Chainsaw Man Episode Eight, Gunfire Review: Let the Insanity Begin.

Directed by Shōta Goshozono and Takeshi Satō, Episode Eight of Chainsaw Man, “Gunfire” begins with an anime orginal moment that is very reminiscant of the scene where we followed Aki on his morning routine in Episode Four.
Just like that scene, “Gunfire” begins with us seeing Himeno’s nightly routine, before she makes a sexual advance on Denji.
The shots of her preparing a shower for herself and then later grabbing a beer are all just as well animated.
The episode then picks up from the last one, with Himeno propositioning Denji.
Again, the shots are well animated here, although with one exception.
There is a bird’s eye view shot looking down on the both of them which did look quite off to me.
However, this shot only lasts about five seconds or so, so it’s fine.
For a little while, it looks like Denji is actually going to sleep with Himeno, until she finds a chupa chup in his pocket.
This was given to Denji by Makima in the form of an indirect kiss, making Denji realize that he wants his first time to be with Makima, so he refuses to sleep with Himeno, instead taking the floor while Himeno passes out drunk on the bed.
The next morning, she and Denji have breakfast togethor.
Not remembering what happened last night, Himeno asks Denji if they had sex and is relieved to learn that they did not stating, “They toss you in jail for doing that kind of thing with minors.”
Yeah, not gonna lie, the whole Himeno making moves on Denji while she’s drunk is pretty creepy.
At least with Makima it was treated more sinister, since she was clearly manipulating him.
With Himeno its treated more like a joke.
This unintentionally creepy moment is thankfully moved on from quickly, as Himeno now offers to form an alliance with Denji.
He will help her get togethor with Aki, and Himeno, in turn, will help Denji get togethor with Makima.
Well, someone had better tell the assassins planning Makima’s murder to hold off then… oh, wait.
As a manga reader, it was pretty funny to watch the reaction of anime only viewers when Makima gets unexpectedly assassinated on a train to Kyoto.
Now they have a better idea of Chainsaw Man’s crazy pacing.
Often times, scenes will seem like slow build up, only to flip on a dime to absolute insanity.
In other stories this eratic pacing would be a problem but Tatsuki Fujimoto is such a good writer that he makes it work and the adaptation follows through on this.
After Makima is killed, the episode then shows that her assassination was not a one off, as other attempts are made on the lives of Devil Hunters across Tokyo.
Among the potential victims are Kobeni and Arai, who are unexpectedly targeted by an old lady but we do not see if they make it or not.
We do, however, see what happens to Denji, Himeno, Aki and Power, when they meet togethor for food.
They are confronted by a mysterious man, who just randomly inserts himself into their conversation, going on about his murderous yakuza grandpa.
The pieces slowly start coming togethor until the man pulls out a picture of him with his grandfather and we that it was the yakuza boss who had pretty much enslaved Denji in the first episode, until he was turned into a zombie by the Zombie Devil and then finished off by Denji.
Now supposedly working for the Gun Devil and out for revenge, the man takes out a gun and fires at the group, hitting Denji, Himeno and Aki.
Only Power manages to dodge and punch the man back, more than earning her noble prize.
Power’s attack gives Aki enough time to unleash the Fox Devil, which eats the man, only for him to reveal himself to be a hybrid devil like Denji, named Katana Man (Daiko Hamano).
With Denji out of comission and Himeno mortally wounded, Aki is left with no choice but to use the sword which drains some of his life to defeat Katana Man.
What follows is a fantastic fight sequence, as Aki stabs Katana Man with his nail blade three times, resulting in the Curse Devil intervening and supposedly killing him.
As Aki prepares to have Himeno taken to a hostpital, he is shocked to realize Katana Man used a gun, which should be impossible to get.
However, while Aki is talking about this, there is a piece of rubble in the way of his mouth, so we cannot see his lips move.
Rather than a stylistic choice, this came off to me as if they did not have the budget or time to animate his mouth moving after the fight scene so put this in the way until they could fix it later.
I may be wrong about this though but, if I’m not, then I do hope it is changed later because it is a little weird.
This is a minor moment though and it is easily forgotten when an unknown woman (Yō Taichi)shows up to help Katana Man to his feet, since he can revive just like Denji.
The mysterious girl orders Katana Man to kill Aki, which he certainly makes a good attempt at with an attack that causes quite the jump scare with the delayed blood splatter from Aki.
The girl then tells Katana to finish Aki off.
Desperate to save him, and with no other option, Himeno makes a final contract with the Ghost Devil.
She will give the Devil all of herself in exchange for using its full power.
The Ghost Devil’s true form then appears and Himeno directs it to attack Katana Man, all the while thinking about how Aki still cries for Devil Hunters who die.
Himeno’s last words to Aki are that she wants him to live so he can cry for her.
The Ghost Devil is then eaten by the mysterious girl’s Snake Devil and we see that Himeno has completley vanished, only her clothes remaining.
And so “Gunfire” comes to an end with Himeno’s sacrifice.
We then get the ED, “First Death” by TK.
Given TK’s reputation, like with his brilliant Tokyo Ghoul OP, I knew this was going to be a fantastic ED and he did not disappoint.
“Gunfire” was yet another fantastic Chainsaw Man episode.
Katana Man and the yakuza’s ambush was handled excellently and, aside from a few weird animation moments, I would not have had it any other way.

Manga Spoilers:

If I was excited for anime only viewers’ reactions to this episode then I am doubly so for the next one.
I cannot wait to see how they will react to Makima’s revival, her supernatural attack on the yakuza and Kobeni rescuing Denji.
Will they think Makima is the Gun Devil because of this, like I did, and will this be the start of them warming up to Kobeni, like it was for me?
Only time will tell.
Either way, the next episode will be another action packed one that I am very excited to see.

Chainsaw Man Episode Seven, The Taste of a Kiss Review: Worst. First Kiss. Ever.

After Episode Six, I was greatly anticipating Episode Seven of Chainsaw Man, “The Taste of a Kiss.”
Oh, it was not because I was excited to see the end of the fight between Denji and the Eternity Devil, although I was looking forward to seeing that.
No, what I was most excited about was finally seeing Himeno vomit in Denji’s mouth while kissing him… wow, that’s a sentence I never expected to be writing down.
Directed by Masato Nakazono, “The Taste of a Kiss” delivers this hilarious yet incredibly disgusting moment well, showing anime only Chainsaw Man viewers just what type of humor they can expect in this anime.
The episode begins where the previous one ended, with Denji jumping into the Eternity Devil’s mouth.
Kobeni thinks it is finally over, only for Denji to bust through with his chainsaws and begin attacking the Devil, accompanied by the music of the third Ending, “Hawatari 2-oku Centi” by Maximum the Hormone.
It seems like the makers of this episode realized how good of a song it was so decided to play it when Denji was decimating the Eternity Devil.
This decimation does not last long, however, because, as Power points out, Denji is losing too much blood so soon his chainsaws will retract.
We see that this is very much the case after the OP, as Denji is caught in a bloody hold by the Eternity Devil and the chainsaws in his arms do end up retracting.
However, Denji is able to bring the chainsaws back and free himself after drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood, before declaring that its scream makes its horrible blood taste like strawberry jam.
He then breaks off into a fit of maniacle laughter, sounding like a lunatic, which naturally cuts into Himeno’s following flashback of her master, Kishibe, saying that the Devil Hunters Devils fear the most are the ones with a few screws loose.
The two are at the Devil Hunter graveyard visiting the graves of Himeno’s partners, while Kishibe rants and drinks.
He says that Himeno’s partners were afraid, which made the Devils stronger, but there is no telling what a crazy person thinks, which is why the Devils fear them.
Himeno knows this does not match with her and Aki, so she is afraid for her partner’s life as he pursues the Gun Devil.
This leads to her suggesting that they take a safer job in the private sector but Aki turns her down, still determined in his mission of revenge.
Not wanting to lose Aki, Himeno decides to stay with him, but believes that if Aki manages to track down the Gun Devil then he will die because he is normal like everyone else.
We then see who exactly is not normal, as the flashback ends and we see Denji fall, supposedly defeated by the Eternity Devil, only to be revived by Himeno’s Ghost Devil, which pulls his ripcord.
Denji then has a erueka moment, realizing all he has to do is keep drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood and he can keep fighting, declaring that he has created a “perpetual motion machine.”
With this creation, he dubs the nobel prize to be his, beating Power’s idea outright.
Denji’s insane declaration causes Himeno to realize just how crazy he is, fitting into Kishibe’s explanation of a great Devil Hunter perfectly, and she beleives that Denji may actually have what it takes to eventually kill the Gun Devil.
Three days of gore later, Denji finally manages to defeat the Eternity Devil who, just as planned, offers its heart up to be destroyed by Denji, since it is in too much pain to resist anymore.
Denji destroys the heart, killing the Eternity Devil, freeing everyone from the eighth floor, and retrieving a piece of the Gun Devil’s flesh.
Some time later, Himeno suggests to Aki that they go out for drinks with everyone, partially to convince Kobeni and Arai to stay with Public Saftey, since they are thinking about leaving due to the trauma of what happened and their guilt over trying to kill Denji.
A comedic moment follows, when Aki points out that Himeno tried to kill Denji too and Himeno declares that kids these days are “so sensitive.”
Aki insists that the party will need to be this week so they can invite Makima, since she is going on a buisness trip to Kyoto soon.
This causes Himeno to bring up how suspicious it is that the Eternity Devil wanted Denji’s heart, wondering if Makima knows why.
Himeno sees the party as the perfect oppotunity to get Makima drunk so they can convince her to tell them the truth.
The scene then cuts to this party, where various humorous moments occur, such as Denji instantly forgiving a drunk Himeno for the promise of a kiss, Power boastfully exagerrating her intellgience, and Makima outdrinking everyone.
The second funniest moment of the scene is when Makima questions Denji about the kiss Himeno promised and he denies it, only to loudly confirm it when Himeno drunkily questions if the kiss is no longer happening.
It is this kiss that is the funniest moment of the scene and the entire episode.
Although, as I said, it is also its most disgusting.
As Himeno makes out with Denji, in quite a bit of animated detail by the way, Denji tastes something odd in his mouth.
At first, he thinks it is her tounge, only to realize, much to his horror, that its her vomit.
This moment becomes even more disgusting when Denji swallows the vomit because his hard life has taught him to swallow anything of nutrional value.
The disgusting nature of this infamous joke aside, I do find it kind of funny how the vomit was censored, given that the episode had absolutley no problem depciting Denji brutally tearing apart the Eternity Devil at the beginning.
As for Denji, he understandably has to do some puking of his own after his odreal, with Arai unexpectedly helping him.
Afterwards, the party ends and Denji is dragged away by a still wasted Himeno.
It would seem that the alcahol in Himeno’s vomit made Denji blackout drunk as well so he is pretty disorientated when he wakes up in Himeno’s apartment.
Himeno then stumbles into the bedroom in another moment that is exceptionally animated, for just being a character walking.
She then kisses Denji and offers to have sex with him, ending the episode and making this the second cliffhanger where a character offers Denji a sexual favour.
Overall, “The Taste of a Kiss” is another solid episode for the Chainsaw Man adaptation.
Its opening fight with the Eternity Devil is intense, the drinking scene has plenty of funny moments, and the puke scene is just as disgustingly hilarious as I remember it being in the manga, actually making me feel sick watching it.
“The Taste of a Kiss” shows anime only viewers just what kind of humor to expect going forward.
As for the next episode, well, that one shows the anime only viewers just what to expect for the story’s pacing, and in the most insane way possible.

Manga Spoilers:
There were plenty of good hints to future reveals in this episode, the first of being the Eternity Devil’s own words.
I enjoyed the foreshadowing of Pochita’s true strength when the Eternity Devil declares that Denji is weaker than before, meaning Chainsaw Man before he was turned into Pochita.
Another, more sinister hint, is Makima staring daggers at Denji being kissed by Himeno, right before the vomit reveal.
This could understandable be misinterpreted by an anime only viewer to mean that she is jealous.
However, us manga readers know that she is most likely adding Himeno to her kill list so she can destroy Denji emotionally and release Chainsaw Man.
Finally, there is Kobeni, who says she is contracted with a Devil but refuses to name it.
We still do not know what Kobeni’s devil is in the manga and I wonder if we will ever know.
The most prominant theory I have heard is that it is something akin to a Bad Luck Devil, where she brings bad luck to everyone around her while she miraculously survives everything.
If Kobeni does make a return in Part Two then I expect we might find out.
Although, given how Fujimoto just loves to destroy us all emotionally by killing off characters, maybe it’s better that Kobeni stays away and safe.

The Dragon Prince Season Four: The Mystery of Aaravos Review: More Like the Mystery of Where Aaravos is.

The Dragon Prince has been an interesting show for me.
I first started watching it because one of its creators was Aaron Ehaz, a writer from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
While the first season was a bit rocky, it still showed promise, and every season since then has been better the last.
Season Three was especially great with a lot of excellent character development and the cliffhanger it ended on was an intriguing one.
After this third season, there was a three-year-wait for the fourth one. 

We had to wait three years to see what would happen in The Dragon Prince Season Four.

During the wait, there were plenty of positive signs for the future of the series, like the announcement that there are many seasons coming down the line.
Well, after the three-year-wait, we finally have Season Four, The Mystery of Aaravos.   
Was the wait worth it?
In my opinion, unfortunately no.
Season Four is quite messy with a lot of issues, one of the big ones being how it picks up from Season Three.
Sometime in the three years since that season, a comic was released which showed how Callum (Jack DeSana) and Rayla (Paula Burrows) broke up when Rayla went looking for Viren (Jason Simpson).
If, like me, you did not read this comic before watching Season Four then good luck on understanding all of the tension in Callum and Rayla’s relationship.

I was completley lost on why we did not see Callum and Rayla break up until I learned there was a comic.

The story of The Mystery of Aaravos picks up two years after Season Three where Claudia (Raquel Belmonte) has resurrected Viren in Xadia.
With Claudia’s new boyfriend Terry (Benjamin Callins), the trio search for the location of Aaravos’ prison so they can free him and keep Viren alive, since his resurrection is limited.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Catolis, lead by King Ezran (Sasha Rojen), is preparing for the arrival of the Dragon Queen and the Dragon Prince Zym.  
However, word of Aaravos plans to escape interrupts the celebrations and sets our heroes up on their next journey.
Oh, and Amaya and Janai (Rena Anakwe) get engaged and have to deal with a whole lot of racial tension between the Sun Elves and humans.
If that last storyline sounds way too different just from my description then I have done a good job of articulating just how much this third storyline feels out of place with the other two.
Don’t get me wrong, it does have good messages and I liked the way it resolves by the end.
However, like I said, it just does not match well with either of the other stories, and the way this story begins is written ludicrously badly, in what is probably the worst scene in all of The Dragon Prince.

This scene and this character in particular are so illogically stupid that it broke my immersion.

The other two storylines are much stronger than the third, although filled with humor that is very hit or miss, and characters doing things that often don’t make sense.
Along with this, there is the whole title of the season these storylines revolve around: The Mystery of Aaravos.
If you ask me, the season really should have been called The Mysterous of Where Aaravos is because the location of Aaravos’ prison is the only mystery surrounding the character this season.
Aaravos’ identity and past is explained pretty soundly in one big exposition dump early on and the mystery of why he is doing all this is not touched upon.
Credit where it is due, though, Aaravos is definitely the best part of Season Four.
He may only have one scene but it is an excellent one, which perfectly portrays the danger he poses, with voice actor Erik Todd Dellums bringing so much menace to the character.

Aaravos remains a charasmatic antagonist, as always.

Aaravos is not the only standout, though, because Soren (Jesse Inocalla) is another.
I did not care for Soren much in the first two seasons but Season Three made him my favourite and Season Four continues this, with him having quite a few funny and heroic moments.
Anther positive trait of the season includes the animation, which is once again very good, especially in the fight scenes.
Although, there were a few animation issues, here and there, like Rayla’s tattoos going missing at one point but this was only minor.
In the end, all of the positives of Seasons Four were not enough to save it from its many negatives.
One storyline feels very out of place and has an awful inciting incident, understanding the state of Callum and Rayla’s relationship relies on reading a tie in comic, and for a season named The Mystery of Aaravos there is very little mystery actually focused on with him.
I just hope that season five will be better.        

Chainsaw Man Chapter 112, Between Cat and Criminal Review: Weapon Target Aquired.

Chapter 111 of Chainsaw Man appeared to introduce a Devil who was impersonating Chainsaw Man, with Yuko being killed by one whose shadow looked exactly like him.
I wondered how long it would take for Tatsuki Fujimoto to continue with this strange plotline and it seems like he has followed up on it pretty much immediately with Chapter 112, “Between Cat and Criminal.”
The chapter begins at the school, where Asa and Yoru are looking at the remains of Asa’s uniform sword, which she used to take Yuko down before she was revived by the mysterious girl, theorized by the fandom to be either the Death or Famine Devil.
Asa remembers this girl and how she called her “little sister.”
She then asks Yoru if she knows the girl but Yoru says she does not.
So Yoru is either lying to Asa or she really does not know, which would be strange if the Devil girl is Famine or Death.
Well, speak of the Devil and she shall appear because, as Asa is wondering if the girl could be the Justice Devil, she is approached by the girl and rest of the Devil Hunting Club.
The leader of the club is the student council president, named Haruka Iseumi.
He reveals that they lost two members of their club, with one dying and the other leaving, probably refrencing the guy who was imapled and the girl who was thrown out the window.
Akoku is the only one of those three to have survived and stayed, and has talked to Iseumi about Asa’s talents so Iseumi wants to invite her into the club.
When he asks Asa if she has any questions, Yoru takes over and once again refuses to be subtle, outright asking if Chainsaw Man is in the Devil Hunting Club.
This makes Iseumi laugh before he pulls up his shirt, revealing a rip cord on his chest, just like Denji, supposedly confirming himself to be the imposter Chainsaw Man who killed Yuko.
It does feel a bit too easy for Iseumi to be the imposter,  though, so I am wondering if he is a red herring?
Then again, Denji was stupid enough to try and reveal his secret identity to Asa so maybe Iseumi is dumb enough to do that too.
If Iseumi is the imposter, however; I definitley think his powers came from the Devil girl who revived Yuko.
Like Asa theorizes, it would make sense if she is the Justice Devil.
After all, the Justice Devil has been handing out power to students so she could have given Iseumi a power resembling Chainsaw Man.
Maybe she is a combination of the Justice Devil and Death or Famine Devils?
After all, death can be seen as a form of justice for those who deserve  it.
I am not sure how this would tie into famine, however.
Guess we will have to wait and see which of these the girl turns out to be, if any.
After Iseumi reveals himself to Yoru, she takes her leave and Asa questions why she did not fight him if she is so sure that he is Chainsaw Man.
Yoru states that she is not strong enough to kill Chainsaw Man yet, needing a stronger weapon to do it.
She threatens Asa to make a weapon again, and Asa agrees so she can get Yoru out of her body and will not drag anyone else down with her, probably thinking about what happened to Yuko.
This causes Yoru to smile like a little girl, as Asa says that she would even turn a person into a weapon to succeed.
When Asa says this, the panel shows her nightmare of stomping on a chicken’s dead body, once again highlighting her guilt for killing Bucky.
Later, Asa and Yoru are on a balcony, overlooking a crowd of people, as Asa debates which person to turn into a weapon.
A cat approaches and Yoru suggests making it her pet to turn it into a weapon but Asa would rather kill a person than a cat.
She and Denji have so much in common.
Asa wants to pick a criminal to turn into a weapon so she will at least be killing someone who deserves it but Yoru says this will not work because, in order for the weapon to be powerful Asa, has to feel guilt for weaponizing it.
Asa still refuses to weaponize the cat and so Yoru provides the suggestion of finding someone between a cat and a criminal, as the most powerful weapon probably lies somewhere in between.
The cat then moves and who else should Asa see but Denji?
He is walking the streets, picking up cigarette butts.
This causes Asa to think that Denji is a good person, despite being a loser, while she is thinking about murdering someone.
Asa is then confused to see Denji make new cigarettes out of the littered ones and follows him out of curiosity.
She then spies on him selling these worthless cigarettes to the homeless.
This is a terrible thing for Denji to do but he becomes more sympathetic when you consider he has Nayuta, Meowy and a pack of dogs back home to provide for.
Now with a negative view on Denji again, Asa thinks about how he perfectly fits between a cat and a criminal but she is still reluctant.
Yoru again pressures her, stating that she should think of it as a necessary evil to put an end to a nightmare, making Asa remember Yuko.
Asa then approaches Denji, questioning him about the cigarettes he is using to rip off homeless people.
Denji hits back that he’s doing it because, as a student, he is apparently not allowed a part-time job.
This once again makes him sympathetic when yout think about who he is providing for back home.
Asa then makes her move, asking if Denji is busy tomorrow.
Hostile, Denji yells that he is, until something clicks and he asks why she wants to know.
Asa’s sheepish face is pretty funny, along with the following panel where she actually asks Denji on a date.
She looks so nervous and embarassed, and her voice is clearly shaking as evidenced by the unnatural shape of her speech bubble.
We can also see that Denji is nervous about this as well because he is blushing in the final panel when he accepts the date, seemingly forgetting that he just said that he was busy tomorrow.
So, there you go; Denji and Asa are finally dating, although not because they actually like each other.
Denji is just desperate for some happiness in his life and Asa wants to kill Denji and turn him into a weapon.
That makes Asa, what, the third or fourth girl who has dated Denji with the secret intention of killing him, eventually?
Denji just cannot catch a break.
If Asa does eventually weaponize Deni, however; I think he will be fine.
Denji is immortal, after all.
In fact, we see Asa in one preview image for Part Two holding a chainsaw.
Maybe this is hinting at her and Denji working togethor in the end, with Denji allowing Asa to weaponize parts of himself to fight?
That would be cool.
As for Denji and Asa themselves, I could actually see a relationship between the two of them working.
They do have a lot in common and many parallels.
Although, Tatsuki Fujimoto is writing this so you can certainly expect him to put both characters through the ringer.
Either way, I am interested to see how the relationship between Asa and Denji progresses.
It should certainly provide some good laughts, at the very least, if Chapter 104 is any indication.
We will have to wait a bit to see such interactions, however, because it seems that Fujimoto is returning to releasing a chapter every two weeks, starting with Chapter 113.
“Between Cat and Criminal” is a great Chainsaw Man chapter that delivers on setting up a lot of interesting things with the imposter Chainsaw Man, the mysterious Devil girl and, of course, the beginning of Denji and Asa’s relationship.

Chainsaw Man Episode Six, Kill Denji Review: A Nobel Prize Deserving Episode.

Episode Six of Chainsaw Man, “Kill Denji” is the best episode in the history of anime and one could even call it a nobel prize contender.
No, this review is not written by Power.
In all seriousness, the Shun Enokido directed episode is another great one, delivering a fantastic adaptation of the manga with as usual stellar animation.
“Kill Denji” picks up from the cliffhanger of “Gun Devil”, where Division 4 found themselves stuck in a loop on the eighth floor of an apartment building.
The opening of “Kill Denji” follows this up by showing how this loop works, using Kobeni.
First, Himeno has the terrified woman make a peace sign and then runs down the stairs of the eighth floor, emerging at the top.
She sees Kobeni still pulling the peace sign, meaning that there is no illusion going on.
Aki then invesitgates the rooms and learns that the windows connect to the rooms on the opposite side of the apartment, leading back into the eighth floor hallway.
They are well and truly trapped.
Following the opening, the squad debriefs in one of the rooms, establishing that even trying to go through the ceiling leads back to the eighth floor.
The situation is grim and Kobeni is certainly not helping matters, being on the verge of hysterics.
Arai tries to motivate her by mentioning how she joined the Devil Hunters to put her brother through college.
This does the exact opposite of calm Kobeni down because she revealed her parents forced her to get a job to put her brother through college, when she wanted to go too, giving her the choice to either become a Devil Hunter or a sex worker.
A tragic backstory, which Power finds to be utterly hilarious, as she breaks into laughter at Kobeni’s terrified face.
Denji and Power are the only ones in the group not alarmed by their situation as, when Aki says time may be frozen so help is probably not coming, Denji is happy about this because it gives him plenty of time to get some sleep.
He actually manages to do so before being awoken by Himeno.
In the time that Denji has been asleep, Aki has been constantly searching for the Devil, Arai has since locked himself in his room in a panic, and Kobeni tried to drink out of a toilet so Himeno knocked her out.
Most disturbing of all is Power who, in a fit of madness, reveals her plan to win a Nobel Prize so that she can raise sales taxes by 100%, just to see humans suffer!
Oh, wait, no, that’s just how Power always is.
My bad.
True to form, Power is disappointed that Himeno is so calm, and Himeno explains this is because Aki is working hard, revealing that she was the one who introduced him to cigarettes.
Bad Himeno.
We then flash back to Himeno and Aki working togethor as partners, where Himeno tried to convince Aki to start smoking so they could get along better.
Aki refused because “it’s bad for your bones.”
Good Aki.
Himeno explains that most Devil Hunters take up smoking because, with the death rate being what it is, most do not have to worry about living long enough to be affected.
Aki says he plans to live a long time and Himeno says he should because “it’s a pain in the ass when your partner dies.”
This serves as a perfect transition to Himeno being assaulted by the girlfriend of her deceased partner.
Himeno reveals to Aki that this happens regularly, as her partners’ families cannot take their pain out on the devils so they do so on her.
Offended, Aki sneaks before the woman who slapped Himeno and puts gum on her back as revenge.
This juvinile kind of humor is classic Chainsaw Man, and it cheers up Himeno immediately, as she later tells Aki that her master told her that the Devil Hunters the Devils fear most are the ones with a few screws loose.
So, Denji and Power should be fine then.
Himeno then finally convinces Aki to smoke, who swears it will be his only one.
Cue a comedic cut to the present, where Aki enters the room and demands a cigarette from Himeno.
Bad Aki.
Aki reveals that the Devil Power killed has returned and become larger.
Now a giant mass of squirming faces and limbs, the Devil offers a contract to the group: kill Denji and feed it to the Devil and they will be allowed to leave.
A terrified Kobeni jumps at this offer immediately, running to stab Denji, only to be knocked out by Himeno and Aki.
Afterwards, the two attempt to kill the Devil with their own Devil contracts but they have no effect.
Himeno then reveals that if they actually do kill Denji then they will be allowed to leave because the Devil offered a contract and contracts are life binding to a Devil.
Like Kobeni, Arai also wants to kill Denji to ensure their escape but Aki knows this will benefit the Devil so refuses.
Himeno is team agree with Aki and Power is team murder Denji for her nobel prize.
As time goes on, Aki contemplates using his sword to kill the Devil but since this will take many years off his life Himeno refuses, and tells Denji that if it really comes to that then they will have to kill him after all.
Unfortunately, at that exact time, Aki discovers that Power has eaten all their food.
Kobeni loses it, believing Power is somehow behind everything.
Arai speaks up for Power, only for Kobeni to declare that he is a spy too.
“He’s spicy!” Power says in a show of humorous support.
Kobeni runs towards Arai in a threatening manner and their combined fear and screams give power to the Devil, which begins to expand further, revealing itself to be the Eternity Devil.
The Eternity Devil grows so large that it causes the hallway to tilt up, forcing everyone to hide in their rooms.
Aki resolves to use the sword, causing Himeno to suddenly switch to team kill Denji, and she, Kobeni and Arai rush to complete the contract.
Kobeni lunges at Denji with her knife, only for Aki to take the stab.
As the group look on in shock, and Power works to stop the bleeding, Aki explains that he needs all the help he can get to kill the Gun Devil so will not allow anyone to kill Denji.
This causes Himeno to panic and Kobeni to selfishly blame Denji for her stabbing Aki.
The latter action, along with pretty much everything Kobeni does this episode, has caused her a lot of backlash in the fandom.
This is entirely understandable, if you ask me, because I disliked her here too when I read the manga.
Her blaming Denji does motivate him to attack the Eternity Devil, though, with his new plan being to torture it to death using his chainsaws.
Denji jumps down into the mouth of the Eternity Devil and falls through an endless abyss in a great shot that brings an end to the episode.
Overall, “Kill Denji” is yet another great Chainsaw Man episode that adapts the manga excellently.
It is has plenty of laughs and plenty of character development.
Someone give “Kill Denji” the nobel prize.

Manga Spoilers:

While I do understand why people hate Kobeni after this episode, considering I disliked her at this point in the manga too, I am curious to see what their opinions will be of her later in the story.
I came around to her character after she saved Denji from Katana Man and only felt more sorry for her as she went through so much hilarious misery throughout the rest of the manga.
It will be interesting to see if anime only viewers will come to feel the same way about her character or if they will just keep hating her.
We will not get Kobeni’s big redemption moment until a couple of episodes, though, and we have a lot to look forward to before that, especially with the next episode and Denji’s infamous first kiss, one of the funniest and most disgusting moments in the entire manga.
I am curious if the next episode will end with Makima being shot because that seems like a good cliffhanger but it might make the episode too long so it will most likely end with Denji at Himeno’s house.
Whatever ending for the next episode they decide to go with, I am still excited to see it tomorrow.

God of War: Ragnarök Review: Making Your Own Destiny.

The God of War reboot was one of my favourite games of 2018.
Sure, I did not play it until many months after its release, mostly because I personally could not connect with the original trilogy.
But when I did finally get around to playing it, I regretted that I had ever waited.
Now, four years later, the highly anticipated sequel, God of War: Ragnarök has finally released and, in my opinion, it is a more than worthy follow up. 

God of War: Ragnarök lives up to the hype and then some.

Directed by Eric Williams this time, and set years after the beginning of Fimbulwinter, Kratos (Christopher Judge), Atreus (Sonny Suljic), and Mimir (Alastair Duncan) are still living in their secluded home, while being constantly hunted by Baldur’s vengeful mother, Freya (Danielle Bisutti).
However, Atreus is far from content and, after a friendly visit from Thor (Ryan Hurst) and Odin (Richard Schiff), he and Kratos have to seek shelter with Brock (Robert Craighead) and Sindri (Adam Harrington), as they begin their search for the imprisoned Norse God of War, Tyr (Ben Prendergast). 
All of this is done in the hopes that they can find the answers Atreus seeks, while also attempting to avoiding the prophesied Ragnarök, which seems to be drawing closer with every action they take. 
The story of Ragnarök is compelling from beginning to end, with plenty of fantastic characters, both old and new.

Many characters from the previous game return, some with bigger roles than others.

There are many interesting twists to this story, which will make a second playthrough much more rewarding to see all of the foreshadowing.
It is the bond between Kratos and Atreus that really makes this story so great, as both characters grow in touching ways, which made me tear up a couple of times.
Christopher Judge is especially excellent as Kratos, bringing so much strength yet so much vulnerability to the character.

Kratos’ continued growth as a father in this game is fantastic.

Then, there are the antagonists, with Odin being quite the surprise for me.
His personality was certainly not what I expected and it made him a fun villain.
Much like Kratos, Thor is also given quite a bit of humanity, despite his terrible actions.
As for criticisms I have of the story, I do wish that certain parts of the final battle had been grander or, at the very least, had a greater emphasis placed on them.
This is a minor issue though and the other problems I have with the story are mostly nitpicks.
So, all in all, the story of God of War: Ragnarök is pretty spectacular and is accompanied by fantastic gameplay.
Seriously, the gameplay here is a great improved on God of War (2018).
There are plenty of new abilities, weapons and, best of all, enemies to fight.
My biggest criticism of God of War (2018) was its servere lack of enemy variety.
I quickly grew sick of fighting reskinned trolls in that game so to see such a diverse group of foes in this game was excellent, and many of them were fun to fight.
This extends to some pretty great boss fights, although I will say that the bosses were overall better in the original, at least when it comes to the gods.

Although I think the god fights in God of War (2018) were better, I still cannot deny that the ones in Ragnarök were a lot of fun.

There are also plenty of great side missions, with many of them being available after beating the main story. 
In my first playthrough, I only experienced a couple of glitches.
The first was a couple of pop ins in the realm of Vanaheim but this was minor.
The second glitch was a funny one, where Kratos’ leg moved to stand on a bench while I was leveling up my armour, making it look like he posing for the dwarf behind it. 


Other than these few glitches, the game performed perfectly.
The graphics and soundtrack of Ragnarök are also superb, with Bear McCreary delivering plenty of epic and somber pieces.
All in all, God of War: Ragnarök is a stellar video game.
Its epic and emotional story makes me even more excited for the continuation of this franchise in whatever form that may take, now that Norse mythology been convered.
Ragnarök is one of the best games of the year, and you should definitley play it. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review: An Emotional Tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Weakened by Future MCU Influences.

I really enjoyed the first Black Panther.
It provided a compelling story, with a great dynamic between its protagonist and antagonist, and made the country of Wakanda a character in its own right.
If Black Panther is not in my top ten MCU films then it certainly comes close.
So, obviously I was looking forward to the sequel from the moment I walked out of the theatre after seeing the first movie.
Most of all, I was looking forward to seeing how the story of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa would continue.
Unfortunately, as we all know, in August 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancer.
His tragic passing left director Ryan Coogler, and everyone else involved in the making of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with the monumental task of paying tribute to Boseman’s legacy, while also crafting an interesting story without him.
For the most part, I believe they succeeded.
Indeed, Wakanda Forever does begin by honouring Chadwick Boseman by also honouring his character T’Challa.
The King of Wakanda passes away in the opening minutes of the film, and the weight of his legacy is felt immediately, with the following MCU logo being completely silent and only accompanied by footage of Boseman’s T’Challa.
It was a moving sendoff to both the character and the actor.

Boseman’s prescence is felt throughout the film, despite him not appearing, due to his tragic death.

From here, the film follows how Wakanda moves on from the death of their king, along with the consequences of the world now knowing about them and wanting their vibranium.
This leads Wakanda into the conflict with the hidden undersea civilization known as Talokan, lead by the the film’s antagonist Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
Namor is a compelling villain and he and the Talokan’s first scene is one of the scariest villain introductions in all of the MCU. 

Namor’s first scene is quite creepy.

This leads you to be fearful for the fate of the characters we came to care about in the first film, like Shuri (Letita Wright), Ramonda (Angela Basset), Okoye (Danai Gurira), M’Baku (Winston Duke) and Nakia (Luptia Nyong’o).
Shuri especially is struggling with the death of her brother and the new responsibilities that are heaped upon her shoulders as Wakanda draws closer to conflict with Namor and Talokan.
It is Ramonda and Okoye who stood out the most to me, though, because of the incredible performances from Angela Basset and Danai Gurira.
One emotional scene they share togethor is the best in the movie, in my opinion, based off their acting ability alone. 

Basset and Gurira did an excellent job portraying their characters’ emotions in this scene.

However, although all of this made Wakanda Forever a worthy sequel to Black Panther, there were a number of things holding it back, most of all the film’s reliance on setting up future Disney Plus shows and MCU films.
This is evident with the character of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who is basically dropped into the story to set up her upcoming show, Ironheart; plot holes surrounding her need to be in this movie be damned.
Worst of all, though, is the suplot with Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), which felt like a gigantic waste of time, with its only point probably being to set Fontaine up for a future Thunderbolts movie.
As for Everett Ross, his decisions in this movie felt oddly strange with how he characterized in prior films, politically speaking. 

I am not sure that Ross’ depiction is completley accurate with how he is portrayed in Civil War and the first Black Panther.

The political decisions in Wakanda Forever are actually pretty hit or miss for me.
Sometimes I thought the characters were making good decisions, while other times I thought they were making bizarre ones.
Along with this, the CGI of the film is a bit questionable at times.
At least it never got as bad as it was in the third act of Black Panther, which is one of my few flaws with that first film.
It is the overreliance on setting up future stories that hinders Wakanda Forever the most, however; as it not only brings the story to a grinding halt at times but also takes away potential screentime from characters like M’Baku, who really needed it.

Wakanda Forever needed more M’Baku.

Overall, though, I would still say that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a good movie, despite its issues.
The character arcs of the Wakandan characters are solid, the acting is amazing, Namor is a great villain who I am interested to see more of and, most of all, the film does an excellent job paying tribute to the memory of Chadwick Boseman.
May he rest in peace.  

Chainsaw Man Chapter 111, Aha Ha Ha Ha Review: An Imposter?

Going into Chainsaw Man Chapter 111, “Aha Ha Ha Ha”, I was expecting Fujimoto to lay the groundwork for Yuko’s story going forward.
Instead, in a typical Fujimoto move, we got the unexpected, as he proceeded to wrap up Yuko’s story in a satisying way but also a way that raises many interesting questions.
The chapter picks up from the cliffhanger of the last, with Asa opening the door to speak to Yuko, who has now turned into a Devil resembling a Fiend, although one with her mind still intact.
Asa asks if Yuko wants to eat her and the following exchange had me cackling.
“Oh, gosh. A little bit,” Yuko says, to which Asa replies, “Holy crap.”
I just love Fujimoto’s humor.
Turning away from Asa so she will not want to eat her, Yuko explains that she came to say goodbye to her, as she has a distant relative she plans to go to who is a Devil Hunter.
This reminds me of the old theory of her being related to Kusakabe but he’s dead so he can’t be the relative she is referring to.
It will be interesting to see if this relative becomes important, or if he is never mentioned again because of what happens later in the chapter.
After telling Asa what she plans to do, Yuko also reveals her reasons for accepting the Justice Devil’s power were not just to help Asa.
She accepted because she wanted to become liked like Chainsaw Man.
She helped Asa for selfish reasons as well because she was lonley and wanted a friend.
Yuko goes on to denounce her crimes while using the Justice Devil’s power and, when Asa attempts to console her over this, one of Yuko’s new tail-spike things wraps itself around her neck and begins to strangle her, without Yuko telling it to.
Realizing it is dangerous to stay around Asa, Yuko goes to leave.
Before she does, however, she tells Asa that the Justice Devil is still at the school.
It would seem that the Justice Devil is the main antagonist of Part Two.
The Justice Devil still being at the school does make me curious, though.
Does this mean that the Justice Devil was actually not killed with the class president in Chapter 98 and then reincarnated?
Is it just hanging out at the school, handing out powers to students, which is what we saw the class president and then Yuko using?
We have very little time to consider this question before Yuko prepares to leave, only to be stopped by Asa, who returns the shoes Yuko gave her, since she is barefoot.
Yuko tries to refuse the shoes but Asa throws her words from Chapter 100 right back at her.
“If you don’t need them, sell ’em. If they won’t sell, you can just throw them away.”
This beautiful moment really brings the friendship of Asa and Yuko full circle, and I was kicking myself by the end of the chapter for not realizing this was an obvious death flag for Yuko.
Yuko then says she can’t beleive she said something so embarassing, before the two friends laugh togethor, ending with Yuko accepting the shoes and promising to return them to Asa later.
It is a promise she will never be able to keep.
We then see Yuko jumping across the rooftops, startling a bunch of birds, before we get a line of panels of Asa, Denji and the bully girl in their beds.
The panel of the unnamed bully girl confirms to me that Fujimoto will make her an important character in the future.
Maybe she really does know Denji is Chainsaw Man, or maybe she will try to actually befriend Asa after seeing her try to fight him.
It will be interesting to see what Fujimoto has in store for this character.
Just as interesting is the panel of a sleeping Denji, whom is still keeping Makima’s dogs.
In the panel of him, we see a small mop of black hair just below his face.
This is almost undoubtedly our first look at Nayuta in Part One.
Hopefully, this means that Fujimoto will be showing us more of her.
The final panel in this line of sleeping faces is that of Yuko, whom appears to be sleeping out on a building, until the next page shows she has been decapitated, her body dangling in the arm of a Devil, whose shadow looks exactly like Chainsaw Man, bringing an end to the chapter.
This cliffhanger raises so many questions because it is pretty clear that the Devil who killed Yuko is not Denji.
We see him sleeping a couple of panels before Yuko is killed.
So who is this Devil and why does he look like Chainsaw Man?
I have heard various theories, from it somehow being Pochita, to another hybrid similar in appearance to Chainsaw Man, to it actually being a Devil born from the fear of Chainsaw Man.
Only Fujimoto really knows for sure at this point, though.
I do wonder if this imposter is the reason why there are so many rumors about Chainsaw Man eating people and animals?
Maybe the imposter is doing it?
Either way, Yuko’s death at the hands of a Devil appearing to be Chainsaw Man could be something to push Asa into helping Yoru try to kill him.
Chapter 111 is another solid Chainsaw Man chapter.
It has a lot of funny moments in the beginning and ends Yuko’s story well.
And, with the mystery of the Chainsaw Man imposter, the Justice Devil still being at school, the bully girl seemingly getting more focus, and the hints of Nayuta’s return, there are so many directions Fujimoto could take the rest of Part Two.
I am intrigued to see which direction he takes.

A Plague Tale: Requiem Review: More Rats, More Tragedy.

A few months back, I finally managed to get my hands on a PlayStation 5, and the first game I bought to play on the console was A Plague Tale: Innocence.
I had been interested in playing it for a while and since its sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem was coming out soon, I decided for it to be the first game I would play on the PS5.
Overall, I really enjoyed Innocence.
Sure, plenty of its mechanics seemed pretty dated, with the enemy AI in particular being quite stupid, but the game came from a smaller studio which still managed to make the game fun, despite its limitations, and create an interesting story with compelling characters to follow. 

Innocence was a lot of fun, despite its limitations.

Over three years from that game’s release, the sequel, Requiem, has been released and, after playing it, I can say that it improves on its predecessor in a lot of ways.
The story is still set in Medieval France and once again follows Amicia (Charlotte McBurney), her little brother Hugo (Logan Hannan), their mother Beatice (Lucy Briggs-Owen), and young alchemist Lucas (Kit Connor), after supposedly stopping the Rat Plague in the previous game.
However, after multiple incidents, the Macula in Hugo’s blood begins to awaken again, plunging the country into an even larger rat infestation.
Desperate to protect her little brother, Amicia decides to take Hugo to a mysterious island he dreams of, in the hopes that there is a means to cure his affliction there, meeting another cast of compelling characters along the way, like Arnaud (Harry Myres) and Sophia (Ellie Haydon).

The cast of Requiem is just as compelling as Innocence.

The story of A Plague Tale: Requiem is another good one, with plenty of standout moments for almost every character.
I do wish that Melie from the first game had returned but the rest of the cast is just as interesting.
Chief among these characters is Amicia, whose journey to protect her brother is very compelling and results in a lot of tragedy along the way.
There is one moment in this game that actually had me tearing up and Asobo Studio did an excellent job at pulling on our heart strings.

There are a lot of tragic moments in Requiem, from beginning to end.

Another thing they did a great job at was improving the gameplay from the first one.
As I said earlier, the enemy AI in Innocence was quite poor.
You could literally just walk into a bush after being spotted and the enemy would instantly lose sight of you.
In comparison, the AI of Requiem is much better, along with the stealth mechanics.
Now, if you are caught, you don’t instantly die, and you also have a lot of new opportunities for stealth kills, like with the crossbow, which you can level up along with other mechanics.
You can even use Hugo’s ability to control the rats a lot more, which is fun to use.
Speaking of the rats, though, holy hell are there a lot of them in this game.
There are quite a few chase scenes with swarms of rats that number in the thousands if not millions. 

The rat chases are always intense.

It is amazing what Asobo Studio was about to achieve with the graphics of the rats.
The quality in graphics extends to the environment as well, both in beautiful and disgusting ways.
There were many times I stopped to look at the beauty of the world Amicia and Hugo were standing in, and there were even some times when I felt like I wanted to hurl when looking at the disgusting graphics of Amicia struggling through a river filled with rotting, fly-ridden corpses.
So, there were quite a few gameplay improvements with Requiem, although not everything is stellar.
Due to the limited combat mechanics, the numerous segments where waves of enemies were sent Amicia’s way felt very tedious. 

The set pieces where you are forced into combat do feel a bit out of place at times,

At least it was not as bad as in Innocence, where the sling sometimes felt broken, often leading to an instant death way too many times.
Despite this, and a few other mechanical issues, I would say that Requiem is an enjoyable game and a more than worthy sequel to Innocence.
It improves the gameplay in numerous ways and provides a story that is both tragic and beautiful.
I looked forward to seeing what Asobo Studio does next.

Overlord Season Four Review: Only Evil Gets the Power of Friendship.

I quite enjoyed the first three seasons of Overlord, once I got around to watching them,
Based off the light novel by Kugane Maruyama, Overlord follows the story of Sataru Suzuki (Satoshi Hino), a salaryman who, while playing a video game, was isekaied into a fantasy world, along with various other NPCs loyal to his character, Ainz Ooal Gown.
Seasons One through Three followed Ainz’s journey to learn about the new world around him, while his NPCs misinterpreted this as an attempt to take over the world, practically steam-rolling every culture they came across due to being so overpowered.
Season Three saw Ainz’s conquest of the Re-estize Kingdom begin in bloody fashion and this follows through to become the main plotline of Season Four, with the CGI being being much more digestible than it was in that third season, where it was pretty terrible
The first and third act of this season are also great, with the first few episodes wrapping up storylines in the Baharuth Empire in humorous fashion, while also setting up the dark third act by introducing the colossal idiot known as Philip (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka).

Say hello to Overlord‘s stupidest character, Philip.

It is the second act of the season where things falter a bit, though, as the Dwarf storyline did feel pretty rushed to me compared to the other ones.
Along with this, there were two whole volumes cut from the anime after the Dwarf arc, so there was a bit of confusion surrounding some events in the third act.
However, we will still be getting an adaptation of the cut volumes in a movie, so we have that to look forward to.
As for the third act, it does a great job of bringing the season together, especially with how it handles its characters.
Ainz continues to both be funny and cruel, Pandora’s Actor (Mamoru Miyano) finally gets more screen time, and the other Floor Guardians also have their moments.
It is the side characters I was most impressed with this season, however; specifically Renner (Kiyono Yasuno), Zanac (Kouji Fujiyoshi) and Brain (Koji Yusa).

The side characters really stand out in Overlord Season Four.

Renner continues to be the entertaining psychopathic yandere that she is, with her manipulations being fun to watch play out.
Brain has a great standout moment in the last few episodes.
As for Zanac, he really surprised me with his heroism this season.
When we were introduced to him in Season Two, I expected to hate him but, much like Ainz, I had a newfound respect for him after this season. 

Zanac went from another suspicious noble to the future king his kingdom deserves.

Coming back to Ainz and the Floor Guardians, if viewers somehow did not get we were following the villains after the third season, they should definitely realise it now.
As I mentioned in my review for the first few seasons, Ainz and his crew are so overpowered that all we can do is hope that the heroic characters can survive their genocidal actions and, sometimes, they do not.
At least there is plenty of humor to provide levity for following such evil characters.
And if there’s one thing we can always count on Overlord for, its providing a good OP.
Season Four’s, “Hollow Hunger” by OxT, is another excellent one that I never skipped throughout. 

Overlord OPs are always killer.

Overall, Season Four is a pretty good one for Overlord.
The quality of animation is much better than Season Three, the beginning and ending of the season are great, and side characters like Renner, Zanac and Brain really shine.
Now, I am just curious about where the anime goes from here?
Maybe we will get an idea when the movie finally releases?
I have heard from Light Novel readers that the volumes the movie will adapt are some of the best in the entire series so that it exciting.