Attack on Titan Season 4, Episode 9: Recap and Review

Episode 9 – “Brave Volunteers”

Brave Volunteers is the 9th episode of Attack on Titan season 4. Armin is talking to the crystallized Annie Leonhart, he explains what happened three years prior. The Scout Regiment captures the crew of a Marleyan ship thanks to the betrayal of Anti-Marleyan Volunteers. In the last episode, they introduced us to Yelena. She’s leading the revolt. Naturally, the Scouts don’t trust her. She meets with Hange and Levi inside a tent.

While Hange marvels at the Marleyan pistol, Yelena explains the size and scope of the Marleyan military. It shocks Hange to learn that the Marleyan army has aerial capability. She asks, “why they haven’t attacked then.” Yelena tells her that “the Pure Titans that had been unleashed would have hindered a land assault and that Marley is currently already at war with multiple countries.” After the Scouts defeated and took the Colossal and Female Titan, Marley’s enemies to advantaged and declared war.

We will become devils

They forced Yelena and Onyankopon into the Marleyan military after they conquered their nations. Zeke inspired Yelena, and she shot their superiors on his orders. Their goal is to “free the Eldian people.” We cut to Hange, revealing the demands of Zeke Jaeger to Historia Reiss and the Military. Unsurprisingly, they’re resistant. After Eren reveals that a Titan of royal blood would work around the “vow renouncing war, and with that power they could wake the millions of Titans sleeping within the Walls.”

This was the secret that Eren kept from the Scouts last season. He feared it would cause problems for Historia. The military won’t use Marleyan soldiers, so Hange says they need to find volunteers. These volunteers use radios to trap Marleyan ships, allowing Armin’s Colossal Titan to destroy the ships. With Zeke’s life reaching its last years, Eren becomes concern they’re running out of time. Armin fears using the rumbling will make them into the “devils” they’re perceived as.

We have to fight

In the present, the Scouts deal with fallout from Sasha’s death. Armin doesn’t believe that he “understands” Eren anymore. At the gravesite, Conny and Jean stop a Military Police officer from beating Nicolo. The Braun family arrives to grieve. Nicolo offers a dinner invitation to Sasha’s family. Levi brings Zeke to his “hotel” which is a forest with giant trees. Yelena and the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers are being detained by Pyxis.

They don’t trust Zeke and need to keep him on “a short leash.” Yelena has given Pyxis Titan serum. It’s unclear why they want the serum, but I don’t think it’s good. Elsewhere, Armin, Mikasa, and Eren all accept that violence is necessary or they can’t win. Peace is no longer a possibility. Attack on Titan episode 9 marks the end of hope. The Marleyan military has been severely hampered, but as Yelena stated, their military might be great. The imperialism that Marley engaged in has created many enemies. If these forces join with the Scout Regiment, they could destroy Marley.

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 11

Favorite Mech Anime (Evangelion)

I once wrote about the “mecha” genre for the Artifice in an article called Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction. Mecha anime is one of the most valued subgenres. The genre is further split into three sub-categories, Super Robot, Real Robot, and Hybrid Robot. There are four “types” of mecha’s: “sentient, remote-controlled, wearable, and piloted.” Neon Genesis Evangelion is a “Hybrid Robot” series that aims to “deconstruct” the mecha genre. Gainax created Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno wrote and directed the series.

Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that focuses on a teenage boy named Shinji Ikari. They give him the opportunity to save the world using a mecha called an “Eva.” He uses this giant robot to defeat enemies called Angels. It’s considered one of the most successful anime of all time, grossing over 150 Billion yen. I think Evangelion is one of the most impressive intellectual and though provoking anime ever created. Evangelion has tremendous action sequences and complicated themes based on religion and philosophy. The series can be violent, so caution should be taken if your easily offended. You can miss the underlining symbolism that Evangelion features so I would recommend watching the series several times.

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 8

Inuyasha and Kagome on wedding day
Inuyasha and Kagome on wedding day

Favorite anime couple (Kagome Higurashi and Inuyasha)

Inuyasha was initially angry at Kagome because of her uncanny resemblance to his former love, Kikyo (who he thought betrayed him). He soon realized that she was not Kikyo and showed her kindness. They soon became friends. Over the course of the series, their friendship blossomed into a romance. However, when Kikyo returns, their relationship becomes strained as Inuyasha struggles with his feelings. The relationship becomes toxic enough that Kagome considers leaving Inuyasha. Kagome does become the object of affection of Koga. He develops feelings for her and claims her as “one of his women.” Kagome doesn’t return his feeling, though. Koga and Inuyasha compete for her affection, but it’s never a contest.

Kagome and Inuyasha’s relationship is one of the most sophisticated in anime. They deal with many obstacles like jealously, stubbornness, and romantic rivals. After Kikyo dies for the last time, the two finally share their first kiss. Kagome accepts her jealousy and Inuyasha comes to believe that they “were destined for each other as he claims Kagome was born for him and himself for her.” However, Kagome get locked out of the feudal world for three years. When she returns, Kagome and Inuyasha wed. She remains in the feudal era. After the marriage, Kagome gives birth to their daughter, Moroha.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 13: Recap and Review

Mahito uses Domain Expansion for the first time in episode 13 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Mahito uses Domain Expansion for the first time

Episode 13 – “Tomorrow”

Jujutsu Kaisen episode 13, “Tomorrow” is the climactic battle between Mahito, Yuji and Nanami. Mahito creates an eye in one hand, while turning the other into a blade. The three exchange blows until Mahito transforms into a ball of spikes. This backfires as Nanami and Yuji attack him from both sides. The sorcerers realize that before he transforms, Mahito stores up cursed energy. Needing to split the pair up, Mahito spits up three transfigured humans and sends them to kill Yuji. Mahito assumes that Yuji can’t kill humans. It’s unclear whether Yuji actually kills them, but they disappear as Yuji rescues Nanami. Mahito becomes overwhelmed as Yuji and Nanami beat him, trading hits so quickly that the Cursed Spirit has no time to shape-shift.

Mahito nears death. He activates his Domain Expansion: Self-Embodiment of Perfection for the first time. He traps Nanami inside. Mahito’s Domain is a dark space with a series of interlocking hands that form a flowerlike shape. With the Idle Transfiguration sure to hit, Nanami accepts his fate. He flashes back to his time as a businessman. He recalls getting bread from a bakery girl who was cursed by a fly head, cursed spirit. The spirit caused the girl’s shoulder to fell heavy. Nanami becomes disillusioned with his job and learns the value of gratitude after exorcising the spirit from the girl. He takes off his glasses and says that he has “no regrets at all.”

The limits of Domain Expansion

Suddenly, Yuji breaks through the barrier. Jujutsu Kaisen introduces a limitation to the Domain, they’re weaker from the outside. Because Yuji entered his Domain, it forces Mahito to touch the soul of Sukuna. Having warned Mahito before, Sukuna cuts him, causing blood to gush. Sukuna says that he doesn’t care who dies except Megumi. This arc made me forget about Megumi and Nobara. I hope they’re getting stronger during this period and they get back together with Yuji. Regardless, I wonder exactly what makes Megumi so special. Anyway, Yuji attacks an injured Mahito, but the cursed spirit escapes. In the sewer, Mahito reflects on the battle and notes that Sukuna has less cursed energy but his soul unlike any other.

The end of the Mahito arc was exciting. Mahito isn’t a completed cursed spirit yet. He’s learning and growing. So is Yuji. While he hasn’t mastered his powers yet, Yuji has grown emotionally. He expected Sukuna to help him, even if he sacrificed anything. The King of Curses response shocks him. After the cruel death of Juupei, I think Yuji accepts that his personality can’t save everyone. He had to kill the transfigured humans Mahito sent after him, making Yuji grow even more. He won’t accept humans dying in terrible ways, but he will kill if necessary.


Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 23: Recap and Review

Kageyama focuses down match point in episode 23 of Haikyuu!! To the Top.
Kageyama focuses down match point

Episode 23 – “The Birth of the Serene King”

The twenty-third episode of Haikyuu!! To the Top begins with the Inarizaki up 18-17 on Karasuno. Suna quickly scores, telling Tsukishima that “he lacks stamina.” In the next point, Tsukishima and Kageyama fail to implement a synchronized attack, resulting in an error. They each take the blame for the failure. In the following point, Tsukki gets the spike past Aran and Omimi. Asahi prepares to serve and the commentators note that he’s only been getting 50% of them in this game. With Inarzaki with a 20-17 point lead, he hits a powerful service ace in the corner. The Miya twins get excited. Kita can receive Asahi’s next serve. Aran gets the spike but Tsukki gets the one-touch. Asahi then fails to get his spike through Atsumu. Suddenly, Osamu and Atsumu attempt the knew quick attack but they’re off. Daichi receives the next ball and joins the sync attack.

Kageyama sends him the set and Daichi spikes it. Kita attempts to receive, but it bounces off into Inarizaki’s banner. The teams are tied at 20-20. Asahi is up to serve again. It clips the net. Akagi gets it back over but Tsukishima smashes the ball before Atsumu can return it. However, the lead is short-lived as Omimi immediately scores. The Miya twins try another quick attack but they pivot at the last minute allowing Aran to score. Inarizaki goes up 22-21. Tsukki steps up to serve. Due to his weakness in serving Karasuno is alert especially Hinata. Suddenly, Atsumu performs a setter dump. Daichi quickly tries to get his team to move past the point. In the next rally, Inarizaki reaches the match point.

Karasuno save match points

The Aoba Johsai High members watch cheering for Karasuno to make a comeback. Asahi receives Aran’s serve, Kageyama sets for Tanaka who attempts a cross-shot. However, Omimi blocks it. Nishinoya gets the save and Kageyama sets to Hinata. Aran manages to pop the ball up, the ball is too low but Atsumu makes the set anyway. Kageyama gets another chance to set to Tanaka. Ukai notes that “Inarizaki’s blockers have been more cautious of Tanaka ever since he managed the cross-shot that won the first set and how the blockers have been subtly cutting off the path for Tanaka in case he were to attempt it again.” However, another path is left open, straight up the line. Karasuno is excited and Inarizaki is shocked. Regardless, Inarizaki is still up a match point. 

Kageyama prepares to serve. He makes a powerful serve but Osamu receives it. The power of the service causes the ball to go over the net landing out. The teams are now timed at deuce. Kageyama uses a powerful serve the next time, surprising Inarizaki. They still get the ball over but Hinata gets the spike, giving Karasuno match point. Ginjima saves match point after Atsumu sets in the next point. Deuce. In the next rally, Kageyama barely manages to reach the ball before Suna. When the ball falls straight down, Hinata kicks it over the net. Karasuno has match point again. Episode 23 of Haikyuu!! To the Top ends on a cliffhanger. This episode was successful at building tension and anticipation. It was intense. The match was notable for its focus on characters other than Hinata and Kageyama. At first, I was resistant to it but I think this series was effective. Ending the episode at match point is an odd choice. However, I’ll reserve judgment after I see the next episode. 


Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 22: Recap and Review

Hinata makes an important save in the game in episode 22 of Haikyuu!! To the Top.
Hinata makes an important save in the game

Episode 22 – “Pitons”

Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 22, “Pitons,” Inarzaki becomes inspired by the set from Atsumu. Riseki starts with a service ace. Coach Ukai calls a time-out. He tells the team that “Riseki’s serves should be manageable for them to receive and stop.” After Aran scores on a Tanaka receive, the team’s tie at 11. Riseki’s final serve is successfully countered by Tsukishima. Asahi misses a powerful serve but can return Osamu’s. Kageyama sets to Tanaka, who fails to score on a crosscourt shot. Omimi insults him by calling him a “weaker version of Bokuto.” Inarzaki takes the lead. Inarzaki begins to dominate with the Miya twins performing a “reverse minus tempo quick attack.” Karasuno starts to panic as their lead slipped and the face an unexpected move from the twins. 

Hinata returns

Hinata returns to the rotation, injecting some hope in the team. He is quickly able to get a point for Karasuno. During the next play, Hinata and Tanaka block a shot from Atsumu. However, they were overeager, blocking the shot before the setter could set and the ref calls the point for Inarazaki. Atsumu serves next, and together with his brother, they’re able to set for Aran, who lands a clean spike. However, to everyone’s surprise, Hinata keeps the ball alive with a perfect receive. Karasuno begins a five-person sync attack. When the is deflected after a block it appears to be heading out, however, Hinata once again makes an impressive save. He sends the ball to Kageyama. Hinata rushes back into the court calling for the set. With Hinata distracting the blockers, Tanaka can get past Osamu and Suna. 

Despite this effort, Karasuno loses the next point after the ball clips the net and Inarzaki scores. Ukai attempts to get the team past the last point after another time-out. The team still questions if they can win. Hinata breaks the bleak moment, resulting in the team laughing. Hinata is often praised for his on-court plays but it’s often his behavior off the court that inspires his team. Karasuno is going to need that energy if they’re going to make a come back. 


Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 8: Recap and Review

Aoi Todo is a beast. He attacks Megumi in episode 8 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Aoi Todo is a beast

Episode 8 – “Boring”

In episode 8 of Jujutsu Kaisen, the Kyoto Principal visits the Tokyo campus and brings two of his students, Aoi Todo and Mai Zenin. Before they arrive, Megumi and Nobara are doing an errand for Maki. Meanwhile, Panda expresses concern about principal Gakuganji brings his students. Aoi and Mai quickly accost Nobara and Megumi, mocking the “death” of Yuji. Aoi claims that he wants to see if the replacements for Yuta Okkotsu’s will be “entertaining.” He asks Megumi “what kind of girl he likes.” If he gives the wrong answer he’ll “beat him half to death.” Put off by the question, Megumi hesitates. He tells him that he’s attracted to a woman that has “unshakable character.” Bored with Megumi’s answer, Aoi assaults him. Aoi, in tears, claims that Megumi has “trampled all over his kindness.” Megumi remembers that Aoi was the sorcerer that defeat Cursed Spirits in Shinjuku to Kyoto Night Line of 100 Demons. 

Megumi vs Aoi

Megumi combines Nue with Toad to create winged toads. However, Aoi isn’t bothered and he suplexes Megumi. Overwhelmed by Aoi’s power, Megumi is left bloody before he’s saved by Panda and Toge. We get a glimpse of the latter’s powers as he stops Aoi from moving with his voice. Elsewhere, Nobara is knocked on the ground after Mai shoots her. Maki arrives and the two sisters argue over which is ” more useless.” Nobara grabs Mai in a headlock, demanding she gives her the outfit she’s wearing. Aoi returns and he and Mai leave so he can meet his favorite idol, Takada-chan. On the walk back Maki tells Nobara that she can’t create cursed energy and need special glasses to see Cursed Spirits and uses cursed tools to fight them. Meanwhile, Satoru Gojo meets Principal Gakuganji. He makes thinly veil threats while Gakuganji’s student fangirls in the corner. Gojo states that “the coming age will surpass the special grade classification and they’ll all be fighting to erase the old society.”

Yuji’s new mission

One month later, three teenagers are brutally murdered in a movie theater. It appears that Mahito mutated their corpses. He’s spotted by a young man, who asks if he’s responsible. Mahito is shocked that the boy can see him. Yuji and a new Sorcerer are on the scene to investigate. I’m getting more excited about the Goodwill Event, but I don’t think that it will be that friendly. Considering the small number of sorcerers the culture of interpersonal violence is staggering. Gojo freely and often threatens to kill all the higher-ups and Aoi seems to enjoy abusing other students. Mai feels sadistic. I guess if no one is killed it’s not a problem but the relationship between schools is toxic. The revealing of some of the abilities of Maki and Toge was interesting. So far it doesn’t seem likely that curse tools are enough to harm Special Grade Cursed Spirits, but Maki may be different. Toge powers on the other hand are probably effective. His weird speaking quirks make sense now, I wonder what other limits his power has. Jujutsu Kaisen seems to have more of a horror element than I originally thought. Mahito might be a sadist as well.


Fire Force Episode 19 and 20: Recap and Review

The Nether Zone

Fire Force episode 19 begins a new arc focusing on the Nether. Maki takes center stage. Her father, General Danro Oze, receives a report from the Special Fire Force. He’s an intimidating figure. The Oze family get together for the first time in years. They mock Maki’s appearance for being too buff. Regardless, the dynamic of the Oze family is typical. Her brother heads down into the Nether to investigate the strange smells coming from the area. Along with his colleague, they investigate the strange smells coming from the equipment room. Inside they find Infernal insects and realize that it was a White Clad lab. Suddenly, a White Clad suicide bomber appears and kills himself. The lab is destroyed but Maki’s brother survived. General Oze upon hearing this, demands that the Military be involved in investigating the White Clad.

The 8th is asked to join a joint mission into the Nether. Maki receives orders from the military to return. She doesn’t want to go but when Hinawa tells her to go back she relents. After introductions, Special Fire Force Company 2 and Company 8 explore the Nether together. Fire Force episode 20 focuses on this exploration. This episode was strange. It felt like it had a horror element to it and it felt like it was more bloody than the series is generally. The companies encounter Infernals. The second company open fires and are quickly overwhelmed. I was shocked that they were so quickly defeat considering that they’re military and Maki is so skilled. The episode makes a weird decision. Several of the company 2 members get short flashbacks, one with his fiance, another with his pregnant wife, and the last one with his sneaker. 

Juggernaut verses Orochi

They all are killed by Infernals and reanimated by Ritsu. The scene may have been intended to be funny but it was awkwardly executed. Platoon Leader Hajiki is given more introduction than his company 2 comrades but he’s then decapitated by a White Clad, Orochi. Enraged, Juggernaut overcomes his cowardice and attacks Orochi. At first, he creates a machine gun, but its countered by Orochi’s Medusa Whip. She then begins to strike at Juggernaut’s inflated body, drawing blood. Juggernaut’s ability to regenerate his uniform is never explained but borders on the ridiculous. Regardless, he’s able to use this ability effectively. Juggernaut can hit Orochi with a massive bomb resulting in the obliteration of Orochi. It’s not clear that what happened to Juggernaut, but it appears that he may not survive. 


Fire Force Episode 15: Recap and Review

The Puppeteer and her dominator in episode 15 of Fire Force.
The Puppeteer and her dominator

The 8th will safeguard Nataku

Things are hectic at the beginning of Fire Force episode 15. Nataku Son activates his Adolla Bursts. Licht contacts Company 8, and Vulcan crashes through the gate. Licht opens the gates telling Shinra to leave. So far the Fire Force has been on the losing end of acquiring the Pillars. Nataku seems too young and scared to function well with the Evangelists. Nataku would be taken care of with the 8th, but I’m not sure they will rescue him. Elsewhere, the rest of Company 8 encounters the Puppeteer. Armed with a small mech, the Puppeteer was able to flip the matchbox.  

Vulcan and Mika battle her with Sputter and Flare. The Puppeteer and her Dominator use a vulgar Poot-Poot Blaster that releases a power beam after emitting a fart sound. It’s not my sense of humor but someone might find it funny. Anyway, the Puppeteer dominates the battle for the most part. However, Mika and Vulcan switch Sputter and Flare to Fire Scene Mode. Using even more power with Mika rotating the two Tekkyo, they’re able to create enough force to destroy the dominator. Vulcan and Mika think that they’re out of the woods, the Puppeteer releases several more. 

Trying to protect the weak is a waste of time

Kurono and Shinra’s fight heads outside. Kurono has Nataku in a headlock. Meanwhile, the white-clad arrive to collect the sixth pillar. Charon makes a move on Kurono attempting to steal Nataku from him. The concept of my enemy is my friend is a common trope. It can create interesting alliances as it’s difficult to fight in a three-way fight. I assume that if there’s any kind of team-up it will be between the Haijima and the Fire Force. Regardless, it feels like the Fire Force is outnumbered and outmatched once again. 

Fire Force Episode 14: Recap and Review

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1: Recap and Review

Yuji possessed by Ryomen Sukuna in episode 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Yuji possessed by Ryomen Sukuna

Episode 1 – ‘Ryomen Sukuna’

Episode 1 of Jujutsu Kaisen starts with Satoru Gojo asking Yuji Itadori, “Which one are you?” Itadori is bound and chained to the ground inside a rectangular room covered in tags. Yuji’s first instinct is to ask about his friend’s safety. However, Gojo tells him it doesn’t matter because he’s “destined to die.” Jujutsu Kaisen is adapted from the manga of the same name. Yuji Itadori is a high school student that chooses to join the Occult Research Club over athletics. Yuji prefers to spend time with his friends, and the Occult Club allows him time to spend with his hospitalized grandfather. Jujutsu Kaisen makes a point in showing us that Yuji possesses abnormal athletic skills. 

Fighting evil with more evil

Fushiguro is a Jujutsu Tech student and an apprentice exorcist, searching for a “special grade cursed object.” At some point previously Yuji obtained a cursed object and gave it to his friends, Sasaki and Iguchi. Fushiguro explains that curses feed on the negative emotions of humans. Curses can only be countered with “eviler” more powerful ones. This is a very interesting change from the normal battle evil with good. It can be difficult for anime to separate themselves from each other and the demon anime series is so common that I thought Jujutsu Kaisen might have this issue. Anyway, relic seals degrade over time, attracting curses that feed on them. Elsewhere, Sasaki and Iguchi unwrap the relic, revealing a purple finger. 

People Should Die Properly

Sasaki and Iguchi are attacked by curses, while Yuji and Fushiguro rush to save them. Fushiguro takes the lead, encountering a curse, he releases his familiars or Shikigami, Divine Dogs. Suddenly two “dogs” appear and Fushiguro orders them to “feast.” Outside, Yuji remembers what his grandfather taught him about using his strength to help others. As the curse consumes Sasaki and Iguchi, Yuji jumps through the window, punching the curse and grabbing his friends. When he grabs the relic a curse crashes through the ceiling. Fushiguro quickly pushes Yuji out of the way but is overwhelmed by the curse. 

Where are the women and the children

Sensing Fushiguro’s in danger, Yuji attacks the curse. However, without the ability to use curses he’s outmatched as well. Desperate, Yuji swallows the relic. Fushiguro notes that special relics are poisonous, however, Yuji survives. Possessed, Yuji develops markings, claws, and additional eyes. As he defeats the curse with ease his personality changes. Louder and ruder, Yuji asks “where are the humans, and the women?” He’s excited to massacre all the humans. Suddenly, Yuji takes over his body again, as Fushiguro prepares to “exorcise” him. I will take a few episodes to get a feel for how this series compares to another “demon” centric anime like Demon Slayer or Yu Yu Hakusho. 

I’m fascinated by the use of evil to combat evil. I keep mentioning “demons” even though Jujutsu Kaisen doesn’t have any demons. I’m not sure that there’s much of a difference, but maybe the lore will make it clear why there’s a difference. Yuji’s relationship with his grandfather was odd. His grandfather was abusive. I wonder if the series will expand on that relationship especially now that Yuji’s grandfather is dead. Regardless, his grandfather left a great impact on him. Jujutsu Kaisen is a promising series, I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.