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.

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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?

Tenrou: Sirius The Jaeger Episode 4 Review: Beginning Of Trickery

The alliance between the Hyakko party and the vampires comes to an abrupt ending. The Alma company turns out to be the force behind the Royals. Their still a mysterious group at this point in the series. The Royals test their new experiment on the Military, and seemingly willing to sell the Military the new weapon. The Hyakko party commits a mass murder at the offices of Alma, the head of the Hyakko becomes interested in the new weapon.

The Vampires creation seems to be a Frankenstein type monster seen in the OP, it’s a little obvious considering the organ collecting but I’m curios how different it will be from the famous version of Frankenstein. One thing I noticed is the paleness of the Vampire’s and the “makeup” surrounding their eyes. I don’t know if the skin tone is a by product of vamperism or makeup. Regardless, it does make them obvious to the public if they are seen.

In addition to that they seem to be Vampire children. In some of the vampire lore, child vampires are seen as problematic because they tend to be impulsive and risk exposing the other vampires. I’m curious if their too immature or if it won’t matter. This episode also attempts to inject a weak romance into the series. I don’t particularly care about romance in anime, but this seems poorly managed. There’s wasn’t much left in the episode, hoping the action increases in the next episode.

Banana Fish Episode 5 Review: Death to Morning

The last episode of Banana Fish set up the mystery of “Banana Fish.” Ash gets out of jail on bail, he is warned that “if he flees or commits a crime,” his bail will be withdrawn. Of course Ash goes after Dino Golzine to get revenge for his brothers death. Ash leaves with Ibe, Eiji and Charlie, but Ash tries to abandon them to get his revenge on his own. However, Eiji takes control over the car and flees with Ash.

Meanwhile, when Dino is informed that he may be in danger, Dino is unafraid. He does however state that “Banana Fish is no human. It’s the name of a drug. That will change the world.” He wouldn’t elaborate further. Ash joins with Shorter to plan their hit on Papa Dino. They plan on attacking Dino’s restaurant “Club Cod,” he makes a monthly visit to the seafood restaurant. Club Cod is a front for a child sex trafficking ring.

All the anime I consume, I rarely run into one that focuses on realistic horrors of the real world. Banana Fish takes on sexually assault, gang violence, prison, war and unfortunately child sex trafficking rings. I say unfortunate not because I don’t think that it should appear in this series or any other one, but because it’s a sad reality. Regardless, these kids are kidnapped, drugged and then killed years later.

Ash and the others engage their plan, featuring a trunk. Ash rides on the top of the truck and somehow manages not to fall off and stand straight while shooting at Dino. He is shot in the arm by Arthur’s crew, while hitting Dino in the arm as well. The hit fails and Ash and the others are joined by Max and Ibe. The are out numbered and flee by jumping into the river.

Banana Fish continues to be a series that touches on heavy topics, while having complex characters. With all the mysterious threads and the large number of characters we finally get clear goals for the main protagonists, find out what Banana Fish is and kill Dino Golzine. They head to Cape Cod next, childhood home of Ash.

 

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Old Story

In contrast to the last episode, this one entitled “Old Story” may seem slow, but I think it’s has more impact. In typical Attack on Titan fashion the stories told aren’t uplifting but rather dark. We start with Historia. She tells the scouts that she was born on the land owned by the Reiss family. This episode focuses on the negative effects parents in the series had on their children. Historia’s mother (if we can call her that), literally goes out of he way not to speak to her daughter. Her mother simply reads a lot, while ignoring her. When Historia tries to emulate her mothers reading she realizes through the stories that her relationship to mother is uncaring. When finally makes physical contact with her mother, she’s meet with a violent reaction.

Her mother then utters her first words to her daughter, “if only I had the courage to kill the girl.” Her mother then leaves for fives years only to return with Rod Reiss. He admits to being her father but the government intervenes. Father leaves her mother for death and Historia’s mother final words to her daughter is “if only I never had you,” before her throat is slit. Historia’s mother is a very sympathetic character, so her death didn’t really bother me. However, the reason for her death was clear due to having a daughter with Rod Reiss. Basic giving birth to Historia cost her, her life and she likely knew that it was always going to. Her behavior toward Historia seems reasonable in that context. I don’t know how redeeming Lord Reiss “saving,” of Historia is, and I don’t trust that he truly cares for her to be improbable. He’s likely using her to gain something.

Hange reveals to the scout that Eren is likely going to be “eaten.” After overhearing a conversation between Ymir and Bertholdt, we learn that Ymir ate their comrade. Eating a human that turns into a titan, while being a titan may result in that titan reverting back into a human. Hange believes that they will also gain the powers of that titan. Meaning that the government may want to have a titan under their control eat Eren and gain his ability to control other titans. I assumed that they would use Eren’s power to turn into a titan for their own ends, however, that was a ridiculous thing for me to assume considering that Eren would never do that. Killing him, while gaining his power make much more sense.

The third flashback we get is from Commander Erwin. He speaks to Pyxis regarding his desire to “retake Wall Maria and overthrow the government.” Apparently, he plans on doing so without the need for the military or death. That seem implausible but he’s vague as to what the actual plan is. Erwin recounts the story of his fathers death. His father was a history teacher, however, he taught an edited version of that history. He trusted Erwin with the truth and Erwin went a told his classmates. The military found out about it and killed his father. He believed that the the King had the power to alter the memories of the people, making them easier to rule. This is just a theory, but one that Erwin aims to prove.

Erwin elaborates on his plan when Hange returns, the plan is to put Historia on the thrown as she’s the Queen. Hange Zoe becomes the next commander of the Scout Regiment. Meanwhile the scouts are declared enemies of the state, to be arrested on sight. They are accused of being responsible for the death of Mr. Reeves. Considering the fact that Mr. Reeves son is the only living witness he may be the key to aiding the scouts again the government.

I like the way that they used flashbacks, furthermore, the contrast between Historia’s relationship with her mother and Erwin’s relationship with his father is clear. While, Historia’s mother barely communicated with her, Erwin’s father often did, teaching him History during the day and educated him on the truth at night. It is this communication that costs him his life. Both of them are “responsible,” even if by accident for their parents deaths. Erwin has taken this reality and turned it into a mission, it’s unclear what impact Historia’s past has had on her. Finally, with all the betrayals, lies and conspiracies it’s difficult to trust some of the secondary characters. Will Commander Pyxis betray them too? What about Mr. Reeves son? Regardless, another amazing episode.

 

Banana Fish Episode 4 Review

I’ve been slacking on my blogging about Banana Fish, which is a habit I’ve haven’t broken yet. Anyway, this episode, This Side of Paradise, Eiji is in danger at the hands of Arthur and his gang. They threaten to kill the doctor’s assistant if he doesn’t reveal what Ash said to him. He begrudgingly tells him, hoping to save the assistants life. He tells them that Ash told him to retrieve the Banana Fish drug from the doctor’s office. Arthur goes back one his word and still plans on killing the doctor and his assistant.

They are not killed as Shorter arrives and holds a gun to Arthur’s head. However, Griffin is not so fortunate, he’s shot and killed. In Prison, Max requests a change in bunk mates, leaving Ash vulnerable. However, Ash is able to hold his own. When Max learns of Griffins death he rushes to inform Ash. When he does hear the news he seems to go numb. When Max warns him not to escape he hits him in the stomach and threatens to kill him next time.

Max and Ash fight to exhaustion. Max remembers his time with Griffin during war. Ash finally breaks down as he remembers his brother raising him. The emotional moment at the of this episode was powerful. The reaction to Griffin’s death from all the characters felt very realistic. Everyone didn’t respond in the same way, I though it was well done. We learn more about Banana Fish and its effects. I really enjoyed the simple animation that accompanied the explanation that Dr. Meredith gave regarding Banana Fish effects on rats. Banana Fish continues to impress, as we get closer to finding out what mystery surrounding Banana Fish is.

Attack on Titan Season 3, Episode 2 Review: Pain

This episode steps up in it’s intensity. Eren and Historia are quickly tranquilized as Levi gives chance. Levi is quickly attacked by Military Police, lead by Kenny. The chase scene is spectacular, Levi’s skill isn’t surprising but still exciting to witness. Watching Levi and Kenny match wits, Levi outsmarts Kenny. Managing to shoot him with shotgun, although Kenny seem unharmed. Kenny is a odd character, his mannerism are rather relaxed he seemed unfazed by being shot.

Meanwhile, the other scouts hear the commotion. Mikasa finally tells them what Levi told her, “from now on, we’ll be fighting humans, too, and not just Titans.” The shift in dynamic from killing Titans to killing people was always going to be a dramatic shift in the series. It isn’t surprising that many of the characters are apprehensive regarding killing humans. It’s much easier to kill Titans not so much in from a technical standpoint, but from a mental.

Levi tells them that they “can’t hesitate,” when it come time to kill. Of course Jean and Armin struggle with this. After capturing the wagon, Jean does indeed hesitate, but so does the woman aiming her gun at him, it’s Armin that kills her saving him. Despite, Armin’s efforts, the Military police succeed in capturing Eren and Historia. Armin has a profoundly negative physical, emotional and mental reaction. He starts to cry, throw up and lose his appetite.

 

He concludes that “the person he killed must have been a nice person and more human than he is.” Levi tells him to “embrace the new him,” that Armin is the reason that Jean is still alive. This seems to be mild comforting to him. Jean questions the morality of “hurting people,” Levi states that he’s not certain of the morals of his orders. The complexity of characters, their lives and decisions are part of what makes this series so enthralling.

Is it weird that I enjoyed the torture scenes? Probably. The scouts are cleaver in how they manipulate their captives, when physical pain doesn’t work they use the other captive to demoralize the other. This episode has introduced some dread to this season. Armin will clearly struggle with his new experiences.

We find out that Historia is the “true royal successor,” and she with Eren are with Rob Reiss. While Levi was successful at besting Kenny, his team did fail to rescue Eren. I mentioned this before, but it is surprising and refreshing to see that Eren has taken a backseat to other characters. Even-though it is becoming a troupe that Eren gets kidnap so often.

Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger Episode 2: Deprived Talent

Episode 2 of Sirius the Jaeger, picks up after Yuliy’s shot. He awaken’s to find himself recovering in the large home of a Doctor Kisuke. Deprived Talent largely focuses on the Doctor and his daughter, Saki. I didn’t even require much foreshadowing to predict that he would die. Saki’s mother had already died years prior. They come to Tokyo looking for the vampires.

Suspicious killings begin to occur at the hands of a terrorist group, Hyakko party. Researchers, politicians and wealthy individuals are being murdered, all this of course points to the Doctor as probably next. I’ll admit when Yuliy is helping Saki plant tomatoes my eye’s glazed over. It was a sweet moment but dull.

However, my interest picked up when they released that the killings are related to the creation of artificial heart organs. I was interested in this new plot point. It also turns out that the maid of Doctor Kisuke sells him out to the female vampire from the previous episode. What struck me was the fact that she didn’t heal her leg like other vampire in culture. Vampire mythology is varied from series to series, but they usually only die from stakes in the heart or fire.

If vampires don’t have the ability of healing everything completely the stakes when they battle will be higher. Speaking of which, the battle between the royal vampire and Yuliy was enjoyable. Her father becoming a vampire made me feel for her, now orphaned I wonder what her place is in the series now. The ending revelation that Yuliy’s brother was the one that shot him and is working with the vampire’s was truly surprising. It’s been done before, but I still wasn’t expecting it.