Time for another Questions x Answers! I really enjoyed doing this the first time and I hope you liked that post too.
For this second post, I gave you another way to send me questions. You can send them to me on Twitter, or in the form I will leave at the end of the post. Or, if you prefer to be anonymous, you can now send the questions on curiouscat!
Anything you send will be answered in the next installment of Questions x Answers. The more questions I receive, the more often I will make this type of post.
So with all that out of the way, let’s get into the questions!
How are you?
Anonymous simply wanted to know how I am today… And well I’m feeling fine, thanks for asking. Still processing what has happened in the last few days. That feeling when you are the one who drove your father to the grocery store today. Still need to get used to some things but its gonna get better with time, I guess.
Tell us more…
Well tell me what exactly do you want to know! Also, I have the About page 😛 But other than what’s already on that page, I’m not sure what to say… My interests other than anime include Eurovision and Formula 1, both of which I have separate Twitter accounts for. I wear glasses but when out in public I usually have contact lens. I’m quite short and my face looks younger than my age, which is 19. This can sometimes get annoying but sometimes its a good thing. For more than a decade I used to do various types of dancing, including ballroom, hip-hop, breakdance, jazz dance. I literally live for travelling but due to funds I do it too rarely… Hope that was a satisfying answer!
First time again…
Basically everything I watched in Summer 2017 because that was when I first time knowingly watched anime, and that feeling of falling in love with an entire new medium and country was an amazing feeling that I would love to experience again. Being amazed with how tense Death Note was, being moved by Toradora, relating so much to the characters and discovering the beauty of slice of life anime. Feeling that weird sense of nostalgia from Erased and getting intrigued by the concept of time travel…
Speaking of which, I would also love to watch Steins;Gate again for the first time and get my mind blown with how well made that anime is. Similarly, I would love to get shocked once again by THAT plot twist from Madoka Magica. And ofcourse, I can’t not mention reliving episode 47 of Hunter x Hunter when Kurapika did THAT and I never felt more hyped while watching an episode of anything in my life. I could go on but mentioning Kurapika actually gives me a good way to go onto the next question which is…
When I think of my favorite characters its more often than not someone introverted, and/or someone who is basically a genius with a super mind. Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter, most recently Norman from The Promised Neverland, even Ayanokoji from Classroom of the Elite… Sure, I can definitely relate to being introverted but being super smart? Not entirely sure lol.
What I also seem to love more is when the character is simply badass. Once again Kurapika and Ayanokoji come to mind, as well as Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist or Shoto Todoroki from My Hero Academia.
It seems like a given that I will love the character who is calm, non-talkative, smart and badass all at the same time. But some characters are my favorites simply because I strongly relate to them, namely Ryuuji Takasu and Aisaka Taiga. I could mention a lot more ofcourse, but I mainly just sticked to those I added to my favorites on MAL.
I’m not really a fan of the o-word because by calling something overrated not only you say you don’t think something deserves the praise/love it has, you also say that the people who enjoy something have worse taste than you. Its much better to simply say you don’t like something as much as others do and that’s it.
But to answer the question, I guess you could find some of the answers in my MAL scores I disagree with post where I named a few anime whose score I consider too high. So that would probably make my answer Clannad, Kimi ni Todoke and Your Name (to an extent). Also coming to mind is No Game no Life, which so many people are dying to see a season 2 for, meanwhile I’m having so many other series in mind whose season 2 I need to see…
Now when it comes to “overrated characters”, I don’t really get the obsession over Chika Fujiwara from Kaguya-sama: Love is War.
Yes, the dance was fine but it has been shared so many times now, seen so many times now, edited so many times now that its just not interesting anymore. And besides, how can anyone who has finished Kaguya-sama: Love is War, honestly say that Chika is best girl when Hayasaka Ai and Kaguya Shinomiya are right there.
Also, Zero Two from Darling in the Franxx. I have bad memories and feelings from this anime for various reasons, Zero Two reminds me of some people and situations I would rather forget and besides, she is really not that special. Neither visually nor as a person. It’s like people forget she literally tried to strangle Hiro, and I don’t accept any excuses for that.
That’s all for this round of questions! Once again, for the next such post, leave your questions in this form, send them on Twitter, or leave them on curiouscat!
This post will be a bit more personal and a bit less anime-related than usual.
I’ve put behind a battle that was various months long, with many self doubts, anxiety and negative emotions along the way.
I’m talking about driving school. It’s still a shock that I’m even able to write this, but yesterday I passed the driving test from the second attempt.
From the second attempt, just as I passed the theory segment and first aid as well.
“Nobody said it was easy…”
“…no one ever said, it would be this hard.”
This Coldplay quote can basically sum up my more than 8 month long time at driving school. I enrolled into driving school in the crazy days after I received my shocking results of the high school finals and when Croatia got through to the World Cup final. It was a time when I finished Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and started watching Hunter x Hunter. I wasn’t even thinking I would start blogging in October, nor did I know what university I’ll be in. I was still in my “old” house. That’s how much time has passed. It really feels like a different era.
The lessons themselves as well as first aid were still really the calm before the storm. Even if I passed them both from the second attempt, compared to what was gonna come next, it really wasn’t that much of a challenge.
Before enrolling into driving school, I said I think I would have a bit of a fear while driving in traffic and that I’m not considering it “urgent” to go to driving school at this stage. But my father basically insisted that I should go now, and I decided I will do it, to challenge those anxious thoughts. I wanted to believe it will go well.
New Game! Traumas
But it was nowhere near straightforward as you would wish. It was the start of September when I started the 35 mandatory driving sessions before you are eligible for the driving test.
To keep it short: it was terrible. The anxiety was well and truly there, even if I wasn’t even in traffic yet. Every mistake was followed by more of them, and the attitude of the driving instructor was really not helpful. Basically, he yelled a lot, and with the anxiety I had and the amount of errors I was making, it really wasn’t comfortable.
That night, before the second driving session the next day, I couldn’t sleep properly due to all the anxiety and negative feelings. What didn’t help matters was the rain that was falling, making me even more anxious because driving in rain was gonna make things even harder.
I think that was the most anxiety-filled night of my life. And in those moments, random New Game! openings and endings were playing in my head. And since I tend to remember such unimportant details, I’ve started associating the New Game season 2 music with those tough moments. You can probably guess I avoided listening to those openings and endings in all these months. Season 1 though was uneffected, and gives me memories of better things, because I watched Season 1 just at the end of August.
Maybe Miyamori Aoi would be a good driving instructor as she seems quite handy behind the wheel of a car…
As the driving sessions went on, there was little improvement. The anxiety was huge before every single driving hour, and although there were a few moments when it seemed things are going in the right direction, the next driving session would override that impression.
Looking back, these first 15 or so hours of driving were likely the reason I felt such a lack of confidence in my driving for all these months, and why I still had anxiety before every session, even this week too.
In December I’ve done what I should have done much earlier – change driving instructors. A new bit of hope was appearing, and after the Christmas break it was time for a fresh start.
The difference between instructors was night and day. It seemed that the new instructor actually understood that for people with anxiety, yelling and borderline insulting won’t help in any way. This new instructor was calming, and understanding that some people just need more time and a more calm approach.
Will it ever end?
It was definitely getting better. But I still wasn’t fully ready for the test. Mistakes were still a common thing. After I did the mandatory 35 driving sessions, the instructor told me to get 10 additional driving sessions. This was devastating. Not only was I tired of doing those driving sessions and trying to survive the anxiety, but each driving session required a lot more time and money than it should because in late January I kind of changed my residence. Emphasis on “kind of” but that’s a story I won’t go into now.
Will there ever be an end to it? How much more suffering do I have to endure? Why do I have to be like this?
These were the questions that I tormented myself with, especially at the start of this week current week.
When I finally had the chance to take the driving test, I failed the first one. The positive part was that the person that evaluated me told me he thinks I will “pass soon” and that my “pedal control was good”. My main error was failing to stop at the stop signs.
Failing meant you had to do 3 additional driving sessions before taking the test again. Just to make things more complicated, the instructor took a vacation and I had a substitute for those 3 extra sessions and the second exam.
I don’t remember the last time I had a week as rough as this one, excluding yesterday onwards. On Tuesday and Wednesday, when I had those extra driving sessions, it rained. And various other unlucky things have been happening during these days. I don’t feel like going into details right now but let me tell you, some of it was stuff you wouldn’t even see with the unluckiest anime characters.
Yesterday it rained too. But luckily it was only in the later stages of the test, and it wasn’t heavy enough to affect me too much. I had the final extra driving session right before the test. All of those 3 additional driving sessions were quite bad, even the one right before the test.
The examiner was the same person as the first time. Apparently, that’s a rare thing.
I was still full of visible anxiety but somehow, I made it through the test without any major errors. There were some needless things, but not enough for a failure it seems. When the examiner said “-2, Matija” I was certain that meant another failure. Then he started talking about my mistakes but he only really mentioned 2 or 3 things. After the first exam this was when he told me I can leave so it was unusual that he didn’t do so yet.
You can then imagine the pure shock and disbelief when I saw the paper in front of me that said that I passed the exam. It is something I still can’t quite believe has happened.
It’s hard to properly describe the relief that this has been. To think I never have to worry about driving school again is just so beautiful. And to think of all the doors that have now opened thanks to this… I am so happy and so relieved that I’ve finally put all of this behind.
I guess the lesson I can learn from all of this is to never give up no matter how bad it seems. In this case I really wanted to give up, even if I was already kind of at the point of no return. In case of failing the second time, I would have tried to take a break from driving for a number of months, so I would not have to think about this again.
Even on the day of the exam, it felt like I’m a lost cause and there is no way I can actually pass this. But fortunately it turned out I was wrong. Just as I thought I would fail my Croatian high school finals, just as I wasn’t sure about passing university physics… It seems every time I’m convinced in failure, it ends up the opposite way.
Moral of the story – keep facing those challenges you have. Keep fighting that s*itty anxiety. If after all the self doubting and terrible anxiety I managed to pass that driving test, you can face your own challenges too. Just instead of self-doubting, believe in yourself. Trust me, it will make things much easier.
I hope your time at driving school was easier. If you haven’t experienced driving school yet, I hope you’ll have an easier time than me…
I’m just gonna get straight to the point here – Shirobako is a masterpiece. I’m sure for anyone that follows me on Twitter, its not a surprise that I’m saying this.
It’s an anime that tackles different topics like the anime industry, goals, motivations and interests in life, the hardships of the work environment. It has many different layers but manages to make all of it work so well.
With my own goals being working on a real anime opening/ending sequence, it’s an anime that really hits home for me and has that special meaning for me. Rewatching Shirobako after almost a year truly filled me with so much happiness, and once again worked wonders for my motivation.
You could say Shirobako is a story that follows five girls with a common goal and their paths towards reaching that goal. But at the same time, its a story about making a story – in anime form ofcourse.
I believe it gives a good general insight of the anime industry. It’s chaos. But quite a lovely chaos. Much better than the chaos of university exams, that’s for sure.
The chaos most often occurs when a member of the group isn’t able to fulfill their duties properly or on time. And the production staff, mainly Miyamori Aoi in Shirobako, has to find solutions. What doesn’t help either is when certain members of the group have a different attitude than everyone else, disrupting the work flow. These are the hardships of the work environment that I mentioned earlier. I guess it shows why job interviews are a thing. It’s much harder if people don’t have similar goals and attitudes.
And yet every person is different and has its own level of ability and pace of doing things. Some may want to work from home. Some may not have issues doing things more quickly while some may need a motivation boost. Finding the balance between each individual needs and needs of the company is truly not an easy thing to do.
Shirobako makes the characters of its own story make new stories within its own story. The original anime project from Shirobako’s anime studio, Musashino Animation, is called Exodus, while their other anime, the Third Aerial Girls Squad, is a (fictional) manga adaptation. That’s a lot of different layers and stories to create at once, and its really admirable stuff from P.A. Works.
Miyamori Aoi has that stressful role among the production staff. It’s a job at the anime industry, which is her dream, but at the same time, it’s a much less specific job compared to a voice actor, storywriter, animator or CG artist. This fits Miyamori, who doesn’t have that specific occupation goal in mind.
Her friend Ema Yasuhara always loved to draw and she works at the same company as an animator. Ema is not fully confident in her work and criticism causes her to lose motivation as well as focus. Gradually, she began leaving her comfort-zone more. I totally understand that feeling of never being good enough. I mean, just look at the quality of my blog posts.
When that creative block hits, changing your setting really does help, as suggested by her co-worker Iguchi. For example, playing a bit with my dogs always helps “refresh” my mind. Going out and simply watching the sky during dusk does wonders too. Or indeed, doing special routines on music. I may not do it the same way as Ema, but I often find myself jamming to anime openings and endings which never fails to help. Especially if its the Shirobako OP or ED, but more on that later.
One of the main five girls is Misa Toudou, who wants to do anime CG work. Despite working at a well paid CG company, she is unhappy because her tasks only involve making tyres, which doesn’t exactly align with her dreams of making anime CG, and well, I can relate. Here I’ll go about university once again, but my first semesters involve struggles with electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, digital circles… None of that really aligns with my goals and makes me wonder what exactly am I doing here. The thing I could take away from Misa’s story is that even if the experience seems useless, it could very well prove worthy one day when you don’t expect it.
Reading literature thanks to Shirobako
Imai Midori, or Diesel-san dreams of being an anime storywriter. She got closer to her dream due to her love for discovering and studying new things. As you would imagine, she is really into reading, and her love for Dostoyevsky literally makes people read Dostoyevsky. Or at least that was the case for me.
You see, I watched Shirobako for the first time during those chaotic times called high school finals. And yes, even that was better than the chaos of university exams.
I had to do a lot of studying of the Croatian literature, as well as reading it. One of the books that had a very good chance of being on the Croatian finals was Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. And when Midori just casually said she spent the entire night reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I got interested. I actually wanted to check out that book. Surely it was good if Midori appreciates it that much. In the end Crime and Punishment wasn’t in the finals. But that day, anime inspired me to read. And not manga or a light novel.
Sakaki Shizuka is the voice actor among the five high school friends. She is hugely dedicated towards achieving her goals, no matter the hardships she is facing. Her character and her growth prove that persistence and dedication are worth it. Shizuka lacked confidence, which caused her to fail auditions. When she was given jobs, it hardly felt like she was going towards anything. Yet she never gave up, kept trying, and in the end, her efforts proved to be worthy. Seeing her finally get a role after an entire anime of difficulties made for one of my favorite scenes ever in all of anime. Rare are the moments that can make me cry so much purely out of happiness, and every time rewatching the scene its hard to stop the tears again.
Making matters even more emotional is Miyamori Aoi’s reaction, basically mirroring my own reactions. Ema has also volunteered to make the keyframes for the scene that is voiced by Shizuka. And in the process she cried too. All of her friends just wanted to see Shizuka do well, and these moments were a beautiful way to show the bond the girls have.
Shizuka’s story truly does make me feel that working hard for your goals will be worth it, no matter how impossible it may seem.
I’ve mentioned the five main girls. But Shirobako has a lot of characters. Going through all of them would really make this a long post. But let me just give some love to Erika Yano, Miyamori’s fellow production assistant. She really knows how to calm down and support a person when they are in a pinch. Yano radiates so much maturity and calmness. Calmness, when she isn’t talking to Tarou, at least.
Kinoshita Seiichi is the director and the funniest character of the series. His voice actor did a stunning job, and let me tell you that his voice really fits a comedic character. Kinoshita often procrastinates, and seeing Honda-san taking drastic measures just to make him finish his work made me feel lowkey called out. Not that I need to be put into a cell to finish a blog post, but there are moments when I just… procrastinate. Not just with blogging stuff but university stuff as well. Also those scenes when Kinoshita came to see the mangaka of the Third Aerial Girls Squad are just legendary.
Honda-san went from Production Assistant to a pastry chef. And I respect that decision so much. It shows its never too late to start pursuing your dreams. I could go on but I’ll just say the cast of supporting characters feels incredibly real. Both of Musashino’s anime felt like a true team effort that you just wanted to see do well because of all the hard work and love the characters have put into it.
One last thing. Andes Chucky. Those old generation scenes when Miyamori’s favorite anime was made. It felt so nostalgic and it put me into tears. Once again when Miyamori cried I did too. I don’t think any job that involves so many different people can go entirely smoothly without some kinds of issues or rushed things.
Just as the anime itself is inspiring and motivational, so is its OST.
The second opening sequence has the effect of a calming pill. It’s among those openings and endings that make me feel everything will be alright. And in that post I already told this story but I’m gonna do it again here.
It’s once again about exams. Those final high school ones from June last year. It was a very stressful time, and I watched Shirobako in that time period. The exhausted Miyamori shown in the sequence was basically me thanks to all the studying. The song involves the words “panic” and “pinch”, just making me relate to everything even more. This is the English translation of that part of the lyrics:
But I can’t lose.
My head is in a panic.
It was relatable, yet so calming at the same time. It filled me with all this optimism and made me feel it will work out well. No matter how many times I listen to that song or rewatch the sequence the effect stays the same. It never gets old.
Meanwhile, the second ending sequence had 6 different versions, each of them being dedicated to one of the five main girls, plus Miyamori’s two plushies. As the episodes went by, the five girls have been gathering on the final picture at the end of the sequence, just as they all gradually ended up working on the Third Aerial Girls Squad. I really love it when sequences slowly add new details or things that build-up to something.
Shirobako’s first ending sequence also does something like that. Mimuji and Roro, Miyamori’s two plushies are dancing through the sequence and every time at the end, Roro attempts to give Mimuji a love letter. Mimuji refused every time, but Roro never gave up, and in Episode 12 when he tried once again, Mimuji accepted his letter. In Shirobako, even the characters that are only alive in Miyamori’s imagination are trying their best.
Don’t give up on your dreams. Passion and dedication can go a long way. If you find yourself on what seems like a detour, it doesn’t have to mean the experience won’t prove worthy in the future. But even if you achieve your goals, after a while you’ll have to make new ones. I guess that’s just the nature of the goal-oriented human beings.
Maybe reaching your goals doesn’t end up feeling the way you expected. If that’s the case, think back to why you even wanted to reach the goal in the first place.
Shirobako takes a closer look into the workings of the anime industry. At the same time, it reminds us of the importance of dreams, ambitions and persistence. It reminds us how important it is to be surrounded by a group of people with similar attitudes and ambitions.
Would it be too much to say that it is a gift given to us by the anime gods that we are not worthy of having? I have so much love and appreciation for everything Shirobako, and I’m so grateful to P.A. Works for making it a thing. That Shirobako movie that they announced can’t come soon enough.
As always, please leave your thoughts on Shirobako in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
How will Emma and Ray solve the difficult situation they found themselves in at the end of Volume 7?
Will their unnamed guide offer some help? Or will they have to find the solution themselves?
Emma and Ray in action
It turned out being the latter.
They had to find the solution themselves and it turned out successful – they realized that the demons die when they are hit in their eye. Their unnamed guide, however, is still convinced Emma and Ray are going to die soon. He will make that happen himself even if the demons won’t be able to. He even decided which of the kids he will let die. It turned out to be Emma, who a bit later on tried to make him open up to her and Ray, which he refused to do.
The unnamed guide has been suffering. It must have been hard. But it doesn’t seem that the children can do anything to change his attitude, so its better to just give up on that for now. I’m sure some things we found out later on will change his attitude anyway.
Emma got… Isekai’d?
Nah she didn’t. But she had one of those “Where am I?” moments once she woke up in a completely different surrounding than where she just was. The last thing she remembered before that was Ray’s voice while being taken away by… something.
This was real hype and excitement. Emma on her own not knowing where she is or why. It turns out she was taken to A08-63. How convenient. It’s the next Minerva checkpoint. Surely there is gonna be something good right? But first she needs to find out what actually is this place. Could it possibly even be the human side of the world? Or a new human farm? These were my guesses while reading.
Note how it said “Use your pen” on her left hand. I kind of doubt Emma was the one writing that. But who did it then?
Anyway what A08-63, or Goldy Pond turned out to be is a secret human garden. A secret playground for the demons where they hunt the children every three days.
Hunter x Hunter vibes
I’m starting to get some Hunter x Hunter vibes here. Which can only be a good thing.
The way they are trying to reach William Minerva – it’s kind of like Gon and Killua trying to reach Ging, isn’t it? But also, Emma, Ray, Killua and Gon are roughly the same age. And at their age they are already using weapons. During the hunter exam, Gon was aiming to steal the number plate of a much stronger opponent, Hisoka, and he succeeded. Similarly, Emma was targeting the eye of a much stronger opponent, a demon, and she was successful too.
And speaking of Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter, another thing reminding me of HxH was the demon that saw Emma as a chance for some fun. He decided to delay killing her, cause giving her more time would make her even sweeter. Doesn’t that remind you of a certain character that was waiting for Gon and Killua to grow before getting more serious with them?
The final thing that adds to all the Hunter x Hunter vibes is more related to the anime, but Killua and Ray have the same voice actor ofcourse. Which feels fitting.
Back to the manga stuff. Emma survived the demon hunt, but some of the new kids she met didn’t. The first person she talked to since coming to Goldy Pond, Violet, really reminded me of Norman at first.
I did not expect to see something like this in The Promised Neverland, but Violet is actually a “trap”. Her group of friends are from the high quality farm Grand Valley. They know the truth and they want to do everything they can to close the demon playground Goldy Pond. But how did they find out the truth?
Remember how I said certain things will change the unnamed guide’s attitude? Well this is what I meant by that. They found out the truth via Lucas. Yeah, that Lucas from the unnamed man’s traumas. He is dead for everyone else except Violet’s group of friends. And this is where Emma found out the clue related to William Minerva. Lucas found a door with his symbol, and it can only be opened with the pen.
What are they going to find behind those doors that Lucas has wanted to open for years?
I think that was my favorite The Promised Neverland Volume from the ones I covered. Loads of intriguing and exciting stuff. And it can only get better.
Who or what brought Emma to Goldy Pond? Similarly, who or what wrote on her hand that she should use the pen? What is behind those doors? So many things I’m dying to know.
Have you read Volume 8 of The Promised Neverland? If so, feel free to discuss it in the comments! 😉
Here are my previous The Promised Neverland Volume reviews if you are interested!