Tag Archives: The Golden Sheep

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume Three

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So…”The Golden Sheep”…huh.

I’ll be completely honest and say that considering how depressing the first volume was this was not how I saw the manga ending. It definitely felt like it was building up to some sort of dramatic climax where pretty much no one was going to be happy, but in the end became much more like her previous work “The Gods Lie.” Still, there was plenty of good, and also some bad. Here are my final thoughts.

Bullying is Bad…or so I thought?

One of the reasons the ending was so surprising was because the message that was implied by the first two volumes was that bullying only leads to everyone involved being miserable. Yuushin spends years bullying Sora as a way to vent about his family life. Asari takes out her frustrations on Tsugu as soon as she returns, and even Tsugu remains oblivious to how her actions affect the others feelings.

Yet, despite all of this, in the final chapter of the series, the four reunite almost as though nothing happened to begin with. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Its an important part of life to be able to forgive and move on. However, it seems as though this aspect was almost entire glossed over. The series definitely could have benefited from at least one more chapter, and likely would have resolved this sudden shift in both pace and message.

Its Okay to be Not be Okay

Despite the initially confusing messaging of the series, one thing that the ending does convey is that having people with whom one can emotional and mental distress is important. Even though there is a lot of tension between the four main characters, by the end of the series they all lay their problems bair.

Tsugu struggles to accept the fact that her dad and mom simply do not want to be together, Sora struggles to admit his feelings to but ultimately comes to terms with it and waits, Asari’s guilt for bullying Tsugu comes crashing down on her, and Yuushin finally stops being an asshole to the people who actively care about him.

The reason the four of them are able to be friends again is because of their shared sense of guilt for how their relationship ended up. They all realized that they were at least in part responsible for how the others feel due their insecurities running unchecked and thus becoming more hostile towards one another.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The Art? Still Amazing

It would have been generally surprising to see the quality change so abrubtly in such a short series, but that still does not take away from the consistently gorgeous art in “The Golden Sheep.” Just like the other volumes, the final one manages to bring great art, both in the more detailed shots of the city, and in the more character focused shots that make up the majority of the series.

Love Letter

So…”Love Letter”…huh.

This was another curve ball that honestly just served as a nice addition to an already really good series, and while I did say that “The Golden Sheep” could have used another chapter, sacrificing this wonderful short story would be pretty tragic.

The story centers around a spirit who has to decide his earthly role and what to be born as. After seeing a run-away high school girl named Asako, he admires how pretty she is and decides to be born with her as their mother. The story gets sad very quickly as the spirit is neglected by Asako, and dies. However, not experiencing the pain of growing up to hate her, he decides he want to be with her for as long as possible, and so continues to be reborn into almost everything around her.

One thing that stands out is its use of reincarnation as a storytelling mechanic. Generally, in most eastern philosophies, reincarnation is something that happens outside of a person control, and most people who get reincarnated do not get to choose what it is they come back as. Additionally, people are usually reincarnated because they have some worldly thing binding them.

While the latter is true in this story, the first two things are flipped on their head. Even though the spirit acknowledges that he probably would have grown to resent Asako had he lived in his human form, he still want to make sure she is ok, and spends all of their time making sure she gets to live a happy life. It is a very powerful story that I think works well in a one chapter format.


What do you all think of “The Golden Sheep” Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it.

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!

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume Two

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its creating a strong opening for a story can be relatively easy, continuing the same level of emotional investment for a story can often be pretty difficult. Weaving together even two or three different story lines so that they make sense in the context of a broader narrative requires a lot of good writing ability. Luckily, mangaka Kaori Ozaki has that in spades, as the second volume of “The Golden Sheep” was, to put it light, very good.

The Golden Sheep, as a slice of life romance, has a lot going on with its characters. As a result, there is stuff going on both on the surface and underneath it.

Most of the stuff that’s actually happening has to do with Tsugu and Sora. After running away near the end of the first volume, the two find themselves working at Tsugu’s grandpa’s croquette shop. At this point, Sora is still very confused with his current situation. Although he wants to be there for Tsugu, he also finds himself thinking about why he is even in Tokyo to begin with.

While there, the two start to really enjoy themselves. Sora becomes pretty invested in working at the shop, and also starts developing feelings for Tsugu. These feelings, while not obvious at first, become strong to the point of him actively avoiding her, throwing himself even further into his work making croquettes.

Meanwhile, it seems like Tsugu is generally happier than when she was living with her mom, even if she is reticent to admit it. She also gets her guitar back from her dad, but when she asks him if he wants to see grandpa, he just runs off. While the scene itself was not anything special, it demonstrated even further just how dysfunctional Tsugu’s family really is.

On the other side of things, Yuushin continues to deal with a lot of emotional baggage throughout the second volume. Tsugu’s return to her hometown has clearly stoked a lot of bad memories for Yuushin, and it certainly did not help make Sora’s situation any better.

Advertisements
Advertisements

It seems as though, despite it having been a long time since then, Yuushin still ultimately blames his father’s explicit interactions and the subsequent shame that he felt from it for his current state. People were quick to turn their backs on him, assuming “like father, like sun,” and simply were not wiling to trust him.

As a result, Yuushin has, understandably so, become jaded and not willing to accept other people into his life. However, this type of attitude is only understandable up to a point, which is something the manga demonstrates quite well. Not only does bully Sora to the point of suicide, he also takes advantage of Asari and sexually assaults her, afterward telling her that he’s not who she thinks he is.

Up until this point it seemed as though Tsugu was also a good friend who was being hurt by Yuushin, and while to a large extent that is true, it also seems that Tsugu, despite knowing about Yuushin’s toxic behavior, is still encouraging it.

After the incident with Asari, Yuushin decides he wants to take the pro-boxing license test, and thus begins training. His coach eventually gets his parents permission for him, and the two head to Tokyo for the exam. When the two first get there, they find Tsugu and Sora after they were featured on a popular TV show.

Yuushin comes to the croquette shop, at which point he knocks food out of Tsugu’s hand and attacks Sora after being told to leave. Even after all of this, though, Tsugu still wants to go see him. Whether or not this will ultimately lead to some dramatic change from Yuushin has yet to be seen, but Ozaki definitely does a good job of making him out as the stories ultimate villain.

Just like the first volume, the second keeps up the amazing quality of its art until the end. Each frame is incredibly detailed, even during the scenes where there are lots of buildings and people. On top of that, there are very few scenes that feel unused. Each frame feels important the story, even in a very minor way.

The Golden Sheep continues to be an excellent romantic slice of life even into its second volume. It is clear from the quality of the writing here that Kaori Ozaki knows how to continue stories beyond the one volume framework. There is of course one more volume left to go, but my guess is that its also going to be incredible.


What did you all think of the second volume? Let me know in the comments, but please no spoilers if you have already read the series.

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!

Final Thoughts: The Golden Sheep Volume One

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Kaori Ozaki’s “The Gods Lie,” was, in a lot of ways, a devastatingly sad tale. From the initial story of a young boy growing up disillusioned with, to the evolution of its characters, and its seamless transition into a romantic tragedy gone wrong, it is a work that is not only heartbreaking to read, but touches on issues that are important in the real world. Her follow up work “The Golden Sheep” follows a similar path.

It revolves around Tsugu, a high school girl who, after leaving her hometown for a few years, returns to find her friends Sora, Sally and Yuushin exactly as she left them, or so she thinks. As time passes she discovers that the friends she left behind in elementary school are not the same as they used to be.

Advertisements

Tsugu’s return to her hometown marks a noticeable change in both her friends and herself. What Tsugu initially does not realize about them is that their relationship dynamic has changed dramatically. Yuushin, who was once the proud protector of the group, now bullies Sora for his money, and Sora feels so bad about what happened to Yuushin when he was younger that he just sits there and takes it.

Meanwhile, Sally, who has yet to muster the courage to confess to Yuushin, now feels like she is competing with Tsugu. As a result, Sally takes her anger out on Tsugu, pushing her away by bullying her quite literally behind her back. Tsugu realizes that life is not the same as it was when she left. Her friends are different.

Much like its predecessor, “The Golden Sheep” is incredibly well written, at least so far, and does a great job at layering important messages into the story. Whereas “The Gods Lie” focused on child neglect and abuse, “The Golden Sheep” tells a very similar tale about bullying, and how time changes people, both for the better and the worse.

The way this is mainly told is through the Yuushin and Sora. After Tsugu left the year they graduated from grade school, Yuushin was bullied due to a news story about his father having sexual relations with a teenage girl. After reuniting with Sora in middle school, he begins to bully him, as a way to take out his aggression on him.

Sora, on the other hand, feels as though he abandoned Yuushin, and as a result simply takes Yuushin’s bullying without much resistance. In fact, Sora feels so bad about his situation, with a mixed sense of guilt and anger, that he attempts to commit suicide by locking himself in a car and suffocating from burning charcoal. It is only after Tsugu notices and saves him that he realizes his own value.

One thing that seems not necessarily problematic, but more so interesting, is her characters tendency to use running away as a problem solving mechanic, even though both mentally and materially it solves almost nothing. In both “The Gods Lie” and “The Golden Sheep,” running away becomes more a means of momentary relief than anything else.

Advertisements

Another thing this manga and the “The Gods Lie” share is amazingly detailed artwork that works to enhance he storytelling. One scene that stand out really well is the one featured at the beginning of the first volume depicting Tsugu rescuing Sora. Out of context, the scene is depressing, sure but is on its own not incredibly emotional.

It is only after hearing Tsugu and Sora’s backstory that the artwork really enhances the scene. It shows a crying Tsugu, her favorite guitar in hand, shattered in half trying to save one of her only friends from himself. The detail in Tsugu and Sora’s face, as well as on the guitar really adds to the power of the scene as a whole.

The dynamic between the four main characters is also incredibly complex. Each new piece of information that is revealed about one of them feels like it affects all of them. When it is revealed that Sally has a crush on Yuushin, and that Sally is jealous of Tsugu, she begins to bully her. This in turn makes their relationship more similar to Yuushin and Sora’s than to the relationship of true friends.

Overall, the first volume of “The Golden Sheep” feels like an excellent opener to what will undoubtedly be an emotional complex series.


How do you all feel about “The Golden Sheep?” 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!