Tag Archives: Sora

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

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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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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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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Release of Kingdom Hearts 3 Causes Massive, World Wide Sigh of Relief

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


In an event that most people never thought possible, the popular game series Kingdom Hearts released its third main installment. Realizing that the game actually physically exists, many of its fans got together at multiple places around the world to sigh all at once.

Source: Nycgo.com

The events were not organized at all. In fact, most of them happened between groups of fans that just happened to be standing around in various places where they live. One such event happened in New York City, where thousands of Kingdom Hearts fans were seemingly drawn to Times Square in order to let a huge sigh of relief.

Elliot Smith was one such participant in the event in New York City, and when asked about the event, he said “It was weird. Everyone was just standing there, breathing in and out, but somehow it just felt right.” Jamie Stanford, who was at an event in Tampa, Florida, echoed a similar statement, saying “I really don’t know why any of us did it, but man did it feel good.”

Many of those same fans have happily abandoned all real-world responsibilities in order to play the game. One man, who wished not to be identified said. “I’ll play this game even if it kills me.”


Anyone else gonna be spending the next week or so on this game? Let me know in the comments down below. Also, if you want to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on ko-fi or using one of my affiliate links:

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

Hello, Anifriends

OWLS

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Screenshot 2018-07-12 00.54.03

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

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

Screenshot 2018-07-12 01.18.37

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

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

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

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.39.27

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

Screenshot 2018-07-11 15.01.14

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

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

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


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

No Game No Life Volume 4: A Secret Horse Race Conquered(SPOILERS)

Its been a while since I managed to finish a volume of a light novel. Most of the time I get too distracted by scrolling through Twitter or Facebook to be bothered to open my Bookwalker app and read the things that I paid real human currency for, but yeah, that’s just me. Having said that, however, now that I have managed to sit down and finally finish the fourth volume of No Game No Life, it is time to continue with my review of the series and to let you all know whether or not it is worth continuing.


Both volume three and the last few episodes of the anime left the series in a bit of a weird place. Having just defeated the Eastern Union in a contest for their respective race pieces, Sora and Shiro now look onward to uniting all 16 races to challenge Tet. In fact, everything seems relatively calm. That is, until Plum, a member of the 12th most powerful race Dhampir, appears asking for help.

Screenshot 2018-07-03 18.22.36

Of course, Sora and Shiro are immediately distrustful. I mean, Why wouldn’t they be? They confirmed that the Wearbeasts were cheating in the last game they played, so why wouldn’t any of the other races use tricks to steal away Immanity’s piece. However, after determining that Plum was not lying, they accept her request: to help save both the Dhampirs and the Sirens.

Volume 4 is a definite departure from the series so far, at least in terms of subject matter. Both the Sirens and Dhampirs are races that had previously not been mentioned, but share a unique relationship that makes the plot of the fourth book so interesting. Because of the 10 Commandments rule that all violence be forbidden, the Dhampirs and Sirens were forced to make a contract so that both races could survive. Early on Plum describes the situation as less than ideal for both parties, which becomes important for understanding the plot later on.

The plot overall is definitely solid as well. The best parts of all three of the first books can be found in fourth: Sora and Shiro’s ridiculously convoluted ability to understand the world around them, the excellent world-building that makes our main protagonists conquest that much more interesting, and even Steph, who serves as a sort of representation to many people’s base reaction to many of Sora and Shiro’s insane ideas.

The only real complaint I have about the fourth volume and the series as a whole is that a lot of the show’s philosophical underpinnings have gone unexplored, but I imagine that will probably be resolved at the series’ climax when they finally get the right to challenge Tet to a game. Overall, the series has continued to be an extremely enjoyable read, and I will continue to recommend it even to people who are not fans of the anime.


How do you guys feel about the No Game No Life light novels? Are you excited to read the series? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!