Anime

Attack on Titan, Season 4, Episode 17: Eren rages, as Marley invades

Short Summary:

The Marleyan’s invade the Shiganshina District. Eren Jaeger is confronted by Porco Galliard, Pieck Finger, and Reiner Braun. Overwhelmed, Eren is under threat of being killed. Onyankopon free’s the scouts, hoping they will rescue Eren. They don’t trust him. If they rescue Eren that means supporting the “euthanization plan.” Armin tries to convince them that Eren isn’t planning on euthanizing anyone. His words are met with silence.

Levi is in the worst way in Attack on Titan Season 4
Levi is in the worst way in Attack on Titan Season 4

Attack on Titan Season 4 continues exactly where episode 16 left off. Hange Zoe is holding the motionless body of Levi. She tells Floch that Levi’s dead. Attack on Titan is willing to kill off major characters but I don’t think they’ll kill Levi, yet. However, he likely won’t return to battle for a long time if at all. With all the betrayal in this season, it’s difficult to keep track of who’s on who’s side. I had completely forgot about the Jaegerist and the fact that Hange was their hostage. While they’re distracted by the return of Zeke Jaeger, Hange grabs Levi and jumps into the river. Zeke explains that he was in the “paths” a channel that connect all Titans and Subjects of Ymir. While there, his body is remolded by a strange girl. Episode 17 introduces some questions regarding the Titans. Who’s the girl? How did she control the Titan that resurrected Zeke?

In the Shiganshina District, Eren transforms in to the Attack Titan and faces Porco Galliard, Pieck Finger, and Reiner Braun alone. With all the power he’s gained and cult he’s inspired Eren has become arrogant. He marches into the fray certain of his victory. At least in this episode it appears he miscalculated. Pieck snipes at him from a distance, while Reiner and Porco engage directly.

The Cost of Betrayal

Having betrayed all his friends, Eren has no allies with the skills to combat the other Titans. While Eren struggles to fight Reiner, Pieck, and Porco the Marely army slaughters the Jaegerists. This was the most unrealistic part of this conflict. Even though Marley surprised them, it doesn’t make since that they would make better use of the environment than the Jaegerists. There were several moments when the Jaegerists were just standing there out in the open being massacred. Meanwhile, Yelena is just standing there talking about how “special” Eren is.

The most proactive member of the Jaegerists was Onyankopon. In his panic state over Eren’s possible death, he releases the scouts. Conny Springer isn’t so eager to help. With all the betrayals he doesn’t know who to trust. In my review of the last episode, I argued that the main theme was the “consequences of mistrust.” As part of the audience you feel like Conny. Who can they trust? Armin makes one final plead. Arguing that Eren is still worthy of their allegiance. Is he? Eren’s behavior was out of character for him. Armin’s argument feels plausible but are we just giving into wishful thinking? At this point everyone’s confused. Especially the scouts.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 12: The power of Hinokami Kagura and Tengen

Short Summary:

While Tanjiro fights Daki alone and becomes overwhelmed by the strain Hinokami Kagura. Tengen finds his first wife, Hinatsuru. After he gives her the antidote he goes in search of the demon. Using his hearing to find Zenitsu, Inosuke, and his two wives fighting underground. Inosuke, Zenitsu, and Tengen all get a chance to show off how flashy they can be.

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 Tanjiro uses Hinokami Kagura
In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 Tanjiro uses Hinokami Kagura

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 goes to get pains to show how much effort it takes for demon slayers to fight. Even the focus on “breathing,” something we assume would require very little effort, feels exhausting. In a flashback, Tanjiro recalls the intense pressure attempting to use Flame Dance: Clear Blue Sky caused. At the time it’s “sheer force,” was too much for him to handle. In the present, Tanjiro remembers Rengoku’s words: “set your heart ablaze.” He performs Hinokami Kagura: Raging Sun, successful cutting Daki’s obi. The Upper Demon quickly notices the “sharpening” of Tanjiro’s skills. However, he’s still not able to handle Hinokami and collapses.

Daki attempts to gain the advantage and kill Tanjiro while he’s incapacitated on the ground. In danger, Tanjiro uses Recovery Breathing to regain his some of his movement. Throughout this fight, Daki is impressed Tanjiro has kept up, but she’s not the least bit concerned. It’s clear that Tanjiro is already heading towards his end. Regardless, he’s determined to protect the innocent. Meanwhile, Inosuke is terrorizing the women in the brothel as he rampages, while searching for the demon. He finds the hole leading to the demon lair and creepily dislocates his joints to slither through the tunnel. Once inside, Inosuke finds Daki’s Obi, draped around like webbing. He finds he victims trapped inside including Zenitsu.

Maybe you should stay asleep the whole time

– Inosuke

Things are going to get real flashy

Suddenly, the sash, with a face and mouth, begins attacking Inosuke. He easily avoids it, while freeing the captured humans. Daki orders the sash to catch Inosuke and the “ten most beautiful,” she can kill all the rest. Makio and Suma help battle the “worm belt,” as Inosuke calls it. Inosuke is concerned if the worm belt isn’t the real body then he will be stuck down their “forever.” Without warning, Zenitsu uses Thunder Breathing, First Form: Thunderclap and Flash, Sixfold, and begins cutting up the sashes. While Zenitsu was causing a ruckus, Tengen was crashing through the ground. He enters the lair in epic fashion. The worm belt instantly identifies Tengen as a Hashira. Tengen attacks, slicing the belt into tiny pieces.

Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 12 shows us the difference between the trio and Tengen. First the worm belt is impressed with Inosuke’s “intuition”, his ability to “detect murderous intent”. He’s able to avoid the worm belt’s attacks. Zenitsu, who still needs to be unconscienced has amazing speed but wasn’t able to kill the worm belt either. When Tengen appears, the worm belt doesn’t have time to dodge. Tengen’s speed overwhelms her and she’s quickly killed. The gap in power between Inosuke, Zenitsu, and Tanjiro when compared to Tengen and Daki is notable.

Anime

Year in Review (2021)

Last year I failed to accomplish everything I set out to do for this blog. This year wasn’t much different. 😞 Oh, well. I’ll keep trying. Anyway, 2021 save my blog reach two big milestones. First, I posted my 1,000th post. 🎉 Second, I just missed 200,000 views in 2021 (I just missed 100,000 in 2020) so progress. I’ve decided in 2022, I will summarize the plot/episode and then give my opinion when reviewing. My goal is to give more of my view instead of just recapping the episode. To this end, my top goals for 2022 will be to:

  1. Use the anime community more.
  2. Be more consistent (blogging).
  3. Give more of my opinion.
  4. Write more essays.
  5. Improve overall writing.

Most Popular Post from 2021

#5 – Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 14: Recap and Review

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

#3 – Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 15: Recap and Review

#2 – Bleach Special One Shot

#1 – Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 24: Recap and Review

My favorite posts from 2021


Cover of Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Wolf Queens and Girl Heroes: How Lonely Castle in the Mirror Plays with Gendered Fairytale Tropes

“For many of us, fairytales were our very first foray into literature, with famous stories such as Snow White and Cinderella linking us to a literary heritage that winds back centuries. However, they are not without fault. Certain features of fairytales—such as the strength of association between physical beauty and inner virtue, the black-and-white takes on ethics and morality, and (of course) sexist tropes such as the damsel in distress . . .”

Read More Here.


Storytelling in the Midst of History: Reflections on Heike Monogatari

While the initial reception has been relatively subdued, many will no doubt look back on Heike Monogatari both for what it is and for what it represents; a significant work of animated cinema which marks a new beginning in director Naoko Yamada’s career. To that end, the sakuga community has already set out analyzing the significance of Yamada’s exit from Kyoto Animation in view of the outside industry’s inability to realize her naturalistic animation philosophy with any degree of consistency.

Read More Here.


Image from Sakugabooru.com

Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway’s focused excellence and the state of 2D mecha anime

Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway is the latest iteration of Sunrise Studio 1’s high-profile Gundam productions. A mere look at the synopsis will tell you that it’s not exactly the most welcoming starting point for Gundam‘s Universal Century timeline. Its conflict is a direct consequence of previous events, with the Federation having fallen into its oppressive habits yet again after the Second Neo Zeon War, and protagonist Hathaway Noa’s drive to lead the terrorist organization Mafty to confront them ultimately being the fact that he’s haunted by his actions during Char’s Counterattack…”

Read More Here.


Image from otakulounge.net

Sailor Fuku: The Long and Short of It

“Despite or perhaps even because of its prevalence in anime, the traditional sailor-style school uniform, or sailor fuku, is one of the more misunderstood articles of clothing out there, particularly by those viewers who may watch anime only now and again or have little to no direct knowledge of Japanese daily life. I must admit, even as someone who consumed anime voraciously prior to my actual move to Japan, I was still surprised by some of the things I discovered firsthand, especially when it came to things like school-specific rules around sailor fuku and what students could/could not get away with.”

Read More Here.


Anime Review #66: Rebuild of Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0

“After 14 years of production, loaded with lots of hope and speculation rivaled only by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ longstanding playoff incompetence, it is here that my thoughts on the Rebuild of Evangelion series finally comes to a close. I shall review the final film in the quartet, Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon A Time, the definitive ending of Hideaki Anno’s re-mastered edition of his 1995 magnum opus.”

Read More Here.

🎊 🎉✨🍾🥳🕛🎆

Happy New Year. Hopefully, 2022 will better than 2021. Thanks to all my supporters. I hope you stick with me for another year.

Anime

Demon Slayer Season 2, Episode 11: Tanjiro prepares to face Daki

Short Summary:

In Demon Slayer Season 2 Episode 11, Tanjiro prepares to fight a Upper Rank Demon. With Zenitsu missing, Inosuke, Tanjiro, and Tengen dig deeper into the location of the demon. Tengen regrets bring low level Demon Slayers into this fight and dismisses Inosuke and Tanjiro, as he intents to look for the demon alone. However, Tanjiro and Inosuke are only inspired to step up their since of urgency. Tanjiro detects the scent of the demon at the Tokito House. Alone, he encounters the Upper Rank Six Demon, Daki.

Koiuatsu’s kindess

So far in this arc I’m having a difficult time telling the Oiran apart. I wasn’t sure Koinatsu was Daki or a different character until her name was mentioned. This isn’t a big problem, but it can cause confusion. I wonder if anyone else had this issue. Regardless, episode 11 shows use the other side of the entertainment district. Koinatsu’s young assistants look up to her and she clearly cares about them. She gifts them each a hirauchi kanzashi hairpin. It’s a touching moment. However, the district is still an unhealthy environment featuring constant death and disappearances. The master of Kyogoku House is informed by a chaperone that “Zenko (Zenitsu)” is missing. Daki has used fear to gain the complicity of figures like the owners of the brothels. If they cross her she’ll kill them. Regardless, the master still feels guilty for his cowardice and is clearly heartbroken over his wife death.

The Wisteria Flower Engraving

I can’t get over how much Inosuke’s personality has change. He’s changed from a mindless brute to a think brute. He’s likely to be more effective this way. When he and Tanjiro discuss their situation, he thoroughly explains the ranking system, specifically the “Wisteria Flower Engraving.” Each member has their rank inscribed on their hand. If they wish to check their rank they can say the password and flex their arm to reveal it. After candidates become members of the Demon Slayer Corp, they’re granted the lowest rank in the organization: Mizunoto. Overall, there are ten, beginning with Mizunoto, there’s: Mizunoe, Kanoto, Kanoe, Tsuchinoto, Tsuchinoe, Hinoto, Hinoe, Kinoto, and Kinoe. According to Inosuke, our trio has reach the rank of Kanoe. The Hashira are the most elite. In order to reach this level, as Demon Slayer must “either successfully kill 50 demons or a member of Twelve Kizuki as a Kinoe.”

With Zenitsu’s kidnapping, Tengen admits his motives were selfish. He wanted to rescue his wives more than anything leaving Zenitsu vulnerable. He dismisses Tanjiro and Inosuke telling them he “regrets in making them join him in his mission.” Neither, Tanjiro nor Inosuke are going to quit. They plan to search for the demon at night. Tengen has become more directly involved and threatens the master of the Kyogoku House. He gives Tengen Daki’s location but the demon isn’t present. He runs off to the Kirimise district to speak to Hinatsuru, leaving Tanjiro and Inosuke vulnerable. Tanjiro encounters Daki, as she begins to “consume” Koinatsu. Daki seems interested in the prospect of encountering another Hashira. Seeing the Upper Six kanji in her eye, Tanjiro orders her to “let Koinatsu go.”

Upper Six Daki verses Tanjiro

Angered at the disrespect, Daki attacks him with her obi, sending Tanjiro hurling into a nearby house. Realizing he’s outmatched, Tanjiro resolves to face her. They clash, with Tanjiro using his Water Breathing, Fourth Form: Striking Tide, Turbulent to counter her obi’s attack. He manages to cut one off “freeing” Koinatsu. Daki is impressed with his “mid-air” abilities. Still, Tanjiro is going up an Upper Demon, can he do it without aid? It doesn’t matter. Tanjiro knows he must face her and prepares to do so. Where in the early cat and mouse phase of this fight. Just how large is the gap between Tanjiro and Daki? Zenitsu and Tengen have conveniently been removed from the story (temporarily), leaving Inosuke and Tanjiro to fight. It would be reasonable to expect Tanjiro to defeat Daki but with a Hashira present it would be silly to leave him to fight some underling. If Daki is strong enough to kill seven Hashira, Tengen may need Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu’s help.

Manga

My favorite 7 manga that started (and for some ended) in 2021

7) Candy Flurry

Candy Flurry is a manga series that began in April of 2021. Unfortunately, it’s already been cancelled. The series followed Tsumugi Minase, a “sweet user” who uses a lollipop as a weapon. In the world of Candy Flurry, a corporation called the Toy Toy Candy, makes confections that grant those that eat them magic candy powers. After five years, Toy Toy Candy became restricted and the “Sweet Police” were formed to stop Sweet Users. Each user can’t have the same powers but somehow Minase and a mysterious criminal both can use lollipop’s. She must hide her powers to avoid getting arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Candy Flurry only reach 2 full volumes, but I think it’s worth a read.

6) The Hunters Guild: Red Hood

Like Candy Flurry, The Hunter Guild got the axe. A manga from Yuki Kawaguchi, Hunters Guild tells the story of Velou. From the small village of Kasoka, Velou calls the Hunters Guild to deal with their werewolf problem. Grimm is a hunter that arrives. At first she’s a little then she becomes a tall woman. Hunters Guild was always a gamble. Based on the fairytale (Little Red Riding Hood), the series was potential going to feel unoriginal. It liked what Kawaguchi did with werewolf lore, but it wasn’t enough.

5) Ayashimon

Ayashimon is a new series written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku. Maruo Kaido is a manga fan with dreams of becoming a “manga hero”. Blessed with superstrength due to special training inspired by manga he reads, Maruo meets Urara. An oni ayashimon, Urara is on the run from the ayashimon yakuza. Using his strength, Maruo saves her from the gang. Impressed, Urara recruits him into her yakuza group. The first question that came to mind after reading the first chapter of Ayashimon was, do we really need ANOTHER series about demons? I think the genre is becoming bloated. That said, making the ayashimon yakuza is an interesting twist. I don’t think it will be enough. But, I’ll give it a try.

4) Choujin x

Sui Ishida is best known for the series Tokyo Ghoul, which collectively sold 34 million copies. This year Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump released Choujin X. The story focuses on Azuma Higashi and his friend Tokio Kurohara. Polar opposites, the two friends live in the Yamato Prefecture, a district overwhelmed by Choujins. After an encounter with a Choujin, Tokio and Azuma decide they must become Choujin themselves. Tokio injects himself with a mysterious syringe, transforming into a vulture form. His life will never be the same.

3) Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse

A spinoff of the popular Seven Deadly Sins series, Four Knights of the Apocalypse follows Percival, a young boy who’s prophesized to become one of the Four Knights that will destroy the world. Unlike sequel series like Boruto, Four Knights was deliberately separated form the cast of Seven Deadly Sins. Instead of using the son of Meliodas and Elizabeth, Tristan, Nakaba Suzuki created Percival. Son of the Holy Knight, Ironside, Percival was raised by his grandfather until his father tried to murder them both. Percival is set on a journey to find his father and get revenge.

2) Bleach: One Shot

Like most Bleach fans I was eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best manga series. This year the Bleach One Shot was released. As Soul Society prepares for Soul Funeral Festival, a “ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain.” Kubo attempts to explain the reason we never heard of this festival is due to how rare Captain deaths are. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander Genryusai, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. The One Shot introduces several new characters specifically, Vice Captains Rindo and YuYu. I wouldn’t recommend it for those new to Bleach. The One Shot is worth reading especially if you’re a fan of the series.

1) Dandadan

I was first drawn to this series when I saw the art on Twitter. Dandadan is a series written and illustrated by Yukinobu Tatsu. It focuses on high school girl Momo Ayase. She believes in ghosts but not aliens, contrasting her with Okarun, who believes aliens but not ghosts. The two decide to prove each other wrong by heading to separate locations where the occult are known to exists. They both prove the other right, as they encounter aliens and ghosts respectively. Manga isn’t short on demon, ghosts, and the other occult imagery but I think Dandadan has a unique spin on this genre. I love the creative design of the various creatures, they’re so well done and imaginative. Dandadan blends sex comedy, action, and humor with beautify art. I think it’s the best new manga series of 2021.