Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 21: Recap and Review

Completion (Kansui)

After the epic action from the last few episodes, we should expect Jujutsu Kaisen to take a break from the intensity. Jujutsu Kaisen episode 21 concludes the Kyoto Goodwill Evert. Haruta Shigemo regrets his failure. He notes Hanami was “working too hard.” The special grade curse spirit collapses with a massive hole in its body. Hanami doesn’t seem like it can heal the wounds from Gojo’s attack. Shigemo attempts to “kill” Hanami but is stopped by Mahito. They discussed what they achieved. Mahito could “steal two sets of special grade cursed objects that were sealed away,” Sukuna’s fingers and the Death Painting Wombs No. 1-3. I love this series, but Jujutsu High keeping all six of Sukuna’s fingers in one place is ridiculous. Sure, placing Mahito’s cursed energy on one finger made it easier, but still.

Go, Baseball

What was interesting was Suguru deducting that Sukuna cared about one student (Megumi)? He doesn’t know which student but suggests to Hanami that killing students could undermine the mission with Sukuna. Regardless, their mission to seal Gojo is still on for October 31st. In the present, Ijichi lists the casualties and confirms what they took. We’re introduced to a character Tengen who doesn’t seem to matter other than his barriers. According to Suguru, Tengen doesn’t interact with the outside world and compares him to a “tree.” It’s an odd choice for the Jujutsu Kaisen series to make. I wonder why Gege made him so neutral. Maybe he won’t remain so obscure.

Anyway, Baseball. Gojo manipulates the Goodwill event, so the students play a game of baseball instead of one-on-one battles. Understandably, Jujutsu Kaisen would not have more battles, there can be overkill with fighting. I didn’t find the baseball all that interesting but was dismayed that everyone hates Todo. He’s irritating but has become one of my favorite characters. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him when Maki beamed him in the face with a baseball. Meanwhile, Yaga and Gakuganji discuss how to deal with Yuji. Gakuganji admits he doesn’t hate Yuji, but his existence is against the rules. They’re not sure how Yuji and Sukuna will turn out, but Yaga expects that the sorcerers will experience regret. The Goodwill Event ends with Tokyo High as the victors.

Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 12: Recap and Review

Dot Pyxis suggests giving up in episode 12 of Attack on Titan.
Dot Pyxis suggests giving up

Guides

Attack on Titan season 4, episode 12, “Guides” introduces the emergence of the Jaegerists. They accuse the Paradis Military using Eren to “cling to power.” As the public turns on the military, protesters demand Eren’s freedom. Dot Pyxis and Yelena have a discussion when she admits she encouraged Eren to act without military approval. However, she didn’t specifically tell him to invade Marley. They kept her meeting with Eren a secret even from the other Anti-Marleyan Volunteers. Meanwhile, Hange Zoe and Onyankopon play cards. He’s upset that the volunteers are treated poorly despite aiding Paradis after three years. There’s so much distrusts between everyone the only logical conclusion is for those groups to separate. Onyankopon accuses Yelena of killing those that “doubted” Zeke Jaeger.

Dhalis Zachary

Give your hearts

Elsewhere, Dhalis Zachary tells Mikasa and Armin that they can’t visit Eren, and the military isn’t certain that he’s not being manipulated by Zeke. Armin suspects the military is planning on finding a new Founding Titan. Suddenly, Zachary’s office explodes. His death excites the protestors outside who begin chanting the slogan “Give your hearts!” The culprit is unknown, and the volunteers are under house arrest. Armin expects some Scouts are responsible. A MP emerges from a meeting to announce that Eren had escaped. The following day, it’s revealed that hundred soldiers have defected forming a group Nile Dawk calls the “Jaegerists.” Hange suspects that their goal is to “reunite Eren and Zeke and then reform the military with Eren as its head.”

Pyxis takes over. He demands that Hange bring three soldiers that deliver supplies to Levi’s camp. He believes Eren will try to reach both Zeke and Historia. Armin asks Pyxis what they should do? He responds, “surrender to Eren.” From his perspective, finding the traitors would be too costly. He hopes they can use Zeke’s location to negotiate with Jaegerists. Hange suspects that Zeke and Yelena are in on the situation. With the new fractions, Paradis Island is vulnerable to Marley’s impending attack. The Titan and military power are now fractured. Are the factions going to clash? How far is Eren will to go? I’ve been predicting that Eren might become the new villain. Although, that probably is too black and white for this series. Attack on Titan has entered uncharted territory. Eren is now on the opposite side of Armin and Mikasa, at least for now.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 20: Recap and Review

Nonstandard (Kikaku-gai

The battle between Aoi Todo, Yuji, and Hanami continues in episode 20 of Jujutsu Kaisen. The two best friends rush the special grade, cursed spirit. Hanami grabs Todo with one of its roots, flinging him towards a series of spikes it created. Aoi uses his Innate Technique: Boogie Woogie. He switches places with Hanami. Boogie Woogie is a simple technique that allows Aoi to “switch places with another person or object by clapping his hands.” As Yuji and Aoi attack Hanami, Aoi switches himself and Yuji multiple times. They disorient Hanami. The curse cannot tell if they’re being switched or if Aoi is moving Hanami. Suddenly, Yuji hits Hanami with four consecutive Black Flash strikes. With Hanami weakened by the attacks, Aoi prepares to exorcise Hanami.

Hanami uses Cursed Bud to absorb cursed energy from Yuji and Aoi. Todo switches Hanami and Yuji to protect Yuji. He prepared to block the attack with a cursed energy barrier. Aoi is reminded by Takada-chan about what happened to Megumi when he was injured by the Cursed Bud. Jujutsu Kaisen is interesting in that it sometimes answers or introduces issues that most Shonen wouldn’t. What I mean is that normally Aoi wouldn’t make the mistake of using the wrong technique in the first place or he would and suffer the consequences. Jujutsu Kaisen makes its characters feel more realistic by occasionally allowing them to make the wrong decision by correcting themselves quickly. This is even more surprising because Aoi initially seems like a dumb muscle head.

Gojo is untouchable

However, he is more emotionally mature than assumed and is smarter. Pushed to its limits, Hanami converts the nearby plant life into energy, forcing the flower on its shoulder to bud, revealing an eye. However, before Hanami can activate its Domain Expansion, Gojo ends the veil. The fandom is in love with Gojo. He a Bishonen character, who are known for their androgynous looks and “expressive eyes.” Gojo also is too powerful and would end every fight. As a result, he needs to be removed from interfering with a fight in order to make it competitive. It’s not much different from One punch Man. However, everyone knows Gojo is too strong. I’ll be curious how they remove him from now on or if Geto’s plan will actually work.

Regardless, Gojo continues to impress. After severing the limbs of Juzo Kumiya, he destroys the landscape by combining his Cursed Technique Lapse: Blue and Cursed Technique Reversal: Red to create his Hollow Purple technique. Hanami attempts to escape, but it’s unclear that whether it was exorcised or not. I think Hanami escaped, especially because it didn’t get to use its Domain Expansion. Mahito meanwhile stole Cursed Womb: Death Painting 1-3 and a Sukuna finger. The only downside to this episode is that much of the action outside the fight with Hanami feels like an afterthought. The fight between Juzo Kumiya and Gankuganji went nowhere, and Haruta and Utahime’s fight never starts. You can’t do everything, but I think they could have balanced all these fights better. The Kyoto Goodwill Event ends without a victor, except for Mahito.


100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 31

Favorite Anime OP

(Smile Bomb/Hohoemi no Bakudan)


I usually ignore anime OP and always disregarded the endings. However, every once in a while a song will catch me unaware. Shingeki no Kyojin’s first OP, Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon, Samurai Champloo’s Battlecry by Nujabes featuring Shing02, Neon Genesis Evangelion’s OP, Zankokuna Tenshino Teeze by Yoko Takahashi, and the Pokemon Theme Song by Jason Paige are among my favorites. I struggle to choose between Cowboy Bebop’s Tank! snd Yu Yu Hakusho’s Smile Bomb by Sara White. Both are iconic anime OP’s many fans’ love.

Cowboy Bebop’s Tank! by Seatbelts focuses mostly on music. The full version of the song is four minutes compared to the OP’s two. Using flutes, trumpets, and other instruments common to Jazz, Tank! is fast-paced and energetic. However, I’m a sucker for a pleasant voice. Whether it’s the Japanese version or English, I take a good instrumental with lyrics and singing over just powerful instruments.


Smile Bomb by Sara White

Attack on Titan Episode 11: Recap and Review

Deceiver

Attack on Titan episode 11 opens with the prison escape of Gabi Braun and Falco Grice. Fearing being killed, Gabi plans the escape. She pretends to be ill and bashes the guard in the head with a brick. Falco doubts they can escape at all. Gabi responds that death would only await them if they remain. In Marley, Reiner awakens in a hospital. The first question he asks is “where Gabi and Falco are?” Back in Paradis, Gabi and Falco have been running for hours.

Gabi is determined to get information from Zeke. Suddenly, they’re interrupted by Kaya. She invites them to eat breakfast. Falco tells Gabi to “let him do the talking.” Gabi’s bigotry is on full display here. She doesn’t want to be touched by “the devils,” and she doesn’t want to eat. I suspect that her views on the Paradis Eldians will soften or she kills the family before that can happen. I think the former is more likely, but Gabi is at ease with violence and combined with her bigotry might not be reasonable.

The fissure between Eren and the Military widens. Hange is confronted by the public who questions their treatment of Eren. They believe all members of the Eldian community should have a say. Hange seems frustrated. She tells them, “the situation has changed now that their Walls are open.” Inside, Hange meets with Floch Forster, who leaked the info that they imprisoned Eren. He claims Eren did “nothing wrong,” and is a “savior.” Hange agrees with some of his arguments but arrests him and three other dissenters. If Eren now has a cult surrounding him, I definitely believe he will betray Paradis (or at least the Military) and put himself in conflict with Armin, Levi, and possibly Mikasa. However, Mikasa’s blind devotion to Eren most likely will see her join him.

The Sascha connection

At the Braus family ranch, Gabi and Falco clean the stables. Kaya comes for lunch. Gabi says that Kaya “has not accepted her guilt and asks if she has forgotten the atrocities committed by the people of the island.” This is in response to Kaya telling Falco that most of the workers are orphans. When Kaya asks if that “what’s taught in Marley” Gabi grabs a pitchfork. Kaya tells them what happened to her as a child and asks “what her mom did to deserve that.” She’s aware of the outside world’s bigotry, but doesn’t understand it. Predictable, Gabi holds on to the stories of Eldians from history. Kaya counters with logic, it doesn’t work.

It didn’t dawn on me until this moment that Kaya is with Sascha’s family. During the Clash of the Titan’s arc, Sascha rescued her from a small Titan that was eating her mother. This being Attack on Titan, this situation will only end in tragedy. Finally, Zeke is exposed as a traitor. Magath tells the remaining Warriors that the world will attack Paradis Island in six months. Reiner notes Marley needs to launch a surprise attack, considering the damage they took. With Zeke now with the Scouts (although they don’t trust him), that gives them (in theory anyway) the power of the Beast, Colossus, Attack, and War Hammer Titans. However, with this new cult of Eren, Paradis may not be at full power to stop Marley from devastating the Island.


100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 30

Evangelion title image
Evangelion title

Anime you wish never ended and continued (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Technically, Evangelion hasn’t ended (the next movie is coming this year). However, I separate the movies from the main series. So for this challenge, I’m focusing on Evangelion-only season.

When I first started watching Evangelion, I was a child (maybe I shouldn’t have been watching the series at that age); I was too young to comprehend the complexity and symbolism within the series. I just thought that it was a cool violent mecha anime. However, once I got older and more mature, I could appreciate the series more. I even wrote a college English paper on the series.

They have credited Evangelion with “revolutionized the giant-robot genre “. The series was so successful that it has earned billions. For those who don’t know, Evangelion focuses on a futuristic Tokyo more than a decade after a “worldwide cataclysm “. The story centers on protagonist Shinji, a teenage boy who is recruited by his father for an organization called NERV to pilot an Evangelion.

Using the Evangelion, Shinji along with fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu, combat enemies known as Angels. The series focuses on deep psychological effects that the pilots experience as they attempt to prevent another catastrophe. It features heavy religious symbolism “from Kabbalah, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto“. Overall, Neon Genesis Evangelion combines themes centered on philosophy, religion, and psychoanalysis with amazing mecha battles. I highly recommend this series and wish it didn’t end.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 19: Recap and Review

Episode 19 – ‘Black Flash (Kokusen)’

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 19, Black Flash, opens with Megumi, Toge, and Noritoshi fleeing from Hanami. Toge uses his cursed speech to stop Hanami in its tracks. Noritoshi then uses his Blood Manipulation: Convergence – Piercing Blood. It does mild damage, but Hanami heals. The most vulnerable place on Hanami’s body seems to be its branches that grow from its eye sockets. Noritoshi intents to repeat the game plan over and over. Toge stops Hanami, Megumi and Noritoshi attack. They hope to reach the outside of the curtain. Their plan fails. Toge stalls as his throat bleeds. The difference in strength between Hanami and Toge causes strain on his throat. Megumi prepares to use his secret attack. However, Toge stops him. He uses the last of his strength to say, “blast away,” sending Hanami flying into the roof.

Jujutsu Kaisen has tried hiding Megumi’s secret technique several times in the series. Obviously they saving it for the best moment, but the constant interrupting is feeling silly. It’s fine to avoid using all the techniques too early in the series, but telling the audience that Megumi has the powerful ability but won’t use it is odd. Especially considering that they needed help against Hanami. Maki appears. She attacks Hanami with Kasumi’s katana, but it snaps against the curses skin. Megumi pulls out a three-section staff, special grade cursed tool: Playful Cloud, for Maki. She doesn’t do any damage but sends Hanami flying through the forest. Meanwhile, Megumi attacks with Divine Dog Totality, cutting into the arm of Hanami. It doesn’t matter though. Hanami regenerates.

The Black Flash

Megumi and Maki tag team Hanami, using cursed tools against the cursed spirit. Unfortunately, Megumi is attacked with a cursed bud sprout. It feeds off of cursed energy. Despite this, Megumi prepares to use cursed techniques anyway, even if he dies. Maki stops him. Aoi Todo and Yuji crash down. Todo continues his role as mentor towards Yuji. He says that he won’t “help until Yuji unleashes the Black Flash.” Yuji fails at first but Todo tells him “not to rely too heavily on anger.” Jujutsu Kaisen’s power system is complicated. It’s based on negative human emotion, but too much negativity apparently can backfire. The Black Flash is an example of its difficulty. The Black Flash is a “distortion in space” that occurs when a sorcerer applies “their cursed energy within one millionth of a second.”

It can’t be done deliberately, even Gojo can’t do it when he wants. Aoi praises Yuji for his “growth.” The friendship between Todo and Yuji at first was shallow. It’s becoming a deeper relationship. With Aoi now fights with Yuji against Hanami. Sensing that the fight will become more difficult, Hanami reveals its left arm. It’s black with a red rose at the shoulder. Hanami unleashes giant roots, forcing Yuji and Aoi to dodge. The scene is the highlight of the episode. Before the two sorcerers can get the advantage, Hanami releases the roots. Todo and Yuji fall. Hanami attacks, but Aoi and Yuji dodge midair by pushing off each other. The act symbolises the closeness that Yuji and Aoi’s relationship has reached. As Hanami admits that it’s “enjoying the fight” Todo prepares to use his cursed technique.


100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 29

An Anime you wished was real (Pokemon)

Ever since the Pokemon series debuted in the 1990s, I have always wondered what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe. I would imagine waking up as a child, excited to choose my first Pokemon. I usually picked Pikachu or Abra. Playing out my adventure, I would travel from city to city, collecting badges and Pokemon. During my journey, I would meet new friends and gain fame as one of the greatest Pokemon trainers. As I got older, these fantasies dimmed. However, Pokemon remained a part of my life. Playing hundreds of hours, I could experience what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe.

Catching, training and naming these digital Pokemon was an acceptable substitute for the dreams of my childhood. I always thought it would be cool if the world of Pokemon was real. The Pokemon anime series seems based on the actual world, anyway. I would image that it would be like various sports. With the release of Pokemon Twilight Wings last year, the series took another step towards breathing life into the series. I may be too old for my childhood dreams of catching them all, but Pokemon remains a world I would love to live in.


Pokemon Twilight Wings – Episode 7

Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 10: Recap and Review

Episode 10 – ‘A Sound Argument’

In Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 10, Zeke introduces Eren and the Scout Regiment to Kiyomi Azumabito. She’s an ambassador from Hizuru, a small nation from part of the Orient (East Sea). They’re known for their engineering skills, creating advance weaponry and aircraft. When Kiyomi meets the Scouts, she asks Mikasa Ackermann if she recognizes a crest. She does and reveals a tattoo of the crest on her wrists. Mikasa says they passed the crest down from mother to daughter. Kiyomi calls it “admirable” and explains that “a century ago the shogun’s son came to Paradis since he was on friendly terms with Karl Fritz.” After the Great Titan War, Hizuru was defeated, and they left a child of the shogunate behind. The Ackermann family are descendants of that child.

Kiyomi discusses how Zeke made this arrangement possible. After giving her the ODM gear and promising that she can meet Mikasa, Zeke convinces Kiyomi to help Paradis. Kiyomi seems to be interested in Iceburst stone. We only find the stone on Paradis Island and it’s the primary source of ODM fuel. The arrangement between Kiyomi and Zeke is first “a test run of the rumbling to show the world a sample of its power”, second strengthen the military of Paradis, with Hizuru’s aid. Finally, the Founding Titan and a Titan of royal blood must be passed down. Zeke, facing the ending of his life, will pass on the Beast Titan. He will choose someone of “royal blood” and they must “bear as many children as possible.” Historia agrees to accept this plan, but Eren rejects it.

Historia’s Pregnant

This turns out to be the reason Eren didn’t trust the Scouts. After eating the War Hammer Titan, Eren claims that “there is no prison that can hold him.” Eren grabs Hange through the jail bars wants to hear “if they have anything up their sleeve.” Eren continues to distant himself from the goals of the Scouts and probably Paradis. If this continues, he will probably abandon them and go at it alone. He already tried it once, and it was a disaster (mostly). Elsewhere, Historia is pregnant. The father is someone that grew up in the same area as Historia. Roeg suspects her pregnancy was a deliberate way to avoid becoming a Titan. He thinks they should turn her into a Titan, regardless. Attack on Titan signals the Military is souring on their Queen. They seem to see her as a tool more than a person.

A year in the past, the potential alliance with Hizuru falls apart as they wished to monopolize the resources of Paradis Island. They won’t help them trade. It’s useful for the rest of the world to see Paradis as the land of evil. It brings them together. Mikasa believes that if they can meet the people outside, they might change their minds about them. Eren worries they will run out of time and they would need to determine who inherits his Titan. Mikasa volunteers, but Jean says that “it should not be her since they do not know what the Ackermanns are and it might ruin their relationship with Hizuru.” He then volunteers. Arguing that he’s smarter than Eren. Conny believes that he’s the best candidates because he’s not that valuable and can die in 13 years.

Alliances fall

In the present, Eren and the rest of the Scout’s come into conflict. Jean has always had issues with Eren, and it’s not surprising that he’s leading the conflict. However, I think he’s right. Conny accuses Eren of siding with Zeke. If true, Conny says that they “cut him down.” Mikasa warns them. She wouldn’t allow them to harm Eren, besides he only wants to protect them. Jean disagrees. He points out that “Eren used to try keeping her off the front lines, but he made Armin destroy a port and pulled Mikasa and the rest of them into the raid on Liberio.” Armin and Mikasa will talk to Eren. But will he tell them the truth? All the alliances are falling apart in Attack on Titan. I don’t think Eren can be trusted or the military. Paradis Island may not need to worry about outsides, if they destroy each other from within.

100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 28

Favorite Quote from any anime character

The difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.Honestly, there isn’t much meaning to the splendid names given to you by your parents. What does have meaning, is what the person behind that name does during their actual lifetime. The name doesn’t make the person. The name simply remains gently within the footprint left on the path a person walks.

Korosensei (Assassination Classroom)

There are things you can’t see unless you change your standing.

Trafalgar Law (One Piece)

You and I, our levels are as distant as the earth from the heavens. Must I spell it out for you? I have discarded my left arm, discarded my left leg, and yet even then I have not nearly lowered myself to your level.

I… Despise the way you fight. Without ever lifting your own hand… To steal bonds of camraderie and torture opponents is the height of cowardice. It is a lack of shame deserving of death. I am here. Strike me down. I shall kill you and cast you aside… Before you finish swinging your blade.

Let me tell you about the difference between you and me. It’s like the story of the monkey trying to capture the moon. However close he thinks he is to the moon, it’s still just the reflection of the moon in the middle of the lake. No matter how he struggles to capture that “moon”, he inevitably sinks to the bottom of that lake to no avail. You will never reach me.

Kuchiki Byakuya (Bleach)