Attack on Titan Chapter 116 Predictions.

Chapter 115 of Attack on Titan, “Support,”was an amazing read, with many explosive reveals that will have a lasting impact on the series.
From Levi’s uncertain fate, to Zeke’s resurrection, to Pieck ambushing Eren, the chapter had many moments that left my jaw on the floor, and wondering how these storylines would continue in Chapter 116, and beyond.
So, I decided to list my theories and predictions for the upcoming chapter, and others, to see if I get any right.
Let’s get into it.

What does Yelena plan to do and how does Onyankopon factor in?

It was clear right from the moment Yelena entered the story that she was untrustworthy and Hajime Isayama has definitely followed through on making her so.
She is essentially a crazy Zeke fan girl, who believes he is a god and will follow his every command.
This has me wondering what she and the other Yeagerists have planned for the military members who drunk the wine with Zeke’s spinal fluid, including Pyxis.
The chapter ends Yelena’s scene with her declaring that Pyxis and the others must be punished for going against Zeke.
I think this punishment will be turning him, and everyone else identified by an armband as having drunk the wine, turned into Titans by Zeke’s scream.
These Titans will then be used in the final battle when the world commences an all out assault on Paradis.
Sadly, this means Pyxis, Nile, and every other person in the military who drunk the wine will die.
However, I do not think they will go down fighting.
Pyxis has been getting a lot of scenes with Yelena and this has me believing he will play a central role in her downfall.
Then there is Onyankopon, whose loyalties remain uncertain.
He was helping Hange in prior chapters but in “Support” he was seen working with Yelena again.
However, I believe that Isayama laid a few subtle hints in this scene that he may actually betray her.
There is a panel of him glaring at her out of the corner of his eye and, when Pyxis asks her why Yelena is thinking of saving the world rather than the island, Onyankopon questions her, showing he has not been told the full plan.
Because of all this, I think Onyankopon will begin working against her, potentially helping Pyxis and maybe even releasing Mikasa, Armin and the rest of the scouts from their prison cell.
As for what happens next, only time will tell.

What will happen to Levi and Hange?

When Chapter 115 was released and everyone thought Levi died, a thousand fans screamed out in anguish.
But, upon closer inspection, it looks like Levi actually survived the explosion.
Otherwise, Hange would not have glared at Floch when he asked to check Levi’s pulse, and she would not have taken his body when she jumped into the river.
Finally, there is Levi’s new scar.
Isayama would not go to the trouble of giving him a battle scar if he was not still alive.
So, if Levi is alive, the question is what happens to him and Hange now?
Many people have speculated about where the river will take the two and most believe they are either going to Shiganshina or Historia’s home.
It honestly could be either, or neither, at this point.
This is the one question that I do not have the slightest idea what the answer is.
Arriving in Shiganshina may seem a bit too convenient, and the reason I do not think they will end up at Historia’s ties into my next prediction.
In all honesty, I think it could be a few chapters before we figure out what happened to them.
All I can say for certain is that if Levi is going to die then Hajime Isayama will be sure to give him a meaningful, and impactful, sendoff.
The crazy fan girls would attack him if he did not.

Where are Reiner and Porco?

The reason I do not believe Levi and Hange will meet up with Historia is because I believe two other characters are going to: Reiner and Porco.
We have not seen these two since Chapter 108, and this created much confusion when Pieck was shown on Paradis without these two with her.
Since Reiner suggested an all out assault on Paradis in 108, it would be weird if Pieck was the only one sent to the island.
So Reiner and Porco must be on an important mission there that we have not been shown yet.
And, in my opinion, this important mission is to capture Historia.
This would make sense both for practical and story reasons.
Marley’s goal is to gain the Founding Titan power but, in order to do this, they need someone with royal blood.
This would make Historia and her unborn child vitally important to Marley.
As for the story reasons, Isayama could do a lot for the narrative and character arcs by having Reiner and Porco meet Historia.
Reiner had a crush on Historia when he was pretending to be a soldier, and made a promise to Ymir that he would save her.
These factors would put Reiner at odds with his mission, and could lead to more growth from him.
Personally though, I am much more interested in Historia meeting Porco.
Porco ate Ymir, who was Historia’s girlfriend, and now has all of her memories, which means he knows a lot about Historia.
Not only that but we have seen how memories affect Titan Shifters, like when Armin inherited Bertholdt’s memories.
So, both he and Historia could grow so much from meeting and interacting with one another.
Not only that, but this could hopefully lead to some more revelations about Ymir with maybe a flashback with Porco’s memories from her?
Hopefully?
In any case, I truly believe that not having Historia and Porco meet would be a massive missed opportunity.
Another thing to note is that this could finally let us know what is going on with Historia’s pregnancy.
If you have read any of my prior reviews, then you know I hate this storyline so am hoping for some kind of twist to make it better.
Maybe her meeting up with Reiner and Porco could provide this?

What is Pieck’s Plan?

After talking about Reiner and Porco, we now move on to their comrade, Pieck.
We spent five chapters wondering what she was up to when she appeared in Chapter 110 and “Support” gave us our answer.
In the cliffhanger of Chapter 115, Pieck ambushes Eren when he comes to talk to Gabi, stabbing his guard in the throat and then holding him at gunpoint.
On the surface, this seems like a stupid decision on Pieck’s part.
Her Titan is by far the weakest of the nine and Eren has three Titan powers, among them the two most powerful, the Founding and Warhammer Titan.
This puts Pieck at a huge disadvantage and, again, makes her look stupid.
But here’s the thing: Pieck is not stupid.
Isayama has shown her to be one of the smartest characters in Attack on Titan time and time again.
She managed to free herself and Porco from the hole Yelena trapped them in and, most recently, managed to sneak into Eren’s inner circle and ambush him.
Not to mention that Zeke constantly praising Pieck for her intelligence, with him proclaiming “that’s exactly right, Pieck”, has become a meme.
So, Pieck must have some sort of plan but what is it?
Coming back to my theory about Reiner and Porco going to capture Historia and her baby, this might tie into that plan.
One of Eren’s biggest motivations for turning against the military was because they planned to sacrifice Historia so he would want to protect her at all cost.
And, if the fanbase is right and Eren is the true father of Historia’s child, this would increase his desire to save her tenfold.
Therefore, maybe this is the ace up Pieck’s sleeve.
She could threaten Historia’s life if Eren does not cooperate.
Or, maybe Eren could convince Pieck to come over to his side, who knows?
Either way, if Eren kills Pieck next chapter I will be dissapointed, both because it would make Pieck look like an idiot, and because we know the least about her out of all of the warriors.
I really like Pieck as a character and what to know more about her, so maybe Chapter 116 will give us some insight into her backstory and what her true motivations are.

Who is the little girl who resurrected Zeke and what part will she play in the story?

Ymir Fritz… Seriously, who else could it be?
If the little girl who saved Zeke is anyone other than Ymir Fritz I will be shocked.
And, since Ymir Fritz has probably been introduced, then that truly shows that we are in the endgame of this story.
What I find to be the most interesting question right now, is how the original Ymir will tie into this endgame?
She saved Zeke, so he is obviously important to whatever her plans are.
This may make it seem like she is trying to make his euthanization plan succeed but I think her goal is quite the opposite.
I believe she may actually be trying to make Eren’s plan come true because I am almost certain he is manipulating Zeke.
Whatever Eren’s true plan is, he needs Zeke to initiate it and Ymir Fritz saving Zeke shows she is in favor of that plan working.
Maybe she is even already in communication with Eren, since he has three of the nine Titan Shifter powers.
Whether she is or not though, I am almost certain she will play a pivotal role in the story’s conclusion.
I also have a number of theories about how she may be connected to this ending, and I believe it all comes down to Historia’s child.
If you look at Ymir Fritz, she looks almost exactly like Historia when she was a child, living on her mother’s farm.
Not only that, but she has a similar pose, holding a bucket just like Historia.
As for the baby, it would make a lot of sense for Historia to name her baby Ymir because of how much she had an influence on her life.
This would technically make this child’s name Ymir Fritz, since this was Historia’s family’s original name before they changed it to Reiss.
My theory is that Historia’s child IS Ymir Fritz and that she is working through paths to ensure Eren’s plan works in the past.
Maybe the series will end with Eren sending his memories of her into the past, generating the legend about Ymir gaining her powers from the devil, which may be Eren.
Although if theory is correct, then it does raise the plot hole of what created the Titans in the first place so I am probably wrong about this.
Still, I do not think I am wrong about Ymir Fritz playing a major role in the story’s conclusion as that is pretty much a given at this point.

So those are my predictions for Chapter 116 of Attack on Titan and beyond.
I hope you enjoyed them.
Be sure to check out my review for the chapter when it officially drops in April.

The Walking Dead Season Nine Episodes 4-6 Review: It Just Keeps Getting Darker and Darker.

Just when you think The Walking Dead cannot get any darker it keeps on surprising you.
The second half of season nine has continued with episodes 12-14, “Guardians,” “Chokepoint,” and “Scars,” all of which were great.
“Guardians” and “Chokepoint” continue the story of the Whisperers very well, and “Scars” is the best flashback episode the series has had in a long time.
As stated, the series just keeps getting more gruesome with each episode.
From Alpha brutally decapitating a challenger in “Guardians,” to Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) brutal fight with Beta and the other Whisperers in “Chokepoint”, and to Michonne (Danai Gurira) having to kill children to save Judith in “Scars.”
That last one is especially dark and feels very reminiscent of the season four episode “The Grove.”

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In one of the darkest scenes in The Walking Dead a pregnant Michonne has to kill kids to save her own. 

It also serves as a satisfying explanation for the scars Michonne and Daryl have and why Michonne is so closed off.
Along with this, “Scars” is the first episode of The Walking Dead to make me tear up since Glenn was supposedly killed off in season six (before it was stupidly revealed he survived by hiding under a dumpster).
The conversation Michonne has with Judith (Cailey Fleming) about what she went through and how she became isolated to protect her brought a tear to my eye.
This also leads to Michonne finally deciding to open up and go to the fair, which will sadly have disastrous consequences for Alexandria, based off what happens in the comics.
As for the other episodes, they are also strong ones with “Guardians” serving as the introduction of Beta, played by Ryan Hurst.
Much like Samantha Morton as Alpha, I am loving Hurst as Beta because he is perfectly cast.

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Ryan Hurst is very intimidating as Beta and was the perfect choice for the role. 

In this episode we are also given a first hand look at the way the Whisperers live, which is about as brutal as you would expect.
The scene where Alpha brutally murders the wife of the man who challenged her, and then hands him her head, before killing, is incredibly dark.
The episode also ends on a high note, with Daryl and Connie (Lauren Rindloff) using Whisperer masks to save Henry (Matt Lintz) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy).
This leads to episode twelve “Chokepoint,” which I actually consider to be the weakest of the three episodes because, while it does have an amazing main storyline, it has a very forgettable secondary storyline.
Watching Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) deal with the Highwaymen felt unnecessary and more like the filler we would see in seasons seven and eight.
That said though, the storyline did end on a very funny note.
Also, the main storyline of this episode is so exciting.
The fight between Daryl and Beta had me on the edge of my seat and made me eager to see the eventual fights between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)) and Beta.

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The fight between Daryl and Beta was very well choreographed and intense, even though I knew it was unlikely either one would die. 

This said, I hope they do a better job with Beta’s storyline than in the comics but, if how he has been presented so far is anything to go by, I would say there is a good chance the show can do it better.
All of these episodes are great and have me hyped up for the next episode, “The Calm Before,” which should be one of The Walking Dead‘s biggest moments.
I can still remember reading that moment in the comics and the feelings of shock and horror I felt.
Hopefully the show will be able to do this scene justice, just like they have been doing with the rest of the Whisperer Arc so far.

The Walking Dead Issue 189: Lines are Drawn, Review: More Mediocrity.

two-and-a-half-stars
Another month, another mediocre The Walking Dead issue.
In all honesty I have grown pretty tired of the Commonwealth story arc.
Sure, there have been some really good things about it like the discovery of Michonne’s daughter Elodie, Dwight’s death, and the political commentary.
However, all of this good stuff is surrounded by features that bog it down.
Elodie is not very important to the Commonwealth story right now, Dwight’s death has failed to have any meaningful, lasting impact, and the political commentary, although interesting, at first, does not have a very interesting story to go along with it.
This has all resulted in a mediocre story arc that has me less and less excited every time I read the next issue.
Sadly, this mediocrity continues with Issue 189, “Lines are Drawn”, which was hyped up by numerous events in the previous installment, but that hype fails to go anywhere.
I will begin by talking about my biggest problem with this issue, and that is the scenes with Eugene and Stephanie.
At the end of the previous issue, the two were about to be surrounded by a Walker herd that had accidentally been drawn into the area.
The consequences of this?
Absolutely nothing, of course!
Eugene and Stephanie just get trapped temporarily in a train before Eugene uses a fire hydrant to help them escape.
There is only one reason that this is even a plot point in this issue and that can be summed up in two words.
“Artificial Tension.”
Robert Kirkman appears to be worried that people will lose interest in his political fueled story arc so he throws in some random action sequences that have no real impact on the story to try and keep his readers entertained.
However, the fact that these scenes have no consequence makes them very boring and hard to get into.
Speaking of people losing interest in the political fueled story though, it would not surprise me if they did, because this issue once again failed to go anywhere exciting.
Laura breaks Mercer out of prison, just like what was hyped up in the cover, only for the issue to end with him deciding to try and put Rick in power to keep the peace.
I was annoyed to read this cliffhanger because it took all of the exciting buildup with Mercer breaking out of prison, and Rick having to escort Pamela and her family out of the Commonwealth for their own safety, and seems to have settled it too easily.
Also, Rick taking over another community is pretty much a cliche at this point.
I would be surprised if Rick is not the king of the world by the end of the story.
In all seriousness, though, this is a disappointing end to an issue that seemed like it was building up to something big.
There is one touching scene between Rick and Carl that I do like but, otherwise, this is another mediocre issue in a long line of them.
My low rating for “Lines are Drawn” comes, not from it being a bad issue, because it is not, but from the constant mediocrity of this story arc making it very difficult to keep my interest up.
But, who knows, maybe the Commonwealth story arc will get interesting as it goes on?
Hopefully?
In any case we are almost ten issues away from issue 200 so, with any luck, I will be fully engaged in The Walking Dead‘s story again by the time we reach it.
But, for now, I am struggling to stay interested.

Please Donate to the Victims of the Christchurch Mass Shooting

Hello, yesterday, a mass shooting was committed in my home city of Christchurch.
A gunman walked into two mosques and opened fire, and 49 people have been confirmed dead.
This has been a massive shock, not just to everyone in Christchurch, but to everyone in New Zealand because we never thought we would experience such a terrible tragedy of mass murder.
My family and I are fine but there are many good people out there who have lost their loved ones.
I ask that you please donate to help these people at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/christchurch-shooting-victims-fund or www.everydayhero.co.nz/event/christchurch-shooting.
Even the smallest amount could help greatly.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy.
Thank you.

Psycho-Pass 2 Review: I Think my Hue Just got Clouded.

two-and-a-half-stars
Oh boy, where do I begin with Psycho-Pass 2?
Coming into the second season of this series I was quite concerned, given what I had heard about it previously.
I hoped that what people had told me about this season would not be the case and I would find it just as fantastic as the first Psycho-Pass.
Unfortunately, this did not happen for me because, in this case, the general consensus about Psycho-Pass 2 is absolutely right.
The second season features Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa) and the MWPSB as they attempt to track down a criminal mastermind, and his large amount of followers, who is, for some reason, able to bypass the Sybil System.
What’s that?
Thais synopsis sounds almost exactly like the plot of the first season?
Well, you are certainly right because Psycho-Pass 2 has almost the same beat for beat story structure as season one, only in a much more condensed format, and almost anything new added ultimately fails.

Kamui
The story of Psycho-Pass 2 is very similar to the first season. This time with a very watered down villain.

It is incredibly obvious that there was a different team working on this season than the first one, with Kiyotaka Suzuki stepping in as director.
Right from the get go everything feels different, from the way shots are composed, to the lighting, which just makes something seem off.
There are a few great shots here and there, but these are few and far between.
Getting down to the story of Psycho-Pass 2, along with replicating much of the story from the first season, it is also full of a bunch of massive plot holes and inconsistencies.
The backstory of the villain, Kirito Kamui (Ryohei Kimura), is so ridiculous that it requires a massive suspension of disbelief that I just could not muster, no matter how hard I tried.
Speaking of Kamui, he is also a bland villain with unclear motivations, and an incredibly bland design you would expect to see in a background character.
He is not the worst character of the season though.
No, that award goes to Mika Shimotsuki (Ayane Sakura), a detective working with Akane who is one of the most aggravating characters I have seen in an anime in a while.
She is arrogant, hypocritical, and her actions by the end of the season make her completely unlikeable in every way.

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Mika is the worst character in the entirety of Psycho-Pass. She makes a terrible first impression and only gets worse as the season goes on.

Psycho-Pass 2 feels like it has no idea what it wants to do with its characters from the first season as well.
Akane’s arc is a replica of hers in season one, Nobuchika Ginoza (Kenji Nojima) has no arc to speak of, and, apart from some brief instances, Shinya Kogami (Tomakuza Seki) is not even mentioned.
Thankfully, not every character is badly handled because there are a few new ones I actually found myself enjoying, like Sho Hinawaka (Takahiro Sakurai), and I did appreciate the way the series brought back Joji Saiga (Kazuhiro Yamaji).
So, there are some good things about Psycho-Pass 2, with how it handles some of its characters and a few scenes and specific shots.
However, the negative far outweighs the positives for the season with its a plot hole fueled story that just seems like a retread of the first season, mostly boring and sometimes terrible characters, and a less striking cinematic feel.
Psycho-Pass 2 is a very underwhelming experience compared to the first season and I would recommend skipping it.

 

Captain Marvel Review: Some Good, Some Bad.

3 stars
The reactions to the newest edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been… interesting to say the least.
Captain Marvel is a film that has been plagued by controversy, with people deciding to hate the movie no matter what and people deciding to love the movie no matter what, despite having not seen it yet.
But I want to judge this film based on its own merits, rather than the quite annoying controversy surrounding it on both sides.
Still, coming into Captain Marvel, I did have my concerns.
The trailers had never really wowed me, and I hoped that they were not representative of the final product.
Sadly, for the most part, they were.
This is not to say Captain Marvel is a bad film, on the contrary there are some great things about it, but there are also numerous features that bring the movie down, creating a mixed bag of a film.

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There are both good and bad things about Captain Marvel, resulting in an enjoyable but flawed movie.

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, the titular Captain Marvel, a Kree Warrior who winds up on earth to hunt down the shape shifting Skrulls, and learns she may have had a life there.
What follows is an engaging mystery to uncover her past and what the Skrull’s true plans are.
The mystery elements surrounding Captain Marvel’s character is the highlight of the film for me, providing numerous twists and turns.
The action is entertaining, especially with the CGI, which de-ages Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clarke Gregg) fantastically.
The film also makes great use of the Skrulls’ ability to shape shift.
Speaking of the Skrull’s, Ben Mendlesohn is by far the best actor in the film as the Skrull Talos, who is an engaging character with relatable motivations.

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Mendlesohn is great as the complex “villain” Talos who, for some odd reason, has an Australian accent.

However, this is sadly not the case for Captain Marvel herself because it honestly felt like Larson was pulling her punches, acting wise.
She still turns out a good performance with some great moments, like in the scenes where her buddy-cop relationship with Nick Fury is put on full display, but it still often feels like she is holding back.
Whether this is because of her acting or direction, we will not know until we see her in Avengers Endgame.
But Captain Marvel herself is not the only character in the film who is problematic.
There are quite a few characters who feel out of place like Ronan (Lee Pace), who is completely pointless apart from nostalgia value.
Then there are the numerous plot holes that are created for prior films in the MCU through Captain Marvel’s appearance and interaction with Fury.
As for Fury, the way he loses his eye in this film has to be the worst part of Captain Marvel because of how astonishingly stupid it is.
So, Captain Marvel is a mixed bag overall.
The story, action and performances of some of the actors, especially Mendleshon, push it over into the category of a good film for me, but there are still numerous problems like with Brie Larson’s performance.
That said though, a touching tribute to the recently departed Stan Lee in the opening Marvel logo makes Captain Marvel more than worth the price of admission.

 

Attack on Titan Chapter 115 Support Review: YMIR FRITZ!?

5 stars
Well, what a surprising chapter this was.
Coming into Chapter 115 of Attack on Titan, “Support”, I had a feeling that Hange and Floch would most likely come across Zeke and Levi, and save them both.
While I was right about this, I absolutely did not expect everything else that happened in the chapter.
It is a mind blowing read that potentially gives us our first true look at the one and only Ymir Fritz, the most important character in all of Attack on Titan‘s lore.
This is another sign that the manga will soon be drawing to a close but, if this chapter is any indication, that ending should be fantastic.
The reveal of Ymir Fritz is by far the highlight of the chapter, and what she does says a lot about her involvement in the story.
We first see her when Zeke remembers pieces of his past before he dies.
I initially did not notice her because I was too angry about Zeke dying, since I feel he has so much left to do.
But then, after his death, a random Titan appears and, in a gruesome moment, cuts open its own stomach and stuffs Zeke inside.
I was very confused about this so imagine my shock when Zeke emerges from the Titan alive.
This shock was magnified when it is revealed that Zeke was resurrected, most likely by Ymir Fritz, using paths.
I am pretty sure this is her, since she looks like the Ymir Fritz from the various artworks, and it will be interesting to see how she continues to play a role in the story.
She clearly wants Eren and Zeke’s plan to succeed though because she saved him.
Probably the biggest shock from this scene, for me though, came when Zeke is being resurrected and the panel is an almost exact replica of when our Ymir ate Marcel and turned back into a human.
That means the shot of her in the desert looking up at the stars was actually her seeing the paths.
The fact that Hajime Isayama had this in mind when writing that scene is nothing short of mind  blowing.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Isayama has proven himself to be a genius with how he has constructed this story.
The rest of “Support” is just as amazing, with the chapter giving us more of an insight into Zeke’s past, Levi’s fate, an update on Yelena and the Yeagerists, and a surprising ending that has me eager to see what will happen next.
Starting off with Zeke, the flashback before his death and resurrection continued to add towards my level of sympathy for him.
We saw how he considered Xaver his true father, and his feelings when he learned Eren is his brother.
This leads to a scene I have been waiting a very long time to see.
This being Eren and Zeke interacting as brothers.
Despite their family connection, the two brothers have had barely any screen time together so I am glad the manga is finally delivering on that.
On top of this, Eren tells Zeke that he actually agrees with his plan to euthanize all Eldians.
However, I think this is definitely a lie and Eren is just using Zeke.
To what end though, I cannot be sure.
As for Levi’s fate, I am fairly certain that he is still alive, just horribly injured.
Upon finding him, Hange tells Floch that he is dead but, given that she glares at him after he asks to check Levi’s pulse and that she fled down river with Levi’s body, it is highly suggested that he is still alive.
Even so, Levi is still badly injured.
He has a massive scar on his face, missing fingers, and god knows what else.
Then there is the scene with Yelena and Pyxis, where she has manages to convince him to do what she says because of the contaminated wine they drank.
There are two interesting things to take away from this scene.
The first is that Yelena is using armbands to identify those who have drunk the wine, just like Marley uses to identify Eldians.
Pyxis points this out himself but Yelena says they can learn from their enemies, showing she is no better than Marley.
The second important take away is the presence of Onyankopon.
I wonder why Yelena is so quick to trust him, considering he seems to be on Hange and the Scouts’ side?
I have a theory that he will be the one to break Mikasa, Armin and the others out of their cell.
Finally, there is the surprising cliffhanger of the chapter.
Eren comes to see Gabi to get her to draw out the Warriors by blackmailing her with Falco’s life.
Before he can work anything out though, Pieck walks in, stabs Eren’s guard, and then holds him at gunpoint.
This makes not only for a great cliffhanger but also one that offers some interesting questions.
Where are Reiner and Porco?
What exactly is Pieck’s plan?
Since her Titan is the weakest I cannot see her defeating Eren so she must have something up her sleeve.
Maybe this will lead to her finding out that Annie is alive, who knows?
Whatever the case, this was a fantastic way to end the chapter.
“Support” is a mind blowing chapter with numerous unique twists and turns.
The only problem I have with it is that it raises a minor plot hole about why the warriors did not raid Eren’s basement all the way back in the Shiganshina arc, but this is a nitpick.
The rest of the chapter far overshadowed this minor detail and has me even more interested about where the series will go.
I especially cannot wait to see how Ymir Fritz factors into the story going forward

Psycho-Pass Season One Review: Criminal Commentary at its Best.

4 and a half stars
Crime Dramas are some of the most loved and successful shows on television so it was natural for anime to take a stab at it.
But with Psycho-Pass, the genre is taken a step further with Science Fiction, Cyberpunk elements incorporated to make for a great piece of commentary on criminality and justice.
Directed by Nayoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro, The series is set in a future where Japan is ruled by the Sibyl System, which scans people’s mental states to see if they could potentially become a criminal.
If a person registers as a latent criminal through the System’s scanners, they will either be arrested or killed, depending on the situation.
Those who are not killed are either confined or given the chance to join the MWPSB as Enforcers to work under the detectives and hunt down their fellow latent criminals with high Psycho-Pass readings.
One detective, Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa), is new on the job and thrust into a world of extreme violence where the system pulls the trigger.

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Akane taking on a job as a detective forces her to change, from a naive newbie, to a hardened detective in some great character development.

For this review, I will be solely focusing on season one rather than the entire series.
This is because I have heard season two is disappointing in comparison with the first, and since I love season one so much, I do not want it to reflect too negatively on my review of it.
Season one of Psycho-Pass is nothing short of a powerhouse season, with an amazing story, characters and commentary.
The story is absolutely enthralling with its various violent and disturbing cases that push the main characters to their very limits.
However, this also makes Psycho-Pass not for the faint of heart because of the messed up things in this series.
For example, episodes six to eight focus on a teenage serial killer at a girl’s school and this provides some of the most disturbing things I have seen on screen in a long time.

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The serial killer episodes from six to eight are the scariest in Psycho-Pass for me, with one of the darkest female characters I have ever seen.

With these constant moments of human depravity, it is no wonder the characters struggle so much, especially Akane, who changes from a naive girl to one of the strongest characters in the series, over the 22 episode season.
We can also see how the cases have affected her fellow detectives and enforcers, with Shinya Kogami (Tomokazu Seki) being a particular focus on how these cases changes a person.
The series even shows how the criminals are affected by the laws, with destroying the system being the main villain of season one Shogo Mikishima’s (Takahiro Sakurai) goal.
Mikishima is a great villain, with a scene between him and Akane in episode 11, “Saint’s Supper,” making him one of the most interesting characters in the series.

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Not only is Mikishima a fantastic villain, but his conflict with Kogami is set up and executed perfectly.

Both those on the side of the law and those against it come together in Psycho-Pass to create some truly great commentary on criminality and the justice system.
We see the extreme flaws of the Sibyl System and what it pushes people to commit, and yet, it is the only thing keeping order in Japan.
This commentary makes Psycho-Pass a very thoughtful series.
The season is so good that I only have one problem with it, and that is episode 12, “Crossroad of the Devil.”
This episode focuses on the backstory of a side character Yayoi Kunizuka (Shizuka Ito), who I never found to be all that interesting.
On top of this, her backstory does not serve much of a point in the series.
I felt it would have been better giving a backstory episode to Mikishima, or, better yet, Shuesi Kagari (Akira Ishida), who could have used one, considering where the writers take his character.
Still, even though I did have problems with “Crossroad of the Devil”, it is just a single episode so it does not completely damage my opinion of the anime.
Psycho-Pass is a great anime with some excellent commentary on criminality and the justice system.
It just might be too extreme for some people.
Enjoy it… if you have the stomach to.

Waco: More Biased Than Balanced.

3 and a half stars
The events of the 1993 Waco Siege at Mount Carmel Center is one of the most controversial sieges in history.
After a shootout, which left ten people dead, a 51 day standoff ensued between the FBI and a cult known as the Branch Davidians, lead by David Koresh.
The standoff ended in tragedy when a fire burned the compound to the ground, killing 76 people, many of them children.
Much controversy followed over whether the FBI had the right to siege the compound, who fired first, and who started the fire that took so may lives.
The answers to these questions may never be fully known, but last year’s six part miniseries, Waco, developed by John and Drew Dowdle, attempts to provide answers, basing them off the books by FBI negotiator Gary Noesner and survivor David Thibodeau.
My first impression of Waco was that it is a great show that expertly tackles the tragic events.
However, after thinking about things a little, I realised the show is quite problematic when it comes to where it shows sympathy.
I will start with my positive thoughts on the miniseries first, and there are many.
Probably the best thing about Waco is its fantastic performances, which allows the audience to sympathize both with those on the side of the FBI and the Branch Davidians.
Michael Shannon is great as Noesner, who is just trying to get everyone out alive, as is Rory Culkin as Thibodeau, who stays with the Branch Davidians out of a desire to protect those he cares for.
Best of all though is Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh himself.
Kitsch steals the show, making Koresh an extremely flawed yet sympathetic figure (although this is where my problem lies but we will get to that later).

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Kitsch is fantastic as David Koresh, and shows both the man’s virtues and vices. His performance made me understand why people followed Koresh.

On top of this, the story is gripping, with the final episode being difficult to watch.
A quiet moment between Noesner and Thibodeau near the end of the series speaks volumes of the extent of the tragedy that just unfolded on screen.
One of my favourite things about Waco, when I first started watching it, was how it portrays the events, specifically when it came to the FBI.
Many documentaries and new reports I have seen about the Waco Siege paint many of the Branch Davidians as monsters, while the FBI is viewed as doing nothing wrong.
Looking into the event, however, it is clear to see this is not entirely the case.
While the ATF and FBI did have good reason to take down Koresh, because of him marrying and impregnating girls as young as 14, the way they went about it was completely incompetent.
Koresh could have been arrested when he was out on a run, avoiding the opening shootout, and the rash decision making of the FBI lead to rising tensions during the standoff.
I was initially glad to see this miniseries rightfully directing some of the blame at the ATF and FBI for their actions and hoped for a more balanced take on the tragedy.
However, this was not to be because, rather than laying the blame on both sides, Waco appears to lay the majority of that blame at the feet of the FBI, presenting bias towards the Branch Davidians.
As I said, I feel the FBI is partially to blame for what happened, but so are the Davidians.
Koresh’s actions towards minors was certainly enough reason for his arrest but, somewhat disturbingly, the miniseries seems to brush this off rather quickly.
His marriage to underage girls is addressed but only briefly, as if the writers do not want you to lose sympathy for their take on Koresh.
There is nothing wrong with portraying Koresh as a human being, but providing someone with illegal weapons and statutory rape accusations against him with too much sympathy makes for a slightly off putting experience.
The amount of sympathy directed towards the rest of the Branch Davidians is warranted though, because many were not the evil figures they were painted to be by the media, but Koresh’s sympathy sticks out like a sore thumb.
Then there are the questions of  who shot first, and who started the fire.
Again, Waco shifts the blame for this at the ATF and FBI.
I think it would have been better for the series to leave these questions a mystery to the viewer.
There is, after all, still much contention about who did what and it would have made for a far more interesting experience, with the audience deciding who they believe to be ultimately responsible.

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It would have been better to allow the audience their own opinion on who started the fire that killed so many because it could have formed various different ideas about the tragedy.

But, while I did have a problem with the way blame seemed to solely be placed on the government in Waco, it was still highly effective in delivering its message about the government’s power in American lives.
Waco is still a fascinating experience to watch, but one that is more biased than balanced.

 

 

The Walking Dead Season Nine Episode 9-11 Discussion: True Terror.

The Walking Dead season nine has been killing it with the Whisperer Arc storyline so far.
The midseason finale served as a great introduction to these new villains and they have only got scarier since the series returned.
These three new episodes, “Adaptation”, “Omega”, and “Bounty”, continue to show that season nine is returning The Walking Dead to its former glory.
I know I have said this many times since season nine began, but Angela Kang was the perfect choice for showrunner because, under her direction, the series has bounced back from a low point in quality that many of us were concerned it could never recover from.
There are so many differences that improve on the series’ comic counterpart.
This is surprising to me because, off the top of my head, I cannot recall a time when the show has had a change that was better than the comic since season five.

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The characters are some of the best differences from the comics this season. In the comics Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is completely forgettable but in the show she is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

Character development is truly where these new episodes shine, with many characters, like Daryl, having great scenes.
It is the new characters that steal the spotlight though, because Magna’s group, Lydia (Cassady McCliny), and Alpha are already miles better than their comic versions.
Samantha Morton’s Alpha is the true standout of these characters, with her being one of the most terrifying villains in the show’s history.
I love how they gave her this dirty look to fit with her savage nature as a Whisperer.
It was odd how, in the comics, Alpha’s skin was clean, despite wearing literal human skin all day, so this is an improvement.
Morton is also fantastically scary as the antagonist.
Watching the promos, I was originally unsure about her accent but, after watching the episodes, I can say it works perfectly.
Her arrival at the end of “Omega” is nothing short of chilling.

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Samantha Morton was the perfect choice for Alpha. She looks and acts absolutely terrifying.

Speaking of these episodes, they range from good to fantastic.
The first two, “Adaptation” and “Omega” are the good episodes.
They have plenty of amazing scenes but some moments do feel out of place and drag a little, especially in “Omega”.
This is not the case for “Bounty” though because it is already one of my favourite episodes of season nine.
“Bounty” truly shows what monstrous acts the Whisperers are capable of, with a mother Whisperer leaving her own baby to be eaten by the Walkers because it is too loud.
This new scene is very shocking and is a great addition to the show.
It also leads to one of the show’s scariest moments in recent memory, with Connie rescuing the baby and fleeing into a cornfield.
It is here where she constantly has to fend off the Walkers, and it is made all the more scarier because she is deaf.
It felt like something that would be seen in A Quiet Place. 
“Bounty” is just a great episode, with the only negative I have being the blatant stupidity of Henry (Matt Lintz).
Other than this, and a few missteps though, the first few episodes of The Walking Dead season nine’s second half continues the show’s climb of better quality.
It has me very excited for The Walking Dead‘s equivalent of the Red Wedding, which we will surely see by the end of the season.
And, with what we have got so far, I am sure Angela Kang can pull it off.