Tag Archives: OWLS

Reflecting on COVID, OWLS, and My Priorities

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Listen, listen, inconsistency is my brand, ok? If I actually did a blog update every month, who would I even be at that point?

COVID

Seriously though, the last couple years of my life have wizzed by, so much so that it still barely feels real. I’m sure that is something that a lot of people who end up reading this will be able to relate to, as COVID response in the English speaking world varied pretty wildly, and as is the case in the U.S. was absolute garbage. Even as my neck of the woods has almost fully reopened, I still have yet to mentally process a lot of what happened.

I also do not mean to imply that it is in anyway over, because it is not. The country is still averaging hundreds of deaths a day, meanwhile our leaders have still done little to nothing in terms of dealing with the crisis. In addition, as was predicted by many, there are now new strains that are developing and quickly becoming the dominant form. These strains are not only more infectious, but also have worse effects on health. It has been truly terrifying to see this level of genuine apathy from both politicians and members of the public.

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Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect (OWLS)

Those who are present in the ani-blog sphere may have noticed the lack of OWLS posts over the last year or so. Well, back in September, the group decided it was finally time to take a break after nearly three and half years of being active. As someone who has been only been with the group for about half of that time, I can attest to the insane amount of work that goes into making it function. Organizing and putting out that much content consistently took a lot of work on the part of everyone involved.

Even moreso than any individual member, what I admire most about the group is what it stands for. While generally speaking, there has been a good amount of social progress made when it comes to human rights and injustice, the tide of history does not just move on its own. While I definitely will not claim to have the same importance as frontline advocates, bringing attention to important economic and culture issues through writing about and analyzing media can be good work as well.

Now, those not in the loop might be wondering “what is going on?” Even though I am a member of the group, I do not claim to speak on behalf of everyone. However, given that most of the the groups initial members are inactive, it does not appear that the group is likely to return in any official capacity anytime soon. So, what does that mean for me?

Well, if the group does become active again, chances are I will probably return. However, I have also found an awesome group of creators in the form of #TheJCO, so that is where my main priorities are right now. Additionally, while they may not be OWLS posts officially, I still plan on covering social and political themes where it is relevant just as much as before. Where that type of content is housed in the future may change, but it will still be coming.

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Priorities

Doing anything consistently is pretty hard, especially writing and posting content. Given that it is really hard for me to focus on one passion, I have taken up a lot of different ones over my time since the beginning of COVID. Streaming, poetry writing, and of course continuing my reviews and such on this blog.

Part of me wants to think that I will be here, sitting at my desk writing until I find my death bed, but in truth, I have no idea what direction I am going in. In truth, I cannot sit here and promise anything. I know I said inconsistency is my brand, but it is a little bit frightening to think that one day I might not be doing something that I really enjoy right now. At this point, the only thing I can say for sure is that I want to continue improving what I put out.

Thank you all, so very much.


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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

OWlS August “Folklore” Post: Durarara, Celty, and Folklore

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I think by now you folks know what time it is, but just in case you do not, I will fill you in. It is time once again for my monthly OWLS post, for those who are unaware, OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, and is an organization of bloggers and other content creators dedicated to promoting acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

This month’s theme for OWLS is Folklore, as described below:

This month’s OWLS topic was inspired by the name of Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore.  Yet rather than using her conceptual definition of what “Folklore” means, we are going to use its original meaning: we are going to explore the traditions and cultures of a specific group and community within pop cultural texts.

I would also encourage everyone to check out the other bloggers featured on the tour, as they are all wonderful human beings:

3rd – Ashley (The Review Heap)

11th – Aria (The Animanga Spellbook)

13th – Megan (Nerd Rambles)

14th – Hikari (Hikari Otaku Station)

17th – Jack (Animated Observations) (Note: This post was originally supposed to go out on the 17th, but had to be moved back because of my schedule).

19th – Irina (I Drink and Watch Anime)

20th – Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

25th – Dale (That Baka Blog)

30th – Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

Without further pause, here is my post for this month:


Urban legends are apart of almost every modern culture in the world. In America, many states have their own local legends, and some, like Nessie, aka the Lockness Monster have risen to international fame. While their popularity has gradually risen and waned with the shift from oral storytelling to the internet, some have remained just as popular as ever. Another folklore taled turned urban legend that remains quite popular is the headless horseman, originally called the Dullahan.

Originating from Irish folklore, the Dullahan is said to be the reincarnation of the Irish god of fertility Crom Dubh. It is believed that the original story of the Dullahan comes from shortly after Christianity was introduced to the Irish people, when the then King of Ireland Tighermas mandated human sacrifice as a way of appeasing him. As Christianity was slowly phased in, new tales about Crom riding through the night, still seeking human lives came about, and thus the modern idea of the Dullahan was born.

The Dullahan has since been featured in a number of media franchises, most notably so in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” where a soldier who lost his head during the American Revolution rises from the dead to find it. It has even found its way into the fairly mainstream anime series “Durarara,” originally written by Ryougo Narita. Durarara’s story is…eclectic, to say the least. It focuses on the life of high school students, gang members, a street doctor, and a few others as they live their life in the dangerous city of Ikebukuro.

However, one of its most notable characters is the Celty Sturluson, a Dullahan who came by boat to Japan to look for her missing head that was supposedly stolen. In the story of Durarara, she is given the title of “Black Rider,” for her Jet black motorcycle that shes uses to perform various jobs for Ikebukuro’s more “underground” residents.

Celty is also framed as being notably feared by most of the city, even despite the fact that she is actually extremely kind. Despite coming to Japan to look for her missing head, Celty’s memories are hazy at best, and as such she uses all the help she can get when it comes to accomplishing her goal.

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However, “Durarara’s” representation of the Dullahan goes even further beyond that. Celty, along with the majority of the cast, have very ironic character arcs. Not only does Celty not know where her head is or much about her past, one of her most consistent fears throughout the story is that when she finds her head she will turn back into the Dullahan of popular legend, and it is only through her street doctor partner Shinra Kishitani that she is able to stay calm in a lot of situations.

“Durarara” is a standout story for a number of reasons. For one, its unique storytelling which shifts perspectives from episode to episode, and even sometimes scene to scene makes it to where it almost never gets boring. On top of that, the characters are all usually dealing with the same problem, whether it be a gang rivalry, the illegal activity of suspicious corporations, or even the revival of dead spirits, and because of that, the story can have a variety of perspectives on the same events.

However, its handling of urban legends, and the way it makes use of those legends as plot points in its story makes it all the more unique. Whether it be Celty and the myth of the Dullahan, or the variety of Japanese folklore and gang stories, the series continual delivers an interesting story line that often works to subvert the original meaning of the stories from which “Durarara” draws inspiration. While the show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is absolutely worth checking out at least once. If not, maybe the Dullahan will come for you!


Something that I couldn’t really work into the post organically but that I thought was interesting regardless was this article from Nippon.com. In it, the author Itakura Kimie interviews Professor Iikura YoshiYuki, whose work focuses on oral literature and contemporary Folklore. The article focuses on how urban legends have shifted from oral tradition to online mediums, but also how the social spaces through which urban legends have traditionally risen are shrinking.

Professor YoshiYuki attributes this to a few things. First, the internet is becoming much more insular. It is becoming more and more rare for people to reach out in good faith to discuss whether or not something is real, thus leading to less discussion and less spreading of such legends. Second, urban legends have often been place where people project their real world fears. However, with false information available in excess, and political actors creating narratives about many different real world groups such as immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community, it is becoming significantly more likely for people to project their fears into the real world, rather than through tongue and cheek myths.

I guess the lesson for today then is to always question narratives, even if it comes from people you agree with, and do research comes from provably reliable sources.

So…YEAH!

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

“Fusion Fight,” an OWLS Mini CONmunnity: Anime is Never Cancelled Event Winners Announcement

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ok, so maybe that title is a bit of a mouthful, but regardless, the time has finally come.

With the month of July having come and gone so to has “Fusion Fight.” For those who are unaware, Fusion Fight was a short story writing competition that was hosted by myself and OWLS, a blogging collective focused promoting equality and respect, as part of the OWLS Mini CONmunity: Anime is Never Cancelled. Today, after a slight delay due to the need for a little bit more time, I will be announcing the winners of “Fusion Fight,” as well as featuring their work on this post. Without further delay, lets get started.

Runner-up: “Ghost Toast” by Miyo

Genre(s): Ghost Story

Twitter: @miyorator

Brandon lives in a quiet neighborhood in Missouri. One night after finishing all his homework, playing a video game and eating all his dinner, Brandon wanted a midnight snack of toast. He opened the fridge and scoured for the white and blue patterned packaging of his favorite bread. He opened the bag and grabbed the middle slice for extra freshness, popped it in the toaster and drowsily waited 3 minutes. He stared at the digital clock on the oven, reading 12:43 AM. KACHANG! The springs startled him awake enough to grab his single toast slice and head back into bed. As he lay in bed biting off the crust of his toast, his eyelids became heavier and heavier. Soon, he succumbed to his drowsiness and fell asleep. A half eaten toast in his hand. That night, Brandon dreamt of an angry toast who had not fulfilled his purpose in life. The toast in his dream grew to the size of a building. Dream Brandon tried running but his feet felt slow and heavy. Brandon woke up at the sound of his alarm set for school. Brandon laughed at how child-like his nightmare was and got dressed for class. But first, he would have a slice of toast for breakfast. When Brandon opened the fridge again, The familiar blue and white bag was gone. “Mom do you know where the loaf of bread is?” Brandon called out to his mother in the living room, watching the news. She yelled back “Bread? I haven't bought any yet since last Tuesday. I'll grab some after lunch.” “ No I just had some toast last night, it was right here in the fridge.” Brandon retorted. Brandon's mother turned around from the couch and assured Brandon that she had not bought any bread in the last week. “Maybe you dreamed of toast, Brandon. I'm going to pick up a loaf for you today, OK?” His mother said. Brandon closed the fridge and stood there in the kitchen for a moment, trying to recall if he really HAD eaten toast the night prior. Did he really FEEL the heat from the toast last night? Had he truly CRUNCHED the crispy crust which was his favorite part of a toast? He retraced his steps for a moment and looked at the clock like he did last night. Oh crud! It was already 7:40. School starts in 20 minutes! Brandon grabbed his backpack and tied his shoes as fast as he could and ran off. “See you later, mom!” “Bye Brandon, Love you!” She turned to shout as the door shut behind Brandon. As Brandon sprinted his normal path to school he couldn't remember if he had his school I.D. with him, In case the hall monitors catch him being late to class. He reached into his left pocket and felt no card but felt sand. He stopped running to feel the large quantity of it in both his pockets. When he turned his pockets inside out, toast crumbs fell out like a crumb waterfall.

One thing that was apparent among many of the competitors in “Fusion Fight” was a love for ghost stories. This is understandable, given how immediately interesting the prospect meeting the deceased is. However, just cause it was done a lot, does not mean it was not done well. Miyo’s entry mixes a ghost story with a bit of humor, as she describes a young boy Brandon and his obsession with toast. The story overall has a lot of charm and funny moments, which can be great in combination with the supernatural. For that, Miyo was the runner-up in this event.

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2nd: “The Frailty of Murine and Legomorphs” by F. Abel Fox

Genre(s): Ghost Story/Suspense/Horror

Twitter: @FableFantastic

Prize: $20

My Dearest Gwendolyn,

In an earnest attempt to qualm my tremors, I hastily write what well could be my final letter. It satisfies me to know you’ll never witness me in such a dreadfully woeful disposition. My complexion bleached; my lineaments crooked. The result of my clumsy stairway descent that left the veneer utterly blood-soaked. Be assured that with my sincerest of convictions, this was no mere accident.

I am absent of delusions. Swearing by my unsullied name that I have been bewitched with a rancorous specter. The floorboards moan, temperate dusks are meddled by a sudden December wind. Gwendolyn, your swift divarication should have left my pensive mood flared by crippling loneliness. I do not feel alone, I am not alone. My imperceptible visitor lurks, and frightful I am they wish upon my eternal agony.

His ghastly entrance commenced with mere clouds of dust and the occasional float of cobwebs. Too burdened by your exit, I paid no consideration to these optic tricks. A damn fool I’ve been, dismissing these as erratic phenomena. Gnawing marks across the mopboard? Simply, it must have been a rat. Well I’ve dealt with vermin Gwendolyn. Many times, have I witnessed the dropping of the hammer onto murine and lagomorphs alike. But never have I tangled with as beastly of a rodent as their barb indicates.

Not ‘til the vulnerability of my recent burdensome slumber did I face the miscreant. His contour hollow, and his visage bringing immeasurable unease. Awoken from my trepidation, I dashed knowing my survival rested on a hurried escape. I reached the stairwell, but as I went to descend, I was clutched by the ankle.

That is what hurled me forward causing the aforementioned accident. Wheezing and crawling like the wounded animal I was, it was you who gave me the strength to persist. Few cracked ribs and a protruding tibia would not prevent me from slinking into the study where I now retreat.

Even while enduring this unholy infliction, the reminiscence of you tickles me. Your elegance silhouetted by the glistening glitter of the moonlight. The frailty of your boney hand enraptured in mine. Your haughty and neglectful demeanor; alas has it all been lost to oblivion? Never shall I forget our final twilight. The repugnance of staring into your vibrant irises glaze. Your breath shallows. The fade of warmth from under my palms clasped around your larynx like a Burmese python.

Must all love be cursory, Gwendolyn? Certainly, this must not be the case between us. For these scribbles I write you postmortem must ascend beyond the mortal plane and reach your current haven.

It has returned, returned to ensure that time’s arrow comes to cease. I hear his pattering steps Gwendolyn; the bronze doorknob is slowly oscillating with a disturbing intent. This impending departure causes me sickening apprehension; a timid-ness rotting my core.

But I guess that is the price to pay, to be a father of an unborn son.

A story like “The Frailty of Murine and Legomorphs” is one that can be somewhat intimidating at first. After all, their are a lot of pretty obscure words and phrases. However, that is arguably what makes the story so good. F. Abel Fox was able to build on the identity of a Knight in danger, describing his sorrows and current adventure in a letter to his wife right before he dies. Fox not only does a great job of building to the reveal at the end, but makes the knight seem relatable in a way that most knight characters do not, and for that he earned second place.


1st: “Ms. McCloud and the Cream Soda Ghost” by Koji Kojou

Genre(s): Romance/Ghost Story

Website: Bikkuri Book Club

Twitter: @KojiKojou

Prize: $30

Part 1

I rubbed at the tender spot on my arm. I knew from my previous experiences in gym class that there would be a bruise there later.

I would have liked to say that I had gotten the injury from something fun like dodgeball or basketball, however…

“Don’t worry!” Ms. McCloud put her hand on my shoulder. “You’ll be able to jump rope someday!”

Please don’t say that out loud, I thought.

“Are you going to the library again?” she continued.

“Yeah. I need some relaxation time.”

“Make sure you stretch so you don’t pull a muscle while you’re reading.” She chuckled.

“How are you allowed to be a teacher?” I asked.

“I teach Gym, remember? I’m barely a teacher.”


Part 2

I usually went to the library to read, but today was different…

On my way there, I stopped at a vending machine and made sure to buy a certain beverage. The can felt nice and cold in my hand. The bold text on it read “Rutger’s Cream Soda.”

I heard a rumor recently. Allegedly, a ghost stalked the library when the lights were out. It didn’t spook or scare people. No… It craved cream soda!

Today, I would put this story to the test!


Part 3

I watched from behind a shelf, waiting for something to happen.

Maybe the whole thing is fake after all, I thought.

That was when I saw it: a small girl in white, glowing softly in the darkness, reaching out to grab the soda from the table I had placed it on.

I blinked my eyes a few times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.

She’s here!

I dashed out from cover, my phone ready to take a picture.

The ghost began to flee, and I pursued the apparition as fast as I could, until…

CRASH!

Everything went dark...


Part 4

A young school uniform clad Karolyn McCloud sat at a diner booth across from a meek girl. 

“C’mon!” Karolyn pushed a cream soda float towards the quiet young lady. “I got it for you!”

“Th-thanks…” the girl whispered.

“You don’t have to be lonely anymore!” Karolyn said, grinning. “I’ll be your friend from now on!”

“B-but… I can’t play sports with you because… you know… my heart condition.”

“That doesn’t matter! We can still hang out, right?”

Blushing, the girl looked down at the soda in front of her and smiled.

“Y-yeah!...”


Part 5

“You okay?”

I shot awake and looked around. I was back in the library, with Coach McCloud standing over me.

Must have been a dream…

“Looks like you hit your head,” Ms. McCloud said. “C’mon. I got some ice packs in my office.”


Part 6

Once we arrived at our destination, we found the most peculiar thing…

“Odd,” Ms. McCloud said, picking up the ice-cold cream soda can from her desk. “This is the third one this week. No idea where they’re coming from.”

On the side of the can, a heart was drawn in the condensation.

Like I said before, many of the contestants in this competition opted to write a ghost story, but in the end only one story could get first, and although there were many fantastic entries, “Ms. McCloud and the Cream Soda Ghost” was the only story the judges had an immediate unanimous decision on. Not only does this story have a immediate charm and interesting characters, its payoff near the end, though subtle, was heartwarming to say the least. It also managed to perfectly combine the ghost story and romance genres. Because of this, Koji Kojou is the winner.


Special shoutout to both Lita and Ashley for helping me judge this event, it honestly might have been a bit harder to make a decision with out them, so please go show them some love too. Also, I mentioned in my update the other day that while I don’t have any immediate plans of hosting another Fusion Fight, I certainly am open to and interested in doing so. If you would like to see another competition like this, please leave a comment down below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

Blog Update #12: Let the Battle…Commence!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I hope you all are still doing OK in spite of the world devolving into utter chaos, but hopefully, at least for the sake of our mental health, I can maybe bring you all some good information today.

A Regular Schedule

I announced it previously on a few different social media platforms but not yet formally on here. As of now, both of my blogs will be adhering to a regular posting schedule, and hopefully one that allows me to make some quality content while also not making me worry about putting out too much a week.

Animated Observations: Posts will appear on Sunday and Wednesday, and from now onward will exclude any updates.

Solidly Liquid: Posts will appear on Tuesdays.

Branching Out

Most of the time I have spent blogging has been on my own sites, but since I do want to try and grow my audience, I have decided to start posting my content elsewhere. This is why I have decided to start posting my stuff on Medium. This way, if you all or anyone else uses that as their preferred reading platform, they can still read it there.

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“Fusion Fight”: An OWLS Short Story Competition

This has been in the making for a while, and I am happy to announce that, on behalf of the OWLS 2020 Virtual Convention. For those who don’t know, OWLS is a group of bloggers dedicated to making a space online where people can feel safe from discrimination based on religion, sex, gender, race, etc.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person anime and pop culture conventions have been canceled or shifted online and reduced drastically in scale. As a result, we at OWLS wanted to help give back to the community during these times. My contribution is a for fun short story writing competition, the rules for which are and entry form are here.

I encourage everyone to read the full rules as its only about a page and a half, but short summary: “Fusion Fight” consists of every writer submitting one 500 word or less short story while combining two or more major genres as defined on NYC Midnight’s website. The goal of the competition is mostly fun and to see who can be the most creative.

Judging will be done by myself, Lita of LitaKinoAnimeCorner and Author Ashley Capes. The competition will be one round. First place will receive 20 dollars U.S. and second will receive 10. The top 3 participants will be featured on Animated Observations. If you have any other questions about the competition, feel free to email me at theaniwriter@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter.


Thank you all for reading.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

OWLS June “Mindfulness” Tour: Shimada and Loving Shogi

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What other things should we be mindful of in these times? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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

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

With all that being said, enjoy the post.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

OWLS April “Hope” Post: When the World is in Crisis, Why Not Laugh?

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

This month on OWLS, our theme has to do with the virus known as COVID-19 that has greatly affected the world recently: Hope

We are in the midst of a pandemic which has led people to live in fear and anxiety over the coronavirus. For this month, rather than seeing the dark side of the situation we are living in, we will be exploring anime and other pop culture mediums that bring hope for humanity and why they have such a positive impact on us.

As always, be sure to check out some of the posts from my fellow OWLS members Megan and Lita as well.

With that said, enjoy the post.


I do not think it is at all an exaggeration to say that the world is in crisis right now. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused mass panic, spurred on by a flurry of misinformation and fear of poverty and starvation. This in turn has lead to hoarding of important medical supplies and food.

What is worse, in a time when political trust in institutions is already at an all time low, our leaders have failed to provide necessary relief, and in some cases have actively impeded attempts to get said relief. The severity of the situation is beginning to rival even events such as Word War Two, and it seems like there is little to be hopeful about. All the more reason then to…*checks notes*…laugh?

In times of extreme discomfort, pain, and worry, it can be incredibly easy to give into our bleakest of feelings and spend all of our time depressed. However, it is exactly because of these feelings that people should be occupying their time by with things that make them feel good. More specifically, comedy.

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If social media apps such as Tic Tok and Twitter have made one thing clear, its that many are predisposed to responding to negative feelings like fear and awkwardness with laughter, and that makes sense. Laughter is naturally elevating process. Not only does it make the person doing it feel good, but one someone else is laughing, it makes other feel like they should be too.

Anime also has a lot of great comedy. I talked a while ago on KawaiiPaperPandas about Asobi Asobase, a comedy anime that focuses on the strange antics of a club of high school girls. Each of the girls seems innocent at first, especially in the opening for the show. However, as it turns, each of them is pretty vulgar and mean-spirited.

Normally I would say this show is not for everyone, and to be honest that still might be the case. However, given the situation the world is in right, this kind of over the top, raunchy humor might be just the thing to lift up someone’s spirits.

“Dog and Scissors” is another show in this vein, although with a much different plot. After being killed in a cafe, high school student Kazuhito is reborn as the pet dog of his favorite author, only to find out that she is pretty much a sadist. While it is not as consistently funny as a show like “Asobi Asobase,” “Dog and Scissors” does manage to knock enough absurdist jokes that make it worth watching at least the first few episodes.

Romance is another genre that often pairs well with comedy, and one of my favorite Rom-Coms, “Lovely Complex,” also happens to be incredibly funny. The show tells the story of Koizumi and Ootani, two high school students who to their friends are known as a comedy duo, but who, as it turns out, have feelings for each other.

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One might point out that a lot of the comedy in the show could come off as one dimensional, given that a lot of the jokes in the show revolve around their height, and the fact that Ootani does not realize Koizumi like him until pretty late in the series. In fairness, this is not an unreasonable criticism.

I would however argue to things. One is that I think a lot of the cliched jokes in the show are fairly justified given that both are shown to be socially unintelligent in a number of ways. Another is a point I echoed earlier. Given the situation going on right now, and a heightened sense of awareness about friends and loved ones, I think a lot of the show’s core message will resonate, and the comedy by effect will shine through.

I also know that, like myself, many people go through periods of anime burnout, where they simply do not want to watch anything anime related. In that case, stand up comedy is a great place to get a lot of good laughs. A good place to find a lot of stand up comedy right now is Netflix.

Over the past couple of years, Netflix, at least in the U.S., has built a pretty impressive library of comedy specials. A few comedians who stand out are Ally Wong, whose stories about her marriage and personally life are always incredibly funny, and Trevor Noah, whose backstory makes him incredibly interesting to listen to.

As for comedy movies, well… I got nothing there, sorry.

Whatever it is, Now more than ever is a time to be laughing. Is is not healthy, both mentally and physically, to keep those fears and worries bottled up. So, keep watching the news, and stay informed. Those are also important, but make sure to keep yourself laughing so that it does not get your health down.


Everyone reading this is awesome, and I hope all of you are staying safe. What have you guys been doing to pass the time? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

OWLS March "Devotion" Post: Hachiman and the Problem of Self-Devotion

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

At this point, I do not know if I need to explain what OWLS is, but just in case, I will. For those who are totally unaware, OWLS is a group of bloggers and other content creators dedicated to promoting acceptance of all groups, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. In dedication to that mission, members make one post/video each month dedicated to this idea.

For this month, our theme is “devotion:”

When we talked about fandoms, we show our appreciation and support by buying merchandise, cosplaying, writing fanfiction and etc. In fact, our appreciation can end up looking like a sign of religious worship. For this month, we will be talking about how certain characters express devotion to others, objects, and values. We will also be discussing how devotion can turn into an unhealthy form of passion and obsession and the implications of that.

As always, make sure you also check out posts from the members going before me and after me, which this month is Nyan and Matt Doyle, respectively. The full schedule for this month can be found at the end of this post. With all of that being said though, my post this month focuses on Oregairu. Please enjoy.


The return of Oregairu will likely mean continued growth for its main character Hikigaya. However, even despite this, it is worth remembering where his character started off, and how his progression throughout the series has affected him.

Hachiman Hikigaya started off in the series as fairly sure of himself. Distinct from the rest of his classmates, he felt that most were wasting their lives doing nothing, and that enjoying himself was completely worthless. This attitude attracts the attention of one of his teachers, and is then forced to join the Volunteer Service Club, one which is dedicated to helping others with their problems.

Hachiman, being someone who cares very little about others, takes issue with this immediately. He sees using his time to help others as completely nonsensical, but is forced to nonetheless. Arguably more problematic than his outlook, though, is the way in which he chooses to help others. Hachiman usually takes a more selfish root to solving problems, and even if they do end up working, they usually hurt both others and himself in the process.

A good example of this comes in the final moments of the first season, when the student council president is tasked with giving a speech to open the school festival, but gets stage fright and is unable to do so. In order to save the school festival, Hachiman takes it upon himself to guilt the president into doing her job. Everyone else sees this as going to far, but, at least initially, he accepts this as a necessary evil.

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Hachiman’s biggest problem in this case is his lack of trust in people. Again, he see’s himself as distant from others, and relying on only himself in times of need.

In the show’s second season, Hachiman comes to have a radically different view of people. After spending a lot of time helping others with his club mates Yukino and Yui, he begins to realize that having relationships with other people is important. The bitterness of his past was simply him not giving people a chance.

Hachiman comes to start approaching people’s problem not with a thick-headed, emotionless boredom, but rather with active consideration for people’s feelings. He goes from a die hard individualist to a member of a group, in more ways than one.

His initial problem was that, because of the accident that kept him in a hospital for months, he became devoted to an idea of how he thought things should be, rather than adapting to the situation as it was. People do not make relationship with others by always considering themselves first. They form relationships by understanding others, and coming to rely on others in meaningful ways.

A relationship will only ever be as healthy as those involved allow it to be, and those who take Hachiman’s initial approach likely will not find much success in interacting with others.


How do you all feel about Oregairu and the idea of devotion? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

March Schedule:

10th  Aria from The AniManga Spellbook

12th Megan from Nerd Rambles

17th  Matt from Matt in the Hat

20th Hazel from heyitszel 

21st Neha from Biblionyan 

25th Matt from mattdoylemedia 

26th Mel from melinanimeland 

27th Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe

30th Megan from Geeky Gal

31st Lita from Lita Kino Anime Corner

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Legacy” Blog Tour Schedule
(February 2020)

2/6: Megan from Nerd Rambles

2/8: Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe

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

2/16: Ange from Just Being Otaku

2/17: Ashley from The Review Heap

2/22: Crimson from Cute Boys Central

2/24: YumDeku from MyAnime2go

2/27: Mel from Mel in Animeland

2/28: Lita from Lita Kino Anime Corner

2/29: Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews

What kind of legacy has anime left on you? Let me know in the comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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

OWLS December “Holiday” Post: Toradora and Loneliness

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The holiday season is here, and with it comes a whole lot of celebration, which is why the OWLS theme for this month is “Holiday:”

We are at the end of the year! YAY! For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS Team 

This month is a little less busy for the OWLS team, as many members have opted to take a bit of a well deserved break, but you should still check out Crimson and Karandi‘s posts as well. With that being said, here is mine.


Does anyone remember episode 19 of Toradora? You know, the one where the emotional power of the show cranks up to 11? Toradora is one of those anime that most people bring up when talking about good romance anime, and I think a lot of the reason for that comes from this episode in particular.

For those who do not know, Toradora is an anime about about Taiga and Ryuuji, two high school students with almost polar opposite personalities. The two meet one day, only to discover that they each have a crush on each other’s best friend. So, in classic ROM-COM fashion, the two decide to help each other out, growing much closer in the process. Episode 19 focuses on Taiga’s attempt to get her best friend Minori to come to a Christmas party so that her and Ryuuji can get closer. After a little while, Taiga leaves the party, worrying Ryuuji, and causing him to come check on her, knowing that she will be alone. After coming to see her, Taiga feels much better, but insists that Ryuuji should go back to the party. Soon after, Taiga is alone in her apartment, alone and sad. It becomes even more obvious before that the feelings Taiga has are not for Yuusaku, but rather Ryuuji himself. Her unwillingness to admit these feelings in a moment when she could have caused her to be lonely on Christmas Eve.

This kind of loneliness, while emotional jarring to watch for fictional characters, is something that impacts real people as well. Though the research on this relatively recent, doctors and other health professionals have made great strides in finding out the mental and physical health impacts of loneliness on people.

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Despite there still be a lot left to discover about the impacts of loneliness on health, one thing that has been demonstrated repeatedly is that being physically isolated and being lonely are not the same thing. As a report from the Administration on Aging notes, it is entirely possible and also fairly common for people to be socially isolated and also not feel lonely. Conversely, people can be surrounded by good friends and family and still be prone to loneliness.

Still, both of these things can have major impacts on health. On the mental side of things, loneliness and social isolation are linked to increased likelihood of depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. One might not think Loneliness would affect physical health, but it can hurt that too. This can include higher blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

It is also worth noting that there is a growing body of research that suggests that loneliness is at least in part genetically inherited. For example, previous studies have found a heritability rate for loneliness of anywhere between 37 and 55 percent. This would suggest that there are people who are significantly more likely to experience loneliness than others.

If there was ever a time to bring awareness to the epidemic that is loneliness, it would be during the holidays, when people are supposed to feel a sense of fulfillment and togetherness. It is also important to recognize that just because someone looks ok, it does not mean that they are. These are the times that people should be doing the most to make sure others do not feel lonely.


Since this will be out on the 27th, how have your holiday’s been? Let me know in comments.

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

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