has turned into. In all seriousness though, Magi is a prime example not only of a great journey but also of the purpose of a journey in the first place: self-discovery. Whether it be going to school abroad or simply heading to a new part of town to enjoy a night out with friends, journeys are at the core of what makes us human, and they are important parts of growing as people.


What’s your guys take on journeys? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support The Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

OWLS Blog Tour July “Mentor” Post: What Sora and Shiro Can Teach Us About the Human Condition

Hello, Anifriends

OWLS

Welcome to second ever OWLS blog post. I’ve only been apart of OWLS for a few weeks now, but it has been great getting to talk to a bunch of like-minded individuals who want to make the world a better place with writing, and I plan on doing just that with this post as well.

As you might have deduced from the title, today I’ll be focusing on two of my favorite characters, Sora and Shiro, and how they manage to bring a sort of hopefulness to the story of No Game No Life.

Before I get started though, a few more things. This month’s theme is Mentor, which you can read about directly below.

Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to the last OWLS post of this month, which came from Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews. You can read his post about Gundam Unicorn here.

And now, without further Ado, my OWLS post for July:


There seems to be no end for the praise that the anime adaptation of Yuu Kamiya’s now famous light novel No Game No Life. Many talk about the story’s main characters, Sora and Shiro, and how there Neet personalities dropped against the very real fantasy world of Disboard makes the show almost like a parody. Others praise its unique color palette and the abundance of purple that ties the world together.

There is, however, one element of the show that does not often get a fair shake: the show’s many ideas about the human condition. Littered throughout the fun and exciting world of endless gaming that makes No Game No Life’s story so unique is a very real and powerful examination of what makes people, people.

Screenshot 2018-07-12 00.54.03

The first example of this comes during Sora’s coronation speech during the fourth episode. After having beaten Kurami, who was being supported by an elf, Sora talks about the current condition of Elkia. Sora explains that in the world of Disboard that was created by the one true god Tet, those who previously relied on Brute strength to take down there enemies were now forced to rely on the wisdom they could gather and use to defeat other nations in games.

That knowledge, he explains, has given them an edge over humans, and that in order to regain the strength that Immanity once had, humans needed to realize something about themselves: that they are weak. Humans, in the world of Disboard, have no magic nor any ability to perceive its use. Sora concludes that by remembering their own weakness, Immanity can once again become a strong and powerful nation.

Screenshot 2018-07-12 01.18.37

This core philosophy that drives not only Sora and Shiro personally but the way that they choose to govern and utilize Elkia is also exactly the kind of mindset that Steph’s grandfather, the former king, was looking for in the next king. To him, it was always more important to have someone that believed the potential of Immanity as well as being able to act on that potential

While the mindset of remembering your own weakness in this case likely comes from their neglected past and NEET status back in Japan, the overall philosophy makes a lot of sense. It has always been important to recognize what you cannot do and make good use of the assets that you do have. Without a grounded sense of what is possible and what is not, many would go on to think they cannot do anything.

Another much more obvious thematic element involved in the story of No Game No Life is the act of escaping into is Disboard in the first place. It is completely fair to say that the Isekai trope in anime has more than overstayed its welcome, but in No Game No Life’s case, it speaks to a much more harsh reality.

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.39.27

The show alludes a number to time to the fact that at the very least Sora and Shiro were very often neglected by their parents, and in the case of Shiro, was sent off to a facility somewhere because of her unique level of intellect and basically forgotten about. When the two meet for the first time, Shiro says something to him even though she hadn’t spoken in a long time: “You really are empty.” Sora realizes that Shiro used his name as a double insult, and the two instantly formed a bond.

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.01.14

The flashbacks to a much worse time in both of their lives reveals a troubling reality: that, just like they explained at the beginning of the show, life can often times just be a crappy game. While many of those living in Disboard cannot remember a time where violence ever existed, Sora and Shiro come from a world where it is alive and well.

It is interesting to think about the sort of background that Sora and Shiro come from, one where robbery and murder are still plentiful, one where genocide still happens on a pretty consistent basis, and one where corrupt rulers take hold of power and turn countries into dictatorships in a matter of just a few months. To think about all that, and then to realize that many in Disboard know nothing about that, is kind of incredible.

What makes No Game No Life such a compelling story, on top of everything I mentioned at the beginning, is its very human themes and ability to communicate those ideas so well. Sora and Shiro could have very easily been uninteresting, underwritten, and overpowered, especially in the wake of the success of Sword Art Online, but it does not. It goes the extra step to remind us all about just how important it is to learn from our beings and to remember where we came from.


What do you guys think about No Game No Life? Is there something that I missed when talking about it this time? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!