Goblin Slayer Episode 05 Review – Adventures and Daily Life

After the more harrowing previous episode, Goblin Slayer takes a step back from the danger of adventure. Goblin Slayer took 3 days to recover from the previous battle. He helps Cow Girl carry supplies to town, while there he meets the elf archer, dwarf shaman and the priest lizard again. They hint that they might want to team up with him again. The Priestess informs him that she has be promoted to the next adventurer rank. 

This episode takes an unusually turn, it focuses on two new characters as they go on an adventure. They are both rather generic. The mission they embark on requires them to kill giant rats. The male member of the duo kills the rat, but gets his sword stuck in the corpse. He and his partner flees when giant cockroaches come to eat the dead rats.  The whole thing was kinda gross, but I hate rats and roaches. Regardless, the male member is now without a sword. He can’t afford to bu a new one and literally needs to convince someone to give him their spare one.

The whole situation tells us that everything in this world has a cost. The Goblin Slayer gets even more characterization. He is surprisingly approachable and is willing to help his fellow adventurer. If Goblin Slayer is going to focus on other characters, even small ones that will be somewhat revolutionary for a series. So far Goblin Slayer is doing well playing with our expectations, hoping it will keep doing so. 

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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. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 3 Review: Defeat

The episode begins with Akane and a new character Anti standing in the rain. She wishes him good luck and hands him a bag of food. Rikka heads out to school, she looks up at the gray, rainy sky and ask whether she should “skip” today. Yuta, still without his memories, is asked by Sho if he thinks that the Kaiju “might actually be humans.” Yuta feels distress at the thought. It turns out that Rikka did skip school after all. 

She’s in Kamesan Park, where Anti is eating the food he was giving like a starving animal. She offers him her umbrella and her lunch. His phone quickly goes off and it’s Akane telling him to “go wild.” He transforms into a Kaiju triggering Yuta’s sensor, then Samurai Calibur bursts through the class window. He takes Sho and Yuta with him as he jump back out. They meet Rikka and head to the shop to fight. 

Yuta transforms to Gridman, but his fear of harming a person becomes paralyzing as the Kaiju begins to speak. Akane marvels at her work as she reveals that Anti can copy “all his opponents powers.” Yuta and Calibur are defeated and don’t return through the computer. Akane is thrilled. The city is then restored. Several new characters arrive to help Gridman. Akane is of course unhappy that Gridman is still alive. She sends Anti after him. 

The three new characters are Assists weapons like Calibur. Max transforms into the Battle Tracto Max, combining with Gridman. The new form is called the Heracles Combine: Max Gridman and is able to fight to a stalemate. This episode does shift away from the format of the previous two set. Akane tries to change her Kaiju abilities so they are more effective.

She is mostly successful as Anti not only defeats Gridman, but isn’t destroyed after he loses to Gridman. Regardless, Akane is unsatisfied with his effort and throws food at him. Some other changes in the format, Yuta loses, the fight happens earlier. This episode also featured a longer battle. I was wondering if Yuta was always going to have to be convinced to fight the Kaiju if he wasn’t certain that they weren’t human, but to my surprise he simply asks Anti if he was. 

This series seems to be playing with parallel events that occur in the being of the episode and the end with different results. Sho jokingly suggest that Kaiju are human, given Yuta anxiety. Yuta then asks Anti for the answer. Yuta calls Rikka at the begin to find out were she is, she doesn’t answer. When Rikka wants to find Yuta, she calls him and he does answer. Of course Akane is kind to Anti and lovingly give him food in the beginning, then she throws food at him at the end of the episode. I think it’s a smart and simple way to show what the characters have learned. Finally, the “Neon Genesis Junior High Students,” I loved the Evangelion reference. 

Images from Guardian Enzo

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. 

SSSS.Gridman Episode 1 & 2 Review

Rikka, Yuta and Utsumi

SSSS.Gridman is a series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Studio Trigger. Based on the series Denkou Choujin Gridman and Denkou Choujin Gridman: boys invent great hero, although it’s not considered a reboot. Gridman focuses on Yuta Hibiki, a freshman in high school that awakens in the home of classmate Rikka Takarada’s house with amnesia. 

He quickly beings hearing Gridman calling to him from a old computer. He begins hallucinating Kaiju and apparently is the only one that can see or hear Gridman. He’s told by Gridman that he must “awaken” and complete his “mission.” He doesn’t clarify what this means. The following morning Sho Utsumi tells his friend (he doesn’t remember) about Gridman. 

The first Kaiju

After school they head to Rikka’s house. Yuta’s hallucination proves to be prophetic as a real Kaiju arrives and begins destroying the city. Yuta get’s sucked into the computer terminal and appears in the real world as Gridman. With the aid of Utsumi and Rikka he defeats the Kaiju. When they return to school the following morning, the school that was on fire the previous night is restored. 

The following episode, Restoration, explores what happen to the school after the fight. The damage that resulted from the battle was gone, with nobody having any memory of it. However, several of the students that were “killed” desks have disappeared and no one but Yuta, Utsumi and Rikka remember them. We also see that Akane is working with a computer robot like Gridman named Alexis. 

Gridman

At the shop, we are introduced to a new character named Samurai Caliber. He proceeds to optimize the computer and already knows about Gridman. After he finishes all three are able to hear Gridman and see the Kaiju. Rikka and the others go in search of the missing students. Shockingly, they learn that Sakiru Tonkawa, and the other students died in middle school years ago. Akane sends a Kaiju after her teacher for his rudeness.

Gridman and Yuta face off against it. However, he’s overpowered by the Kaiju. However, Samurai Caliber turns out to be a weapon, Gridman Caliber and together they quickly defeat it. I must say SSSS.Gridman has been a revelation. After my disappointment with Darling in the Franxx, I wasn’t expecting much from this Trigger production. Don’t get me wrong the animation is top notch and even the CGI is good. The movement of the characters are fluid, featuring the overall quality you can expect from them.

The homeroom teacher

This series is well directed. Adding layers of intrigue where I assumed none. If you ever watched any of those afternoon television series like, Power Rangers or V.R. Troopers, Gridman feels familiar. I expected there to be a monster of the week, followed by Gridman appearing, then future monsters would get stronger and Gridman would too. This formula would repeat until the end.

However, several mysteries are introduced in this series. Strangely, the battles with the Kaiju seem to take a back seat to the characters themselves. Akane is an unexpected villain, appearing innocent and adorable it turn out that she’s a sociopath. Having killed he classmates for interrupting her lunch. The little details matter in this series, as Akane paints he homeroom teacher as rude for failing to apologize when he bumped into her.

At the end of episode 2 she witness him apologizing to Yuta for the same thing. The question is why didn’t he died like Akane classmates? She did express ambivalence regarding him dying. Does her will matter? Did he apologize because she wanted him too and that’s the effect of her sending a Kaiju after him? I don’t know but that’s why I going to keep watching this series. 

Akane’s evil stare

Zombie Land Saga Episode 001 Review – Good Morning

Sakura Minamoto

Sakura Minamoto is killed when she is hit by a truck. Before her death she had dreams of becoming an “idol.” She wakes up in a mansion, in the Saga prefecture. She stumbles upon zombie girls and flees in terror. She runs into a police officer that shoots her when he realizes that she’s a zombie.  

Frightened Cop that shoots Sakura in the chest

The cop is knocked out with a shovel. Still in shock Sakura is told by Kotaro Tatsumi that she has been dead for a decade and that she will work with “your team to save Saga.” Kotaro tells her that he will “make her into a idol.” Sakura asks Kotaro the following day during class “how she became a zombie” in the first place. 

Kotaro reveals the “Zombie Land Saga Project,” or just the title of the project. He keeps information close to the vest. He introduces the other band-mates, Dorami’s Legendary Biker Boss, Saki Nikaido, Legendary Showa Idol, Junko Konno, Legendary Courtesan, Yugiri, Legendary child actress prodigy Lily Hoshikawa, Legendary Tae Yamada and Legendary Heisei Idol, Ai Mizuno. 

Saki Nikaido

Sakura comically notes that Tae Yamada’s doesn’t have an elaboration like “Biker Boss,” or “Courtesan,” to go with her “Legend.” Regardless, the other zombie’s haven’t been awoken yet. They behave like traditional mindless zombie’s. Kotaro brings them to an open stage policy and puts make up on them concealing their zombie status. 

Kotaro Tatsumi

Kotaro tells Sakura that she should “trust her instincts,” while performing. The girls begin to react to the music and put on a performance that’s weird as they scream and “head-banging” to the point of breaking their necks. The performance, however, ends terribly as the girls turn on the audience. They “awaken” the following morning as Sakura yells GOOD MORNING.

Sakura “singing”

First Impressions

The musical anime genre doesn’t really interest me much. However, the general premise of the series was intriguing. The animation of MAPPA is always a draw for me and they don’t disappoint. What struck me as strange was how sad I felt that Sakura was killed. She wasn’t a familiar character at the beginning of the episode, yet her energetic, hopeful dreams to become an idol made her seem so innocent. It was a quick characterization that was very effective. 

I of course wonder if we will see her family. Fast forwarding a decade seems to be an narrative attempt to avoid focusing on the direct aftermath of Sakura’s death. However, a decade isn’t really long enough for her family to all be dead, unlike the other girls that appear to have been dead for longer. Personally, I was annoyed that Kotaro kept Sakura in the dark, regarding her zombifaction. I not sure if we will learn the truth or if they will simply move past it. That said I’m at least interested in seeing episode 2.

Attack on Titan Episode 8 Review: Outside the Walls of Orvud District

Rod beings transforming into a Titan that is twice the size of the Colossal Titan. While transforming Rod destroys the cavern. In order to survive they turn to Eren. As typical of him, Eren has been begging to be “eaten.” He continues to be a “crybaby,” calling himself “useless.” Eren continues to apologize, but Jean does accept it stating that “that Eren has never accomplished anything by himself.” Conny reminds him that “collectively they have been through worse.”

Finally, Eren decides to grab a bottle labeled “armor” and breaks it in his teeth. He transforms and pillars of crystal beings to reinforce the ceiling of the cavern. The squad hides underneath Eren. The Anti-Personnel Squad is harmed however. Caven and another solider are crushed by debris form the cavern ceiling. Unsurprisingly, Hange survives, as Armin and Moblit escape with her Erwin arrives with the scouts.

Meanwhile, Eren is freed from his crystallized Titan and has apparently gained the ability to “harden,” his skin. Levi points out that this is can be used to rebuild the Wall Maria. Interestingly, Rod’s Reiss Titan is strange. It’s large and seems to have a torso too long to stand, along with arms and legs too weak to lift him. Instead of walking upright it crawls and burns everything in it’s wake. According to the Scouts they believe that Rod is an Abnormal Titan.

Historia is asked by Hange if she’s okay with her father being killed. Considering the fact that a Titan of that size must be killed. If find the attachment between Historia and Rod to be weak. It’s really unconvincing to me that she would sincerely care about him. However, she accepts that her father must die.

This episode wasn’t really as entertaining or interesting as the previous ones. That’s no real issue, all episodes don’t need to be spectacular. Mostly the episode felt slow and there wasn’t anything new revealed. Regardless, I’m curious why Erwin won’t evacuate the civilians, the next episode is going to be very interesting.

Attack on Titan Episode 5 Review: Reply

This episode largely takes place in the throne room. Erwin makes a impassioned plea for the value of the Scout Regiment. The nobles seem to be hasty in their decision to disband the scouts. The Scout Regiment are the branch of the Military that faces off against the Titans the most and they do so deliberately. It features the best soldiers and have the best at using omni-directional mobility gear. Disbanding without having a replacement is short sighted and will cost everyone at some point if implemented.

Erwin claims that if “Wall Rose was breached, its residents would take refuge in Wall Sina again, but the earlier evacuation decimated their stockpiles. This time the residents would be forced to fight for resources and a civil war would erupt between Wall Rose and Wall Sina. Furthermore, Wall Rose is always suffering from a food shortage, so the best way to avoid war is to reclaim Wall Maria. It is the duty of the Scouts to charge at the enemy.” The nobles don’t care, avoiding answering whether they have a better plan to deal with the Titans.

Aurille instead focuses on Erwin’s violation of the “Charter of Humanity,” which reads: “Thou shall not prioritize one’s own gain over the longevity of humanity.” Erwin’s refusal to hand over Eren to the Military has resulted in the Charter being violated. Predictably, he’s sentenced to death. Nile Dawk’s sort of represents the audience here, I think that many of us watching shared his confusion. As Erwin is being lifted to his feet, Anka Rheinberger enters the thrown room and states a clearly false claim that the “the Colossal and Armored Titans have broken through both gates of Calaneth District. The reaction from the nobles is predictable as they demand the gate be closed, leaving half of humanity to death.

Nile disobeys the order, stating that he’s “a human of Wall Rose and he will not allow the gates to be closed.” Dhalis Zachary arrives with armed soldiers. He reveals that the report was false. Pyxis admits that he orchestrated the plan. What surprised me about Pyxis confession is that he was willing to let Erwin die, if the Government made a better choice for humanity. He declares a “coup d’etat.” This moment illustrates how the real power tends to be with the Military forces, after all they have the guns right.

The most surprising thing about this scene in the throne room is the incompetence of the “King” Fritz. His personality and psychical appearance gave off the impression that he was a ruler not to be messed with. It turns out that he was actually asleep with his eyes open. This episode plays with this fact by constantly showing him motionless over and over again. At first I assumed he wasn’t threatened, then I though he might have been dead and propped up somehow, the truth is played for laughs as when he is woken up by Aurille he’s ask if “it’s time to eat.”

So far each episode has solve some mysteries while creating new ones. This episode is no different. Hange explains the report that Erwin gave her. 5 years prior, the Reiss family save Rod Reiss were killed by bandits while praying in a Church. Rod found Historia right after they were killed. Levi concludes that there must be something in the blood of Reiss family. Hange suggests that the story doesn’t add up. The chapel was destroyed even though it was made of stone. Personally, I think he may have had his family killed, destroying the chapel to cover his tracks.

Finally, we see that Eren is chained in the Underground Chapel. I’ve mention before that Eren constantly getting captured seems to be a theme in this series. However, I wonder if the series is trying to turn the “Damsel in Distress,” motif on it head, by constantly having Eren (a male) getting kidnapped and being saved by Mikasa (a female). Anyway, Armin wonders that if “a Titan gains the powers of a person who can change into a Titan by eating them, then when did Eren become a Titan and who did he eat?” I don’t know if that’s how Eren got his powers. Considering their closeness from childhood wouldn’t Eren tell him he ate a Titan?

Banana Fish Episode 007 Review: The Rich Boy

The boys head to California, we are quickly introduced to Max’s family. He has a son named Micheal and a soon to be ex-wife, Jessica. She pulls a shotgun on him fearing that Max is trying to kidnap their son. She sees Shunichi and stops. She offers Ash and Eiji a modeling deal, but Max suggest that “She’ll make you open your legs and show your butt hole.” She chastises him for his hypocrisy, considering he did the same thing “making a living out of taking shots of girls cooches.” I turns out that it was the birthday of Micheal, Max leaves him with a baseball mitt.

Jessica is an interesting and dynamic character, she doesn’t put up with the bullshit even from Ash. I hope to see more of her in this series. They finally head to Dawson’s mansion, Ash is quickly on alert. The maid tells them that “master,” is being kidnapped, when Ash arrives in the backyard they three men shoot at him. They miss every shot, Ash shoots the guns out of their hands. Ash inability to trust anyone leads him to be suspicious of Yau-Si, as he tells Shorter, “he’s too quiet.”

Ash hacks into a computer and learns more about, Banana Fish. I’m surprised that Ash is such a computer expert considering that he’s never been depicted as being good a tech. It’s likely a result of the modernization of the series. Furthermore, Ash is too well versed in Chemistry. How does he know what “Inert Alkaloids,” are? Meanwhile, Shorter learns about Yau-Si Dawson, but is quickly betrayed to Lee Hua-Lung, the brother of Lee Wang-Lung.

Max tries to understand what they discovered. He concludes that the military is probably involved. Ash of course decides that he’s going to see this through regardless. Shorter is ordered by Lee to spy on Ash. He’s told that Yut Lung will be “giving him orders from now on.” Understandably, Shorter is distressed by this, he realizes that Yau-Si is Yut Lang. Ash has a conversation with Eiji in which he tells him to “go back to Japan.” Basically, that he’s a large liability. Eiji ask for time to think it over. Yut Lang takes notice of Ash and Eiji’s relationship, he orders Shorter to kidnap him.

He needs to capture Ash alive and plans to use Eiji as bait. Shorter pulls a knife on him but Yut uses his sister against him. Shorter seems devastated that the Lee Clan is as he puts it ” the same as the Golzine gang.” He begins to cry which surprises Yut. The racial dynamics in this show is difficult for me to decipher. I’m not Asian so I don’t know if the reverence for powerful families like the Lee’s are common or if its specific to Shorter’s family. Also, I’m not sure that the racial politics are current or is it adapted directly from the manga series. The one issue I have with this series is that modernizing parts of it has lead to confusion. Finally, Max’s family is in danger. I’m hoping that Jessica doesn’t become a typical damsel in distress. Another, great episode though.

Attack on Titan Episode 4 Review: Trust

The last episode of Attack on Titan was important to expanding the background of characters Erwin and Historia. It also was dark, draining any since of hope from the series. This episode injects some hope back into it. Marlo Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse are searching for the scouts in the woods, Marlo questions why the scouts would kill a civilian and flee. Considering the fact that they always risk their lives for humanity against the Titans. If you don’t remember, Marlo and Hitch were featured earlier in the series, in episode 23, entitled Smile: Assault on Stohess, Part 1. In that episode Marlo claims to have joined the Military Police “to uphold justice and do what’s right.” He’s mocked for this goal by Hitch, but seems sincere when he tries to stop some of superiors while they illegally sell ODM gear.

Anyway, They see Armin taking water from the river. Taking the bait when he surrenders, they are quickly ambushed by Mikasa and Levi. Marlo represents the theme of this episode the governments “truth” is starting to unravel. Nile Dawk tells two journalists that “judging by the evidence,” the scouts did kill a civilian. The younger journalist seems to be more interested in getting all the details, but is cut off by the older one. Dawk shows a concern that the new ODM gear is “perfect for killing people,” in particular scouts. He concludes that the Military Police will likely find themselves staring down their guns eventually.

Flegel Reeves is being chased by the Military Police, he’s chased into a dead end alley, but is rescued by Hange. She tries to get him to stand up against the government, which he is unwilling to do. Hitch is still concerned about Annie going missing, Levi informs her that Annie was the Titan. He decries the fact that ” Nobody knows a damn thing about this world . . . Not us or anyone else.” This is true of course, but is also the goal of the government. The government deliberately miss informs and keeps secrets from the Military Police and civilians. They can’t stop something if you don’t know what going on right.

Marlo asks to join Levi, but he’s rebuffed. Jean asks to tie them up himself, he “attacks” them. I’ll admit that considering Attack on Titans dark theme’s and event that have transpired, I almost thought Jean was going to kill them. However, Jean has always represented the humor in this series (along with Hange). He mocks Marlo for his terrible ” Bowl cut” hair style. Marlo quickly understands that it was a test. Marlo and Hitch aid the scouts in finding the checkpoint, and are told to return to their squad. The scouts take the checkpoint, taking the leader. Levi tortures him but only learns the last name of Kenny, Ackermann. Which is also the last name of Mikasa. There’s no way that she’s not related to Kenny, the question I have is Levi related to her as well.

Finally, Flegel gets “caught” by the Military Police. He gets them to give him a death wish, tell him why his father was killed. It was obvious that he would get the Police to reveal what really happened, but I was surprised that so many civilians witnessed it, as well as the previously mentioned journalists. However, can Flegel be the boss if the Military Police and the government know he’s a witness? Won’t they kill him and all the civilians anyway? Maybe the civilians, journalists and the Reeves family can start a resistance within the walls. The episode ends with Erwin telling Dawk that “When, and if the time comes, he will only watch,” and that “it’s up to you (Dawk) to decide. You and them.” Erwin is clearly going to be heading for execution the question is will it happen?