Snake calls his subordinates “idiots,” for their stupidity after attacking slaves. Suddenly, Snake gets serious and attacks Thorfinn with intent to kill. Thorfinn is triggered, instantly reminded of Askeladd, he reacts and delivers a swift kick that Snake blocks. Snake comments that it seems that Thorfinn’s body wants him to live. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews Thorfinn appears to have given up on life. Regardless, I predicted that Thorfinn will eventually find something that matters to him.
Pater tends to Thorfinn’s wounds which are shallow. According to Pater, Ketil doesn’t “know what to do” with the mercenaries. If the farm is so peaceful, then the mercenaries become restless, looking for danger. Einar continues to be enraged by the dismissive nature that many on the farm has towards the lives of slaves. Einar and Thorfinn come into conflict in this episode, sort of. Thorfinn says that “it can’t be helped as the strong kill the weak.” Thorfinn’s nihilism bothers Einar. Despite being told that he can have the day off, Thorfinn goes to work cutting down trees.
Einar joins him and asks him if he has ever been to war? Thorfinn confirms not only that he’s been to war but he’s killed too many people. To Einar, Thorfinn reminds him of the men that killed his family. While sleeping, Thorfinn has another nightmare. Einar begin chocking him. He eventually stops and wakes Thorfinn from his nightmare. Thorfinn asks him “why he keeps waking him up” ? Einar tells him that they still have something to live for. Einar may turn out to be part of the reason Thorfinn finds something to grant him a new lease on life.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 17 focuses on Enji Todoroki (Endeavor) has become one of the more interesting characters in anime. He’s a hero but was once a monstrous abuser. He was obsessed at with being the No. 1 hero failing to surpass All Might. Realizing he will never best All Might, decided he was going to engineer a hero to pass All Might and represent his families legacy. Enji obsession caused him to become a cold and calculating. He decided that producing a child that had a superior Quirk than his own, was the best way to achieve his goal.
If he could merge a ice user Quirk with his fire Quirk then raise this child to be just like him, he would have the “perfect successor.” Shoto Todoroki would become this successor but before Shoto came his mother was chosen for her Quirk. Rei Todoroki is a minor character in the series, so much so I don’t think she spoken more that a few words. Their marriage was what the series calls a Quirk Marriage, which were arranged for the primary purpose of creating “custom children.”
The cost of a Quirk Marriage
Rei and Enji have four children, Toya Todoroki (Dabi) – Quirk (Blueflame), Fuyumi Todoroki – Quirk (Frost), Natsuo Todoroki – Quirk (Frost), and Shoto Todoroki – Quirk (Half-Cold Half-Hot). Once Shoto was born, Endeavor abused and or ignored his other children. He often kept Shoto from spending time with his siblings. In the episode it is revealed that Toya possessed superior fire power to his father but had a inferior resistance to fire, but resistance to ice and cold. Enji is enraged at the news.
At home, Toya has accepted his fathers views completely. He’s inspired to surpass All Might even if his father tells him not to. It’s interesting that Endeavor abandons the dream of seeing Toya surpass All Might but encourages him to focus on making friends, telling him “there is more than hero’s life in this world.” However, his ideology has infected Toya’s mind too greatly. He refuses to stop and begins calling his father by his hero name, Endeavor. In a shocking moment he then tries to attack Shoto, who’s still an infant in his mothers arms.
The tragedy of the Todoroki family
It’s this moment that causes Endeavor to segregate his children. Again Endeavor behavior causes a problem but his response to it make some since. The issue is he treated all his kids like they were a threat to Shoto. Toya knows that his father doesn’t “want” them and blames him, as he should. As a result, Toya begins lashing out at his siblings and mother. It’s horrible to see Toya slowly lose his mind as he fails to gain his fathers approval.
Toya’s argument that his mother is as responsible for this situation as his father is understandable but not accurate. Endeavor is at the center of this tragedy. He wanted a child he could use as the embodiment of his ambition. As a result, he dehumanized his children and their mother. Toya suffered the most. Endeavor is entirely responsible for how Dabi became who he is. Dabi is still responsible for his actions but he wouldn’t have become a villain without his father.
Vinland Saga Season 2 Episode 3, “Snake,” introduces use to the mercenaries and the leader “Snake.” The episode opens with Olmar complaining that nobody understands him. Olmar thinks that “everyone is laughing inside at him.” Olmar shows how privileged he is when he throws a tantrum claiming that he “wants to be killed,” since he’s a “nobody.” Olmar is clearly made insecure by the comforts his father’s wealth affords him. Fox decides that Olmar needs to become a man and the best way to do that is killing someone. Fox claims that killing someone will give him some confidence.
Thorfinn wakes up screaming. Clearly still haunted by his terrible childhood, he tell Einar that he doesn’t remember the dream. When they go to wash faces they encounter the woman from the first episode, Arnheld. Einar assumed that she was Ketil’s daughter but she’s a slave and Ketil’s personal assistant. Fox and Badger interrupt them and leads Thorfinn and Einar to Olmar. On the trip, Thorfinn explains to Einar that they’re “guests” who are the bodyguards of the farm. Einar immediately understands that they’re in danger.
Death has value because everyone fears it
At the mercenary camp, Einar learns that they intend for Olmar to kill him and Thorfinn. Fox sees them as only being property saying that “their lives aren’t theirs and their owner can do what he wants with them.” However, Olmar doesn’t own Thorfinn and Einar his father does. Fox accuses Olmar of “making excuses,” and questions if he’s “afraid.” Thorfinn seems not to care about any potential violence that may come his way. Einar for his part tackles Olmar while telling Thorfinn to flee. Thorfinn tells them to let Einar go and they can kill him.
His statement shocks some of the men. Fox asks him if he “understands what it means to be cut,” and Thorfinn responds “you will die.” Fox states that he and the other mercenaries are selling “death,” and “death has value because everyone fears it.” Thorfinn remains somber and stone faced. This seems to bother Fox who wants to see fear in Thorfinn. Fox begins to slice Thorfinn with his sword, creating shallow cuts. Fox cuts Thorfinn a number of times but gets no reaction. Snake watches from afar and is impressed by Thorfinn demeaner. Fox is about to cut Thorfinn’s eye out and Snake stops him.
Fox reaction to Snake instantly tells you how dangerous he is. Fox freezes when Snake makes his presence known. He even begins to coward, the confidence he expressed before disappears. Snake tells Fox to come closer to him and punches him in the face knocking him out. He then turns to Badger and asks him to explain the situation. My early impression of Snake is that he’s more honorable than you’re typical mercenary but I wonder how far that honor goes. Thorfinn’s demeanor has been horrifying so far. He sees no value in living and has nothing to live for. It’s sad to see, even though I know he’ll find something to make his life worth living.
My Hero Academia Season 6, Episode 16, The Hellish Todoroki Family Part 2 gives us some background on Hawks. Keigo Takami (Hawks) father was a villain who committed a murder for frivolous reasons. Hawks mother, Tomie Takami hid his father from the police. The pressure of being on the run caused her to suffer mentally. Tomie had a unknown Quirk that allowed her to create extra eyeballs that float around her body. She used her Quirk to help her husband commit more crimes. Hawks father was an alcoholic and was abusive towards him viewing him. He considered Hawks to be a problem, claiming that he wanted to “be a free man and not waste time around some punk child.”
Hawks later finds out that Endeavor arrested his father for trying to steal a car. This moment triggers something in Hawks that inspires him to become a hero. What I found interesting about Hawks childhood was the abuse. Specifically, I wonder how he feels about Endeavor’s abuse of his children. As a child he would have no idea but now he does. It’s likely that he no longer admires Endeavor the way he did as a child, but I’m still curious. Regardless, things get better for Hawks and his mother after his father’s arrest. Eventually, Hawks gets the attention of the Hero Public Safety Commission when he saves a group from a car wreck, they offer him and his mother safe haven.
In the present, Hawks is still injured, unable to communicate due to his injured vocal cords. Hawks learns later in the episode that his mother was the source of the leak. His mother flees after being interrogated by what I assumed was Dabi. It was probably an unpleasant experience. Hawks doesn’t seem sad at hearing of his mothers departure. I fact he’s relived. Hawks terrible childhood has made him sort of cold and I’m not surprised. Hawks acknowledges that even if the story of Endeavor and his abuse is true he believes that he’s changed. Endeavor keeping his abuse secret (which is understandable) means that when he had his change of heart that also was secret.
Note: My Hero Academia episode 14 was mostly recap so I skipped it.
Tartarus is the Special Prison for Villains, separated from civilians, the prison is located on an island and features the highest security. The prisoners are separated based on the danger of the Quirks and their crimes. Much like the prison from One Piece, Tartarus keeps the worst criminals deeper within the prison under sea level. All For One’s original body is located inside. Having gained control over Tomura’s body, All For One commands his Nomu to liberate his real body. Two brothers Briareos and Gyges are guarding the Bronze Gate, the Mainland Gate, they’re the first casualties from the break out.
All For One breaks into Tartarus
We get a brief glimpse of the views of some of the guards. One questions the humanity of Gigantomachia and calls the rest “scum.” Apparently, the prison has been accused of violating human rights. Kohei Horikoshi may be commenting on the inhumane treatment common in prisons. Outside, the prison drops the bridges into the sea, and the Nomu destroy the robots defending the prison. While flying over the ocean, Tomura and All For One come into conflict. Tomura tells All For One he “won’t become his pawn.” Tomura lands and uses his Decay Quirk, then he uses his Search Quirk to locate his original body.
A EMP attack cuts off the cameras. The riot control team appears to suppress the villains break out. Goto Imasuji using his Pump Up or Muscular, bursts through the wall. Other villains Hero Killer: Stain, Moonfish, and Kai Chisaki. All For One uses his High End Nomu’s to break out villains from several other prisons like Shian, Bagu, and Kuin. The number of prisoners that have escaped overwhelms the authorities preventing them from tracking the villains. The tides have turned in favor of villains. Dabi’s reveal has undermined the number one hero, Endeavor and the public is mad. It will be interesting to see how that changes once the villains start attacking.
It’s been a few years since Vinland Saga‘s first season ended. I forgot how dark this series was. The first episode of Vinland Saga Season 2, opens in a more jovial manner. Einar, his mother, and sister are enjoying lunch. They mock Einar for his lack of fighting ability. He feels a need to protect the village that was once burned to the ground and cost his father his life.
Einar is no super hero he can’t turn his rage into a powerups to save anyone. He simply must watch in horror as his mother then sister are killed. He’s enslaved. The only thing keeping him going is his mothers dying wish for him to “live.” Slavery is brutal. On the journey to be sold a women falls ill and is tossed off the boat and drowns. To the slavers she’s just merchandise, she’s not worth anything dead, and if she get’s the others sick she’ll cost them money.
“Because you’re outsiders and penniless slaves.”
On land, the slaves are poked, groped, and inspected. They must bathe, have their teeth checked, and are lined next to one another. Einar escapes but he has many problems. He has no money and lacks food, so he must steal. He has no idea where he is and worst no place to return to. This his how to strip the slaves of their identity, dignity, and eventually hope. All they come to know is that they’re slaves and they must accept this limitation or died.
Einar finds a good master
Surprisingly, Leif Ericson appears and is looking for Thorfinn who has been enslaved. Einar responds to Leif searching for Thorfinn, calling Thorfinn lucky for having someone searching for them. Einar is eventually purchased by Ketil and brought to a farm in Jutland, Denmark to “work.” His farm is massive, full of golden wheat fields, and quickly reminds him of his old home. As they head towards a forest the master calls out to Thorfinn, who has grown up since we last saw him.
Vinland Saga is a series that tries to weave together humor with the dreary world the characters find themselves in, all while having bouts of action, and exciting characters. What I love about this series is it’s seamless ability to use mythology, history, and fantasy. It can be a difficult balancing act but this series does it well. Ketil is a slaver owner so he can only be so good, but he seems to be more pleasant than other slavers. Of course, we’ve barely seen much from him so he could be a monster. Vinland Saga Season 2 has started slowly but strongly.
What did you think of the first episode? Too depressing? What do you think happened to Thorfinn between this season and the last one? Opinions on Einar so far? Let me know.
Happy New Years. It time to look back at 2022 and forward into 2023.
I’m happy to say that this blogs views and visitors continue to grow every year but I don’t think that’s sustainable. This year I decided to use Google AdSense, it was expensive but did increase my blogs reach. However, the decline in comments and likes is disappointing. I’m not sure what I can do to change that but it might help to comment on others blogs. I have become lazy and largely stopped doing that.
While I’ll continue doing reviews I think that limits my blog. So I will plan on trying new types of content: more lists, explainers, opinions, more long form content, particularly regarding manga. I have stated that I prefer anime to manga so I usually focus on the former more. In order to include more manga I will exclusively review them in volumes.
Chainsaw Man Season 1 was a marvelous introduction to a new anime series, that at first glance seem to be just another demon slaying Shonen series. Even if Chainsaw Man wasn’t original in anyway I think it still would be a series worth watching. Every series is differentiated by it’s characters, and Denji is different from the typical Shonen heroes. Sure he loves fighting and food, but he’s less sexually innocent than say Luffy or Goku. He’s still immature about it but it’s a quality I noticed. Makima is the most interesting. She doesn’t show much emotion and there’s nothing behind her smiles. Makima gives off a sadistic energy. She clearly manipulative and probably evil but I like and trust her.
The animation is phenomenal and always a joy to watch. MAPPA continues to prove that it’s the standard for the industry. I love the gory violence this series offers. Unfortunately, Chainsaw Man Season 1 Episode 12 was disappointing. It felt rushed and too short. Obviously they couldn’t introduce new information during the last episode of season but it felt like that limitation handicapped them. Still there were interesting events that happened. While the Ghost Devil strangles Aki, he recalls his time with Himeno. The the Ghost Devil frees him and hands him a cigarette with the words “easy revenger,” on it. How and why the Ghost Devil is never explained and how the Snake Devil was able to capture it in the first place wasn’t either.
The hunt for the Gun Devil begins
Does Himeno exists inside? Did she become a part of the Ghost Devil after her sacrifice? I hope not because Aki decapitates it after. He then stops Kobeni from killing Akane (it won’t save her though). Elsewhere, Denji and Power encounter zombies on one of the floors. Power rushes off the elevator and slaughters the undead. Another aspect of this series I loved was the friendship between Power and Denji. Their dynamic is so weird and funny. I love them together. While Power fights, Denji finally comes face to face with Katana Man. Denji is outclassed by Katana Man, being knocked across roofs and overwhelmed by the Katana Man’s speed attack.
Denji’s only advantage is predicting Katana Man’s next attack (aiming at Denji’s head) and using a surprising attack the ability to use a chainsaw in his legs. It was a unexpected outcome and feels like an appropriate power up. Despite being cut in half, Katana Man survives and is put back together. As the credit roll, Makima is seen giving a debrief. Akane is revealed to be the organizer of the terrorists attack. Makima states that she made a contract with the Gun Devil, where she would receive guns in exchange for getting Denji’s heart. Shockingly, Akane is decapitated (this series loves decapitation) by the Snake Devil leaving the Public Safety without the ability to interrogate her. They did gain one thing more of the Gun Devils flesh. Now they can begin to hunt it.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 12 and 13, “Everything but the rain: June Truth,” and “The Blade is Me,” explore what makes Ichigo Kurosaki identity. In episode 12, Isshin Shiba returns to Soul Society. He leaves out some details of his experience in the Human World but informs the Gotei 13 of the new hollow. Masaki and Isshin think of each other and hope to meet again. Masaki has developed a new problem she beginning the process of Hollowfication. The first time she experiences anything strange she’s walking with friends and feels like she’s “crawling in darkness.” As she’s distracted, Masaki bumps into Urahara Kisuke, who quickly notices somethings wrong with her.
At home, Masaki is accosted by her aunt, Izumi, who demands to know why she saved a Shinigami. Turns out Kanae Katagiri was the one that told Izumi in the first place. She’s afraid for the purity of the Quincy bloodline being infected after Masaki was bitten by the Hollow. Downstairs Masaki collapses as the process of Hollowfication begins. A Hollow hole appears in the middle of her chest, Ryuken is horrified. He begs Izumi for the location of his father Soken Ishida, but she doesn’t know. However, as far as Izumi’s concerned Masaki is a lost cause and she doesn’t think Ryuken should waste more time on her.
Urahara’s aid and Isshin’s sacrifice
Ryuken encounters a hollow and is rescued by Isshin. Ryuken and Isshin begin to argue with Ryuken blaming Isshin for Masaki’s condition. Suddenly, Urahara appears and tells them they have “no time to argue.” He has developed a cure of sorts. Masaki cannot be returned to normal but saved form death. He explains what Hollowfication is:
“the process of a Hollow’s Soul being poured into another Soul and destroying the boundary between the two in an attempt to sublimate the latter Soul to a higher level, with it initially being meant to strength a Shinigami’s Soul but ultimately causing all subjects to become mindless monsters.”
Urahara can “counteract” Hollowfication by “injecting the victim’s Soul with a certain substance, allowing it to maintain its balance so that its boundaries are not destroyed and preventing Soul Suicide.” If Isshin is willing to become a human Shinigami hybrid, he can become the counteracting force that will save Masaki. Isshin will never be a Shinigami again (at least at the time). He doesn’t hesitate in agreeing to Urahara’s plan shocking Ryuken who assumed a Shinigami would never save a Quincy. Masaki and Isshin forever connected fall in love, get married, and have children. In the present, Isshin tells Ichigo he the reason his mother died was due to Auswahlen.
The identity of Zangetsu
When Yhwach regains his powers he robs other “impure” Quincy of their power. Basically, Yhwach is the reason both Ichigo’s and Uryu’s mothers died. Isshin reveals that Yhwach is the “father of the Quincy,” and his blood runs through the veins of every Quincy. Ichigo regains what was lost, his resolve and prepares to return to Soul Society.
Episode 13 of Bleach is mostly set up for the upcoming war. Sui-Fang, Sajin Komamura, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, Toshiro Hitsugaya, and Hisagi Shuhei begin to train. Ichigo returns to the Soul King Palace, where he quickly chooses his Asauchi. Oetsu Nimaiya gets to work. Inside the inner world, it is revealed that Ichigo’s Zanpakuto spirit is his inner hollow. The man we knew as Ichigo’s Zanpakuto’s spirit is actually Ichigo’s Quincy Powers taking the form of Yhwach. To be honest its all too confusing but Ichigo gets two cool Zanpakuto.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 12 and 13, “Threads of Hope,” and “Final Performance,” Mr. Compress makes a shocking sacrifice to give Tomura a chance to flee. Best Jeanist is struggling to maintain control of all the villains. He uses his Ultimate Move: Blackout Bind, chocking the members of the League knocking them unconscious. Mr. Compress tells Spinner that he’s going to “buy them some time.” Using his own compression Quirk, Mr. Compress gouges out flesh from his own butt. It works and frees his arm enough to escape and compress Tomura and Spinner.
Mr. Compress sacrifices himself
As Best Jeanist tries to recapture Mr. Compress, the villains continues to use his Quirk against his own body and eventually removes his own clothing. This prevents Best Jeanist from binding the fibers of his clothing. He recalls a famous criminal from the past, Oji Harima, a peerless thief. Harima was Mr. Compress’s great-great-grandfather. Oji’s main goal was to steal from heroes the profited from the hero system, a robin hood type character. Mr. Compress was told that their family “is all about exposing injustice.” Elsewhere, Dabi gives up on fighting Shoto as Endeavor passed out. Mr. Compress uses his Quirk to compress Dabi. Claiming that he’s now passed on Oji’s will to Tomura,
Mr. Compress removes his mask. Announcing that he’s going to perform, “first and final escape artist performance of Mr. Compress,” he releases Tomura and Spinner, with the later waking up Tomura. Awaken, it turns out All For One, has taken over Tomura’s body. The remaining heroes try fruitlessly to stop Tomura, but are too badly injured to stop All For One. As the villain escapes we see the carnage he left behind. Heroes unconscious and some suggested dead, the destruction from Tomura’s decay and Gigantomachia’s rampage. The heroes have managed to save many but failed to stop Tomura and All For One.