Attack on Titan Episode 4 Review: Trust

The last episode of Attack on Titan was important to expanding the background of characters Erwin and Historia. It also was dark, draining any since of hope from the series. This episode injects some hope back into it. Marlo Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse are searching for the scouts in the woods, Marlo questions why the scouts would kill a civilian and flee. Considering the fact that they always risk their lives for humanity against the Titans. If you don’t remember, Marlo and Hitch were featured earlier in the series, in episode 23, entitled Smile: Assault on Stohess, Part 1. In that episode Marlo claims to have joined the Military Police “to uphold justice and do what’s right.” He’s mocked for this goal by Hitch, but seems sincere when he tries to stop some of superiors while they illegally sell ODM gear.

Anyway, They see Armin taking water from the river. Taking the bait when he surrenders, they are quickly ambushed by Mikasa and Levi. Marlo represents the theme of this episode the governments “truth” is starting to unravel. Nile Dawk tells two journalists that “judging by the evidence,” the scouts did kill a civilian. The younger journalist seems to be more interested in getting all the details, but is cut off by the older one. Dawk shows a concern that the new ODM gear is “perfect for killing people,” in particular scouts. He concludes that the Military Police will likely find themselves staring down their guns eventually.

Flegel Reeves is being chased by the Military Police, he’s chased into a dead end alley, but is rescued by Hange. She tries to get him to stand up against the government, which he is unwilling to do. Hitch is still concerned about Annie going missing, Levi informs her that Annie was the Titan. He decries the fact that ” Nobody knows a damn thing about this world . . . Not us or anyone else.” This is true of course, but is also the goal of the government. The government deliberately miss informs and keeps secrets from the Military Police and civilians. They can’t stop something if you don’t know what going on right.

Marlo asks to join Levi, but he’s rebuffed. Jean asks to tie them up himself, he “attacks” them. I’ll admit that considering Attack on Titans dark theme’s and event that have transpired, I almost thought Jean was going to kill them. However, Jean has always represented the humor in this series (along with Hange). He mocks Marlo for his terrible ” Bowl cut” hair style. Marlo quickly understands that it was a test. Marlo and Hitch aid the scouts in finding the checkpoint, and are told to return to their squad. The scouts take the checkpoint, taking the leader. Levi tortures him but only learns the last name of Kenny, Ackermann. Which is also the last name of Mikasa. There’s no way that she’s not related to Kenny, the question I have is Levi related to her as well.

Finally, Flegel gets “caught” by the Military Police. He gets them to give him a death wish, tell him why his father was killed. It was obvious that he would get the Police to reveal what really happened, but I was surprised that so many civilians witnessed it, as well as the previously mentioned journalists. However, can Flegel be the boss if the Military Police and the government know he’s a witness? Won’t they kill him and all the civilians anyway? Maybe the civilians, journalists and the Reeves family can start a resistance within the walls. The episode ends with Erwin telling Dawk that “When, and if the time comes, he will only watch,” and that “it’s up to you (Dawk) to decide. You and them.” Erwin is clearly going to be heading for execution the question is will it happen?

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Tenrou: Sirius The Jaeger Episode 4 Review: Beginning Of Trickery

The alliance between the Hyakko party and the vampires comes to an abrupt ending. The Alma company turns out to be the force behind the Royals. Their still a mysterious group at this point in the series. The Royals test their new experiment on the Military, and seemingly willing to sell the Military the new weapon. The Hyakko party commits a mass murder at the offices of Alma, the head of the Hyakko becomes interested in the new weapon.

The Vampires creation seems to be a Frankenstein type monster seen in the OP, it’s a little obvious considering the organ collecting but I’m curios how different it will be from the famous version of Frankenstein. One thing I noticed is the paleness of the Vampire’s and the “makeup” surrounding their eyes. I don’t know if the skin tone is a by product of vamperism or makeup. Regardless, it does make them obvious to the public if they are seen.

In addition to that they seem to be Vampire children. In some of the vampire lore, child vampires are seen as problematic because they tend to be impulsive and risk exposing the other vampires. I’m curious if their too immature or if it won’t matter. This episode also attempts to inject a weak romance into the series. I don’t particularly care about romance in anime, but this seems poorly managed. There’s wasn’t much left in the episode, hoping the action increases in the next episode.

Fairy Tail 100 Years Quest Chapter 004: Amazing Elmina Review

Team Natsu arrives at a hotel in Elmina, they’re greeted by a fish that’s wearing a top of a tux. Natsu and Happy plan on eating it, only for it to transform into a human. The fish turn man greets them, when questioned whether he’s a fish or human, he confirms that he’s a fish. However, he quickly remembers that he has a date, and runs off to meet with someone named Sameko. He warns team Natsu that they must “drink the complimentary beverage left in your rooms.”

According to him, “humans will not be able to live here.” Gray awakens the following morning to find that he’s underwater, but he can breathe and talk. The entire town becomes submerged in the ocean. The receptionist finally introduces himself as, Kashima, the manager of hotel journey. When Gray asks about the water God, Kashima and the other fish turn on them and attack. Meanwhile, Touka reveals that she uses “water-type magic,” She also reveals that she has a tail.

There wasn’t much in this chapter regarding the dragons, but the world building was great. Fairy Tail’s biggest drawback was never it’s world-building, but it bad use of power scaling that is typical for shonen manga series. This chapter only briefly switches to the other members of Fairy Tail, hopefully they will continue to matter in this new series.

Banana Fish Episode 5 Review: Death to Morning

The last episode of Banana Fish set up the mystery of “Banana Fish.” Ash gets out of jail on bail, he is warned that “if he flees or commits a crime,” his bail will be withdrawn. Of course Ash goes after Dino Golzine to get revenge for his brothers death. Ash leaves with Ibe, Eiji and Charlie, but Ash tries to abandon them to get his revenge on his own. However, Eiji takes control over the car and flees with Ash.

Meanwhile, when Dino is informed that he may be in danger, Dino is unafraid. He does however state that “Banana Fish is no human. It’s the name of a drug. That will change the world.” He wouldn’t elaborate further. Ash joins with Shorter to plan their hit on Papa Dino. They plan on attacking Dino’s restaurant “Club Cod,” he makes a monthly visit to the seafood restaurant. Club Cod is a front for a child sex trafficking ring.

All the anime I consume, I rarely run into one that focuses on realistic horrors of the real world. Banana Fish takes on sexually assault, gang violence, prison, war and unfortunately child sex trafficking rings. I say unfortunate not because I don’t think that it should appear in this series or any other one, but because it’s a sad reality. Regardless, these kids are kidnapped, drugged and then killed years later.

Ash and the others engage their plan, featuring a trunk. Ash rides on the top of the truck and somehow manages not to fall off and stand straight while shooting at Dino. He is shot in the arm by Arthur’s crew, while hitting Dino in the arm as well. The hit fails and Ash and the others are joined by Max and Ibe. The are out numbered and flee by jumping into the river.

Banana Fish continues to be a series that touches on heavy topics, while having complex characters. With all the mysterious threads and the large number of characters we finally get clear goals for the main protagonists, find out what Banana Fish is and kill Dino Golzine. They head to Cape Cod next, childhood home of Ash.

 

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Old Story

In contrast to the last episode, this one entitled “Old Story” may seem slow, but I think it’s has more impact. In typical Attack on Titan fashion the stories told aren’t uplifting but rather dark. We start with Historia. She tells the scouts that she was born on the land owned by the Reiss family. This episode focuses on the negative effects parents in the series had on their children. Historia’s mother (if we can call her that), literally goes out of he way not to speak to her daughter. Her mother simply reads a lot, while ignoring her. When Historia tries to emulate her mothers reading she realizes through the stories that her relationship to mother is uncaring. When finally makes physical contact with her mother, she’s meet with a violent reaction.

Her mother then utters her first words to her daughter, “if only I had the courage to kill the girl.” Her mother then leaves for fives years only to return with Rod Reiss. He admits to being her father but the government intervenes. Father leaves her mother for death and Historia’s mother final words to her daughter is “if only I never had you,” before her throat is slit. Historia’s mother is a very sympathetic character, so her death didn’t really bother me. However, the reason for her death was clear due to having a daughter with Rod Reiss. Basic giving birth to Historia cost her, her life and she likely knew that it was always going to. Her behavior toward Historia seems reasonable in that context. I don’t know how redeeming Lord Reiss “saving,” of Historia is, and I don’t trust that he truly cares for her to be improbable. He’s likely using her to gain something.

Hange reveals to the scout that Eren is likely going to be “eaten.” After overhearing a conversation between Ymir and Bertholdt, we learn that Ymir ate their comrade. Eating a human that turns into a titan, while being a titan may result in that titan reverting back into a human. Hange believes that they will also gain the powers of that titan. Meaning that the government may want to have a titan under their control eat Eren and gain his ability to control other titans. I assumed that they would use Eren’s power to turn into a titan for their own ends, however, that was a ridiculous thing for me to assume considering that Eren would never do that. Killing him, while gaining his power make much more sense.

The third flashback we get is from Commander Erwin. He speaks to Pyxis regarding his desire to “retake Wall Maria and overthrow the government.” Apparently, he plans on doing so without the need for the military or death. That seem implausible but he’s vague as to what the actual plan is. Erwin recounts the story of his fathers death. His father was a history teacher, however, he taught an edited version of that history. He trusted Erwin with the truth and Erwin went a told his classmates. The military found out about it and killed his father. He believed that the the King had the power to alter the memories of the people, making them easier to rule. This is just a theory, but one that Erwin aims to prove.

Erwin elaborates on his plan when Hange returns, the plan is to put Historia on the thrown as she’s the Queen. Hange Zoe becomes the next commander of the Scout Regiment. Meanwhile the scouts are declared enemies of the state, to be arrested on sight. They are accused of being responsible for the death of Mr. Reeves. Considering the fact that Mr. Reeves son is the only living witness he may be the key to aiding the scouts again the government.

I like the way that they used flashbacks, furthermore, the contrast between Historia’s relationship with her mother and Erwin’s relationship with his father is clear. While, Historia’s mother barely communicated with her, Erwin’s father often did, teaching him History during the day and educated him on the truth at night. It is this communication that costs him his life. Both of them are “responsible,” even if by accident for their parents deaths. Erwin has taken this reality and turned it into a mission, it’s unclear what impact Historia’s past has had on her. Finally, with all the betrayals, lies and conspiracies it’s difficult to trust some of the secondary characters. Will Commander Pyxis betray them too? What about Mr. Reeves son? Regardless, another amazing episode.

 

One Piece Chapter 913 Review: Tsuru repays a favor

Luffy and Zoro face-off against Basil Hawkins. Hawkins says that there’s a 19% chance that “one month from now you all will be alive.” It’s unclear who “all” includes, is it just Luffy and Zoro, or all the Strawhat’s. Regardless, his prediction does not mean much because there’s really no way any of the Strawhat’s will died. Right? It clear that Zoro will receive the legendary sword from Luffy, who clearly has no use for it.

Hawkins has always had a strange power, that feels too powerful but has clear drawbacks. The Wara Wara no Mi devil fruit is a paramecia type, that allows for “the ability to create, manipulate, and transform into straw with damage-redirecting properties at will.” To be more clear you could use straw in a variety of ways, limited only by the imagination of the user. It’s unclear however why the user can use nails as weapons.

Furthermore, Hawkins uses his devil fruit with cartomancy ( fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards) and voodoo magic. Hawkins uses these abilities together, creating “straw men,” that represents other people lives. This allows him to “redirect a single instance of damage,” to another person. His uses his Life Minus ability while fighting Zoro and Luffy. As long as he has multiple “straw man effigies,” he will not receive damage. He states that he had 10 lives at the start of battle, but now he’s left with 9.

One of the reasons I love One Piece is that the devil fruit abilities are so varied. Luffy often displays that varied himself, but Hawkins is another good example. Basil having other abilities makes his devil fruit more valuable. It creates a contrast when Luffy doesn’t use the sword in good conjunction with his devil fruit ability. The fight between Luffy, Zoro and Hawkins ends abruptly as Komachiyo takes them away.

Hawkins uses his Card of Retribution, sending a straw man armed with a sword after them. Zoro faces off against it and while he’s hit with nails he quickly defeats it with Nigiri Toro Samon. He lets Luffy and Zoro escape. The woman Zoro rescued turns out to be tea-house mistress, O-Tsuru. She offers to save O-Tama and heal Zoro. Finally, we see some of the Heart Pirates, Shachi, Bepo and Penguin watching the Luffy and Zoro. This of course signals that Law is also in Wano. I’m really excited for the possibility that Law and the Strawhat’s may join forces against Kiado. This arc continues to get more fun as it gets more intriguing.

Shonen Anime’s Biggest Problem?

While on YouTube I found an interesting video by Reality Punch Studios, Shonen Anime’s Biggest Problem. I think the video is really informative, while you may or may not agree with the argument, though that it was really well done. Check it out:

Fairy Tail 100 years quest: Chapter 3: My Last Hope

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I’m really enjoying the chapter’s so far. Without having to introduce characters, the series can just start. Fairy Tail 100 years quest feels familiar but fresh. Team Natsu arrives at Southern Giltena in the Valeria Region. They encounter weird “walking jellyfish,” Natsu’s first instinct is to eat them, the jellyfish attempt to jump into Lucy’s and Natsu’s mouth. Wendy blows the rest away, but Natsu eats his. Lucy says that her mouth is “numbed.”

Regardless, Giltena is presented as a completely new continent. This certainly allows for Atsuo Ueda to tell a relatively new story with an established series and known characters. I think that this should happen more than it does, Boruto is another series that has a new illustrated and writer, while the original creator maintain influence. The quest is similar, seal all five of the dragons. For some reason I assumed they would fight them all at the same time.

That was obviously a dumb assumption. Anyway, they will face one at a time. The first dragon is the water God dragon, Mercfovia. Once worshiped as a God in Elmina, team Natsu will head there to find clue of it’s location. In a flashback it is revealed that the reward for finishing the quest is “anything they desire.” It’s unlikely that he really mean “anything,” but it will be interesting to see what they as for. Meanwhile, Gajeel and Juvia begin to investigate (with Gajeel in a detective outfit) Touka. Finally, as team Natsu arrive in Elmina they are watched by two people.

Banana Fish Episode 4 Review

I’ve been slacking on my blogging about Banana Fish, which is a habit I’ve haven’t broken yet. Anyway, this episode, This Side of Paradise, Eiji is in danger at the hands of Arthur and his gang. They threaten to kill the doctor’s assistant if he doesn’t reveal what Ash said to him. He begrudgingly tells him, hoping to save the assistants life. He tells them that Ash told him to retrieve the Banana Fish drug from the doctor’s office. Arthur goes back one his word and still plans on killing the doctor and his assistant.

They are not killed as Shorter arrives and holds a gun to Arthur’s head. However, Griffin is not so fortunate, he’s shot and killed. In Prison, Max requests a change in bunk mates, leaving Ash vulnerable. However, Ash is able to hold his own. When Max learns of Griffins death he rushes to inform Ash. When he does hear the news he seems to go numb. When Max warns him not to escape he hits him in the stomach and threatens to kill him next time.

Max and Ash fight to exhaustion. Max remembers his time with Griffin during war. Ash finally breaks down as he remembers his brother raising him. The emotional moment at the of this episode was powerful. The reaction to Griffin’s death from all the characters felt very realistic. Everyone didn’t respond in the same way, I though it was well done. We learn more about Banana Fish and its effects. I really enjoyed the simple animation that accompanied the explanation that Dr. Meredith gave regarding Banana Fish effects on rats. Banana Fish continues to impress, as we get closer to finding out what mystery surrounding Banana Fish is.

Attack on Titan Season 3, Episode 2 Review: Pain

This episode steps up in it’s intensity. Eren and Historia are quickly tranquilized as Levi gives chance. Levi is quickly attacked by Military Police, lead by Kenny. The chase scene is spectacular, Levi’s skill isn’t surprising but still exciting to witness. Watching Levi and Kenny match wits, Levi outsmarts Kenny. Managing to shoot him with shotgun, although Kenny seem unharmed. Kenny is a odd character, his mannerism are rather relaxed he seemed unfazed by being shot.

Meanwhile, the other scouts hear the commotion. Mikasa finally tells them what Levi told her, “from now on, we’ll be fighting humans, too, and not just Titans.” The shift in dynamic from killing Titans to killing people was always going to be a dramatic shift in the series. It isn’t surprising that many of the characters are apprehensive regarding killing humans. It’s much easier to kill Titans not so much in from a technical standpoint, but from a mental.

Levi tells them that they “can’t hesitate,” when it come time to kill. Of course Jean and Armin struggle with this. After capturing the wagon, Jean does indeed hesitate, but so does the woman aiming her gun at him, it’s Armin that kills her saving him. Despite, Armin’s efforts, the Military police succeed in capturing Eren and Historia. Armin has a profoundly negative physical, emotional and mental reaction. He starts to cry, throw up and lose his appetite.

 

He concludes that “the person he killed must have been a nice person and more human than he is.” Levi tells him to “embrace the new him,” that Armin is the reason that Jean is still alive. This seems to be mild comforting to him. Jean questions the morality of “hurting people,” Levi states that he’s not certain of the morals of his orders. The complexity of characters, their lives and decisions are part of what makes this series so enthralling.

Is it weird that I enjoyed the torture scenes? Probably. The scouts are cleaver in how they manipulate their captives, when physical pain doesn’t work they use the other captive to demoralize the other. This episode has introduced some dread to this season. Armin will clearly struggle with his new experiences.

We find out that Historia is the “true royal successor,” and she with Eren are with Rob Reiss. While Levi was successful at besting Kenny, his team did fail to rescue Eren. I mentioned this before, but it is surprising and refreshing to see that Eren has taken a backseat to other characters. Even-though it is becoming a troupe that Eren gets kidnap so often.