Vinland Saga Episode 6: Recap & Review

Askeladd “saves” Thorfinn

The Journey Begins

Thorfinn appears to have unofficially joined the mercenary band, lead by Askeladd. Viking are explained. Largely, Danes from Denmark they were pirates or thieves. Their goal was to live in England. Naturally war broke out. Askeladd and the others arrive at bloody shore, littered with corpses. Askeladd offers the services of his men. They strike a deal, Askeladd men for women, treasure, food and five pounds of gold. As they continue to talk, they’re attacked. Many of Askeladd’s men are killed, as Thorfinn watches. He draws his dagger, but is attacked. Askeladd kills his assailant (stabbing Thorfinn in the process). It’s a small wound. He claims that “he didn’t know Thorfinn was still alive.”

The woman is devastated to see Thorfinn’s behavior

Thorfinn finally get his first kill. We are shown a series of battles as Thorfinn gains his experience. It’s brutal. It feel wrong somehow. Knowing that his father didn’t want this for him, made it feel tragic. As he ages he become more and more proficient at killing. Losing more and more of his innocence with each kill. Thorfinn is chased by men with dogs and manages to survive. He’s then found by a mother and daughter passed out by a river. They nurse him back to health. The mother hides Thorfinn, seemingly believing he’s a replacement for he dead son. Knowing this series, I could anticipate that these women were not going to have a happy ending.

The new “feral” Thorfinn

Life for most men are terrible, for women almost hopeless. Thorfinn was sent to scout. He knows whats going to happen to all of the villagers. Thorfinn had change. He looks more feral or rabid. We still get to see a glimpse of his remaining humanity. How long can he hold on to it. Vinland Saga is becoming a must see series, it’s not a very cheerful one. However, having watched Attack on Titan, I am certain that they will find some moments of happiness to balance out the dreariness. I believe that Askeladd wants to see Thorfinn survive. He fully intended to save Thorfinn, but he refuses to do so directly.

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30 Day DC Challenge -Day 14: Favorite Animated DC Show

Justice League Unlimited

As I stated previously, most of the superheroes of DC aren’t well known. In Justice League Unlimited (JLU) the size of the league is increased at least by 50. Most of the episodes focused on a small group heroes trying to solve a situation. Heroes like Captain Atom, Green Arrow, The Question and Booster Gold were introduced to a larger audience. I chose JLU over the Batman: Animated Series largely because it expanded my understanding of the DC Universe. A direct sequel to Justice League, JLU debuted on July 31, 2004 and ended May 13, 2006. JLU is well animated, balances humor with action and is generally when written. Some of my favorite episodes:


Episode 03: Kids Stuff

Loosely based on the DC Comic event, JLA: World Without Grown Ups, Morgaine le Fey transforms Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern into children, after her son Mordred uses his magic to send adults to another dimension. Seeing these superheros as children is as fun as you might think.

Episode 07: The Greatest Story Never Told

This introduced me to Booster Gold. As the Justice League battle Mordru, the narrative focuses on Booster as he attempts to close a black hole, when he’s suppose to be doing crowd control. This episode has to be the funnies in the series.

Episode 11: Wake the Dead

Three high school kids use chaos magic to attempt to get revenge on their bullies. Instead they resurrect Solomon Grundy. Without his memories and more powerful, Grundy goes on a rampage. Doctor Fate, Amazo, Aquaman, Superman, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl face-off against him.

Episode 16: The Doomsday Sanction

Superman battles Doomsday, while Batman uncovers a Cadmus conspiracy to destroy the Justice League. It’s should be obvious why this episode was good.

Episode 35: Grudge Match

Roulette uses the women of the Justice League as combatant in her all-female fight called “Glamour Slam.” This episode is one of my favorites largely because we get to see Wonder Woman fight Huntress, Black Canary, Vixen and Hawkgirl. It’s brief, but great.

Episode 39: Destroyer

This is the series finally. The Justice League and the Secret Society team up to fight against an invasion by Darkseid. Lex Luther, Batman and Superman take on Darkseid directly, with Superman finally releasing his full powers.

Source: Wikipedia

Artifice Article – Philosophy in Anime

A few days ago my latest article was published on the Artifice. Titled, Philosophy in Anime, I wrote about the relationship between philosophical themes and anime. I focus on philosophy in Mob Psycho 100, Ghost in the Shell and One Piece. Many of the greatest anime series have had significant philosophical themes, such as Attack on Titan, Evangelion and Death Note. With so many different anime I could only focus on a few. Regardless, I worked really hard on this article and I hope that you guys will take the time to check it out. If you have the time read some of my other articles as well:


Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions. Philosophers ask questions about knowledge, reason, values and human existence. I may surprise many, but anime often tackle these complex questions as well. Philosophy is one of the many influences commonly found in anime. By including philosophical themes anime series can have more complex stories and characters. This is likely one of the many reasons that the most impactful and revered anime series tend to have some form of philosophy. Mob Psycho 100 is an anime series from the creator ONE, this series focuses on the philosophy that no one is special. Ghost in the Shell, a series created by Mamoru Oshii, focuses on post-humanism philosophy. Finally, I’ll discuss how Adam Smith philosophy applies to One Piece, one of the most acclaimed anime series of all time

the Artifice (Jiraiyan)

Dr. Stone Episode 6, Recap and Review

Senku, Taiju and Yuzuriha

Two Nations of the Stone World

We continue with the flashbacks, as Senku explains how he found Taiju. He speculates that aliens may have been responsible, a foreign military or a new virus. The only thing that he’s sure of is that whatever turn humans to stone also did so to swallows. He concludes that an “outside force” is responsible for his, we know that its the nitric acid. Senku has to experiment before he learns that its not as simple as pouring the acid on stone. He remembers that E=MC squared, meaning that you can create energy from nothing. He tries “everything” on the sparrows. Meanwhile, Senku awakens in the present. Senku sends Taiju and Yuzuriha to “infiltrate” Tsukasa’s “army.” Senku plans to create an “revolutionary army” to counter Tsukasa’s. They only way Senku thinks he can do this is by finding the mystery people and get them on his side.

Tsukasa vs Kohaku

However, if they meet Tsukasa first it may not work. Senku, Taiju and Yuzuriha separate to being their plans, with the expectation that they won’t see each other for months or even years. Finally, Tsukasa encounters the young woman from the last episode. She attacks him, showing get fighting skills. Tsukasa assumes that Taiju revived her, however, he deduces that she’s probably a child from a “primitive people.” He also concludes that they have no science (as she refers to sorcery) and he could rule or kill them if he wanted to. He decides that he really needs to get to the cave before Senku and the others. He knocks the girl down and cuts a nearby tree.It falls on her creating a large dust cloud. Senku see it and begins to run to the area. The girl is pinned under the tree but it does seem like her life’s in danger. Senku makes her choose between him, “gambling and blowing up the tree or a longer method.” She says she can wait.

Senku’s pulley system

He creates a pulley system and lifts the tree off her. She is amazed. Introducing herself as Kohaku and telling Senku shes fond of him now. Dr. Stone continues to add new potential conflicts and intriguing narratives simultaneously. In this episode they introduce a more primitive group that has been freed potential from alternate means. They have procreated and are possibly anti-science.” It’s possible that Senku will have to deal with the pro-science but pro-violence that Tsukasa believes in and deal with an anti-science community. I don’t think Tsukasa will fall for the spying from Taiju and Yuzuriha, he’s too smart for that. I wonder if this series would separate the trio for a year (in the series timeline), normally I would say know. However, with this series I’m not sure.

Cop Craft Episode 5 & 6: Recap and Review

Lonesome Vampire

The fifth episode of Cop Craft focuses on the “lauden neiven” or vampire. Kei and Tilarna fight off the vampire. She escapes. Vampires can absorb latena and use humans to revive themselves. According to Tilarna, they were supposed to have been destroyed years ago. The vampire kills a truck driver and regains some of her magic. The find her and she tosses Kei off a balcony and into a fountain. The vampire kidnaps Tilarna, to ask her questions. They’re interrupted by the SWAT team and Kei. The vampire disappears. Using night vision goggles, they’re able to see her. She escapes by jumping out of the window. Tilarna feels badly for the vampire, who seems frighten by an unknown world see awoken in. She is saved by a wizard that wants to get his hands on the ancient “Book of Niba.” She rejects his help and bites him, killing him.

Tilarna and Kei engage in another fight with her, this time Kei unloads a lot of bullets into her. However, she’s not done yet and they struggle on the train tracks. A train is fast approaching, Tilarna rescues him leaving the vampire to be killed by the train. This episode felt a little flat to me. I don’t mind that the vampire arc was two episodes, but I feel cheated somehow. It maybe the issue regarding how magic and technology functions in this world. Tilarna make a huge claim that suggest that this vampire is a dangerous force. However, when she turns invisible, she’s easily seen with night vision goggles. Then she’s killed by a (incredibly slow moving) train. This may have been the point. Is the series suggesting that human tech is comparable to magic? I’m guessing that the “Book of Niba,” will matter later in the series because it definitely didn’t matter in this arc. Apparently, the vampire’s entire value was introducing the book.


Need for Speed

This episode is more upbeat than the previous ones. Tilarna “fixes” Kei’s allergy to cats, during the healing moment on the roof to episode ago. Tilarna neglects to inform Kei he was cured until a month later, leaving him to wear the mask every night. While, eating lunch the following day, Kei and Tilarna give chase after a speeding truck. Kei manages to successfully topples the truck revealing it’s cargo, porn. However, there was no driver. Tilarna is asked to move Kei’s car, which results in disaster. With his car totaled, Kei is pissed. The new chief offers to get Kei a new car at the police auction. He also tells Tilarna that she needs to get a drivers license. Later, she’s asks “what is porn.” She is appalled. I don’t mind her reaction, but how do you know to be appalled at something you don’t have any understanding of? I think her reaction would have been more convincing had she continued to be neutral, maybe asking more invasive questions.

Cop Craft could have gone further than they did. Detectives McCloud and Ivanov help with the investigation. They find the fence, Gavin in the Lady Chapel (which apparently is the only place where criminals gather). Gavin says that the nobles are now into Earth porn. The dialogue is crass and juvenile. Kei gets a new car and quickly forgets his attachment to the old one. Cecil reveals that Kei had lost his sister a decade ago. At the sting they capture the cargo, but one of the criminals escape. Tilarna drives Kei’s new car and crashes it. They capture the criminal though. Once again, this series introduces something that will probably matter later. Kei’s dead sister. It’s likely that Tilarna will be inappropriate and ask Kei about his sister. No new ground is broken in this episode, but a silly light heart episode was welcomed.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 13: Favorite Animated DC Movie

All Star Superman

I’ve stated that I find Superman to be a dull hero. Early seasons of Smallville focused on when Superman was a teen which I think was when he was (in my opinion) the most interesting. Regardless, some writers have manage to tell interesting Superman stories. Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman is one such story. I didn’t read the comic, but did watch the animated version. Generally, I watch animated DC movies out of habit. Some are good other aren’t. I didn’t have too much expectation from this movie, but I enjoy it. Released in 2011, All-Star Superman follows Superman after he becomes even more powerful after an encounter with the sun. However, he starts dying due to radiation poisoning. This is suppose to be the final adventure before Superman dies.

Superman engages in a series of challenges similar to the 12 Labors of Hercules. He reveals his secret identity to Lois Lane. At the Fortress of Solitude, a series of robots concoct a serum that give Lois superpowers for a day. He arm wrestles Atlas and Samson, saves Lois from the Ultra-Sphinx. The animated version isn’t exactly like it’s source material, but it’s a pretty good adaptation. When choosing what to adapt, it’s important to choose carefully. What do you put in, what do you leave out and will you change anything. All Star Superman makes many good choices. One of the most memorable parts of the movie was a scene where Superman as Clark Kent, has to save Lex Luther from the Parasite while maintaining his identity.

Despite the fact that I generally find Superman stories uninteresting, this was one time in which I was proving wrong. While accepting his death, Superman became more human. All Star Superman undermined my expectations. It was funny, clever, and generally entertaining. If Superman stories were more often like this one, I think I would like him more. Finally, the animation was well done, it’s not terrible detailed but that’s fine. If you haven’t seen All Star Superman, I highly recommend it.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 19: Recap & Review

The bond between Tanjiro and Nezuko has already been established a close. However, due to her being a demon and staying in the wood box she can be forgotten. Tanjiro manages to escape terrible damage from Rui’s thread, only getting a scarred on the face. Meanwhile, Inosuke is impressed with Giyu abilities. Giyu is annoyed by Inosuke and ties him up in a tree. Shinobu injects Zenitsu with an antidote, while other Demon Slayers arrives to free the others. Tanjiro is finally cornered by Rui’s web of threads, Nezuko jumps out of the box. She saves Tanjiro, but is severely wounded.

This event stuns Rui, who claims that he wants that kind of relationship. His pretend sister, becomes insecure. She asks “what about me,” he cuts her into pieces. She begs for a second chance, he tells her to kill the other Demon Slayers on the mountain. Rui tells Tanjiro that because he’s so moved by their bond, he will let Tanjiro live if he gives him Nezuko. Obviously, this isn’t going to work. Tanjiro refuses and tells Rui that he’ll kill him first. Rui finally reveals that he’s the member of the Twelve Moon. His eye says “lower five,” which is an odd way of to number between one and twelve. We still don’t know a lot about the Twelve Moon’s, but it seems that maybe the numbering isn’t quite straight forward. Regardless, he simply takes Nezuko. She slashes him with her claws.

None of this seems to bother Rui. He tethers Nezuko in his threads, cutting into her limbs as punishment. She falls to sleep in order to heal herself. Meanwhile, Tanjiro uses the Final Form of his Water Style. He’s able to cut the threads now and creates a water dragon. Realizing the threat that Tanjiro possess, Rui uses his Blood Art to strengthen his threads. We get a flashback of Tanjiro’s family, mainly his father. His father was frail and was able to dance to pray to the God of Fire. His father told him that he was able to dance because he was using “special breathing techniques.” Tanjiro transforms his water dragon into a fire one. He now able to cut the more enhanced threads.


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 18: Recap & Review


Tanjiro moves closer to Rui, who finally moves into striking range. He accepts that he will likely die from their encounter. Nezuko is awakened by a vision of her mother asking her to save her brother. Nezuko uses her Blood Art: Blood Ignite, burning the blood on the threads. The fire travels along the threads, destroying the webs that Rui created. As Tanjiro says that “the bond between he and Nezuko can’t be severed,” his sword with Nezuko blood on it severs Rui’s head. My review won’t give this episode any justice. We’re talking about anime here. The animation and the music created a experience that gave me chills. To say I was hyped would be an understatement. If you can watch this episode, you won’t regret it.

Enen no Shouboutai Episode 5: Recap and Review

Arthur believes he lives in Camelot

I didn’t anticipate that the fight between Company 8 and Company 5 would come soon. In our weekly fanservice, we have a soaked Iris kneeling next to a fountain. She recalls growing up alongside Hibana. Afterward, Obi holds a meeting reveling that they will investigate the 5th Company. Hinawa explains the details, then it’s revealed that Hinawa is actually a second generation. According to Maki, he can use the “manipulate bullets and made his shot non-lethal by weakening the gunpowder.” Meanwhile, Hibana experiments on Setsuo Miyamoto. Sister Iris disappears.She heads to the base of the 5th company to meet her former friend. Hibana has lost he belief in God, believing that ” there are only devils walking the earth, not gods.”

Hinawa defeating fire soldiers

She reveals her desire to use Iris to lure the 8th Company to her. It isn’t necessary, as the 8th Company arrives. Shinra, Maki, Arthur and Lieutenant Hinawa arrive to get Iris back. This is were Hinawa really gets to shine. He takes down several fire soldiers alone. Arthur faces off against the old Cone headed and a newly upgraded Miyamoto. Arthur isn’t concerned but is having difficulty finding his power. Meanwhile, Maki and Hinawa take on Toru Kishiri. He uses bubbles that are filled with flammable gas that exploded when they burst. The explosion is extraordinary, but Maki is able to help block them. Hinawa defeats him using his ” ballistic and ricochet control.” Their then attacked by the Angels Three.

Arthur defeats Miyamoto

Arthur is losing his fight until he realizes that he’s been using his left hand. After switching to his right, he easily defeats Miyamoto. Maki and Hinawa easily defeat the Angels Three, while Shinra arrive at the Hibana’s castle. Hinawa took center stage in this episode. He’s stone cold towards everyone, but it makes him effective as a leader and also a great fighter. He was my least favorite character and now he’s turning out to be my favorite. Arthur on the other hand. Well I still like him but I’m not sure I find him annoying or dumb. Maybe both? He is really ridiculous. I do find his viewing the world from a Medieval perspective to be funny. I don’t know he might grow on me.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 12: Favorite DC Live Action Movie

Tom Welling as Clark Kent

Smallville

Smallville was a television based on Superman. The series focused on Clark Kent (Tom Welling) as he grows up in the fiction town of Smallville, Kansas. The series was meant to explore Clark Kent before he became Superman. The first four seasons focused on Clark and his friends during high school. The series later pivoted to Clark in adulthood, his career at the Daily Planet and his transformation into Superman. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, Smallville was pitched with a “no tights, no flights,” rule. The series was well received. The pilot episode had 8.4 million viewers, the series averaged 4.34 million viewers. When it ended it had set the record for “the longest-running North American science-fiction series by episode count.”

The first few seasons saw Clark develop his iconic powers. Smallville is said to have 3 chapters. The first chapter is considered to be seasons (1-4), focusing on his high school years. Chapter 2, seasons (5-7) sees Clark begin to master his abilities and Lex Luthor begins to turn towards evil. Characters like Brainiac and Bizarro are introduced. The final chapter is known as, ” The Final Trials of Clark Kent.” Doomsday, General Zod and Darkseid are introduced, as are the Justice League. Kryptonite was used as a common plot device. It had a negative effect on humans, resulting in the person mutating or going insane. This resulted in the series having a “freak of the week.” This was mostly used during the first season.

The series also used different colored kryptonite. Green Kryptonite causes Clark to become “physically weak” and can potentially kill him. Red Kryptonite causes him to become a moral and given into his dark impulses. Black Kryptonite splits Clark into two beings himself and a darker Kal-El. With Silver Kryptonite causes him paranoia, Blue Kryptonite removes his abilities and Gold Kryptonite can cause permanent damage or removed his powers all together. Personally, I liked the series up until the fifth one. I lost interest in the series after it started tell more familiar stories from the comics. I preferred the years before Clark Kent was an adult, seeing him become the hero was simple more interesting. Generally, I don’t think of Superman as being an interesting hero, but as a teen he was.

Vinland Saga Episode 5: Recap & Review

Askeladd’s men rape and pillage a village

Episode 5, The Troll’s Son

It’s my understanding that this episode of Vinland Saga wasn’t adapted from the manga series of the same name. This can sometimes backfire, but in capable hands can be a seamless addition to series. As predicted, Thorfinn is still enraged and dead set on getting revenge. He’s also saddened by his fathers death. A bundle of conflicting emotions, Thorfinn is determined to kill Askeladd. He has failed to learn the entire lesson his father wanted to teach. Violence isn’t any way to live one’s life. It’s my belief that he will live a life as a warrior then he will learn what his father taught him, but only after experiencing life ruled by violence.

Ylva crying

Askeladd and his Vikings, rape and pillage a village. There is no since of regret, guilt or even blood-lust from Askeladd. He largely, muted in his emotions. While, Thors was a good man, he didn’t have much time to be a hero. He went from violent killer to pacific living at the end of the world in a quite village. Are there any heroes in this series? Most people might assume that Thorfinn must become one. Will he? So far it seems that for the time being he’s going to become a single minded killer. While, Askeladd isn’t a good guy by any stretch, but apparently he won’t kill children. That’s the only reason Thorfinn remains alive. Twice he challenges Askeladd to a duel, and of course he loses. His second duel sees him take a step forward in his fighting ability.

Thorfinn promising to kill Askeladd

Askeladd is a complicated man. I think he regrets that Thors is dead, but NOT that he killed him. It might be a thin distinction but a significant one. When Ylva learns of her fathers death she quickly pretends that it doesn’t really matter. This muted reaction from her was clearly a front. I could almost feel her sadness and was waiting for her to finally collapse into that sadness. It’s hard to tell if Thorfinn immaturity will continue or will he grow out of it. Finally, will his family ever be told that he’s survived. I don’t think there’s any form of mail, so he would probably have to go back. My best prediction is he will return when he’s grown, in the meantime he’s off to the battlefield.