Nichijou Review: Selamat Pagi!

5 stars
If you ask a large group of anime fans what their favourite comedy anime is, I’m sure that someone would bring up
Nichijou, and rightfully so.
Based off the manga by Keiichi Arawi, directed by Tatsuya Isihara, and adapted by the great Kyoto Animation, I remember watching Nichijou’s first episode a few years ago but, for whatever reason, not continuing with it after that.
Well, now that I have finished watching the series with everyone at the anime club I go to, I can say that I regret this decision because Nichijou is an absolutely perfect comedy in every sense of the word.
Every single episode got a massive laugh out of everyone attending.
The story (if you can call it that) follows two sets of people.
First up, we have the three high schoolers, the ditz, Yuko Aioi (Mariko Honda), the yaoi artist, Mio Naganohara (Mai Aizawa), and the emotionless-looking, yet still intelligent, Mai Minakami (Misuzu Togashi).
Next, we have the robot, Nano Shinome (Shizuka Furuya), her creator the child, Professor (Hiromi Konno), and their talking cat, Sakamoto (Minoru Shiraishi).
I know, it seems like these are two completely different storylines that don’t belong in the same show.
Well, Nichijou somehow makes it work completely, as we see both sets of characters go about their normal, over the top, everyday lives.   

Nichijou somehow manages to blend normal and over the top seemlessly.

I say over the top because almost every single action in Nichijou is.
The first episode literally has a scene where Yuuko trying to catch some food she dropped is animated like it’s a stylized fight sequence.
There is a common joke in the fandom that they spent almost all of their animation budget on scenes like this and I honestly would not be surprised if it was true.
These scenes are so ludicrous that they’re hilarious and there is one of them in pretty much every single episode.
Just wait until you get to the Mio fight scene and the high jump scenes.
You will know what I’m talking about when you get to those moments and I highly suspect you’ll be dying of laughter when you do.

If you value your saftey, whatever you do, do not sneak a peak at Mio’s yaoi art.

This is what Nichijou is essentially, a series of skits, most of them focusing on the characters I mentioned, with very little overarching story.
There is development and plot progression for Nano but, other than her, there is next to none of this for the rest of the cast. 

Nano’s character arc is quite good, made better by the humor surrounding it.

Ordinarily, I would say that the characters not being developed was a bad thing but this is not the case for Nichijou.
It’s not trying to be a show where every character grows to the point that they are different by the end.       
It’s trying to be a show that makes us laugh at all the insane things going on in these characters’ everyday lives, and it more than succeeds at that.
If you haven’t seen Nichijou yet then I recommend you go see what you’re missing out on.
You will laugh so hard your sides hurt at least once every episode.
It is, in my opinion, the perfect comedy anime.

Attack on Titan Updated Final Chapter Review: It Was All for Nothing.

two out of five
Wow… just wow.
Okay, so I made it clear in my review for the final chapter of Attack on Titan, “Towards the Tree on that Hill”, that I thought the ending of the story was a mixed bag.
There was a lot to dislike about the chapter, from Ymir loving King Fritz, to Armin thanking Eren for committing mass genocide, to Eren killing his own mother and whining about Mikasa even though he just murdered billions of people, to Historia’s drawn out pregnancy subplot amounting to absolutley nothing.
However, there was also a lot to like about the ending, from Levi’s fantastic sendoff, the final panels mostly bringing a satisfying conclusion to the Alliance and Mikasa, and, of course, Titan powers coming to an end which meant that the characters had actually achieved something by the end.
So, overall, the final chapter had plenty of good things and plenty of bad things about it.
This made me excited for the volume release where Hajime Isayama would add additional pages to expand on the ending.
I hoped that these additions would work towards making the things I didn’t like about the ending easier to digest.
Well, Hajime Isayama just released this updated ending and, having read the new pages, I can confidently say that the characters achieved pretty much nothing.
Seriously, these eight pages take the things I actually liked about Attack on Titan’s ending and completley contradicts them.
Without this updated ending I would at least be able to say that the ending to my favourite story was decent, if a bit problematic.
Now that these pages have been added to the canon, though, I don’t like the ending.
I think it makes all the past sacrifices of the story meaningless in the long run.
This said, I won’t act like everything Isayama added here is bad.
There is one addition that I do like and it is Ymir actually getting a sendoff.
In the original chapter, she just disappeared completley, which was bizarre given how much she had been a focus in the final arc.
However, in the updated chapter, she is actually given an ending.
Right after Armin yells that he is the man who killed Eren Yeager, we see Mikasa walking away with Eren’s head and seeing the specter of Ymir, in adult form this time for some reason.
It is revealed that Ymir was the source of Mikasa’s headaches, and Mikasa thanks her for bringing her children into the world before Ymir fades away forever.
I was glad to see Ymir actually get a sendoff here as opposed to just vanishing, but there is still a lot about this scene that just does not make sense.
If Ymir was the one causing Mikasa’s headaches, then how the heck did she know that Mikasa would be key to freeing her?
Mikasa’s headaches have been happening for a long time so why was Ymir reaching out to her then?
Also, how does Mikasa even know what Ymir looks like to recognise her or know about her love for King Fritz?
Not to mention that Mikasa being the one to ultimately free Ymir still comes out of absolutley nowhere.
The most troubling thing about this though is that during this scene we get a flashback, which shows Ymir not saving King Fritz from the spear and then comforting her children.
There are two possibilities as to what this could mean.
Option number one is that Ymir really didn’t save King Fritz and everything we saw after she died in Chapter 122 was just some weird hallucination she was experiencing.
Option number two is that this is just Ymir wishing she had not saved Fritz and had instead lived on with her children.
If it’s option number one then Isayama retconned a massive part of the story’s history and lore, completley ruining Chapter 122.
This is why I am choosing to believe it’s option number two that he is depicting here because otherwise it completley ruins a chapter that I once loved.
No matter what the intended ending is, though, Isayama still made this really unclear, so he should have either been more clear about its intent or just removed it all togethor.
Now, we get to the part of the updated conclusion that made me go from thinking the ending was alright to that it was just downright bad.
Right after the original final scene, where Mikasa thanks Eren for wrapping the scarf around her, we get a series of panels showing different timeskips on Paradis.
The first of these shows Mikasa with an unknown man who she presumeably married and had a child with, visiting Eren’s grave.
I can’t believe Mikasa got the Historia treatment, marrying an unknown person.
As if that happening to one character wasn’t bad enough.
Still, this unknown man could be Jean since it does look like him from behind.
Even if the husband is Jean, though, it still feels forced because of how onesided their past interactions have been.
Much like Mikasa’s love for Eren being properly built up but not Eren’s for her, Jean’s feelings for Mikasa were built up but her’s wasn’t for him.
From here, we see a progression of Mikasa’s life, with her continuously visiting Eren’s grave with her family, until she dies an old woman.
Then we get the kicker.
Paradis is destroyed in a war.
I’m sorry, what?
You’re telling me after all that build up in the original final chapter towards the future for Paradis being hopeful, despite the danger, it just gets destroyed?
Then what’s the point of the fantastic Levi scene where he tells his comrades that this is the outcome they sacrificed their lives for?
They didn’t sacrifice their lives just for the island to be destroyed.
This contradicts so much that was in the final chapter.
In the original ending, it felt like Isayama keeping Paradis’ fate ambigious was him trying to stay consistent with one of Attack on Titan’s biggest themes, this being that the world is cruel but also beautiful.
There was danger on the horizon but Paradis had the Alliance as peace envoys, working to build a bridge between them and the outside world.
This updated ending changes the entire feeling of the conclusion from hopeful to just plain cynical.
Not that a depressing ending couldn’t have worked but, as I said, this just contradicts so much of what was in the original chapter, and this was stuff about that chapter which I actually liked so it makes it way worse for me.
Then we get the big slap in the face.
After Paradis has been destroyed, we see a young boy, who looks like Mikasa’s descendent and has shaded in eyes, meaning that he is a slave to something as the symbolism of this story dictates.
The boy and his dog head towards the tree where Eren’s head is buried, which has now grown to look exactly like the tree Ymir fell into where she was infected with the Hallucigenia and became the first Titan 2000 years ago.
Therefore, it is heavily implied that the power of the Titans will be coming back.
Are you freaking kidding me?
What the heck was the point then?
It was all for nothing!
In the original ending, Titan powers disappearing was an incredibly big deal.
It was one of the biggest achievements the characters made.
Even if the cycle of violence did continue, at least they could say they achieved ending the cycle of Titans, something which Eren sought to end right at the beginning of the story.
Now, that meaning is completley taken away.
The characters did not achieve anything in the long run at all.
Sure, Eren managed to ensure a long life for his friends.
Other than this, though, there was nothing else achieved.
Paradis is destroyed and the Alliance and Historia’s descendents are all dead, making their attempts to try for peace meaningless, and the Titan powers are hinted to be coming back, making one of the biggest goals of the story go absolutley nowhere.
This ruins the ending for me.
Before, it was okay.
It had big problems but I felt that it was at least somewhat satisfying.
Now, with this updated ending, I can say that Attack on Titan‘s ending is just straight up bad.
The updated ending keeps the things I didn’t like, rather than expanding on them in ways that could make them good.
It also adds worse things that make the good parts of the final chapter completley meaningless.
Ymir getting a sendoff is the only good addition in this updated ending.
Otherwise, it’s a complete disaster.
I still love Attack on Titan because it’s a story where I really connected with its world, characters, and plot twists.
The ending, though?
Not so much now.

My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode Ten, That Which is Inherited Review: The Controversial Twist.

4 and a half stars
The events of Episode Ten from Season Five of My Hero Academia are ones I have been interested to see adapted in the anime for a while.
My reason for this is that not only was I excited to see the big twist play out, but I was also curious to see what the fan reaction would be.
The reveal that One For All would give Deku multiple Quirks was a controversial one when it happened in the manga because many thought it would make him too overpowered and lessen the stakes.
Personally, I think it has been handled great so far in the manga, although I won’t be saying anything more about the source material beyond that.
It also seems that the anime only reaction has been mostly positive as well, which is good to see, with fans seemingly open to see where this goes, even if they have concerns about it, which, to be fair, are natural.
As for the episode itself, “That Which is Inherited”, directed by Ikurō Satō, it is the best episode of Season Five so far and gives new life to this arc, along with the previous two episodes, which were also pretty great.
Before those episodes, the arc had been a bit drawn out, with the anime making things longer than it should have been by adding various recaps to things we did not need them for.
“That Which is Inherited” does prove the importance of this arc, though, because the big reveal is clearly one of the most important moments in My Hero Academia, being one that shapes the direction the story is going.
The episode begins in a rather creepy fashion, opening up at Tartarus Prison where All For One is being held.
The king of all supervillains is under constant surveillance in his prison cell and the guards express concern at his movement in his cell along with the movements of his subordinates in the League of Villains who are still at large.
It is at this moment where the creepy factor comes in, as All For One is revealed to have heard them talking and aplogises for making them nervous, before saying he can hear his brother’s voice, which makes sense considering how One For All’s true potential is about to be activated.
This scene is followed up with even more hints at One For All’s unlocking, as All Might recieves a call from Gran Torino about something his predecessor and mentor, Nana, told the elderly hero.
She said to him once that she dreamed of a man in shadow telling her, “the time has not yet come.”
From here, the episode goes into the hyped up final fight between Deku and Monoma’s team.
We see the moments before this fight, as Monoma has a talk with Shinso about how they are similar, since both were told they couldn’t be heroes because of their Quirks.
This heart to heart actually does a good job of building up Monoma as a character, which is good for him because I usually find him to be incredibly annoying, what with his constant, annoying shouting about how better his class is than 1-A’s.
We also get a good bit of foreshadowing here for the event that will unintentionally unlock One For All, as Monoma asks Shinso how he got Deku to talk so he could brainwash him during the sports festival.
Shinso says he insulted his classmate and the look on Monoma’s face just screams that he now has a plan to use his Copy Quirk to brainwash Deku.
With this plan now set, so begins the attack on Deku’s team by Monoma and Shinso’s group.
We also get an introduction to the other members of their team but they’re not important so I won’t go into their Quirks.
What really matters is the fight between Deku and Monoma, as Monoma sets his plan to brainwash Deku into motion by insulting Bakugo, saying his actions brought down the symbol of peace.
This turns out to not be the best plan, though, because it pushes Deku’s buttons enough that it unlocks One For All’s potential, and the Black Whip Quirk explodes from Deku’s hand.
The way this scene is animated and edited is stellar, with the sound cutting out completley for a bit, followed by All Might’s horrified face as Nana’s words ring in his head.
With Black Whip going crazy and Deku desperately trying to control it, the music and the reactions of the characters and are particuarly great.
I really liked the moment when Deku bursts through a wall and we get to see Shinso’s shocked reaction.
Even though we can’t see his mouth, it’s clear he is terrified by what’s happening.
Now, with Deku unable to control this new Quirk, who should come in to save him?
None other than Uraraka, as she jumps up and grabs a hold of Deku in an effort to calm him.
We then get more of an exploration of her backstory, as we see that along with her wanting to become a hero to help her parents financially, she also became one because she loved helping people and making them happy, building into the present where we see her help Deku.
There is also a great line in this scene, when Uraraka wonders, “who protects the heroes when they’re hurting.”
Much like Monoma, I am glad we got some Uraraka spotlight this episode.
It’s pretty clear that My Hero Academia is a show where the male characters get a lot more spotlight than the female ones.
Not to say that the content the female characters get is bad, far from it, but it is far less frequent to get character development  and important scenes for the girls in My Hero Academia, so it was nice to see Uraraka finally get some of the spotlight in this episode.
That said, don’t expect her to have much more importance after this moment, unfortunately.
Well, at least the content we get from her here is pretty good, as she calls for Shinso to save Deku by brainwashing him, which succeeds, propelling Deku into One For All to talk with a Vestige.
This past user of One For All informs Deku that the Black Whip power he used is actually his Quirk and soon Deku will inherit six others, as One For All has finally reached the singularity point mentioned in the season premiere.
Not only this but these Quirks are much stronger than they were originally because they have been cultivated by One For All over the years.
Given how strong this will make Deku when he activates all six, you can see why it would make plenty of readers concerned when it was revealed in the manga.
If used wrong by Horikoshi, this power up could completley break the power scaling of the series.
Again, though, I do think that the way it is used in the future of the story is well done, so I advise those of you who have doubts to continue watching, before making your own judgements on this.
Maybe you will come to like this twist and its impact on the story, like I do.
Anyway, following this reveal, Deku awakens from Shinso’s brainwashing and the fight continues, with Deku and Uraraka having each other’s back and Aizawa deciding to allow the match to continue, bringing the episode to a close.
All in all, “That Which is Inherited” is the best episode of Season Five so far.
It adapts the twist of One For All’s upgrade really well and portrays the initial horror of Black Whip activating greatly.
There are even some good comedic moments, like one good gag with Jiro.
The twist may be controversial for some but I hope they come to like this twist and its impact on the story as the anime goes on.

Choujin X, Chapter One Review: A Promising Start.

4 stars
Writer of
Tokyo Ghoul, Sui Ishida, had been slowly hyping up his new manga Choujin X for quite a while.
Teasing us with some panels and revealing character designs, he did a pretty good job of getting us excited for his next project.
As someone who loved Tokyo Ghoul the first time I read it and has only come to love it more as time has gone, I was quite excited for it.
I figured there would be some announcement about when it would be released, but nope, it just dropped out of the blue.
It was a pleasant surprise to go online and come across the news that the first chapter of Choujin X was out.
After reading the chapter, and then re-reading it a few times, I can say that Ishida’s new manga is off to a promising start.
It does a great job of introducing us to the characters, setting, and themes of the story.
The manga is set in a world where super powered individuals known as Choujin exist.
However, given how they are pretty much only referred to negatively throughout the chapter, it is pretty safe to say that most of these Choujin are bad people and there are no heroes among them… yet.
This could change very soon based on who becomes a Choujin and who is hinted to be one in this first chapter.
Speaking of, the story begins with an eerie panel, which was teased by Ishida (seen above), which shows our main character, 16-year-old Tokio Kurohara, standing naked and rising to meet the gaze of a vulture-like creature with the narration, “It’s something of an affliction.”
How this opening imagery will tie into the future of the story, or if its just symbolic foreshadowing, will be interesting to see once we get more chapters.
From here, the chapter cuts to a plane, where a little girl is talking excitedly with an old woman about how she’s going to a fair for her grandfather to enter a produce competition.
It is here that the lighter tone Ishida mentioned he was going for can clearly be seen, as the little girl starts off stating how she would want use the prize money to help on the farm, before comedically going straight into dream land, wanting a mansion, a dog, a handsome husband and nine kids.
However, this is the writer of Tokyo Ghoul we’re talking about, so even if this story is going to be more comedic, there will definitely be dark moments.
This is proven when another passenger awakens and threatens the old woman, who the little girl defends, only for him to set the entire plane alight with flame, incinerating many people, including the old woman, and supposedly the little girl.
That said, I highly doubt this is the end for her.
We have seen the girl in some character concept art released by Ishida, where she is shown wearing the same military looking uniform as Tokio.
It is also later revealed that 200 passengers miraculously survived the plane crash, making me think that the girl either became or always was a Choujin and used her power to save the surviving passengers.
This could lead to her meeting Tokio later if both are captured and put to work by the military or government, although this is just speculation based on the concept art I mentioned.
Anway, following this attack on the plane, we get our first good look at Tokio, as he sees the plane crash from his seat at school.
This causes his teacher, who has comically large breasts and is referred to as Mrs Bazonkas by Tokio, to call him out for not paying attention, leading to some more comedic paneling from Ishida.
He’s going to do quite a good job with the comedy if this opening chapter is any indication.
Now, it is time to talk about how well he manages to set up Tokio as a character in this chapter, which sets him up as someone who doesn’t like to put much effort in and is vulture-like, seen as leeching off his friend Azuma Higashi by others.
Speaking of Azuma, he strikes me as a mixture between Arima and Hide from Tokyo Ghoul, a fantastic fighter who is also a great friend to the main character.
This is seen when Tokio witnesses a woman about to be raped by a group of thugs and calls in Azuma for help rather than getting involved himself.
Following a superhero landing, Azuma easily beats the head thug, breaking both his arms with a devastating kick.
After this save, we get our first look at the setting, a heavily damaged Yamato Prefecture, and given how Azuma says Choujin should do something good with their power instead here, it can be assumed that the damage is related to them.
This is why I think that there aren’t really any good Choujin in this world yet.
It is then that we get the classic Ishida symbolism, as Azuma compares Choujin to roly-poly’s, wondering if they gather under damp places because they like it, when they’re supposed to be used to dry places.
There could be multiple meanings to this, like maybe that Choujin are gathering in and destroying cities because they enjoy it.
I’m just spitballing, though, there could be another meaning to it.
In any case, this symbolic moment not only reminds me of a lot of similar scenes from Tokyo Ghoul but also the country and town mouse allegory from Chainsaw Man.
Makes me wonder if Ishida was influenced by Tatsuki Fujimoto somewhat.
With the symbolic scene over, the chapter progresses back to the overall plot with the thug whose arms were broken by Azuma being given an injection, which turns him into a Choujin.
We are also introduced to Tokio’s father and sister, who acts like a mother to him, even paying his tuition.
Tokio also says that Azuma being popular makes him feel popular too, furthering the interpretation of a vulture who leeches off others.
This allegory continues with a flashback, where Tokio is literally compared to a vulture by the other children at school, while Azuma is compared to a lion.
Azuma, however, is there to cheer up his friend, telling Tokio how vultures can soar higher than any other bird.
Before this, though, Tokio says that he could have been a lion too and he gets his moment to do so in the following scene, where the Choujin thug ambushes him and Azuma on their way home.
We get some more great paneling from Ishida as he does a great job depicting the fight between the martial artist Azuma and the seemingly Mr Fantastic inspired Choujin.
During this scene, we also seem to get an explanation for why there are supposedly no good Choujin, as the thug goes crazy to the point that he brutally murders his own friends, popping their heads like balloons.
It could be that that becoming a Choujin drives the person insane and it will be interesting to see if Tokio, Azuma, and the girl from the plane (if she is indeed a Choujin) have to deal with this danger in the future.
As the fight continues, Azuma realizes he can’t beat the Choujin, who will almost certainly kill them, so suggests injecting himself to become a Choujin and have a good shot at beating the thug.
However, Tokio will not let him do it alone, becoming a lion in the moment as he offers to inject himself alongside his friend and stick by his side.
The following panels really highlight Ishida’s fantastic art style, as the two friends, lion and vulutre, point the syringes at one another and vow not to have any regrets, while a dandeline is shown blowing in the night wind.
The symbolism for that last point is anyone’s guess but the results of Tokio and Auma injecting themselves are interesting, to say the least, as only Tokio’s body seems to be reacting to becoming a Choujin well.
He transforms into a beastial Choujin, with a head like the skull of a vulture, and sends the Choujin thug off with a punch that sends him flying, before going to help Azuma, who has collapsed to the floor, ending the first chapter.

This conclusion raises questions about why Azuma was not able to successfully transform, like Tokio, and I expect we’ll get the answer, along with the answer of what happened to the little girl, in the following chapters, whenever those release.
Ishida has not set a specific time for when the next chapter will come out and this is due to him wanting to go at his own pace, which is entirely understandable given how overworked he was when he was writing and illustrating Tokyo Ghoul and Re.
Let’s hope he continues to put his health first and pace himself well.
Overall, I found the first chapter of Choujin X to be quite a promising beginning.
It does a great job at introducing us to its characters and the world they live in, along with the symbolism of the roly-polies and the vulture allegories.
I look forward to seeing how Ishida will continue this story at his own pace.  

A Quiet Place Part 2, Review: An Intense Theater Experience.

4 stars
I loved
A Quiet Place when I first saw it in theaters and my appreciation for it has only increased as the years have gone by.
So, obviously, I was very excited for the sequel, once again directed by John Krasinski.
But then, of course, COVID hit and the film was delayed, until recently.
Well, I just saw A Quiet Place Part 2 and can say that it is a worthy sequel, which I quite enjoyed.
I do prefer the original, but Part 2 is still a great follow up that provided an intense experience that needs to be seen in theaters.
As the trailers revealed, the film begins by cutting to day one of the alien attack, where it is interesting to see how the Abbott family survived the invasion.
From here, Part 2 moves to the present, right after the events of the first film as Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and the newly born baby, are forced to leave their home, now armed with the knowledge of how to kill the aliens. 
Coming across another survivor named Emmett (Cillian Murphy), the family come to realize that the aliens are not the only threat, but people are as well.

Murphy does an excellent job as the isolated and traumatised Emmett.

A Quiet Place Part 2 has stellar acting across the board, with each of the cast providing a standout moment.
Blunt portrays her character’s grief of recently losing her husband excellently, and Jupe delivers a harrowing moment during the first act of the film expertly.
The standouts, though, are definitely Simmonds and Murphy.
I would actually argue that Regan is the main character of this film, as she tries to live up to her father Lee’s legacy, following his tragic sacrifice at the end of the first film.
As for Murphy, he also does a fantastic job as Emmett, portraying his trauma well, and I really liked the slow bond that grew between his character and Regan.

Regan is the hero of Part 2.

I would have preferred to see a bit more of Emmett, though.
We get to see how the Abbott’s experienced day one and I kind of wanted to see Emmett’s story, leading up to him meeting the Abbott’s in Part 2.     
Along with the great acting, the feeling of intensity from the original film is, thankfully, still present here.
I found myself often gripping the chair I was sitting on in scenes where the characters desperately tried to stay quiet to keep away the aliens.
This involved various scenes with intercutting, as each of the separated characters found themselves in mortal danger where the slightest noise could mean their inevitable deaths.
It was amazingly edited togethor. 

Just when you think one character is done for, the scene cuts to another character in a situation somehow even more dangerous that the other one’s.

As for the ending, it ends abruptly, like the first, only I would say more so.
Even though the ending to the first film felt abrupt, it was satisfying enough to the point that it didn’t feel like a sequel was necessary.
This ending, on the other hand, definitely needs to be followed up on with a Part 3.
Maybe they could give us more of Emmett’s backstory in this potential sequel.
Either way, I do find A Quiet Place Part 2 to be a worthy sequel.
It has great acting and delivers many intense scenes that are best viewed in theaters to deliver their full effect.    

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish Review: A Well-Written Romance.

4 stars
Coming into
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
I had seen the trailer a while back, so I knew it would be a romance anime but I didn’t know if it would be of the comedic, wholesome, or tragic department.
Well, after seeing it in theaters, I can say that it is kind of all three of those.
Directed by Kotaro Tamura, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish tells the story of the blossoming romance between diving enthusiast Tsueno Suzukawa (Taishi Nakagawa) and the wheelchair-bound Kumiko Yamamura (Kaya Kiyohara) or Josee, as she likes to be called.
Tsueno is a young man who’s passion for the ocean and diving has him hoping to get a scholarship in Mexico to study a certain kind of fish, however, he needs the money.
This is where Josee comes in, as a chance encounter between the two occurs when Tsueno saves her after someone cruelly pushes her wheelchair down a steep road.
Josee’s grandmother (Chiemi Matsutera) kindly offers Tsueno a job to look after Josee, helping him with his fees needed for the scholarship.
The problem?
Tsueno and Josee can’t stand each other.
From there, the film progresses with their relationship as they slowly go from hating one another, to being friends, to falling in love. 

The progression of Tsueno and Josee’s relation is very well handled.

However, given how I said earlier that Josee, the Tiger and the Fish had comedic, wholesome, and even tragic moments, you can probably guess that it is a bumpy road to get to the end goal.
It’s a good thing then that the romance is well written.
This is helped by both voice actors doing an great job with their performance and also the script, written by Sayaka Kuwamura, which does an excellent job at showing how Tsueno and Josee’s growing bond changes them as people.
For example, we watch as Josee goes from being shut in by her grandmother, to becoming more independent and confident, with help from Tsueno’s influence.
Speaking of Josee’s grandmother, she is quite a funny character, with her reactions in one scene creating quite a few chuckles among the audience in the theater.
Along with the well-written romance and humor, there is also the animation, which is quite beautiful at times, like during the beach scene, which brought a smile to my face. 

The beach scene is one of the most smile inducing moments in the entire film.

It is all of these things that combine to make an enjoyable film that will make a good watch for any fan of romance anime.
It’s nothing revolutionary or ground breaking but it didn’t need to be.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a touching romance with a lot of good moments. 

Resident Evil Vlllage Review: A Lot of Fun and Occasionally Terrifying.

4 and a half stars
I remember playing
Resident Evil: Biohazard when it first came out and quite enjoying it.
It was my first Resident Evil game and did a great job at scaring me and keeping me engaged during its action heavy moments.
Not to mention that the DLC was excellent, with every new mini story added being worth the price.
So, as you can imagine, I was excited to finally get to play Resident Evil: Village, when it dropped on the ninth of May.
Developed by Capcom and directed by Morimasa Sato, the game takes place three years after the events of Biohazard, where its protagonist, Ethan Winters (Todd Soley), has settled down in Europe with his wife, Mia (Katie O’Hagan), and their baby, Rose.
However, in the dead of night, Chris Redfield (Jeff Schine) ambushes the family and murders Mia.
With Ethan being transported to a mysterious village overrun with Lychans, it’s up to him to rescue his daughter, as he battles against the evil village ruler, Mother Miranda (Michelle Lukes) and her four lords, Heisenberg (Neil Newbon), Lady Dimitrescu (Maggie Robertson), Beneviento (Andi Norrs) and Moreau (Jesse Pimentel).

Each of the villains Ethan faces off against is interesting in their own way.

Village feels like a love letter to Resident Evil 4 with its main setting, while each of the areas you explore as Ethan provides their own forms of horror and action.
For example, It was quite a bit of fun to be chased around by Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters, and this ended in what I found to be the best boss fight of the game.
While I personally found the Moreau section to be a little weak, I cannot deny it also ended in a fun boss fight.
Heisenberg was kind of the opposite because I found his final fight be a bit of a letdown, yet he had the most entertaining personality out of all the villains, including Mother Miranda who herself is an understandable antagonist, by the end.
My favourite of the five villain’s sections, though, has to be Beneviento’s.
Her section is pure, psychological horror with it reminding me of an Outlast game at one specific point, only somehow a million times scarier.
I was screaming like a little girl at one particular point here.
If you’ve played the game, you know what part I’m talking about, and if you haven’t then, trust me, it will terrify you.

The Benviento household may be my scariest experience while playing a video game.

Most of Village is action oriented, so this solely horror based segment with Beneviento was a welcome and horrifying reprieve.
This is not to say that the action is bad, far from it actually, as many of the action set pieces are quite intense.
Encountering a horde of Lychans is always heart pounding, as you have to run and gun constantly, while making sure to conserve healing items if one gets a hold of you.
Along with the Lychans, there are many other enemy types, a clear improvement from Biohazard.
Speaking of improvements from that game, Ethan is one of these.
In Seven, he was not a very interesting character.
He could be quippy at times but, other than this, there really wasn’t all that much to him.
Thankfully, this is definitely not the case in Village because I found myself getting heavily invested in Ethan as a character and his story.
There were a few particular moments from him that hit me me hard and made me feel bad for the guy.
However, this did result in a bit of a problem at the end because I do think there was a perfect moment to reveal his face but they didn’t capitalize on it.
Along with Ethan, another character I enjoyed was the Duke (Aaron LaPlante), the merchant character who is a constant relieving presence, as he sells you equipment and provides you with upgrades for your journey.
I found myself smiling whenever I came across the jolly giant and I hope he makes an appearance in future games. 

Charasmatic and mysterious, the Duke is a character who I would like to see more of.

Chris Redfield also has importance in the game’s final act and I quite enjoyed his role, even if I think it was a little too convenient to the plot for him to not do something he clearly should of earlier, although the other characters do acknowledge this.
Another character I would like to see more of is Heisenberg, who, as I said, is the most entertaining of the villains.
Maybe he could appear in a DLC?
It would be pretty great if Village got the same DLC treatment as Biohazard, allowing them to expand on many of the stories of these characters.  

One of my hopes for DLC this time around is a Heisenbeg expansion, maybe even an alternate ending to the encounter between him and Ethan.

Village really does have a great cast and this goes well with its intense gameplay and intriguing story.
I definitely think this is a step up from Biohazard.
The game got me invested with its expansive cast of characters, scared the hell out of me at times, and its ending left me very intrigued for how they will close the Winters’ story off with Resident Evil Nine, whenever it is released.
When it does eventually come out, though, the game will definitely be one that I buy on the first day of its release, just like I did with Village.  

ID: Invaded Review: Diving into the Criminal Mind… Literally.

4 stars
When I heard of the premise for the original anime
ID: Invaded, I was immediately intrigued.
A world where detectives can find fragments of a serial killer’s drive to kill at their crime scenes and use this to create an ID Well, a simulated world where “brilliant detectives” dive in to literally explore the criminal mind, all in order to catch them?
It sounded right up my alley and, boy, was it.
Directed by Ei Aoki and written by Ōtarō Maijō, the story follows Akihito Narihisago (Kenjiro Tsuda), an investigator traumatised by a disturbing family tragedy, which gave him his own drive to kill.
This drive allows him to become the brilliant detective Sakaido, when he dives into the ID Wells of serial killers, as he always finds himself investigating the death of the mysterious Kaeru, with the mystery behind her death always leading to the identity of the real life murderer the force are hunting.

The ID Wells are always interesting to see, with each killer’s inner psyche manifesting in different ways.

Once this killer’s identity is discovered, it is up to the team in the real world to catch them, with one new detective, Koharu Hondomachi (M.A.O), having a particular interest in using the ID Well.
ID: Invaded does a great job with its exploration of the ID Wells and the investigation that is taking place in the real world at the same time.
It creates interesting episodes, with each one initially focusing on a single killer as the story progresses, before it branches out to focus solely on the one behind the scenes pulling the strings: John Walker.
These episodes do a good job of getting you into the heads of the killers, although, it should be noted that quite a few of these serial killers are comically over the top.
The anime also makes you feel for the victims as well.
One particular episode has such a masterful bait and switch that it hit me like a train when the rug was pulled out from under us.

Just like Narihisago, we are hit hard with the relization of the big twist of that particular episode.

The show even managed to surprise me by making one of my favourite characters one of the killers, the Perforator (Yoshimasa Hosoya, and I won’t give his character’s actual name, so not to spoil the first few episodes), as I quite liked the progression of his bond with Honomachi.
It’s not all great, though, because I did find the story’s big twist to be entirely predictable, since I pretty much called it right from episode one.
That said, the events surrounding this predictable twist are pretty mind boggling, in a good way.
ID: Invaded honestly reminded me of Inception here with its weird ID Well inside ID Well settings.
The explanation to how all of this was even possible and how it ties in with who Kaeru is was also quite creative and an explanation I really enjoyed.

Along with being creative, the last four or so episodes also bring the feels, with one scene being so emotional that it is difficult not to tear up at it.

Pairing this with the great character growth of Narihisago, Hondomachi and the Perforator, and we have an enagaging show that I would definitley recommend.
Sure, it’s big twist is predictable and it does get a bit formulaic at times, before the last stretch of episodes, but ID: Invaded is still a good time with some very creative story choices in the final half.

Top 10 Attack on Titan Characters.

This post contains spoilers for the Attack on Titan manga, including the ending. 

Out of all the stories I have heard, none has had characters that I have been as attached to as those in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.
There are so many characters from this manga who I will always remember fondly.
So, with the story now over, I figured it would be a good time to list my top ten favourite characters.
Making this list was not easy because there were so many characters who I considered putting on the list but just missed out, like Gabi Braun, Kenny Ackerman, Sasha Blouse, Pieck Finger, Annie Leonhart, Falco Grice, Bertholdt Hoover and Connie Springer.
However, the character who hurt the most not to put on this list was Mikasa Ackerman, especially considering how high I ranked her in my first list after watching Season Two.
It was honestly very close between her and the character who took the number ten spot but, at the end of the day, there were just a few too many missed opportunities with her character arc, which kept her out of the top ten.
Still a great character, though and she should be considered my eleventh favourite character.
Now, it’s for the characters I consider to be the best of the best in this amazing story.
Here are my top ten Attack on Titan characters, starting with… 

10. Hange Zoe.

Coming in at number ten, we have the eccentric scientist and Titan lover, Hange Zoe.
Right from her introduction, Hange was one of the most entertaining characters, with her constant wacky hyjinks keeping her assistant Moblit at his wits end.
This resulted in many hilarious situations where Hange was the root cause.
Along with being comedic, Hange could also be deadly serious when the situation called for it, like when she threatened Pastor Nick after the first Wall Titan was uncovered and when she tortured Sannes for information.
However, despite being a capable squad lead, she would have to face her most difficult challenge yet with the death of Erwin, forcing her becoming the new Survery Corps commander.
This was difficult for her because, although a very smart person, she was nowhere near the leader he was and thrust into a situation that even he would struggle to handle.
The struggles she went through because of this caused some in the fandom to call her completely useless but Hange quickly proved herself, saving Levi’s life and helping form the Alliance, later leading them to victory against the Yeagerists.
But her standout moment came at her end, where she stayed behind to hold off the advancing Wall Titans, so the Alliance could get the plane in the air to go and stop Eren.
Her looking in awe at the countless Colossal Titans and declaring, “Titans really are incredible” was her returning to the mad Titan lover we all love, right at her end, and in a way that helped save the world.
She definitely earned her final moments, as she sees all the ghosts of the dead Scouts and prepares to tell them her story.
From mad scientist, to Commander, to a mixture of both in her final moments, Hange is a great character deserving of making it into the top ten.

9. Jean Kirstein.

At number nine is the horse face himself.
Appearing for the first time all the way back in the Trost Arc, Jean quickly became one of my favourite characters because of how well his arc was handled.
Starting out as stuck up and self centered, Jean’s only goal in life at the beginning of the story was to join the Military Police and live the good life.
This mentality instantly caused conflict between him and Eren, with Eren seeking freedom outside the walls and Jean seeking safety behind them.
The two even coined insulting nicknames for one another, those being horse face and suicidal maniac.
However, then the attack on Trost happened and Jean began to change.
Being forced to take on a leadership position, Jean was inspired by one of his friends from the 104th, Marco.
After the battle, he found Marco’s half eaten body, which was one of the most significant moments in his life because it forced him to make a choice.
This being to do what he wants and join the Military Police, or what is right and join the Survey Corps, fighting for humanity.
Jean chooses the latter, showing what kind of person he has grown into, so much so that even Eren is surprised by his sudden resolve.
After this, Jean sort of fades a bit into the background.
He has big moments, sure, like when is faced with the decision and consequences of killing humans in the Uprising Arc but it never felt like he had as big of a moment as he did when he chose to join the Survey Corps. 
Then Chapter 127 happened, where he finally got to confront Reiner over Marco’s death, letting out all his rage and grief, before pulling himself togethor and continuing to do what needed to be done for the betterment of humanity.
This was a standout moment for him and one that made me love his character all the more, making it more tragic when he was turned into a Titan in the final battle.
Now, while it was a little too convenient for him to just turn back into a human when Eren was defeated, I was personally just glad to see that he survived and got a happy ending.
Jean is a soldier who wanted to fight for himself but instead fought for humanity, making him an easy choice for the ninth best character of the story.

8. Ymir and Historia Reiss.

I know, I’m kind of cheating by including two characters in the eighth spot but I just could not put one above the other here.
If I’m honest, when I first got to the Clash of the Titans Arc, I didn’t even remember Ymir and Historia, or Christa as she was then known.
So, imagine my surprise when that arc and folllowing Uprising Arc provided the both of them with some of my favourite character arcs of the entire story, along with a complex relationship that actually made me ship them quite a bit.
First there is Ymir, who’s tragic arc in the Clash of the Titans Arc really grabbed me.
Ymir is essentially a selfless person who wants to be selfish.
Being turned into a Titan for sixty years because she tried to protect those she cared about, Ymir miraculously returned to human form after eating Marcel, upon which she decided to live selfishly for herself.
Yet, she just could not do this.
Once she heard about Historia and their similar circumstances, she devoted everything she could to protect her, while continuing to act as selfish while being selfless, saving Daz in a blizzard  for Historia, and throwing herself into a hoard of Titans to keep her safe.
Ymir was finally able to recognise she never could be selfish, going back to save Reiner and Bertholdt and finally admitting to herself that, “being a goddess doesn’t feel so bad.”
This tragic arc is just as good as Historia’s, whose is pretty inspiring.
In the Clash of the Titans Arc, it is revealed that the Christa personality we have seen from Historia this entire time has been her acting nice, so when she dies people will remember her as a good person.
This suicidal ideology was created from her terrible childhood and was thankfully shattered through Ymir motivating her.
However, once Ymir leaves, Historia is not sure where to go in her life.
It is here that her storyline progresses magnificently in the Uprising Arc, with her slowly gaining insight into who she is and who she wants to be, eventually choosing to be queen for herself, despite that role having been shaped for her.
This all culminates in the epic scene where she goes against her father and saves Eren, finally deciding to live her life with pride as Ymir wanted.
Hopefully, I have given you an idea of why I consider Historia’s inspiring character arc and Ymir’s tragic one to be some of the most powerful in the entire story.
But, if their arcs are so powerful, then why are they only at number eight and not in the top five?
Well, because, unfortunately, I think Isayama severely dropped the ball with them after these arcs concluded. 
First, there’s Ymir, who is killed off screen in what has to be worst written death of the whole manga, due to it not being written at all.
Then, there’s Historia, who is paired off with a complete nobody, gets pregnant, and is then sidelined for the rest of the story, ending with her pregnancy amounting to absolutely nothing, even though children being the future is one of the story’s main themes.
In my opinion, it is pretty clear that Isayama had no idea what to do with Ymir or Historia once their character arcs concluded.
However, given that they come in at number eight, that should show you how great I consider these arcs to be. 

7. Eren Yeager.

Eren is a character who my opinion about has changed quite a bit as the story has gone on.
If you look all the way back at my Season One review, you will see that my main criticism of the story was Eren himself.
In the first few arcs, I found him to be extremely stuck up and unlikeable and only actually started to cheer him on in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
I finally came to recognize him as a good character when he was confronted with the Titan who killed his mother, Dina, and he broke down into tears of laughter, not being able to cope with what was happening.
As the story progressed, Eren only got better, becoming very relatable to me in the Uprising Arc, as he realized his own flaws and how he is not special, before his friends’ motivations and his dead mother’s words to Keith Shadis taught him that everyone is special just for being born.
However, then he was met with the dark truth of their world, with the truth about Eldians and Marleyans, and him seeing the future through the Attack Titan, which caused him to change drastically.
When we see him again in Season Four, Eren has progressed dramatically, having become someone who is willing to do anything to achieve freedom for himself and his friends.
This ruthless, yet understanding, Eren is incredibly compelling and his confrontation with Reiner in the 100th chapter of the story made him one of my favourites.
Eren just got better after this, with the mystery surrounding what he wanted to do and why he was doing it being built up magnificently.
Him saying he hated Mikasa and beating up Armin and everything he does in the Paths chapters, from convincing Grisha to kill the Reiss family to later convincing Ymir to join him, all of this made him climb higher and higher on my list of favourite character.
Eventually, Eren reached the second spot on this list with Chapter 131, as we saw part of his motivations for starting the Rumbling and also the intense guilt he was suffering from.
His death at the hands of Mikasa in Chapter 138 was also immensely tragic and got me tearing up.
Then, Chapter 139 happened. 
Not going to lie, the more I read the final chapter the less I like its depiction of Eren and his plan.
It’s not that its terrible but the execution could have been so much better.
That said, there are terrible parts to it, like Eren being revealed to have played a part in his mother’s death, which, in my opinion, is not in character at all.
All of this pushed Eren further down on my list to number seven.
Some say that Eren’s depiction in Chapter 139 ruined him as a character for them but that’s not the case for me.
Even though I think the reveal of Eren’s plan could have been done way better, I cannot deny that he is still a fantastic character, with his POV chapters like Chapter 131 being some of the best of the final arc and the manga.
He is a character who I have enjoyed reading quite a bit.  

6. Reiner Braun. 

If there is an example of how to make a character, who was once a villain, sympathetic to the reader, Reiner is a perfect one for that.
Starting out as a soldier in the 104th, my initial perception of Reiner was as a loyal friend, who would most likely be Titan canon fodder soon.
This perception was proven wrong when, in one of the best twists of the story, Reiner just casually outs himself and Bertholdt as the Armoured and Colossal Titans.
From here, the story begins to explore Reiner as a villain, although a slightly sympathetic one, as his actions have caused him to suffer from a split personality, created by his PTSD. 
Afterwards, though, Reiner is solely an antagonist for the next few arcs, as he fights against the Scouts in the Shiganshina Arc.
However, then we get the Marley Arc, where Reiner becomes an absolutely amazing character.
The depiction of his PTSD and the suicidal depression this has caused him is quite disturbing and makes Reiner extremely sympathetic.
The panel of him with the gun in his mouth has haunted me for a while, and his confrontation with Eren in Chapter 100, where he admits to his guilt, is one of the best chapters of the story.
Reiner continues to get more attention in the story, as he pushes past his depression to focus everything he has on saving Gabi and Falco, and then on saving the world from Eren’s Rumbling.
This resulted in a few underrated momentes like the infamous “save the world” moment from Chapter 126.
Now, I do agree that “Pride” is one of the weakest chapters of Attack on Titan, but I really enjoy how its ending ties into Reiner’s arc.
All this time, Reiner has suffered and done horrible things because of his drive to become a hero and save the world, now he is being given a chance at redemption through actually saving it.
And save it he does, joining forces with the Alliance and playing a pivotal role in the final battle, holding back the Hallucigenia from reaching Eren.
As for why he’s not higher on the list, I do wish he’d been given a bit more to do in the final few chapters, considering his rivalry with Eren was so pivotal for his character.
Also, his sendoff being him sniffing Historia’s letter felt a little weird.
Certainly not out of character, like some claim, but I feel like such a well-written character deserved a more powerful ending than a gag.
Still, Reiner is a fantastic character who is a great showcase of how to make a once hated villain sympathetic.

5. Levi Ackerman. 

Probably the most popular character in all of Attack on Titan, Levi has been a fan favourite from the moment he first appeared.
As humanity’s strongest soldier, Levi makes an immediate impression on the viewer through how Isayama shows just what kind of person he is.
In his first action scene, it is shown how he is a clean freak, disgusted by dirtiness.
Yet, when a comrade is dying, Levi doesn’t hesitate to grab his dirty, bloodied hand and reassure him that his death had meaning.
This shows Levi is the kind of person to push his own feelings aside to complete a mission or help a comrade, no matter the cost.
We unfortunately see this first hand with his reaction to the deaths of his entire squad in the Female Titan Arc, where he pushes his pain about their deaths away to focus on rescuing Eren.
After suffering an injury during this fight, he took a back set for the Clash of the Titans Arc but there was his spin off manga that showed his tragic backstory to satisfy us.
His backstory was expanded upon in the Uprising Arc where we got the fantastic dynamic between him and his uncle Kenny and commanding officer Erwin.
This lead into the Return to Shiganshina Arc, where we got one of the best fights of the story between him and the Beast Titan, if you can even call it a fight considering how one sided it was, leading to the incredibly impactful serumnbowl.
Here, Levi showed even more growth, for once making an emotional decision as compared to a logical one when it came to a mission, choosing to let his friend Erwin rest and revive Armin instead.
Levi’s decision may be the subject of much debate in the fandom but in my opinion it was the right choice for his arc and the story.
Post time skip, Levi continued to be a great character, with the theme of everyone dying around him continuing.
First he lost his all of his squad to Zeke, then he was badly injured when he underestimated him, and finally Hange gave her life to help the Alliance, causing Levi to tell her to “devote your heart” for the first time.
All of this is great stuff for Levi but it wasn’t enough to get him in the top five for me.
So, why is he here?
Well, because of the conclusion his character got in Chapter 139.
I have my own issues with the final chapter but the one thing I think everyone can agree on is that Levi’s ending is perfect.
The scene where he sees the specters of his comrades in the smoke and tells them that this victory is the result of their dedicated hearts, returning their salute and shedding a tear, had me tearing up alongside him.
Such a fantastic conclusion for Levi is what pushed him into the top five and I cannot wait to see it animated in the second half of the final season.      

4. Grisha Yeager.

It’s kind of funny how Grisha reminds me so much of Van Hohenheim from Full Metal Alchemist.
The way my opinion about both characters changed across the series is strikingly similar.
When we first met them, I got the impression of them as deadbeat fathers who would never be be among my favourite characters of the story.
Then, we learned their tragic backstory’s, which made me realize there was so much more to their characters, ending with the conclusions to their story’s actually making me cry.
Like Hohenheim, Grisha goes from deadbeat dad to one of the most tragic characters in the entire series, as we learn all about his backstory at the end of the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Originally coming from Marley, Grisha was an Eldian who lived in the Liberio Internment Zone with his family.
One day, he took his sister outside the walls to see an airship, only for her to be murdered by a Marleyan officer who fed the child to his son’s dogs for entertainment.
This horrific injustice put Grisha on the radical path, joining the Eldia Restorationists, becoming indoctrinated in the mindset that Eldia could do no wrong, marrying a woman of royal blood, Dina, and having a child, Zeke, for the sole purpose of using him to restore Eldia.
All of this resulted in Grisha mistreating and neglecting his son, pushing him to become a Warrior and double agent inside the Marleyan government, even though his son just wanted a normal life.
When this finally resulted in Zeke turning him and Dina in, Grisha finally realized what a horrible father and person he had been, deeply regretting his actions.
He is then given the chance to redeem himself when his sister’s murderer is killed and he is saved by Kruger, the head of the Eldia Restorationists.
Eating Kruger to obtain the Attack Titan, Grisha infultrates the walls to continue his mission to restore Eldia, eventually falling in love with Carla and marrying her, resulting in Eren’s birth.
All of this was great development for Grisha and really made me care for him, easily putting him in the top ten.
It was what came in Chapters 120 and 121 that put at the number four spot.
Before these chapters, I thought Grisha had fallen back into the exact same mindset, killing the Reiss family to complete his mission and turning Eren into a Titan, even though he allowed his son to come to his own ideology this time.
However, when Eren and Zeke explore Grisha’s memories, it is revealed that he truly did learn his lesson and actually abandoned his mission in favor of staying and loving his family, especially his son Eren.
He only went to take the Founding Titan when left with no choice and, even then, this was because Eren manipulated him into doing so, using the Attack Titan.
This lead to one of the most emotional moments of the entire story, as Grisha has a reunion with Zeke, finally apologising for how he treated him and embracing him, telling Zeke what he always wanted to hear from his father… that he loves him.
Much like the Levi scene, I teared up in this moment.
It was such a beautiful conclusion to Grisha’s character, learning that he truly had changed for the better and could make amends with Zeke in the end.
Grisha is easily one of Attack on Titan’s most tragic characters, losing those he loves and changing to better as a result, only to lose it all again.
Just like Levi, I cannot wait to see the rest of his story adapted in the anime. 

3. Zeke Yeager.

Taking the third spot, Zeke is an interesting character from the moment we meet him.
First appearing in his Beast Titan form at the beginning of the Clash of the Titans Arc, Zeke makes a shocking and brutal impression.
Not only is he is the first Titan we see speaking fluently but he also allows Paradis’ second strongest soldier, Mike, to be devoured by Titans, as he screams for mercy, with absolutely no remorse.
It sets Zeke up as a cold and remorseless character, who we should all fear.
This is supported by the way he is portrayed initially in the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
His first appearance in human form is dramatic and promises him to be a big threat, a promise that is fulfilled when he kills countless Scouts by throwing crushed rocks and treating it like a good old game of baseball.
This is why it is absolutely hilarious when, after all his build up, he is absolutely demolished by Levi, not even landing a hit on humanity’s strongest soldier.
Another thing that cuts away at Zeke’s initial persona as a remorseless villain is his flashback scene with Reiner and Bertholdt, and his first meeting with Eren.
In the flashback, he tells the two Warriors that he wants everything to end with them, foreshadowing his hidden motivations, and he shows genuine care for Eren when he first meets him, telling him that Grisha has brainwashed him.
The reason for this care is revealed when the truth in the basement is unveileved and, along with it being revealed that the rest of the world is still alive and hates Paradis, it is also revealed that Zeke is Grisha’s son, who turned him and his mother in to Marley.
The irony here seems to be that Zeke believes Grisha brainwashed Eren, when in reality Zeke is brainwashed by Marley, but not everything is as it seems.
Zeke begins to act very suspiciously post time skip, not informing Marley of his royal blood and allowing Reiner to follow Falco and meet Eren.
His anticlimactic death at the hands of Levi is even more suspicious, leading to the reveal that Zeke has betrayed Marley for Eldia, leaving his true motivations a complete mystery.
These motivations are finally revealed when he is once again beaten by Levi in a fight after brilliantly but coldly turning his men into Titans.
Seeing Eldians suffer his entire life and suffering from the neglect of his parents, Zeke came to believe that the way to solve this problem would be to sterilize all Eldians, so their race could eventually die off peacefully.
This is why Zeke was so remorseless when he killed those on Paraids, because he believed he was saving them from the cruel world they live in.
Guided by his mentor, the previous Beast Titan, Tom Xaver, Zeke sought to make this horrific dream a reality, only for Eren to betray him, leading to one of the most emotional moments of the story, where Zeke was able to reconcile with Grisha through the power of the Attack Titan.
After Eren activates the Rumbling, Zeke disappears for a while, which is why he doesn’t take the second spot: his absence.
I wish he got more to do in the final part of the story.
Still, when he does show up again briefly for the end of his arc, it is more than worth it.
Inspired by Armin’s words about the meaning of life, Zeke realizes that his life wasn’t entirely suffering and, even if it doesn’t change his opinion about his euthanization plan, he still wishes he could be reborn to play catch with Xaver once more.
Zeke then forms outside Eren’s gigantic Titan and allows Levi to kill him to stop the Rumbling, ending their long rivalry.
Like Reiner, Zeke is a fantastic showcase of how to make a villain sympathetic, only even better in my opinion.
The slow reveal of his motivations and the emotional scenes he has, made him an incredible character, who you first hate and fear, then are curious about, then sympathize with despite all he has done.
Zeke is surely not a good person but he is one of Attack on Titan’s best characters.

2. Armin Arlert.

Armin has been one of my favourite characters from the moment I first got into Attack on Titan.
I liked him so much that he took first place in my top ten list after watching Season Two.
The reason he is at number two now is not because of any short comings he has had as a character since then but just because I came to like the character who took the top spot more.
In fact, I would go as far to say that I think Armin is the most over hated character in the story.
I have seen people who don’t like his character dub him as both useless and a Gary Stu, which is weird since those arguments really don’t work well together.
Armin starts off as a character with a lot of self doubt and insecurities, which I really related to, and watching him overcome them to become a leader figure in the Trost and Female Titan Arcs was amazing.
The moment when he realizes that Eren and Mikasa are depending on him and never saw him as a weak link who needed to be watched over is the moment his character changes into someone more confident.
The brilliant strategist part of his character then comes into play, until the timeskip.
We see him deduce Annie’s identity, lure her into a trap, realize how Reiner was able to work with her when his and Bertholdt’s identities were uncovered, and eventually nearly sacrifice himself in a plan to defeat the Colossal Titan. 
As Armin shows his genius during these moments, he also gets a lot of great development as well, with him losing a large part of his innocence when he is forced to take someone’s life to save Jean in the Uprising Arc.
Then, after the serumnbowl, he is both gifted with the Colossal Titan and cursed with the burden of living up to Commander Erwin’s legacy.
This is where the opinions about him being useless come into play, as Armin, along with Hange, struggle with the burden of dealing with a world that hates them.
Armin not really being able to do much tactically here is pretty much the point, though, because it all leads to him admitting that Erwin should have been revived over him, only to later prove himself as the successor to Erwin’s legacy in Chapter 137 through saving the world, just as Eren said he would.
Even then, he still does a lot of things before this point, like attacking the port, despite the civilian casualties, and saving Eren from being killed by Magath and Pieck.
There’s also his relationship with Annie, which adds a layer of hope to the grim happenings of the Rumbling.
As for Armin finally proving himself, he takes the credit for killing Eren in order to become a diplomat for peace between the world and Paradis.
It is even hinted that his narration is him explaining their story to the people of Paradis, a detail about his ending which I love.

The only thing I don’t like about Armin that I can think of off the top of my head is him thanking Eren for committing genocide in the final chapter.
However, reading a leaked interview from Isayama, it thankfully looks like this was not the intent and Isayama just had trouble writing what he wanted to convey in this moment.
Other than this, Armin is a fantastic character and has been one of my favourites since the very beginning.  

1. Erwin Smith.

There are so few characters in fiction who deserve the title of having a perfect character arc.
An example of one of these characters would be Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Well, Attack on Titan’s perfect character arc and my choice for the best character of the entire story goes to Erwin Smith.
While there are a few things I would change about other characters in the story, even ones that I love, like with Armin thanking Eren for being a mass murderer, which I already mentioned, I would not change a single thing about Erwin’s character arc.
In my opinion, it is perfect from start to finish.
From the moment we meet Erwin, we get a very specific interpretation of his character.
A soldier who will sacrifice anything to save humanity from the Titans.
This is proven to us time and time again.
We see him risk his comrades lives in the Female Titan Arc, all to draw her in and capture her.
We see him do the same with the civilians of Stohest, when the first attempt to capture her failed.

Most notably, we see it in one of his most epic scenes, when he is dragged off by a Titan but he keeps screaming for his soldiers to “Advance!”
Not only this, he also quickly makes a reappearance, saving Eren’s life, with one arm no less.
All of this paints a perception of Erwin as a man who is dedicated to saving humanity, no matter the cost.
However, this perception is a lie, a persona created by Erwin to motivate his soldiers.
It is revealed in the Uprising Arc that Erwin’s main goal is not to save humanity but to find out the secrets that his father had been looking for before he was murdered.
When he was a boy, Erwin’s father told him of how the royal government was covering up the truth about the outside world.
Not knowing that he should keep this quiet, Erwin told his school friends and word got around to the Interior Military Police, who killed his father and made it look like an accident.
This lit a fire in Erwin to take down the government and prove his father right.
He achieved the first goal in a military coup that placed Historia Reiss as Queen and set the stage for him finding out the truth about the world, the very thing he desired since he was a boy.
He even flat out admits to Levi that this is more important to him than saving humanity.
However, then the moment of truth comes. 
The Scouts are quite literally pushed up against the wall, with the Beast Titan chucking crushed boulders at them with terrifying speed, planning to pulverize them all.
The situation is hopeless and the only way Erwin can think of to overcome it is to sacrifice himself and the recruits to give Levi the slightest chance of killing the Beast Titan.
Erwin has to choose between achieving his lifelong goal of learning the truth, or giving his life for humanity… and he does not know what to do.
Despite the crushing guilt of his comrades’ deaths, he just cannot make the decision he knows is right.
So, Levi makes the decision for him, telling him to give up on his dream and die.
Free from the burden of this choice, Erwin thanks his friend and gives one last rousing speech to his comrades as they ride to certain death.
This time, however, he is not saying these things with the intention of using it to further his goal, no, he is fully becoming what he always pretended to be: the Commander who would do anything, even give his own life, to save humanity.
And he almost does give his life, taking the brunt of the Beast Titan’s attack, fatally wounding him.
As he lies dying, he is saved by the lone survivor of his charge, Floch, who carries him to Levi with the hopes of reviving him with the Titan serumn.
Erwin, however, slaps Levi’s hand away in a delirious state, reminiscing on his dream to learn the truth of the world.
This causes Levi to remember Kenny’s words to him about everyone being a slave to something.
Levi decides to free Erwin from his enslavement to his dream and the uncertainty of what would come afterward, allowing him to die the hero who sacrificed himself to bring humanity forward, the thing he always pretended to be and finally became in the end.
Erwin is just a perfect character.
His introduction, the reveal of his true intentions, and how this all results in him having to give up on his dream and become the hero he always acted like he was is as tragic as it is incredible.
He is easily the best character Hajime Isayama created, in my opinion.
Standing among the others on this list, Erwin Smith is the best character in Attack on Titan.  

Chainsaw Man Review: Can’t Wait for the Anime and Part Two!

5 stars
What an insane ride this one was.

I’d head a lot about Chainsaw Man over the past few months.
How insane and well written it is, how it’s going to get an adaptation by Studio Mappa, and, most recently, how we can expect a trailer in June.
With this final piece of news, I gave in and read the manga, discovering one hell of a story.
Written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Chainsaw Man is set in a world where humans often find themselves being attacked by Devils, so a group of Devil Hunters has been formed to combat them.
Our main character is Denji, a young man who hunts Devils with his own pet Devil, Pochita, to pay off his dead father’s debt to the Yakuza, which has passed onto him.

Denji has gone through a lot of bad things at the beginning of the story… come to think of it, he goes through even worse things as the story progresses!

However, after a dark turn of events sees Denji dismembered and thrown into a dumpster, Pochita makes a contract with Denji to give him his heart, if he shows him his dreams.
And so, Denji becomes Chainsaw Man, a human with the capacity to transform into a Devil who has a chainsaw head and arms to dismember any Devils that get in the way of his goals.
What are these goals?
Well, they’re simple things, like eating good food, having a nice place to sleep, and touching some boobs.
It’s honestly funny how simple Denji’s motivations are compared to the other characters.
For example, we have Aki, a character whose tragic backstory would make you think he is being set up to be the main character.
But no, instead we have Denji, whose main motivation for trying to kill what is supposedly the most dangerous Devil of all being that he will get one wish from the girl he likes, Makima.
It’s so absurd, yet it somehow works.  

The humor of Chainsaw Man is so outlandish but it is clearly intentional and I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Speaking of characters like Makima and Aki, though, both of them are great, with so many fantastic twists and turns to their arcs.
It’s not just them who are fun characters because there are many others.
Power brings constant laughs to the table and the growing found family dynamic between her, Denji and Aki is beautifully handled.
Kobeni’s suffering is weaponized into being some of the funniest stuff in the entire story, with me laughing my head off, while also feeling sorry for her.
Then there’s the awesome devil hunter Kishibe, who may just be my favourite of the bunch, due to his personality and the way he handles his trauma.
I actually don’t think there’s a single character among the main cast who is a weak link.
This makes it even harder to sit through when Fujimoto inevitably breaks our hearts with another character’s gruesome fate.
Seriously, Fujimoto should go into business with Hajime Isayama, building an onsen buisness where the water comes from their fans’ tears. 
I’m pretty sure a good portion of those tears would come from me too because some of the things that happen got me really emotional.
Chainsaw Man made me go from laughing so hard my sides were hurting, to tearing up, to being left in stunned silence on multiple occasions.

There were so many moments in Chainsaw Man that made me have to take a moment to see if what I just read really happened in the story.

All of this emotion is brought across by Fujimoto’s excellent drawing skills.
The guy is as skilled at writing as he is at making us laugh and feel depressed.
This culminates in a fitting ending for this part of the story, which has me not only incredibly excited for Mappa’s adaptation but also for Part Two of the manga, whenever that releases.
Chainsaw Man is one hell of a manga that will leave you clenching your sides with laughter, shedding a few tears, and in stunned silence.  
Hopefully Mappa can do this great story justice.