Attack on Titan, Chapter 117, Judgement Review: War Hammer Mode Initiated.

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4 stars
As many people have already pointed out, Hajime Isayama has so immaculately timed the events of Attack on Titan that we now have different fights between Eren and Reiner in the manga and the anime happening at the same time.
It really goes to show how good Isayama is at structuring the series and has me excited about how he will continue to do so.
As for the Chapter 117 itself, it is a non-stop thrill ride of a chapter that feels over way too soon.
That is the sad thing about Attack on Titan though.
It’s action packed chapters can be read through so quickly, and then you have to wait another moth as you are dying to read the next one.
This Chapter, “Judgement”, definitely has me feeling this way, with almost the entirety of it being action oriented as Eren faces off against the warriors and Marley’s military.
However, my favourite part of “Judgement” is not the bombastic action sequences, but rather the small character moments we get from Gabi and Magath.
Isayama really surprised me with how well he develops these two this chapter.
After escaping with Pieck, Gabi is brought to the Marleyan troops, led by Magath, and she is very surprised when he hugs her, showing relief that she is safe.
I love this moment because it not only shows that Magath does care about the Eldians under his command, but it also serves as a nice callback to chapter 91, where both characters were introduced.
In that chapter, Gabi came up with a dangerous plan that put herself at risk and, at first, Magath forbade her from following through on that plan.
This led to Gabi jokingly saying that this meant Magath really cared about her… only for this to now be proven true with Magath embracing her.
Then there is the cool story moment we got from Gabi in this scene, which saw her remember what Zeke said about him having royal blood, causing the others to realise that Zeke and Eren coming into contact could activate the Founding Titan.
It is a good explanation for how the Marleyans would figure out Eren and Zeke’s plan and also goes to show how smart Gabi is.
Speaking of the Marleyans and their warriors though, reading the chapter I was not entirely sure who I should be routing for.
One the one hand, I wanted Eren to succeed and defeat Reiner, but on the other hand I wanted Reiner to beat him.
This shows how complex Attack on Titan has become, with every character’s motivations being understandable to us now, to the point that we route for them all.
So, in the end, there is a bunch of characters I all like that are fighting to the death, making me unsure of who to route for.
I loved every second of this uncertainty.
It added much more weight to the battle, which has a lot of highlights, from Pieck’s cannon wielded by Magath, to Zeke showing up at the end to save Eren.
One of the big highlights of this fight though is obviously Eren using his War Hammer Titan abilities in battle for the first time.
It was very exciting to see all the different ways Eren can use the power.
He is clearly not as skilled as the previous War Hammer Titan but, if he is given time, he could become even more overpowered, which could be either a good and bad thing, depending on how Isayama handles it.
There are even some morbidly funny moments to go along with all of this action.
The best of this is scene when Porco cuts off Pieck’s hand so she can transform without hurting Gabi.
When this happens, Pieck screams in pain before jumping off the building to transform.
This is humorous in a pretty morbid way because we have never seen a Titan Shifter express pain at their injuries before, despite hurting themselves in ways that would leave most people in complete agony.
There are also, what I feel to be, hints at future events in the manga, the most obvious being Magath talking about the Marleyan hero Helos, who Willy Tyber mentioned.
This historical figure has constantly been used in reference to Magath and, if the theory that the story of Ymir was actually transported to the past by Titan memories is true, this could mean Magath is actually Helos.
This has dire implications because it has been stated that Helos killed the Devil of all earth, and many people believe Eren is an allusion to this devil.
So, if Magath, or any other character, turns out to be Helos, then it may be likely that Eren will be killed by them.
Along with this, Zeke looks set to transform all of the people who ingested his spinal fluid in the next few chapters.
This will undoubtedly turn the fight in their favor because Zeke will have complete control over all 300 of the Titans he will create.
However, Zeke showing up here does add further weight to this being the final battle, which I am currently unsure how I feel about because so many characters are absent from it.
Also, I did have a few minor problems with the chapter, the biggest of which being suspension of disbelief when it came to Titan injuries.
Is it just me, or does anyone else think Eren and Reiner’s Titans should have been unusable by the end of the chapter?
Eren got shot in the head twice and Reiner got his face ripped open and was hit by Zeke’s boulders, and yet, both are somehow still standing by the end.
It just felt like a contradiction of what we already know about what Titan’s can withstand.
Speaking of contradictions, there is a weird continuity error when, for some reason, Eren is shown without a shirt in one panel and then with one in another.
It kind of felt like Isayama was placed fan-service over continuity there.
Overall though, “Conviction” is another solid chapter of Attack on Titan that has me excited for the series’ endgame… that is if Isayama does not spoil it himself first, but I will talk about that situation in another post

Knives Out Review: Take a Trip Down the Donut Hole.

5 stars
“A whodunnit like no one has ever done it” is the phrase that has been used so prominently in marketing Rian Johnson’s latest film.
Coming off the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was… let’s say controversial, Johnson returns with the completely different Knives Out, a film that follows the investigation into the death of millionaire, crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer).

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Thrombey’s death drives the story with an interesting take on the murder mystery.

What follows is a constantly intriguing, suspenseful and humorous murder mystery with a star studded cast including Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield and many more.
The standouts of this cast are, without a doubt, Craig, de Armas, and Evans who all turn in fantastic performances.
Craig is brilliant as the wonderfully over the top detective Benoit Blanc, who has been mysteriously hired to investigate the also mysterious death of Thrombey.
Despite this pivotal role, I think the part of main character actually belongs to de Armas’ Marta Cabrera who has the most screen time, takes the most action out of any character, and plays into the themes of the film.

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De Armas and Craig both lead the film with great performances.

Then there is Evans, who plays the spoiled grandson of Thrombey, Hugh Ransom Drysdale, in a welcome deviation from the roles he usually takes.
Along with these three, the other actors of the film do a great job as well; supported by a witty script with plenty of suspenseful and humorous moments.
These two tonnes blend together so well that it feels like Johnson is  taking the murder mystery genre seriously while satirizing it simultaneously, to gleeful results.
There are also so many well placed small details for viewers to notice as well, demanding a second viewing.

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Amazing subtle details, like how flashbacks change depending on who is telling their side of the story, appear throughout the film.

Knives Out certainly lives up to its phrase of “A whodunnit like no one has ever done it,” as it left me hoping for another adventure down the donut hole with Benoit Blanc.

 

His Dark Materials Episode Five The Lost Boy Review: Well, This is Darker Than The Film.

4 stars
Even though it has been years since I have seen The Golden Compass, I still remember some things about it.
One of those was Billy Costa being separated from his Daemon but surviving.
So, imagine my surprise when this episode of His Dark Materials, “The Lost Boy” adapted this scene, only to kill Billy off because of him being separated from Ratter.
Apparently, this is also different from the books, where it is not Billy but another character who dies.
Such a change makes the show way darker than the film by a wide margin.
Directed again by Otto Bathurst, “The Lost Boy” had many surprises in store for me like the introduction of the young Will Parry (Amir Wilson).
He comes from our world but it is stated in narration that his fate is intertwined with Lyra’s.

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I was not aware that Will would play such a central role in the story and it will be interesting to see what that role is. 

But, given that his father John Parry has been to the Daemon world and Boreal is watching Will and his mother, it is clear how Will will be brought into the world of Daemons.
On top of this, Will is a sympathetic character, with him having to deal with his mother Elaine’s (Nina Sosanya) mental illness on a regular basis.
However, she is clearly not as mentally ill as he thinks she is, because she does seem to know quite a bit about her husband’s life, although she hides this.
Boreal is on her and Will’s trail, though, and he has already inserted himself into their situation so I suspect this will not end well for Elaine.
As for the events in the Daemon world, the buildup to Billy’s discovery is done well, with plenty of character payoff.
I especially liked the character growth of John Faa (Lucian Msmati) who has learned to trust Lyra and her alethiometer since the events of “Armour.”
We also get another emotional scene with Farder Coram as he reunites with his old lover, the witch Serafina Pekkala (Ruta Gedmintas).
Then there is Lyra’s growing bonds with Iorek and Lee who are just as great as they were in the previous episode.
The discovery and death of Billy Costa is sad and well executed, even if it is a deviation from the original novel.

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Billy Costa’s fate is very different from the film and novel, making the future of the story uncertain in how it will diverge from the source material.

The episode ends on a great cliffhanger, with Lyra being kidnapped by the Gobblers and taken to Bolvanger, where they plan to separate her from Pan permanently.
And it is because of Billy’s death that this cliffhanger works so well because his demise sets up a significant threat level for Lyra, causing many viewers, who do not know how things will turn out, to fear for her safety.
Overall, “The Lost Boy” is a solid episode of His Dark Materials. 
While not as good as the previous episode “Armour” it sets up a number of plot points that should led to some great scenes in the future.

Watchmen Episode Seven An Almost Religious Awe Review: Another Fan Theory Confirmed.

4 and a half stars
I really need to start paying more attention to the Watchmen fan theories.
First, I rejected the Will is Hooded Justice theory because it did not make sense for everyone to think he was white but then it turned out to be true.
And then, I rejected the theory that Angela’s husband Cal is Dr Manhattan in disguise because he was supposed to be on Mars.
Well, David Semel’s episode seven of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe” proved me wrong again because, you guessed it, Cal is secretly Dr Manhattan.
Although, I guess it is not so much of a secret now because the Seventh Kalvary know and are planning on capturing him and giving his powers to Senator Joe Keene Jr.
This actually explains how Angela survived the White Night.
Dr Manhattan saved her from the Seventh Kalvary but someone probably saw this and reported back, leading to the plan to turn Keene into the new racist Dr Manhattan.
Speaking of Keene, after episode five, I speculated that he might just be using the Seventh Kalvary and may not actually be a full on racist.
Well, I was wrong again because Keene is definitely that, complaining that it is difficult to be a white man in America… while he is a senator.
Hypocrisy at its finest.

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Sure, some of the white citizens of Nixonville are not well off, but Keene is a senator, Crawford was the chief of police and the president of the United States is Robert Redford, a white man. Is it really so hard to be one in the Watchmen universe?

In any case, Keene explains his plan to Laurie Blake who is captured by Chief Crawford’s wife in a scene that felt kind of stupid with how easily she was trapped.
Didn’t she used to be a superhero?
And I know in Watchmen the superheroes don’t have powers, except Dr Manhattan, but I would have thought Laurie would at least be skilled enough as an FBI agent and former hero.
On another note, it will be interesting to see how Laurie reacts to learning Cal is her ex Dr Manhattan.
It should create drama between her and Angela but they will probably be too occupied dealing with the Seventh Kalvary to worry about it.
It just remains to be seen who will rescue Laurie.
Will it be Looking Glass or the greatest hero of them all Lube Man?
Jokes aside, we get more hints to future reveals, mostly through Lady Trieu who reveals that Bian is a clone of her mother, as expected, and that her father will be joining them soon.
This has caused many to speculate that Ozymandias is her father and the message he sent was “SAVE ME DAUGHTER.”
I dismissed the Hooded Justice and Dr Manhattan theories and I was wrong about those so I am not dismissing this one.
As for Ozymandias, he appears is a farcical and flatulent scene where he is put on trial by the clones, headed by the Game Warden.
His only defense is a massive fart he lets out before he is judged as guilty through a jury of peers, a pen of pigs.

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The Ozymandias scenes only continue to get weirder and weirder as the series progresses.

Ozymandias will probably not be executed, though, because he has to link up with the main storyline somehow.
I have heard a theory that the meteorite strike in the fourth episode was actually him landing on earth and he is now trapped in the statue of himself and this seems pretty likely to me.
After all, I certainly have to start paying more attention to fan theories after I dismissed two of them, only for both of them to be right.
I remember the exact moment Lady Trieu started talking about how Dr Manhattan was disguised as a human on earth and I knew instantly it was Cal.
Honestly, I should have realised it was true earlier with how many hints there were.
Will said that Dr Manhattan could appear as any race, subtly telling Angela that he knew her secret.
And then there was the moment I mentioned when Cal told his kids that there is no heaven, and that when you die there is nothing, which was very apathetic and classic Dr Manhattan.
After realizing that the theory was right, I sat back and watched as Angela hit Cal in the head with a hammer to release Dr Manhattan.
I remember praying that she had not just lost her mind and murdered her husband in a fit of insanity but, thankfully, he really was Dr Manhattan, leading to a great cliffhanger for the next episode.

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Imagine if Angela had actually gone nuts and killed her husband because she believed he was Dr Manhattan. That would have been traumatizing.

It will be interesting to see how his relationship with Angela began and what led them to this point, especially with Angela’s tragic backstory that was revealed this episode, with her parents being killed by a suicide bomber and then her grandmother dying of a heart attack before she could be adopted.
Overall, “An Almost Religious Awe” is another great episode of Watchmen that has me excited for how the final two episodes are going to play out.
I have no idea how the Seventh Kalvary plan to take down Dr Manhattan since he is a literal god but it will be interesting to see.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Seven, GO! Review: It Gets Noisy.

3 and a half stars
The fight to rescue Eri officially began in the seventh episode of season four, the appropriately titled “GO!”
On par with the previous episode, “GO!” serves as good buildup for the fights that we will be seeing in subsequent episodes.
Picking up in the aftermath of Nighteye revealing the dark truth of what is happening to Eri, Deku and the other students are on standby while the pro-heroes try to find her locations.
It is during this time that we get both a lot of funny and emotional moments as the characters prepare themselves.
Deku and Mirio remain constantly intense and focused due to their desire to rescue Eri as seen by a touching scene where Iida and Todoroki attempt to share Deku up.
As for the other characters, they are a lot more comedic.
There is the funny moment when Bakugo demands to know what they have learned only for Kirishima to shout out that they can’t tell.
The funniest, and probably most adorable moment, though, comes after a text is sent out confirming Eri’s location has been found.
As Mirio meets outside with Nejire and Tamaki, Nejire has her implausibly long hair tied around her like a scarf in a humorously adorable moment that I am pretty sure is anime only.
However, “GO!” is not all fun and games as proven from the moment Nighteye discovers where Eri is.
This scene provides a flashback that perfectly shows Nighteye’s quirk in usage, much like a film projector, before the pro-heroes and students go to rescue the girl.
Unfortunately, Overhaul knows they are coming and goes to see the comatose boss of the Yakuza, apologizing to him because, “things are about to get noisy.”
And noisy they get because as soon as the police ring the doorbell one of the eight expendable bullets of the Shie Hissaikai bursts through the door, ready to fight.
This leads to a great display of many characters’ quirks, especially Ryukyu who turns into a dragon.
Another instance of a new quirk usage comes with Rock Lock who can freeze moving objects in place, which he uses to cross buildings.
Back to the action at hand, the characters rush towards the building to find Eri as the episode ends with Deku and Mirio thinking for the hundredth time that they will definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitively save her.
That’s a lot of definitelys.
In any case, while the amount of time the two characters say this over the course of the episode does get repetitive, you can still clearly see their dedication to making up for not rescuing the girl earlier.
I would say that “GO!” is probably as good as the previous episode of My Hero Academia.
All of its buildup will finally payoff next episode with the eight expendable bullets coming into play, leading to standout moments from both Tamaki and Kirishima in future episodes.

Attack on Titan Chapter 124, Melting Away Review: FINALLY!

4 and a half stars
91 Chapters.
That is how long Annie had been in her crystal prison; even longer than it took to reveal the basement.
Well, after reading Chapter 124 of Attack on Titan, “Melting Away,” the first thought I had was FINALLY!
This is because Annie at long last emerged from her crystal at the end of the chapter, due to Eren using his Founding Titan abilities to remove all of the Titans’ ability to harden, including Reiner’s.
The build up to Annie’s return, with the chapter starting with her father hearing Eren’s speech about his plan, and then ending with Armin realizing she is free before cutting to her, is masterfully done.
I was spoiled about this reveal about an hour before I read “Melting Away” but her return is so well written that I still cheered.
I just hope that Isayama can make me care about her more before the story ends.
Whether he does so or not depends on the role Annie has to play.
However, considering her role also brings in the question of how long the manga has?
I have been predicting for a while that Attack on Titan will end at Chapter 130 but, after Chapter 124, I am having serious doubts about this.
I am now thinking a more suitable number is 134 chapters, which would mean there are 10 chapters left.
The reason I am starting to think this is because of how Annie and other subplots that appear in this chapter seem to be hinting at a longer finale.
A prime example of this is the Connie subplot that was just put into motion.
After Falco ate Porco and inherited the Jaw Titan, Connie and Jean kidnap him, with Jean planning to feed him to one of the Titans Zeke transformed, seriously considering Pyxis.
However, Connie wants to take Falco to Ragako to feed him to his mother so she can become human again.
Armin is against this because that would cause further conflict between Reiner and the Warriors when the world is destroyed; however, before anything can be done, Titans interrupt and Connie runs off with Falco.
So, now Connie is on his way to Ragako to save his mother by feeding her Falco, creating a brand new subplot.
With new storylines like this being brought in, it seems unlikely that the manga will be able to successfully wrap up at Chapter 130, which is why I am thinking Chapter 134 is more likely now.
Back to the actual story, I am glad Connie is getting some development now because I have always thought it was a little strange that he rarely brought up his family when they started working with Zeke, since he’s the one who turned them all into Titans.
I am also interested to see where this subplot could go.
Along with Connie, another standout character is Gabi, who goes through more development by saving Kaya from a Titanized Nile in an epic scene that left me cheering.
The following panel where Kaya hallucinates Gabi as Sasha is also perfectly touching.
I have seen a lot of people complaining that Gabi is stealing the spotlight from more beloved characters, like Mikasa, but I honestly don’t see this.
Mikasa got a lot of development last chapter, and even in this one where Gabi was a key character she shared the spotlight with multiple characters who also developed well.
Probably my favourite of these character developments is Keith Shadis, when he saves the recruits who beat him up and then leads them in the fight against the Titans.
Keith Shadis?
More like Keith, No Longer A Bystander, Chadis!
Sadly, this battle does result in the loss of Dot Pyxis, whose Titan is mercy killed by Armin after being thanked for guiding them all these years.
Both his and Nile’s Titans are killed this chapter, bringing a sad end to these great side characters.
Along with Pyxis’ emotional death, another reason I enjoyed the scene where Keith, Mikasa, Armin, Jean and the other soldiers fight off the Titans is because it is eerily reminiscent of the battle at headquarters during the Trost Arc.
Hajime Isayama has been putting in a lot of parallels to prior arcs in this final one, with Chapter 117 being another prime example by paralleling the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Such parallels can also be seen in character growths like Niccolo saying they have to leave the forest, referencing Mr Braus’ speech in Chapter 111, and Gabi putting her hair up while looking in a mirror, just like Eren does in Chapter 106.
That last parallel has me wondering if this moment is just a callback or foreshadowing for something more?
Whatever it is, I will say that “Melting Away” is a far calmer chapter than I expected it to be.
Before the Annie reveal, the final moments of the chapter sees the characters resting at headquarters while they all try to deal with the impact Eren’s Rumbling will have.
This leads to Floch turning up, to many a fan’s dismay, and arresting Yelena and the the rest of the Volunteers.
Such an act has me scared that Floch may try to execute them to make Eldians the last remaining race after the Rumbling is completed.
I certainly would not put it past him.
But the real question is definitely if Attack on Titan has been in The Breaking Bad universe this whole time as the Saul Goodman Titan seems to suggest?
Jokes aside, there are also a lot of great visuals in the chapter, like when Mikasa cuts down a Titan right outside the window that Yelena and Onyankopon are looking out of. Another example of this is the individual shots of the 104th Cadets as they take in the fact that Eren is planning to destroy the world to protect them.
As for criticisms, the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Jean apparently wanting to feed Falco to Pyxis.
I understand why he would want to save Pyxis, but it was shown that Jean did not want to kill Falco in Chapter 104 so this feels slightly out of character for him.
But the prior moment where he talks about how the Rumbling may be the best thing, as if he is trying to convince himself that it is but not succeeding, makes up for it slightly.
Overall, I would consider “Melting Away” to be on the same level as the previous chapter, “Island Devils.”
It has great character growth with a lot of amazing action, accompanied by epic visuals.
It will be interesting to see how the manga ends, whether that ending comes at Chapter 130, 134, or perhaps slightly longer than that.

The Dragon Prince Season Three Review: Best Season Yet.

4 and a half stars
I enjoyed the first two seasons of The Dragon Prince. 
While I did find the first season to be flawed in its animation and some of its story telling, I found season two to be a real improvement.
Well, season three continues to improve on its animation and story, becoming the best season so far.
Created by Aaron Ehaz and Justin Richmond, the story now follows Callum (Jack DeSena) and Rayla (Paula Burrows) on their journey to deliver the Dragon Prince Zym to his mother and end the war.
While this is going on, Callum’s younger brother Ezran (Sasha Rojen) struggles as the new king of Katolis, with Viren (Jason Simpson) and the mysterious Aarvos (Erik Todd Dellums) scheming to take power.

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Aarvos is just as mysterious and threatening as when he was first introduced in season two.

The first thing I have to praise the third season of The Dragon Prince for is its scale.
The story now feels like an epic, and after the final enthralling last episode, “The Final Battle,” I have no idea where the series is going next.
Just as good as the story are the characters who are more investing than they ever have been.
A perfect example of this is my new favourite character Soren (Jesse Inocalla).
Honestly, I did not care much for Soren prior to this season but he really blew me away here with his character development.
This culminated in a scene is the final episode that left me both feeling shocked and having a lot of respect for him.

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Soren really surprised me with how heroic he became this season.

Almost as good are Callum and Rayla, with their relationship being a primary focus.
When the possibility of a relationship between the two was first hinted at last season, I was actually unsure if it could work.
However, the depiction of their relationship definitely proved me wrong because the two are perfect for each other.
Along with these characters, others like Viren, Aarvos, and Claudia (Raquel Belmonte) all have standout moments.
I also really enjoyed Amaya’s storyline and I was very happy to see she got more screen time than last season.
And then there is Ezran whose storyline, unfortunately, has a problem.
As well as this, there is also a deus ex machina in “The Final Battle” that I found to be particularly egregious.
I think these two problems could have been easily fixed, but to explain why I will need to get into spoilers so I will leave that for the end of the post.
However, although these problems do stick out, they are not enough to ruin the season, which has plenty of things to make up for it like the story, other characters, and the animation.
Speaking of, the animation this season is amazing.

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The animation, particularly in “The Final Battle” looks spectacular.

Unlike season one there was no moment where I was taken out of a scene because of poor animation.
As well as this, the season also manages to be incredibly funny with one reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender leaving me laughing harder than I have in a while.
So, all in all, the third season of The Dragon Prince is definite the best so far.
It has a great story, great characters, amazing animation, funny jokes, and I cannot wait to see where it goes.
There have been some concerns that Netflix may cancel it but, hopefully, these fears turn out to be for nothing.

Spoilers:
So, I want to discuss the two big problems I have with season three and state how I think they could have been fixed.
The first issue is Ezran being usurped as king by Viren and then going back to help Callum and Rayla in the span of a few episodes.
This made his subplot of learning to become king feel kind of unnecessary.
The second problem I have is the dues ex machina in “The Final Battle” where Queen Aanya (Zelda Ehaz) shows up out of nowhere with her army to save the day, apparently being convinced by Corvus (Omari Newton) and Opeli (also Paula Burrows) to come and help.
The thing is that Aanya seemed to be pretty against fighting in season two so it really does not make sense for her to come and help now.
In order to fix these two things I would suggest a change in the story.
Instead of Ezran immediately going back to Callum and Rayla when he is dethroned, he instead travels with Corvus and Opeli to meet Aanya and ask for her support.
We could see Ezran learn to negotiate with her and maybe Aanya decides to help him because she sees the good in him, unlike Viren who she could tell was untrustworthy.
This would both make Ezran’s king storyline more important and make Aanya showing up to help make more sense.

His Dark Materials Episode Four Armour Review: Great Character Interactions.

4 and a half stars
Directed by Otto Bathurst, the fourth episode of His Dark Materials “Armour” is definitely the best episode so far, introducing two new central characters that look to be some of the most interesting of the series.
The first of these is Iorek Byrnison (voiced by Joe Tandberg), the iconic armoured bear of the series.
Iorek was definitely the character I remembered the most from the film adaptation so I was excited to see him return.
And he did not disappoint, with the build up to him joining Lyra being perfectly handled, unlike in the film where I remember him joining up the moment he met her.
Tanberg also does a great job voicing the character, giving Iorek’s voice the animalistic feel it should have.
The CGI for the character is likewise fantastic.

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Iorek CGI is perfectly handled, with him not looking out of place at all. 

Lyra eventually convinces Iorek to join their cause by helping him find his missing armour, leading to the memorable scene where he emerges in it, ready to fight the Magisterium’s soldiers.
However, although this scene is great, it does raise a bit of a plot hole about why the soldiers don’t just shoot where Iorek isn’t armoured?
Still, this does not completely ruin the scene.
The second interesting character to be introduced in “Armour” is Lee Scoresby, played in a charismatic performance by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
An airman who exceeds in thievery, Lee’s eventual decision to ally himself with Lyra is just as well built up as Iorek joining her.
Originally coming to Trollesund to find Ioreck, Lee and his daemon Hester (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) have many humorous interactions with Lyra as she misleads him about the Gyptians being after his services.
The moment he realizes this and still manages to convince the Gyptians to hire him and Iorek is comedic cold, and the two joining shows just smart Lyra is in gathering allies.

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Miranda does a great job of portraying both Lee’s comedic and serious side.

Speaking of allies, Farder Coram seems to succeed in gaining the support of the witch he had a child with, Serafina Pekkla.
This leads to a moving performance from James Cosmo as Farder Coram tearfully tells Lyra the story of how he and Serafina lost their child and grew apart as a result.
All of the scenes in Trollesund are great, with amazing character interactions that can also bee seen in the scenes with Mrs Coulter, who is as manipulative as ever.
She manages to turn her demotion around, convincing Cardinal Sturrock (Ian Peck) and Father MacPhail (Will Keen, Dafne Keen’s father) to send her North because she has Lord Asriel.
Not only this but she is allowed to ask the alethiometer a question and asks it who Lyra is, most likely referring to the prophecy surrounding her.
Although, one problem I do have with Coulter’s manipulation is that we never see her force of armored bears capture Asriel.
I heard we don’t see him get caught in the book either but we saw his expeditions in the North researching Dust so I don’t see why we couldn’t have got a scene of his capture.

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Despite not seeing Asriel’s capture, the scene where Coulter manipulates the Cardinal shows how smart she is with Ruth Wilson doing an amazing job.

Coulter’s manipulations also leads to the scene between her and Iofur Raknison, the king of the armoured bears, where she offers him a baptism in exchange for his help.
I have to say, I think the design of Iofur’s armour is excellent, giving him a real menacing presence that kind of makes me wish Ioreck’s armour had got an update from the movie.
So, overall, despite a few minor problems, “Armour” is a fantastic episode of His Dark Materials and my favourite of the four episodes we have got so far.

Watchmen Episode 6 This Extraordinary Being Review: The Beginning of Justice.

5 stars
Every episode of Watchmen just gets better and better and the sixth episode, “This Extraordinary Being” is no exception, being the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story follows a young Will Reeves (Jovan Adepo) as Angela experiences many of his memories due to the large amount of Nostalgia drugs she consumed in “Little Fear of Lightning.”
It is though her experiencing her grandfather’s memories that the fan theory of Will being Hooded Justice, the very first superhero in the Watchmen universe, is confirmed.
I was on the fence about this theory before it was finally revealed.
Although, I knew that it would make sense for the story thematically and that Hooded Justice’s costume could be representative of a black man surviving a lynching, I was skeptical because it would make no sense for everyone to think Hooded Justice was white if he was Will.
Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a plot hole because Will is shown to be applying makeup to make himself appear to be white, knowing that if the white public knew he was black he would be labelled a criminal.

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Everyone believing Hooded Justice was white was the one thing that kept me from believing the theory that Will was him so I’m glad they explained it with the makeup. 

This racist ideology of the community is proven time and time again by Will’s experiences, leading up to him becoming Hooded Justice.
We are given a front row seat at how corrupt and racially charged the police force is.
However, the truth of the matter is even darker because many of the police are revealed to be part of a secret KKK society known as the Cyclops.
This is slowly revealed through a member of the group named Fred (Glen Fleshler), who was arrested by Will for burning down a Jewish shop, being released without charge.
It is Will’s arrest of Fred that leads to the Cyclops targeting him, with him nearly being lynched by the racist cops.
Stumbling home, he then comes across a couple being attacked and, driven by his trauma both old and new, dons the hood and hangman’s noose and charges in to help, becoming Hooded Justice.
While in most stories this would be the start of an inspirational story of Will triumphing over evil, this is not how it works in Watchmen‘s world.
With the exception of his wife, June (Danielle Deadwyler), who was the baby Will rescued after the Tulsa Massacre, he is very much alone in his fight.
Even his fellow heroes will not help, with Will’s lover, and leader of the Minute Men, Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) caring more about publicity than actually helping people.
As the years go by, the situation with Cyclops gets worse as no one listening to Will eventually leads to the organisation carrying out an attack by brainwashing a black audience watching a movie to riot.
Metropolis once again brushes Will off about the threat the group poses and this, combined with more racist taunts from Fred, causes Will to take matters into his own hands, killing Fred and many members of the group.
He even steals one of their brainwashing devices to fight back, only to find that he has alienated June and his son, with them going back to Tulsa because of his anger.
From here, the episode cuts to many years in the future to reveal that Will really was the one who killed Judd, using his brainwashing device to have him kill himself.
This is one of the most interesting scenes of the episode because it shows a lot about both characters.

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The scene between Will and Judd was probably my favourite of the episode.

For one thing, it raises a whole lot of questions about Judd and his involvement with the Kalvary, which appears to be descendant from Cyclops.
Judd tells Will he is trying to “help you people” but the “you people” part does seem to have some kind of racist implications.
Still, I think there may be more to Judd than him just being a completely evil Kalvary member.
As for Will, I love the moment when Judd asks who he is and Will replies “justice.”
In the years since we last saw him, Will has thrown away the hood, no longer hiding, and this line perfectly portrays that.
Now, as to what happened between the time Will killed the members of Cyclops and his killing of Crawford is a complete mystery.
There is a lot of years between these two points so it will be interesting to see how he became involved with Trieu.
Speaking of her, Angela wakes up in her care but how she got there is unclear right now as well.
From the promo for next episode, I can guess we will learn more about Angela’s past in Vietnam, which could also lead to us learning more about Will and Trieu.
Back to “This Extraordinary Being” I have got to say that the direction of the episode is incredible.
The representation of the trauma Will has with the constant colored in hallucinations of the Tulsa Massacre is very disturbing, especially when Will hallucinates that the car driven by Cyclops police members is dragging dead bodies.
Along with this, the passing of time is also portrayed brilliantly, as are the transitions between Will and Angela as she experiences his memories.
Probably the best example of this comes when the memory literally freezes in place as Laurie and Cal try to get Angela out of there but fail to do so.

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This moment when the memory freezes as Laurie and Cal try to pull Angela out of it is a great shot.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find just how many historical elements have been thrown into this episode, like the first black police officer of New York, Samuel J. Battle (Philly Plowden), who makes a brief appearance.
“This Extraordinary Being” is easily Watchmen‘s best episode so far.
The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t really make sense for Will to be kidnapped by three Cyclops members so easily, only to be beating them to a pulp with relative ease not long after.
Other than this minor problem, though, “This Extraordinary Being” is a fantastic episode that manages to be dark, depressing, and full of many great character and historical moments, supported by the top notch direction.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Six, An Unpleasant Talk Review: The Dark Truth.

3 and a half stars
The sixth episode of My Hero Academia‘s fourth season, “An Unpleasant Talk” sees the beginning of the formation of the plan to take down Overhaul, along with the reveal of the dark truth behind Eri.
It is a exposition heavy episode, which may not please some, but is necessary to pushing the story forward and also gives us insight into many of the characters, specifically Deku, Mirio, Nighteye and Overhaul.
Starting with the villain of this arc, the reveal of Overhaul’s cruel nature is adapted perfectly with the great image of him symbolically looming above a captured Eri, with the viles containing her blood floating around them.
This symbolic image is undoubtedly one of the series’ darkest visuals with its reveal that Overhaul is experimenting on Eri to create a drug that will remove people’s quirks.
Along with this, it really goes to show how cruel and uncaring of a person Overhaul is, as he is willing to hurt anyone, even children, if it furthers his goals.
The affect this has on Deku and Mirio is immediate as they are both instantly full of guilt upon realizing what is happening to Eri because they failed to rescue her.
The weight of the guilt they now have on their shoulders will now drive their story throughout this arc, as proven by Deku being so distracted that he cannot continue his school work properly.
Along with him and Mirio, Nighteye also has a heavy burden, refusing to use his foresight on any of the task force members he has assembled to take down Overhaul and rescue Eri.
The reasons for this are clear, based off episode four’s flashback to his fight with All Might.
Nighteye predicted his eventual gruesome death and he does not want to risk predicting any similar fate for his fellow heroes.
However, such a fate will need to be risked by these heroes if they want to save Eri.
Her situation is made abundantly clear in the post-credits scene with one of Overhaul’s minions trying to win her trust with gifts and fake affection.
However, Eri can only think of Deku, having never experienced the kind of warm embrace that he gave her.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode is not as depressing as this because there are some light hearted moments towards the beginning.
Moments such as Tsuyu and Ochako saying how cute Fat Gum is, only for him to offer them candy, brought a smile to my face.
One bit that also made me laugh was the Beatles reference where Deku, Ochako, Tsuyu, and Kirishima are shown walking across the street just like the band did on Abbey Road.
I wonder what brought on that reference?
In any case, “An Unpleasant Talk” is a solid episode of My Hero Academia that, while mostly exposition, sets up the goals and fears of its characters very well.

Attack on Titan Chapter 124 Predictions.

Eren’s motivations and goal for unleashing the Rumbling was finally revealed in Chapter 123 of Attack on Titan, with him announcing his intention to use the Wall Titans to eliminate all life outside the walls.
The Rumbling is definitely going to be the final battle of the story so the question is how will it go?
Will Eren succeed in his plot to destroy the world or does he have other intentions as one fan theory suggests?
In my first prediction for this post I will be tackling that theory, which is,

Will Eren Pull a Lelouch?

Lelouch is a character from the anime Code Geass, and in order to state how Eren’s plan might be similar to Lelouch’s I need to spoil the ending for that anime.
So, if you have not seen Code Geass just move on to the next question I pose.
At the end of Code Geass, Lelouch ends the war consuming his world by becoming the most hated dictator in that world.
He then has his best friend assassinate him so everyone can come together and establish world peace.
And now, many people are theorizing that Eren intends to do the same, propping himself up as the enemy of the world so his friends can kill him, showing the world that Eldians are not so bad and establishing peace between the two groups.
But do I think this will happen?
No, I don’t.
More than that, I am completely opposed to this happening because it would both rip off Code Geass’ ending and also make no sense given what has been established.
In Chapter 123 we get a flashback to when Eren and his friends first visited Marley and during their stay they witnessed a group of Marleyans about to kill an immigrant child because they suspected him of being an Eldian.
The hatred for Eldians is so strong in the world that even if an Eldian, like Armin, succeeded in stopping Eren it would change nothing.
If anything, Eren almost destroying the world would serve as proof to them that the Eldians need to be exterminated.
Eren would have to be incredibly stupid to believe this plan would work.
So, no, I don’t believe Eren has some kind of ulterior motive.
I fully believe he intends to destroy the world, which leads me into my next question.

Will Eren Succeed in Destroying the World?

Whether Eren succeeds in his plan will determine the entire ending of the manga.
Either he succeeds in wiping out all, or at least most, of life on earth and we get a bittersweet ending with Paradis being safe but the entire world is destroyed, or he fails and we get a tragic ending where the world wipes out Paradis.
Personally, I think the former is more likely because we know Eren has seen a part of his future because of the Attack Titan.
However, a lot of people think his plan to use the Rumbling is flawed because of one key thing, the ocean.
Many seem to think that the Colossal Titans will sink into the ocean, where they will be without sunlight and unable to move.
Contradicting this is the Attack on Titan Anthology where, in one story, Colossal Titans are seen coming out of the ocean.
And even if the Colossal Titans will sink, I am sure Eren will find a way around it.
For example, Eren could use the War Hammer Titan abilities, amplified by the Founding Titans powers, to make a bridge for the Titans to cross the ocean.
The one thing that I am at a loss to explain, though, is the airships.
Marley has been shown to have quite a number of these and they could easily pack survivors in them and fly above the Wall Titans’ reach.
So, maybe Eren will not succeed in destroying all of life beyond the walls, just most of it.
Although, one interesting thing to factor in on the idea of Eren being stopped is the possibility of the Scouts and the Warriors teaming up.
They could temporarily put aside their differences to stop Eren, or could just be working together without realizing it as both sides attempt to stop him.
Either way, I am sure that Kyomi’s sea plane and the remaining airships that Marley have left for evacuation will come into play here.
Still, with the extent of Eren’s power, I don’t think anything short of a nuke can stop him but I doubt any nation is at that technological stage yet.

Will Annie, Levi, Hange, or Historia Show Up?

What prediction post for an Attack on Titan chapter would be complete without wondering when the hell Annie, Levi, Hange and Historia are going to show up?
We have been speculating for so long about when these characters will return but they still have yet to do so.
And, with so little time remaining in the story, if these characters are going to play a major role then they need to return soon.
Starting with Historia, I think I have a clear idea of what role she will play in the ending.
Since I think she will give birth to the reincarnation of Ymir Fritz, I don’t think we will see her until the epilogue, although we will probably get a flashback to Eren’s conversation with her, before he left for Marley, and see if he is the father of her child or not.
Then there is Levi and Hange who I am both pretty unsure of.
Levi is badly injured so it seems unlikely he will return until the end but both he and Hange have ongoing storylines so I figure they have to show up somehow.
And then there is Annie.
Oh, Annie, Annie, Annie.
Fans have been theorizing about when she will come back for years and those theories have only intensified with her being brought up so often in these last two arcs.
However, there is still no sign of her.
Personally, it has got to the stage that I no longer care about Annie.
However, I still want her to return so it at least seems like Isayama had an idea of what he was trying to do with her character.
Many have speculated that she will have heard Eren’s message from Chapter 123 and this will cause her to wake up and, honestly, I think this is her last chance.
If she does not return in the next two chapters then I will be convinced that she will not return until the epilogue of the story.
If this happens then she will be a wasted character would should have died in The Female Titan Arc instead of just being locked away, never to return to the story.
Fingers crossed that Isayama will find an interesting way to bring Annie back that somehow gives her an interesting role with so little time left in the manga.