Keeping in Touch – OWLS Blog Tour for December

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

OWLS prompt for December – Be sure to follow the tour with Fred next and if you missed it check out Jack’s post as the previous stop on the tour.
sawako christmas

Christmas: The time of terrible music, tacky decorations, and a bunch of hypocrisy about peace on earth meanwhile has anyone watched the news recently? Me at my most cynical, or at least I thought it was cynical until I saw the news story about people being crushed in a pre-Christmas sale rush at a department store. Seriously, was there anything in that store worth being crushed for? Not to mention almost all the media has these beautiful snowy stories with people drinking hot drinks and curling up in front of fires. Meanwhile all I see is dust and dirt and I’m just hoping the flies don’t swarm us while trying to eat Christmas lunch or that nobody faints from heat. Honestly, there’s a lot about the ‘holiday’ season that I dislike. That said, I look forward to December every year for one simple reason and that is its the one time of year where I get to catch up with the majority of people I need to see because we’re all on holiday at the same time for once.


While some years I do use the break to travel and see a bit more of the world, the majority of my Christmas holidays are spent driving around the dusty state of Queensland catching up with family and friends. The only problem becomes who I actually spend Christmas with. I remember one year I had breakfast with one family, drove four hours up the coast to have lunch somewhere else and with another part of the family and then we went to another relative’s house in that town for dinner. I was a little on the sick side from too much food and driving and well and truly over Christmas anything by the end of that day. Yet it is still a fond memory of seeing family and getting to be there together.


For me, distance is a very real barrier physically to seeing people. Whether they be my relatives who live many hours away and are scattered about or my friends who are literally all over the state as work and family moves them around losing touch is a very real possibility. Sure social media and the like make it easy to talk but there’s a lot not said in that form of communication. That makes Christmas a time for me to reconnect and spend time with people. So the limited holiday is divided between driving days and days spent with this group of friends or this part of the family trying to check in on as many as possible. It ends up being a tiring couple of weeks and yet the sense of a renewed connection and closeness for the following year makes it all worth while.


Okay, there’s also some shopping involved in this pilgrimage. There would be more except that the crowds more or less keep me out of the shops, but it is one of the few times of year I’m near an actual physical shop that sells things and that is actually kind of exciting. Mail order is all well and good but it doesn’t beat picking stuff out in a shop.

Now you might have been wondering what all the Kimi ni Todoke images have been doing given I haven’t mentioned the anime. There is one simple reason I connected with the Christmas episode of Kimi ni Todoke. Sure it is still set in the snow and is about a high school romance that is dragged out to epic proportions due to poor communication however Sawako faces a very real conflict when her class organise a Christmas part but her family are already preparing for their family Christmas gathering. Sawako wants to go with her friends but can’t bring herself to ask for permission because she also wants to be with her family and see them happy.


Whichever choice she makes will leave her feeling either sad or guilty and so she stays silent and does her best to put on a cheerful smile. As I listened this year to people planning their holidays I saw this conflict come up again and again. Partners struggling to figure out which relatives to see on the day and who they would see before or after Christmas. Compromises where they spend Christmas with this family and see the other family for New Year’s. Those who just couldn’t travel and see people this year either because of poor health or other obligations having to ‘apologise’ for missing the gatherings.

The thing is, Christmas brings people a lot of joy but it also comes with that sense of guilt. I think the important thing to remember is that the day itself isn’t as important as the connection. Maybe I can only see you on the 22nd or 23rd or maybe it will be the 27th before I can get to your place, but I won’t feel guilty. I still get to see you and spend a day with you. For me Christmas isn’t about the 25th or the tinsel or anything else. It is about reconnecting with those I love.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Believing The World Can Be Better – OWLS Blog Tour for August

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Kyoto Animation. We all have that one anime we enjoyed from Kyoto Animation. Whether it is pain or joy, Kyoto Animation has brought to life stories that can touch our emotions. For the month of August, we will be honouring Kyoto Animation and all it has done for art, storytelling, and popular culture by discussing some of our favourite Kyoto Animation series. The fire that happened at the studio is indeed a tragedy. Fires may be dangerous, but there are flames that burn within us that spark passion, hope, and belief in ourselves.

OWLS prompt for August – Be sure to follow the tour with Crimson next on the 6th

I’ve certainly spoken about Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions before having reviewed it back in 2017 and it’s come up on more than a handful of Top 5 lists (including top 5 confessions and top 5 eye patch wearing characters). However, it was the title that immediately sprang to mind when I saw the prompt for the OWLS tour this month and to be honest, it is an anime that should be celebrated. It is unfortunate that the reason we turn our attention to Kyoto Animation’s many fine works this month is because of such tragic circumstances.

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions - Rikka

Of course, tragedy is more or less a link this time around. I’ve previously discussed how Chunibyo is about awakening the dreamer within but this time I plan to turn my attention to the underlying personal tragedy for Rikka Takanashi. That doesn’t mean I plan to wallow in negative emotions but rather examine how these experiences shaped Rikka into the person she became, the eye-patch wearing girl who charmed audiences with her determination, fragility, and those weird roller-shoes.

For Rikka, the death of her father was a tragic situation that she couldn’t accept. More than that, she couldn’t even begin to comprehend the event. And so she created her own interpretation for his departure and ultimately her quest to reach the Unseen Horizon began. While many will dismiss this as denial and a coping strategy of a young child, as Rikka has aged, and had time to process this calamity that changed her life, she remains stuck in what others call a delusion.


Because to Rikka, the Unseen Horizon has to be real. It isn’t that she actually believes it to be true so much as that she doesn’t know how to be Rikka anymore without believing it to be true. No evidence or rational explanation will convince her to let go from that quest because for her it is a link to her father and one she does not intend to let go of.


After playing the part for so long, dealing with emotions in what others would consider a ‘normal’ manner became almost impossible for her. Even when she tried, she would fall back on using her umbrella as a defensive shield and hide her shyness behind bizarre declarations and posturing. She found safety and comfort in the persona and reality she had crafted and retreated within it whenever challenged.

Her sister and her grandparents wouldn’t understand it. They saw her behaviour as acting out or something childish that needed to be left behind. They never tried to see the world from her point of view.


And that’s where Yuuta came in. While at first he resisted being Rikka’s friend for fear she would drag him back into his own escapist reality, he learned to translate Rikka’s weird interpretation of the world into something that made sense. Her cryptic comments would be translated by him and when she refused to understand or hear something he would phrase it in language that didn’t compromise her facade.

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions

At the same time, he also pushed Rikka to face reality again. His first attempt was jarring and intensely scary for Rikka as he more or less insisted she let go of everything. However, the two found a balance for themselves where together they could make progress, understand one another, and enjoy being who they were.

Affiliate Link – Soundtrack

Kyoto Animation made this story possible and presented it beautifully. I originally came across it because of an AMV on YouTube and I was enthralled by the appearance of the anime and watching it was a visual delight. However more than that, these characters connected with me.


Sometimes things are really, really hard. And sometimes reality seems too much to take. And sometimes we do feel really alone. All of these emotions were ones I could understand. Also the idea of not fitting in and wanting to walk your own path, as well as finding the strength to compromise and to let other people back into your life. It resonated with me and grabbed my heart and made me cry and smile and want to hug these characters and tell them that one day they may not have it all figured out but it would get better.

A work of fiction created by KyoAni moved my heart and made me cry. It made me want to believe that I could find myself and live in the world.


Regardless of what we learn about the tragedy at Kyoto Animation in the future, I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why things like this happen. What I hope though is that people look at this horror and reflect and I would like to believe that one day such things may not happen. It might just be a fantasy, but I’ll hold onto that for now.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tsurune Series Review

Tsurune Episode 8 Minato

Overcoming challenges together; Tsurune takes on the emotional scars of its cast and shines.

There’s something just a little bit special about this latest sports anime from Kyoto Animation. The studio is known for being good at handling solid emotionally driven stories with the likes of Clannad on its line up and its also dipped its toes into boys doing sports before with the fan-service laden Free. That perhaps set the bar very high for Tsurune in some viewers’ minds and I do recall seeing a lot of first impressions that went along the lines of ‘as expected from Kyo-Ani’ or ‘nothing special compared to…’.

Tsurune Episode 2 Minato and Who

However, that seemed a little harsh given is something is done well it is done well even if another anime made by the same studio perhaps surpassed it or the studio has done something comparable before. While I’m not going to make the case that Tsurune is some sort of hidden master piece, I will put forward strongly that Tsurune is well worth the watch for those who like getting invested in emotionally driven stories with the back-drop of a sports tournament to keep the plot on track and to ensure that we have an ongoing sense of direction.

Tsurune Episode 1

Tsurune is beautiful. There’s no denying that fact and while I’m certain we could screen cap some less favourable moments, almost every scene is beautifully composed and the use of colour, light and movement are purposeful and interesting. The choice for the majority of Masaki’s scenes early on to be bathed in blue tones (a colour scheme we return to at the end) was very well done and played nicely into a narrative twist in the early episodes. The portrayal of wind and movement as the arrows flew was gorgeous and was taken to its extreme during the final where each shot set a flurry of sparkling leaves flying (okay, they may have taken some liberties with reality but it looks great). And each of the characters, yes the heavily male dominated cast, look fantastic.

The music and sound design also deserve a special mention as these are truly used to enhance each and every scene. While it might seem to some too calculated or artificial, I found it absolutely complemented the visuals and the narrative and particularly during competitions I found myself waiting for the sound of the arrow being released, the wind, and then the impact as the arrow either hit or missed its target. It was very affective and adding greatly to the overall enjoyment while watching.

On the surface we have a basic story of a character who used to be good at archery who quit after developing target panic (essentially couldn’t hold his draw and released the arrow too soon throwing off his aim). His friend who followed him to high school wants him to get back into the sport as does a childhood friend who has reunited with them. After some resistance, Minato does decide to get back into archery and works to overcome his target panic.

Tsurune Episode 8 - Minato

That story alone could have worked beautifully and yet while that is the frame for the story, Tsurune explores so much more. With five boys coming together (the group of three friends and another two characters), there are plenty of personal conflicts and emotions to deal with as they try to form a team and overcome their own short comings. Where Tsurune surprised me was how well in dealt with Seiya’s story as I had thought he was more of a support character but ultimately he had an incredible arc. The coach, Masaki, also had plenty of solid development and was portrayed as a real character rather than a token adult figure. Even the characters at the rival school began to be expanded upon toward the end and while their arcs seem cut off in the middle it created the feeling that this story and these characters were more real.

Tsurune Episode 11 Masaki

However, at only thirteen episodes and with so many characters not everyone can have their story told. Nanao, despite having some excellent supporting moments, is still largely a mystery as was Ryouhei, despite his childhood friend status. The three girls who were also in the club had a couple of excellent scenes but were largely ignored by the narrative getting to stand on the sides of scenes and really just got used by the plot when needed rather than being fleshed out in their own right. These are small complaints and without more episodes it would be difficult to address these issues, but given the excellent progress so many other characters made it just feels like a shame that others were almost benched.

Tsurune Episode 7

From a plot point of view this is about as standard as it comes as the team overcomes personal conflicts, struggles to qualify and then slowly comes together toward the end of the series. That doesn’t make it less satisfying to watch but if you are after something unpredictable or something that throws in a few unexpected twists and turns Tsurune probably won’t do it for you.

Tsurune focuses instead on maintaining its pace and tone. The focus remains on the characters and their growth. The competitions are the setting which allows that growth to happen and provides complications and set backs, but the story never forgets what its core is.

Tsurune Episode 2

While this isn’t the single most spectacular anime I’ve ever seen, it was an absolute delight to watch each week bringing a bit of calm bliss as I watched the next episode. I grew to care deeply for these characters and loved seeing them rise up and overcoming challenges. All and all, I would recommend giving it a go. While it may not work for you, and if slow pace isn’t your thing it probably won’t, there are certainly worse anime you could try than Tsurune.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James