Manga

Gachiakuta Chapter 1 Review: Do souls dwell in trash?

Introduction

The manga industry can be cut throat. New series only have a short period to capture readers attention before they’re judged worthy of continued publication. If a series manages to produce enough hype it can quickly take off like Jujutsu Kaisen. While JJK’s success is rare, a manga series doesn’t necessarily have to reach those heights. Gachiakuta is a potential hit. It’s already causing a stir among manga fans and I’m always looking for another series to read. Written and illustrated by Kei Urana (Kanaru) a former assistant to Atsushi Ohkubo (Soul Eater/Fire Force), Gachiakuta Chapter 1: Heaven, introduces us to Rudo and the “shitty” world he was born into.

The Trash Vandal Rudo

The world of Gachiakuta has a simple class system. The rich live in the city while the poor called “tribe folk” live in the slums. Rudo is introduced as he steals trash from the city. When he returns home, he’s chastised by his crush Chiwa. For Rudo, collecting rich people’s trash allows him to make use of “old” things and sell them as well. In Gachiakuta, the slums are populated with the descendants of criminals. Some bullies show up to mock Rudo. They reveal that he’s a child of “murderers,” and he’s destined to become one as well.

Rudo was taken in by Regto. He tells Rudo it isn’t his responsibility to earn money. However, Rudo feels obligated to contribute. Regto warns Rudo that if he keeps stealing from the waste collection site he could be executed or “throw him into the Abyss.” Rudo’s parents appeared to have been monsters. Not only did Rudo’s father get thrown in the Abyss for murder, they scarred Rudo. His hands are revealed to be black and according to Rudo he “sometimes feels excruciating pain.” Regto gave Rudo gloves that both covered his scars and subdued his pain. 

Enter the Abyss

The Abyss is a large dump site. All trash is eventually thrown down there as well as criminals. Rudo witnesses another man being dropped into the Abyss, as he wonders what’s “down there,” Chiwa surprises him from behind. After a touching moment between them, Rudo rushes home with excitement. On his way he crashes into a suspicious man in a mask and hood. Rudo brushes the moment off and heads home. There he finds a horrific site. Regto has been murdered.

Rudo tries to save his foster father, who tells him to “run,” and that Rudo needs to change “this shitty world.” Suddenly, the cops shoot Rudo in the back with tasers. He’s instantly accused of Regto’s murder. It doesn’t take much for Redo to be convicted and sentenced to death. Enraged by the death of Regto and the false accusations, Redo tells the crowd that they’re the “filthy ones,” “pieces of shit,” who don’t have minds of their own. He sees the masked man and snaps. As he’s dropped down he promises to send all of the people in the slums “to hell.” Rudo lands in the Abyss, where the filthy live.

Impressions

At first glance, Gachiakuta isn’t anything special but I can see its promise. The story isn’t particularly original yet, especially regarding its class politics; rich people are bad, poor people are oppressed. Regardless, I’m interested. Do rich people commit crimes and drop down from the city to the slums? Or do they just avoid punishment? Is it possible to rise up to a higher class? Then there’s the obvious questions. Who killed Regto and why? Has Chiwa really given up on Rudo? What was the massive black thing Redo saw when falling? An important quality I look for in manga is its art style. Kei Urana’s art style is expressive, fluid, and detailed. She makes good use of shadow and motion. Her inspiration from the Fire Force and Soul Eater series are present. I loved the art in those series so I love Gachiakuta’s style. I read the first volume of Gachiakuta before determining whether I’ll review this series, but so far I’m intrigued. 

Anime

One Piece: The outrageous Joy of Joy Boy

In One Piece Chapter 1044, one of the Five Elders mentions that “there is no power more ridiculous” than Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika. He wasn’t kidding. When Luffy reaches Gear 5, he becomes more energetic, constantly bouncing around. It reminded me of the old Saturday morning cartoons (Looney Toons) from my childhood. Luffy grabs Kiado and swings him around, repeatedly bashing him into the ground as he inflates, grins, and laughs. Many of the characters eye bulge out of their sockets (also like the cartoons). One Piece Chapter 1045 almost felt like a completely different series. However, the absurdity of Joy Boy’s powers felt appropriate for Luffy’s personality.

Luffy using Gear Five and his Awaken ability against Kiado in One Piece Chapter 1045
Luffy using Gear Five and his Awaken ability against Kiado in One Piece Chapter 1045

Awakening the Gomu Gomu no Mi

It was mentioned earlier in the series by Donquixote Doflamingo that one can reach another “stage” of their Devil Fruit abilities. This occurs rarely but bestows more power on the user. It’s not made clear what exactly triggers this transformation but reaching a moment of near death may be one. Without fully mastering their awakened abilities the user will exhaust their stamina quickly. Furthermore, the user can “spread their power beyond their own body and transform or alter the properties of the material around them to match the nature of their Devil Fruit power, as well as manipulate the transformed material in any way they desire.” This effect allows the user to “to transform the environment from afar, as well as control it with just their mind,” whereas, unawaken Devil Fruit users must “touch what they wish to transform, and often requires bodily movement to be controlled.”

Law and Kid using their awaken powers against Big Mom in Chapter 1030
Law and Kid using their awaken powers against Big Mom in Chapter 1030

So far the only Devil Fruit user to have awakened their abilities are five Zoan types: Luffy, Minotaurus, Minokoala, Minorhinoceros, and Minozebra. Four Paramecia types have also awakened: Doflamingo, Katakuri, Law, and Kid. It seems like awaken doesn’t occur with the Logia type and is a way to increase the abilities of some Zoan and Paramecia abilities to that of Logia. It should be noted that Kid and Law both used their “awaken” abilities during their fight with Big Mom. Law’s Kroom allows him to “adhere a miniature room to his weapons, which then gain the ability to extend as far as he desires, harmlessly bypass anything solid and directly operate on the insides of whatever they may phase through,” he also can use R-Room to “create and throw a room on a particular object and dictate a specific effect to take place in it.” Kid’s Assign ability allows him to turn anything he touches into magnet. By assigning one of the two poles, he can use the magnetic polarity to force objects to crash into one another.

Listen up, hatchling. Devil Fruit abilities have a whole other stage to them. It’s called “Awakening”! Very rarely, an ability will “awaken”, and begin to affect things other than the user’s own body!

Kiado notes that Luffy’s transformation is a hallmark of the Zoan Devil Fruit. He attempts to bite Luffy but it backfires as Luffy bounces around inside Kaido. Luffy is able to transfers his rubber qualities to Kaido’s body as well. When Luffy sees two light he grabs at them, pushes through them, and then latching on to Kiado’s nose pulling himself out. It looks painful but because Kaido’s body is rubber it doesn’t appear to do much damage. Luffy them enlarges himself using Gomu Gomu no Gigant and as a giant manhandles Kaido, using the Yonko as a jump rope. Luffy deflates and ages after exhausting himself Kaido promises that after his “death” he will make sure Luffy’s story get told. Unwilling to die just yet, Luffy pushes himself once again while remembering Pedro, Kinemon, and Momo.

As Kaido attacks with his Hassaikai, Luffy appears to be impervious to damage but not pain. He then bounces off the environment eventually launching into Kaido. Confused by his new appearance and fighting style, Kaido is unable to avoid Luffy’s punch that goes through his head knocking him to the ground. Luffy’s new powers seems to not only alter his opponents body but mental disorients them with confusion.

Sun God Luffy

Sun God Nika was first mentioned by Who’s-Who, the former CP9 agent that was responsible for losing the Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit to Lucky Roux. He claims that he heard the rumor of the warrior from a guard while in jail. Nika was a liberator, rescuing slavery from their bondage. In Chapter 1044, one of the Five Elders mentions that the Hito Hito no Mi, Model is named “after” a God. Early in the series during the Skypie arc, specifically chapter 287 page 15, a “God of the Sun” is mentioned along with a “God of Rain”, “God of the Earth”, and “God of the Forest”.

Four God’s introduced in One Piece Chapter 287

I don’t think Luffy is a God. But I do think that the Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit was used by this Nika. He likely inspired people to worship him for his amazing abilities especially after awakening them. One of the Elders mentions that the World Government has been trying to “recover” the Devil Fruit for “800 years.” A more superstitious society would probably assume a Devil Fruit user was a God rather than a human with powers from a fruit. Regardless, Oda subtlety weaving the hints at Luffy’s awakening all these years is brilliant. Otherwise it would have felt like an asspull to make Luffy stronger. The Elders are right, the power is ridiculous and I love that.

Anime

Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 28: The Dawn of Humanity

The cycle of revenge and hatred has been the central theme of this season of Attack on Titan. What would it take to put an end to this toxic reality? Eren seems to have concluded that genocide would been the appropriate remedy. Obviously if he killed every opponent it would be but I think there will be survivors would likely perpetuate more violence. Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 28, “The Dawn of Humanity,” is mostly a series of flashbacks exploring the moment Eren was set on this destructive course. Mikasa wonders what went wrong with Eren and recalls their initial trip to Marley. The Scouts are excited to see the world outside of the Walls, marveling at the wonders like cars and ice cream.

We witness the bigotry of the Marleyian people when a pickpocket steals Sasha’s purse. The surrounding crowd demands he be punished and the Scouts save him from potential death. This scene reinforces the fact that the Marleyan are afraid of the “Subjects of Ymir,” going so far as to use blood testing to expose them. Despite this there’s a group called the “Subjects of Ymir Protection,” this group argues that aid should given to them, especially because their “victims of the Eldian Empire’s forced interbreeding,” However, they advocacy group has no love for the Island of Paradis who they refer to as the “true enemy.” This is the moment Eren appeared to change course and accept Zeke’s plan.

Eren recalls the tragedy of his childhood in Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 28
Eren recalls the tragedy of his childhood in Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 28

Eren recalls meeting with Yelena, Floch, and Historia regarding Zeke’s euthanasia plan. It turns out that Floch wasn’t lying when he said Eren had confided in him. Historia is against his plan arguing that killing the rest of the world would make them just like his mother. We get a brief moment in the present as a global fleet of ship try to stop the approaching army of Wall Titans. I got to admit the appearance of the rumbling was epic. The fleet fire off a barrage of missiles as the Titans swim undersea. Several Wall Titans are destroyed but the remaining Titan swim past them, with stream of steam rising to the surface, the soldiers are incinerated. As the Titans reach land a grotesque Eren in his new Attack Titan form appears.

Attack on Titan will be getting another season or at least a third part to season 4. I speculated that the rest of this final arc would be a movie but another season would be fine. From this point on I think we’ll get a lot of action but I’m not sure what chance the New Alliance has against Eren and the Wall Titans. They’re out numbered (apparently there are millions of Wall Titans) and over powered (each Wall Titan is about the Colossal Titan’s height, can harden, and use steam). I have no Idea what this new Eren form can do but it looks deadly. I’m afraid Attack on Titan might go the “ass pull” route or “power of friendship” route. Personally, I would prefer Eren destroy the world and kill everyone including his friends, than for it to end in typical anime fashion. I am certain that the official final part will end with a bang though.

Anime

Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 27: Retrospective

As Armin Arlelt and Conny Springer come to grips about killing Daz and Samuel Linke-Jackson, Annie and Reiner continue to battle the Jaegerists. In Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 27 the new alliance hits another snag as the Azumabito reveal that it normally takes a full day to prepare the flying boat. They could manage this in half the time if they had the right equipment. However, that’s still too long for the alliance. Hange calculates that it will likely take “half a day the Wall Titans could cover 600 kilometers from the coast”, meaning Liberio is doomed. Kiyomi Azumabito suggests the head to the city of Odina, towing the flying boat while fixing it. It’s possible to get ahead of the rumbling. Hange informs Mikasa and Jean of the plan and they get the others ready.

Floch Forster witnesses the Azumabito’s rushing towards the ship and deduces their plan. He sends the Jaegerists to kill them. Annie’s Titan body loses an arm and Reiner’s takes several Thunder Spears to the face. Witnessing the fight turning against the alliance, Falco Grice offers to join the fight in his Jaw Titan form. Pieck Finger warns him that the “the first transformation never goes well.” She’ll join the fray when she gets the other to safety. Refusing to listen, Falco jumps off and heads towards the battlefield. When Jean eventually finds him, Falco his desperately trying to transform by cutting his hand with a nail.

Falco transforms into the new Jaw Titan in Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 27
Falco transforms into the new Jaw Titan in Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 27

Magath’s Noble Sacrifice

Falco transforms, while Jean, Conny, and Mikasa defend Annie and Reiner. Eventually Floch gets past the Titans and heads toward the ship armed with a Thunder Spear. Gabi shoots him sending the spear and Floch into the sea. Meanwhile, Falco goes on a rampage despite the Jaegerists dispersing. Aware of the situation, Magath asks Pieck to hold him down while he uses a blade to cut Falco out of the Jaw Titan. With that issue over, Magath prepares to defend the rear while allowing the alliance to flee. He’s joined by Keith Sadies and together they plan to destroy the remaining Marleyan cruiser. The two die, after blowing the ship up with Jaegerists onboard.

Personally I’m disconnected from the stakes in this arc. Eren is off committing genocide and I don’t really care. Sure genocide is wrong and Eren should be stopped, but the civilians he’s likely killing do feel real to me. When Hange acknowledges that Liberio needs to be sacrificed it should be a sad moment. It’s not. I believe that the characters, like Annie, do care what happens in Liberio (her father is going to die) but the series hasn’t successfully made me feel that sense of dread.

This problem extends to the sacrifice of Magath and Keith. While their sacrifice is noble, I don’t care about them and so their deaths had little impact on me. Finally, there’s no way the series can end with the next episode. According to comicbook.com the final episode will “take the story up until about Chapter 130 of the manga.” However, the series ends during chapter 139. What happens to the last nine? My best guess would be a movie. So are you feeling emotionally disconnected from the series? Do you think Attack on Titan will get a movie?

Anime

Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 26: Traitor

In Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 26: Traitor, the Alliance is handed their first test as the Jaegerist take over the port and kidnap the Azumabito family. The situation is delicate as they need the flying boat to get to Eren. Hange is afraid that the Jaegerists will destroy the boat upon learning that the alliance is present. Annie Leonhart argues they need to “take out all their enemies simultaneously in order to avoid the destruction of the flying boat.” However, Mikasa Ackermann points out they need to avoid endangering the Azumabito family. The Scouts want to hold off the Jaegerists, while rescuing the Azumabito family without killing any of the Jaegerists. Annie and Pieck don’t think a plan like that is possible.

Annie concludes that it’s “too much” to ask of the Scouts. Reiner suggests they remain behind, however, Hange returns to tell them must fight. The Wall Titans have likely reached Marley already, they need to move fast. Armin and Conny arrive outside of the port building on horseback. They claim to be chasing the Cart and Armored Titan’s. They need the Azumabito family to ready the flying boats so they can give chase. When the move closer they’re stopped by Daz and the interestingly named Samuel Linke-Jackson. They confront Armin with rumors of the alliance. The flying boat is armed with explosives and before they can be removed, Floch becomes suspicious.

Conny hard lessons

If they were in a hurry, why use horses instead of a faster means of travel? He prepares to shoot the engineers. In the commotion, Mikasa crashes through the window. Floch flees from the room ordering the killing of Mikasa, Armin, and Conny. Mikasa rushes the Hizuru engineers and Kiyomi into the basement. At the dock, Armin and Conny come into violent conflict with Daz and Samuel. Daz tries to reconnect the detonator and blow up the flying boat. Samuel shoots Armin. As Reiner and Annie transform into their Titan forms, Conny is forced to kill Samuel and Daz.

If anything can bring the alliance together it’s fighting together. Sharing a common foe can reinforce a sense of shared purpose and strengthen the weak bonds between the two sides. I wasn’t really buying the “friendship” between the Scouts and the Jaegerists. It’s convincing regarding a potential conflict with Eren but I didn’t even remember Samuel or Daz. Regardless, killing them especially after his reluctance will endear Conny to the Marleyans. Conny specifically seems to be learning hard lessons in these recent episodes. I wonder how he’ll deal with killing his friends and leaving his mother to be a Titan.