SSSS.Gridman Episode 05 Review – Provocation

What use is an anime with teenage protagonists if they don’t got to the beach, right? The “beach episode” is an episode when the main characters take a break from the typical episode format and relax. Usually, its also a reason to engage in some fan-service, as the this episode often requires characters to wear bathing suits. Sometimes then beach episode is interrupted with more relevant plot elements. Trigger goes out of the way to zoom in on Akane’s cleavage, it’s all typical for anime. 

Regardless, this episode does turn out to be more that a typical. While no new mysteries are introduced, we do get an big battle scene between Yuta, Gridman, Anti and a new Kaiju. Akane has Alexis create a massive Kaiju. Her plan is to use the Kaiju’s massive size to overwhelm Gridman. However, Junk isn’t on the field trip with them resulting Yuta and Utsumi having too run to a payphone. The Assist Weapons all pool their money to buy the “Junk.” They then brought the Junk to the station. 

Gridman can increase it’s size but not as large as the kaiju. The larger Gridman is, the more energy expended. Yuta transforms, as Borr joins him. Using Forest Extinguisher Missile, Borr puts out the fire created by the kaiju. Gridman is quickly overwhelmed, Anti soon joins the fray further adding to his difficulty. Gridman combines with Borr, to create Full Armor Combine Buster Gridman. Anti copies the missile that Borr shoots. Gridman focuses on the large kaiju, using Twin Buster Grid Beam destroying it.

Provocation for a Gridman episode it was typical, for a beach episode it wasn’t. The only significant change is that Akane now knows that Yuta is Gridman. Yuta does have a ominous dream of what looks like Gridman being impaled by what looks like a spear. Whether this is a premonition or a past memory remains to be seen. Gridman could be getting darker. 

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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. 

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. 

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.

 

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:

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.

Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger Episode 2: Deprived Talent

Episode 2 of Sirius the Jaeger, picks up after Yuliy’s shot. He awaken’s to find himself recovering in the large home of a Doctor Kisuke. Deprived Talent largely focuses on the Doctor and his daughter, Saki. I didn’t even require much foreshadowing to predict that he would die. Saki’s mother had already died years prior. They come to Tokyo looking for the vampires.

Suspicious killings begin to occur at the hands of a terrorist group, Hyakko party. Researchers, politicians and wealthy individuals are being murdered, all this of course points to the Doctor as probably next. I’ll admit when Yuliy is helping Saki plant tomatoes my eye’s glazed over. It was a sweet moment but dull.

However, my interest picked up when they released that the killings are related to the creation of artificial heart organs. I was interested in this new plot point. It also turns out that the maid of Doctor Kisuke sells him out to the female vampire from the previous episode. What struck me was the fact that she didn’t heal her leg like other vampire in culture. Vampire mythology is varied from series to series, but they usually only die from stakes in the heart or fire.

If vampires don’t have the ability of healing everything completely the stakes when they battle will be higher. Speaking of which, the battle between the royal vampire and Yuliy was enjoyable. Her father becoming a vampire made me feel for her, now orphaned I wonder what her place is in the series now. The ending revelation that Yuliy’s brother was the one that shot him and is working with the vampire’s was truly surprising. It’s been done before, but I still wasn’t expecting it.