My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode Twenty-Three, Tenko Shimura: Origin Review: Half and Half.

Coming into the latest episode of My Hero Academia Season Five, Episode Twenty-Three, “Tenko Shimura: Origin”, I had my fingers crossed that it would live up to its potential, making it one of the best episodes in the entire series.
After seeing it, can I say that it achieved this?
Well, like Todoroki’s Quirk, it’s half and half.
The first half of “Tenko Shimura: Origin” is honestly a bit dissapointing with its lackluster animation, while the second half definitley lives up to its potential, delivering a fantastic adaptation of the darkest moment from the manga.
Before this, though, there is the already mentioned weaker first half of the episode, where we first see Twice creating a clone of Toga to do a blood transfusion, followed by some Spinner development as he fights the politician Trumpet.
However, since the beginning of Spinner’s entire character arc was cut  from the “My Villain Academia” episode, this is just pay off to scenes that never happened so it lacks impact.
Then there’s the fight between Shigaraki and Redestro, which suffers from feeling overall a bit stiff and limited, although this may come from me comparing it to other fights in the series.
Along with this, the censorship does not really help because it does raise certain plot holes about why Shigaraki is not able to simply decay Redestro, and anime only viewers will probably not have realized that Shigaraki has lost some fingers here.
Also there are some weird moments when Shigaraki has blood all over him, yet in the next shot all this blood is gone.
Kind of reminded me of there not being any blood on the knife in that one The Promised Neverland Season Two episode.
As the fight between Redestro and Shigaraki continues, with Redestro’s stress quirk building, Shigaraki admitting he only wants to destroy, and Gigantomachia arriving on the scene, we finally get the dark second half of the episode that shows Shigaraki’s backstory.
We see his life with his family, and how his father, Kotaru, Nana Shimura’s son, was ruthless in his hatred of heroes for his mother abandoning him to fight All For One, to the point that he abused Tenko whenever he tried to play hero.
This complicated matters when Tenko’s sister, Hana, showed him a picture of their grandmother, inspiring Tenko to be a hero further, only for her to put all the blame on him when she got found out, resulting in more abuse directed at Tenko from Kotaro.
It is at this unfortunate time of high stress that Shigaraki’s Quirk activates while he is hugging the family dog for comfort outside.
This decays the pup and, wow, is it a lot more brutal than I thought it would be.
Yes, there is some censorship when the dog sadly crumbles, but the aftermath is on full bloody display, with chunks lying strewn around a puddle of red.
The horror only grows when Hana comes outside and flees in terror upon seeing what has happened.
Thinking a villain is attacking, Tenko goes to grab her, only for her to decay into a disgusting bloody puddle of human chunks as well.
The shots of Tenko tearing at his face after this, while his hair turns white, are also particularily disturbing.
Now beginning to understand what is happening, Tenko next unleashes his new power on his mother and grandparents for not helping him, causing his mother to die as she falls to pieces trying to reach out and hold her son.
Imagine being Kotaro: You have just read a letter from the mother who abandoned you, and this letter has made you decide to try and be a better parent, only to go outside and see that your son’s new power has gruesomely killed your entire family.
The narration from Nana that she hopes Kotaro lives a happy life makes for a grim overlap to this scene, made even grimmer by Tenko’s subsequent murder of his father.
When Kotaro tries to defend himself from his own son’s attacks, giving him one of his singature scars even though he still pleads for help, Tenko snaps entirely, giving into his murderous impluses completley.
Slamming his hand onto his father’s face, Shigaraki kills him, a disgusting look of pleasure matching his innner thoughts as the itch that was plaguing him for so long finally disipates, bringing a horrifying end to the episode.
This dark reveal of Shigaraki’s past was a fantastic adaptation of the manga.
Everything clicked from the animation, to the voice acting, to the music, bringing the darkest moment of My Hero Academia to terrifying life.
I just wish the first half of the episode was this good.
Still, “Tenko Shimura: Origin” is a great episode for its second half alone, and I do have high hopes for the next one, considering that it will continue to adapt Shigaraki’s backstory and it appears that Studio Bones is willing to put much of their resources into that.

My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode Twenty-Two, Sadman’s Parade Review: I am Pleasantly Surprised.

In my review for the previous episode of My Hero Academia I said that I would be pleasantly surprised to see Episdoe Twenty-Two of Season Five, “Sadman’s Parade,” adapt the manga in a way that does it justice. 
Well, thankfully, I was indeed pleasantly surprised because “Sadman’s Parade” is a very well done depiction of the chapters it adapts, bringing Twice’s development and the beginning of the fight with Redestro to the screen in various exciting scenes. 
The episode picks up from where “Revival Party” left off, with Toga about to be killed by clones of Twice created by one of the leading members of the Meta Liberation Army, Skeptic. 
Having been unmasked, Twice is undergoing a mental breakdown, horrified because he thinks he is seeing himself trying to kill Toga, and this causes him to recall his past. 
We already knew from previous flashbacks that Twice used his Double Quirk to create clones of himself so he could have friends, only for them to all declare they were the real one and kill each other, making Jin himself wonder if he was the real one at all or just another double. 
This lead to him developing a split personality and eventually joining the Legaue of Villains as Twice. 
However, in this episode we get even more great details. 
We see how, before he resorted to using his doubles for friends, he accidentally hit someone with his bike because they ran out in front of him. 
While not entirely his fault, the man he hit unfotunately had connections to Twice’s workplace, causing his boss to assault and fire him, eventually pushing Twice into his life of crime with his doubles until they caused his mental breakdown.
This is where his saviour, Giran, came in. 
The information broker brought Twice into the League, giving him the family he never had, and it is this motivation for his newfound family that gets Twice moving to save Toga, only for Skeptic’s puppets to break both his arms. 
This was a bad move on Skeptic’s part though because the pain causes Twice to realize that he really is the original Jin Babaigawarwa because he has not melted away like one of his doubles would.
It is this relization, which allows him to unlock the full potential of his quirk, like Toga did last episode, unleashing inifinte doubles in his new ultimate move, the titular Sadman’s Parade, to fight off the Liberation Army, having overcome his trauma. 
“Learn to fear my Quirk,” indeed. 
The animation for Sadman’s Parade is actually quite good, bringing this powerful moment home. 
Before watching the episode, I was afraid that this moment would be composed of entirely still images but there was a fair amount of animation to these infinite Twices. 
Another piece of animation which I was pleased with was the Dabi fight with Geten. 
Like the evolution of Twice’s Quirk, Dabi’s battle with the ice user is quite well animated. 
It also leads to the revelation that Dabi’s own flames eat away at him, meaning that the scars he has across his face and body are likely self inflicted. 
Before this, we also get a closer look at the Meta Libertation Army’s ideology through Geten, showing how deporable they are. 
Geten says that the world they strive to create is one where only those with strong Quirks can prosper above all. 
Kind of creepy to think about what would have happened to Deku if he had remained Quirkless and such a world had come about. 
Dabi seems to share the sentiment of this world view being a terrible idea, calling it a sad ideology and the two begin to fight again.
While this is happening, Shigaraki and Spinner push forward with the help of the army of Twices, only for one double to reach the tower first, confronting Redestro with a double version of the League.
It is a shame that Redestro is much too powerful, laying waste to all of the doubles, with the exception of one Twice clone who runs to Giran’s side, tearfully saying he has nothing to apologise for. 
This is interrupted when the double version of Shigaraki is revealed to have survived, attacking Redestro in a well animated fight scene, where Redestro reveals the origins of Destro and the Liberation Army. 
It is revealed that the term Quirk came from a mother who begged a prejudice crowd to accept her son’s “Quirk”, only for the crowd to kill her. 
Her child was the original Destro, Redestro’s father, and now Redestro believes he has inherited his will, which should allow him to defeat Shigaraki.
This seems to be the case, until the real Shigaraki shows up at the bottom of the tower and disintergrates it with a mere touch. 
As Redestro emerges from the rubble, his Quirk fully acitivated, Shigaraki recognizes him as the boss of the Liberation Army because his strength allowed him to surive the fall, ending the episode. 
On another note, I was a bit disappointed to see Shigaraki not mention that he recognized Redestro from the Detnerat commericals, like in the manga, but Redestro’s introduction was cut so it makes sense why this line was removed. 
In any case, next episode looks to be a great one, what with Gigantomachia now approaching, since the Dr woke him up early this episode, and Shigaraki’s full backstory fast approaching. 
I hope we get this backstory adapted brilliantly in all of its horrific glory because, if it is, it could be one of My Hero Academia’s best episodes.  

My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode Twenty-One, Revival Party Review: Good for Anime Viewers Disappointing for Manga Readers.

After watching Episode Twenty-One of Season Five for My Hero Academia, “Revival Party,” I saw footage of some storyboard animation done for the episode and contemplated what could have been.
That animation looked great and what we actually got was not up to par.
This is not to say that “Revial Party” is a bad episode, far from it.
In fact, I would say it was a definite step up from the last episode.
However, when compared to the storyboards and the actual My Villain Academia Arc in the manga, this episode just does not live up to that.
For anime only viewers, this is probably not an issue but for manga readers it takes this episode from being good to being disappointing.
It’s not just the animation because the cuts are still really showing here.
Last week they cut out the entire beginning of the arc and also Spinner’s character development.
In “Revial Party” they got rid of a lot of scenes with the Liberation Army, which made Redestro and the rest of them compelling and interesting villains.
In the anime, Redestro feels like a villain of the week, with just basic narration used to give him character, when in the manga he was very well fleshed out and made out to be a big threat.
The same goes for his subordinates so the League fighting them is just not as interesting as it was in the manga, especially when paired with animation that, again, while not bad, just does not live up to what it could have been.
Despite this, I still did enjoy the screentime Toga got, especially with her voice actress Misato Fuken’s work.
Her delivery was great in this episode, especially the “no” line she delivers when one of the Liberation Army leaders Curious asks her for an interview.
What follows is an exploration into Toga’s past, hinting at the mask she put up to hide how she actually was to her peers.
This mask broke when she saw a fellow student (who looks suspiciously like Izuku) get wounded in a fight.
She then attacked this student and drank his blood with a straw in a particularily disturbing image.
Heck, this episode is full of disturbing images of Toga, just look at the one I chose to put up for this review when Toga says she will live a normal life.
This eventually leads to an evolution in Toga’s Quirk, where she gains the ability to use the powers of those whose blood she drinks.
Toga uses this new twist to her Quirk to kill Curious and her followers with Ochako’s Gravity Quirk, sending them high into the sky and then drops them to their deaths.
We also get a look at the beginning of Shigaraki’s Quirk Evolution, as he decays a wave of people without even touching them.
I hope at least when we get to his backstory episode it is done justice.
That is one episode Studio Bones cannot screw up.
As for the other League members, it is mostly build up for the next episode.
We see Dabi’s beginning fight with Geten, which could give us the oppurtunity for some fluid animation later.
Another oppurtunity for this is Twice’s story, where another Liberation army leader, named Skeptic, sends his drones after him and Toga, which is the end of the episode.
I have not seen the next episode yet, so I do not know if these opprtunities for great animation have been taken but, given how the past few episodes has been, I doubt they have.
It would be a pleasant surprise to watch that episode and see the scenes have been done justice.
Overall, “Revial Party” is a pretty good episode of My Hero Academia regardless of its shortcomings.
If you’re an anime only, you probably will not have an issue with it.
If you’re a manga reader, though, that’s another story entirely.

The Wheel of Time Trailer Reaction: Let’s Hope the Wheel Weaves it to be Good.

Warning: This will discuss spoilers for Book One and beyond for the Wheel of Time. So, if you don’t want to know some stuff going into the show then don’t read this.

The Wheel of Time turns and adaptations come and pass.
Well, now Amazon Prime is delivering their own Wheel of Time show developed by Rafe Judkins. 
For those unaware, The Wheel of Time is a 15 book epic fantasy series created and written by Robert Jordan, until his unfortunate passing due to a terminal illness, after which Brandon Sanderson finished the story based on Jordan’s notes. 
I first got into the Wheel of Time based on the recommendation of a book YouTuber I watch named Daniel Greene and have just finished the seventh book in the series, A Crown of Swords.
So far, I am loving this story and its characters, and I was very excited to watch the trailer to get an indication of how the books would be adapted. 
And the trailer did not disappoint, beginning with two important characters, Nynaeve al’Meara (played by Zoë Robins), and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden).
Nynaeve appears to be training Egwene in the Wisdom ways, and by that I mean tossing her off a damn cliff and into the water.
Following this, we get our first look at Emond’s Field, with the narration of the lines accompanying the beginning of every book playing, “the Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass.” 
With these lines, we get our first good look at our three ta’veren, Rand al’Thor (Josha Stadowski), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), and the three of them look great, especially Mat, who really seems to give off the trouble making spirit he has in the books. 

This shot appears to perfectly encapsulate Rand, Mat and Perrin’s personalities. I hope the actors can bring them to life.

There is also some romantic tension between Rand and Egwene setup, which is explored further in the trailer. 
After some traveling shots we get another interesting moment where we see a Warder kissing an Aes Sedai ring, possibly meaning her death in a potential show only storyline I will get into later.
Then we get a shot of Egwene emerging from the water, covered in numerous colours, which is the best shot of the trailer once you understand the symbolism at play. 
It took me watching a breakdown from Daniel Greene to get it but when he hinted at the symbolism it floored me. 
If you read Book Six, Lord of Chaos, you will definitley understand what this brief moment is foreshadowing, especially with the narration about legends.

The foreshadowing in this image for Egwene’s character is truly great.

We then get our first look at Tar Valon, the home of the Aes Sedai, with Dragon Mount in the background and it looks fantastic.
The CGI is truly top notch here. 
Afterwards, we get our first shot of the character the trailer wants you to believe is the protaganist, Moirane (Rosamund Pike), arriving at Emond’s Field, explaining the one power and how the women of the Aes Sedai use it to protect the world. 
Funny how they show the Red Ajah with Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood) while she narrates about this. 
But what she says is given weight by the showcasing of the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo) and her Keeper Leane Sharif (Jennifer Cheon Garcia), who all seems to appear much earlier than they do in the books. 
We also get a lot of displays of the one power, with another Aes Sedai healing Moirane and one stopping a bunch of arrows thrown at them, with Lan (Daniel Henney), who is Moirane’s Warder, guarding Nynaeve. 
So, the trailer already seems to be dropping hints at their future relationship. 
A sequence of shots then follow, most importantly from Shadar Logoth, where we see Mat with the cursed dagger and the Mashadar pursuing the characters. 
Then we get Mat looking away from what looks like a dead Aeil in a cage, maybe foreshadowing how Perrin meets Gaul in Book Three, The Dragon Reborn.
Speaking of Perrin, we then see him being confronted by a wolf, most likely Hopper, which has me very excited because I love that storyline from the first book, Perrin being my favourite character in The Wheel of Time so far. 

I can’t wait to see Perrin’s storyline adapted. I wonder if we’ll get to see Elyas and the White Cloaks as well?

Curiously, we then see an almost undressed Rand and Egwene sitting togethor, suggesting they will be a lot more romantic than they were in The Eye of the World. 
Although the narration does hint at this not lasting.
The one narrating this is Tam (Michael McElhatton), Rand’s father. 
We then get a bird’s eye view of Winter’s Night, which transitions perfectly into Aes Sedai saying goodbye to their dead. 
This second shot is not connected to Winter’s Night but it does foreshadow what will happen there. 
We then get our first look at a Myrddraal, looking very creepy, as Lan warns someone, probably Rand, that the Dark One is after him and his freinds.
This is quickly followed by shots of a terrified Mat and suprisingly calm looking Rand being pursued by the Mydraal riding a skull masked horse and leading an army of Trollocs. 
Then we get shots of Nynaeve and Lan stuck in a fight, which takes on intersting meaning when we see the False Dragon Logain (Alexandre Willaume) appearing to break free from his captivity under the Red Ajah. 
Therefore, the people fighting Lan and Nynaeve might be his followers. 
This seems to showcase a brand new storyline for Logain, which I am all for because I am very interested to see where his character will go in the books, especially with how Min prophesied his future glory, whatever that means. 

I am excited to see where Logain will go as a character both in the books and in the show.

I am also guessing that this escape attempt will result in the Aes Sedai death we see the Warder mourning near the beginning of the trailer. 
We then see Siuan telling Moirane that the Last Battle is coming, followed by some fantastic footage of the Trollocs in shadow. 
Coming into the trailer, I was kind of concerned that the Trollocs would look goofy but they actually appear pretty terrifying. 
More fighting shots follow, before we see our characters heading towards a Waygate out in the wilderness.
This is followed by our first clear look at a Myrddraal. with its hairless, eyeless face, and mouth full of serated teeth. 
Like the Trollocs, the Myrddraal looks horrifying and I cannot wait to see more of it. 

Look at how many teeth that Myrddraal has! That’s a whole lot of nope right there.

The final shots of the trailer then show Moirane channeling against the army of Trollocs controlled by the Myddraal, and Lan fighting alongside her in some epic action shots, as Moirane calls down a bolt of lightening to end the battle. 
With that, we get the offical logo for The Wheel of Time and a release date, November 19th.
This trailer was great. 
The cast looks well chosen, the CGI and fight scenes look good, it teased an interesting show original storyline with Logain, and even the music of of the trailer is well done, with Lorne Balfe being announced as the series’ composer. 
That last fact is another thing I am pretty excited for because I quite enjoyed his score for the His Dark Materials adaptation.
Overall, though, I can say that I am very excited for The Wheel of Time adaptation after this trailer.
Fingers crossed that these fantastic books can be done justice.  

Choujin X, Chapter Seven, Broiler Review: Where Does the Story go From Here?

In the previous chapter of Choujin X, the cliffhanger was of Tokio about to use his Full Bestifaction transformation for the first time.
There was quite a lot of speculation about what he would look like but the general consensus was that it would be something like the very first panel of the story.
As opposed to that, what Tokio transforms into appears to be a different variant from his initial Choujin transformation at the end of chapter one, only much stronger.
Chapter Seven of Choujin X, Broiler, centers around the aftermath of Tokio’s first transformation, with him using this power to take on the Snake Choujin Nari with Ely in what is both a well drawn and quite funny battle.
The first gag comes right after Tokio deals a good blow to Nari and lunges at her again, naturally assuming that his second punch will have the same effect… only for him to injure his hand in the process, forcing Ely to temporarily take over, but her smoke attacks have no effect.
She is saved by Tokio, who jumps in to save her from getting crushed by Nari and appears to temporarily float, making me wonder if Tokio could grow wings like an actual vulture later on.
He is inexperienced with his beastification form, after all, so there are a lot of areas he could grow in.
Back to the chapter, Ely convinces Tokio that it would be better to fight rather than flee, and Tokio suggests broiling Nari from the inside, hence the same of the chapter.
Running right at her, Tokio has a pretty cool moment for him as he takes on the Snake Choujin with some quips, saying that if she’s still testing him then she should give him his score.
Well, I would think she should score him pretty highly considering how easily he gets the best of her, grabbing a hold of her Medusa hair to fling himself to her mouth and then yank it open, yelling at Ely to broil her.
It was a good plan, if it wasn’t complicated by the fantastic comedic gag of both Tokio and Ely’s powers failing at the exact same time.
Thankfully, the two are saved by a Choujin with incredibly powerful knife powers arriving on the scene.
It’s not clear if this Choujin is a man or woman yet but they make an intimidating first impression as they march towards the badly wounded Nari, telling her they intend her to tell them everything about who hired her.
This knife Choujin user also seems like a very official person, used to rules and regulations, unlike Hoshi, who seemed quite a bit like a super hero when he was introduced back in chapter two.
It will be interesting to see if there could be some conflict between the two.
After capturing Nari and lecturing Ely about escaping from her teacher Monoma, who I assume is the woman Ely was wirth at the beginning of last chapter, the knife choujin then demands to know who Tokio is.
Tokio, however, can only get out his last name before he remembers he has been poisoned by Nari, only being able to say “the ven-” before collapsing.
This causes Ely to think his name is Zaven Kurohara, although I’ve been informed that a more accurate translation may be Dokuga Kurohara, but it’s only one person who I’ve seen say that.
We then get a quick look at a Choujin facility Tokio has been taken to following the battle with Nari, which has a flag with three arrows, possibly refrencing an earlier moment in the chapter when Tokio brought up a story about three arrows before being cut off by Ely.
Waking up, Tokio deleriously shouts that he has to go to school in an exaggerated panel.
Being met by Hoshi, the Choujin explains that they gave Tokio some serumn to deal with the poison and that the Choujin facility he is at is called Yamato Mori, then offering Tokio some apples.
Tokio narrates that this is the sweetest apple has ever tasted while Ely and supposedly Monoma, whose face is still hidden, sneak a peak from outside, brining an end to the chapter.
Broiler is another good chapter for Choujin X, with some great action and especially funny moments.
The question is, where does the story go from here?
Well, I think Sui Ishida has perfectly crafted a situation where Tokio could begin to live a double life.
The Choujins now think his name is Zaven Kurohara, so this could allow him to go back to being Tokio Kurohara at times, without his family figuring out he is a Choujin.
This would make Azuma only person from his true life who knows he is a Choujin , however this could have plenty of unforseen consequences for Tokio.
Many have speculated about Azuma’s potential darker side, which could become more apparent as Tokio begins to move further away from him.
Tokio may state how much he wants to be like Azuma at the beginning of Broiler but by taking action without relying on him he has already taken his first step to seperating from him.
This could eventually push Azuma into the clutches of the masked Choujin who sent Nari after Tokio.
Think of it as a darker version of the friendship between Kaneki and Hide from Tokyo Ghoul. 
Other than these predictions, though, I’m fairly clueless about where the story is going to go from here on out, so it will be interesting to see what Ishida has planned for subsequent chapters.

My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode 20, My Villain Academia Review: It Begins… Without Really Beginning.

So, the fifth season of My Hero Academia has been interesting to say the least.
The problems fans are having with the anime have been made clear by them since season four, a season I was quite forgiving of and praised highly (although I have not rewatched it since so that could change if I chose to do so).
However, I am not as forgiving with Season Five because these problems have been bothering me.
The adaptation of the first arc, Class 1-A vs 1-B, was adapted quite well apart from a few too many flashbacks.
However, the rest of the season has not been adapted nearly as well.
The Endeavor Agency Arc was put ahead of the highly anticipated My Villain Academia Arc, which will undoubtedly make some scenes in future episodes not very tense because we know which characters will live.
Not only this but some of the episodes in the Endeavor Agency Arc were slowed down to a snail’s pace and there was even a filler episode put in.
Why was all this done?
Well, supposedly it was all for the new My Hero Academia movie, since it has characters from the agency arc and they had to move it forward to have the movie make sense to the viewer.
If this is true, it is a real shame that one of the best storylines from the manga has been pushed to the side for that.
Well, we recently got the begining of this highly praised arc with Episode Twenty of Season Five, “My Villain Academia”, and the problems with the pacing of prior episodes really affects the beginning of said arc which… is not even a beginning at all really.
Directed by Ikurō Satō and Takanori Yano, the episode skips over the first chapter of the My Villain Academia Arc entirely, which is a vital chapter because it sets up key events towards the end of the arc.
Even worse, by removing this chapter, Spinner’s entire character arc is effectively gone now.
This really makes me concerned for how this storyline will continue to be handled.
At least the scenes that were actually adapted from the manga are pretty good.
“My Villain Academia” begins with the League of Villains being attacked by Gigantomachia, All For One’s bodyguard, who wants to test Shigaraki to see if he is fit to be his new master.
Alas, Shigaraki is unworthy in Gigantomachia’s eyes, leading to the League being brought in to meet the creator of the Nomu, Daruma Ujiko, who is the Dr who told Izuku that he didn’t have a Quirk at the beginning of the story.
It is here we get our first peak into Shigaraki’s dark past, as we see how he was rescued by All For One in a flashback who then tells the young boy how he accidentally killed his entire family with his Quirk, presenting him with their hands, which are the hands he wears to this day.
Ujiko then tasks Shigaraki with gaining Gigantomachia’s loyalty in order to achieve his full support, leading to the League returning to Gigantomachia, lead by Shigaraki, who tells the giant bodyguard that his future king is back in a scene that gave me goosebumps.
We then cut to a month and a half later where Shigaraki is still struggling to beat Gigantomachia.
Spinner finally gets some spotlight, narrating about their struggles and how Toga got a new coat, however this detail now feels irrelvant because we didn’t see how much the League was struggling financially at the beginning of the arc, since this was also cut.
Speaking of things being removed, the introduction of Redestro is gone as well, so him calling on the League of Villains to fight his Meta Liberation Army feels kind of abrupt.
He lures the League in by using Giran as bait and threatening to call the heroes down on them if they don’t come to him.
Unfortunately for Redestro, he doesn’t know about Gigantomachia, and Shigaraki plans to use this to his advantage by eventually leading the giant to crush the Meta Liberation Army, planning to get him to submit after he is done.
This brings an end to a good episode, but one that is quite disappointing from a manga reader’s perspective.
There are so many cuts of relevant parts to the story that it feels like the My Villain Academia Arc will probably be nowhere near as impactful as it was in the manga.
I am still excited to see the rest of it and hope it is adapted well.
But, if it is not, I think many of us will be quite bitter that one of the best arcs in My Hero Academia was not done justice because the studio wanted to focus on a movie that isn’t even canon.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End: An Adventure After the Heroes’ Adventure.

I remember scrolling through Reddit a while back and coming across a fan animation for an ongoing manga called Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End of an elf doing a weird dance.
I thought it was funny so I decided to give the first chapter a read and it immediately sucked me in to the point that I binged the whole thing and have been reading every chapter upon its release.
Written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End has one of the most interesting and emotional openings to a story that I have seen in a long time.
We have all seen the typical fantasy story where the hero overcomes the big, evil dark lord, right?
It is by no means original.
However, what is original is to focus an entire story on what happens after this point in the many years following the dark lord’s defeat.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End explores what happens to the fantasy heroes and the world they live in long after they have completed their epic quest.

This is how the first chapter begins, with the hero Himmel and his party of the titular mage Frieren, priest Heiter, and dwarf Eisen, returning from their successful ten year journey to kill the demon king.
After much celebration, the group separate, deciding to meet up again to see a meteor shower that occurs once every 50 years.
Sure enough, 50 years later, Frieren returns to meet up with her party, only to reconnect at the end of Himmel’s life.

In all this time, little has seemed to pass for Frieren as, being an elf, she can live for thousands of years, with the time she spent with the hero party being little more than a blink in her long life.
Yet, despite knowing this, she still finds herself crying at Himmel’s funeral and wondering why  she did not take the time to understand him.
As the years pass, Frieren is eventually tasked with taking on the dying Heiter’s student Fern and Eisen’s former student Stark.
Together, the three of them begin their long journey to a place where souls rest so Frieren can see Himmel again.

The manga mainly follows Frieren, Fern and Stark on their long journey to find Himmel’s soul, going through many, many minor adventures along the way.

Make no mistake, Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is mostly a slife of life story, with the adventure of Frieren, Fern and Stark exploring this fantasy world decades after the demon king’s defeat, while occasionally flashing back to Frieren’s time with the hero party.
All of the character’s, whether from Frieren’s current or past party, are fantastic, with a lot of great, funny and emotional moments.
These emotional moments come specifically during the first few chapters, where Frieren has to experience the deaths of many of her old friends who are dying of old age while she continues to live.
It really makes you think about how Frieren’s current adventure with Fern and Stark could also be so fleeting for her.
All those little slice of life adventures they have could become just another blink in Frieren’s eye and that is a sad thing to consider.
Speaking of slice of life, though, this is not all the manga is because there are actually some plot progressing storylines in Frieren’s current journey as well, like the demon arc, one of the early arcs in the story, which has what is easily one of Frieren’s best moments.

Frieren is at her coolest when facing off the demon army lead by Aura the Guillotine.

There are great moments spread out like this across the manga actually, although, there are some parts of the slice of life that are less interesting than others and some of the big storylines do seem to overstay their welcome a bit, like the most current one. 
And that is pretty much my only problem with Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End.
I find the rest of it to be a great comedic, sometimes emotional story with good action and artwork.
It is a highly interesting take on what happens after the hero’s journey we are all so familiar with comes to an end. 

Choujin X, Chapter Six, Apostasy Review: Full Bestification Time!

Sui Ishida is continuing to put out some great chapters for his latest manga, Choujin X, as Chapter Six, “Apostasy” centers around a fun action sequence with some excellent artwork and good character development.
After Chapter Five, I figured that the next chapter would start with a flashback explaining how Ely located Tokio and I was right on the money with that because this is exactly how “Apostasy” starts.
We first see Ely walking down a street with a shaded figure talking about her powers.
It’s revealed to have been less than ten days since we last saw Ely in Chapter Two, and whoever this new shaded in character who she had befriended is, she does not seem to be a Choujin based on how she does not sense the powers like Ely does.
It is this Choujin homing beacon that draws Ely to Tokio’s side, where she immediately accesses the situation before trying to save Tokio by using her smoke powers to blast off with him, away from Nari.
Unfortunately, still being pretty new to her powers, Ely cannot get them far and Nari quickly catches up, wondering if Ely is Sandaq’s trainee before launcing another attack at her.
Ely is ready though and, after a tense moment where her power temporarily seems to fail, she manages to blow a blast right at Nari, engulfing her head in flames.
However, this does not put Nari down because she has one more big trick up her sleeve: Full Bestifcation.
With these words, Nari transforms into a giant snake in a fantastic panel, which Ishida actually colours in with a red background, potentially highlighting Nari’s deadly personality.
In this form, she easily defeats Ely but at a cost because it is explained that in this form she is way dumber than she usually would be.
This results in her getting stuck in the cage to a monkey enclosure, giving Tokio enough time to react now that Ely is too injured to fight anymore.
So, what does our hero do?
Well, wonder what Azuma would do, of course!
It’s what Tokio always does when he gets in dangerous situations and it’s no different here, however, this may actually be the start of him breaking away from this mindset.
One reddit breakdown of the chapter I saw speculates that the title “First Apostasy” hints at the beginning of many instances of Tokio moving away from Azuma.
This seems to be the case in the chapter as well because, after Ely tells Tokio to run, he instead looks up at the sky and sees a vulture, apparently causing him to come to some inner realization.
Not only does this moment show him going from thinking about what Azuma would do, to making his own decisions, but it is also another instance of great artwork from Ishida, as the vulture panel is coloured green, much like Nari’s was coloured red, potentially hinting at Tokio’s cautious personality.
Well, Tokio quickly throws this caution to the wind because, as Nari finally breaks free, Tokio makes his own effort to unlock his Choujin powers, trying to go Full Bestification in another really good cliffhanger panel.
So, next chapter we are most likely going to see what Tokio looks like in his full beastial Choujin mode.
It seems likely that he will look similar to the vulture monster we saw in the first panel of the story.
Another thing that will be interesting to see is if transforming will make him less intelligent, like Nari.
Speaking of, could this lessening intelligence for Nari be something similar to how the Johnny character went crazy after he became a Choujin?
Maybe it has a different mental effects on people.
Either way, I am excited to read Chapter Seven when we get it and see just how far Tokio will go with this new transformation.

My Hero Academia, Chapter 322, Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight Review: The Bakugo Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For.

I can remember beginning to read the My Hero Academia manga right after I finished Season Three, however, I have reviewed very few chapters since then.
This was because, with a very frequent release schedule, I was concerned focusing on it could put other reviews I had planned on the backburner.
So, I decided to only review chapters that really impacted with me.
One of these was Chapter 290, “Dabi’s Dance”, which is currently my favourite chapter of the manga and was so good it had me reviewing its follow up chapters for a few weeks until I stopped again.
Well, I just read another top ten My Hero Academia chapter, so I just had to review this one, which is Chapter 322, “Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight.”
The reason this chapter is so amazing is because of how it masterfully delivers a scene that Bakugo fans have been waiting years to see: his apology to Izuku.
Back when I watched the first season of My Hero Academia, I could not understand why so many people liked Bakugo.
I certainly understood his character and why he was so mean to Izuku but it in no way made him a likeable character.
However, as the series went on, I began to slowly realize why people loved Bakugo’s character and honestly I came to feel the same way as I watched him progress, realizing his own weaknesses and beginning to regret his past actions.
His breakdown in front of Izuku at the end of Season Three, showing how he blamed himself for All Might losing his power, really floored me the first time I watched it because I had no idea Bakugo was suffering internally like that.
As I read the manga, I continued to watch him grow as a character, liking his development more and more, especially the moment where he recreated Izuku saving him at the beginning of the story, with his body moving on its own to save him in the War Arc.
Well, in Chapter 322 we finally get the culmination of Bakugo’s character arc, which was all building up to this moment.
As the fight between Izuku and Class 1-A winds down, Bakugo explains to Deku why he saved him during the War Arc, following this up by explaining his horrible actions at the beginning of the story, how he came to realize his own weaknesses and how the time has finally come to tell “Izuku” his truth.
And yes, he does actually call Izuku by his real name instead of Deku, the name Bakugo has used to degrade him throughout the series.
He follows this up by finally apologizing in a fantastic panel, even bowing slightly during his apology.
This, right here, is already one of My Hero Academia’s best moments.
It’s honestly baffling and kind of concerning how some people are against Bakugo apologizing to Izuku because they saw themselves in him when he was unrepentant.
Relating to a remorseless bully who doesn’t change… okay?
Thank goodness this is not what Bakugo’s character is actually like.
Not only is his apology to Izuku the culmination of his character arc up until this point, but it is also beautifully highlighted by Kohei Horikoshi how far both Bakugo and Izuku have come to get to this point.
As Bakugo prepares for his apology, explaining his actions and how he has changed to Izuku, the two symbolically change appearance throughout the panels.
First, we them as kindergarten students, then middle-schoolers, then in their UA uniforms, and finally their hero costumes.
Along with this, Izuku’s expression also changes across the panels, being as dead-eyed as Shigaraki before Bakugo brings him back to himself.
All of this comes togethor to create what is, again, one of My Hero Academia’s best scenes.
It is not the only moving moment in the chapter, though, because there are multiple parts like this throughout, like at the beginning when Mina tells Izuku to come back to UA because she cannot stand the thought of losing anyone else, obviously calling back to Midnight’s death.
Then there’s Kirishima calling back to Izuku saving Bakugo, Bakugo catching Izuku when he falls, and the final scene, where it looks like Uraraka is about to stand up for Izuku.
This scene happens when Class 1-A brings the unconcious Deku back to UA and are met by Thirteen, who we see unmasked for the first time.
What is more surprising than this, especially so for Izuku, is the state of U.A.
With its giant wall constructed to keep citizens safe, it looks a lot like Tartarus prison once did.
Let’s hope it’s even more secure than that was because, if it’s not, then we’re going to be in for a world of hurt once All For One attacks.
The citizens taking refuge at UA are just as concerned about this.
When they recognize Izuku as the one Shigaraki was after, they demand he leave for their own saftey, so Shigaraki will not attack.
Izuku is about to do so when Uraraka grabs his hand and assures him it will be okay.
She thinks about how Ida and Bakugo started to bring Izuku back, and now it might just be her turn because she again wonders who will will protect the heroes when they need it, as she appears to step towards the angered crowd.
I hope this means next chapter we will see Uraraka speak up for Izuku and convince the crowd to allow him inside.
After all, Bakugo and Ida both got their big moments in bringing Izuku back to UA and now I think it is Uraraka’s turn.
In any case, “Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight”, along with being a mouthful of a title, is one of My Hero Academia’s best chapters.
It has a lot of great moments but Bakugo’s apology scene just steals the show.
I wonder how his character will continue to grow from here?

Look Back, Oneshot Review: Tatsuki Fujimoto is Brilliant.

Ever since Tatsuki Fujimoto released his one shot manga Look Back weeks ago, I have found myself returning to it time and time again, finding new meaning in it every time.
It’s funny because, even though Fujimoto is the author of one of my favourite mangas, Chainsaw Man, I honestly wasn’t expecting Look Back to be all that much.
Just a fun little story to read once and then move on from.
Boy, was I wrong.
I came out of Look Back an emotional wreck and I have felt just as impacted every time I have reread it since then.
It’s clearly not just me either because I have seen so many other people who feel the same way and come out of reading it with different interpretations of what it all means.
Look Back begins with a simple, single page panel of a room with an empty desk and chair, the importance of which will be realized by the ending.
We then meet our main character, Fujino, through the four panel manga strip she entered as homework for her school’s newspaper.
Fujimoto does an excellent job presenting her to us, as first we see the teacher giving his class the newspaper, then them passing it down and laughing with and appreciating Fujino’s art, and next we actually see the comedic strip before we are finally introduced to Fujino herself.
However, despite the class’ praise of her artwork, Fujino is actually not too receptive to the idea of becoming a manga artist when she grows up, perferring the idea of becoming an athlete instead.
It is on the following page where we first hear of the character who will change all of this for her, Kyomoto, when her teacher asks her to give up one of school paper manga slots to her, since Kyomoto is a recluse who doesn’t come to school but wants to explore her own artwork.
This news causes Fujino to cockily wonder how someone who is afraid of coming to school could draw manga well.
Her arrogant claim made it all the funnier when I turned the page and saw her horrified reaction when she saw Kyomoto’s artwork next to hers and realized it was much better than hers.
Fujimoto is really good at drawing hilarious character reactions and he doesn’t disappoint with Fujino’s.
It is not just her who realizes that Kyomoto’s artwork is better because everyone in her class does as well.
Remembering how everyone first praised her, wanting more of that, and realizing that Kyomoto is so good because she practices all the time at home, Fujino decides to devote even more time than the “five minutes” she spent on her earlier manga strip.
Following this moment, we get the first of many montage panels where time passes as Fujino practices her drawing at her home, school, the library, the park, and other places, along with buying various different guide books to help teach her.
At least a year passes during this montage, with the snow on the roof being in one panel then gone the next highlighting this.
We then get confirmation on how much time has passed, when one of Fujino’s friends says they will be middle schoolers next year and rhen asks if Fujino thinks that she herself is too old for drawing because she doesn’t want to be thought of as a creepy otaku at her age.
This, her sister’s discouragement and urging to try karate instead, and her seeing that Kyomoto’s background art is still better than hers, causes Fujino to give up.
There even seems to be a slight tear when she does so, showing how much this decision hurts, but she turns this emotion away to instead join up with her friends and spend time with family.
She even has her old drawing guide books thrown out.
It would seem that she is distancing herself from the passion of drawing forever but fate has other plans, as Fujino’s teacher again asks her to go to Kyomoto and deliver her graduation certificate to her.
No one answers the door, so Fujino goes inside and finds the walls outside of Kyomoto’s room lined with journals for drawing.
Seeing one bare manga strip, a moment of cruel inspiration strikes Fujino, as she draws Kyomoto winning the shut-in world championship because she is dead.
Epic foreshadowing (only kidding).
Just as she is wondering what she is doing, she drops the strip, which slides under Kyomoto’s door, causing Fujino to flee in panic, only for a disheveled and awkward Kyomoto to pursue her outside.
The symbolism of this first meeting is pretty great, as Fujino’s feet are in the light and Kyomoto’s are in the shade of her house, showing their different standings in life, with Fujino currently being outgoing and Kyomoto an introvert.
It is then that Kyomoto nervously admits to being a fan of Fujino’s, followed by another great reaction shot of Fujino.
Although, while the previous reaction shot of her was comedic, this one is dramatic, as her face is bathed in light, the only panel in the entire page where a character’s face is not in the shade.
This shows the importance of Kyomoto’s confession to her, as it resparks her passion for drawing manga, only this time not to gain praise which I will explain later.
Kyomoto follows this up by getting Fujino to autograph the back of her shirt, and then asks why she stopped drawing manga after sixth grade, causing Fujino to expertly lie, highlighted by her refusing to look at Kyomoto.
Fujino claims that she hasn’t been drawing as much because she is preparing to create a story, which she will submit for a manga award and promises to show Kyomoto once she is done.
She then leaves as it starts to rain and begins to skip and dance, no longer having to lie to herself about lacking the passion to draw anymore.
The full page spread where she skips and dances through the rain in a way that is somehow both awkward and triumphant is excellently drawn by Fujimoto and one of my favourite moments in the one-shot.
Que another, much longer montage of panels, as the years pass and Fujino and Kyomoto grow closer, beginning to work togethor and inspire each other it their own artwork.
After a day out on the town, spending the money they earned from their manga, Kyomoto admits that, just like Fujino starting to draw manga because of the praise she got from others, she began drawing manga not for fun but because otherwise she was bored, thanking Fujino for bringing her outside.
Eventually, the two become successful enough to become seralized, however, Kyomoto cannot help Fujino with the new manga series because she wants to go to art school to hone her craft.
Fujino does not take this news well, using Kyomoto’s earlier confession to try and manipulate her into staying and helping her, saying she will become bored at art school.
This argument seems to cause a seperation between the two because, as time passes in the next montage, with Fujino becoming successful with her manga, Shark Attack, which is then set to get an anime adaptation, we don’t see them interact, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when it happens.
Fujino looks at the news one day and sees that an attack has happened at Kyomoto’s art school and unfortunately she did not make it.
This is clearly a representation of the tragic Kyoto Animation arson attack in 2019, which claimed 36 lives.
It is particuarly sad to then notice in hindsight that the first part of Kyomoto’s name is also the beginning of the name of the animation studio where the real life attack took place.
This all goes to show just how devestating the attack on Kyoto Animation and the loss of life was for many creators out there who had been inspired by their work, seemingly Tatsuki Fujimoto among them.
Kyomoto’s death affects Fujino especially hard, as she goes on a highatus afterwards, claiming an illness to be responsible.
She then visits her old friend’s house where she finds the manga strip she wrote which accidentally drew Kyomoto out of her room.
This causes Fujino to blame herself for Kyomoto’s death because, as she sees it, if she had never drawn that manga strip then Kyomoto never would have come out of her room and thus never would have died.
It is then that we see what appears to be a fantasy of Fujino’s of what Kyomoto’s life would have been like had they never met.
In this fantasy alternate universe, only the torn part of Fujino’s manga strip where the onlookers tell Kyomoto to not come out of her room slips under her door.
So, Kyomoto never overcomes her insecurities to interact with others but still gets into art school.
Then, the attack happens, only this time there is a hero to save the day.
It is none other than Fujino who, in this alternate universe, focused on karate like her sister asked, so was able to thwart the attacker and save Kyomoto’s life.
This leads the two to become friends in this fantasy as well, with Fujino offering Kyomoto a place as her assistant, inspiring Kyomoto to go home and draw more manga strips, one of which blows away in the wind and under Kyomoto’s door to meet Fujino, the fantasy ending.
Fujino reads the strip, which has the titular title Look Back, and is a comedic version of her saving Kyomoto, possibly something the shy girl imagined back when she was Funjino’s biggest fan.
Entering Kyomoto’s room, Fujino sees that Kyomoto indeed still was a fan of Fujino, as she had all of the volumes of her manga and still kept the shirt she signed with a place of honour on the hook of her door.
This all causes Fujino to admit to herself that she never really enjoyed drawing manga because of how unfulling it was and wonders why she did it all?
The answer comes in a flashback to Fujino gifting Kyomoto with the manga she promised back when they first met, resulting in an overjoyed expression from Kyomoto, along with all the times they inspired one another.
This all shows how Fujino’s passion for writing manga changed from first being to get the praise of her peers to then making her readers happy once she saw how happy it made Kyomoto.
And right there came the tears from me because this broke me the first time I read it.
If this is not a direct message from Fujimoto to his readers then I don’t know what is.
Especially considering the characters’ names of Fujino and Kyomoto, which makes up his name.
Looking at her Shark Attack manga, eerily similar to Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man, and realizing what it all meant to Kyomoto, Fujino goes back home to continue her serialization.
The one-shot then ends on another single paged panel of Fujino sitting in her chair at her desk, continuing to write her manga, directly paralleling the beginning of the one shot where we saw Fujino’s chair and desk but no one was sitting in it.
Look Back seems to be detailing Fujimoto’s experience as a mangaka primarily through Fujino, as she starts off writing it for praise and to beat a rival but then starts doing it for the experience of the readers, as seen through how Kyomoto inspires her.
It’s also neat to note how the Oasis song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is shown to be an inspiration through how it is placed by Fujimoto throughout the one-shot, with the opening black board saying “Don’t”, Kyomoto’s manga strip of Fujino saving her being titled “Look Back” and one of the books Fujino has on the final page being titled “In Anger.”
There are a lot of other subtle details to this one-shot, like the infamous Chainsaw Man door at one point.
It can take multiple read throughs to find many of these and some of them had to be pointed out by others for me to get, like the already mentioned “Don’t Look Back in Anger” reference.
Along with these details, there is the emotional power of Don’t Look Back, which hit me with the weight of a truck when I first read it.
It is a fantastic one-shot and I have the exact same thought every time I finish: Tatsuki Fujimoto is brilliant.