Tag Archives: Smash Ultimate

Secondary Findings: The Mitchells vs The Machines, Kingdom Hearts, Etc.

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So, a while ago I started doing posts based on Super EyePatch Wolf’s series “My Favorite Things,” and while I do enjoy doing something similar on this blog, I never actually gave the series a proper title to differentiate it. Since it has been a hot minute since doing one of those posts, I figured now to be a good a time as any. Thus, welcome to the (re)launch of my new series on this blog: Secondary Findings, where we talk about all the things I thought were cool recently that otherwise would not fit as its own post/video.

(As a side note, I never actually intended for the blog to have the astronomy theme that is clearly been developing subconsciously, but it feels oddly fitting.)

Anyway, on with the post!

The Mitchells vs The Machines

The state of children’s media in 2021 is…not something I have enough knowledge to competently discuss. However, it would be a lie to say that all of it is factory-produced, lifeless shells akin to Cocomelon. Though, this movie is clearly aiming for an audience a bit older than that. The Mitchells vs The Machines is a project that I was not expecting to be as entertained by as I was, and was genuinely sad when the credits rolled.

There is so much about this movie worth liking. From its unique animation and character designs courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation to the well-written story and characters that form the base of its title. The movie also is not afraid to cover heavier topics. College-age Katie Mitchell plans on going to film school, but her dad is less than understanding. So, in order to better connect with her daughter, Rick Mitchell decides to take Katie and the rest of his family on a road trip to her new home. All the while, the world is being taken over by the operating system PAL.

I will say, in trying to cover things like the prevalence of technology in people’s lives, being creative in a family that does not accept it, giving up passions in order to start a family, the pacing does suffer a little bit. Additionally, while it never seemed to be the focal point of the movie, Katie’s gay identity feels a bit brushed over as a point of her character. Still, this movie was so much fun that I would not be surprised to find myself going back to it again fairly soon.

Sora in Smash!

Ok, this is cheating a little bit since I did technically do a full write up of Smash Ultimate’s potential last patch. However, the feeling of amazement has not yet been lost on me. Trying to speculate just how much legal effort it took on Nintendo’s part to make this happening is probably in vein, but my simple guess would be “a lot.” Still, everyone’s favorite spiky haired, key blade wielding, anime protagonist is now playable (and most likely going to be my main for competitive play). His skins feel like they were made with purpose, even if Disney’s ownership of certain IPs made the range of selection rather limited, and his overall move set makes him feel purposeful, with nearly every move having a strong role to play in his kit.

While I have little reason to return to his original games at this point outside of a passing fluster of nostalgia, his inclusion is bound to make many of those who grew up with the Kingdom Hearts universe happy. More still, it will be exciting to see just how far he can be pushed from a competitive standpoint.

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Hanasaku Iroha

If it was not clear already from the haphazard times between when I first talk about show to when, or really if, I finish them, I am bad at sticking to one show for an extended length of time. That being said, Hanasaku Iroha is a show that I am most definitely interested in finishing…at some point. Again, I am not going to put a date on it cause that feels sort of pointless, but there is a lot to like about the series.

Ohana has a sort of out there, individualistic spirit that feels rarely represented in a narrative space so focused on characters. Having grown up with an unreliable mom, she is forced to deal with life mostly on her own. Because of this, her philosophy of only relying on herself comes up against her hardline grandmother and the staff of the Inn where she is now forced to work. In spite of this, the first few episodes see the beginning of change, a readjustment to her new environment and the blooming of ability to rely on others for the first time in, basically, forever.

If this were an Initial Results post, I would say just go watch it. But…na, jk still go watch it. Great series thus far.

Franny Choi’s Soft Science

*remembers I have a second blog that I have not been posting on at all for months*

*screams*

Existence is a weird thing, huh? and no, I am not just saying that as a way to ridicule myself further. While I have been contemplating doing reviews over on Solidly Liquid for a while now, that has yet to materialize, so it seemed appropriate to talk about one of my favorite collections in recent memory: Franny Choi’s Soft Science.

There is a lot going on in this collection, but the primary tension seems to be the contrast between how the narrator wants to be seen versus how those identities often appear in reality. It brings up femininity, Asian identity, and how those things are experienced both internally and externally. The running metaphor used throughout Soft Science compares the speaker to a machine, acting and thinking as a stereotype despite the emotionally complex reality of what they go through in every-day life.

Since this is ostensibly an anime focused blog it would be a mistake not to mention one of my favorite pieces in the collection “Chi” based around the main character of Chobits. Visually, it has a very unique presentation, being divided into four sections each with their own unique structure, commenting on the various aspects of Chi’s character and how that relates to the speaker. There are also a ton other nerdy sci-fi references that I know at least a portion of those who read this blog will likely appreciate.


What things have you all been enjoying recently? 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!

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Dealing with Mental Burnout

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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As I get back into the swing of posting articles again, I decided it would be easier to also continue to post some of my old columns. Today’s column is one I wrote about a couple years ago and is still incredibly applicable to my life currently since I often find it hard to keep with my hobbies while also doing school. This is an article about burnout, both on how to avoid it and how to deal with it if it’s already happened. With that being said, here it is.


Most people have experienced burnout of some kind at some point in their life. It seems that the most common form of this is with a favorite food or drink. After consuming it a lot within a short time frame, the taste buds start to get bored of it, and eventually, it loses that special something that made it so good in the first place. 

This also happens a lot with people’s hobbies. Given that hobbies are something people choose to do in their free time, it makes sense that they would want to spend a lot of time doing it. However, it can also reach a point where doing it too much leads us to falling out of favor with that hobby. For me, this has happened a couple of times with anime.

I would get into a routine of spending nearly all my time either watching anime, looking for new anime to watch, or talking about anime with people online, and while I did have a ton of fun, it got unhealthy. Eventually, I would just get tired of it, and watch nothing for a few months at least. 

As of writing this article, this has happened about three times now. The first was near the end of freshman year, where I had spent most of my summer break bingeing different series, never really giving myself any time to recover. The second was during my junior year, where the stress of taking four AP classes and joining multiple clubs had my head rolling constantly.

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The third was more recently. I had been watching so much anime, and then I started thinking about why I was even doing so to begin with, to the point where I even questioned my passion for it. All of this is to say that, no matter what hobby a person has, they can always get burnt out. With that being said, here are a few helpful tips to avoid doing so. 

First, it is important that a hobby not be the only thing a person does. While it might not immediately make sense to limit doing something a person likes, if it becomes their sole reason for living, then it can become unhealthy. Mixing in other hobbies into a person’s free time, or hanging out with friends one meets from that hobby can be great ways to avoid this.

Second, it is also important that a person not attach success or failure in that hobby to their self-worth. As someone who has played a lot of “Super Smash Bros” and competed against others in weekly tournaments, it can be pretty easy to get discouraged and feel bad when one does poorly. It helps to take those negative thoughts and turn them into goals if that’s applicable. If not, just take a break, whether that be a day or week, and then come back. 

Burnout is something that almost everyone experiences, even in their own hobbies. We all get sick of doing stuff, especially when we do it too much. However, there are ways to avoid it, and by taking the proper steps now, it becomes much less likely later on. 


What are your experiences with burnout, and how have you dealt with them? 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!

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Smash’s Final Character: Smash Ultimate Patch 13.0

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I know, I know, don’t worry about it.

Smash’s presumed final, although not confirmed, patch for Super Smash Brother Ultimate is here, and with it has come a lot of excitement. New character, new changes, a new stage, and lots of talk among the community as usually. With that being said, lets get into it.

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The Final DLC

This is it, the last character, the one that so many people requested in Nintendo’s fan poll almost six years. Sora from Kingdom Hearts is finally in smash. I have a few friends who were hesitant to be happy about Sora, not because they disliked the character for any reason, but rather because the smash community has seen a number of people who are just ok with sending death threats to people, and while the existence does sour my enjoyment a bit, it still pales in comparison to the joy I feel now that he is finally here.

After my finishing the original Persona 5 was followed by the reveal of Joker only a few months later, I did not think anyone else could reach that level of hype. That is, except for one. When I tell you that I could barely contain myself while watching the final reveal during my nine in the morning political philosophy lecture, I am not kidding. Seeing Sora fly out of Kingdom Hearts into that dark and desolate void was truly a dream come true.

As far as how he actually plays, well…Sora is a real mixed bag. On the one hand, going from playing mostly Joker, a character with a significantly faster than average fall speed, great mobility both in the air and on the ground, and an insane punish game to now the floatiest character in the game has been a significant change. On the other, though, Sora himself seems like a better than average fighter with a lot of unique tools and mix-up potential. Not only does he have multiple two hit kill confirms off of his aerials, his neutral is significantly better than expected, with nair serving as a solid out of shield option and his first hit jab and up tilt being excellent anti-air tools.

The hardest part about the character thus far has been his disadvantage. Being so floaty, along with having a relatively slow double-jump makes getting out of disadvantage fairly difficult against competent players. similarly, while Sora arguably has the best edge-guarding of any character in the game, by contrast, his ability to get off ledge is severely limited, and requires really good mix-ups on the part of the person playing him. Despite all of that, however, I have decided to pursue maining him for the moment, as I want to see how much I can develop my skill with arguably now my favorite character in all of smash.

Balance Changes

I’m only going to talk briefly about the balance changes in 13.0, so for anyone who wants to see the whole list of changes and their implications, please watch the video Beefy Smash Doods made, or just look at the original patch notes here.

TL;DR, the main aim of this patch, like many previous ones, was to buff characters who are generally considered to be fairly bad by the competitive community and even casual players. Among those who received major changes are Dr. Mario, Incineroar, Jigglypuff, King K. Rool, Isabelle, Zelda, Lucario, and Little Mac. Judging based on the criteria of most significant changes relative to their character, Jigglypuff and Mac walked away with the most influential buffs. Jigglypuff now has access to a handful of new confirms and high damage combos, and Little Mac became significantly better and what he does best: pressuring opponents on the ground.

While none of these changes are likely the make the characters that much more viable in the competitive scene, except maybe in the case of Jigglypuff, they did seem to accomplish the goal of giving them a higher quality of life and making certain interactions slightly better off for the respective fighters. Overall, outside of my general dislike of what I would consider to be a lot of “Wi-Fi characters,” I do think these buffs were warranted and not particularly egregious.

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The Meta of Smash Ultimate

Based on previous patterns from Smash for Wii U, this is likely to be the last or second to last patch for the game. This means that Ultimate‘s competitive meta will likely solidify in the coming months. Whether or not the addition of such an iconic and fan-loved character will spark an unprecedented wave of new interest in the game has yet to be seen. However, even through a global pandemic in which offline tournaments, the heart of smash community, were shut down completely, the game has retained competitive interest. This has been even more true now that offline locals and majors have begun resurfacing.

The reality, however, is that COVID-19 is far from over, with resurgences of the disease and offspring of new variants helping to maintain its spread. This means that smash could be forced to move online once again at a moments notice. For Smash Ultimate, this means players would be forced to resort to using the game’s notoriously awful online system as their only means of play. Most are aware of this problem, which is why many top players, such as New England’s Light barely played during Quarantine, and others have moved on from the game entirely.

Still, even with a shrink in the community, there has been plenty of development among individual characters. Steve, who many notoriously though was going to be among the worst in the game, is now considered high tier at a minimum among many. This is due to significant developments in the character’s combo and camping game, with many realizing the vast potential Steve has with his ability to build blocks while in the air. Min Min, another terror of online play, seen a similar rise in respectability, with players like ESAM and Pink Fresh performing relatively well at recent offline events.

Sora’s meta is still being explored, but early signs show a lot of promise. As mentioned previously, he has a few easy to perform kill confirms, great edge-guarding capability, and even a recently discovered loop with both his fair and nair, which allows him to combo opponents for massive amounts of damage. Currently, many are of the opinion that the character only rises to mid-tier status, but opinions among top players who have experimented with Sora are quickly changing. This includes PGR rank one player MKLeo, who believes the character to be incredibly strong.

Conclusion

Overall, this has been an incredibly successful patch, both personally and competitively. While I honestly have no idea what the future of smash is at this point, with Masahiro Sakurai saying that he will be stepping down from working on the game, I am excited to see any future content, as well as continue to watch and participate in the growth of the competitive scene.


I hope you all enjoyed this analysis of Smash’s recent patch. I try to only talk about competitive gaming occasionally, since these posts tend to perform relatively poorly. However, for those that are interested in this kind of content, please let me know, since I do enjoy writing it. Otherwise, thanks 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!

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Smash Ultimate, Patch 11.0, and Pyra/Mythra

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

A lot has happened since I last talked anything smash related on the blog, since my inability to plan ahead has been perpetually plaguing me for some time now, I figured it would be worth talking about. So without mincing words to much, let us get started.

Pyra and Mythra Have Arrived!

For those who had not heard yet, the newest fighters in Smash Ultimate are Mythra and Pyra of “Xenoblade Chronicles 2.” While the two swordswomen are separate characters, they function much like the Shiek/Zelda of old, with players being able to shift freely between them using their down special.

The two have a very distinct contrast, with Mythra boasting most of the speed and combo potential, while Pyra hold the raw kill power which can consistently K.O. opponents below 100%, with moves like her side smash, up special, and neutral special. Most pro players thus far have said that Mythra feels like the stronger character overall, although players like T1’s MKLeo have warned people not to sleep on Pyra either. Regardless of which one is actually better, most agree that smash’s newest addition is likely to end up at the top of most tier lists.

Personally, I would have to agree. After doing labing so very basic combos and measuring the kill power of these two, their combination as one character gives players the freedom to adapt to a number of situations, and feel strong in almost every scenario. Their one flaw in their somewhat mediocre recovery, but even that feels incredibly hard to punish with sufficient practice. Its hard to say if they will end up as the best, but, at least for now, they definitely have their spot in that conversation. Though, it will be much easier to draw a more accurate picture once results start coming in.

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11.0 Balance Changes: We Got Nerfs?!

It feels as though Nintendo’s philosophy for most of the balance changes thus far has been to buff weaker characters as opposed to nerfing higher performing ones. Still, with the release of the 11.0 patch they did apply some significant nerfs to some of the characters considered top tier, most notably Joker, Palutena, and Wario.

As for Joker, the characters side special now has more lag, along with the inactive version of his Arsene counter. Palutena received a few nerfs as well, with her forward aerial now having more landing lag, making it slightly less safe on shield, as well as her dash attack receiving more end lag. In addition, her standing grab range now has less range. Wario was arguably hit the hardest, as his most powerful, down special, now comes out slower in its third and final versions. As well, his up-tilt attack now has less active frames, making it harder to hit opponents with. If you would like to visual representations of all the changes, check out the video by Beefy Smash Dudes on the latest patch.

All of these felt like pretty reasonably changes, as these characters, even with the nerfs, as still going to be extremely good. The changes, for the most part, just help to reel in people’s ability to spam moves without getting punished. Wario, though, feels like he might just drop out of top tier entirely. While I am not super familiar with how badly this affects his ability to combo, Waft often felt like a free kill that your opponent could just cash in on after a certain amount of time had passed. To a certain extent this also rewards a more passive playstyle, as you could just sit back and charge up waft without much commitment to any specific play. Now it seems as if those combos are going to be a bit more situational, and might require Wario players to fish for them a bit harder with things like falling up air and falling neutral air.

Also, Min Min got nerfed thank god!

One character that has remained almost untouched since the games release, however, is Pikachu. This is surprising considering how many top players have voiced there opinion on the character’s status as the best in the game, with many of those same players calling for changes to the character. The change most would like to see implemented is what is referred to as “pancaking,” or the flattening of the characters model during certain moves, to the point where he becomes nearly impossible to hit. This creates many frustrating situations where an option that would normally be punishable for whiffing becomes functionally unpunishable, one example being Pikachu’s back aerial, which makes him almost entirely flat when landed.

These nerfs to to other top characters, combined with Pikachu’s unchanged kit not only put him more in the conversation of best, but also creates frustration within the community, as it makes it feel to many as if the balance team is not really listening.

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#UnbanNairo

Some not at all familiar with the smash scene might have seen this trending on Twitter, as the top player Nairo was accused by Captain Zack during the summer of last year of being pressured into oral sex when he was 15 and Nairo was 20. However, Nairo released a statement a few months later saying that he was dealing with the situation in court and compiling evidence to prove his innocence after originally apologizing for the situation.

After Nairo released a document with such evidence, along with corroboration from many top players who were at the event which these events took place, many began calling for his re-entry into the community, along with permanently banning Captain Zack. This culminated into the movement #unbanNairo, which was started with the hopes of allowing him back into the community and getting his currently banned Twitch channel unbanned.

Given all of what we now know in hindsight, I will say a couple of things. First, Nairo definitely did not do himself any favors by apologizing immediately. While he never actually admitted guilt, the apology definitely came off that way. It would have been much better for himself if he had waited to collect his thoughts and then spoken about it afterward. Still, regardless of what he did or did not admit to, there is absolutely no reason to have him stay banned considering what has been brought to light.

Now, do not mistake this for me saying that sexual relations with children are ok. However, Captain Zack was not the one being violated here, and especially considering what is also known about his relationship with Ally, and how he purposefully manipulated him during tournaments, the evidence of Nairo’s having been approached by Captain Zack is all but apparent. So, yeah, #unbainNairo


There is a lot in here worth discussing, so please let me know any of your thoughts down 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!

“Smash Ultimate” 9.0 Recap

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ok, but like, what do I even write here? The mad-lads actually did it…Steve from Minecraft is in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

It has been less than a week since Steve’s release as part of the Ultimate Fighters Pack 2 expansion for “Smash Ultimate” and already their has been a lot worth talking about, from the release of Steve to balance changes and the general mood of the community as a whole. Today, I want to catch up you folks on all of it, in case you have been out of the loop, and share my general thoughts on “Smash Ultimate” as of version 9.0. With that being said, lets get started.

Steve From Minecraft

From the moment it was confirmed that their would be DLC for “Smash Ultimate,” people were indeed excited for the games future. This excitement came to a tipping point when at the game awards last year it was announced that Joker from “Persona 5” would be the first ever DLC fighter for the game. From their, people’s imagination began to run wild with possibilities, and indeed, the results have been pretty crazy, with representatives from “Dragon Quest,” “Banjo and Kazooie,” “Fatal Fury,” and “ARMS” also being added as well. The only real “normal” rep to appear in the game thus far has been Byleth from “Fire Emblem: Three Houses.”

Now, the first exclusively Microsoft rep has entered in the arena in the form of Steve from “Minecraft,” and he is definitely unique in his kit. Most of his strength as a fighter, much like many of the DLC that has been released previously, relies on his meter, which fuels his ability to both build blocks as well as upgrade his weapons. On top of that, his side special is a mine-cart that functions both as a projectile and a command grab, his up special utilizes a glide mechanic similar to Pit in “Smash Bros Brawl,” and all of his smash attacks are both fast and strong, making him an all around strong fighter

There has a been a lot of debate about where Steve will actually fall on most people’s tier list, but considering the character has only been out for a few days, it is hard to tell with any degree of accuracy where he will end up, only that he will be extremely polarizing.

Balance Changes for 9.0

Unlike the previous patch which introduced a significant number of buffs for certain characters, 9.0 was relatively conservative in its changes. The full patch notes can be found here, but for the sake of this post here are the characters that recieved a significant number of changes/buffs

  • Bowser Jr.
  • Ness
  • Ice Climber
  • Simon/Richter
  • Sonic
  • Lucario

While it is hard to say the changes these characters received will make them significantly better, there was a little bit of frustration from the community towards these changes, especially for characters like Sonic and Ness. In the age of Corona-Virus, where the majority of competitive events for the game are being held online, it is undoubtedly frustrating to see two characters who notoriously benefit from delayed connections to receive any kind of buffs.

Still, the other characters that were affected by this patch, mainly Lucario and Simon/Richter, definitely needed some sort of change in order to see any kind of success on a competitive level.

Is Smash Ultimate Dying?

Answering the question “is x game dying” is usually one that is both complicated but also not really worth entertaining most of the time because of it being brought up in bad faith. That being said, with the pretty much universal disappearance of in person gaming events, the FGC is undoubtedly one of the hardest hit, as in person events are pretty much the heart and soul of the community.

While online events can certainly be entertaining, they are, in most cases, vastly inferior to their offline counterparts for a variety of reasons. The first is that the lag/input delay caused by using online systems. This inherent delay makes it so that players are not able to react to their full potential making punishes and strings that much harder to achieve.

The second is a bit more abstract, that being the sense of community that is lost from playing online. I can say from my own personal experience that the ability to hang out and talk with other players from the community, as well as learn things and make friends with those who compete is one of the best experiences of my life, and losing that experience has definitely taken its toll on me.

As for whether or not smash specifically is “dying” any faster than other communities, I have not seen the evidence to support that. While views for large events were certainly on the decline even before COVID-19, this is natural for a game that already been out for over a year. Ebbs and flows for general interest will always happen. The loss of Major communities figures such as Nairo and Zero, as well as a number of other top commentators, certainly impacted this as well, but again, this does not necessarily mean the community is dying any faster, only that its growth has been hampered.

Assuming the pandemic is dealt with anytime in the near future, which admittedly could not be the case given the response of the current administration, it is unlikely the community will be completely dead.

Conclusion

The Smash community is definitely suffering right now, but while the events surrounding top figures in the community certainly add to that hurt, it is unfair to say the community is dying anymore so than other communities. Still, with more DLC and updates still coming, and with the potential for offline events to come back with the next year or so, there is a lot to look forward to.


How do you all feel about “Smash Ultimate” lately? 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!

5 of the Most Interesting Competitive Character Designs in Smash Ultimate

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Being the forefather of the modern platform fighter, Smash Bros and its many iterations have seen a number of changes. Many of those changes have been in game play, like the the removal of many mechanics from Melee to Brawl. However, arguably a bigger change is the number of characters available in its latest iteration, Smash Ultimate. Not only does this create a more interesting challenge competitively, with players having to memorize many more match ups, but there are also many new types of characters. Here are five of the most interesting characters in Smash Ultimate.

Zero Suit Samus

Zero Suit Samus (ZSS) was introduced in Super Smash Brothers Brawl and was given the unique identity of starting the game with items that she could pick up and throw. However, it was in Smash for the Wii U/3DS where her current design was finalized. While her combo game and raw kill power were nerfed fairly heavily coming into Ultimate, ZSS still retains the raw speed and mix up game that made her so deadly during competitive Smash Wii U.

The biggest and most talked about part of her kit is her down special flip jump. The move can be used to hop over a given area in both horizontal directions, and can even bury a grounded opponent or spike and aerial opponent if they are hit with the second input of the move. Not only does the move allow her to maneuver through space, it also makes it so that she can go fairly deep off stage and expect to make it back safely.

ZSS also has built in stuns in the form of her neutral b and down smash which give her near guaranteed kills if landed. Combine all of this with her relatively fast air speed and strong aerials and you get one of the the more satisfying characters to play.

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Incineroar

Given just how different platform fighters usual are from their 2D and 3D counterparts, it makes sense that a different type of character would excel within the genre, mainly those that are faster, have longer combos and more ability to go offstage. However, one type of character has remained a staple of the fighting game community, an archetype known as the grappler. Grapplers are usually reliant on throw combos to do damage and get wins, and Incineroar, who was introduced in Ultimate, is Nintendo’s nod to this archetype.

Incineroar has a few obvious strengths and weaknesses. First, the characters throws give him a lot of options. His down throw can combo into any of his aerials given the right percent, and can even combo into his special moves like neutral special. Additionally, his other three throws are considered kill throws, meaning at higher percents they can outright take an opponents stock.

However, given his slower movement speed and lack of a projectile, Incineroar can also find himself walled out relatively easily, which means the character often has to rely on an opponent making a mistake in order to get anywhere. This variance in his play has made the character extremely polarizing to many, but also puts him in line with many of the grapplers that came before him.

Greninja

Unlike his slower, fire-type counterpart, Greninja plays exactly like how you would want a character in this genre to feel. Not only his he fast, with a relatively high air and ground speed, he also has a number of high damage combos and kill confirms. He is, in a lot of cases, the definition of rewarding.

However, it is not just that the character feels good to play that makes him so interesting. Many of the character’s special moves also reflect his origins very well. His side special shadow sneak gives him a decent neutral mix-up as well as increased horizontal recovery. Water shuriken, his neutral special, gives him a projectile that can help wall out opponents and build up chip damage. His down special substitute acts as a counter and gives him another way to edge guard opponents offstage. His up special, much like Pickachu’s, gives him a number of angles from which to recover.

The character does lack significant defensive options, however, as most of his kit is focused on constant aggression. Because of this, his disadvantage can often be pretty bad, allowing opponents to rack up quite a bit of damage, and often times leading to a stock as well. Still, despite this lackluster aspect of his character, Greninja is still one of the most interesting designs in Smash Ultimate.

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Shulk

Despite his reputation among many in the competitive community as a “cheater” due to his strong defensive options, Shulk was not considered much of a strong character until Ultimate. Not only does he have a frame 1 Monado Arts switch, which allows him to change the properties of his character, making him faster, heavier, stronger, etc, his large disjointed sword gives him the ability to wall out opponents fairly easily.

Shulk also has something that not many other characters do. Using a mechanic called dial storage, Shulk is able to store frames of charge on his neutral special, making it easier to pull out his Monado Arts. This mechanic also gives him the ability to do things such as L cancel and wavedash, two mechanics that have thus far been limited to Melee. This means that has access to tools that other characters simply do not. As pro player Salem notes in the linked video, mastery of these techniques will likely mean that Shulk becomes one of if not the best character in the game.

Wolf

If there was ever a character who just oozes cool, outside of Joker, it would be Wolf. Not only does he just look badass, his move set and fast falling classification given him an extremely smooth feel that a lot of the DLC characters in smash simply don’t have. Moreover, Wolf’s combos and kill confirms all feel incredibly satisfying to hit due to many of them being fairly difficult or being extremely risky to go for.

It is unfortunate, however, that the character does not see much play. Relative to his popularity in the first year of the game’s lifespan, coupled with many nerfs to the character overall, Wolf has seen dramatically less play at the top level. In fact, most of his highest level appearances have been at the hands of Zachray, the best player in Japan, and even then he only uses him on occasion.

Still, at least before the worldwide appearance of COVID-19, Wolf was making a resurgence from players like Charliedaking and Larry Lurr. So, despite the relative difficulty of playing him optimally, Wolf will likely to continue to see play for years to come.


What characters do you think have interesting designs in Smash Ultimate? 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!

Smash’s #MeToo was Swift and Widespread. Here are their Stories

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

*Trigger Warning*

In the past week, the FGC and other gaming communities have been hit with a wave allegations ranging from minor sexual misconduct to outright rape and Pedophilia. Specifically, though, many of these allegations have come from members of the smash community against many prominent commentators and players. Given the severity and descriptiveness of these allegations, along with the strong evidence on the part of many of the accusers, I wanted to take time this week to highlight these stories.

CaptainZack’s account of events with Nairo, a now former smash ultimate pro, who, according to Zack, took advantage of him during a 2015 tournament when he was 15 and Nairo was 20.
KTDominate’s story of how long time smash commentator D1 forced himself on her when she was 18 while she was drunk, and then afterwards proceeded to brag about it to others at Smash the Record, the tournament the two were located at.
Puppeh, formerly on the PGRU and ranked on the top 10 of the MDVA power rankings, was sexually abused by Cinnpie, a smash ultimate commentator from the same region.
Katie, who was a fan of top smash 4 player Zero, accused the pro of using grooming language in their conversations and asking for sexually explicit images despite knowing her to be underage, around 14-15 at the time.
Corrin accuses smash 4 player Pugwest of asking for sexually explicit photos of her, providing screenshots of their conversation to corroborate the allegations.
Aliylian discusses her interactions with commentator DJ Nintendo and his attempts to solicit sexually explicit images of herself when she was 16-17 years old.

While he has since locked his account, commentator Keitaro has also admitted to excepting the sexual advances of a then drunk 17 year old girl. His account of the situation can be read here.

While I have a lot to say in regards to this reckoning within the smash community, I feel as though anything I say here would only take away from the stories of the individuals abused. I encourage everyone to read the full accounts of each. While these are not all of the stories that have emerged over the past couple of days, they are important ones.

Considering the seriousness of the situation, I will not be attempting to monetize anything in regards to this post. Thanks for reading, and always be looking to make things better.

Wolf: From Powerhouse to Barely a Pocket Pick

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The early meta of “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” was defined by a much different group of characters than what is popularly seen today. In the beginning of the game’s competitive lifespan, characters fell into two main groups based on their strengths. Either they had ridiculously strong combo games, such as Pichu and Olimar, or they rewarded strong fundamentals and game knowledge, such as Lucina.

Wolf falls into the latter category, and was indeed an incredibly strong character. He was introduced in “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” and has since been a fan favorite. His return in “Smash Ultimate” came with the support of nearly everyone.

Not only are many of his moves somewhat disjointed, meaning the hit-box of those moves is separated from the rest of the character, Many of his moves serve as combo starters, including his down throw, up throw, forward aerial, and many others. Wolf at his core rewards those who are aware of his advantages and know how to play the game on a more fundamental level.

This, in large part, explains his popularity among the competitive scene at the time. His reliance on fundamentals to do well made him easier to pick up, and his strong reward because of his easier combos and strong down smash used for reads made him well worth the relatively small time investment.

This lead to many top players, including Nairo, Void, MKLeo, and Zachray, to picking up the character as a secondary and many more to outright main the character. In fact, on the first PGRU, the official ranking of top smash players created by Panda Global, lists wolf five times, with most of his appearances in the top half of the list.

However, after the first few months of the game, many began developing the meta for other characters, most notably MKLeo rising in skill with his Joker, Nairo with Palutena, Marss with ZSS, Samsora with Peach, and Ally with Snake.

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Wolf also suffered from some compromising nerfs, which included a base knockback reduction on his down smash, and a increase in ending lag on his blaster. While he did get lots of other minor buffs, overall the character seemed to lose more than he gained.

Both of these things, combined with Wolf’s lackluster offstage options, lead many to abandoning the character. By the time the second official PGRU rolled around in the following fall, Wolf’s appearances went from five to just one in the form of Zachray, who only occasional played the character in specific match-ups.

While his popularity has certainly been at a low point, not all hope is lost for the furry villain. Many regions across the United States have a number of prominent Wolfs. Of these regions, SoCal stands out the most, who is home top Smash 4 player Larry Lurr, as well as rising star Charlie “Charliedaking” Haruno, the latter of whom recently made an incredible run at Genesis 7, getting ninth out of over 1,600 entrants and who almost beat current number six Maister.

Current number three Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey has also show much interest in the character as of late, using him most recently at Frostbite 2020 and getting third out of over 1,200 players. Even Zachray, who lost faith in the character fairly early on, has continued to use him sparingly in tournament play.

While it is hard to see the character’s widespread popularity returning anytime soon, his history in “Smash Ultimate” is interesting. At the end of the day, Wolf alongside others like Lucina felt a lot like characters that people were just messing around with while they got a feel for the game. Even despite the competitive scene’s strange online transition, it is possible that Wolf may see a minor return in the form of new and old top players.


Something a little different, this time around. I haven’t spent much time talking about competitive smash on this blog, most recently because pretty much all offline tournaments have grinded to a halt. However, I had a sudden inspiration and so this is the final product. Who is your favorite “Smash Bros” character? 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!

A Smash Ultimate Tier List (for When Things Go Back to Normal)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly across all parts of the world, its fair to say that the number of in person smash events has dropped to an all time low. Presumably though, with the right combination of government policy and social distancing to stop the virus’ spread, it will end at some point, and when it does it is likely that tournaments will start again en masse. Here is what I think the meta will look like when tournaments start again.

To start, only the section labled high tier, top tier, and bottom tier are in numeric order. Every tier below and above that is a rough estimation.

Also, I thought it might be worth briefly explaining my own personal methodology on how I made this tier list. Basically, my opinion is made up of equal parts pro opinion, major tournament results, and theory crafting. Personally, I think when it comes to evaluating the potential of a character, it is important to take into account all three.

Additionally, I try to weigh whether or not the character has more advantages than disadvantages. For example, if a character has a larger than average number of moves that are safe on shield, that would be considered an advantage. conversely, if a character has a recovery that is weaker than average, that would be considered a disadvantage.

Other than that, I will address a few placements that I think might cause contention, and that need clarification.

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Pikachu is the Best Character

Largely due to its much more balanced characters than in previous iterations, Smash Ultimate’s best character is a tough thing to figure out. However, Pikachu stands out as the best for a number of reasons.

First, Pikachu has a lot of fast aerials, and against a number of characters on the roster, his moves come out so fast and have so little lag that effectively, he cannot be punished. This makes pressuring the opponents shield safe and incredibly easy.

Second, Pikachu’s now infamous “pancakes” mean that during the animation of certain attacks, his hurt box shrinks so that even during unsafe moves where he theoretically could be punished, he often times is not. In situations where this happens, it often times means the pikachu gets to go back on the offensive because the opponent whiffed an attack.

Lastly, Pikachu’s combo game is second to none. Those who are familiar with the character competitively are likely also familiar with his “lighting loops” a drag down combo consisting of a grab down-throw, nair drag, up tilt and then repeat.

Pikachu not only competes with the best, but often beats them by a lot.

Shulk in High Tier

Those who pay attention to competitive “Smash Ultimate” are probably aware of Shulk’s continued rise to prominence. Originally starting in the meta as a high-mid tier, players such as Nicko and Kome have proven Shulk’s power again and again. As such his position has raised significantly among both pro opinion and tournament results.

However, new tech that was discovered more recently, as explained in the video above, allows Shulk to perform techniques such as L-cancelling and wave-dashing, techniques that are only available in two other smash games, Melee and Project+. While Shulk is currently held back by his more lag ridden aerials and poor movement, if pro players were to master these techniques, it is possible he could move even higher up.

Young Link in High Tier

Many players saw promise in Young Link upon the games release. His quick projectiles and low lag aerials made him, at least theoretically, one of the best characters in the game.

However, as time went on, many lost faith, and as a result, was not valued as highly. After a recent patch blessed the character with many new buffs, including now a forward throw that can kill near the ledge fairly early, and a recent top 8 placement at Frostbite 2020, players are again changing their minds about the character.


Do any of you play Smash Ultimate? If so, which characters do you enjoy playing? 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!

Animated Observations Update #6: School is the Only Thing I Do Now

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hope you all are doing well and continuing to prosper. As I so predicted a few updates ago, school has been keeping me plenty busy, so I honestly have not had a whole lot of time for content. Still, I want to keep you all informed and say just a few things.

Happy Holidays

Halloween, along, with Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming around once again and I just wanted to go ahead and wish you all happy holidays, whatever it is your celebrating. However, since Halloween is the closest, I will go ahead and wish everyone a happy Halloween as well.

300 Followers on Animated Observations!

After a vigorous, week-long campaign of begging people on Twitter to follow me, I recently hit a personal goal of 300 followers on WordPress for Animated Observations! I know compared to many other bloggers that is not a whole lot, but considering I’m now a solid three months into my third year of blogging, it feels like a good place to be at. I also promised during that campaign that I would make a video shouting out all of my followers, which I will definitely do, it just might take a little longer than anticipated. Hopefully thought it should be out in no longer than a week.

I may also end up doing some kind of give-away as well, but I honestly have not gotten that far yet.

Smash Ultimate and Needing a Break

You may or may not know about my love of competitive smash, which I talked about in a previous update, but if you do not, I love competitive smash. Ultimate specifically has been a lot of fun and has brought a lot of joy. However, its also made me feel a lot worse about myself. Every time I go to locals I pretty much go 0-2 without fail, and despite knowing that I usually do not have time to practice, I still try and compare myself with people who literally dedicate pretty much all of their free time to getting better.

Because of this, I have decided to take a step back from the game and re-evaluate my relationship with it. I need to find out whether or not it is a game I play for fun or one that I want to take seriously. Otherwise, I am just going to keep feeling frustrated with myself.

Aside from all of that, I have not had much else going on, so that about does it for me.


What have you all been up to recently? 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!