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.

 

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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.

Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger Episode 1 Review: The Revenant Howls

Sirius the Jaeger is an original anime series from P.A. Works, partial producers of anime movie such as Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa and Sword of the Stranger. According to the official site of the series its about:

Imperial Capital, 1930. A strange group of people carrying musical instrument cases landed on Tokyo station. They are called the “Jaegers”, who came to hunt vampires. Amongst them, there stood a young man with striking serenity and unusual aura. His name is Yuliy, a werewolf whose home village was destroyed by vampires. Yuliy and the Jaegers engage in deadly battle over a mysterious holy arc only known as “The Arc of Sirius”. What truth awaits them at the end…?

The first thing you will notice is the most obvious, the animation. Considering P.A. Works pedigree it shouldn’t come off as a surprise. The problem with P.A. Works is their spotty track record with good engaging stories. So far this episode has shown whether this series will be good or bad. Most premiere episodes don’t necessary tell you whether a series will be good, however, some series are so terrible that the quickly of putting, others are of course so captivating that you’re hooked early.

The story is a fairly common vampire hunter series. The title character being a werewolf and a hunter, the typical conflict between vampires and werewolves are presented. The group of hunters, the “Jaegers,” pose as a band that travel as the “V Shipping Company.” They hunt under the leadership of Kershner. The characters so far are unremarkable and archetypal, time will tell if they break free if my expectations. In the meantime, the action and animation is good enough to have earned my attention at least for the next few episodes.

Images from lostinanime.com

Dragon Ball Super: Broly Trailer released

Dragon Ball movies are rarely plot heavy, sometimes the story is ever incoherent. However, is that really the most important part of this series? My answer would be no. Fighting is the most important aspect of this series and this latest movie trailer shows that this will be continue to be the hallmark of the series. What surprised me was that it appears to be a remake of the DBZ film “Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan.”

This movie focuses on the Broly, a saiyan with immense power. When he was born he had a power level of about 10,000. King Vegeta saw his power as a threat and ordered his execution. King Vegeta was unsuccessful as Broly and his father survived. Broly having matured became rather violent and manic, even for a saiyan. It’s unclear that this story will retell that one, or what changes will be made. One change, Frieza verses Broly, is something I want to see.

Trailer courtesy of IGN.

Banana Fish Episode 1 Review: A Perfect Day for Bananafish

As the summer season begins (and I wait for AOT season 3) I decided to give a new anime called Banana Fish a try. Banana Fish is adapted from a Japanese manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida. Banana Fish will be a 24 episode series that began on July 5, 2018. The original was set in the 1980’s, but this adaption will be modernized. For example, the Vietnam war is replaced with the Iraq war.

Banana Fish was critically acclaimed, due to it’s plot, characters and action. The series has sold over 11 million copies. Banana Fish was originally meant to be a Shojo series, appealing largely to young teenage girls. However, it was marketed as a seinen series attracting a male and female fan-base. The series is considered to be part of the Yaoi (boy love) genre, with the title characters Ash Lynx, a “seventeen year-old leader of a street gang,” and Eiji Okumura a “Japanese photographer’s assistant,” being in some kind of “relationship.”

Carl Gustav Horn, an editor on the English language translation of Banana Fish, stated:

“There’s nothing wrong with manga that make eroticism and teasing their focus, but if you want to make character and narrative your focus, I think you have to show some self-discipline as a creator. If you do so, you may also achieve more profound effects than if you just went for the fan service and easy thrills. I think some Banana Fish fans would argue that Ash and Eiji’s relationship ends up being much more romantic because Yoshida places the emphasis on the struggles they face together, not the snuggles.” – Wikipedia

Any actual sexually contact is seemingly limited to “exclusively to acts of sexual violence and rape, though critics have commended the series’ depiction of rape as universally negative and traumatic, contrasting the common theme of rape fantasy in yaoi.” 

Plot

Banana Fish tells the story of Ash Lynx, as he tries to take down crime boss Papa Dino, while deciphering the meaning of “Banana Fish.” The phrase, Banana Fish is uttered several times by different characters in the series. Eiji Okumura aids Ash in discovering the secret.

The series isn’t for children, featuring a lot of violence. For example the opening scene in episode one “A Perfect Day of Bananafish,” shows a solider massacre his fellow comrades as he’s in a daze. The animation of this series is top notch especially during the bar brawl. While I am unfamiliar with the manga’s art style, I liked the art presented in this series. The color pallet is vivid but not so much that the world feels unrealistic.

 

Banana Fish seems to have earned the hype. It’s not really my type of anime. However, it’s not FOR young men, it’s FOR young women and made by women. That’s not to say men won’t like it, but they may not. I will say that it is a high quality anime, the characters are likable, except Papa Dino (although he’s not suppose to be liked). I’m also rather intrigued by what Banana Fish means and think that many viewers would.

FLCL Progressive Episode 5 Review: Fool on the Planet

The animated creativity of this episode was stunning. Fool on the Planet feature several different animation styles throughout the episode. It begins with what seems like a charcoal watercolor like painting. Then it moves to a sketch style that makes the episode feel unfinished. Finally, the episode transitions to a manga style, black and white with panels. The shifts between the various styles happen sometime between frames as well as scenes.

Ide “fights” Haruko in a abandoned pool, she dominates him, mocking his lack of strength. Ide’s relationship with Haruko is odd, it appears to be sexual on some level but never really progresses pass innuendo. Regardless, after she defeat him, she straddles him telling him that he “knows nothing.” Ide responds in kind telling her that “you don’t satisfy me!” This pisses Haruko off, meanwhile, Hidomi races to the roof and becomes jealous.

She weirdly absorbs Ide in a fit of rage, leaving behind a weird black human shaped rubber type thing. We learn that Hidomi’s mother is closing the cafe, seemingly abandoning any hope that her father will return. It appears that Haruko is working with “the Department of Interstellar Immigration,” and the weird amusement park is finally implemented. Draining the N.O. energy from the students to power a robot. They attack a “Medical Mechanica factory.”

Meanwhile, the rubber suit floats up into space where it’s sucked into a giant satellite and feed to a Canti-like dog by an elderly woman. This is similar to what occurred in the last episode of FLCL, the terminal dog ended up becoming a world destroying machine. Hidomi’s attacks Haruko in her new cyborg form. She chastises Haruko for being “just a girl in love.” Before Haruko can respond the sky turns red signalling the return of Atomsk. While, I enjoyed the animation change, I found it so distracting that I had to re-watch the episode to remember what happened. Which is bad enough considering that this whole series will require re-watching. Anyway, I’m curious what the final episode will bring.

FLCL Progressive Episode 3 Review: Stone Skipping

We are once again treated to a surreal dream from Hidomi. I’ll admit I have no idea what it meant, but It seemed to have something to do with Hidomi’s sexual awakening. I don’t know how I failed to notice this, but many anime seem to have an obligatory beach episode. Haruko and Jinyu accompany the students on a beach trip. Beach episode tend to be an excuse for excessive fan-service. We meet Aiko, Mori’s shy girlfriend and her emotional support plant.

Then everyone begins to play various beach games, the first part of this episode is dull too be honest. We do get a vague answer from Jinyu as to what she wants. She says that “they are searching for an amazing person they once knew.” Oh, it turns out that Aiko is kinda a “prostitute,” or a she puts it a “rent a date.” Anyway, at night Ide goes looking for Hidomi and finds Haruko stripping her down. Ide confronts her and a robot springs from his head.

Meanwhile, the “support plant” ends up being more important than we realize as Aiko’s roommate is seen telling a mysterious older man that he lost it. Ide and Haruko face-off, during this confrontation Hidomi transforms when she comes into contact with Ide. Using a newly acquired guitar from Jinyu, Ide cracks the cocoon like encasing that Hidomi’s was in. Haruko tells Ide to “take of Hidomi’s headphones,” he tries but they drill themselves into her skull. According to Jinyu the “the emergency system has been activated,” to what we don’t know. However, the episode does end with some concert, both Jinyu and Haruko are after “Medical Mechanica.”