SSSS.Gridman Episode 3 Review: Defeat

The episode begins with Akane and a new character Anti standing in the rain. She wishes him good luck and hands him a bag of food. Rikka heads out to school, she looks up at the gray, rainy sky and ask whether she should “skip” today. Yuta, still without his memories, is asked by Sho if he thinks that the Kaiju “might actually be humans.” Yuta feels distress at the thought. It turns out that Rikka did skip school after all. 

She’s in Kamesan Park, where Anti is eating the food he was giving like a starving animal. She offers him her umbrella and her lunch. His phone quickly goes off and it’s Akane telling him to “go wild.” He transforms into a Kaiju triggering Yuta’s sensor, then Samurai Calibur bursts through the class window. He takes Sho and Yuta with him as he jump back out. They meet Rikka and head to the shop to fight. 

Yuta transforms to Gridman, but his fear of harming a person becomes paralyzing as the Kaiju begins to speak. Akane marvels at her work as she reveals that Anti can copy “all his opponents powers.” Yuta and Calibur are defeated and don’t return through the computer. Akane is thrilled. The city is then restored. Several new characters arrive to help Gridman. Akane is of course unhappy that Gridman is still alive. She sends Anti after him. 

The three new characters are Assists weapons like Calibur. Max transforms into the Battle Tracto Max, combining with Gridman. The new form is called the Heracles Combine: Max Gridman and is able to fight to a stalemate. This episode does shift away from the format of the previous two set. Akane tries to change her Kaiju abilities so they are more effective.

She is mostly successful as Anti not only defeats Gridman, but isn’t destroyed after he loses to Gridman. Regardless, Akane is unsatisfied with his effort and throws food at him. Some other changes in the format, Yuta loses, the fight happens earlier. This episode also featured a longer battle. I was wondering if Yuta was always going to have to be convinced to fight the Kaiju if he wasn’t certain that they weren’t human, but to my surprise he simply asks Anti if he was. 

This series seems to be playing with parallel events that occur in the being of the episode and the end with different results. Sho jokingly suggest that Kaiju are human, given Yuta anxiety. Yuta then asks Anti for the answer. Yuta calls Rikka at the begin to find out were she is, she doesn’t answer. When Rikka wants to find Yuta, she calls him and he does answer. Of course Akane is kind to Anti and lovingly give him food in the beginning, then she throws food at him at the end of the episode. I think it’s a smart and simple way to show what the characters have learned. Finally, the “Neon Genesis Junior High Students,” I loved the Evangelion reference. 

Images from Guardian Enzo

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Goblin Slayer Episode 2 and 3 Review

Goblin Slayer’s childhood friend

This episode slows down compared to the previously shocking episode, we get some more background on the Goblin Slayer. The episode opens with a young girl excited to go to the city. However, her childhood friend becomes upset at this thought. She awakens, and we see that she is grown. She opens the window and she sees the Goblin Slayer “scouting for tracks.”

The Goblin Slayer (GS) is obsessive in his behavior, always looking for evidence of a goblin attack. GS is looked down on by other adventurers for his “dirty armor,” as well as focusing on killing only “weak” monsters like the goblins. The Goblin Slayer along with the Priestess take another goblin quest. The Priestess asks why GS feels the need to kill goblins with so much cruelty. He reveals that he was a witness to “his older sister getting tortured, raped and killed by goblins.” After this he became bent on creating a genocide of goblins. 

If this series is able to manage some of it’s most shocking elements with more in depth world building, the impact of the shock would be amenable. I was predictable that the Goblin Slayer’s hatred of goblins was due to a personal tragedy. So far the goblins haven’t been showed to be a more complicated species, seemingly only caring about rape and murder. I could due without the fan service in the form of the female large breast.

In episode 3 we are introduced to new characters, an elf, a dwarf, and a lizard-man. They’re in search of a man named, “Orcbolg.” It turns out that “Orcbolg,” is actually the Goblin Slayer. They ask for a meeting with him and he agrees. While waiting for the Goblin Slayer to return, the Priestess is approached by a voluptuous sorceress. She warns the Priestess of the GS and believes that the Priestess could do more good for the World doing something else. 

During the meeting, the Goblin Slayer is informed that the “Demon King 
has been resurrected, and hordes of demons are preparing to attack civilization at any time.” GS is disinterested until he hears that they intent to take out a large goblin nest. The majority of the rest of the episode takes around a campfire.

The group explain their reasons for becoming adventurers, the GS shares his theory regarding where goblins come from. He believes that “they originate from the green moon that they see in the sky.” I wonder what the Goblins Slayer feels toward the Priestess, she’s still a novice and seems to care too much about other people. Will she “heal” his emotional scars? Or will she become more hardened like him? At this point we haven’t seen nearly the level of mature content as the first episode, which makes me wonder what the next one will entail. 

One Piece Manga Review Chapter 921: Shutenmaru

Kin’emon explains how he plans to recruit three samurai, Kawamatsu, Denjiro, Ashura Doji. He reveals that Kaido is considered to be the “Wisdom King.” He is considered to be the protector of country. We learn more about Kin’emon personal life, like he’s married to Tsuru. He assigns several different responsibilities to the Strawhat crew. Zoro and Usopp have been expected to “look for allies in the Flower Capital.” 

Franky is undercover as an architect in order to obtain blueprints for the residence of Kaido. Robin has become a geisha, hoping that she can meet with Orochi to spy. Brook will acquire food, Sanji will cook it, Nami will pretend to be a kunoichi (female ninja), Chopper and Carrot will go to Inuarashi. Introducing more characters in the form of 3 samurai seem unnecessary considering the large number of characters in this arc so far.  

That said I’m very interested in seeing what they look like and how they act. In this arc, the Samurai and Ninja have been the most dynamic characters both in there personalities and style. I would imagine that these three will continue that trend. Meanwhile, we are introduced to Shutenmaru, the leader of the Atamayama thieves. He and his thieves steal the food that Luffy gave to Okobore town. 

Without any samurai remaining, Shutenmaru suggests that he won’t be stopped. An elderly woman states that she believes in the prophecy that states that “nine samurai,” will arrive to carry out Oden’s wishes. Before, he kills the old woman, Jack arrives and defeats several of Shutenmaru’s men. Jack tells him that he’s “only been left alive this long because Kaido wants him as his subordinate.” Shutenmaru attacks Jack, landing a large cut across his chests. Shutenmaru is able to hold his ground against Jack, considering Jack’s power that’s impressive. 

Suddenly, large dark clouds appear. We see that’s it Kaido in his dragon form. He tells Jack to bring him Luffy. Obviously it’s surprising that Kaido has a dragon form. When Kaido was first introduced he was revealed to be quiet durable. Having been “caught and tortured 18 times, has survived 40 attempts to execute him and even jumped from 10,000 meters in the sky, crashing into the ground unharmed. I have assumed that his devil fruit ability was connected to his “invincibility.” 

Having seen Luffy “fail” to defeat Big Mom in combat, I have even less hope that he or anyone else can defeat Kaido. However, maybe the three samurai have such power that they can rival his power, but I doubt it. It seems unlikely to me that Luffy and the Strawhat’s will flee from a Yonko for a second straight arc. Of course a fight with Kaido wouldn’t necessary have to be one on one. Regardless, I’m interested in seeing who can stop him and if Luffy will match up. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 & 2 Review

Rikka, Yuta and Utsumi

SSSS.Gridman is a series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Studio Trigger. Based on the series Denkou Choujin Gridman and Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero, although it’s not considered a reboot. Gridman focuses on Yuta Hibiki, a freshman in high school that awakens in the home of classmate Rikka Takarada’s house with amnesia. 

He quickly beings hearing Gridman calling to him from a old computer. He begins hallucinating Kaiju and apparently is the only one that can see or hear Gridman. He’s told by Gridman that he must “awaken” and complete his “mission.” He doesn’t clarify what this means. The following morning Sho Utsumi tells his friend (he doesn’t remember) about Gridman. 

The first Kaiju

After school they head to Rikka’s house. Yuta’s hallucination proves to be prophetic as a real Kaiju arrives and begins destroying the city. Yuta get’s sucked into the computer terminal and appears in the real world as Gridman. With the aid of Utsumi and Rikka he defeats the Kaiju. When they return to school the following morning, the school that was on fire the previous night is restored. 

The following episode, Restoration, explores what happen to the school after the fight. The damage that resulted from the battle was gone, with nobody having any memory of it. However, several of the students that were “killed” desks have disappeared and no one but Yuta, Utsumi and Rikka remember them. We also see that Akane is working with a computer robot like Gridman named Alexis. 

Gridman

At the shop, we are introduced to a new character named Samurai Caliber. He proceeds to optimize the computer and already knows about Gridman. After he finishes all three are able to hear Gridman and see the Kaiju. Rikka and the others go in search of the missing students. Shockingly, they learn that Sakiru Tonkawa, and the other students died in middle school years ago. Akane sends a Kaiju after her teacher for his rudeness.

Gridman and Yuta face off against it. However, he’s overpowered by the Kaiju. However, Samurai Caliber turns out to be a weapon, Gridman Caliber and together they quickly defeat it. I must say SSSS.Gridman has been a revelation. After my disappointment with Darling in the Franxx, I wasn’t expecting much from this Trigger production. Don’t get me wrong the animation is top notch and even the CGI is good. The movement of the characters are fluid, featuring the overall quality you can expect from them.

The homeroom teacher

This series is well directed. Adding layers of intrigue where I assumed none. If you ever watched any of those afternoon television series like, Power Rangers or V.R. Troopers, Gridman feels familiar. I expected there to be a monster of the week, followed by Gridman appearing, then future monsters would get stronger and Gridman would too. This formula would repeat until the end.

However, several mysteries are introduced in this series. Strangely, the battles with the Kaiju seem to take a back seat to the characters themselves. Akane is an unexpected villain, appearing innocent and adorable it turn out that she’s a sociopath. Having killed he classmates for interrupting her lunch. The little details matter in this series, as Akane paints he homeroom teacher as rude for failing to apologize when he bumped into her.

At the end of episode 2 she witness him apologizing to Yuta for the same thing. The question is why didn’t he died like Akane classmates? She did express ambivalence regarding him dying. Does her will matter? Did he apologize because she wanted him too and that’s the effect of her sending a Kaiju after him? I don’t know but that’s why I going to keep watching this series. 

Akane’s evil stare

Attack on Titan Episode 049 Review: Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall

This episode was bittersweet as it apparently is the last episode until April of next year as Attack on Titan takes a mid-season hiatus. Regardless, this episode was largely a set up for the “return to Shiganshina’ arc.” This arc apparently is full of action that will be different from the tone of the first half of this season that focused on expanding characters and story. 

Sasha’s greed

The heads of the military get together to discuss who will be responsible for the “transformation serum.” Erwin gives it to Levi, telling him that he will “have too use it on the fly,” at some point. Erwin’s plans to retake Wall Maria is revealed. Levi attempts to convince Erwin to stay behind. However, Erwin refuses, as he must be there when the discover what’s in the basement. 

Eren verses Jean

Eren, Mikasa and Armin reminisce over their childhoods as the scouts meet for celebration prior to head out to Wall Maria in the morning. This episode featured a healthy dose of humor. In the mess hall the scout’s are finally given meat, prompting Conny, Sasha and Jean to fight over the roast. Eren and Jean then get into a fistfight. As the scouts leave for Wall Maria they’re shocked to receive a heart felt send off from the citizens. As they head towards Shiganshina District, Reiner and Bertholdt await. 

Mikasa, Eren and Armin

This first half of the third season has expanded the Attack on Titan world. I fear for the next arc as almost no one important died in this one. This episode was far too happy for my comfort. Someone major will likely died in the next arc, from this episode I’m betting on Erwin dying. 

Goblin Slayer Episode 1 Review: The Fate of Particular Adventurers

The rookies adventurers

Goblin Slayer is a 12 episode anime series based on the “a Japanese dark fantasy light novel series written by Kumo Kagyu and illustrated by Noboru Kannatuki.” It was also adapted to a manga series of the same name by Kosuke Kurose. To say this series is a “dark” fantasy is an understatement. The horrifying elements of this series (mainly the Goblin rape) but also the bloody violence can certainly be off putting. 

We are first introduced to a young priestess as she signs up for adventures. We quickly learn that there are ten ranks of adventurers, that ends with the rank of platinum. Her rank starts at porcelain and is given a tag that can double as a identity tag. She is quickly invited to join a group of rookie adventurers. The quest is to slay some goblins. Without any preparation they head off . 

nameless swordsmen

After they enter the cave their collective inexperience leads to disaster. Our priestess is practically scared of her own shadow. Making matters even worst she and the mage get separated from the rest of the group. I will  admit that I found her helplessness to be irritating. However, considering her age and life experience this reaction was the most realistic. The mage is stabbed in the stomach by a goblin as the swordsmen arrives. 

He was quickly overwhelmed and brutally stabbed to death by a horde of goblins. The monk is next, she fare far worst. She faces off against a large hobgoblin and is quickly subdued before being sexually assaulted by one of the smaller goblins. The priestess flees with the mage. They’re quickly caught by some goblins, who prepare to rape the mage. However, the iron clad “Goblin Slayer (GS)” arrives as he keeps count of his kills. 

The priestess

The goblin slayer informs the priestess that the mage was poisoned and he death is guaranteed. A dying naked mage asks to be put out of her misery, the goblin slayer obliges. The priestess and the goblin slayer team up with our priestess revealing that she can only use “holy light,” and “heal” three times. GS explains how the goblins got the drop on them. He the proceeds to systematic slaughter them including the children, killing 22 goblin in all.

This episode was a . . . well effective. This world is unforgiving. The initial presentation of the series reminded me of many RPG anime. I kept hoping that when they were killed that they simply left the game. This series is certainly difficult to watch at times, yet I find myself wanting to watch the next episode.

Rescued young woman

I was quickly reminded of Game of Thrones, mainly due to the violence, rape and dark tone. What is noticeable is that none of the characters so far have names. Is this so that we don’t become to attach, see ourselves in these characters? Maybe their names will be revealed later as we go further in the series. The animation wasn’t spectacular but I find that it was good enough. I’m into this series, hopefully every episode doesn’t involve rape. It can be too much to handle for some, but I might like it. 

The Priestess and Goblin Slayer partner again

Conception – Episode 001

Mahiru and Itsuki

Conception is an anime based off of a video game of the same name. First it’s unclear to me whether Itsuki and Mahiru are “friends,” or “cousins” as there are differences between the game and anime. Regardless, the main premise of this series is how the lives of Mahiru and Itsuki change when she reveals that “she’s pregnant.” 

Itsuki strapped to the bed

They’re instantly pulled into another world called Granvania. The quickly run into the perverted flying Raccoon Mana and court scholar Narcisstes. They are told that they have been summoned to “save the world.” How will they accomplish this? Itsuki is tasked with having sex with and impregnate the ” twelve Star Maidens (including Mahiru).”

One of the 12 star maidens

In order to save the world they must produce children to fight, as they can’t fight themselves. It’s only after this can Itsuki and Mahiru return home. It turns out that Mahiru isn’t pregnant after all and was just sick from some impurity. I’m not going to lie, the premise of Conception is ridiculous. I’m not at all interested in this series and I’m mildly put off by it.

The pervert Mana

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been watching anime since I was 5, so I’m not shocked by Conception’s concept. It is a common trope in most anime that the main characters sexual objects are young women that often look like children. It’s always creepy. Mana enhances this creepy atmosphere when at one point he “sniffs” out Mahiru virginity. After Itsuki is strapped to bed the camera zooms in on his bulge. 

Mahiru and Itsuki preparing to have sex

Also there’s the incest element between Mahiru and Itsuki, the fact that neither one of them is giving a choice to have sex as it’s clearly stated that they can’t return home until they all conceive. Conception also has poor dialogue and average animation. 

Zombie Land Saga Episode 001 Review – Good Morning

Sakura Minamoto

Sakura Minamoto is killed when she is hit by a truck. Before her death she had dreams of becoming an “idol.” She wakes up in a mansion, in the Saga prefecture. She stumbles upon zombie girls and flees in terror. She runs into a police officer that shoots her when he realizes that she’s a zombie.  

Frightened Cop that shoots Sakura in the chest

The cop is knocked out with a shovel. Still in shock Sakura is told by Kotaro Tatsumi that she has been dead for a decade and that she will work with “your team to save Saga.” Kotaro tells her that he will “make her into a idol.” Sakura asks Kotaro the following day during class “how she became a zombie” in the first place. 

Kotaro reveals the “Zombie Land Saga Project,” or just the title of the project. He keeps information close to the vest. He introduces the other band-mates, Dorami’s Legendary Biker Boss, Saki Nikaido, Legendary Showa Idol, Junko Konno, Legendary Courtesan, Yugiri, Legendary child actress prodigy Lily Hoshikawa, Legendary Tae Yamada and Legendary Heisei Idol, Ai Mizuno. 

Saki Nikaido

Sakura comically notes that Tae Yamada’s doesn’t have an elaboration like “Biker Boss,” or “Courtesan,” to go with her “Legend.” Regardless, the other zombie’s haven’t been awoken yet. They behave like traditional mindless zombie’s. Kotaro brings them to an open stage policy and puts make up on them concealing their zombie status. 

Kotaro Tatsumi

Kotaro tells Sakura that she should “trust her instincts,” while performing. The girls begin to react to the music and put on a performance that’s weird as they scream and “head-banging” to the point of breaking their necks. The performance, however, ends terribly as the girls turn on the audience. They “awaken” the following morning as Sakura yells GOOD MORNING.

Sakura “singing”

First Impressions

The musical anime genre doesn’t really interest me much. However, the general premise of the series was intriguing. The animation of MAPPA is always a draw for me and they don’t disappoint. What struck me as strange was how sad I felt that Sakura was killed. She wasn’t a familiar character at the beginning of the episode, yet her energetic, hopeful dreams to become an idol made her seem so innocent. It was a quick characterization that was very effective. 

I of course wonder if we will see her family. Fast forwarding a decade seems to be an narrative attempt to avoid focusing on the direct aftermath of Sakura’s death. However, a decade isn’t really long enough for her family to all be dead, unlike the other girls that appear to have been dead for longer. Personally, I was annoyed that Kotaro kept Sakura in the dark, regarding her zombifaction. I not sure if we will learn the truth or if they will simply move past it. That said I’m at least interested in seeing episode 2.

My Hero Academia Chapter 200 – Resourceful General

Chapter 200 of My Hero Academia

This chapter 200 was a short one (11 pages) regardless it was still interesting. Mainly, the introduction of Manga Fukidashi. One thing that has always been strange about My Hero Academia is the races of their characters. Fumikage is a bird person, Mina Ashido is pink skinned and Koji Koda, well I don’t know what “race” he is.

Kinoko Komori Quirk

Manga is the oddest of the characters so far. His body is normal for a human but his head is a speech bubble. It even changes shape and displays his thoughts in writing. His Quirk is Comic, it allows him to manifest onomatopoeia into reality, along with the effects “the sound suggests.” For example when he says the word “humidity,” he manifests the word in the world then the surrounding area becomes more humid. 

Kendo’s plan

During this chapter Kendo is revealed to have masterminded a plan to defeat Class 1-A. She manages to corner Momo, separating the “brain” from Class 1-A. Kendo’s plan seems sound, however, she may have underestimated Momo and in the process left herself open to be defeated. 

Momo’s resolve

My Hero Academia Chapter 199 Review: Improvisation Operation

Fumikage Tokoyami takes center stage in this chapter. In My Hero Academia many characters have taken a back seat to the main ones. With so many interesting characters in this series that has been disappointing. However, the Joint Training Arc, Academia promises to focus on other secondary characters. Tokoyami has been on of the most appealing characters so far. He recounts his internship with Hawks.  

Hawks invites Fumikage to his home. He tells him that ” he wanted to talk to someone from Class 1-A about the League of Villains.” Hawks invites him a second time, he takes Fumikage on a flight. Hawks claims that Fumikage is wasting his potential. He tells him that ” he should be able to move much more freely as a bird with wings, and that he need not be confined to the ground.” 

Shihai mocks the name of Tokoyami’s new ultimate move name and uses the shadows hide from Class 1-A. Shihai gets behind Yuga and grabs him. He believes that his Quirk is superior to Fumikage as it’s more versatile. Fumikage uses his Dark Shadow: Black Fallen Angel on Shihai. This move allows Fumikage to fly ” by having Dark Shadow hold onto him while covered by Fumikage’s cloak to provide better darkness.”

He rescues Yuga from Shihai. Momo instructs Yuga to use his Navel Buffet, a move that blast several laser beams creating light. This prevents Shihai from hiding in the shadows, Momo instructs Toru to grab Shihai. However, a mushroom appears on Momo’s nose. Itsuka Kendo has apparently come up with a “plan B.” Momo and Kendo are clearly the leaders of their teams. So far in the series they have shown that they’re highly capable and highly intelligent. I’m curious to see what Momo and Kendo come up with to counter each other and what Kinoko’s mushroom quirk does.